Friday, 27 February 2009

Derrick Ashong Thursday Touches Down in The UK & Heads Straight To Parliament

Derrick N. Ashong (aka DNA) a Ghanaian born Harvard graduate is an artist, activist and entrepreneur. DNA rose to prominence in 2007 during the American primaries when a reporter approached him outside the Kodak theatre in Los Angeles and began aggressively asking questions as to why he supports Obama. Many have accused the reporter of initially targeting Mr Ashong (who was dressed in jeans and a baseball cap) based on a preconceived stereotype that his attire must therefore equate to a lack of knowledge about Obama's policies, and that the real and only reason a Black man that looked like him could possibly support Obama is because of his race. If this was the case then boy did the reporter get it wrong!!! DNA owned the interview and has received over one million views on Youtube since! Very impressive for a guy who was just chilling by the roadside!



The security to get into parliament was very tight. Once through, my friend and I located the Grand Committee room (where the talk was held) and made our way to the front to take our seats. As we settled DNA came over, said hi and thanked us for coming. Dressed in his trademark casual attire consisting of jeans, top and his signature African choker he comes across as a very polite, warm character and has a presence that makes you feel instantly relaxed and at ease.

DNA's core theme centered on how art and the media can be used to facilitate positive change within society. He states: "Art and media can bridge the gap, teaching people how to embrace their own differences and commonalities". He goes on to talk about Africa and gives his perspective on why Africa is in it's current situation, adding: 'No society can develop without an understanding of it's own worth", he adds that for any country to develop the people must "believe they have the power to save themselves and believe there is something worth saving", both factors he feels are missing in large quantities throughout Africa and the Diaspora. What is impressive is that instead of just talking about the problems he also spends equal time discussing tangible and measurable solutions. DNA believes that there is an extremely important topic that seems to be neglected when discussing Africa and its development. That is that an overwhelming amount of natives that leave to go to foreign countries to learn new skills need to remember that they have a bigger obligation than just themselves, and put long term benefits over quick rewards by investing back into their native lands. I definitely agree that this area of discourse is not discussed as much as it should be.

One of the best parts of the talk for me was when Mr Ashong announced and explained the concept of a new reality TV show based on social responsibility. The unique show, which will be piloted on The Oprah Winfrey Show this summer, helps people deliver change within their society whilst teaching others to do the same. This is done by sending a production team to the successful candidates country and assisting them to make the change within 6 days. On the 7th day there will be a big party to celebrate the achievement and people from all over the world can tune in to watch the development live and interact . The great thing is that it empowers people of all ages and nationalities with the confidence to seek and deliver the change they want without having to solely rely on the government. Imagine extreme house makeover. Now, imagine extreme society makeover!

I left Parliament feeling very uplifted with an amazing sense of self-obligation that in order to change the things in society that i do not like i myself must stand up and do it. In the words of Derrick Ashong: "some of the changes we seek can be made by we the people."

This guy is definitely one to watch!!!

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Tomorrows Valentine

As I walk over the foot bridge from Waterloo's South Bank towards Charing Cross I see the sun setting before my eyes. Birds flutter around, and the water of the River Thames moves like that of a silk dress caressing the body of a woman.

Today, I envy the River Thames. The way the water comes and goes on its own clock. No apologies for its comings and goings. Free to do as it pleases, whilst I am a bystander looking on, a slave to this broken capitalist world.

South Bank has always been my favourite place in London. And as I glance back to see what I have left behind I see lovers entwined.

Today is St Valentines day and couples brazenly express their love. What would usually be a quick peck from a partner as he or she hurriedly goes about their business has today become a long and sensual kiss. What would usually be two married couples walking side by side, sullen and empty, has today sparked a furnace as Mr and Mrs now look lovingly in each others eyes, remembering all the emotions felt as if they were back at the early stages of courtship.

But what will tomorrow bring when that of a new one replaces today's sun? When the St Valentine shop display posters are replaced with Easter ones? When Mr postman comes on Monday bringing another reminder of an unpaid bill? When Monday mornings air brings with it last weeks problems? When life goes back to what it was before today stood still?

Will love still reign or will things just go back to being the same? One day set as a reminder, but will today's fire remain?

