It has been almost 6 months now since people of Hong Kong started protesting their own government and its corrupt relationship with China. It started with an extradition bill in relation to China but now the protests continue against police violence and government corruption.
People have been hurt, people have died and a lot of people are angry. The anger is no wonder, when Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997 from a colonizing, far away government (the UK), the island got a certain autonomy that included having their own currency, free press and speech, their unique culture and more.
This was to no liking to China. And so the relationship between the two has been intense ever since. Hong Kong are standing their ground because they want to keep their autonomy, their heritage and their values and be separate from the mainland behemoth that is China.
Music has played a big part in the recent protests in Hong Kong. People have chanted together, in the thousands, songs of democracy and unity. Hong Kong is different from China. People everywhere want to keep their freedom and just as people in China are oppressed Hong Kong citizens want to hold on to their democracy – and not become part of the authoritarian mainland.
In 1980 South African trumpeter and social activist Hugh Masekela played a live concert in Lesotho, a country landlocked by his then oppressive home country.
Masekela traveled around the African continent during his career as well as the world. He played with Fela Kuti and Paul Simon. He set up a mobile recording studio in Botswana near the SA border to record Botswana artists.
Masekela released 44 studio albums and his last was called ‘No Borders’ (2016). On the cover it depicted a map of Africa from 1590, a vision of the continent before colonial powers put down divisive lines.
His impact is long lasting and now the 1980 concert in Lesotho is being re-released on vinyl by UK’s Matsuli Music.
DJ Riobamba will release her debut EP in the coming days and the single “Muerte” can be streamed on Soundcloud.
According to the press release the artist is “presenting a protest in coordination with Melting Point on October 24th from 2-6 PM in front of US Immigrant & Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters located at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan. Melting Point organizes parties to raise money for Al Otro Lado, a non-profit providing free legal representation for migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees at the border.”
Riobamba is not the first artist to stage a protest concert outside ICE headquarters. Recently Vic Mensa and 93 Punx did just that outside the ICE HQ’s in Los Angeles on the back of a pick up truck and literally in the face of LAPD officers.