Monday, December 29, 2008

City Blues

A street once full of life, and
a whole lot of activities
on the store fronts with busy sidewalks
and pedestrians excited sightseeing
and window shopping;
bargaining for items in a bouyant economy
economy takes a downturn
and low turnout of events
lay-offs a commonplace, and
traders lose points
market slows down,
customers gone and stores emptied
going out of business on every booth
customers vacate the sidewalks
on a dead economy

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The New York Times On Foreign Priests

Laurie Goodstein, the religion reporter at The New York Times, has begun what promises to be a fascinating series on the surge in "foreign" priests here in the United States. There are probably few parishes in the States who have not been touched by this underreported phenomenon, and few Catholics who haven't wondered exactly how Father from Nigeria or Father from India made his way to our suburban parish. READ FULL STORY>>>

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Turmoil Christmas

All 'has' been well
a great expectation, and
good Christmas
coming with good spirit

Shopping spree and happiness
and all the gifts
Christmas Carrol
a one family

Celebrations and jubilations
joyous festivities
good feelings,

Not anymore
depression has set in
the joy is gone
gains and treasures gone

A miserable life
frustrations and loneliness
hopelessness and temptations;
on Skid Row and hungry

Paradise lost,
not to be regained
the pain is enormous, and
a disappearing oneness

war is in the hood
taken over by greed
exploitation the means
sex commerce

Vulnereable and gullible
survival of the fittest, and
all options exhausted
tight time and economic meltdown

A game of gangsters
crooks thriving on chaos
of bitterness and disappointments
government full
of deceit

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

CARTOON: Just The Fact


Maria Fuema @ Oscar de la Renta

Photo by Don Ashby and courtesy of Style

This past Summer American-born model Maria Fuema was at the Oscar de la Renta Resort runway for the pre-fall 2009 fashion that's already in the markets. Fashion statement, huh? It has become a trend and business as it looks is not affecting the fashion industry and more designers and models are popping up by the day. The industry is waxing strong with newer arrivals.

Although I am one who agrees that there are still not too many black models on the cultural landscape of the fashion industry, methink a lot of improvements have been seen quite lately especially with the showings of the 2009 collections by noted designers despite the fact that an estimated $20 billion is spent on apparel every year by black women. Now you know!

Great expose!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Rewinding Back That Heavy Metal Invented By Deep Purple

I was going through my music library (I do that quite often, not bored though) and discovered I haven’t listened to any Deep Purple cut in a while. I looked and asked myself, what happened to “Woman From Tokyo” and “Smoke On The Water?” Some brilliant guitar works by Ritchie Blackmore who had bragged he could wipe any floor with his guitar and a powerful lyrics of an arrogant Ian Gillan coupled with the organed magic of Jon Lord just to know how I got my humble self into all these mess and starting something I couldn’t finish ending up probably losing my hearing from attending heavy metal concerts.

Read Full Story >>>

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Images of Storm in Southern Cali

Snowboarders trudge through freshly fallen snow in Green Valley Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains. Photo by Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times

trucker heading north on the 5 Freeway has a view of snow-dusted mountains in the Angeles National Forest north of Sylmar. Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times

As the sunrise illuminates the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains, a person captures the scene while on a morning walk at Bolsa Chica State Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach. Photo by Allen J. Schaben/ Los Angeles Times

Palm trees drooping under the weight of snow greeted shoppers at the nearly deserted Antelope Valley Mall. Photo by Brian Vander Brug/L.A. Times

CARTOON: Still Inept and Corrupt


Of all ex-governor Lucky Igbinedion did in Edo State looting an entire state treasury, he is walking away without jail time as a doctored and bastardized judiciary found him guilty of one count charge some hours ago in an Enugu court room presided over by Justice Abdulahi Kafarati on the grounds of a so-called Section 18 Subsection 1 of the Money Laundering Act 2004, which gave him an option of a fine. That country, Nigeria, is something else.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It Sure Rains In Southern California

Who made that song "It Never Rains In Southern California"? Well, you go figure that one out because I'm not in the mood to trace it all the way back when Tony, Toni Tone, the Oakland-based group had it going on in the nineties cracking us up that no rain in Southern Cali. They sure brought the rain and ever since it's rain, rain, rain. Now we are all like, rain, rain go away.

It's been pouring here like crazy and the City of Angels is all wet. Since Monday, December 15, the rain would not just go away and driving is not pleasant under the rain. It has slowed me down and I'm not doing much to catch up with my schedules. But don't get me wrong though; I love the rain and it seems to be the best weather at this time of year when the spirit of Christmas is all over and the feel of winter gives us hope that life is just good never minding all that's been going on with the Global economy as a turmoil Christmas approaches.

Oh, Christmas is just eight days away and I'm writing as if I'm done with my Christmas or Holidays shopping, whatever that means. The markdowns have seen its lowest in years and it's quite interesting shoppers are not even excited for the woes a bad economy brought to their families coupled with the shenanigans at Wall Street. Wall Street shenanigans have made the third world countries, especially Naija, look like saints.

Anyways, the rain in Los Angeles will probably soften our hearts and we'll probably kind of take different meassures on how we do stuff and how things could come up better. And that is strategy. The point of making life meaningful by loving, sharing and caring.

Not much has been going on these days except this week's predicted rain and my tailing of filmmaker Pascal Atuma whose agents are on the trail for a lead male role in his upcoming movie "No More Bloodshed" about to start shooting here in Los Angeles beginning March 2009. I also spoke briefly with the style guy, Ike Ude who should be hitting my neck of the hood soon. There are series of stuffs coming up, too. Interviews and interesting episodes of my line -- I am not going to say what it would be looking like; just keep watching out -- and not anything close to the hood rats who did change the way things are done. Is it called popular culture? I like "them" hippie era and all that stuff that changed our world.

However, the rain is here and we should do the best out of it as the spirit of Christmas comes along with it the spirit of good feelings in a troubled world and economic mess.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ike Ude and "Style File"

Photo courtesy of New York Social Diary

The Nigerian-born Ike Ude is just everything. He is a filmmaker. He is a photographer. He is a writer. He is an artist. He is a publisher (aRude Magazine) and all in all, author of a new book titled Style File: The World's Most Elegantly Dressed published by Collins Design and on deck for sixty-five bucks. Ude compiled fifty-five impressive lists of style makers he adores or admires. Among the list includes Oscar de la Renta, John Galliano, Frederic Malle, Isabella Ferrari, Mark Pullin, Dita Von Teese, Diane von Furstenberg, Seydou Keita, Leon Tally and Francesco Clemente.

Ude writes about image and how looks make a statement.

