Sunday, October 30, 2011

CeCe Winans at Paris Gospel Festival 2011

Grammy Award winner and Gospel singer CeCe Winans will perform in Paris on 11 and 12 November in a new edition of the Paris Gospel Festival 2011.

Place: Casino de Paris, 16 Rue de Clichy 75009 Paris, France.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Video: Lianne la Havas - "No Room For Doubt"

Lianne la Havas, the 22 year old singer from South London, is one of the new stars on the UK music scene.

Garnering praise from both the underground music blogs and mainstream media, she achieved the musician's Holy Grail by appearing on the influential Later...with Jools Holland show, wrote Soulbounce

Her musical taste is influenced by her mother and father. In an interview with Ligature magazine she says: " I grew up with my Jamaican side of my family there was a lot of Reggae and my mum was into R’n’B a lot, the more modern stuff from the nineties. She loved Mary J Blige and Jill Scott so I got well into them through my mum.

Then my dad, he didn’t live with me, but when I would visit him he played all kinds of instruments. So I’d see him play the accordion or the guitar. He would show me a few bits on the keyboard or the guitar. And he was into loads of jazz and world music as well, but he loved Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker. “

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Book: The sinking of the slave ship Leusden

The sinking of the Dutch slave ship Leusden may have been the worst catastrophe of its kind in the Atlantic slave trade. Near the coast of Suriname 680 Africans were trapped in the hull and drowened as a result.

In a new book entitled "Het Slavenschip Leusden" ("The Slave ship Leusden") the author and researcher Leo Balai explores this piece of relatively unknown Dutch history. In September the story was also televised in an episode of the Dutch TV series "The Slavery".

On January 1, 1738 the greatest disaster occurred in the history of Dutch slavery. 680 Africans were deliberately killed when the slave ship Leusden sank in the mouth of the Maroni River in Suriname.

"An example of exceptional barbarity," called Balai the action of the captain and the crew of Leusden. When it appeared the ship would sink, the prisoners who were on deck at that time for a meal, were ordered to go below deck to the slave hull. The shutters were boarded up to prevent their escape. 16 Africans who were elsewhere survived the disaster.

Box with gold
The report shows that the crew had closed the shutters, because there were afraid that the prisoners would come on deck to murder them. After studying the records Balai didn’t believe it. The West Indian Company (WIC) has never questioned the fact if more prisoners could have been saved. The disaster was dismissed as "a sensitive damage to the company." Most attention was given to whether the crew should receive salvage pay for rescuing a casket of gold.

The tenth and last voyage of the Leusden began on November 19, 1737 from Elmina (Ghana), carrying 700 captured Africans. The intention was to sell these people as slaves in Suriname. The ship was already 19 years old and had served all its life as a slave ship for the WIC. The trips of the Leusden were destined for St. Eustatius, Suriname and Berbice.

Although Leusden was a slave ship, Balai deliberately calls the people prisoners and not slaves. Because they had not yet been in the hands of an owner.

Balai encountered during his research that free Africans were employed as supervisors. They were employed by the WIC. It is difficult to determine exactly who these people were, because they were not mentioned by their real names. The deployment of bombas for the supervision of prisoners was only used on Dutch ships, discovered Balai.

No research vessels
The researcher noticed during his study in The Netherlands and abroad, that very little research has been done on slave ships and the conditions on board. He finds it remarkable because without these ships the transatlantic slave trade would have been impossible.

No construction drawings
Too bad, but we will probably never know how Leusden looked like. There are no drawings or models left of Dutch slave ships. There are also no known archaeological finds. To get a picture, the VOC ship Amsterdam (which is docked at the Dutch Maritime Museum) can be used as an example. But beware, says Balai, it probably looked very different.

Proper burial
The way the prisoners were killed is to Balai the most important aspect of the sinking of the Leusden. Not so much that the ship landed on a sand bank and sank. It is certain a difficult job, and yet it is the wish of Balai that the people who were drowned still receive "a proper" funeral.

Leo Balai received his PhD on Friday, October 21 at the University of Amsterdam on the history of “the one and only real slave ship " of the West Indian Company (WIC).

