Pandora Launches Series of Stations Focused on Afro-Latin American Music

In efforts to amplify Black voices, Pandora launches a series of stations focused on Afro-Latin American music.

Read More: Pandora Launches Series of Stations Focused on Afro-Latin American Music

Vogue Festival

Naomi Campbell Stuns in London

UK Fashion Week

The supermodel’s global charity gala will raise vital funds in support of young people from disadvantaged communities in her hometown NAOMI CAMPBELL is bringing her global charity gala Fashion For Relief back home to London on Saturday 14 September to raise vital funds in support of young people from disadvantaged communities.

Source: Naomi Campbell brings fashion for relief to London

Gareth Southgate: England team to prepare for racism

Soccer 101The England manager has said he will speak about the matter with players ahead of their Euro 2020 qualifier GARETH SOUTHGATE has said he will talk with players about how to respond to racism if they encounter it on the pitch. The England manager is set to meet with the team ahead of their Euro 2020 qualifier in Bulgaria in October to discuss how to deal with any racist abuse.

Source: Gareth Southgate: England team to prepare for racism

We Belong Here

I’ve been reflecting on this “go back to your country” thing.

For me, I am fortunate enough to not have experienced outright racism related to being an immigrant.

What I have experienced as recently as today though is being singled out for my accent.

It is a very strange experience because I don’t have a heavy accent, and so I forget I have traces of British and Kenyan accents until people point it out.

This feels like being jolted out of a dream. The American dream, if you will.

And for some reason it hurts. I can’t explain why but it just feels like it creates distance between me and the person asking me.

Accents are supposed to be invisible.

You are not supposed to know you have an accent until you travel. But if you have grown up your entire life hearing:

“Do you have an accent?”
“Where is your accent from?”
“Do I detect an accent?”
“I can’t quite place your accent where are you from?”

It creates a permanent feeling of being a foreigner in your own home.

I’m a US citizen but yet I’m constantly reminded that I’m “from” somewhere else.

No matter how much you try to assimilate or integrate or become “American” you are reminded that you are just 98% there and you will never make up the gulf that is the 2%.

I love when people ask me about Kenya. I can talk all day long about my other home and country. But asking about my accent feels very invasive. It’s another way of saying “you’re not from around here are you?”

I know people mean well and I try to answer with as much grace as I can.

But my advice for those of you who want to comment on someone’s accent, maybe wait until they talk about their heritage first. That’s a good rule of thumb.

To know me, is to know that I am Kenyan-American. But let me be the one to bring it up proudly first.


Jaden Smith on why he’s ‘becoming a full-time inventor’

Jaden Smith created a water filtration system for the people of Flint, Michigan, and launched the “I Love You” food truck on his birthday this month to feed vegan meals to the homeless in Los Angeles. Now the rapper and young entrepreneur says he’s ready to become a full-time inventor. “I want the world to know that I am switching professions and that I am becoming a full-time inventor,” Smith tells Complex .

Source: Jaden Smith on why he’s ‘becoming a full-time inventor’

Discover the Driving Inspiration Behind this Site

Taiye Selasi’s piece, pretty much inspired the very creation of this blog. Here it is in its entirety:

Bye-Bye Babar

by Taiye Selasi

It’s moments to midnight on Thursday night at Medicine Bar in London. Zak, boy-genius DJ, is spinning a Fela Kuti remix. The little downstairs dancefloor swells with smiling, sweating men and women fusing hip-hop dance moves with a funky sort of djembe. The women show off enormous afros, tiny t-shirts, gaps in teeth; the men those incredible torsos unique to and common on African coastlines. The whole scene speaks of the Cultural Hybrid: kente cloth worn over low-waisted jeans; ‘African Lady’ over Ludacris bass lines; London meets Lagos meets Durban meets Dakar. Even the DJ is an ethnic fusion: Nigerian and Romanian; fair, fearless leader; bobbing his head as the crowd reacts to a sample of ‘Sweet Mother’.

Were you to ask any of these beautiful, brown-skinned people that basic question – ‘where are you from?’ – you’d get no single answer from a single smiling dancer. This one lives in London but was raised in Toronto and born in Accra; that one works in Lagos but grew up in Houston, Texas. ‘Home’ for this lot is many things: where their parents are from; where they go for vacation; where they went to school; where they see old friends; where they live (or live this year). Like so many African young people working and living in cities around the globe, they belong to no single geography, but feel at home in many.

They (read: we) are Afropolitans – the newest generation of African emigrants, coming soon or collected already at a law firm/chem lab/jazz lounge near you. You’ll know us by our funny blend of London fashion, New York jargon, African ethics, and academic successes. Some of us are ethnic mixes, e.g. Ghanaian and Canadian, Nigerian and Swiss; others merely cultural mutts: American accent, European affect, African ethos. Most of us are multilingual: in addition to English and a Romantic or two, we understand some indigenous tongue and speak a few urban vernaculars. There is at least one place on The African Continent to which we tie our sense of self: be it a nation-state (Ethiopia), a city (Ibadan), or an auntie’s kitchen. Then there’s the G8 city or two (or three) that we know like the backs of our hands, and the various institutions that know us for our famed focus. We are Afropolitans: not citizens, but Africans of the world.

It isn’t hard to trace our genealogy. Starting in the 60’s, the young, gifted and broke left Africa in pursuit of higher education and happiness abroad. A study conducted in 1999 estimated that between 1960 and 1975 around 27,000 highly skilled Africans left the Continent for the West. Between 1975 and 1984, the number shot to 40,000 and then doubled again by 1987, representing about 30% of Africa’s highly skilled manpower. Unsurprisingly, the most popular destinations for these emigrants included Canada, Britain, and the United States; but Cold War politics produced unlikely scholarship opportunities in Eastern Bloc countries like Poland, as well.

Some three decades later this scattered tribe of pharmacists, physicists, physicians (and the odd polygamist) has set up camp around the globe. The caricatures are familiar. The Nigerian physics professor with faux-Coogi sweater; the Kenyan marathonist with long legs and rolled r’s; the heavyset Gambian braiding hair in a house that smells of burnt Kanekalon. Even those unacquainted with synthetic extensions can conjure an image of the African immigrant with only the slightest of pop culture promptings: Eddie Murphy’s ‘Hello, Barbar.’ But somewhere between the 1988 release of Coming to America and the 2001 crowning of a Nigerian Miss World, the general image of young Africans in the West transmorphed from goofy to gorgeous. Leaving off the painful question of cultural condescenscion in that beloved film, one wonders what happened in the years between Prince Akeem and Queen Agbani?

One answer is: adolescence. The Africans that left Africa between 1960 and 1975 had children, and most overseas. Some of us were bred on African shores then shipped to the West for higher education; others born in much colder climates and sent home for cultural re-indoctrination. Either way, we spent the 80’s chasing after accolades, eating fufu at family parties, and listening to adults argue politics. By the turn of the century (the recent one), we were matching our parents in number of degrees, and/or achieving things our ‘people’ in the grand sense only dreamed of. This new demographic – dispersed across Brixton, Bethesda, Boston, Berlin – has come of age in the 21st century, redefining what it means to be African. Where our parents sought safety in traditional professions like doctoring, lawyering, banking, engineering, we are branching into fields like media, politics, music, venture capital, design. Nor are we shy about expressing our African influences (such as they are) in our work. Artists such as Keziah Jones, Trace founder and editor Claude Gruzintsky, architect David Adjaye, novelist Chimamanda Achidie – all exemplify what Gruzintsky calls the ‘21st century African.’

What distinguishes this lot and its like (in the West and at home) is a willingness to complicate Africa – namely, to engage with, critique, and celebrate the parts of Africa that mean most to them. Perhaps what most typifies the Afropolitan consciousness is the refusal to oversimplify; the effort to understand what is ailing in Africa alongside the desire to honor what is wonderful, unique. Rather than essentialising the geographical entity, we seek to comprehend the cultural complexity; to honor the intellectual and spiritual legacy; and to sustain our parents’ cultures.

For us, being African must mean something. The media’s portrayals (war, hunger) won’t do. Neither will the New World trope of bumbling, blue-black doctor. Most of us grew up aware of ‘being from’ a blighted place, of having last names from to countries which are linked to lack, corruption. Few of us escaped those nasty ‘booty-scratcher’ epithets, and fewer still that sense of shame when visting paternal villages. Whether we were ashamed of ourselves for not knowing more about our parents’ culture, or ashamed of that culture for not being more ‘advanced’ can be unclear. What is manifest is the extent to which the modern adolescent African is tasked to forge a sense of self from wildly disparate sources. You’d never know it looking at those dapper lawyers in global firms, but most were once supremely self-conscious of being so ‘in between’. Brown-skinned without a bedrock sense of ‘blackness,’ on the one hand; and often teased by African family members for ‘acting white’ on the other – the baby-Afropolitan can get what I call ‘lost in transnation’.

