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2021

Mfunguamoyo KiaKanua, the founder of LobbyNoir

29 Décembre 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #2021, #ujamaa, #kwanzaa, #lobbynoir, #afroculture, #afrocultureblog, #ENG

As we reflect upon the principle of Ujamaa and collective economics, Mfunguamoyo Kiakanua is a colleague we would like to give credit to.

Mfunguamoyo KiaKanua, who is the son of an illustrious Major general who fought for Angolan independence, is the founder of LobbyNoir. LobbyNoir is both a site and an App, downloadable from Google Play and Apple Store, which is a global directory of Black Owned Businesses with a SEO functionality. It also provides a multilingual MarketPlace in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese and digital services for Black Owned Businesses. Click below to visit LobbyNoir's site and to watch Mfunguamoyo's interview with our cultural mediator Caro Sika. The interview is in French but subtitled in English.

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Paul Muhammad, the founder of Moneymob

29 Décembre 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #ENG, #afroculture, #afrocultureblog, #kwanzaa, #ujamaa, #blacklegacy, #uk, #paulmuhammad, #moneymob, #2021

As we reflect upon the principle of Ujamaa on Day 4 of Kwanzaa, Paul Muhammad, the founder of the Moneymob movement and community leader, is an awesome colleague we must give credit to.

Paul Muhammad is the founder of the crowd purchase movement, Money Mob. Money Mob promotes, markets and implements group economics to support Black Owned businesses. Over the last 25 years, Paul has travelled throughout the world on one business venture or another and sees it as his mission to support Black Economics, a mission that is gathering pace with others in the UK, the US and throughout the world. Click below to watch Paul interview Paulette Simpson, the Executive Director of the Top UK Black Magazine the Voice.

Click below to watch more of Paul Muhammad interviews and suscribe to the Moneymob Youtube Channel.

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Dolapo is Fine!

27 Décembre 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #2021, #afrocultureblog, #afroculture, #ENG, #cinema

We came across this really insightful and well executed short over the weekend,  directed by Ethosheia Hylton and written by Joan Iyiola and Chibundu Onuzo in 2020. Dolapo is a Nigerian student at a British boarding school who hopes for a career in the finance sector. However, her assigned advisor, also Nigerian, advises her to change the nickname she goes by and her natural hair to assimilate and be taken seriously for a pending interview. Dolapo's identity is put in question for the very first time, it seems, and her journey considering change will lead her on the road to self-determination. This short challenges the narrative of assimilation to succeed or reach our goals, we highly recommend it. It is currently available on Netflix. Click below to watch a trailer.

What is Kwanzaa?

As previously mentioned, today is Day 2 of Kwanzaa. Unlike other celebrations over the holidays, Kwanzaa is a non-religious but a cultural celebration. It's a weeklong observerd from 26th December to 1st January of each year. Each day highlights a core principle which is symbolised by lighting a candle. It culminates in gift giving and a big feast. The 7 principles derive from the Swahili languague and honor African heritage. They are inspired by African harvest celebrations such as those of the Ashanti and those of the Zulu. Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Africana Studies at California State University, in 1966. He created this holiday in response to the Watt Riots in Los Angeles in 1965 as a way to bring African-Americans together as a community.

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Afrolights - Shine your own light to banish the darkness

29 Novembre 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #afroculturekidz, #afrocultureblog, #afroculture, #2021, #ENG

The Afrolights

The Afrolights

Christine Natasha Smith (see pic below) is a mother, artist, teacher and what she likes to call 'creator of magic'. The Afrolights are her current project, a dynamic duo (her children) who are on a mission to bring positivity and light to a world where darkness and doubt seeps into corners waiting to infect our youth - but with the right teaching - which the Afrolights are armed with, plus their innate powers, children can find the positivity from within and shine their own lights to banish the darkness.  

Inspired by the queen - Whitney Houston - Christine Natasha Smith believes that the greatest love of all is to love yourself.  "It's hard to give love to others fully, wholeheartedly, if you don't have that for yourself first.  Some think that taking care of others is paramount and that can become an excuse for not taking care of ourselves. But if we want to make a difference to others, fill their cups, then we can't be pouring from an empty jug." says Christine.  
 
