For 26-Year-Old Tene Edwards, it all started on Instagram. “I was broken, my heart was aching, and I completely lost myself. I always used to be the girl who smiled regardless of what was happening in my life but after that heartbreak, I just didn’t know how to smile anymore. I remember when I was on my way home from seeing the guy who was really hurting me and my face must have looked so distressed because a stranger said to me “smile. You are beautiful you know. You should smile.” I think this played on my mind during my train journey home and I knew from that moment that I needed to find a way to pick myself up and I can’t remember how long after, but sometime after I began to journal and I found healing in my writing as I faced my emotions.
Tene then decided to share her words with the world and created an account on Instagram called quotepotion which helped her discover that there were many other people experiencing the same emotions as she was. “I built my organic following online using my phone by engaging with people who followed and commented on the inspirational posts of accounts that had larger audiences than mine, this drew them to checking out my page and some following. I did this for hours on end to begin with and found that people were really able to resonate with my words. I then started to search via hashtags that were relevant to my writings and engaged with people there. I also asked the larger accounts to repost my words, some did this for free while other accounts charged”.
“I self-published Walk With Wings to begin with as I wanted to give my readers something that they could hold and make their own. I also saw this as an opportunity to monetise my passion of writing and was very keen to do this after reading a ton of self-help books that consistently screamed “do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life”. I wrote the content out on Word and searched for an illustrator, editor and book designer to help me with the layout of the inside of the book on the copyright pages of other books that I liked. I then uploaded the documents onto CreateSpace (now KDP).
Tene contacted The Good Quote to ask if they could share some of her words on their account and before you know it, she was having a meeting with them in Joe & The Juice about Walk With Wings and the rest is history. Walk With Wings has reached the hands of thousands and thousands of people worldwide and Tene’s words have been shared by household names and celebrities including, Kandi Burruss, Wesley Snipes, Dascha Polanco and Khloe Kardashian.
“Social media is a powerful place; I practically built my brand on there. Anybody can. I think a lot of people are underutilising it, including myself to be honest when we should really be making the most out of it, being a free platform to advertise. I don’t think advertising can get an easier and cheaper than this.”
Continue reading for Tene's 4 steps to get you started on Social Media.
Here are her 4 steps to get you started on social media AND share your craft
Step 1: Create an account on Instagram
Step 2: Write a bio (be clear, concise and descriptive)
- What is the purpose of your account? Where can your audience contact you? Include a call to action. Why should they click on your link?
Step 3: Build your audience and direct people to your work
- Research the Hashtags relevant to your brand and engage with the accounts that are using the hashtag through liking their posts and commenting your thought on them. For example some of the hashtags I use to find people to engage with are #knowyourworth #thegoodquote #selflove you can even search competitors hashtags
- Research accounts that have bigger followings than you who repost other people's posts that are similar to yours and align with your brand. Reach out and ask them to repost your posts.
Step 4: Engage with your audience through polls and questions to find out what type of content they enjoy seeing and post more of it.
If you would like to know more and see Tene in person, you can meet her at the event below.
You can also connect with Tene Edwards via Instagram and follow her @teneedwards
LES AMAZONES D’AFRIQUE - AMAZONES POWER
Une force créative qui réunit des voix internationales,des harmonies douces et puissantes qui défendent les droits des femmes et des jeunes filles,une fusion de talents et de générations...
Les racines de ce ‘super-groupe’ féminin panafricain remontent à 2014, quand trois stars de la musique et activistes du changement social maliennes–Mamani Keita, Oumou Sangare et Mariam Doumbia (également membre du duo légendaire Amadou & Mariam) entament une conversation sur l’égalité des sexes avec Valérie Malot (directrice de l’agence de booking/créative3D Family). «Nous nous sommes rendu compte que la répression des femmes, sur le continent et à travers le monde, était quelque chose qui touchait vraiment toutes les femmes, se rappelle Valérie Malot .Ce n’est pas une question de couleur ou de culture. C’est quelque chose de générique. Toutes les femmes peuvent s’y reconnaître.»
