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Soccer A Way Into History For The Forgotten Immigrants Of India

The Siddis are descendants of Bantu people from East Africa…

"People often look at me as if I am different, and hard to be trusted," Zaharaddeen Muhammed, a Nigerian student studying in India confesses at the New Delhi Africa-India solidarity forum. "I try to be friendly. I speak Hindi and always laugh. But when I offer biscuits to the neighbours' children, they don't accept."

Muhammed's acknowledgment of discrimination in India towards African immigrants is a step in dismantling caste system ideologies that are prevalent in India, but the African presence in the country is not recent. The Siddi community represents a direct link back to the continent.

The Siddis are descendants of Bantu people from East Africa, originally brought to India through the Arab slave trade in the seventh century, and then later by the Portuguese and British. After the abolition of slavery in the 18th and 19th century, Siddis "fled into the country’s thick jungles, fearing recapture and torture." Siddis were originally known as Habshis, a term which refers to an Abyssinian, the previous name of Ethiopia. Currently, Siddi describes all African descendants in India, of which 60, 000 to 75, 000 live in Gujarat and Karnataka.

While Siddis receive some affirmative action benefits, as they are classified as "scheduled tribes"(specific indigenous peoples acknowledged by the Indian government), they remain one of the poorest and most marginalized groups in India, according to BBC:

"Despite such glaring vestiges, Siddi history has been startlingly erased throughout India. Today, stymied by government indifference and ridicule at the hands of fellow citizens, Siddis lead marginalized lives, while aspiring for a fighting chance at better prospects. Largely working as farmers and manual labourers, Siddis lack sustainable work opportunities."

The cultural histories between Africa and India are facing erasure due to the history of English colonialism and the caste system. Such erasure and historical amnesia is helping to fuel violence against African immigrants, instead of understanding how India's past and future is directly tied to the continent.

"There’s today little interest in uncovering African-South Asian relations, unless it serves neoliberal projects. This stands in stark contrast to how many South Asians remember and write about their relationships to Arabs, Persians, Turks and European colonisers, and, importantly, how many South Asians claim ancestry based on such long, complicated and often times violent histories," Indian writer S.Varatharajah says on Medium. "For South Asians, the Indian Ocean that connects us to East Africa is only relevant when talking about Arab traders or European Invaders. African-South Asian histories find no space within it."

Through sports, Siddis find escape from poverty, unequal access to education, and unstable work opportunities. The late 1980s saw India investing in an athletic program for African immigrants, and while the program didn't last, it assisted in fostering connections with Siddis from different places in India.

A promising group of Siddi youth in India are today playing soccer in hopes of making it to the 2024 Olympics, a win that they dream will "uplift the Siddi community, revive its forgotten history and bring much-awaited acceptance to the Siddi people."

 

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B-Real, DJ Muggs, Sen Dog, Eric Bobo of Cypress Hill attend a ceremony honoring Cypress Hill With Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame on April 18, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Tommaso Boddi

It's About Time: Cypress Hill Receives Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Cypress Hill doesn't always get the credit they deserve for their impact on hip-hop history, but they've been honored forever with a revered star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

With a career of 30 years, the legacy of the four-man group of B-Real, DJ Muggs, Sen Dog, and Eric Bobo (along with former member Mellow Man Ace) includes six platinum albums and 90s zeitgeist songs like "How I Could Just Kill A Man," "Insane In The Brain," and "Hand On The Pump." They released their self-titled debut in 1991 and the chart-topping follow-up Black Sunday two years later,  and have continued creating ever since, releasing their ninth and latest album Elephants On Acid in September 2018. Cypress Hill are considered West Coast rap legends, and the first Latino rap group to have multiple gold and platinum records. Anchored by Muggs' gloomy, gritty production and B-Real's nasal, charismatic rhymes, Cypress Hill is as much a part of rap history as anyone.

The group's ceremony included speeches from Latino comedian George Lopez and fellow West Coast rap legend Xzibit, who said 'it's about time' before detailing the group's illustrious career.

Xzibit pointed out Cypress Hill not only brought Latino representation in an industry that largely lacked it, but that they were staunch marijuana advocates way before today's growing legalization.

