Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Kwanzaa!

Happy Kwanzaa, everybody.

Kwanzaa is a festival which is observed from December 26 through January 1. This is a time for people of African heritage to focus on traditional African values including family, community responsibility, creativity and faith. The word Kwanzaa means "first fruits" in Swahili.

Celebrating Kwanzaa helps us to build our self-esteem and confidence. To read more, see Kwanzaa - Celebrating Traditional African Values.

Click here for listings of Kwanzaa events. I've got events all over the UK, as well as Paris and the U.S.A.

Click here for books about Kwanzaa and lots more. Click here in the UK.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Day of Blogging for Justice against Taser Torture

I did not blog on the Day of Justice this time because I feel all blogged-out about this issue. I want to focus more on solutions rather than dwelling on the problem.

Having said that, I fully support my fellow AfroSpear members in their continued work around this issue. Their blogging around this issue is highly important in raising awareness and mobilising and galvanising for action. Unfortunately, we will probably have to keep having these Days of Justice until real change occurs.

I am a Buddhist. I am against all violence on principle. I am also aware that it is perfectly possible (although often not easy) to find nonviolent means to end conflicts. Where there's a will, there's a way. To read more of my thoughts about this, see my previous blog: Ending the Violence through a Creative Response.

See also: Healing Our Communities.

Some of the blogs of note on this most recent Day of Blogging for Justice include:

So when will the cops start using tasers in Beverly Hills?

Tasering of another 10-year-old Black Women in Europe: Stop Taser Torture

Purple Zoe: Ban Taser Torture Eddie Griffin: Stop Taser Torture

Lots more are listed at AAPP's blog Stop Taser Torture.

Check them out and add your voice if you would like to - this is an ongoing issue.

Small Island

As I'm sure you know, tonight, the BBC is screening the first part of A Small Island, the beautiful, lyrical piece based on the novel by Andrea Levy. I was privileged to view this when Brother Tony screened it at the Imperial War Museum during Black History Month. He will be screening it again next year, when the producer will be present. I urge you to watch it either on TV or at the museum, or preferably both.

Click here for the next Black history events with Tony Warner. He holds them every month - not just in October!

Click here for loads of books about Black history and Black achievers.

Black Victims of the Germans and the Nazis from 1904 Onwards

I attended another excellent Black history presentation with Tony Warner at the Imperial War Museum yesterday.

Black Victims of the Nazis traced the history of the atrocities committed by the German military and settlers in Namibia from 1904 onwards. 

One important point which Brother Tony emphasised is that the atrocities committed by the Germans against African people set the stage for the Holocaust and significantly influenced postwar events.

In order for us to heal ourselves, our families, our communities and our world, we need to know our history. See also: The Importance of History

For future events with Tony Warner, see London Black History Walks

See also: Small Island

In my book Black Success Stories Volume 1, I interviewed Len Garrison, founder of the Black Cultural Archives in South London. He describes how, when Black people in the 1970s started offering to donate their artefacts to museums, they were told "We are not collecting this type of material". So, off his own bat and without any funding or training in this area, he set up the Black Cultural Archives. 

Click here for more information and to buy Black Success Stories

For more books about Black history and Black achievers, go to African American Holiday Shopping.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

1st of December, Rosa Parks

On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white person. Her reason? "I'm tired". So began a revolution.

Click here to read more.

Click here for details.

Every day, ordinary people do extraordinary things.

Click here for loads of books on Black history and Black achievers.

See also:
The Importance of History.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Importance of History

Click here to join me on the radio.

I often blog about history-related events, such as those with Tony Warner.

In case you were wondering why, it's because I think it is vital that we know our history. So much of our history has been deliberately hidden. This gives us a false impression of ourselves and our achievements.

I remember sitting in a self-styled Afrocentric bookshop one day talking to one of the workers, who insisted that "Black people haven't achieved anything". He sat there all day every day surrounded by Afrocentric books, but he still had the view that we had contributed nothing to society.

This is a lie which we have been told. Not only that, the dominant group and other races have been told the same lie. They, and we, have been led to believe that Black people have achieved nothing and contributed nothing.

