GRIOTS REPUBLIC - An Urban Black Travel Mag - March 2016



Profiles: Arlette Bomahou, Illa J, African Gospel Choir Dublin, Godfrey Chimbganda, Fabu D

W H E R E T H E R E ' S T R A V E L , T H E R E ' S A S T O R Y















While Performing in Dublin, Rapper

Illa J Talks Touring, Hip Hop & J Dilla

MARCH 2016 | ISSUE 03

Archivists Note

We are three months into this journey and with each passing month and new

issue of Griots Republic, the GR team gets more and more excited (no, you

really don’t understand just how excited we really get!!). As we bring you

images and stories that span the diaspora, we would be remiss in our duties if

we did not take the time to thank you for reading this, our labor of love.

Trust us, you really have not seen anything yet. With that said, let us go!

Next stop citizens of the Republic?


Landing on the Green Isle, the team expected to be mesmerized by the

majestic beauty of rolling hills, impressed by snow-capped peaks, intrigued

by historic castles and warmed by tasty fare, but we got even more than

expected as we connected with our cousins who have chosen Ireland as their

home. The Archivists sat down with some of the most beautiful people to be

found anywhere and they opened their hearts to us, as well as their lives, to

share how they as former denizens of The Motherland found their way to

Ireland and are proud to call it home.

From Irish Comedians to Gospel Choirs and all the way over to International

Powerlifters, we packed this issue with genuine Irish Soul. We even caught

up will Detroit Rapper Illa J on his European Tour and spent hours in his

dressing room talking (and eating) as he prepared to take the stage. His own

words perhaps summed up our time together best, “Yo, it feels like my

cousins came by to visit.”

So, before you turn the page and take your first step onto the Green Isle to

meet your family abroad, we think it is only appropriate to bless you with this

traditional Irish prayer:

May the road rise up to meet you, May the wind be ever at your back. May

the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And

until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hands.

Travel safe and well citizens of the Republic.


Irish comedian and internet

star, Fabu D, has an

inspiring story to tell of low

lows and high highs. He

also sings and it's

absolutely unbelievable.

If there's anything to be

gained from Arlette

Bamahou's interview it's a

sense of "I can do it!" She is

driven and passionate

about women in sports!


Giving our time back to the

community is as important as

travel. So in celebration of

Black History month, we cohosted

a Black History Month

Reading Event at Ralph Waldo

Emerson Elementary School in

Indianapolis, Indiana.

How we ended up on the radio

in Dublin talking about Griots

Republic will consistently go

down as the most random

travel moment ever. Yet, there

we were on Dublin City FM

103.2 and afterwards we went

and ate chicken - because

that's what family does.

It's insane, sometimes, when

talking to other travelers and

they simply "Get It!" They

understand your passion, your

heartbreaks, and every other

experience you've had while

abroad. That's exactly what it

was like talking with

Entertainer Illa J. Definitely

catch his interview!

from the citizens of the Green Isle and

he blessed them with his presence in

1845 and 1846 to discuss and promote

his book “The Narrative of the Life

of Fredrick Douglass: An American


One of the most poignant quotes from

“My Bondage and My Freedom”:

It is virtually impossible to have a conversation about Slavery in

America without including a rather robust conversation about

orator, abolitionist, statesman, social reformer, and the former slave

known as Fredrick Douglass. The author of “My Bondage and My

Freedom,” which is still required reading in many schools is arguably

one of the most influential African Americans of all time and while

he may be tied to many anti-slavery discussions, what many do not

realize is that he was also an avid supporter of women’s rights and

his views earned him the respect of not only Americans, but the

Irish as well. In fact, Douglas found both support and admiration

“I find




treated at

every turn

with the




paid to



“Eleven days and a half gone and I

have crossed three thousand miles

of the perilous deep. Instead of a

democratic government, I am under

a monarchical government. Instead of

the bright, blue sky of America, I am

covered with the soft, grey fog of the

Emerald Isle [Ireland]. I breathe, and lo!

the chattel [slave] becomes a man. I

gaze around in vain for one who will

question my equal humanity, claim

me as his slave, or offer me an insult.

I employ a cab—I am seated beside

white people—I reach the hotel—I

enter the same door—I am shown into

the same parlour—I dine at the same

table—and no one is offended... I find

myself regarded and treated at every

turn with the kindness and deference

paid to white people. When I go to

church, I am met by no upturned nose

and scornful lip to tell me, ‘We don’t

allow niggers in here!”

This passage speaks volumes about

the admiration Douglass felt for the

Irish and in his book, “TransAtlantic”,

Colum McCann proves the Irish

admired Douglass equally. Douglass

makes an appearance in this work

of historical fiction as the now freed

slave, who has found kindred spirits

in his Irish brethren as they struggle

for equality in a society that was

engineered to keep them under the

heel of the wealthy and powerful.

There is more however, to this book

than Douglass’ visit to Ireland.

McCann ties in two additional stories.

Two pilots, Jack Alcock and Arthur Brown,

who are determined to make history in

1919 by being the first to fly across the

Atlantic to the Green Isle and the son of

an Irishman, Senator George Mitchell,

travelling from the United States to Belfast

in 1988 to become the voice of Northern

Ireland during their peace talks. All three

journeys are all intricately woven together

by several generations of women; Lily

Duggan, her daughter (Emily) and granddaughter

(Lottie) then wraps up with

Hannah Carson.

Whether you are lover of well written

historical fiction or just simply looking for

a good story, McCann delivers both.

It is recommended that you

help your body overcome

the virus by getting plenty of

rest, drinking lots of fluids

to prevent dehydration and

treating muscle aches and

headaches with Tylenol.

It is best to prevent the

contraction of Zika by

wearing long sleeves to

avoided mosquito bites

and knowing the areas

that mosquitoes tend to

flourish, which are areas

with open water or stagnant

water. Also, wear mosquito

repellent to help prevent

mosquito bites.

Zika virus was first discovered in Africa during the mid 20th century

and has been known to cause symptoms similar to dengue fever.

Initally, it was limited to Asia and Africa, but due to globalization

and increased access to different parts of the world, the Zika virus

became an emerging disease throughout the world. Yet, only about

20% of people that have been bitten by the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

will become ill from the Zika virus.

Note that Zika has been

linked to miscarriages and

microcephaly in babies

born to mothers who have

contracted the virus. So

The most common symptoms of Zika infection are rash, fever, joint

pain, red eyes (conjunctivitis), muscle pain and headache. The

incubation period for Zika is not exactly known, but it is believed to

be within about one week after the initial inoculation with the virus.

Their illness is usually mild and symptoms last for several days to

about over a week, most people do not die from the illness. However,

Zika usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a

week and can be found longer than that in some people.