"The creative possibilities of dress as a personally expressive medium are available to us all... Because even a gesture suggesting an inattention to fashion -- say, pulling on an unwashed T-shirt with sweat pants and flip-flops to pick up the Sunday morning paper -- is a statement of attitude and identity. Nuanced narratives are articulated through dress and position us in relation to others."

Keep jamming the Big Apple; and keep looking good, my man!

News Desk Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nigeria Depreciates Naira Rate in $200 Million Currency Auction

The central bank sold $190 million dollars, $10 million less than offered, in foreign reserves to the nation’s commercial banks today, making it available at a rate of 132.5 per dollar, according to Leon Myburgh, a fixed-income and currency strategist for sub- Saharan Africa at Citigroup Inc. READ MORE>>>

Nigerian court to rule on presidential election

Abuja, Nigeria -- The Supreme Court will hand down its verdict Friday in a lawsuit by top Nigerian political opposition leaders who seek an annulment of the 2007 election won by President Umaru Yar'Adua, lawyers involved in the case said. READ MORE>>>

Nigerian Cholera Outbreak Kills 10 People in Rivers State

(Bloomberg) -- An outbreak of cholera in the riverine community of Kula in Nigeria’s Rivers state killed 10 people, a health official said. READ MORE>>>

U.S. sailor says not guilty in Japan slay

Attorneys for Seaman Olatunbosun Ugbogu, a 22-year-old Nigerian national serving in the U.S. Navy, say he was not mentally competent when he fatally stabbed taxi driver Masaaki Takahashi in Yokosuka, Japan, this year, Kyodo News reported Wednesday. READ MORE>>>

Bomb scare in Delhi's CP, cops seize bag with safes

Senior police officers said that from his description, the men seemed to be of Nigerian origin and initial investigations revealed two electronic metal safes inside the bag. The safes could not be opened for a long time as officers present at the spot thought it unsafe to do so till the bomb squad arrived. READ MORE>>>

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Catwalk Hollywood To Hit Abuja Runway

In a remarkable success of the African Red Carpet Summer Bash held this past Summer at the John Henson Studios complex in Hollywood, California, and a first fashion event of its kind, River Naija Productions is launching a cross-country model talent search in Nigeria. The event will mark the first of such project and hope to deliver fresh new stars to the world's biggest catwalks.

Commenting on the launch of the project was River Naija Productions founder, Gregory Iheanacho, who says that Catwalk Hollywood cross-country project will be the most enduring fashion show in the country.

Meanwhile the scouting judges and selection crews, among them, some Hollywood bigshots and known international fashion designers have been confirmed. The selection crew will commence its scouting process beginning December 15, 2008 until the end of the casting sessions to be announced by the program co-ordinators between March and April 2008.

Beginning in Lagos the project will take Catwalk Hollywood team to 10 Nigeria cities including Owerri (Imo State), Port Harcourt (Rivers State), Calabar (Cross River State), Enugu (Enugu State), Benin (Edo State) and Abuja (Federal Capital Territory). At each stop in every designated state and at the end of the casting session, the participants will have the opportunity to meet with the governor of the state in a special diner, photo shoots and interviews.

At the Calabar Resort, the fashion savvy businessman Iheanacho, and his team of Hollywood casts will host several rounds of auditions, at which the participants will be taken on a tour of the beautiful resort with the governor of Cross River State as special guest of honor.

From Calabar, the participants will head into the glittering Federal Capital, Abuja, where they will be able to meet with the Minister of Tourism and Culture in another round of diner sessions, photo shoots and interviews.

In Nigeria, registration forms are available at Oceanic Bank, Zenith Bank, Mr. Biggs and GB Studios, Owerri. Online registration is also available at the following websites: NCOCUSA, Catwalk Hollywood and River Naija Productions.

For inquiries:

Nigeria: 07026118723

United States: (323)299-1335

Monday, December 08, 2008

News Desk (Early Edition) Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Author Roddy Doyle in plea for Nigerian family

A NIGERIAN woman fighting deportation on the grounds her two young daughters would risk being subjected to genital mutilation on their return should be allowed stay in Ireland, novelist Roddy Doyle has argued in a letter to Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern. READ MORE>>>

FCT: On Nigeria's Failed Space Expedition

Against the backdrop of Nigeria’s failed space expedition, which has triggered a huge drain on the nation’s treasury, proactive measures should be put in place to guard against hurriedly investing in highly expensive projects that do not have any significant direct impact on the lives of the citizenry READ MORE>>>

Soludo Allays Fears Over Oil Price Crash

Whilst there have been concerns about the Nigerian economy in the face of crashing oil price, Chukwuma Soludo, governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has declared that the fall is no threat to the country’s growth.
Speaking at the annual bankers’ night in Lagos

Sergio Pessolano's "Mother and Child"

I like this expression captured by Sergio Pessolano. It is original and a symbol of the true nature of Motherland Africa.

CARTOON: National Assembly Members for HIV Test


A Portrait of Mother and Child by Jerry Taliaferro

Black, indeed, is beautiful. The above portrait is one of photographer Jerry Taliaferro's captures. Taliaferro was born in Brownsville, Tennessee. He joined the army and later entered the United States Academy at West Point. His photo works was discovered while stationed in Germany.

I can imagine how this amazing portrait of mother and child brings back memories of the origin of true black women and as a tribute to our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters.

Newsroom Update

Indicted Representative William Jefferson of Louisiana Loses Seat in House Runoff Election

The investigation of Jefferson began in 2005 when Jefferson was videotaped by the FBI receiving cash in leather briefcases in Virginia for a deal in Ghana that he wanted a financial stake in. The money was to be split with the Nigerian Vice President to insure that their contracts would go forward. READ MORE>>>

Nigeria opposition doubts Yar'Adua's electoral reform

Lagos, Nigeria - Angered by the recent praises heaped on the embattled Nigeria's electoral boss Maurice Iwu by Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, the country's opposition has expressed doubts that the government is serious about its much touted electoral reform. READ MORE>>>

Jailed: The prayer group fraudster who swindled worshipers out of tens of thousands of pounds

A pensioner who used 'prayer sessions' to help defraud a church minister and a worshipper out of tens of thousands of pounds, has been jailed for 18 months.
Serial fraudster Richard Abeson, currently wanted by Belgian police for a similar con, claimed he was a wealthy Nigerian oil trader READ MORE>>>

From Refugee to State Rep

Of all the people running for state Representative this year, Richard Komi was probably the only one who listed "refugee camp survivor" on his campaign literature. Before arriving in Manchester, he spent over three years in a camp in Benin after fleeing his native Nigeria. READ MORE>>>

IT helps spread African democracy

Technology’s capacity to further electoral democracy in Africa first grabbed attention in 2000. Mobile phone coverage had spread across Senegal, allowing reporters to phone in results before they were announced officially, and independent radio stations were flourishing. READ MORE>>>

Asia's age-old battle with the pirates

The recent seizure of a giant oil tanker off Somalia may be one of the most audacious attacks by pirates, but for people here in South East Asia, it's an old and familiar story. READ MORE>>>

Early Ghana presidential election results show tight race

ACCRA - Early results on Monday from Ghana’s presidential vote, widely seen as a test of Africa’s ability to conduct a democratic election, signalled a tight race that may require a run-off. READ MORE>>>

Saturday, December 06, 2008

CARTOON: Nuhu Ribadu Wanted Dead


Bizarre Happenings Around The Globe

You’re not gonna believe this. The Japanese workers have been told to leave work early to avoid demographic disaster on the basis many couples are simply too tired to have sex after long hours cracking their laptops. In a conducted survey, many couples said they haven’t had sex in a couple of months because they did not have the energy.

