Sunday, November 13, 2011

Black British theatre company Talawa celebrates its 25th anniversary

Picture of satire The Colored Museum
Ask Yvonne Brewster how much the theatre industry has changed in 60 years, and the founder of Britain's most high-profile black theatre company says: "Darling, when I started out, people would rub my skin to see if the colour came off."

Rose Bruford, the influential drama tutor, told Brewster (her first black female student) that she should "never expect to work". She did, of course, and in 1972 put on a London production of CLR James's The Black Jacobins, a play about Haiti in the 18th century, only to find her sold-out venue burnt down. [Yvonne Brewster misremembered the play in the venue that burnt down. It was, in fact, a production of Smile Orange.]

Over the next 12 months, as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations, Talawa will be staging George C Wolfe's 1986 political satire The Colored Museum, at the V&A; early next year, a reimagined Waiting for Godot with an all-black cast ("three years in discussion," says Cumper) will premiere at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Meanwhile, the company's annual showcase of new writing, Flipping the Script, has a summer residency at the Young Vic. Reviving a lost classic, reinventing an existing one, looking for the voices of tomorrow: it's a neat illustration of what the company does best.

read the full interview at the Guardian

Talawa Theatre Company at

Afro-French sitcom the "Tchip Show"

The "Tchip Show" is the first Afro-French sitcom. It started in 2005 as Web TV and is now broadcasted on the French public television network France Ô.

The show is about the lives of Afro-French people from the French Caribbean and Africa living in the Paris region.

See "Le Tchip Show" at

Label Noir - Afro-German theatre company performs "Home Bittersweet Home"

"Label Noir" is a group of professional black actors, directors and writers who add a new perspective to the dominant white theater landscape in Germany. Moses Leo, a member of the ensemble, explains how political satire, drama, and stage reading unveil a small piece of federal republican reality.

In an interview in Euromight with Moses Leo, one of the actors of Label Noir, he explains the background of the play "Home Bittersweet Home".

Dutch singer Sabrina Starke - "You Are My Love"

Award winning Dutch artist Sabrina Starke (of Surinamese origin) performs "You Are My Love", one of the songs of her tour. She is a two time winner of the Edison Award (the Dutch Grammy's) and both of her albums were released on the famous Blue Note Jazz label.

Her musical career started when she won the Amateur Night at Harlem's Apollo Theater in New York in 2006.

"MC" - The black theatre workshop and production company in the Netherlands

MC is a black/multicultural theatre workshop a production company and a venue for new times in old cities in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Their work involves everything from street culture to classical theater: they produce plays, music, and events for theaters, clubs and festivals at home and abroad.

Promo for MC's Hollandse Nieuwe (Holland's new), a theatre festival for new playwrights and theatre makers in the Netherlands

About MC
Western Europe today is a multi-etnic and multi-cultural society, and has been increasingly so over the last three decades. This undeniable reality is next to invisible in its cultural institutions. Mainstream art and culture in Europe does not reflect the reality of its streets. Young European artists who have grown up in this new reality are redefining Europe's identity through their work. MC's theater workshop gives them a stage and nurtures their talent. Our productions explore Europe's new identity: its past and its future.

MC evolved out of Made in da Shade and Cosmic theater. Cosmic theater was Amsterdam's leading multicultural production company. Made in da Shade was the dutch pioneer of urban, multimedia theatre. The strengths of both groups come together in MC - multicultural, multidisciplinary and cutting edge - Masters of Ceremony for the new Europe.

We are building our own theatre on the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam which opened in the spring of 2010: 2 studios, a theater that seats 200 people, and a place to ha ng out, dine and dance. A place where new stories are told and old stories are reinterpreted. A house for multiple art-forms: music, new media, dance, exhibitions etc, but always with theatre at heart.

Artistic Director is Marjory Boston

MC plays PUSH at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in South Africa.

