Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Akala at Royal Festival Hall on 2nd August 2013

Akala is director of the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company.  This free presentation at  The Clore Ballroom at
Royal Festival Hall is on 2 August 2013 at 7:00pm. Yes this FREE EVENT ! is part lecture, part rap show, with a touch of theatre and live music set to a visual backdrop.

Hear Akala chart 3000 years of history, taking audiences on the journey of the 'Griot' (musical poet) across Africa. Through times of prosperity and hardship, migration and stagnation, the story eventually moves across the seas into the Americas, where musical genres such as jazz, blues, reggae and ultimately hip hop were created.

For more info about Akala check out this article by The Guardian 2nd June 2013 and Timeout 29th July 2013

Nneka at the African Centre

The Africa Centre Summer Festival Features Nneka as a headline act!

Saturday, August 3, 2013
Covent Garden
Newton Street Covent Garden

For those of you who are not familiar with Nneka, in brief she is a 'mixed race' Nigerian/German neo-soul singer . Listen to her song about being mixed entitled 'half-caste' . She has also written songs about Shell's exploitation of the Nigerian Delta, and other political issues in Nigeria.

For more information, about this weekend festival of music, fashion, dance, food, performances and film click the following link: African Centre

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Brown Girl, Step

Dean Atta
Listen on Sound Cloud

Brown Girl, Step
Brown girl, step on stage
And let them see you shine
Step through the front door
No longer declined
Step out on your own
Knowing you will be fine
But don't step in line, brown girl
Not this time
There are too many brown girls
Waiting in line
Unemployment – line
Chorus – line
What has changed but the time?
You – brown girl
You have changed, with the times
Of the times, because of the times
Brown girls have been beaten
And bruised, forced and used
Robbed of their children
And denied good news
Shackled and shamed
Shunned and misnamed
Kept from education
Shown nothing but pain
Felt abandoned by all
Even the one above 
And yet despite it all
You still choose love
You are not the tragedy
How they treat you is
Your beautiful potential
Is equal to his
Brown girl, step
Anywhere you want to be
And let them see you shine
Step through the front door
No longer declined
Step out on your own
Knowing you will be fine
But don't step in line, brown girl
Not this time.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Rosa Sat

Yesterday was  Nelson Mandela International Day. Children (and adults) need inspiration from people like Nelson Mandela who  have done great things.  This book by Lucy Erber does just that.  Underpinned with the message of aspiring to achieve your goals in life, this delightful children's book tells the story of the Civil Rights movement in the United States in the 1950's and '60's, through to today.

In telling the story of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Barack Obama and others, the book explains that the struggle for equality has been long and hard, and continues today -but that much has been achieved by those who contributed so much- both politically, and on a personal level. The book is listed in the official  Black History Month Listings 2013 (UK) It is also highly recommended by Midwest Book Review


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Nelson Mandela International Day


Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela

Today is Nelson Mandela' s 95th  Birthday and in honor of him, today has been named Nelson Mandela International Day (or Mandela Day). The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first UN Mandela Day held on 18 July 2010. However, other groups began celebrating Mandela Day on 18 July 2009.

Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact. The Mandela Day campaign message is to bring together people around the world to fight poverty and promote peace and reconciliation.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Mixed Children's Hair

Mixed Hair
Advice from Victoria at My Curls

The world of hair care can be very confusing especially if your child is mixed and you and your partner have very different hair types. Typically this occurs when one of the parents has African genes. Hair can range from thick tight curls to fine wavy hair. Difficulties arise when the hair type is very different from your own and you therefore need to learn how to manage a hair type that is new to you. Well don’t despair, with a little patience, the right hair products and some know how, you will be just fine.

Firstly, you have to realise that no one child’s hair is the same. Indeed, just to make things more difficult, all the children in the same family do not necessarily have the same hair texture. Mixed African hair comes in all different strand thicknesses and can be anything in the range from wavy loose curls to tight afro. Some hair types are fine whilst, others are coarse. Whatever the type, if it is not very similar to your own, you will need to try out different products and work out the best regime and hair care routine for you and your child.

I love this article by Victoria at  My Curls.  and what's really great is, if you register, Victoria will give you free expert advice

This is an interesting article by Beauty Pulse

This is a great article with fab tips for caring for mixed and curly hair London Mums Magazine


Nella Larsen's book Passing is an American historical novel (1929) which is frequently referred to as a book which depicts the tragic plight of the mulatto.  Yes indeed the story is tragic and it is also very moving, but for me the tragedy is not Clare's 'passing', but the society that required a young woman with a mixed race heritage to pass as white to obtain the benefits of high society.

The book was recommended to me by Heidi Durrow author of The Girl Who Fell From The Sky .  This is her review of Passing.
'Passing' Across The Color Line In The Jazz Age
For me this book is about the inequalities of race and the perils of shadism and colourism. I finished reading this book whilst waiting for a flight from UK to Jamaica. I made a lot of observations about race during the 9 hour flight which I will write about in another post.  However, as I was about to board the plane a white steward ignored my husband and I and then eagerly greeted the white woman who was in the queue behind me, wishing her a good holiday. I chuckled when she retorted sharply that she had in fact been on holiday and was returning to where she lives. Perhaps she also relates to Heidi Durrow's remark in her review of Passing  'You may not identify with being a light-skinned African-American, but you have probably felt at some point that what was most important about you wasn't visible'.

It saddens me that it remains so apparent, that the preferences given to white and lighter skinned people still exist. I highly recommend this short read. It highlighted to me, that although progress has been made, we haven't really come that far!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Every Little Thing

Purchase from Letterbox Library

During the week, I ordered a Story Share Pack (a pre-selection of 5 books), for my grandchildren from Letterbox Library . They arrived promptly and I've just had a chance to browse through them.  It is a great selection and I have to say 'Every Little Thing'  is my favorite.  I may be a bit biased since I am such a big Bob Marley fan, but I did sing my way through the book.  It really made me smile.  Every family will relate to the universal story of one boy who won't let anything get him down, especially with the help and encouragement from his   family, friends and three little birds.  I will let you know what the grandchildren think of this and the other books as soon as they've had a chance to review them.


adapted by Cedella Marley
illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Ref: 12399
A Bob Marley classic, with it universal message of peace and harmony, brought to life through an optimistic little child. A magnificent picture book. Age 3-6, American Import Hardback 24pp

Thursday, 4 July 2013

One in Ten

I am really loving We are the 15 Percent, a blog which was created in USA in response to the backlash by a racist minority against the portrayal of a mixed race family in the Cheerios advert

As stated in my post dated 29th June 2013 mixed race families appear to be under attack recently. However, as revealed by the 2011 Census, mixed race people are the biggest growing racial minority in the UK. More than one in ten children now live in a mixed race family and this figure is rising steadily. It is no longer unusual to see mixed couples and mixed race children, so why do some people still object?

In my opinion we need to promote the presence of mixed race families in the UK too.  I am therefore starting a UK portrayal of mixed race families called One in Ten. If you would like to participate please:
  • Send your best quality photograph of your family as a jpg file. 
  • Include interesting details e.g if the photo is of a special event such as a marriage. 
  • Please also ensure that you include the names of the people in the photo (from left to right) and the area that you live in. 
  • Send your jpg to mixedracefamilies@gmail.com
I am sure that there will be a good response to the UK project. If you are a mixed race family and proud send in your loving photograph today. Let's show off the diversity of mixed race families in UK.