Friday, 13 February 2009

Alexandra Burke signs $3.5 record deal



X Factor winner Alexandra Burke has signed a $3.5m (£2.4m) US record deal, her spokeswoman has confirmed. Burke, 20, who became the first British female solo artist to sell a million copies in the UK of her debut single Hallelujah, has agreed the deal with Epic Records.

The singer is flying out to the US to meet Simon Cowell and the rest of the team who will help with her launch.
Burke's X Factor predecessor Leona Lewis also signed a huge US deal. She has been working with the man who discovered singer Whitney Houston. Clive Davis, 74, also mentored Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake.

In April 2008, Lewis became the first UK female solo artist to go straight to number one in the US album chart. Burke took the title on the fifth series of The X Factor, after previously auditioning but failing to get through to the live shows.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Alexandra Burke turns down Lionel Richie tour

Alexandra Burke has had to turn down an opportunity to support soul legend Lionel Richie in his up and coming UK March tour. If she had accepted this could have been the launch pad that she needed to catapult her to superstardom in the US. A source said: "Simon Cowell and all at her label Syco are determined to do what they did with Leona and shelter her away.

"They want Alexandra to be able to concentrate on making a brilliant album.

"Touring with Lionel would of course been a massive opportunity, but it's alot of work and stressful preparation for that sort of thing.

"Plus at the moment Alex does not have any real songs of her own.

"She'll be performing covers on the X-Factor tour but is itching to get on with original material."

I'm really looking forward to Alexandra's album. The UK has made a big come back in terms of
producing real musical talent that can compete against the states. I'm confident Alexandra will slot right in with the greatest.

Michelle Obama appears in Vogue

Michelle Obama is to appear in the March issue of Vogue. Dressed in a Jason Wu magneta silk sheath dress, Obama is the second first lady to appear on the cover (the first was Hillary Clinton) and has now officially cemented her position as the first lady of American fashion.

Jason Wu was also the designer of her inaugural lovely inaugural gown. I just love the Obama's. Michelle Obama is such a role model to women all over! I can't wait to read her interview. 

And so the plot thickens... Rihanna and Chris Brown



According to US weekly, Jay Z hit the roof after learning that Rihanna was assaulted by Chris Brown. Jay Z who is Rihanna's mentor and close friend, has vowed to get revenge if the allegations are proven true.  “He hit the roof. Chris is a walking dead man. He messed with the wrong crew,” the source says.

Kanye West spoke about the situation on Ryan Seacrest's 102.7 KIIS FM radio show. He said he is "devastated" by reports. "Rihanna has the potential to be the greatest artist of all time, in that sense, i feel like that's my baby sis and i would do anything and everything to help her out in any situation," said West. The rapper who has known Rihanna for several years, also said that what allegedly happened to Rihanna shouldn't happen to anyone. "It should never come to that place," he told Seacrest.

Rapper T.I pn Monday night said that he had spoken to Brown. Adding "He's cool, you know. He's a little concerned about the situation, but he's still the same Chris. I told him, 'this too shall pass'".

It has now been reported that Rihanna sustained multiple injuries in the attack, including contusions on either side of her forehead, a split lip, bloody nose and various bite marks on her person. According to police photos taken at the scene, there was also "serious swelling and bruising", as well as several bite marks on her arm and several fingers. Brown allegedly hit Rihanna so hard with his fists that she could barely open her eyes for the photos - they were swollen shut. The singer was treated and released for her injuries at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Sunday evening. According to E! news Rihanna also told police that Brown threatened to kill her and that Brown choked her till she was unconscious.

Reasons for the attack have yet to be confirmed by either Brown or Rihanna, but that has not stopped the rumour mill from churning!
Rumours range from Chris Brown flipping out after discovering he had contracted herpes from Rihanna who had supposedly contracted it from a famous rapper (Jay Z), to Rihanna flying in to a jealous rage after witnessing Brown flirting with Leona Lewis and Paris Hilton. 

However, law enforcement sources confirmed to TMZ that Chris Brown recieved a text message from a women whilst he was driving with Rihanna and that's what started the confrontation. Apparently the text message from the women was about the two of them hooking up later. 

