Tuesday, July 27, 2010

White baby born to black parents (not albino) , London 07/2010

A Nigerian couple living in London had a white baby who is not albino. Scientist cannot explain the phenomenon although they can confirm that the child is not an albino and biologically of both parents. Another proof of the relativity of race.

This may sound strange but I tend to link it to a recent scientific argument explaining the existence of white people in Europe. Last year I read an article in The Times stating that only 5500 years ago white people started to evolve from dark skinned people in Europe. Due to a sedentary life Europeans found themselves having less vitamin D in their food than hunters-gatherers. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient and a light skin is much more efficient in absorbing vitamin D from sunlight than a dark skin is.

In places such as northern Europe, where sunlight levels are low, the ability to make vitamin D more efficiently could have been crucial to survival. Vitamin D deficiency could be lethal. Research links it with heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and reduced immunity. Therefore people born as white could have had a greater chance for survival in places with few sunlight. Through time natural selection made what we nowadays call ‘the white race’.

Still, this findings have to be treated with caution as a lot of things are still unclear and based on presupposition rather than hard scientific facts (please read more here). The birth of Nmachi is only one little fact that could enlighten our biological understanding of human diversity.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cuisine: Babette De Rozieres's new book

French chef Babette De Rozieres will present her new book "La Bonne Cuisine de Babette" at "Le Festival des arts culinaires et de la gastronomie" on 24/07/2010 - 25/07/2010 in Guadeloupe.

De Rozieres also wrote the famous cookbook "Creole".

Nelson Mandela International Day ! - July 18th

Today it's Mandela Day. On November 2009, the UN General Assembly declared July 18 Nelson Mandela International Day in recognition of the former South African president’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom. Website www.nelsonmandela.org

I forgot of doing something special today, but I will catch up.

Summer Carnival Rotterdam 2010 – Street parade July 31st

Summer Carnival is a yearly 3-day Caribbean Carnival in the city centre of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Summer Carnival, similar to the carnival in Rio, is a huge event where at least 900.000 visitors come from all over Europe to dance to the latin music and look at the colourful and amazing costumes and floats in the big street parade.

Promo Summer Carnival 2009

On Saturday July 31st the big Street Parade emerges in the city centre. At night there is still a lot to see on the two live stages.

The Carnival started out as a local Carnival of the Dutch Antillean community in Rotterdam, and grew out to an international big city event.

Queen Election on July 24th,
the Battle of Drums on July 30th
Street Parade and Live On Stage on July 31st.

Dutch: www.zomercarnaval.nl/
English: www.zomercarnaval.nl/nl/English

Video: Filmmaker Mo Asumang about herself and Berlin

H/T Black in NRW: An interview with German filmmaker, actress, and moderator Mo Asumang. She is well known in Germany due to her documentary movies and TV moderation. Recently she has gained International exposure being featured in Roman Polanski's movie "The Ghostwriter" playing Condoleezza Rice.

In the interview with Fareed Khimani, she talks about herself and about her city Berlin. They also visit the multicultural festivities on labour day in the famous immigrant neighbourhood Kreuzberg. According to Asumang the special thing about the festivities on labour day is that you always have riots between Neo-Nazis, left-wing people and the police.

But Kreuzberg is also the home of the Carnival of Cultures http://www.karneval-berlin.de

Also see the post: AfroGerman week: filmmaker Mo Asumang in search of "Roots Germania"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

African Troops at France's Bastille Day

Today France is celebrating it’s national day, Bastille Day. President Sarkozy invited for the event some 13 African head of states. All from countries celebrating their 50th anniversary of independence.

Troops from Cameroon, Gabon, Niger, Chad and Congo-Brazzaville joined the military parade under the leadership of French military officials. All this happened among heavy criticism on two levels. First that many of the invited head of states are responsible for grave human rights violations. Inviting them gives a certain legitimacy to leaders who have no wish to respect the human rights and increase the life quality of the country’s citizens. Second because of the symbolism. Marc Ona, a Gabonese human rights activist compares African leaders at the parade to "colonial governors who find themselves together with chief colonialist Nicolas Sarkozy to celebrate keeping Africa in international penury".

Sarkozy’s argument is that African soldiers fought alongside French soldiers during World War I and World War II and that this is a way to honour them. But honestly I think there are better ways to honour the veterans then to invite their corrupt leaders to this parade.

Let’s not forget how France totally failed to grant the respect and rights of the African veterans of all post Napoleonic French wars. It is stunning how wikipedia’s entry on the Tirailleur Sénégalais fails to give more information about this insult towards the African troops who fought alongside Europeans during World War I en II.

It’s only in 2006 (after Rachid Bouchareb’s film on the Arab soldiers during WWII) that Chirac granted the pensions the veterans deserved. Most had died at the time. You can find some info on wiki in this article.

Some of France's African troops in Europe during WWII

Sarkozy further stated that the presence of the African troops just shows to the world the strength of the ties uniting France with its former colonies. And that is exactly what Sarkozy wants as in this globalized world the African nations have a lesser need to preserve the ties with their former colonizers as new nations (like China, Brazil and India) are investing and collaborating with them.

