News UK

Pioneer Radio DJ Tony Williams Passes Away

PIONEER RADIO DJ Tony Williams, who once had his own reggae show on BBC Radio London between 1977-1987 and was also the creator of the British Reggae Industry Awards which highlighted the talent of many UK reggae artists, has passed away in London on Monday, April 30 after he had been ailing for some time.

Tony Williams took over the Reggae Time show on BBC London from Steve Barnard in 1977 and after renaming it ‘Reggae Rockers’, he made it one of the most popular reggae shows on the airwaves in London on a Sunday afternoon with a special emphasis on British talent.

He later went on to recognise the work of these artists by establishing the British Reggae Industry Awards which catapulted many UK artists to international success, with some still referring to the industry awards as their most coveted. Among the iconic places the award shows were held are The Royal Albert Hall, Café Royal and the Indigo O2 in Greenwich.

Tony Williams was always pushing for reggae music to be played on the radio airwaves and he did this by running his own stations including Rockers FM and Rhythm 365 – they did not have commercial licences but nonetheless served community-based listeners and supporters.

Among those paying tribute to him was close friend and fellow DJ Garth Vassell also known as Master G. Garth said: “Tony was always driving for reggae music to be played on the national airwaves, he tried so many things to bring reggae to the forefront and allowing artists to get the recognition they deserved. He was all about bringing the music, whether it was on the radio or in the clubs.”

Also paying her tributes was radio personality Elayne Smith popularly as DJ Elayne who worked with Tony on Rockers FM. She said: “Tony and Spencer Williams were mentors of mine. From the time I met them in my 20s, they encouraged me and even gave me an award. We became great friends and colleagues. May their work and memory live on.”

Tony’s older brother Spencer Williams who was a popular nightclub entrepreneur as well as beauty and talent show impresario of the 1970s and 80s, only passed away two years ago in October 2016.

Tony Williams is survived by his wife Sharon and children.

Documentries News

BBC Radio 1Xtra Gangs, Drill & Prayer (Documentary)



How young Christians are using rap & drill music to lure gang members away from streets & towards God We join Enrique on his extraordinary journey from south London gangster rapper, to Pastor at just 21 years old.

We meet the artists whose music is reaching out to youths & inspiring change. Artists like Hope Dealers, who spit holy bars over the hardest of beats, drill.

These movements, however, do not come without controversy; wearing balaclavas in church, accusations of being a cult & the large sums of money involved, have prompted some to question their holy intentions.


9-Year-Old Opens Coffee Shop to Help Others with Disabilities



Cam’s Coffee Creations is a local coffee shop in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. What is unique about the business is that 9-year-old Camden Myers started it with his family.

“We didn’t start thinking we would be in business; we started just as a hobby to try and help Cam overcome some of his deficits,” the youngster’s mom, Latasha Lewis, told  WFMY News 2.

Cam was born with a traumatic brain injury that affects some of his cognitive and physical abilities. After years of therapy and a school system that wasn’t helping, his parents saw how his hobby of coffee making enabled him to develop his social skills.

“It was obvious that running his own business was giving him learning opportunities that he wasn’t getting in traditional learning environments,” Lewis explained.

The small business not only has been able to help Cam, but it also employs other individuals who have special needs. “Being here, I get to help people with special needs and students,” the young man shared.

Cam’s Coffee Creations is open from 7:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


Article taken from HERE

International News News

Meet the first Black Woman owner and operator of a nationally distributed vodka

Vanessa Braxton is the owner and CEO of Black Momma Vodka, a company that offers various unique flavors of handcrafted, gluten-free vodka. As the first African-American woman to own a nationally distributed vodka, she stays true to her motto of making vodka for women… but still strong enough for any man.

Braxton, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, earned a degree in Construction Management/Civil Engineering. She had a 20-year professional career in the field within the government sector where she has overseen over 350 million contracts and worked with clients around the world.

