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Monday, December 9, 2013

Madiba and the cultural revolution

Nelson Mandela
As the nations of the world paused to reflect on the life, works and legacy of Nelson "Madiba" Mandela, it is important to remember the role artists and entertainers played in the anti-apartheid movement. In this current time when actors, singers, musicians and rappers are often maligned for not lending their voices to address social justice issues, wherever they are, there were many that lent their voice to criticize the racism practiced by the South African regime in the 1940s through 1990s. It was principle over profit. Harry Belafonte, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder and Sammie Davis Jr. just to name a few. In the world of hip-hop, Public Enemy, Chubb Rock, Queen Latifah and others were unafraid to drop lyrics that gave insight into the struggle of Black people in the U.S. and South Africa. As a self-proclaimed "old school hip hop head"  I would hear some of my favorite artists giving a "shout out" to Mr. Mandela, freedom fighters Steve Biko and Winnie Mandela in their songs. But the awareness was not just limited to music.  Even the Cosby Show, named the grandchildren of Cliff and Claire, "Winnie and Nelson" after Mr. Mandela and his former wife. I wrote about this cultural revolution during apartheid for an upcoming issue of The Final Call newspaper as part of our comprehensive coverage on the contributions of Mr. Mandela. So make sure you check it out! In your opinion, who are some the artists that made impacting statements or expressions concerning South African apartheid? Until next time - Peace!

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