Thursday, Sep 18th

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Africans in Uk

S. Kay is Glasgow’s music export

MC, songwriter and producer

Glasgow City heralds the impressive talents of Hip Hop grime MC, songwriter and producer S. Kay.
Born in Kenya of Ugandan parentage, Kay, has made his mark on the Northern music scene, recording at the age of 21. It seems his journey has just begun. His musical path began by learning to play drums in Kenya before moving to Glasgow.

Kay built up his skills by studying at the Glasgow’s School of Art. He played the Glasgow circuit, an ideal opportunity to showcase his talents, gain experience and exposure. Through bars, clubs, etc, his DJ sets covered a melting pot of genres including Techno, Hip Hop, Funky House and RnB.

His career took on a different direction when he began song writing. Penning his own material led to the release of ‘Push Em Up’ and ‘It’s Just Me’.

These early tracks were perfect promotional tools for Kay’s talents as he gained recognition through being placed on schedules alongside; Dizzee Rascal, Tim Westwood,  Busta Rhymes, Jamelia, Truth Hurts, DMX, Sunshine Anderson and Nas.

Kay has toured with Taio Cruz, N-Dubz, Simon Webbe, Dolly Rockers, Filthy Dukes, Bashy, MPHO and Daniel Merriweather, all within the space of two months.

Kay’s role model is Michael Jackson. “He was exceptional in different talents from a young age, and inspired people across the globe” he said.

The up and coming young black musicians should “concentrate on their product, making  the music they like. If they want to take their music seriously then they should also learn as much as possible about the music industry side including the business side of things. It is hard to get your product out there without a business plan,” he said.

“They should gain as much feedback on their music as possible from people that don’t know them such as promoters or managers” he added.

Kay followed his own business advice which certainly paid off, as he launched his own label, ‘Artistik’ (www.artistikrecords.co.uk) which is also a media outlet that concentrates on music, video content, fashion and live events. Kay’s gig accolades include playing at Ministry of Sound, Astoria, Camden’s Jazz Café and Carling Academy.

“I hate to be pigeon holed, I like to write what I’m feeling in the moment and have learnt to only record when the time is right” he said.

His recordings have drawn media attention from BBC Radio 1’s Vic Galloway and the Number 1 online music site, Music-News.com. His recent single release, ‘Got The Beat’ has a ‘Jazz Café feel’ about it and has been taken from his forthcoming album, ‘From The Outside Looking In’.

Looking towards a bright future, Kay’s ambitions lay further afield than the UK as he looks to hit the international music arena and make it happen. Basing this outlook on his previous success and business ethics, I think that this is the ideal Scottish export for the international music circuit.

By Amanda Hall-Davis

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Umunna and Speech Debelle encourage young people to vote

"Voting, as well as wider participation in the political system, is crucial to ensure that our voices are heard"

Labour's Parliamentary candidate for Streatham Chuka Umunna joined Mercury Music Prize winner Speech Debelle to support Operation Black Vote (OBV) and encourage young people to make their voices heard by voting this year.

Speech Debelle was one of the judges for a talent contest at a community event organised by Mr. Umunna, along with Leo Ihenacho, singer with The Streets.

The Celebrating Streatham event was held to bring together local businesses, charities and community groups and celebrate the talent and diversity of the South London neighbourhood, which has one of the largest African Caribbean populations in the country.

The event showcased the talent of local performers to the wider community and challenged the negative perception of both Streatham and young people which is too often put forward by the national media.

Dancer Jerayle, who is studying for his GCSEs, won the contest after an audience vote. As well as winning the chance to record his own video with youth foundation Generation Next, Speech Debelle was so impressed that she also asked him to feature in her next video.

Mr. Umunna said: "This year, people face an important choice which will affect the future of the country and its many diverse communities.

"Voting, as well as wider participation in the political system, is crucial to ensure that our voices are heard."

Speech Debelle, who grew up and still lives in Streatham, won the Mercury Music Prize last year for her album “Speech Therapy”.

