Friday, December 05, 2008

Positive Cultural Reinforcement for African American Parents

How do African American people shop for gifts?

Probably the same way everyone else does.

But on top of all the other considerations, African American people often want to find gifts which are culturally relevant for us and our children.

Christmas and Kwanzaa provide excellent opportunities for positive cultural reinforcement.

Click here to read the rest of this article.

Click here for my free guide to Black holiday gifts.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Barack Obama: African American Success Story

Barack Obama is one of the most important African American successful role models in history.

People all over the world are still celebrating Barack Obama's election victory. Of course, for African American people, this success has particular significance.

What can African American people learn from his success?

To read the rest of this article, click here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Key to Financial Prosperity

Do you want to find the key to financial prosperity? I have written this article to help you to tap into your full potential, go way beyond your goals and realise your dreams.

Use the methods I will share with you and you can see brilliant, amazing results. Your potential is unlimited. I guarantee you are capable of going way beyond what you think you can achieve.

Check it out:

You will also enjoy my new, free report on 4 Steps to Getting the Job You Want:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Love Letter to Black People

Tonight, on the Success Strategies radio show, we will be celebrating President Obama's win. What does this mean for the future of the Black community? What effects will it have on your Black-owned business?

There are no limits to what we can achieve.

My guest tonight will be Brian McClellan, author of Love Letter to Black People.

I hope you can join us at 8:00 p.m. UK time.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I Keep Crying - Great Post-Election Videos

When I see scenes of these crowds of people celebrating Obama's victory, I cry. I can't help it. I am so emotional about this. This election result is a victory for everyone. Here in London, people keep coming up to me and congratulating me.

My fellow AfroSpear member African American Political Pundit (AAPP) made these videos of people the day after Election Day:

The status quo has been shaken to its very core.

First Time Voter Aged 60+

Young Black Voters Barack the Vote

Interview with a Woman Soldier

Here are some more interesting videos. Like Whoopi Goldberg, and a lot of other people, I did not, in my heart of hearts, believe I would see this day in my lifetime.

The View on Obama

Mobs of people in Washington, DC celebrate Obama’s Win

Just goes to show that anything is possible. There are no limits to what we can achieve. Just like I'm always saying. Turns out it's true!

Check out my book Success Strategies for Black People.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Message from President Obama

Below is a message which our new President has just sent to his supporters:

Subject: How This Happened

I'm about to head to Grant Park to talk to everyone gathered there, but I wanted to write to you first.

We just made history.

And I don't want you to forget how we did it.

You made history every single day during this campaign -- every day you knocked on doors, made a donation, or talked to your family, friends, and neighbors about why you believe it's time for change.

I want to thank all of you who gave your time, talent, and passion to this campaign.

We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I'll be in touch soon about what comes next.

But I want to be very clear about one thing...

All of this happened because of you.

Thank you,


Happy Birthday, America!

President Obama. The sound of this is resonating in my ears.

Got up at 5:30 this morning and turned on the TV. When I saw the news, I started to cry. I was so emotional. All these crowds cheering Obama.

This truly is a new day. A new dawn.

On a level, I realise, I never thought I would see this in my lifetime. A Black man in the White House. Now anything is possible.

Whole new possibilities have opened up. Things that were not conceivable yesterday can happen now. I felt like this when apartheid ended in South Africa and Nelson Mandela was elected. I feel it even more strongly now.

For the first time, I care about what the First Lady is wearing. I care about how she will decorate. We have a Black First Lady in the White House now.

When Michelle Obama tells her children they can grow up to be President, she really means it. And now, the rest of us can mean it too.

Obama had 93% of the African American vote, along with 40% of the white vote.

African Americans are full citizens at last. We can participate fully in the electoral process. We have the power to bring about change. And we have used our power.

At last, I feel proud to be American.

Well done, America. Congratulations. You have finally come of age.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Polling Day

I went to the doctor's this morning and he said, "Make sure you get it right this time. I've emailed all my American friends and told them to get it right this time." He also said, "It would have made a huge difference if Al Gore had won". And he is a white Englishman.

The whole world is watching the U.S. election today, even more than usual. The whole world could be affected by the outcome.

I've been speaking to friends and family on the other side of the pond, who tell me they feel both excited and apprehensive.

1) First, there are the mechanics of the voting process. Will they have to queue for hours? This could be very stressful, both for the voters and for those running the polling stations. Reports of understaffing are circulating. What if fights break out?

I don’t think anybody anticipated this high voter turnout, and the polling stations are unprepared for this.

Lawyers have been hired to help support fair voting practices. I am imagining teams of lawyers like SWAT teams swooping in to investigate. Who knew U.S. elections could be so exciting?

2) Will the voting machines work? Oprah’s experience suggests this could be a problem. How many other voters will struggle with this one? If an African American billionaire, the most influential woman on the planet, cannot cast her vote, what hope do the rest of us have?

Lots of problems in Nevada. Are the CSIs onto this?

3) The papers are saying Black people will riot if Obama doesn’t win. I say, yeah, right. But with record numbers of young people voting, maybe this is a real possibility.

Surely the time to riot was when Bush got put in the White House the first time without being elected.

So what’s going to happen? How was it for you? Phone in to my show tonight to share your opinions and experiences.

My friend Adrianne George from Black Women in Europe is going to be up all night talking about the election. She has invited me (yeah, me!) to join her for part of that discussion. It starts at 8:00 UK time (so clashes with my show), but it will go on all night. To watch the live blog, visit:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Black History: Poetry, Music, Art

On Sunday 26th October, 2008, UK's Most Wanted presents its Black History programme. As the author of Black Success Stories, I will be speaking on The Importance of Our African Cultural Heritage.

I hope you will be able to join us.

Every month, the UK 's Most Wanted programme includes spoken word, music and an art exhibition.

Time: 4:00-8:00 p.m.

