Archive | Pop Culture

20 March 2014 ~ 18 Comments

7 great novels by African women writers

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“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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20 February 2014 ~ 22 Comments

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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10 February 2014 ~ 1 Comment

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

Still of Terence holding Camera

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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13 January 2014 ~ 17 Comments

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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21 December 2013 ~ 17 Comments

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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14 November 2013 ~ 3 Comments

The objectification of men

African Renaissance Monument – From Above

I am intrigued, despite my previous post about how African women’s art is feminist, by how seldom women artists (from Africa but also elsewhere) objectify the male body. We lose out from this disengagement with the male as object. Whether it is fine or digital art, photography or sculpture, we are culturally deprived of an artistic female […]

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10 November 2013 ~ 6 Comments

What makes African women’s art feminist?

What makes African women’s art feminist?

It has been said that artistry in Africa is an intrinsic part of life rather than a commercial or careerist enterprise. I’d say that this notion is not only applicable to African art, all across the world art has explored the sensitivities of life and the social environment. However, it is in this process of examining life […]

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01 November 2013 ~ 12 Comments

7 ways that Africa is shaping globalisation

7 ways that Africa is shaping globalisation

Globalisation, the compression of the world through cultural exchanges and innovation, is not a new incident to Africa (nor any other part of the world for that matter). Africa is interwoven in a millennia-long global exchange, where it has often lost out but also benefited from and shaped the course of global innovation to a far […]

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17 October 2013 ~ 26 Comments

Guest post: I love African men too, but do they love me back?

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This is a guest blog by Stephanie Kimou (pictured) who blogs at A Black Girl in the World *** Minna’s article last week on the reasons why she/we love African men, was pretty spot on right? I certainly appreciate African men and if I may be biased, especially West African men – *swoon*. I agree that […]

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05 September 2013 ~ 11 Comments

We need to eroticise society

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I know what you’re thinking: What do I mean by “eroticise” society and why on earth should we do that? Surely we are obsessed with sex as it is! Well, yes, sex is everywhere but Eros, i.e. Erotic love, isn’t. Our sexual culture is either prudish or pornographic. On one end, we are surrounded by explicit […]

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02 August 2013 ~ 13 Comments

An African feminist analysis of Fela’s “Lady”

An African feminist analysis of Fela’s “Lady”

This post is in remembrance of the legendary Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, deceased on this day in 1997. May his soul continue to rest in peace.  Extract from “Lady” If you call am woman / African woman no go gree / She go say, she go say, I be lady o / CHORUS: She go say, I […]

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27 June 2013 ~ 2 Comments

Meditations with Lorna Simpson

Lorna Simpson

Why do I like pictures that seem ghostly? I’m not religious and I am no more spiritual than any one else. I’m not an atheist either but I cherish rational argument. I spend quite a lot of my time upside down, in Adho Mukha Svanasana and occasionally Urdhva Dhanurasana and so on, and yet despite my fondness for […]

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23 May 2013 ~ 7 Comments

Apart from Chinua Achebe, which other African writers deserve the Nobel Prize in Literature?

Apart from Chinua Achebe, which other African writers deserve the Nobel Prize in Literature?

In the lead up to the short list announcement for the Nobel Prize in Literature on 30 May, headlines this week brought to the fore the problematic obsession that some people have with the Nobel Prize in Literature being awarded to the late Chinua Achebe. For years, the pre-announcement period has seen speculations demands as to whether […]

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07 May 2013 ~ 34 Comments

Why African women should blog

Why African women should blog

The world has never been as patriarchal as it is today. I’m not claiming that individual societies don’t treat their women better than they did previously, but in the globalised, interconnected world we live in, we can no longer consider issues in an isolated fashion. So as we now consider the situation of women everywhere, […]

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03 April 2013 ~ 28 Comments

Can Africans have multiple subcultures? A response to “Exorcising Afropolitanism”

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On 24 June 2011, over 5,000 people showed up for an event at the V&A Museum in London titled “Friday Late: Afropolitans”. Now, packing the world famous museum is usually the function of western art and high fashion, but on this night the crowd came to listen to artists like Spoek Mathambo, taste palm wine […]

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08 March 2013 ~ 13 Comments

What does women’s day mean to African bloggers?

What does women’s day mean to African bloggers?

When I was seventeen, I got a job as a telephone salesperson of ink cartridges. The worst thing about the job was that I was so good at it. I was promoted and was eventually earning a serious lot of money. I don’t know what made me a successful ink cartridge seller but I use […]

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06 March 2013 ~ 21 Comments

Dressing up as Frida Kahlo

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A few weeks ago, ahead of FRIDA – Female Revolution in Dance & Art, I got “unibrowed”, moustached, red lippied and dressed up as the legend Frida Kahlo for the International Women’s Month event. Or rather, as Frida Kahlo in a selection of her self-portraits. The photos, which are part of the ongoing exhibition, were […]

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17 January 2013 ~ 15 Comments

In praise of, Beyoncé.

In praise of, Beyoncé.

