Friday, January 29, 2010

Exhibition: Afro Modern - Journeys through the Black Atlantic (Liverpool)

Renee Cox: River Queen, from Queen Nanny of the Maroons 2004
Afro Modern: Journeys through the Black Atlantic: Friday, 29th January 2010 - Sunday, 25th April 2010 in Liverpool UK.

This major exhibition, inspired by Paul Gilroy's seminal book The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (1993), identifies a hybrid culture that spans the Atlantic, connecting Africa, North and South America, The Caribbean and Europe. The exhibition is the first to trace in depth the impact of Black Atlantic culture on Modernism and will reveal how black artists and intellectuals have played a central role in the formation of Modernism from the early twentieth century to today.

From the influences of African art on the Modernist forms of artists like Picasso, to the work of contemporary artists such as Kara Walker, Ellen Gallagher and Chris Ofili, the exhibition will map out visual and cultural hybridity in modern and contemporary art that has arisen from the journeys made by people of Black African descent.

Divided into seven chronological chapters, from early twentieth century avant-garde movements such as the Harlem Renaissance to current debates around 'Post-Black' art, this exhibition opens up an alternative transatlantic reading of Modernism and its impact on contemporary culture for a new generation.

One of the most controversial artist at the exibition is photographer mixed-media artist Renee Cox. She is known for her remake of Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper with a nude Cox sitting in for Jesus Christ, surrounded by all black disciples, except for Judas who was white. See, Yo Mama's Last Supper. In 2001 some Roman Catholics and former mayor Rudy Giuliani were not amused.

Africans, Violence and Exploitation in Southern Italy

Before the end of this month we need to report the issue of African immigrant workers in Southern Italy. Early this month riots occured in Rosarno, Calabria sparked by shootings against Africans. These kind of shootings are not uncommon.

According to Saviano, author of Gomorrah, there are several hundreds of thousand African immigrant workers caught up in a brutal cheap-labor system ran by the Maffia. The Maffia organizes the immigration of Africans to the extensive vegetable and fruit farms of Southern Italy. These immigrants have to live in terrible conditions earning less than 3 euros per day for 10 to 14 hour working days. Thanks to them we can by cheap tomatoes, egg plants, zucchinis, olives, lemons .etc.. in our North European supermarkets.

These Africans live in tents, shacks and abandoned buildings on the margin of society. Repeated assault by locals against African immigrants have been reported in the last years. Unfortunately the local police is not sympathetic to the living conditions of the African workers. Disappearences are frequent and immigrants who object to low wages and poor working conditions are simply eliminated.

The Rosarno riots were reportedly sparked by local youth who fired air rifles at African immigrants. Unfortunately these kinds of shooting are not uncommon. In December 2008 a man shot without apparent reason two Africans who were sleeping in their shack, one got severely injured. Following this event the workers took to the street peacefully asking for protection. Approx. 2500 to 5000 Aficans live in the Rosarno valley. This is a huge number compared to a total of 15000 inhabitants.

After the second attack early this January several hundreds of workers went into the town of Rosarno and burned cars and smashed shop windows. Several locals replied with a severe attack on the African settlements.

It was the fourth outbreak of intercommunal violence in recent years resulting in the resettlement of about 1000 Africans in detention centers. Two years ago six Africans died in such a fighting in the coastal town of Castel Volturno, although these killings should be seen in relation to the drug activities of a local Maffia clan and Nigerian immigrants. Generally the European media is not too much vocal about these violent events.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Black History Month 2010 in Hamburg (Germany)

BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2010 in Hamburg is about to start this Saturday 30.01. - 22.00 h with a grand OPENING PARTY !

We have a big program of more than 25 single events during the next weeks.
Live music, lectures, poetry, films, youth program and more.

Check out the details at

We hope you will find it interesting and look forward to seeing you all again. Of course we would like to see new face aswell. ;-)

But while we are celebrating Black culture, looking at history and empowering the community, we will also think of our brothers and sisters suffering in Haiti right now. Throughout BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2010 we will be asking for donations towards the cause and contributions will also be made from the entree fees. That's why we need you to help us get as many people as possible to come to the events.

