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Bloomsbury Publishing

V Books: Prof. Ana Araujo Pens A Comprehensive History Of ‘Reparations For Slavery And The Slave Trade’ In New Book

Whatever happened to the mule and the 40 acres--Nature (The Firm)

What you want, you a house, you a car?
40 acres and a mule, a piano, a guitar?
Anything, see my name is Lucy, I'm your dog
Motherfu**er, you can live at the mall -
- Kendrick Lamar "Alright"

People of color calling for reparations isn’t a new idea. One could dig through a few history books, or a quick Google search, and unearth stories about radical Republicans (after the Civil War of course), passing laws that required Confederates to pay ex-slaves 40 acres and a mule. This is actually true despite mean-spirited President Andrew Johnson killing hopes of any payback to blacks when he vetoed the bill. However, the Freedmen’s Bureau Acts of 1865 and 1866 were passed. This bill was responsible for providing food, shelter, clothing, medical services, as well as HBCU's to newly freed African Americans after the Civil War.

READ:: Race, Reconstruction, and Reparations

Professor Ana Lucia Araujo, a cultural and social historian at Howard University, looks at the history of people of color fighting for reparations her new book, Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade (Bloomsbury). Araujo, whose research interests include slavery and memory, credits her upbringing in Brazil as an inspiration to study slavery.

“I decided to become a historian because research about the past helps us understanding the present and perhaps improving the future. My research interests were inspired by the fact that I was born and raised in Brazil, the country that imported the largest number of enslaved Africans in the era of the Atlantic slave trade," Araujo says. "Despite the crucial role of Africa and Africans in building Brazil, this dimension has been constantly erased from Brazilian history books, school curricula, and also from Brazil’s public space. My research interests were then motivated for the quest for truth, and also for the quest of social justice."

In recent months, slavery has been a hot topic in academic circles as well as in broad spaces. Universities such as Columbia, Georgetown, Princeton, Brown, among others, have unearthed their ties to slavery, resulting in more open conversations about slavery. For instance, in an effort to keep Georgetown University afloat, university officials negotiated the sale of 272 slaves in 1838, worth about $3.3 million in today's dollars. This sale uprooted slaves in Maryland and sent them down south to Louisiana, and a portion of the profits was used to pay off the debt.

Princeton also decided to join the conversation on slavery with its 'Princeton & Slavery Project.' Along with its early presidents being slave owners, Princeton students regularly encountered slaves "delivering wood to their rooms, working in town, or laboring in the fields of the privately owned farm adjacent to the campus," according to the 'Princeton & Slavery Project' website.

While it has yet to been seen what the former means on the overall conversation about slavery, Araujo, who is also the author of Paths of the Atlantic Slave Trade, says that it does change the argument that people of color have been making for reparations.

“The fact that most U.S. elite universities benefited from slavery helps bring to light the issue of symbolic and financial reparations. Many of these universities are renaming buildings, establishing memorials, unveiling plaques honoring the slaves who labored to build these institutions, measures that can be conceived as symbolic reparations," she says. "Still, none of these universities established any program to provide financial reparations to the descendants of slaves who contributed to the wealth of these institutions. One recent very small step was taken by the University of Oxford (United Kingdom) whose All Souls College is launching a program of scholarships to fund Caribbean students and will also provide a five-year grant to a college in Barbados. These measures are intended to redress the enormous financial benefits obtained by All Souls through former fellow Christopher Codrington, a great slave owner and sugar planter, who bequeathed part of his fortune for the college to create the college’s library that bears his name.”

While African Americans have yet to see any victories, other than the Freedmen’s Bureau Acts of 1865 and 1866, Jewish people, as well as Sioux Indians have received reparations - the latter was awarded $122 million for the theft of lands in South Dakota's Black Hills. Also, Japanese Americans were able to submit financial claims under the Evacuation Claims Act.

“The government and other organizations very often did not even respond to these requests [from African Americans concerning reparations]. In several occasions, governments claimed that slavery was legal,” says Araujo. “In other cases, they responded that they owed nothing to former slaves and their descendants. In other contexts, official or unofficial answers stated that there were no resources to pay for reparations. All over the Americas, governments made the conscious decision to compensate former slave owners. In other words, allegedly there were no resources to pay reparations to former slaves but there were resources to provide compensations to former slaves owners.”

