Friday, 29 May 2009

Fashion: An Exclusive Interview With Uber Model -Belinda Baidoo.

“In 2005, I organized a fashion show in New York to raise money for the orphanage in Ghana. This is something that I will like to do every year in Ghana or when I'm out of the country. But I can not do it alone I need help from my people to do this. We need to learn to work together and do something good to help your own" country.” Belinda Baidoo

“The first day I saw my face at Time Square. It was a job I did for Motorola, -and it was up there for almost two years.” Belinda Baidoo

I remember the first time I saw, Belinda Baidoo -her beauty, the colour of her skin and of course that beautiful Akan mark, -and I couldn't believe it. I screamed with joy and called all my Ghanaian sisters -because (I am sure you'll agree with me) -we really didn't have any representation before Belinda Baidoo. I stumbled across our Belinda on, 'Nevs Model Agency' website -whilst researching (some much needed information) for my own model agency (othermodels). Unfortunately, -even though, I had some success with othermodels, -I didn't have the resources to truly take on the mainstream model agencies -and things fell apart. But that experience, and my time at various magazines -have taught me that the world of modelling (the whole fashion Industry) is not easy, -that's why I respect and admire Belinda and other models of colour. I am very excited about this tête tête with the gorgeous Belinda Baidoo. Enjoy.................x

GR: Hello Belinda, how are you?
BB: I'm fine missy, how are you?

GR: Wonderful thanks. It's so lovely to finally catch up with you Belinda. What are you up to?
BB: Work, work, work. I have been in Ghana for the past four months to open a model agency called b2models. And to spend some time with my family as well; [that's very important for me] because I don't get to see them very often. I start my day; by having a cup of tea in the morning, watch the news, - do some yoga, -then go to the office.

GR: I visited your website: and was shocked to see -not you, but Kenya from ANT -there. Of course, on closer inspection -it became clear that the beautiful photograph is part of your portfolio. When did you became a photographer -and does it mean that you have now retried from modelling?
BB: No I have not retried from modelling. I still work as a model from Monday to Friday. Living in New York, -you don't do only one thing. Kenya is a friend of mine. She did me a favour by letting me take some pictures of her. I like taking pictures. I always have my camera on me, - you never know what you may come across.

GR: are a busy women. What do you do on your days off?
BB: I go to the gym; clean my apartment, go to the farmer's market, -spend some time with friends, come home, -and read.

GR: How did you get started in modelling -and do you still get a buzz from it?
BB: I won a competition here in Ghana called TOP MODEL OF AFRIQUE in 1998. That's how I got into the modelling world, -and it changed my life.

GR: What has been your most memorable modelling experience thus far?
BB: The first day I saw my face at Time Square. It was a job I did for Motorola, -and it was up there for almost two years.

GR: Wow Time Square, that's amazing. Do you hang out with other models -if so, which ones and which of your fellow models do you admire -the most?
BB: Yes I do hang out models. Most of my friends are models from all over the world. I admire Grace jones.

GR: I love your style -how would you describe your look?
BB: You know, I live at east village in New York, - and that area is the coolest place to live in New York City. So I think the area's got a lot to do with the way I dress or look. I try to be very simple, easy, funky and cool at the same time.

GR: Who are your favourite designers and what item can you not live without?
BB: Armani, Miguel Adrover, Jenny Packman, Jeremy Scott, Proenza Schouler, Tracy Reese, Martin Margiela, Miu Miu, Rick Owens, Kofi Ashan, Chanel and Marc Jacobs.

GR: You are beautiful, with flawless skin -what is your secret?
BB: I use all natural things, -from the food I eat, - to the products that I use for my face and body.I use olive oil a lot for my hair, body and face. The one thing I can not live with out -is my Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Swivel Stick, -I always have that in my make-up bag. I also use Bobbi Brown and Chanel make-up

GR: Who does your hair, your nails and do you go to the gym?
BB: Yes I go to the gym three to four time a week. My hair is done by my friends [for me most of the time] when am not working. Because when I'm on a shoot working, - there's always a different hair and make-up person.