Zika is transmitted via the same mosquito which transmits dengue

and chikungunya. If you have traveled to any of the areas that are

known to have an outbreak of the Zika virus and have any of the

symptoms mentioned above, it is recommended that you go to seek

medical care so that a diagnosis could be made to see if you have

dengue fever, Chikungunya or Zika virus.

There are no treatments for Zika at this time and there isn’t any

vaccine developed against the virus at this time. Treatment is mostly

symptomatic, which means that you treat the symptoms that you have.

before you travel, I would

recommend that you check

the CDC website in order to

identify the areas where you

will be traveling to see if it’s

an area that has reported the

Zika virus. Then you can take

the necessary precautions to

prevent infection.

Written By: Remi Daniel

Not so long ago, the forms of

entertainment you found in

Ireland were mostly the Irish

traditional music and any such

events that promote and target

the Irish culture and audience

respectively.However, all that

has changed in the last few

decades as this Celtic nation

has experienced, and is still

experiencing, a shift both in

its cultural and entertainment


Today, every industry that

matters in Ireland looks and

feels differently as the world

becomes even smaller. Irish

people love to travel. Irish

people are good story tellers.

And the same passion with

which they share their travel

experiences is how they share

their own story abroad, which

may have set a trend for people

in their host countries to want

to come and visit this small, but

boisterous country of 5 million


Ireland offers almost 9,000 miles

of coastline and its rich history

dates back to prehistoric times.

So visiting Ireland may seem like

a clean break for many, which

probably explains why half a

million people from 192 nations

now make this place their

home. As a result, new events

and festivals are promoting and

targeting issues and audiences

on a global scale. One such

events is the Neo Soul Brigade

hosted in Dublin on the first

Tuesday of every second month

by a three-piece band called

Vice & Verses.

Vice & Verses is a soul-jazz

spoken word trio comprising of:

Giovanni Agostini, Venezuelan/

Italian, on bass; Enda Roche,

Irish, on guitar and Clara

Rose Thornton, American,

vocals. They play at the jazzera

decorated Liquor Rooms

on Wellington Quay, featuring

rotating international guests

and traditional African-American

music both evolved and


“The Neo Soul Brigade focuses

on wordsmithery, evolved soul,

jazz and hip-hop,” explained

the Chicago-born, two-time

Leinster Poetry Slam Champion,

founder and host Clara Rose

Thornton. “This is a celebration

of storytelling and music like no

other in Ireland.”

“The Neo

Soul Brigade

focuses on


evolved soul,

jazz and


If you’re a lover of music and language and

you enjoy live poetry, then you should check

out this band on your next visit to Ireland. Or

maybe you have such a flair for writing poems

and lyrics or you just like to bond with an

enthusiastic and lively new audience, either

way, the Vice & Verses: Neo Soul Brigade gig

is worth a visit. Here’s the best part: as we

celebrate the commemorations of the 1916

Rising, I couldn’t recommend any better time

to visit to Ireland.

Remi Daniel is an Irish writer, producer,

director and photographer. Nigerianborn

and Irish resident for over 10 years,

he has written several scripts for dramas,

documentaries and promotional videos. His

travel experiences, especially across the

countries of Ireland including Northern

Ireland, have brought him in contact with

very interesting people in most unusual

places and inspired him into writing yet

another story.

Remi doesn’t just write for the sake

of writing, he fills his pages with life

and soul thus inviting his audience

into living the experience with him.

Raised by a restaurant-owner mom and

military-contractor dad, he has strong

opinions on food, accommodation and

entertainment, hence his keen interests

in restaurants, hotels, cinemas, theatres

and venues. Remi is the writer that tells

his audience as it is.

I traveled to India with friends in March of last

year for the Holi Festival of Colors. During that

week, we traveled to Agra to see the Taj Mahal

in all its majestic glory, and rode camels through

the Pushkar Desert. We even celebrated Holi

with a local family and danced and drank under

sporadic clouds of pigmented chalk. But it was in

exploring the streets of Jaipur when I experienced

the true magic of India.

Roaming about, allowing myself to become

enveloped in all the sights, sounds, and smells that

Jaipur offered, I began to see the world through

a new pair of eyes. In a country that is overrun

by poverty and still seen as “developing,” I was

only able to see its beauty in the bright smiles of

those who call India home. It was while walking

the streets that I discovered that I needed to see

more and do more with this life that I had been


I know there are people who say that visiting a

certain place or having a particular experience

while traveling “changed their life.” It’s pretty cliché,

I know, but traveling to India definitely was that for

me. It was there that I rediscovered myself and

made the decision to move abroad with my son.

Perhaps it was the spirit of Holi in the air. The

festival signifies the victory of good over evil, a time

to reflect, forgive and forget, and to repair broken

relationships. And I did. I thought about my life and

the things I wanted to change within myself and

with those around me.

India still speaks to me and she continues to

reintroduce me to myself.

Guinness Storehouse.”

The Storehouse, located on St. James Gate in

Dublin proper, is truly a must see for visitors of

the city, particularly if you are a lover of stout,

historical sites, and authentic Irish cuisine. The

Storehouse, the site of a 19th century brewery

turned tourist attraction, was founded by Sir

Arthur Guinness in 1759. Today, Guinness

produces over 2.5 million pints of stout per day!

Within its walls, visitors can learn how Guinness

Stout is made, eat, drink, and make merriment.

Ask any cab driver, bell boy, police officer or

any random person walking down the streets

of Dublin, Ireland what is “a must do” while in

the city and it is guaranteed most will say, “The

Cover charge for entry to The Storehouse

is 20 euro and includes a pint of its famous

stout, which you can draft yourself after a brief

tutorial. If you choose, you can simply sip it

while enjoying a tour of the facility or save it

and have it with your meal.

It must be mentioned that you have never truly

tasted Guinness Stout until you’ve tasted it in

Foodies who

enjoy Caribbean

style oxtail

stew will be


Ireland on tap. There is a noticeable

difference in the texture and taste.

The bottled version available in the

US, is noticeably thicker and has

bitterness to it while the tapped

version on the Isle is smoother, less

bitter, and arguably lighter. Visitors

are encouraged to take their included

drink or purchase another reasonably

priced one to the top floor in the

Gravity Bar to enjoy the nearly 360

degree view of Dublin and the

surrounding area. What makes The

Gravity Bar remarkable is not just the

view. It manages to look like a highend

bar/club, feel like an Irish Pub,

and is quite sexy all at the same time.

About the food…

On the fifth floor is a wonderful pub

with live bands playing traditional

Irish and modern music. There is

stout aplenty and food that is not your

typical tourist-type food. What you

get is real good food. Real good...