As you can see from this article on Black people in World War II, our contribution has deliberately been hidden. This is just one example of what has been going on for hundreds of years.

Stealing our history and lying about it is just one way in which our cultural identity has been stolen from us. Whe we don't know our history and our ancestral heritage, how can we know who we really are? This leaves us subject to being defined by others.

When those in charge of the media consistently portray people of African heritage as lazy and stupid, or as criminals, this has an effect on our psyches as well as on how we are treated by the wider society.

Even now, Black children as young as three see themselves as ugly. Where did they get this message? It is being fed to them every day. It is being fed to their parents as well.

We need to change how we see ourselves and we are the only ones who can do this. We need to define ourselves, and reclaiming our history is an inherent part of this process. This is an essential part of our healing.

For more about this, read Success Strategies for Black People. For true stories of Black achievers, see Black Success Stories.

One of the people I interviewed for that book was the late Len Garrison, founder of the Black Cultural Archives
in South London. He describes how, when Black people in the 1970s started offering to donate their artefacts to museums, they were told "We are not collecting this type of material". So, off his own bat and without any funding or training in this area, he set up the Black Cultural Archives.

Click here for lots more books about Black history and Black achievers

Click here for the next Black history events with Tony Warner.

See also: Black History International.

Join Us on the Radio Tomorrow (Sunday)

I hope you will be able to join us on Dr. Donna's radio show tomorrow, Sunday 29th November, 1:00 p.m. EST, 6:00 p.m. UK time. I will be talking about my book Success Strategies for Black People and how you can make 2010 your year. Click here to listen.

To listen to previous interviews, go to:

Loretta N. Green 2nd October 2009

Diana Broomfield 17th October 2009

Diana Broomfield 16th September 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Thanksgiving is the time when we stop for a moment to remember all the blessings and good fortune we have received. It is an important day to spend with family and loved ones. Although I now live in the UK, I still recall the many Thanksgivings I enjoyed at home, and I bring my family to mind on this day.

I have printed President Obama's Thanksgiving message below. In addition to speaking about the things he and his family are giving thanks for, he also reminds us to remember the troops serving overseas who cannot spend the day with their own families. Whatever you think about the ongoing conflicts in which our countries are involved, spare a thought for the troops who have been sent to fight for our protection.

If you are looking for gifts for Xmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year, check out African American Holiday Shopping

The President's Message

Tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, Americans across the country will sit down together, count our blessings, and give thanks for our families and our loved ones.

American families reflect the diversity of this great nation. No two are exactly alike, but there is a common thread they each share.

Our families are bound together through times of joy and times of grief. They shape us, support us, instill the values that guide us as individuals, and make possible all that we achieve.

So tomorrow, I'll be giving thanks for my family -- for all the wisdom, support, and love they have brought into my life.

But tomorrow is also a day to remember those who cannot sit down to break bread with those they love.

The soldier overseas holding down a lonely post and missing his kids. The sailor who left her home to serve a higher calling. The folks who must spend tomorrow apart from their families to work a second job, so they can keep food on the table or send a child to school.

We are grateful beyond words for the service and hard work of so many Americans who make our country great through their sacrifice. And this year, we know that far too many face a daily struggle that puts the comfort and security we all deserve painfully out of reach.

So when we gather tomorrow, let us also use the occasion to renew our commitment to building a more peaceful and prosperous future that every American family can enjoy.

It seems like a lifetime ago that a crowd met on a frigid February morning in Springfield, Illinois to set out on an improbable course to change our nation.

In the years since, Michelle and I have been blessed with the support and friendship of the millions of Americans who have come together to form this ongoing movement for change.

You have been there through victories and setbacks. You have given of yourselves beyond measure. You have enabled all that we have accomplished -- and you have had the courage to dream yet bigger dreams for what we can still achieve.

So in this season of thanks giving, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to you, and my anticipation of the brighter future we are creating together.

With warmest wishes for a happy holiday season from my family to yours,

President Barack Obama

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hidden Histories: Black People and WWII

As you may know, I attended the presentation on How Black People Won World War II by Tony Warner at the Imperial War Museum yesterday.