GR: On to more serious stuff, -what are your hopes and dreams for Ghana?
BB: My hope for Ghana, - is for us to be on an international level when it come to modelling. Because for a long time, I was the only Ghanaian model working internationally and doing all of the big shows. I use to tell people that I'm Ghanaian when they ask me where I'm from, -and they didn't believe me. They are not use to seeing models from Ghana so that's one of the reasons that I came back to Ghana to open a model agency call

GR: Can you tell us about your Charity?
BB: In 2005, I organized a fashion show in New York to raise money for the orphanage in Ghana. This is something that I will like to do every year in Ghana or when I'm out of the country. But I can not do it alone I need help from my people to do this. We need to learn to work together and do something good to help your own country.

GR: Ghana Rising agrees with Belinda and hopes that we can all work together -to create a better Ghana. Thank you gorgeous. God Bless all your dreams Belinda...............
BB:Thank you.

Belinda's new Model Agency can be viewed at:
The End..........................xx

Some of Belinda Baidoo's favourite things..

Belinda has incredible style -and this black leather waistcoat top and green zip-up skirt combo from Proenza Schouler S/S 09 Collection -will look rock'n'roll on her: And this sexy 80's white dress with a sweetheart neckline from Tracy Reese S/S 09 Collection will look fabulous against Belinda's beautiful skin.

Belinda knows her stuff. And, after years of working with the best make-up artists and hair stylists -you know she is onto a good thing with her love of Olive oil. And Belinda is right because scientists have uncovered -olive oil as, 'a new weapon in the fight against skin cancer' and olive oil is also rumoured to be the secret to Sophia Lauren's ageless skin -and it has also been proven to cure dry skin and eczema.

I love L'Occitane's Organic Olive Radiant Cleansing Foam.It's kind and gentle -andit will leave your skin baby soft (£12.75) Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Swivel Stick, will help keep your lips in check:
Bobbi Brown's Sheer Color Gloss Lip Glosses (£13.70) in Popside is perfect for a natural look and Bobbi Brown's Pastel Eye Shadow Palette offer pretty and funky eye popping colours in shimmering metallics -for your eyes: For poptastic toes this summer – any colour from Chanel's LE VERNIS nail colour range will do. I especially love this gold one -and Chanel's Precious Bronzing Loose is a coppery shimmering powder - for the face, shoulders and décolleté -it will make your skin glow.

Black Star: Tawiah

Listening to Tawiah performing the soulful, 'With Every Step' (above), -live via YouTube, -gives me goose bumps. What a voice? An alumna of the infamous, 'Brit School Preforming Academy' -a breeding ground for talent (it counts Kate Nash, Amy Winehouse and Adele as past pupils). Tawiah has been singing for ever, -she sung back up for Corinne Bailey Rae and The Guillemots -but things really exploded when Tawiah caught the attention of producer Mark Ronson (she ended up touring with him as part of his live band act). Tawiah's voice is a dream. Poetics, smooth, nu-rave, soultastic and relevant -Tawiah is about to blow up. What can I say's a London thing.........................xx

Food: Clarke Peters loves Akara

“I'd start with a salad from Whole foods and then I'd move on to akara, an African dish that's like falafel but with with black peas”.

“The Whole Food salad bar on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica, LA, is also one of my favourites. For breakfast, I love the vegetarian omelette at Café Flour-de-Lis in New Orleans, and they also do a good blueberry waffle on Thursday afternoons, meditation centre Global Co-operation house in NW10 does divine lunches. And I have to mention my in-laws in Ghana: Uncle Jimmy and his wife Rachel. She makes akara like no other.”

The American actor Clarke Peters (best known for his role as Lester Freamon in The Wire and the author of Jazz Musical -Five Guys Named Moe) on his last super -and his favourite places to eat around the world...

Luckie Lawson and Yvonne Nelson

I have just stumbled across this lovely picture of Luckie Lawson and Yvonne Nelson -and I just had to share it. They both look so gorgeous and were at the premier of Yvonne Nelson's -latest movie, The King Is Mine l

My so called life: The ever changing face(s) of Lil Kim....

