Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Samini wins at the oh so Political ‘MAMAS’

Congratulations to ‘our’ Samini who won Best Performer at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2009. Personally I find this Award Ceremony far too political to be taken seriously -but I’m very pleased that our Samini is getting the recognition he sooo rightly deserves. I might start taking the MAMAS more seriously when: Ghanaian, Congolese and Ivorian Artists are taken more seriously –but off cause this won’t happen, –as the people behind this organization all belong to one country and thus – only have one agenda. What a shame that MTV would lend their name to this!!! –and further perpetuate and encourage these poor deluded people behind the MAMAS... xx

The spirit: T.D. Jakes 5 People In Your Life

Credit: Source: www.youtube.com

The truth is always the truth -and should always set you free! xx

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Sally Kanbonaba Kleyn: The Queen Bee of the 'winning-woman-of-Africa-ca-ca'

“In 1997, Sally’s strong desire to become a top notch in Arts and Theater performance, made her travel to Europe, precisely Switzerland, a country famous for its first class banking and good standard of living in the world. TRAINING IN SWITZERLAND By the end of 1997, Sally Kanbonaba, chalked another success, she graduated from Lugarno; the world’s famous dancing school as a professional dancer.” Sally Kanbonaba Kleyn www.montecarloghana.com

I remember running away to Zurich (Switzerland) a hundred years ago –to get over a broken heart and stumbling across the world of wannabe 'winning-woman-of-Africa-ca-ca’. I had gone to chill-out with a family friend [I will call her Jan] –and was so disappointed to find this [very] beautiful sister stressed and joyless [and even though she was the life and soul of the party in London; –in Zurich, she was positively cold –stone cold]. Thankful she decided to introduce me to some of her friends –and one of the ladies happened to be her hairdresser [let’s call her Cinthy].

Cinthy -it transpired was the beginning and the end of ‘Black Switzerland’. The first black woman to have her own hairdressers in the centre of Zurich’s chichi fashion district [no small feat ooO], – my fellow Ghanaian sister had the type of contacts, the Mafia would be jealous of. And what Cinthy didn’t know about the good people of Zurich –wasn’t worth knowing. As her salon was the only Hot black hairdressers, –she was privy to ‘gosssssssip-p-p [the type, the Bible warns you about] and did not spare me -any details. I spent the last week and a half in her salon –and there was never a dull moment. In those days Zurich was all about Ghanaian; Cameroonian, Nigerian and Senegalese women [and a handful of Costa Rican and Brazilian ladies] –and fierce ‘Third World’ ambition….

Fabulous days filled with ‘Hot African Gossip’ [there’s no gossip quiet like African gossip -folks] –and nights spent in clubs like, The Petite Prince –and bars like the Rex [a cigar bar] – have all left an indelible mark. I remember sitting in sister Cinthy’s salon one hot afternoon –and watching in awe as an uber skinny Cameroonian woman [nobody eats in Zurich] –jumped out of her turbo [4x4] –and walk into the salon [catlike] in all her ‘I-am-in-Europe’ glory [all tight polyester top and trouser combo] –carrying a large leather travel bag. With her 'winning-woman-of-Africa-ca-ca' beauty [paid for red skin, big weave-on, ‘God-will-see-me-through’ nails and ‘mummy-needs-medicine’ red lipstick etc], - she walked into the salon [African stylee], -crouched on the floor and emptied the bag – creating a mountain out of fresh, crisp Swiss notes [no coins for this cat!]. Well I never! In her broken Franglais she told her story [I was the only one who didn’t understand] -and the rest of the women smiled [and what a sight, because apart from Cinthy -none of the other sisters smiled]. Some time later Cinthy explained that our uber thin sister [you alone be winner ooOO] had paid a visit to her [special] friend [all special friends in Zurich are old white men] –and he had given her some money to go shopping [nudge, nudge, wink, wink] –and thus my lessons in the workings of the wannabe 'winning-woman-of-Africa-ca-ca' had begun. But it was not all about special friends; –the sisters, Cinthy and I -had some serious fun.