Here are 3 things that would have a great effect on the turnout :

- Call up a couple of people who probably don't know about BLACK HISTORY MONTH
- Remind or tell your friends about the OPENING PARTY this Saturday and bring them along with you
- Forward the mail to people who could be interested

Check out the program immediately here

Check out the party scene in this video

Black History Month 2010 Opening party in Hamburg (Germany)

Football: African Cup Supporter Wear (France)

Although the African Cup is almost over you can still get some stylish T-shirts of the French label Support Wear. The T-shirts were created by Stéphane Ndjigui, who also created the famous French Hip-Hop label “Première Classe” .

Stéphane Ndjigui is no stranger to football. He picked up his love for football from his father, who is a retired player from the famous football club Caiman De Douala of Cameroon.

For Support Wear Ndjigui asked several personalities from the world of music, football and theatre to support his project. Celebrities like stand-up comedian Thomas Njigol, football player Souleymane Diawara from Olympique Lyonnais (photo), rapper Mac Tyer and Zouk singer Ben J from the group “les Nèg' Marrons” have lent their image to the brand.

Site Support Wear
Official site African Cup of Nations 2010

The African Cup of Nations is from 10th to 31st of January and his held in Angola.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Anton de Kom: Holocaust Memorial Day 27 January 2010

Tomorrow it's the Holocaust Memorial Day. And tomorrow I will also light a candle for Surinamese/Dutch freedom fighter and human rights activist Anton de Kom, who died in the Neuengamme concentration camp in Germany.

Anton de Kom was born on February 22, 1898 in Paramaribo, Surinam. His grandparents had personally experienced slavery and his father was born a slave. The many stories he heard at home about the atrocities, fed his aversion against racism and colonialism. The Kom is the author of the book "Wij Slaven van Suriname" (We Slaves of Surinam).

Anton de Kom joined the Dutch resistance after the German invasion in Netherlands in 1940. On 7 August 1944 he was arrested by the Germans. De Kom died on 24 April 1945 of tuberculosis in Camp Sandbostel near Bremervörde (between Bremen and Hamburg), which was a satellite camp of concentration camp Neuengamme. He was buried in a mass grave. In 1960, his remains were found and brought to the Netherlands, were they buried in the Cemetery of Honour in Loenen. He became 47 years old.

A short documentary about De Kom's life.

The University of Suriname was renamed The Anton de Kom University of Suriname in honour of De Kom. Anton de Kom was listed in De Grootste Nederlander (The Greatest Dutchman/Dutchwoman) as #102 out of 202 people. And in Amsterdam Zuidoost a square is named after him, the Anton de Kom plein. It features a sculpture of Anton de Kom as a monument to his life and works.

In his book "We slaves of Surinam" he wrote:
"Though unrecorded in the history books of the whites, the ill-treatment of our fathers is engraved in our harts. Never has the misery of slavery been brought home to me more insistently then through the eyes of my grandmother when she told us children stories of the old days in front of the hut in Paramaribo."

De Kom was traumatised by being son of a slave. I can't even image how hard it must have been for the Kom to be in a concentration camp where he had to experience the opposite of everything he fought for.

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) commemorates the tragic loss of life in the genocides of World War II, in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur. HMD is held on 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

On the website of the Holocaust Memorial Day you can light a virtual candle, you can light it here.

I was 18587th person to light a candle.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Corinne Bailey Rae's "I'd Do It All Again"

I must admit I have never been a fan of Corinne Bailey Rae, but I am starting to become one after seeing the live performance of I'd Do It All Again on "Later with Jools Holland".

"Rae has undergone a tidal shift towards a raw, less manicured sound," said The Times of one of her recent London performances." And it shows.

The song "I'd Do It All Again" is from her new album "The Sea". The album is set in the UK for february 1st release on EMI's Capitol Records. In the US it will be available on January 26th.

Live performance of "I'd Do It All Again" on "Later with Jools Holland":

The official video of "I'd Do It All Again"

Offical website Corinne Bailey Rae

Video: The live of a black street musician in Paris

Always wanted to know what it’s like being a street musician in Paris, but were afraid to ask? You'll get the answer from guitar player Nikerson from Haiti. In the video he talks about his live in Paris, about his frustration, and about his dreams. An interesting video with scenes from the streets of Paris. See part two here

The video is from a very interesting blog called Beta Bahil. Beta Bahil wants to develop, market and distribute African cultural media and products worldwide. African, in this case, means anyone of African descent in or out of the continent.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Manuela Ritz author of The Color of my Skin (“Die Farbe meiner Haut”) on tour

"Neger, Feger" (“Negro”, “chimney sweeper”), were the names other children called her numerous times during her childhood. Usually, Manuela Ritz would not see her perpetrators. She held her head down. At one point she lifted it and hollered back at them „weißer Scheißer (“whitey”, “shit“)! Maybe this was the first step towards her present profession as and to her inner belief: Fighting back sets one free.