See MC at

“Miss Charme” election 2011 - The new ambassador of Amsterdam South East

The Miss Charme election in Amsterdam South East is an annual Dutch election to choose an ambassador to represent the city district for one year.

The new ambassador for Amsterdam South East this year is Nadia Taaza. The 24-year old college student won the election on November 5th. She described herself as "a Moroccan from Limburg”. The choice to move to this neighbourhood she calls "the best decision she has taken so far. Taaza is the first Moroccan to win the contest.

The jury was led by Silvana Simons, a former television host. And host of the evening was Sharlely Becker, who was once a candidate in the election and now the wife of former German tennis star Boris Becker.

See a video of the contest

See website Miss Charme at

French dance company Difekako performs childrens tale "Makak Janbé Croco"

The French Afro-Caribbean dance company Difekako plays the childrens tale "Makak Janbé Croco". The tale of the monkey and king crocodile performed in dance, theatre, music, percussion and vocals. The play takes us to the heart of an African village where every situation is more funny and outrageous than the last. Choreographer is Chantal Loial.

Video: Nigerian-German hip hop/soul singer Nnekka in "NNEKA"

The latest video of the Nigerian-German hip hop/soul singer and songwriter Nnekka, directed by andy amadi okoroafor

Meet black Italian visual artist Abiola Wabara

Abiola Wabara was already well know as a basketball player for the Italian national team, but now she is also making name for herself as a visual artist.

Intro Abiola
Abiola Wabara was born October 23rd 1981 to Nigerian parents in Parma Italy. As a child she always had a great passion for art, going to school in Italy art classes were always part of the curriculum, and she always demonstrated great fervor, and a natural talent for the subject.

Abiola attended Baylor University on a full basketball scholarship where she received a bachelor's degree in Spanish, Spanish literature and Culture. After graduating, she started her career as a professional basketball player in Israel, where she played for 3 seasons, then moved to Ibiza Spain and currently playing in Milan Italy. While in Israel she attended the art workshop of famous Israeli artist Eilat Tzin, and developed her skills further.

Abiola likes to focus her work on the diverse aspects of Black culture and tries to capture the beauty of her people and her culture in the works of Black art she creates. Abiola’s artwork is exciting, bold and expressive. Not only is she fascinated by the human form, but emotions, body language and especially eye expressions. Her style, sense of color is eye catching and being noticed by many.

Abiola work was noticed in Ibiza where she was featured on the local newspaper, Nigeria, where she was published in local magazine “Goldmine” and also was exposed in one of the most prestigious art galleries in Milan Italy “il Borgo”. She only prints small numbered limited editions, in order to value the collector. Abiola will be soon show casing her art work in new locations, follow her to find out….

See website

Asa - Jailer

This one of Asa’s first songs, Jailer. Born Bukola Elemide, Asa was born in Paris, France to Nigerian parents. She was two years old when her family returned to live in Nigeria. Asa grew up in Lagos, in the south-western part of Nigeria.

Abiola Wabara - Racism and protest in Italian basketball

In April this year Italian basketball fans and players were urged to paint their faces black to show solidarity and indignation after black Italian basketball player Abiola Wabara was subjected to racist abuse and spat at during a game. During the game the officials took no action.

According to Eurobasket, the 29-year-old of Nigerian origin, who was born in Parma and played college basketball in America at Baylor, was so shocked by the vitriol directed at her in her native country while playing the game she loves that she said: "I have played in front of 36,000 fans in the USA and I've never experienced something like that."

According to "Life in Italy" in April, Abiola Wabara, a 30-year-old Italian whose parents are Nigerian, suffered the abuse while playing for Bracco Geas of Sesto San Giovanni in a women's top-flight game at Como last Wednesday.

The Italian Basketball Federation (FIP) said the players in the nation's various leagues, starting with the men's top flight, will paint their faces black this weekend and invited fans to do the same.