With the Japanese birth rate dropping dramatically and the fear of population instability, Japan's labor ministry now plans to exempt employees with children under the age of three from working long hours, so they could have enough energy for procreation. Ain't that something?

Japan has the lowest birth rate and if it continues, its population would drop by almost 30 percent by 2050, and that would be a serious demographic problem. Whatever happened to Viagra and those dangerously fantasized pills? I did not make this up. Seriously!

Well, if the labor bill passes with paid time off to guarantee a greater sexual drive, the Japanese population may explode to nearly 200 million by 2050.

Now hear this. In another related survey conducted by the Singen Institute of Condom Consultancy, a German consultancy group that provides counseling on condoms, the study showed the French need the largest condoms which suggest they have penis measuring about 6.09 inches or more while the Greek had a moderate size.

The survey was conducted by asking 10,500 men from 25 different countries to measure their penis and enter the number into a database. I wonder if Nigerians, Liberians, Zairians, Ghanaians, South Africans and Cameroonians were in this survey because of their increasingly desire for sex. Amazing!

The Mexican drug lords are scarring every part of that Latino enclave to death. The hospital scene in “The Godfather” has, for sure, been replicated in a typical Michael Corleone saving his hospitalized father from a deadly hit squad. But the difference here is that in Mexico doctors are caught in the middle of fierce drug war where an estimated 5,000 people have died so far this year.

In Nigeria, politics of intimidation has become the order of the day with the continuous harassment of the nation’s former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Czar Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, who for the past couple of weeks has been on the eye of the microscope concocted by the fat cats of allegedly the James Ibori gang and Orji Kalu's demonic gangsters who have been in a position to buy politicians by reason of their loots from the treasury and their illegal campaign contributions.

As the bizarre intimidation of Ribadu continues making a mockery of our democratic dispensation, I see the press for not rising to the occasion. The press is not doing much which makes Nigeria journalism dangerously weak.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ghana's Kate Menson is Africa's New Face

Photo courtesy of African Futurist

A highly criticized "Face of Africa" contest came to an end Saturday, November 29 when Ghana's 23-year-old Kate Aba Techie Menson beat the other nine finalist in Sun City's Super Bowl, South Africa. The nine finalist were Alli Balogun (Nigeria), Hamamat Montia (Ghana), Hiwot (Ethiopia), Joana (Angola), Lucy torr(Uganda), Maria Hiwilepo (Namibia), Noxi (Zambia) and Sasa (South Africa).

Menson who was discovered in Accra earlier this year takes home $50,000 plus a modelling contract from Oluchi Onweagba-Orlandis' O Model Africa.

Kamala Harris for 2010 Primaries

Kamala Harris last month announced her intention for the post of California Attorney General for the 2010 primaries upon Barack Obama's election victory, there are now talks Obama might invite her for a post at Washington before her anticipations for California's top cop. She has already filed her papers for the June 2010 primary election. Harris is also the first Black woman district attorney in California.

In Harris tenure, more than 1200 domestic violence offenders have been convicted in San Francisco. She is just another woman of substance and her dedication to servive is paying off.

News Desk (Early Edition) Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The travails of Nuhu Ribadu

SINCE his appointment as Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the country’s anti-graft body in 2003, Malam Nuhu Ribadu was able to cut a niche for himself as a fearsome anti-corruption czar who used everything at his disposal to do the job he was assigned by the Obasanjo administration. READ MORE>>>

Bakassi: Nigeria embarks on aggressive boundary demarcation exercise

To avoid future agonies and traumatic experience of the ceding of the oil rich Bakassi peninsula to Cameroun Republic, the Federal Government has embarked on aggressive boundary demarcation exercise in order to ensure that her boundaries between other African countries are properly demarcated. READ MORE>>>

Homeless W/Cup: Nigeria Shock Italy

A Nigerian selected by Search and Groom- Youth for Development Centre from the just concluded Street Soccer League Cup team comprising players from the slums in Lagos, Ajegunle, Abesan/Ipaja, Agege, Ikorodu, Ikeja and Ibadan are doing the country proud in Melbourne, Australia at the moment. READ MORE>>>

Nigeria should generate 10,000MW from nuclear sources’

Nigeria’s quest to generate electricity from nuclear sources should be ambitious, with the target being to generate 10,000 mega watts, the Director-General, Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Prof. Shamsideen Elegba, said on Tuesday. READ MORE>>>

CARTOON: The Party is Over


Monday, November 24, 2008

Noella Coursaris, Super Model and Superb Humanitarian

Who is more courageous than Congolese-born Noella Coursaris of Congolese mother and Cyprus father whose father passed when Noella was just five years old? Without a doubt, she was a girl with destiny.

She is doing stuff and the world is grateful for what she has put together to help children in her native land the opportunity for a better education. Starting the Georges Malaika Foundation (GMF), in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a cause worthy for humankind, many disadvantaged Congolese girls have been able to attend school on the goodwill of GMF and the project is quite becoming.

Women of Coursaris magnitude are really a source of inspiration and she should be adored. With her and many others of that nature, Africa certainly will be a better place in a matter of time. According to the African Path website, Olivier Smekens ran the ING New York City Marathon on behalf of Round Table New York in support of the GMF.

CARTOON: Heavy Duty Passenger


Couch Potato Sunday

While I was switching in-between channels, that is, after all the professional football games and highlights, especially on the casts of Fox Sports Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson and Michael Strahan, the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles came with a whole lot of fanfare. It was another electric show with glamorous women and all that noise about the Jonas Brothers.

Well, these young kids with all that fame reminds me of the heydays of The Beatles when Britain rocked the United States when Paul McCartney and his fellas stormed Yankee. Nevertheless, Chris Brown stole the show with three trophies and that unique performance that is bound to change the flavor and vibes of Hip-Hop. Adios, Hip-Hop, time is up!

