AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Liberia

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Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Director Takeshi Fukunaga on his new feature film about Liberian rubber workers, partly set in New York City

Last month a friend posted a link to the Kickstarter page for Out of My Hand, a feature film shot primarily in Liberia. The plot follows a rubber tapper named Cisco who, after taking part in a heated labor dispute that goes nowhere, attempts to move to New York city where he becomes a cab driver.

Friday, September 20th, 2013

The Disneyfication of Ellen Sirleaf Johnson

Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is often presented by western media as an avatar of all things good, which is unsurprising. This was the narrative that made her an icon of international development and women’s empowerment. It took...

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Press Freedom in Liberia

“Your spirit appears to me to be anarchical. I remember during the last Administration, you were critical and censorious of it. When it comes to the present Administration, you are occasionally censorious and critical of it. I...

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Liberian Independence, Staten Island Style

This past Spring I wrote an article for the Red Bull Music Academy about the music and nightlife communities clustered around African neighborhoods in New York. A key motivation behind writing that article was to bring some visibility to...

Monday, July 1st, 2013

What can Barack Obama’s “Power Africa” program achieve?

Seven billion dollars is a lot of money—except when it goes into infrastructure. Then, $7bn, the sum that the US has committed to spend over the next five years on the Obama administration’s newly-announced Power Africa initiative,...

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Danny Hoffman’s photographs and mining in West Africa

While we seem to spend an enormous amount of virtual space at AIAC critiquing the ways that Africa and Africans are represented, we do so because we believe that it is possible to subvert expectations, to create...

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

VICE and the “new journalism model”*

The business of journalism as we know is in trouble and there's a scramble for a "new journalism model,” with VICE.com held up as the latest prototype (see here, here and here). I am not so...

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

The politics of selling African art mostly collected during colonial era to private collectors (in the Netherlands)

The proposed sale of the Africa Collection at The World Museum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands has sparked some interesting debates in Dutch media lately. Unfortunately some important questions and issues around this sale are not being discussed....

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Law & Order: America’s Star Mercenary protects Chinese investment in Africa

Remember when Law & Order: Criminal Intent did a two-hour season premier on Erik Prince’s anti-pirate private militia in Somalia? Prince (founder and frequent re-namer of the infamous mercenary company, Blackwater) became a celebrity by escalating and...

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Is Mads Brügger a journalist?

Even if you like Mads Brügger’s documentaries, chances are you hate him. The characters he plays in his “non-fiction films”—a Communist theater director in The Red Chapel and, more recently, a corrupt diamond smuggler in The Ambassador—are...

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

My favorite photographs N°4: Nana Kofi Acquah

My grandmother had a pub where wayfarers, fishermen, their wives, officers and anybody who had trouble or was looking for a little happiness would come, buy tots of the local gin, “akpeteshie” and start pouring their souls...

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

The Verdict on Charles Taylor–Take 2

“Liberians decry ‘mockery of justice’ in Charles Taylor verdict” is a piece by Geoffrey York in Canada’s Globe and Mail that portrays a country outraged by the result of Taylor’s trial. The fact that Charles Taylor is reviled in the West but loved in Liberia is a...

Friday, April 27th, 2012

The verdict on Charles Taylor

Yesterday the Special Court for Sierra Leone found Charles Taylor guilty of aiding the RUF during the Sierra Leonean Civil War. The court case that has taken five years is the last of a court that has...

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Krumping Africa

American photographer David LaChapelle’s 2005 krump documentary, “Rize,” (trailer here) included a laughable section that invented a history of the dance genre among “traditional” Africans.* I guess since the dance originated and was popular among black teenagers...

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Film: “Imagining Emanuel”

Leo Goldsmith and Rachael Rakes, film editors at Brooklyn Rail, write about the documentary film “Imagining Emanuel” (trailer above), which recently played at the Museum of Modern Art’s Documentary Fortnight in New York City:

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Friday Music Bonus Edition

It’s Friday night, so we’re unwinding with some nice videos. We start with Liberians Nasseman and Takun J, on a pan-African roots reggae tune.

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

The CIA’s Charles Taylor Revelation

Recent revelations, which have always been suspected, have strengthened the United States' role in the Liberian civil war, adding fuel to claims of American intervention in Liberia since its founding as a Western style nation-state.

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Photographing Liberia

Time LightBox features the work of photographer Glenna Gordon.

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

‘The return of the one party state’

Most supporters of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change followed the recommendation of their party leader and restrained from voting on November 8. The election results show this with all clarity. After counting all the votes  NEC  showed that...

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Liberian Demo-crazy

There’s been a lot of rumors and propaganda flying around related to the Liberian run-off election, so it’s hard to get a sense of what’s really happening on the ground. But international and local news show that the...

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Lone Stars Shining

It seems that the election atmosphere remains tense, but word from Liberia is people are taking it all in stride. Beyond mainstream politics, it’s time for celebration.

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Who is Leymah Gbowee

I once heard the photographer Harry Mattison discuss the difficulty, the near impossibility, of photographing peace. For Mattison, an award winning photographer of conflict, this was an epiphany. Peace is difficult, representing peace is near impossible. The...

Friday, October 7th, 2011

The Nobel Peace Prize’s Kanye Moment

“Hey Liberian people, I know you got an election going on and all, and I’m gonna let you finish, but Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was one of the best presidents of ALL TIME…” That’s the message sent to Liberia...

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

The definition of hip-co

Takun J, the leading proponent of the Liberian music genre, breaks down its essence for a group of visiting journalism students from Syracuse University.

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...

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Funky Liberia

  Italy based, UK Funky influenced, electronic music purveyors Pepe Soup recently released the above song and video, a proud recollection of Liberian childhood punishment survival. The Italian-Liberian duo have been busy this year, releasing a string...

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

More to Staten Island than ‘Mob Wives’

Photographer Glenna Gordon, no stranger to AIAC, is working on a new project in Staten Island, home to the largest population of Liberians outside of Liberia. I asked her if I could publish some of the work...

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Princess Fatu

Back in the states, I’m going to be able to fulfill my promise to post on Liberian music, and the vibrant growing scene there. I’m publishing another couple of articles for Cluster Mag about it, and am...

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

July 26, Liberia

The oldest republic in Africa, Liberia–formed in 1847–celebrates its independence today.  Chances are Dumyarea, the song we wrote about earlier will pump from stereos and in cars, but there’s more. Right now you have two major styles Gbema...

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Review: The Redemption of General Butt-Naked

“The Redemption of General Butt Naked” is an admirable attempt to paint a complex picture of a difficult subject, the former Liberian child soldier, Joshua Milton Blahyi. While I found the film compelling, I couldn’t help but...

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