Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Sharpton goes to France in response to French designer Guerlain’s use of “N-Word”

French perfume designer Jean-Paul Guerlain’s use of the “n-word” during a recent interview on French state TV sparked an outcry from anti-racist groups, capped by the American civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton’s announcement of plans to travel to Paris to speak to the groups in November.

“The fact that Jean-Paul Guerlain felt comfortable enough to use the ‘n-word’ in public, coupled with the recent United Nations report showing that racism is on the rise in France, illustrates the depth of racism not only in France but throughout Europe and around the world,” Sharpton said in a statement Oct. 23.

“We will be joining with the fair-minded people across the Atlantic Ocean to further internationalize the struggle for fairness and respect. We cannot tolerate such affronts to our basic humanity,” reports Afro

French perfume designer Jean-Paul Guerlain created a firestorm after his racist statements in a TV interview on France 2.

He was talking about how the perfume Samsara grew out of a discussion he had with his wife.

“One day I told her – and I still call her Madame (0.12) – ‘What would seduce you if one was to make a perfume for you?’ and she told me, ‘I love jasmine, rose and sandalwood.’” Guerlain continued, “And for once I started working like a nigger. I don’t know if niggers really worked that hard.”

Patrick Lozès, of France's Representative Council of Black Associations, said the French word "nègre" used by Guerlain was an "extremely pejorative" and "racist" term equivalent to "nigger" in English.

But Patrick Lozes not only attacks Guerlain. On his Blog he also attacks the interviewer Lucet, who laughed after Guerlain made his racist statements.

Although Guerlain has apologised by e-mail, it’s clear he knew exactly what he was saying.

Also read: French perfume house Guerlain faces legal action over racist comments

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Short film: "Limbo" - The dreams of an immigrant in London

Via Shadow And Act
Limbo is a film (2006) about a man living for the city of London. At the centre of this mockumentary is Issam, an immigrant from Sudan now living in London, who works round the clock as a street sweeper and a security guard. He takes us on a tour of his dull and lonely life and along the way reveals his private passion for the buildings of London.

We soon learn that he has his own dream of becoming an architect and has been spending his time developing plans for a radical transformation of London’s skyline. But just as he proudly prepares to show us his portfolio he discovers, to his horror that his cherished drawings are missing. He sets out to find them. (Source BBC)

The film is fiction, but I'm sure it's someone's personal story.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Video: Ben l'Oncle Soul - Seven Nation Army (France)

Ben l'Oncle Soul is a French soul singer with a retro style who made his eponymous Top Five hit album debut in 2010 (Motown France).

Born Benjamin Duterde in 1984 in Tours, Indre-et-Loire, France, he took his name and look from Uncle Ben, the fictitious elderly African-American man dressed in a bow tie who serves as the brand image of Uncle Ben's Rice. The moniker Ben l'Oncle Soul was chosen rather than Uncle Ben...

He is also nominated for the French Awards "Trophées des Arts Afro-Caribéens" in the category Artist of the year.

Ben L’Oncle covered the song “Seven Nation Army” of the rock band "White Stripes"

See more at

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Indo-Africans: The forgotten story of the Black Dutchmen

An Indo-African Black Dutchmen family in The Netherlands
The story of the Black Dutchmen is an almost forgotten part of African, Dutch and Indonesian black History. That's why the Indo-Africans are now exploring their roots.

The Black Dutchmen are the descendants of 3,000 young West African men who were “bought” between 1831 and 1872 by the Dutch colonial army to help crush uprisings in what is now Indonesia.

They were given Dutch nationality, Dutch names, and many of the privileges of the colonial masters.

Many of these men chose to settle in Central Java, and took native wives. Their sons continued to serve in the colonial army until Indonesia's independence. The Belanda Hitam, or Black Dutchmen, as they were called, then sailed off the Netherlands, the homeland they had never seen.

Today every other year or so, the Belanda Hitam, or Black Dutchmen as they are now known in the Netherlands, gather to celebrate their unique ancestry, the RNW reports.

The scene is utterly confusing, even for those most at ease in multicultural settings: tall, black, curly haired older men in African attire; short, fragile, dark skinned, flat nosed women draped in Asian prints; the lighter skinned, more Mediterranean looking youths, and then the lighter haired Caucasians. What they have in common are their Indo-African roots.

