Friday, 30 April 2010

Waxing Nomadic: The Global HipHop Movement

 fisttap AfricaIsACountry
NomadicWax has just dropped this FAYAAA mixtape as the first in a series of diverse hiphop artists from all over the world. Nomadic Wax a very interesting project that was: created as an effort to expose the world to global hip-hop and urban culture and facilitate cross cultural exchanges amongst international artists, the Diaspora project features a diverse vein of some of the world’s most talented MC’s, vocalists, DJ’s and producers. The mixtape will showcase urban music from around the globe, but with a twist. Each volume of the series will highlight a different producer from around the world, and a host emcees who donate 16 bars to the project. 
(words partially jacked from

If you love phresh, phunky hiphop like I do, click here for your free download.

In DOPE Music WE Trust!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Senzo Shabangu
My Expression
jacked from theFanPal Project.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

postcard from trento...

The Fountain, (The Spot!) Trento, Italy
copyleft: konwomyn

Pimp, Push, Pimp, Push and Coast!

Gotta love the hand-holding, dat's like proper African politics, lol!

I was browsing through The Guardian's stories on Ahmadinejad's recent visit to Zimbabwe - as expected the stories were filled with much contempt and disdain for Ahmadinejad and Mugabe. Why is that all levels of informed critique go out the window when less favourable figures of the West are written about? In one article the Grauniad (not it’s not a typo, that's what readers call it) reporter scoffs at the suggestion that Iran is an emerging power...yet at least every other day, a story is published about the (faux) nuclear threat Iran poses to the world and how the 'global powers' must 'stop them'. So is Iran an emerging power or not?  Why the reluctance to admit it?

On Mugabe and Tsvangirai's different attitudes to Ahmadinejad's visit is seen by MDC-T as signifying that the ‘half-horse, half-donkey government’ is not working according to Nelson Chamisa (MDC, Min. of Information). But why this seemingly media-opportunistic negativity by MDC-T, did Prime Minister Tsvangirai not know Ahmadinejad was coming? I did. I read about it online in a Zim tabloid story about the Zimbabwean state visit to Iran led by Didymus Mutasa in March this year. So why the silliness Tsvangson?

The Gruaniad reports: "[Tsvangirai's] party, the Movement for Democratic Change, described the trip as "a colossal political scandal" and said that inviting Ahmadinejad to an investment forum is "like inviting a mosquito to cure malaria". " The full statement was thus: "Choice of friends defines character and inviting the Iranian strongman to an investment forum is like inviting a mosquito to cure malaria. Hobnobbing with dubious political leaders confirms stereotypes that we are a banana republic."

A scandal among whom; Africa or the West? Is the AU or SADC bovvered? Hello, hello...Is anyone there out there, anyone at all raising strong objections? *SMH* The MDC-T preached passionately about the rogue, ChinaInAfrica, but today who's offering Angola and Zambia low-interest loans? Notwithstanding the stories of Chinese exploitation of labour in the mines and flooding markets with cheap rejects, please put Deborah Brautigam's The Dragon's Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa on your Christmas wishlist, dear Tsvangson.

And while I'm ranting, let's remember Mr Prime Minister, that you yourself have also been 'hobnobbing' with 'dubious politicians' - how quick you forget what happened when you took your begging bowl to our Kenyan brother in the White House, then jet-hopped to the regional governor of Harare North at 10 Downing St then onto sweet Paris where Sarkozy's cheese and wine flowed, only to be quickly sobered up with the words: 'no cash shall flow till the 'rule of law' is restored.' Soon after that came the IMF's high-interest $500 million loan that came with a fifth shaved off to pay previous arrears.

Albeit differently, the carrot on the stick tactics of this group are also dubious: using political clout to make a point while making ordinary people suffer for it (e.g. visa restrictions, loan re-payments, deportations of Black asylum seekers, multinational corps jumping ship), is arguably more dubious and materially damaging than the promises of oil from Libya and Equatorial Guinea, for example. Eq. Guinea's promises were really just promises that failed to materialize and the deal with Libya fell through because Gadaffi was trying to hustle Mugabe and pay a ridiculously low price for NOCZIM shares. With other Midde East oil suppliers Mugabe had verbal clout, but couldn't throw down $, because the country was broker than a $2 hustler scrimping for change - thanks to corruption by Mug n Thugs Inc. and the kooky economics of zero-slashing and endless money printing of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono.

