Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bonnie Greer versus the extreme right-wing BNP (UK)


BBC One's Question Time on October 22 was one of the most controversial television events this month. Live on television, the leader of the extreme right-wing British National Party(BNP) on the panel of the BBC's Question Time. Also on the panel was black British American playwright Bonnie Greer.

The BNP's website referred to Greer as a "black history fabricator" for her work on the radio documentary In Search of the Black Madonna, which was, it said, an "Afrocentrist daydream".

Back to BBC's Question Time. To be honest it wasn't a strong performance of Greer. She said." I don't know much about politics, my background is culture." And it showed. But also a line as," Nick and I, both have an undergraduate degree in history". Nick and I? That's not the way you talk about someone who is an honoured guest of the KKK.

We know that Greer hates the BNP, but she is culture, so let her stick to that. Don't ask her to debate with a notorious racist.

read: BNP leader Nick Griffin savaged by Question Time panellist Bonnie Greer

In the video she discusses the claim of the BNP that Winston Churchill could have been a member of the BNP. Churchill had made some anti-immigration remarks.




Monday, October 26, 2009

German reporter criticised for posing as black man in film


German reporter Günter Wallraff spent over a year travelling through Germany disguised as fictional Somalian man Kwami Ogonno for the film Schwarz auf Weiss ( Black on White ). His goal was to experience racisme at first hand, so he put on a blackface for the occasion.

And he succeeded. In East-Germany – of course - he was attacked by drunken youth. Read the full story here.

But Afro-German Noah Sow, author of Deutschland Black & White, criticised Walraff: “A painted white person is not a black person and cannot have the same experiences even if he thinks he can,” said Noah Sow, author of Everyday Racism in Germany . “Wallraff is earning money and respect on the backs of oppressed minorities.”

If you're not acquainted with Germany this film may seem as an eye opener, but racism in Germany doesn't need to be uncovered. Long before the 2006 FIFA World cup football tournament even the FIFA warned people of colour to stay away from the “rural areas” in East German Berlin.

And Günter? I think he wanted to be on the news again, but this time with a racism show with hidden cameras. If he really wanted to expose racism he could have used the black guy in the film. But I think the sole purpose of this black man was just to legitimate his blackface.

See shots of the film in the interview (German)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Last Moroccan leaves the Netherlands



What if all the Moroccans in the Netherlands were to pack up and leave? This is the question posed by an internet video.

In the video A man cycles in his dressing gown to collect his own newspaper from a pile in the street – the Moroccan delivery man has left the country. Streets are strewn with litter, buildings fall into disrepair. Stranded commuters queue for taxis, with no one left to drive them. “Last Moroccan leaves today,” reads the newspaper headline, as a plane overhead flies south. “Last Moroccan leaves the Netherlands”

Moroccans tend to feature in the Dutch media as young criminals, causing nuisance in the street, hurling abuse at gays and women, and carrying out muggings and robberies. Or indeed as Muslims struggling to integrate, in a debate driven by anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders, leader of the far-right Freedom Party. Mr Wilders has said he would not hesitate to deport Muslims who commit crimes or fail to integrate into Dutch society – and his party is riding high in the polls.

An interesting video of a minority group under pressure. But for a community who has been in the Netherlands since the sixties, it is very one sided view. It seems that they will only be missed if the newspaper is not being delivered anymore.

Although their unemployment rate is the highest of all minority groups the Netherlands, there is a large group of young and ambitious Moroccans who are successfully entering the professional sector. This video is more a street view.

I wonder how a video entitled "Last black person leaves Europe" would look like.

Read “Last Moroccan leaves the Netherlands”

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Marvin Sapp - Gospel Festival Paris 2009 (Oct. 31)


Le Festival Gospel de Paris – Sunday October 31st in Paris (50. av. dur President Wilson 92310 La Plaine St-Denis) with Marvin Sapp and Total Praise.

After Kirk Franklin and Bebe Winans, ‘Le Festival Gospel de Paris’ invites the gospel and R & B star Marvin Sapp. The reputation of Marvin Sapp has gained momentum in 2008 with his hit "Never Would Have Made It” from the album Thirsty. The song peaked at 1st on the Billboard Hot Gospel Songs and 14th in U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. In 2008 Sapp received the BET AWARDS for Best Gospel Artist.

MARVIN SAPP AUX BET AWARDS from KAL N on Vimeo.



The Former member of legendary group Commissioned will perform for the first time in France at the Gospel Festival 2009. He will be joined by 180 singers and musicians of Total Praise. Total Praise has performed with Barbara Kendrics, Jessye Norman, Johnny Hallyday and many other famous artists.

The concert will be preceded by a plateau of young modern gospel talent such as Dré Bonny (ex Poetic Lover) and Leah Vincent (Lion King).


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Interview Spike Lee: "I wasn't the one that put blackface on Judy Garland."


It has been 20 years since the release of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. So for the occasion Spike Lee was interviewed by Jason Solomons of the Guardian. In the interview Lee talks about Do The Right Thing, other films and Obama.

