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.
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.
‘AMANI’ is a short inspirational film, starring Joivan Wade, Leroy Logan MBE and Duayne Boachie, based on the true inner reflections of Amani Simpson, producer and co-writer, after he was stabbed 7 times. This powerful autobiographical piece takes the the audience on a rollercoaster journey of faith and self-discovery.
AMANI SIMPSON has already been featured on BBC London News, ITV News, London Live & in the Evening Standard. After battling PTSD, he has rebuilt his life through social enterprise and personal development over the last 7 years. He is on a mission to EMPOWER 2 MILLION YOUNG PEOPLE to make positive choices and aspire higher before it’s too late. He plans to take the film and empowerment workshops into schools, prisons, YOS and PRU’s from March 2019.
AMANI was released online on Sunday 13th January 2019 and reached over 1 million views in less than a month.
What the press is saying:
As well as raising awareness of the project, Amani & Aviard Inspires are also seeking public donations towards their £35K GofundMe Campaign: see link below
Starring: Joivan Wade (The First Purge, Shiro’s Story), Leroy Logan MBE (Former Superintendent of the Police) & Duayne Boachie (Hollyoaks)
Directed by: Richard Kattah of Little Drops Productions (Timelin3, To The Power Of Ten)
Dom Pedro chose filmmaking to spread the history of our African cultures across the world, especially the history of the kingdom of Kongo.
Originally from Angola, Dom Pedro would escape Angola as a teenager due to cilvil war, leaving his parents behind. Nevertheless, his native land would remain at the centre of his inspiration and creativity, as well as memories of the motherland. Consequently, his love for his culture prompted him to share it with the rest of the world. In fact, he sees it as his life's mission to see African Cultures take their rightful place on the world's stage and to tell the untold story of the motherland so that humanity has a 360° degrees knowledge and vision of itself, Africa being the craddle of mankind.
In one of his most recent and famous documentary "Tango Negro, the African Roots of Tango" (2013), Dom Pedro captured on the screen the social and cultural impact that slavery had on African people and the environment they were forced in, having been snatched away from their homes, families, and natural habitat. We can feel their sadness, nostalgia and the tragedy so profoundly expressed in the musical and dance art form of Tango.
Juan Carlos Caceres, the late acclaimed Argentinian pianist who served as the film composer and passed away in 2015, would say in the film. "The tango is made up of three sadnesses, three memories," ... "The immigrants' sadness. The gaucho's sadness, people who lived in the country. And finally the Blacks' sadness, who didn't come here as immigrants, but who were brought here, leaving their lives in Africa."
Dom Pedro has produced a number of films and documentaries as listed below. He currently is working on a production centered around the Kingdom of Kongo.
- Ray Lema,1997,Tout Partout Partager, 1997. Doc. Musical (RDcongo)
- Bonga, au nom de la liberté.2000. (Angola). Documentary- Portrait. Musique.
- PACO, 2002. Film de fiction. Séléction FESPACO-Burkina Faso. (Angola).
- Barani, Histoire d'une tradition, Documentaire de Pierre Yaméogo. 2002 Assistant
- Le long chemin vers la Paix. 2002, (Angola). Documentaire sur la guerre.
- Kin-Malebo Danse. 2005. Musical Documentary (2x 52mns)
- Congo: Rythmes et Rumba congolaise. 2006. Musical Documentary
- Michelino, Star de la rumba. 2006. Doc. Portrait d'un artiste-guitariste.
- Pépé Felly, l'âme de Zaïko Langa Langa. Musical documentary. 2006
- Rido Bayonne - BORN IN AFRICA. Artiste du Congo-Brazzaville.Doc. 2007.
Winnie Mandela : leader of a nation
Thursday 21st June 2018, on the Summer Solstice day, ushering us into a new season, over 100 leading women and men from across the corporate sector, government and civil society, congregated at the Regent Street Cinema in the West End to pay tribute to Winnie Mandela, who passed on 2nd April 2018 at the age of 81 years old. The aim of the event organised by Blaksox and Kush Films, hosted by Patricia Lamour (MBE), representing GEEDA (Gender Education & Enterprise Development for Africa), was to educate and empower a generation of young women’s leadership focussed audience for change and to redefine the role of African Women, by extension of Black Women in Society.