The bottom line is everybody who's somebody in global politics is a pimp or a pusher the rest are junkies hooked on aid or slaves in debt. Either, you become a playa on your own terms and protect your interests or you will get played - that's the cold trooof! I don't believe selective Western benevolence will help Zimbabwe and time will tell if Middle Eastern alliances are strategically a good thing for us, BUT this must be in recognition of this single truth:
Zimbabwe needs to be fixed up by honest Zimbabweans in order to enter the pimp and push game as a playa, not some crack addict perpetually begging for a few more hits on cred.

One last thing, why are these young girls wearing hijabs and the men in the background wearing taqiyahs? If early childhood memory serves me right, when Pope John Paul II came and errrybody turned Catholic overnite and today we are all Muslim???

pics by Desmond Kwande AP/Getty Images

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Not Yet UHURU, But Happy 16th Birthday South Africa

Sixteen years ago, millions of South Africans voted for the first time. For the first time all South Africans voted together in one election for one country. Sixteen years ago, the South Africa of dreams, dreams of hundreds of years, took concrete shape. For these dreams, many of our predecessors died. The dream of a democratic South Africa was not the only dream on the agenda. There were many contending dreams. But 1994 saw the eventual triumph of the best of all the competing dreams — the dream of one united and democratic South Africa. The long queues of April 1994 told the story of a great people who, in the presence of well-known and well-beaten paths nevertheless chose a road never travelled. It was fraught with difficulties, but 16 years later, we can confidently say, it was the correct road. With more repression and more brutality, the Afrikaners could have held on to power a few more years — in the process helping to bring the country to its knees. Similarly, the liberation movements could have continued to wage their multifaceted “war” of making the country ungovernable, calling for sanctions and cultural boycotts and guerrilla warfare. We could have spilled a few more kilolitres of South African blood and we could have wrecked the economy a little more thoroughly than we had already done by 1994. But in 1994, we chose a different path.

This is an excerpt from a longer, less optimistic piece by Tinyiko Sam Maluleke on, but, apart from the U.S, national birthdays are days off from pessimism for me ; )

Monday, 26 April 2010

TruthSpeak: Bongz on The Power of Blogging & Rhyming

Over and above that which is clearly visible, and seen by all who possess the gift of sight or vision, lie various other unseen dimensions. Most of these are obviously, unwritten or have yet to be, documented. This is the essence of the work of the writers among us. Our duty remains, and always has been, one involving venture into previously unknown territories for the purpose of telling stories. As far as we can tell, this process has been ongoing since time immemorial. However, over the years, various forces have stood against this artform, feeling it as their duty to prevent such essential documentation from taking place. Yet to this date, they have been unsuccessful in stemming the tide of media formats and communication methods which have come about in this day and age. What also remains evident, is that with the progression of time, writers have always felt a need to change their formats and method of presenting their artform to readers.

However, one thing has remained constant throughout. We have been able to keep to the ethos and stratagems of those who came before us. These forebears and pioneers, would so often place their lives and personal freedom at stake , merely in order to ensure that interested masses may be able to consume that it is they had, out of sheer resilience as well as tactile observation, formulated and written. So, while some authors have found sustainance in the commercialization of the written word, others have done it simply to maintain a level of sanity and generally to be able to digress as well as philosophize on varying day-to-day issues.

What this has achieved, is that the universally 'coded language' (Niggy Tardust) that we as artists all have in common has become far more advanced in the way of 'steel sharpening steel', so to speak. We have been fortunate to be able to witness great moments in the ongoing process known by the mainstream as HIStory. Additionally, some have had the knowledge to look outside of this sequence of events and find amazing stories which historians, orators and archaeologists, had out of sheer ignorance or political loyaties, overlooked. For it seems that as long as there have been among that grouping been individuals who were, as is so often been the case, been willing to only sing to the tune of those who pay their bills. And, since art has always had a tendency to influence masses of people, it requires no rocket science to realise that it was one of the ways in which these same masses were confused, and force-fed with propaganda.