If you're a 'lover' and not a 'hater' -you'll see these photographs of Lil Kim and not laugh but - feel for her deeply. You don't have to be deep or 'conscious' to know, -there are some serious pressures on all women to look beautiful at all times and even more so -on the black female. And if for some reason (not feeling loved, no fathers love, no mothers love, no self love, no self worth -or you are told your too dark, or your nose is too big or flat, or we want someone lighter etc) -then you feel the pressures more. Lil Kim's metamorphosis show all the signs of a lady trying to find herself (like all of us); -but unlike the rest of us, -bless her, -it's been catalogued on the 'world's stage' for public consumption. And that can not be easy. I pray LOVE into her every being and -pray that the beauty (and incredible journey) of SELF LOVE and CONTENTMENT find Lil Kim before we have another unfortunate case of, 'Michael Jackson-ism'. May she be all -she wants to be.....................xx

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Website: kiva -'Empowering The Poor'

“Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.” kiva

“The people you see on Kiva's site are real individuals in need of funding - not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs' profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can re lend to someone else in need” kiva

I truly love -the Kiva philosophy. Kiva [it means "unity" in Swahili] is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website. It empowers individuals to lend directly to entrepreneurs around the globe. Many of Kiva's borrowers are fellow Ghanaian brothers and sisters like our brother, Cosmos A. -He is, “29 years old. He is married and the father of two kids age four and one. He lives with his family in their own house at Goaso, a farming community in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana, where most of the inhabitants are farmers. Cosmos operates a pharmaceutical shop in his neighbourhood and sells various kinds of medicine like blood tonic, pain killers, malaria drugs etc. He requests a loan to top up his working capital so he can purchase more medicine to serve his community and, in the process, raise more income to support his family.”. Or our sister Asana A. She is, “forty-four years of age. She is married and has given birth to five children, one daughter and four sons. Some of her children are in the senior high school while others are in the junior high and the primary schools. She lives with her husband and children in a family house in a very busy commercial town called Goaso in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. Asana is a trader. She sells maize. She buys bags of maize from nearby farming communities and sells in the community market. She supplies maize to food vendors in her community and also treks to other towns to sell. Asana has been in business for over twenty years and wants a loan to buy bags of maize in bulk. She hopes to expand her business and increase her profit margin so she can help her husband provide for their family.”

You will also find other worthwhile borrowers from across the globe. From the Philippines, -to Nigeria; Uganda, Tajikistan, Peru, Azerbaijan etc -you [the lender] can browse through the profiles of entrepreneurs in need, and choose someone to lend to. When you lend; using PayPal or a credit card, Kiva collects the funds and then passes them along to one of Kiva's micro-finance partners worldwide. From there -these partners distribute the loan funds to your selected entrepreneur. Over time, the entrepreneur repays their loan. Repayment and other updates are posted on Kiva and emailed to lenders who wish to receive them. When lenders get their money back, they can re-lend to someone else in need. For more information or to donate please visit:

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Black Star: Josephine Amankwah

Opera singer Josephine Amankwah's exquisite mezzo-soprano voice -will have you spellbound. Elegant and graceful -Josephine is a seasoned and accomplished, -energetic star of the,- stage, television, film and -concert halls. Her haunting, syrupy, -part 'nightingale' and part sassy -voice is layered and captivating. And having experienced critical acclaim in classical music recital, musical theatre and television spheres, has gone on to write and direct 'Let My People Go', a production for Third Dimension Productions”. More than an entertainer -this artist/producer's talents is beyond Opera/music -she is a Ghanaian treasure. For more information -please visit:

Culture: Akan Cultural Symbols by Dr. George F. Kojo Arthur

Ohene ko hia -The king is gone to the harem.

M'akoma mu tofe -My sweetheart

My Hands are Blessed

High Society

Huhuuhu nye me hu - Rumors do not scare me

Nea kyiniie si ne so ne ohene -He who has umbrella over his head is the king.

Obakofo mmu oman -One person does not rule a nation.

Sika tu se anommaa -Money flies like a bird

Suukuu nko na nyansa nko -Attending school does not mean that one would be wise.

Dea emmaa da eno ne dea yennhunu na yennte bi da -What is novel is what we have not seen and heard before.

Can you tell what the pink cloth [above] is called -from its symbols? Nor can I. Read, Dr.George F. Kojo Arthur's extensive work about our, Adinkra, Kente, Kente Motifs, Wax & Non Wax Prints, Asafo Flags and Akunintam cloths -and their symbolic meanings -as part of his 'Akan Cultural Symbols Project' -and order his exciting book on the above subject called, 'Cloth As Metaphor' -( cataloguing over 700 Adinkra symbols, their variations and discuses the various themes encoded in the texts of proverbs, aphorisms and other verbal expressions related to these symbols) -from: