Wednesday, March 30, 2011

French Hip Hop: Suprême NTM - "Qu'est ce qu'on attend" ( "What are we wating for")

The song "Qu'est ce qu'on attend", "What are we wating for.. to set everything on fire" (1998) of the former French Hip Hop group Suprême NTM is probably one the most controversial songs in the history of French Hip Hop.

This song was accused among others by some politicians to have contributed in unleashing the social riots that France has known in October 2005, according to wikipedia.

Rappers Joey Starr (born Didier Morville who is of Martinican origin) and Kool Shen (born Bruno Lopès) founded the Suprême NTM. Their six albums were released by Sony Music Entertainment.

With English subtitles

The news is that rapper Joey Starr promoted poker in a commercial.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Poet Aimé Césaire honoured at the Panthéon in Paris on April 6, 2011

Aimé Césaire the poet and politician from Martinique will be honored by the French Republic on April 6, 2011 with a national tribute and ceremony at the Pantheon in Paris.

Two years after the renowned writer and statesman passed away, a plaque will be sealed in the heart of the famous French monument dedicated to the burials of personalities acknowledged as great men by the French Republic.

According to Unesco it will be the third plaque which pays tribute to a man of African descent. Toussaint Louverture (1743-1803) and Louis Delgrès (1766-1802) were similarly honored in 1998. In accordance with his wishes, Aimé Césaire’s ashes will remain in Martinique hence they won’t be transferred into the monument.

(Alexandre Dumas, père was reburied in 2002 in the Pantheon 132 years after his death.)

On the occasion of the 2004 International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition, UNESCO awarded the Toussaint Louverture Prize to the author, in acknowledgement to his contribution to the struggle against domination, racism and intolerance.

Worldwide considered as a humanistic and universal poet, his candidature was proposed for the Nobel Prize of peace by two European universities in Belgium and Sweden in 2006.

Commemorating his death, UNESCO also paid a special tribute to the Poet of Negritude on 22 May 2008.

* Toussaint Louverture (1743-1803) is a freed slave who led the fight for Haiti’s independence.
* Louis Delgrès (1766-1802) is a revolutionary soldier who took part into the resistance while the re-establishment of slavery by the Napoleonean troups in Guadeloupe. (Source: UNESCO)

The ceremony will be broadcasted live on France 2 and the overseas network channels first (France Ô).

A tribute to Monsieur Aimé Césaire

Remembering Aimé Césaire, 1913-2008

In this video Aimé Césaire speaks about his first encounter with
Léopold Sédar Senghor
in Paris in the 1930s. Alongside Léon-Gontran Damas, and Léopold Sédar Senghor, Aimé Césaire established the concept of Négritude. Négritude helped to guide Sénégal into independence with pride

Friday, March 25, 2011

UK MOBO Awards returns to Glasgow on 5th October 2011

The UK MOBO Awards in association with Lebara Mobile has announced it will return to Scotland’s cosmopolitan city of Glasgow on 5th October this year.

As part of a long standing relationship with the city it will be bringing the Awards to Glasgow in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

RnB Queen and MOBO Ambassador Alesha Dixon and MOBO Recommends rising star Yasmin were on hand to announce that the show will take place in the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC). See more information at

An actor's response to no ethnic minorities in English village drama

A black British actor responded in the Guardian to the remarks of Midsomer Murders producer Brian True-May who said Midsomer "wouldn't be the English village" with ethnic minorities. If you have missed it read the story here.

The actor felt he had to remain anonymous because of possible repercussions.

He wrote: “I have trained at one of the most eminent drama schools in the UK and have over 20 years of experience in TV, theatre, radio and film. The broadcasting decision-makers – executive producers, producers, directors, casting directors, writers, and even our agents, who are meant to be on our side – are aware that True-May's ramblings are not isolated.

They are aware that it is being thought, that it is being actioned, and yet for the most part they do nothing to put a halt to this discrimination, allowing it to continue year after year."