Des vérités universelles et un désir commun d’égalité sont à l’origine de la formation des Amazones: un collectif dont le nom rend hommage aux générations de guerrières courageuses et fières (ainsi qu’au groupe féminin avant-gardiste des années 60, Les Amazones de Guinée). Les Amazones d’Afrique ont également montré qu’elles ne craignaient pas de se confronter à des sujets qui restent un problème non seulement sur le continent africain, mais aussi à travers le monde. Leur premier album, "République Amazone" sorti en 2017, rencontre un franc succès. Il voit la participation d'artiste telle qu'Angélique Kidjo et figurera dans la playlist 2017 de Barack Obama.
Avec la sortie de leur deuxième album cette semaine, derrière ses influences traditionnelles enivrantes et ses grooves électroniques, le groupe aborde sans concessions des thèmes difficiles comme la misogynie et la violence, l’identité sexuelle, le mariage forcé et la pratique barbare des MGF (mutilations génitales féminines,ou ‘excision’).
Le son de l’album est également visionnaire, très riche mélodiquementet surtout très varié, mêlant des styles panafricains et des harmonies collaboratives à un son pop cru et contemporain, et à la production type Congotronix du légendaire Doctor L (alias Liam Farrell), qui a mixé et masterisé le disque à Dakar et Paris .Keita, déjà présente à l’origine du groupe, continue son voyage avec Les Amazones sur Amazones Power, prêtant sa voix magnifiquement fougueuse à plusieurs morceaux, dont Love (qui proclame que «La femme mérite le respect»), Smooth, Timbuktu et Dogon. Le nouvel album du groupe voit aussi le retour très apprécié de Rokia Kone, la «Rose de Bamako», qui apporte sa soul glorieuse et son regard décalé sur des morceaux mémorables, comme le très inspirant Queens –un appel à la solidarité avec les épouses qui sont forcées de supporter en silence la cruauté de leurs nouveaux mariset beaux-parents. Et cette fois, le cercle des Amazones s’agrandit encore, ralliant de nouvelles voix et stars montantes d’Afrique, comme la chanteuse béninoise Fafa Ruffino, dont le registre vocal crée des ponts entre l’influence musicale de sa grand-mère ghanéenne, le gospel, la soul, et des styles culturels couvrant le Nigeria et le Burkina-Faso. Fafa Ruffino a tout de suite compris l’intérêt de rejoindre Les Amazones: «La première chose, c’était le concept, dit-elle. Je veux dire, demander à différentes chanteuses de faire équipe et de lutter pour les droits des femmes en utilisant la musique comme force ultime, c’est fantastique. Je n’ai pas hésité une seconde, parce que j’ai senti que c’était le devoir qui m’appelait, et même plus que ça...« Nous venons de pays différents, et pourtant nous rencontrons les mêmes difficultés dans nos villes natales. On a besoin de montrer au monde qu’il n’y a pas de frontières quand il s’agit de se battre pour nos droits... C’était comme si l’univers nous avait réunies. On se battait seules, et quelque chose a poussé nos énergies à se rencontrer.»
Les chansons des Amazones s’adressent aux frères et aux sœurs, aux parents, aux enfants, et aux sociétés au sens large. Elles puisent souvent profondément dans les expériences personnelles, tout en donnant une voix vitale aux femmes injustement ignorées. En tant que plus jeune nouvelle recrue du groupe, la musicienne, danseuse et artiste Niariu explique : « Pour moi en particulier, le plus grand message serait de dire qu’il y a des voix qui doivent vraiment être entendues–et on doit faire de la place pour toutes les femmes, pour qu’elles puissent s’exprimer et participer aux solutions. Le féminisme ne doit pas être qu’une question d’égalité des sexes dans les pays occidentaux, alors que beaucoup de femmes n’ont toujours pas accès aux droits humains les plus élémentaires. Si nous ne sommes pas toutes libres, alors certaines passent du côté des oppresseurs tandis que les autres restent opprimées." «Ce projet s’appelle Les Amazones d’Afrique, mais je pense qu’il ne faut vraiment pas nous mettre dans une case. Les gens doivent commencer à réaliser que le continent africain a une place importante dans le monde. Tout est international dans ce projet: les personnes qui ont travaillé dessus, les langues et les sons que nous utilisons, le message qu’on fait passer... et j’espère que les gens accueilleront ce projet comme un tout.»