Yesterday was just a whole lotta fun for me. Major League Soccer exploded with its final in a match-up that was a little bit one-sided until the better team starts scoring. Switching in-between channels, by the time I popped up ABC channel it was all over and Columbus Crew has drenched the New York Red Bulls 3-1 to lift the MLS Cup at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California, which is home to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

With all that couch potato stuff as in "The Best Damn Show, Period!" and the media frenzied armchair quaterbacks who scramble in their living rooms as if football is better watched eating hot dog and drinking Miller Genuine Draft, I became a living witness of how it feels to be an arm-chair quarterback. You will be glued until it's all over.

I wasn't carried away with all that even though I love football a whole lot. Of course, I love football because it's physical and a man's game in its totality. But anyway, I think the Giants will be repeating again judging by the way Eli Manning has been handling the ball. I don't see anything that can take it away from the Giants, for now.

So football and all that gone, though NBC's NFL action was pretty much around, I'm now changing channels between ABC and Fox. On Fox, I was bent on the much talked about Emmy Award and Golden Globe winning episode, "24: Redemption" starring Keifer Sutherland as Jack Bauer and my home boy Hakeem Kae Kazim who played a very awesome role as Colonel Ike Dubaku who tells the boys "your parents have made you weak, we will make you strong" in that fictional African nation of Sengala where child soldiers are trained definitely gave the Fox channel a boost and raised its ratings.

And speaking with Hakeem over the phone, he said the job was well done and he's happy the way it came out. Hakeem has agreed to sit on my hot seat and I'm sure it's going to be quite fascinating.

Seun Kuti Storms Abuja's Velodrome in MTV Africa Music Awards

Yes, like father, like son; and he is following the footsteps of his father, the legendary Chief Priest and Baba of Afro Beat, Fela. I watched this young kid perform last Summer here in Los Angeles and he was just a carbon copy of his dad, in gestures and performances. Seun started playing the sax and piano at the age of eight and by the time he was 15 he was already a master of the wind instruments.

Well, while there is still chaos in the Niger-Delta region of that troubled country called Nigeria, at the same time, the first ever MTV Africa Music Awards in Abuja, Nigeria, at the Velodrome, had already watered down and folks out there in that corrupt capital city, yes, corrupt (Nuhu Ribadu is locked up for no reason, remember?), were stomping and made some noise as Compton-bred The Game, Kelly Rowland, Flo-Rida and many other poerformers were in the house that was jamming with the wizard dribbler Austen "JJ" Okocha as presenter of some of the awards, political tussle in a do-nothing Umaru Yar'Adua's administration continued apace.

Seun who opened the show performed "Army Arrangement" and accepted the inaugural Mama Legend Award in honor of his late father, the Chief Priest.

According to media reports, the occasion was electric and Nigerian performers took home most of the awards on that Saturday, November 22, 2008, when it was all magic and not darkness. The vibes seems to be grooving with a newer generation and let's bring it down.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

CARTOON: A Hustler and Bad Economy


African Woman: Phuti Malabie, Woman Of Substance

Phuti Malabie has been described by Wall Street Journal as one of the women to watch towards overclass status in the corporate world as more female corporate elites sprangs up.

Born in South Africa and graduated with a degree in Economics from Rutgers University, New Jersey and a Masters Degree in Strategic Management from De Mont University, Leicester, UK, Malabie started working for Fieldstone, an international boutique investment firm that focuses on energy companies and manager, Project Finance for Development Bank of Southern Africa before sitting on the executive board of several companies.

She is the Chairperson of Gigajoule Africa (PTY) Ltd; Managing Director of Shanduka Energy and Executive Director Mondi Shanduka Newsprint.

She loves reading, travel and golf. She was awarded "Top in Project Finance" by the Association of Black Securities & Investment Professionals (ABSIP) in South Africa in 2003, and nominated "Young Global Leader 2007" by World Economic Forum in Switzerland in 2007.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Filmmaker Pascal Atuma, Actress Taraji P. Henson and "No More Bloodshed"

Filmmaker and actor Pascal Atuma had had a chat with me over the phone just as he arrived Los Angeles from Toronto, Canada, where he had co-hosted the 10th anniversary of the Miss Africa Canada with Ghana's BET Michael Blackson which was held on Saturday, November 8; and Ghanaian Helen Obeng, a student at Ryerson University was crowned the new Miss Africa Canada 2008. The electrified event was held at the Toronto Metro Convention Center.

On the phone Pascal sounded very optimistic as he insinuates some leads are about to unfold and that another breakthrough in his career would soon be making news. The press release on Taraji P. Henson playing the lead female role on the set of "No More Bloodshed" has gone up already and scheduled to commence shooting sometime in March 2009. The movie, a Los Angeles street thriller will be produced by Pascal Atuma Productions.

Pascal who said being an actor can be challenging in many ways had told me the casting crew and all the finishing touches to the call sheet by Robi Reed & Associates would be made known as soon as the lead male character is found. Henson, who was born in Washington, D.C. and graduated from Howard University also studied electrical engineering at North Carolina A&T University but decided acting's where her talent lies.

But Henson is no newcomer to the big screen and her character had that of going with the flow which she credits to optimism and how Hollywood opens up to such characters. She's just one busy woman who will be appearing in many movies before 2009 runs out. Among them: an all star cast with Forrest Whitaker, Lil' Wayne in "Hurricane Season" and opposite Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Burton" which opens next month.

News Desk (Early Edition) Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Egwu, Akunyili, 11 others make ministerial list

THREE weeks after sacking 20 ministers, President Umaru Yar’Adua, yesterday, presented a list of his nominees to the coveted positions to the Senate. The nominees are, however, seven short of the relieved ones. READ MORE>>>

Nigeria conducive for poverty alleviation scheme — UNDP partners

CAPE TOWN—TWO major partners to the United Nations Development Programme UNDP on poverty alleviation in the rural African communities, Ericsson and Zain groups, at the weekend in Cape Town, South Africa, revealed that Nigeria’s political and economic environments so far, have been favourable to the millennium READ MORE>>>

Community warns Chevron

THE Orere-Yanagho Coastal communities have warned Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, to desist from further dealing with a cartel instead of the Council of elders of the communities, saying the practice has continued to wrath undevelopment in the entire area. READ MORE>>>

Martin in pledge on gender violence

Ms Izevbekhai, whose case comes before the High Court today, says she lost a baby daughter after the child was forcibly genitally mutilated in Nigeria and fears that the same fate awaits her two other children should they be deported. READ MORE>>>

Energem Resources reports Q3 loss of US$2 million, down from year ago (Energem)

VANCOUVER _ Energem Resources Inc. (TSX:ENM) narrowed its loss in its most recent quarter compared with a year ago as the company refocussed its business on in its Mozambiquan-based bio-diesel project READ MORE>>>

CARTOON: The Animal Kingdom


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Esosa Edosomwan, Filmmaking, Acting, Modeling, Fashion, Etc. and Our Conversations

Esosa Edosomwan is now everywhere and nobody should blame her for the hard work she’d put in place, because she is not the one to shy away for a testing but strenuous subject matter when it comes to film, television, theater, commercials and modeling.

