Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Kwanzaa!

President Obama's Kwanzaa greetings read:  

Michelle and I extend our warm thoughts and best wishes to all those celebrating Kwanzaa this holiday season. Today marks the first day of the week-long celebration of African-American history and culture through the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. 

Click here for more information on Kwanzaa, including my listings of Kwanzaa events.  I have listed Kwanzaa celebrations all over the U.S.A. and in London and Paris.  

Happy Kwanzaa, everybody! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Kwanzaa Events 2012

I am currently listing Kwanzaa events on my Nurture Success site.  This site is coming down soon, so to keep in touch, please join my new Nurture Success site.  

For more about Kwanzaa, see:  

Kwanzaa – Celebrating Traditional African Values

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sweet Crude - The Niger Delta

Sweet Crude - the Niger Delta

Black History Studies recently screened the documentary "Sweet Crude", about the Niger Delta. 

I am going to say up front that I was upset by this film, although I was aware of the situation in the Niger Delta, having seen a film produced by the BBC a few years ago which covered much of the same ground.  

It is vitally important that Black History Studies continue to screen these kinds of films and provide us with the information we need about the experience of African people all over the world.  

It is equally important that we remember we can transform the situation.  More about this later. 

Oil was discovered in the Niger Delta in 1956.  Once international oil giants Shell and Chevron moved in, they devastated the region, with the complicity of successive Nigerian military regimes.  For more about modern Nigerian history, see Naij:  A Film History of Nigeria.  

The natural life expectancy in the Niger Delta is in the sixties; today, the life expectancy is 40.  Forty.  Four-zero.  

During the enslavement period, the Niger Delta was known as the "slave coast".  Many thousands of people were taken down the river in chains, to be sold in the West. 

There is a long history of resistance in the region.  

Today, because of the constant illegal burning of natural gas released by the oil drilling, toxic chemicals are released which pollute the air and the water and destroy the wildlife.  The rain that falls in the Niger Delta is toxic enough to destroy metal roofs.  

There are few, if any, schools in the Niger Delta. The Nigerian government and the oil companies want to drive the locals off their ancestral lands.  

You can view the trailer below. 

One of the most disturbing episodes covered by Sweet Crude was when Director Sandy Cioffi, having cultivated a relationship with MEND (The Movement to Emancipate the Niger Delta), arranged for a member of MEND to be interviewed on Nightline.  

MEND wanted the international media to cover the situation.  A member of MEND courageously agreed to be interviewed on camera, but the interviewer repeatedly asked him if he was a terrorist and if M\END were holding hostages.  When the MEND member answered "no", the interviewer  appeared bored and looked at his watch, and when the MEND spokesman began to explain the situation, the interview was terminated.  

The subject was broadcast with a screaming headline about "Africa's New Terror Crisis" and references to a threatened increase to the price of oil for Americans. 

Although we know the media often manipulate stories, and manipulate us, it was still shocking to watch this.  

The Joint Task Force (JTF), a branch of the Nigerian military, maintain a presence in the region with brutal violence.  The U.S. government under George W. Bush agreed to supply intelligence about activists in the region to the Nigerian government.  Thus, in a way, we are all complicit in this scenario.  

The author and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa was imprisoned and killed because of his involvement in the Niger Delta protests. 

Sweet Crude is heartbreaking.  As I said above, it is vital that we remember that we can transform the situation.  We have amazing energy inside of us and we can use it to transform situations like these.   For more about this, see Your Inner Wisdom

Thank you once again to Black History Studies for screening Sweet Crude.  

For more information and to buy a copy on DVD, visit Sweet Crude

Monday, November 19, 2012

Film Africa: Filming Sensitive Issues

Dancing on the Edge

I had some serious issues with the Filming Sensitive Issues event held at the BFI as part of the recent Film Africa festival.  

I walked in to see a panel of three white women (one of them turned out to be mixed race, but she appeared white).  I immediately had a problem with this.  There are many Black people filming in Africa right now, at this moment, and I am sure some of them are filming sensitive issues.  So I question the composition of the panel.  

Two of the filmmakers had made a film about LGBT activists in Uganda.  I'm not going to say much about this right now.  

The other white woman, Karen Boswall, had made a documentary in Mozambique entitled Dancing on the Edge, about health workers educating people in local communities in order to prevent the spread of HIV.  So this was a real conflict for the woman who was the central figure in the documentary - she was an HIV+ health worker who was participating in the ritual. 

