Q & A with Angélique Kidjo

Grammy Award

A celebrity is commonly seen as “a person who is known for his well-knownness”. However, Angélique Kidjo is a celebrity in the original meaning of the term, celer: which has roots in change and of course, celebration. In other words, she is someone we celebrate because she transforms us, her work touches us both poetically and politically. Watching Kidjo perform…

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Listed in some exciting women’s month features

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I was incredibly honoured and quite stunned, frankly, to be one of twelve esteemed women (including Michelle Obama, and other heavy weighers!) to feature in ELLE Magazine Malaysia feature “Celebrating International Women’s Day: 12 women changing the world”. http://www.elle.my/life-and-love/Career-and-Money/gallery/Women-who-make-it-happen#1 It was also a delight and honour to be among YNaija’s Nigeria’s 100 most influential women list. http://lindaikeji.blogspot.de/2015/03/meet-nigerias-100-most-influential.html Check…

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7 South African rebel women artists – in memory of Miriam Makeba

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Today, 4 March, is the birthday of the unforgettable Miriam Makeba. To honour her memory I am posting a selection of my favourite songs by seven sensational South African singers who, like Makeba, embody/embodied the spirit of feminist pan-Africa and the African femme fatale.  Pata Pata!  Busi Mhlongo “Umoya ma-Afrika”  Brenda Fassie – “Vuli Ndlela” Lebo Mathosa –…

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On Afropolitanism and westernisation

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While reading Olufemi Taiwo’s book “Africa Must Be Modern”, I came across the following: It is almost required of an African intellectual that she or he be hostile to modernity and it suppositions. It is almost as if an African like me who deliberately embraces modernity as a way of life that promises at the…

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Q & A with Walter Mosley about Ferguson, race and his latest novel

Walter Mosley photo

What I especially admire about Walter Mosley, author of 37 critically acclaimed books including DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS, is that although his novels explore serious matters, they make a light read. In fact, people wrongly think that seriousness is a sign of depth. Simplifying serious matters, which Mosley does skilfully, is often a mark of profound…

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Watching ‘Concerning Violence’.

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                      The trailer for Göran Hugo Olsson’s ‘Concerning Violence’. I just watched ‘Concerning Violence’.’ ‘Anger. Catharsis. Birth. Small paroxysms of ritualistic release.’ ‘I also felt serene watching it.’ ‘This is what it is to be a woman. It is to be pain. Femininity is not a…

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Why you should read Assata Shakur in times of Ferguson

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Having witnessed police officers mercilessly beat up a group of young hippies, Assata Olugbala Shakur, at the time a young activist in the Black Students Union in New York, had an epiphany. It was this: she was not going to change a thing by smoking weed in the park and complaining about brutally racist police….

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Ethical Fashion Initiative: when fashion is both beautiful and meaningful

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It’s about 6pm on the 12th of June 2014. I’m at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva, a characteristically grandiose European institutional building made all the more incredible by its waterfront view and bright, modern yet noble style. It is the type of space that – bewilderingly – makes you think of both justice and injustice. Today…

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When it comes to the bride price app there is only one word. No.

BridePr

This post is inspired by a piece  CNN published on Wednesday about the Nigerian bride price app, an app/quiz which calculates the marital value of a woman by pricing attributes such as her height, weight, beauty, cooking skills, education and dialect. All in jest, yeah, the app, as the site’s disclaimer says is, “a joke, and…

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Review of Fruitvale Station

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“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” said Martin Luther King famously in this speech. This may be so, but for Americans of African descent, one might add that it bends toward justice only when the unjustly treated bend it. Few groups of people have collectively been so wronged, over so…

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Reading Wole Soyinka’s ‘Of Africa’ in times of Boko Haram

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As reckless forces of terror-driven religious fundamentalism ravage Nigeria we would be wise to remember the insights of the ancestors. Unfortunately, as Soyinka argues in his most recent book, Of Africa, Africa as we know it today, “remains the monumental fiction of European creativity” marked by a type of religiosity that is a “destabilising agent”;…

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7 great novels by African women writers

Americanah

“In the stories we tell ourselves, we tell ourselves,” said Michael Martone rightly. We also read ourselves in the books we read, or at least in those books that we cherish. For this reason, one of my 2014 resolutions was to return to a favourite pastime, namely reading fiction. For some years my reading life…

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A badass case of Beyoncitis

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It starts with cunnilingus. Not the “Beyoncé ” album (which starts with “Pretty Hurts”) but this review. After all, when a megastar like Beyoncé dedicates a song to oral stimulation of the clitoris in a world where the opposite is more common, an emphasis is only appropriate. OK, “Lick my skittles, it’s the sweetest in…

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His idea of beauty: Interview with Terence Nance, director of An Oversimplification of Her Beauty

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Are you familiar with semiotext(e), the avant-garde, “punk-rock” publisher that introduced french theory to America? No? Don’t worry, most people probably are not. But they should be. Semiotext(e) publishes books that are at times bursting with self-indulgent introspection but that often push and provoke new ways of understanding the world we live in. I ask this…

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Winnie Mandela’s derivative portrayal in a Long Walk to Freedom

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The latest Nelson Mandela biopic, “Long Walk to Freedom” is not a disappointment. It’s a moving, informative treatment of Nelson Mandela’s eponymous autobiography. And Winnie Mandela as played by Naomie Harris is compelling. Harris conveys well the impassioned spirit of the most powerful woman in the history of African anti-colonial struggle. The movie’s blurb states,…

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The African Femme Fatale

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As the year comes to an end, I thought that I would like my last post of the year to be about something exciting, a feminine energy we could do well channeling more of in 2014. Scrolling through old posts and comments, I recognised an energy brewing, one not yet defined but one which can…

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