I had decided to put up a series on the beauty pageants for this year’s Miss Africa USA contest when I bumped into Esosa’s profile which revealed she has been selected to represent Nigeria in the electric competition held on Saturday, November 1, 2008, at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center in Jonesboro, Georgia. For the last couple of months, or so, I have searched extensively to near exhaustion just to track the delegates representing their respective countries on the African continent. I had sent Esosa an e-mail requesting an interview, that is, if she was by any chance visiting the Los Angeles area, swapping e-mail, or probably a phone conversation in case she’s been caught up with series of activities in the Big Apple, knowing how show business works.

Esosa responded immediately Okaying an interview before or after the Miss Africa USA contest of which she was a delegate representing Nigeria. She dropped her phone number so I could call for us to figure out a convenient schedule between her and myself. I called her the next day and we spoke for about twenty minutes on a variety of topics and a breakdown of her projects while making out an appropriate time for a lengthy discourse regarding her works in theater arts, cinema and other future engagements.

Briefly, she gave me a hint of herself when she acknowledged making film in the current trend “is better when one goes with the flow” as the market demands.

Born in New York by Nigerian parents and raised in Virginia and New York, Esosa studied textiles and apparel design with theater concentration at Cornell University, and a post graduate studies in business at Columbia University. Esosa wrote many one act plays in her college days which includes “Mary’s Venus,” “Blues Electric Grief Chamber” and “Vivian X.” At Cornell University, she won the Heermans-McCalmon Playwriting Award and the Cornell University Council of the Arts Grant Award. Other awards includes: Avon Mark Goal Model Award (2003), Project Excellence/Cornel Partnership Award, Frances E Williams Artist Grant (2007) and the Brooklyn Arts Council Regrant (2007).

In kick starting her big screen projects, Esosa wrote, directed and starred in two films – “Simple As Black & White” (2004) and “50 Bucks In Argentina” (2007) which stunned all that saw it, making her something of a hot property and landing her a mentorship with Hollywood film director Joel Schumacher (A Time To Kill, Batman Begins) on an MTV-U reality segment “Meet or Delete,” immediately drawing the attention of an amazed Schumacher, and upon selecting her as a finalist, Schumacher had this to say: “Esosa, wow. So multi-talented; a designer, wordsmith, political commentator and excellent early attempts as a filmmaker… You are a star.”

Telling me of having a busy and tight schedule to keep up with the pace of show business while we spoke for that twenty minutes on my first call when I asked how she got in to represent Nigeria for Miss Africa USA 2008 in Jonesboro, Georgia, she told me she ran into Emmy Award winner Michael Ajakwe, at a film festival in Norfolk, Virginia, who introduced her to the annual Miss Africa USA contest and how to enter her bid as a delegate to represent her country. Ajakwe gave her lead to Uduak Oduok, an attorney and business owner in the Los Angeles area, who also runs the Ladybrille website that does promotion gigs and stuff like that; and that Oduok sits on the helm of affairs presiding over casting crews and scouts for the annual event which started four years ago.

Esosa, who was also schooled at NYU Tisch School in acting, The Actors Workshop of Ithaca, British American Drama Academy, Joseph Papp Public Shakespeare Lab, Labyrinth Company’s Master Class and the Acting Center Conservatory, told me how she shuttles from New York to Los Angeles, back and forth, on special engagements of which she loves and would never complain about her significant roles, which has been a gift from God. She loves what she does with a passion and the sky seems to be the limit.

In addition, Esosa has appeared in numerous commercials including MTV as herself and Safe Sex PSA as woman in couple. As a beauty model, she appeared as a feature model for Zulema Griffin Campaign in July 2007 Fashion Week; feature model for Amber Magazine; Black Book Magazine and Essence Magazine for July 2007.

On my second call which took place on November 3rd, Esosa was a little bit tired from all the weekend engagements and the roundtrip from New York to Atlanta, Georgia, coupled with the electrified and glamorous all night events –Miss Africa USA 2008 –at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center in Jonesboro, Georgia. However, she was chosen and as she recalled, it was another experience in her quest to take a shot at anything as part of her unending learning process in the industry. Her short story was shown on the course of the event and the cheering was enormous.

Esosa and I spoke at length, and this time around, it was very engaging and revealing on what this young woman has aspired to accomplish within a short period of time in the entertainment industry.

On how she got to choosing textiles and apparel design as a major at Cornell University and what inspired her, Esosa acknowledged all her moves and what she is currently doing began when she was growing up in Fairfax, Virginia, and that most of her inspirations came from her surroundings, and particularly her parents who played a significant role in mentoring her.

While at the fashion and apparel design department, Esosa explored other avenues auditioning for the theater department helping the filmmakers write scripts. She started a black theater production on campus which eventually led to her first role as a filmmaker when her Afro Vision Productions released a low budget independent film, “Simple as Black & White,” a film about interracial relationship based on what she observed on campus in an attempt to imagine the reality of racial differences and interracial relationships. She had noticed there were very few black men on campus, thus taking the opportunity to co direct the film with the directors she had worked with in the past even though it made them uncomfortable. Her goal in that script was to talk about her experience on campus and why there “are” just few black men outnumbered on a ratio of 4-1 which ultimately left the black women on campus with the option to date other men outside their race. The moral to the story is to avoid black men having the edge to date more than one black woman since the ratio differs significantly. “There was nothing to it. I just wanted to talk about it,” Esosa would say.

On her career in the big screen which really seem to be taking off and how exactly she got there combining modeling, acting, filmmaking and fashion without distractions and conflicting interests, Esosa said “I really think we should be creating a lot more and I know since I have the talent to act, love auditions and making roles that are great for me, and with the love that I have for modeling, if you think about it, it is pretty much the same… see everything is tied together and that’s how it should work. It works hand in hand.”

On Black filmmakers, actors and actresses, Esosa applauded Spike Lee saying “Spike Lee is a genius, his visual style is distinct and vibrant to look at” in his approach toward the direction he had taken in making movies over the years which did fall in line with events of life on a positive note within the black community, notably with his newest arrival in theaters, “Miracle at St Anne,” a movie about black soldiers in World War II based on a novel of the same title by James McBride. And without a doubt, Lee is now the greatest black filmmaker in Hollywood with a filmmaking career that has spanned over two decades, and certainly deserves that spot.

