"African Queen" was the story I started browsing, and then seriously reading. This article about Malian singer and businesswoman Oumou Sangare had not a trace of jaded attitude to it. It was old-fashioned dazzlingly inspiring (well-written to boot.)
This woman sings in the language Bambara about justice and reform. Doesn't sound like a money-maker to me, but she has become an international music sensation (though without my having heard of her before.) And she truly "speaks truth to power."
Here's an example of her courage:
"She once sang an anti-polygamy song to the King of Swaziland—'he had three wives on one side and four wives on the other!' Sangare laughs before getting serious. 'Polygamy is the worst thing that anyone can possibly do to a woman. I respect the choice of women who say they know what they’re doing and want to jump into the fire, but often they don’t have a voice. Their opinion isn’t asked for. For 20 years, I’ve been singing directly to women in Mali and Africa, telling them what’s really important is to have self-confidence. They can become autonomous and independent.'"
Feeling inspired by her example? I am. Paste is right: she's definitely a sign of life.