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5 Things You Should Know About Nigerian Political Activist Omoyele Sowore

The 48-year-old was detained on Aug. 3 for allegations of "threatening public safety, peaceful co-existence and social peace."

Political activist Omoyele Sowore's supporters have called for the Nigerian government's release of the vocal figure. The 48-year-old was detained on Aug. 3 for allegations of "threatening public safety, peaceful co-existence and social peace" on the heels of his "Revolution Now" protest (Aug. 5), BBC reports. The call to action was fueled by opposition to the regime of Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari and a need to revamp government policies that'll better reflect the desires of the country's people.

Here are five things to know about Sowore and his call to action.

1. Sowore Launched Investigative Publication Sahara Reporters In 2006
Sowore began the online publication with the sole purpose of pinning a spotlight on corruption and holding politicians accountable for wayward actions. Since it was founded in New York City, a number of Nigerian officials have filed lawsuits in U.S. courts against the website for defamation. The Daily Beast nicknamed the outlet as "Africa's Wikileaks" for its unabashed coverage of corruption in Nigeria.

The site "is providing information to Nigerians in a way they've never had it before," Sowore said. Its content is fueled by anonymous Nigerians "who want to see a different country."

2. He Announced His Presidential Campaign In 2018
In an interview with Amsterdam News, Sowore unveiled a "10-point plan" to help Nigeria become a global force through economic, social, and technological changes. He also likened his desire to create a better lifestyle for Nigerians to the legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti's messages. "I am such a Fela disciple. He was one single activist who took on the system all by himself using music," he said. "I didn’t have a good voice so I couldn’t sing, but I am using media, I am using my body, my skills, and I am using the internet to fight the government.”

Sowore has remained critical of the government since 1989 when he was a student at the University of Lagos. He also obtained a Master's Degree from Columbia University in public administration.

3. Protests From New York City To Italy Call For His Release
Earlier this month, Facebook user Osuya Vivian called for Sowore's supporters to organize a peaceful protest in Italy that demands his release. "As concern Nigerians, we all have a responsibility to speak out and secure the release of our own because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere and whatever affects one directly, affects all directly," Vivian's statement reads.

On Thursday afternoon (Sept. 19), supporters appeared outside of the Nigerian embassy in New York City to bring awareness to Sowore's detainment. The African Renaissance Organization previously issued a petition to the United States Department of State that claims the Nigerian government is placing the limelight on "increasing threats to democratic freedom," according to the group's convener Onyinye Chuks.

4. According To His Wife, Opeyemi Sowore, There Are No Formal Charges
Opeyemi Sowore said her husband has yet to face any charges despite an investigation being spearheaded by the country's government or the Department of State Services (DSS), per Democracy Now. His time in jail without bail has surpassed the court-ordered 45-day mark that the government has to bring charges against a detainee. On Twitter, #FreeSoworeNow mobilized the global community to demand his release.

Opeyemi Sowore also notes that her husband’s detainment might stem from his meeting with Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). In 2015, he was arrested for treason. Kanu has called upon the United Nations to support the movement's mission of Biafra's secession from Nigeria, according to Sahara Reporters. In that same statement, he also demanded Sowore's release.

5. Nigeria And Freedom Of The Press
Under section 39 (1) of Nigeria's constitution, freedom of expression including freedom of the press is protected but past and current instances of censorship have placed a strain on the gather and dissemination of information. "There have been numerous arrests, also in the context of the 5 August demonstration, that actually did take place, where numerous people were arrested, including a number of reporters that work for Sahara Reporters," Nani Jansen Reventlow, a lawyer representing Sowore said to Democracy Now. "But various other human rights defenders in the country have been arrested over the past months."

Earlier this year, a Premium Times reporter was arrested for "refusing to reveal a source," CPJ reports. Office raids have reportedly occurred within the last four years, another journalist at Daily Trust stated.

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Issa Rae Launches Her Own Record Label

Issa Rae has a lot of projects in the works, and she’s making room for another big venture. On Thursday (Oct. 18), the Insecure star announced the launch of her new record label, Raedio, along with introducing the world to TeaMarr, the imprint’s first artist.

“Beyond excited to present the first amazingly talented artist from my new label RAEDIO,” the Emmy winner captioned a clip of TeaMarrr’s music video where she makes a cameo.

