Sunday, August 29, 2010

Night of Magic: Fela Kuti's Shrine Rocks Hollywood

Najite Agindotan takes center stage manning his craft as groomed by Baba back in the day at the shrine.

Ace drummer and percussionist, Remi "Kabots" Kabaka doing his thing.

The crowd and the magic night.

Multi-instrumentalist and stage manager, Matt Gibson and Najite performs in the magic night.
The horn section takes center stage.

The female dancers and the magic night.

The drum circle in the ballroom.

Efe Agindotan and the dancers

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Q & A: Fashion Model Kaya Chipungu

In my several conversations with beautifully built, Zambian-born, Orlando, Florida-based, Kaya Chipungu, there's no doubt she'd been determined to be the best in her class, whatever form it takes. Aspiring to work for the United Nations after taking on International Relations as major in college, Chipungu noted a whole lot she intends to accomplish, especially for humanity. Very hardworking and diligently focused on her career, for the moment, the sky is now the limit. On August 28, 2010, she will be on the runway to taxi for Miss Zambia Intercultural 2010. And within that framework, overwhelming calls from Hollywood never stopped coming, and sooner than later, she will be auditioning where it rocks -- Hollywood and the City of Angels.


Tell me about yourself

I am a 27 year old philonthropist at heart and l graduated from MacMaine School of Computing in Information Technology and l intend to go to Rollins College in 2011, to pursue my studies in International Relations and Diplomacy. l was born in Zambia and l was raised in Zimbabwe where l completed my college before moving to the USA. Besides my dreams and aspirations of becoming the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and a Goodwill Ambassador, l intend to continue with my modeling career and philanthropy, because through modeling l have been able to travel around and promote human welfare and advancement as well as making humanity better through my platform PEPE, which stands for Poverty Eradication and Promoting Education.

PEPE is a project l started in February 2010, after seeing the need for change. l'm hoping that this project will be global by 2015 which is the deadline for Millenium Development Goals (MDG's). l am starting with the continent of Africa where l'm from by endowment of institutions of learning, hospitals, provision of food and basic necessities.

l am currently an Ambassador for Flame Of Ambition Organization which was founded by a very remarkable young lady, Mutinta Suuya, a young lady who has inspired me in every way. Flame Of Ambition is a true definition of Philanthropy. It is an organization that cares about the improvement of life and better living conditions in Africa. lam also an Ambassador for Monjai Foundation which was founded by a true philathropist, Yeatoe McIntosh, and she has inspired me to do better. Monjai Foundation promotes human welfare and advancement around the world. Both organizations are spreading their wings globally to cater for the needs of people world wide.

l am a member of the following organizations: Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), Flame of Ambition, Amnesty USA, l Embrace , Raisin Orphan Awareness and Junior Chambers.

l am a volunteer for the United Nations and World Vision and its through voluntary work that l have had a burning sensation to reach out to people in need and became a Philanthropist and l hope that l will impact people around the world to be the same because we are living in a materialistic world where the less priveleged people remain at the bottom of the ladder not because they want to but because the priveleged are too blinded by material things and the true definition of Philanthropy is goodwill to fellowmen and it is what this world needs today.

l am a finalist for Miss Intercultural 2010 and a finalist for Miss Zambia International 2010. l was Miss Phototogenic 2010 and l was the first runner up for Miss Zambia USA 2010. l do a lot of fashion modeling and l love the runway.

What really inspired you into fashion and modeling?

l believe clothes tell a lot about an individual.l have always loved dressing up,redesigning my own clothes,fashion shows,runway,high fashion and the list goes on that gave me an urge to get into fashion and modeling.

Since you have been in the fashion and modeling industry, what would you say has kept you going in the business?

When you love what you are doing it becomes as easy as breathing.The very first time when you are trying to find a stepping stone you might stumble here and there but once you set your mind to it,your capabilitiy to do it best is unquestionable. Determination, dedication and diligence have kept me going.

Let’s talk about Miss Zambia. You were Miss Zambia Finalist for Intercultural 2010. What was your experience like facing the panel of judges and organizers of the show in the heat of the contest?

Yes l'm Miss Zambia Finalist for Miss Intercultural 2010. It will be held August 28, 2010. My anticipation levels keep rising as we draw near, l am excited and lm looking forward to a great show.

You recently made a trip for a show in Washington D.C. Tell me about that show.

It was Miss Africa USA 2010,I had a lot of fun and it was a learninng experience for me as well. l had the opportunity to meet different designers from all over Africa and l met a lot of new people.