Brown is already feeling the ramifications of his alledge actions. His "Got Milk" ad campaign will end this week. "The Milk Mustache campaign is taking the allegations against Chris Brown very seriously," the company said in a statement. "We are very proud and protective of the image of Milk Mustache campaign and the responsible message it sends to teens. Mr. Brown's ad was first launched last fall and is scheduled to end this week."

Also radio stations in cleveland, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis have pulled Brown's music in light of the abuse allegations. Radio host Java Joel of Cleveland's 96.5 WAKS-FM said he stopped airing the songs on Monday when outraged listeners called in to criticise Brown, according to the stations Web site.
Rihanna has cancelled her 21st Birthday which was due on February 20th. Rihanna was set to celebrate her birthday with a huge party in New York but it has now been called off. The 20 year old singer's agents also postponed gigs in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Neither Brown nor his representatives have made statements about the case. Rihanna's publicist said she is doing "well" and Rihanna's Grandmother told Barbados's Daily Nation "Rihanna is doing fine and she is doing well". Brown is due to appear in court on March 5th.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Chris Brown under investigation for domestic violence and battery

I could not believe it when i heard that Chris Brown had been arrested for domestic violence and battery charges. And although the female victim has yet to be identified i find it to be more than a coincidence that both Chris Brown and Rihannah were missing from the Grammy's where they had both been scheduled to perform.
I went to see Chris Brown at the O2 at the beginning of this year. When Rihannah made a surprise guest appearance the two looked so in love. I would never have guessed this but then looks can be deceiving.

So the story so far goes:

Los Angeles police responded to a 911 call reporting the disturbance at around 12.30am on Sunday morning. Mr Brown has already left the scene, but a woman with 'visible injuries' - who has not been named - identified him as her attacker.
A statement released by the LAPD said double Grammy-nominee Mr Brown and his alleged victim "became involved in an argument. After stopping his car, Brown and the woman got out and the argument escalated. The woman suffered visible injuries and identified Brown as her attacker."

Reports that Rihanna, 20, is the complainant have not been substantiated by police. Officer April Harding said: "The identity of the victim will not be released. Any victim who's involved in a domestic violence incident is entitled to confidentiality."
In a 2007 interview with Giant magazine, Chris Brown revealed that his mother had been physically abused by his stepfather."He used to hit my mom," the singer, told the magazine. "He made me terrified all the time, terrified like I had to pee on myself. I remember one night he made her nose bleed. I was crying and thinking, 'I'm just gonna go crazy on him one day . . . ' I hate him to this day."

     *********************************UPDATE********************************

Apparently Rihanna was spotted with Chris Brown AFTER the alleged attack. The pair were spotted at a gas station in L.A in Chris Browns rented Lamborghini and Rihanna was seen in the passengers seat.

As soon as paps spotted the couple, Brown quickly got back in the car and sped off. He even ran a red light in order to escape the shutterbugs.

Rihanna has neither confirmed or denied the attack and has stayed silent. According to several media outlets, Rihanna has no plans to file criminal assault and battery charges against Chris, although she is said to have bruises on her face and arm from the incident.
She told Grammy officials that her no-show was because she was caught up in an unspecified traffic problem, reports E! Online.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Noel Clarke Picks Up BAFTA Orange Rising Star Award

Noel Clarke, the director, writer and actor beat of stiff competition from Michael Cera, Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Hall and Toby Kebell to pick up the Rising Star Award at BAFTA. In a shout out to all those who have hopes and dreams he dedicated Obama's campaign slogan 'Yes We Can' before walking of stage.

I hope we get to see more British talent from all different walks of life rising up to fulfill their true potential. I'm behind Noel Clarke all the way and I'm sure we will be seeing much more great things to come from him.
Kate Winslet won a Leading Actress gong for The Reader, as Slumdog Millionaire won seven gongs including Best Film. I went to watch Slumdog and loved it for it's authenticity and gritty story telling. And the child actors/actress in the beginning were the cutest!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Carol Thatcher and The Golliwog


Carol Thatcher has been sacked from the BBC One show after a private conversation with BBC colleagues in the Green Room in which she described a tennis player at the Australian Open as a "Golliwog". As a result many have called in to complain about the BBC's 'harsh' reaction to Miss Thatcher and feel that the BBC has over reacted. You know, political correctness gone mad.