Often, we are not told about aspects of our history. Every time I attend one of Brother Tony's presentations, I learn more valuable information.

I enjoy not only his detailed and extensive knowledge, but also his enthusiasm for his subject.

It is vital that we continue to uncover these hidden histories – these stories which have been obscured or forgotten. Knowledge of our history and ancestral heritage is vital for our self-esteem and confidence.

Click here to read about yesterday's excellent presentation.

Click here for future Black history presentations with Tony Warner.

In my book Black Success Stories Volume 1, I interviewed Len Garrison, founder of the Black Cultural Archives in South London. He describes how, when Black people in the 1970s started offering to donate their artefacts to museums, they were told "We are not collecting this type of material". So, off his own bat and without any funding or training in this area, he set up the Black Cultural Archives.

Click here for more info and to buy Black Success Stories.

For more books about Black history and Black achievers, in the UK, go to Black Gifts UK.

Outside the UK, go to go to The Black Gifts Store.

Click here for future Black history events with Tony Warner.

See also: Black History International.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Not Forgotten - Soldiers of Empire

While on the subject of Ian Hislop, I very much enjoyed his Not Forgotten series which was shown on Channel 4 several years ago, in which he investigated different people who had served during the First World War.

He has since made additional programmes, which are now being aired. On Monday night, I watched the episode about Empire troops, i.e. those from African and Caribbean countries, India, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It was made to the same high standard as the earlier series.

Empire troops are often mentioned only as a footnote to the main event, but Hislop’s programme showed footage of Black troops on the front line, while he interviewed the grandchildren of one Caribbean man who had served on the Western Front.

I had previously seen the story of the Black men from the Caribbean who sailed on a ship via the North Pole but were not given winter uniforms. Many of them had their limbs amputated due to frostbite.

Those troops who arrived fit to serve were not allowed to fight, or even carry arms. They were put to doing heavy manual labour such as moving large amounts of ammunition, and were under fire from the enemy but were not given the means to defend themselves. Seeing the footage is always a strong experience.

Another excellent programme, well worth watching.

I also recently attended a screening of “A Small Island”, a BBC programme based on the novel by Andrea Levy, at the Imperial War Museum. I shall blog about this soon.

On Sunday 15th November, Tony Warner of Black History Walks will be doing a presentation on How Black People Won World War II. Come along if you can - I'm sure it will be both educational and entertaining. Click here for more details.

It is so important for us to have a sense of our own history and cultural heritage, and our contribution to world history. This is an essential part of having high self-esteem and confidence. For more about this, see The Key to Confidence. See also, Success Strategies for Black People.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Power of a Black Skin

Further to my previous blog about the BNP on the BBC, many people have said that when the head of the BNP appeared on Question Time lately, he came across as a bumbling idiot.

However, around 100 viewers phoned the BBC to complain that he was treated unfairly and even “bullied”.

I still say we need to learn the lessons of history and stop giving these people free publicity.

I felt torn about blogging about this issue and giving it more energy. Although there are other, better ways to overcome difficulties and create the things we want, sometimes we have to engage and directly confront.

Mr. BNP Head himself said that he had been treated unfairly because there were too many African and Asian people in the audience as the programme was broadcast from London, which had been “ethnically cleansed”.

It’s useful to know that we can “ethnically cleanse” an area – just by turning up! That’s the power of a Black skin.

But the final word has to go to the folks at the quiz show Have I Got News for You the same week as the broadcast. During a photo quiz, when asked to identify a photo of Mr. BNP Head, Ian Hislop, Paul Merton and their guests all shook their heads and said “We don’t know who he is”. At which point the host, Martin Clunes, moved on to the next item without identifying him either.

In other words, treat this man as the nonentity he should be.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

One Year Ago

Check out this video from the President.

I was watching a programme about Beyonce the other day. She said, her young nephew doesn't understand why it's a big deal that the President is African American. This is the future we are creating - to the next generation, a Black President will be no big deal.

As he says, this is an historic moment. But we are not just interested in history, we are interested in change.

Click here to watch the video.