When asked what made Jews, Indians and Japanese Americans' fight for reparations different from African Americans, Araujo considered two elements.

"First, these groups had a greater ability to lobby for reparations immediately after the atrocities occurred," she says. "Second, the atrocities committed to Japanese Americans and the Jewish victims of the Holocaust are circumscribed to a shorter period of time and very well localized, unlike slavery and the slave trade that occurred through a much longer period and encompassed three continents."

READ:: Beyond Monuments: African Americans Contesting Civil War Memory

The fight over reparations was not limited to the U.S., either. Caribbean nations have sought reparations from Europe. However, it’s unclear whether or not this affected U.S.’s decision to not pay reparations to African Americans.

“It could certainly impact the United States,” Araujo says. “ [In 2013] when CARICOM made demands to several European countries to pay reparations for slavery to Caribbean countries there was an immediate impact in the news all over the world and in the United States, contributing to relaunch the debate on reparations.”

READ:: Garveyism, Black Power, and the Intellectual History of the CARICOM Reparations Case

As the common narrative goes, men, in many cases, are credited with leading the fight against social issues, but Araujo points to prominent women who made their voices heard in the fight for reparations.

“Individually, women such as Belinda Sutton in the late eighteenth century in Massachusetts and Andrea Quesada, in the late nineteenth century in Cuba, voiced demands of reparations," she mentions. "Black women also made collective demands. Callie House led a movement for reparations (pensions to former slaves) between the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century in the United States. More recently in Brazil, Claudete Alves, a black activist and teacher from São Paulo, presented a public civil action to the Public Prosecutor’s Office against the Brazilian state requesting compensation for the damages caused to all descendants of enslaved Africans living in Brazil and residing in the city of São Paulo.”

Today, fearless activists Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, organizers of Black Lives Matter have also included reparations into the organization's agenda, notes Prof. Araujo.

“I truly believe that it is up to the organizations demanding reparations to identify the best forms of making these claims, because the contexts can vary a lot, depending on the period, depending of the country," she says. "Black Lives Matter became visible all over the world. They certainly know how to be visible and to occupy the public space and public sphere. We historians can only learn from them on their capacity of mobilization.”

In the past year, prominent scholars have published brilliantly researched books about slavery such as Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century by Prof. Tera Hunter; Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar; The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation by Daina Berry, among others. But there's still other areas of slavery that have yet to be examined.

"There is still a lot of research to be done on the history of slavery all over the Americas. I would like to see much more works comparing slavery and the Atlantic slave trade in various societies in the Americas, and not only on the United States," Prof. Araujo says.

"[Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade] is important because the study of demands of reparations for slavery and the slave trade helps us also understand the main feature of slave societies and the living and working conditions of former slaves and their descendants after emancipation" Prof. Araujo adds. "It helps us to see that the present-day demands of reparations for slavery have a long history, and to know that slaves and former slaves already in the late eighteenth century and nineteenth century were aware that they were victims of a great injustice and wanted redress."

Below is a brief list of essential books on slavery suggested by Prof. Araujo, and be sure to purchase Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade at Amazon.com.

1: The Slave Ship: A Human History by Marcus Rediker

2: The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation And Human Rights by Robin Blackburn

3: The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward Baptist

4: Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities by Craig Wilder

5: Freedom's Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution by Ada Ferrer

6: Empire of Cotton: A Global History by Sven Beckert

7: Fractional Freedoms: Legal Activism and Ecclesiastical Courts in Colonial Lima, 1593-1700 by Michelle McKinley

8: The Slave's Cause: A History of Abolition by Manisha Sinha

9: Njinga of Angola: Africa’s Warrior Queen by Linda M. Heywood

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VIBE / Nick Rice

10 Most Important Hip-Hop Artists Of 2018

We’ve reached another end to an eventful year in hip-hop. From rap beefs to new music releases and milestones, 2018 has been forged in the history books as a year to remember. But more important than the events that happened over the span of 12 months are the people who made them happen.

