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Photo exhibit Fri, Jan. 19 in NYC

January 19th, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Art, Events, General

Ezra Mabengeza Photo exhibit Lava Gina
South African Photo Exhibit “IMBIZO”by photographer Ezra Mabengeza
When: Friday, January 7, 2007
Where: Lava Gina (116 av C, between 7 and 8 streets)
Time: 7:30 till 10 pm

$5 dollar suggested development donation

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TED conference heads to Tanzania

January 18th, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Business, Events, Film/Television, General, Travel

TEDGlobal 2007 TanzaniaOne of the most influential annual conferences for technology, entertainment, and design (TED) is touching down in Africa for the first time. Though the main conference will take place in Monterey. California in March as it usually does, the smaller TEDGlobal win be hosted at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge in Arusha, Tanzania, at the edge of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Previously held in Oxford, UK in 2005, this years TEDGlobal conference entitled “Africa: the next chapter” will take place June 4-7. Sponsored by AMD, GE, Google (Yes, Google), and Sun Microsystems, TEDGlobal conference will be held in Africa for the first time and promises to be an unforgettable experience with more than 50 extraordinary speakers (inventors, business-leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, designers, artists, writers, activists, musicians and mavericks) who are “shaping Africa’s future though innovation and world-changing ideas.” In the past the TED conference has included speakers such as Al Gore (currentTV, Apple, VP of the USA), Richard Branson (VIrgin), Bono, and Peter Gabriel. TEDGlobal 2007 is organized by Emeka Okafor: entrepreneur, analyst and creator of two of my favorite blogs, Africa Unchained and Timbuktu Chronicles. One of the speakers at TEDGlobal will be Carol Pineau, CNN journalist and producer of the World Bank-sponsored documentary “Africa Open for Business.” The documentary is now on DVD.

Trailer: “Africa Open for Business”

Via AfricaIncorp and LunchOverIP

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Somi and Fela tonight in NYC

January 18th, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Events, General, Music

Somi at Joe's Pub

Jump N Funk at SOB's

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Adidas Materials of the World 2007 – Africa

January 18th, 2007 | 4 Comments | Posted in Fashion, General

Adidas Materials of the World 2007 Africa jacket

Dazed and Confused Magazine make a mention of the upcoming Adidas X Materials of the World 2007 series. The series began in 2006 and Adidas is continuing it’s tour of the world with the addition of Africa for Spring/Summer 2007. BKRW debuted a few images a few weeks ago with a small description. I especially like the track jacket which has intricate beading and embroidery. The jacket design shows how traditional African crafts can be updated and modernized. I can’t wait to see the products in person.
Adidas Materials of the World 2007 Africa gazelles

Via Hypebeast

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Africa fuels Golden Globe wins

January 16th, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Events, Film/Television, General, Music

Forest Whitaker wins 2007 Golden GlobeLast nights Golden Globe awards solidified what newspapers have been saying for months. Africa is red hot for Hollywood filmmakers. Babel, filmed in Morocco and Tunisia, won for best film and Forest Whitaker (Platoon, Good Morning, Vietnam, The Color of Money) won the best actor award for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland”. While the two films are dramas, the diversity of the scenery in each film is a testament to the multitude of cultures and landscapes, which makes the African continent unique.

I haven’t talked much about “The Last King of Scotland” in the past particularly because I have yet to see it and it didn’t get much of a push at the box office. But Whitaker’s Golden Globe win is a clear example of the strength of the African continent as a source for filmmaking. Whitaker who has held various roles as actor, producer, and director is an unlikely star. Since appearing on screen in the early eighties, he has constantly worked on and off the screen developing projects. Those of us in the hip-hop community probably know him best for his Wu-Tang Clan association. It’s Whitaker’s quirkiness which made him an ideal candidate for the Idi Amin character. While critics claim the movie again put the white character at the story’s’ center, Whitaker’s intensity could not be ignored. I hope both wins send a rush of viewers to see the films, and push the profit numbers up. At the end of the day, hollywood is about making money, and if it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense (to produce).