See also: Barack Obama, African American Success Story.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

BNP on the BBC

You have probably heard that the head of the BNP will appear on Question Time tonight. The BBC has been milking this for all it's worth.

Watched The Wright Stuff this morning. Everyone was saying the BBC have to have this man on the show because this is a democracy, people have voted for the BNP, yadda yadda.

Surely the BBC have a responsibility to respect equal rights for all. This is the opposite of what the BNP represent.

We fought a world war against fascism. My father fought in that war. Now the licence payers are being made to pay for the BNP to be given a platform as if they were a legitimate political party.

What do you think? Should the BBC be giving these people air time?

Do we really need to watch them in order to know what they think? If they had their way, none of us would be here now.

Has this country really grown so complacent that we are happy to give air time to these people? Or is the majority population just looking for scapegoats in a time of economic difficulty?

Remember, Hitler was elected. Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

Resources for Black Parents

Free online activities for children, crafts, make a kinara, African recipes, plus books and resources for parents - get all this and more from the new Black Holiday Gifts Guide 2009. Click here to download it now.

Friday, October 16, 2009

New, Free Ebook - Finding Your Purpose

The new issue of More Black Success is now available, hot off the press!

MBS 6 features an article by Diana Broomfield on Finding Your Purpose. And much more.
Click here to hear me interviewed by Diana on her radio show tomorrow, Saturday 17th October.

If you are involved in mentoring young people, or want to be, check out Dena Strong's very moving piece which includes 10 Tips for Mentoring.

As always, MBS contains loads of resources for your personal and professional development.

Click here to grab your free copy of MBS 6.

Click here if you would like to submit an article or success story

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Black History: Telling Our Stories

October is Black History Month in the UK. For BHM events and resources, see Black History International.

In my recent interview with Loretta N. Green, we talked about the importance of telling our stories. Harriet Jacobs recorded her experiences in her book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and I have told her story
in my choreopoem, Harriet. A film of Harriet will be shown as part of the BFM London Black Film Festival.

Click here to read more and hear more radio interviews

Monday, October 05, 2009

One Person Can Make a Difference

This is so inspiring. Check out this article posted on the Black Books Blog about how a librarian made a huge change in one young person's life.

Boy Lifts Book

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Hear Me on the Radio

Last night, I was on Loretta N. Green’s show on Blogtalk Radio. It was a delightful experience. We talked about how important it is for people of African heritage to dialogue and communicate, no matter where we are from, and no matter where we are now. We have so much to learn from each other and to share. I make a point of taking an international Afrocentric approach in my More Black Success free ebooks.

To hear this interview, go to

My next radio interview will be on Saturday, 17th October, when I will be appearing on Diana Broomfield’s show again. I hope you will join us. If you want to phone in or join us in the chatroom, please do. Details are here:

Monday, September 28, 2009

Black Men, Women, Relationships

This month in Essence, there is an article called “Where Is the Love” about relationships between Black men and women.

Hill Harper, author of Letters to a Young Brother and Letters to a Young Sister, has just brought out a new book entitled The Conversation: How Black Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships.

One point he makes is that single-sex conversations will not bring about progress – in other words, men and women need to talk to each other.

I would argue that single-sex conversations are important, and may feel like a safer place to start. But in the end, we are a complete race and brothas and sistas need to connect and communicate with each other.

I would argue further that it’s not just a matter of talking – it’s also about how we talk and listen to each other. When there are forums for men and women, there tends to be a lot of judging and blaming, a lot of accusations. We need to learn a new language for communication – the language of Nonviolent Communication.

We have learned toxic ways of relating to each other and we are paying the price with broken relationships.

Did you know that:

Only 38% of Black children live in two-parent homes.

In 1966, more than 84% of all African American children were raised in two-parent households. By 2006, that number was at just 31%, compared to

  • 80% of Asian American children and
  • 70% of white American children?

The article lays the blame for problems between Black men and women firmly at the feet of internalised racism, i.e. self-hatred. I couldn’t agree more.

For more about this, see The Key to Confidence.