While fans received a large dose of music from our favorite artists and celebrated some of the most iconic album anniversaries, there are a few names that stood out as the culture pushers, sh*t starters, and all-around most significant artists of the year.

For your enjoyment, VIBE compiled a list of the top 10 most important hip-hop artists of 2018 based on a series of qualifications: 1) public actions - good, bad, and ugly; 2) music releases; 3) philanthropic/humanitarian work; and 4) trending moments.

Be clear: This list isn’t about the most influential, the most talented, who had the best music or tours. While we are commemorating artists for the work they’ve contributed to this year’s music cycle, we’re looking beyond that and evaluating how these particular artists have shaped conversations and pushed hip-hop culture forward.

READ MORE: 15 R&B Songs We Obsessed Over Most In 2018

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Stacy-Ann Ellis

NEXT: Intent On Impact, Kiana Lede Is Ready To Leave Her Mark

After learning The Alphabet Song as a little girl, Kiana Lede would always “get in trouble” for singing during class. “My mom was like, ‘why can't you focus?’” she laughs while reminiscing on her career’s formative years. “I was like, ‘I don’t know! Songs are just playing in my head all the time!’”

Whilst sitting in a shoebox-sized room at Midtown Manhattan’s Moxy Hotel on a humid September day, the now- 21-year-old Arizona-bred R&B songbird, actress and pianist speculates that she “may have had ADD.” However, she settles down after taking off her white cowboy boots and flops down on the ivory-clothed bed, demonstrating that her fiery Aries energy can be contained. Cool as a cucumber, Lede shuffles between chewing on banana candies and blowing smoke rings after taking drags from a pen, all while musing about her journey to becoming a Republic Records signee.

“I just grew up singing and doing musical theater, and reading a lot of books, and playing piano way too much in my room by myself,” she says, pushing her big, curly brown hair out of her face. Her expressive green eyes widen as she grins. “It was my thing. Nobody in my family does music, just me.”

After winning Kidz Bop’s 2011 KIDZ Star USA talent contest at 14 (which her mother secretly entered her into), Lede was signed to RCA Records. She was released from her contract and dropped from the label three years later. However, thanks to guidance and friendship from the Grammy-winning production duo Rice N’ Peas, (who’ve worked with G-Eazy, Trevor Jackson, and Bazzi), she released covers of songs such as Drake’s “Hotline Bling” while working to get her groove back. The latter rendition resulted in Republic Record’s Chairman and CEO Monte Lipman flying her out and signing her to his label.

“I got a second chance, which a lot of people don't get,” she reveals. “So I'm really happy that that all happened. I wouldn't be here right now in this room if that didn't happen.”

Thanks to the new opportunity she was given, Lede’s sound has evolved into something she’s proud of—equal parts soul, R&B and bohemian. As evidenced by the aforementioned ensemble, glimmers of each aesthetic can be found when observing her personal style as well. She released her seven-song EP Selfless in July, which features the bedroom-ready “Show Love” and “Fairplay,” which manages to fit in the mainstream R&B vein while also showcasing her goosebump-inducing vocals. The remix of the latter features MC A$AP Ferg. What pleases her most is that it not only garnered a favorable response from fans, but that those listeners found it so relatable.

“As an artist, it's really nerve-wracking for someone who writes about such personal things all the time,” she says. “Just the fact that it is my story… It's good to know that other people know that there's somebody on their side, and they're not the only ones going through it. A lot of people obviously feel this way, and have been through this same thing that I've been through. So I think that's cool.”

Although she moved to various places as a Navy serviceman’s daughter, Lede claims Phoenix as home. This means she hails from the same stomping grounds as rockers Alice Cooper, Stevie Nicks and the late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. However, growing up in a mixed race household gave way to tons of sonic exploration outside of the rock-heavy scene.

“My dad's black, and both of my parents are from the East Coast,” she says of her musical and ethnic upbringing (she’s black, Latina and Native American). “[My parents] listened to a lot of R&B. My mom listened to a lot of SWV, TLC, Boyz II Men. I didn't realize I knew the songs until I got older. I played a charity show with T-Boz, and I was like 'why do I know these songs?'” Lede also says her father was a fan of neo-soul and gangsta rap, but she personally believes the early-2000s was the best time for music.

