Archive For September 19, 2019

Trudeau Apologizes But Sidesteps Questions On Number Of Blackface Incidents

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Trudeau Apologizes But Sidesteps Questions On Number Of Blackface Incidents

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the media Thursday in Winnipeg, Canada, regarding photos in which he is seen wearing dark makeup.

John Woods/Getty Images


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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized after after photos surfaced showing him wearing brownface and blackface as a young man, saying he has no plans to resign and vowing to continue his campaign for re-election in October.

“Darkening your face, regardless of the context or the circumstances, is always unacceptable because of the racist history of black face,” Trudeau said at a news conference Thursday in a public park in Winnipeg. “I should have understood that then and I never should have done it.”

His remarks came as a third image surfaced, video apparently showing him wearing dark makeup and a white T-shirt, laughing with his hands in the air. News of that incident, reported to have occurred in the late 1990s, was first reported by Global News.

Trudeau, 47, sidestepped questions Thursday about how many times he has worn blackface or brownface.

“Obviously, this is deeply regrettable,” Trudeau said. “I’m wary of being definitive about this because the recent pictures that came out I had not remembered. And I think the question is, how could you not remember that?”

Pausing, he added, “I didn’t understand how hurtful this is to people who live with discrimination every single day.”

The prime minister said that with his privileged upbringing came “a massive blind spot.”

The first controversial image surfaced late Wednesday, when Time magazine published a photo of a 29-year-old Trudeau wearing a feathered turban and with a darkened face, neck and hands at an “Arabian Nights” costume party in 2001.

In his initial comments Wednesday, Trudeau also admitted that he had worn blackface at a high school talent show.

Trudeau’s main political opponent, Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer, said Thursday that he was “extremely shocked and disappointed” in the prime minister, calling Trudeau “unfit” to lead the country.

Reactions from the ranks of Trudeau’s Liberal Party seemed to be mixed.

Greg Fergus, a black member of Parliament and fellow Liberal, said told the CBC that black Canadians were confused, offended and hurt, but that he still had confidence in Trudeau.

Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, who is Sikh, told the broadcaster that the prime minister’s actions were wrong, but that Trudeau has a record of promoting diversity. Other Liberals said they, too, were disappointed and called on Trudeau to own up to his mistakes.

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Angélique Kidjo Celebrates Celia Cruz: ‘Everything About Celia Is Self-Determination’

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Angélique Kidjo Celebrates Celia Cruz: ‘Everything About Celia Is Self-Determination’

Angelique Kidjo’s Celia celebrates the music of Celia Cruz.

Laurent Seroussi/Courtesy of the artist


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Laurent Seroussi/Courtesy of the artist

Turning the Tables aims to reinterpret American music history by putting women front and center. This year, we’re celebrating eight women who invented American popular music — including the legendary Celia Cruz. Her extraordinary career lasted more than 50 years, and before she died in 2003, she had released dozens of albums, won numerous awards (including two Grammys) and earned the title of “The Queen of Salsa.”

Cruz was Cuban, and she always embraced her, and salsa’s, African roots — and West African musician Angélique Kidjo embraced her right back. Kidjo, an Afro-pop legend in her own right, recently sat down with Felix Contreras, host of the NPR podcast Alt.Latino, to talk about the long time influence Cruz had on her career and life. You can listen to the full podcast below, or hear to the radio version of this story via the link above.

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As Vaping Illnesses Rise, Doctors Warn Of Possible ‘Irreversible Damage’ To Lungs

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As Vaping Illnesses Rise, Doctors Warn Of Possible ‘Irreversible Damage’ To Lungs

Patients hospitalized with vaping-related illness often have severe pneumonia, and this kind of inflammation can create long-term damage, doctors say.

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Nationwide people who vape continue to sicken with severe and unexplained lung illness, leaving doctors and patients concerned about both the acute and long-term effects of the injuries.

The CDC announced Thursday there are now 530 confirmed or probable cases of lung injury associated with vaping, a jump from 380 cases reported last week. Seven people have died.

