Cote d’Ivoire

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Tupac in Africa

This week, fifteen years ago, the rapper Tupac Shakur was gunned down on a Las Vegas street. The combination of his personality–he was a “gifted storyteller“, an explosive personality and had an intensity that was unrivaled among most pop stars. As Robert Pierre writes on his blog at The Washington Post: “… Whatever he was

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Music Break / Fatoumata Diawara

Easy listening. ‘Bassa’ is a song by the Côte d’Ivoire-born, Mali-raised and now France-based artist Fatoumate Diawara. We could use a translation — because maybe it’s no easy listening at all. Anyone?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Masks at the Met

There’s been a resurgence interest in the inscrutable African mask in several museums lately, including this horrible one at the Barbie Museum. Its as if the more evidence there is that the African of the European imagination does...

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Things will get better

Magic Systeme and Tiken Jah Fakoly tells their fellow Ivorians “Ca va aller.”

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Orientalism in Sub-Saharan Africa

James North: Orientalism takes a different form in sub-Saharan Africa.  There, Orientalists do not emphasize the “Islamic” angle quite as much, although they do sometimes suggest that a “fault line” running across the Sahel, with an expansive “Islam”...

Monday, April 11th, 2011

‘In the end, just a guy in a bad Hawaiian shirt without a clue’

That’s how Alexis Okeowo (on Twitter) sums up the end of the four-month stand-off against democracy by Cote d’Ivoire’s former Life President, Laurent Gbagbo. The New York Times has the details and the photograph above on the...

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Patriotism, Ivorian Style

Away from Al Jazeera English, Twitter, Facebook and CNN’s cameras and his country’s media muzzled and harassed, Cote d’Ivoire’s life president and xenophobe, Laurent Gbagbo, uses the army (this is crucial support; about 60,000 men) and armed...

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

A Message from Abidjan

Zepekenio, an Ivoirian-based artist has just released a track called “No Stress” a timely message out of Abidjan.  This party rap track on the label Frimaur is part of a genre Zepekenio’s calling “Le Chocogangsta Rap.” Listen...

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Gaddafi’s voluptuous Ukranian nurse

1. Anyone who has done any kind of archival research will know immediately the use of the WikiLeaks cables, and also their limits. Now that the superficial and the obvious are out of the way, the truly...

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Who Cares About Elections?

In Cote d’Ivoire, President Laurent Gbagbo’s gamble to hold elections did not work out as planned.  You guessed it he was supposed to win easily. After all it’s his (and his party’s) government and it is his...

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

In My Country

Since we’re on the topic of Cote d’Ivoire, here’s Ivoirian veteran underground rapper Manusa’s “Dans Mon Pays,” a blistering critique of life under Laurent Ggagbo’s regime. This not Drogbacite. “No dancey … happy, nice melodies, very uplifting”...

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Gbagbo’s Elections

It’s been 10 years since Cote d’Ivoire’s presidential elections; “… a whole lost generation since the days when Côte d’Ivoire was West Africa’s most prosperous and promising nation.” The last election cycle was postponed indefinitely by the...

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Music Break: Unité En Guinée

This Sunday, Guineans will go to the polls in a presidential run-off contest between ex-Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo and his rival Alpha Condé in what is considered their first democratic election since independence in 1958. It’s...

Friday, October 1st, 2010

No surprises, rappers JJC and Sway “are Africans”

Today, Nigeria celebrates 50 years of independence. To mark the occasion,* we bring you Nigerian-British rapper JJC’s collaboration with Ghanaian-British rapper Sway, and their remix of a song that Sean recently characterized as “hip hop meets twentieth...

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Ivorian Independence

“I’ve kept some distance from the 50th anniversary,” my friend says, “because I’m being doubted.” A few days ago he went online to check his voter eligibility status. My friend was born in Côte d’Ivoire and has...

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Cheryl Koralik’s Heat of Darkness

Cheryl Koralik’s images of Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, and Burkina Faso are a panoply of black and white – containing a beauty that is hard not to find deeply alluring. “Masques,” Koralik’s series of twelve images from Francophone...

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Toxic Mess

As The Guardian reports today oil trader Trafigura has been fined €1 million for attempting to transport toxic waste to Ivory Coast in 2006. Trafigura had initially chartered the ship Probo Koala, used to transport hundreds of tonnes...

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Music Monday

I’m just back from a weekend away so this is my contribution for today. Just a little something to start your week off. From Ivoirian reggae artist Tiken Jah Fakoly comes “Un Africain A Paris,” a cover...

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Paul Sika, “Andy Warhol’s grandson”

The very talented Ivorian artist Paul Sika (I’ve linked to Paul’s work last year on my old blog) has sent me an email about the publication of his new book, “At The Heart Of Me…” which is...

Friday, May 7th, 2010


Didier Drogba is all the rage now–“Time” named him to the magazine’s annual 100 Most Influential People,” largely because of his apparent role  to end the civil war in his native Cote d’Ivoire’s civil war through football.  As...

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Gold Coast Trading Co.

I like the initiative and work of the designer, Emeka Alams (his family is Ivorian, I think) and his clothing line Gold Coast Trading Co.. I first saw a reference to his work in Clam Magazine‘s most...

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Didier Drogba is ‘Most Influential’

That’s big in a country where elites (not that “Time” magazine is an elite publication) hardly care for soccer. Didier Drogba, the Chelsea forward and Cote d’Ivoire captain, has become one of the few sportsmen to appear...

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Pitchfork: New Music from West Africa

Pitchfork has a great piece–complete with some musical samples–by writer Dave Henshaw–on musical developments in Ghana (no one plays high life anymore), Cote d’Ivoire (“Ivoirian rhythms are so twitchy that crunk would have come like a tranquilizer...

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Kehinde Wiley paints African football

The German shoe and sportswear company, Puma, sponsors at least 12 African national football teams–five of which qualified for the 2010 World Cup. To commemorate the World Cup year (and because it is good PR and to...

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

There is no African Middle Class

Some would argue that middle class people do not exist in African countries while others would charge that you can’t really define them–that there’s the super rich and those whose livelihoods are precariously linked to the state,...

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Bono saves the World Cup

The New York Times has published another of rock star Bono’s stupid “op-eds.” This time some nonsense titled “Ten for the Next Ten.”  The last item on the list is the 2010 World Cup to held in...

Monday, October 5th, 2009


Images from Miss Authentica, a beauty competition in Cote d’Ivoire that promotes “natural” beauty. Only women with “untreated skin” can enter. Skin bleachers which contain cancer are used by 75% of women in Cote d’Ivoire.

Monday, September 14th, 2009


Espoir 2000 with “Abidjan Farot.” Via Things Seen and Heard.

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Jesse Jackson and the Ivorian Crisis

Jesse Jackson, whose brand of black politics has been displaced momentarily with the emergence of Barack Obama, was in the news recently after he was crowned a prince in Cote d’Ivoire. Because the Agne had crown the...

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