It’s the story of German anti-racist trainer ManuEla Ritz (40), and author of her powerfull biograpy “Die Farbe meiner Haut” , or in English “The Color of my Skin”. Her book was published in 2009.

ManuEla Ritz grew up in the small town Mügeln in East Germany, a town coined by the media as extreme right wing. In her book she writes about her experience of growing up in Mügeln, and about growing up as a black German in Germany.

Book tour
In March 2010 ManuEla Ritz will be on a book tour in Germany.
10.3. - Landshut (Bavaria)
11.3. - Oberschleißheim (near Munich)
17.3. - Hannover
18.3. - Leipzig
19.3. - Cologne - not confirmed
22.3. - Bielefeld

In an interesting interview (German) Ritz talks about her workshops, and how racism works. A short translation from 2: 43 till 5:22).

Interviewer: when I think of racism I think of Neo-nazis and violance, but there is also everyday racism. Where does racism actually begin?

Ritz: When I give empowerment workshops, I say to people that racism is what you experience. Racism is a form of discrimination. Discrimination just means treating a person differently. And the "different" means who is outside the norm and who is not. And when you're outside the norm I can ask you different questions, I can look at you differently, and I can touch you, which is not "normal" in our society.

Interviewer: could you give an example?

Ritz: A friend of mine told me, a grown up woman, that in bus her hair was touched to see how it felt. She thought "hello" are we in the year hundred.

Book Review

Because the story of ManuEla Ritz is very powerfull I have added the complete English book review.


ManuEla Ritz is working as trainer for Anti-Racism and Empowerment Workshops. In her biography “The Color of my Skin“, which was published in April 2009 by Herder Verlag, she describes her job and the reasons that made her chose this profession. She does this by describing scenes she has experienced in her life as Black German woman, reflections which include joyful as well as painful memories. The author calls her book rightfully „not a biography in the traditional sense“. The reality of her life - once in East Germany and now in a unified German republic - is inevitably connected with the central theme of her work,
life and pain: Racism and how one can fight it.

The fact that this is a book which gives encouragement and which has been written by an author who has still „hope in her heart“ becomes clear in her introductory words. Here ManuEla Ritz describes the effects which Barack Obama’s election as president of the United States has had on her in December 2008. He fought a seemingly hopeless battle and won it. This is an experience she has made as well and continues to do so until today: „Racism in Germany is still existing,“ she says, and the experiences she presents in her book leave no room for doubts about this statement.

ManuEla Ritz grew up in a small town in Saxony, Mügeln. The reader finds out at the very beginning of the book that already her journey into life and her arrival in the same were accompagnied by complications and separations. It were those very circumstances of her birth that caused that ManuEla Ritz experienced few days after the first change of environment which was her transport into a foster house for babies in Mügeln, which was 15 kilometers away.

Mügeln, where ManuEla spent her childhood and youth, was the place where she made her first experiences with racism. „There was a time during childhood, in which I felt the pressure from the outside world to define myself through an ethnic heritage which was unknown to me. I was given the impression that I was not a real German.” She describes the feeling of being excluded from the rest of the group and her participation in the game “Who is afraid of the Black Man” in the chapter about her childhood. Until today the game represents to her an intrinsic example of how children are taught to think in racist categories at a very early age. This is another reason why ManuEla Ritz believes in fighting racism in a very early stage. The fact that she offered an Anti-Racism workshop against racism at the school of her
childhood in Mügeln is therefore no coincidence at all. The media treated the town as synonym for the existence of right wing violence when in 2007 eight men of Indian heritage were beaten up and hunted through the streets of the city by a mob.

Mügeln is also the place where ManuEla Ritz learned for the first time how liberating it feels to defend oneself successfully against racism. „Neger, Feger“, were the names other children called her numerous times during her childhood. Usually, ManuEla Ritz would not see her perpetrators. She held her head down. At one point she lifted it and hollered back at them „weißer Scheißer!“ Maybe this was the first step towards her present profession and to her inner belief: Fighting back sets one free.