In her view, a variety of things have led her to the Afrolights, such as her own self care journey; her  work as an educator both in a mainstream school, privately and in non-profit organisations ; a passionate yearning to impart positivity to children, and teach them lifelong lessons that will help them to be resilient in the future and finally her journey as a mother and wanting the same opportunities for all children to lead happy, healthy and harmonious lives.  Music, singing has been a part of Christine's life since childhood and she views it as an enjoyable way of expressing herself.  The song of the Afrolights was another extension of that as well as a fun and vibrant way of interacting with the children, teaching them her message, helping them to learn these affirmations, especially in our current times. Positivity is a must!
 
"Confidence and self esteem are cornerstones for all children.  Pillars of positivity.  For children's growth, they need to have confidence in themselves to be able to look inside themselves and love what they see - all aspects of themselves too.   With confidence and self esteem, the world becomes their oyster, they can succeed in whatever area they wish to pursue, they can not only dream big dreams but achieve them too." explains Christine.  
 
And obviously, for an author teaching positivity, it is not surprising that  the sky is her limit. She literally, in her own words, would like to take this book to the moon! Her current aspiration are creating/producing:
- An abc of positivity book
- A series of tales based on the main protagonists spreading their message of positivity, encouraging children that think positively is a SUPER POWER! 
- A clothing and apparels range. 
- The song, a tv show, the moon! 😇🥳
 
"To affirm something is to declare it openly and then uphold the words stated.  They are made firm.  The more you say things- the more you believe them.  Whenever we want something to happen, we have to state it and then work toward it.   Things don't happen in secret.  It's all about intention." concludes Christine Natasha Smith  
 
Look out for the abc book and associated merchandise coming soon.
For more info, follow The Afrolights on Instagram
Christine Natasha Smith

Christine Natasha Smith

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The Melanin Lunchbox Project

25 Novembre 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #2021, #afrocultureblog, #ENG, #society, #uk, #communityproject

The Melanin Lunchbox Project

The Melanin Lunchbox Project

Lindon Rankin, Founder of Melanin Health & Wellness, recognised during the first lockdown that there seemed to be a lack of support for the local BME community.

Melanin Health & Wellness, a Southwark based community group supporting local ethnic diverse individuals and groups, started out of this, delivering shopping and medical prescriptions for the elderly, and then went on to provide culturally appropriate cooked meals for children receiving free school meals within the local BME communities, during the school holidays. This was the start of the Melanin Lunch Box project.

Melanin Lunchbox Volunteer sorting out boxes that will be handed out to families receiving free school meals

Melanin Lunchbox Volunteer sorting out boxes that will be handed out to families receiving free school meals

Lindon (see pic below) has also been running (free) Health and Wellbeing sessions, fitness classes and most recently organised community events in collaboration with other community groups, and mental health and wellness programmes, providing opportunities to local people in order to help them to engage and improve both themselves, their lives and their community at large.

Lindons aspiration is to empower people, to come together, celebrate diversity, and for all of us to participate in building a more robust community.

I always seek the opportunity to work with others and I have learnt by pulling together, we achieve  together”, says Lindon.

He is pleased to highlight the support received from Berkeley Foundation in partnership with some of their present projects.

Lindon, founder of Melanin Health and Wellness Project

Lindon, founder of Melanin Health and Wellness Project

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Akyaaba Addai-Sebo - the architect of Black History Month in the UK

24 Octobre 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #2021, #blackhistory, #akyaabaaddaisebo, #ENG, #blacklegacy, #afroculture, #afrocultureblog

Photo Credit: CNN

Photo Credit: CNN

As we celebrate Black History Month in the UK, have you ever wondered who was the mastermind of it. Well,  his architect is Ghanaian born Akyaaba Addai-Sebo. After visiting the US in the 1970s and being inspired by the Black History Month US held in February, Akyaaba Addai-Sebo initiated Black History Month in the UK in 1987, which is celebrated in October. Its initial aim was to support Black children sense of self esteem and social construct. October was chosen because it was shortly after the UK summer vacation and was the traditional harvest period and time when African leaders gathered to settle differences and appraise the state of the community.

