Kiratiana Freelon, author of the book "Kiratiana's Travel Guide to Black Paris: Get Lost and Get Found" wants your help to publish her new book "Kiratiana's Travel Guide to Multicultural London".

"This past January and February I explored London for five weeks with one goal – to discover its multiculturalism and write a Travel Guide to Multicultural London. 2012 is a fitting year to highlight the city’s multiculturalism. The Olympic and Paralympic Games will bring the world to London. But how many visitors know that the world is already in London? And what resources are there to help visitors explore this side of London?"

Get more information about her Campaign here
Photo: Lucid
Brixton Town centre: Atlantic Road, Coldharbour Lane, Effra Road, Electric Avenue, Electric Lane, Rushcroft Road, Saltoun Road, St Matthew’s Peace Gardens, Windrush Square

As London becomes the destination for the summer of 2012 Brixton Splash returns bigger and better than ever.

On the day that we expect to see Usain Bolt take on the world in the Olympic 100m final alongside the artists, music, sound systems and fabulous food we always bring to Splash we will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Jamaican Independence during the festival.

There will be a number of activities throughout the day reflecting Jamaican cultural contributions to London life, which include highlighting the historic civic, business, sporting and cultural contributions of Windrush Jamaicans who have come to Lambeth over the last 50 years.

Brixton Splash will again feature 4 sound systems on Atlantic Road and Coldharbour Lane with a main stage on Windrush Square. The main stage will continue to support local talent and will include the musical history of Jamaica in Britain ranging from Soul, Pop, Ska and Reggae through to dancehall and roots music.

The stage will also provide a platform for narration and sketches from a local young peoples dramatic dance society as well as incorporating poetry and dance performers who will represent a musical journey through the high points of Jamaican history and British popular music genres.

The Peace Gardens will be further developed with an emphasis on the Arts and families.

Brixton Splash will also set up a live broadcast via YouTube to celebrate the event with a series of interviews with the public and celebrities to find out what Jamaican Independence means to them.

Website: http://www.brixtonsplash.org/

Video: The black UK newspaper THE VOICE were taken on a guided tour of Brixton by veteran race campaigner Lee Jasper.

H/T Shadow and Act. The French time travel/slavery comedy titled Case Départ (Back To Square One) has been released on YouTube. The entire film.

"The French time travel/slavery comedy titled Case Départ, which translates as Back To Square One, opened in France last summer, and was quite a hit in that country, causing a bit of a stir outside of France, particularly here in the USA, where many didn't quite take to the idea of slavery as comedy," wrote Shadow and Act

I must admit, I was quit neutral about the film, but after watching parts of the film I began to remember the historical context of it. I read the book of Stedman, “The Narrative of a Five Years Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (1796)” and while watching the video everything came to life.

Although the idea of travelling back to the days of slavery is original, I do have my reservations. Slavery has dramatically changed the way black are perceived and how we perceive ourselves, I think that needs reflection, it's shouldn't be the scene of a comedy.

Will.i.am released a new music video off his upcoming solo album #willpower. It features Dutch Singer Eva Simons. The video was released a few days ago, so it's brand new.

Because of new album releases and new artists, a small compilation of Black European Soul, R&B and Acid Jazz music. First, the British Acid Jazz band Incognito. They released a new studio album "SURREAL in March, one of the tracks is entitled “Goodbye To Yesterday”, see video above.

GERMANY: Y'Akoto - "Tamba"
The 24 year-old newcomer Y'Akoto (half German, half Ghanian) from Hamburg is rapidly making a name for herself in Europe. Check out her live performance in France.


FRANCE: Corneille - Des Pères, des Hommes et des Frères (feat. La Fouine)
This song is released in 2011


UK: Estelle - "Thank You"
All of Me is the second studio album by English R&B recording artist and producer Estelle.


THE NETHERLANDS: Alain Clark - "Let Some Air In"
Alain Clark released his latest album Love Revival a few days ago.


BELGIUM: Iyadede - “F4L
Rwanda born, Belgium raised, Brooklyn residing new-comer, Iyadede (Sabrina Iyadede), makes electronica, pop, soul and afro beat. A few weeks ago she released her video “F4L.


FRANCE: Laura Mayne - "Inside My Love"
Laura Mayne suprised the French audience with her comeback in January. Laura Mayne was part of the Soul/Acid Jazz duo Native in the early 90's.