This indoctrination continues to this day, in the guise of newspapers, annuals and quartelies which are owned by certain organisations with particular ideological, socio-economic as well as political standpoints. This, as far as I can ascertain, has been an unfortunate occurence which, I might add, has led to the paperless revolution which we see coming about in this very time, It seems people are no longer akin to going out and purchasing bulky newspapers as they may have been in previous times. This simply because it has become as easy as clicking a mouse or phone keypad to gain easy access to this very same info, as well as opposing and unbiased views on the exact same subject matter. Thus, the same newspaper groups have since been forced to jump on the online or peer-to-peer bandwagon or lose out, it what may be termed as a do-or-die scenario. This has in turn, opened up a multitude of channels for bloggers to give their opinion on breaking news and current affairs.
Finally, I would like to urge more of you, my dear friends out there, to begin to utilise the power of their pens pencils and fingertips, in order to gain personal freedom of opinion and thought. For the more of us there are, the better it will be. And, if one of us are taken down by the powers that be, another one or two must pick up and continue where he or she left off. As I heard in a hip-hop song not so long ago, 'with resistance, the paradigm shifts.'



Copyright Epicenter 2010


Friday, 23 April 2010

"All I know is that at one stage it was us Blacks against the Whites. But somehow or other things had suddenly become complicated & it was no longer a Black against White chess game. It was more like a kaleidoscope... in which every little chink of colour in the shaken picture was fighting every other little chink."
 The Black Insider, Dambudzo Marechera
4/06/52 - 18/08/87

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Some Songs Y'Just Caaant Get Enuff Of

iLove this track, iLove this band, this is music, not the stuff by some o'those crappy bands topping the charts.

pic jacked from the thirst myspace

RePainting History: Titus Kaphar

Artifact 4, Gilded Frame (2009)

A History Far Too Convoluted For Words (2008)

Whitewash (2005)
peep his blog tituskaphar for more.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Exoticism in Reverse: Europeans Through African Eyes

A mask of a Portuguese man from Mozambique.

The Detroit Institute of Art is currently running an exhibition called "Through African Eyes" which showcases artistic representations of Europeans by Africans as an exotic figure.  The show’s curator, Nii Quarcoopome, who leads the Department of Africa, Oceania and Indigenous Americas at the institute argues that, although some Africans had been encountering Arab traders for centuries, the sudden arrival of Portuguese sailors on the West African coast around 1450 caused a sensation.

A carving by the Yoruba artist Thomas Ona Odulate of a European couple walking a dog.
With their pale skin, the visitors fit an existing visual model for supernatural beings. That they came by sea, the realm of spirits and of the dead, reinforced this identity. That they tended to disappear quickly, stay away for long periods and then rematerialize further enhanced their mystique.

And even after the initial mystification subsided, Europeans remained at least as exotic to Africans as Africans were to them. For one thing, the Portuguese and their successors were a cornucopian source of materials and goods — metal, silk, furniture, clothing — which they exchanged for African gold and ivory. And the novelties they introduced were culture-altering.

European guns, once in African hands, drastically altered the dynamics of ethnic warfare. More prosaic objects changed elite fashion. European wood-joinery furniture was all the rage: cover a plain old armchair with African beaded fabric, and you had a royal throne.

Eyeglasses, which sharpened vision, became power items. A pair of glasses in the show, cast in gold by a 20th-century Ghanaian artist, with wire mesh in place of lenses, was an essential component of a chief’s regalia. They had no optical function, but as symbols of political acuity and cosmopolitan taste, their magnification value was great.

A gold pair of spectacles by a 20th Century Ghanaian artist.

....Such works were often consciously double-edged, designed for dual clientele. A 20th-century doll-like carving by the Yoruba artist Thomas Ona Odulate of a European couple, arms around each other and walking a dog, broadcast satirical messages that the European buyers would likely miss. In Nigeria the couple’s affectionate gesture was unacceptable public behavior; keeping a dog, an animal reserved for practical use in much of Africa, as a pet was scorned as a foolish Western custom.

Certain politically infused forms of art, like dance-mask portraits, were usually pitched to a specifically African audience. An early-20th-century Nigerian mask depicting a white colonial officer is an example: with his scuzzy moustache, too-small pith helmet and apoplectic flush, this is a broad-strokes sendup. That the mask is based on a type usually used to portray women adds an extra dig.

A mask of a White colonial officer from Nigeria.

Peoples in or aroud Detroit, plse checkout this exhibition. Its on from now till August.
Here's the link.
Fingers crossed it comes to my part of the world sooooon!