“[That era] influences a lot of my music subconsciously, and also, singer-songwriter stuff,” she continues. “I listen to a lot of early-2000s music because I played piano most of my life. I listened to Sara Bareilles, John Mayer.”

An open book, Lede details some of her struggles with anxiety and depression with the utmost candor. After being dropped from RCA, her trust in people diminished, and she experienced long bouts of depression after being sexually assaulted by someone in the industry. The track that she feels most deeply about is “One Of Them Days,” which tackles these issues head-on.

“When I'm anxious and depressed, it's really hard to be happy,” Lede says. “Most of the time, I can do it, but there are just some days where I literally can't separate the anxiety, and I can't tell anybody why, because I don't really know why myself… I was feeling very odd that day, didn't even know if I could write a song. Hue [Strother], the guy who I wrote the song with, he was like 'I totally get you. Lots of people go through this.’’’

As we’ve observed in headlines recently, mental health and being honest about life’s trickier situations can help someone going through the same thing, and Lede hopes her music provides encouragement to those who are struggling. As for how she’s learning to push through her mental health roadblocks, she meditates, runs, and is an advocate for therapy, especially in Trump’s America, where harrowing news reports dominate the cycle.

Another hallmark of Kiana Lede’s personality is her bleeding heart for others. She cites women of color, sexual assault victims and the homeless youth specifically as individuals she feels most responsible to help, since she is personally connected to all three. While she’s aiming to create a project that helps homeless youth specifically, she’s working hard this holiday season to ensure that they have a place to stay “at least for the night” after horrific wildfires displaced many individuals in California.

“My passion is really people. Music is just a way that I can get to helping people,” she says with a grin. “Helping people emotionally and physically are both very important. I never want to stop helping people. I feel if other people can respect me, and I can respect myself, then I'll be happy. Happiness is all that we strive for.”

Recently, Lede played her first headlining solo show, a one-night event at The Mint in Los Angeles. While she was thrilled to see that the show sold-out, she was even happier to see the faces of her audience members, who she said ‘looked like [her].’ “Mixed girls, brown girls, black girls, gay boys,” she explains over-the-phone. Even though she wasn’t in person to discuss her latest huge accomplishment, you could hear the pride and joy through her voice.

As for the future of her career, she’s looking forward to more acting roles. You may recognize her from the first season of MTV’s Scream, and after her recent Netflix series All About The Washingtons with legendary MC Rev Run was cancelled, she has been “reading for auditions” and is “negotiating” for a role in a film set to shoot in NYC. While her time with the Run-DMC frontman was brief, she says he taught her about the importance of “not compromising your art for money.”

What Kiana Lede is most excited about, of course, is making music. She hopes to work on a new EP and then release an album after that. The ultimate goal is to fully realize the dreams in her personal and professional life, and she assures she’s just getting started.

“I want to be able to look back on my career and think 'man, I really poured my heart into this music, and made music that mattered, and made music that made people feel a certain way, whether it's bad, good, sad, anxious, whatever it may be.’”

READ MORE: NEXT: H.E.R. Is The Future Of R&B (And Then Some) In Plain Sight

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Lloyd Pursall

THEY. Break Down The Creation Of 'Fireside' EP And Their Unique Group Dynamic

Dante Jones and Drew Love–equally important, yet separate entities THEY.–arrive comfortably late to the listening of their newly released EP, Fireside. Drew, the more personable member of the group, swaggers into the room in a silk button-down. Failing to fasten the first three of the light brown buttons, his soft mocha chest peeks through. Closely following, Jones saunters in physically present but distant from the world around him, in his Friday's best casual fit. Quickly dividing to greet the crowded room of New York City journalists the pair fan out, taking the east and west wings of Esther & Carroll’s Soho eatery by storm.

Tracks from Fireside flow through the speakers like the honest "Broken," a conversational duet with Jessie Reyez and "18 Months," with Ty Dolla $ign. Both songs go further than love at first sight as THEY. speak on the rough parts of an evolving relationship. Overall, the six-track project takes on the progressive side of R&B with a little help from friends like Reyez, Jeremih, and Wiz Khalifa. Inviting outside forces into their world, the musicians are stretching their creative muscles while providing lessons as ear candy to fans.