With African music, Indonesian food, and an Indo-African fashion show, about 150 of them gathered again recently to share stories about their common ancestors.

“Our story”
The African roots were long kept hidden. Was it shame, or the desire to blend into Dutch society that prevented the Indo-African elders from revealing their secret?

“It’s our story”, says Joyce Cordus, and it’s still largely unknown in the Netherlands”, despite several books having been written about the Black Dutchmen. Her father is Daan Cordus, 89, the oldest remaining descendent of the group in the Netherlands who has devoted the past decades to gathering information about their shared background. Today, Joyce is taking over his responsibility as chairman of their association.

Like her, young members of the 5th generation want to understand why they feel different in Dutch society. “They have lots of questions and we have to look for other ways to reach them.” Joyce plans to do that by using social media platforms such as Facebook, its Dutch equivalent Hyves, and Twitter.

Video of book presentation "Zwarte Huid Oranje Hart" ("Black skin, Orange Hart") here

Read The Black Dutchmen: The Story of African Soldiers in The Netherlands East Indies here

Read Indo-African Dutch Soldiers of Ghanaian descent here

Interesting to note is that the same indo-black ethnicity is also present in Surinam. A large group of Javanese people from former Dutch colony of Indonesia were brought to Surinam to serve as contract labourers after the abolition of slavery in 1863.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Reggae star Gregory Isaacs R.I.P

Reggae star Gregory Isaacs has died at the age of 59 at his London home following a long illness, his manager has confirmed.

The Jamaican singer died on Monday morning surrounded by his family, the BBC reports

His 1982 album Night Nurse, recorded at Bob Marley's Tuff Gong studio, reached number 32 in the UK.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Slovenia elects first black mayor

Slovenia has its first black mayor. Dr. Peter Bossman, a Ghana-born physician known as the "Obama of Piran," has made history.

Bossman settled in this tiny nation just south of the Alps, in the 1970s to study medicine in what was then known as Yugoslavia.

Bossman, 54, is a member of Slovenia's governing Social Democrats. He won a runoff election in the town of Piran with 51.4 percent of votes.

Bossman runs a private practice and was previously a member of the Piran City Council. Following the vote, Bossman said he was "happy and proud." "The Obama effect" is worldwide.

It could be that Peter Bossman is also the first black Mayor
in Eastern Europe.

As he said on BBC World Service this morning, "It will take some time to see if there will be any real change.

All who know me, know that I'm not holding my breath. I'm just celebrating."

Read more at BBC

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Afro-Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas - winner of the 2010 Sakharov Prize (Europe)

Strasbourg Oct 21 2010 - Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas has been declared the winner of the 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The announcement was made on Thursday by European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek following a decision by the EP's political group leaders. Mr Fariñas will be invited to attend the award ceremony on 15 December in Strasbourg.

"Guillermo Fariñas was ready to sacrifice and risk his own health and life as a means of pressure to achieve change in Cuba", said Mr Buzek when announcing the winner today in plenary.

"I hope to hand over the award to him in person, here in Strasbourg, in December, which would be a tremendous moment for the European Parliament and for all Cuban prisoners of conscience. I sincerely hope that, together with Guillermo Fariñas, the Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco), another Cuban Sakharov laureate from 2005, will also be able to collect their Sakharov Prize in person". The president repeatedly calls, on behalf of the European Parliament, for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Cuba.

Guillermo Fariñas, aged 48, was nominated in the name of all those who fight in Cuba for freedom and human rights. He is a doctor of psychology, an independent journalist and a political dissident. He has conducted 23 hunger strikes over the years "not in his own favour but in order to defend his compatriots" said José Ignacio Salafranca (EPP, ES). Mr Fariñas ended his 135 day hunger strike on 8 July 2010 after the Havana government announced the release of 52 political prisoners following mediation by the Catholic Church.

A supporter of non-violence and someone who dared to denounce the Castro regime, "Guillermo Fariñas is a symbol in the struggle against the imprisonment of political opponents", according to the MEPs who nominated him. "Because he is defending dignity and democracy in his country, he is the ideal candidate for the Sakharov Prize", they argue.