See trailer of the movie below:
For pics and more info on the event, continue reading
An after-film discussion followed the screening of the movie with a panel composed of Micheline Ravololonarisoa, independent gender consultant and activist, Advocate Sabelo Sibanda, serving in the Office of the Presidency of the Pan-Afrikanist Congress of Azania (who joined the discussion via video link), Hayley Sarah Jane Mills, (OMD EMEA) a South African National and a strategy manager for EMEA of the global media network OMD and Pascale Lamche, « Winnie »’s film director.
“She was the barometer for the political temperature in the country and brushed patriarchal and conservative conventions aside, within her own culture, by keeping a finger on the pulse of the youth and by leading from the front.”
Pascale Lamche explained that the aim of the documentary was to show how Winnie Mandela was politically neutralised by those who wanted to control the entire transition process of the ANC coming to power once Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years of incarceration on 11th February 1990. In this historical account and perspective of the life of Winnie Mandela, we see how she remained a voice of resistance, never to be silenced, despite the forces unleashed to ban the ANC revolutionary movement, in spite of being demonised by the apartheid regime which used counter revolutionary tactics such as « Operation Romulus » to discredit her and oust her from the political scene. Winnie remained undeterred as a warrior Queen for her people.
For more info on the event, continue reading below:
Panelist Hayley Sarah Jane Mills would portray Winnie Mandela as the soul of the nation and the heroine of South African women who had to be the breadwinners of their households, as drugs and alcohol diabolically flooded South African shanti towns, one of the the many tactics used by the Apartheid regime to wipe out and disempower black men to contribute positively to the economy and development of their communities.
Although Winnie set the tone for the conduct of Black South African women, old and young and was a role model to them, Hayley didn’t consider Nelson Mandela in the same way. Chris Hani, who was in charge of the military section of the ANC, was her choice for president ; she considered Nelson Mandela to be the Apartheid regime’s choice or « The White man’s choice » as she would state. When Chris Hani was brutally assassinated on 10th April 1983, the hopes for important grassroot reforms to be on the top of priorities at the table of the negotiations with the ex apartheid regime were greatly compromised. Nelson Mandela, now isolated from Winnie, whom he eventually divorced prior to running for presidency, was considered to have agreed to too many compromises. The consequences are still visible today as reforms that would empower Blacks are still lacking such as land restoration and access to free education. Chukuma, an attendee, would rightly point out that as we speak 78% of the land is still in the hands of a small minority of white settlers.
For more info on the event, continue reading below
The event was a resounding success ; it touched and inspired all attending.
« I am inspired and empowered to be for my nation and my generation what Winnie Mandela was to hers… a powerful, purposeful and progressive black woman. My life will never be the same » Karen Allen, attendee
Today, the life and struggle of Winnie Mandela, mirror those of powerful ancestral African Warrior Queens, who led nations and stood firm against colonialism, defiant in the face of injustice. It is our LEGACY !! as African, Black women and as a Black nation.
Mama Winnie, as we call her, is a tribute to African women’s inner strength, their efficiency, bravery and resilience. Winnie Mandela teaches us that it is possible to be political and a woman. GEEDA invites young women to construct their own narrative and map their vision of the future and their contribution to society as leaders. Young women must redefine their reality for a better and a fairer world !!!!
To follow GEEDA’s work, an international consultancy hub of gender and women empowerment experts and advocates, part of the Aspire Education Group Ltd, visit www.aspireeducationgroup.com @GEEDA_blog
Blaksox is an Asset Based Community Development movement committed to social action that is self-determining. They benchmark those organisations that have survived and more importantly thrived, as very few of them are African/Black organisations based in the UK and Europe. For more info, visit www.blaksox.com .