And there where many things she had to fight against, e.g., the obstacles she had to overcome when starting the search for her biological parents. With different experiences and realizations at the end of these roads which brought her first to Meißen, the city of her birth, and much later in 2007 to Nairobi in Kenya, the country of her father.

Years before these travels, ManuEla Ritz had experienced that in a unified Germany there is not automatically a place for Black people. Again, she had to learn how it feels to be excluded, an experience which she turned into a movie script after she had completed a further education study program in script writing. In this work, she describes how the unification brought freedom for many and fears for others. For ManuEla Ritz these experiences are part of her path of life: „Fear can paralyze“, she writes. „Fear can also
motivate. Fear, and even more so the desire not to allow that my life is dominated by it, were important aspects for my decision, to become an Anti-Racism-Trainer.“ She talks about this in the second half of the book, in which she also shares experiences and insights that she made during her work as Anti-Racism-Trainer. Beside that she also points to scenes of daily life racism, e.g., arbitrary controls of Black peoples’ passports as well as the common usage of established racist terminologies in the German language.

When ManuEla Ritz claims that working constructively with the topic racial discrimination is a necessity, she does this also from the perspective of a mother of two children. Her goal is to assist them, so that they are able to find and create their own strategies at hand and to strengthen them in the way they deal with racism. The topic „How do I tell my children“...what racism is about and how you fight it, is a central matter to her.

Participants of her workshops learn, that racism has many faces and that the need to fight against it, is central for a society in general, not only for those who are its target. ManuEla Ritz is aware of the fact that most white Germans have to get used to the thought that racism exists in Germany. „They don’t experience it“. Others do and not all of them survive it. The reader gets aware of this in the chapter that deals with racially motivated assassinations in Germany and that makes clear that racism concerns everybody. ManuEla Ritz knows: compassion does not help those who are the target of racism. Compassion is not visible and it does not offer any protection against attackers. The conditions that allow racism to take place at all are explained in her Anti-Discrimination-Workshops: „Discrimination is only possible if there is a majority who does not interfere” ManuEla Ritz stated once in an interview. “Those who keep silent, seem to agree.“

ManuEla Ritz is also describing strategies for those who have to deal with racist attacks. She explains to them the importance of understanding how internalized racism works. As she makes clear, it is important to replace it with the knowledge that racism is a powerful social and oppressive structure.

Structures of power and oppression are also dealt with in the subsequent chapter in which ManuEla Ritz provides an introduction to the topic Adultism. Adultism refers to the discrimination of children and youths through adults. Based on this phenomenon, the author shows that all types of discrimination are based on similar structures. To provide evidence for her findings, she presents a theoretical model as well as empirical findings from Adultism workshops that she has conducted during the course of the last four years.

Beside this biography there is more material the reader can turn to after completing the book. ‚Homestory Deutschland’, a multi-media theatre piece about Black German lives and experiences is a well received project, that provides an inter-generational and deep view onto topics that the reader will be acquainted with from ManuElas Ritz’ biography

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sade Nominated For Brit Award

Sade Nominated For Brit Award. To Celebrate its 30th Anniversary, The BRIT Awards 2010 will include a new retrospective award - The ‘British Album of 30 Years’. The category includes the top 10 best selling albums that have also won British Album categories over the past three decades, and we are very happy to announce that Sade’s debut album ‘Diamond Life’(1984)has been nominated. The award will be voted for by Radio 2 and 6 Music listeners.

In the meantime, here’s the full list of nominations for BRITs Album of 30 years.

BRITs Album of 30 Years
Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head
Dido - No Angel
Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms
Duffy - Rockferry
Keane - Hopes & Fears
Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory?
Phil Collins - No Jacket Required
Sade - Diamond Life
The Verve - Urban Hymns
Travis - The Man Who

Monday, January 18, 2010

Football: Mario Balotelli and the Race issue in Italy

African-Italian stiker Mario Balotelli (19) has a lot to endure in Italy. Read the very interesting post on the blog Myafroitalianlife (M.A.I.L)

Football player Mario Balotelli (19) aka Super Mario for the great Inter fans, was born on 12 August 1990 to Ghanaian immigrants Thomas and Rose Barwuah in the Italian city of Palermo. Up to here the story is boring without much adventure. However years passed, Mario has become a young man gifted with the ball on his foot. Great, he is a Ghanaian football hero now. Wrong, because he is the controversy of the Italian soccer game these days.
Let's go back few years.