I have fond memories of myself, Cinthy and some of the others dancing in one hot night club –and an old [white] gentleman coming up to dance with me, –and me giving him the ‘please-leave-me-alone’ look. –And Cinthy and the others scolding me, -telling me to be a “clever girl” and “dance with him” –and “didn’t I know -he was a rich man”! –Of course I’m older now –and sometimes I wish I had danced with that old man [hehehee] –but back then, as a British born Ghanaian gal, –I had none of their needs. I didn’t have to send money back home; I didn’t have to pay school fees, or buy medicine or feed an entire family… and I sooo didn’t need ‘anybody’ to save me [well not then, and certainly not an old white men]. I did meet a very wealthy young Jewish guy who –later became a bit more than a friend but that’s another story –for another time [heheheehe].

I have on a number of occasions wondered what would have happened if I had become that ‘clever girl’ -Cinthy and the others wanted me to be! Would I have my own magazine -now? And it was whilst I was pondering this very question last week, -that I stumbled across the latest photographs of Sally Kanbonaba Kleyn –and I just had to celebrate her.

Sally Kanbonaba Kleyn is fierce! -And if Madame Chantel Biya is the ‘First lady’ of ‘winning-woman-of-Africa-ca-ca' –then Sally Kanbonaba Kleyn is the Queen Bee of 'winning-woman-of-Africa-ca-ca' [please refer to past post about Madame Chantel Biya].

Sally Kanbonaba Kleyn is a formidable, focused and ambitious lady. With her ‘winning-woman-of-Africa-ca-ca' beauty; her ‘I-can-afford’ dress sense, -Sally Kanbonaba Kleyn is the very embodiment of Queen Bee of 'winning-woman-of-Africa-ca-ca'. Sally lived for some time in Switzerland, –and I provably bumped into her -on a number of occasions on my many nights out in Zurich [because after my first trip –I went back and forth for years [staying for months at a time with my ‘new’ friends, –dossing about as we put it in north London] but like all ‘winning-woman-of-Africa-ca-ca' she doesn’t have a past.

As a business wow-man, Sally owns a fashion boutique, a restaurant and of course, -the infamous ‘Monte Carlo’ Night Club in Accra, Ghana, West Africa -and yes, the name of the night club says it all, -sister Sally and her husband also reside in Monte Carlo. Sally Kanbonaba Kleyn is part of the ‘I-can-afford’ classes of Ghana. And even though she has the ubiquitous European name of the Ghanaian upper-class [i.e. Casely-Hayford, Spio-Garbrah, DeGraft-Johnson etc] Kleyn I’m afraid is not one of them. No, -Africa’s Queen Bee de jour is very much part of the nouveau riche, the new ‘what-is-happening-to-Ghana/Nigeria/Senegal’ class. Our Sally; does, wears, says whatever she wants –because unlike ordinary women in Africa –the ‘winning-women-of-Africa-ca-ca' are in a class of their own. And even though our sally might have the ubiquitous European husband, the humble beginnings [our Sally hails from northern Ghana, the driest, poorest and most deserted part of the country] and dresses the part [how do these women manage to make designer dresses look like that?] –Sally, like Madame Chantel Biya is a winner, -the winner of all winners.

*Note, if you were privy to Sally Kanbonaba Kleyn’s story, -you too would marvel at her triumph. You too would wonder how in the name of fashion -did a young Sally manage to leave Ghana, –travel to Switzerland as her, “strong desire to become a top notch in Arts and Theater performance, made her travel to Europe, precisely Switzerland, a country famous for its first class banking and good standard of living in the world” etc. -Yes we must celebrate her! We must celebrate Sally as she continues to shock conservative Ghana [a country full of ‘butterflies and Peacocks] –with her wealth; her vast array of cars [a Hummer, Range Rover, Mercedes, an Escalate and counting] and her love of all things expensive,” "unfortunately or fortunately I developed very expensive taste for fashion. Everything to do with things around me, from furniture to clothes is authentic and expensive,” –including her love for Christian Dior, Gucci, and Roberto Cavalli et al.