He felt that actors were afraid to speak out because of the consequences. Read the full story at the

But black actors in other European countries also face the same problems. In a debate in The Netherlands a director posed the question, why you should use a black actor in a stage play if your audience is always white.

In Bollywood and Nollywood they don’t have these problems, this is a typical European thing; black actors on white stages. And the inconvenient truth is that these white stages and films make good money without black actors. It's clear multiculturalism has never worked.

But this debate has been going on for years now and apparently not much has changed. So perhaps there is only one option left, a European Tyler Perry who serves us black reality shows.

Read more about this story at Madnews

Thursday, March 24, 2011

First Black German Convention in Washington, DC (August 19 to 21 2011)

The Black German Cultural Society, Inc. announces its First Annual Convention to be held from August 19 to 21, 2011, at the German Historical Institute (GHI) in Washington, DC (USA).

With the theme of “Strengthening Transatlantic Connections,” the convention will host guests and presenters from the international community in Germany and the United States.

The keynote speaker will be Noah Sow, the acclaimed journalist, musician, producer and author of “Deutschland Schwarz Weiß” (C. Bertelsmann, 2008), who will speak about “Geteilte Geschichte: The Black Experience in Germany and the US.”

The convention will also feature a photo exhibit on "The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs, and Germany."

Furthermore, the meeting will offer workshops, round tables, as well as panel discussions on Afro-German history, culture and literature facilitated by the board members, partner organizations, and distinguished academics in the field.

Confirmed participants include, among others:

* Vera Grant (W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University)
* S. Marina Jones (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
* Maria Hoehn (Vassar College)
* Leroy Hopkins (Millersville University)
* Martin Klimke (GHI Washington)
* Priscilla Layne (University of California, Berkeley)
* Yara-Colette Lemke Muniz de Faria (Berlin)
* Sara Lennox (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

Topics will include “Race and Ethnicity in Postwar Germany,” “Transatlantic Adoption and ‘Brown Babies’,” “Finding and Reuniting Birth Families,” “Black German Jewishness” as well as “Sharing our Stories,” among others.

For more information go to

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Image of Black people in Western Art in Europe

I had never heard of the American art project "The Image of the Black in Western Art" until I stumbled upon a presentation of Professor Henry Louis Gates.

According to the website the project started in the 1960s, as a response to segregation in the United States by the influential art patron Dominique de Menil. He began a research project and photo archive called The Image of the Black in Western Art.

The Harvard W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research presented an new edition coveted five original books, as well as an additional five volumes.

A presentation of Vera Ingrid Grant about the collection

If you want to see images or more information go to the website


The American art project reminded me of the exhibition "Black is Beautiful" in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam in 2008 about the attractiveness of black people for artists of the Low Countries. It was an exhibition of roughly 130 paintings, drawings and manuscripts from Dutch and international collections.

Very interesting to check out are the short films and tests on the online exhibition. Go straight to the Short films & View test at

Or go to the main page at

What I find interesting about these images is seeing the faces and expressions of black people of centuries ago. Some of the paintings are as detailed as digital photos. The photo above is of Caspar de Crayer 1584- 1669, study of the head of a black man, from around 1631-1635.


A presentation of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., on The Image of the Black in Western Art.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Giovanca - Neo Soul from Amsterdam

Giovanca, real name Giovanca Desire Ostiana (1977), is a Dutch singer songwriter of Dutch Antillean descent (Curaçao) who lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

For years Giovanca has been known as a background singer for (inter)national artists such as Relax, Wouter Hamel, Typhoon, Tribute 2 Bob Marley, Corey, Izaline Calister, Jhelisa Anderson, Terry Callier, Leon Ware and Benny Sings.

But after obtaining her Masters degree in Orthopedagogics she released her debut album "Subway Silence" in 2008 and appeared on many live TV shows afterwards. In March 2010 she released her second album "While I'm Awake".

"Everything" from the album "While I'm Awake".

