Sunday, February 28, 2010

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Black people in The Netherlands: Surinamese


Dutch black history. I have found an interesting article in an old Ebony Magazine about the background of the Surinamese community in the Netherlands. Although it’s written in an issue of 1967! it still reflects the diversity of the Surinamese community in Surinam and in the Netherlands.

The article is from a very interesting Dutch Surinamese website called Buku ,which is Surinamese for “book”.

A small update. In 1975 almost half of the population of Surinam moved to the Netherlands because of an independence most people didn’t believe in. The black people or Creoles settled in the city of Amsterdam, the Hindustani settled in the city of The Hague.

A snippet from the article

"Why come here for a story?" queried the sixth 'Black Dutchman' I met.
"Isn't Suriname a multiracial country?" I asked. Don't all of the people live together in harmony?" "Yes."

"Wouldn't you call that unique in a world torn by racial strife?"
"Perhaps so," mused the man who takes his way of life for granted.
Forty-five of the next 50 people I interviewed agreed that they live in a peaceful coexistence under a flag made up of five stars representing the five races of mankind; that in Suriname, East meets West and the twain is an elliptical orbit on the flag joining the stars together. The dissenting five are not so sure. With the coming election, Surinam's racial paradise is threatened by a power struggle between the two dominant groups: the Creoles, mixed blood (no matter how dark) descendants of African slaves who head that bauxite-rich nation, and Hindustanis, the east Indian descendants of contract laborers who have passed the Creoles economically, are catching up with them educationally and overtaking them numerically.

Read full article here

Theatre: "Off the Endz" - London


From left to right: Daniel Francis, Lorraine Burroughs, Ashley Walters
Off the Endz is a new play by Olivier award winning writer Bola Agbaje, featuring Ashley Walters (BBC1’s Small Island, ex-So Solid Crew). Royal Court Theatre, 11 Feb - 13 Mar in London.

"My future is here. My aim is clear and simple. I want out. I wanna be rich. I'm not gonna pretend it's anything more than that and I want it now."

David (Ashley Walters), Kojo (Daniel Francis) and Sharon (Lorraine Burroughs) grew up on a London estate. Now in their mid 20s, they're eyeing another kind of life. But how do you choose the right path when temptation lies around every corner? If your emotional or financial debt is sky high, how do you buy your way out?



Bola Agbaje's smart, savvy second play for the Royal Court asks whether being out of the system might be just as good as being in it.

Bola Agbaje came through the Royal Court's Critical Mass programme. Her debut play Gone Too Far! premiered at the Royal Court in 2007, and won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement and a Most Promising Playwright nomination at the Evening Standard Awards 2008. Her other plays include If Things Were Different, In Time and Anything You Can Do for Soho Theatre. Most recently Detaining Justice opened as part of the Not Black and White season at the Tricycle in November.

Royal Court Theatre

Theatre: The Hounding of David Oluwale - Trailer (UK)


Because it's still black history month, an old theatre trailer of "The Hounding of David Oluwale", with Daniel Francis as the main character.

The play was an adaptation of Kester Aspden's award-winning book, the Hounding of David Oluwale. It tells the story of the Nigerian immigrant Oluwale, who was found dead in the river Aire in 1969, having been assaulted over a number of months by police officers.

About Oluwale The Guardian wrote the following story.

Oluwale was educated in the late autumn of colonial rule, a Christian grammar school education filling him with notions of the benevolent, civilising nature of British power.

It was natural for young men in the Nigerian port city to look outwards and imagine the world beyond; in the postwar years, there were many reasons to wish for an escape - food shortages, soaring prices, high unemployment. Nineteen-year-old Oluwale, struggling as an apprentice tailor, was one of a couple of hundred Nigerians in those difficult years who buried themselves in obscure corners of cargo ships for the gruelling two-week voyage to Britain. ....

On May 4 1969, the body of David Oluwale was discovered face-down in the river Aire, close to Leeds' main sewage works. The coroner recorded a verdict of death by drowning. The loose change found on Oluwale's body was put towards a flimsy coffin and a pauper's funeral. The funeral directors were having a clearout and packed old telephone directories around the corpse. His body was committed to a common grave that contained nine others.