“Buoyed by the critical and financial success of movies such as Hotel Rwanda and The Constant Gardener, studios are unleashing a series of films not only based on life in Africa, but shot there as well.

The cinematic migration, filmmakers and analysts say, reflects a sea change in Hollywood’s perspective about the region, once a mystery and easy stereotype for the entertainment industry.

Gone are the safari and Africans-as-savages motifs. The new films address recent history and topical subjects from terrorism to the diamond trade to long-distance runners.” – USA Today

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Golden Globes nominations give African filmmaking a boost

January 15th, 2007 | 1 Comment | Posted in Film/Television, General, Travel

Chiwetel EjioforThe Golden Globe Awards are tonight and one clear winner for now is international film production. With movies like “Babel”, “The Last King of Scotland”, and “Blood Diamond” the ceremony has already set a tone for film in the near future. Though it hasn’t been publicized much, London-born Nigerian actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is up for two separate awards. One for his work as the drag queen in “Kinky Boots”, and again for his portrayal of a man who gets caught in the Thailand tsunami in HBO’s “Tsunami, The Aftermath”. Ejiofor’s “wife” in “Tsunami, The Aftermath”, Sophie Okonedo, who is half Nigerian, is up for her second Golden Globe nomination this year. The Golden Globe are considered a dress rehearsal for the Oscars, whose nominations come out Jan. 23. The Oscar ceremony will be on Feb. 25. The awards ceremony will be televised 8 ET/PT, on NBC.
Here are the African nominations for tonight’s ceremony:
* Indicates actor with African heritage or film where Africa is central character

Best Motion Picture – Drama
* Babel
Bobby
The Departed
Little Children
The Queen

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
* Forest Whitaker – The Last King Of Scotland
* Leonardo DiCaprio – Blood Diamond
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Departed
Peter O’Toole – Venus
Will Smith – The Pursuit Of Happyness

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical Or Comedy
* Chiwetel Ejiofor – Kinky Boots
Sacha Cohen – Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan
Johnny Depp – Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Aaron Eckhart – Thank You For Smoking
Will Ferrell – Stranger Than Fiction

Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
* Adriana Barraza – Babel
* Rinko Kikuchi – Babel
Cate Blanchett – Notes On A Scandal
Emily Blunt – The Devil Wears Prada
Jennifer Hudson – Dreamgirls

Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
* Brad Pitt – Babel
Ben Affleck – Hollywoodland
Eddie Murphy – Dreamgirls
Jack Nicholson – The Departed
Mark Wahlberg – The Departed

Best Director – Motion Picture
* Alejandro Iñárritu – Babel
Clint Eastwood – Flags Of Our Fathers
Clint Eastwood – Letters From Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears – The Queen
Martin Scorsese – The Departed

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
*Babel
The Departed
Little Children
Notes On A Scandal
The Queen

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
* Babel (Santaolalla)
The Painted Veil (Desplat)
The Fountain (Mansell)
Nomad (Siliotto)
The Da Vinci Code (Zimmer)

Best Original Song – Motion Picture
* “A Father’s Way” – The Pursuit Of Happyness
Music By: Seal and Christopher Bruce
Lyrics By: Seal

“Listen” – Dreamgirls
Music & Lyrics By: Anne Preven, Scott Cutler, Beyoncé Knowles and Henry Krieger
“Never Gonna Break My Faith” – Bobby
Music & Lyrics By: Andrea Remanda, Bryan Adams and Eliot Kennedy
“The Song Of The Heart” – Happy Feet
Music & Lyrics By: Prince Rogers Nelson
“Try Not To Remember” – Home Of The Brave
Music & Lyrics By: Sheryl Crow

Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
* Sophie Okonedo – Tsunami, The Aftermath (HBO)
Gillian Anderson – Bleak House (PBS)
Annette Bening – Mrs. Harris (HBO)
Helen Mirren – Elizabeth I (HBO)
Helen Mirren – Prime Suspect: The Final Act (PBS)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
* Chiwetel Ejiofor – Tsunami, The Aftermath (HBO)
André Braugher – Thief (FX)
Robert Duvall – Broken Trail (AMC)
Michael Ealy – Sleeper Cell: American Terror (SHOWTIME)
Ben Kingsley – Mrs. Harris (HBO)
Bill Nighy – Gideon’s Daughter (BBC)
Matthew Perry – The Ron Clark Story (TNT)

