When Rick Ross went to South Africa and Gabon

For some odd reason the latest issue of The New Yorker ran a profile of rapper Rick Ross. Lots of good, clever writing by Sasha Frere Jones on familiar controversies about Ross (for example, Frere Jones calls Ross out for lying about his real life drug dealer exploits; show me the rapper who doesn’t make things up) and gratuitous breakdown of Ross’ mostly misogynistic lyrics. The oddest part was where the magazine encourages its readers to go and listen to Ross’s music on the New Yorker website. (Just imagine the reader.) Anyway, it reminded me of the two-part “vlog” (video blog) that Ross’s people produced of trips he took in 2011 to perform in South Africa and Gabon. This is part 1:

It’s a full 9 minutes of product placement, driving cars, scenes from a casino, screaming fans and Ross occasionally reminding people of his surroundings (“Johannesburg … one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been”). Here’s part 2, still titled with reference to South Africa, but which is really about his trip to Gabon and talking about the chicken pasta Kenya Airways served him (“that was love”) and how he thought Kilamanjaro was the name for weed.

Further Reading

The entitlement of Bola Tinubu

The Nigerian presidential candidate’s claim of ’emi lokan’ (it’s my turn) reveals complex ethnic politics and a stagnated democracy. Most responses to it, humor and rumor, reflect how Nigerians enact democratic citizenship.

Father of the nation

The funeral of popular Angolan musician Nagrelha underscored his capacity to mobilize people and it reminds us that popular culture offers a kind of Rorschach test for the body politic.

A city divided

Ethnic enclaves are not unusual in many cities and towns across Sudan, but in Port Sudan, this polarized structure instigated and facilitated communal violence.

The imperial forest

Gregg Mitman’s ‘Empire of Rubber’ is less a historical reading of Liberia than a history of America and racial capitalism through the lens of a US corporate giant.

Africa’s next great war

The international community’s limited attention span is laser-focused on jihadism in the Sahel and the imploding Horn of Africa. But interstate war is potentially brewing in the eastern DRC.

The Cape Colony

The campaign to separate South Africa’s Western Cape from the rest of the country is not only a symptom of white privilege, but also of the myth that the province is better run.

Between East Africa and the Gulf

Political encounters between the Arab Gulf and Africa span centuries. Mahmud Traouri’s novel ‘Maymuna’ demonstrates the significant role of a woman’s journey from East Africa to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


It’s not common knowledge that there is Iran in Africa and there is Africa in Iran. But there are commonplace signs of this connection.

It could happen to us

Climate negotiations have repeatedly floundered on the unwillingness of rich countries, but let’s hope their own increasing vulnerability instills greater solidarity.