Le refrain enjoué de Niariu –«Together we must stand/ Together we must end this» (Nous devons résister ensemble / mettre fin à ça ensemble)–vient illuminer l’énergique et funky Heavy, premier titre et premier single de l’album. Sur d’autres morceaux, parmi la brillante diversité des voix exubérantes qui se côtoient, on retrouve la star de rap malienne Ami Yerewolo, la chanteuse algérienne Nacera Ouali Mesbah (connue entre autres pour s’être attaquée au répertoire chaâbi traditionnellement masculin, et qui délivre ici en arabe les paroles incendiaires de Rebels–«We want to live free, live in peace... The path is certainly long, but we will succeed» (On veut vivre libres, vivre en paix... Le chemin est certainement long, mais on y arrivera)), et la chanteuse ivoirienne Kandy Guira, qui apporte de la beauté et de l’intensité à la chanson Sisters. Sur Power, le très puissant dernier morceau de l’album, un collectif multi-générationnel de 16 chanteuses et chanteurs d’Afrique, d’Europe et d’Amérique du Sud annoncent l’aube d’un futur collaboratif et dans lequel existe une réelle égalité.« La fusion musicale qu’on trouve dans cet album est unique en son genre, s’enthousiasme Niariu. Nous sommes des chanteuses avec des voix différentes et avec chacune notre propre style. On chante dans de nombreuses langues, aussi. Je pense que le défi était de sortir de notre zone de confort en écrivant sur des instrumentaux auxquels nous n’étions pas forcément habituées–par exemple des fusions d’électro, de sons traditionnels africains, d’éléments reggae et hip-hop –et d’y apporter un message, une mélodie, un langage qui nous ressemble. Je pense que c’est ce qui permet à notre projet de transcender les cultures,les générations et les parcours. Ce n’est pas juste des mots ou juste des sons, c’est une expérience plus profonde.»
Les Amazones ont toujours été inclusives dans leur esprit d’empowerment, mais, pour la première fois, elles invitent également de jeunes chanteurs–en l’occurrence, Douranne (Boy) Fall et Magueye Diouk (Jon Grace) du groupe parisien Nyoko Bokbae, dont l’expression magnifie le son de la diaspora du 21ème siècle, et qui s’associe à Niariu (tout en célébrant leurs propres aînées) sur Heavy.
Découvrez le titre Heavy et continuez à lire ci-dessous pour plus d'infos
Comme l’explique Fafa Ruffino, c’est une évolution naturelle :«Les nouvelles générations se soulèvent contre les traditions, et particulièrement en Afrique. Donc il y a beaucoup de jeunes hommes dans les associations de droits des femmes, qui font du porte-à-porte pour informer les plus jeunes. Et donc c’est tout à fait juste de les intégrer parmi nous. Le groupe Nyoko Bokbae est incroyable; leurs messages sont puissants et dynamisants.»
Et l’album Amazones Power porte évidemment bien son nom : « Le Pouvoir, c’est vraiment tout, dit Fafa Ruffino en insistant bien sur les mots. Nous nous réunissons toutes pour changer les règles établies depuis des siècles. Les femmes prennent le contrôle du monde, vous savez! Avec cet album, on casse les codes, en parlant des violences faites aux femmes et aux jeunes filles, des mutilations génitales, des mariages forcés, de l’égalité des sexes. Nous voulons que nos sœurs et nos mères comprennent que c’est à nous de décider de ce qui nous rend heureuses et accomplies.» «Les générations plus anciennes de femmes ont fait de leur mieux pour survivre et changer les choses, en faisant en sorte que les générations suivantes auraient encore plus d’outils pour évoluer en tant que femmes, ajoute Niariu. Maintenant, les nouvelles générations refusent d’être sacrifiées, elles sont là pour rompre le cycle de souffrance et d’image de la femme forte qui ne doit rien dire et supporter tous les fardeaux. Nous sommes extraordinaires et puissantes, et chaque fois que la société essayera de nous dire le contraire, on se fera entendre clairement et on ne s’excusera plus. C’est une manière de dire que nous avons le pouvoir en nous. Quand nous en serons pleinement conscientes, des transformations profondes pourront se faire.»