Place: Redstar, 319 Camberwell Road, Camberwell Green,

London SE5 0HQ

Cost: £7 or free with a leaflet.

For more info, phone 07727 214 047

To read interviews with African Caribbean artists on their responses to the Bicentenary of the end of the Transatlantic trade, visit:

For more BHM arts events, visit:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sexual Exploitation of Black Women

"Harriet" is a choreopoem by Zhana which I wrote earlier this year. It explores themes around the sexual exploitation of African American women during enslavement.

It contains no explicit material.

"Harriet" tells the story of Harriet Jacobs, author of Incidents in the Lives of a Slave Girl, and portrays an imaginary meeting between her and Harriet Tubman.

To listen to an excerpt from a rehearsed reading of "Harriet", click here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Do Black People Know Our History?

My guest on tonight's show is Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, founder of the Law and Policy Group and author of Race, Law and American Society 1607-Present. She has a lot to say about Black history and how the law has affected us in Britain and the U.S.A.

I had a fascinating conversation with Gloria last night. She lectures in law in New York City and she told me that some of her students from Caribbean backgrounds were not aware that slavery had even happened there - they thought African people were indigenous to their islands. They had never been taught about slavery. (These are NOT Jamaicans, she assures me.)

Similarly, I was told by a previous guest, Tony Warner, that people in African countries are not aware of their history because the education system does not tell them about it. Click here to read more about that.

Tonight's show is going to be lively, informative and thought-provoking. I hope you will join us at 8:00 p.m. UK time. Click here to join us.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Free Black History Newspaper

Mia Morris has been running the Black History Month website for many years at

Mia now publishes a new, free Black History newspaper. I have just been reading a great article by Stephen Bourne in Mia's paper, about Black people who lived in Southwark, South London (where I live) during WWII. Plus she has events listings from London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Liverpool, Leeds and more.

The newspaper is available from museums including the Imperial War Museum, as well as Lambeth and Westminster libraries.

When I was at the Imperial War Museum, there were thousands of copies stacked up in the corner. So do what I did: grab a dozen copies or so and take them to your local library or school, or share them with friends.

To hear a recording of my 30th September Success Strategies radio show, on which Mia was a guest, visit:

See also:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Black History Radio Shows (3)

My guest on last week’s show was the historian Tony Warner.

One of the points he made is that Black people are not aware of our history. This is not just true in the Diaspora, it is true on the Continent as well.

He has travelled to Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya. In all of these places, he found that people were unaware of their history because the education system did not tell them about it.

To find out more about Tony Warner’s work, visit Black History Walks.

I asked him how people can start to learn about Black history and he said to start with your own family: interview your parents and grandparents about their lives.

To listen to a recording of the show, visit:

I asked the late Len Garrison, founder of the Black Cultural Archives, how to research family history. You can read his response in Black Success Stories.

This week, my guest on the Success Strategies radio show will be Kwende Ukaidi of the Birmingham bookshop Yemanja.

Yemanja have a very exciting educational and culture programme for Black History Month. To listen to the broadcast on Tuesday at 8 p.m., and to hear recordings of previous shows, visit:

Black History in Birmingham

This week, my guest on the Success Strategies radio show will be Kwende Ukaidi of the Birmingham bookshop Yemanja.

Yemanja have a very exciting educational and culture programme for Black History Month.

I hope you can join us. To listen to the broadcast on Tuesday at 8 p.m., and to hear recordings of previous shows, visit:

To read about the previous guests on my shows, visit:

To read an article about the origins of Black History Month UK, visit:

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Black History in London Radio Show

As October is Black History Month/African Heritage Month in the UK, I am delighted that my guest tonight will be Tony Warner of Black History Walks

Brother Tony tends to take a global view of Black history, which is very much in keeping with the international approach of my show.

To listen, please join us at 8:00 p.m. UK time at:

You can also listen to the recordings of previous shows at that URL.

See also: Black History with Tony Warner.

Click here to read an article about the African origins of BHM UK.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Black History Radio Shows (2)

Following on from the previous blog, my next guest, Mia Morris, spoke about her Black History Month website and her new, free Black History newspaper, which complements the site. She is keen to promote grassroots organisations which are putting on events regardless of whether or not they receive funding.

Mia’s website is at:

My final guest was Emmanuel Amevor, who spoke about the Wordpower International Black Literature Festival and Book Fair. Centerprise, who are running Wordpower, have lost all their funding from the Arts Council, but they intend to carry on and are holding an impressive series of events this year.

Click here to listen to the recording of this show.

Click here for Black History Radio Shows (part 1).

Click here to see my African Heritage resources.

For more BHM events, visit:

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Black History Radio Shows

My first guest on the Success Strategies radio show on Tuesday was Joan Gosier of Black Parent Connect and HBCU Kidz. Joan is becoming a regular caller and it was lovely to hear from her again. She is doing research about people from Africa who attended HBCUs. She is finding it very difficult even to search for the information because of the way the search engines are configured. If you can help or have any information, please contact her. Click here for Joan’s blog.

To read about Black history which is alive in London today, click here.

Click here to join us for the show every Tuesday and to listen to recordings of previous shows.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Black History with Tony Warner

I went to a Black History lecture last Friday night, by Tony Warner of 100 Black Men of London. He was speaking at Dr. Lez Henry’s BLAK Friday event.

The talk was on the Black history which is all around us in London. As usual, Brother Tony told gave us lots of useful information – and it’s often right in front of us. Black people have done so much to be proud of. I could not note down every bit of information he gave us, but here are a few examples:

A Black man, Bill Richmond, owned a pub in Leicester Square in the early19th century and owned his own gym in Trafalgar Square in 1810. In those days, boxing was all the rage amongst the aristocracy, who were his clients. His was the London’s first boxing academy.

Many African people resisted slavery, including:

Robert Wedderburn, a free Black man who
- saw his mother and grandmother, who were enslaved, whipped for being rebellious
- saw women who fought against rape be whipped, have their ears cut off or be

starved to death.