Monday, 19 April 2010

C'est Beau Noir: Feral Benga

I recently learnt about Feral Benga, a Senegalese dancer who lived and worked in Paris in the the 1930s. Benga was the illegitimate son of a wealthy man in Dakar and he migrated to France in order to improve his life. He went to dance rehearsals and wound up playing the drums for Josephine Baker when she performed The Banana Dance. Benga's own reputation as a dancer began to grow and was considered by some the male equivalent of Josephine Baker. Benga was the exotic fetish of the moment among Paris' artsy circles, particularly among his male audience and his body became a symbol of homoeroticism. Peep the pics below.

There is very little known about Benga and the art historian, James Smalls is currently doing research on Benga, he's still in the early stages and it was through him that I came to know of Benga. I'm interested in Benga not because of how his body functioned as a homoerotic figure and nor am I interested in how his naked, youthful body became a model for (homo) artistic expression like the James Richmond Barthé's famous sculpture, the pictures by Carl van Vechten or George Platt Lynes' postcards. I didn't like this consumption of Benga and I'm actually interested in the other images of Benga like the more subdued clothed portrait of Benga in this painting by James Porter. 

Soldat Sénégalais (1935)

 If indeed this is Benga then to me, the French colonial military gear is a strong criticism of Benga's voyeurism, coupled with the fact that there was pressure from his family in Senegal for him to marry, I'm interested in what these clothed images and the character of Feral Benga the married man and father almost subvert the oily, semi-nude images of The Black Mercury as they called him. His body was consumed in photographs, on film and on stage, but seeing the different non-performative, more composed image of him, felt like relief from the onslaught of images presented by James Smalls. Without knowing the finer details of Benga's married life or Porter's aim in such an image, against all of those images, purely from an interpretive point of view, this image to me symbolises alterity. I wonder what happened to his son, his wife, did his family know about what he did in Paris? Did he ever go back to Senegal for his son? And like my girl, London, I also wonder; given that Benga was in France during the height of the Negritude movement, was he a political figure and if so was there any connection to Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon and Leopold Senghor: what did they think of him???

iCaaant imagine Fanon co-signing on all things Benga, but I'm sure he must've known him, since Jean Paul Sartre frequented Benga's restaurant, La France Rouge opened in Paris in the 1950s.

I'm feeling a side project on the rise...

postcard from kariba...

Sunset on Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe
Pamberi ne Chimurenga che Rugare, Pasi ne vaVhengi

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Mos Dub

Max Tannone has mashed up Mos Def's greatest hits with classic dub choons.
This is the SICCCKEST mashup I've heard in a loOOng time, had it on repeat since copping it two days ago.
Get Your Free Download Here, 
Also checkout the
Jaydiohead (Jay Z + Radiohead) mashup,
five of Jay's tracks remixed into the phreshest alternative sound!
(Reckoner's Encore is my current fav'rit)
In Dope Music WE Trust!

fisttap AfricaIsACountry

Friday, 9 April 2010

'They call me Jay Electronica...%@#$ that call me Jay Elec-Hanukkah, Jay Elec-Yamaka, Jay-Elec-Tramadan, Muhammad Asa-lamaka, Rasula-lasupanuwata Allah through ya monitor!'


while you was blowin X amount of dollars on a bracelet
the sovereign nation of france was openin they files on the UFO phenomenon i-e spaceships
its just the facts jack may as well face it
every rhyme i write the seal get cracked in the chapter of revalations
a atom get cracked in the blackness of meditation
mysterious s**t
call me Jay Dogon im on some serious/sirius s**t
scholars wonder why do he bust
Allah blessed me with a midasy touch
everything i lay the hands turn to ethopian gold shiny and buffed
i got a firm understandin on the minus and plus
so i aint got time to argue with a rapper bout how he aint got rhymes
that's f**kin with mines
i'm trying to kill lucifer, so if i have to brake
cuz a rapper in my face
tellin me that he the great
you can bet a shiny nickle ill blast his motherf**kin ass way past jupiter
you couldnt be stupider
f**kin with the nuc-l-ear
aztec lion
asiatic black man from zion
quetzalcotl supreme
lettin off steam
dimethyltriptamine make a man dream
but yall would much rather hear me rappin bout trash
the size of erykahs ass blunts and cash
we need savin
minds are consumed with swine we need bathin.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Crossfire by Shahidul Alam

Crossfire: a photo exhibition by Shahidul Alam

Water (as in waterboarding)


Background Info: The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) was set up on 26th March 2004 to curb corruption in Bangladesh. It consists of members of Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Navy and Bangladesh Air Force. RAB has increasingly been criticized for the extra judicial killings and torture that have taken place of people in custody. Human Rights groups maintain that over 1000 people have been killed by RAB since its inception. All such deaths have been attributed to gunfights between RAB and criminals where the people in RAB custody were caught in crossfire. No member of RAB has yet been killed in crossfire. Shahidul Alam investigates through images how extra judicial killings are disguised in the press & public conscience. 
Read & see more here

Sunday, 4 April 2010

postcard from zanzibar...