“We at CDC are very concerned about the occurrence of life-threatening illness in otherwise healthy, young people,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s principle deputy director, during a call with reporters.

She said this is an ongoing outbreak: “States continue to get new cases reported.”

The CDC has ramped up its investigation, activating its emergency operations center earlier this week in an effort to nail down the cause of the sicknesses, which remains unclear. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration has enlisted the help of its office of criminal investigations, the law-enforcement arm of FDA.

“We are in desperate need of facts,” FDA’s Mitch Zeller said during a call with reporters Thursday.

So, far, it appears most patients have fallen ill after vaping THC, a psycho-active component in cannabis, nicotine, or a combination of both. Symptoms include severe pneumonia, in many cases. Patients can recover from the acute problem that led them to the hospital, but long-term impacts are unknown.

One patient, Adam Hergenreder, 18, of Gurnee, Ill., who was hospitalized with a severe vaping-related respiratory sickness in August said his doctor told him that he has the “lungs of a 70-year-old.”

It’s “terrifying to think about,” Hergenreder told NPR. He was vaping THC, but says he did not know it could be dangerous. He says he’s feeling better since his hospitalization, but he still gets winded going up stairs.

In the hospital, he says, “they caught an image of the bottom portion of my lungs and that’s when they realized the severity of the damage.”

His story has garnered a lot of media attention, in part, because he’s part of a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the vape products he used.

His case raises an important question: Can the patients who’ve fallen seriously ill after vaping expect to make a full recovery? We spoke to doctors who have treated some of the patients.

WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, N.C., has treated seven patients who became ill after vaping. “All of the patients we’ve seen here have improved,” says Daniel Fox, a pulmonologist and critical care expert at WakeMed. “All have been able to leave the hospital,” he says.

Many of the patients were diagnosed with lipoid pneumonia which means that “oils or fats have entered the lung that should not be there,” Fox explains.

This is usually seen in elderly patients, related to choking or aspiration. So Fox says it was a surprise to see this in younger patients. But, it adds up, given that different types of oils are used in vaping cartridges and other delivery devices.

Fox says it is not clear which substances or compounds in the vaping products are leading to harm. But, “when these substances enter the lungs it can cause a profound inflammatory reaction — that makes people really sick,” Fox says.

The patients will continue to be monitored. And Fox says, while it’s unclear whether there are any long-term health impacts, acute lung illnesses like these can put people at risk.

“There is probably at least some irreversible damage that is done every time you have a significant inflammatory reaction within the lung tissue,” Fox says.

“Inflammation can cause scarring in the lungs,” agrees Scott Schroeder, a pediatric pulmonologist at Tufts Medical Center, where two patients with vaping-related lung injuries have been treated.

He says, depending on the severity, these illnesses may increase the risk of a developing a range of lung conditions down the road, including signs of COPD or asthma. But, he says it’s too soon to say if the patients sickened in this outbreak will suffer long-term damage.

Patients’ outcomes will depend on how much and what they vape, combined with their other behaviors and risk factors, he says.

Though it may sound scary to hear that an 18-year old patient has been told he has the lungs of a 70-year-old, this may not mean very much, Schroeder says.

“I mean there’s very healthy 70-year-olds out there,” he says. “Do you have a lungs of 70-year-old smoker or the lungs of 70-year-old athlete?”

Schroeder says both vaping patients treated at his hospital are doing very well, and that they’ll continue to monitor their progress.

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A Sense Of Place Visit To Montmartre, Paris With Keren Ann

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A Sense Of Place Visit To Montmartre, Paris With Keren Ann

Keren Ann performs live for a World Cafe’s Sense Of Place, Paris session.

Kimberly Junod/WXPN


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Kimberly Junod/WXPN

In this special dispatch from Paris, Keren Ann shows us around the artistic neighborhood Montmartre, which has inspired a lot of her writing and is the place she calls home, even though she’s lived in many different places. (She was born in Israel, grew up for a bit in the Netherlands and lived in New York City.)