He wrote a book called The Horrors of Slavery and was an active speaker against slavery and economic oppression.

Ottobah Cuguano, who
- was one of the leaders and spokesmen for London’s Black community
- wrote a pamphlet in 1787 calling for the total abolition of slavery
- sent it to the King although the Royal Family were pro-slavery
- advocated for Black schools in 1794 – Black children were facing some of the
problems we are seeing today
- proposed making war on the slave trade by using the Navy.

The Sons of Africa, who
- were a group of African men who wrote to the newspapers in 1787
- protested against slavery and racism.

Mary Prince, whom I am sure you have heard of:
- was born into slavery in Bermuda in 1788
- fought back against frequent rapes
- was whipped, then sold
- was sexually abused by her new master
- was whipped for marrying a free Black man
- was sent to the UK to keep her away from her husband
- wrote The History of Mary Prince, which was published in 1831
- was sued for libel by her former owner but won the case because of her scars and


Mary Prince’s story in some ways echoes that of Harriet Jacobs, the subject of my choreopoem, Harriet. Although Jacobs was not raped, she resisted sexual exploitation by her master for many years. Her book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, gave some of the few published accounts of the pressures women were under during enslavement.

Then, there was Ukawsaw Gronniosaw
- A prince from Chad
- a loyal soldier
- racially abused and ripped off by his landlady in London, as well as his employers

and the general public
- published his book in 1770, A narrative of the most remarkable particulars in the

life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw

And finally,

Thomas Peters
- a loyal British soldier in the Revolutionary War
- along with many other loyal soldiers and civilians, dumped in Nova Scotia, a rocky

island where they had no land for planting, after the war
- got 15 ships from the British and equipped them with African captains
- got the government to pay for the former slaves to travel; and
- sailed with them 5,000 back to Sierra Leone.

As I said, there is much more information but I cannot even include here everything I wrote down.

Some of the people spoken about were loyal soldiers who fought for the British which raises other questions for me. Brother Tony spoke about some of these issues in another talk, "Where Does Your Allegiance Lie?" I will be posting about this.

One thing Brother Tony did not mention was that because of people such as Mary Prince, Robert Wedderburn, Olaudah Equiano and Frederick Douglass, amongst others, who published their own eyewitness accounts of slavery, and who did speaking tours in Britain, an antislavery movement grew. Many white people were appalled when they learned some of the details of what happened on board slave ships and on plantations, even if these were sanitised versions. These people were quite rightly appalled, and as a direct result, the abolitionist movement in Britain grew.

Every Tuesday this month, I will be doing Black History shows on the radio. To listen to them, and to hear the recordings of previous shows, visit:

Brother Tony will be one of my guests, so check the website for details.

See also:

Soul Survivors
German Death Camp in Namibia
Wordpower Literary Festival

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wordpower Literature Festival - Emmanuel Amevor Interview

On Tuesday, 30th September, I begin my Black History Month programmes with a preview from Mia Morris of Black History Month UK. Plus, Emmanuel Amevor of Centerprise will tell us about the forthcoming Wordpower International Black Literature Festival, which is now in its second year.

Wordpower 2008 will include events about African spirituality, identity and the effects of the media on the African self-image.

The show goes out live at 8:00 p.m. UK time. To listen and to phone in with your questions or comments, visit:

To read a previous interview with Emmanuel Amevor, visit

German Death Camp in Namibia

Warning: Some of the information in this blog is shocking and disturbing.

I saw a very powerful Black History presentation on Saturday at the Imperial War Museum. Tony Warner of 100 Black Men of London presented this audio visual history of Black people who had served their countries in the armed forces, including the two World Wars.

If you have ever been to any of Brother Tony’s presentations, you know they are very good. Highly informative. But he doesn’t just hit you with the facts, although he gives loads of factual information. He also puts it into context.

So usually, when we think of Black people coming from the Caribbean in the 1950s, we think of them finding it hard to find anywhere to live, and experiencing racism at work. We have heard this same story many times before. But Brother Tony contextualised it by saying that many of these people had served in the armed forces. He showed a TV discussion where ex-servicemen and women in the studio spoke of their experiences.

They thought they would be welcomed when they came to Britain. I still find it very hard to get my head around this. After all, they had experienced racism in the armed forces and even in the Caribbean. But for some reason, they thought things would be different when they arrived here.

Anyway, it was an excellent presentation, as we have come to expect from Brother Tony. He also showed film of people in Africa fighting for Germany, France and Britain in the two Word Wars. Again, I find it difficult to comprehend why they did so, when they were treated so appallingly by the European powers. I understand that in Kenya, the British told the Kenyan people they were fighting for their own country. So I suppose they expected that, after the war, they would be treated better. See also:

Kenya’s Colonial Past

One thing I did not know was that the first death camp the Germans built was in Africa – in Namibia in the early 20th century, just over 100 years ago. First, the Germans committed a genocide against the Herrera people, wiping out 75% of their population. Then, they built a death camp on a remote island named Shark Island. They shipped the Nama people to Shark Island in cattle cars. In other words, they tried out many of the methods which were later used against the Jews under the Nazi regime.

But these practices were carried out by the German government long before the Nazis came into existence. Hitler was not involved, he came along much later.

Brother Tony showed photographs of Shark Island which showed men, women and children living there in shacks, in slum conditions.

50% of the Nama people were killed at Shark Island. The surviving Nama and Herrera people were sold into slavery to German settlers.

Probably the most disturbing thing for me was that Brother Tony showed photographs of severed heads – on Shark Island, people were decapitated and their heads were studied to try to prove that African people were inferior to Europeans. In point of fact, they sought to prove that African people were animals.

Brother Tony Warner will be a guest on my Success Strategies radio show at some point during October (Black History Month UK), talking about Black British and European history. This will be one of several programmes I will be doing for BHM (African Heritage Month). I hope you will join us. To tune in, visit:

To find out more about his work and his Black history walks, visit:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Black/African British Identity and Young People

I read a piece in the Voice the other day which argued that young people in Britain lack a sense of identity.