Hill also argues that many Black women are looking for a man who is financially well-off. I’ve heard this so many times before. I think this is probably because many of us yearn for material security. But we need to learn to provide this security for ourselves, while still being open to a loving relationship.

Hill adds that most of us would not have dated Barack Obama.

I say: If we define a potential partner by his paycheck or bank balance, rather than the qualities he is bringing to the relationship, we are selling ourselves short.

This is about core values. Are you looking for someone with whom you feel secure, with whom you can share yourself and express yourself freely and openly?

Hill finishes by talking about authenticity. If you feel like you have to put on an act when you are with men, how are you going to be happy in a relationship?

My work is about solutions – building happy, healthy relationships, families and communities. Check out my communications course October 10th-11th.

See also: This article about empathy.

I'm on the Radio Friday 2nd October

I will be on Loretta N. Green's radio show this coming Friday, 2nd of October. I hope you will join us. Click here to listen to the show. The phone-in number is 001 (347) 838-9818 or you can join us in the chatroom.

I will also be on Diana Broomfield's show again on Saturday 17th October. Click here to listen in.

On my previous visit to Diana's show, we had a very lively and spirited discussion. We spoke about President Obama, affirmative action and lots more. Click here to listen to the recording of that show.

See also, Superior African Weapons.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Superior African Weapons

In my recent radio interview with Diana Broomfield, I talked about a book, Of Water and the Spirit, by Malidoma Patrice Some.

Click here to hear the interview

Malidoma talks about his amazing journey. Having been raised by his grandfather, a powerful shaman, he was kidnapped at age six and sent to a seminary. As an adult, he had to reclaim his culture and language.

Malidoma tells of his grandfather's remarkable powers: a small plot of land was able to feed the entire village, with food to spare. And a weapon which was traditional to his family made them virtually invincible.

However, the most powerful weapon is the mind. Only by using our minds can we achieve our full potential.

I strongly recommend Of Water and the Spirit.

Click here for more personal development books

Monday, September 14, 2009

Listening to the President

I saw this excellent blog post today, A Different Type of Double Standard.

Do people even listen to what the President is saying? Or do they just see a Black face and turn off (literally turn off their TVs)?

I mean, first of all, they accused him of having a "political agenda". How do you get to the White House without having a "political agenda"?

I read so much nonsense about President Obama these days. I am at a loss sometimes about what to say - there is so much stupidity about.

People seem to be coming from fear, prejudice (pre-judging) and ignorance, without even listening to what the man says.

Pay attention, people. He is talking about values, things we all care about, things that can help us all to improve our lives and give them meaning. Things like education, taking responsibility, contributing to the common good. Pay attention. But if you are reading this blog, I assume you already do.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Now We Can Join the BNP!

Today, Black people in the UK have achieved a great victory against racial discrimination. Now we can join the extreme right-wing British National Party. They are no longer allowed to bar any British person from membership on the grounds of racial or cultural background, or country of origin.

On The Wright Stuff this morning, Matthew Wright suggested we should all join the party and, once we are members, change the manifesto. If you get there before me, please save me a place in the queue.

Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm on the Radio Saturday 5th September!

I will be interviewed by Diana Broomfield on her radio show this Saturday, 5th August, 4 p.m. EST (9 p.m. UK time). I hope you will join us! Click here to listen online.

I will be talking about my books, my courses, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and much more.

Click here for more about NVC and empathy

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

An International Approach

One of the important features of the More Black Success free ebooks is that we publish work by and about people of African heritage wherever we are based in the world.

It is vital that people of African heritage link together and share our knowledge and information with each other.

To read more, and to order your free copies, see Books for Truth-Seekers.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What Do You Object To?

Further to my previous post on The President's Plans for Healthcare Reform, I have today seen two excellent blogs by my fellow AfroSpear member Eddie Griffin.

One asks, "What Do You Object To?". The President is seeking to make healthcare available and affordable for everyone. What exactly is the problem with this?

The other, A Detailed Examination of Healthcare Myths, spells it out very clearly.

I gotta say, this is one area in which the UK is way ahead of the U.S.A. Nobody in Britain has to worry about forking out for healthcare. We only have to worry about whether or not our local primary care trusts can afford to pay for the treatment we seek - and even this should not be an issue except in extraordinary cases.