THE NETHERLANDS: Ntjam Rosie – "Live at Grounds"
And last, but not least, on april 20th the brand new live CD+DVD ‘Ntjam Rosie – Live at Grounds’ was released. The show features live performances of the acclaimed album Elle.
The French art magazine Art Absolument released a bilingual edition (In French and English) entitled "Art Caribéen, l’heure de la reconnaissance" ("Caribbean Art: Time for Recognition"). The edition, which was published in 2011, looks ahead to the forthcoming Caribbean art exhibition in New York.

This edition is not only about art, but also about the personal journeys of some of the featured artists. You can read the entire magazine online at http://media.artabsolument.com/flipbook

As the daughter of a Ghanaian father and a German mother, Jennifer Yaa Akoto (23) was raised a cosmopolite from her infancy. She was born in Hamburg and grew up in Ghana with sojourns in Cameroun,Togo and Chad before finally ending up shuttling between Hamburg, Lomé and Paris, a wanderer between worlds, a modern-day nomad who has always drawn strength from a state of permanent transition, which she has always seen as the inexhaustible source of her inspiration.
May Ayim 1990 (Blues in schwarz weiß). Orlanda Verlag
Afro-German May Ayim (educator, poet and activist) wrote the book Blues in schwarz-weiss (Blues in Black and White), A Collection of Essays, Poetry and Conversations. You can download (PDF) an excerpt of her book for free at Blackatlantic.

If you need a quick introduction, see the video Hope in My Heart: The May Ayim Story

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 reunited the white Germans, but at the same time excluded ethic minorities. “In the days immediately following November 9,1989 [German reunification], I noticed that hardly any immigrants or black Germans were to be seen around town, at least only rarely any dark-skinned ones, ” writes Afro-German Poet May Ayim in her essay "1990: Home / land and Unity from an Afro-German Perspective". In her story she intimately writes about her fears of the increased racism and how her beloved city Berlin made her feel a “foreigner” overnight.

May Ayim

Home / land and Unity from an Afro-German Perspective

(...)

Within a few moments reunification led to the birth of a new Federal Republic in – as far as the GDR [East Germany] was concerned – a not particularly new guise. The GDR was left to the side. As the Wall fell, many rejoiced; others felt their heads spinning.

German Fa(r)ther-land…
My fatherland is Ghana, my mother tongue is German; homeland, I carry in my shoes. When the Wall fell, I felt, for a while, the fear of being struck down. It wasn’t much, not a great fear, but more than usual.

Since 1984 I have been living and working in West Berlin and feel more at home in this city than anywhere else. Due to my underdeveloped sense of direction I get lost everyday in the streets, but compared with other cities where I lived and studied before, Berlin has always been a place where I felt pretty much at home. My skin color is not an unusual attention-grabber on the streets; here I’m not praised everyday for my good German, and, at seminars, programs, or parties, only seldom do I find myself the only black among an indeterminate number of whites. I still have to explain myself a lot, but not constantly. I remember former times, in small West German cities, where I often had the feeling of being under constant observation, of getting sick of constantly searching and questioning gazes. I remember days when I would feel especially lonely or unbearably exposed and would be on the lookout for black people while shopping or riding the bus. In Berlin, this anonymous city with its international face, those recollections faded very quickly from my memory. With the fall of the Wall and the period following it they returned, as though out of a dusty drawer, into my daily life.

In the days immediately following November 9,1989, I noticed that hardly any immigrants or black Germans were to be seen around town, at least only rarely any dark-skinned ones. I wondered why not many Jews were about. I ran into a couple of Afro-Germans whom I had met in East Berlin the previous year, and we were glad to have more chances of getting together now. Moving around alone I wanted to breathe in a bit of the general enthusiasm, to sense the historical moment and share my reserved joy. Reserved because I had heard about the imminent policy-tightening regarding immigrants and asylum-seekers. And further, like other black Germans and immigrants, I knew that even a German passport did not guarantee an invitation to the East-West festivities. We sensed that along with the imminent intra-German union a growing closing off from outside would ensue – an outside that would include us. Our participation in the celebration was not invited.

The new “We” in “this our country” – Chancellor Kohl’s favorite expression – did not and does not have a place for everyone.
“Out, nigger, don’t you have a home to go to?”

For the first time since I had been living in Berlin I now had to protect myself almost daily against undisguised insults, hostile looks and / or openly racist offenses. As in earlier times I started again, when shopping and on public transportation, to look out for dark faces. A friend of mine, holding her
Afro-German daughter on her lap in the S-Bahn,* was told “We don’t need your kind anymore. There are already more than enough of us!” A ten-year-old African boy was thrown out of a crowded UBahn train (S-Bahn: elevated train) to make room for a white German.