Mr Fariñas was nominated by Joseph Daul, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Jaime Mayor Oreja, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa and Francisco José Millán Mon on behalf of the Group of the European People's Party (EPP), by the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) and by Edvard Kožušník and 91 other MEPs.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament as a means to honour individuals or organisations who dedicate their lives to the defence of human rights and freedoms, particularly the right to freedom of expression.

Via Press Release European Parliament

American activist Rev. Jesse Jackson launches UK action group against police racial profiling

Jesse Jackson is starting a group in the U.K. to oppose what he calls the abuse of police powers to stop and search people.

On Monday October 18th he lanched the group called StopWatch, the group wants to stop police from disproportionately stopping and searching ethnic minorities.

Last week, Britain's Equality and Human Rights Commission published figures saying 15 per cent of those stopped and searched by police were black. Black people comprise 2 to 3 per cent of the population.

Members of StopWatch, including activists and academics, aim to work with government to ensure that recently announced policing reforms are fair.

In an interview with Guardian Rev Jesse Jackson has said that Britain's moral authority is being damaged by the government's failure to stop the police discriminating against ethnic minorities.

See video on BBC

See story at Guardian

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin will perform in Paris on November 6th 2010

Three time Grammy award winner Donnie McClurkin will perform at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on November 6th 2010

Donnie McClurkin is an American gospel music singer and minister. He has won three Grammy awards, ten Stellar awards, two BET awards, two Soul Train awards, one Dove award and one NAACP Image award for his work.

In 2009 he released his album "We All Are One (Live In Detroit)" featuring CeCe Winans, Yolanda Adams, Mary Mary and Karen Clark Sheard.

Video of the song “Wait on” from the album We All Are One (Live In Detroit)

Friday, October 22, 2010

"A Nos Morts" - A Hip Hop play about the forgotten soldiers of France

"A Nos Morts" is a French Hip Hop musical about the forgotten liberators of France who fought in World War I and II. The musical was performed in September in Koln (Germany).

Influenced by the Hip-Hop-Culture of the suburbs of Strasbourg, this performance melts poetic texts with urban sounds as well as with a contemporary dance choreography - all this is taking place to the backdrop of historical film and photo material. The production is reminiscent of hundreds of thousands colonial soldiers from the former French colonies who fought for France in 1914-18 and 1939-1945 and contributed to the victory of France

According to the creators the history of the forgotten soldiers is also relevant today. “Faced with the rise of intolerance and discrimination, it is important for the new generations to know that diversity was also in the ranks of those who liberated France. The transmission of these memories participates in the construction of a collective history necessary to bring communities together and recognizing each other.”

"A Nos Morts" is also a monument in Strasbourg (France) which was raised in 1936 in memory of the children who died during World War I.

See more information at

Also see French black soldiers excluded in ‘whites only’ liberation of Paris

And the MOBO 2010 Award winners are ...

Music of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards, established in 1995 by Kanya King and Andy Ruffell recognises artists of any race or nationality performing black music, and took place yesterday in Liverpool (20th October 2010) for its 15th Birthday.

Best Newcomer – Tinie Tempah

Best UK R&B / Soul Act – Plan B

Best UK Hip Hop / Grime Act – Professor Green

Best International Act – Eminem

Best Reggae Act – Gyptian

Best Album – JLS, ‘JLS’

Best Video in association with MTV Base – Tinie Tempah ft Labrinth – Frisky

Best UK Act in association with Lebara Mobile – JLS

Best Song in association with PRS – NDubz FEAT. Mr Hudson – Playing with Fire

Best African Act – K’Naan

Best Jazz Act – Empirical

Best Gospel Act – Guvna B

Lifetime Achievement – Billy Ocean

BeMOBO – Merseyside Dance Initiative

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oprah Winfrey: "Do they have black people in Holland?"

Oprah Winfrey didn’t know that there are black people in the Netherlands.

In April this year two Dutch black women (Astrid and Ivy) were the lucky fans in the studio audience for the Oprah Winfrey Show. Because one of them had turned 40-years old they had send postcards and letters asking if they could meet Oprah and visit the studio,

Their dream came true and they actually met Oprah in person. When Oprah asked, “where are you from”, the two ladies replied, “from Holland!” Then Oprah replied, "Do they have black people in Holland?"