On Hollywood’s talented leading actresses, she lauded actress Angela Bassett as the best female black actress around today, because of the characters she played in her movies, regardless of the circumstances behind the stories.

On Tyler Perry, the guy who never forgot his past of mental abuse and neglect by his father coupled with all that pains of growing up – hunger, behind in his rent and homeless – and turning things around through perseverance, hard work and commitment in his phenomenal creativity of a new path to filmmaking, to building what is now The Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, Esosa said such acts as in Perry and his kind of creativity is worthy of emulation and not the negativity we often hear or see about blacks in the projects.

On the role that Blacks play, she said “there should be room for all in Hollywood” and the question of going “from being poor to being rich” or either you are a gangster, deadbeat and things of that nature to produce a Hollywood score does not augur well within the entertainment industry; and such limited role portrays the Blacks as how far they can go in Hollywood.

With Master P’s creativity as a step of putting up things unique out there, Oprah Winfrey’s Network that is beginning to empower more people on projects in the kind of what they do and how it should be properly done, Esosa is “grateful to be in this period of time” where technology and models alike have paved way for much, more better improvements for generations to come and she’s been working diligently to be part of that process.

Not planning to compromise anything in the way the movie industry sometimes seem to go by not recognizing the unique nature of our (African) cultural being, she said “Hollywood should give us a chance to be glamorous to do the kind of movies that’ll empower the new generation by getting involved in creating images that connects with who we are and not by watering it down in order to make it universal.”

On Nollywood, Nigeria’s overnight sensational movie market success, she checked excellent to all the actors, actresses, producers and directors in Nigeria’s movie industry based on the fact that in just 10-years that Nollywood popped up, it’s ranked the third movie industry in the world which is a remarkable achievement, but pointed out “the quality has to be there” for it to keep getting better and better if only the actors and directors should stop going through the same storyline and “the same stuff.” “We have been trained – we have a lot to contribute to take Nollywood to another level. There is so much talent in Africa and there has to be a higher production” Esosa said.

In her leisure time, she is simply the everything woman with her skills – acrylic painting, West African Dance, salsa, basketball, pool, cycling, rollerblading, running, ping pong (table tennis), volleyball, weight lifting and numerous others. I have challenged her to a pool match whenever she breezes in to the City of Angels and that request was granted.

What’s next? With her background and as focused as she has been, Esosa is working on getting a new manager who would be meeting with some film partners toward a feature film she’s working on right now, and her future projects. So far, she’s been working on her own without agency recommendations yet she is getting published by major magazine companies which literally means she can be seen everywhere.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Schwarzenegger, Tax Hike and Nightmare in California


Just as every Cali began to jubilate over Barack Obama's stunning election victory Tuesday night, and just as every Cali had hoped to join the bandwagon of economic recovery, it did not take Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger too much probing to elicit testimony that California economy was going to hell, cutting short that sigh of relief we've had on Obama's victory with the hope Bill Clinton's-type economic prosperity we all enjoyed in that era will soon be bouncing back in Obama's anticipated administration.

Schwarzenegger has proved us wrong and now it's all like going back to square one, I mean back to the status quo, the way things used to be -- hardship, more unemployment and unending frustration that comes along with stress. Last night, the former body-building hulk, Hollywood machine gunner-turned governor released his new plans to make the life of Calis more miserable.

Schwarzenegger's plan includes an increase in sales tax which amounts to new levies on alcoholic drinks. The question here is, when a depressed public who relies heavily on alcohol to relieve the pains of mental distress as a result of a sinking economy and with a one and half cents on the dollar increase on sales tax, what then would happen to the winos who rely on alcohol to forget their sorrows? What would happen when they can no longer afford that little drink that relieves them from the pains of hopelessness? Well, expect more chaos and robbery. And, of course, more domestic violence when life makes everyone blue.

Schwarzenegger plans to raise $10.08 billion by the 2009-10 fiscal year which also extends the sales tax to appliance and furniture repairs, vehicle repairs, golf fees, veterinarian services, amusement parks and sporting events. The idea behind all that is to fund the transit projects. I have no qualms for many reasons: Nothing affects me in the list safe for vehicle repairs. How about riding my bike which seems not to be on the list? We'll see how it unfolds.

Republicans in California Assembly vowed to knock Scharzenegger's plan down. They did it before -- last summer when a smaller proposal did not pass in the house.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama's Presidency and how It All Began

The last time I mentioned Barack Obama in one of my detailed write-ups was when I thought the lanky senator from Chicago was among the best qualified for the nation's top job on a Democratic ticket and the best overall on any given opponent from a quasi "conservative" Republicans who've caused more damage to this great country. Ever since, I have been on the sideline -- quite unusual, knowing me for being a political junkie on many grounds -- for I have seen it in my dreams that the time is now and for Obama it would be a landslide. I was right! Rush and Sean, can you guys handle it?

But let's think about it and the genesis of how it all began. Obama was not given too much of a chance until the incarnation of the Queen of talk show television, Oprah Winfrey, was seen together with Obama in Iowa at two rallies which drew about 33,000 people who trooped in from those cold winter icy roads on Saturday, December 8, 2007. While Winfrey was in Des Moines gearing up for an Obama rally, former First Lady Hilary Clinton was in nearby Williamsburg, Iowa, accompanied by her mother, Dorothy Rodham and her daughter, Chelsea, with full confidence not to be against anybody since voters should consider which of the candidates have a better chance to win when making their choices.

Clinton in her own words at that event in Iowa: "I have been vetted for 15 years. You know everything about me, probably including my blood type. There aren't going to be any surprises. I know what it takes to run against Republicans who are coming at you full-bore."

Winfrey, wearing a purple jacket and pants fired up the crowd at Obama's rally saying;

"At last I'm here. I came here because I deeply believe in America. Let's dream America anew again by supporting Barack Obama... I am not here to tell you what to think. I am here to ask you to think... Experience in the hallways of government isn't as important to me as experience on the pathway of life. There are those who said Obama should wait his turn, but none of us is God. We don't know what the future holds. So we must respond to the pressures and the fortunes of history when the moment strikes. And Iowa, I believe that moment is now."

That proclamation and a long hurdle of desperate campaigns on both fronts of the Democratic and Republicsn Parties including the unknown independents and some libertarians would catapult Obama to the White House.

Yes, Obama, whose campaign strategists had taken a different path with the application of unconvetional methods of election campaigns did a superb job in securing the Democratic Party ticket and winning by a landslide, retiring Senator John McCain on Presidential politics for good. The rest is now history with the election on Tuesday, November 4, 2008, of Senator Barrack Obama as president-elect of the United States of America.

