Thursday, January 29, 2009

Black celebrities speak about Obama

Entertainers, movie stars and celeb athletes share their private feelings about Obama. Thanks to the The Glamazon Chronicles

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Do we want BET as black European television?

Should we be pleased with the European expansion of Black Entertainment Television BET?

BET, short for Black Entertainment Television, becomes mainstream in Europe. The company broadcasts Hip Hop, Jazz and Gospel music and various sitcoms, and life style shows. The channel started broadcasting in 2008 via the satellite network Sky UK, but rumors are that it will broadcast via the bigger media company UK Virgin TV in march 2009.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A black President, a new future

Will Smith said that the circle has closed. From slavery, to the civil rights movement and now to something no one could have imagined, a black President.

As I was standing in front of my TV for hours, I thought of all the books and conversations my friends and I had about the civil rights movement, Malcom X, and about being black in a white society. I remembered the pictures of black people being beaten when they stood up for their rights in Birmingham.

Somehow being black is being in a constant state of protest. Although there is still a lot to fight for, I know it's time to say good bye to all my images of the African American struggle and perhaps about being black. Reinventing blackness and move on to a new circle. Because the old one has now closed.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Meet the Afro-Turks

Afro-Turks are Turkish people who are the descendants of slaves from Africa. They were brought into Turkey during the Ottoman Empire or Turkish Empire (1299–1923) . Afro-Turkish writer Mustafa Olpak (56) gives the "Afro-Turks" a voice. "I am the first person who dares to say that my grandparents were slaves" In his book Olpak discusses how his African grandfather was purchased as a household slave by an Turkish family, and later moved to Istanbul after the Turkish Revolution in 1922.

Mustafa Olpak is the initiator of the African Organization for Solidarity and Cooperation, the organization has succeeded in organizing the old sacrificial feast of Afro-Turks, the Dana Bayrami, revitalization . That party had its peak between 1880 and 1920

Gülay Kayacan, who works for the History Foundation, an institute that researches and publishes articles on Turkish history, says that some of the Afro-Turks are descendents of slaves who used to work on farms or in houses. Slaves working in agriculture were concentrated in areas where cotton production was high. It is for this reason that most Afro-Turks today live on the Aegean coast and some in the Mediterranean region.

“Some 10,000 slaves, black and white, were brought into the Ottoman Empire every year. During the constitutional monarchy period (1876-1878), slavery was abolished and former slaves settled in areas where they used to work. Some of them were even given land by the government,” Kayacan says.

Some famous Afro-Turks

Hadi Türkmen, the former Turkish football federation manager

Tuğçe Güder a Turkish model who was chosen as the Best Model of the World - an international annual competition - in 2005


Update: Mustafa Olpak, the founder of the AfroTurk organisation, died in October 2016.

In 2006, Olpak founded the first officially recognised organisation of Afro-Turks, the Africans' Culture and Solidarity Society (Afrikalılar Kültür ve Dayanışma Derneği) in Ayvalık. A principal aim of the association is to promote studies of oral history of Afro-Turks, a community history of whom was usually ignored by official historiography in Turkey. Olpak's legacy and the organisation will continue. 

The Turkish film Arap Kızı Camdan Bakıyor ("The Arab Girl Looks from the Window," released with the English title of Baa Baa Black Girl)  discusses how his grandfather was purchased as a household slave by a Turkish family, but later moved to Istanbul after the Turkish Revolution.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Estelle was right about the music business

Remember Estelle's comments she made about Duffy and Adele concerning music industry racism? One example is the difference between UK/European version of the video ‘Mercy’ and the US version of the video. In Uk/European version of the video there are only white people, in the US version there are numerous black people.

UK/European version

US version

Why the difference? Is the record company Polydor afraid of a bad response the US, because there are trying to sell music of a white European singer who sings black American music? And why are the black folks left out in the UK/European version?

It must be all carefully planned, because the big record labels are all part of the global conglomerate Universal Music Group (UMG). So Estelle, this is not a UK thing.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Assaulted Black German boy in Pömmelte has died

Kevin, a black German boy, who was brutally tortured by Neo Nazi's in 1996 in the German city of Pömmelte has died. On the 28 december 2008 Keven suddenly collapsed and died. But the cause of death has not been resolved. The lawyer of Kevin's mother has stopped the cremation, because the mother wants to clarify his dead. Kevin was 15.