Though her business seems far-fetched from her study and previous experiences, she said it actually helped her create a successful brand and business for it pushed her to love doing something extraordinary. In her case, that is being a Black woman in an alcohol industry dominated by men.

The vodka Braxton herself developed is an all-natural, preservative-free, gluten-free vodka distilled and filtered 5 times from corn. It has a signature smooth taste and comes in different flavors. It is now being distributed in 32 states in the United States, in Hong Kong, and in the United Kingdom and can be requested at local restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, and distributors.

Black Momma Vodka is a product of her dreams and imagination. As a child, her parents and grandparents, who were business owners themselves, taught her to believe that she can do anything regardless of her gender or race.

Braxton said in an interview, “If your gut is telling you to do it, then do it. Believe me, everything will fall into place if it’s right and meant to be.”

For more information about Black Momma Vodka, visit or follow them on Facebook at


Article taken from HERE

Documentries News

BBC Sweet sweet codeine: Nigeria’s cough syrup crisis


In Nigeria, thousands of young people are addicted to codeine cough syrup – a medicine that’s become a street drug. The Nigerian senate estimates that 3 million bottles of codeine syrup are drunk every day in just two states – Kano and Jigawa. But who makes this syrup? And who sells it to Nigeria’s students? BBC Africa Eye went undercover to investigate. Subscribe to our channel for more investigative journalism. Nothing stays hidden forever.

European News News

Rolande Kammogne: The Voice of VoxAfrica

She is the winner of the Trophées des Français de l’Etranger organized by in the category “Former students of French high schools”. Meet.

The founder of VoxAfrica, Rolande Kammogne, is one of the young African leaders whose voice speaks.Declining an opportunity on Wall Street to “accept an internship at Killer Films: an independent film production company” that bears a name: vocation. At the head of VoxAfrica and Executive Producer of “The Voice Francophone Africa”, this young woman gives Africa the means to think, think and thus write his own story. In a globalized world where yet many untruths relating to the continent persist;through his initiatives, Rolande Kammogne “has given himself the mission of presenting this plural and real image of the continent” making television, a media of entertainment, edification and construction of the ego and superego of Africa. What else?

Can you introduce yourself ?

My name is Rolande Kammogne, I am the founder of VoxAfrica, Executive Producer of “The Francophone Africa Voice” of pan-African television VoxAfrica. I am 35 years old I am of Cameroonian origin.

For many girls you are a model role. Does that put extra pressure on your shoulders or on the contrary does it galvanize you?

I have no pressure because precisely, the most important thing is to be useful because when locked in a canvas, it becomes difficult to maintain it. So everyday, we simply try to do what we love and be useful to society.

You did part of your schooling in a French school in Africa. In this sense, what did the French school bring you?

The French school is a school that gave me the opportunity to be in an international environment from my home town. I had the opportunity to attend children of different nationalities: France, Spain, Italy, and Africa. This cultural diversity is the basis of what I have become today.

Can you tell us about your school and professional curriculum?

I studied at Columbia University in the United States where I graduated in 2004 with an engineering degree in mathematics, statistics and management systems. I wrote that year a thesis for a course of “contemporary civilization” on the need for the creation of a media that would connect all the black diasporas of the world. This thesis was published in the journal of the University.

Subsequently, I had to dismiss a job offer on Wall Street to accept an internship at Killer Films: an independent film production company.

In 2006, I joined a team of analysts to prepare the business plan for the creation of a pan-African television and in September 2007, I agreed to settle in London to realize the VoxAfrica project.

What is the philosophy and vision of this TV? His ambition?

10 years ago, the image of Africa that the media presented was frozen. It was therefore necessary to present an authentic image of Africa. VoxAfrica’s mission is to present this plural and real image of the continent. Our ambition remains the same for 10 years, that of becoming the African reference in terms of news and entertainment.

Under your leadership, today and figures, can we say that it is a success story?

Yes, VoxAfrica is a success story. We started it by covering CAN 2008 in Ghana. It was our first signal and we were on the internet. Today we are on 4 continents with 3 different signals:

  • French speaking Africa,
  • French speaking diaspora
  • English-speaking Africa and the English-speaking diaspora.