Personally, I love Sally Kanbonaba Kleyn [we both have an ‘ex Holland friend’ in common]. I am excited by her ambition. Her need to win, her need to give back to the people [she has, “adopted a maternity ward at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital where I have relieved some of the mothers who are not able to pay their medical bills”] and her need to be at the forefront of Ghana"s hospitality industry – helping to promoting tourism in Ghana. You go girl xx

Thursday, 8 October 2009

'Finding Your Feet Charity Fashion Show' for The Diana Award

The 'Finding Your Feet Charity Fashion Show' is only three weeks away -yippee! Showcasing the work of 14 new innovative fashion designers –at top celebrity nightclub, Movida -it promises to be a yummy night of; celebrities, press, raffles, an auction, -and fundraising for The Diana Award. Buy your tickets now!!! xxx

p.s I'm the head stylists so support your girl.....xx

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Music: Okomfo Kwadee is back oOOO

I am sooo happy -'our' Kwadee's back [and on top form]...Kwadee silenced those [insanity] rumours on his comeback concert to launch his new album entitled 'Mea Me Nie' -at the Accra Conference Centre on October 3rd; -supported by some of Hiplifes heavy weights -including; Samini, Okyeame Kwame,Kwaw Kesse, Mad Fish and Ayibge Edem. He looked happy and in control -praise God. And I can't wait for his concert [I might fly back home to attend!!] I would also like to thank the wonderful Ameyaw Debrah for the film clips [above] -he continues to be at the very cutting edge of Ghanaian Entertainment News [and we are thankful...because how else would we in the diaspora -know what is really going on in Ghana]...Kudos xx

Monday, 5 October 2009

It's official -Ghana is the sweetest country on Earth....

Zingolo is the first single from Glass and a Half Full Records. Ghana is the heart of Cadbury Dairy Milks Fairtrade Cocoa and so the track celebrates all things Ghanaian; its people, its rappers, its dancers, its culture and, of course, its cocoa beans.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Home: Adinkra Ceramic Vases

"Meaningful functional art from Ghana .....These beautiful handcrafted ceramic vases incorporate the West African symbol system known as Adinkra. Used to decorate ceremonial cloth, Adinkra symbols have become a popular icon of West African style around the globe." www.swahili-imports.com

I am loving these Adinkra Ceramic Vases from, 'Swahili-Imports' -they are perfect for any setting and would look good with uber sleek Bamboo sticks. Each triangular vase includes the following symbols: DEKYEM, a symbol of adaptability, NKYINKYIM, a symbol of initiative, dynamism and versatility and KWATAKYE ATIKO, a symbol of bravery and valor. Available in three sizes, -they work perfectly [displayed] alone or in a grouping. Price starts from $45.00 www.swahili-imports.com

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Black Star: Rosalind Kainyah [Director of Public Affairs: De Beers Inc. USA]

[Rosalind Kainyah (left) Dr. Ronald L. Carter (center) and Sheila Khana (right) Photo by Calvin Ferguson]..

Rosalind Kainyah is an inspiration. She joined the De Beers Group in 2002 as Corporate and Commercial Legal Counsel at the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) [the Group’s subsidiary responsible for the sale and distribution of rough diamonds]; appointed Executive Director of Corporate Communications at DTC in July 2004 -and is at present their Director of Public Affairs [a role that represent the interests of the De Beers family of companies in the United States].

Prior to De Beers, Rosalind spent six years, from 1993 to 1999, as an international environmental lawyer, engaged by international and national organizations and institutions to advise governments on environmental policy and legislation, by the Anglo American Corporation of South Africa, as its Environmental Counsel. From 1999 till 2002, she was a corporate lawyer at Linklaters, one of the magic circle (top five) law firms in the United Kingdom.

Rosalind overseas the economic growth objectives of the countries in which De Beers operates; notably the need to ensure that the natural resources of these countries are turned into shared national wealth; and the continuing international fight against HIV/AIDS. As part of this role, she focuses on engagement with representatives of the US Congress and the administration; multilateral agencies; civil society; the media; and other sources of influence in the US, on the role of business in Africa’s broader socio-economic development, using insights and lessons from De Beers’ experience.

Rosalind was educated in Ghana, West Africa and in England. She has a degree in English from the University of Ghana; Bachelor of Laws and Masters in Law degrees from the University of London; and is a member of the Bar of England and Wales. She is a member of G50, a self-help African business group based in London, consisting of African professionals focused on the repatriation of financial and intellectual capital to the Continent. She also serves as a trustee on the board of The Africa America Institute and on the board of Jewelers for Children.

Black Star: Dr Charlie Easmon

I am loving the buzz about Dr Charlie Easmon. Enjoy the following piece by Rebecca Taylor for Time Out magazine -it will inspire you...

