Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dutch football player Clarence Seedorf receives royal decoration in the presence of Berlusconi

AC Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf has been named a Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau, bestowed by the Netherlands for his services to football and charity work.

Alphonsus Staelinga, the Dutch ambassador to Italy, presented Seedorf, who is born in Suriname, with the honor in a ceremony on Thursday that was also attended by Milan president and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi (photo AP).

"If he is the coach of AC Milan, he can bring his brother and cousin immediately, we don't mind a little nepotism,” joked Silvio Berlusconi.

Seedorf is the only player to have won the Champions League with three different clubs—Ajax in 1995, Real Madrid in 1998 and Milan in 2003 and 2007.

In 2005, Seedorf founded the "Champions for Children foundation". He also owns an Italian football club in the serie C.

Asked if he might retire at the end of this season, the 35-year-old Seedorf declined, saying he remains motivated and fit.

Although Seedorf is a hero in Italy he is not very popular in the Netherlands. Although he is regarded as one of the most successful Dutch football players.

The reason why is not very popular is because of his role in a conflict in the Dutch national team during the European football championship in 1996, which eventually led to a dramatic performance in the tournament.

The media saw it as conflict between the black (Surinamese) and the white Dutch players, but it actually was a power struggle over salary within in their club team Ajax.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Zadie Smith on her mother, father and White Teeth

Photo: Zadie Smith and her mother

Best-selling British author Zadie Smith wasn't in the news because she wrote a new book.  She claimed her childhood home was brimful of books – but most had been borrowed from a local library by her mother and not returned.

Zadie Smith's mother

"I didn't steal books from library, says mother of Zadie Smith," wrote the Daily mail.

Her mother Yvonne Bailey-Smith, 56, agreed that her home had been full of books but insisted she bought most of them herself, spending up to £80 a time at local bookshops.

The story behind it was Zadie Smith's campaign to save a north-west London library opened by Mark Twain in 1900. Unfortunatly she lost the battle, the council voted in favour of closing half the libraries in the borough because of Goverment spending cuts.

I think it's the only photo on the net of Zadie Smith's Jamaican mother, and it's a shame it's linked to such a headline. Read the story at

Photo: Zadie Smith and her father

Zadie Smith's father

She lost her father 5 years ago. On the photo Zadie Smith with her father Harvey. About the photo she wrote in NYT, " And this is me and my dad one Christmas past. I'm 5 and he's too old to have a 5-year-old." Her father was 55 and divorced from her mother when she was 15.

But I don't believe she meant in a negative way. Because last year she wrote a very moving story about her father in The Sunday Times. To quote the headline, "Zadie Smith, her father and British comedy. A story about a mutual passion for the likes of Monty Python and the punchline she can’t escape — his death."

She wrote: "My father had few enthusiasms, but he loved comedy. ..

When Harvey was very ill, in the autumn of 2006, I went to visit him at a nursing home in the seaside town of Felixstowe, armed with the DVD boxed set of Fawlty Towers. By this point, he was long divorced from my mother, his second divorce, and was living alone on the grey East Anglian coast, far from his children.

A dialysis patient for a decade (he lost his first kidney to stones, the second to cancer), his body now began to give up. I had meant to leave the DVDs with him, something for the empty hours alone, but when I got there, with nothing to talk about, we ended up watching them together for the umpteenth time, he on the single chair, me on the floor, cramped in that grim little nursing-home bedroom ..."

White teeth

Needles to say Zadie Smith became world famous when she published her novel White Teeth in 2000. The Amazon review states the book is about race, sex, class, history, and the minefield of gender politics.

But in an interview, Smith says, "I wasn't trying to write about race. . . . Race is obviously a part of the book, but I didn't sit down to write a book about race. So is a book that doesn't have exclusively white people in the main theme must be one about race? I don't understand that."

But her book will always be analysed from racial point of view. One of the most striking examples is the book "Zadie Smith's White Teeth - Irie as an example for 2nd generation immigrants’ desperate search for their place in a multicultural society".