In 1993 at the age of three Mario's parents entrusted the child to a white Italian family, the Balotelli. Mario remained with them and still sees them as his parents. For Italian bureaucracy he was not allowed an Italian citizenship until the age of eighteen, just less than two years ago.

Now he is an African-Italian, who has the desire to play for his beloved country Italy. However since last month (December 2009) he is in the Italian national news due to the racial abuse he receives whilst on the field.

Many spectators will agree that he is a good, excellent young footballer, but others blame the abuses on his arrogance and completely uncontrollable behaviour. For another party he is abused due to his colour. Read the full story here

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Video: Wyclef Jean - Yéle

Spotted on the blog AfroSpear

Yele is a song from the hip hop Album (1997) entitled "Wyclef Jean Presents The Carnival Featuring Refugee All Stars", or more simply The Carnival. It was Wyclef Jean's first solo album

The album features guest artists such as including Celia Cruz, The Neville Brothers and Jean's bandmates from The Fugees, Lauryn Hill and Pras.

The album features skits between many of its songs, most of them set in a fictional trial for Wyclef Jean, in which he is accused of being "a player and a bad influence".

The final three songs are sung in Haitian Creole.

The album sold over 5 million copies worldwide, and was RIAA certified 2x Platinum (source wikipedia)

It's sad to see that Wyclef now has to defend himself against allegations of misappropriated funds from his Yéle Haiti Foundation. The charity foundation is used to raise money for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. See the full story on all Hip hop.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Exhibition: The Meaning of Style (UK)

Meaning of Style Exhibition. Black British Style, and the underlying political and social environment. An exhibition created by New Art Exchange.
Dates: Saturday 16 January - Saturday 10 April 2010 in Nottingham (UK)

New Art Exchange presents an exhibition exploring the presence of young African Caribbean men in Britain over the last 40 years, and how Black music, fashion and culture have influenced mainstream society.

Young African Caribbean men have often been portrayed as low achievers and perpetrators of crime in British society. But now, with Barack Obama winning the presidency of the biggest superpower in the world, will we see these same young men portrayed in a different light; as a source of huge potential for the future? Will the achievement of black youth in Britain over the last 40 years be recognised and honoured?

The presence of young 'Black' men in the UK started to be felt in the mainstream media in the 1970’s. Often portrayed negatively, this was a period of hope for the ‘African Caribbean’ community, a period of ‘Pan African’ and ‘Back to Africa’ ideology. This was also a period of oppression for many young Black men, due in part to the political climate of Thatcherism, Police harassment and institutionalised racism.

The African Caribbean youth of the late 1970’s/early 1980’s were the first generation in the UK to confront society and demand change on mass. This ‘rebel’ generation in the UK were reflected in the visibility of sub-cultures like the ‘Natty Dreads / Rastas’ and the rise of reggae music with politically aware artists like Bob Marley and, in the UK, Steel Pulse. Young men developed a ‘Rebel’ style that influenced young people from all backgrounds, around the world.

Style, fashion, ideology and the ‘Black’ Diaspora may have changed over the years, but young ‘Black’ men in the UK have made their presence felt ever since. In modern society many of the legacy of this 'rebel' style is seen in the fashion of young people from all backgrounds, ethnicity and geographical locations around the world. Ultimately, this exhibition will ask questions of all of us.

‘The Meaning of Style’ will bring together artists that have created portraits of young people using different mediums and create a dialogue and polemic which cross reference the work in the exhibition .

Skinder Hundal, Chief Executive - New Art Exchange said:
“New Art Exchange is extremely proud to be hosting this extremely important exhibition, which explores some of our seminal artists documenting ‘British Black culture’ from past decades, and highlighting how this has helped influence fashion, music and mainstream culture. It was a time of change, awareness and finally empowerment for many migrant communities in the UK, and the exhibition explores this through various artforms.”

The exhibition and accompanying events and educational programme will explore young African Caribbean men’s style and fashion over the last 40 years, and the underlying political, social environment.