Sifting through the letters section of the Telegraph a lady stated: 

'Would Miss Thatcher have been sacked if she had referred to a white, woman celebrity as a "Barbie", a stereotypical depiction of a white western woman that some feminists find offensive'

In the Daily Mail a man remarked: 

'To me the worst kind of "Racist" is the one who looks for the offense in remarks where none were intended. They now infest public life, like a cancer. As an ex police officer, I am well aware of what drives the police service now. "Diversity" is now more important than serving the public and protecting the public. I often wonder how the ordinary Brit (if there are any left) will continue to put up with the mess of PC, Diversity, health and safety and all the over "isms". Time for a revolution!!!'

In order to understand the offense surrounding the term Golliwog we must understand its roots. The Golliwog has often been used as a negative caricature of Black people. At the time when the Golliwog was introduced in 1895 many parts of Africa and the Caribbean were under British colonial rule and just 30 years beforehand the legal end of slavery had been declared. However, Black people still suffered inhumane racism, prejudice and many were still treated as slaves and property.  The 1895 book, "The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwog" first describes the "Golliwog" as "a horrid sight, the blackest gnome". But later was known for being a friendly character and a suitable soft toy for children.

The lady i quoted earlier suggests that the Golliwog is on a similar par with the Barbie as if Barbie only makes white dolls. Unlike Barbie the Golliwog and the Minstrel character that came as a result were used to reinforce negative and racist images and attitudes of Black people worldwide. An actual toy or reference to a toy may seem harmless to those who are ignorant about its past. The sad thing is Thatchers remarks has revealed that many in England suffer severe doses of ignorance. When Prince Harry wore a swastika armband to a friends fancy dress party he was rightly chastised by the media and public alike. He accepted that it was wrong and in bad taste and issued a public apology.  Carol Thatcher issues a "dignified silence".

The ex policemen i quoted questions if there are any "ordinary Brits left" and feels that it "is time for a revolution" (scary talk, i wonder what he means by revolution). What Carol Thatcher said was insensitive, ignorant and showed a lack of history and compassion. However, the biggest shock is it has revealed that despite the 'multicultural' and 'diversity' rhetoric, many in England are unwilling to shake of the negative aspects of British history and move forward to an era of racial tolerance and respect. Although we have come so far it has been shown that we have much further to go.

The fact is that many in England are showing that they have not yet woken up to the the fact that colonialism is long over and we live in an era of globalisation where in order to survive we must work with different people and learn to respect different cultures. Referring to someone as a Golliwog even in private is unacceptable regardless, even more so when it is the child of an ex Prime Minister who should know better and the BBC for once acted accordingly in removing her from her role. 

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Kiss 100, Casio and Funk Physics Join Forces with Fresh Blood Talent 2009

Kiss 100 has just announced that they will host and be the sponsors of Fresh Blood, the only talent showcase in the UK that has a categories in dancing, singing, cultural acts and musical instruments. The public has 100% involvement in the outcome of the winner by texting to vote for their best performer. 

Fresh Blood is in its second year and will take place on Saturday 14th March 2009 at the Unicorn Theatre, Tooley Street, London, SE1 2HZ and is an initiative raised by Student Events UK (SEUK) a community interest Company. 

The 2008 show was hosted by Choice FM and SEUK and saw over 200 young people audition in singing, dancing and acoustic categories. Lucy Ambache, Choice FM Breakfast Presenter stated: 'This was the most organised event i've worked on in ages'.

As a follow up to Fresh Blood Talent Showcase, there will be a blood donation day taking place at University of Greenwhich (Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, SE10 9LS).

To get tickets or to find out more information call: 07810100800, 07897477749 or 07949153403. Alternatively check out www.studenteventsuk.com or email info@studenteventsuk.com.

THIS IS AN EVENT NOT TO BE MISSED!!!!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Barack Obama - Ben's Chilli Bowl

So i was browsing on You Tube and came across this clip of Obama visiting Ben's Chilli Bowl in Washington DC and it had me reminiscing so i thought i'd put some pics up.


                                                    Me Inside the Kitchen of Ben's Chilli Bowl
The que to get into Ben's Chili Bowl

Checking out other famous people who have visited
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