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A hip-hop reckoning? Why Drake is sitting out the Grammys

He might have a trio of Grammys under his belt, but Drake has turned his nose up at the “Music’s Big..

He might have a trio of Grammys under his belt, but Drake has turned his nose up at the “Music’s Biggest Night.”

“I won two awards last night, but I don’t even want them,” the Toronto hip hop star told a British music show host in February, the day after his smash hit Hotline Bling earned a pair of Grammys (adding to his 2013 win for the album Take Care).

“I am apparently a rapper, even though Hotline Bling is not a rap song. The only category they can manage to fit me in is a rap category,” said Drake, who performed for fans in the U.K. rather than attend the televised Grammy gala.

Now, as a fresh batch of nominees are being prepped for potential Grammy glory, Drake will likely be missing from the contenders to be unveiled Tuesday morning of his own volition. He reportedly chose not to submit his latest record-breaking release, More Life, for consideration.

Drake has put the Grammys on blast for being out of touch with contemporary music’s cultural shifts and suggested it’s tied to the awards’ poor history of inclusion. He’s one of a chorus that has also included the voices of Frank Ocean, Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Jay-Z.

“We’ve been conditioned that this is the true reward for our work, for our accomplishments, for our music,” Drake said of the Grammys.

“Thank God I stayed here and did what I was supposed to be doing [performing in Manchester], for the people who actually care about my music.”

‘A vote of no confidence’

When influential and popular artists like Drake and Ocean boycott the Grammys, “It’s a vote of no confidence. It’s a vote of ‘We don’t believe in this process any more,'” according to longtime music writer and Grammy voter Rob Kenner.

Grammy organizers have long had tensions with the hip hop community. Those tensions go back almost three decades to when the Recording Academy added its first rap trophy, Kenner noted. When it was announced that the 1989 broadcast gala wouldn’t include the awarding of the inaugural hip hop honour, three of the five nominated acts — including DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (Will Smith), Salt-N-Pepa and LL Cool J — boycotted the ceremony. They were joined in their criticism by other prominent rap figures, including Public Enemy’s Chuck D. and Flavor Flav.

“I do think awards matter and that people care tremendously who wins these, the music industry’s highest honour,” said Kenner, who helped found VIBE magazine, reggae outlet Boomshots and currently serves as executive editor of hip hop culture site Mass Appeal.

Kenner’s op-ed shone a harsh light on the Grammy nomination and voting process, giving credence to those who have questioned the award as the arbiter of popular music excellence. He continues to take issue with how widely the general membership can vote: though directed to “vote only in their areas of expertise,” members can make choices in up to 15 categories across musical genres, as well as the four “general” categories (best new artist and song, album and record of the year).

“I was allowed to vote on things that I really had no knowledge about, categories that I was not an expert in. It’s all
pretty much the honour system,” Kenner said. “I could go in there and vote for my favourite classical or polka records — and I don’t really listen to that music.”

Drake

Name recognition is one reason Grammy voter Rob Kenner believes Drake’s Hotline Bling won a Grammy for rap recording, when even the artist himself calls it a pop song. (Drake/Apple Music)

The problem is, he said, when members believe themselves well-versed enough to cast judgement on genres when they are not — and also when members vote on name recognition alone.

“That’s how you get Hotline Bling for best rap song,” Kenner said.

“That’s why you often find, like in the reggae categories, just a bunch of recognizable names. You might feel like you know about a certain kind of music, and you like the artist, but you haven’t heard all these other worthy alternatives that haven’t had as much attention. That’s where the system breaks down.”

Hip hop is ‘everywhere’

We’re past the point of acknowledging hip hop as a dominant force in our culture, said rising Canadian artist Tasha the Amazon. She brushes aside those who say hip hop music is too niche for mainstream music audience and top music honours.

Tasha the Amazon

Tasha the Amazon recounted a Juno voter telling her: ‘I’ve been hearing so much about you tonight. If only I had heard about you before I would have voted for you.” She described the comment as ‘kind of like a slap in the face.’ (CBC )

Many other contemporary genres — from country to dance to pop — as well as photography and music videos have absorbed elements of rap and hip hop culture, she told CBC News.

“It’s everywhere…young people of all cultures gravitate towards it and see themselves in [hip hop] culture.”

Toronto-based Tasha, speaking from a Winnipeg panel on hip hop’s place in the larger music industry, described awards shows like the Grammys and Canada’s Junos as “outdated systems” that don’t properly reflect newer musical cultures or even changes to how music is consumed. At a backstage Junos party she attended this year, for instance, the best rap recording nominee was approached by an older man who identified himself as a voter.