Dancing on the Edge showed girls taking part in a traditional initiation ceremony.  They had to take a vow that they would always sexually satisfy their husbands and never refuse to do so.  This goes directly against the health initiative to encourage people to use condoms.  They also vowed to submit if their husbands decided to beat them.  Thus, the initiation instructed them on how to be a good woman. 

One thing I found very offensive was that Boswall said the ancestors had required women to take these vows - this is what the locals told her.  I had a problem with this because it is the duty of the ancestors to protect their descendants (although not all ancestors are protective).  If your ancestors are telling you to submit to beatings, they are not doing their job.  However, there was no analysis of this from the filmmaker.  

It has rightly been pointed out to me that religion and spirituality are often used to manipulate and control people, as depicted, for example, in Ousmane Sembene's film Moolaade.  Therefore, it is entirely likely that the ancestors are being slandered in this instance. 

The film depicted many girls and young women taking part in the ritual.  In a lengthy sequence, they are topless.  So we see this sea of breasts - again, with no explanation or analysis.  There is no voiceover to place this in context. 

One thing I found particularly disturbing was that many of these girls were very young - far too young to have breasts - in fact, they literally looked like little boys.  I question why children so young were participating in an initiation ritual.  

Another problem I had with this event was that Boswall was surprised at how many people had asked her about female genital mutilation (FGM) in connection with her film.  It is obvious that, in an African context, any discussion of female initiation ceremonies will include reference to FGM, but Boswall did not seem to understand this.  Nor was she aware of Moolaade.  I have a problem with someone who knows so little about African film, or indeed African culture, having her work included in this festival.  

Boswall was well-meaning.  She said she was disappointed that her film was unlikely to bring about change, and she plans to make fiction films rather than documentaries in future.  

Some useful reflections came out of the event, as the filmmakers involved were very candid about the effects of their work on African communities.  I shall say more about this in future. 

Although the BFI screens the excellent African Odysseys film series on a monthly basis, I was very disappointed by this offering from Film Africa. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Black Women Make Movies

This Saturday, 17th November. London Black History Walks will screen two films by and about African women.  
Ugandan Superladies - Rose, Leila and Susan are three  ordinary Ugandan women concerned with homes, families and jobs, but they also share the dream of becoming champion rally drivers. They face the double challenge of achieving sporting success while fighting prejudice and sexism in the male world of motor rallying.The film documents their journey take as they struggle to put together their cars for the Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally 2009, the most coveted motor sports title in East Africa.  Showing with:

The Window - Moji dreams of being a window dresser but is held back by her husband Samson and things start to look even worse for her when Samson's second wife arrives from Nigeria to live in their one-bedroomed Peckham flat with them. However the two women,rather than being rivals,form a bond and,after a public show-down at Samson's chieftancy ceremony, attain their independence plus Q and A with screenwriter Funke Oyebanjo

Saturday, 17th November
Room B36, Birkbeck University of London, Malet St (entry on Torrington Square)
Tube: Russell Square/Tottenham Court Road
Free entry. First come, First served 
This event sponsored by National Association of Black Saturday Schools and Birkbeck, University of London  

Plus:  Performing Black Bodies in White Spaces  (Repeated by popular demand)
Saturday 17   November 5pm to 8.30pm
Birkbeck University of London, Tube: Russell Square/Tottenham Court Road
This event sponsored by National Association of Black Saturday Schools and Birkbeck, University of London  

Learn from the Experts - More Black Success

The best way to become successful at something is to learn from those who are already doing it. 

Stories from More Black Success is my new ebook which contains three interviews previously published in More Black Success

Ready to learn from the experts?   Click here to download Stories from More Black Success now.  It's just 99 cents (75p) to download.  

And always always Remember Your Greatness.  

Friday, November 09, 2012

President Obama Is Awesome

President Obama is awesome.  And he's Black.  And he's Black and awesome.  'Nuff said! 

You may also want to check:  Books for Black Upliftment.  

Thursday, November 08, 2012

We Did It!!!

Well done, America.  We did it!!!  We elected President Obama for a second term.  

One thing that struck me when researching this article on Books about President Obama was that there are LOADS of books knocking President Obama. People are making money out of hating.  I mean, Obama-hating is an INDUSTRY. This goes beyond politics.  

Check out this article by Terry McMillan about the racism that characterized Mitt Romney's campaign

However, none of those books are included here.  These are books for Obama-lovers. 

When this many people are trying to stop you, you know you are doing something right.  

Congratulations, America.  Maybe we really are growing up as a nation. 

Nigerian Films at the BFI

Phone Swap and Maami are two films showing at the BFI this Saturday, as part of the African Odysseys strand, organised by London Black History Walks in conjunction with the BFI.  You can watch the trailer below.  