The International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH), an umbrella group for human rights organisations around the world, said in a letter to President Sarkozy that "It would be no small paradox that during a celebration of the values of the Republic, these values should be flouted by the presence of torturers, dictators and other predators of human rights, and that instead of pursuing them, France honours them."

Defence Minister Herve Morin said on national radio that there are no indications whatsoever that war criminals were present among the African units. Maybe not among the African units, and maybe not war criminals. But there are definitely criminals among the African head of states invited to France’s national day.

This article is based on a BBC News article you can find here

Below I add an intersting video analysis from Newsy.com


Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Being black and keeping it real!

Black and white are not opposites. It is the social construct that expresses the norm vs. the anomaly. In the West the norm is white. White is just a physical feature though. To be white you just have to look white, that’s it. You can be white and rich, white and poor, white and smart, white and dumb, white and handy, white and lazy, white and sporty, … It doesn’t matter whether you are good or bad at football or dancing, whether you are better at math or are a good speaker. It doesn’t even matter what your favorite music style is. You are white because you look white.

Being black is unfortunately different. To be black you don’t just have to look black but you also have to ‘act black’. It means that you have to talk and walk a certain way. It means you listen to a certain kind of music. You should also be fond of sports and be good at dancing and singing. Then and only then you are ‘real black’. While white people can never be ‘fake whites’, blacks can be ‘fake blacks’.

If blacks do not answer to the criteria set for blackness they are not real. You become a bounty or an oreo. You may hear from white people things like: ‘Yeah, but you are different. You are not really black.’ But what does that mean? Why wouldn’t I be a real black person if I do look like a black person, if I am confronted with the same prejudices as other black people? Because I have a master’s degree and a good job? Because I know how to speak properly? Because I know how to be polite? Because I prefer rock music to hip hop and reggae? Because I don’t talk like blacks on TV?

It seems that if we do not act as a stereotype we lose our integrity, we even lose our identity. The worst is that blacks themselves keep this phenomenon alive. Blacks all over the Western world often expect their fellow blacks to ‘act black’, otherwise you are not authentic. Blacks use the bounty and oreo terms much more often than whites do, and we know it is meant as an insult.

White people do not have the same issue. You can talk and dance whatever way you like, you are still white. Nobody will say you are not really white. Even a wigger (a white person who dresses and talks like a rap gangsta) is and stays white. There isn’t any clear image of what a white person is supposed to be, or how whites are supposed to act in order to be ‘real whites’. Eminem is white and will stay white, but president Obama has to pass the realness test to be considered a brother (and apparently he succeeded very well at this).

Whites are therefore free to fill in their identity just the way they like (and just the way they are). This makes them stronger as it broadens their perspectives on personal success. This while blacks are confronted with stereotypes on which they have to test their authenticity. I don’t want to blame anyone for this social phenomenon, I just want blacks to reflect on this. And while I ponder on this I keep in mind Obama’s great words said during his short speech at the Democrat Convention in 2004: Eradicate the slander that says a black kid with a book is acting white!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Will Holland win the World Cup?

23rd JUNE 1988. European Championships Final. Holland 2 v USSR 0. Holland's captain Ruud Gullit
Will Holland win the World Cup? Somehow most of the Dutch critics believe Spain will win. One critic said: "Lets be honest, we aren't really that good."

Even Dutch legend Ruud Gullit had his doubts about this team. Ruud Gullit, who scored the opener in the 1988 European Championship final triumph against the USSR and also coined the phrase "sexy football", believes that to make an impact in South Africa, the Netherlands may have to sacrifice style for substance and abandon their traditional 'total football' approach.

"I have my doubts about whether Holland can win it, simply because we need to play well in all the games," he said. "The opposition seem to have sussed us out at the last few tournaments, which makes it difficult to play our game, but I hope we will do well. There is a great possibility to get through our group but it's going to be hard. I always hope that, when we get through our group, we can win games ugly - that would be a turning point." (source ESPN)

But although Spain has a great competition, they have never won the World Cup. It's fifty/fifty.

Jason lewis spoofs Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind"

The funny music video from BBC Comedy starring comedian Jason Lewis. Jason Lewis is Jay Z and Alicia Keys. Jason Lewis is not in an Empire State of Mind, but in a Big Ben State Of Mind. It's London!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Olufemi Terry wins Caine Prize 2010

This article is based on an article in The Guardian of Tuesday 6th of July 2010.

Sierra Leone's Olufemi Terry won the Cain Prize, known as the African Booker Prize, for his short story Stickfighting Days. The price is worth £10,000 and goes to a short story by an African writer published in English. Stickfighting Days tells the story of a group of boys who sniff glue and fight each other with sticks in a city rubbish dump
According to the chair of literary judges Fiammetta Rocco, the Economist's literary editor, "The execution of this story is so tight and the presentation so cinematic, it confirms Olufemi Terry as a talent with an enormous future."
Olufemi Terry was born in Sierra Leone but he’s a true Afropolitan. Terry grew up in Nigeria, the UK and the Cote d'Ivoire, studied in New York and lived in Kenya, Somalia and Uganda. He currently lives in Cape Town. As he explains to The Guardian, he tries to explore with his writing the issues of the African diaspora.