In august the two (Surinamese) ladies appeared in a popular Dutch TV show to tell their story. See video.

And yes, there are almost 400.000 black people in Holland with roots in the Caribbean and Africa.

For those who love stats, some numbers of the “black” (Sub-Saharan) community in the Netherlands.

Surinamese - 162.000 (An unofficial estimate is that 48% of the total Surinamese community in the Netherlands is Creole/Black/Mixed)
Antilleans almost - 130.000 (most of them from Curacao)
Cape Verdeans more then - 20.000
Somali - 25.000
Ghanaians - 16.000
Ethiopians - 10.948
Angolans - 12.281
Congolese - 8.490
Sudanese - 7.626
Nigerians - 7.298

Surinamese people are from the former Dutch colony of Surinam and Antilleans are from the Dutch islands of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

And by the way, Oprah is not the only one.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Black people in Austria - The life of a young Austrian from Ghana

Via Blackinnrw

A story on Afrikanet about a second generation black Austrian with a Ghanaian background who feels rejected in Ghana and in the country he considers home.

Read parts of the story here. The photo is not from the orginal story, but is of the photo series of Philipp Horak about black people in Austria.

A “true Viennese"

Kofi Akwanpa likes to consider himself a “true Viennese with a Ghanaian background.” He was born 25 years ago in Vienna. He was born in Austria, speaks and writes perfect German and studied in Austria: but he does not feel accepted by the austrian society.

Kofi Akwanpa speaks perfect German and is even very proud to be able to speak and write Viennese dialect as well. When asked what his mother tongue his, the proud answer is: “German, of course.” “I went to school here, I studied in Austria and have my friends here. To put it another way: I was socialised in Austria.”

Although he travelled to Ghana with this parents every second year from the age of two, he does not feel socially integrated in Ghana, even though “I highly regard both country and people.”

It was important to the parents for their children to gain first-hand experience of both cultures. Kofi remembers skiing holidays in Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Styria. “We were always the only African fam- ily wherever we went skiing,” he says.

Kofi’s childhood memories also include vacations on farms and excursions to several tourist destinations in Austria such as Mariazell, Großglockner, and even Melk and Radenthein, a smal town located in Carinthia, the southernmost Austrian federal state.

Kofi feels Austrian and thought his home was here. But after finishing his university studies he had to undergo painful experiences. After graduating with a business degree from the Vienna University of Economics—”with distinction,” as he points out—he wanted to start a career in banking. He dreamt of a rosy future, he says, because “I am very good with numbers and people. These had been my strengths for years.”

He wanted to start his career from scratch and applied to a well-known Austrian bank for a job behind the counter. As he puts it, he wanted to engage in “direct contact with people.” This proved to be an unrealistic dream for a black Austrian. His application was turned down. Several weeks later he found out from a friend who worked for the same bank that employing a black person at the counter was feared to have “a negative impact on the traditional Austrian clients.”

Read full article at Afrikanet

Black Austria photo series of Philipp Horak at

Black Austria - An Anti-racism campaign in Austria (2007 - 2009)at

Monday, October 18, 2010

Shocking racial inequality in Britain

Via Black Leaders in the UK
According to a report Black people in Britain are five times more likely to be imprisoned, while black graduates face 24 per cent less pay.

It also appears that the proportion of black people in prison in England and Wales is now higher than in the United States. Nearly seven times more people of Afro-Caribbean and African descent are imprisoned than their share of the population, compared with about four times in the US.

And if that's not enough, being black and male has a greater negative impact on levels of numeracy than having a learning disability.

Even for those who make it to university, the disparity still exists. Less than ten per cent of black students are at the top Russell Group universities, compared with a quarter of white students. Around a third of black students get a first or upper-second class degree, compared with two-thirds of white students. The study also suggests that black students face a 24 per cent less pay than their white counterparts.

The writer of the story suggests that there might be a "poverty of aspiration" among black people. This is based on the opinion of the education expert Tony Sewel who stated. "The real poverty that our children face is a poverty of aspiration - they have linked themselves with the prevailing anti-learning culture of their white working class counterparts."