They may have been born in the UK or come here at an early age. When they go back to visit their parents’ homes in Africa or the Caribbean, the place seems foreign to them. But in Britain, they don’t feel as if they belong.

Identity is clearly an important issue. In the 1970s, many young people turned to Rastafarianism as a way of reclaiming their cultural identity.

The article glossed over some factors. For example, a young person living in a big city might feel out of place on a farm, whether that farm is in a rural area of Britain or in the Caribbean or Africa.

Still, the article states that “nearly all youth projects only offer musical or sports-related activities”, which “reinforces the stereotype that Black males can only be successful if they are sports figures or musicians”.

It is so important that we reinforce positive cultural values and a sense of their African heritage and identity with our young people. Without this, many of them are lost. They often don’t do well in school, join gangs which offer a feeling of belonging, get involved in crime and end up behind bars.

In my book, Black Success Stories, I made a conscious decision to avoid featuring people in the fields of sports or entertainment. After all, people of African heritage are good at everything. I celebrate Black success across a wide range of fields. All of the people I feature in the book are based in Britain. To order your copy today, visit:

We also celebrate Black success and talk about the need for positive Black role models on my Success Strategies radio show every Tuesday. To listen in, and to hear recordings of previous shows, visit:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Paulette West MBE - Growing Aspiring People

My guest on Tuesday's show was Paulette West MBE.

Paulette spoke about how she started out as a typist at Barclays at the age of 16. She moved into a management position. She then used Barclays’s considerable resources to benefit the Black community, by holding events where she profiled role models and offered Black businesses the opportunity for start-ups and mentoring.

She is still holding role model events now, and young Black people have been inspired to start businesses as a direct result of this work. She has now left Barclays and runs her own project, the g.a.p. network – Growing Aspiring People.

Sometimes, people assume that successful people had it easy. I think people give up when they reach difficulties. When we see a Black role model standing up there talking about the difficulties he or she encountered, then we realise it’s not going to be easy. This inspires some people to take risks which they might not otherwise have taken.

Paulette takes these role models into the community. She hires community venues so Black people could feel comfortable attending these events. She is doing this work internationally, in African countries.

We can learn strategies from those who have been successful, which we can then apply in our own situations. When I interviewed people for Black Success Stories, I asked them what mistakes they had made, and how they had overcome them.

Click here to listen to my interview with Paulette.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Judith Germain: Surviving and Thriving in the Corporate World

My guest last night on the Success Strategies radio show was Judith Germain. She mentors CEOs and has a particular interest in working with mavericks.

Amongst other things, Jude spoke about
  • what being a maverick is like for a Black person
  • bad managers and how to change their behaviour
I don't know about you, but I've experienced loads of bad managers in my time, so I found this very interesting.

Click here to listen to the recording.

Rene Carayol MBE, whom I interviewed in Black Success Stories, also has a particular interest in mavericks. In my interview with him, he shared his five steps for corporate success. Click here to order your copy.

Monday, September 08, 2008

I Am a Community Organiser

I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities.- Sarah Palin, 2008

I have been involved with community organising for my entire adult life. I have been a member of the African Health Forum for several years. Our members work within African communities in South London, providing health education and awareness around HIV prevention and testing, and supporting those with HIV to get the best treatment available. We also now work around other health issues including sickle cell and teenage pregnancy. People from the voluntary sector work alongside those in the NHS to provide these services, and we share knowledge and skills with one another.

I am both proud and humbled to be a part of this work. (Search this blog for more information.)

People in many different African countries are part of this community effort, organising in their towns and villages, in places where there are few resources but an abundance of ignorance and stigma around HIV and other illnesses.

I am also involved with the Black Parents’ Forum and I lead workshops for African Caribbean parents, to support them in getting the best out of the education system for their children, and in working to stem the gun and knife crime which is dramatically increasing both in London and across the UK.

This work is obviously vital to our communities. We are saving lives. For Sarah Palin to be so dismissive about community organisers is to say that she doesn't care about human life.

When the Jena incidents began, who was it that brought this to the public’s attention? Community organisers on and offline.

Similarly, campaigners on and offline are challenging the excessive use of tasers and other forms of violence by police officers.

I don’t know if Palin is really that ignorant, or if she just does not care. Or if she is running scared because she sees the power of Senator Obama’s campaign. By networking with, drawing on and channelling the energy of community organisers, Obama has put the Presidential campaign back where it belongs – in the hands of the people (a/k/a voters). The churches, the synagogues, the mosques, the schools, the PTAs, the small groups and organisations and forums all over the world that are doing their bit to make life better for those around them.

This is what it’s all about. Senator Obama has tapped into that energy. African American politicians and African politicians internationally have been doing this for many years. Telling people what they need to do, telling them how to bring about change.But this time it’s different. Obama does not just tell people what to do. He asks us what we want. And that is scary. To people who don’t want to see change happen, real, fundamental change, this must be absolutely terrifying.

Obama’s people are on the case. They are out there right now, signing people up to vote. Young African American people, who normally don’t cast ballots, or register to vote. Those in the inner cities, who are the most likely to end up in poverty, in jail, or dead. They are signing up in their thousands. This could mean a real future for those who, up to now, never had a chance. At last, they have a voice, and somebody who is listening to it.

I still don’t know how much change Obama can or will bring about if he is elected President. But I can see how much change he is bringing about now. Drawing on the strength of the community, and the organisers within it, can potentially create massive change.Yeah, Sarah Palin. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Many members of the AfroSpear and the afrosphere are blogging today to challenge Sarah Palin’s disrespectful remarks about community organisers. Please join us.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Report Back from the Democratic National Convention

Last night, on my "Success Strategies" radio show, two Black bloggers, African American Political Pundit and Adrianne George of Black Women in Europe reported back from last week's Democratic National Convention in Denver.