New Art Exchange
Gerard Hanson

Friday, January 15, 2010

HOPE – Obama musical story – celebrates its world premiere in Frankfurt/Main on 17 January 2010!

Photo: Michelle and Barack Obama
The venue Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt (Germany) will experience a sound it has never heard before: formed to a huge percussion ensemble, the audience accompanies US president Barack Obama on his successful way into the White House. The event organizer MOVE GmbH promises a double world premiere: at the premiere of "HOPE – the Obama Musical Story" on Sunday, 17 January at 8:00 pm, the audience will rhythmically participate on specially developed percussion chairs - for the first time ever worldwide. "Hope is the first interactive musical of a new generation", says musical producer Roberto Emmanuele, CEO and creative director of Move GmbH based in Bad Soden. "This is an enormous sound and a great musical experience for the audience."

Offical site musical Hope

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti earthquake footage on The Haitian Blogger

Translation: The woman is speaking French, saying: There was an earthquake, she's not injured, but a few things in her house have been broken... she's pointing to a fire (we can only see the smoke) and she repeats she is OK and the other girl is too... in English she says, "The world is coming to an end."

The Haitian Blogger

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pan-Africanism Congress 2009 in Munich

Photo Andrea Naica-loebel: Speakers, and members of the organisation
The 2nd Pan-Africanism congress was held on October 24th 2009 at the Goethe-Forum in Munich Germany. Approximately 500 persons attended the Congress.

Why a congress?
Many African countries will soon be celebrating the 50th anniversary of independence and freedom from Colonialism. However the hopes of true independence and freedom have remained mostly unrealised. Expectations of Economic, Social and Political growth are still mostly unfulfilled.Therefore the 2nd Pan-Africanism Congress intends to strengthen and to connect the African Diaspora. Ideas and visions for the sustainable shaping of Africa’s future will be discussed and further developed.

What is Pan-Africanism?
Pan-Africanism is a sociopolitical world view, philosophy, and movement which seeks to unify native Africans and those of African heritage into a "global African community". Pan-Africanism calls for a politically united Africa, according to wikipedia.

One of the important figures of the Pan-African movement was the first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. In the video he speaks about his vision for Africa at the All African peoples congress, held in Ghana in 1958

Who were the speakers at congress?
Guest of honour was former President of Ghana Jerry Rawlings. Rawlings confirmed that Africa is still under the burden of politicians and other individuals who are pursuing personal goals with international assistance. "The key principles of good governance," said Rawlings, "is that the will of the people in all government decisions is paramount, and not the rules of a political party."

Bob Brown, Pan-Africanist and Nkrumahist-Toureist, pointed out that the black Howard University is the only university in the United States that uses the book by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah: "Consciencism: Philosophy and Ideology for Decolonization" as teaching material. "The tragedy is," said Brown, "that Nkrumah’s work is not used in Ghana nor other countries in Africa."

Dr. Grada Kilomba, psychologist, writer and author of the book "Plantation Memories" named her speech, "The Mask – Remembering Colonialism, Understanding Trauma". She explained that the politics of the colonial powers was full of sadism and brutality, and that it was used in order to the silence the black subjects.

See the complete list of speakers here

In 1918 the former German Empire lost World War I and also its colonies in Africa (Cameroon, Togo, German East Africa, now Tanzania, and German Southwest Africa, now Namibia). In 1932 as a form of political protest close to 30 street names in Munich were named after events in the colonial history. But some streets were also named after notorious killers, like Lothar von Trotha. Now, thanks to the Munich City Counsel, four streets are renamed.

Website Pan-Africanism forum (German)
Photos of the event
African Students Association in Heidelberg Germany

Special thanks to Tina Bach

Earthquake leaves Haiti ‘worse than a war zone’

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Haitians piled bodies along the devastated streets of their capital Wednesday after the strongest earthquake to hit the poor Caribbean nation in more than 200 years crushed thousands of structures, from schools and shacks to the National Palace and the U.N. peacekeeping headquarters. Untold numbers were still trapped.

The devastation was so complete that it seemed likely the death toll from Tuesday afternoon's magnitude-7.0 quake would run into the thousands.

International Red Cross spokesman Paul Conneally said an estimated 3 million people may have been affected by the quake and that it would take a day or two for a clear picture of the damage to emerge.