Eighteen months later, this unmourned Nigerian was at the centre of a criminal investigation that shook and shamed a city. His body was exhumed on an icy morning in December 1970 following accusations that two Leeds city police officers had hounded him to his death. At the trial a year later, a long campaign of abuse emerged. Others had simply stood by and let it happen. Even in death, Oluwale was accorded little dignity. The defence counsel likened him to a panther. To the judge, he was a "dirty, filthy, violent vagrant". Read the whole story in Legacy of hate

And: Ghostly lessons of a lonely death



Thursday, February 25, 2010

Theatre: Causerie imaginée (Imagined chat) - a Negritude conversation

Causerie imaginée (Imagined chat) - an imagined conversation based on the work of Césaire, Damas and Senghor performed by Jean-Michel Martial and Nathaly Coualy.

Sunday February 28th in Paris in theatre Les Feux de la Rampe (last show in France).

He is a man, she is a woman and there were three poets, three singers of the Negritude, three monuments: Césaire, Damas and Senghor. Notebook of a return home, a lecture on colonialism ... poetic texts and politics presented as monologues, sometimes as a conversation. A "Causerie imaginée" interpreted by Jean-Michel Martial and Nathaly Coualy.



Jean-Michel Martial is a French actor and Nathaly Coualy is a French actor/comedian, it’s there first performance together.

"It's been several years since I read these texts in public," says Jean-Michel Martial. "This time I wanted to add the desire and emotion of this person I do not know. The frame was already more or less decided, but Nathaly did things I never expected"

"We found that these texts are answers", says Nathaly Coualy.
Read a review (French) here

Interesting theatre, the show will also be performed in the Caribbean.

And because black history month is coming to an end on February 28th, some links:
Aimé Césaire
Leon-Gontran Damas
Léopold Sédar Senghor

Causerie imaginée
Sunday 28 February at 17h
Aat theatre Les Feux de la Rampe
2, rue Saulnier Paris 9e
01 42 46 26 19
lesfeuxdelarampe@gmail.com
http://www.billetreduc.com/35062/evt.htm

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

BBC NEWS

Antena 3 LIVE

Nneka live in Munich "Focus"


Spotted on: Black in nrw
NNEKA performs the song "FOCUS" at "MUSIC for GOALS 2009" in Munich. The song calls for more respect, tolerance and peace. Video directed by Frederik Hettich Munich.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

12 Funniest Cover Up Tattoos














German bobsledder Richard Adjei wins silver at Winter Games

Germany's gold-silver finish in Sunday's two-man bobsleigh only reinforced the perception that the country dominates sliding sports.

Silver medal-winning brakeman Richard Adjei hopes his skin colour helps to change a different perception.

"I want to show people, hey, Germany changed," said Adjei, the 27-year-old son of a German father and Ghanaian mother. "A lot of people still think Germany's mean and bad, you know? I'm half white, half black, I'm at the Games, representing my country and I'm proud.

"When I do sport, and compete well, they say, 'Germany's changed.'"

The Dusseldorf-raised brakeman is in his first Olympics. He's a former linebacker for the Berlin Thunder in the now-defunct NFL Europe and shifted to bobsleigh in 2007. Despite having played in front of 50,000 football fans, he said seeing the crowd and all the German flags made him nervous Sunday.

Read full story at The Vancouver Sun

Monday, February 22, 2010

4th March in commemoration to the African victims of the slave trade, enslavement, colonialism and racist violence (Berlin)


By Tina Bach

On February 27th, the 4th March in commemoration to the African victims of the slave trade, enslavement, colonialism and racist violence will take place in Berlin.

The march begins at Gröbenufer/May-Ayim-Ufer and is organized by the Commitee for an African monument in Berlin (KADIB).

This year the commemoration march marks the end of the campaign 125 years Afrika Konferenz Berlin which has been initiated by a network of more than 70 organisations.

Also due to the renaming of the Gröbenufer in Berlin-Kreuzberg to May-Ayim-Ufer everyone is invited to participate in the related celebration ceremony from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

May Ayim was a writer of African German descent who contribted immensely to the scientic research about the history of Black people in Germany. Groeben on the other hand was a man known for his role in colonization policies.

After the celebration ceremony at 1 p.m. there will be a march to Wilhelmstr 92, Berlin, where there is a memorial sign in rememberance to the Afrika Konferenz Berlin. The Comitee for an African Monument considers the renaming of the Gröbenufers to May-Ayim-Ufer as an important step to the right direction.

