Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gaïtana: A Black Ukrainian at Eurovision 2012 Stirs Racism Row

Last week Gaïtana was selected to represent Ukraine at this year’s Eurovision Song Festival. Gaïtana is born in Kiev, Ukraine, but lived the first five years of her life in Congo. Her father is from Congo, her mother is Ukrainian.

The Eurovision Song Festival is a major event in Eastern European countries, much more so than in Western European countries.

Juri Sirotjuk, a nationalistic politician from the Freedom Party (Svoboda), protested against the fact that a black singer would represent his country at the Song Contest. He stated that “Millions of viewers will see that Ukraine is represented by someone who doesn’t belong to our race, and they will think that Ukraine is somewhere in Africa.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Documentary: "Audre Lorde - The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992"


Dagmar Schultz's documentary, Audre Lorde - the Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 documents Audre Lorde's influence on the German political and cultural scene during a decade of profound social change, a decade that brought about the fall of the Berlin Wall and re-unification of East and West Germany. This chronicles an untold chapter of Lorde’s life: her empowerment of Afro-German women, as she challenged white women to acknowledge the significance of their white privilege and to deal with difference in constructive ways.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Claudia Unterweger - Austria's first black News presenter

Claudia Unterweger (39) is the first black TV News presenter in Austria. She was born to an African-American father and an Austrian mother. Since February 2011 she is one of the News presenters of “Zib-flash”, a program of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF.

Unterweger caused a stir in 2011 because of the simple fact that she had a different skin color than the general population. "I define myself as black, or as an African-Austrian woman," says the Vienna-born Unterweger.

Esperanza Spalding - "Black Gold"

Black Gold" is Esperanza Spalding's Tribute to Black History Month, ft. songtress Algebra Blessett.

Magazine: New edition of TRANSITION 107

The African diaspora is defined as much by mutual misunderstanding as by solidarity. Transition 107, Blending Borders, intercepts and interprets these crossed signals: between a young Rwandan-American writer and the African-American artist she admires, between Indian and black South Africans, between gay communities and the culture at large, and, as ever, between "travelers" and "natives."

Rokhaya Diallo - Black, French and on the barricades against racism

"French white people should accept minorities that were born and are living in France as regular French citizens with the same rights as the white ones," is the opinion of Paris born activist/writer Rokhaya Diallo.

Rokhaya Diallo is the founder and president of Les Indivisibles, a French organisation that uses humour and irony to fight racism and stereotypes. By raising awareness of these issues, Les Indivisibles seeks to engage the French public as well as government leaders in creating an alternative discourse.

Video: "Noirs de France" ("Blacks of France”) - The history of Black people in France

The French documentary "Noir de France" ("Blacks of France”) is a new documentary of the history of black people in France. It's based on the book "La France Noir" of French historian Pascal Blanchard. The documentary is aired on France 5 in 3 episodes and will be will be available on DVD on 20 February 2012. A traveling exhibition is also on the program.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Video: John Legend ft. Ayo in Paris

John Legend brings together a group of street musicians, creating a Busking Orchestra to perform a free concert for the people of Paris. Ayo also joined him.

For more videos

UK Film: The story of Lover's Rock

The Story of Lovers Rock is a new documentary film that tells the story of how Lovers Rock music defined a generation in the late 70s and 80s hugely impacting on British Pop Culture.

The film which was released on 30 September 2011 in the UK is produced and directed by award winning director/producer Menelik Shabazz; this marks a return after a 30 year absence. The DVD is released on 13th Feb 2012.

Invitation: Remember Whitney Houston - The memorial service online

This Saturday, February 18th, the Houston family will celebrate the life of Whitney Houston. They ask that we all come together to remember Whitney and invite you to view the memorial service online. Click here to visit the Associated Press LiveStream Channel.

"Troféu Raça Negra" - The "Oscar" of Afro-Brazil

Photo: Poet and journalist Elise lucinda, award winner in 2010
The 'Troféu Raça Negra', or translated 'The Black Race Trophy', is a prestigious anual awards ceremony of the black community of Brazil. The trophy is also known as "Oscar" of the black community. The event celebrated its ninth edition on November 13 2011 in São Paulo.

Video: Afro-Brazilian students are protesting against racism in São Paulo Brazil

Young Afro-Brazilians are increasingly protesting in an Occupy movement-style against racism in their country. New protest are targeted at private-public spaces, restaurants, shopping malls, supermarkets, banks and fashion shows.

