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Best of the Web


Narcocorridos are the ballads of drug trafficking.  The music evolved out of traditional norteno music with polka-like accordion riffs, except that narcocorridos glorify the exploits of drug traffickers.  In poor cities like Juarez,  Mexico, despite all the drug-related violence, the narcos are viewed as heroes. The demand for narco-inspired music and movies has grown so much that some narco musicians such as El Komander make more than $60,000 a weekend.

Shaul Schwarz’s film “Narcocorridos: Singing Songs of Drug Violence” looks at the phenomenon of the narcocorridos, their violent beginnings and perhaps a glimpse of what may come of the narcocorrido culture.

*warning the content is graphic

Homegirl Cafe

Stephanie Lane was born into a neighborhood plagued by shootings, to parents who were gang members and drug dealers. At the age of 11, she asked to join the East Coast Crips, a branch of the notorious Crips gang.

Reuters photographer Lucy Nicholson follows Stephanie and her journey to move away from the footsteps of her parents.  As a young girl, everything her parents did, she wanted to do better.  Stephanie had been in and out of jail since the age of 13, but during her last stint in a juvenile lockup she was offered a job at Homegirl Cafe, part of Homeboy Industries, one of the largest gang intervention programs in the U.S.

Lucy Nicholson’s multimedia video, “Homegirl Cafe,” chronicles the journey of one girl trying to make it out of a life of hopelessness.  It is not an easy journey but it is one that may save her life.

The Monster Under the Water

The inhabitants of the Gulf’s Delacroix Island are watching their world disappear before their eyes.

Delacroix is a small fishing community at the edge of Louisiana that is used to battling the elements.  During Hurricane Katrina, Delacroix was almost completely wiped out, with all but a dozen homes destroyed. Whether it was tenacity or the fact that fishing is all the community knows, Delacroix slowly rebuilt only to have the Deepwater Horizon oil spill wreak havoc on its  already fragile fishing industry.  The problem is that fishing is not just a job for residents, but a way of life.

Melanie Burford of the Prime Collective has produced a video for ProPublica that looks at the inhabitants of Delacroix as they watch their world disappear.

The Uprising

Magnum photographer Dominic Nahr started covering the uprising in Egypt in late January.  What started as a moment of great pride and joy for the Egyptian protesters ignited into violence and mayhem as forces loyal to President Hosni Mubarak began attacking protesters with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Time magazine and Magnum in Motion have produced a multimedia photo essay of Nahr’s photography and audio he recorded from Tahrir Square for Time magazine’s new photography blog, LightBox.

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