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LA Times: Hollywood’s dark approach to African films

January 15th, 2007 | 1 Comment | Posted in Film/Television, General, Politics

DiCaprio and Hounsou in Blood DiamondThe LA Times has an insightful op-ed piece written by Joe Queenan a writer who has written for Barron’s, the New York Times Book Review and London’s the Guardian. The piece titled “Tarzan’s children: Why movies about Africa require white saviors” sheds some light on what Joe calls the “Just Let Bwana Do It!” series of Hollywood films which include “the Constant Gardner” and “The Interpreter”. Mr. Queenan echoes some recent criticism of the movie “Blood Diamond” about the movie’s focus on the Leonardo DiCaprio character instead of Djimon Hounsou’s character, who the story revolves around. Queenan also brings up some points about how some Africans see the West’s influence on their communities.

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Buying water for charity

January 15th, 2007 | 1 Comment | Posted in Books/Magazines, Charity, General, Travel

Scott Harrison's charity: waterLuxist points to another interesting African charity initiative, the charity: water organization, launched by NYC club guru-turned-aid worker and photojournalist, Scott Harrison. The organization was launched after Harrison travelled the length and breadth of the African continent onboard the mercy ship Anastasis, which brought basic medical care to thousands of people. Through the proceeds from the sale of bottled spring water priced at $20 each, each labeled with a custom logo to mark their purpose, the charity will bring clean, sustainable water sources to people in Africa. For every 100 bottles of water sold, one well will be built. And they will keep building wells as long as the water is being sold and there is money to do so.

Flavorpill is doing it’s part by co-sponsoring the building of a new well in Ethiopia with charity: water, by donating $2,000 and asking their readers to help them raise the other half, for a total of $4,000. charity: water says 100% of the funds will go toward freshwater well projects in Africa.

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New (RED) sneakers in NYC and Hawaii

January 15th, 2007 | 1 Comment | Posted in Business, Charity, Fashion, General

Dave's Quality Meat's RED Converse Chuck TaylorsIt was only a matter of time until the NY streetwear scene contributed to the African charity trend. SlamXHype points to Complex Magazine’s news that one of NYC’s popular streetwear boutiques, Dave’s Quality Meat, has teamed up with Converse for it’s contribution to the Product (RED) campaign. Dave’s Quality Meat (DQM) has designed a limited-edition (of course) custom Chuck Taylor which will be available at the DQM store in early February. The sneakers will retail for $100 with 10% of sales going directly to Product (Red)’s Global Fund. DQM’s owner, Dave Ortiz, adorned the re-designed Chuck Taylors with hieroglyphics and other esoteric symbols such as the ankh (to symbolize life) and the Egyptian Chnoubis serpent symbol (that represents protection from diseases and poison). Dave said, “Because Product (RED) is about ending AIDS in Africa, I wanted to tie-in symbols from Africa that would represent the fight.”

This is the third effort from Converse for Product RED. The first was a mud cloth Chuck Taylor, and the second is a collaboration between Hawaaiian streetwear boutique KicksHI, Converse, and Hawaiian designer Sig Zane. The Sig Zane designed Converse will be available at KicksHI in early 2007. Soon you’ll be able to wear African culture from head to toe.

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This week in African style, 1/6 – 1/12/07

January 12th, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Art, Charity, Events, Film/Television, General, Music, Politics, Travel

• Will Smith plans to move to South Africa:

• Wesley Snipes wants more Africans making films

• Chris Rock vows to help Kenyans

• Yale puts African art on a pedastel

• DiCaprio adopts a South African girl. Thats one way to open the door to immigrants

• George Clooney advocates for Darfur with film

• Adoption groups criticize Angelina Jolie who criticized Madonna who thinks EVERYONE should adopt an African baby.

• Vh1 gets Bling’d for the United Nation on February 22

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