The genocides in which Germany played a role - against Hereros in Namibia and Maji-Maji in Tansania - are not officially recognized until today. Several hundred thousand people of African descent fought together with the allied forces for the resurrection of Germany from the Nazi Regime in World War II.

Thousands of Black Germans, the so-called "Rheinlandbastarde" were sterelized by Nazis or murdered in concentration camps. This side of Germany's history has not been dealth with officially until today.

For details regarding the march see document (PDF) here.

Gérard Depardieu plays black Alexandre Dumas in controversial casting


On the left Gérard Depardieu on the right Alexandre Dumas
A fierce controversy broke out when white French actor Gérard Depardieu played black French cultural icon Alexandre Dumas in the film "L'Autre Dumas" (the other Dumas). Dumas is the "official" writer of the famous novels “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “The Three Musketeers”.

Dumas (1802 - 1870) was the son of a Hatian/French bi-racial father, Thomas Alexandre, and a white French mother.

According to TheRoot Patrick Lozes, France's Representative Council of Black Associations, objected to Depardieu in the role, saying black actors are not given an opportunity to play white roles in French cinema. "It's very shocking and it is insulting," Patrick Lozes told the London Daily Mail. "It is a way of saying that we don't have any black actors who have the talent to play Alexandre Dumas.

"The other Dumas. The history of Alexandre Dumas and (ghostwriter) Auguste Maquet"


But the film is entitled "The other Dumas. The history of Alexandre Dumas and Auguste Maquet". August Maquet is Dumas's ghostwriter (or "literary Negro" as the French said it back in the 18th and 19th century). He was the ghost writer of “The Count of Monte Cristo” , “The Three Musketeers” and other novels and plays. In fact the film deals with the relationship between August Maquet , “other Dumas” , and Alexandre Dumas.

According to the Guardian the film shed new light on the man who fans say was the true genius behind The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo.

In an interesting article in Suite101 "The French Film Industry and Race Discrimination" the author analyses the question whether the choice of Gérard Depardieu is racism or artistic freedom.

In suite101 the author also writes:
Dumas himself was often the butt of jokes,caricature and a frequent target of cartoonists who emphasised his facial features and hair, exaggerating them to accentuate his Haitian heritage. Victoria Foote-Greenwell in her article "The life and resurrection of Alexandre Dumas" in The Smithsonian of 1 July 1996, relates the story of a leading lady once saying as he left, "Open the windows. It smells of Negro."


I agree with Patrick lozee (CRAN) that Dumas had to be played by a black actor, considering France's history with black actors. But I have to admit that Gérard Depardieu is not a bad choice.

According to TheRoot Gerard Depardieu thinks the controvery is “ridiculous” and “unnecessary”. I think Depardieu doesn't want to know the history of Dumas, or better he doesn’t want to know the history of his own country France.

Dumas was reburied in 2002 in the Panthéon of Paris, the place where al the great French are buried. Former France President Jacques Chirac had to acknowledge that racism was the reason why Dumas hadn't been enshrined in the past.

Afro-Europe

Friday, February 19, 2010

Queendom: "Home is where the heart is" (Norway)

The Norwegian group Queendom is an Oslo based theatre group of five black women with backgrounds from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Trinidad and Gambia. All the members of the group are professional theatre artists

Queendom came to the attention of the Norwegian public in 1999 after the premiere of the cabaret 'Queendom On The Rocks- the world seen through the eys of five Black women'. Since then Queendom has produced another two comedy shows, a satirical book, a TV mini-series and continues to compose new, inspiring music .



Queendom now tours and performs extensively as a popular world music band, around Norway and abroad. They have performed at numerous events hosted by commercial companies, festivals, state institutions and NGO's.

Audiences include several Nobel Peace Prize laureates, ministers and members of the Norwegian royal family - as well as ordinary people of all ethnic backgrounds.

Queendom - "Home is where the heart is". Filmed in Bagamoyo, Tanzania August 2009 as part of TV-Aksjonen for NRK (Norway).

Offical website Queendom.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mayor of London cuts funds Black History Month

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, will cut funds for Black History Month. Ed West, The Daily Telegraph columnist, agrees. Black History month in the UK is held in October.

He feels that Boris Johnson is right to cut funds for Black History Month, an event that, according to West, "provokes contempt and racism".

