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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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Meet musician and entrepreneur MIC ASSASSIN

4 Juillet 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #micassassin, #music, #afroculture, #2021, #ENG, #blackoutday2021, #afrocultureblog, #UK

Musician and entrepreneur Mic Assassin

Musician and entrepreneur Mic Assassin

"Music is my first love, the first thing I actually fell in love with" - Mic Assassin. 

Following a 6-month Caribbean holiday which turned into an 8-year hiatus from music, Mic Assassin returns once again with more hunger, focus, and renewed vision. 

 Musician, Entrepreneur, Director, and Lover of life are the words, which most astutely describe this street-savvy South Londoner. Being disheartened and disillusioned with the politics of the music industry, his time away from music was productively spent setting up entrepreneurial ventures including a visual production company ‘FWD360’ under which Mic directed & edited over 100 projects for global brands, charities, and many grassroots organisations and independent artists. 

 But what is a man to do when his childhood dream and passion for creating music just won’t go away?  

 “I thought about it all the time, envisioning myself performing to massive concert venues. I wrote down everything even the thoughts I'm scared to say out loud. I’d hum melodies into voice recorders then start piecing the tracks together. Inspiration can come at any time of the day, I just have to stop everything and be on it when it does”

 From the tender age of 9 rapping in school assemblies to a 16-year-old appearing in magazines like The Face and The Fader, to an 18-year-old setting up his own record label selling CD’s hand to hand, Mic knows the true meaning of dream chasing. 

 Inspired by the hustle and grind of US / UK Indie labels such as Roc-a-fella, No Limit, So Solid and 57th Dynasty, Mic and his team learned and perfected the art of hand to hand selling moving units of CDs around their Lewisham college campus and outside popular music venues. 

 In love with the art of freestyling and eruptive crowd energy, Mic entered many "open mic" and Mc Battle competitions winning many of them and eventually being crowned Jump Off’s 2005 UK Street Battle Champion. This journey of gladiatorial words took Mic around the UK and USA where he would cross paths in combat with the likes of Professor Green, Lowkey and Iron Solomon. 

 The buzz around Mic Assassin grew and lead on to great coverage with live performances and Interviews on Kiss 100 FM (Shortee Blitz & Big Ted), BBC Radio (Ace & Vis, Twin B, Ras Kwame) and Dan Greenpeace (Xfm / Capital radio). His witty off the head freestyles lead Mic to feature on MTV’s Barrio 19 and host a part-time Hip Hop show “Mic Check With Mic Assassin” on BBC’s Asian Network. 

Returning back with renewed focus and love for music-making, combining the visual and business skills learned within the 8-year gap period he is funnelling this new artillery into his new music. 

With a more mature sound and reflective disposition Mic is open to all possibilities that may come his way. 

 “The most important thing this time around is having fun, travelling, connecting with people and making the best music I can. I’m legacy-building right now, building a foundation that can outlive me. I have many creative visuals, films, business ideas it’s all one, it’s all me and they intertwine with each other, but music is my first love and I’ve missed it. I am a better person when I'm making music,  I feel like me again”.

Click below to download and listen to the new single release:

Meet musician and entrepreneur MIC ASSASSIN
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Meet Franck and Lucia, owner of SACO Superfoods

2 Juillet 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #sacosuperfoods, #blackoutday2021, #business, #2021, #afroculture, #2020, #ENG, #afrocultureblog, #UK

 Franck and Lucia, owners of SACO Superfoods in Salford, UK

Franck and Lucia, owners of SACO Superfoods in Salford, UK

SACO Superfoods is run by husband and wife, Franck and Lucia. They ethically source natural and highly nutritious ingredients from West Africa while empowering small-scale men and women producers in the Ivory Coast.

Through their health food shop in Salford, they promote a healthy, ethical, and sustainable lifestyle in their community. In addition, they support other local businesses by stocking their products to strengthen the local economy and create a welcoming space where customers can learn about the health benefits of African products, do a bit of shopping and relax with a friend over a drink and a healthy snack in their sitting area.

Click on link below to shop at SACO SUPERFOODS and get your 10% Blackoutday discount using Promo Code: BOD10# on 07.07.2021.