THEY. is the culmination of a four-year relationship that has left a beast bigger than the fame in its wake. Standing on the precipice of a new subgenre of hip-hop and R&B, the duo has centered their sound around the eclectic flare of rhythm and blues while crashing into a new lane of its own. The members drive down the same road, they ride in two different cars. Fireside’s inspiration stems from the movie The Grey. "[Fireside is] this really interesting scene where all these different people from different walks of life are coming together,” Jones admits.

Much like the exploits of Agents J and K in Men In Black, their collaboration rings true to the futuristic movie series starring Tommie Lee Jones and Will Smith. Easily distinguished by the eager rookie paired with the grumpy veteran, the roles commandeered by Love and Jones can be heard through the cell phone. Cycling through evolution, the self-proclaimed yin and yang constantly battle the forces of dark and light to bring forth harmony in their ever-changing relationship.

At times unable to see eye-to-eye, the East Coast natives have adapted their rocky partnership, fine-tuning the kinks between them, learning to compromise, and most of all made subtle changes to the ways in which they interact with each other. Never expanding on the nature of their true relationship, the past tensions never seep into the conversation. Throwing subtle brotherly love moments during our interview, the artists toss admirable compliments back and forth.

“He understands where I come from because I am very rough around the edges and very abrasive at times,” Love says of his fellow creative. "Dante can be very hard to read at times, but I think it is an ongoing understanding and continual effort to learn to understand the other person and what triggers them and what doesn't trigger them, what their strengths are and what their weakness are. And how to motivate them and how to work together toward the common goal. I think both the work relationship and friendship have continued to evolve in a good way.”

Following the uprising of their movement through the states, their transcendent sound carried them across the pond to New Zealand and Australia, where they were opened for 6LACK earlier this year. receiving a more welcome reception from their overseas counterparts. The good vibes transferred throughout the show brought them one step closer to the aspirations that bond them together.

“The people are beautiful and you know, are not so pretentious and high strung,” Love explained of the best and worst moments in Australia. “The fans are very receptive to any type of music it seems. They just like to go to concerts and have a good time, as opposed to coming to the United States, you'll get someplace that sit there and fold their arms like you are supposed to impress them.”


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Melbourne was a movie 🎥 Round 2 this Wednesday at @theoxfordartfactory. Limited tickets still available. 🐺x🇦🇺

A post shared by THEY. (@they) on Oct 15, 2018 at 6:00pm PDT

Just a few months prior, the duo made their first appearance at Billboard’s Hot 100 Festival. The group caught the short end of the festival stick when their set time clashed with hip-hop acts like Rae Sremmurd and Lil Xan. THEY. was subjected to a crowd cross-armed and unwilling to catch the vibes. Pushing forth a strong performance, the group shattered the hard shells of concert goers, changing their crossed arms and intimidating stares to body rolls and kinder eyes.

As momentum continues for the duo, they've avoided the type of burnout establishing acts normally face. From smaller venues to sold-out arenas, the boys have set their sights on performance meccas like Madison Square Garden. But beyond the surface level goals, THEY. seeks to give the outcasts a place to call home. Leaving their mark on all the generations to come after, former victims of bullying illustrate that life has the opportunity to get better.

“At the end of the day, I want to change the world,” Jones explained. “That's really the goal to change the world and change music and really it only takes one moment. It's like the butterfly effect. We were the first few people to put out the idea of 808's, guitars and pop vocals. Now it's out in the atmosphere and we see a lot more people taking that approach. I feel like ultimately it's circling back our way."

Uncertain about the next trends in R&B, THEY. find themselves ahead of the curve. A few years removed from their first album Nü Religion: Hyena, the two have made strides to perfect their music making formula. Naturally, Dante and Drew are striving to leave a lasting impact on as many people as possible.

Stream THEY.’s Fireside EP below

READ MORE: NEXT: R&B Is Taking Many Directions And Music Duo THEY. Is Creating Their Own

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