Ecoutez ci-dessous le titre "Power" de leur nouvel album qui dénonce nombre de violences faites aux femmes jusqu'à ce jour et continuez à lire ci-dessous pour les dates de leur tournée. Elles seront au Jazz Café le mercredi 29 janvier au Jazz Café à Londres où elles rencontreront notre équipe.
We Cannot Call Anywhere Our Home
We cannot call anywhere our home!!
Here is the plea of so many African Americans, who proudly consider Africa to be the land of their ancestry and ancestors.
As I was checking out the bold launch of The State of the Diaspora last week in Paris, which pegged itself to the official entity that is the 6th region of the African Union, I met two beautiful African American sisters who have repatriated to Ghana and encourage others to do so.
The 6th region has an important role in their view, as it is meant to be the official entity representing all the Historic Unique African Diasporas as a result of the Transatlantic Slave Trade such as Black people of African Descent in South America, North America and the Caribbean… which account for 170 million people according to the African Union (AU). These groups, despite their African descent are not granted African Citizenships, even though a proportion of them would happily repatriate to Africa should they have the opportunity and legal right to do so. Hence, the importance for these unique groups to be constituted into a State attached to the African Union to be accounted for and eventually granted citizenships. Whilst the 6th region has full legitimacy, the auto-proclaimed creation of a State of the Diaspora is regrettable in my view.
I believe that the alleged Prime Minister would have gained much more credibility as a Head of Project aiming to constitute a State represented by a Government democratically elected. Additionally, it must be said that this project of a State has only received the backing of 3 countries, so far, that are part of the African Union. It would need far more than a 5th of African States supporting the initiative to have a legitimate existence.
As a result, this meeting was vehemently boycotted by a number of Pan African groups. I do understand their stance although I deeply dislike the manner in which some of these groups came to the press conference to publicly humiliate those involved not considering that the Caribbean and South American dignitaries who were present had a different status. There are ways of expressing disagreement, even to condemn actions but, disrespecting flesh and blood will never take us very far as a people. In my view, it simply demonstrates very little respect for oneself and others.
Coming back to my two precious sistahs, both retirees in their seventies; they had flown over from Ghana, connected flights at Addis Ababa to arrive in Paris to see what they could learn from their brothers and sisters in Europe. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be so and after hate speeches broke out at the press conference, one of our precious Mamas fell ill and was urgently taken to hospital in an ambulance due to high blood pressure. I am so grateful that both my friend Mohamadou and myself were there at the time it happened and were able to support as it was out of the question that they should be left on their own, knowing that they couldn’t speak French.
As for me, the value of attending this event was meeting with them and what I found out about their plea.
Auntie Earna is a beautiful sistah from Detroit who repatriated to Ghana when she retired from her teaching job. Auntie Earna’s first encounter with the continent of her ancestors was at 8 years old when she met a first African national. At 11 years old, she was given her first National Geographic magazine by her dad which had he found on a bus. She read all about different places in Africa and knew then that’s where she wanted to go. Her dad admonished her to have a good education as this would be her passport to go anywhere in the world. When she was 15, a secondary school teacher introduced her class to African History in which they were taught about the different African countries and their capitals. As a young adult, Earna started to meet a variety of African Nationals such as Ethiopians, Ghanaian and more and she started working 2 to 3 jobs so one day she could go to Africa. This she eventually did, going back and forth to 18 African countries taking students and teachers with her. Then in June 2000 after a key encounter, she bought a piece of land in Ghana, built her house in 2002 and retired there from teaching. However, it took almost 15 years for her to be granted citizenship. Auntie Earna would say “So many of us are interested in going back. Quite a few of us ended up going to Ghana”. However, once they arrive in Ghana, many African Americans who currently amount to 7,000 people in Ghana alone, pensioners contributing to a minimum of 63 million dollars a year, often have a tourist visa and become illegal once the tourist visa has run out, as there is no swift procedure to recognise this Historical Unique diaspora as lawful Africans.
Mama Imakhus Okofu also known as “One Africa” decided to repatriate to Ghana in 1989 with her husband. They own a health resort which serves as a retreat. Mama Imakhus believes that the mission given to her by the ancestors is “to help as many people as possible to escape from the US.”