Giovanca received an Edison Award nomination, and won both the Laren Jazz Award and the 3FM Serious Talent Award. On 3 March 2010, she received a Silver Harp that awards young artists who 'have already made a significant contribution to Dutch music while still having a huge future ahead of them.

"Hypnotize You" from her first album "Subway Silence"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ethnic minorities don't belong in my English village drama, says UK TV producer

Via Madnews: The producer and co-creator of the hit English TV drama Midsomer Murders has been suspended after telling The Radio Times in an interview that there was no place in the series for ethnic minorities.

He claimed the shows success because of its all-white cast

Producer Brian True-May said, "We just don’t have ethnic minorities involved. Because it wouldn’t be the English village with them. It just wouldn’t work. Suddenly we might be in Slough … We’re the last bastion of English-ness and I want to keep it that way.

Maybe I’m not politically correct … I’m trying to make something that appeals to a certain audience, which seems to succeed. And I don’t want to change it." See the full story at The List

I am not surprised that it's the English drama policy for English village series. I use to watch these English drama series with titles like "Murder in Cambridge", but somehow I never wondered why I never saw a Black or Asian person drinking tea with the vicar.

But that's danger of these images, they make you believe it's normal.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Warren G "Regulate" live in Paris - R.I.P Nate Dogg

Warren G in Paris France (1995). Although Nate Dogg is not in this version of "Regulate", it's almost impossible not to remember him. R.I.P Nate Dogg.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

British Reggae star Smiley Culture has died + Press conference

British Reggae star Smiley Culture, real name David Emmanuel (47), has died after police officers raided his home in Warlingham, Surrey this Tuesday.

Because of the circumstance around his death a press conference was held today. Lee Jasper Chair of the London Race and Criminal Justice Consortium is chairing the press conference. Read the full story at Madnews

The Police Office singer is believed to have stabbed himself after officers raided his home.

The press conference

The 47-year-old, born and raised in south London, rose to fame as a DJ with the Saxon Studio sound system.

He released his first single Cockney Translation in 1984 but was best known for Police Officer which was a Top Twenty hit and earned him two performances on BBC music show Top of the Pops.

Emmanuel had claimed the song, a light-hearted take on police attitudes to black people at the time, was based on his own experience of being let off by officers when caught with a spliff after recognising who he was. Read the full story at The Voice.

Film: "Black Brown White" co-starring Clare-Hope Ashitey (Austria)

"Black Brown White" is an Austrian feature film about a young Nigerian woman (Jackie) who is on the run across Sahara heading north, hoping to find a way of reaching Switzerland and finding the father of her son, a Swiss UN-employee who was once based in Nigeria. She is hoping he will provide education for her son.

Jackie is played by 24 year old Clare-Hope Ashitey who is a British actress of Ghanaian descent. The film is produced by Allegro Film from Austria and is released on February 2011.


Don Pedro (Fritz Karl) is a 35-year-old truck driver. Together with his paraplegic partner Jimmy (Karl Markovics), he operates a small freight shipping. Over the years they have devised an elaborate, nifty but also illegal system whereby they smuggle African refugees to Europe.

Jackie (Clare-Hope Ashitey), a young Nigerian woman, is on the run across the Sahara going north, her son Emanuel (Theo Caleb Chapman) at her side.

Their destination is Geneva, where the boy’s father, a Swiss UN-employee, lives. At the border between Africa and Europe, Pedro, Jackie and Emanuel meet for the first time.

But Jackie refuses to be treated as the other fugitives, who are locked in a hidden compartment in the truck. Against his better judgment, Don Pedro goes along with her request and together they make their way to Europe.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Stella Mwangi will represent Norway in Eurovision Song Contest 2011

The Norwegian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 is Stella Mwangi and the song "Haba Haba".