If the economy continues the way it is going, however, this is going to become more and more of an issue.

As I said in my previous blog, the President is seeking to save money by reducing wastage and allocating more appropriately money which is already in the system.

What is the objection to this?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Obama on Healthcare

Click here to view a video of President Obama addressing the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons).

Some of the points the President made were:

* We need a better bang for our healthcare dollar. The rising costs are not leading to a corresponding improvement in healthcare.

* He talked about commonsense measures, emphasising prevention by using methods such as immunisation and testing.

* We need clear, easy-to-understand insurance.

* We can save money on medical costs.

The emphasis on prevention goes completely against the way healthcare has been practiced in the West for the past 150-200 years. The emphasis has been on “curing” problems rather than preventing them. This is often the opposite of traditional methods such as acupuncture, where it is recognised that prevention should be the priority.

I’m sure your grandmother told you that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Somehow, with healthcare provision in the West, this message has been lost.

The President talked about the fact that providing the right care in the first place will save money. So he was talking in terms of dollars and cents, and using a system that makes sense financially while improving the quality of healthcare being provided.

He also talked about changing the way we reward doctors. Rewarding them for the quality of healthcare they provide for ongoing and chronic conditions, rather than for the number of times they see the same patients. This is groundbreaking stuff.

It was very moving to hear the President speak about his mother, after her cancer diagnosis, being accused by insurers of having had a pre-existing condition, which would have made her ineligible for coverage. She had to spend weeks writing back and forth to insurance companies from her hospital bed after she had been paying premiums right along. And this happens to people right across the country. This causes people and their loved ones a great deal of fear and anxiety because of the prospect of losing their health coverage.

He spoke about having a system of health insurance that actually makes sense.

For example, at the moment, the more times you have to return to the hospital for treatment, the more that hospital gets paid. The more often you see a doctor for treatment for the same condition, the more that doctor is paid. And the insurance company can decide not to pay for your treatment because you lose your job or you change jobs, or for some other reason. And you don’t find out until it’s too late.

This is truly shameful. This is a scandal nobody talks about. Doctors, healthcare providers and insurance companies are making profit at the expense of those seeking treatment.

Here in the UK, because we have socialised medicine, we do not have many of these problems. We don’t find that when the time comes, the doctor is not paid for, or the hospital care is not paid for. Everything is paid for and Britons expect to receive free heathcare from the cradle to the grave. We have to pay for prescriptions, but it’s at a flat rate which at the moment is just over £7, or about $10-11. And people who have a large number of prescriptions, e.g. more than five, can purchase a pre-payment prescription which means you can pay one flat rate for three months or one year, thus making prescriptions very affordable.

One statistic the President revealed today is that in the U.S., prescriptions cost 77% more than they cost in other countries. I am shocked by this but not surprised. I know prescription costs are high in the U.S. but I am shocked at how high they are, and that this has been allowed to go on for so long.

Of course, we have different problems here in the UK. The system is virtually bankrupt. We have what is called a “postcode lottery” which means that some treatments are not available to everybody in every part of the country. We have long waiting lists, which means some people who can afford to opt to go private do so, in order to access treatment promptly.

So it’s not a perfect system.

I agree with the President. There is a lot of waste in the current system and reducing that waste will reduce healthcare costs. This will be better for those who use healthcare, and for the country as a whole.

However, some of the providers are making so much money with the current system, and healthcare is such big business in America, that there will be many people who will be unhappy with the President’s plans to reform healthcare and health insurance in the U.S. They will simply lose too much money – they money they are now making by ripping people off.

What the President is proposing is very courageous and I salute him.

See also:

Barack Obama, African American Success Story

Celebrating Barack Obama

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Mandela

As Villager has said, yesterday was Nelson Mandela's birthday.

I can remember standing on the 24-hour nonstop picket line outside the South African Embassy in London's Trafalgar Square in the 1980s.

A friend of mine used to go come down every Friday evening, after a full work week, to stand on the picket line. I remember when she was arrested for obstruction one night. I went to court to support her and was pleased when the case was thrown out.