On the photo, Leo Balai near the VOC ship Amsterdam, which is docked at the Dutch Maritime Museum. (Photo by Sam Jones.)

(source: RNW)

The disaster of the Leusen was also mentioned in the book "Dutch in the Atlantic Slave Trade (1990)" and in the Dutch TV series, "The Slavery", which sparked controvery with the video "Slavery the Game". A snippet from the book with pictures of the series.

"On January 1, 1738, however, just a few days before reaching its destination port in Surinam, the ship was caught in a vicious storm that stranded it on rocks near the river Marawin."

On the photo is explained that the Captain of the Leusden made a mistake, he took the wrong river mouth.

"According to the reports of surviving officers, as the storm raged, the ship began to tilt to one side and take on water, making rescue of the human cargo impossible. In order to avoid a scramble for the lifeboats, the crew closed the hatches and locked the slaves below decks, where they all drowned or suffocated before the storm ended a few days later.

Because of the enormous financial loss, West India Company directors were keenly interested in the disaster and ordered all officers of the ship to make depositions. The officers claimed that if they had released the slaves, a fight over the few lifeboats would most likely have killed everyone."

On the photo, the coast the of Maroni River in Suriname where the slave ship sank. The exact place is still not discovered.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Meet Dutch DJ Afrojack - Number 7 of world's best DJs

Since Thursday DJ Afro-Jack is listed as number 7 on DJ Mags top 100 DJs of 2011, according to Hollywood reporter.

Grammy Award winner Afrojack, aka Nick van de Wall, is a 24-year-old Dutch mixmaster and producer best known for his dancefloor hit "Take Over Control," (ft Eva Simons) plus his work on Pitbull's "Give Me Everything" and Beyonce's "Run the World (Girls).

This year the DJ, who was born in the Dutch city of Spijkenisse to a Dutch mother and a Surinamese father, won a Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording for a remix of the song from Madonna Revolver, which he made with the number one DJ David Guetta.

The video "The Way We See the World" of Afrojack and other DJs. The scene is the Dance festival Tomorrowland in Belgium.

An interview on Spin

Nick van de Wall attributes his success to his mother, who taught him the value of hard work. His mother owns the biggest fitness gym in his home town.

Side Bar

Afrojack produced the dance hit "Take Over Control," featuring Eva Simons. Simons is a dance artist who was born in Amsterdam to a Surinamese mother and Dutch father. She was also featured on Chris Brown's track "Pass Out". Eva's mother is singer Ingrid Simons.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The problems of black or mixed race children in Italy

To be black and Italian at the same time is a new reality the Italian society is still struggling to accept.

Adoption and increase in the number of mixed marriages between Italians and Africans are gradually leading to an increase in the number of Black Italian children, the so-called Afro-Italians.

But the Italian society seems unprepared to cater for the social and educational needs of these children.

In an exclusive interview with Africa News, Sabrina Jacobucci, aka Flora NW, President of the Association of Afro-Italian Children, reveals the reasons that led to the foundation of the Association, the problems biracial children face in the country, and suggests what should be done to make the education system more responsive to the needs of mixed heritage children.

A snippet from the interview

Afro-Italians is quite a new concept in this country. How do people react to it?

I think the very concept is disturbing to some people. Even the word Afro-Italian. I remember when I started posting on a (all-white) parents’ forum using the word Afro-Italian as a nick name, a lot of people reacted badly to my comments judging the nickname “aggressive”.

I think people in Italy are afraid of someone defining him/herself Afro and Italian at the same time because in the collective consciousness you can be Italian only if you are white. This is demonstrated also by the treatment given to the famous black Italian footballer Mario Balotelli – what racist hooligans sing is that there is no such a thing as a black Italian. Celebrating our children’s dual identities, black and Italian at the same time, has a symbolic aspect which is disruptive to some people.

From your experience, in Italy, are mixed heritage children facing different problems from those of other children?

Mixed race children often face the same issues black mono-heritage children face. No matter their skin tone, they are seen as black and therefore it is healthier and more empowering for them to identify as such, without denying their dual heritage at the same time. A racist is not going to ask them whether they are mixed-race. And yes, black and mixed race children definitely face different problems from those of white children.

