What's on This Week

Welcome to the next generation of African writers.  They’re young, multi-lingual, and breaking out of all the old literary boxes.  This hour, why Africa has one of the most...
(was 02.01.2015)
Welcome to the creepy, freaky world of weird fiction - from H.P. Lovecraft to emerging star Jeff Vandermeer - where there's a very thin line between the real and the surreal. ...

On Our Minds

Lomax Recording
January 31st would have been the 100th birthday of musicologist Alan Lomax. Here's our interview about his long, and often complicated, legacy of recordings.
January 30th marks the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill's funeral. We’re paying tribute to the esteemed British statesman by revisiting our interview with Churchill’s...
On our minds this week is the continuing racial tension in our country. And Poet Claudia Rankine’s book-length poem about race really got us thinking.
One World Trade Center
The New Yorker magazine is one of the companies moving into new offices at One World Trade Center, a.k.a. the "Freedom Tower." Though the plans have been much-debated over...
Auschwitz Shoes
This week marks is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The gathering planned for January 27th is likely to be the last time a large number of survivors will...

Islam, Hip Hop, Free Speech and Extremism

The shocking attacks in Paris earlier this month renewed a range of cultural debates about free speech and racial tolerance in France and the rest of the world. It also marked another round of questions about the relationship between hip-hop music and violence.

According to Hisham Aidi—an expert on globalization and social movements—there are currently two central debates around French-Muslim hip hop. The first is whether or not Cherif Kouachi—one of the Charlie Hebdo attackers and an aspiring rapper—was radicalized through hip hop. The second, more complex question is how speech is policed in contemporary France. Many French hip hop artists have openly denounced the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, even though they have been critical of the paper in the past. These artists see the paper as promoting hate speech and hiding behind free speech, while the French government has taken Muslim rappers to court for inciting the public and criticizing the police.

You can find a playlist of hip hop from the Muslim artists, and our interview with Aidi, here.