Read the whole story at

It's strange that although these issues are and have been researched extensively the problems seem to get even worse.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Video: Changing black street children through surfing

Via Sky Soil & Everything in Between

This is a new promo ad for Umthombo, a project to rehabilitate Durban's (South Africa) street kids through surfing and other positive sporting and health projects. It's run mainly by former street kids who are now trained as youth care workers, social workers, advocacy leaders etc, Umthombo depends on the generous donations of the public so if you have second hand surfing gear or are interested in helping in other ways - through donation, gift-giving or volunteering please checkout:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Black man running for Mayor in Slovenia

The Ghanaian doctor Peter Bossman is running for mayor of Slovenian seaside town of Piran. According Slovenia-based Blogger Camille Acey of the Blog Adventures in Wheelville who is following the story, Peter Bossman was in the lead with over 30% of votes after the election on Sunday October 10th.

The next round of elections will be up in up in 2 weeks on October 24th and it all seems like Slovenia will get its first black mayor then.

On her Blog she writes. " Quick follow up to July's post Wait! What? A Brother Running For Mayor In Slovenia ....

The race will now go into run-offs against the current sitting mayor (who had just over 20%) of the vote. Here's hoping Dr. Bossman makes it all the way through and becomes the first black* mayor in Slovenia! Let's goooooo!

In further news, journalist Vlado Miheljak puts forth a more ambitious proposition..."Peter Bossman For President" and much mudslinging in the comments ensues! (Slovenian only)

*yes, say BLACK/črn not temnopolt/ "dark-skinned". Black comes in many shades (from light to dark) and is an experience, not just a state of melanin."

See the Blog Adventures in Wheelville - Brainy, bigmouthed, and black by the Balkans at

Friday, October 15, 2010

Video:Pam Feather - "Cannot Change The Weather" (Netherlands)

Soul Pop Singer Pam Feather is the new Soul girl of the Netherlands.

Feather (1986) has already performed as the support act for American soul singer Bilal in 2005 and in July this year she was the opening act for Erykah Badu in the Heiniken Music Hall in Amsterdam. And she also performed live in a popular TV show in The Netherlands.

Her latest single "Cannot Change The Weather" is the first official single from her the debut album Feather Tales which was released in March 2010.


Video: Nathan Watson - “ Reach Out – You Got A Friend” (UK)

Nathan Watson is UK's new Soul man. He is known for his distinctly eclectic fresh soul funk sound and has built up an impressive fan base across the UK through his live performances. He appeared on GMTV & ITV as well as performing in front of Prince Charles for the Princess Trust.

“ Nathan Watson a new soul voice for the world, a mix of Maxwell and D’Angelo. “ Media2Radio

Nathan just recently released his new single “ Reach Out – You Got A Friend”


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lilian Thuram and his fight against racism

The former French international football player and social activist Lilian Thuram is a man on a mission.

In January this year he published his book My Black Stars, from Lucy to Barack Obama (original title in French : Mes étoiles noires, de Lucy à Barack Obama).

And in September he revealed his plan to distribute a DVD in schools to educate children on the subject of racism.

About the book he writes on his website: “Every person – child or adult – needs stars to find their way. Everyone needs models during their formative years, to build their self-esteem, to change their imaginary worlds, and to break the preconceived ideas which they project on themselves and others.

When I was a child, I was shown many stars. I admired them and I dreamt about them: Socrates, Baudelaire, Einstein, Marie Curie, de Gaulle, Mother Teresa… But no one ever told me about black stars. The walls of the classroom were white, the pages of my history textbooks were white. I was completely ignorant of my own ancestors and their history. Except for slavery. This black history was like a vale of fears and tears.

World Cup winner Lilian Thuram discusses his transition from football to social activism, his new foundation 'Education Against Racism' and reveals why he is supporting the Council of Europe's anti-discrimination campaign

Can you give me the name of a black scientist? A black explorer? A black philosopher? A black pharaoh? If you cannot, then this book is for you, whatever the color of your skin. Because the best way to fight racism and intolerance is by enriching our knowledge and our imaginary worlds.

