Is there any use for the term “Afropolitan”?

Reflection

There are moments where I feel totally at home. Living in the UK, with a Kenyan passport and a visa with an expiry date, that doesn't happen all that often. But it happened on Friday night, at the Victoria & Albert Museum no less. The Afropolitans Friday Late saw this world-renowned museum transformed into a celebration of contemporary African art and culture. The content, the ambience and the crowd made for the kind of beautiful, vibrant and uplifting experience that warms the soul as much as being or feeling at home.

As part of the festivities, I shared a panel with four great proponents of the Afri-love spirit: journalist, poet and writer, Tolu Ogunlesi; writer and blogger, Minna Salami, aka MsAfropolitan; journalist and author, Hannah Pool and; record label executive and founder of Afro-Pop Live, Yemi Alade-Lawal. Our topic of discussion – "what is an Afropolitan?" We explored this term, coined by Taiye Selasi in 2005, and all that it has come to embody ever since.

Continue reading “Is there any use for the term “Afropolitan”?”

Afropolitan style: ebony-inspired (in celebration of Afropolitans taking over the world’s greatest museum of art & design)

Afropolitan-ebony
Next Friday night, London's V&A Museum will be celebrating Afropolitans. You can expect a live performance by Spoek Mathambo; photo,video, fashion and interactive installations; a Malick Sidibé style portrait photo studio; a wax print workshop; textile presentations; a North African-style cocktails salon; film screenings; panel discussions and; an eclectic mix of African music from DJ Vamanos from the Ghetto Bassquake and Secousse Sound System. Contemporary Africa will be taking over the world's greatest museum of art and design.

Continue reading “Afropolitan style: ebony-inspired (in celebration of Afropolitans taking over the world’s greatest museum of art & design)”

Theme of the week: Diaspora (days, plays, must-reads & more)

London-via-Lagos---Lulu-with-the-poster

The theme of my week has been "Diaspora."* Here are a few reasons why:

Is a day enough?
Africa Day was on Wednesday and the theme for this year is "Africa and the Diaspora." The fact that so many people were not aware that it was even Africa Day, and that there were few visible/known celebrations of the event, led to a discussion about the point of World fill-in-the-gap-as-you-like Days in the first place! Follow the thread on the Afri-love Facebook page.

Lagos in inner-city London
On Friday, I took my self down to London to watch Little Baby Jesus, Arinze Kene's fantastic play. It's showing as part of London via Lagos, a festival celebrating British-Nigerian playwrighting. So far, Little Baby Jesus has been sold out every night so get your tickets quick. The writing, the cast, the direction, the vibe in Oval Theatre that night – all made for a truly wonderful evening. It was also a delight to see all the materials that I'd designed in situ and, how Oval got creative taking the African theme to the max. View some photos on Asilia's Facebook page. I'm now really looking forward to the next play in the festival, Fixer, by Lydia Adetunji.

Little-Baby-Jesus-actors

Light out of darkness
Ever-entertaining UK-based musician, M3NSA, shared with Afri-love in this week's interview. Amongst many things, he talked about why "the Dark Continent is actually the beaming light" and why he won't still be in the UK, 10 years from now. AND, M3NSA shared a couple of his fantastic No.1 Mango Street CDs with me to give away to 2 lucky readers. Find out how one can be yours here (competition closes this Wednesday 1st June).

M3NSA-No.-1-Mango-Street-Track-listing

Multifarious identities
Minna, aka MsAfropolitan, gave me the heads up about the Afropolitan Friday Late, coming up at London's V&A museum on the 24th June: "A fun and celebratory evening of modern, iconic African aesthetics reflecting how Africans living across the continent (and beyond) view themselves and their cultural heritage."

Blog loving
And perhaps not fully in following with the theme but something that I was really honoured by and wanted to share nonetheless: I discovered that Afri-love was noted as one of "10 Africa blogs you'll love" by the popular Travelling Green blog. Check out the great blogs she listed, including Dar Sketches, the blog of Sarah Markes who I interviewed a few months ago.

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Must-read article for the week
"Egypt's Next Crisis" – a great New York Times article that explores the challenges of sustaining revolution, after the revolt. What was very interesting to me is how a lot of the issues relate to so many other African nations, even if we have not yet experienced so dramatic a political event. We would do well to learn from, be warned by and draw inspiration from the situation of our Egyptian comrades.

*Thinking about it, Diaspora is probably a strong theme for me every week, being that it is my present experience. So … what did you get up to on Africa Day?

Women’s Week in review

Women's Week was fun! In celebration of the centenary of International Women's Day, on March 8th, all posts on Afri-love during the week, were especially in celebration of women and sisterhood. Fashion, literary inspiration, art, design, music and reflections on what sisterhood really is.

Of course the celebration will continue past this week. After all, every day is another opportunity to celebrate women, and beyond that, humanity, and the wonderful environment that we're honoured to exist within. Every day an opportunity to celebrate ourselves and each other. It's so easy to forget about appreciation when you're immersed in the day-to-day which increasingly has become so hectic for so many. I've found that forcing myself to pause and put things in perspective makes such a huge positive difference to my well-being.

I was reading an article over on Zen Habits this week and this statement by writer Leo Babauta was spot-on:

"Reflection is one of the most important tools for changing your life."

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On the lookout: Join FITE (Financial Independence through Enterpreneurship)



 

This past International Women's Day, Kiva.org and Dermalogica launched  joinFITE.org, to create financial independence for women all over the world, through enterpreneurship. 

The site features profiles of these enterprising women enabling donors to choose who they would like to support. And donors include you! You can start lending from as little as $25. The site helps you filter the enterpreneurs by sector and by region (yes, that's the creative professional in me appreciating the user experience of the website!).

And making a donation is not the only way that you can help fund a microloan. You can also buy specially-marked FITE products and redeem the FITE code on the site or, you can spread the word far and wide by telling friends, family, colleagues and liking FITE on Facebook. The choice is yours.

Thanks Vivian for telling me about the initiative.

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Last week on the blog

Les-Nubians-chilling

Here is a recap, in case you missed anything:

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Thanks as always for taking the time to read and to share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get blog updates as well as extra links, ideas, news and info via facebook (afriloveblog) and twitter (@afrilove).

Have a great week everybody, be proud and be inspired!

Lulu x

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Image: Les Nubians

 

 

The African Market Day: 14 August, London.

The African Market Day is a "forum for enterprise, cultural exchange and networking. With a host of businesses, performers and guest speakers it is always a positive family day out."

The next market day takes place this Saturday, 14 August, between 12pm – 8pm at Hampstead Town Hall, Haverstock Hill, London,  NW3 4QP.

Here's a clip advertising a previous event: