Stories about our continent and our experience are often distorted (if not totally untold) – and it's to be expected when the agents telling the tales are far removed. My Africa Is is a documentary series that aims to show a more complete narrative. Starting this autumn, the crew will embark on a 13 city, 10 country tour of our continent, spending time with young people who want to share the exciting things they're doing to improve their communities.
It's not all about the Olympics this Summer in the UK. There are a multitude of arts, culture and entertainment events going on throughout the country over the next few months, including some exciting Africa- and Diaspora-related ones that you may want to check out.
I'll be updating this post weekly as I discover suitable additions to the list. If you know of any I haven't yet included, please do drop me a line.
2 JUNE – 16 SEPTEMBER
Playwright and scriptwriter Ade Solanke is passionate about telling the dynamic stories of the African Diaspora. Her long and impressive list of accolades and accomplishments is incredibly inspiring. She has written BBC radio scripts and a screenplay for 'The Family Legacy,' a Nollywood-style film about sickle-cell. She has has been a British Film Institute Writer-in Residence and a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. And much more …
Africa- and Diaspora-related events spanning Kenya, the UK and Switzerland. What's happening where you are this month?
Kultura Film Club – Nights of Ethnographic Films
City: London, UK
Venue: Passing Clouds
This week's installment of the Film Club features two short films about rhythm, negotiating identities, dance and belonging, including Temporary Sanity by Dan Brunn. The film tells about Jamaica’s dance music culture in New York and especially about the versatile disc jockey Skerrit Bwoy. Originally from St. Johns, Antigua, the youngster migrated to Bronx, New York in the mid 1990’s. Clubbing at a very young age, and hanging out on Creston Avenue, it did not take him long to fit into the fast pace life of the city. Skerrit Bwoy burst on the international dancehall scene this year, with his sound system Ghetto Life that he has molded into becoming an award winning sound that was crowned as 2005 – 2006 “Bronx Sound of The Year.”
The Southbank Centre's Women of the World Festival returns this month to coincide with International Women's Day on Thursday 8th March. Celebrating the formidable strength and inventiveness of women, there is an even more exciting line-up of activities, talks, debates and performances than last year.
Commentary highlights from the year spanning identity, culture, design, technology, entrepreneurship, natural hair and more …
Rise of the Afropolitan
The V&A Afropolitans Friday Late event earlier this year was a major event. The "world's greatest museum of art and design" dedicated an evening to contemporary African and African Diaspora design and culture. Over 5,000 people attended proving that there are a lot of people who either identify with the term or are at least intrigued by it. Record label exec – Yemi Alade-Lawal, journalist, poet and writer – Tolu Ogunlesi, author – Hannah Pool, blogger – Minna Salami and I participated in a great panel discussion that went by way too quickly. Some great questions arose and I took the opportunity to expand on some of my thoughts on the blog: "Is there any use for the term 'Afropolitan'".
The motivation behind the Afri-love interview series is to demonstrate the possibilities that come with pursuing your passion. The interviews acknowledge that the path is challenging and they show how its travellers have persisted through adversity with wonderful results. As with the blog in general, there is a strong creative thread – poets, painters, musicians, designers, artists, writers and people creating change through activism.
Here's a round-up of some popular interviews from a diverse group of inspiring people:
Interview with poet, sports writer and musician, Musa Okwonga.
Interview with singer-songwriter, Amira Kheir.
Interview with artist and photographer, Mutua Matheka.
What was your favourite interview?
If you missed yesterday's best of 2011 installment, "African and Africa-inspired fashion, interior and furniture design," here it is.
Tune in for the rest of week for:
- Thursday – Popular commentary posts (from technology to natural hair, from life lessons to identity)
- Friday – Top music finds of 2011
The final few weeks of the year are jam-packed with reasons to be merry. Here are just a few Africa- and Diaspora-related events in London (UK), Nairobi (Kenya), New York (US), Paris (France and St. John's (Antigua). If you know of any January events that you'd like to share, please contact me by the 23rd of December. Enjoy the last days of 2011!
There are certain things to be expected from African cinema. You will see exploitation by foreign forces, and poverty as a result, and you will see people afflicted by HIV/AIDS. It is Africa afterall.
This is the impression a martian may have sitting in on a Q&A that I experienced during a film I saw that was part of the ongoing Film Africa festival.
More than 50 films shown across several London arthouse cinemas, many of them critically acclaimed, the festival aims to project a different view of the continent. One where Africans themselves determine how they will be represented. In such a liberal context, I was somewhat surprised to encounter such closed-minded views as the ones mentioned above.