Akyaaba Addai-Sebo also worked to promote diversity in a variety of roles for organizations including the Greater London Council, African Refugees Housing Action Group, Notting Hill Carnival, and Organization of African Unity. In 2014, he was executive producer of "One Humanity," a documentary on the 1988 and 1990 Wembley concerts for Nelson Mandela.

For further reading: Akyaaba Addai-Sebo - Black History Month 2021

 

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The Black Magic Awards are back in June 2022

15 Octobre 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #blacklegacy, #awards, #2021, #afroculture, #art, #music, #cinema, #afrocultureblog, #ENG, #2022

Great news! We were delighted to hear from Kojo Anim today that Black Magic Awards will be back in June 2022 with a twist. This time around, they will be honoring both men and women on the same night. We will be keeping you posted on all updates as months go by but without further ado, if you haven't been to one of Black Magic Awards events before, find out more about the concept by clicking on the video link below.

Created in 2017 by Britain’s Got Talent comedian Kojo Anim and entrepreneur Annika Allen, the Black Magic Awards recognises the extraordinary accomplishments made by black men and women. The awards give a voice to the excellence black people share with the world across a variety of disciplines including music, entertainment, sports, business and much more. A selection of bold, brilliant talent who stand as vanguards in their chosen fields, are selected each year to be honoured. They have worked tirelessly, raising up themselves, but are often overlooked by mainstream media and award shows. That’s why the Black Magic Awards was created as a home to celebrate these phenomenal men and women and thank them for paving the way.

The evening centres around a prevailing sense of community, celebrating the winners’ successes and demonstrating how capable, strong, majestic and magnificent black people are. It is a night where we get to raise up those who have paved the way and provide a platform for them to speak their truth.

This fun, inspiring and unifying evening is one of very few events where generations of one family can attend and enjoy together. And it creates a space for young people to see that it is possible to strive for and attain success in a myriad of fields, inspires the next generation but also acts as a reminder that there is still a lot more that needs to be done.
 

The Black Magic Awards

Celebrates the accomplishments of men and women who represent inspirational and positive role models making a difference in the world and paving the way for black people to succeed in a variety of industries such as entertainment, the arts, sport, business, fashion and their local communities

Inspires the next generation of talent wanting to realise their dreams and ambitions

Empowers people to be fearless in how they are represented

Recognises that gender equality is worth fighting for and transcends stereotypes and challenges unconscious bias

Showcases the very best in black entertainment from music, comedy to dance and spoken word

Click on the link below to get involved and find out more about Black Magic Awards.

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London African Music Festival 2021

12 Septembre 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #music, #festival, #2021, #joyfulnoise, #biyiadepegba, #highlifeorchestra, #africanjazzorchestra, #carosika, #afroculture, #afrocultureblog, #ENG

London African Music Festival 2021

This month, London African Music Festival will stage two Live Events at the RichMix, London.

FRIDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER - 7.30PM

London African Music Festival 2021

The High Life Orchestra, established by trombonist and vocalist Abdul Raheem, will be the first to perform for the Trombonist and singer Abdul Raheem is the man to breathe new life to Hi-Life music. His career has seen him playing and recording with host of West African legends like Ebo Taylor, Pat Thomas, Tony Allen, Orlando Julius, Osibisa and many more, as well as releasing great albums as a leader.

His 8-piece orchestra takes the magical sounds of hi-life and update it with modern grooves that drives you crazy with its infectious riffs and blazing horn lines. This is a re-birth of Hi-Life that continues to play important roles in shaping the future sounds of West Africa. Expect to hear classics from the hi-life’s incredible musical history.

Click on link below to buy your ticket.

SATURDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER - 7.30PM

London African Music Festival 2021

The African Jazz Orchestra will be the second and final act performing at the Richmix and will  bring its irresistible music driven by the basslines of Serge Ngando-Mpondo, who has an impressive CV, playing bass for Manu Dibango, Miriam Makeba, Touré Kunda, Papa Wemba, Busi Mhlongo, Cheik Lô. He features on Lion of Africa and also produced Coco Mbassi’s CDs “JÓA” and “SEPIA”
The orchestra 
is packed with brilliant soloists and has one aim which is to rekindle people’s love affair with African jazz. Their brilliant music takes the listeners to the roots of all black music where hi-life meets afrobeat and then meeting jazz along the way. Bassist and leader Serge Ngando-Mpondo has spent the last few years writing for this orchestra with the aim of creating spectacular live shows with some of the best African jazz soloists in contemporary music.  Together they speak with one unique voice that creates music that has no boundaries. 

Click on link below to buy your ticket.

You'd like to get a feel of London African Music Festival.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Biyi Adepegba back in 2018. Click below to watch the video and get a feel of the festival.

Click below for more info on Biyi Adepegba and Joyful Noise

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A cosy chat with Noel McKoy about the origins of Black British Music

12 Septembre 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #noelmckoy, #carosika, #blackbritishmusic, #afroculture, #afrocultureblog, #music, #2021, #ENG

Flashback to a special interview with Soul singer, songwriter and musician Noel McKoy where he shares with Caro Sika his earliest memories of Black British Music talking about Lovers Rock, Reggae, Soul artists and more.

Click below to watch the interview.

Noel McKoy is a British-based soul music singer. His music is a collection of soul, R&B, gospel, funk and Northern soul. Born in South London, he fronted the James Taylor Quartet in the early 1990s and has worked and duetted with several artists such as Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Cliff Richard, Lenny Henry, Jessie J, Mica Paris, Beverley Knight and his favourite - Stevie Wonder, as well as being known as the Dutch Pot owner, a nightclub located in London. He is currently part of the British Collective and also continues to tour and collaborate on a number of musical projects, one of the most recent being an international production with EEDB in collaboration with artists from Brazil and the US called "What are we gonna do? "

 Click below to watch the video clip

Click below for more info on Noel McKoy

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The origins of the Kora

30 Juillet 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #afroculture, #afrocultureblog, #blackhistory, #blacklegacy, #music, #diabelcissokho, #carosika, #2021

Portrait inspired by Soundiata Keita, also known as the Lion King and Mansa Kankan Musa

Portrait inspired by Soundiata Keita, also known as the Lion King and Mansa Kankan Musa

Tiramagan Traoré was a general of the great Soundjata Keïta, founder of the Mandinka empire, also referred to as the Mali Empire at the end of the twelfth century through to the sixteenth century.

The story goes that Tiramagan Traoré went to the heights of Kabul (present-day Guinea-Bissau which was formerly a territory of Gambia) with his griot Djelimadou Woulen Diabate and two hunters. During this expedition, Tiramagan spotted a Jinn, in front of a cave, which is a spirit in a form of a woman, living in the mountains. When she saw the expedition, the Jinn became frightened and took refuge in the cave.

Back home, Tiramagan told Waligelenjan, a descendant of Kamisoko, about his adventure. All decided to leave the next morning with a fishing net in order to catch this famous Jinn. When they arrived on the scene, the spirit woman was sitting in front of the cave. Immediately, the hunters launched the net on her to capture her. She, once more, took refuge in the cave and came out with a Kora. Tiramagan married this very beautiful woman and gave the Kora to his griot since he was a nobleman and wasn't permitted to play it. Djelimadou Woulen then exclaimed: "Nobleman, that's an instrument of ours, which belongs to the Mandika people".

It is from this story that the Kora, a stringed instrument of twenty-two strings with crystal sounds, draws its feminine gender. The first person to play it was this griot. When he died, in his honour, a string was removed. Since this time, the Kora has twenty-one leather strings. From the time of the first griot Djélimadou Woulen Diabaté, the Kora has been transmitted from Father to Son and has known more than 70 generations of griots.

The origins of the Kora

Here is below an interview that took place at the Jazz Cafe couple of years back with a griot from the Cissokho family "Diabel Cissokho" by Caro Sika. Enjoy :)

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