Fishermen in Zanzibar, Tanzania
pic jacked from

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The Genius That Is, Raimi Gbadamosi

I believe in open borders. The criminalisation of a person for seeking a better life is absurd, especially as the establishment of the Old Commonwealth was based on migration. Immigration is increasingly underpinned by commercial need and the conviction that immigrants should be acceptable to the settled population of the land. Europe has been extended beyond national boundaries to include all other countries within its economic bloc. To satisfy the needs of a hungry economic infrastructure, the European conglomerate utilises the freedoms it has granted itself as a historical bloc to continue economic and political control of the African continent. Raw materials and cheap labour have been the bedrock of a new European alliance. After all, it has been on the level of trade that the historical divisions within Europe
have been subsumed.
from The Not-So New Europeans, essay published in Wasafiri, Dec '08.

How Not to Write About Africa

Written by the brilliant, Binyavanga Wainaina

Call it Karma, Call it Justice: Eugene Terreblanche is Dead & iAint Sad

Eugene Terreblanche, the South African white supremacist leader who fought to preserve apartheid in the 1990s, has been beaten and hacked to death at his farm. A 21-year-old man and a 15-year-old were arrested on Saturday and charged with the murder, which local media reports said they had carried out over an alleged dispute with Terreblanche over unpaid wages. A police spokesman said that the 69-year-old, who had lived in relative obscurity in recent years, was found in bed with facial and head injuries.

Terreblanche, a former South African policeman who began to rise to prominence during the early 1980s as the leader of the Far-Right Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), campaigned in later years for an independent white homeland. His khaki-shirted followers were a frequent and menacing force against the background of the years of South Africa's transition from white-dominated government to majority rule. Terreblanche later served three years of a five-year term for attempted murder and was released from prison in 2004.

His murder comes against the backdrop of growing anxiety about crime in South Africa and what opposition politicians claim are racially inflammatory sentiments from some figures in the ruling ANC party.
from The Guardian UK

Dustbin Diaries by Inua Ellams


upon a time,
a young man gleaned
from an archaic continent creamed
in the light fantastic;
from the borders of history baked
before an African sun
came to this kingdom
of Babylon.
This kingdom became his home.

And as time turned its page
suit followed his age -
this now withered warrior
is whom I see before me.

The way his sits shows
that his toes were once kissed
by born again rain dancers.
You can read the wisdom
in his posture, you can taste it.
With his back straight
face forward, shoulders broad
you can tell that he was made to lord over many;
you can sense the toasts of the past, those-loyal-to-life
casting coats his way.
The dustbin he sits on wears
the ghost formation of a throne cast in light
shown only if you squint with your third eye
and let ether-light loan itself to the moment.

History is grooved in his garments.
The heaviness drags his movements
as chains clink on his collar.
The Mississippi that burns on his right shoulder
is dowsed with the water ways
of Saro Wiwa on his left.
The pride of escaped slaves rises from them
like the steam created when magma hits seawater.
The zest of greatness rests on his chest
gracing all that is he, intoxicating all that is me
culminating in his presence growing, dignity glowing
seven inches past his torn and tattered clothes.

But in the wake of all this glory,
I sense his light dimming towards its close.

So I wish.
I wish for a star studded tobacco leaf
filled with newly made mortal matter
meaning for him to smoke it
and defer the coming of the last latter
so he may live longer
but all that I reap is the wind.

I reach into my pocket
and retract a handfuls of me
disguised as silver coins
and drop it into the empty coffee cup
beside him “Sir”, I whisper foolishly
trying to use those coins as payment
to the pastures of his spirit. “Sir”, I say
once again, expecting to gain entrance
to the campsites of his soul, “Sir, Old
man, how did it get like this?”

In the empty seconds that follow
He is still. Like a gathering of mango
farmers awaiting the moon rise
or children, breaths held
awaiting the Griot’s first message
like a choir of pencils
waiting to chorus the words
or wash women of the Nile
awaiting Cleopatra’s descent
He is still.

Then he stirs.