They described the "electric" atmosphere at the convention. They had expected only seven Black bloggers to be present, but there were at least 12 (out of 150). But at least 40% of the people there were African American, including delegates as well as people who had just come along because they wanted to be present.

They also talked about whether, and how, Obama will be able to represent the disenfranchised, particularly the homeless.

To hear the recording of the show, visit

Monday, August 25, 2008

Award-Winner Black Blogger Reports from the Democratic National Convention

Award-winning blogger Adrianne George, from the Black Women in Europe blog, will be joining me on my "Success Strategies" radio show tomorrow (Tuesday) night.

Adrianne was given credentials to attend the convention. Blogging has become very important in this presidential election, giving ordinary people a voice in a way that has never happened before. But there has been a struggle to allow African American bloggers to attend the convention as credentialled bloggers. Click here for more information about the Black bloggers.

Adrianne will be joining the show live from the floor of the convention. You can join us by clicking here.

Click here to read my Obama blogs.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Direct from the Democratic National Convention

On Tuesday 26th August, 8 p.m. UK time, Adrianne George of Black Women in Europe will report direct from the floor of the Democratic National Convention on my Success Strategies radio show. Click here to join us.

It was difficult for Black bloggers to get the credentials to attend the convention, and very few will be there, with an overwhelmingly white presence amongst the bloggers. But Adrianne did it and she'll let us in on all the latest news on Tuesday.

Click here to read my Obama blogs.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Prisoners Provide Cheap Labour for Microsoft

Many large corporations, including Starbucks, JC Penny, Nintendo and Microsoft, use cheap prison labour to produce their goods in the U.S. For more information, see

This practice began after slavery, when plantation owners used ex-slaves as free labour to harvest their crops. Specific laws were brought in which ensured that African Americans swelled the prison population, and were then made to work on chain gangs.

On Tuesday, 26th August, I will be interviewing Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, author of Race, Law and American Society 1607-Present, which explores links between modern-day racial injustices and slavery and post-slavery discrimination.

Plus, I will have a report from the floor of the Democratic National Convention by Adrianne George, of the Black Women in Europe blog, who has been credentialled as a blogger at the convention.

I hope you will join us. Please phone in with any questions or comments. Click here fore details.

Prisoners Provide Cheap Labour for Microsoft

Many large corporations, including Starbucks, JC Penny, Nintendo and Microsoft, use cheap prison labour to produce their goods in the U.S. For more information, see

This practice began after slavery, when plantation owners used ex-slaves as free labour to harvest their crops. Specific laws were brought in which ensured that African Americans swelled the prison population, and were then made to work on chain gangs.

On Tuesday, 26th August, I will be interviewing Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, author of Race, Law and American Society 1607-Present, which explores links between modern-day racial injustices and slavery and post-slavery discrimination.

Plus, I will have a report from the floor of the Democratic National Convention by Adrianne George, of the Black Women in Europe blog, who has been credentialled as a blogger at the convention.

I hope you will join us. Please phone in with any questions or comments. Click here fore details.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Obama Phone-In Tomorrow (Tuesday)

As the author/publisher of Black Success Stories, I am very aware of the psychological importance of positive role models.

I would like to know, if Senator Obama is elected President, how will this impact on the lives of people of African heritage, both inside the U.S. and internationally? How will this affect our families, our jobs, our businesses, our health ?

Please join me for the Obama phone-in on my “Success Strategies" radio show tomorrow, Tuesday 19th August at 8:00 p.m. UK times. Your opinion matters!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The End of Black Politics?

The first thing I thought when I saw this piece was, is this really the best idea for an article the New York Times can come up with?

Then I thought, when Obama proved he was a serious contender for the Presidency, and when he won the Democratic nomination, I don’t recall anyone asking if this signalled “the end of white politics”.

Actually, the article raises some interesting points, despite its absurd title.

There is a divide between the old guard and the new guard. Probably always has been.

Harriet Tubman had to deal with people who believed they were better off in slavery.

In my book, Black Success Stories, René Carayol MBE tells of an argument he had with Reverend Jesse Jackson, who insisted on the futility of trying to bring about change. Similarly to those quoted in the article, he had learned this negative view through his own bitter experience. Until recently, part of me would have agreed with him.

Like Senator Obama, I did not grow up in a slum. But on our TV screens when I was a child in th e’60s, there were scenes of people being beaten by police because they wanted to sit at a lunch counter. Being attacked by police dogs because they wanted to vote. These things were not happening to me or to anyone I knew, but they had an effect on me. In New York City, we experienced subtle racism of the kind we have here in London.

We have a similar generational divide in the UK. Some of the young people think they can fit in and be accepted anywhere they want to go. And to a certain extent, they are right. Some of the discrimination their parents and grandparents faced in the 1950s was the same stuff any group of first-generation immigrants has to deal with.

But some of it was racism.

Black children are still disproportionately being excluded from school, leaving school without qualifications, and as a result, getting involved with crime and entering the prison system.

The fact that Oxford and Cambridge, as well as many major financial institutions and other British firms, are now actively recruiting African Caribbean applicants does not alter these bleak statistics.

We must remember that we have made progress only because of the work, dedication and sacrifices of those who went before us. This is what the West African Adinkra symbol of the Sankofa bird tells us – we must learn from the past in order to progress towards a better future.

It may be that Obama will usher in a whole new era of possibility. I would not have said that six months or a year ago.

But I will never forget the contributions of those who went before me. It would be politically naïve to do so. Those of my generation, and those younger than me, including Senator Obama, only have the rights we enjoy because others were willing to fight for them.

To answer the question, of course this is not the end of Black politics. It may be a new beginning, but we must always remember and honour the past.

I hope you will join us for my Obama phone-in on 19th August. Click here for details.