A week ago, on February 11, members (black and white) of Anti-racism organisations protested in the exclusive shopping mall Higienopolis in Sao Paulo (see video).

Friday, February 17, 2012

CUT UP Collective. Afro Style in Urban Fashion

Picture by Kip Collective
CUT UP Collective is an awesome project from three Brussels-based creative minds: make-up artist Nadjma Ramahatali and fashion designers Sylvie Iweanya and Noémie Nuo.

Noémie owns the Wake Up! fashion shop in Brussels and the Nuo brand. Together they work on several projects. They are responsible for the ‘Trust the Colors’ parties in Brussels and take care of make-up and styling for different creative talents in Belgium.

Brazilian police investigates if black Spanish boy was the victim of racism in Sao Paulo

Jan 3, 2012 - The Brazilian police will investigate whether a Spanish six-year-old boy of Ethiopian origin was a victim of racism at a restaurant in the city of Sao Paulo that was apparently expelled for being black, official sources have reported on Tuesday.

It opened an investigation to verify if happened, at least, unlawful coercion, but we will also try to establish whether the case can be framed in the Brazilian law that criminalizes the offences of discrimination by race or color”, said the Commissioner Marcio of Castro Nilsson, responsible for the inquiry.

Black History Month 2012 in Europe: Celebrating Black Presence in Europe

Traditionally Black History Month (BHM) is celebrated in the USA in the month of February and in the UK in the month of October. However, even this month several events take place in London too. In continental Europe BHM has been celebrated for years, usually also in February. See former post on the BHM of the past years (2011, 2010, 2009).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Stephen Lawrence's Murder (1993). A Murder in Britain.

On January 3rd of this year two men were finally found guilty of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, a black 18 year old Londoner of Jamaican descent. He was murdered in 1993 by two white thuggish youth, with the only motive that he was black. Both were sentenced to a life sentence, but as the was committed before adulthood they will serve a minimum of 15 years in jail.

18 IUS SOLI: A New Documentary by Fred Kuwornu

18 IUS SOLI is a new documentarty by Afro-Italian filmmaker Fred Kuwornu. He examines the law that denies citizenship to young people born in Italy of immigrant parents, because they have no Italian blood.

Ius soli or Jus Soli (the right of soil) refers to the Latin term for birthright citizenship. It's the right to citizenship determined by the place of birth (such as in France or the US). In contrast there is the Ius Sanguinis (the right of blood), applied in Italy, Germany and Eastern Europe, that only gives you the right to citizenship if you can proove that one or both of your parents or grand-parents were/are citizens or members of that nation. If not, even if you were born and raised in Italy, you have no right to be an Italian citizen. But many Italo-Americans or Italo-Argentians who have never been in Italy and doesn't speak Italian has the right to apply for an Italian passport.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

On the French Film 'Intouchables'

Last weekend I went to the movies to see 'Intouchables' (2011). I consciously avoided any information about the film before seeing it. I knew it was a major box office succes in France although it is a rather low budget production. I very much enjoyed it and wouldn't want to reveal too much about the film. The best way to enjoy a film is not to know anything in advance.

However, after seeing the film I went online to read some critics. European critics are full of praise for this little film. It is some kind of a feel good tragic comedy showing a glimpse of humanity's beauty. White and Black French alike, love the film. Even in (Francophone) Africa it is a great succes.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Human Rights Watch Reports on Racism French Police

On 26/JAN/2012 Human Rights Watch reported that French police officers abuse of their powers to force identity checks on black and Arab young men and boys, despite the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing.

The French police denounces the HRW report as a "caricature" . On the other hand HRW warned in its report that unwarranted and intimate searches and insults were damaging relations between police and community.

"It's shocking that young black and Arab kids can be, and are, arbitrarily forced up against walls and manhandled by the police with no real evidence of wrongdoing," said HRW western Europe researcher Judith Sunderland.

Opinion: Kengo wa Dondo Attacked in Paris.

My father told me yesterday if I heard about Congolese top politician Kengo wa Dondo (aka Léon Kengo) who had been attacked in Paris by some Congolese people. Kengo was brutally kicked and lost some teeth. He spend 3 weeks in a Paris hospital recovering. The aggressors weren’t caught, but French police is investigating.

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