West: “BHM not only doesn’t bring people together, whatever local politicians have to say – it provokes contempt and racism, since any “achievement” that has to be promoted by taxpayer-funded propaganda is psychologically put into the junk folder by most intelligent people. Which is a shame, because African, Caribbean and black American history is interesting and significant enough without Haringey council’s help.”

Figures seen by the Guardian show that the London mayor cut funding for Black History Month, a series of events staged in October to celebrate black culture in the capital, from £132,000 to £10,000, though city hall insists the previous figure was £76,000. Africa Day’s £100,000 grant from the London Development Agency was axed completely and a decision to cut funding for the St Patrick’s Day celebration was roundly criticised last year.

The previous mayor of London Ken Livingstone, who supported multicultural events throughout his mayoralty, described the decision to cut funds for Black History Month as “outrageous”. “These were all events that helped bring London together,” he said.

Read full story here

Official launch of “La Fédération des Associations Africaines et Créoles” (France)

“La Fédération des Associations Africaines et Créoles” (FAAC), or the Federation of associations of Africans and Creoles is the name of a new French organisation. Their aim is to create a network of young entrepreneurs, and highlight their contribution made to France.

Official launch is set on Thursday February 25th in Paris, and you’re invited.

The FAAC is an initiative of the Martiniquen entrepreneur Franck Anretar, who is also the CEO of the music distribution company “la société Good Music Diffusion", and the organiser of the French cultural awards ceremony “Les Trophées des arts afro-caribéens” .

Network
Main goal of the FAAC is to create a professional network, and to expand the economic influence of young entrepreneurs from the French overseas territories ( “ la ultramarine”) and Africa.

According to the press release the organisation aims to bring together associations of people from Africa and the overseas “on joint projects to value their assets, so they can speak with one voice and ensure their interests” .

The Federation also wants to highlight the contributions made to France. FAAC: “Often, diversity and immigration are seen as an expense in the collective mind. We want to bring attention, through actions and accomplishments, to our contribution to the national economy. It is why, today, we need to organize and structure ourselves to exploit this wealth.”

France
Through its clusters (training, youth, economy, culture, solidarity, education, sports, health, communication) the FAAC is developing multidisciplinary working groups composed of recognized experts by their peers.

The FAAC wants to contribute to Fance. In their vision France can now be compared to a modern family structure which is commonly known as a “famille recomposée" or "blended family". A family in which each member brings his singularity while adapting to another. Through the federation the members want to their make contribution to France.

The official launch of the FAAC will be on Thursday, February 25 at 11 am at the following address:
Bateau L’Alizé, Port de la Râpée, 75012 PARIS
Métro / RER : Gare de Lyon sortie rue Van Gogh / Gare d’Austerlitz.

The speakers are:
Frank ANRETAR, President of the FAAC
Elie NKAMGUEU, President cluster Health
Yasmine HAMRA KROUA, spokeswoman of the FAAC
Jean-Christophe DUTON, President of the cluster Formation
François DURPAIRE , Advisor Formation
Vincent TRAVAILLEUR, President cluster Sport
Yvan BIRDA, President cluster Education
Pedro PIRBAKAS, President of the cluster Youth

In the presence of Olivier LAOUCHEZ , Joseph DUNOYER, Abderrahmane DAHMANE, and members of Federal Council, ambassadors, and many personalities.


La FAAC
Press contact
Kalenge TAFIAL
06 32 48 64 50
lescesaire@gmail.com

For more information see the official press release (French) here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jesse Jackson talks about ethnic segregation in Dutch schools


On February 4th American civil rights activist Jesse Jackson gave the Martin Luther King Jr. lecture in The Netherlands. Jackson is touring Europe at the moment.

In the lecture he stated that The Netherlands should do whatever it takes to desegregate its primary school, this should be Dutch national policy.

One result of segregation, according to Reverend Jackson, is that ethnic communities feel stigmatised, and become isolated.

"If you let people live in isolation, and make them feel left out, you are organising your own ticking time bomb."

That is precisely what has concerned many here, since the 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a young Dutchman of Moroccan background. But Mr Jackson's message when it comes to integration is "Keep hope alive." He is impressed by young people he has met in The Hague and Amsterdam and the efforts they have taken to learn to live together.

Black schools in the Netherlands are schools where the majority of pupils have a “foreign” background. A more accurate term for these schools would be minority schools.