In the book the author analyses the biracial identity of Irie, the daughter of Clara (see video). She writes about about Irie's feeling of unrootedness as a consequence of lacking role models and her unawareness of her own family’s history. Read it here.

In 2002 the novel was dramatised by Channel 4.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The styles of “Jeunes Parisiens” (Young Parisians) - Photo book by Hugues Lawson-Body

“Jeunes Parisiens” (Young Parisians) is the first book of Parisian photographer Hugues Lawson. In his book he tried to caputure the different styles of the Parisian youth. It took him 3 years to complete his project and his photo book was released in December 2010.

Hugues Lawson also worked for various companies such as Nike, Ikea, Orange, Kinder Bueno and collaborates with various magazines like Time, L'Equipe Magazine, GQ and Elle. Lawson is born in Togo and lives and works in Paris France.

According to the lifestyle magazine Mail Movement, Hugues Lawson was interested in today's youngster, totally different from those of his generation.

Those that we pass everyday, that we stare, we're trying to understand the attitude, the codes, forgetting that each of us have been there before Hugues Lawson put himself in our place and tried to know more, to do a portrait without scratchs of this new generation, which mixes, tangled and often stay in groups.

"I was surprised by these teens, dancing on African music in their hall, in a city of the 20th district, and obviously, I'm getting old," he explains. "I wanted to learn more about this generation and my work forced me to document myself. Some meetings have resulted in others, some funny ones, crazy, rich... And my one-day models were interested in my approach, and have often seen me as one of their own.

Despite my limited slang and my age, they never treated me as an intruder. I wasn't expecting much naturalness and spontaneity from them. My city, Paris, is cosmopolitan and contrary to popular belief, all the Parisians are not white!

I tried to capture this reality," he continues. "In these tribes, I tried to identify: the leader, the origin, the appurtenance to a movement, the style, and then the details: the fringe in common, metal objects, tattoos, piercings, religious symbols, pointy-toed shoes and some platforms of some of them..."

Published by 19/80 Editions, "Jeunes Parisiens" (Young Parisians) isn't a collection of photos, or one of those famous books compiling the fashion outfits of foreigners crossed in the street. "The fashion balance exists in this book, but it doesn't thunder like on the fashion blogs or magazines.

This book is not a "Fashion" dictionary, it's a book about today's "Young Parisian" concludes Hugues Lawson. Indeed, the book contains some notes and texts by Mark Beauge, William Klein and Oxmo Puccino." (Source: Mail Movement)

An interview with Hugues Lawson

Some links:

Friday, April 22, 2011

La Batunoza ‘Xica da Silva’: The best independent hip hop release of 2011

Time for me to tell you something about the most recent musical revelation from Belgium: ‘Xica da Silva’ from La Batunoza. This project is a collaboration between MC Le Tagarel a.k.a. La Batucada, vocalist Ismael and Brussels hip hop producer Noza. Together they released their best work ever, and it stands tall among worldwide hip hop productions.

La Batunoza is hip hop defying borders. It’s hip hop the way Manu Chao might have made hip hop. It’s music crossing cultures and languages. It’s music for the world.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Les Nubians releases New Album "Nu Revolution"

The Grammy nominated Les Nubians, consisting of Paris-born sisters Hélène and Célia Faussart, released their third album, "Nü Revolution" on April 19th 2011.

The 14 track album will feature special guest appearances by Manu Dibango, Eric Roberson, Freshly Ground, Blitz the Ambassador and John Banzaï. According to Hélène, "The main difference between this album and the others is that Nü Revolution is more uptempo. This album is a celebration of life! We wanted to bring and spread this energy, this joy in a time of uncertainty."

Very creative, diverse and fresh new music from the Afropean soul sisters.

Les Nubians - Afrodance

Video pick by Mavis G from North Carolina

And a bonus: Les Nubians - Les Gens (People) ft. Blitz the Ambassador


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Breakin’ Convention ' 11 - International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre in London

The three-day international festival, Breakin’ Convention in London is back with performances from some of the world’s best poppers, lockers, house dancers, b-boys and b-girls.

