Sunday, 29 June 2008

Jay-Z live at Glastonbury 2008

Jay-Z tore it up at Glastonbury on the weekend, silencing critics such as Noel Gallagher who proceeded to rubbish Jay-z’s selection as the headliner. I read and laughed as people wrote into London papers saying how s**t Jay-Z was. First of all most of these people probably couldn’t distinguish between his songs let alone give any reason for using such derogatory/ strong language other that ‘Money, Ho’s and Clothes’ and in Jigga’s words ‘What kind of facts are those?’

Even if you don’t listen to a certain type of music is it right to say it is s**t, I mean a multi-platinum artist like Jay Z???? Most of the bands that play Glastonbury seem only to be big in this little island called the UK and could no way compete in terms of fans or records sold. I mean I understand the festival is meant to be about guitar bands but what about sheer entertainment and showmanship? Well I guessed Jigga showed up and showed off!

Now I am no whelly wearer or a camp out side for a gig type of girl but the prejudice I witnessed surrounding this event left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, leading to this rant!

I pay attention to lyrics in music and to say that all they get from his music is bling, guns and drugs is hilarious when all I see from most of these bands (e.g Baby shambles, I couldn’t be bothered to learn the names) seem to promote crack and heroin use without any remorse and barely a slap on the wrist.

In a time where artists are starting to see beyond the borders of their genre’s and start working outside the box, its up to the consumer to give way to this, Linkin Park and Jay-Z’ Encore/ Numb is a great testament to this.

Last day to see Flow @ The Studio Museum Harlem


April 2—June 29, 2008
Image: Dawit L. Petros, Proposition 1: Mountain, 2007

Flow is the first twenty-first century exhibition focusing on art by a new generation of international artists from Africa. These artists are uniquely conscious of, and responsive to, recent African history, global economics and the idiosyncratic culture of the new millennium. Presenting approximately seventy-five works in all media by approximately twenty emerging international artists under the age of forty, this exhibition will feature models of imaginary architecture, wall sculptures of beads and decorative elements, digital photography, new video, paintings and site specific installations, among other media. The artists, who hail from eleven African nations, reside mainly in Europe and North America and travel to and from Africa regularly. The majority of them have never been included in major U.S. museum exhibitions and are virtually unknown in this country. Modeled after Freestyle, our landmark 2001 exhibition, which was followed in 2005 by Frequency, Flow will illustrate the individuality and complexity of the visual art produced by a dynamic generation of young artists, this time with a global perspective.
144 West 125th Street, New York, New York 10027
tel 212.864.4500 fax 212.864.4800

Weighing the Africa in South Africa

Original article found at: http://www.frieze.com/comment/article/weighing_the_africa_in_south_africa/

Opinion

The morning papers on May 19 recorded a grim scene. A young Mozambican man was pictured on hands and knees, his body engulfed by flames. Set upon by a group of South African youths, the unidentified man had been stabbed and severely beaten before being set alight. Taken in Ramaphosa, an impoverished settlement east of Johannesburg, the photograph forms part of a mosaic of news photographs documenting the ruthless wave of attacks targeting African immigrants resident in South Africa’s townships.

Five days after the publication of the Ramaphosa photograph, the deceased man’s identity remained a mystery. On Friday May 23, Johannesburg’s The Star newspaper attempted to honour the man’s life with an obituary, of sorts. ‘They called him Mugza,’ read the front-page headline. The narration was sparse: the man had shared a shack with another Mozambican man, also murdered; the two had only recently arrived in the area. Accompanying the words was a new photograph. Taken four days after the attack, it showed a pair of shoes, a scattering of concrete blocks and a duvet heaped over a pile of burnt clothing, the latter belonging to the deceased. It was a devastating image, recalling Joel Sternfeld’s photograph of the Los Angeles roadside where Rodney King was beaten – even Roger Fenton’s famous study of a cannonball-strewn landscape in Crimea. Art-historical allusions and photographic doubling aside, what gave the photograph its real impact were the three schoolgirls in the distance. In one news report, it was claimed that school children in Alexandria (the Johannesburg township where the wave of xenophobic attacks first started) had laughed at terrified immigrants seeking shelter at police stations.