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Film Africa

Rungano Nyoni
I have been very much enjoying the Film Africa festival. 

Click here for the Film Africa programme.  

One of the delights of the festival is that we get to meet working filmmakers.  

Saturday, I attended a screenwriting workshop at the BFI with award-winning screenwriter Rungano Nyoni.  She gave us the benefit of her perspective of writing as an actor, rather than a trained screenwriter, which I found very educational and very stimulating. 

Then, Saturday night, Rich Mix screened several shorts including Yellow Fever (very powerful) and Native Sun (very poignant), along with Whitey's on the Moon and Walking Backwards, both by Caroline Deeds, who was present for the screening.  So I got to hang out with the director and her family.  Brilliant.  I recommend you see all of these films. 

I had some issues with the workshop at the BFI on Sunday on Filming Difficult Subjects.  More about this soon. 

The festival continues.  The BFI will screen two Nigerian blockbusters on Saturday as part of their African Odysseys strand:  Maami and Phone Swap.  See also:  Film Africa;  Filming Tomorrow

Monday, October 29, 2012

How Can We Best Educate Black Children?

This is a great podcast from The Wilmer Leon Show.  

Wilmer Leon's guests were two educators who talked about their experiences of teaching Black children in the school system.  

Some of their experiences underline what I keep saying:  we need to learn from each other internationally.  For example, one of the guests talked about the fact that he went into teaching Special Education, only to find out that a lot of Black children are being put into that category.  

The same thing happened here in the UK in the 1960s and 70s, when Black children were often labelled "educationally sub-normal".  Nowadays, exclusions are often used to deny our children an education.  

Another point the guests made was that Black boys are often being raised by women, and they come into the classroom to find themselves being taught by women.  So where do they learn to be men?  Where are their male role models? 

The presenter also makes the point that HBCUs do not teach their students some crucial Black literature.  You can graduate from Harvard without having read Carter G. Woodson's The Miseducation of the Negro or Ivan van Sertima's They Came before Columbus

This podcast was very rich.  You need to hear it.  Click here to listen

And always, always Remember Your Greatness.  

Do Black Voters Have a Problem with President Obama?

Melissa Harris-Perry
In a recent column on, Melissa Harris-Perry debunks the myth that President Obama has a problem with Black voters - or, more to the point, that we have a problem with him.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Black Success: Nurture Success

Nurture Success is very dear to my heart.   I have recently created a new Nurture Success group for people of African heritage, to help you attract all the money and financial empowerment, love, health, success and everything you want. To create a wonderful future for yourself.  Please listen to the short audio below to find out more.  

Click here to join Nurture Success free of charge.   

Click here for more Black Success audios with Zhana.  These are to help you transform your life.  

If you enjoy these and find them useful, please share them with your networks.  Thanks. 

Film Africa: Filming Tomorrow

Film Africa, the UK’s largest annual festival of African cinema and culture, is back in November 2012 with 10 days of 70 African films, 35 leading filmmakers offering Q&As, free professional workshops, and 9 African music nights.  

Filming Tomorrow will be a screen-seminar on grassroots filmmaking in Africa
As the conditions in which film is made change rapidly and radically, so too does the practice of filmmaking. In this open seminar, we will look at alternative filmmaking collectives, citizen journalists and community TV. Here, we will open up the discussion into the future of radical filmmaking in Africa.
Section 1: Urban Film and Space presented by Joshua McNamara
Section 2: Mosireen and collective filmmaking presented by Omar Robert Hamilton.
Section 3: Open discussion.  

Tuesday 6th November 6:00pm 
Venue  :Rich Mix
06:00PM - 08:30PM

No booking required, spaces limited.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

African People Liberated Themselves

The recent presentation from Black History Studies entitled "Slavery Is Not Our History" detailed many of the ways in which enslaved African people liberated themselves and fought against kidnapping, genocide and mass enslavement in Africa, on board the slave ships, on many Caribbean islands, and in South America and the United States. 

My sister, who grew up in the 1940s and '50s, tells me that, when she was growing up, people would say to her that slavery could not have been that bad, because there were no slave revolts.  The schools taught that slaves were happy on the plantations.  The only slave revolt she was told about was that led by Nat Turner. 

Fortunately, our mother taught us from an early age about those who fought for liberation, including Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Toussaint L'Ouverture and more.  

For more about this presentation, click here for Black History Facts.  As usual, this was a fascinating presentation, packed with loads of information. 