The menus tout burgers, pulled

pork sandwiches, and a pretty good

salmon. The meal of choice is Beef

Stew prepared with Guinness Stout

and served with mashed potatoes

on top and (lest we forget) the best

soda bread ever! Foodies who enjoy

Caribbean style oxtail stew will be

surprised how remarkably similar the

two taste. What is there not to like?

Paired with a pint or two (or three),

this is certain to be one of the best

meals you will have while in Dublin.


Passionate about weight training,

Arlette decided to start competing

in powerlifting in August 2013.

She has since gone on to win the

World champion title in Dusseldorf

in 2014 where she broke the

World record in the deadlift and

also picked up the Silver medal in

unequipped deadlift, according to

the blog “Black Women In Europe.”

Arlette has also won the European

champion title in the full power

Championship in 2014; the

European champion single lift title

in 2014, where she broke two World

records, and the World Champion

title in Glasgow in 2013.

Her dream is to join the national

Irish training squad in a year and

train to compete in the Olympics in

2020 representing Ireland.

It's all about the Food with a new series

of Cooking Classes, Lectures & Exhibits

Cooking Irish? Is there even such a thing?

Retired Chef and Irish American Heritage

Museum Board of Trustees member, Harold

Qualter thinks the culinary genre is underrated.

“Many food critics find the idea of Irish

Cuisine as a contradiction in terms,” said Chef

Qualters. “Hardly ever do you hear someone

state, ‘I’m cooking Irish tonight.’ Mexican,

Italian, French, absolutely…but Irish, not so


Irish Benedict

Constantly looking for new ways to connect

Irish American’s with their culture, the Irish

American Heritage Museum, located in

Albany, NY, decided to start looking into

the often hidden and forgotten part of Irish

heritage and culture, its food. Everyone can

relate to food, everyone eats.

Ireland offers more than potatoes and stew;

the culinary offerings are endless. Other

foods include whiskey-laden desserts and

marinated meats, an assortment of baked

breads, stuffed cabbage, smoked salmon

and shellfish.

In 2015, the Irish American Heritage Museum

partnered with the Irelands’ Department of

Foreign Affairs through the Emigrant Support

Programme and the Office of the Consulate

General of Ireland’s office in New York to

create a project that is able to foster a vibrant

sense of Irish community and identity through

“Cooking Irish.”

Irish Oysters

Corned Beef & Hash

The Museum is currently in the midst of an

ambitious series of programs that combines

lectures on the history of Irish food and

indigenous ingredients, cooking classes,

an annual Irish Soda Bread Competition,

and an exhibit to share this unique idea of

having people get excited over their heritage

and culture through food. The Museum has

brought together a fantastic group of Irish

American chefs to explore the idea of if there

is actually an Irish cuisine, and if so, what is


The history of Irish food tells a story of

tradition, disaster and resilience. In the

15th and 16th centuries, the story shows a

country overflowing with a bounty of diverse

foods amidst an island of agricultural fertility.

Much of the “traditional cuisine” that came

from Ireland during this period had a distinct

British flair. However, this would all change as

Ireland adapted to constant invasions, war,

and a crushing poverty that would lead to

the dependence on the potato for survival- a

dependency that ultimately and tragically led

to the Great Famine of the 19th century. As

the country tried to survive these hardships

Irish Soda Bread

and instability, little thought was put into

creating an “Irish cuisine.”

Irish food, in the 21st century, is experiencing a

rebirth. Through the work of chefs like Darina

and Myrtle Allen, Irish cooking is emerging

and continuously evolving. It is reinvented,

using the incredible native and timeless Irish

foods and new multicultural elements. A new

generation of Irish chefs are building onto the

cuisine, inspired not only by their traditional

and ancestral dishes, but by the European

and American culinary scene. Some, as Chef

Qualters said, “might even call it Modern Irish

cuisine as it continues its commitment to

outstanding ingredients, treated simply.”

One of the highlights of the Museum’s “Cooking

Irish” program is the 4th Annual Maureen

Farrell McCarthy Irish Soda Bread Competition

taking place this March. Soda bread, a quick

bread that gets its name from the use of baking

soda as a leavening agent instead of the more

common yeast, is one of Ireland’s staple foods

and the competition has attracted entrants

from all over the northeast. The Museum’s

staff and board are excited to welcome both

amateur and professional entrants to the event

and hope this competition inspires people to

learn about a very unique part of Irish culture

and life, especially as we approach St. Patrick’s

Day when interest in all things Irish peaks.

In the past the Museum has received around

70 different entries in three different categories,

drawing national attention.

The Irish American Heritage Museum’s mission is

to preserve and tell the story of the contributions

of the Irish people and their culture in America,

inspiring individuals to examine the importance

of their own heritage as part of the American

cultural mosaic. As such, the Museum is unique

in the United States, where almost 36 million

individuals claim Irish ancestry. It is committed

to the basic tenet that preserving one’s heritage

is vital to providing a cultural and historical

foundation to future generations of Americans.

Rather than promoting a stage version of what

it means to have Irish ancestry, the heritage

museum focuses on preserving the actual

culture and history of Irish Americans. It strives

to be a living, breathing institution that offers

an assortment of enrichment programs. In

addition to “Cooking Irish,” historical lectures,

plays, movie screenings, a storytelling series,

genealogy programs, concerts, and open

sessions are available to the public. Families

can also participate in the annual Irish American

Heritage Day at Saratoga Race Track and the

Ireland offers

more than potatoes

and stew; the

culinary offerings

are endless.

Corned Beef & Cabbage


Family Festival at the annual Albany St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Founded in 1986, the Museum has created a number of original exhibits including The Irish

Influence in the Adirondacks, Dublin Then and Now, The Irish and the Erie Canal, Visions of

Ireland: The Artwork of Michael Augustine Power O’Malley, and most recently Walking with

Ireland into the Sun: Women Revolutionaries and the Easter Rising. These exhibits, amongst

others, travel the United States on a regular basis, and even exhibited at the National Library

in Dublin.

The goal of all these programs and exhibits is to create transformative moments. We want

kids and adults to be excited about learning and develop a passion for education that will

stay with them for the rest of their lives. We want people to become interested in their culture

and heritage and preserve it for future generations. It’s your heritage, pass it on!

So, is there such a thing as Irish cuisine?

Absolutely, but as mentioned before, it is constantly evolving, just like the Irish American

Heritage Museum.

Guinness Beef Stew



Written By: Jeremiah Meyers

The first time I ever heard the music

genre salsa choke was just last year

when my girlfriend Cici took up a oneyear

work assignment in Cali, Colombia.