In the interview he also talks about a film which is very relevant today. It's the blackface film Bamboozled, a satirical film about a modern televised minstrel show featuring black actors donning blackface makeup and the violent fall-out from the show's success. The film - of course - is relevant because of the recent Vogue issue and the blackface Australian performance of the Jackson Five. In the interview Jason Solomons said that some people found this film a very angry film, Lee replied, "I wasn't the one who put blackface on Judy Garland."

On YouTube I found the video montage of the black face shots used in the film Bamboozled. You sometimes wonder how people can use black face and call it 'artistic'. (See all videos below.)



Do The Right Thing (1989)
Lee: Do The Right Thing takes place in hottest day of the summer. We wanted the people to be sweating while they watched this film.


Fight the power (theme song)
Lee: I knew I wanted an anthem, so I called Chuck D and he came back with this classic. It's really the theme at that time of young black America. In 1989 Fight the power was the only song you heard that summer.


The Toy (1982)
Interviewer: Back in 89 black filmmakers were struggling to be heard. Black actors were struggling to get out of ghetto parts.
Lee: A very important individual, people don't really acknowledge, is Michael Schultz. He was our only African American director in Hollywood at that time. He made a lot of hit films of Richard Prior. Prior was a big star in Hollywood.
Interviewer: They had to had to give him a white buddy, Gene Wilder.
Lee: “The worst was the film The Toy (1982), where he was bought by rich white man as a toy for his child.


Soul Plane (2000)
Interviewer: Do you think, that because of Do The Right Thing, that kind of film will ...
Lee: Hé hé, they still make some of this stuff. You ever heard of a film called Soul Plane?



Malcolm X (1992)
Lee on Malcom X: This is biggest run I've done so far. People said, don't mess it up.


Bamboozled (2000)
Interviewer: One of my favourites is Bamboozled (2000). One of the least seen, one of the most angry.
Lee: One of my favourite films too, very funny film.
Interviewer: Black film makers, black activist say it comes a big angry.
Lee: I don’t know it was angry. I wasn't the one who put blackface on Judy Garland, Mickey Roony and Bugs Buny.



(The film below is a video montage of the blackface shots used in the film Bamboozled)

You sometimes wonder how people can use black face and call it artistic.

Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Interviewer: The film Do The Right Thing has shaped the politics of Obama.
Lee: Well I don't know if it has shaped his politics. People forget that the best film in 1989, according to the academy, was Driving miss Daisy. A film no one has seen, no one is watching that today.


La Hain (1995) - The Hait
Lee: The one film I have issue with is La Hain (1995). That film was a complete rip off of Do The Right Thing. The director Mathieu Kassovitz has never acknowledged it. He said he never saw it. When you see Do The Right Thing, it's an homage.


More Bamboozled

Quote of the film. In the film the white boss says to the black screen writer: “I grew up around black people my whole life, the truth is know N*gers more then you. And don't go getting offended by me using the word N***. I have a black wife and two Bi-racial kids so I feel I have the right.”



Toilet Seat Waterfall in China











Monday, October 19, 2009

Spike Lee: “I never drank that post-racial Kool Aid”

An interview with Spike Lee and BBC Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman on changing race relations in America since Lee made "Do The Right Thing". In the interview which aired a month ago, the two argue about the impact of Barack Obama’s election on modern day racism.

A very interesting interview, the idea that racism is something of the past seems to infuriate him.


Spotted on Soulculture

Friday, October 16, 2009

Queendom: Black female and Norwegian


On October 14th the Norwegian group Queendom had the television premiere of their comedy series for TV-action 2009. Queendom has written the script and plays all the supporting roles. Place of action is Sogndalstrand in Norway and Bagamoyo in Tanzania,the themes are women, Africa, development aid and multicultural Norway.

Queendom about Queendom: “Queendom is based in Oslo, Norway, and draws on the talent and experience of five performing artists with backgrounds from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Trinidad and Gambia. The group was established in 1999 and is unique in that it represents the first time young, black women have set up their own performing arts group in Norway. The members of the group are professional actors, journalists, singers and songwriters.



Queendom aims to raise the profile of black women by creating both socially aware and entertaining performances. Our shows touch on themes relevant to our everyday lives in Norway, such as racism, identity and women’s issues. While most of our material is original we also present a selection of texts and music written by other black artists - both in Norwegian and English. Through humour, satire, poetry and song, we wish to raise the level of awareness and understanding between men and women of all ethnic backgrounds.”

Queendom performers:
Hannah Wozene Kvam, born 1972 - background Ethiopia
Asta Busingye Lydersen, born 1970 - background Uganda / Norway
Isabell Dahlsveen Sterling, born 1972 - background Trinidad / Norway
Monica Ifejilika, born 1977 - background Nigeria / Norway
Haddy Jatou N'jie, born 1979 - background Gambia, Norway

Read the review of Queendom on Jamati


Website Queendom
Queendom on Myspace

Haddy Jatou N´jie