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Posts tagged ‘culture’

The new official UK trailer for Half of a Yellow Sun

Here is the newly released official UK trailer for the upcoming  film Half of a Yellow Sun, based on the award-winning best seller by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Release date, April 11th 2014.

HALF OF A YELLOW SUN is the feature film debut from London based Nigerian playwright, novelist and screenwriter Biyi Bandele.

Starring Oscar-nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave), BAFTA-winner Thandie Newton (Crash), BAFTA-nominee Joseph Mawle (Birdsong), Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls) and John Boyega (Attack the Block) HALF OF A YELLOW SUN is an epic love-story weaving together the lives of four people swept up in the turbulence of war, produced by Andrea Calderwood of Slate Films (The Last King of Scotland).

Lupita Nyong’o and thoughts on blackness in a digital and global age #lupitalove #LupitaNyongo

I have an unsurprising confession to share with you…

I have a major girl crush, on Lupita Nyong’o… in a way I’ve never felt for another female celebrity before. But as my feelings of admiration and adoration runs deep, it would seem so does almost every other woman in the world right now.


Lupita is beautiful, talented, gracious, and her arrival at the Golden Globes this week dressed like a sartorial superhero in that exquisite red cape dress by Ralph Lauren, will surely go down in style history.

Her performance in McQueen’s critically acclaimed, ‘12 years of a slave’ has propelled her from a proactive Yale School of Drama graduate into an international film, fashion and beauty sensation, recently nominated for several awards including a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and two Screen Actors Guild Awards including Best Supporting Actress. Not to mention her  MIU MIU SS14 campaign and the super heroine cover feature for Dazed and Confused.

Her beauty is obvious to me, but isn’t obvious to many, especially not the mainstream media that is known to select a ‘dark skin girl for the decade’ that they feel comfortable awarding the scholarship of global acceptance to.

I hope #LupitaLove is not just a trend but an event in the evolution on thoughts on blackness in this digital and global age. The  positive shift in racial bias or at best racial ambiguity is much welcomed.

It was awesome speaking to so many of you on this topic yesterday, thank you to all that participated in the discussion. You rock!!!  

I’ve compiled your comments below.

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JANUARY: ” 2014,a revolutionary year for the Afropean collective”

January editors letter afroblush

Things to give in 2014:

Creativity, Substance, Culture, Depth, Passion, Inspiration, Honesty, Hope, Satisfaction, Raw Truths,

A heart-felt welcome to my readers as you settle into a New Year. I trust the majority of you are sufficiently overweight from all your end-of-year indulgences, and excited for what will be a revolutionary year for the Afropean collective.


The resilient rumble from international creatives bringing a voice to worldwide pan African societies is steadily resounding, and with both Government and private funding opportunities for creatives across Europe and Africa on the increase, designers, film makers, writers and musicians are ready to burst the banks with a myriad creative projects in 2014.

Steve McQueen and BBC to collaborate on Black British drama

Award-winning film director Steve McQueen will be teaming up with the BBC to make an epic drama about the lives of Black Britons spanning over more than half a century. McQueen, the Director of ’12 Years a Slave’, lives in Amsterdam, and was born in west London to Grenadian parents.


He rightfully claims to not be aware of any serious drama series in Britain with Black people from all walks of life as the main protagonists. The project is still in its early days with scripts not expected to be completed until the end of the year, but I’ll keep you all posted with the developments as they arise.

Yinka Ilori Pop Up Shop – A designer with the future in mind

Last September, I had the pleasure of interviewing Yinka Ilori, the Nigerian born product and furniture designer with the future in mind (read interview here).

He’d just launched his first solo installation, showcasing up-cycled and re-worked old and unloved furniture to produce brand new interpretations; whilst challenging perceptions of waste through the regeneration and revitalisation of every-day furniture. This year, in collaboration with The Princess Trust, Yinka launched his first Pop Up shop in Eldon Street, London, which has proven a huge success, as all I have seen on his Facebook page this week is SOLD, SOLD, SOLD OUT etc.