Elected in England 3 successive years Best African Television Channel in the United Kingdom, we are gaining ground and I think that in Francophone Africa, we are part of the important chains whose opinion matters. I realize that the challenge is huge but we are on the right path and we are working towards our goals.

At the very beginning, did you accept this position – Director of VoxAfrica – as a challenge? Have you had moments of doubt, apprehension?

At the time, it was less a personal challenge but rather a mission. That of offering not only a platform of expression to Africans but especially a voice for Africa. There are certainly moments of doubt but we keep our eyes fixed on our objectives because we believe deeply in the future of the continent.

Who are the people who thought and put VoxAfrica in place?

VoxAfrica was born through the channel of several Africans from different countries who wanted to give Africa a voice and some of these people are shareholders.

What does television mean to you? A medium of education or entertainment?

For me, television is both a medium of education and entertainment.

African populations are major consumers of television programs. Do you think that with appropriate programs, it is possible to restore meaning, revive values, self-awareness, self-pride, to populations that for the most part tend to copy the West and the US in almost all areas including in their worst drifts?

I do not know if Africans copy the US and the West in almost every field. The colonization has a cultural and natural influence certainly, but at the moment, we are at a century of the globalization and, it is essential that the African media exist to tell the everyday life of the Africans with African glances, to give heroes and models Africans to the youth of the world.


How did you get the rights of the Voice?

It was at the Cannes festival. We made contact with the rights owner and there were some people who had approached them beforehand and even while we were talking. The difference was made because we tried to make the owner understand our message because “The Voice” is a global phenomenon but the idea is that each country can take ownership and give the soul that is his this show. We made them very concrete proposals and they understood that we really wanted to “africanise” the show, to do it with African sauce. I also specify that we are the only region to obtain rights for 17 countries. In general, rights are assigned for one country only.

Does the African media market have its own specificities? What are the advantages and disadvantages? 

I speak for French-speaking Africa. So for me, the advantage is that there is potential and the disadvantage is that it is fully structuring.

Is it easy to find sources of funding for large-scale programs? Then, most importantly, have a follow-up in the partnerships created?

The really difficult fight is the financing of such a production because, as you know, it is very expensive.Even today we are pioneers because I believe sponsors, advertisers are not yet used to spending a lot of money on TV shows and I understand; with the economic situation it is not easy for a region like ours to embark on an adventure like The Voice. But, we remain confident in the potential of the continent.

Do you think that African governments have taken full measure of the importance of culture in their societies? How can this galvanize an entire population and bring it up, noble and true growth?

I think African governments are doing the best they can, even though in general we expect a lot more from them.

African societies remain deeply macho. To be a woman, nice enough, did not it cause you any problems with and the men and the other women?

Laughter. The Weinstein problem is not a unique problem in Hollywood because some people abuse their power, but now, everyday, we avoid being in potentially compromising situations and we focus on the essential even if it is not not always obvious.

Not to mention the problems with people older than you, on this continent where the skill is often correlated with white hair, even if the “digital native” and those of the generation before come heckle this multi-secular hierarchy.

Yes, it is a challenge like the others because we have to fight to raise what is capable of African youth and represent it at best.

Innovations in the second edition of The Voice?

This season, we tried to do things differently, especially at the production level. Indeed, the coaches will not return for talents that have not been chosen. We wanted to test this this year. Moreover, we have been much “criticized” for having taken a lot of stars and a few less amateurs. Thus, this year, we decided to focus on human stories, profiles that I would say “innocuous” people who do not necessarily used the scene.

If the first year, we have revealed to Africa its potential stars, this year, we will make stars and we can see, as and when, what these young talents who arrive by not having never made a scene, become at the end of the season.


About VoxAfrica?

We will increase our presence in all the different African countries we cover, through the production of specific programs on the ground.

What can we wish you?