If you know anything about Cali, then

you know that it is the epicenter of

salsa dancing. Many

of the most famous

dancers and clubs call

Cali home, and it’s

impossible to explore

the city without being

immersed in salsa


Having grown up in

Miami, Cici is quite

familiar with salsa, but

what she discovered

while living and

learning in the city

of Cali was a genretwisting

form of song

and dance that was

an undiscovered gym

to our uninitiated ears. As I listen to the

track, it had so many elements familiar

to me but felt totally new. You had no

choice but to move to the infectious

tune. Needless to say, I had to know

more about what I was hearing.

Salsa choke’s roots can be found in the

Pacifico region of Colombia. What’s

unique about this region is its rich history

in Afro-Colombian culture. Much of

the culture from the

original African people

brought to Colombia

as slaves, has been

preserved in many

ways, especially in


Salsa choke blends

melodies and sounds

of classic salsa with

the rhythms and bass

of contemporary

urban music, including

hip hop. The end

result is a youthful and

energetic dance that

adds modern urban

style to a timeless

music genre. Think salsa music mixed

with “the Dougie!” If you like to dance,

then you’ll love salsa choke.

The genre has become so popular that

RE:UNION Music Fest is a global music festival aimed

to assemble the music of the African Diaspora into

one unforgettable, unique experience. Hip-hop, R&B,

Reggae, Kompa, Cuban, Salsa, Afrobeat, South

African House, and more will be brought together on

ONE stage to celebrate our narrative.

the Colombian World Cup soccer team did

the salsa choke after a goal which took its

popularity to a new level of craze.

It’s essentially the equivalent of what happened

birthday weekend, Festival Petronio Alvarez

came to Cali, and I was fortunate enough to

be in town visiting Cici. This is the premiere

Pacifico music festival in Colombia. What’s

more exciting is that the Grammy-award

when Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers

made the “Dab” dance famous during the

2015 NFL football season. Everyone from

weathermen to sportscasters were seen

doing the Dab. Such examples show just how

influential African Diasporic contributions are

to the mainstream culture of countries all

over the world. This should not be forgotten or


The coolest thing about salsa choke I can

share is that it actually provided me with my

best memory while visiting Cali! During my

winning band Chocquibtown performed live!

This Afro-Colombian group is originally

from the Pacifico region and the festival was

something of a homecoming. It was pretty

amazing to see one of the top bands in

Colombia at their peak playing salsa choke

and Colombian hip hop to a huge outdoor

crowd – can’t beat that!

As with most of my posts, I encourage all to

check out Spotify to hear more salsa choke

music! You won’t be disappointed.

John Derek Yancey better known as

“Illa J” is an American rapper/singer

& songwriter. He is a solo artist but

also is currently an active member of

Detroit based groups Slum Village and

Yancey Boys. He taught himself how

to play the piano, had bass lessons

and continuously has vocal training.

As an independent artist, he has

released three albums, 2008’s solo

album Yancey Boys, 2013’s Evolution

and 2013’s Sunset Blvd (as Yancey

Boys along with Frank Nitt and Illa J’s

big brother, J Dilla, on the production.)

He’s been touring since 2007 and

magically has released all this work

without being signed.



#WhatsNext in Urban Travel



Céad Míle Fáilte: A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

Written By: Keith Swingle


Church Ruins in Inishmore

Sitting in a dimly-lit corner of a local Irish pub

allows you to, unassumingly, take in the activity

around you. Expectant eyes await your story, as

though your stool has been waiting for your return

since you last sat down, even if it’s your first time

visiting. A shared history provides the breadth and

depth of interaction with every patron, even in a

thinned room. Ireland’s farms, like a quilt of green

patchwork, provide myriad shades appropriate for

the country’s Emerald Isle moniker. It also happens

to be directly proportionate to the wealth of

different experiences awaiting you when you visit

the picturesque- and deceptively small- country.

While whimsical Irish travel, like grabbing a sameday

train ticket and trekking across the country for

a U2 concert for which you don’t have a ticket, is

well-documented and can keep a traveler content

for quite some time, it’s also important to recognize

that Ireland (both the Republic and Northern Ireland)

has its own history, much of it hotly contested.

Nowhere has this been as overtly expressed, in

terms of conversation as well as artistic expression,

than in Derry. In fact, calling the city Derry alone is

making a political statement that may cause some

to bristle.

Londonderry is the official name given to the city

by the United Kingdom; those who have fought

for Irish Republicanism are not keen on said title,

opting for the shorter version. Anyone will know

where you are talking about and, given your non-

Irish accent, you are likely to not be harassed for

your choice, though you may be matter-of-factly


The inner part of Derry city is enclosed by a stone

wall that has been standing for centuries, which

is enough of a unique take on urban planning to

check it out. Take a stroll about the hilly cityscape

(or atop the wall itself) and it becomes quite easy to

imagine the world of another time. This European

style of adapting to pre-existing architecture

is distinct, as is the cobblestone streets and

alleyways. Beyond, the city itself was designated

the UK’s City of Culture in 2013, for, among other

things, brilliant murals painted onto the sides of

homes and businesses.

The Bogside Artists - one such group of muralists

whose work has drawn international acclaim not for

advertising, but rather for storytelling- have some of

the most intense and profound pieces of urban art

that have ever been erected. The

Bogside, a neighborhood outside

the city walls, was quite possibly

the most heated place in the entire

island of Éire during the Troubles

– a period of ethno-nationalist

conflict in the late 20th century

further escalated by a 50 hour riot

in 1969 that quickly spread to other

parts of Northern Ireland in what

became known as “The Battle of

the Bogside”. Rioting between

Bogside residents and Irish police

stretched on for three days until

the British Army intervened to

restore order.

In January 1972, British soldiers

shot 26 unarmed civilians, gathered

to protest the continuous mass

arrests and internment of those

with suspected ties to the Irish

Republican Army (IRA). Thirteen

were killed, many while fleeing

soldiers or assisting the wounded.

Known as Bloody Sunday or

Bogside Massacre, the event has

been immortalized in music and

film, but the murals tell their own

stories: individuals whose impact

stretch beyond flesh and bone to

tell a larger story of a people who

embody writer Edna O’Brien’s

outlook on the Irish, “When

anyone asks me about the Irish

character, I say look at the trees.

Maimed, stark and misshapen, but

ferociously tenacious.”

The artists themselves, brothers

Tom and William Kelly, and Kevin

Hasson, have created a collection

of a dozen murals depicting

individuals at the center of the Irish

civil rights movement, while telling

a much larger, much broader

story. Having larger-than-life

expressions allows for much more

profound feelings and reactions to

these spectacular monuments to a

fierce people. Of particular interest

to a global community is a series

of headshots of Dr. Martin Luther

King, Gandhi, Mother Teresa,

and Irish civil rights champion

John Hume, which serves as a

clear message about the high

esteem in which Hume is held for

his relentless work in promoting

peace among the people of Ireland


Galway Hookers

and Northern Ireland. Their faces surround

a painting of the Brooklyn Bridge, whose

symbolism was explained by Tom Kelly on a

guided tour of the murals. When the Brooklyn

Bridge was conceptualized and constructed,

it was said that the island of Manhattan and

Brooklyn were too far apart to ever be bridged.