Those were incidents in West Berlin in November, 1989, and since 1990 reports of racially motivated attacks primarily on black people have increased, mostly in the eastern part of Germany. Reports like those were at first known only in circles of immigrants and black Germans, the official media reporters hardly taking notice of the violent assaults. I began the year 1990 with a poem:

“borderless and brazen: a poem against the German “u-not y.”
i will be African
even if you want me to be german
and i will be german
even if my blackness does not suit you
i will go
yet another step further
to the farthest edge
where my sisters – where my brothers stand
where
o u r
FREEDOM
begins
i will go
yet another step further and another step and
will return
when i want
and remain
borderless and brazen
1990

for Jaqueline and Katharina
(Translation by May Ayim)

As an outgrowth of the “Black History Month” series of programs on topics of black history, culture, and politics, initiated by a black activist group in Berlin, February, 1990, a task force was formed of black groups and individuals of racist attacks in Berlin and the surrounding area.

(...)

Read the full story, which begins on page 14, in the PDF document. 1990: Home / land and Unity from an Afro-German Perspective.

Published in German in the book «Der Black Atlantic» (3-9808851-5-1) | 2004 published by the House of World Cultures in Berlin
Katharina Oguntoye, Audre Lorde and May Ayim
Building on the success of the inaugural 2011 conference, the second annual convention of the Black German Cultural Society of New Jersey (BGCSNJ) will be held at Barnard College in New York City on August 10-11, 2012. This year’s convention will focus on the theme of “What Is the Black German Experience?” The conference will feature a keynote address by Yara Colette Lemke Muniz de Faria, screenings of the films “Hope in My Heart: The May Ayim Story” and “Audre Lorde – The Berlin Years 1984-1992,” and readings by Black German poet-performers Olumide Popoola and Philipp Kabo Köpsell.

In response to recent interest, the BGCSNJ Review Committee has expanded the scope of the conference and invites proposals for papers that engage the diverse histories, experiences and cultural productions of Blacks of German heritage and blackness in Germany and Europe more broadly. We welcome submissions for twenty-minute presentations on three academic panels. Additionally, two panels will be devoted to life writing, oral history and memoir. These two panels will provide a forum for the work of collecting individual accounts and reflections, as well as raising awareness on the overlooked life histories of blacks of Germany heritage and blackness in a wider European context.

For more information check http://blackgermans.us

Hope in My Heart: The May Ayim Story


Audre Lorde – The Berlin Years 1984-1992


Olumide Popoola


Philipp Kabo Köpsell
Family Trayvon Martin and UK activist Zita Holbourne, photo Barac
The family of murdered US black teenager Trayvon Martin visited London a week ago to launch a campaign against racism and racial profiling on both sides of the Atlantic. Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton spoke, Friday 11th of May at a public meeting which was organised by Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK in conjunction with Million Hoodies Movement in the USA.

Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton took to a stage at the University of London with Doreen Lawrence, the mother of a black British teenager, Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in a racist attack in London, in 1993. According to msnbc.com World News, with tears in her eyes, Fulton told an audience of journalists, activists, students and others, “I should not be looked at differently because of the color of my skin.”

Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton said they were "humbled" by the support they had received from London and around the world and praised Stephen Lawrence's parents for their relentless fight against institutional racism.

"The struggle of people like Doreen Lawrence in Britain shows us that as in the USA, there is a problem of racial profiling in society and amongst institutions," they said.

"We would like to work with people here in London and around the world to help end the scourge of racial injustice across the globe."

Check out the videos of Trayvon Martin's parents meeting the black community in London.





From left to right: Christiane Taubira, George Pau-Langevin, Victorin Lurel
Three black cabinet members are appointed in the new French Government. With their appointment France is now the frontrunner of political diversity in Europe. In not a single European country with a large black community there has been a black cabinet Minister in recent history.

The line-up. Christiane Taubira, from French Guiana, is the new Minister of Justice. George Pau-Langevin from Guadeloupe, a member of Parliament representing Paris, is named junior Minister for Educational success. And Victorin Lurel, also from Guadeloupe, is the new Minister in charge of overseas departments. He succeeds Marie-Luce Penchard, who was also from Guadeloupe.

Although Taubira is not the first black Minister in France, with her appointment as Minister of Justice she can be seen as being the first black person in France to hold such an important cabinet position. Responding to the question that this cabinet has a lot of diversity, Taubira replied that it also includes the diversity of political, professional and social experiences.