To her, The United States remains a land of exploitation of the Black race, the only place in the world where Black citizens are an amendment to the constitution (3/5th of a man), who have eventually been bonified as full humans and granted citizenships. Up to today, she will explain that the Voters Rights Bill still determines every 25 years if Black people can continue voting. Black people, who are undeniably, the builders of America, the farming land, are the only ethnic group this applies to.
However, for these Africans born in America who have been called “negros, coloured, black, Afro-American, African-American”, the reality is bleak when it comes to being recognised on the African continent. Many retirees arrive in Africa with the will and the desire to contribute to the development of the country only to be looked upon as outsiders.
As Ghana was publicly declaring “the year of return”, both Earna and Imakhus attended the Homecoming Summit only to realise that this call to the diaspora was for Ghanaians leaving abroad. Yet, they are hopeful that the message is more than a touristic plot and this year, 250 African Americans who have lived in the country for over 25 years have applied for citizenship and are awaiting a conclusive outcome.
One Africa has also championed a petition in Ghana, click below for more information on the work of these two beautiful sistahs and mamas, as well as for more info on the 6th region of the AU.
This is a FREE FAMILY FRIENDLY COMMUNITY EVENT to celebrate Black History Month that will take place on Saturday 12th October 2019 in Wood Green Library from 12 to 4pm.
The event will be opened by Haringey’s Mayor Cllr Sheila Peacock at 12noon. There will be an African Cultural and Artistic Market with vendors selling a range of items from original fashion pieces, accessories, jewellery, arts and crafts, books and natural products. There will also be drumming and drama workshops by All Eyes on Egypt and BAP face painting by NaaLa Lartey, an ACLT blood donor registration drive, charities and local community organisations holding stalls such as Haringey IAPT, Obaseki Solicitors, Manhood Academy whilst Reggae Britannia will be providing food.
Guest Speakers will be Patrick Vernon OBE and Danny Thompson who will both present on Black History Month.
This event is open to all. Let's come together to learn and celebrate Black History as well as networking with and discovering artists, artisans, charities and grassroot community organisations all working for the good of our communities.
For more info, see website below:
Disrupt Space is a visual arts agency established to nurture and represent emerging Black visual artists. The company will recruit artists to accelerate their progression and build a platform for the future.
The new venture begins with a display of works of art called CONVERSATIONS IN COLOUR that can be seen at The Department Store in Brixton (from 11th - 13th of October, 12 - 5pm). Here, artists Lola Betiku, Marlon Stewart, Sharon Adebisi and Gus Brooks-Simpson take centre stage to unveil their work; some of which has been prepared just for the show.
To mark the occasion, Disrupt Space has invited one of our leading Black visual artist, Alvin Kofi of Kofi Arts to contribute to the programme. On Sunday 13th October (2 - 4pm) Kofi will present and preview work from his forthcoming coming collection entitled 'Figures in a Landscape’.
Contact details and social below:
Visiting Gus of Ba Khem Arts this week in Shoreditch was a real highpoint for me. This talented young Brother really had me thinking. I arrived with no expectations really, just open I suppose to see what the Brother has going on but I left lifted and thinking how fortunate I was to catch this on the last day of his exhibition.
The style of work reminded me of the kind of art you’d see on the front of some iconic album covers from back in the day. A whole bunch of references came flooding back; all brought to life by the explanation from the artist, who fluently talked though each and every piece with a passion.
You could miss this work with a glance but pause for a moment and join the dots up and you’ll see there’s a lot going on here.
As Gus goes about the business of applying thought to canvas, I got an overwhelming sense that he’s channeling. The lived experiences of personal relationships finds a way to be heard through references to ancient traditions, contemporary society and future visioning. Every piece is conceptual with a suggestion of cultural download.
I was left thinking... Wow! what a wealth of potential and creativity in our community. We really must find ways for this to grow and prosper.
Review of Ba Khem Arts by Paul Reid
See a selection of Ba Khem Arts work below and his website!!
This year, we will be back at Africa Fashion Week 2019 as a media partner for their 9th edition which will be taking place on the 9th & 10th of August.
This year's event is destined to mark a milestone in the history of Africa Fashion Week through the inclusion of several facets designed to enhance the event.