Its construction and endurance has earned it

remarkable fame for its distinct look, but also

because of its enduring span, which was highly

derided at the time. Such a universal notion

can be appreciated by visitors the world over.

While in the Bogside admiring the labors of

love, the image of the gable wall containing

the iconic, “You are now entering Free Derry,”

serves as a loaded welcome to those who

descend upon this historically significant city.

While Irish peace has been in place since

the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, Derry’s

interactive artistic expressions and historical

monuments (delightfully and unceremoniously

still enmeshed in the cityscape) show the

starkness and realism that was very much a

part of everyday life for many in and around

the city. In fact, you get the sense that by living

in the same homes since the Troubles were at

their height, Derry residents are highly insistent

that their story be preserved on a larger scale

than mere oral history.

Heading south an hour or so, smaller cities with

even more closely-spun webs of interaction

exist in towns like Omagh, where the Good

Friday Agreement was met with terrorism in the

form of a car bomb that went off in the center of

town just months after the landmark agreement

was made. A beautifully harrowing memorial

exists next to where the fateful bomb exploded.

It is certain that the Irish- in this part of the

country, at least- have preserved their history

well, both in monuments and on their faces. The

endurance and the resolve is clear in Omagh

where artistic and architectural achievements

have marked both what a country has been

through and what it hopes to achieve. The

linguists that they are, an Irishman will gladly

talk about the impacts of these events, while

drawing you closer by relating it to American

history. That comes as no surprise, as the Irish

have had a torrid (mostly) love affair with the

United States and are eager to share common


Cliffs Mohr of Moher Cliffs

bonds of land, love, and family.

Sharing a drink with someone from Ireland is

no ritual to be taken lightly. The people are

frequently quick to offer a free pint, provided you

get your round, too. It’s unspoken, naturally, but

offers the person sitting next to you a glimpse of

your character. Being mutually responsible for

merriment, you are also as responsible for the

bond shared.

Public houses- like Sally’s or the Coach Inn in

Omagh- are ostensibly just that: houses for the

public to congregate. Any football matches-

Gaelic games, Premier League, and the likedraw

a crowd. Naturally, younger crowds come in

for late-night merriment on weekends. As such,

it can be difficult to distinguish what makes for

an “authentic” pub experience. In many places

like Galway- Ireland’s gem on the west coast- the

distinction is often made by the writing on the

wall, or at least above the door. More traditional

Irish pubs, resplendent with Irish music and the

sporadic a capella version of some rebel song

or another can be found in pubs whose name is

written in Gaelic.

Tig Coili is one such pub. An earlier arrival assures

you of a cozy seat, while the audience

for live Irish music makes it a strictly

standing-room-only affair at night. Being

Irish in all things, musicians here are more

likely than not to be seated at the same

small table as patrons, making themselves

distinguishable only by the tin whistle

or bodhran (hand drum); think of these

experiences as a less formal open mic

night, with a non-existent divide between

performer and audience. Others, like Tigh

Neactain, offer an ambience more suited

for conversation.

While the best of conversation can happen

in a pub, cities like Galway are rather

renowned for their celebration of the finer

things in life, as well: literature and food

festivals in the spring, the famous Galway

Hooker Festival in May (the boats; a Google

search is SFW), food and arts festivals in

July, and the world-famous Oyster Festival

in September (worth the hype). The arts,

in particular, are becoming more and more

prominent in Ireland. Celebrating a deluge

of Irish writers and poets is nothing new,

of course. However, the two-week arts

Tig Coili

festival showcases works presented across the

artistic plane: theater, photography, soft sculpture,

painting, drawing, and dance.

Buildings all across the city celebrate the artistic

endeavors of the Irish people and those who have

fallen in love with Ireland. Even small shops and

restaurants, like the now-defunct Couch Potato

potato bar, feature snapshots and photography

along their walls, all by local artists. Music venues

like the famed Roisin Dubh , Black Rose in Gaelic,

use these two weeks to expand their typically

diverse guest list even further to accommodate

those who pursue the arts as a means of

expression. Walking through Eyre Square and the

carless streets of the city center, it’s no wonder

people have become smitten with all things

Irish. Go south and you are in Galway Bay, with

the rustic Aran Islands- perhaps the west’s last

holdout from modern amenities- awaiting you

before setting sail into the Atlantic. Spending

a day there amidst the carts and farm land

will take anyone back to a time where farming

was king; as the locals there will say, there’s

a lot to be said for simpler times, even if we

are not meant to live in them. To listen to the

waves crashing against the Cliffs of Moher, or

the coast of Inishmore is to listen to the stories

being told all around you from the people, in

the artwork, in the heads of Guinness, and all

of them wish you céad míle fáilte: a hundred

thousand welcomes.

African Gospel Choir Dublin, sometimes

colloquially referred to as AGC, is a 15+

member, all volunteer choir from Western

Africa. Originally organised in 2007 by Adeniyi

Allen-Taylor for a wedding, the choir has since

been co-ordinated by Tomilola Allen-Taylor.

The ensemble blends elements of African

Gospel, Negro spirituals, Accapella and

American popular music. The choir shows

their love of music and joy for life in their music

and are also known to delight audiences with

repertoire sung in English and their native


The Mission Statement of the Choir is making

music with a purpose - to bring people close

to the Lord, to present the talents of young

African singers in Ireland, and also to present

to the world the richness in the voice and the

melody of an all African Choir. The goal of

the choir is to inspire and influence people

positively and to promote Gospel music

through African culture.





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Nestled neatly in between the tiny community of islands

which make up the archipelago of the Lesser Antilles in the

Caribbean Sea sits Montserrat, a little island fondly referred

to as the “Emerald Isle of the Caribbean.” This tiny enclave

in the West Indies casts quite a large shadow when people

learn of her unique and little known Irish history. Made up

of a majority of Afro-Caribbean descendants of the Trans-

Atlantic Slave Trade, it is the last place one would expect to

see locals celebrating all things Hibernian. But it is here that

on March 17, the island’s Irish descendants commemorate

the Feast Day of St. Patrick while the descendants of the

African slaves celebrate Liberation Day- honoring their

ancestor’s noble grasp for freedom on that very day in 1768.

The unassuming island nation of Montserrat literally burst

into global consciousness when her long-dormant volcano,

Soufriere Hills, awakened in the summer months of 1995.