And we all wept for history has just been made! And, yes, we all believe in America, because, eventually, America does the right thing.

Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech at the Grant Park, Chicago, IL

[*] OBAMA: Hello, Chicago.


If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.


It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

OBAMA: We are, and always will be, the United States of America.


It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America.


It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America.


A little bit earlier this evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Senator McCain.


Senator McCain fought long and hard in this campaign. And he's fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.

I congratulate him; I congratulate Governor Palin for all that they've achieved. And I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.


OBAMA: I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart, and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton...


... and rode with on the train home to Delaware, the vice president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.


And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years...


... the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next first lady...


... Michelle Obama.


Sasha and Malia...


... I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us...


... to the new White House.


And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother's watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight. I know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my sister Maya, my sister Alma, all my other brothers and sisters, thank you so much for all the support that you've given me. I am grateful to them.


OBAMA: And to my campaign manager, David Plouffe...


OBAMA: ... the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best -- the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America.


To my chief strategist David Axelrod...


... who's been a partner with me every step of the way.

To the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics...


... you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston. It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause.

It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy...


... who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep.

It drew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on doors of perfect strangers, and from the millions of Americans who volunteered and organized and proved that more than two centuries later a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth.

This is your victory.


OBAMA: And I know you didn't do this just to win an election. And I know you didn't do it for me.

You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime -- two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.

Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us.

There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after the children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage or pay their doctors' bills or save enough for their child's college education.

There's new energy to harness, new jobs to be created, new schools to build, and threats to meet, alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there.


AUDIENCE: Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!

OBAMA: There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can't solve every problem.

But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night.

OBAMA: This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.

It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.

In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity.

Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.


As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.


OBAMA: And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.


To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope. (APPLAUSE)

That's the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

(APPLAUSE) OBAMA: She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin. And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can. At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can. When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can. OBAMA: When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can. OBAMA: She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can. OBAMA: A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.

And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can. OBAMA: America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.

This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.


Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.



Monday, November 03, 2008

The Soothing Vibes Of Cape Verdean Mayra Andrade

I'm probably too much of an old school right now, but I don't think so, since I believe I'm still keeping up with the flow. Bumping into the music of this determined girl, Mayra Andrade, the Creole who hails from that tiny archipelago off West Africa's coast called Cape Verde, one could not hesitate but pay attention to the kind of compositions that accompanies the rhythms of Cape Verde -- batuku and tabanka -- popularized by Orlando Pantera, songwriter, before his untimely death in 2001, which did influence Andrade as her success now catapults her to the top.

Andrade's debut album, Navega is echoing everywhere and she is enjoying every bit of the attention and success that comes along with it. Born in Cuba but raised in Angola, Senegal, Cape Verde, Portugal and Germany due to the diplomatic status of her father, she somewhat enjoyed the moving around which helped her learn about other cultures within Africa and Europe.

Her music, especially the title track of her debut album reminds one of a lullaby, but in that track, like in any folklore, she sings about a fisherman's wife who's been waiting and hoping her husband returns "with a good catch and a little time to stay with me."

Andrade has continued with the footsteps of Cesaria Evora who first put Cape Verde on the map with morna ballads (blues/folklore) with series of awards to show for it. She won a gold medal for her singing at the Francophone Games in Canada. This year she won the German Critics Award and the BBC Radio 3 Award in the new comer category.
Nevertheless, spending most of her life abroad and with the Brazilian and Carribean influences in her vibes, she still keeps up with her native country's traditional pattern of music.

Andrade has gone back to the studio for her 2009 CD release and expectedly, more morna ballads will be filling the airwaves.

CARTOON: Obsession & Voodoo


South Africa's Nyasha Zimucha Crowned Miss Africa USA 2008-2009

Miss South Africa Nyasha Zimucha being crowned Miss Africa USA 2008-2009 by Miss Africa 2007-2008 Mfonobong Essiet as Miss Black USA Kristen Elizabeth White looks on. It all happened on Saturday, November 1, 2008 at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center in Jonesboro, Georgia.

Photo courtesy of Miss Africa USA

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Miss Africa USA 2008: The Roll Call and the Crown

Two more days and a new Miss Africa USA 2008-2009 will be crowned at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center in Jonesboro, Georgia. It's been quite a hurdle for the contestants; from thinking about it and getting prepared.

The Finalists: Daniele Ntahonkiriye (Burundi); Daniele Mingana Frankie Fochive (Cameroon); Andrea Mvemba (Democratic Republic of Congo); Aziza Eltieb (Ethiopia); Tanta Badjan (Gambia); Krystle Simpson (Ghana); Binta Binette Diao (Guinea); Victoria Njau (Kenya); Belloh Julius (Liberia); Esosa Edosomwan (Nigeria); Mariamma Brown (Senegal); Philippa Lahai-Swaray (Sierra Leone); Nyasha Zimucha (South Africa); Natalia Zambakari (South Sudan); Imat Akelo-Opio Uganda); Mutinta Suuya (Zambia); Busi Mlambo (Zimbabwe) and Kikelomo Togbe-Olory (Benin).

All candidates are without a doubt fit for the crown.

The show is being sponsored by No Pin Long Distance, Western Union, Estella Couture, African Independent Television, L Shandi Designs and many others.

The winner of the Miss Africa USA 2008 will walk away with a "total package up to $10,000."

Goodluck, y'all!

Go Africa Go!

Pascal Atuma Productions to produce a dramatic street thriller starring award-winning actress Taraji Henson.

Press Release from MINC Media & EMedia Wire

Hollywood, CA (PRWEB) October 29, 2008 -- Award-winning actress Taraji P. Henson is set to star in the upcoming thriller ''No More Bloodshed.'' The independent feature film about a paroled hit man determined to change his life and reclaim the son he's never known will be directed by Emmy winner Michael Ajakwe Jr., and was written by Ajakwe and Pascal Atuma for Pascal Atuma Productions (''My American Nurse'', ''Only in America'', ''Hurricane in the Rose Garden'').

Set in modern-day Los Angeles, the dramatic tale of sin and salvation follows the story of a freed convicted felon who vows never to go back to prison. After spending years behind bars and gaining a new perspective, he swears he's a different man. But in many ways, he hasn't finished doing his time.

Henson, who recently starred in ''Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys'' and alongside Brad Pitt in the upcoming Oscar contender ''The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,'' was recently named by ''Variety'' as one of ''10 Actors to Watch'' in its annual spotlight on emerging new talents. The announcement was made at the 12th Annual Hollywood Film Festival's Hollywood Awards. The award-winning actress will star as the female lead in ''No More Bloodshed,'' playing Beverly -- the ex-girlfriend of the ex-con with whom she shares a son.