"The FIP wants to clarify loud and clear that it is against every form of racism,'' read a federation statement announcing the initiative called Vorrei La Pelle Nera (''I'd like to have black skin''), the title of a much-loved Italian pop song.

A video of about protest

Italian film "Bianco e nero" ("Black and White") deals with race and inter-racial relationships

Black and White (Italian: Bianco e nero) is a 2008 Italian romance film directed by Cristina Comencini. The film deals with race and inter-racial relationships when the married Carlo falls in love with Nadine (Aïssa Maïga), the wife of his own wife's work colleague.

Carlo and Elena have been married six years; they have a daughter and their married life has settled into a rut. Elena is a cultural mediator who manages an association against racism, whereas Carlo is a computer engineer who has little in common with his wife.

Bertrand is Elena’s colleague, and husband to Nadine, with whom he has two children. The events of the film unfold after Carlo meets Nadine, a fascinating and elegant Senegalese, employed in the Senegalese embassy in Rome. The two are swept away by an unexpected complicity which becomes a clandestine relationship.

The expectations and prejudices of their two families come to the fore when their affair is revealed, and the new couple have to make important decisions.

According to the review of film education, the film’s reviews weren’t entirely positive. Some reviewers felt frustration that the film’s premise didn’t allow the shades of grey that were indicated in the trailer, and dealt too simplistically with the issues. Centring the narrative on two wealthy families also received strong criticism, as this representation moves the narrative away from the real world, with the African population of Italy remaining largely working class. According to many, the film would have been more educational if it featured two protagonists from a less privileged social class.

The social divides suggested by the film are far from the Italian reality: today in Italy there are different ethnic minorities that suffer marginalisation, whereas the African community is not ghettoised in Piazza Vittorio, as the film would have us believe.

A last and sadly telling fact of the production is that no Italian sponsor was willing to provide the French actors clothes; this fact confirms that even today, racist attitudes persist in Italian society.

Read the full review in PDF at

Video: Genius Collective - Stronger Than Me - Amy Winehouse tribute

The Genius Collective is a seven piece Hip Hop / Soul / Funk band based in Birmingham. Established in 2010, GC offer a Jazzy take on the Hip Hop Band concept.

According to the press release, GC's first release from the E=GC2 EP is the beautifully light and soulful Future (Breaks), a guitar led track featuring the sultry vocals of Genius Collective's leading lady Kezia Johnson, who's sound has been compared to that of Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill & Jill Scott to name but a few. Future fuses guitar, keys, bass and live drums alongside an impressive saxophone harmony providing a backdrop for a story to be told of a love that has come to an end.

Check out their band at

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Radio: Trina Roach interviews three Afro-European women on 15 November 2011

In the online radio program themed "The Power in Telling Our Own Stories" Trina Roach interviews three black women in Europe on Tuesday, 15 November 2011 from 7.30pm to 9.30pm CET on Talkshoe.

The roundtable talk with a panel of special guests will showcase positive examples of Women of African descent in Europe taking back control of the public narrative about them and their lives.

Special guests

Sharon Dodua Otoo – A Black British mother based in Germany – who is an activist, author and editor of the forthcoming book series “Witnessed”.

Precious Williams - A UK-based author and journalist of Nigerian and Sierra Leonean descent. She has written for a number of newspapers and magazines including the Guardian, the Telegraph, Elle, Marie Claire, Grazia, Glamour, the New York Post and the Financial Times. Her first book, a memoir called ‘Precious: A True Story’ was published by Bloomsbury in 2010.

Carolyn Vines - Vines is passionate about IDENTITY and INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL and wrote about the intersection of the two in her memoir - black and (A)broad: traveling beyond the limitations of identity.

The online radio program will be hosted by Trina Roach, an executive coach and leadership trainer who has lived in Germany for almost 40 years, and the founder of Uncaged Birds™.

