Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Video: Alain Clark - "Father and Friend" (Netherlands)

Alain Clark is one of the nominees for 3FM awards 2010. De 3FM Awards is the audience prize for Dutch musicians. The award ceremony will take place on April 15th .

Alain Clark is a Dutch pop musician and producer who has a strong global fanbase. In 2007 he released the double platinum album “live it out”.

Inspired by a chance comment by a friend, the album’s biggest hit is ‘Father and Friend’ , an emotional ballad in which Clark duets with his (Dutch Caribbean) father Dane – himself a veteran of a covers band playing classics from the likes of Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and James Brown.

The album was also released in the UK, where the first single 'This AIn't Gonna Work' was a top 10 hit.

In 2009 Alain Clark sang a duet with Diana Ross in the Gelredome in Arnhem.

Official website:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Professional Africans in Europe - Brain drain and gain

There are many nurses, teachers and business professionals from Africa who are welcomed with open arms in Europe. I wanted to say this because of my previous post about illegal Africans in Europe.

So two videos. The first video is about a Ghanaian nurse in Sheffield UK, the other one is about a Nigerian business professional from the UK who returned to Nigeria. I saw both videos on Shadow And Act

“Witness – A Nurse’s Tale” (The Brain Drain)
In Ghana, Lydia Kwashie is a highly trained midwife, but with a family of eight to support, she can barely make ends meet. The 48 year old mother left behind family and friends in Ghana to seek work as a nurse in the UK. Witness joins Lydia on her first trip back home to Ghana to share the conflicting emotions of pride, joy, guilt and hope.

Nigeria's brain gain - Nigerian expats repatriating to take advantage of opportunities in Nigeria and Africa's growth despite global economic downturn.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Illegal Africans in Europe - "To Stay Illegally or To Die"

Via Neo•Griot.
The BBC-documentary “Living with Illegals” is one of the most compelling documentaries I have seen in years. I have seen it on the blog

You can see the full video at

It’s a documentary of the experiences of British journalist Sorious Samura about Africans who are trying to get into Europe illegally. It’s a story about people who sometimes try to get in for years. Some of them live in woods, try to get over barbwire or try to swim to Europe.

Once they are on the mainland they head for the UK, because they feel they will get a better treatment there then in most other European countries. Smuggled in trucks, or hanging underneath trucks they try to reach the UK.

Sometimes I see them in the Amsterdam metro. Unfortunately it is so obvious there are illegal: broken sneakers and summer clothes in the winter.

Sometimes you read in the papers of illegal Africans jumping out of an apartment building because they didn’t want to be caught by the police. Some die, or have very severe injuries.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Who is really French ?

An interesting video about the debate about the French national identity. French president Sarkozy started the debate about the French identity because of his diminishing popularity.

Yesterday after the local elections it became clear his party had lost the elections. The entire French Caribbean voted against him, only French Guyana and Reunion supported him.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Video: Seu Jorge - “Tive Razao” + "É isso aí"

Seu Jorge is a Brazilian singer/songwriter and actor. Virtually unknown in Europe, but a legend in Brazil.

One of his best performances are on the DVD Seu Jorge ao vivo (2005), were he performed with Ana Carolina, who is also a famous Brazilian singer.

Ziegler production wrote about him:
His name is Seu Jorge - or Mister Jorge - the Brazilian singer, songwriter and actor who grew up in the favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro. He is passionate and charismatic, quirky and romantic, deep and philosophical. And despite all the stardom and privileges he has now, he has managed to maintain his humble demeanor and a very, very charming personality. There is no wonder why Vogue Brazil once dubbed him “the coolest man on the planet.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Accomplished: Name of May Ayim on German street sign

Finally it has materialised, the street sign of German poetess and activist May Ayim.

"For the first time in Germany, the name of a controversial figure of the colonial past has been replaced on a street sign with the name of a person who critically wrote about racism and colonialism and fought against the consequences."

May Ayim (1960-1996) fought against ongoing racism in Germany and was active in the women’s movement. (Source: Der Schwarze Blog)

Afro-Europe: German street renamed after poetess May Ayim

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A.C. Global Voices - Black media starting guide (UK)

The website A.C. Global Voices is an online directory of all of the African Caribbean community information/talk/debate shows across the world.

Though the main emphasis is on radio programmes, the website also promotes other current affairs based media such as TV stations, magazines, newspapers and newsletters.

In an interview with Ligali the founder Chigbo John-Paul Ibe explaines why he created the site. "I would hear people ring into shows complaining about;
‘How there aren’t enough forums out there for Black people to have discussion’,
‘Community organisation not knowing how to promote their events to the wider community’

This triggered me to think about ways of getting the information to the wider community. I originally thought about publishing a directory in paper format. However I found it too expensive.