Kush Films is the UK's leading Marketing/PR and Exhibition specialist of Black Films and is pleased to be celebrating 20 years of the UK's longest running and most renowned urban film club the Kush Film Boutique - Join fellow film-fan professionals monthly at the Regent Street Cinema for the best in black film Entertainment. For more info, visit www.kushfilms.com
See links below:
Ne Kunda Nlaba, Congolese filmmaker, talks to me about his journey producing films during a coffee break in Brixton Lounge
While his passion for art has been evolving from young, it is in 2007 that Ne Kunda Nlaba chooses to focus on cinematography. According to him, filmmaking is the fusion of all the arts such as music, dance, photography, acting and others. Yet, his experience in Kinshasa, Congo, was that " creativity was there but resources were scarce". Creative Africans were confronted with the fact that although rich in ideas, investors did not support them financially. Ne Kunda observes that there is a work of valorization of the African cinema which is necessary in order for African investors to understand the value of producing films as an art and industry which could, in turn, encourage its development. According to him, the old paradigm needs to change. Since cinema has existed in Africa, the sources of funding almost came exclusively from Europe and filmmakers solely relied on foreign grants to carry out a project. This culture must change and we must apply different economic models to attract local investments..
Therefore, it is a year after his arrival in London that Ne Kunda Nlaba would have the opportunity to achieve his first short film. See below for the complete filmography of Ne Kunda Nlaba:
1. "The next" (2009), short film
2. "The Steel Pan" (2010) documentary
3. "Living without living" (2011) Documentary of 16 min
4. " Honey Bondowe" (2012), his first long-fiction film
5. "Abeti Masikini: The Battle of a woman" (2015) Documentary film
6. "Kimpa Vita: the Mother of the African revolution" (2016) documentary film
A committed artist, Ne Kunda Nlaba is often inspired by his own experiences and environment; as for example the documentary Living without living, which speaks of Congolese refugees waiting for regularization of their stay in England; or Kimpa Vita, the mother of the Kongo resistance to the western invasion and colonialism, yet occulted by history. He would say "Through this documentary, I wanted to trace the life of the mother of the African revolution" Kimpa Vita" her fight for freedom, against slavery and the massacre and deportations of the people of the Kongo, as well as the restoration of the Kongo kingdom …" Ne Kunda Nlaba is a filmmaker who wants to use art for change.
For more info on the project Afro Beat, please continue to read below:
Ne Kunda Nlaba's new project "Afro Beat" is a long-fiction film in pre-production in which he is the producer, director and screenwriter. With Afro Beat, Ne Kunda wanted to work on a project representative of the African diasporas in England. Afrobeat is a musical genre that is increasingly gaining fame and notoriety and which is in phase with a younger public. Through Afro Beat, Ne Kunda brings a message tackling racism, discrimination, the difficulties that the minority communities may face in order to find a job at the height of their qualifications or ambitions, which often lead them to pursue other professional activities to make a living. And such is the plot of the film. Mala, a law graduate is destined for a career as a lawyer but chooses dance and choreography after failed attempts to find a job in Law firms. By borrowing money to Cahsman to start his business, he will confront impossible situations orchestrated by the latter in order to compel him to sell drugs for him. His only way out: win a great competition of Afrobeat to reimburse Cashman.
Ne Kunda Nlaba invites us to take part and contribute to this project through crowdfunding. Afrobeat is a movie of positive representation of the Afro Community and which puts to contribution a young talented cast. The objective of the campaign of Crowdfunding is to raise £30,000, which represents less than a quarter of the budget of the film amounting to £100,000.
For more info, see the link below:
bande annonce AFRO BEAT
Ne Kunda Nlaba, cinéaste congolais, me parle de son parcours en tant que cinéaste lors d'une pause café à Brixton Lounge. Alors qu’il évolue depuis son plus jeune âge dans le milieu du théâtre, de la musique et de la danse et qu’il est conscient des ses talents artistiques depuis l’école, c’est en 2007 qu’il choisit de se focaliser sur le cinéma. Selon lui, le cinéma est la mise en commun de tous les arts. En effet, en réalisant un film, plusieurs éléments sont associés tels que la musique, la danse, la photographie, l’interprétation et autres. Pourtant, son expérience à Kinshasa était que « la créativité était là mais il y avait peu de moyens ». Les créatifs africains étaient confrontés au fait que bien que riche d’idées, les investisseurs ne soutenaient pas financièrement les projets cinématographiques.