Soufriere Hills is nothing like the lava spewing Hawaiian style

Visitors to the island

are welcomed

with the stamp of

a green shamrock

in their passports at

immigration. The

shamrock is the most

recognizable Irish

national emblem

shared by both.

volcanoes, which we often see on the Discovery Channel.

Instead, she is an ash volcano that emits superheated gas

and pulverized rock called pyroclastic flows- that travel

down her slopes at high velocity. Her once 12,000-strong

local population emigrated to all points on the compass.

But the stalwart locals who, defiantly refused to abandon

“The Rock”, have sustained and successfully weathered the

geological, social, cultural and economical upheavals that this

cataclysmic event has wrought over the past two decades.

The “Emerald Isle’s” long and storied history with Ireland

began when Irish Catholics, under the leadership of Anthony

Brisket, landed on the northernmost section of Montserrat

from the neighboring island of St. Kitts fleeing religious

persecution from Reformation Era Europe. Irish Catholics

initially took sanctuary in St. Kitts under the protection of

the French Crown, as French Catholics had already settled

portions of the island. The French and English were at one

point peacefully cohabiting having separate colonies

within the island. However, the English eventually

won the battle for dominance over the island, and the

French were forced to relinquish her colonies in 1713.

Thus, the Irish once again became vulnerable to Anglo

religious persecution. They established what would

become the first permanent European settlement

on the island in the present day Carr’s Bay region.

Brisket, who would soon successfully petition

the Crown for an official charter to administer the

island, became the first governor of this new English

colony in 1633. Having established Montserrat as a

colony where the Irish no longer need fear the anti-

Popish sentiments of the European Reformation

movement, the Irish began to arrive in droves. Oliver

Cromwell, ever the pragmatist, used Montserrat as

a location of both forced and voluntary indentured

servitude; criminals and those in debt worked off

their indemnities by placing themselves in the

service of the Crown and its wealthy landowners.

Spreading out island-wide from their initial northern

outpost, the Irish population grew and became

the majority European demographic on island in

the mid-1600s. They eventually established the,

fittingly named, village of St Patrick’s in the island’s

southernmost location. West Africans were soon

introduced to Montserrat by the English via the

Atlantic Slave Trade, which rapidly became the

island’s cash crop. Over the ensuing 100 years, the

ethnic majority of the colony changed once again, this

time in favor of the slaves, as increasingly larger and

larger amounts of Africans were transported to the

island as forced labor to work on its sugar plantations.

The Irish, once occupying the bottom rung of the

social order of the Plantocracy as indentured

persons, soon became slave owners themselves.

Having now arrived at the virtual top of the social

pecking order, these nouveau riche landowners

varied very little in their harsh treatment of the island’s

slaves, as was meted out by the English. Scholars

have argued that the Irish proved even more brutal

in terms of their treatment of their living “property.”

In the early months of 1768, on March 17th, the island’s slave

population staged a revolt. The plan was to use the drunken

revelry of the Feast Day of St. Patrick, when the island’s Irish

plantocracy’s guard would be lowered under the inebriation

of heavy drink in celebration of the holiday. In their plan, the

field hands would storm the Governor’s mansion in the capital

of Plymouth using the tools of their trade as weapons: clubs,

stones, machetes, rakes, hoes and other metal implements.

The domestic, or house, slaves would be charged with

using knives and confiscating the swords of their drunken

Irish house guests to be used by their field counterparts.

The revolt failed. A female slave, domesticated to work as a

seamstress in the “Great House,” revealed the plot and the Irish

were prepared for the surprise attack. The revolt’s leaders were

systematically sought out and ruthlessly tortured and killed as

an example to the slave population, in hopes of thwarting future

The Lady & The Harp

is its national emblem,

and is located on the flag.

This represents Erin - the

feminine personification

of Ireland, with her harp,

while holding up a cross

representing Catholicism.

attempts. Local lore dictates that they were hung on the silk

cotton tree in Cudjoe’s Head. The tree still stands in the village.

Over the centuries, the interaction between the island’s

African slaves and the Irish landowners created a unique

set of circumstances on Montserrat. As a direct result

of the cultural diffusion that transpired between the two

groups due to interaction and inter-marriage, a biracial

population emerged. Irish surnames such as Riley, O’Garro,

Farrell, Greenaway, Burke, and Daley are common. Even

Monserrat’s food feature cultural collaborations, evident

in the island’s fabled national dish of “Goat Water,” not to

be confused with the similarly named Jamaican “Mannish

Water,” said to be an amalgamation of Irish goat stew infused

with spices commonly used by the African population.

Longtime visitors to Montserrat are often alarmed to hear

Afro-Caribbean children speak of leprechauns and mermaids,

long before the existence of Walt Disney’s hit animated

production. Tales of mermaids and nefarious imps have

een staples in the cultural diet

of the island’s child population

for generation after generation

due to Irish influence- except this

diet included variations to the

narratives that added the Africanlore

of the emancipated slaves.

The impact of Soufriere Hills’

eruption in 1995 is still palpable.

What was once a lively island-wide

celebration and national holiday

declined after the exodus of the

island’s natives during the first

decade of what is referred to locally

as “The Crisis”. Current celebrations

of St. Patrick’s Day, founded by

the island’s civil and church youth

groups in 1982, represent an island

wounded by both its colonial and

volcanic past and present. With

the passage of time, volcanic

activity has slowed significantly

and Montserrat is solidly on the

path to rebirth and redevelopment.

The numerous Caricom nationals

from the neighboring Caribbean

islands also left their mark on the

island’s culture and celebrations.

St. Patrick celebrations evolved

to include differing nationalities

and foods from the Dominican

Republic, Jamaica, Guyana and

Haiti. The introduction of pan-

Caribbean cuisine creates a

smorgasbord of delicacies to

whet the adventurous palates of

our guests from all over the world.

This March 17th, and the week

leading up to that climax, visitors

to Montserrat will be treated to

an ambitious calendar of events

that includes long distance races,

hiking, island-wide boat ride tours

of the abandoned City of Plymouth,

food tasting events, dances,

Calypso shows, pub crawls,

lectures, helicopter tours and the

much-anticipated parade. Access

and accessibility to the island has

been the bane of the locals and

visiting foreigners, since the volcanic

activity has knocked the island out

of the LIAT network. Leeward Island

Air Transport (LIAT) is the regional

carrier airline, which traditionally

provides air service to the smaller

islands from the large island hubs

of Trinidad, Barbados and Antigua.

However, access to the island

can be obtained by first landing

in neighboring Antigua and taking

either a 1 & 1/4 hour ferry ride over

to the island or a 17-minute flight.

