While catching up on my culture and business news, I came across the June 2007 Inc Magazine feature with a brief (1 question, 1 answer) Q&A between myself and entrepreneur/mogul/author Russell Simmons. The Q&A focuses on one of my favorite topics : mixing charity and commerce in business. As I’ve mentioned here before, I admire Mr. Simmons’ ability to constantly mix the two, even though I don’t always agree with his choices. Mr. Simmons’ answer is quite insightful. Read the short Q&A in the new issue of Inc Magazine in bookstores or online here.
GK Annan in General With | Comments Off on Plugging in again
As hard as it was for a workaholic like myself, I unplugged myself for a week. Now I’m back refreshed, and refocused. Sometimes you need to do this to put everything into perspective. I find that this is truest when you’re living in the New York City area where every day is a hustle and every move could make or break you. I’ll be getting up to speed in the next day or two, so bear with me. Scanning my online and offline feeds I already see some EXCITING African style and business developments.
GK Annan in Editor's Note, General With | 2 Comments
I’m taking a much needed vacation this week. I’ll be returning to posting on Annansi Chronicles next week. In the meantime check out these excellent African blogs:
BeninMwangi.com (African Entrepreneurship & international media)
Africaincorp (Following the Money Trailing the Afri-urban Movement )
Bankelele (Banking analysis and the financial sector in Kenya)
African Path (View of Africans in the Diaspora)
Deoluakinyemi.com (Daily Motivations & Development for people and organizations)
Tech Mambo (Profiling and reviewing new Internet products and companies)
Odegele Nyang Investments (Business and investment news in Kenya and East Africa)
Kenya Startup (Start Ups in Kenya)
WhiteAfrican (Where Africa and Tech Collide)
Afriville (Community Portal)
Grandiose Parlor (Thoughts on Issues)
Yemma (nspiring Excellence)
Alt Nigeria (Nigerian Business)
Upnaira (Consumer Investments)
Rafiq Phillips (South Africa Technology and Web Addicts)
Ryan Shen-Hoover (Investing in Africa)
Leonard Nelson (Web 2.0 with a Zambian Twist)
Whythawk (Sustainable Business and Economic Development)
My Global Hustle
GK Annan in Business, General With | Comments Off on Agree on the problem first
In the past few weeks, I’ve been reminded of an important business lesson: always make sure everyone agrees on the problem before you set out to define a solution. When neglected, that simple step can derail a good effort; and if that effort involves other parties who are unfamiliar with your inner workings, you stand a chance of looking clueless. Agreeing on the problem , or even that there IS a problem, is one of the main points that creep up in building/strengthening African industries. Individual perspectives and experiences have everything to do with business and without understanding them you can lose a lot of time AND money. Luckily I’ve been reminded of this fact without losing either. So make a note to yourself too.
GK Annan in Books/Magazines, Business, Fashion, General, Travel With | 12 Comments
The concept for the June 2007 Vogue magazine cover story is a diary of British actress Keira Knightley’s “vacation in Africa” – more specifically Kenya. While the idea was probably someone’s eureka moment for an interesting feature, the resulting shoot and story is another re-hashing of Out of Africa. The fashion blogosphere has taken issue with one image in particular where the actress is photographed feeding a baby elephant which has been draped with a leather Louis Vuitton blanket.
After lunch at the Giraffe Manor, a hotel near Nairobi where giraffes roam the grounds, Keira donned a chic gray Bottega Veneta frock to visit the baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Mbagathi, the only successful project in the world at rehabilitating orphaned elephants into the wild. Her diary entry for that day reads, “Today everyone tried to catch the baby elephants so we could put Louis Vuitton blankets on their backs. I’ve never seen anything more brilliantly stupid. I hope Louis Vuitton like it; they should definitely give the elephant a modeling contract.” – via Style.com
The fashion spread also includes a photo of the actress “roughing it” with some Maasai herdsmen- how original -, and some other shots of Ms. Knightley living out her rugged Africa dreams (circa 1910). I know Vogue is not the most progressive magazine, however you’d think that with all the resources they have the editors can find a creative way to tie in the Africa theme. They could have at least hired a photographer like Andrew Dosunmu, Marc Baptiste, or Stanley Lumax to lend their unique talent to the idea. But it just goes to prove how the perspective of Africa in popular culture is so limited. We can say that the editors at Vogue are at fault but, the true failure of the whole feature is with the Africans involved in the shoot who perhaps felt they had no choice but to offer their resources up to strengthen an image of Africa which ultimately would limit their ability to grow out of the early 1900’s image of the continent. This is why I place so much weight on the shoulders of those of us who live and work abroad to act as ambassadors and communicate our experiences constantly. One might say that the Vogue spread is just poor execution, however, the underlying theme is the real problem. The campaign to re-brand Africa has to take place both on the continent and abroad in order for it to be a success. It’s a tough job but the alternative is worse.