Here are some other interesting blogs on this piece:

Black Spin

Jack and Jill Politics

Black Snob

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Africa Will Never Abandon Zimbabwe

African leaders are working together to bring about peace in Zimbabwe. Surely this is wonderful news for everybody on this planet.

White people are criticising them? France will only recognise a government led by Morgan Tsvangirai?

I've said it before and I'll say it again - we need to stop worrying about what white folks think and concentrate on ourselves.

Having said that, I enjoyed this piece.

I am concerned about African people all over the world .

With regard to Senator Obama, what I want to know is, if he is elected President, will this make a real difference to the lives of African Americans? And to the lives of African people everywhere? And if so, what difference will it make?

Obama is sounding to me like he is asking us what we want, not telling us what to want or what to do. I am impressed by this, I must admit.

As the author/publisher of Black Success Stories, I know we can learn from the example of other successful people. What I want to know is, if we vote for Obama, are we really voting for significant change for African people?

I don't have any answers. I only have questions. I want to hear your views. Join my Obama Phone-In Tuesday 19th August. Click here for details.

Monday, August 04, 2008

New Review - The Key to Everything

I just received a wonderful review for my new ebook, The Key to Everything. I am completely blown away by this.

This version of the book is for everyone. The version for people of African heritage is called What They Don't Want Us to Know.

To read more, click here.

To download the books, click here.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Tasing in Hyde Park

When I said in my recent blog about the Day of Blogging for Justice that tasers had not come to the UK, I was wrong.

You have probably read in the papers that on Thursday, 31st July, about 300 young people – most of whom didn’t know each other - attended a water fight in Hyde Park which had been organised on Facebook. All good clean fun. Until one young lady splashed someone who didn’t like it. He punched her. Knocked her to the ground. Then fights broke out, the police descended, arrests were made and someone was tased. I don’t know if the person was Black or white. But tasers are in use on these shores.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day of Blogging for Justice

Many of my fellow AfroSpear members have blogged on 30th July about the rising numbers of tasings. Like many abuses of the criminal justice system, the victims are disproportionately African Americans.

We don't have tasing in the UK as yet but, in my opinion, it is only a matter of time.

I find it difficult to say how I feel about this. I feel so strongly, it's hard to find the words.

The violence must stop.

On nearly a daily basis, there are reports of tasing 'abuse', that is to say, tasing used in extreme cases such as, for example,

Blind, cancer, diabetic woman tased

But tasing in and of itself has been characterised as torture.

This is part of a much bigger problem. African people have been characterised as violent, brutish and animalistic for hundreds of years - first by the Arabs, then by the Europeans. This was used to justify the enslavement of African people.

In recent years, we have seen many manifestations of this, such as the Rodney King case and others like it. Children as young as five being incarcerated. The disporportionate number of African American people on Death Row. And tasing is a part of this overall pattern.

In the Niger Delta, African lives are worth very little, compared to the value of oil:

In other parts of Africa, the search for conflict diamonds costs many lives.

I could go on and on and on and on. There is so much more to say. But I try to be solution-focused.

Bottom line, the violence must stop. THE VIOLENCE MUST STOP.

We can find peaceful means to air our grievances. We can find peaceful means to bring about justice. I am working alongside many other people all over the world to bring about peace through Nonviolent Communication (NVC). And miracles are happening.

To read more about NVC, visit: and

To read posts by other AfroSpear members, visit:

Partial List of Participants in Day of Blogging for Justice

Sorry I cannot list everybody here. Well done to all the bloggers who have helped to bring this issue to prominence.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Obama in Berlin

Yesterday, 25th July 2008, the streets of Berlin were lined with people wanting to hear Presidential candidate Obama speak.

He spoke of freedom, and of the need for American and German people to unite.

He spoke of duty and of victory over tyranny. He spoke of a common destiny and of our common humanity. He made reference to a new hope, and to the fall of the Berlin wall.

Senator Obama’s central message seemed to be that we need to unite in the fight against terrorism – get behind the armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was saying that wee are all together in this fight. He repeatedly addressed the “People of Berlin, people of the world”. I am sure he is eager to demonstrate his grasp of foreign policy.

However, his statement that the purpose of the NATO mission in Afghanistan was to “help them rebuild their nation” was, at best, disingenuous. It sounded very much like Bush and Blair’s justification for the invasion of Iraq. It made me wonder whether Obama's foreign policy will be "business as usual" if he is elected President.

In Britain, the U.S. is largely characterised as an invading and dominating force. The speech may have been meant to allay that perception, but if so, I am not clear about how far it went in achieving that aim.

I was heartened to hear the Senator speak of the need to tear down walls between Christians, Muslims and Jews.

I was also encouraged by his statement of the need to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and reduce the arsenals, and to bring the Iraqi war to a close. This was a dove message in what was largely a hawkish speech.

Although the candidate made repeated reference to the Berlin airlift, he only mentioned briefly and in passing the two world wars we fought against Germany. Living in London, I see nearly daily reminders of the Second World War and the devastation it caused. Work on construction sites still regularly unearths unexploded Nazi bombs that were rained down on the people of London and other British cities. Senator Obama’s speech contained only the briefest mention of that conflict.

The Senator used many of the right words, but I am not sure he conveyed a good grasp of the international situation. And although his speech was very idealistic, I did not personally find it particularly convincing.

To watch the video, go here:

As the author/publisher of Black Success Stories, I am well aware of the importance of positive Black role models. If he is elected President, what impact will this have on your life – your home, your family, your health, your job, your business? Join my Obama phone-in on 19th August. Click here to register Click here for more details. Your opinion matters.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Senator Obama Arrives in Iraq

Senator Barack Obama has stated that he will withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq within 16 months of being elected President. He has, however, stated that he will consult military advisors before taking this action.

He arrived in Iraq today to discuss troop levels and the U.S.’s strategy on Iraq. He described the discussion with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other top U.S. and Iraqi officials as “constructive”.