Norwegian-Kenyan singer Mwangi participated in the Norwegian national selection Melodi Grand Prix 2011 to represent Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011, to be held in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Stella first topped the official singles chart in Norway in week 6, 2011 with her winning song Haba Haba. Last year Norway was a home country for Eurovision Song Contest and national broadcaster NRK wants show back for 2012.

Stella Nyambura Mwangi (also known for stage name STL) born 1 September 1986 in Nairobi is a Norwegian-Kenyan singer, songwriter and rapper. Mwangi writes a lot of her music about the situation in her home country Kenya, also about discrimination both Stella and her family had to go through after moving to Norway in 1991.

Her work has been used in films such as American Pie and Save the Last Dance also in TV-series such as CSI New York and Scrubs. She has won several awards including; the Kisima Awards, Clops Awards and Jeermaan Awards, she is one of the most popular singers in Norway.

She started to practice playing music when she was just eight years old. She is not just a singer, but she also plays the piano. (Source Eurovisiontalents)

Update: Stella Mwangi didn’t make it to the final on 14 May. She lost in the first semi-final yesterday.

Also see Black singers at the Eurovision Song Contests

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Show civil courage - Austrian and American Anti-Racism videos

Video: Airplain
Woman: "I can't sit here, it's an affront."
Steward: "It's really an affront that 'you' have to sit here. That's why we have a replacement seat for you in the business class."

The video is from the Austrian Anti-Racism organisation ZARA, which I spotted on the FB of Black Germans. ZARA wants to enhance civil courage and promote an Austrian society free of racism. The next video is also from the organisation.

Video:Muslim woman

Men: "Can't you speak German, go back to your country."

But the 'victims' in the Zara videos look a little bit passive.

The next videos are American videos.

This video is entitled "What Would You Do? Racism In An Upscale Store". ABCNews shot a video in a Soho boutique where a racist clerk and security guard harassed a black shopper. They wanted to see if fellow shoppers would do anything to stop the harassment.

And maybe this is what you should do.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Video: DIVERSIDAD - European Urban Experience

A group of European Hip Hop artists came together and created the Experience Album. The Album has been released through a worldwide online distribution and it includes 14 tracks representing the highest level of contemporary European Hip Hop.

Diversidad is a group of famous European MC's, DJ's and beat-makers. 20 artists from 12 different countries speaking 9 different languages came together to create a unique album.

Launched by the European Music Office and supported by the European Commission, a first edition of Diversidad took place in 2008 when a single track was recorded with a dozen of European artists including Akhenaton (FR), Curse (DE), Promoe from Looptroop (SE), Abd Al Malik (FR), Sam The Kid (PT) among others.

Diversidad is back with a full LP created from scratch by a new selection of artists and recorded in just 10 days at the ICP studio in Brussels. The first single “The eXperience” gathers all the MCs on a track produced by Spike Miller.

Since its release in June it has received airplay on many European radio stations. The rest of the songs are combinations of 3 to 6 artists rhyming on different languages about a common theme. From the typical ego-trip track (Go Hard) to the classic love song (Amore Criminale) or from the “jungle” of their European hometowns (Concrete Jungle) to a nostalgic ballad (On My Way), each topic on the album tells the story of young adults living in today’s Europe.

No matter where they’re from, the artists share the same passion for the urban culture and connected around that common love for hip hop. More than a big reunion of nationalities, the Diversidad album is first and foremost a classic hip hop album featuring skilled and talented artists.

Diversidad is not only an album but also a show that will tour across Europe in spring and summer 2011, a graphic art exhibition and a movie series available on The album’s lyrics are available on Diversidad’s website.

Tsunami hits Japan - The day after

My thoughts are with the people of Japan. Sometimes it looks as if we are at the biblical end of days.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sara Tavares back on tour after recovering from surgery

Photo by Joke Schot
Portuguese singer Sara Tavares was suddenly out of the spotlight. According to, in February 2010 Tavares underwent surgery to remove a brain tumour. She cancelled all her professional engagements for an undefined period of time.

