Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Kenyan Cultural Star Mumbi Kaigwa Dramatizes the Dreams of African Women

Mumbi Kaigwa, Kenyan theater maker, actor and storyteller performing in Alan Bennett's Talking Heads

Repost from The Power of Culture:

Do women in Kenya still believe in the ‘African dream' of peace and freedom in 2006? Can they emancipate themselves despite the daily struggle of survival and the traditions that bind them to home and hearth? Mumbi Kaigwa asked women in Kenya these questions. These interviews formed the basis for the performance - the title of which explains all. Kigezi means ankle cuffs and ndoto means dreams.

Mumbi Kaigwa (1962) lives in Kenya and is currently considered one of Africa's leading theatre makers and film actresses. She was the first woman, for example, who dared to make an African version of the feminist play The Vagina Monologues. As UN employee in the 1990s, she contributed to the fight against AIDS, sexual abuse, poverty and other injustices. She recently played a supporting role in the successful film The Constant Gardener.

KigeziNdoto was made on behalf of and in co-production with the World Music Theatre Festival. After its premier in Amsterdam (March 2006) the play will tour nine different theatres in the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy. The text is spoken in Kiswahili and is sub-titled. At the end of the tour the play will also be performed in Kenya.

Friday, May 12, 2006


The Soul of Punk

Repost from LA Times: Soul-punk thrillers the BellRays have long distinguished themselves as one of Los Angeles’ most creative, hard-hitting bands, and with release of a new CD, Have a Little Faith, they’ve cooked up one of the best albums to come out of this town [LA] in quite a spell. Their basic “maximum rock & soul” formula — rampaging guitars that instantaneously melt into a shimmering Curtis Mayfield–style soul reverie then slam back into full-bore wilding — provides a rich, unpredictable region for powerhouse vocalist Lisa Kekaula to operate in, and she takes full advantage of it. Combining liberated audacity and tight control, Kekaula’s roar-and-purr delivery rates her as a singer of illimitable expression (check the ballsy-bitchy genius of “Detroit Breakdown”), one whom the BellRays (and the rest of us) are lucky as hell to have around.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Good Luck Cory: Booker beats back Sharpe machine to become new mayor of Newark

Repost from Bloomberg

"Booker Beats Newark Machine With Pledge to Fight Crime, Poverty
May 10 (Bloomberg) -- Cory Booker was elected mayor of Newark, New Jersey in a landslide, riding a wave of support from voters in America's fourth-poorest city counting on him to cut crime, improve schools and clean up the machine politics he has fought for 10 years.

Booker, 37, a Rhodes scholar who grew up in suburban Bergen County, New Jersey, and who lost on his first try to unseat Mayor Sharpe James in 2002, received 72 percent of the vote in a four- way race. He beat his closest rival, State Senator Ronald Rice, by 48 percentage points with 95 percent of districts reporting, according to unofficial returns.

Booker's bid to topple the organization that helped keep James in office for 20 years attracted nationwide attention and $6.6 million in campaign donations, mostly from Wall Street backers. Now he must encourage investment in a city where 28 percent live below the poverty line, where 14 schools are designated by the state as failures, and where the murder rate last year was more than five times that of New York City, 15 miles to the east."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Zuma Acquittal: What Does This Mean for South Africa?

ZUMA NOW WALKS on the rape charge. Predictably acquitted according to some responses in the South African press. Many of his supporters feel he may be on his way to the Presidency -- that is, if he can also clear the hurdle of graft charges. Other voices from the South African press say Zuma is unfit to lead a country suffering from an AIDS epidemic and struggling to strengthen women's rights.

Even if Zuma's allegations were true, that these charges are part of a political conspiracy to discredit him and keep him from the presidency, it is hard to imagine how a man, now smeared by rape and corruption charges could make it to the highest office. But, you never know. In the U.S. political prognostication has become a near impossible endeavor.

However, this trial, as painful as it has been, has brought much needed attention to the issues of women's rights and AIDS. And this may be part of the silver lining in this unseemly episode. If the national dialogue on these issues has been catalyzed by this trial, and if (big if) positive developments proceed in terms of ensuring women's rights and fighting AIDS perhaps in the long run this tawdry affair may be seen in a positive light.

Pretoria News
Zuma is not fit to lead a country where women's rights are high on the agenda, where the fight against Aids is, or should be, an urgent national priority and where the protection of the weak and vulnerable is the duty of the powerful. South Africa deserves a president who can lead by example. Jacob Zuma has shown that he cannot do that.

From BBC:
Several South African papers argue Jacob Zuma is unfit to be a future president of the country despite being found not guilty in a high-profile rape trial.

One daily says his acquittal is a "setback for women's rights and political stability" and that his expected candidacy should be "blocked firmly and permanently".

Friday, May 05, 2006


Black Bloggin' Aint Easy or Why Dysthymia Sucks

"Black men's resistance to seeking help and their lack of access to mental health care make the likely discrepancy between the number who are diagnosed with depression and the number who actually suffer from it even greater. The few studies of the prevalence of depression in African American men report that 8-10 percent of us suffer serious depression in a year."

Standing In the Shadows : Understanding and Overcoming Depression in Black Men
John Head

YEAH! I dropped out for a minute, so what! BlackBloggin' aint easy...and I'm suffering from the postmod social malady du monde...Dysthymia. I know it sounds like something pink and frothy for stomach pains and post curry hang-over, but it's actually low-grade depression. And, if you aint suffering from it as well, I don't know what globe you're spinning on.

Now, you can take something for it. There are a host of medications that address this ubiquitous social ill, but they limp your joint. Personally, I can't figure out how I'm supposed to be less depressed when the soul pole just got knocked off it's axis. You know what I mean? How is not being able to get it on supposed to help you kick the blues? This existential conundrum cooks my substantial noodle every time. This is what I call WhiteLogic, cuz there aint a brotha or sistah out there who is so depressed that they are willing to let go of the good stuff for mental health. F*&% mental health! I'll take being a depressed freek anyday rather than accept a fate worse than the peculiar institution...that of the sexless smiley face man. I swear, I can't event grok that shnizzle. Therefore, I'm doomed to deal with dysthymia by taking it out on m'lady. Now, that's a f*&%in' cure for yo' ass. Freak the blues away.

PS: Leave it to the French to provide a medicinal escape hatch -- a concoction called Tianeptine. This alleged wonder drug purports to beat back the blues while keeping your bedroom game tight and right. Damn, them Frogs know how to live - happy and hung.

Get Your Read On: Meanwhile, if you prefer to geek the weep rather than beat the wife...check out Standing In the Shadows : Understanding and Overcoming Depression in Black Men and get the scoop on why brothas are so black and blue.

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