I can’t believe I fell for your schemes, I’m smarter than that/So dumb and naive to believe that with me you’re a changed man/Foolish of me to compete when you cheat with those women /It took me some time, but now I moved on/Cause I realized I got/Me, myself and I/That’s all I got in […]

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03 January 2013 ~ 52 Comments

Why Spike Lee was right about Django Unchained

Why Spike Lee was right about Django Unchained

Spike Lee did the right thing in publicly taking issue with Django Unchained, the latest Quentin Tarantino movie about a freed African slave who embarks on a violent journey to save his wife. The wife character, Broomhilda, played by Kerry Washington is monotonous to discuss for hers is a shockingly flat role. Her character serves […]

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30 November 2012 ~ 4 Comments

Female skin, male masks

Female skin, male masks

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 I attend ‘hip hop on trial’, a global debate discussing whether hip hop is the authentic, revolutionary voice of the oppressed or if it is a glorification of all that holds back oppressed minorities and hinders them from mainstream assimilation. At 32 minutes into the discussion, which is streamed live, there is an episode […]

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23 November 2012 ~ 0 Comments

10 inspiring black British women, suggestions for BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour Power List

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BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour is to publish a Power List to rank the 100 most powerful women in the UK at the start of 2013. The list will answer – Which women have the biggest impact on our economy, society, politics and culture? Who has the ability to inspire change as a role model or […]

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21 November 2012 ~ 0 Comments

I Stand Corrected tackles homophobia in South Africa and Britain straight on

I Stand Corrected tackles homophobia in South Africa and Britain straight on

“I’ll tell you what’s unnatural. Forcing a cock into a woman’s cunt!” These are the heated words that Charlie Browning,  a character played by Mojisola Adebayo, yells halfway through a new theatre and dance collaboration at the Ovalhouse Theatre, I Stand Corrected. The production sees two of Africa’s most renowned performers, the critically acclaimed Danish-Nigerian playwright, Mojisola Adebayo, and Mamela […]

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05 November 2012 ~ 4 Comments

Shortlisted in Red’s Hot Women Awards by Red Magazine

Shortlisted in Red’s Hot Women Awards by Red Magazine

I’m very excited to share that I’m shortlisted for Red Magazine’s ‘Red’s Hot Women Awards’ Blogger category. Since the start of MsAfropolitan approximately two years ago, I’ve loved every single minute of blogging and it’s precious to receive encouragement for something that I hope to do ad infinitum. Red’s Hot Women Awards celebrates women from […]

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26 October 2012 ~ 18 Comments

Nina Simone, Zoe Saldana and the question of glamour

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On this your certain journey Do you ever doubt you have a beauty to match the strength of those of us who carve a strength to match your beauty? ~Abena P.A. Busia Images of Zoe Saldana at the shoot of the Nina Simone biopic have emerged. Her casting is creating so much anger. Resentment. Sadness. Fury. […]

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05 October 2012 ~ 5 Comments

On Vagina by Naomi Wolf and the reviews that followed

On Vagina by Naomi Wolf and the reviews that followed

The release of Naomi Wolf’s “Vagina: A New Biography” was met with scathing criticisms from feminists like Laurie Penny, Ariel Levy and Zoe Heller. These influential writers all bring up some valid arguments about problematic ideas presented in the book. Vagina is indeed a book that in many ways feels unfinished and often naïve. It […]

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26 September 2012 ~ 0 Comments

History meets present-day in Queens of the Undead by Kimathi Donkor

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In my view, if Kimathi Donkor‘s painting of Queen Nanny of the Maroons was an antique, precious Tarot card, she would be ‘The High Priestess’, standing as a veil between life and death, her arms outstretched; one mercifully forgiving, the other holding a deadly sword, reminding us that when it comes to life, she both […]

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23 August 2012 ~ 21 Comments

On Bitch Bad by Lupe Fiasco

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Lupe Fiasco has just released the video for the ‘Bitch Bad’ track off the ‘Food & Liquor 2 ‘ album. The video (embedded below) examines the impact of the word ‘bitch’ in hip hop and how it negatively affects children and society at large. The chorus line is “Bitch bad, woman good, lady better, they […]

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06 August 2012 ~ 3 Comments

Huffington Post: Hair-Raising Conversations

Huffington Post: Hair-Raising Conversations

Following another week of hair-related scandals in entertainment and sports, my latest HuffPo article argues that there is more to the black hair conversation than shallowness or self loathing and that as long as black hair aesthetics are part of a complex social structure we should engage with the conversations critically rather than silence them or […]

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01 August 2012 ~ 17 Comments

Remembering Yvonne Vera

Remembering Yvonne Vera

On this day, August 1st twelve years ago, in an in-depth interview with Jane Bryce in Bulawayo, Yvonne Vera noted with the expressive character that marks her work, “I would not write if I weren’t in search of beauty, if I was doing it only to advance a cause. I care deeply about my subjects, […]

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29 May 2012 ~ 0 Comments

The Independent: Twitter, power lists and the question of gender

The Independent: Twitter, power lists and the question of gender

Power list after power list fail to represent women as influential in social media and in society at large. Why is it that women are not considered influential on social media and particularly on Twitter? To understand why, we we must answer a few basic questions: What does influence mean? How is it measured? And […]

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