Meet Franck and Lucia, owner of SACO Superfoods
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Meet Joss, the founder of JOSSY CARE

30 Juin 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #Jossycare, #Josssimmons, #2021, #afroculture, #blackoutday2021, #ENG, #awards, #brand, #society, #afroculturekidz, #afrocultureblog, #UK

Joss Simmons, the founder of Jossy Care

Joss Simmons, the founder of Jossy Care

Described as the UK's leading "Super Manny", Joss Simmons grew up in a town called Hackney in London, UK and is taking modern childcare to the next level, defying the odds to give back to the next generation.

As a child, witnessing his mother suffer domestic violence had a profound effect on Joss and he knows only to well where many children, who have odds stacked against them, end up. That led him to create his own childcare service, Jossy Care.

Joss with two of his young learners

Joss with two of his young learners

His positive approach is what is gaining him the attention of parents, practitioners, the media and as a childcare practitioner, Joss is also keen to address stereotypes in the childcare industry. Hence, Joss has spoken out on the topic of male nannies being refused jobs on the basis of their gender and the difficulty they face.

In 2017, Joss gave his first public talk about his experience and hasn't looked back ever since. Multi talented Joss is now frequently invited to deliver motivational talks on topics such as depression, domestic violence, children and the future.

Joss recently featured in Time out, Hackney Gazette and East London Radio. He has also won the National Diversity Award 2019 and is currently up for Best Social Media Nanny with Nanny UK Nanny.

Click on link below to vote for Joss Cambridge-Simmons as Best Social Media Nanny:

Meet Joss, the founder of JOSSY CARE
Meet Joss, the founder of JOSSY CARE
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Our new generation of girlpreneurs

19 Juin 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #princessinthemaking, #afroculture, #ENG, #afroculturekidz, #uk, #nigeria, #author, #afrocultureblog

Kemi and Kiisha, founders of Kishem

Kemi and Kiisha, founders of Kishem

Kemi and Kiisha Oguntayo love arts and crafts, baking, playing dress up and reading!  They were 4 and 6 years old when they created the brand Kishem with the support of their parents in Summer 2016. They had the idea to create the Kishem colouring book after asking their mum and dad why there weren't colouring books with all types of children who look like them or their friends in school. Their Dad said "girls, problems are meant for solving" so they decided to try making their own.

"We wanted the book to have different types of children who are all talented and unique. It was also important to make it more than just a colouring book so after creating and naming each character, we added short stories about them, what they enjoy doing and what they aspire to be so that other children reading can get inspired too" say the girlpreneurs.

The characters in Kishem's storybooks are powerful, talented, creative, entrepreneurial girls.

- Zhen is a photographer and you get to see her editing in her studio

- Mya is good at cooking

- Kishem loves karate and sports

- Eve is a great swimmer

- Ruby makes jewellery

- Amor loves technology

..... and so on and so forth!!!

To date, Kishem is well on course. Kemi and Kiisha have been able to show their books in UK schools, shipped their books to America and had requests from Africa. Their multicultural characters offer representation for every girl and ethnic group represented in Western schools nowadays.

Click below to see their interview with Elsa, Afroculturekidz presenter, couple of years back.

 
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Author and Self-Love Advocate Tene Edwards

29 Mai 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #poetry, #author, #afroculture, #teneedwards, #carosika, #2021, #ENG, #queenonamission, #uk

Author and Self-Love Advocate Tene Edwards

For 27-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 any easier and cheaper than this.”

Click below to watch one of Tene Edwards latest interview by Gin and Gist:

 

Our cultural mediator, Caro Sika, showcasing Walk with Wings by Tene Edwards:

Author and Self-Love Advocate Tene Edwards
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Acid Jazz Band Incognito

29 Mai 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #Incognito, #blacklegacy, #afroculture, #music, #2021, #carosika, #ENG, #uk

Acid Jazz Band Incognito

Incognito Band is an Acid Jazz Band founded by Mauritius-born Jean-Paul Maunick, nicknamed Bluey, and the late Paul 'Tubbs' Williams. They first made their debut with a disco-funk group in the 1970s known as Light of the World but in time made a few personal changes to it and renamed it Incognito. Their first release was Jazz Funk in 1981. Although Paul Williams left the band a while after, Bluey continued to write for the group and other artists, including George Benson and Maxi Priest. Consequently, Bluey also became Incognito's bandleader.

Ten years after Jazz Funk, Incognito released Inside Life, a 1991 album that spawned the single, “Always There,” with vocal track by Jocelyn Brown, which became a top ten hit. Inside Life boasted a large cast that included some of the best funk players in England at the time.