In January, Mr. Umunna took part in Operation Black Vote's 'Express Yourself' event, which promoted young people becoming more active members of society and their communities and also featured performances from young musicians and comedians.

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Zimbabweans in UK shocked at desperate situation back home

1 Million Zimbabwean Voices: “We should have never let the country sink to such appalling depths”

Zimbabweans and friends of Zimbabwe in the United Kingdom are shocked, outraged and sad at a BBC documentary which depicted the desperate situation in the country.

1 Million Zimbabwean Voices, a Non Profit Organisation in England and Wales said that “Most Zimbabweans living abroad know that the circumstances back home are ‘bad’. However, those of us living abroad are part of an elite who have managed to sustain loved ones in relative comfort and security. A documentary like this serves to remind us that being able to meet the needs of our immediate families does not mean that Zimbabwe is on the mend. It reminds us that the slide towards the precipice continues. It raises the question of whether the much-heralded new political dispensation will in fact lead to change for the better for ordinary Zimbabweans or will begin and end with political accommodation.”

1 Million Zimbabwean Voices observed that to Zimbabweans who remember their country as a place where the poorest peasants could at least afford a decent meal, the documentary served to show just how far down the nation has gone while they all tried to make a life elsewhere.

“The fact that we all felt a strong sense of shame and failure is a clear indication that we still feel part of Zimbabwe. Obviously, something must be done and must be done immediately. We are the ones to do it,” the organisation said, adding that the country “should have never been allowed to come to such scenes as were depicted in the documentary. We should have never let the country sink to such appalling depths.”

1 Million Zimbabwean Voices said the time had come for things to change for the better in Zimbabwe. “Enough is enough,” the organisation said. “This is what 1 Million Zimbabwean Voices is about. A million Zimbabweans coming together to speak with one voice that it is time for real change. Real change means more than just seeing faces we like in the great offices of State, but that scenes such as we saw in the documentary should become only the stuff of history or fiction. There is no other option for Zimbabwe now.”

For further information about 1 Million Zimbabwean Voices, please log on to http://www.1millionzimbabweanvoices.com

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Kingdom of Ife: sculptures from West Africa at the British Museum

The exhibition tells the story of the legendary city of Ife, in what is now modern Nigeria

The British Museum in London is hosting a special exhibition titled “Kingdom of Ife: sculptures from West Africa”.

The exhibition tells the story of the legendary city of Ife (pronounced ee-feh) through some of the most refined and beautiful sculptures ever to be found in Africa.

Ife is today regarded as the spiritual heartland of the Yoruba people living in Nigeria, the Republic of Benin and their many descendants around the world.
The exhibition features nearly 100 superb pieces of Ife sculpture, most of which have never been seen in the UK before, and have been drawn almost entirely from the magnificent collections of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria.

The British Museum is planning a series of Africa-related events, activities and displays to coincide with the 50th anniversary of African Independence celebrations in 2010.

Ife is rightly regarded as the birthplace of some of the highest achievements of African art and culture, combining technical accomplishment with strong aesthetic appeal.

From the 12th to the 15th centuries, Ife flourished as a powerful, cosmopolitan and wealthy city state in West Africa, in what is now modern Nigeria. It was an influential centre of trade connected to extensive local and long-distance trade networks which enabled the region to prosper.

Ife developed a refined and highly naturalistic sculptural tradition in stone, terracotta, brass and copper-alloy to create a style unlike any in Africa at the time.

The human figures portray a wide cross-section of Ife society and include depictions of youth and old age, health and disease, suffering and serenity. The almost pure copper mask of Obalufon II, an early Ooni (king) of Ife is one of the finest images of royal power from Ife.

According to Yoruba myth, Ife was the centre of the creation of the world and all mankind. Ife was home to many sacred groves located in the city’s forests. Two groves in particular have revealed numerous sculptures: the Ore Grove with its stone monoliths, human and animal figures and the Iwinrin Grove which is associated with terracotta heads and fragments from life-size figures.