Ne Kunda observe qu’il y a un profond travail de valorisation du cinéma africain qui est nécessaire afin de faire comprendre la valeur du film en tant qu’art et industrie ce qui pourrait favoriser son développement. Selon lui, il est nécessaire de changer le paradigme car depuis que le cinéma existe en Afrique, les sources de financement venaient quasi exclusivement de l’Europe et les cinéastes s’appuyaient uniquement sur ces subventions pour mener à bien un projet. Cette culture doit changer d’où l’utilité d’inciter les investisseurs africains à investir dans leurs propres films et de leur proposer des modèles économiques différents en vue de tirer un profit.
C’est donc un an après son arrivée à Londres que Ne Kunda Nlaba aura l’opportunité de réaliser son 1er court métrage. Voir ci-dessous pour la filmographie complète de Ne Kunda Nlaba:
1. « The Next » (2009), court métrage
2. « The Steel Pan » (2010) documentaire
3. « Living Without Living » (2011) documentaire de 16 min
4. « Chérie Bondowe » (2012), son premier long-métrage de fiction
5. « Abeti Masikini : Le Combat d’une Femme » (2015) film documentaire
6. « Kimpa Vita: La Mère de la Révolution Africaine » (2016) film documentaire
Artiste engagé, Ne Kunda Nlaba s’inspire souvent de faits qui le touchent de près comme par exemple le documentaire Living without Living qui parle des réfugiés congolais en attente de régularisation de séjour en Angleterre ou Kimpa Vita, grand personnage occulté de la résistance Kongolaise à l’invasion occidentale et au colonialisme. Il en dira « à travers ce film documentaire, je veux retracer la vie de la mère de la révolution africaine « Kimpa Vita » en faisant découvrir sa lutte, son combat pour la liberté, la restauration du royaume Kongo et la lutte contre l’esclavage, le massacre et les déportations du peuple Kongo… » Ne Kunda est un cinéaste qui veut apporter le vent du changement et il estime que c’est un des rôles de l’art.
Pour plus d'infos sur le projet Afro Beat, continuez à lire ci-dessous:
Son nouveau projet « Afro Beat » est un long-métrage de fiction en pré-production dans lequel Ne Kunda Nlaba est producteur, réalisateur et scénariste. Avec Afro Beat, Ne Kunda désirait travailler sur un projet représentatif de la diaspora africaine en Angleterre. L’afrobeat est un genre musical qui prend de l’ampleur au niveau de l’industrie musicale et qui est en phase avec un public plus jeune. Par ce biais, Ne Kunda apporte un message concernant le racisme, la discrimination, les difficultés auxquelles les communautés minoritaires peuvent faire face pour trouver un emploi à la hauteur de leurs qualifications ou ambitions, faute desquelles elles se redirigent dans d’autres domaines pour survivre. Et telle est l’intrigue du film. Mala, diplômé de droit se destine à une carrière d’avocat mais se réorientera vers la danse et la chorégraphie pour gagner sa vie. En empruntant de l’argent à Cahsman pour démarrer son affaire, il se verra confronter à des situations impossibles orchestrées par ce dernier afin de le contraindre à devenir un dealer de drogue. Sa seule issue : gagner une grande compétition d’afrobeat afin de rembourser Cashman.
Ne Kunda Nlaba nous invite à prendre part et contribuer à ce projet par le biais d’un financement participatif. Afrobeat fait partie des films à représentation positive de la communauté afro et qui met à contribution de jeunes acteurs talentueux. L’objectif de la campagne de crowdfunding est de pouvoir réunir £30,000, ce qui n'est même pas un quart du budget du film qui se chiffre à £100 000.
Pour plus d’infos, voir le lien du Crowdfunding ci-dessous.