In 2006 the 12 year old Kevin was attacked by five Neo-Nazi's in the city of Pömmelte Schönebeck. He was tortured for over an hour. According to a medical report he had 34injuries.

The criminals where found. Three of them were sentenced to three and a half year imprisonment, two others where given suspended sentences. In 2006 the small city of Pömmelte Schönebeck became headline news.

In a statement the lawyer of the mother explains why they want an investigation: "We have stopped Kevin’s cremation because - and this is unbelievable – we do not yet know whether the head of Kevin has been extensively examinated to find out if it's possible that the cause of death may be a late consequence of the then suffered skull-brain trauma."

Interview with Kevin: ‘Five Nazi’s took me and almost beat me to death’
On Kevin (15) is dead

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Rasheed Ogunlaru: "Become who you are"

Become who you are is the mantra of British personal life coach Rasheed Ogunlaru. Ogunlaru is a well-know speaker and coach. The first video I saw of him was the one about the President in you. But his mantra - to become who you are - is something I can live with. And now that it's just a few weeks before Obama will become officially president, here is the short flick.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Danny Glover's film 'The Revolution' will go on!

Danny Glover wants to make a film about the Haitian rebel leader Toussaint L’Ouverture, but he had trouble financing the film. Despite the set-backs, Glover confirmed that Toussaint is going ahead – and filming will begin this month

In an interview Glover said he was angry with Hollywood for refusing to put money behind the film. He said: ‘Producers told me: “it’s a great project but where are the white heroes?'

The film already has a glittering cast-list including Angela Bassett and Wesley Snipes. Don Cheadle plays Toussaint himself, while British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and rapper Mos Def also features
The Revolution Will Be Televised
louverture films

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Moroccan Ahmed Aboutaleb mayor of Rotterdam. A step forward?

AP wrote: 'A Moroccan immigrant was installed today as mayor of Rotterdam, the Netherlands' second largest city, in a move hailed as a significant step for the integration of minorities in the European Union nation. Ahmed Aboutaleb, who has dual Dutch-Moroccan citizenship, is the first Moroccan-born immigrant to be appointed a Dutch mayor. Some have compared his achievement to that of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama.'

But I wonder if Aboutaleb’s appointment is a significant step for the integration of minorities in the European Union nation? To break it fast. In this case the answer is 'no'. Why?

Why does a political party moves a Maroccon muslim as mayor into a city which is the centre of the biggest anti-muslim movement in the history of the Netherlands? It would be same if Martin Luther King would have become the mayor of racist Birmingham Alabama in the sixties.

Politics in the Netherlands is becoming increasingly right wing. Even the party of Aboutaleb, the Dutch labour party, is making a move to the right by proposing hardline measures on ethnic minorities who aren't considered integrating.

To catch a bit of the Dutch climate today, some background. The murdered politician and populist Pim Fortuyn was a major force in the anti-muslim atmosphere in the Rotterdam and in the Netherlands. In parliament there is the anti-muslim party of Wilders, the one that made the anti-Islamic film Fitna. The party has 9 seats and is growing to 16 in the polls. Another party who's preparing for the next election with the same agenda has 9 seats in the polls. So this is not a Obama united country.

The answer to why Aboutaleb is mayor is not so difficult. His party wants him to break the anti-Islamic atmosphere in the Netherlands. And they want him to make sure that the party will have some political power left after the next election. But letting a 'minority' mayor solve minority problems is the same thing as asking Obama to stop the violence in the American ghetto's.

I hope Aboutaleb can bring about change. If he does he will not be the Dutch Obama, but the Dutch Aboutaleb.

And the black folks in the Netherland? There are and have been several black mayors, but never of a big city.

Read: The French (translated) comment on Bondy Blog of Aboutaleb

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The first black news anchors in Europe

When Harry Roselmack started reading the news for a big televison station in France it seemed the face of Europe was changing. But since Obama’s victory black Europe is nail biting over its progress over the years. Although Black European news anchors are the visible sign of progress, some stories of the first black news readers show that change doesn’t come easy.


Harry Roselmack became the first black news anchor on France's TF1 2007, the largest privately owned television station in Europe. But his appointment was only temporarily, he was a just a sit in news anchor Patrick Poivre d'Arvor who to long six-week vacation. Roselmack’s appointment had everything to do with the France riots in 2005. He saw himself as a kind of beneficiary of that unrest. Roselmack was born in France, but is from Martinique descent.