Since then, the band has released a consistent string of high-quality recordings, beginning with Tribes Vibes & Scribes, a 1992 album that marked the first appearance of American vocalist Maysa Leaks in the lineup. Incognito Band also produced numerous hit singles on either side of the Atlantic, including a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing.”

More than just a band in the traditional sense, Incognito is an ever-changing collective of musicians hand-picked by Bluey from a worldwide pool. The result is a dynamic musical entity that spans a vast range of styles and cultures. Bluey stated that more than 1,000 different musicians and vocalists, from all corners of the earth, have performed for the band, over the years, with lineups varying in size from eight pieces to fourteen (or even larger configurations).To name but a few, current and past members originated from South Africa, India, Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Trinidad, Jamaica, Israel, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and much more...Many of the current key members, however, have been in place for several years, including vocalists Joy Rose and Vanessa Haynes. Understandably, the band has toured all over the world and performed in well over 25 countries since their debut.

We had the pleasure of seeing Incognito Band perform at the Happy Days Festival in Surrey alongside many Soul and Funk legendary artists such as Sister Sledge, Sugar Hill Band, Evelyn Champagne King, the British Collective, Jocelyn Brown and many more.

Click below to watch our coverage of the festival, bringing back excellent memories of Live Musical Events.

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Paulette Simpson, one of the most influential Jamaican executive in the UK

21 Mai 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #paulettesimpson, #afroculture, #blacklegacy, #moneymob, #paulmuhammad, #2021, #ENG, #uk, #jamaica

Photo source: web

Photo source: web

Paulette Simpson is an extremely influental Jamaican lady who wears many hats. She is well known as the Executive Director of the Voice Newspaper (subsidiary of the JN Group), a Black-owned newspaper that has served the Black British community for over 35 years but not only. Paulette Simpson is also the Deputy Chief Executive Officer - Corporate of Affairs of JN Bank Limited in the United Kingdom, Britain's first Caribbean-owned bank and the Deputy Chair of both the Windrush Advisory Panel and the Windrush Commemoration Committee.

Born in England, her grandmother thought best for her granddaughter, Paulette, to be raised in Jamaica and so she returned there as a child. Paulette Simpson attended primary school in both Mizpah and Christiana, before moving on to Manchester High School. As an undergraduate, she returned to the UK and studied at the University of Stirling in Scotland, where she earned a Bachelor of Art Degree in Business Studies (Finance and Marketing). She also later completed a MBA at the University of Westminster. Professionally, she began working at PriceWaterhouse, for a few years, in various positions. She was then recruited by the National Commercial Bank to establish and manage its London office. When the ownership changed in 2002, she was immediately snatched by, what was then, the Jamaica National Building Society. Since, she has worked as Executive, Corporate Affairs and Public Policy at JN representative office in the UK and provides strategic management support for The Voice Newspaper.

Paulette Simpson is considered to be a major player in improving the lives of Jamaicans in the UK and Jamaica, bridging and maintaining Jamaica's connection with its Diaspora. She is very active in the community and assists various charities with their work.

She was recognised twice as one of Britain’s most influential people of African and African-Caribbean heritage in the annual UK Powerlist published by Powerful Media in 2018 and 2019.

Paulette Simpson is also deputy chair of the Windrush Advisory Panel and the Windrush Commemoration Committee in the United Kingdom. As such, she has been honoured for services to the Caribbean community in the UK by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and was conferred with the highest ranking order of Commander of the British Empire.

Click below to watch Paulette Simpson's interview conducted by Paul Muhammad, founder of the MoneyMob movement on the topic of "Supporting Black Businesses" in our Ujamaa series.

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Fuse ODG, a Pan-African Artist and Philanthropist

19 Mai 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #fuseodg, #music, #artist, #ghana, #theyearofreturn, #kingonamission, #afroculture, #carosika, #2021, #ENG, #uk

Photo Source: Web

Photo Source: Web

Fuse ODG, born Nana Richard Abiona on 2nd December 1988, is a Ghanian Afrobeats rapper, singer and songwriter born in Tooting, London. He is a two-time winner of the Best African Act at the MOBO Awards and came to international fame with his 2012 single 'Antenna'. Working with the likes of Wyclef Jean, Sean Paul and Ed Sheeran, FUSE ODG brought Afrobeats to the general public.

