Recent Articles

Otaak Band brings East Sudanese soul to the west bank


By Junauda Petrus
Contributing Writer


It was a glimpse into a world nearly lost. But the rituals, the traditions, the passed down legacies and teachings from ancestors were still evident in his being. Ahmed Said Abuamna, from Otaak Band, sang as though the music was shooting up from the ground through him, his voice sounding transcendent of earthliness. Watching the smooth and effortless way in which movements flowed from Abuamna’s limbs and in the way songs poured seemingly unencumbered from his soul at the January 29th performance at the Cedar Cultural Center, became a reminder of the importance of keeping a people’s culture and traditions alive. Otaak Band is the collaboration of Abuamna who hails from Eastern Sudan, and Miguel Merino, a percussionist from Indiana. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

What are electronic cigarettes and why should I care about them?


Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, but the creators of a breakthrough device are hoping to change that by encouraging smokers to use an alternative method. Commonly referred to as “e-cigarettes,” these battery-powered devices come in a variety of shapes and models, including those that resemble standard tobacco cigarettes and those that mimic cigars and tobacco pipes. E-cigarettes work by giving smokers a nicotine hit without actually exposing them to tobacco smoke. This is made possible due to a special chamber (atomizer) with a heating element and a liquid. The actual nicotine is in the liquid, along with propylene glycol and flavorings. The atomizer chamber aerosolizes this liquid, turning it into a vapor that can be inhaled, while also creating a vapor cloud that realistically resembles cigarette smoke.  These vapors are essentially odorless unless the liquid is heavily flavored. Manufacturers claim that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to the conventional use of tobacco in cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Why Egypt?

“For us the return to Egypt in every domain is the necessary condition to reconcile African civilization with history, to build a body of modern human sciences and to be able to renew African culture…Egypt will play the same role in the rethinking and renewing of African culture that ancient Greece and Rome play in the culture of the West (including North America)”

— Cheikh Anta Diop


“Black Americans” occupy a unique position as a people in this country and, by extension, North America. I say unique because we are the only people who have gone through a deliberate process of erasure, an erasure that has stripped from our conscious awareness a collective sense of cultural continuity beyond our immediate experience in North America. The erasure has had a profound effect on the psyche of our people and continues to have a negative effect in many diverse ways. As a people, we experience great difficulty in coming together or coming to a consensus in order to act in the best interest of our collective selves. I believe that the collective paralysis we are witnessing today is tied to the perpetual process of erasure. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,