First a senseless war and now this.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jamaican convicts get incentive to leave UK

The head of the returned residents group is reporting that the British Government has made a major decision in respect of Jamaicans convicted in the United Kingdom. Percival LaTouche says Britain has committed to providing cash incentives for Jamaicans serving sentences for crimes, if they agree to leave the UK before the end of their detention. According to Mr. LaTouche, the convicts could be given up to $5,000 British pounds, much less than it would cost to keep the convicts in British prisons. He would like other countries to implement an incentive system for Jamaican convicts facing deportation.

The deportation of Jamaican prisoners in the UK and their transfer to Jamaica has been going on for years. In 2007 Prime Minister Gordon Brown told Parliament that there were 1,400 Jamaican prisoners in British penal facilities, the highest number of all foreign nationals, adding that the UK would sign agreements with various countries “so that we can return prisoners from our cells as expeditiously as possible.” Read the full story here

Black people in Spain

Being black in Spain is different from being black in the UK, France or The Netherlands. In an interesting article five black people from Spain share their experience about living in Spain (short translation). You can read the full article (in French) on the blog Noirs d'Amérique Latine

Among the interviewed is television reporter Lucía Asué Mbomio. In the video for the website Live unchained she talks about her her documentary and about being black in Spain.

Short translation
Marcia Santacruz is chocolate coloured. Black like her father and her mother. Black as her grandparents. But apparently, in Spain, clothing, education and money determine the level of melanin. They nuance skin tone. The Afro-Colombian, who came to Madrid to complete a Masters in Public Administration, said: "In the Spanish mind Black is synonymous to domestic work, poverty and lawlessness. In their subconsciousness, they can’t believe that there can be a Black latina who speaks about Sartre.

Spain is not an openly racist country. There is no xenophobic party with parliamentary representation. The country does not represent a clear rejection of Black people, except for marginal extreme right groups. But there is subtle everyday racism, manifested in the way home. It is installed in the eye. You find it in the classic statement: "I am not racist, but ..." Or it’s the shop salesman who rushes to serve a black person, just so that person can leave the shop quickly. It’s racism in a country where blacks have gone from singular exotic elements, to being put all in the same bag, which is perceived with some concern: immigrants.

Update: A trailer of the documentary 'Can We Take Off the Blindfold? ' by Virginia Bright

Here, there is neither Barack Obama or Oprah Winfrey. There are not many symbols of success. The Black presence is recent, an explosion which occurred in the late nineties.

Spain has about 683,000 African descent. 1.5% of the population, just over 10% of foreigners according to the High Council of Black Communities (Alto Consejo de las Comunidades Negras). This exponential growth is most striking: in 1998 they were no more than 77,000. And just last year, about 7,500 descendants of Africans were born in the Spanish territory.

According to the association that advocates the visibility of the black community, these figures are approximate. First, they counted the foreigners residing in Spain from countries with Black people, and mixed the result with the percentage of African descendants from these countries. These figures have a margin of error. Unfortunately we have no ethnic census, the racial difference does not appear on the national identity card. But the quantification of a minority can be seen through another lens, especially if the initiative comes from the minority itself.

There are data that say: "We are a growing community. We are here. Take us into consideration."

For there was a time when the Spaniards (white) rubbed their eyes in seeing them. Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo, writer and minister of the self-declared government of Equatorial Guinea in exile, based in Madrid, arrived in Spain when his country was still a Spanish colony. A province on the African continent, one hundred percent black. In a recent article entitled Una nueva realidad: los afroespañoles (A new reality: afro-Spanish), the Equatorial Guinean wrote several anecdotes of his early years in the white territory.

For example: "Older women who, at Christmas 1965, ran, terrified and scared to see me in a city within the Levantine region, laying hands on her head and cried a black, black, My God, a negro! "[...] My classmates had scratched his head and hands with their fingers and were surprised they were not stained black.

Guineans in the former colony were the first to arrive. Today, there are a little over 23,000 people. This is the third African country with the biggest contingent of Blacks, after Senegal (47,000) and Nigeria (35,000). But migration has been very different. They came to study in the metropolis.  Today, they perhaps represent the most integrated Black community of African descent, with a second and a third generation.

Lucía Asue Mbomio reporter for Españoles por el mundo (TVE1) is one of them. She speaks with an accent of the district when she wants. She says it is her vulgar side. Born to a white mother and a father of Equatorial Guinea, she grew up in Alcorcón, a municipality south of Madrid. She's 28, and her room in a shared appartment, is filled with pride of her race. From "I Have a Dream" Martin Luther King, to the "Yes we can," Obama.

