They are also the ONLY French rap group that I know of. This group SEXION D’ASSAUT was out in Senegal for the FESMAN festival just like me last year. I met some of the members and one of them spoke decent English. He was really cool and we exchanged information with hopes of staying in touch. Maybe I’ll be out in Paris soon and get to hang out with those guys. I heard while I was there that they were a pretty big group and seeing them perform definitely left an impression on me. When I got back home to the states I looked up the signature song I heard them do in Dakar. In this post is the video (DeSole) and I must say it’s really really dope! Since then I’ve found a song here and there from a mixtape they put out a little while ago. The music is ill even if I can’t even understand them!

This is even more fuel for me to learn French.

Unfortunately its hard to find a version of this video to embed in this post but I’m sure you can click a link. Enjoy folks!



My Kuntaw Kyud and brother in life Daoud put me in touch with an old Senegalese friend of his named Ibrahima. Ibrahima was kind enough to bring his wife and very young son out to the We The People photo exhibition in the village of Ouakum. They were very happy to meet Shino and I and because we were so busy taking care of the exhibition, invited us for a separate evening to converse. This would be an evening I would never forget (Inshallah).

Ibrahima invited both Shino and I along with our young Senegalese friend Marietou to his home for dinner. He picked us up at the artist village out in N’Gor and drove us to his place in the city section of Dakar. The whole way over he kept saying how he lived in an old building. Once we were inside we saw that this “old building” was also very spacious. The rooms were HUGE! The living room was decorated in a very tasteful way. He had a balcony looking out onto a busy Dakar street. Ibrahima’s walls were adorned with artwork created by his mother who is very talented.

After a brief moment of getting comfortable and asking where does this or that come from we sat down to eat. Following Senegalese culture we ate on the floor. The spread seemed to keep coming from the kitchen to the dining area. We had items like yellow rice with pineapples and vegetables, a big salad with peppers, mangoes, tomatoes etc. These were the first few items brought out. Then there was the pineapples filled with shrimp and a type of sauce that looked divine (I didn’t have any). There was another plate filled on one side with free range (aka regular Senegalese) grilled chicken and the other with beef. Then there was the platter with two huge grilled fish seasoned well.

Then there was the local juices made in their home. We had some Bissap (hibiscus plant boiled and sweetened), Baobab juice which is similar to pina colada, tamarind juice and a ginger juice. It was truly an abundant feast. I was overwhelmed by the amount of food and hospitality given. To have just met this man physically a few days prior and here he was treating my girlfriend and I to a meal fit for royalty. And, everything was delicious!

As we ate we discussed the importance of eating as a family, all at the same time. We talked about Senegalese culture and how many cultural aspects of west Africa in general were stripped from African slaves brought to America. I was close to tears on more than one occasion. I continuously thanked both Ibrahima and his wife for such a special dinner. All he would tell me is “It’s Yours”. In Senegal instead of saying “your welcome” they say “it’s yours”. This is to let you know that what they are giving you was yours anyway, no need to thank the giver. What an amazing concept. I’m still in awe.

Goree Island

January 4, 2011

With Queen Mother on deck we took a bus from the hotel Le Merridian to the docks. In the bus was a number of folks including Capelton as well as The Queen’s many assistants. Capelton’s entourage as well as the man himself, were all very nice. We had good conversation along the way. Once we got to the dock a collection was made of 5000 francs per person to sail to the island. Once we got on the boat we realized it was actually the President of Senegal’s private boat placed aside for Queen Mother. Busta Rhymes joined us for the voyage and had an in-depth discussion with Queen Mother. They talked about how hip hop can inform the diaspora about the importance of places like Goree.

As we arrived on the island many of its current inhabitants came to greet us. We walked through town getting an oral history on what happened there. Once we reached the slave house I felt a chill come over me. I didn’t need to be told where we were. I felt it. I felt my ancestors. My body became very tense and mixed with emotions.

Inside the slave house we received an education on how these captured Africans were treated. It is one thing to read about these things but to see the cells where human beings were kept as property… I will never forget it. There were times where I felt overcome but I held it together. There was a small hole of a cave where the rebel Africans were placed as a punishment. I was told that they didn’t worry about putting to many inside, rather how to close the door one they finished. To call it a rough experience is an understatement.

On the way home I had a brief talk with a few members of my party. Many felt they were changed from the experience. Queen Mother told me that everyone has their own reaction to the visit. We each have to digest the feelings for ourselves.