For more details see her website Uncaged Birds

Friday, November 11, 2011

Book: La France noire (Black France)

Book cover La France Noire
A book, an exhibition and three films will tell, from November 3th, the story of "La France noire" ("Black France"): three centuries of blacks in France.

In the light of Black Britain (2007) by Paul Gilroy, "Le Paris noir" (Hazan, 2001) or Black Paris (2007), this book will be a unique reference of three centuries of blacks in France, from all communities and all over the world for three centuries of shared history.

The books is also part a program by the research group ACHAC (Association pour la connaissance de l'histoire de l'Afrique contemporaine), a program which is at the crossroads of several anniversaries: the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the war in Algeria, the 65th anniversary of the departmentalisation of the "old colonies" (Antilles, French Guiana and Réunion), the 80th anniversary of the French Colonial Exhibition (1931) and the 10th anniversary of the law Taubira (2001), a law which recognises slavery as a crime against humanity.

Author: The historian Pascal Blanchard

Browse in a digital viewing copy of a part of the book at

Read more about the book and the exhibition here

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Black in Nazi Germany - Esi Edugyan about her novel "Half-Blood Blues"

Canadian author Esi Edugyan talks about her new novel Half-Blood Blues. A story about the black experience in Nazi Germany which took the Scotiabank Giller Prize yesterday.

Paris, 1940. A brilliant jazz musician, Hiero, is arrested by the Nazis and never heard from again. He is twenty years old. He is a German citizen. And he is black.

Fifty years later, his friend and fellow musician, Sid, must relive that unforgettable time, revealing the friendships, love affairs and treacheries that sealed Hiero’s fate. From the smoky bars of pre-war Berlin to the salons of Paris – where the legendary Louis Armstrong makes an appearance – Sid, with his distinctive and rhythmic German-American slang, leads the reader through a fascinating world alive with passion, music and the spirit of resistance.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Video: British artist Michael Kiwanuka "I'm Getting Ready"

British artist Michael Kiwanuka was born and raised in North London by Ugandan immigrants. Michael's '60s soul and introspective lyrics draw comparisons to Otis Redding, Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye.

Gang rape duo arrested after bloggers force Nigerian police into action

Nigerian police have arrested two students in connection with a gang rape after a pair of outraged bloggers forced them into action. Bloggers Linda Ikeji and Sugarbelly garnered online support to identify the rapists.

The Voice reported in September that the two men are thought to have been part of a gang of five men, who brutally raped a young woman in a video that was later posted online.

In the video, thought to be recorded on the Albia State university campus, the women can be heard pleading with her attackers to kill her, according to reports.

It is believed that the perpetrators recorded the attack and then distributed it to other students at the university.

However, police were forced to close the investigation because the victim, who can be identified in the footage, did not come forward.

But bloggers Linda Ikeji and Sugarbelly were so horrified by the decision to close the case that they offered a reward to anyone with information.

Together they garnered such overwhelming support online that members of the Nigerian parliament called for the case to be reopened.

Three days later, the online uproar and clues posted on forums helped Albia State detectives make the arrests.

However, the Nigerian Government and university officials deny the incident took place in University or that anyone involved was a student of the school.

Despite the arrests, activists are using the media attention surrounding this incident to draw attention to what they see as an “under-reported epidemic of rape” in Nigeria, AP reports.

“The woman who wants to report rape does not have the confidence in the justice system in Nigeria," said Akiyode-Afolabi, executive director of the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre.

Read the full story at The Voice

Linda Ikeji is a Lagos based Nigerian ex-model, entrepreneur and blogger. She is also the author of the book "It takes you". Her blog is at

It's very good that these two bloggers took action. At the same time it's sad to know that every every 1.3 minute a person is raped.

Concha Buika's new album "En Mi Piel"

In September this year Latin Grammy award winning Spanish artist Concha Buika released her new album "En Mi Piel". In the video Buika is singing "Por el amor de amar" from her new album.