Date/place: 28 April - 2 May 2011 - Sadler's Wells,Rosebery Avenue, Islington, London EC1R 4TN.

Hosted and curated by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Jonzi D, Breakin’ Convention is much more than just a spectator sport, there will also be dozens of extra events taking place including workshops, film screenings, DJ demos, impromptu foyer freestyle sessions and even live aerosol art.

Breakin' Convention has been producing the critically acclaimed International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre since 2004 at SADLER'S WELLS, featuring the very best, most influential artists from around the corner and around the world!

With tickets on sale for just £20 or £15 standing, book early to make sure you don’t miss out! Website

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gentle Voices wins Dutch version of the NBC acappella singing competition 'The Sing-Off'

The Dutch gospel group Gentle Voices won the Dutch version of ‘The Sing-Off’ on Saturday. By winning the acappella contest they also won a record deal with Sony Music and they were invited to perform with the popular Dutch group 'De Toppers' .

The Rotterdam based gospel group is comprised of family members, who are all of Surinamese origin.

Unfortunately the Dutch version of the American music competition (NBC) wasn’t a success in The Netherlands, the show on SBS 6 was suffering low ratings.

One the performances of Gentle Voices (Father and Friend of Alain Clark)

One the performances of runner-up 'Sharp'.

And For-Tune, one of the groups who made it till the "semi-finals".

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Video: German soul - Joy Denalane is back again on new album "Maureen"

Spotted on Black Germans: German singer Joy Denalane is in love on her new album "Maureen".

When she sings on her album “mit dir steht die Zeit still" (“with you, time stands still), “du bist was ich will” (“ you are what I want) , “spürst du was ich fühl, denn was ich fühl ist real” (“you feel what I feel, because what I feel is real") it’s clear Joy Denalane has found new love again.

Her new love is her ex-husband Max Herre from who she was separated for four years. With her husband and the father of her sons everything comes together again, in 2011 they celebrated their love comeback.

Joy Denalane - MAUREEN IN SESSION VOL 01 : "Niemand (Was Wir Nicht Tun) feat. Max Herre"

In an interview Joy says: "I have gained a lot of experience in recent years, sometimes very painful. But at the end I am back where I belong, musically and privately."

Her new album "Maureen", named after her middle name will be released 20 May 2011. The first single "Niemand ( Was wir nicht tun)" feat. Max Herre" will be released on 13 May.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Meet writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on 18 April 2011 in Amsterdam

Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will give a reading of 30 minutes, after which she will sit and talk with Guido Snel. What is her vision on Europe?

Meet her Monday 18 April 2011, 8 PM - 10 PM in SPUI25, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The European Cultural Foundation has teamed up with SPUI25 and the University of Amsterdam in organising a series of five debates within the framework of Narratives for Europe.

The series brings together ten prominent writers, historians and philosophers from Europe and elsewhere, who will discuss the Europe of today, yesterday and tomorrow.

Hip Hop: The Diversidad remix contest is officially on!

COMPETE WITH PRODUCERS FROM ALL OVER EUROPE! Enter the European Diversidad Remix Contest. Diversidad, a unique European urban experience

20 artists, 12 countries, 9 languages. Gathering some of the Best European MC’s, beatmakers, dj and singer on a unique album.

The Experience Album’s tracks were produced by Spike Miller (France), Cookin Soul (Spain), Eversor (Greece) and C.H.I (Luxembourg).

Now it’s your turn to create your own remix and show your skills to the international community of the Diversidad fans.

