Nelson Mandela: Madiba

Nelson Mandela statesman, world citizen

Nelson Mandela statesman, world citizen

I am at a loss for words, in this same year that  I have lost my beloved physical grandmother, Miss Susie May Jackson, I just heard on the news that “Madiba”, my spiritual grandfather, Nelson Rolilahla Mandela. The news was not a complete shock due to his waning health but it is deeply saddening. A great deal of my life as a teenager was spent learning about Nelson Mandela, and having not known any grandfather, paternally or maternally, I secretly carried him in my heart as the grandfather I never knew. His passion and political career and life has served as an inspiration to me and countless others over the years. The true example of passion and unrelenting commitment,  In fact, me and my cohorts had an obsessive focus on South Africa as kids studying Apartheid and Nelson Mandela and studying the great changes that took place in that country from the 70’s- late 80’s. As a theatre student and member of the Freddie Hendricks’ Youth Ensemble of Atlanta,also known as Y.E.A. I can still hear the voice of Michael “Sahr” Ngaujah  yelling Amandla! Long before we starred together in Broadway’s Fela!,  we, and many others, portrayed the young South African students who struggled in their fight against Apartheid in some of the earliest productions of “Soweto! Soweto! A Township Is Calling!” with Y.E.A.

Saycon Sengbloh teen actress

Saycon Sengbloh and cast of Freddie Hendricks’s Youth Ensemble “Soweto! Soweto! A Township is Calling”

As a child of a Liberian father I saw very few African stars on television, but I saw Nelson Mandela walk from prison after 27 years of captivity, a star indeed. Every year just around the time for school Turner Broadcast the mini-series, Shaka Zulu about a great South African warrior king who reigned tall above tyranny from his own people and from foreigners alike. Mandela was a great warrior king and first black president of that nation. Next to my own Liberia, the South African story has fascinated me to no end! Seeing and learning about Nelson and Winnie Mandela helped with my own appreciation and pride in my African heritage, as children can be cruel I was often isolated by my name. My African pride was seeded more deeply as I watched in 1990 as apartheid was abolished much like the ending of segregation had occurred so many years before in the United States. It is with great pride that I honor the life of Madiba! Nelson Mandela!!! #Amandla

Young African Queens of the Diaspora: a playlist for you

I dare you to broaden your minds! Young African Queens of the Diaspora are here! Well, the latest playlist that is! Listen to something new for a minute or 1 hour :) In support of indie artists and musicians everywhere and divas of the African diaspora: English speaking, Spanish speaking, and those of various African or European languages are all on this short list together.  I put a new Youtube playlist together to listen to while I write.  Actually, many of the artists added to this playlist are not new, many of them have a huge following outside of the US but if you’re anything like me you may find yourself listening to America’s top 40 constantly and just might enjoy listening or learning about other artists you haven’t heard before. So I went on a search on Youtube, this playlist consists of what I’ve found. Start listening now!

Now not to confuse or leave anyone out this 1st list consists of female artists who are new to me and perhaps new on the landscape of music in the last few years, I could of course populate a list with beautiful queens like Angelique Kidjo, Miriam Makeba, and Celia Cruz. But this list is something different. Please hit me with more names of artists who fit this title I learn something new everyday and look forward to hearing from you guys. The Ask Saycon page is there for questions.  Click the link to listen while you work. As a kid I’ve always had a fascination with maps imagine all the musicians of the African diapora making music throughout the world and check out a list of names below:

Rand McNally World Map

Click this map to start the “Young Queens of the African Diaspora” video playlist!

 

Peep the names listed below:

Becca

Zahara

Saycon

Nneka

Tiwa Savage

Abena Koomson

Elasea Dougla

Fatoumata Diawara

Asa

Buika

Imany

Christine Horn

Shingai Shoniwa ( of the Noissetes)

Suzanna Lubrano

Emeli Sande