Fuse ODG was raised in Ghana and returned to South London to complete his secondary school. In 2011, a trip back to his homeland started off his musical career. He released a string of Afrobeats singles that melded old African highlife rhythms with western rap and R&B melodies and came to fame with his song 'Antenna' in 2012. His chosen stage name "Fuse" comes from his fusion of musical styles, as he is known for his unusual combination of genres such as Afro-pop, hip-hop, R&B, funk and rock, whilst "ODG" stands for 'Off Da Ground'. 

At 30 years old, FUSE ODG released his second album, New Africa Nation, which encompassed a more ambitious project: building schools to enable children in rural areas in Ghana and Jamaica to access quality education. Besides, his movement TINA 'This is New Africa' (which is also the name of his first album) is all about changing how Africa is perceived internationally. His take is:

"If you are from Africa, your mission should be loving yourself and developing a love for where you are from."

Watch Antenna, FUSE ODG single, that shot him to fame.

Understandably, FUSE ODG has been instrumental in promoting 'the Year of Return', a 2019 initiative of the Ghanaian government, along with the U.S. based Adinkra Group, that is intended to encourage African diasporans to come to Africa (specifically Ghana) to settle and invest in the continent. In support of the year of Return Campaign, he launched Nana Dolls in December 2018, a black doll line for young African girls on the continent. In his announcement, the singer stated that the doll line was an important addition to the cultural representation of the true African girl. He went on to address the problem Africa is facing as Black dolls in Africa only represent 1% of the market. 99% of the toys being sold in Africa are white dolls which condition children to believe that being white is better. His contributions were recognised the same year at The African Diaspora Awards, which celebrates the accomplishments of exemplary individuals from the African Diaspora who excel in various spheres of life, as well as individuals in society working towards the advancement of Africans in the Diaspora and Africa as a whole.

FUSE ODG has now embarked on the new mission of
building a high school in Akosombo, Ghana and refurbishing a secondary school in Jamaica with Reggae artist Chronixx, fitness entrepreneur Chakabars  and artist Donisha (who also happens to be Bob Marley's granddaughter). Students will be equipped with various vocational skills to find work, upon graduation, in industries such as construction, or health and beauty for instance.

For more info, watch one of his latest interview below:

Our cultural mediator, Caro Sika, got a selfie snapshot with FUSE ODG at the latest Black Magic Awards.

Our cultural mediator, Caro Sika, got a selfie snapshot with FUSE ODG at the latest Black Magic Awards.

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Princess Ademiluyi Ronke, the founder of Africa Fashion Week

28 Avril 2021 , Rédigé par www.afrocultureblog.com Publié dans #2021, #fashion, #afroculture, #blacklegacy, #ENG, #princessronke, #nigeria, #uk

Photo Credit: Allure Vanguard

Photo Credit: Allure Vanguard

Princess Ademiluyi Ronke is the great grand-daughter of the late Ooni Ajagun Ademiluyi, the King of the Ife Kingdom, now located in Osun State, Nigeria. She is the owner and founder of the award-winning fashion platform, Africa Fashion Week London and Nigeria. To date, the Fashion Week has gained global recognition and showcased over 1000 African and African inspired designers.

 Princess Ademiluyi Ronke was born in England and is a Law Graduate from Thames Valley University in London. In 2011, she founded Africa Fashion Week London in order to promote African Fashion globally. This year marks 10 years of her showcasing African fashion designers in London. Her Africa Fashion Week London platform is the longest running festival in the UK and Europe that supports and promotes emerging African designers. Under her supervision, organizations like the KwaZulu Natal Fashion Council, The Nigerian Export Promotion Council, The Seychelles Creative Enterprise and The Trade & Investment South Africa have all used the AFWL platform to showcase creative talents from their various countries to the world.

In 2015, she launched Africa Fashion Week Nigeria to provide an African platform to emerging African designers on the continent and give them the opportunity to showcase their collections in Europe, through Africa Fashion Week London.

In 2016 she was made the global and cultural ambassador of the Legacy of the Iconic Queen Moremi. The late ‘Moremi Ajasoro’ is an historical figure of extraordinary dimensions in Ife, who saved her people and heritage from extinction.

Princess Ademiluyi Ronke uses the Queen Moremi Initiative to promote female leadership, mentorship and entrepreneurship programs for young women. She also campaigns against trafficking of young women in Nigeria.

We've had the opportunity to attend Africa Fashion Week London on two occasions. Click on the video below to watch our first experience of Africa Fashion Week London. A real feast for the senses!

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