This is an interesting piece on what Obama needs to do in order to get accurate, up-to-date information from people on the ground in Iraq.,8599,1823684,00.html

I would like to know, out of interest, what the Senator thinks about the fact that we invaded Iraq illegally in the first place. Also, what he thinks about the suffering that was caused by the sanctions we imposed on Iraq before the invasions - lack of clean drinking water for the citizens, children denied access to hospital supplies and drugs, etc.

As the author/publisher of Black Success Stories, I am well aware of the importance of positive Black role models. If Obama is elected President, what impact will this have on your life – your home, your family, your health, your job, your business? Join my Obama phone-in on 19th August. Click here to register. Click here for more details. Your opinion matters.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Demise of Health First

With a heavy heart, I attended a recent meeting of the African Health Forum. It was the final one as part of Health First.

Health First was a resource funded by the Primary Care Trusts (pcts) of three South London boroughs, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham (LSL). Large numbers of African people live in each of these three boroughs.

Health First provided support and advice to professionals and voluntary and statutory organisations for 15 years, but it has now been decommissioned.

I attended a stakeholders’ meeting several months ago, at which everyone agreed about how valuable Health First had been, and the value of the training provision in particular.

We had opportunities to meet people who played various roles across the three boroughs, whom we might never otherwise have met. This allowed us to share information and skills across a range of organisations and individuals.

In 2007, it was announced that Lewisham had decided to withdraw funding from Health First. Several months later, Lambeth and Southwark also decided to pull out.

This is reminiscent of when the Emergency Clinic at the Maudsley, a local mental hospital, closed a couple of years ago. Again, one borough – Lambeth in this case – withdrew its funding and Southwark, the remaining borough was not able to continue to fund the emergency clinic. This means that in an emergency, mental patients such as myself now have to go to the main hospital, Kings College Hospital, for help and support. We hope there will be a member of staff on hand who can provide specialist care and we have been told that there will always be someone available to do this. But Kings do not provide telephone support, which I have personally found extremely valuable at times when I was in a crisis.

Health First was seen as a flagship resource, and other local health authorities and pcts across the country looked to it as an example of good practice. The African Health Forum was an important part of the work of Health First. We are a group of people working in the voluntary and statutory sectors, specifically around HIV and sexual health issues, including health promotion, education, prevention and advocacy within the three boroughs. We have now widened our brief to include other health issues that affect local African communities.

I have been a member of the African Health Forum for over two years, and I have very much appreciated the opportunity to network and learn from others working in the area of health promotion.

The mood at the African Health Forum meeting was one of mourning. One person said it was like living in a house and someone tearing off the roof.

One thing that was said at the meeting was that there were allegations of mismanagement. This came as a shock to me. I had not heard anything about such allegations prior to that meeting and it seemed to be coming out of the blue. Nobody at that meeting was aware of any issues regarding mismanagement within Health First.

There are still funds committed to continuing the work of the African Health Forum for at least one further year. However, we don’t know what this work will be or what we will be able to achieve. We don’t know if there will be dedicated workers to support our aims. It is possible that we will continue in a different form – only time will tell.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Williams Wimbledon Final

It was obvious that the Williams sisters had answered the same questions over and over again. They knew what to expect.

“Your father’s not here. He said he could not bear to watch.”

“He’s done his job,” Venus repeated patiently.

“How does it feel to be playing against your sister?” “How will your game differ from when you play another opponent?” And variations on the theme.

The girls from Compton had grown into professional tennis champions. Theirs was the only family on earth where winning Wimbledon twice could be seen as a problem. And the only one in which two siblings would face each other at the final.

Like 2003, I felt SO emotional watching them take their places on the court. They both exuded so much confidence and self-assurance. And they played brilliant tennis.

On winning her FIFTH Wimbledon Championship, Venus immediately commended her sister Serena for her excellent game. She also thanked her other sisters for their support.

So what’s next? A Black man in the White House?

As the author of
Black Success Stories and Success Strategies for Black People, I am very aware of the power of positive role models, and the psychological effects they can have.

However, at the moment, I am even more interested in the practical effects of a person in a leadership position, such as Senator Barack Obama.

If Obama is elected, what effect will this have on your day-to-day life? I want to hear your views. Join my Obama phone-in on Tuesday 8th July. Click here for details.

See also, Jay-Z's 99 Problems.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Jay-Z's 99 Problems

Wow! This has been an amazing week.

The Victoria and Albert Museum is exhibiting a retrospective on Mary Wilson and the Supremes.

The Wimbledon final was between Venus and Serena Williams. Last time they payed each other in the final, I was SO emotional. They are both champions. Each has won Wimbledon more than once. And we knew that, whoever took home the trophy, it would be a Williams.

And Jay-Z was the headliner at the Glastonbury Festival.

This was very controversial because one of the Gallagher brothers stated publicly that Jay-Z should not be the headliner. Glastonbury is for indies, not for rappers.

I am not a fan of rap. For one thing, I can’t even understand what they are saying most of the time. Must be my age. And nobody forces me to listen to it. Nor am I a fan of indie music, for that matter.

Got home last night and switched on the box. Glastonbury, the Best Bits” was on. When Jay-Z stepped out on that stage, his band was playing and he was strumming his guitar. Not even singing. But the crowd recognised the chords, and they were singing,

Today is gonna be the day
That they're gonna throw it back to you”.

The Oasis hit, “Wonderwall”.

Jay-Z can’t sing to save his life, but he went out on that stage and he gave it his best shot. He did it to make a point. And he made it. And it was GOOD.

Then he went into “99 Problems” and the crowd just chanted right along with him. This is as it should be. Music is music. It’s not meant to be cordoned off into ghettos.

But I can’t see the Gallaghers being able to perform one of Jay-Z’s numbers.

Apparently, the crowd were chanting “hoes, hoes, hoes”. I do not approve of women being referred to as “bitches” and “hoes”. It is disrespectful and demeaning. (Mind you, having read the lyrics, he says that that is not what he means.)

