Kenya

Recent Articles

Finding ‘a proper place in our current history’ for the NAACP

The new faces of the Mpls NAACP

MSR’s recent story on the new officers of the Minneapolis Branch of the NAACP (“Minneapolis NAACP swears in new members,” Feb. 27) revealed among other things that women now constitute a majority of the new leadership, including for the first time several African immigrant women who bring impressive skills and experience to the organization. In the interest of introducing MSR readers to these new leaders, we begin this week a series of stories profiling three women from our African immigrant communities who appear determined to bring the historic civil rights organization’s power and prestige to bear on the obstacles currently inhibiting progress in our communities of color. Space permitting, we will allow these women to present their views in their own words. This week, meet Ilhan Omar, NAACP third vice president. Continue Reading →

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Former professional takes “a massive leap of faith” into music career

 

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

A Michael Jackson cover makes the United Kingdom top ten hits charts.  A music video of the song was aired on a cable music channel.  The song helped the artist that did the cover earn Grammy best artist consideration. Kenya McGuire Johnson left her career several years ago as an educator, clinical instructor and higher education administrator and took “a massive leap of faith.”  Now Kenya, the jazz/R&B singer — who uses only her first name professionally — is now working on her third CD. The young musician recently spoke with the MSR by phone from her Chicago home. “I did a lot of music growing up” in Denver, Colorado, including being active in choirs, and jazz bands, recalls Kenya, who has been singing since the age of eight. While in college, she was a member of the Howard University Gospel Choir. Continue Reading →

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Multitalented JD Steele keeps pushing the creative envelope

His latest project: a dance opera score blending Black and Indian genres 
 

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

JD Steele is, of course, even if you have been hiding under a rock, a household name in Twin Cities’ music and, by extension, theatre. For that matter, he’s internationally renowned along with his siblings as a vocalist-songsmith, arranger and producer for The Steeles. Still not ringing a bell? In case that rock you’ve been under is out in West Abu Dhabi somewhere, can you say, to name just a few titles, The Gospel at Colonus (yes, the film, TV and stage production featuring Morgan Freeman), Two Queens One Castle starring Jevetta Steele (Mixed Blood Theatre) and The Young and the Restless (CBS)? So yes, Steele has established his artistry with a rock-solid, far-reaching reputation. Continue Reading →

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Crocodile tears for Kenyans just that — crocodile tears

The mall bombing/attack in Kenya is not just frightening and alarming because of its apparent senselessness. It’s also alarming because it will give an opening to U.S. and European anti-Muslim — and to some extent anti-African — propaganda, which will in turn cause folks to turn a blind eye to U.S. and European meddling in African affairs. Don’t, if tempted to, write off the attack on the Nairobi, Kenya mall by Al Shabaab as just another fanatical instance of terrorism. While it is an insane and almost hapless effort to get revenge or make a political point, the attack on the mall was motivated by past events. Kenya did in fact invade Somalia in 2011 and kicked Al Shabaab out of southern Somalia with the help of the U.S. and France. Continue Reading →

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Obama’s African trip showed U.S. ‘commitment’ to the region — Bishop Tutu’s welcome: ‘Your victory is our victory’

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

In spite of criticism and skepticism, President Barack Obama’s recent Africa trip has the potential to reap benefits for both this country and the African continent. Prior to the trip, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, during a June 21 conference call in which the MSR participated, briefly addressed the criticism that the trip was too costly. “The costs for these types of trips, as well as any presidential trip” is determined by the Secret Service and the White House Military Office, explained Rhodes. “That’s been the case no matter who is president. “We take this [African] region very seriously,” added Rhodes. Continue Reading →

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Henn. County judge begins a new life chapter

International Leadership Institute unites Minneapolis with sister city in Kenya

By Lisa Bryant

Contributing Writer

 

After serving as a trial judge for 21 years in the Hennepin County Fourth Judicial District Court, the Honorable LaJune Thomas Lange has found another way to influence and serve the Twin Cities as well as the global community. In 1994, she founded the International Leadership Institute, an organization based in Minneapolis that works to build and bridge relationships between local and international leaders to strengthen cross-cultural relations, provide civic education programs and enhance the lives of international peoples and communities. “I’m so very proud of the work Judge Lange is doing,” says Judge Pamela Alexander, a former district court judge with the Hennepin County courts, now

president of Minnesota Council on Crime and Justice in Minneapolis. Alexander explains that African Americans often forget how connected we are to our African nations. For that reason, she says Lange’s work is remarkable: “It opens [our perspective on our] world and reveals just how connected we truly are.”

Lange has devoted a great deal of her career as a judge, professor and lecturer to issues concerning human rights, international law and governance, and women’s rights and gender equality worldwide. Continue Reading →

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