For more about the "Slavery Is Not Our History" presentation, see:  Why Focus on History?  

You may also be interested in  African People's Self-Liberation.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Why Focus on History?

It was lovely to see several young people at the Black History Studies event the other night, "Slavery Is Not Our History".   More about this event soon. 

One young man asked the important question (and I am paraphrasing):  given the pressures on young people today, what is the point of focusing on history? 

As you can imagine, there was a lot to say about this. 

Mark Simpson of BHS referred to Sankofa:  in order to move forwards, you have to look backwards.  In order to know where we are going, we need to know where we have been. 

Charmaine Simpson, also of BHS, pointed out that many of the issues we face today originated in the enslavement of our ancestors.

I talked about the importance of identity.  Without knowledge of our history and of who we are, it is easy for us to become confused.  

Click here for more Black history events.  

Click here for even more Black history events, with Black History Studies and London Black History Walks. These events are held year-round. 

It is vital that you share this information with young people and parents. 

And always, always Remember Your Greatness.  

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Black Fighter Pilots of WWII

Black Fighter Pilots of WWII was the most recent presentation by London Black History Walks.  Every time I attend one of these events, I am very moved and inspired.  And I always learn something new.  

Those fighter pilots from the United States, the Caribbean and Africa were seriously courageous, and some of them were seriously fine!  

Nightfighters, a 1994 documentary about the Tuskegee Airmen, was screened.  Many of the men talked about their own experiences during the war.  They were reported as being not good enough. 
This coming Sunday's event will be How Black People Won World War 2.  Click here for this and more Black History Month events

Friday, October 05, 2012

Black History: Ebony Goddess and Black Fighter Pilots of World War 2

October is Black History Month in the UK, and I am listing some BHM events on Nurture Success.  

Click here for Next Black History Events.  They include Ebony Goddess and Black Fighter Pilots of World War, two  presentations by London Black History Walks.  These presentations are held every month of the year, not just in October.  

Click here for my review of Black Heroes of WWII, a previous presentation by London Black History Walks.  

Black History Studies is also holding a season of Black history events this month - and every month - including, on Monday 8th October, a screening of the film More than a Month.  

For more details, see Next Black History Events.  

And always, always Remember Your Greatness

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Black Success: Remember Your Greatness

Why don't Black consumers buy Black?  Many Black people have an inferiority complex, although we often try to deny it.  We have forgotten our greatness.  

It is so important that we celebrate Black achievers.  I publish interviews with Black achievers - we can learn from their success. 

Listen to the audio below for more. 

Listen to internet radio with Zhana21 on Blog Talk Radio

If you enjoy this audio and find it useful, please share this with your networks. 

Click here for more Black Success audios

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Mistake Most Jobseekers Make

Debo Ajose-Adeogun photo from the London Evening Standard
Yesterday, the London Evening Standard reported on graduates having to take menial jobs as they cannot find even entry-level employment in their fields.  

In the Black community, this is certainly not news. It has been going on for many years - even generations. 

The article focused on London-based Debo Ajose-Adeogun, a Nigerian architecture graduate.  He worked hard for three years to complete his degree, then spent all day every day online looking for work.  

The mistake he is making is that he is responding to job ads and writing off to companies asking for employment opportunities.  Most job seekers make the same mistake.

It's fine to write off to companies, just don't expect to land a job that way - unless you know what to say in your letter. 

The majority of jobs are never advertised.  This means we need to have better strategies for finding work.  For more about this, click here for my free report, Four Steps to Finding the Job You Want.  The report explains how you can stop chasing after jobs and start having employers chase you. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Black Success: Finding the Job You Want

There are a lot of people out there struggling now.  There are a lot of people out of work, and a lot more people whose employment is uncertain.  

If you are looking for work or you know someone who is, I can help you with your job search.  Listen to the short audio below for more information. 

Listen to internet radio with Zhana21 on Blog Talk Radio

Click here for my blog on Looking for Work.  It contains links to a lot of resources.  

Free Job Search Consultations 

Success Strategies for Black People 

Click here for more Black Success audios.  

If you enjoy this audio and find it useful, please share it with your networks.  Please also leave your comments below. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Black Success: Do You Play the Lottery?

I was recently interviewed by Denise Turney on her Off the Shelf show.  If you haven't had the chance to listen yet, please do click here to listen to the interview.   I had a delightful time.  

One of the things we talked about was how people of African heritage often seem to be waiting for someone else to come along and sort out our problems for us.  Have a listen to the short audio below, see what you think.  

If you enjoy this and find it useful, please share it with your networks.  Thanks.  