I wrote these portraits of women and men after reading about them and talking to specialists and historians. Lucy, Barack Obama, Aesop, Dona Béatrice, Pushkin, Anne Zingha, Aimé Césaire, Martin Luther King and many others… . These stars prevented me from becoming a victim. They also helped me believe in people and above all have confidence in myself.”

The goal is to distribute 50.000 DVDs in schools. The former international wants to "provide an educational tool for teachers and help reverse the conventional wisdom that children may have on racial issues."

Read more at Lilian Thuram Foundation

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Timbuktu - The place where the Western "Songs and Dance Theory" of Black people ends

Because we are in the middle of the Black History Month UK a story about the mystical place Timbuktu.

"Everybody's heard of Timbuktu but few people actually know where it is and even fewer ever get there. Everyone knows that it's a long way from here to Timbuktu, wherever "here" might be," wrote a travel journalist.

Well Timbuktu lies in the country of Mali and it’s the place where the Western "songs and dance theory" of African people ends. Because in Timbuktu you will find the hidden libraries and manuscripts of the ancient black scholars of one of the oldest Universities on the planet.

Aminatta Forna tells the story of legendary Timbuktu and its long hidden legacy of hundreds of thousands of ancient manuscripts. With its university founded around the same time as Oxford, Timbuktu is proof that the reading and writing of books have long been as important to Africans as to Europeans.   The manuscripts of Timbuktu cover diverse subjects such as mathematics, chemistry, physics, optics, astronomy, medicine, Islamic sciences, history, geography, the tradition of Islam's Prophet Mohammed, government legislation and treatise, jurisprudence, and much more. The manuscripts of Timbuktu are a living testimony of the highly advanced and refined civilization in Sub-Saharan Africa. But although this heritage is familiar to numerous Africans, many Westerners still believe that Africa had only an oral, nonliterate culture. Comments like those made by the British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper in 1963 still resonate: "Perhaps in the future, there will be some African history to teach. But at present there is none. There is only the history of Europeans in Africa. The rest is darkness." In reality, Timbuktu was once a haven of high literacy. These manuscripts, some dating to the 14th century and written mostly in Arabic, show that medieval Timbuktu was a religious and cultural hub as well as a commercial crossroads on the trans-Saharan caravan route. Situated at the strategic point where the Sahara touches on the River Niger, it was the gateway for African goods bound for the merchants of the Mediterranean, the courts of Europe and the larger Islamic world, wrote Lila Azam Zanganeh in the New York times.    Read more about this video at Links . The post was inspired by the Afro-Brazilian site

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Soul singer Solomon Burke dies at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport

Soul singer Solomon Burke (70) has died at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, a Dutch police spokesman has said.

Burke, who wrote the hit Everybody Needs Somebody to Love among many others, was both a Grammy winner and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

He had been due to perform on at the well-known club Paradiso in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

The singer was born in Philadelphia in an upstairs room in a gospel church.

"Many artists claim to have their roots in the church, but few go back this far and run this deep," he said on his website.

Live UK performance from Solomon Burke on Top of the Pops with his classic signature tune "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love"

He started recording when he was 14 with his first song "Christmas Presents From Heaven" into a million seller.

The man who Tom Waits called "one of the architects of American Music" counted Mick Jagger among his many fans.

The Rolling Stone admitted trying to imitate Burke's style of phrasing when he was starting out.

The singer was busy to the end, having run up more than 130,000 frequent flier miles this year alone, with concerts throughout the UK and Europe. (Source Sky)

Live performance of "Proud Mary" on the Dutch Pinkpop festival in 2003

Solomon Burke Rest in Peace.

Video: Black people in Spain – Judi Oshowole on life in Barcelona

Black travel expert Nelson George of BlackAtlas visited Barcelona and spoke to Black British Judi Oshowole who has lived in Barcelona for 18 years. She tells BlackAtlas about the city's growing diversity and the community of black women, from countries around the world, she has helped to build.

See more videos at

See a video of Judy Oshowole talking in a meeting of a group of black women in Barcelona, the BIBS (Barcelona International Black Sisters). The BIBS consists of women from all over the globe - the UK, the US, the Caribbean and South America, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands... See the post at

Trivia on Barcelona

Frank Rijkaard was the successful head coach (2003–2008) of the Football Club Barcelona. He was appointed as head coach together with his assistent coach Henk ten Cate. Both of them are black and of Dutch/Surinamese origin.