more images via imnotobsessed
GK Annan in Art, Business, Events, Fashion, General With | 2 Comments
Here’s an exciting special event for all my London folks. Ghanaian designer Tina Atiemo is bringing her Avante Garde fashions to a show at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington – London on the 1st of June 2007. The Ghana 50 Fashion Show is part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s event series celebrating 50 years of Ghanaian art and design. I’m sure Tina will bring some great designs as she did when she joined Ozwald Boateng, Deola Segoe and other African designers in the CatWALK the World event in Ghana last year. If you’re in London on June 1st check out the show and the exhibit.
SPECIAL EVENT: Ghana 50 Fashion Show at the V&A Museum
Show Times: 16.00pm and 18.30â€“22.00
Location: Raphael, Room 48a
Price: Free entry to the show, but tickets must be collected for this event outside the Raphael, Room 48a between 15.30 – 19.00.
Join us for the Ghana 50 launch party with celebratory speeches by leading Ghanaian’s, be amazed by the dazzling fashion showcase of the best in rising Ghanaian talent, discover what’s on the Ghana, Gold and Slaves trail, view the special commemorative display of Asante Goldweights, and meet British Ghanaian visual artists and view their Asafo Flag project Forward Africa. In collaboration with cultural partners Africa Image Alliance.
GK Annan in Fashion, General, Politics, Technology, Travel With | 3 Comments
Respect is deeply rooted in African cultures. We’re taught to refer to anyone who is older than us as “auntie” or ‘uncle”, regardless of whether they are even related to you. In the past it was understood that your “uncle” or “auntie” had years of experience and knowledge over you; that translated into respect and authority. When an elder spoke you didn’t argue or question him/her. You, as the younger person, were regulated to taking the elder person on their word. But somewhere along the line that authority model has become one of Africa’s biggest problems. More and more, as we are inundated with information at a younger age, we begin to question authority. Soon a “Because I said so” is not enough in the household. We begin to ask that people prove themselves before we respect them and grant authority. In societies which are individual-centered technology’s effect on the relationship between the older and younger generations is not as drastic; but in African societies where respect for your elders, to this day, is ingrained in all facets of our lives, the barrage of information has created a serious rift between the generations. There is a large communication gap between the older Africans who are used to age and respect-based authority and the younger Africans who are beginning to ask a lot of questions about our current society. In various African communities it’s a standoff of sorts between the older generation who still remember pre-independence Africa and are insistent on the idea of a 3-piece suit and the authority they should get because of it, and a younger generation who believes that the suit doesn’t make the man, the man makes the suit. Unfortunately our understanding on respect and authority is caught between multiple worlds. And that is reflected in the bureaucracy that stunts many African nations’ growth. How do we maintain our values and traditions of respect and authority and use our knowledge to rid ourselves of the practices that are preventing us from moving forward?
GK Annan in Books/Magazines, Business, Fashion, General, Music, Travel With | 2 Comments
On Monday evening, designer John Galliano showed his Christian Dior Cruise 2008 collection in New York City. Going into the event I expected the normal couture runway spectacle, including the absence of anything or anyone African (or black). I was delighted to see though that Galliano did his part to at least acknowledge the diversity of the times by including Alek Wek and “it girl” Chanel Iman. While the collection and scenery channeled the 60’s-era, the Parisian fashion house designs and choice of music impressed me with it’s updated view of what luxury lifestyle is today. While the inclusion of only two ethnic models in a show themed “Marrakech Express” is not the best case scenario (hellooo! Moroccans have a unique African culture), I am happy to see that the trends I observed in last season’s shows is not catching on throughout the industry. Hopefully more African models can soon get a chance to lend their authenticity to couture runway shows. Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kabede was also in attendance.
- GK Annan in Books/Magazines, Business, General, Politics, Travel With | Comments Off on David S. Fick interview on Beninmwangi.com