Henson will be joined in the gritty street drama by TV and film stars Jason George (''Eli Stone'', ''Barbershop''), Mark Christopher Lawrence (''Chuck'', ''The Pursuit of Happyness''), and Tommy Ford (''Martin'', ''New York Undercover''). Grammy-winning R&B legend Deniece Williams will portray Henson's mother in the film. A search is ongoing for the male lead, with Emmy-winning casting director Robi Reed of Robi Reed & Associates heading up casting. Production on ''No More Bloodshed'' is scheduled to begin in March 2009 in Los Angeles.

Media Contact:
Ngozi Mba
MINC Media for Pascal Atuma Productions

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Enter Guinea's Binta Binette Diao

As Brittany Lyons of Jamaica clinched a spot to represent Jamaica in Miss World Pageant to be held on Saturday, December 13, 2008, at the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg, South Africa, with a completion of a photo shoot at the Jamaican Pergasus Hotel in Jamaica last night, so too, is little known Binta Binette Diao from Guinea who might be popping in to the Clayton County Performing Arts Center in Jonesboro, Georgia, on Saturday, November 1, 2008, with a whole lot of surprises.

I've said it over and over again; it's anybody's night when all the fanfare and catwalks begins to showcase the most beautiful and glamorous African ladies in Diaspora. The after party is what I'm looking forward to, and for sure, it's going to be one of those nights.

For 21-year-old Binta who stands at five-feet eight inches and weighing 145 Ibs kind of would take the panel of judges to Tobacco Road where fierce competitions are made on a turf not fabricated but real. Everybody is a winner as long as you keep your head up to focus on what's out there for you. I will be wrapping up this series on the call sheet tomorrow before I take off, and I hope Saturday night in Jonesboro will be a night to remember.

Goodluck and keep the faith!

Go Africa Go!

CARTOON: Magomago & Wuruwuru Country


News Desk (Early Edition) Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ambassadorial nominee fails test on capital of Jigawa State

THE Senate yesterday commenced the screening of ambassadorial nominees with one of the eleven nominees failing to name the capital of Jigawa State just as the Senate disclosed its abandonment of its "bow and go" policy in its consideration READ MORE>>>

MOSOP tells Useni to apologise to Ogoni people over Saro wiwa

THE Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) has told former Federal Capital Territory Minister, Lt-General Jeremiah Useni to apologise to the Ogoni for saying the late Ken Sarowiwa deserved to be hanged READ MORE>>>

Finance officer Peter Voser takes command at Royal Dutch Shell

Royal Dutch Shell, the world's second-largest oil company, named Peter Voser, its chief financial officer, as its new chief executive yesterday. Swiss-born Mr Voser, 50, will replace Jeroen van der Veer on July 1 next year. READ MORE>>>

Policemen defy IG, still mount checkpoints on Lagos roads

Policemen in Lagos still mount checkpoints on the highways in the metropolis in defiance of last week’s directive of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, that such acts should stop. READ MORE>>>

Yar’Adua drops 20 ministers

The much-awaited cabinet reshuffle by President Umaru Yar’Adua took place on Wednesday with the removal of eight full ministers and 12 ministers of state. READ MORE>>>

Happy Hour @ Lola's

I have not written about eating out in a while now, and as of last night, I had a good one with a friend. We had talked about where to hang out and eat some good food from one of Hollywood's restaurants and bars. My friend had asked me what was my favorite restaurants which is really the question being asked every now and then for those that frequent the pubs. To be precise, I have no particular or favorite restaurant. It all depends on my mood and where I'm hanging out at a particular time of the day or night.

But in this case, I landed at Lola's located at 945 North Fairfax Avenue in West Hollywood. While driving on Fairfax and heading along the Wilshire Corridor on Miracle Mile, the atmosphere changed and the smell of Hollywood began to surface along Fairfax stretching to the home of the unholy and all that Hollywood is known for -- I mean, the night life, the stars and the wannabes -- you know what I'm talking about.

Anyways, at Lola, as we landed and as usual, we were offered a table with the gesture of the waitress telling us 'the table is yours for the evening,' making us feel indulged. That was a good gesture, isn't it?

My friend had requested a glass of French Martini, a signal Lola's was the original home of French and apple martinis. Now I know why there are too many martini freaks in Hollywood. I ordered some appetizers to make my body and soul one. I had a bowl of sauteed calamari with beans, corn and asparagus in a shell to start the evening of pub-crawling around town. While sipping that strong martini, my friend ordered cornmeal crusted fry oyster with lemon aioli and steamed rice on the side. I ordered my regular drink -- two shots of cognac.

The evening had just begun.

As we sat joyously eating and drinking, we talked about a whole lot of stuff. We mentioned the Jam in Atlanta on Saturday, November 1st, which will make Mt Zion Parkway look like the carnivals on Hollywood Boulevard. We talked about how death had taken away some of our finest musicians and songwriters -- Isaac Hayes, Levi Stubbs and Norman Whitfield.

In fact, we mentioned the days of Motown and how Berry Gordy Jr. built that great empire that produced The Jacksons, Temptations, Undisputed Truth, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Smokey Robinson and many others.

At Lola's, it was not a night of trick or treat. It was a night of hanging out and the earlier you go the better chances you would have to grab one of the Leopard print couches on the front.

I loved it and it was just fun!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

CARTOON: Economic Meltdown in the Kitchen


Four Tops' Levi Stubbs Mourned By Motown

Abdul Fakir, right, known as Duke, the last surviving original member of the Four Tops, greeted guests at the funeral for Levi Stubbs at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit on Monday. (Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

If you grew up in the 70s and never heard of Motown, you must be living in some kind of woods. Motown, to me, is not a fairy tale. It's an empire founded by Berry Gordy which brought the best musical cast of all time. For Levi Stubbs who died October 17 and buried yesterday in Detroit his was a magic. Growing up in the 70s and listening to the Four Tops I have fond memories, though most of their hits were released in the mid to late 60s.

They had a string of soul hits beginning with "Baby I need Your Loving" which caught the eyes of the hippies and funksters of the day. "I Can't Help Myself" which vibrates with a follow up "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch" made methink "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch" was the real track.

Stubbs, Renaldo "Obie" Benson, Duke Fakir and Lawrence Payton formed the Four Aims in 1956 in Detroit and later on would change the band's name to the Four Tops after signing a contract with Chess Records. At Chess Records, nothing much happened in terms of producing a successful album which led the band to team up with Berry Gordy Jr, the founder of Motown. At Motown, everything the legendary baritone voice of Stubbs and the Four Tops touched was gold. Hits upon hits were made. Stubbs vocals made Four Tops a world famous group.

Adios Stubbs, your voice is still alive.