The only option was to create a website. I did procrastinate over the idea for a while, but after encouragement from some friends I decided to push on with it last October."

Read the full interview on Ligali

Website: A.C. Global Voices

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Video: Lola Adesioye - Why there may not be another Barack Obama

Lola Adesioye is a British socio-political writer in the US. She writes articles for the Guardian and The Huffington Post. She also appeared on CNN. In this video she talks about Obama and why it’s difficult for him to make that change he promised. For more information go to her website: Lola Creative

The Virtual Revolution

The Virtual Revolution. How 20 years of the web has reshaped our lives

A very interesting documentary of the BBC. There are four one hour episodes of this program. It's about broadband internet in Ghana to Facebook, twitter, napster and much more.

Go to the YouTube channel where you find all episodes: Youtube channel The Virtual Revolution
you can also check out the website The Virtual Revolution for more information.

Maybe the internet revolution should change that old black "Twice as good" mantra into: Don’t be twice as good, but be better informed.

The Virtual Revolution Episode 1 Part 1.wmv

Go to The Virtual Revolution for more episodes.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Challenges of a second generation immigrant (Italy)

Queenia Pereira de Oliveira: "We live in a permanent state of uncertainty"

To be a second generation immigrant in Italy is a big challenge in deed. However much one feels to be Italian, before officially obtaining Italian citizenship, one is required to have the Permit of Stay in order to live legally in the country, says Ms. Queenia Pereira de Oliveira.

Queenia was born on 7th August 1986 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her mother is a Brazilian while her father is a Nigerian.

She has spent most of her life in Italy. Queenia is worried of the fact that the country’s citizenship law doesn’t guarantee the right to naturalization of immigrant children who have grown up in the country. These children who are Italians in all aspects, are forced to have the Permit of Stay in order live in the country, and are usually issued permits which are valid for short periods. This makes them live in a permanent state of uncertainty.

Queenia, who is a poet, has in fact written a poem titled “Awareness” dedicated to all the second generation immigrants in Italy. The poem is a true picture of the suffering of these children who consider themselves Italians but who unfortunately are considered foreigners by the Italian law.

Queenia has been living in Italy since she was five years old, but has not yet obtained Italian citizenship. Asked why she has not yet become Italian, she says: “It is only because of an unjust law, that is, the Law 91 of 1992 which doesn’t recognize the fact that the population of the second generation of immigrants either born or grown up in Italy, is growing rapidly in the country.”

She says that many second generation immigrants, herself included, are living this situation of precarious rights linked to the Permit of Stay.

Queenia is pursuing a Degree course in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Rome, La Sapienza.

Talking about her identity, Queenia says: “I feel I’m a combination of different identities. I think the work of indentifying a second generation immigrant is quite complex. I can now only tell you that I surely feel I’m Italian, but at the same time I’m also a Nigerian and a Brazilian. Let me say that nothing excludes the other.”

Read full story on Africa News

The Italian blog for second generation Italians: Rete G2 – Seconde Generazioni

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Frans Johansson, Creativity and The Medici Effect

What’s the difference between creativity and innovation? I you want to find out watch these videos of Frans Johansson. He is also the author of the book “The medici effect”, a book about how intersection between different disciplines or cultures can generate new ideas.

By the way, Frans Johanson was born in Germany, and raised in Sweden by his African-American/Cherokee mother and Swedish father.

Although this method of creating new ideas is not new, you sometimes need the push to execute them. When you are reading these last sentences you are maybe one click away from creating something new, or to put into practice you have thought of for years.

Website: “The medici effect”

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A bit of Amsterdam Bijlmer + video

A picture of the gentrification, or urban renewal, of Amsterdam Bijlmermeer. The notorious high-rise flats together with the new homes.

For most Dutch (black and white) people the Bijlmer flat apartments are ‘ the’ example of a black ghetto. Although it is not comparable with the real ghettos, the Bijlmer is portrayed in the media as the black trouble district of the Netherlands. But things are changing as you can see in the picture.

The Video
In the video the image of the urban black neighbourhood is cultivated, it’s a video of youth group called Bijlmerbreakz. Most interesting about the video – at least from an ethnic perspective - is the mix of two big black communities in the Netherlands, the Surinamese and the Antillean community of Curacao.

Although they both have the same Dutch colonial background, the biggest difference between the two groups is that the Surinamese are more English Caribbean and the Antilleans are much more Latino.

They also speak a different language. Surinamese people speak Sranan Tongo (Surinam tongue), a Dutch/English creole language with an African structure. The Dutch Antilleans speak Papiamento, a more Spanish language.

The clip is called “Dit is wat ik wil” (This is what I want). In de the video they speak Dutch, Papiamento, and Sranang Tongo.