The Pop Up shop will be running until the end of January so I urge you to check it out before all his great pieces get pinched.


Industry growth for the creatives is a go this year as European culture, cinema, television, music, literature, performing arts, heritage and related areas will benefit from increased support under the European Commission’s new Creative Europe programme, approved by the European Parliament on 19 November and by the Council of the EU on 5 December 2013. With a budget of €1.46 billion over the next seven years – the programme will provide a boost for the cultural and creative sectors, which are a major source of jobs and growth.

A nation ripe for rebellion. African fashion, film and cosmetics.

Across the African continent, 2014 will see exciting opportunities for global brands to experiment beyond the constraints of Africa’s often hectic and overcrowded cities, and launch inventive solutions for those in even the most remote and hard-to-reach rural African locations.

The third edition of Luxor African Film Festival will be taking place in Luxor Egypt in March, along with Africa Fashion Week Nigeria which is set to kick off in August. The beauty and cosmetics industry will also hear of some long-awaited developments as L’Oreal sees potential in Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola and Tanzania as a developing marketplace for its Mizani haircare range.

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There is a special place in hell for women that don’t help other women #women #leadership

This week ate char sui bun for the first time, a fluffy white bun encased in honey barbecued pork, at one of London’s popular Dim Sum restaurant Ping Pong. The edible adventure was part of an evening out with friends, and fellow bloggers who came together to most importantly exchange secret Santa gifts, and catch up on the past year, paying homage to our professional and personal developments this year.


(From the left: @MsTashiB (Beauty Editor, Afroblush), Me, Natalie Clue creator of

Between the dumplings and food, we talked about life, work and the acrobatics we perform in order to keep a balance between the two. It dawned on me (and I have no reservation in saying this) how ambitious we all are, and how hungry, ready and united we stand in stepping into success. It gave me life and I’m excited for us, but also saddened how rare it is for many women (especially women of colour) to tag themselves into the ring and weather the storm to pursue their passions; given the lack of diversity, equality and opportunities present in the current economic climate.

In a recent report I co-authored on the state of engineering, exploring developments, challenges and opportunities for the science and technology sector; its highlighted that while women need work, work also needs women and that by equalising men’s and women’s economic participation rates we could add more than 10% to the size of the economy by 2030. However, whilst opportunities for promotion and progression continue to remain rigid for women such as myself, the bleak premise of economic instability has spurred us create our own opportunities, and I’m liking it. I’m liking it a lot.

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Immigration caps and my thoughts on going back…


Since starting this blog, I’m frequently asked to contribute to academic research, giving my thoughts on the development of the African diaspora in the West. It’s not new to me, and I quite enjoy it. I’m often asked questions about my work that I hadn’t even asked myself.

I had an interesting conversation recently with Barbara Hauer, an MA student of Communication for Development at Malmoe University, Sweden. Barbara’s degree project on New Media focuses on blogs, in the context of (mis) representations of Africa and Africans in Western media (and minds).

We briefly touched upon belonging and the term Afropean, which primarily relates to Africans living in Europe, in addition to Europeans living in Africa. We moved on to discuss nostalgia, and whether it’s the physical detachment from our home nation that drives people like me to proactively promote our culture overseas, maybe more forcefully than I would if I were living in Uganda where I was born.

As I wasn’t raised in Uganda, I will never really know the answer to that question; but, I do believe that my efforts to promote and support the development of Africa are in vain if they will only ever be from what is, admittedly, an outside perspective.

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The limits of my language means the limits of my world

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“For practical reasons, unpublished work and work in other languages is not eligible”

The Caine Prize -  “Submissions must be in English” Golden Boabab Prize

Yesterday, I watched and blogged about Kenyan author, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, who made made a valid point on BBC HARDtalk that although the prizes to African literary writers is increasing, there is something wrong about the fact that the majority of prizes for African literature only considers books written in English. 

I agree that this is a problem and responded:

” I believe there African writers should not be limited to any language, be it their native tongue, English or any other; but by restricting writers to express themselves in their local narrative closes doors to credible talent, limiting opportunities  to receive wider recognition and entry and influence into the global market. By allowing these restrictions we are at risk of contributing to the expansion of the English language (and culture) at the detriment of our own.”