Also see the post Black people in Spain here.

The end of the Netherlands Antilles

Today October 10th 2010, the Netherlands Antilles are dissolved as a single political entity. The islands of Curaçao and Sint Maarten are now independent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The islands of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius are now ‘special councils’ of the Netherlands.

In 2005 the population of Curaçao voted for independence. This led to the Dutch government and the Netherlands Antilles discussing a new political structure for the five-island group situated in the Caribbean off the northern coast of South America.

Aruba has been a independent within the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 1986.

Expatica wrote: Curacao and St Maarten will each have their own parliament, government, prime minister and currency: the guilder.

Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius will switch to the US dollar and have "island councils" akin to municipal councils. Their inhabitants will vote for the national Dutch government.

The three new municipalities will have to adopt many Dutch laws. The most contentious among them, allowing for abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia, will be systematically adopted over a period of two years, said Dutch interior ministry spokesman Thijs Manten

Friday, October 8, 2010

Soul music in the Netherlands – The album “So Soulful Volume 2”

The Dutch Soul magazine Quality Time Online has released the album "So Soulful Volume 2". A compilation album packed with music from fresh Soul talent from Holland. And it’s free for download here

If you want to listen to the music first check out the playlist below. Because the album is compiled as one single track I've added the starting time of the songs so you know who is singing.

Tracklist: So Soulful Volume 2 (with start times)
Complete tracklist ‘So Soulful Volume 2
01 So Soulful Intro Sylvana Simons 00.00
02 Mischu Laikah ft D-Felic – Mission 00.25
03 Shirma Rouse – Gotta Be My Girl 02.32
04 Giovanca – Lovechild 04.22
05 Roos Jonker – Still There 06.46
06 Interlude Sylvana Simons 09.16
07 Full Crate & Mar – Aftersexin’ 09.50
08 Pure The Artist – Rollin’ 11:05
09 Pam Feather ft. GMB – There’s Someone Else 13:46
10 Interlude Sylvana Simons 15:16
11 THEprinceOFbeatz ft. Rebekka Ling – In Love Again 15:36
12 Steffen Morrison – Damn These Eyes 17:08
13 Jalise – Permanent Lover 18:53
14 Neenah – Special Kind Of Love 21:35
15 The Foreign Exchange – Maybe She’ll Dream Of Me 22:54
16 Interlude Sylvana Simons 24:29
17 Cinnamon Brown ft. Ollie The MC – Without You 25:04
18 Secure – Secure (get Up) 27:47
19 LQ ft. Ash-Lee – Hate And Love 29:17
20 Aïscha ft. Black Spade – I Want U 31:53
21 Interlude Sylvana Simons 35:50

Some technical information: If you can't open the downloaded music file you can download the software to unzip the file here

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Black History Month 2010 in the UK

Not February, but October is the Black History Month in the UK. This means an entire month full of events, music and debate about the presence of black people from the Caribbean and Africa in the UK.

To celebrate BHM a video of the Windrush legacy, West Indians in the UK in World War II and the poem "What it Means to be Black" of Jason Nwansi. And a video of Beyonce singing the national anthem of Nigeria, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the independence of Nigeria.

West Indians also fought in World War II and some of them were stationed in the UK. The video West Indies Calling (1943) describes the Caribbean support of a group of West Indians during World War Two

See more videos here

An important landmark of the history of the Afro-Caribbean community in the United Kingdom is the arrival of the Empire Windrush in 1948 in the harbour of Southampton. The Empire Windrush arrived on 22 June, carrying 492 passengers from Jamaica wishing to start a new life in the UK. The passengers were the first large group of West Indian immigrants to the UK after the Second World War. Most of them only intended to stay in England for five years, but most of them stayed.

Video of the Windrush legacy

The poem "What it Means to be Black" written & performed by Jason Nwansi.

See the written poem here

Also part of UK's Black History is the celebration of 50th anniversary of the independence of Nigeria. So, a gift from Beyonce. In the video she sings the national anthem of Nigeria "Arise, O Compatriots".