Wishing you every success!  

Listen to internet radio with Zhana21 on Blog Talk Radio

Monday, August 27, 2012

Manifestation - Manifest What You Want

I had a delightful radio interview with Denise Turney of Off the Shelf on Saturday.  I greatly enjoyed it because Denise was so warm and so knowledgeable.  Please listen to the interview below.

If you enjoy it and find it useful, please share this interview with your networks. 

Denise is one of the bloggers I interviewed in Secrets of the Black Bloggers.  

The one thing I forgot to mention when Denise asked me about my ebooks The Key to Everything and What They Don't Want Us to Know was manifestation.  I'm sorry to say I drew a blank - has that ever happened to you?  

I am brilliant at manifesting.  Click here for info about what I have manifested in my life - so far - and how you can do it, too.  

Listen to internet radio with Denise Turney on Blog Talk Radio

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lest We Forget: The Haitian Revolution

Toussaint L'Ouverture
Lest we forget, the 23rd of August is African Remembrance Day, marking the day when enslaved Africans on the island of Haiti rose up against their oppressors and freed themselves.  

The Haitian people, under leaders including Toussaint L'Ouverture and Jean Jacques Dessalines, fought off the French, British and Spanish armies, and then fought off the French again under Napoleon.  The Haitians were never defeated.  

The use of traditional African spirituality was a significant factor in the victory of the Haitian people and their emancipation from slavery.  Click here to read more about the use of African spirituality

However, a treaty signed by Haiti required them to pay reparations to their former masters, which has led to the impoverishment of people in what was once the most prosperous island in the Caribbean.  The devastation of the Haiti earthquake in early 2010 was greatly compounded by the impoverishment of the population and the lack of resources in Haiti. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Overcoming Blocks and Obstacles

Success Strategies for Black People
When you change your thoughts, feelings and emotions, you can change your results.  I have practical methods to help you do this. For more information, listen to this short audio.  

Listen to internet radio with Zhana21 on Blog Talk Radio

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

$50,000 in Three Days

Marcus Garvey
I saw a documentary entitled "The Promised Ship" last night, screened by Black History Studies.  Did you know that Marcus Garvey raised $50,000 for the Black Star Line in three days?  This was from poor banana-growing communities in Costa Rica in the early 1920s.  

Check out the video below for more info.  

What does this tell us about the potential of Black-owned businesses today?  Remember, Garvey did this without the internet, without mobile phones, without any of the modern methods of mass communication that we have available.  

Black businesses potentially have enormous economic clout.  I have been talking about this on the radio and we will continue to talk about this.  See also:  Black Businesses:  Our Economic Clout

Stay tuned for Part 2 on the subject of our economic clout.  

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

London's Top Black Men and Women of Power

Courttia Newland
Black Enterprise has identified London's top Black men and women of power.  Not sure I agree with their choices.  

It's great to see writer Courttia Newland included in the list of London's Top Black Men of Power.  

In Black Success Stories, I did not just list people's accomplishments.  I asked them how they achieved their successes.  It's all there in the book.  

You May Be on the Verge of a Breakthrough

You need to have that breakthrough.  You deserve to have it.  And you can have it.  Listen to this audio to find out more.  

Monday, August 06, 2012

Black Businesses: Our Economic Clout

Listen to internet radio with Zhana21 on Blog Talk Radio
Black business owners potentially have enormous economic clout.  How can we harness this power and use it to benefit our businesses and our communities? 

Listen to the audio above to hear my conversation with Heather Shelton on how they are doing it in St. Louis, Mo. 

Wherever you are in the world, your customers are looking for you.  Click here for more about our international advetrtising. This has huge potential for us. 

Stay tuned for Part 2.  See also:  Strong Black Business Community

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why Positive Thinking Can Be a Negative Thing

Listen to internet radio with Zhana21 on Blog Talk Radio

Sometimes people in our community can be overly dependent on positive thinking.  We need to be real about how we actually feel. 

Thousands Get Health Advice at INshape Indiana Black and Minority Health Fair

For the past 21 years, thousands of people have received healthcare advice at the INshape Indiana Black and Minority Health Fair.  

Many African Americans don't know where to go for healthcare advice, or are too embarrassed to ask for help. Many more are without health insurance.  

This year, diabetes was the focus of the health fair.  Free screenings for high blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol and sickle cell disease were provided.  

To see how Black doctors are providing health screenings for Black men who don't want to go to the doctor, see:  Black Men's Health:  Too Embarrased to Talk about It?  See also:  More Black Success Volume 4.