Last year her album "El Ultimo Trago", a collaboration with Chucho Valdes, won her a Latin Grammy music award.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"Africa Vive" - Spain's biggest African cultural event

Africa Vive (Africa Lives) is a cultural initiative in Spain to celebrate Africa Day on May 25th. It’s a full program of activities between April and July and includes cultural, political, economic, social and sporting activities.

Africa Vive is an initiative of the government organisation "Casa Africa", which aims to improve the knowledge of the African continent in Spain.

According to the organisation the goal is to foster the debate on the continent at all levels and always in the hands of Africans themselves and showing Africa in a positive and optimistic way.

Africa Vive at
Casa Africa at

And check out the youTube video channel of Africa Vive here

A video of AFROJAM, an event which was organised by Casa África in 2009.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Brazil travel poster in The Netherlands – No black folks?

I saw a travel poster of Brazil in Amsterdam today with the slogan "Brazil is calling. Celebrate life here."

But somehow it didn't look Brazilian to me, especially on a cold autumn day. When I think of Brazil I think of Carnival in Rio, samba football and smiling black and white faces. But this poster reminds of Portugal, not Brazil.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bijlmertalk – Young Black people in Amsterdam South East

Bijlmertalk is a new web TV show created for and by young black people in the multicultural district Amsterdam South East in The Netherlands.

In the shows experts will be interviewed about various themes, but also politicians, business people and residents will get attention.

In the video the two hosts say: “Here it's going to happened, Bijlmertalk 20. We are going to talk about sports, politics, crime, jobs and income.” Check their website at

Bijlmertalk partnered with the website Bijlmer, a website packed with information for youngsters and children in the district. And it’s also created by the young people of South East. Check their website at

To see what life is like for these youngster go directly to the photo albums at:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Video: "Dear Daddy" - The pain of fatherless women

A very painful documentary about the effects of the absence of a black father in the lives of eight young women. Although it's an African American documentary, the problem of the absentee black father is also an issue in many black European communities.

Dear Daddy is a feature length documentary about the life long effects of fatherlessness on women. The film follows the dramatic journeys of eight young women from the tough city streets of Washington,DC as they struggle to overcome poverty, poor educational systems, no healthcare, and the most difficult life circumstance they have been dealt… the absence of their fathers.

According to the blog of the film, 82.3% is the number of African American children born since 1990 that will not live in the same home as their biological fathers before graduating High School.

Check out the full story at

Needless to say, there are black men who do care for their families.

To end, a video from the UK about Black Fatherhood in the 21st Century

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

UN launches competition to design memorial to victims of slavery

30 September 2011 – The committee tasked with building a permanent memorial at the United Nations to honour the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade today launched a global competition for the design of the structure to remind the world that millions of Africans were violently removed from their homelands, abused and robbed of their dignity.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will administer the design competition, Ambassador Raymond Wolfe of Jamaica, the chair of the Permanent Memorial Committee on Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, told a news conference at UN Headquarters.

“As we launch the competition I am pleased to report that all stakeholders including the members of the committee, Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Africa Group which participated in the negotiations are supremely confident that UNESCO will manage a transparent, inclusive and politically impartial selection process,” said Mr. Wolfe.

He urged ministries of foreign affairs and culture of Member States to disseminate information about the design competition so that a “rich and diverse pool of applications can be submitted to UNESCO for consideration.” The deadline for submitting designs to the competition is 19 December 2011.

Philippe Kridelka, the Director of UNESCO’s New York Office and Representative to the UN, noted that the monument will not only be a symbol, but part of an education process in memory of slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Some $4.5 million is required to build the monument, and just over $1 million has been raised through donations from States and others sources. Mr. Wolfe encouraged corporations, philanthropists and the private sector to contribute to the project.

Source: UN

(Photo of statue of the Slavery monument in Zanzibar Stone Town, Tanzania by Eric Lafforgue)
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