Yesterday, The Gifted, the latest studio album of the DC rapper Wale was released. I did not know until recently that Wale had any African connections, but according to his Wikipedia page, Wale’s parents immigrated to DC from Nigeria about 5 years before he was born. Wale is a derivative of his given name, Olubowale (For the record, my Nigerian-American musician of choice is Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege of the duo Chiddy Bang).
I have never been a big fan of African reggae (I recall being shocked by the number of people I met in Niger who were fans of the late South African Lucky Dube), although I can occasionally get in the mood for the Zimbabwean Winky D (he has full albums available on Spotify). However, one of Africa’s great reggae legends, Alpha Blondy of the Ivory Coast, will be performing at the Howard Theatre on July 1.
Alpha Blondy first became exposed to Rastafarian culture as a student in New York city and has exhibited a political conscious throughout his career (one of his first albums, released in 1985, was titled ‘Apartheid is Nazism’). He was quite instrumental in agitating for peace during the Ivory Coast’s civil war.
If anyone attends the show, let me know.