Perseverance in my actions.

What do you want?

(Laughter). The peace

What is the most important lesson that life has taught you?

Life is a gift that is renewed every day so you have to enjoy it.


Rolande’s Contact Settings

Old school singer: Ray Charles

Old school singer: Nana Mouskouri

Singer: Talla André Marie

Singer: Adèle

Genre of Music: Jazz and Classical

Favorite time of life (yesterday, today or tomorrow):  When I’m with my family.

News UK

I was so badly affected by post-natal depression that I couldn’t even touch my own child

DJ Simone Riley, who has her own show on Legacy FM, Manchester’s African Caribbean community station, decided to share her story

When radio DJ Simone Riley discovered she was pregnant, she could not wait for her baby to arrive.

But for her, pregnancy was far from easy – she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, carpal tunnel, pre-eclampsia, and discovered she was a sickle cell carrier.

Almost everything that could have gone wrong went wrong, but the worst was yet to come.

After the birth of her daughter Baye, now five, Simone found herself so badly affected by post-natal depression that she could not even touch her own child.

Every time Simone went on Facebook, she was overwhelmed by photos of other women enjoying motherhood; she started to wonder if things would be better if she wasn’t around.

One in 10 mothers suffer from post-natal depression, yet it is an issue rarely spoken about.

Now Simone, who has her own show on Legacy FM, Manchester’s African Caribbean community station, decided to share her story.

To mark International Women’s Day last month, the mum-of-one – known as Miss Diva to her listeners – opened up about her experience in a hope of stamping out the stigma surrounding the topic.

Speaking to her listeners, Simone said: “I didn’t want to get out of bed, I didn’t want to touch my baby, I didn’t know how to cope. I was crying, I wasn’t eating.

“I had all these thoughts and feelings, it was like I wasn’t in control of my thoughts.

“I thought if I wasn’t here, would everything be better off?”

Overcome with emotion, she said it was an experience she had never discussed publicly before.

“People will think, you’ve got everything – you’ve got a child, a house over your head, food in the fridge – why are you upset? Why are you feeling down?

“I didn’t know why I was feeling the way I was.”

Simone hopes by telling her story it will encourage other women suffering from post-natal depression to seek help.

She told the M.E.N: “The way I coped was by going to speak to someone, that was the first big milestone and that person helped change my life because they got me back to me.

“It took three years to get me back to my normal self.

“Baye was born in 2012, at the time I had quite a lot of stuff going on with me, I was running a business, my radio show was making progress.

“I’m a very bubbly character, and well known in the community for the stuff that I do. At the time I was also working with children that had been kicked out of mainstream schools.

“But after I had Baye I noticed something wasn’t right. It wasn’t immediately, but after a few weeks I was really struggling.

“I couldn’t connect with her, I’d see friends on Facebook with their babies all lovey dovey and wonder why I didn’t have that.

“I didn’t know if it was because I was tired – babies don’t come with an instruction manual – but it came to the point where I couldn’t even get myself out of bed.

“I was having really dark thoughts, I thought about ending my life, thinking it would be easier if I wasn’t around.

“It was those thoughts that made me realise something wasn’t right, but I didn’t want to burden my family, I didn’t want them to worry or think I wasn’t coping.

“I went to the doctor and told them everything, they said to me they didn’t know how I’d coped for as long as I had alone.

“They wanted to put me on anti-depressants, but that’s another taboo in the black community, I didn’t want that so I had to think of another way to overcome the depression.

“I started having counselling and it was the best thing I ever could have done. My counsellor just listened to me, they didn’t judge, they were completely neutral and understanding.”

Simone, who presents the Miss Diva Breakfast Show on Legacy FM twice a week, said she used to put up a front to the outside world.

“I remember bottling everything up when I was doing my shows, and then as soon as I got home I’d get upset,” she added.

“My appetite changed as well, and that was a big thing as I love my food.

“I am quite a glam person, I like to dress well, but after Baye was born I just couldn’t be bothered and would stay in my dressing gown.”