You can read the full article (in French) on the blog Noirs d'Amérique Latine


Antoinette Torres Soler and Lucia Asue Mbomio Rubio are two black women who created the digital magazine Afroféminas. A space for women of African descent. "I saw there was a problem in the media on how black women were portrayed," says its founder, Cuban born Torres Soler, who arrived in Spain in 2007.  She fights against the collective image that always boils down to portray women of African descent as "foreign, vulnerable and poor."  Read 
Racismos cotidianos: “Para ser negra, eres muy guapa”

In the video Antoinette Torres Soler talks about her motivation


The new documentary Gurumbé, Forgotten Music speaks of a very unfamiliar subject, the black African population who lived in Andalusia in the centuries XV to XIX.  The documentary highlights the role of slavery, the accumulation of wealth by many merchant families in Seville and Cádiz, and the influence of Afro-Andalusians in Andalusian history and culture.

In the video Gurumbé, London born flamenco dancer Yinka Graves performs the Andalusian flamenco dance La caña. See the interview 'Meet La Morena: Yinka Esi Graves' at Las Morenas De España.


Also see Black travel expert Nelson George of BlackAtlas talking to Black British Judi Oshowole, who has lived in Barcelona for 18 years. See more information about her and the community BIBS (Barcelona International Black Sisters) here



Saturday, January 9, 2010

film: Leroy (Germany 2007)

Leroy, a German youth film (2007).

Leroy (17) is German – and black. He lives in Berlin, wears a big afro, but prefers Mozart to Hip Hop. Leroy’s friends are outsiders as well, Dimi is Greek and Achmed is Palestinian. However they all have girlfriends except Leroy. When cute Eva falls in love with him, nobody is as surprised and confused as Leroy himself.

But first love is not always sweet. Eva’s family turns out to be right wing extremists. They even named their Australian parrots after two of Hitler’s generals and Eva’s five skinhead brothers are longing to kick Leroy’s butt asap.

However, Leroy does not give up easily. He assembles his friends, fights for his love and, in his own style, revives the black power movement of the 70s. His motto: Funk not Fascism.

Leroy (Alain Morel) lives in Berlin-Schöneberg, and is the son of a black eccentric inventor (Günther Kaufmann) and a progressive white mother (Eva Mannschott) who works for the local government

“Director Armin Völckers takes a gently humorous look at otherness and xenophobia in modern day Germany.”

A black guy who is in love with a girl from a right wing extremist family? It's as if the German director tried to mix German Neo-Nazi culture and black exploitation culture with bi-racial love. I wonder if a black director would have made a flick like that. Germany keeps surprising me.

Official website Leroy
Read more at Seattlefilmfest

The director also made the short film, "Leroy cleans up" (2005)
Part 1

Part 2

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Crime and community - The two sides of the London area Brent

The London Borough of Brent, or Brent, had the highest gun crime rate in London. Of course there is more to this multicultural area then crime, where black, white and Asian people seemingly live peacefully together. In two videos both sides are shown.

In the documentary Love In The City (LITC) a group of young people highlight the positives of Brent, as they were tired about hearing the negatives, and anti-knife and gun crime initiatives. LITC was an inter-generational summer 2009 youth project for young people to engage with their peers and different generations to find out mostly positive things about leaving in their areas, and some history.

In the video ‘Gun Crime in Brent’ the residents talk about the cause of the gun crimes.

Although it's interesting to see both sides, I still wonder why having "nothing do to" always seems to have the same effect in our communities.

See more Brent
Official site Brent
Brent magazine

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Nneka's new album "Concrete Jungle" + free mixtape

The countdown for Nneka's new album "Concrete Jungle" has started. On February 2, 2010 her new Album Concrete Jungle will be in the US stores. But as an introduction to her new album the Nigerian/Afro-German singer/songwriter has released the clip "The Uncomfortable Truth".

But there is more. She also collaborated with Brooklyn-based Mixtape DJ, remixer and hip-hop producer J .Period to put together a mixtape entitled: The Madness (Onye-Ala). You can download it free here.

The Uncomfortable Truth is also on the mixtape.

Nneke Myspace
Nneka world
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