 

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Beyond excited to present the first amazingly talented artist from my new label RAEDIO, TeaMarrr (@imaliltcup)! Check out her song and video, "Kinda Love" on all streaming platforms now! (@theraedio)

A post shared by Issa Rae (@issarae) on Oct 18, 2019 at 8:06am PDT

The record label is a partnership with Atlantic Records, according to Variety. Rae’s label will also be responsible for supervising the music on A Black Lady Sketch Show, which she executive produces.

“Music has always been an essential part of every project I do and working with emerging talent is a personal passion,” Rae said in a statement. “Raedio allows me to continue that work within the music industry and audio entertainment space. The Atlantic team are innovators in terms of shifting and shaping culture. I’m excited to join forces with them to discover new artists.”

Raedio is technically her first foray into the recording industry, but music has always been a “central character” in Insecure, Atlantic Chairman & COO Julie Greenwald noted.

“Issa Rae is a next-level, future-thinking creative force who’s been breaking down cultural barriers and conquering one field after another,” said Greenwald. “She’s made music a central character in her artistic evolution, and now she’s brought all that amazing passion, inspiration, and taste to the formation of Raedio. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Issa and her team on this exciting new venture, and TeaMarrr is the perfect artist to launch with.”

Wath TeaMarrr's  “Kinda Love” music video below.

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The Game Must Pay Accuser $7 Million After Losing Appeal In Sexual Assault Case

The Game is still ordered to pay a $7.1 million judgement after his attempt at a new trial in his sexual battery case was denied by an Illinois court on Thursday (Oct. 17). The Seventh Circuit Court upheld the lower court’s decision to deny the rapper’s attempt at having a trial continuance.

The 39-year-old rapper is accused of sexually assaulting Priscilla Rainey, a former contest on his VH1 reality dating show, She’s Got Game, during an “off-camera date” at a Chicago sports bar in May 2015. Rainey won her lawsuit in 2016.

U.S. Circuit Judge Diane Sykes called The Game’s behavior, “deeply reprehensible,” and outlined details of the sexual assault in a 19-page memo.

Rainey claims that the Grammy-nominated recording artist, whose birth name is Jayceon Taylor, was high on drugs during the incident where he “forcefully” reached inside her skirt and rubbed her private parts, and buttocks. Three days later, Rainey confronted The Game while they were on a tour bus “with other cast members, and a film crew caught the entire exchange on camera.” A “heated exchange ensued” between the two, and The Game threatened Rainey and told her to get off of the bus. She instead shared the details of the assault with the film crew.

Rainey sued for sexual battery in 2015. The Game responded by launching numerous public insults, and accusing her of suing because she was upset about being eliminated from the show.

Rainey won the lawsuit after The Game failed to show up to court during the trial, and his attempts to delay the proceedings were unsuccessful. The Game also lost a $20 million lawsuit that he filed against Viacom.

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A Tekashi 6ix9ine Documentary Series Is In The Works

Showtime is set to debut a new project about Tekashi 6ix9ine.  Supervillain, a three-part limited docuseries produced by Imagine Documentaries, Rolling Stone  and Lightbox, will explore the rise of the New York native.

“The bizarre and complicated rise of Tekashi 6six9ine is a story of our times,” said Vinnie Malhotra, EVP, Nonfiction Programming, Showtime Networks. “Beyond becoming one of the most notorious hip hop artists of this generation, his story speaks volumes of the impact of social media and manufactured celebrity in our society. We’re excited to be partnering with such heavy hitters in the world of music and documentary to bring Supervillain to life.”

The series is inspired by the Rolling Stone article, Tekashi 6ix9ine: The Rise and Fall of a Hip Hop Supervillain, released earlier in the year.

“Tekashi 6ix9ine is one of the most enigmatic music artists of a generation,” said Gus Wenner, President and COO of Rolling Stone. “Rolling Stone is thrilled to work with Showtime and our other partners to bring the gripping story of Tekashi’s meteoric rise to stardom and infamy to viewers around the world.”

Supervillain isn't the only Tekashi-inspired project on the way. Snapchat is working on a doc about the 23-year-old recording artist, and 50 Cent is reportedly producing a biopic about him.

Tekashi, whose birth name is Daniel Hernandez, testified against former gang affiliates in federal court last month in exchange for a lowered prison sentence.  Though it’s unclear when he will be freed, the “FeFe” rapper -- who was facing up to life in prison -- recently signed a record deal worth a reported $10 million.

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