What are the main problems?

Problems such as name-calling: on the first day of primary school, one of our mixed-race girls went home to her mum and asked: What does “negra” mean? A child in class told me today “Don’t sit next to me, negra!”; refusal by classmates to hold the black child’s hand at playtime in nursery (an experience that another of our black girls, aged four or five, had). In both these episodes unfortunately what emerged was the lack of action by the teacher. Teachers all too often do not have any training in multicultural education, and therefore when faced with episodes of racism or pre-racism by children, they do not know how to react and tend to minimise, even telling the victim to look the other way, or calling the victims oversensitive if they report a racist incident and expect justice. This is very serious because with racism, any action is better than no action at all. The victim should be comforted and the perpetrator reprimanded, always.

Read the full story at

Website of Association of Afro-Italian Children

See also on Afro-Europe:
The challenges of biracial children in Russia
Bi-racial children in the Ukraine - "Family Portrait in Black and White"

Side bar

A news item reported that a “Racist” couple was barred from adopting children in Italy.

An Italian couple’s adoption bid was denied after they said in their application that they did not want “dark-skinned” children.

An appeal court in Sicily ruled that the couple were unfit to adopt children of any description, local media reported.

A child protection agency took the couple to court after they submitted an application in Catania, in eastern Sicily, saying they were “prepared to take in up to two children… regardless of sex or religion, but… not with dark skin.”

The court ordered a magistrate who reviews adoption requests to ignore such specifications, then took things a step further, ruling that any such “racist” couple should not be allowed to adopt at all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Video: Skunk Anansie "God Loves Only You" - live in Amsterdam

On 26th June the English rock band Skunk Anansie played an exclusive show on the building site of the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam.

See a recent interview with 'Skin' (Deborah Anne Dyer) at The Space

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Video: CNBC MEETS: Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell knew she was the first black model on the cover of the big fashion magazines, but in an interview with CNBC Meets she said: "I didn't know the depth about the whole history of how women of colour were treated."

In an exclusive interview with CNBC guest presenter Tania Bryer, Naomi Campbell speaks about her childhood, her early breakthrough into modelling and how her lifestyle caused her to take time out from the industry, confront her demons and consider her future.

Naomi speaks openly about how her early years impacted her life and about how she is now able to use her position to give back via her numerous charitable activities.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wanted: Writers who want to write about the Black experience in Germany

Via Black German Cultural Society, NJ
Sharon Dodua Otoo is looking for Black authors who want to write about the Black experience in Germany. The project is called "Witnessed" and is a book series written in English by Black authors, who live or have lived in Germany. It is edited by Sharon Dodua Otoo.

On the website she writes: "The idea for the series came to me one day as I thought about how little people know about life in Germany as a Black person - or how dated this knowledge is.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rosemarie Pena about herself and Germany's "Brown Babies"

She was born in Germany. Adopted by an African-American family. And discovered later on in life her biological mother was a Holocaust survivor in post-war Germany. Meet Rosemarie Pena, the President of the Black German Cultural Society, NJ.

By Erik Kambel

An interview with Rosemarie Pena about Germany's "brown babies", her personal history and about the convention of Black Germans in Washington, DC, which she organised this year.

To start, who are the "brown babies" of Germany?
This is just one of the pejorative terms used after World War II to describe the children of white German mothers and African American and Moroccan Soldiers, who where stationed in Germany during and after the war.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Magazine: Transition 106 - 50 Years of debate about the black world

Transition 106, forthcoming this fall, is our 50th Anniversary Issue. We celebrate Transition's storied history and our founding in Uganda in 1961 by Rajat Neogy, joyfully invoking familiar names: Wole Soyinka, Paul Theroux, Ali Mazrui, F. Abiola Irele, Ilan Stavans, and Michael Vazquez.

But the purpose of this special issue is not to tell a seamless story about Transition's journey from Africa to the Diaspora. On the contrary, we are especially interested in the moments when the seams rip and the patterns change. It is in these gaps that we find the unresolved questions that continue to drive the magazine today, and that necessitate further exploration. Contemporary writing, photography and artwork from Uganda are also featured, with a foreword by Elizabeth Palchik Allen.