She recalled him saying: “‘Oh, I’ve been hearing so much about you tonight. If only I had heard about you before I would have voted for you.'”

“It was kind of like a slap in the face,” she said. “First of all, why aren’t you listening to the music you’re voting on?… Secondly, why are you voting on something you don’t listen to, you have no anchors for?”

Artist boycotts can be a powerful statement, especially if major names also choose not to attend or perform at the Grammys. But Kenner also advocates working to change the system itself, like ramping up efforts to diversify the membership of voters.

“Awards are an important way to bring attention to real quality work that hasn’t gotten the light that it deserves. The Grammys do serve that purpose when they’re done right.”

The post A hip-hop reckoning? Why Drake is sitting out the Grammys appeared first on News Wire Now.

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Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša congratulates Donald Trump despite no election result

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša has handed Donald Trump victory in the 2020 United States Presi..

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša has handed Donald Trump victory in the 2020 United States Presidential election, despite no official result being declared.

“Its pretty clear that American people have elected ⁦Donald Trump and Mike Pence for four more years,” Janša tweeted on Wednesday.

Donald Trump declared a premature victory at the White House and described the election process as a “major fraud on our nation”.

The campaign for Democrat candidate Joe Biden has described the bid to stop vote counting as “outrageous, unprecedented and incorrect”, and say they are “ready to deploy” legal teams.




The Slovenian Prime Minister’s tweet generated an immediate response from several MEPs, including German Nicola Beer from Renew Europe Group.

“Donald Trump has his deeply undemocratic, unjustified playbook on elections EU Member States should not play along,” tweeted Beer.

“The European Union, with all Member States, has a duty to show respect for every single vote. Period.”

No other EU leader has issued congratulations or themselves announced a result in the US election.

“While we wait for the election result, the EU remains ready to continue building a strong transatlantic partnership, based on our shared values and history,” said EU Vice-President Josep Borrell.

The electoral college votes have not all been counted at time of writing.

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“More delays and facts denying … [the] bigger the final triumph for the President. Congratulations ⁦to the Republican Party for strong results across the US”.

The US election is currently locked in a stalemate, with hundreds of thousands of votes still to be counted, and the outcome still unclear in key states.

The post Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša congratulates Donald Trump despite no election result first appeared on NewswireNow – A Press Release Publishing Service.

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Lessons for Africa from devastating Mauritius oil spill

The shipwreck of the MV Wakashio has caused one of Mauritiuss worst environmental catastrophes and i..

The shipwreck of the MV Wakashio has caused one of Mauritiuss worst environmental catastrophes and its devastating impact is expected to last for decades. Over 1 000 tonnes of fuel oil leaked into pristine Mauritian waters, covering the nearby shore in toxic sludge and immersing the ecosystem in a desperate struggle for survival.

This environmental crisis couldnt have occurred at a worse time for Mauritius. The spill will seriously impede the recovery of a Mauritian economy highly dependent on coastal tourism and already battered by COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Mauritius and other African states need to promptly review their contingency strategies and response capacities so we can start positing immediate lessons to be learnt.

The national and international response to the MV Wakashio crisis was commendable. France, India, Japan and the International Maritime Organization cooperated to support local Mauritian efforts in a race against time to pump out the fuel from the vessel, which eventually broke apart on 15 August. Meanwhile local volunteers flocked to the shore with improvised booms and barriers.

Mauritius and other African states need to urgently review their contingency strategies

While a full investigation and report is urgently required, it is possible to start piecing together a narrative of what has occurred and how it turned so bad so quickly.

The MV Wakashio left China on 14 July heading for Brazil. On 25 July it ran aground on the reefs located roughly a mile off Pointe dEsny and the Blue Bay Marine Park along the south-eastern shore of Mauritius. No oil leakage was reported at the time, and the Mauritius coast guard swiftly deployed booms and took other preventive actions. The government activated its National Oil Spill Contingency Plan the following day.

By 5 August a minor oil slick was observed surrounding the vessel. It was still assumed that the countrys contingency plan was sufficient and that the risk of oil spill was still low. But then the MV Wakashio flooded and began sinking. Oil started to spill into the sea.

On 7 August Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a national environment emergency. Fisheries Minister Sudheer Maudhoo suggested that this is the first time that we are faced with a catastrophe of this kind and we are insufficiently equipped to handle this problem. Mauritius called for international help once the scale of the emergency became apparent and quickly overwhelmed the resources and capacity of the countrys national contingency plan.