London lives: the Ghanaian doctor

Charlie Easmon‘s great grandfather was one of London‘s first black doctors; his father, also a doctor, set up a medical school back in Ghana. Now he‘s followed in their footsteps with his own Harley Street practice....Kitted out in formal Victorian top hat and tails, Dr John Ferrel Easmon stares out from a black-and-white photo that shows his graduation from University College Hospital, Bloomsbury, in 1879. There is nothing unusual about this photo – apart from the fact Dr Easmon is black. ‘We think he was probably the first black doctor at UCH,’ says 45-year-old Charlie Easmon, Ferrel Easmon’s great grandson, and himself a doctor in Harley Street where he set up his own practice in 2002.
Born in Sekondi in Ghana in 1961, Easmon,who now lives in Clapham with his Scottish wife and six-year-old son Byron, comes from a distinguished line of Ghanaian doctors – after his great grandfather, his father was the second African to become a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, returning to Ghana to set up a medical school. His parents separated soon after he was born and when Easmon was two years old he left Ghana with his mother, a nurse, who hoped to find work in Scotland (a common destination for Ghanaian nurses at the time). He was eventually sent to a Catholic boarding school in Dorset – the only black child out of 300 students – ‘it helped to develop my survival tactics,’ he says, ruefully. After this, he took up medicine at St George’s medical school in Tooting in 1979.
Easmon has vivid memories of being a student in south London in the early 1980s: ‘It was the real Wolfie Smith “Rooting for Tooting” era. I had a great time. We had fabulous parties. I was getting into punk and then the New Romantics and it didn’t matter if you were black, white, green, pink or yellow.’ He formed a (Bowie-inspired) band called The Drooges, and fondly remembers nights at the infamous Blitz club kitted out with sprayed silver hair. ‘I remember one night coming home from a party. I was really dressed up and sporting a lovely pair of Bowie tights. But I realised I had forgotten my key and had to walk back to the hospital where I’d left it. I walked across this rough council estate and a couple of skinheads started walking towards me. I thought: Oh no, this is trouble but I looked straight at them and said “Evening guys”, and they just nodded and walked by. I think they were so stunned to see a black guy in tights and sparkly hair they thought it was probably better to leave me alone.’
The ’80s was also a time of great upheaval in the black community, with the riots in Brixton and Broadwater Farm. Although he wasn’t politically active, Easmon remembers that London was a very different place back then if you were black. ‘I remember one day around 1981, going with my friend Milton to a pub in Hampstead. As soon as we stepped in the door the pub literally came to a standstill. You could hear a pin drop.’ He insists things have changed now.

Ghanaians had traditionally been part of the transient community of sailors around Docklands while, more recently, they have fled political oppression. However, the last decade has seen stability in his country of birth, making it possible for political refugees to come and go. Today, Ghanaians live across the whole of London, with concentrations around Dalston, Brixton and Lewisham. Easmon retains few Ghanaian traditions now, but he still has to respect his elders. ‘Any older relative we have to call “uncle” or “aunt”. Even when I got to the age of 30 and asked them if I could call them by their first name, I was told no! You must show respect to your elders and can’t argue back to them about things – even if they’re wrong.’
He mostly sees other Ghanaians at family events such as weddings, which are big celebrations. ‘There’s the highlife music [one of the oldest African dance music styles]; men drink whisky and the women dress fabulously.’ And of course there’s the food. Easmon’s favourite fare includes jollof rice (an orange-flavoured rice cooked with tomato sauce and vegetables), red-red (fried plantain and bean sauce), and peanut stew. He particularly recommends the Gold Coast restaurant in South Norwood, which does a mean chichinga (type of kebab).
Easmon has returned to Ghana once, in 1983 and a period of work doing medical evacuations has taken him to other African countries – including a flying visit to Nairobi where he treated a man who had been gored by an elephant. In 1996 he also helped set up a refugee camp in Rwanda. ‘It was one of the most worthwhile things I’ve done.’

These days, although his efforts are concentrated on his Harley Street practice, Easmon is keen to retain his Ghanaian roots. ‘We’d like Byron to be aware of both sides of his heritage. I’d like to take him to visit Ghana one day.’