I am not Nigerian, but it gives me goose bumps when I listen to it.

BHM links

BHM the official guide to Black History Month

Black History Magazine 2010

Black history agenda Catch a Vibe

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Nice To Meet You - A Short Film starring Vanessa Rottenburg (Germany)

Nice To Meet You (2009) is a Short Film by Marcel Rudigkeit with Afro-German actress Vanessa Rottenburg. The video was part of "Guggenheim Biennale for Creative Video" and was shortlisted for YouTube Play.

It's a small film about two people who are getting along just fine, though speaking different languages.

Cast: Italo De Angelis & Vanessa Rottenburg (Vaja Burg)
Directed by Marcel Rudigkeit
Music by Tonbuero

A typical European backpackers travel situation.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Soul music in France - The album "Soullissme"

A compilation of music of French Soul artists can be downloaded for free.

In recent years Soul music made a comeback in France, but mainly trough concerts. At some point it became legitimate to call it the "French Soul scene".

As a result of this trend an album was compiled with Soul music of French artists. The album is entitled 'Soullissme’ and was released in May 2009.

The album features 19 songs and you can download the complete album for free. See more information at website ‘Soullissme’

Or download the album immediately here

If you want to listen to the music first check out the playlist below.

Playlist with the names of the artists
1 – Rycko – Comment te dire
2 – Sabrina Adel – Shoobeedoop song act1
3 – Sandy Cossett – L'emmerdeur
4 – Leslie Phillips – Il est temps
5 – Monsieur Nov – J’voulais qu’on se pose
6 – Natho – Dis moi
7 – Freddy – Elle veulent tout
8 – D3CCPT – U&I feat. Sly Johnson
9 – Kohndo – Je serai là feat. Dwele
10 – Jango Jack – Fleur du Ghetto
11 – Rony – J’me dis (remix)
12 – Akoma Aya – Créolité urbaine feat. Afrosoulicious
13 – Erik – Elisa
14 – Habib Kane – Juste un sourire
15 – Aldrick – Franchement tu m’énerves
16 – Shad Murray – Soul music
17 – Quinze – Seul
18 – Jaleenah Birdland – Out of my word
19 – Third Shot – Sweet miracle

Some technical information: If you can't open the downloaded music file you can download the software to unzip the file here

Black woman Kathleen Ferrier frustrates coalition with Anti-Islam party of Wilders in the Netherlands

She is called a dissident, has been accused of political murder and treason, and has been threatened to be thrown out of the Parliament Fraction if she doesn’t follow party rules.

Dutch Member of Parliament Kathleen Ferrier has been under fire ever since she and an other Member of Parliament told their party leader that they are against any deal with the far-right party of Geert Wilders because of his strong anti-Islamic and anti-immigration views.

Ferrier is a black Dutch Surinamese woman and Member of Parliament for the Christian Democrats (CDA) in the Netherlands. She is also the daughter of the late first president of Suriname. Suriname is a former colony of the Netherlands which gained independence in 1975.

Ferrier is being pressured by the party leaders to give up her seat in Parliament because her protest may cause majority problems in the future. But untill now she had refused to step down.

After the elections the party of Wilders has become third-largest party in Holland, and has been part of the negotiations between Ferrier’s party (CDA) and the centre-right Liberal Party (VVD) to form a new Government.

Ferrier said in an interview that the views of Wilders of the multicultural society are not the ones that she has been brought up with.

Important aspects of Surinamese culture are cultural and religious tolerance. Suriname is the only country in the world where are an Islamic mosque and a Jewish synagogue reside next to each other.

Geert Wilders will not be a part of any government, he will just tolerate a government that is willing to support his views about immigration and Islam. He has been part of the negotiations to set the terms.

The next few days will be crucial for Ferrier. The political parties just recently reached a final agreement and this weekend it will be up to the Congress of her party to decide whether or not they will to block the political agreement. There is a lot of opposition within her party and one prominent party member has already left the party.

The other colleague in Parliament who is also against a deal with the PVV has said today that he will accept the decision of the Congress.

Ferrier is now the only "dissident" left. She has told the media that she will take the mood and voting of the Congress into consideration.
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