Jay-Z, I don’t know if you are irreplaceable. That’s not my call. But when you stepped out on that stage, you were bloody brilliant.

So what’s next? A Black man in the White House? And if Obama is elected, what effect will this have on your day-to-day life? I want to hear your views. Join my Obama phone-in on Tuesday 8th Click here for details.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

I am surprised at how much this day means to me today. At home, I was never one to celebrate Independence Day. All that flag-waving left me cold.

Wow! In the past six months, I have completed five ebooks! So I have a lot to celebrate.

I made my first potato salad of the year the other day. This ritual connects me with my memories of the past, summers in New York, barbecues with family and friends. And many things I have been happy to leave behind.

But this year, we have an African American Presidential candidate who looks like he may have a chance of winning.

Join me for my Barack Obama phone-in for African American people, Tuesday 8th of July. Let me hear your views. What difference will it make if Obama is elected President? How will it affect your home, family, job, business? Click here to listen and ring in.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Obama - Your Chance to Air Your Views

As the author of Black Success Stories and Success Strategies for Black People, I am well aware of the psychological effects of positive role models. We all need to have achievers to look up to, who demonstrate the fact that we can do it, we can achieve our goals.

Some would say that the Presidency of the United States is the most important, most powerful and most influential position in the world.

My question is, if Senator Obama is elected as President of the United States, what difference will this make to your day-to-day life?

I am looking to hear from people of African heritage, both within and outside the U.S. If Barack Obama is elected, how will this affect your:

  • home
  • family
  • health
  • job
  • business?
Please phone in my Success Strategies radio show Tuesday 8th July. Click here for details.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Invisible Black Family

In More Black Success Volume 5, Joan Gosier of HBCU Kidz asks, is the "two-parent happy African American family living a fulfilled life" invisible or nonexistent in mainstream media?

Click here to order your free copy today.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I want to give a shout out to my fellow AfroSpear member Dallas Progress, who recently join Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s Urban Policy Committee.

Part of Senator Obama's plan is to create a “White House Office of Urban Policy to develop a strategy for metropolitan America and to ensure that all Federal dollars targeted to urban areas are effectively spent on the highest-impact programs. The Director of Urban Policy will report directly to the President and coordinate all
Federal urban programs.”

This is Dallas Progress’s blog:

In addition, nine African American bloggers have been credentialed to join the Democratic National Convention (DNC), including AfroSpear member Adrianne George. I hope to interview Adrianne from the floor of the DNC.

This is her blog:

And last but not least, AfroSpear member Queen Esther recently won the Jazzmobile 2008 "Best of the Best" Jazz Vocalist Competition. This is her blog:

Congratulations, one and all!

Black in Vogue

I got an email from Dr. Lez Henry this morning, saying he had been rung up and asked to buy Vogue as the publishers were saying the current issue would be the worst-selling ever. It features exclusively models of African origin.

Now, this was interesting to me because I received the same phonecall, plus another one later on saying the issue was Italian Vogue.

I don't understand why we are supposed to buy Vogue to "show support" for sistas when the fashion and modelling industries are notorious for excluding Black models and requiring them to look as white as possible - pale skin, European features and fake long, straight hair.

Black models have fought for acceptance for many years and now Vogue, the world's leading fashion magazine, is saying their all-Black issue will not sell. This is a slap in the face - why should we support it? But if Vogue want to give me a free copy, I might read it.

Having said that, I do support the efforts of individual models of African heritage, including Naomi Campbell, who recently pled guilty to abusing police at the airport.

Now, if you have ever been through an airport, you know you might expect to be treated as if you have landed from outer space. I don't know what happened in Naomi's case, but I support her because I know how badly behaved airport security can sometimes be. It was meant to be about lost luggage - who doesn't want to kick off when their luggage goes missing? You don't know if you will ever see your personal and valued items again, or whose hands they have ended up in, or which country they are now residing in. British Airways is reported to have sent planes full of luggage to various destinations in order to unite items with their owners, such is the incompetence of these companies.

Not forgetting the fact that some years ago, Diana Ross accused airport security of touching her inappropriately. We will probably never know what really happened.

See also Black Haircare: From Korea to Your Neighbourhood

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More Nooses Found

My fellow AfroSpear member has been writing on the Jena 6 Blog about more nooses that have been found in different parts of the U.S., including in Tennessee.

This raises a question for me: were nooses being used to intimidate African Americans in recent times, before the Jena situation arose? Maybe this has been going on for years but has not hit the headlines. Maybe the noose problem never went away – it has just continued since the bad old days of mass lynchings.

I remember when the author Toni Cade Bambara came to London in the early 1980s. At that time, there had been a well-publicised spate of killings of African American youngsters in Atlanta, GA.

I recall Bambara stating that the killings had not been confined to youngsters or to Atlanta, that they were far more widespread than that. In fact, there was evidence to suggest that some of the violence had been organised and committed by international organisations including some based here in the UK. Part of the reason for her visit to London had been to alert us of these facts.

When stories are covered in the news, as most of us know, there is a whole other story going on which has not made it into the public sphere. In fact, there are usually a whole complex series of stories operating on many levels, and we only get fed the basic minimum information about “who, what, when, where and how”. We usually don’t even get to the “why” of a story before the major news providers move on to the next headline.

We, as African Americans, have a duty to ourselves to be more well-informed than this. We were talking about this last night on my “Success Strategies” radio show. Americans in general tend to be less well-informed that we need to be about world events. Thus the confusion after the 9/11 bombings about “Why do people hate us enough to do this?”.

As African people, we need to be aware that what is going on in Africa affects us. Not just the big stories such as Zimbabwe and Darfur. What has happened in Africa historically relates directly to our experience in the United States and other parts of the Diaspora.

See, for example, my blog about Kenya's Colonia Past.

I am wondering whether there is a lot more information yet to emerge about the recent trend in using nooses to intimidate us.