We made very small sacrifices. We boycotted certain fruits. Why did the ones from South Africa always appear to be the plumpest and freshest?

On our visits to the supermarket, we dug our fingernails into the avocados to stop anyone else from eating them.

Mandela sacrificed many years of his life, but somehow managed not only to keep his dignity, but to treat his enemies with respect, and win them over with his kindness and his wisdom.

I can remember the days when we thought the end of Apartheid would inevitably involve violence, destruction and bloodshed on a massive scale. Yet, miraculously, it came about peaceably. Mandela played a major role in the peace process.

To read more about this, see:

Long Walk to Freedom: Nelson Mandela's Autobiography
Endgame: The Beginning of the end of Apartheid.

I remember, too, that when he visited London after his release from prison, he challenged the police about their handling of the Stephen Lawrence enquiry. Up until then, the enquiry had not been prioritised or pursued seriously by the police. Mandela's involvement ensured that this issue was given the prominence it deserved.

This great African leader is an inspiration to people all over the world.

Happy birthday, Mandela!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Unlimited Power

In Positive Change and Transformation, I recently wrote about the fact that those of us fro a political background often come from a position of blame. Blaming white folks, blaming those in power, blaming whoever. Even blaming ourselves and each other.


By individuality, I mean valuing oneself and others and respecting one’s own ideals and values. For more about this, see The Key to Confidence.

Individuality is not the same as being individualistic or selfish. Nor does it mean doing something because “Black people do it”. In order to be individuals, we need to honour our uniqueness.

The more we behave as individuals, and treat others as individuals, the more we can become free of the group mentality which lies at the hear tof the blame culture.

Instead of blaming, we need to take responsibility.

Passivity vs. Blame

At the opposite end of the spectrum from blaming is passivity. The “let God take care of it” attitude that many of us from a religious background tend to have.

I think this is a cultural difference between Black and white people. People from European backgrounds tend to be confident about self-power, but they tend to fear other power. We, on the other hand, tend to be overly reliant on other power, and lack confidence in our self-power.

We need both. We need a balance between self-power and other-power.

Although I have said that they are opposites, passivity and blame often go together. This is because we feel frustrated by our own passivity and then project it onto others.

I saw a post on an online forum recently where someone who had worked in a care home was writing about the corruption she had witnessed on a daily basis. She had seen residents of the home being abused. She wrote, “I was going to challenge it, but then I decided to leave it to God”.

People, we cannot afford to “leave it to God”.

When I was a Christian and believed in a god, I also believed that “God helps those who help themselves”.

To put it another way, everything we do is matched with energy from the universe. The universe matches and multiplies whatever energy we put out.

We can only do this if we focus on our own power – not other people’s. For more about this, read Allowing Success.

Imagine you have unlimited power to attain anything you want, and fulfill your dreams.

You do have this power, you were born with it . Reach down inside yourself to draw on this power. You are unstoppable.

For more about this, see The Higher Self.

As I said in Success Strategies for Black People, never say "I can't". Say "How can I?".

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson Is Dead

Wow. I remember when he first came to prominence, when he was 10 and I was 11. He was an exceptional talent and grew up to be one of the biggest stars on the planet - deservedly so. In those days, to be famous and successful as a performer, you needed to have real talent. And he had it in spades.

He has had such a troubled life. He had no childhood. He faced his demons in adulthood but we don't know if he won.

I was just thinking about Michael Jackson a couple of nights ago, about how when he was a child and was appearing with the Jackson 5 at the Royal Variety Performance, Elton John said he felt sorry for them because they had been made to wait so long.

He was interviewed by Oprah, where they both talked about the childhood abuse they had suffered.

How could he have died of a heart attack? He was only 50. What was going on there?

This has really shocked me. No doubt we will be learning more over the next days and weeks.

See also, Celebrating the Legend That Is Motown.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Black Men's Health - Too Embarrassed to Talk about It?

On Oprah today, Dr. Oz will be the host. It's the first time anyone other than Oprah herself has hosted.

The topic is men's health. And everyone in the studio will be male.