For more information and some free articles go to

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Video: The night of the French overseas territories

Photo: Colonel Reyel
On 8 October almost 17000 people were present at the big music festival at the 'Palais Omnisport' in Paris Bercy for the 'La nuit de l’outre-mer' (The night of the French overseas territories).

The rhythms of the four departments vibrated for five hours with French stars as Colonel Reyel, Fanny J, Admiral T and many other artists. See photos of the event here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

UK theatre: "Blood of a Nation"

The play "Blood of a nation" is the latest production of R.O.T.A Entertainment (Revolutionaries of the Arts) in the UK.

The video of the play is a short version of the script which is performed as a reading in front of a live audience) that speaks on the 1960 Congo crisis and assassination of Patrice Lumumba from the viewpoint of two young men.

For more information:

UK interview with former Black panther Emory Douglas

Diane Ifode interviews Emory Douglas where he speaks on Huey Newton and the other Black panthers. "This is a behind the scenes look for our documentary on police violence on Black people in the US and UK."

Douglas worked as the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967 until the Party disbanded in the 1980s.

Diane Ifode is the founder of ROTA Entertainment in the UK

Also see a report of VOXAFRICA about their play "Once Upon A Time In The 90s".

Jessie J won four MOBO Awards

Jesse J won four awards at the MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards in Glasgow, Scotland on October 5th. But there is some black critisism.

In the show's 16th year, the Best Newcomer also took home Awards for Best Album (Who You Are), Best Song ("Do It Like a Dude") and Best U.K. Act.

Other winners included Rihanna for Best International Act and Adele for Best R&B/Soul Act. Amy Winehouse was honored in a special tribute that featured her goddaughter, Dionne Bromfield, singing "Love Is a Losing Game."

But according to the black newspaper The Voice, the MOBOs are criticised over Jessie J sweep. The biggest outrage came from supporters of UK rapper, Wretch 32 who believed the Tracktor star, who was nominated for four categories at the Glasgow ceremony and didn't win one, should've at least scooped Best Newcomer.

Fellow rapper, Chipmunk, tweeted: "Conspiracy"

While Choice FM presenter, Kojo, wrote: "All Im saying is CRAIG DAVID all over again," in reference to the infamous 2001 BRIT awards, where the singer was denied all SIX gongs he was nominated for.

Back in July, Voice reporter, Janice Brown asked whether the Mobos were "doing a disservice to black artists" by using white singers to promote the awards.

She wrote: "I certainly don’t subscribe to the thinking that black people should always ‘help their own’, regardless of whether those seeking help deserve it or not. But if organisations like MOBO – and The Voice – that seek to promote black culture, choose to push white talents over black, can we really expect any more from the mainstream?"

MOBO founder, Kanya King said after the awards: "The awards reflect what is happening in the UK music scene right now."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Marie NDiaye and her novel "Three Strong Women"

In 2009 Marie NDiaye won France's top literary prize, Le Pirx Goncourt, for her latest novel “Three Strong Women”. This year the Dutch translation came out and she also won the new Nederlands Literatuurprijs (Dutch Literary Price).

NDiaye is 44 and published her first novel at the age of 18. Her father is Senegalese and her mother French. She was born in France only went to Senegal once, more than 20 years ago.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Book: "The Black History of the White House"

Via Angela Davis
Official histories of the United States have ignored the fact that 25 percent of all U.S. presidents were slaveholders, and that black people were held in bondage in the White House itself.

And while the nation was born under the banner of "freedom and justice for all," many colonists risked rebelling against England in order to protect their lucrative slave business from the growing threat of British abolitionism.

These historical facts, commonly excluded from schoolbooks and popular versions of American history, have profoundly shaped the course of race relations in the United States.

In this unprecedented work, Clarence Lusane presents a comprehensive history of the White House from an African American perspective, illuminating the central role it has played in advancing, thwarting or simply ignoring efforts to achieve equal rights for all.

