Erykah Badu Discovers And Reconnects With Her African Roots

OkayAfrica and the web series titled, “The Roots Of...” came together to trace Erykah Badu's African roots through a DNA test. “The Roots Of...” web series features some of your favorite artists—they've already tapped Q-Tip, Michael K..Williams and Questlove—as they discover their African ancestry.

Badu's journey took place in Austin, Texas, where she described her previous encounters trying trace her ancestors. She explained how she did several readings through Shamans and went through priests in Africa. The spiritual singer is a fifth generation from Dallas, Texas.

Within six weeks, she received her ancestry results and found that the lineage of her mother came from the Bamileke area, which is also the grassland of Cameroon, a vast plain. She found that the Cameroon village stands together to raise their children and laughed when she found that they're bad at time, exclaiming how “time is for the white people. I've been saying that in my interviews.”

Simon Bijngsi, a Cameroonian community member accompanied Badu throughout her experience, informing her of the cloths, dance, food and land she originated from.

“The dance of Africa is about the feeling and evoking the energies and spirits of the ancestors that love and protect us and want to see us do well,” she said in discovery of how her community uses dance as a form of expression.

Lucky for us, Badu also mentioned an album in the works. While it is still in the works, we know it will have an African vibe to it because, yes you guessed it, it will be recorded in Africa. The vibrant artist explained how the experience has led her on a different path and how it has changed her outlook on why it's important to know where she came from. She didn't understand why it was important until she reached the house, where her community awaited her arrival.

“It's just another piece to help me become a better Erykah...in America,” she said. Watch the video for yourself up top and check out the rest of the series here.

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Democratic Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren speaks during a gathering of the National Action Network April 5, 2019 in New York.
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Elizabeth Warren Details Proposal To Eliminate Student Debt

The race to Election 2020 is starting off with a bang as Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has proposed a plan to eliminate student debt.

Warren laid out her plan on Monday (April 22), her being the first out of the long list of Democratic candidates to feature a detailed plan for the controversial topic. Warren says her proposal would benefit 95 percent of the 45 million borrowers and eliminate the debt of 75 percent of them. The plan will cost a reported $1.25 trillion over 10 years and would be funded by a proposed tax on the wealth of millionaires who are making more than $50 million as well as billionaires.

The proposal would wipe out up to $50,000 in student debt with household incomes under $100,000 and smaller amounts for those who are bringing in $250,000. “It’s time to end that experiment, to clean up the mess it’s caused and to do better,” Warren wrote in a Medium post about her plan. “We can make big structural change and create new opportunities for all Americans.”

Like many of her progressive peers like Bernie Sanders, Warren also plans to make public college tuition-free, except Warren is also promising to increase funds for Pell grants by $100 billion and provide a $50 billion fund to assist historically black colleges and universities.

Her plan sounds promising, especially to black and Hispanic student debt holders. In 2018, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) revealed 86.8 percent of black students borrow more federal loans than white students (59.9 percent). The study also shows Hispanic students borrow at high rates as well: 65% at public four-year colleges and 73.5% at private four-year colleges.

So far, Warren is nearly at the bottom of the list of her contenders like former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders. A poll from Real Clear Politics shows interest in Vice President Joe Biden, who is expected to announce his official candidacy this week.

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Flint Residents Will Reportedly Have The Ability To Sue Federal Government

On Thursday (April 18), Judge Linda Parker stated Flint, Mich., residents may have the power to sue the federal government over the officials' mishandling of the water supply system. Since 2014, residents have navigated life with non-consumable water that was tainted with lead when the city switched its water source.

The news arrives days after the city was approved to receive over $77 million in funds to assist with a new pipeline, water monitoring systems, and other water-based infrastructure needs. According to CNN, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan judge's memo stated the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mislead its residents when it failed to notify them of the lead-filled water.

"The impact on the health of the nearly 100,000 residents of the City of Flint remains untold. It is anticipated, however, the injury caused by the lead-contaminated public water supply system will affect the residents for years and likely generations to come," Parker said. Through campaigns spearheaded by Little Miss Flint and other activists, and initiatives conducted by artist Jaden Smith, the city's residents are steadily receiving assistance in adequate drinking water.

In January, an appeals court stated that federal civil lawsuits against the city of Flint would be permissible, The Hill notes.

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An Iowa Man Faces 20 Years After Gunpoint Break-In To Own A Domain Name Ends In A Shooting

The founder of a social media company faces 20 years in prison for orchestrating the home break-in and subsequent shooting of an Internet domain owner.

According to reports, Rossi Lorathio Adams II founded a social media company "State Snaps" in 2015. The company, which operates on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, is described as containing violent, crude and often nude images of young people.

The catchphrase associated with uploaded videos is "do it for the state" and to capitalize off the growing followers, Adams, 26, tried to purchase the domain name from a Cedar Rapids resident. He couldn't make the final sale.

"Between 2015 and 2017, Adams repeatedly tried to obtain 'doitforstate.com,' but the owner of the domain would not sell it. Adams also threatened one of the domain owner's friends with gun emojis after the friend used the domain to promote concerts," court records show.

Growing tired of playing "nice," in June 2017, Adams reportedly told his cousin Sherman Hopkins Jr to break into the victim's home and force the sale. Hopkins wore pantyhose on his head, a hat and glasses to cover his eyes. He had a gun and a Taser when he broke into the home to demand the domain name.

After forcing the owner to the computer, Hopkins reportedly held the weapon to his head. "Fearing for his life, the victim quickly turned to move the gun away from his head. The victim then managed to gain control of the gun," court records show.

Hopkins was sentenced to 20 years in prison last year. Now, Adams faces a similar fate, with a 20-year maximum sentence, a $250,000 fine, and three years supervision.

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