  • “Sous L’eau”
  • “Bleue”
  • “You’re Gonna Get love”
  • “Nager La Nuit”

We also visit Studios Ferber, where Ann has recorded a lot of music, to hear her perform songs from her latest album, Bleue, with her band. Ann shares insights about using the French language as texture in her music, how the Parisian music scene differs from New York City and how learning to listen to music well when she was a child helped her become a better musician as an adult. Hear the performance in the player.

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Assessing The Political Fallout Of Trudeau’s Blackface Scandal

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Assessing The Political Fallout Of Trudeau’s Blackface Scandal

CBC reporter Salimah Shivji talks to David Greene about how revelations that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau darkened his skin in the past will impact the upcoming Canadian election.

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Canadian PM Trudeau Apologizes For Brownface Costume At 2001 Party

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Canadian PM Trudeau Apologizes For Brownface Costume At 2001 Party

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigns for the upcoming election in Fredericton, New Brunswick, September 18, 2019.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is apologizing for having worn brownface makeup at a 2001 costume party.

“I should have known better then, but I didn’t and I did it and I’m deeply sorry,” he said to reporters in his campaign plane in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The revelation was first reported by Time magazine late Wednesday which published a picture of Trudeau wearing a turban and robe with dark makeup on his face, neck and hands for an Arabian Nights-themed party at a private school where he taught before entering politics.

Speaking of the Aladdin costume and makeup he wore when he was 29-years-old, Trudeau said, “It was a dumb thing to do.”

“I’m pissed off at myself, I’m disappointed in myself,” he added.

The prime minister who just launched his reelection campaign a week ago also admitted that there was another time he had worn makeup.

Trudeau said he did it in a high school talent show while singing the Harry Belafonte song, “Banana Boat Song (Day-O).”

Reaction from Trudeau’s political opponent was immediate.

Canada’s Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who is challenging Trudeau in the Oct. 21 federal election, said the prime minister’s photo was racist in 2001 and is racist in 2019.

“What Canadians saw this evening was someone with a complete lack of judgment and integrity and someone who is not fit to govern this country,” said Scheer as quoted by the Associated Press.

Trudeau, who said he has worked all of his life against racism and intolerance, said he recognizes the brownface makeup was “racist.”

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Canadian PM Trudeau Apologizes For Brownface Costume At 2001 Party

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Canadian PM Trudeau Apologizes For Brownface Costume At 2001 Party

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigns for the upcoming election in Fredericton, New Brunswick, September 18, 2019.

John Morris/REUTERS


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John Morris/REUTERS

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is apologizing for having worn brownface makeup at a 2001 costume party.

“I should have known better then, but I didn’t and I did it and I’m deeply sorry,” he said to reporters in his campaign plane in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The revelation was first reported by Time magazine late Wednesday which published a picture of Trudeau wearing a turban and robe with dark makeup on his face, neck and hands for an Arabian Nights-themed party at a private school where he taught before entering politics.

Speaking of the Aladdin costume and makeup he wore when he was 29-years-old, Trudeau said, “It was a dumb thing to do.”

“I’m pissed off at myself, I’m disappointed in myself,” he added.

The prime minister who just launched his reelection campaign a week ago also admitted that there was another time he had worn makeup.

Trudeau said he did it in a high school talent show while singing the Harry Belafonte song, “Banana Boat Song (Day-O).”

Reaction from Trudeau’s political opponent was immediate.

Canada’s Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who is challenging Trudeau in the Oct. 21 federal election, said the prime minister’s photo was racist in 2001 and is racist in 2019.

“What Canadians saw this evening was someone with a complete lack of judgment and integrity and someone who is not fit to govern this country,” said Scheer as quoted by the Associated Press.

Trudeau, who said he has worked all of his life against racism and intolerance, said he recognizes the brownface makeup was “racist.”

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