If you are a Black man, are you too embarrassed to talk about your health? Do you avoid talking about it with your wife, the woman in your life, your family?

Do you avoid going to the doctor because you don't want to get bad news?

How can we as healthcare and health promotion workers reach African American and African Caribbean men? How can we support them to get the health checks they need?

In the free More Black Success ebook Volume 4, Dr. Bill Releford writes about the Black Barbershop Project. If we can't get the men to go to the doctor, we need to bring the doctor to the men.

For your free copy, visit More Black Success today!

Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm on TV Tonight!

I will be appearing on the Rhoda Wilson Show tonight (Friday 19th June) at 10:00 p.m. I hope you will join us.

Rhoda will interview me about my book Success Strategies for Black People and about my Nonviolent Communication (NVC) workshops for the African Caribbean Community.

BEN TV, Sky Channel 184
The Rhoda Wilson Show

I am very passionate about this work. It is changing people's lives.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Positive Change and Transformation

In the face of recent events such as, for example, the Samantha Orabator case, the Troy Davis case and the many instances of tasings of African American people, one of my online contacts recently raised the question, “What Can We Do?”.

We work so hard to battle these injustices. Yet they never seem to decrease. So what can we do?

My work is all about creating a more positive future.

The Law of Attraction tells us that whatever we put our energies into, increases in our lives. This is very similar to the Law of Increase, which I write about in my book Success Strategies for Black People.

Although our intention is to bring about positive change, we need to be aware that these universal laws are constantly working. They can work for us or against us. We can use them in our favour – or not.

In other words, the more energy we put into battling a problem, the more energy we are giving to that problem.

We need to turn our focus to the solution rather than the problem.

Situations such as the case of Samantha Orabator will often respond to Spiritual Response Therapy (SRT). I write about SRT and the Higher Self in Success Strategies.

I also write about Nonviolent Communication (NVC) as well as other highly effective processes.

These are transformative methods. I have seen miracles happen in my life and in the lives of others. This is why I wrote the book. I want to make these methods available to as many people of African heritage as possible. We can use these methods and other things I cover in the book to heal ourselves, our families and our communities. And we can use them to achieve much, much more.

I am passionate about the work I do because I have seen the difference it makes in people’s lives.

As Black people, we often get into victim mentality. This is because we have been victimised for so many generations.

Those of us of a political bent say, “Organise! Fight back!”. And of course, there is a time to organise. There is a time to fight, to defend our communities.

However, in order to bring about real positive, effective change and transformation, we need to turn our focus inward.

Human beings in general tend to blame others for our problems, difficulties and issues. This is a basic human tendency. And others are often to blame.

The problem with this is that it locates the solution outside of us. If only “they” would treat us better. If only he, she or they would stop doing whatever it is they are doing and do what we want them to do. Then everything would be okay.

Please note, I am NOT trying to take the blame for racism and racist violence off of white people.

I am just saying that, whether we blame ourselves or other people, blame is not a solution. And I am interested in solutions.

We have amazing power. We need to use this power to bring about the changes we need. Blame then becomes a distraction from what will bring about the real changes we deserve.

I am a pragmatist. I am committed to doing what works.

I will be blogging about this further within the next few days.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Too Many Politicians?

In the light of the recent Parliamentary expenses scandal, David Cameron has been calling for a reduction in the number of politicians.

Surely there need to be more. Constituencies are way too big, which is one reason why the politicians have gotten out of touch with the electorate. One politician said his "private life", i.e. how he spends our money, is none of our business!

Meanwhile, there has been this row over the fact that all members of the London Assembly, including the BNP member, have been invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace by the Queen. Apparently, she invites the Assembly every year.

I do not hold with the argument that if she invites one, she has to invite all of them. The BNP are no better than the National Front, albeit with briefcases and nice suits. In other words, Nazis.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but did we not fight a war against these people? Are these not the same people who dropped bombs on London and other British cities every night? Now they are attacking from the inside.

But I blame the electorate. These people would not be in power if people didn't vote for them. Similarly, people voted for Hitler. Learn from history, folks!

Maybe Cameron's right, we do have too many politicians.