My muse and culture confidant (@oladele_olafuyi) and I pondered this over pancakes yesterday. His view was that despite being sadly aware thousands of African languages are under threat, how can we realistically expect and/or help judges awarding prizes to African writers to standardise the selection process if stories are submitted in Africa’s numerous local languages? Are the resources available, and if not how can we generate such resource?

I did my best to guess my way around a solution, but I struggled…

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African fashion is no longer being influenced, it’s now the influence

AFWL 2013 Fittings Day 1 at Grange City Hotel

“The fact that a gap is being filled and AFWL has a positive effect on the African designers in creating a platform that will give the right promotion to every aspect of the African fashion industry, on the global scene. That will enable designers, fabric makers, models, dealers, everyone that’s involved in African fashion to have a reason to be happy with what they are doing because they are getting the right recognition. I get motivated by the fact that I have to succeed in whatever I do.”

Ronke Ademiluyi for Black Hair and Beauty Magazine.

Today is the first day of AFRICA FASHION WEEK LONDON #AFWL. This year’s event is set to see 100 designers on the runway and over 100 exhibitors spread across the Brewery’s large indoor space, set to be on of Europe’s largest African and African-inspired fashion events. The growth, not only in sales but in recognition of African design, designers and the African inspired aesthetic has gone from strength to strength.

For too long the road to market for designers and leaders in contemporary African, has been narrow and unsupported by mainstream retailers, distributors.  However, thanks to the likes of AFWL, and innovative designers, editors, bloggers and influencers; African fashion and design is creating it’s own mainstream, setting it’s own standards, opening it’s own doors and is no longer being influenced, but is now the influence.

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Style Inspiration #322- Burkina Faso and Mali



Actors from Burkina Faso and Mali perform a scene from the play Et Si Je Les Tuais Tous Madame? in Avignon during the 67th International Theatre festival. Burkina Faso’s Aristide Tarnagda wrote and directed the play.


Aluna Francis from @AlunaGeorge rocking a full Diesel Black Gold from DBG SS13 @Diesel_UK


Loving Aluna Francis from AlunaGeorge rocking a full Diesel Black Gold from DBG SS13, whilst on stage performing current single “White Noise” at last weekends Glastonbury Festival.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow to see AlunaGeorge in Nottingham Rock City in October. I’ll be there, obvs ;-)

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#BlackWhiteDiary… An introduction


“Compared to colorful designs where catchy colors help the design to stand out, in black-and-white designs the ability to stand out depends only on its ability to communicate rather than on its appealing visual presentation.”

Smashing Magazine

Throughout July I will be running a Black and White photo diary . I like to live by the philosophy that less is more; and the beautiful thing about black and white images is that often my taking away colour, you often give more to the reader. There is something so in depth about desaturating an image. You can check out all the images from my Black+White diary this month by following the hashtag #blackwhitediary on Instagram, Twitter and by clicking in the menu butt

on at the top of the page.

I thought I would start of by sharing some of my recent inspirations…


Unfortunately, the photographer is unknown. The photo seems to be taken at exact the right moment from exactly the right angle with a perfect lighting. Black and white can be powerful as well.

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Bonnie Greer- Making A Case For Culture

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Last Monday, Bonnie Greer moved me.

She took me to a place outside myself and I renewed my vows…and my love for culture

How can you love what you do not value?

How can you value, what you will not fight for?

A culture and lifestyle blog

Is fuelled by feelings of the heart

The desire for self-expression

The richest form of expression, in or out of a recession

Last Monday, Bonnie Greer moved me

And I renewed my respect for culture.

Last Monday, Bonnie Greer, the author, playwright and cultural commentator held a talk at London’s Tate Modern addressing the links between health and creativity. Particularly the ways in which the arts can challenge health inequalities can bring about change in society.