Did you ever think you’d see the day when you’d audition for big events like the trip to D.C?

Not at all, l never thought in a million years l would be auditioning for anything besides my dream of going for an interview to work for the United Nations as the Secretary-General of the United Nations. But my life took a different toll altogether. l love auditioning and l love what l am doing and my dream of becoming the United Nations Secretary-General is still a dream that will become a reality.

What keeps you busy in your leisure time?

l love to write poetry and l read a lot of books. l watch a lot of documentaries. l hangout a lot with my colleagues to discuss issues of the day in the fashion and modelling industry. l also love to travel.

What books and magazines have you been reading? Tell me about it.

l am reading "A Long Walk to Freedom" which is about the life of former South African President, the great Nelson Mandela. l have read this book so many times but everytime l pick it up to read it again, l get a whole different insight. l just finished reading "The Audacity to Hope," by President Barack Obama which is about thoughts on reclaiming the American dream, calling for a return to America's original ideals. I read all kinds of literatures and magazines. l got to have my Vogue, In Style, Essence and numerous others to keep me posted with new trends on designers, models and the fashion world.

In fashion, who is your favorite designer?

Coco Chanel is my favorite designer. She greatly influenced the fashion industry by her classy sophisticated designs. When fashion meets class the sense of sophistication is very distinct. It's that artistic side that brings a material to life making it chic, couture and classy; and Coco Chanel's designs tend to awaken my fashion buds everytime l see them.

I’m quite sure you love to cook. What’s your favorite dish?

Yes l love to cook a lot. My favourite dish is oxtails with my traditional dish Nshima made from corn meal. l can cook anything, though.

I’m also sure you eat out every now and then. What’s your favorite restaurant?

My favorite restaurant is Chez Vincent, a French Cuisine with the best food in Orlando.

Your wish for upcoming models and if they should be in your shoes, what would you tell them?

Believe in yourself and never take no for an answer. If you can dream it you can just do it .Do not get caught up in the snare of loosing the true sense of who you are and your self worth because the fashion world is not an easy world as it seems to be. You have to work hard to get in and harder to stay in. Always be your best at all times because you never know when your lucky day would come; as the old saying goes, "every dog has its day." Everyday is runway, everyday is a fashion show for a model; that's the life of a model. Lastly, just do it after all, you have one life to live!

4th Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair Kids Corner

Recently, the 4th Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair was held in Leimert Park Village, Los Angeles, with an amazing crowd. Kudos to Nina Womack, one of the event's organizers, who supervised and conducted the children's aisle. It was all fun and games featuring fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children's literature by over a hundred and fifty African American writers. Also included were live perormances by various artists. Among them: A Jimi Hendrix Tribute Band led by Anthony Aquarius Mystery, Wadada and Kelly Love Jones.

Nigerian Jungle Blues: Ghetto Life Images V

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hoha! (Pointblank): Talking Heads on a troubled Nigeria

"I think you can recognise my voice; I am in my office in Agbeloba. I thank you for taking the trouble to find out. Thank you very much. I also heard that I am dead but there is nothing wrong with me; I can assure you of that" “I dey kampe. This morning I went to do community work at Pakoto near Ifo. I have since returned to Abeokuta and have attended a meeting on the (Presidential) library,”

-------Former president Olusegun Obasanjo on circulated text message that said he had been shot dead:

"Breaking News: Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo has been assassinated in his home town in Ogun state by unknown gun men. He was confirmed dead at the General Hospital Ota, Ogun State few hours after his convoy was ambushed".

"I am calling on South-south governors to unite for Goodluck Jonathan since charity begins at home and because their rallying behind Goodluck Jonathan will create the required impetus necessary to strengthen the resolve of Northern governors to also support Goodluck. Such support is bound to reverberate among Eastern and Western governors and by extension, the whole country. Most especially, the PDP need to unite in this purpose so that we can use this party to usher in the wind of change in this country and steer this country towards another direction, a direction that tally with the will of God."

-------Gabriel Pidomson, former member of the Rivers state House of Assembly and Secretary to the Government of Rivers State during the administration of Celestine Omehia, speaking on zoning and the presidency of Nigeria.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Meet Zambia's Maleele Choongo For Miss Teen United Nations International

The Miss Teen United Nations International is calling and sixteen year old Maleele Choongo will be representing her native land, Zambia, for the Miss Teen United Nations International Final Contests scheduled to be held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in September.