He stirs like a mountain
streaked with silver dread locks
like a black tide coming in
commanding time to witness
one of its many prodigal sons
he stares and says…

the world just ain’t big enough no more.
We have devalued the mystery of life
for the values of materialstic living
I am from a time when whole villages mourned
our passing, and now the mass complain
that we live too long.

Son, I am past my die-by date.
These silver pieces of your soul means
that I shall marvel at the moon once more
but it is far too late, move on son
you can do no more.
Just take with you this truth
we are the ‘yous‘ of yesterday.
You will become the ‘wes‘ of tomorrow.
If you do not wish to live on a trash can like this
then you must walk in our shoes today.”
The silence after he speaks
is stone aged.

I walk gently into the night,
thankful to have been kissed
with a vital catalyst
for living happily

from Thirteen Negro Fairy Tales, by Inua Ellams 2005

inhabiting the sun

inhabiting the sun

when earthen stars point to the sky,
look to where the moon stands behind the sun
and there, there you will find me,
spitting tales of fire and making rain
to fall as sun drops of memory on those unborn
so they may remember from where tomorrow came.

copyright konwomyn, 2008

Just for the Giggles: When Miranda met Caliban

Meet Meitkini a 23 year old Masai Warrior and Colette a 24 year old English girl who decided to drop out of the Sorbonne in Paris to go 'find herself' Africa. In the process of 'finding herself', she fell in love with Meitkini. The story is ridiculous enough as it is, but the Daily Mail just takes it to another level. (oupa an'a leeevel - as my man Jus' wld say in slang Afrikaans) It reads like a modern day Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad) meets The Tempest (William Shakespeare), only this time there's no Prospero to prevent Miranda from falling in love with Caliban in the 'Heart of Darkness'. i'Ve bolded, supersized, italicised n reddened my fav bits, like a school teacher so you won't have to strain too hard to see what iSee...Happy reads.

The DM UK reads...Like many young women in love, Colette Armand believes she was hit by a coup de foudre when she first saw her future husband. 'The attraction was instant,' she says. 'We had an immediate connection.' Photographs testify to the strength of their bond, showing a beaming young couple clearly delighted by each other's company.
That, however, is where the conventional nature of their romance ends. For Colette's intended is a Masai warrior whose home is a mud hut on the vast African plains. Meitkini's tribe have no possessions and no running water, and their food is either plucked from the ground or killed with a spear... Nonetheless, after a courtship of three years, Colette, 24, is preparing to abandon all the comforts of her western lifestyle to join her life permanently with his - even though, to date, she hasn't shared so much as a kiss with her 23-year-old fiance, as Masai rules forbid physical contact between men and women who aren't married. What's more, she has to accept that, in the future, she may have to share her husband with other women, as Masai tradition permits any number of wives. 'In time I may have to accept that he will marry again,' she says. 'I hope he chooses not to take another wife, but if not then I will compromise.'

Colette admits that she never expected her life to end up on such an unusual path. The daughter of a nurse and a businessman, her father's job, as director of a large mining company, took the family all over the world. Academically gifted, at 17 she was studying literature at the Sorbonne in Paris. At 21, disillusioned with her studies and with a failed romance behind her, she decided to take a gap year - 'I realised I needed to have an adventure and try and find myself. 'In the space of a week I quit my studies, withdrew all my savings and got on a flight to Nairobi. I didn't tell anyone what I was doing, except my mum, who was hysterical. She thought I was throwing away all my hard work. But I'd made up my mind.'

So, within 24 hours, Colette had swapped the comfort of her apartment for a rug on the floor of the orphanage, which had no electricity nor running water. Among them was Mumbe, a nine-year-old boy who, prior to Colette's arrival, had never spoken a word. 'One day, he turned to me and said "mummy",' she recalls. 'It was a huge shock, and everyone at the orphanage thought I had magical healing properties.'

So much so that word spread, and a few days later, one of Colette's supervisors told her that the head of a local Masai tribe wanted to meet her. The tribe lived several hours drive away over dusty, uneven terrain.
'When I got there I was taken to meet the chief, Kehmini, who was incredibly welcoming. I was lucky that the tribe spoke quite good English, so I could communicate well. Kehmini then invited me to stay, and showed me to a hut that would be my home while I was there,' she recalls.