The first 2 tracks to be remixed are :

* The eXperience : 93 BPM
* I Got It! : 92 BPM

Prize : The producers of the 3 best remixes will win :

• The whole collection of the Diversidad artists solo albums
• The Experience Album
• The 2008 Diversidad dvd
• Great exposure for the 3 remixes on : the Diversidad website, facebook page and newsletter
• 2 tickets for the Diversidad show in Paris (France, May 18) or Vienna (Austria, May 21)

More info on :

The European partners of the Diversidad Remix Contest:

* UK :

Reminder : the lyrics are online :

If you want to know more about the Diversidad project, this video of 2008 is a good starting point

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Portraits of black people in Russia

Via Africa is a country : Russian-Ghanaian photographer Liz Johnson-Artur‘s images illustrates a piece by Sarah Bentley in the latest issue of Nigerian magazine, ARISE, on Russian nationals of mixed Russian and African descent.

The photo above is of Anton. He lived till he was five with his mother and father in Nigeria, when he entered school his parents decided to send him to his grandmother in Russia…his mother returned to Russia a few years later….
He hasn’t been back to Nigeria…he would love to travel….see other places…but Russia he says is my home ……

Those profiled in the Magazine story mostly know each from the ‘black-Russian-Ukranian-Belorussian-Kazakh’ page on Kontakt (Russia’s version of Facebook). The community numbers between 40,000-70,000, the Black Russian community of Kontakt consists of 929 members.

The article notes, according to Russian SOVA Center for Information and Analysis, that a total of 14 people were victims of racist and neo-Nazi attacks in January 2011, three of whom died.

Marie Therese

Marie Therese grew up in France….her parents…father from the Congo….her mother from ST Petersburg …. worked as diplomats….she spend part of her childhood in Cambodia during the reign of Pol Pot…..after finishing two degrees in France … social science and economics….she could not find work in France…. 15 years ago she decided to move to Russia …. she teaches economics at the university and

lives with her 15 cats in a small one bedroom apartment on the outskirts of St Petersburg


Ivan grew up with his mother didnt know what to do with and my granmother where fighting constantly....i was trying to get away from her...but they would allways catch me and bring me back to her....when i served in the army...people where afraid of me...i made sure they did....that was my way of staying save...when i left the army...i spend sometime on the street...doing drugs...and fighting skinheads....but i came out of it allright....beat boxing changed my i have a program on russian MTV....yes life looks better ......


Vladi is from Sevastopol…..a port town in southern Ukraine…..her brother is a member of a Russian hip hop crew…..she is very proud of her mix….you can…find Brazilian….Ukrainian …..and Spanish in me…..she has been to see her grandmother in Brazil….but if she could choose she would love to live in Spain

Two Afro-Russian girls

See more photos and stories at

Because I wrote a few postings about black Russians and Africans who were attacked by skinheads I think I missed the fact that black people also lead normal lives in Russia. Check out the ‘black-Russian-Ukranian-Belorussian-Kazakh’ page on Kontakt (Russia’s version of Facebook) to see some of their public profiles and read some of their interesting stories about living in Russia. 


Photo Book: Afro-Russian  photographer Liz Johnson-Artur Captures Images of Black People in Europe, US and Africa

Black in the USSR: what's life like for a 'Russian of colour'? - New exhibition examines legacy of Soviet Cold War scheme offering Africans free study – and the children they left behind. The Calvert Journal reports - The children of Soviet Africa search for their own identity

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sade to release "The Ultimate Collection" on May 3, 2011 + Tour

Sade will release a new greatest hits package, The Ultimate Collection, on May 3, 2011

The two-disc set will contain Sade’s biggest hits, as well as new songs. The new Sade record wil include a bonus DVD set with all the official Sade Ultimate Collection music videos.