But Tavares has recovered and is back on the road. She has announced she will give a concert in Sofia Bulgaria on May 14. The concert will be part of her tour "Xinti", which presents her last album.

"Ponto de Luz" from the album Xinti ('Feel it')

"Balance" Alive in Lisboa dvd

The 33-year-old singer, guitarist and percussionist was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal. She is a second-generation Portuguese of Cape Verdean descent and she composes African, Portuguese and North American influenced world music.

Album Balancê

In 2006 World Connection interviewed Sara Tavares about her album Balancê, you can read a part of the very interesting interview below.

“There is a big, big generation of Cape Verdeans and other Africans here in Lisbon, in Paris, in Boston, all over… with a kind of messed-up identity,” says Lisbon’s twenty-seven year old Sara Tavares, “Our generation feels very lost because there is no culture specifically for us; that talks about our reality.”

“When I walk around with my friends, it’s a very, very interesting community,” Tavares explains. “We speak Portuguese slang, Angolan slang, some words in Cape Verdean Crioulo, and of course some English. In Crioulo there are already English and French words. This is because slaves from all over the world had to communicate and didn’t speak the same languages. We are a metisse culture.”

Multilingual wordplay shows up throughout Tavares’ album, and she hops across cultural references as much as she embraces any. The album title Balancê—pronounced bal-on-SAY—has many different meanings. The noun balanço is used in Portuguese when music “swings.” Lusophone Africans use the verb form balancê in a more general way. “When you are eating something really good you say ‘this food is balancê!’” explains Tavares.

“For me song ‘Balancê’ is also about balancing yourself,” Tavares continues, “between sadness and joy; day and night; salt and sugar. It’s about balancing emotions. You are always walking a thin line and you have to keep your balance. You have to dance with that line in order to keep standing. If you stay too rigid, you will fall.” “I was in Zimbabwe a few years ago and I saw some really drunk people dancing,” Tavares chuckles. “We were watching them, and they were always almost falling and then they would catch themselves. Just like those people dancing, I also want to dance with that kind of freedom and balance.”

Tavares’ sweet voice and gentle arrangements communicate this meaning even if you cannot understand all of the lyrics. Her voice has a healing power which comes from someone who has struggled with her place in the world and then accepted herself fully. This is the voice of a woman whose parents left her. In the ever so Cape Verdean search for a better life, her father left for America; her mother moved south. Tavares was raised by an older Portuguese woman.
Through music she sought out her family and cultural roots, along with the help of veteran African musicians in Lisbon and back in Cape Verde where she travels every year. (Source World Connection)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Film: Otham Karim's 'För kärleken' starring Danny Glover (Sweden)

Photo: Director Othman Karim and actors Peter Gardiner and Tuva Novotny
Othman Karim is the director of the Swedish film 'För kärleken' ('Dear Alice'). The film was released in 2010 and received a lot of attention in Scandinavia because Karim casted Danny Glover in the film. Glover plays a newly arrived immigrant from Gambia.

För kärleken (Dear Alice) centers on four people whose fates intertwine on one day when the decisions they make will have life-shattering results.

Othman Karim (born 19 March 1968) is a Swedish film director, documentary producer, television presenter and photographer.

Karim came to Sweden from Uganda in 1975 when his family fled Idi Amin's reign. He has studied at Brooks Institute of Photography, followed by employment with Steven Spielberg's production company Amblin Entertainment.

Plot: Very different lives, becomes interweaved during what seems like an ordinary day. Franzis Namazi (Danny Glover) is a newly arrived immigrant from Gambia to Sweden.

He is about to give up on his little store selling African art. Karin Carlsson-Said (Tuva Novotny) is a lawyer who is about to enter a new important step in her career as a lawyer.

Her husband Moses (Peter Gardiner) must send money to his hospitalized father in Uganda, but there are problems with the transaction and has issues with keeping up his work as a Social Worker.