At sixteen, it's amazing what Choongo has accomplished. A senior at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS), the state's only public, residential, co-educational high school for academically talented juniors and seniors. There, she takes college credit courses. She belongs to the soccer, Debate, Choir, Interfaith Dialogue Club, Beta Club, National Honor Society and the tennis club.

Choongo plans to be majoring in classical music and psychology before heading to law school. Currently, as Miss Teen Zambia which she credits to "fitness, academic achievements, talent, and interview skills in young ladies, which also offers teenage girls an opportunity to not only display but also positively unleash their potential in a way that benefits their community." Choongo feels she's been blessed with all the outlined celebrated traits seeing it as an opportunity to put them to use.

Very confident and believing whoever is granted the title, Miss Teen United Nations International, should not only possess the traits, but must also be passionate and determined enough to use them in a way that best represents her country, Zambia.

Most importantly, Choonga said "I am eager to work alongside the He Touch Me Ministry on my platform, education for orphans, to ensure every child the opportunity of education regardless of their financial status. I focus most of my community service on programs that are centered around educating them."

On a remarkable volunteer work, she assists kindergarten and preschoolers at the MUW Educational Center. She also spent two summers volunteering at the daycare for the least privileged at Bethlehem Day Care Learning Center. She helped a teacher in tutoring and reading to her students at Magee Elementary School.

On academics and excursions, she participated in her school's science carnival where she had a station in which she conducted science experiments and talked to the children about the significance of science in everyday life. In her volunteering for children, and in her own words: "I have truly become passionate about education for orphans. Most importantly, not only do I strive to be a role model inside the classroom, but also in matters remote from academics. I am in no way perfect, but I feel as if my embracing that and using even my imperfections to work towards my goals set at a very good example."

Choongo's other haul of accomplishments and doing stuff for worthy causes:

Murrah High School Counselor's Award; Highest Mathematics Average, National Honor Society; First Place, Jackson Library System Summer Reading Program; First Place, Jackson Heart Study Research Summer Science Program; First Place, JPS Double Tennis; Jckson Ctholic Forensic League Top Five Declamation Speaker; Miss MSMS 2009 -- Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science; National Honors Society Inductee; National Forensic League; Open Doors Gifted Students Award; Open Doors Gifted Students Chess Tournament; Outstanding Mathematics Achievement, Tougaloo Jackson Heart Study Summer Science Program; and the list goes on and on.

In addition, School Recognition Duke Talent Identification Program For Mathematically And Verbally Talented Students, Declamation State Representative National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament and Murrah High School Top 25 PSAT Scores.

While we spoke on the phone in several occasions as outlined above, I popped up some questions she diligently answered without qualms:

So how do you see yourself?

I think I'm a well rounded person; I think I am smart but I am also a hard worker.

What kind of association do you keep to be who you are?

I have always associated myself with like-minded peers meaning people who like doing things I like to do. I have always had decent grades and I akways have kept myself involved in things like Habitat for Humanity, volunteering in after school tutoring and also volunteering at the day care for the least privileged at Bethlehem Day Care Learning Center.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Summer Jam Afternoon Jump In 'Black Township'

Michael Sessions and trombonist Carl do their thing on the playgrounds as visitors and tourists watch.

Ray Straughter of Cosmic View rehearses at the World Stage Performance Art Gallery for the upcoming opening for the Michael McDonal's Hollywood Bowl Concert.

Folks in the village playing chess and the knockout game.

Dancing to the Najite Agindotan led Drum Church Circle beat, like in a spiritual revival.

The Learning Academy...Kids learn the art trade as part of 'incubating' the village.

Multi-instrumentalist, Wadada sets up his promotional CD and rehearses for the Labor Day Weekend jam.

The game begins -- the Drum Church Circle beats -- and Najite leads.

Tourist possessed by the powerful spirits of the Drum Church Circle beats.

Afrobeat Now Presents Fela Kuti Memorial Day

A summer blast coming down in da hood and all da folks in Hollywood be crawling, dawg!

Yes, on August 27, ace talking drummer and Bab's boy, Najite Agindotan and his Olokun Prophesy Afro Beat Band will be slamming it real hard at Dragon Fly which sits on 8510 Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood. The gig will be featuring the Queen of Afro Beat, Sandra Isadore whose sensational vocal on Baba's smash hit "Upside Down" exploded at the Chief Priest's shrine.

It's gonna be a lotta fun with more side attractions; so come on down and be part of the experience!