"The Grammy-nominated group showed us stoned is indeed the way of the walk. Long before the days of legal dispensaries and medical marijuana, Cypress Hill were advocates of that sticky icky icky oooh wee!" Xzibit shared. "...Cypress Hill are pioneers in their own right. Their accomplishments and accolades reach deep in the roots and history books of hip-hop, and today is another chapter in that saga. Yo B-Real, Sen Dog, Muggs, Bobo: you are our Rolling Stones, Ungrateful Dead, you are the West Coast Public Enemy."

Lopez insisted that out of all the 2,600 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, "there are none more important than the one we're about to unveil for Cypress Hill. There's a lot of actors, there's a lot of comedians, there's a lot of entertainers who are on this (Walk of Fame). But there's only one cypress hill, the first Latino hip-hop group. But to everyone who lives the American dream, not the last Latino hip-hop group to ever be on the Hollywood Walk of Fame."

Cypress Hill's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is unveiled pic.twitter.com/cNtpIUd8Xg

— Variety (@Variety) April 18, 2019

Xzibit says "it's about time" that Cypress Hill gets their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame pic.twitter.com/DHap9UkzXq

— Variety (@Variety) April 18, 2019

George Lopez says there are 2,600 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but "none more important than the star we are about to unveil for Cypress Hill" pic.twitter.com/wuaakjKp6u

— Variety (@Variety) April 18, 2019

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Cypress Hill To Make History With Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame

After 30 years in hip-hop, Cypress Hill is due to make history with their latest accolade. The multi-platinum selling group is set to become the first Latino American hip-hop collective to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The induction ceremony, presented by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, takes place on April 18 in front of Greenleaf Restaurant located on Hollywood Blvd.

George Lopez and Xzibit will help unveil the star alongside Rana Ghadban, president & CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. The free ceremony is open to the public and will be live streamed via WalkofFame.com.

“We are proud to honor the first Latino American hip-hop recording group,” said Ana Martinez, Producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame said in a press release. “They have been successful as a group for three decades and we know they will continue their success for many years to come.”

Cypress Hill, comprised of B Real, Sen Dog, DJ Muggs, and Eric “Bobo” Correa, is noted as the first Latino-American hip-hop group to have platinum and multi-platinum selling albums with more than 18 million records worldwide. In the early 1990s, Cypress Hill became the first rap group to have two albums in the Billboard 200 thanks to the success of their self-titled double-platinum debut and their sophomore effort, Black Sunday. The album went on to sell more than three million copies and spawned the rap classic “Insane in the Membrane.”

Cypress Hill released their ninth studio album, Elephants On Acid, last year. Following the Walk of Fame induction ceremony, the group will perform at the famous Whiskey a Go Go club in Hollywood.

 

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Join us for our induction to the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

A post shared by Cypress Hill (@cypresshill) on Apr 9, 2019 at 11:36am PDT

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Miguel

Miguel Drops Spanish-Language EP 'Te Lo Dije'

In an ode to his Mexican heritage, Miguel has released a five-track project that is the Spanish/Spanglish version of his 2017 War & Leisure album. Te Lo Dije features collaborations with fellow Spanish-speaking artists Kali Uchis, C. Tangana, Dante Spintetta and Emmanuel Horvilleur, as well as Mexican Mariachi girl band, Flor de Toloache.

Miguel's Spanish-language project is one that he has been teasing his fans with, hence the name of the EP, Te Lo Dije. The phrase means "I told you so" in Spanish and also happens to be the name of a song on the EP. On this collaborative effort, Miguel is mixing in his R&B vibes with his Latin ties, so for fans looking for a mixture of both, they can listen the Spanish version of his hit, "Sky Walker" featuring Spinetta and Horvilleur. Uchis can also be found on "Carmelo Duro" showing off her Colombian roots.

This is the 33-year-old artist's first Spanish-language project and he even said that he thinks he likes "these songs better in Spanish." The R&B artist took to his Instagram account to his express his excitement on Te Lo Dije, as well as give props to people who helped him through the process.

"FIRST RELEASE OF THE YEAR," he wrote. "TE LO DIJE (a selection of songs off of W&L en español)."

 

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FIRST RELEASE OF THE YEAR ! TE LO DIJE (a selection of songs off of W&L en español) I want to thank my cousin @yeyasmiles and @flordetoloache, @kaliuchis and @c.tangana and everyone that helped me translate these songs 🙏🏾. I think you might like these better in Spanish. Enjoy . Love you

A post shared by Miguel TV 📺 (@miguel) on Apr 5, 2019 at 9:22am PDT

Make sure to listen to Te Lo Dije here.

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