Bosse (Ulf Brunnberg) is the TV star who finds out he has been fired off his own show and finds his young wife with another man, Håkan (Stefan Sauk) is a charming celebrity with an alcohol problem and now once again needs help from his lawyer Karin Carlsson-Said.

English interview with Othman Karim here

Monday, March 7, 2011

Summer School - Black Europe: Exploring Dimensions of Citizenship, Race and Ethnic Relations. June 12th-30th 2011, Amsterdam

The National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy (NiNsee) and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam are pleased to announce the fourth annual Summer School on Black Europe entitled:

Black Europe: Exploring Dimensions of Citizenship, Race and Ethnic Relations. June 12th-30th 2011, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The Summer School on Black Europe emerged out of dialogue and concern of various scholars working in the field of race and ethnic relations in Europe. The program is now in its fourth year and is currently located at the National Institute for the study of Dutch slavery and its legacy (NiNsee).

Course Description
This course will examine the multiple constructions of the term Black Europe and the social, economic and political implications within. Students will be able to earn 3 US (6 ECTS) credits for their participation. The content and the description of the summer school are listed below. If you are interested in hearing more about the course, please send a request for additional information via email to

Or visit the website,

This course is a collaboration between the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy (NiNsee) and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Please feel free to share this information.
Kind Regards, Amy Abdou

A multitude of discourses have emerged relative to the internationalism of Blacks worldwide and particularly in the Americas, but the prominence and impact of the Black presence in Europe has not been adequately explored. This course will examine the multiple constructions of the term Black Europe and the social, economic and political implications within. We will address the dimensions of race and ethnic relations that are unique to Europe; examining the ways in which conceptions of the “other” are institutionalized and reproduced; the rise of xenophobia in various EU countries; the legal definitions and discourse surrounding the conceptualized “other”; and the ways in which each country has dealt with issues of race and national identity.

In the first week, we begin with a historical overview of social and civil conflict in Europe; starting with slavery, colonization, colonial and postcolonial migrations, social movements and struggles. We trace the chain of events following social and civil conflicts in Europe and the rise of legislative and intellectual discourse regarding non-white migration. We also shed light on the historical, cultural and intellectual contributions of Black Europeans.

In the second week, we explore the concept of race and the impact of racism in Europe. We discuss the ways in which race intersects with gender, class, age and ethnicity. Within this discussion, the notion of blackness is examined and analyzed; as a social construction employed by natives to indicate (non) belonging; as an official categorization; as a Diaspora living within Europe; and as a contestation of the dominant (white) paradigm. We will look at issues concerning European identity, national identity and self identity and explore the generational shifts within.

In the third week, we will look specifically at three case studies, the Netherlands, France and England; comparing the history of regulation and management of race and ethnic relations and the discourse surrounding the concept of Blackness and self-identification in these lands. We will also look at the effects of globalization, as well as new migrations from Eastern Europe and the broadening of the EU.

The Summer School will conclude with a two- day symposium entitled, Trajectories of Emancipation (June 29th and 30th). This year’s theme is Religion and Slavery. Keynote speakers include:
Sir Hilary Beckles, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal, Cave Hill Campus,
The University of the West Indies
Dr. Lewis Gordon, Director, Institute for the Study of Race and Social Thought
Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkins, Speaker’s Chaplain, House Of Commons

The symposium will be followed by the National Commemoration of the abolition of slavery in the Netherlands on July 1st. NiNsee will plan a full day of events to commemorate this historic event.

Confirmed Instructors for 2011

■ Dr. Philomena Essed, Antioch University
■ Dr. David Theo Goldberg, University of California Humanities Research Institute
■ Dr. Ramon Grosfoguel, University of California, Berkeley
■ Dr. Dienke Hondius, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
■ Dr. Trica Danielle Keaton, Vanderbilt University
■ Dr. Kwame Nimako, Universiteit van Amsterdam
■ Dr. Stephen Small, University of California, Berkeley
■ Dr. Thomas Spijkerboer, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The Summer School on Black Europe is open to advanced undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students. Preference will be given to students based on the following criteria:
■ Undergraduate and graduate students with a background in the fields of sociology, anthropology, political science, cultural studies, economics and/or the humanities;
■ Post-graduate students who have begun a research project in the field;
■ Professionals with an MA Degree and who are working or want to work in a field related to the topic of the Summer School.