In his contribution to the South African edition of the ‘Africa Remix’ catalogue, published in 2007, Achille Mbembe, a Cameroonian social scientist and writer based in Johannesburg, makes a bold claim for his adopted city. A place of atrophying skyscrapers and recently constructed African head offices, of casinos, shopping malls and expensive sports cars, of levitating restaurants and electrified suburban compounds, Mbembe regards Johannesburg as ‘the centre of Afropolitanism par excellence’.

You don’t have to look too hard nowadays to see this newfangled word popping up in cultural criticism. (Holland Cotter, in his recent New York Times review of the pan-African group show ‘Flow’, currently on at the Studio Museum in Harlem, uses it.) But what does it mean? ‘Afropolitanism,’ writes Mbembe, ‘is not the same as Pan-Africanism or negritude. Afropolitanism is an aesthetic and a particular poetic of the world. It is a way of being in the world, refusing on principle any form of victim identity – which does not mean that it is not aware of the injustice and violence on the continent and its people by the law of the world.’

Johannesburg, with its multiple racial and ethnic legacies and globalised economy, argues Mbembe, is a model for African development. ‘It is where an ethic of tolerance is being created, likely to revive African aesthetic and cultural creativity, in the same way as Harlem or New Orleans once did in the United States.’ There is some substance in these words, notwithstanding the evidence of people and their homes being torched, of the displaced seeking refuge in churches, police stations and tented camps in Johannesburg, of busses hurriedly ferrying African nationals out of the continent’s richest city, away from a confused citizenry desperately grappling with the contradictions of a post-apartheid enlightenment. There is truth. The thing is, it is a fragile one and coexists with other truths. Perhaps this what energises and so haunts Mbembe’s writings, what makes Okwui Enwezor’s ongoing curatorial projects – so critical and engaging – also fraught with ambiguity.

In a recent interview, author Chinua Achebe spoke of the competing narratives that have come to define Africa. Rather than banish the news photographer, whose subject is suffering, this signal figure suggested that we allow the contradictory pictures to coexist, that Africans strive to uphold the worldliness and mobility so much a part of their everyday life and history – notwithstanding the reality of its multiple shadows. Which reiterates, rather than contradicts, what Mbembe is arguing, just differently.

Coexistent with this attempt to define a ‘theory’ of cosmopolitan enlightenment, the recent pogroms in South Africa point to other, more furtive realities at play. One of these deals centrally with money: South Africa is the dominant economic power in sub-Saharan Africa. Where money exists, so too do impoverished economic migrants and culture. (Just take a walk around contemporary London.) One spin-off of this somewhat reduced reading is that South Africa has become an important conduit for trading into Africa, economically, politically, even culturally. Fact: five South African artists appear on ‘Flow’ – no other country enjoys as prominent a representation.

I recently interviewed Clive Kellner, director of the Johannesburg Art Gallery, arguably the country’s foremost public institution, and put it to him that South Africa’s international successes have often been at the expense of Africa – more pointedly, that South Africa is a proxy for Africa. Lazy curators seeking to engage the continent visit South Africa, sleep and dine well, make a few easy selections, and fly back home, comfortable in the knowledge that Africa has somehow been represented. ‘Absolutely, I agree a lot,’ responded Kellner. ‘What happened with a lot of South African artists is that they entered these contemporary African shows, and then they get a gallery overseas, and then divorce themselves from South Africa and Africa – they just want to be international. Which is fine – labels are a problem – but there is a very particular process and trajectory they seem to go through.’