From Jackson’s point of view he is right of course, there is no place for segregation in a modern society. But linking black schools to terrorism is little bit overdone. Read the whole story and see a video here

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Film: Schwarzfahrer - Racism in a German tram

I spotted the film on the blog Afro-Germanica Online. It's a short film about black man who endures racist talk from a German woman.

Schwarzfahrer (also known as Black Rider) is a 1993 German 12-minute short film directed by Pepe Danquart. It won an Academy Award in 1994 for Best Short Subject. The topic of the film is the daily racism a black man endures in a tram. The title is a word-play: literally, "Schwarzfahrer" means "black rider" in German, but is also translatable to "fare-dodger". This word-play forms the punch line of the short film. (Source: wikipedia.)

An interesting film with a O. Henry twist, so bare with it and you will laugh at the end.



Saturday, February 13, 2010

Black athlete carries Dutch flag in Olympic procession Winter Games


Dutch bobsledder Timothy Beck carried the Dutch flag in the Olympic procession at Winter Games in Vancouver. He was chosen for his achievements as a team builder. It’s Beck’s third Olympics.

For Dutch flag bearer Timothy Beck the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Vancouver became a special night with many emotions.

When the French Canadian musician Garou played the song "Un peu plus haut, un peu plus loin", (A little higher, a little further) Beck’s thoughts were with his deceased parents for a moment. Beck: "I thought: you have done well, that your son is now standing here".

Moments earlier there was a one minute silence for the Georgian luger Norad Koemaritasjvili, who crashed earlier that day.

"This is of awful of course. It already casts a shadow over the Olympics."

For Beck the lugar accident is an extra warning, because he will also start on this track with his bobsled team.


Afro-Europe


Discussion: Racism in sports and academic institutions (Berlin)


Panel discussion: structural racism in sports and academic institutions, February 15th in Berlin (Germany)

The AFROTAK TV cyberNomads panel discussions are a part of Black History Month 2010, they are linked to last year’s panel on identity, and the future prospects of the African Diaspora in Germany .

Focus of the panel is an entertaining examination of the perspective of black protagonists. The experts discuss themes ranging from the Berlin Africa Conference of 1884, the reunification of Germany, the commemoration of the 125 years of colonial dispossession in Africa in 2009, to the World Cup in South Africa 2010.

Invited experts:

Aretha Schwarzbach-Apithy/ ADEFRA e.V.
•Anetta Kahane/ Amadeu Antonio Stiftung
•Anthony Bagette/ Clear Blue Water e.V.
•Jean Paul Rwasamanzi / Migrationsrat Pankow
•Biplab Basu/ Reach Out e.V.

Moderator

• Adetoun Kueppers-Adebisi / TV AFROTAK cyberNomads


15.02.2010 - 18.00h

Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung e.V.
Schumannstr. 8, Berlin
(Metro: U-Bahn Oranienburger Tor)

See German press release here


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Black Europeans competing at the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver

The black European athletes at the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver 2010

France

Vanessa James - Figure skating
James (22) is a French-British figure skater who has competed internationally as both a single skater and pair skater. She has competed internationally for Great Britain as a single skater and for France as a pair skater. James is born in Bermuda.

Yannick Bonheur - Figure skating
Bonheur (27) is a French pair skater. He competes with Vanessa James, with whom he teamed up in 2007. They are the 2010 French national champions. He is born in France and is from Martiniquean descent .



The Netherlands

Timothy Beck - Bobsleigh
Beck (33) is a Dutch sprinter. He won a bronze medal in 4 x 100 metres relay at the 2003 World Championships in Athletics. Beck also competed as a bobsledder Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in the 2002. He is Dutch born from Surinamese descent.



Urta Rozenstruik - Bobsleigh
Rozenstruik (34) is a former sprinter who reached the finals at the indoor Dutch Championships in 1999. She was born in Surinam and raised in the Netherlands.





Great Britain

Henry Nwume - Bobsleigh
Nwume (33), doctor in the armed forces, has been selected to represent Team GB in the four-man bobsleigh. Nwume got involved in bobsleigh via the Army Novice Ice Camp where he took a trial. He was born in Great Britain to a Nigerian father.




Sweden

Johnny Oduya - Ishockey
Oduya (28) is a Swedish professional ice hockey defenceman of partial Kenyan descent who plays for the Atlanta Thrashers of the National Hockey League.

Breathtaking Freefalls

Breathtaking Freefalls