Students are accepted on the basis of i) their previous qualifications, ii) the level of knowledge of English, and iii) an essay on their motivation. The Admissions Committee will take account of coherence, feasibility or relevance of the student’s career objectives and proposed program of study, as well as excellence in prior academic accomplishment, especially in coursework and experience related to the Summer School on Black Europe.


The regular tuition for this course is €1350. Tuition includes the opening reception, lunches on all class days, weekly get-togethers with faculty, a course reader, a public transportation pass, and travel costs and entrance to museums and exhibitions during excursions (excluding the optional excursion to Paris).

The tuition for students who wish to receive course credit is € 1500. These costs include VAT which is refundable to students living outside the Netherlands. Students may reserve accommodation through the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam for a cost of approximately € 500 per month.

Application Deadline
April 1, 2011

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Video: Marsha Ambrosius releases solo album 'Late Nights & Early Mornings'

UK singer Marsha Ambrosius released her J Records solo debut album Late Nights & Early Mornings.

Already proven as a talented, sought after songwriter and revered platinum-selling artist, Marsha Ambrosius is meeting the next challenge in her already impressive musical career by reinventing herself as a solo artist with her J Records debut disc Late Nights & Early Mornings .

Late Nights & Early Mornings is destined to be a classic, as Marsha offers a candid glimpse of her life and perspectives as a woman.

Inspired by musical icons like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Prince, she concedes there is an overall male influence in her songwriting, such as the assertive sentiments heard on hits like “Say Yes.” She explains, “My pen and my point of view has a certain aggression to it because I’ve listened to a lot of male influenced music, which I think makes me one of the most outspoken writers out here.

Sometimes as a woman you don’t wanna say what’s on your mind for fear of being judged. But why wouldn’t I say it like that if that’s how I felt?” Musical peers recruited to contribute to the project include Alicia Keys, a reunion with Dre and Vidal (producers of “Say Yes”), Just Blaze and Focus.

While her success in the industry is already solidified, Marsha knows it’s never easy to win over fans as a solo artist. Fortunately, she says, “It’s like being thrown in the deep end. ‘Okay I have to swim? Oh well.’ I’ve taken that attitude and it’s carried me forward.” (Source J records)

Late Nights & Early Mornings track listing:

1. Anticipation (Intro)
2. With You
3. Late Nights & Early Mornings
4. Hope She Cheats On You (With A Basketball Player)
5. Far Away
6. Lose Myself
7. Your Hands
8. I Want You To Stay
9. Sour Times
10. Tears
11. Chasing Clouds
12. The Break Up Song

Also see the very good feature story 'From Grind To Glory' about Marcha Ambrosius at Soul Culture

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Book: Precious - A black woman's story about white foster care, identity and survival (UK)

"As a young child I hated being black and I honestly felt that all black people, especially me, were naturally ugly," said Precious Williams, the British author of the book Precious in an interview with Belinda Otas.

Williams's book is a true story about childhood, abandonment, identity, relationships, family, life’s obstacles and survival

As a toddler, the British-born daughter of a Nigerian princess Precious Anita Williams, was advertised in Nursery World in 1971: “Private foster parents required for a three-month-old baby.”

These ‘temporary’ fostering arrangements were apparently common in the 1970s as well as the unregulated care of African children which followed.

Precious or Anita (Neety) - her childhood name - was placed with a 57 year-old white woman ‘Nanny’, who had a penchant for fostering black children after reading Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, as a child. Read full story at

Some snapshots of the interview with Belinda Otas

Precious Williams: "My definition of beauty as a child, growing up in a white town was that to be beautiful you had to look as white as possible. I honestly didn’t feel it was possible for a black person to be physically attractive unless they had white blood. That was the prevailing attitude.