Montserrat is now a weekly port of

call Windstar Cruises and Sea Dream

Yacht Club cruises. Additionally,

JetBlue Airways, now operates a

non-stop flight service from New

York’s JFK three times a week. So if

you’re looking for a place to celebrate

“All Thing Irish,” with an Afro-

Caribbean flavor, why not visit “The

Other Emerald Isle”- Montserrat?

We would sure love to have you!

Godfrey moved to Ireland in 2002

and is a community activist in Dublin.

He currently sits on the Dublin City

Intergration Forum Executive, Dublin

City Community Forum Executive and

Dublin Local Community Development

Committee. He also oversees the Youth

Platform Project Ireland (YPPI), an

organization within New Communities

Partnership that aims to provide a

platform through which issues that

concern Young Migrants in Ireland are


Godfrey is also a Certified Financial

Advisor, Serial Entrepreneur, and

music executive. He is the co-founder

of Gospel Music Ireland and has

promoted and worked with artists like

Kirk Franklin, Israel Houghton, George

Hamilton IV, Stevie Wonder & Andrae



Fighting for Sexworker’s Rights

Written By: Kate McGrew

In 2008 I was living in NYC, a city once known

for its debaucherous spirit that was sadly

suffering raids on much of its sex industry.

This included the mid-town BDSM dungeon

where I catered to the peculiarities of men

and couples wanting to be dominated, or for

the lucky discerning gentleman, to take me

as a submissive. That August, I went on a

family holiday to Ireland and on the Arran

Island of Inishmore, I met a nice young man.

He offered me residence with his family if I

wanted to extend my visit to “experience real

Ireland”, as they were accustomed to taking

in travellers to work in their garden for a

period. Impulsively, I stayed and discovered

that Ireland also provided fertile ground for

artistic creation. I began a life here, busy

writing music and performing shows. Later,

during the lowest point of the country’s

economic crash, I started working again

in the sex industry, first in strip clubs then

putting myself on a website as a full service

escort. I was happy to have the financial

salve sex work provided.

Just like NYC, Ireland soon began cracking

down on the industry. The “Turn Off the

Red Light” campaign combined a coalition

of groups aimed at abolishing prostitution

through “End Demand” tactics. It is a

campaign calling for the criminalisation

of the purchase of sex using the Swedish

model, a model since proven to infringe on

the health, safety, and human rights of the


If they turn off the red light, we will all be in

the dark.

The industry is still in the criminal sector,

so workers have strained relations with the

police. Complicated restrictions around

where and how you can work mean that many

people fall in between the cracks, bypassing

a legal path and relying on third parties or

becoming more vulnerable to traffickers to

sort the details for them.

Holland and Germany have legalised sex

work, but New Zealand and Australia have the

model that sex work organisations worldwide

prefer. Sex work is fully decriminalised.

Legitimizing sex work within the labor

sector, workplaces are inspected by the

Labor or Health departments instead of by

police raids. Law enforcement relations have

improved and workers have realistic access

to the justice system, solving disputes via

legal redress. A woman famously sued her

brothel-owner for harassment in New Zealand

in 2013 and was awarded 25,000 dollars. It

is fairly simple to get a flexible license to

suit your particular circumstances. Because

of this flexibility and decriminalization, big

brothels went out of favor in New Zealand

in 2003, giving rise to SOOBs (small owner

operated brothels) where up to 4 women

work together in an apartment.

In the Republic of Ireland, it is currently legal

to both sell and buy sex, within extremely

narrow parameters. It is legal for me to work

because I work alone, and I work indoors.

We are not allowed to solicit, work in pairs

or groups, work outdoors, or hire anyone

as security or to manage our bookings. No

one, not even a partner or relative, is allowed

to share in the earnings of our work. Most

workers get caught with charges for “brothelkeeping”,

although this definition includes

even only two women working together for


This criminal record often forms a barrier

for people to leave the industry and secure

other work. The Sexual Offences Bill was

Come for the banter

and the craic. Stay as

long as you like, and

go ahead and treat

yourself to some sex

with a professional.

drawn up in 2012 by the Justice Committee and

is currently moving through stages for approval..

Minister for Justice, Francis Fitzgerald, agreed to

sit with members of SWAI (Sex Workers Alliance

Ireland) to hear our concerns about the section of

the bill that would make it an offence to buy sex. We

described to the Minister how violence escalated

in the streets of Dublin after it was made illegal to

sell sex in the streets and workers lost trust in the

Gardai, the National Police. The Minister replied,

“But won’t that serve as a deterrent from entering

the industry?”

The proposed law would double penalties

for women working together for safety, with

a potential jail sentence. It is an attempt to

make the industry as risky as possible and

therefore an unattractive option. The results

are workers - who will work regardless -

becoming collateral damage. The most underresourced

workers are surely going to keep

working; and with this law that forces the

industry underground, they will be in more

dangerous circumstances.

Criminalising clients also creates dangerous

circumstances for sexworkers. Criminalising

the client tips the power dynamic in his favour.

He may no longer want to come to our in-call

location for fear of being seen and instead

insist we go on an outcall to him, to a place

we are unfamiliar with and have no control

over. Street workers would now be dealing

with nervous and rushed clients which could

prevent them from going through their safety

protocols. They will have less time to negotiate

services offered or condom use. If even for

a short time there is a reduction in clients,

they will have less to lose and other

workers may compete with lowered

prices and unsafe sex.

Third parties looking to exploit us

know we will have more trouble

finding clients or securing work

apartments after this law. People

who have been coerced or are being

abused would be further away from

support services and authorities.

Because of poor law enforcement

relations, abuse would go unreported

and undetected.

This model of client criminalisation

gives impunity to perpetrators

posing as clients. These predators

realise we are alone and that we don’t

want to be under policy scrutiny

and risk losing our livelihood or our

homes by making ourselves known

to Gardai. A sex worker in Norway,

where they have such a law, said

“You manage a bad situation to the

end. You risk losing everything if you

go to the cops and so only do if you

really believe you are going to die.”

We are a risk-taking population,

largely because we have had to be.

Research conducted in October

2014 by Queens University in

Northern Ireland found that 98

percent of sex workers said they

did not want client criminalisation.

Nevertheless, the Swedish model

passed into effect in there in June,

purportedly to protect women, Yet

it has, so far, led to the arrest one

man for purchasing sex and three

women for working together.

Despite this law’s inability to reduce

the amount of people in prostitution,

its ineffectiveness at preventing

people from being trafficked for the

purpose of sexual exploitation, and

the fact that sex workers worldwide

say that client criminalisation has or

would make them less safe, the law is

promoted as a progressive measure

towards ending gender inequality.