Even after the privations of the orphanage, her first night was spent in insomniac discomfort. 'There are no doors on the hut, so I was terrified a snake would slither in,' she recalls. 'I lay there listening to every movement.' The next morning she was further shocked by the harsh realities of life in the Masai. 'The only water came from a small muddy tributary that's home to snakes and crocodiles,' says Colette. 'I was too scared to bathe, so I had to resort to having a makeshift wash in water boiled on the fire - which is what I ended up doing for months to come.'

Nonetheless, she quickly grew to love the simple rhythm of life with the tribe. 'A typical day starts at 4am and ends at 6pm, when everyone sits around the campfire, and cooks and talks. You go to sleep at seven. In the morning, the men go out hunting and the women look after the children and work in the fields. The beauty of sitting under a vast African moon by the campfire, or watching the sun rise over the plain, is hard to describe.'

The tribe quickly took her to their heart, and after two weeks Colette was told the community had decided to sacrifice a goat as a welcoming gift - a huge honour. 'They slaughtered it in front of me, which was horrible, then put its warm blood in a cup for me to drink. It tasted disgusting, but I had to do it as I would have hugely offended them otherwise. I just closed my eyes and tried not to be sick.'

But for all these privations, Colette soon realised she had no desire to leave - a feeling enhanced when, a few days later, she first saw her future husband while she was picking coffee beans in the fields. 'Meitkini was the chief's brother, but I hadn't seen him before as he'd been away hunting for several weeks. When I first saw him he was striding towards me carrying a lion he had helped kill, and he looked like this incredibly masculine force. I was smitten.

Later, when I was introduced to him by the chief and we started talking, it was like speaking to my double. He was clever and articulate, and there was an immediate connection. From then on I was in love.' Meitkini, she says, felt the same way, but Masai relationships do not adhere to the same conventions as they do in the West. 'The Masai don't marry for love but for power and social position, so it is a slightly alien concept. It was a long time before we were able to acknowledge our feelings for each other, and we couldn't express them physically, as Masai rules forbid physical contact between unmarried men and women. It was frustrating, but I had to respect their culture. I was a visitor and it would have been a gross insult to behave any other way.'

Instead, Colette waited, hoping the tribe would grow to trust her. 'Five months later, Kehmini told me the community had accepted me and would be happy for me to live there permanently. It was a huge honour.' Yet there was one final hurdle to overcome - Colette felt an overwhelming urge to finish her studies back home before she could commit to her new life in Kenya. 'It was tough because I loved him, but the intellectual side of me wanted fulfilment too.' Colette recalls.

'I talked to Meitkini about it and he told me he would wait for me.' Matters came to a head when, in October 2008, with civil unrest sweeping the country, a passing UNESCO charity worker told her that, as a white woman, she was in huge danger and urged her to leave Kenya for a while. 'I was scared but also upset - I didn't want to leave Meitkini, but he said I should take the chance to return to England and study for a while. There were a lot of tears.' But there were happier tidings too: before she left, the tribe's chief gave Colette and Meitkini his blessing to marry. 'He said the whole tribe felt something special had happened between us and that we were destined to be together.'

Colette returned to England, moving in with friends into a small flat in south-east London, and quickly being accepted onto her PhD course. But life in the West no longer felt familiar. 'For three weeks, I barely left my room. I felt like a stranger in my own culture - the sheer noise of city life gave me a splitting headache. I realised I now thought of Africa as my home, and I was determined to go back.'

Unsurprisingly, her conviction has proved incomprehensible to many of her friends, who cannot grasp why Colette wants to turn her back on the luxuries of western life. 'Obviously, some of them have found it hard to understand - they just cannot conceive of what my life is like there. At the same time they can clearly see how happy I am, and none of them have tried to talk me out of it,' she says.

Sadly, the same cannot be said of her mother, who is still unable to accept Colette's decision and remains estranged from her daughter. (Her father's opinion isn't known, as he walked out on her mother when Colette was 12, and hasn't seen his daughter since.) 'The fact that I'm going to marry a Masai is a scandal in the family and, as a result, she and I don't speak. It's sad, but we're very different people,' she says. And so Colette is making the final plans for her wedding. It will be a two-day affair, with Masai travelling from miles around to celebrate their union, and an ox slaughtered in honour of the happy couple. That, however, is where the festivities will end, and afterwards Colette will be back in the fields at dawn, planting grain or harvesting coffee beans.

'It's a simple life, and one that would be anathema to most people in the West, but it makes me happy,' she says. 'I have no problem with giving up my western ways. When I'm there I feel so alive and free. Living with the tribe has taught me to live in the present. It taught me what matters.'