Pas op, pas op = Watch out, watch out (Dutch)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Colin Emmanuel - "D’illusions Of Grandeur" (London)

I was too late to grab the free download of the London HipHop album "D’illusions Of Grandeur" (2006)of UK's famous producer/mixer/writer/remixer Colin Emmanuel.

But listen to "My Thing feat KRS1". The intro is taken from Glastonbury when Colin Emmanuel appeared on stage with The Beta Band after having produced their HOT SHOTS PART II.

<a href="">My Thing feat KRS1 by Black Einstein</a>

<a href="">Pretend feat Nate James by Black Einstein</a>

More music on blackeinstein.bandcamp
See more info on Soul Culture

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Roman grave reveals that black people lived in York in the 4th century (UK)

Copyright Yorkshire Museum: The Ivory Bangle Lady skull
A British Roman grave reveals that York (England) was a multicultural society and that black people lived there in the 4th century. The evidence is a skull which was discovered in 1901 in Bootham York in a sarcophagus. The picture above is a computerised reconstruction of how the 'Ivory Bangle Lady' could have looked.

The ancestry assessment suggests a mixture of 'black' and 'white' ancestral traits. It seems likely that she is of North African descent, and may have migrated to York from somewhere warmer, possibly the Mediterranean.

The “Ivory Bangle Lady” will be the centrepiece of an exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum in August entitled Roman York: Meet the People of the Empire.

Archaeologists have discovered that wealthy black Africans lived in Roman Britain in one of the country’s earliest examples of multiculturalism.

Scientific research techniques have established that a lavish grave containing a woman’s skeleton, an ivory bangle, perfume bottle, mirror and jewellery, belonged to a North African member of York’s high society in the 4th century.

Her well-preserved remains showed that she was 1.5m (5ft 1in) and aged between 18 and 23. There were no signs of a violent death, and muscle markings showed that she had not lived a strenuous life, suggesting that she was affluent. Among the goods found in her grave was a bone with the inscription “Sor ave vivas in Deo” (Hail, sister, may you live in God), suggesting that she may also have been a Christian.

Hella Eckardt, who carried out the study, said: “Multicultural Britain is not just a phenomenon of more modern times. Analysis of the ‘Ivory Bangle Lady’ and others like her, contradicts assumptions about the make-up of Roman-British populations as well as the view that African immigrants were of low status, male and likely to have been slaves.”

The research, A Lady of York; migration, ethnicity and identity in Roman Britain, is published in the March edition of the journal Antiquity. The “Ivory Bangle Lady” will be the centrepiece of an exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum in August entitled Roman York: Meet the People of the Empire.

Read full story on Timesonline
Yorkshire museum: Africans in Roman York?

You learn something new every day. “Sor ave vivas in Deo”.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Dutch black woman celebrating a right wing victory?

I wrote a post on August 6th 2009, but I never posted it. It was about a black or Asian woman at a meeting of a right wing political party called the PVV. It's the party of Geert Wilders, the one that tours the planet to "warn" us about Islam.

Tomorrow there will be elections for the city counsels in the Netherlands, and the Anti-Islam party of Geert Wilders will participate in two cities, Almere and The Hague. The polls favour him, and the predictions are that he will win the majority of the seats in these city counsels.

The sad part is that some Surinamese people will actually vote for him, for a number of reasons. Black and Asian. I think I am missing something.

Here is my post I didn’t post.

A newspaper photo of a black young woman at a celebration party of the Dutch right wing political party the PVV. It’s the party of the Dutch politician Geert Wilders who was denied access to the UK because he wanted to show his famous anti-Islam film Fitna. The party had a massive victory in the Netherlands at the European elections because they only had one slogan: say no to Islam.

So what’s that black girl doing there? What’s a black woman doing at a celebration party of a political party which is ready to team up with the big anti-Islam, anti-immigrant and anti-black political parties in Europe.

I wanted to ask the same question to the Dutch black female gospel singer who sang at the kickoff meeting of another anti-Islam party in the Netherlands. She sang for a party who stated that minorities had no voice in the party.

There is context here of course. The Netherlands has increasingly turned right wing due to huge problems with a small part of the Moroccan Islamic youth, and the killing of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Moroccan extremist. Van Gogh made the Islam film Fitna with Islam criticaster Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

I agree that everyone has a right to have a controversial political view. But somehow I thing that as black person in Europe you must find a way to not only to have black awareness, but also to have minority awareness as well. Which can be very difficult sometimes.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Video: Respect the immigrant (Portugal)

This is a video made for an anti-racism campaign to combat the Portuguese intolerance against African, Brazilian and Chinese immigrants. It’s an old one from 2006. Warning: there are some shocking scenes in the video.
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