It views sex work as gender-based

violence. It views all women in sex

work as victims or as suffering from

false consciousness. This lacks

information and imagination. It

erases the voices and experiences

of the many men and trans people

working in the industry. The rhetoric

Prostitution is

not inherently

exploitative or


although it has the

potential to be both.

of these sex work prohibitionists, referring to

“men purchasing women”, is objectifying, and


Right now in Ireland, services are being cut to

rape crisis and domestic abuse support centres,

and single mothers have little affordable housing

or childcare. While we address structural

inequalities in our society we can’t take

away an option for people, many without

any viable alternatives, to make money

elsewhere. We must be prepared for the

reality that some may still choose to sell

sex instead. Poverty is disempowering.

Prohibitionists insist that people in extreme

poverty or dealing with drug addictions

are unable to give consent. It is such a

dangerous concept, because then what are

we to call it when sex workers do say no?

Prostitution is not inherently exploitative

or empowering, although it has the

potential to be both. Sex workers therefore

need labour rights and deserve human

rights. Acknowledging the existence of

the sex industry is not an endorsement

of prostitution but it is essential to

effectively protect those involved. The World

Health Organization, Amnesty International,

Open Society Foundation, UNAIDS, Global

Alliance Against the Traffic of Women

back full decriminalisation as the best

model to support sex workers in protecting


We at SWAI are finding strength in our allies

to slow the progress of the Sexual Offences

Bill, and by spending time interacting with

groups with whom we should be aligned,

shedding light on the realities of sex workers’

experiences and needs. LGBT, feminist,

migrant rights, abortion rights and HIV

support groups and other groups concerned

with bodily autonomy must step forward.

Sex workers are a disparate, marginalised,

varied, and vulnerable population. We are

also adaptive, robust, humorous, and tough

as nails. The stigma that makes us further

targets for violence is slowly waning, and

despite a vocal minority in power pushing for

further criminalisation of our work, overall

attitudes are shifting.

Ireland’s recent worldwide leadership in

marriage equality has shown the country’s

ability to supports its citizens’ quality of life.

You only need to talk to people around you to

discover their humanity. Ireland is a country

rich for the spirit of its people. Come for the

banter and the craic. Stay as long as you like,

and go ahead and treat yourself to some sex

with a professional.

Kate McGrew is a sex worker, singer, and Irish

reality tv star working with SWAI to decriminalize

sex work.

SWAI is an alliance of sex workers, ex-sex workers,

health and social providers and researchers,

working together to advocate for and promote

the health, safety, civil rights and right to selfdetermination

of female, male and transgender

sex workers in Ireland. For more information, visit

their website.

Have you ever listened to a song and thought,

”Could that really happen?” The blog lyricfancy

answers that question by reality checking music

lyrics. Start with a tune, form a hypothesis, mix

in a little research and see what happens.


Reading departure signs in some big airport,

reminds me of the places I’ve been.

Song & Artist

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes by

Jimmy Buffett


Most tourists venture to at least one international

locale in their lifetime.


Musician and island enthusiast Jimmy Buffet

reflects on his travels with fondness in Changes

in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes. His ode

to world wandering got me to wondering. Do

most tourists leave their home countries?

Let’s take a journey to find out.

It may seem trivial to define a tourist, but there

are nuances for the purposes of statistics. A

tourist is a person who travels for pleasure

(instead of business or family obligations).

According to the United Nations World

Tourism Organization, tourism is expected

to increase over the next 15 years. Even

areas that have traditionally declining visitor

rates, such as Africa and the Middle East, are

experiencing a surge in tourism rates.

Living Social, the online deal marketplace,

studied Americans’ ultimate destinations and

found Las Vegas and Disney World landed

on the top 10 list. While those sun-filled

destinations bode well for domestic travel;

astonishingly, sixty four percent of the U.S.

population has never traveled abroad. Two

words: do better. The universe is brimming

with rich cultures, beautiful landscapes and

delectable cuisine, and you want to stay

home? It’s a small world after all, go conquer


When Americans finally leave the country the

most popular regions are Mexico and Canada.

So pretty much, people cross the border.

It’s better than nothing (no disrespect to

Mexico and Canada). The United States Tour

Operators Association found that Myanmar

in Southeast Asia will be the top emerging

destination in 2015. Once a destination

for those on humanitarian and educational

ventures, Cuba is now set to become an

enticing option thanks to renewed diplomatic


Adventure seekers the world over packed

their bags and accounted for 53 percent (598

million) of all international tourist arrivals in

2014. Europe had the most foreign visitors the

same year. Which nationality globe-trots the

most? The average Briton has explored seven

countries OUTSIDE of the United Kingdom.

The most powerful passport, based on cost

and visa-free entry to nations, belongs to



Most tourists during their time on this planet

travel internationally at least once. If funds are

limited, you don’t have to go far. Leave your

‘hood, borough, village or city. Whether bus fare

or air fare, learning something new can ONLY

enrich your life. I have been very fortunate to

trek across three continents. Not bad, but my

exploration appetite is never satiated. Grabbing

my passport and headphones now, au revior!

Tiye Jameson is the founder of the music

blog lyricfancy, where she reality checks song

lyrics. She listens to verses with an ear for

the ridiculous. The unapologetic Baltimore,

Maryland native travels the world picking up

music and dropping knowledge. Check out

Tiye’s lyric experiments at www.lyricfancy.


(Data Sources)

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Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc., independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ANTHEM is a

registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

AINMKT-0121-16 02.16



Each quarter Griots Republic endeavors to give

back to the community through coordinated

programming with our corporate partners.

In commemoration of February’s Black History

Month, GR partnered with Anthem Blue

Cross and Blue Shield to read to the students

of Ralph Waldo Emerson School (RWE) #58,

in Indianapolis, Indiana. Approximately

fifteen volunteers read travel themed, black

history children’s books like, Calvin Alexander

Ramsey’s “Ruth and the Green Book” and

Joyce Carol Thomas’ “In the Land of Milk and

Honey” to seven elementary classes.

Along with the reading day, more than 30

gently used iPads were donated to the library

to enable RWE staff and students to work

together using creative learning tools, apps

and interactive textbooks for endless learning

possibilities. Anthem also donated iTunes gift

cards to the school to ensure that they gain

access to the appropriate educational apps.



Griots Republic Vol. 1 Issue 3

March 2016

Cover Image

Courtesy of Illa J

Editor in Chief Davita McKelvey

Deputy Editor Rodney Goode

Copy Editor Alexis Barnes

Video Editor Chidi Nwaozomudoh

Videographer Kindred Films inc

Social Media Shanita Hubbard


Alexandra Stewart


Visit or contact

Brian Blake

Write to: 405 Tarrytown Rd STE 1356,

White Plains, NY 10607

Phone: 1 929-277-9290


Published monthly by Griots Republic LLC

All Rights Reserved.

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