"Living in the diaspora, whether it's west or east, throws up a whole new set of challenges and questions which I don't feel have been properly explored or looked at," he said. "The label 'African writer' is not a particularly helpful one ... Whether it's journalism or fiction, there is too much emphasis put on issues such as poverty or disease, and I feel the label 'African writing' exacerbates that particular tendency. I would like to see more of a shift away from writing about Africa set on the continent, and more exploration of the issues of the diaspora."
Terry hopes the win will help him find a publisher for his first novel The Sum of All Losses, which he is about to complete. The Caine prize, awarded annually, includes among its patrons the African winners of the Nobel prize for literature Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer and JM Coetzee, as well as Chinua Achebe.

Read more in The Guardian

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

German Zoos displaying ‘Africa’ and Africans – again!

From Der Braune Mob: Once again German zoos are organising “Africa days” one of whose framework program includes African people as well as their presentations, art and culture, becoming part of a visit to the zoo!

Zoo Eberswalde:
Excerpt from the leaflet:

Enjoy African flair with spirited live music and dance performed by the band Odjadike and the Ballet Zebola from Congo.
This event is supposed to support the ethnic group of the San, the “last first people”, helping them to help themselves, in terms of a gentle integration into our modern age.

One would have thought that the case “African Village 2005” in Augsburg would have gotten about in this sector and would have led to a learning process. Back then a range of international (and German) protests arose;

however the event did get realised, braced by arguments (by the zoo director) as “otherwise ‘coloured people’ could not be shown in common sport events either” and that “the zoo” be “exactly … the right place” to “convey the atmosphere of exotic” and to make the “African culture” accessible for the inhabitants of Augsburg.

Back then one of the main ‘justifications’ was that the proceeds would benefit a ‘good cause’. As if this would not be possible through an event within an dignified frame, which does not link to the German history of brutal Völkerschauen (human zoos).

Read full story here

Monday, July 5, 2010

The miXed2010 Expo at Gentse Feesten 2010

During the festivities of the ‘Gentse Feesten’ (17/7-26/7/2010), a yearly 10 day music and theater festival in the city of Ghent, the miXed2010 association (website in Dutch & French) is planning an exhibition about racial identity. The exhibition contains work of black and white artists who question the concept of race through visuals, paintings, sculptures, video, installations, … The artists featured in the exhibition are Berni Searle (SA), Jean-François Boclé (F) and Gauthier Hubert (B) among others. The curator is the art critic Stef Van Bellingen who questions through this exhibition the way black people have been depicted during the whole history of Western media (commercials, Hollywood, TV, …).

(c) Gauthier Hubert

The exhibition will be opened on Friday 9th of July at 7pm, one week before the start of the Gentse Feesten and will be followed by a concert with European and African artist brought together by Tuur Florizoone. They will bring a musical show combined with visuals, telling a story of a white man who discovers his African roots (according to me a metaphor for the whole of European histroy and identity). World famous Belgian jazz artists like Laurent Blondiau (AKA Moon) en Nicolas Thys will be part of it, next to AfroBelgian singer Sabine Kabongo and polyphone vocal group Nabindibo next to African multi-instrumentalist and artist Aly Keita. You can see Sabine Kabongo performing Duke Ellingtons 'Come Sunday' with the Zawinul Syndicate via this link.

During the exhibition the documentary ‘Colour Bar’ will be screened all day long. This is a documentary of Roland Gunst, a video artist who describes his identity issues for a new generation raised in-between different cultures and racial colours. Below I post the little trailer for his documentary. It is currently only available in French though.

Diddy backs UK hip-hop invasion

The BBC reports that Rap star Diddy has said he believes British hip-hop is "on the verge of breaking" in the US charts.

The rapper, formerly known as P Diddy and Puff Daddy, has worked with UK acts Tinie Tempah, Chipmunk and Skepta.

"I've always been abreast and respected the UK hip-hop scene and I look forward to great things," he told BBC News. Read the full story here

(HT Mad News)

Tinie Tempah

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Kwakoe Festival 2010 in Amsterdam (Jul 3 - Aug 8)

'Kwakoe' festival is a weekend event that takes place every Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 8pm, from July 3rd to August 8th in the Bijlmerpark in Amsterdam South East.

The festival is one of the biggest multicultural festivals in the Netherlands, and it's free.

From July till August it's weekends of pure dancing, eating and anything else in between. Wind down on a hot summers day with theatre, music, film, literature, sport and everything on offer at this very buzzing multicultural and family-oriented festival.

Calypso singer Mighty sparrow at kwakoe 2009

Website: www.kwakoefestival.nl

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Carnaval Tropical de Paris 2010

The 9th edition of the "Carnaval Tropical de Paris 2010" will be weaving its way through streets of Paris on July 3th. The carnaval will start on 14:00h at the Place de la Nation.

Official website: Carnival Tropical de Paris 2010:

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