Taubira, who is on the left of the Socialist Party, served as a deputy at the French National Assembly since 1993. She is also the author of a law, now called "Loi Taubira,” voted by the French Assembly in 2001, which recognizes the slave trade and slavery as crimes against humanity.

France has made a giant step forward, but the road wasn’t easy. After the ethnic urban riots in 2005 and the violent strikes on the island of Guadeloupe in 2009 it became clear the country lacked diversity in every major institution. To ease the tension, the first black Minister Rama Yade was appointed in 2007. Yade, originally from Senegal, became a junior Minister in the Zarkosy government. In the same year there was a little uproar when black news anchor Harry Roselmack read the news on of France's largest television networks. His appearance was a result of ‘diversity’ talks between the networks and the government. And after the riots in Guadeloupe in 2009 the French Prime Minister quickly installed the first black Minister of the overseas departments, Marie-Luce Penchard, in an attempt to deescalate the conflict.

The biggest difference between the two previous Ministers is that new appointed Ministers are seasoned and well known politicians. With three black cabinet Ministers the French national motto liberté, égalité, fraternité is now enriched with the word that has been shouted in streets of Paris since 2005, 'diversité'. Viva la France!

Thanks to Les 100 mondes de Solange, a video of Thalles Roberto da Silva, the pop rock singer and evangelical pastor from Brazil. The video "Uma História Escrita Pelo Dedo De Deus" ("History Written by the Finger of God") was recorded at the Chevrolet Hall in Belo Horizonte in 2011. What an energy!

Legendary singer Donna Summer died today. She was 63.
Arnaldo Rabell, We Have to Dream in Blue
El Museo del Barrio, Queens Museum of Art and The Studio Museum in Harlem join forces for CARIBBEAN: CROSSROADS OF THE WORLD, a landmark exhibition exploring the history and art of the Caribbean

Multimedia exhibition to open in three venues the week of June 12, 2012, with subsequent Caribbean events and collaborations around NYC.

The exhibition will examine the visual arts and aesthetic development across the Caribbean, considering the histories of the Spanish, French, Dutch and English islands and their Diasporas. An it will highlight over two centuries of rarely-seen works from the Haitian Revolution (c. 1804) to the present.

The show features more than 400 works including painting, sculpture, prints, books, photography, film, video and historic artifacts from various Caribbean nations, Europe and the United States. Transcendent in scope, CARIBBEAN: Crossroads examines the exchange of people, goods, ideas and information between the Caribbean basin, Europe and North America and explores the impact of these relationships on the Caribbean and how it is imagined. This citywide endeavor, supported by a major grant from MetLife Foundation, opens in the midst of Caribbean-American Heritage Month, observed nationally during the month of June.

El Museo del Barrio: June 12, 2012 to January 6, 2013
Queens Museum of Art: June 17, 2012 to January 6, 2013
The Studio Museum in Harlem: June 14, 2012 to October 21, 2012
A Black French flight attendant of Air France is not allowed to wear dreadlocks during his service. The Frenchman of Ivorian origin is now forced to wear his dreads under a wig. But the dress code only applies to men, black women are allowed to wear their hair in dreadslocks.

According to the petition “Hair France, don’t touch our roots” , Aboubakar Traoré was hired as a flight attendant by the Air France in 1999. But he had no idea that such a hairstyle could “harm” the image of the company, considering that not a single of Air France regulations prohibits male flight attendants from wearing dreadlocks. Nevertheless, his managers at Air France went as far as forcing him to wear a wig to hide his hairstyle.

However, Air France’s regulations explicitly allow the wearing of dreadlocks by women, recognizing as such that the hairdo can have strong associations to an individual’s identity.

On May 5th demonstrators protested outside the office of Air France in Paris to protest against the airline’s refusal to change to change rule. They want the company to genuinely consider the ethnic diversity of its personnel, as well of the evolving society, within its regulations. And that the company halt all disciplinary measures being imposed against the flight attendant.

Photo: The Cultural Expose
The holidays are coming up in Europe. If you have plans of visiting Paris and you want do it cheap, this story on The Cultural Exposé can be your guide. UK writer Ena Miller writes about  how she enjoyed a quick trip to Paris on a tight budget.

"London to Paris, Paris to London. All for £69 with Eurostar.

 A casual Skype chat turned into booking-a-holiday-chat. I was delighted, but fearful. With little cash, could I still have a decent holiday in expensive Paris?

 I relied on Travelzoo’s weekly top twenty email to find me a hotel deal. As much as we wanted cheap, we didn’t want scummy. When Hotel Gat Folies popped up, I was relieved.  It was in a cool area called Opera, way less than half its usual price, far enough from the tourist traps, but close enough to still feel involved."
ARC Magazine announces the release of its 5th volume, which presents a collection of works by contemporary artists practicing in the Caribbean and its diaspora.