The album has 29 tracks including four brand new songs – I Would Never Guessed, The Moon & The Sky remix featuring Jay-Z, Still In Love With You and Love is Found. All of Sade’s classics from Lover’s Rock, Best of, & Soldier of Love will be on the album

The Moon & The Sky remix featuring Jay-Z

Sade is also preparing a European and a US tour. In Europe she will be performing in April and May 2011 in Nice, Hamburg, Rotterdam, London and other mayor cities. For more information on her tour dates in Europe and the US go to

Sade - Still In Love With You (Audio)

Love is Found

The track list for The Ultimate Collection

Disc 1
1. Your Love Is King
2. Smooth Operator
3. Hang On To Your Love
4. The Sweetest Taboo
5. Is It A Crime
6. Never As Good As The First Time
7. Jezebel
8. Love Is Stronger Than Pride
9. Paradise
10. Nothing Can Come Between Us
11. No Ordinary Love
12. Kiss Of Life
13. Feel No Pain+
14. Bullet Proof Soul+

Disc 2
1. Cherish The Day
2. Pearls
3. By Your Side+
4. Immigrant+
5. Flow+
6. King Of Sorrow+
7. The Sweetest Gift+
8. Solider Of Love+
9. The Moon And The Sky+
10. Babyfather+
11. Still In Love With You**
12. Love Is Found**
13. I Would Never Have Guessed**
14. The Moon And The Sky (Remix Featuring Jay-Z)**
15. By Your Side (Neptunes Remix)+
+ Not on Best Of
** Never Released Before

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dutch film Sonny Boy reaches Platinum status

Dutch feature film SONNY BOY, directed and written by Maria Peters, has reached the status of Platinum Film. More than 400.000 tickets have been sold since the theatrical release of the movie in the Netherlands on January 27, 2011.

SONNY BOY is the adaptation of the bestselling novel by Annejet van der Zijl, based on the true story of the forbidden love between two apparently ordinary people: Rika, a typical Dutch mother of four children, and Waldemar, a Surinam man seventeen years her junior. Their love can survive all the presumptions and obstructions of the cruel world outside, but is finally unable to cope with the brutal and devastating power of war.

The Golden/Platinum/Diamond Film Award is an initiative presented by the Netherlands Film Festival and the Netherlands Film Fund since 2001. The prize is intended to encourage the Dutch film industry and motivate the general public to go and see Dutch films. The total number of tickets sold after a film’s release determines whether a prize is awarded.

See Film: Sonny Boy - A Dutch interracial love story

Sunday, April 10, 2011

UK journalist Hannah Pool discovers her origins in Eritrea for the first time

Hannah Pool, the cosmopolitan journalist from London, talks about her personal journey in one of the TEDxEuston sessions.

Born in Eritrea, growing up in Sudan and Norway - she arrived Manchester as a black girl speaking Norwegian. But the many countries Hannah had lived did little to prepare her for her big journey of discovery of Eritrea to re-discover herself and her life, as she admits, has never been the same.

Hannah Pool is, in her own words, British-Eritrean, Eritrean-British. She was born in Eritrea in 1974 and was adopted at the age of six months by a British scholar who lived and worked in the Sudan. She was raised in Manchester, England, believing that both her parents had died shortly after her birth.

She now lives in London where she worked as a columnist for The Guardian. At the age of nineteen, she received a letter from her brother informing her that her father was alive and she had a sister and several brothers who lived in Eritrea.

It took ten years for her to make the decision to meet with her birth family. She then embarked on a journey which took her back to her origins and which she recounts in her book titled My Fathers’ Daughter (Hamish Hamilton, 2005.)

In an interesting interview Hannah Pool talks about some her experiences with Tsigye Hailemichael.

Q: Were there many challenges growing up black in a white community?
H.P: Yes, very much so. There was a lot of racism. When you are a kid, people call you names. They shout at you: “famine victim” or make monkey noises when you go by. Then when I was older, I also experienced what it felt like for people not wanting to be friends with you because you are black.

Q: How did you react then?
H.P: Most black kids could understand me, but if you lived in a white family, then you would feel isolated. You did not have anyone to talk with. But also, in my case, even black children could be mean because I was like a white person: I spoke like a white person. You would feel very isolated. Basically you are on your own.

Q: How did you go about it when you wanted to trace your family back?