Friday, 2 April 2010

RiP Undercover Black Man aka David Mills.

David Mills, an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer for crime dramas like “The Wire” on HBO and “Homicide: Life on the Streets” on NBC died on Tuesday in New Orleans, a press representative for HBO said. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Mr. Mills died from a brain aneurysm. HBO is about to broadcast the debut of a new series, “Treme,” on which Mr. Mills worked as a writer and producer.
After Mr. Mills made his television writing debut with “Homicide,” which his friend, David Simon, helped to create, he wrote for “NYPD Blue” and “ER.” He was also a co-writer and co-producer on “The Corner,” adapted from Mr. Simon’s book about drug abuse and poverty in Baltimore, which won three Emmys. Mr. Mills also created the NBC series “Kingpin,” about a Mexican drug cartel, which was shown in 2003.

HBO said Wednesday in a statement:
"HBO is deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our dear friend and colleague David Mills. He was a gracious and humble man, and will be sorely missed by those who knew and loved him, as well as those who were aware of his immense talent. David has left us too soon but his brilliant work will live on."

Mr. Mills also chronicled his passion for music at his blog, Undercover Black Man. Before writing for television, he worked as a journalist and gained national attention for a 1992 interview with the hip-hop performer Sister Souljah in The Washington Post, in which she said, “If black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?” When the Rainbow Coalition later invited Sister Souljah to speak at its convention, the group was criticized by Gov. Bill Clinton, then a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, who cited Mr. Mills’s interview.
                                                         story from Washington Post by Dave Itzkoff

                                                          fisttap Mahndisa for breaking the news.
I knew UBM from and sometimes he was one of the most controversial, but def-o one of the smartest and wittiest cats I ever met at the spot. I'm not one for digital battles of wit so even though we disagreed on several things, our conversating never turned as bloody as with some of the fam, and for all the craaazy times with the fam, who knew one would pass onto the next life. JAH Rest His Soul. 

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Erykah Badu Mushes Down Babylon

I.M.O, the video for Window Seat challenges conformity and herd behaviour; adherence to social rules will forever bind people as prisoners of our the Plantation/Babylon rather than free us. If the thought police who are 1xtra pissy that Erykah stripped nekkid would dedicate half as much energy to analysing why they believe so fiercely that Ms Badu is in the wrong, but say nothing of Lady Gaga and Madonna then they would realise they are stuck in the hypocritical mind trap of group conformity and double standards. That the video was shot guerilla style - no permit and no specialist crew is symbolic of anarchist stance and also breaking away from the mainstream of high budget productions to make a big impact, e.g. the 9 min vid for Telephone (Gaga & Beyonce) which iRefuse to watch on principle. (long story)

 Compare and contrast the silence when Alannis Morisette did her naked video and D'Angelo's 'How Does it Feel' was marketed as the sexiest vid on the planet. Why?
Because Ms Badu does not 'fit in' with the mainstream which the herds are fed everyday as music and entertainment then she must be sanctioned and put in her place. Moreso because she falls dead very near to where the Amerikkkan Messiah was shot. Watching some of the comments of people in the video uptop would make you think it was Yeshua's tomb she had stripped at. 
Plantation folks in the US are overly sensitive about JFK & 9/11. If  Badu had done this in the UK, it'd be considered protest art if she'd shot her video near 10 Downing Street or the Palace - but if she'd done this near Princess Di's grave, the gutter press would crucify her and hold no punches unlike the carefully disguised racial dimension of some public opposition in the US... Go 'head wit' yo' baaad self Erykah, break free from Babylon, go 'head till the sheeple become free-thinking people!

iCouldn't post the video because the embedding code's been disabled and all other copied versions have been taken down by UMG. Its downright ridiculous for UMG to be such hegemonic hawks, the very thing Badu sings against is exactly what the record company does, now I'm mad real mad Joe Jackson maaad
On the flipside tho' iGotta wonder, why is she signed with a big record label if she's so free and independent, her music is still not being controlled by the corporates, they not her nor the people she's singing to, they decide who has control over the uploading and sharing of the video. $$$.

we have all been VICTIMS of groupthink. we are ALL guilty of groupthink one cant oppose groupthink , its a part of human nature, [and all one can do is] only recognize his/her position in the thing and redefine his/herself
....they play it safe, they are quick to assasinate what they don't understand.