Featured artists and writers from Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Haiti, Barbados, Martinique, Cuba, Puerto Rico, St. Croix, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Canada, The Netherlands, The UK, The United States, and Venezuela represent and analyze a variety of media, including photography, illustration, film and video, drawing, sculpture, painting, poetry, performance, installation and mixed media.

The 5th issue of ARC brings together a range of artists and writers exploring and experimenting with concepts of Power, Identity, Blackness, Interpretations of Creolization and Belonging.

Featured Artist: Charl Landvreugd

Surinamese artist Charl Landvreugd interacts with Dutch writer Rob Perée to produce Don't talk Black, Do Black. Their discourse centres on Black European aesthetics, its intricacies, dynamics and language. By taking historical European art forms and embellishing them through a creolized lens, the artist subverts all meaning, creating personal hybrids that seek to expand upon his lived experiences.

Check out the website http://arcthemagazine.com
Boogie Man, forthcoming, June 2012

In Transition 108, our authors take "the long view from the levee" and survey the muddy flow of African/American history. From the banks of the Mississippi to the back roads of Ivory Coast, manmade dams and barricades block access to our homelands.

But the past has a way of leaking through: West African aesthetic forms in the work of an American sculptor, old soul food joints in the New Newark, the scars of racism in contemporary Cuban art, and the sweet sound of the Gospel Train replaced by Soul Train, a form of secular testifying that taught us to moonwalk down the line.

Check out the table of contents and the interesting links of featured artists at Transition Magazine
The Slavery abolition Memorial in the French city of Nantes opened its doors in March.  Nantes was one of France's leading slave ports and it made the city rich. But the city covered up its dark history for decades.

The city known for its art festival and its Mardi Gras-style carnival, has always boasted of its history as a great industrial city and colonial port. A collective silence covered up the fact that the prosperity of the city's great families, were built on the slave trade.

In the Spiegel Online curator Jouseau said, that for a long time there remained a "loss of memory," supported by a distorted look back at the period of the slave trade. It wasn't until the end of the 1980s that historians, organizations and local politicians began to experience a shift in thinking. The idea to firmly establish the history of slavery into the town's landscape came next. "It wasn't an easy path," Ayrault, the town mayor recalls. "But after initial resistance from reactionaries in the town, the majority of people and politicians ended up backing the plan."

The site of the memorial, the Quai de la Fosse, was the wharf where the slave ships moored before they departed for Africa. The installation comprises a sloping wall of opaque glass that cuts through the wharf's promenade, while a total of 1,710 panels laid into the sidewalk feature the names of slave ships.

In other panels quotations are engraved of black writers, activists and historical figures from diaspora.

The memorial is designed by the Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko and the American architect Julian Bonder. According to the designers the memorial is designed in a way visitors will experience the confinement felt by the slaves on board the slave ships.

According to Nantes officials the Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery is unique in Europe.

Exlplore the memorial at the official website at http://memorial.nantes.fr/en/ 

The video of the opening ceremony on March 25th 2012

Amnesty International released the video "Toast To Freedom", which is dedicated to human rights activism around the world. Nearly 50 artists contributed to celebrate Amnesty International's 50th Anniversary.
Toast To Freedom was written by music veterans Carl Carlton and Larry Campbell.

Amnesty International was founded in London in July 1961 by English labour lawyer Peter Benenson.According to his own account, he was travelling in the London Underground on 19 November 1960, when he read of two Portuguese students from Coimbra who had been sentenced to seven years of imprisonment in Portugal for allegedly "having drunk a toast to liberty". Researchers have never traced the alleged newspaper article in question. In 1960, Portugal was ruled by the authoritarian Estado Novo regime.
The film 30 degrés couleur of Lucien Jean-Baptiste and Philippe Larue’s is a new French comedy. Set in Martinique, the film follows Patrick (40), played by co-director Jean-Baptiste, as he returns to his birthplace after 30 years in France.
Patrick is integrated to the point that he has forgotten his roots, he's Black from the outside and White from inside. He enjoys a bourgeois life in France as a historian, but when he learns his mother is about to die, he heads to Martinique, with his only daughter, and lands right in the middle of the Carnival.

Accompanied by his childhood friend Zamba, he is swept away in three days of madness and into a whirlwind of emotion, humor and incredible situations. Three days that will change his life.

The film was released 14 March 2012 in cinema

The film has no English subtitles.
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