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