But why did it took black France so long to get there? In an interview Roselmack sketches the French black society before he became news anchor: "Before 2000, two Black people would cross the street and not speak to each other, because we didn't see ourselves as Black, but French." To those who might not have felt this way before, skin color now seems to make a difference

Audrey Pulvar is the first black news anchor in France. She worked for Antilles television in Martinique before she was hired in 2004 to become the first Black presenter of the main evening news on a national French TV station. The difference with Roselmack is that he anchored the news for a far more bigger audience.

But for Pulvar the beginning was not easy. When she first came to France in 2000, looking for a TV job, she was told point-blank that "the French public is not ready" for a nonwhite face to present the news. Even more junior on-camera jobs were off limits; "I already have a black and I don't need another one," one television executive told her. In the interview Pulvar stated: "I had to prove myself continually, more than any White in a similar situation." Pulvar was born in Martinique.

United Kingdom

Barbara Blake Hannah was the first black news Anchor on British TV in 1968. Her TV presence was short, but her story reveals much of the working climate in those days. About her experience she wrote: ‘After nine months my contract was terminated and I was told that the producers were under pressure from viewers who called in daily to say, "Get that n****r off our screens." My producer tried to break it to me gently, but it still hurt, especially when I was replaced by an Australian girl.’ Blake was born in Jamaica. 

Update: In 2020 a British Journalism Award has been named in her honour

Trevor McDonald became the first male black news anchor in the UK on ITN. He began reporting in 1973, and in 1989 he became one of the presenters of News at 5.40 on ITV. He ended his career in 2008. McDonald won more awards than any other British broadcaster, and was knighted to Sir in 1999. McDonald is born in Trinidad.

Moira Stuart was the second black British female newsreader in the UK. Since 1981, she has presented virtually every news bulletin the BBC devised. She was voted Best Newscaster of the Year in 1988 by the TV and Radio Industries Club Awards. In 2007 she quitted after it became clear that her age was becoming a problem. Steward was born in London to African-Caribbean parents.


Noraly Beyer is seen as the first black news anchor in the Netherlands. For 23 years from 1985 to 2008 she presented the news for the NOS, the Dutch BBC. Beyer is a strong advocate of black presence in the media and theatre. Beyer was born on the Dutch Antilles to Surinam parents.

Eugenie Herlaar is officially the first black News presenter in The Netherlands. Herlaar was a news reporter from 1965 to 1969. In 1975 she became the first black anchorwoman in the Netherlands to present the evening news. And she also was the first female on the news. In an interview Herlaar says that she never was aware of the fact that she was the first non-white presenting the news. Herlaar presented the news only in 1975, the year that the former colony Suriname became independent. Herlaar was born on the Dutch Antilles.


Germany has no black new anchors, but it does have a ‘minority’ anchor. In 2007 Dunya Hayali became the first 'minority' co-anchorwoman for Germany's prime time news program 'Heute-journal'. Haili has Iraqi parents. Hayali's appointment came after the so-called ‘integration summit’ which was chaired by the German leader Angela Merkel. Merkel wanted to avoid the ethnic friction experienced in Britain and France.

Black television journalists in Germany are rare. About one of the journalists The Times wrote a revealing story: 'The most high-profile black journalist in television – virtually the only one in front of a camera – is Cherno Jobatey, a half-Ghanian presenter of the ZDF breakfast programme. For years he wore white trainers under his suit so that viewers could refer to him as the “reporter in gym shoes” rather than the “black reporter”. Now he has taken to wearing leather shoes – a sign of growing social acceptance.'

Update: Jana Pareigis, TV presenter and journalist became the first black news anchor of DW’s German-language Journal news show in 2010. The Hamburg-born moderator has German, Swedish and Zimbabwean roots. Read her story at Deutsche Welle (DW).

The first!

The first black European news anchor is Eugenie Herlaar from the Netherlands. But the three old news veterans Trevor McDonald, Moira Stuart and Noraly Beyer who stopped reading the news where the most visible news readers.

The news from Paris: there are only three TV anchors who are 'coloring' the French airwaves
For French Blacks, a Face on TV News Is Only a Start
It wasn't Trevor or Moira - I was the first black British TV presenter
Newsreader leads way for minorities (Germany)

(This post was updated on 11/9/2010, Barbara Blake Hannah was added as the first black news anchor on British TV)

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