Here are the stories of those who were forced to work on the construction of the mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the determined leaders who pressured U.S. presidents to outlaw slavery, White House slaves and servants who went on to write books, Secret Service agents harassed by racist peers, Washington insiders who rose to the highest levels of power, the black artists and intellectuals invited to the White House, community leaders who waged presidential campaigns, and many others.

Juxtaposing significant events in White House history with the ongoing struggle for civil rights, Clarence Lusane makes plain that the White House has always been a prism through which to view the social struggles and progress of black Americans.

Read full story at

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Video: "This Is Black History"

UK's top MC's in the video "This Is Black History". Featuring Jody McIntyre, Logic, Big Ben, Jaja Soze, bigCAKES, Genesis Elijah, MC D, Cerose, Big Frizzle, Wordplay, Haze, USG, Rodney P, Akala. Produced by Last Resort.

Report: First World Summit of Afro-Descendants in Honduras

© Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
In August (17-21, 2011), La Ceiba, Honduras, hosted the first ever World Summit of Afro-Descendants—a gathering of over 1,000 people from 44 countries in the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia. The Organización de Desarrollo Étnico Comunitario and the International Civil Society Committee organized the event to commemorate the United Nations and Organization of American States’ International Year for People of African Descent.

The cultural and institutional invisibility of the Afro-Descendant population in the Americas was an overarching theme of the summit. This is a particular challenge in countries where black identity does not form part of the collective national identity. If a state does not know how many, where, and in what condition Afro-Descendants live, how can it formulate a public policy agenda to serve these communities?

The violence against women was also adressed. Afro-Descendant women face unequal access to health care, employment and education. For example, Afro-Descendant women in Brazil are given less anesthesia during childbirth, compared to non-black Brazilians. This, they argue, constitutes a form of violence against women: a systematic denial of equal opportunity and access to state resources and services.

Read full story: Afro-Descendants Deserve to Be Counted

See photos of the event at

The group The Lo Frequency made some footage and interviews from the opening ceremony of the World Summit of African Descendants. The interviews are with the Carifuna people.

Because Carifuna people are in the previous video, this video will explain some of the images and signs.

And a video about the 'Primere cumbra mundial de afrodescendiente'

Monday, October 3, 2011

Women for Africa presents ‘The Women For Africa Awards UK 2012’

For the 1st time ever! Women from Africa will be celebrated in London, at the first ever Women for Africa awards 2012.

Women for Africa, is open to those who want to join us as we celebrate some of Africa’s unsung heroines.

Nominations are now open for UK-based women of African origin to be nominated in one of the twenty-one categories with two categories opened up to non UK-based African women. It will seek to honour and celebrate a number of women who deserve to be recognised and celebrated.

Check out the 21 categories, start nominating now!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The world will remember Troy Davis

Saterday thousands of mourners at funeral for Troy Davis remembered executed convict as 'martyr' and pledged to fight death penalty.

A convicted murderer given the lethal injection despite emotional pleas worldwide for his life is being remembered this weekend as a gentle man who faced his execution with grace and dignity.

Sent to death row 20 years ago, Troy Davis was celebrated as 'martyr and foot soldier' by more than 1,000 people who packed the pews at his funeral on Saturday and pledged to fight the death penalty.

Davis, 42, was executed last month in Georgia for the slaying of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail in 1989, insisting his innocence and asking forgiveness for his accusers and executioners.

Troy's last words that night were he told us to keep fighting until his name is cleared in Georgia,' Mr Jealous said at the funeral on Saturday at Jonesville Church in Savannah, Georgia.

'But most important, keep fighting until the death penalty is abolished and this can never be done to anyone else.'

Read more:

See the statement of the NAACP: The world will remember Troy's name

Long time civil rights activist, Dick Gregory, speaks a memorial on Saterday, to remember recently executed inmate Troy Davis.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dutch singer Glennis Grace is named Best Singer of The Netherlands

Glennis Grace is named Best Singer of The Netherlands. The Dutch public voted for her second time in a row. Grace, who was born to a Dutch mother and a Surinamese father, was named Best Singer on September 29 during the presentation of the Buma NL Awards. The prizes are awarded since last year in collaboration with Dutch broadcaster TROS and Buma Cultuur to promote Dutch music culture.

“When you sleep”, a love song about her son.

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