This exciting new structure will include:
AFRO CULTURE AT AFWL 2019
Provoking and non-conformist, Serge Aimé Coulibaly is transporting us in a world where Fela Kuti, the revolutionary icon that inspired the piece Kalakuta Republik, is displayed in 3D through his musical greatness, his murky and superstitious genius, his enduring creativity pushing off boundaries and his unwavering defiance. Kalakuta Republik offers no escape to facing the crude realities of revolutionary acts : the sublime and the chaos.
Part 1 " Without a story we would go mad" peaks away from codes, from what is predictable into continuous individual movements that take us into a disjointed trance. The dancers are dressed in black and white as if presenting a manichaean view and isolated experience of the world. Yet Serge Coulibaly through his appearances on stage becomes a conductor who connects with the dancers.
In Part 2 « You always need a poet », we are firstly confronted with moral decadence and the absurd. Sexual depravity, drugs, madness punctuate the sounds of jazz-infused Afrobeat. One dancer is hurt, heavyloaded while others are intoxicated, used, hurt, abused. The colours remind us of Fela Kuti’s Shrine which was both a temple and a night club. Yet, the poignant and enduring message of hope and political resistance clearly resonates throughout the piece.
The dancers keep on marching, clenched-fists in the air. And the fight goes on !!!
Kalakuta Republik will show one more night at the Barbican on 1st June and at the Edinburgh International Festival from 8th to 11th August 2019. See links below to book your tickets now.
How impressive!!! Ten men of African and Caribbean descent, embark on a 3 day bike ride London to Paris, led by Captain Adisa Stephen-Ezeocha, with the participation of Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa and Pablo Reid who are the co- founding members of Origin and 7 Origin facilitators and volunteers, departing from London in the early hours of the morning on Friday 31st May to reach Paris on Sunday morning.
continue reading on for more info
In addition to fundraising for the program « Origin », they will also pay tribute to the late American professional cyclist Martial Walter know as « Major » Taylor, who won the sprint event at the 1899 world track championships to become the first African American to achieve the level of cycling world champion and the second black athlete to win a world championship in any sport. He raced in the U.S., Europe and Australasia between 1901 and 1904, beating the world's best riders and competed several times in the « Parc des Princes », Paris. Taylor fought racial prejudice he encountered on and off the track and became a pioneering role model for other athletes facing racial discrimination.
continue reading on for more info
« When the idea of London to Paris on a bike first came-up, I remember thinking... “damn crazy” but what I actually said was “...how about Brighton?” shared Pablo Reid on his Facebook account. Pablo Reid has got many « strings to his bow » and an impressive resume as the founder of British Cultural Archives in Brixton and as co-founder of the project Origin for which the bike ride aims to raise £6,000 and, to this day, has already exceeded its target.
But as Pablo explains « The whole cycling initiative started to become much more than a fundraiser […..] I started to see an opportunity to journey with the ORIGIN men, through a seriously challenging ordeal. Then I saw the question of ‘talking the talk’ or ‘walking the walk’? You know, we often say that we want young people to broaden their horizons and to come out of their comfort zones but how often do we demonstrate this in our own lives? »
And these men have consistently aimed to be a source of inspiration and strength to the younger generation through the Origin Project which came into being in 1999. Last year, for instance, they also succeeded in raising £13,000 against the initial target of £6,000 as they fought in « a white collar boxing » competition for which they trained for 6 months, all for the benefit of the many young men’s lives they are empowering through Origin, a Pan-Afrikan « Rites of Passage » program to take young African and Caribbean boys from childhood into manhood.
continue reading on for more info
As these courageous and connected men engage with the young people as mentors, older brothers, fathers, they create an ecosystem involving parents and communities. The program is holistic and aim to create a nurturing, stimulating and safe environnement where both children and parents feel supported through life challenges. Origin promotes African ancestry and heritage consciousness, identity formation and community belonging. Origin doesn’t want to plug into the whole « Black youth in deficit » narrative but encourages both youth and parents to embrace personal development, explore themselves, their aspirations, lives and roles.
Boys preparing to pass into manhood and below Origin co-founders Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa on the left, Pablo Reid in the middle and Adisa Stephen-Ezeocha on the right
To play your part and support Origin now, click the link below:
To follow their progress and itinerary, suscribe to their blog.