Ultimately, the Afropolitan must form an identity along at least three dimensions: national, racial, cultural – with subtle tensions in between. While our parents can claim one country as home, we must define our relationship to the places we live; how British or American we are (or act) is in part a matter of affect. Often unconsciously, and over time, we choose which bits of a national identity (from passport to pronunciation) we internalize as central to our personalities. So, too, the way we see our race – whether black or biracial or none of the above – is a question of politics, rather than pigment; not all of us claim to be black. Often this relates to the way we were raised, whether proximate to other brown people (e.g. black Americans) or removed. Finally, how we conceive of race will accord with where we locate ourselves in the history that produced ‘blackness’ and the political processes that continue to shape it.

Then there is that deep abyss of Culture, ill-defined at best. One must decide what comprises ‘African culture’ beyond pepper soup and filial piety. The project can be utterly baffling – whether one lives in an African country or not. But the process is enriching, in that it expands one’s basic perspective on nation and selfhood. If nothing else, the Afropolitan knows that nothing is neatly black or white; that to ‘be’ anything is a matter of being sure of who you are uniquely. To ‘be’ Nigerian is to belong to a passionate nation; to be Yoruba, to be heir to a spiritual depth; to be American, to ascribe to a cultural breadth; to be British, to pass customs quickly. That is, this is what it means for me – and that is the Afropolitan privilege. The acceptance of complexity common to most African cultures is not lost on her prodigals. Without that intrinsically multi-dimensional thinking, we could not make sense of ourselves.

And if it all sounds a little self-congratulatory, a little ‘aren’t-we-the-coolest-damn-people-on-earth?’ – I say: yes it is, necessarily. It is high time the African stood up. There is nothing perfect in this formulation; for all our Adjayes and Achidies, there is a brain drain back home. Most Afropolitans could serve Africa better in Africa than at Medicine Bar on Thursdays. To be fair, a fair number of African professionals are returning; and there is consciousness among the ones who remain, an acute awareness among this brood of too-cool-for-schools that there’s work to be done. There are those among us who wonder to the point of weeping: where next, Africa? When will the scattered tribes return? When will the talent repatriate? What lifestyles await young professionals at home? How to invest in Africa’s future? The prospects can seem grim at times. The answers aren’t forthcoming. But if there was ever a group who could figure it out, it is this one, unafraid of the questions.

How the Caribbean Got on the Road to Central Bank Digital Currencies a conversation with @laurashin

From the Unchained Podcast : Gabriel Abed , founder of and Vice President of the board of directors, describes how he went from mining Bitcoin to persuading governors of central banks to not quash Bitt’s goal to create central bank digital currencies in the Caribbean and getting the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to pilot one starting next year…[ more ]

Source: How the Caribbean Got on the Road to Central Bank Digital Currencies a conversation with @laurashin


Forbes Africa 2019 #30Under30 list

The Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 List features 120 of Africa’s brightest achievers under the age of 30 in four categories: business, technology, creatives and sport. The list celebrates pioneers who are building brands, creating jobs, innovating, leading, transforming and contributing to new industries and ultimately impacting positively on the continent.

Source: Forbes Africa 2019 #30Under30 list

Letitia Wright and Winston Duke join Motion Picture Academy

The Black Panther stars are among several new members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences LETITIA WRIGHT and Winston Duke are among the new members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Black Panther stars were invited to join the organisation behind the Oscars as members this week.

Source: Letitia Wright and Winston Duke join Motion Picture Academy

Ana Flávia Magalhães Pinto

New Book Chronicles Nineteenth-Century Brazilian Black Abolitionist Efforts

Note from BW of Brazil : It is often said that history is written by the winners. As such, people or groups who were deemed the losers in the annals of history will often suffer from decades, centuries or more of having their plight told in a manner that is, at best, mostly true with a few misunderstandings, exaggerations or exclusions, or at worst, a completely ficitionalized version of what actually went down in history.

READ MORE HERE: Book reveals the role of black intellectuals against racism and for full citizenship of former slaves in nineteenth-century Brazil