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The Story of Ballake Sissoko & his One of a Kind Instrument allegedly Destroyed by US Customs Officials



Just imagine this scenario: as a respectable person of colour, you are in a queue at the security check point of an international airport along with other Caucasians, and when it gets to your turn, you are suddenly asked to step aside for further checks. How would you feel? We are guessing not so good.

Anyway that was the case of this top Malian kora player, Ballake Sissoko who says the United States customs destroyed his precious instrument, according to The Guardian.

The incident, which happened during Ballake’s flight back from a concert, has sparked outrage over the treatment of African musicians performing abroad, and brings about the question of racial profiling.

After a two-week tour of the United States, Ballake was flying back to Paris when he found his handmade instrument in pieces and inside the case, a note in Spanish from US customs read: “intelligent security saves time.”

Sissoko’s instrument had been tailor-made to his needs, allowing him to quickly change tune for concerts.

The truth is, just like Ballake Sissoko, there are many others out there who have been treated unfairly by international border securities because of the colour of their skin, or worse still, whose property have been damaged due to “necessary” security measures.

Photo Credit: @ballake.sissoko

1 Comment

  1. SPencer white

    February 8, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    racism of the highest order.


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