[credit TimeOut Title: London lives: the Ghanaian doctor By Rebecca Taylor Date: Mon Sep 18 2006]

i-D September 2009 cover...styled by Edward Enninful

I love this film clip -it features the photo shoot for the i-D September 2009 Cover -styled by Edward Enninful [the Fashion Director of i-D Magazine]...The shoots stars uber models -Sessilee, Arlenis, Chanel & Jourdan as the 'Pretty Young Things'. Kudos Edward xx

Support Akua Boateng aka AKUIYAH to win Open MIC Competition UK 2009

Akua Konama-Boateng aka AKUIYAH is a gorgeous and talented R&B singer who is competing for a place in the National Final at the Open Mic UK 2009 auditions [for the chance to win a break through recording contract]. This South London based artist has been singing and writing her own songs for 6 years -and has produces some of her music -and is now gigging. Support Akua by voting for her at the Regional Final -which will be taking place on Sunday 11th October at Beck Theatre. The show starts at 1.15pm and the tickets cost £7.50. If you are interested in tickets -or want more information on the show please contact Akua via her Facebook page or email: akuakboateng@yahoo.col.uk

To show your support please join Akua's Facebook Support Group.

For more information about Akua Boateng or to listen to her sweet soul music please visit: www.myspace.com/akuiyah

Thanks xx

Edward Enninful in 'The September Issue'

The September Issue is about the inner workings of the september 2007 issue of American Vogue!! I love Anna Wintour [she is living my life. Give it back Anna hehehe] and off cause there is a lovely little scene with one of best Fashion stylist of all times [ and my very favourite] -our very own Edward Enninful. The scene is soo funny [I love that brother]....xx

Fashion: Casely-Hayford A/W 09

I'm loving the Casely-Hayford A/W 09 Collection [above]. A collaboration between Savile Row guru, Joe Casely-Hayford and his [seriously gorgeous] son Charlie; -the collection is a yummy mixture of strong directional suits; rich quality materials [velvet and cashmere] and the whimsical -creating a very 'English' dandy-esque, -007 feel. As you would expect -with Joe's Savile Row background, -the craftsmanship is exquisite and each design is made to last. For more information about the Casely-Hayford A/W 09 Collection please visit: www.casely-hayford.com

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Business: 'Believe Begin Become' -Business Plan Competition

"Believe Begin Become is designed and managed by TechnoServe and funded by the Google Foundation and Ghana’s private sector. Our aim is to help you grow your businesses into successful, self-sustaining companies that create jobs, revenue and wealth. We bring a vast network of business and financial services and experts to the table as consultants, trainers, judges and sponsors. Together we are contributing to the growth of Ghana’s private sector and you could be a winner this year." www.believe-begin-become.com

Since Sheila Ocansey won the, 'Believe Begin Become' competition in 2007 -this wonderful business plan competition/opportunity has gone from strength to strength. 'Believe Begin Become' is a business plan competition (BPC) developed by TechnoServe to support and grow new businesses in Africa. It is an incentivize, practical training and business development program to help entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into fund-able and implementable business plans. The program is currently being run in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Swaziland. Rated by The Financial Times -as one of the top five NGOs for corporate partnerships, -TechnoServe’ is a powerful organization that works with private and Public partners [like; The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google.org, Microsoft, Lenovo, Standard Bank, The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Cargill] -to provide; education, financial support and programs that transform lives in a Sustainable way [helping our people to break free from poverty through entrepreneurship]. This year TechnoServe and the Google.org -joined forces again to bring this dynamic competition to 20 budding entrepreneurs in Ghana.
If you have a creative business proposal, an entrepreneurial drive and the willingness to work hard -to turn your business in a success -and become apart of Ghana economic growth -then why not apply for next year's 'Believe Begin Become' competition. For more information please visit www.believe-begin-become.com or email ghanabpc@tnsgh.org or call Katherine Pasternak at 021 773875/024 4322524 or Shika Acolatse at 021 763675/024 4623772.

Vote for Tinchy Stryder to win 'Best UK and Ireland New Act' at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2009.

I'm listening to 'Never Leave You' featuring Amelle [Sugababes] from the Catch 22 Album and I love it. That Tinchy Stryder is sooo talented. Ghanaian born and East London-based -Tinchy has scored two consecutive top 3 hits, supported Akon and N-Dubz on sell-out arena tours, has upcoming [sold out] shows, a flourishing merchandise line and has been nominated for, 'Best UK and Ireland New Act' at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2009. To vote for Tinchy Stryder to win 'Best UK and Ireland New Act' at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2009 please visit: http://ema.mtv.co.uk/vote

Dizzee Rascal expressing himself at the GQ Awards...

I think Kate handled herself very well -and Dizzee [Dylan Kwabena Mills] was just being himself......so why can't I stop watching this clip? x