Simone made the decision to come off social media, saying that seeing other mums with their children only made things harder.

“I was off it for three years. I’d sit there looking through Facebook at other people with their babies, and kept comparing myself to them, asking ‘why can’t I do that?’

“Sometimes social media can cause detriment to a mother and the way they bond with their child.

“Instead I started to focus on me and getting myself better, I realised that I couldn’t look after my daughter if I couldn’t look after myself.

“It took three years to get me to where I am now, and looking back I can’t believe I was in that place.

“I’m back to my bubbly self, which is largely down to the incredible support I had from my family once I opened up to them about my post-natal depression.

“My relationship with Baye, now five, now incredible. We are inseparable, always together, always having fun.

“I’m really happy in myself and that’s why I decided it was time for me to share my experience and talk about what I’ve been through.

“The main thing I want to do is to send a message to other mothers going through this that they are not alone. Help and support is out there and they should never be ashamed to ask for it.”

The Miss Diva Breakfast Show features a regular slot known as ‘The Health Hour’, which is co-hosted by Greater Manchester GP, Dr Aisha Malik.

It was during this that Simone chose to speak about post-natal depression.

Dr Malik explained that post-natal depression can affect as many as one in 10 women.

“The symptoms include feelings of guilt, not being good enough, low mood, lack of enjoyment, lack of interest in the baby, irritability, poor concentration and feeling unable to cope with anything”, she added.

“Thoughts of harming the baby can occur and in severe cases the mother may even feel like harming herself.

“Simone’s story shows that help is available and that you can recover.

“It’s important to get help and not worry about what people will think of you if you are feeling this way. Speaking to your health visitor or GP is the next step to getting help.

“Don’t bottle up your feelings, you do not have to suffer alone.”

The Miss Diva Breakfast Show is on Legacy 90.1FM every Monday and Tuesday from 7-10am, with The Health Hour on Tuesdays between 9-10am.

News Online Shows UK

Zimbabwe: Online UK Reality Show Premieres

A new online reality show titled “Zimbabweans with Attitude, Glam & Style” premiered last week in London and it reflects on the glamorous life of UK-based Zimbabwean women and their love interests.

Starring stylist and aspiring model Precious “Cookies” Matare and fashion designer Gladys Smith, the show was created by UK-based Zimbabwean producer Kenny Gasa. Speaking in an interview, Gasa said the show documents the lives of ambitious and glamorous Zimbabweans living in London, as well as their friends and love interests.

“The idea came from the word SWAG which was popular a few years back and we just put our own twist to it. The show itself focuses on a number of characters, mainly Zimbabweans living in London. We follow their day to day life showing all angles, where they hang out, their lifestyle, their dating life and also their business ambitions,” he said.

Smith who is a single mother said she joined the crew to show single parents that they can do it all.

“I wanted to participate in the reality tv show to show people that I am a single mother, I run my own business, I design and make clothes, and at the same time I am a good parent to my child. I wanted the single parents to see that you can do it, you can be a great mum and a good business person and at the same time, have a great social life with your friends and enjoy your life,” said Gladys.

Gasa said he decided no work with the ladies after noticing their influence and bubbly personalities on social media.

“I noticed that the two of them had a following online as well as interesting characters so I suggested a reality TV show for them. They were interested and we took it from there. This is a pilot show, meaning that we want to raise enough funds to go into full production of the series,” said Gasa

He said they will be adding more cast members including people from other African countries such as Dimeji from Nigeria who appears in the first episode.

“Our main ambition was to make entertainment for Zimbabweans by Zimbabweans. We wanted Shona in there because we need to make sure we keep our language alive in media as well as in our everyday life. We speak to each other in Shona quite a lot and it is natural to us, so we felt it was important to include it. We however aim to include other local languages like Ndebele and from other African countries as well,” said Gasa.

Gasa said they have been getting amazing feedback from viewers about the show.

“We are having great responses about ZWAGS so far. We are trying to spread the word and are hoping to reach more Zimbabweans, both in Zim and in diaspora, as well as get into other African markets. People can watch the show online on Vimeo,” said Gasa.

News UK

YANGA TV channel brand built from scratch

A new TV channel targeting the African diaspora has been designed by DADA and draws influence from traditional and contemporary African culture.

A new TV entertainment channel YANGA has been designed from scratch and is targeting the African Diaspora.

It has launched on Sky and is designed by Darren Agnew of DADA (Darren Agnew Design and Animation) who has looked to develop a brand that “appeals to a British African audience” he says.

“Bold, provocative irreverent”

MediaWorks managing director Lindsay Oliver is behind the channel and tasked Agnew with creating a brand that was “peacocking but not arrogant, aspirational but not elitist, cutting edge yet inclusive.” Other signposts included “bold, provocative, irreverent”.

While Agnew looked across the whole African continent for inspiration there was a particular focus on West-African symbolism. Textiles and jewellery were studied, while colour and composition were referenced in a range of assets made for on-air and off-air branding.

Four shows also branded

“YANGA” is West-African slang for self-pride and showing off, used as a positive phrase for self-expression. Although the identity references traditional patterns its typography gives a contemporary feel, says Agnew, who has brought in colours that are evocative of West Africa, such as the green of Nigeria and the red, yellow and green of Ghana.

As well as the YANGA identity, four originally commissioned programmes have been branded – Noni, Fizzi, Number 6 and Turn Up.

All of the other icons radiate outwards from a central point, which acts as a visual cue so that they are recognisable as part of the same brand, says Agnew.

Channel logos, idents, bumpers and studio sets have all been created. DADA has worked with other partners including web developers Atto Partners, CGI specialists Tomorrowisclosed and animation studio Prawnimation.

International News News

Being an African-Israeli: ‘Israeli Society Has Become the Most Intolerant in the World’

More Africans than non-Africans live in Israel, claims radio DJ Avishai Tzaghon Baruch. “If we take all of North Africa — Algerians, Moroccans, the Tunisians, Ethiopians, Egyptians — we have a substantial group.”

Tzaghon Baruch, together with stand-up comedian Shlomo Shmuel, presents a new and unique radio program in the Israeli entertainment sphere, called “Afrikan” – which places the spotlight on African culture and its affect on Israeli society. They broadcast a mix of popular music from Ghana, Mali, Zimbabwe and northern African countries such as Morroco, interview young Israeli artists of Ethiopian origin, and explore the cultural connection (or plagiarism) linking Western music and African artists.

“‘Afrikan’ breaks many stereotypes and myths that people have about Africa, such as that there’s only poverty, hunger and backwardness there,” says Shmuel. “It’s a rich continent that was robbed, but it is still full of culture and art that many in the West also draw from. For example, Beyonce and Jay-Z are now doing their On the Run tour, the promotional poster for which was inspired by a 1973 Senegalese movie.”

Both of them claim to have a split identity: Tzaghon Baruch was born in Ethiopia and moved to Israel with his family at the age of two. He now creates documentary films and children’s animation for the IETV channel (the Israeli Ethiopian Television). Shmuel was born in Be’er Sheva 31 years ago and grew up in the southern twon Ashdod.

“I present myself as a proud African,” says Shmuel. “In the end, it’s pretty clear that I am African. It’s impossible to escape that. Although we feel Israeli, I need to say that I am Israeli for them to know that. I don’t need to declare my African identity.”

Tzaghon Baruch says that he “prefers African culture over Western culture,” adding: “If you would suggest that I go to hear an African band or a [classical music] concert, the choice is easy. I didn’t grow up in a household listening to Mozart and Bach and Beethoven, but instead music with a lot of beat.”

Shlomo, your stand-up is very socially oriented. In it you express a powerful and funny outcry over the treatment that Ethiopians receive in Israel.

“Yes, because that’s reality. Stand-up is a kind of tragedy. If something works perfectly, there isn’t much to laugh about. My stand-up is filled with social issues, and I present my Ethiopian identity in it. Even if it’s a disadvantage, let’s laugh about it.

“People often tell me that I go too far talking about racism. Then I tell them that they hear a 20-minute monologue from me, but I have lived it for 31 years. I deliver it to you in humorous fashion, but when I went through it, it wasn’t funny at all.”

Tzaghon Baruch adds: “I need to prove all the time that I’m Israeli, but no one disputes my being African. It’s the first thing they see. Young Ethiopians feel it all too well, and because of that, many are restoring their Ethiopian names. You have a lot of non-Ethiopian friends before the army, yet somehow, when you get out of the army, all the non-Ethiopian friends disappear,” he says. “Suddenly you understand what racism is. You understand that you want safe surroundings.”

Don’t ask us to express our pain

Israeli radio, like local television, has started making a progress in recent years when it comes to presenting the Ethiopian community. In addition to the success of bands and artists such as Cafe Shahor Hazak (aka Strong Black Coffee), Axum and Avior Malasa, the television series “Nebso,” that focused on Israeli Ethiopians, was renewed for a second season.

Even some actors are making a name for themselves, such as Ruti Asarsai and child star Oshrat Ingedashet. Still, many of them avoid discussing the distress of the community.

“There is a demand of sorts that Ethiopian artists express pain and anger in what they are doing, but it isn’t fair,” says Shmuel. “It’s as if the economic situation weren’t good and I asked every young performer to sing about it. We want this freedom. A black person lacks absolute freedom and enjoys only limited liberty,” he says. “Europeans can now wear African dress, and it will be cool, but if I wear Western clothing, then I am becoming Ashkenazi. It is something that I will need to fight my whole life. It’s the most concealed level of racism – the expectation to behave in a certain way.”

Tzaghon Baruch provides another explanation: “It’s very hard for Israeli society right now to digest an Ethiopian singer who will give all that he has in the critical sense,” he asserts. “Those who do it won’t make it to the stage. On the other hand, if someone would open the door, he would create an opening for other Ethiopian artists. When Cafe Shahor Hazak started, there weren’t too many [such artists], but today you see many young guys with YouTube clips.”

Shmuel says Ethiopians study acting but don’t get noticed. “It’s important that Ethiopians write [their own television] shows because it’s important which side tells the story. You have to go and do it, so there will be more actors and screenwriters. These are professions that are economically risky, and because of that they are reserved for people of a relatively high economic status.”

Tzaghon Baruch: “There isn’t a lot of Ethiopian representation in children’s programming either. And let’s not talk about commercials.”

Shmuel: “When I studied advertising, I studied psychological perceptions of the field, and I realized who is perceived as a trustworthy person. The person doing casting is not the problematic one. He is just doing what everyone expects of him. The problem here is much deeper. It is a matter of education.” On children’s shows, he adds, it’s clear that the children are not highly trained actors “so there is no reason not to take Ethiopian children.”

“I believe it will happen,” says Shmuel, who asserted that the United States is a country with more highly racist attitudes than Israel, but where blacks have made a breakthrough. “They reached a situation in which they dominate culture and sport. Hip-hop is fashionable. They gave them an opportunity and look where it led. Israel is very small and trying to survive. Any hatred or racism comes out of fear. [Israelis] fear what is different, the unknown.”

“Israeli society has become the most intolerant in the world in recent years,” says Baruch. “If a decade ago I somehow stopped hearing the word “nigger” (“kushi” in Hebrew) in the streets, then in the past two years, I have heard it all the time. Our government is letting this happen. People are less tolerant today even toward Ethiopian immigrants. It is no coincidence that the community protested in 2015,” he said, referring to protests that erupted over police violence directed toward members of the Ethiopian Jewish community.

Shmuel: “We have become a very unhealthy, egotistical society. Politics are probably dividing us. Because of this, it is so important to provide a program like ‘Afrikan.’ People at the top need to understand this value — of being together.”