The disaster demonstrates how even seemingly small oil leaks and spills can be devastating

Some of these resources were acquired as part of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Highway Development and Coastal and Marine Contamination Prevention project from 2007-2012. The project also called for the establishment of the Regional Marine Pollution Co-ordination Centre (RCC) for Marine Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Western Indian Ocean.

South Africa will host the RCC, and its establishment must now be expedited. The disaster demonstrates how even seemingly small oil leaks and spills can be devastating, especially when they occur in sensitive and critically important environmental areas.

Will other African countries and regional organisations develop sufficient capacity to respond to crises on the scale of the MV Wakashio without depending on international assistance? There is a great risk of oil spills and leaks occurring elsewhere in the African maritime domain in the future, especially spills that occur during bunkering.

The Cape of Good Hope route is a maritime super highway. Some countries, like South Africa, are able to swiftly respond on their own, as demonstrated in May when the potential wreck of the Yuan Hua Hu, also carrying 4 000 tonnes of fuel oil, was narrowly averted.

Theres a great risk of oil spills occurring elsewhere in Africa, especially during bunkering

Many countries such as Mauritius lack at least some of the resources or capacities needed to deal with such a disaster. Governments require up-to-date assessments to plan future responses. Better and more collective resources and skills at a regional or continental level are required.

Improved accountability mechanisms are also important. The Japanese owners of the MV Wakashio have offered, under international obligations, to pay compensation for applicable damages caused by the oil spill. Yet in other cases it might not be as easy to track the owners and determine liability (as can be seen in the investigation into the tragic Beirut port explosion of 4 August).

It is time for African maritime institutions to review their approaches and develop appropriate expertise and response mechanisms. This should ensure fast and effective regional or continental action when the inevitable oil leaks arise.

The results should be reported to key multilateral organisations – ideally to the African Union (AU) – as part of the implementation of 2050 Africas Integrated Maritime Strategy. The AU could, for instance, convene a consultative forum for experience and skills sharing with inputs from all the regional economic communities such as that hosted by the Southern African Development Community in 2018.

Disaster relief is expensive, but is nowhere near as controversial as other maritime issues such as creating security frameworks and determining boundaries. It can also foster collaboration anchored in regional AU institutions that draw on indigenous expertise and capacities.

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More than 100 children killed and injured as violence intensifies in Ituri, DRC – Save the Children

Kinshasa, August 13 – At least 83 children have been killed in the northern province of Ituri in the..

Kinshasa, August 13 – At least 83 children have been killed in the northern province of Ituri in the Democratic Republic of Congo between April and July. Save the Children is horrified by the recent escalation of extreme violence, in which also at least 17 children were injured and 12 were sexually abused.

In the same period, around sixty schools were attacked, and 17 health facilities – two of which were supported but the charity.

“The situation for children is getting worse by the day, in a conflict they should not have a part in. We need to ensure children can return to school, that they and their families can go to health facilities if they need to, and that they are protected”, said Malik Allaouna, Save the Children country director in DRC.

“We need more resources, and call upon the international community and the Government of DRC to help alleviate the suffering of these children. We are asking all involved parties to grant unhindered access to humanitarian workers, so they can support those who are most in need.”

Since January 2020, the situation in Ituri has deteriorated significantly in the Djugu, Irumu and Mahagi territories. At least 1,315 people were killed, including 165 children. An estimated 300,000 people have been displaced since January, adding pressure to the situation in Ituri, which already hosted over 1.2 million Internal displaced people in 2019.

“Children who had to flee from the violence told us they had to leave everything behind because militias came into the area of Djugu. Suddenly, they found themselves homeless and without any food, having to sleep in schools”, said Dr Macky Manseka, Humanitarian Health and Nutrition Programme Manager at Save the Children.

Save the Children, which has been responding to this crisis for over a year, warns that displaced populations do not have access to enough food. Communities are also lacking health and nutrition services, clean and safe water and hygiene materials, as areas become increasingly cut off by violence and resources are in low supply.

“For example, there were more than 235 new cases of severe acute malnutrition in July 2020”, Dr. Manseka continued. “But because of the violence, we cant follow-up properly on sick or malnourished children. As a consequence, their treatment is disrupted, which might lead to relapses or even deaths.”

END

Note to editors:

Save the Children supports 17 health facilities, and runs programmes in support of survivors of sexual and gender based violence. It has a strong presence in the field of nutrition, and water, hygiene and sanitation. The organisation is also running education programmes in Ituri, and working to improve access to education for girls.

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