Prior to the event I didn’t know a great deal about Bonnie Greer, I was aware of her presence as a storyteller, but unaware of her efforts in championing the preservation of culture and the culture industry in the UK. Her personal account on how culture (particularly Shakespeare) saved her life moved me, partly because she was so open and unpretentious when talking about her past; and also because blogging to, has saved me in many ways.

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London Creativity and Wellbeing Week- Day 1- @Bonnie_Greer @LAHFArtsHealth

Celebrating it’s second year, the London’s Creativity and Wellbeing Week kicks off today in the hope of shining a light on all the different ways that the arts help and improve the health of Londoners.

- There is a growing body of evidence indicating the profound effect engagement in the arts and creativity can have on health and wellbeing. The arts bring us alive, nourish our curiosity, help us learn – they change the places in which we are treated – and make them places we might want to be, they can improve the relationship between clinician and patient, and they give us the courage to face our own frailties and strengths.With debates and discussions, performances and exhibitions, tours and practical sessions, the Week is an opportunity to find out more, make connections, be inspired, and shape the future of arts, creativity and wellbeing. - -

Day 1- Art and wellbeing with Bonnie Greer

To mark the first day of London’s Creativity and Wellbeing Week, I’ll be attending Bonnie Greer’s lecture on arts and wellbeing, taking place at the London’s Tate Modern tonight.-


Bonnie Greer is an author, playwright and cultural commentator. Her lecture aims to look at the links between health and creativity and particularly the ways in which the arts can challenge health inequalities and bring about change in society. 

Interested? You can buy your tickets from the Tate Modern website  (£12/£8) - If you can’t make it tonight, but would like to get involved with London’s Creativity and Wellbeing Week you can  see the 2013 programme of events here.  

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POP IDOL- Zoe’s @GhanaKitchen; the best in African pop-up cuisine

London has a personality and style of its own- from grand to edgy, modern to heritage and urban to shabby chic.

It’s impossible to define the vast, sprawling, living, breathing entity that is London city, but there is an unmistaken essence that can be identified through the radar of places it hosts. from shops, street markets, corner pubs, local restaurants and my recent favourite…

…pop-up restaurants.

Pop up restaurants have increased in popularity across the city, with their fluidity, exclusivity and intimate settings, coupled with an element of punk rebellion. Typically only available for a few nights, weeks or months, these nifty eateries provide a fantastic platform for visionary chefs and entrepreneurs to gain exposure and build a following alongside aspiring or professional chefs in a free-range fashion.


Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen

Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen is a perfect example of a pop up restaurant that share’s London’s diversity, eccentricity, quirkiness and independence of spirit.

The temporary dinning event and catering services merges its Ghanaian roots with a contemporary dining experience, that I would co-sign in saying is home spun, home cooked, always fun, relaxed and always tasty!

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Participating in the greatest show on earth they call ‘Life’.

Grateful for every second I am given to participate in the greatest show on earth they call ‘Life’.


Yesterday I turned 26, and despite a few initial and primarily superficial reservations about getting older, I know that every year teaches me something valuable; and whether and how I learn those lessons is up to me. Every year brings me closer to expressing my whole and authentic self and there isn’t a better feeling than knowing you’re closer to being who and what you were chosen to be.


We live in a society that idolises the triviality of youth, and subsequently reviles at the honour of ageing and the insight, vibrancy and self-confidence that comes with it. It’s vital to not let a system, culture and a distorted view of reality devalue getting older. It’s a pleasure, and as Oprah once said: To deny your age is to deny your life!

“People get all screwed up and afraid of aging when, in fact, every year should be a celebration. You should be celebrating every year that you are given. I don’t understand women lying about their age and everybody dreading getting older. It means you’re still here! To deny your age is to deny your life. I stand here 59 years old and so happy to claim every single part of the journey of those 59 years.” Oprah Winfrey

Thank you to everyone for your kind messages and well wishes. I’m feeling so blessed and highly favoured ;-)

“Life obliges me to do something, so I blog”

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“Life obliges me to do something, so I paint” 

René Magritte (1898-1967)

Photo taken at the Magritte Museum, Brussels (2012)



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