Following a tour announcement with Bob Dylan this morning, vocalist Mavis Staples has announced a new album and released the title track, “If All I Was Was Black.” The tune comes from her upcoming If All I Was Was Black, a collection of originals arranged by Staples and Jeff Tweedy, and is due out November 17. The Wilco frontman penned 11 songs from the upcoming album, with three co-written by Staples. The album is focused on the ongoing racial conflicts in the United States, and how they affect her.“I’ve always thought of art as a political statement in and of itself – that it was enough to be on the side of creation and not destruction. But there is something that feels complicit at this moment in time about not facing what is happening in this country head on,” explains Tweedy. If All I Was Was Black is their third collaboration together, following 2010’s You Are Not Along and 2013’s One True Vine, and is inspired by “the love I have for Mavis and the desire to be part of some kind of positive change.” Mavis Staples continues, “We didn’t make the songs point to a specific person. If you follow the lyrics it’s about yesterday and today.”In the title track below, Tweedy wrote the music to the lyrics by Mavis. If All I Was Was Black is set to drop November 17 on Anti-Records, and was written to “bring us all together as a people. That’s what I hope to do. You can’t stop me. You can’t break me. I’m too loving. These songs are going to change the world.” Listen to her message below:
By Marcos Ommati/Diálogo August 16, 2018 U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis visited South America for the first time. His first stop August 13, 2018 was Brazil, where he held meetings with Brazilian Defense Minister Joaquim Silva e Luna and Foreign Affairs Minister Aloysio Nunes Ferreira, in Brasília. The topics of discussion included alternatives to further science and technology, political-military, and defense-industry cooperation to increase commerce between both partner nations. Mattis’s trip to Latin America follows a visit by U.S. Navy Admiral John Richardson, chief of Naval Operations, to Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. About a month before Richardson’s visit, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence also spent a week in South America. Speech at the Brazilian Army War College “I am here to make a down payment on our shared destiny as the hemisphere’s two largest democracies, and as defenders of our inter-American values: respect for fundamental human rights, the rule of law, and peace,” said Mattis during a visit to the Brazilian Army War College in Rio de Janeiro, August 14th. “The peoples of the Americas have a right to democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it.” Citing U.S.-Latin American relations as an example of long-term partnership, Mattis said the success and security of future generations depends on “how well we build trust at every level with our Western Hemisphere allies and partners today. America seeks to earn your trust daily; we want to be your partner of choice in this shared effort.” Mattis reminisced on World War II to emphasize the U.S.-Brazil partnership. American soldiers fought side-by-side with the Brazilian Expeditionary Force in Monte Castello, Italy, and the Brazilian Navy escorted more than 3,000 merchant ships –and lost only three. “Our native languages may differ, but four decades of military service have persuaded me that the profession of arms has a language of its own and a way of turning strangers into family,” said the retired U.S. Marine Corps general. Transformation in defense relationship In April 2018, Mattis directed his staff to enhance the U.S. defense relationship with Brazil, and build on the solid foundation already in place. “It happened after I picked up the phone and heard Minister Silva e Luna’s voice on the other end. He talked; I listened. When our call ended, I made that decision,” he explained. Mattis also talked about the broader military relationship Brazil and the United States share, as well as in research, “especially in space,” he highlighted. The two countries are negotiating an agreement to allow the United States to launch satellites from the Alcântara Launch Center, a facility operated by the Brazilian Air Force at the Brazilian Space Agency in Alcântara, state of Maranhão, in Brazil’s northern Atlantic coast. “We choose Brazil not because it lies along the equator, in a happy accident of geography, but because we want to work with Brazilians—people whose values we share. Outside actors cannot credibly say the same.” After all, he highlighted, Brazil is a worldwide leader as seen in their role in demining missions in Central and South America, and peacekeeping missions in Haiti, Lebanon, and Africa. Furthering military sales Mattis stated that the United States sees a future in military sales with Latin America. “America’s Foreign Military Sales program is second to none. Nations can freely choose to purchase where they wish and we respect that. After all, friends do not demand you choose among them. America is not looking to make quick cash; we are looking to earn and keep friends.” At the conclusion of his speech, Mattis answered questions from the audience. One asked if creating a sixth U.S. military branch, the Space Force, wouldn’t equate to militarizing space. Mattis argued that China already developed a weapon that can destroy satellites. He was also asked about U.S. operations in the South China Sea, and about territorial disputes between Beijing and its neighboring countries. Those are some of his and the U.S. Department of State’s priorities, he said, to keep the region peaceful and expect more transparency from the Chinese in international relations. Following his visit to the War College, Secretary Mattis visited the World War II Memorial, in Aterro do Flamengo. Mattis assumed office in January 2017.