Other sites have revealed spectacular pieces with royal associations including the only known complete king figure and an exquisite terracotta head, possibly portraying a queen from Ita Yemoo. A terracotta elephant and a hippopotamus head lavishly adorned with beaded regalia come from the royal burial site of Lafogido.

The figurative terracotta sculptures, which represent the largest group of works, capture the diverse nature of Ife society at the time. Several terracotta heads bear facial striations suggesting cultural markings, some possibly from groups outside Ife. Some heads appear to depict women wearing regalia or jewellery indicating their high status. Also on display are almost life-size copper alloy heads which reveal an idealized, naturalistic uniformity although each head has notable individual characteristics. It is suggested that they were produced over a relatively short period of time, maybe in a single workshop. These heads are believed to be associated with the coronation or the accession rituals of new rulers of Yoruba city-states which owed allegiance to Ife.

Today Ife remains a major spiritual and religious centre for the Yoruba people. Some of its shrines and groves are still in use and rituals to key gods are performed regularly.

Works of art from Ife have become iconic symbols of regional and national unity, and of pan-African identity. Since Independence in 1960 enthusiasm for copies or reproductions of heritage items with nostalgic associations has increased. The ‘Ori Olokun’ head was chosen as the logo for the All-Africa Games held in Lagos in 1973 and has been adopted as the logo of numerous commercial, educational and financial institutions. Such images have become universal symbols of African heritage.

The exhibition has been developed in partnership with the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria; the Fundación Marcelino Botín, Santander and the Museum for African Art, New York. Guest curator is Enid Schildkrout, Museum of African Art, New York. Co-curated at the British Museum by Claude Ardouin and Julie Hudson.

The exhibition is sponsored by Santander. Additional support provided by The A.G. Leventis Foundation

KINGDOM OF IFE: SCULPTURES FROM WEST AFRICA
British Museum, Room 35
From 4th March to 6th June 2010
Admission charge £8 plus a range of concessions
To book tickets: www.britishmuseum.org or 020 7323 8181

 

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Black and Minority Ethnic Domestic Violence Seminar in London

It will address women’s experiences of domestic abuse and Female Genital Mutilation

You are invited to the “Empowering Women to Challenge Abuse and Domestic Violence” seminar on 30th March in London.

The seminar will take place at the Empress State Building, Lillie Road, London SW6 1TR, from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

The following topics will be addressed: women’s experiences of domestic abuse; women’s experiences of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); and issues of faith in relation to the treatment of women.

The seminar will also explore the influence of faith and culture, effective Multi-Agency Working, and develop toolkits to empower survivors. It will also plan way forward workshops.

Speakers will include: Rhoda Wilson – The African Caribbean Women's Leadership (ACWAL) Founding President; Denise Milani - Director Diversity & Citizen Focus Directorate, Metropolitan Police Service; Detective Inspector Jim Blair - Diversity & Citizen Focus Directorate; Detective Sergeant Sharon Stratton - Violent Crime Directorate; Tina Beattie - Professor of Catholic Studies; Claire Cooper – REFUGE; Anita Ayeh-Kumi – REFUGE, and Naana Otwoo-Oyortey – FORWARD.

Places are limited so you are advised to register your interest via email to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call +44 (0) 7985 463783.

This is a free event and refreshments will be provided. Please inform the organisers of any access assistance and/or dietary requirements.

In your RSVP, the organisers would appreciate your response to the following question:  What is your experience of the Metropolitan Police in relation to Domestic Abuse including Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriages? Your answers would help them in identifying any gaps in the Metropolitan Police Service's support and service to the community. 

BLACK AND MINORITY ETHNIC DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SEMINAR 
Location: 
Empress State Building, Lillie Road, London SW6 1TR 
Overground/Underground: Southern/West Brompton on the District Line
For direction see map:  http://www.multimap.com/s/kmCBB87V
For further information, visit ACWAL’s website at www.acwal.org

 

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