When I spent time with my Nigerian family I’d notice they’d tell me how pretty I was but instead of making me feel good, it made me feel humiliated. I was convinced they were taking the p*ss.

The negative attitude I absorbed regarding black women and beauty didn’t only come from white people though. My Nigerian relatives would confuse the hell out of me by praising my relatively “fair” skin and at the same time lamenting my “tough” hair.


As a young child I hated being black and I honestly felt that all black people, especially me, were naturally ugly.

In feeling this way I was reflecting the prevalent attitudes around me that time. My memoir ends with me as a young woman, entering Oxford University in the early 1990s.

By that point I no longer hated my physical appearance. My shift in attitude about my looks had a lot to do with what was happening in pop culture at that time.

I was still living in a predominately white environment but black women had suddenly, to an extent, stopped being ‘invisible’. Naomi Campbell had arrived on the fashion scene. Hip-hop was capturing mainstream attention. Janet Jackson was one of the nation’s hottest pin-ups." Read the interview at Belinda Otas

and at her blog at

Thursday, March 3, 2011

New Skool Rules - International Hip Hop and R&B Conference, April 1-3 in Rotterdam

New Skool Rules, the biggest International Hip Hop and R&B Conference returns in 2011 from April 1st till April 3rd in Rotterdam (Holland)

The international urban music industry will yet again be making major breakthroughs in 2011.

The global scene will yet again be represented on April 1st through 3rd, and once more make way for music professionals seeking to “network and exchange” in an absolutely unique setting and format.

The first edition of the New Skool Rules conference in 2009 had proven to be the ultimate international breeding ground for music professionals around the globe, reaching over 900 delegates from over 20 countries. Major as well as underground and indie contributors to the “urban” scene were represented, with delegates from; Def Jam, Universal, BET, VIBE, MTV (USA), Konvikt, Interscope,, WEA, Sony ATV, EMI Publishing, Warner Music and Talpa Music Publishing present.

The 2009 event had proven to be a networking haven for established and upcoming professionals in the music industry where new business relationships were founded, talents scouted, and knowledge exchanged."The New Skool Rules Conference was an eye-opening experience to say the least. It was a true revelation to witness so many different cultures congregate under the Hip-Hop banner, all sharing experience and information." Chuck Creekmur (USA) –

The conference will provide a platform for industry professionals to get a taste of international talents, network and exchange knowledge with other giants in the industry as well as with upcoming and established artists. In 2009 for example, upcoming artists, producers, bookers and managers we’re able to network and collaborate live with international artists such as Bishop Lamont, Fredro Starr (Onyx), LMFAO, Rock City and Verse, among others.

Nothing less can be expected for the 2011 edition as the New Skool Rules 2011 experience will start to make its mark in 2010 already, with various international collaborations and competitions scheduled. In 2011 the programme will feature over 30showcases, 12 master classes, 12 workshops, 12 panels, 3 after-parties, speed-date
sessions and much more.

For more information/ticket purchase, visit

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Szjerdene - Jazzy vocals from London

The UK singer Szjerdene released her first unofficial single of 2011, "Think It Through". The song is a cover of the instrumental "Folk Song For Cello" by Savath y Savalas and is cowritten by Mar.

On her website she writes. "Szjerdene may be young – but, in her own words, she is a product of the past. The songwriter and musical all-rounder has forsaken the oft-rodden road of modern, commercial R&B, in favour of honing her love of the old school jazz sound, putting her own twist on the genre.

Szjerdene draws inspiration from some of the great – Etta James, Sarah Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix and Marvin Gaye, to name but a few – and is currently working on her EP, entitled ‘Patchwork’, which promises to be a soulful, bluesy fusion of sounds both old and new."

Also check out the remix of Dorsh at
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...