H.P: I spent lots of time not wanting to trace my family back. It is a very emotional issue but also it is very difficult. One takes great risks when taking the decision to trace one’s family back. One should be very careful and very thoughtful before taking any decisions. It is like opening a can of worms. Once it is open you don’t know what is going to happen. Also you are afraid. You are afraid of being rejected by both families. You are afraid your adoptive family feels resentful towards you. In fact, I felt as if I was betraying them. And my birth family, I was just afraid they would reject me and I would find myself isolated again.

Read the whole interview at

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fat Freddy's Drop – Dub/Reggae from Wellington New Zealand - European tour

Fat Freddy's Drop, the Dub/Reggae band from Wellington New Zealand, will be touring Europe this summer.

In June and July 2011 they will be performing in London, Paris, Frankfurt and other mayor cities. For more information check out their gig guide at

One of their hit singles is “Wandering Eye” from the album “Based on a True Story” of 2005. The single spent more than four months on the top 40 selling singles chart in New Zealand. The album debuted at number 1 and went gold in its first day and 2007 it had gone 7 times Platinum.

Fat Freddy’s Drop is a seven-piece band from Wellington, New Zealand, whose musical style has been characterised as any combination of dub, reggae, soul, jazz, rhythm and blues, and techno.

Originally a jam band formed in the late 1990s by musicians from other bands in Wellington, Fat Freddy’s Drop gradually became its members' sole focus. Band members continued playing with their other respective groups—The Black Seeds, TrinityRoots, Bongmaster, and others—for much of their 11-year career.

Fat Freddy’s Drop are known for their improvised live performances; songs on their studio albums are versions refined over years of playing them live in New Zealand, and on tour abroad.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

France Honors Poet Aimé Césaire At The Panthéon

France honored late Martinican poet and politician Aimé Césaire Wednesday at the famed Panthéon in Paris. The French government paid tribute to the grand man of letters in a national ceremony nearly three years after his death at the age of 94. The Panthéon pays homage to France’s greatest intellectuals.

Césaire was one of the founding fathers of the "Negritude" movement that celebrated black consciousness. In Paris in the 1930s he helped found the journal Black Student, which gave birth to the idea of “negritude,” a call to blacks to cultivate pride in their heritage. Among his more famous works of literature are Notebook of a Return to my Native Land and Discourse on Colonialism.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy presided over the tribute to the Martinican poet that was attended by more than 1,000 persons inside the Panthéon. Among those present were family, friends and dignitaries. Césaire died April 17, 2008 in Martinique. President Sarkozy dedicated a plaque in Césaire’s memory at the Panthéon. Source Suite101

See pictures of the event at fxgpariscaraibe - "Césaire au Panthéon"

Speech of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, part 1

Part 2

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Meemee Nelzy - "L'essentiel" - Neo Soul from Guadeloupe

"L'essentiel" is one of the soulful tracks of the album "Âme Nouvelle" ("New Soul") of Meemee Nelzy.

Meemee Nelzy was born in Paris, France and is a native of the French West Indian Island Guadeloupe.

She is influenced by Hip Hop as well as jazz and Caribbean music, and she is part of the new French wave of neo soul.

Nelzy released her first album "Âme Nouvelle" in 2009. In French and Creole she sings about love, human relationships and struggles in life.

"L'essentiel" live on TV on Guadeloupe 1ère (2011)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Video: Cassandra Steen’s new single "Gebt alles"

Cassandra Steen just released the song "Gebt alles" from her new upcoming album " Mir so Nah", which will be released on 29 April.

Steen is a very successful German singer/songwriter who started as the lead singer of the trio Glashaus.

In 2003 she released her debut album "Seele mit Herz" and in 2009 her album "Darum leben wir" with the hit song “Stadt” with Abdel Tawil. She also scored with the song "Wann" with Xavier Naidoo.

In 2009, Steen voiced the character Tiana in the German dub of Disney's 49th animated feature The Princess and the Frog. "Never Knew I Needed," a duet with original singer Ne-Yo, was the first single to be lifted from the accompanying soundtrack

See the whole video at
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