Which is not to gainsay the successes of South African artists internationally, nor to suggest that they are morally complicit in the xenophobic attacks. That would be plain ridiculous. But just like the ongoing debate about white South Africans and their debt to apartheid, the recent flare-up of xenophobia in the country highlights the very real debt that South Africans owe to Africa. It is a tangled debt, tied at once to anti-apartheid struggle history, current economics and, in this context, global art trends. Denying that any such debt is owed is tantamount to denying Mugza a name. It is a realization not lost on South Africans. On May 25, a Sunday, the country learnt that the 22-year-old man senselessly murdered in Ramaphosa had a name. He was Ernesto Nhmawavane.
Sean O’Toole

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Speak at Theatre Royal Stratford East


The performance was originally featured in the Lift Festival in Stratford and now they are back for a second showing:


Theatre Royal Stratford East's Young Actors Company present the story of Jamie Lee, former tough girl in her neighbourhood, who struggles to make a new start while her old mates are involved on the fringes of crime.

Running for 2 performances only on Wednesday 2nd July and Thursday 3rd July at 8pm SPEAK tells East London stories that need to be heard.

You can book your tickets online at http://www.stratfordeast.com/ or by calling: 02085340310.

Tickets are just £6 or £4 for concessions.
If you're booking as a group then we can offer 1 free ticket for every 10 purchased.
Don't miss this exciting opportunity to see some of the finest young talent Stratford has to offer.


I really enjoyed the production and would recommend you go and see it, especially if you have/ are a young person who is dealing with some of the themes in the performance.

This Day Music and Fashion Festival


This Day (Lagos)



Naomi Campbell: "It is fantastic that THISDAY and Mr Obaigbena are helping improve the positive awareness of Africa as too many people have stereotypical and negative views of the Continent.

He obviously had a remarkable vision, a real passion and a special message... The more I found out about his mission to promote positivity and understanding, the more I wanted to be involved going forward with the 'Africa Rising' Festival"
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Nduka Obaigbena: "Right now the international community seems to be dealing with the symptoms not the problems of Africa. The symptoms are poverty and disease, but the problem is lack of social and physical infrastructure. This initiative is to highlight the need to focus sustainable solutions on the problems through massive investment in infrastructure and microfinance in order to rebuild Africa from the ground up. Europe is what it is today because after World War II the 'Marshall Plan' took hold. It did not deal with poverty, it focused on rebuilding Europe"

Ozwald Boateng: "I'm very proud to be a part of this exciting moment. We have all come together in a celebration of culture and art, helping to bring Africa's attention to the international community. We no longer have to see the same message of poverty and war, but we can show case the best of Africa's talent to help drive the message home that Africa is on its way up and encourage other continents to build bridges and ensure Africa achieves its rightful place in the world's economies by, rebuilding infrastructure and creating businesses that transform the lives of Africans"

This year's edition of the THISDAY Music and Fashion Festival which would be staged across three continents from July 11 has received the endorsement of international music, fashion and cultural icons who praised it as the most significant effort made to get global solutions for the problems of Africa.

A statement issued in London at the weekend by organisers of the festival stated that some of the international and African stars who have signed on to feature in the festival to be held in Abuja, Lagos, Washington and London are Jay-Z, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown, Rihanna, Fat Joe, Naomi Campbell, Oluchi, Tyson Beckford and Yousou N'Dour.

Others who will feature on the World-class festival aimed at promoting massive international investments in infrastructure and microfinance in Africa are Liya, Kebede, Alex Wek, Ozwald Boateng, Chris Aire, 9ice and Shank.

The theme of the festival is "Africa Rising" and will be used to project positive images of Africa by showcasing the renaissance of Africa's music, fashion and the arts.

Giving her endorsement to the festival and its objective, World renowned model, Naomi Campbell praised the chairman and editor-in-chief of THISDAY, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena for developing the vision to use culture and music to promote the best of Africa and sending the right signal on how the world community can partner with Africa to solve the continent's problems.

"It is fantastic that THISDAY and Mr Obaigbena are helping improve the positive awareness of Africa as too many people have stereotypical and negative views of the Continent. He obviously had a remarkable vision, a real passion and a special message... The more I found out about his mission to promote positivity and understanding, the more I wanted to be involved going forward with the 'Africa Rising' Festival," Campbell said.

Also, Ozwald Boateng, the renowned coutorier, said the festival would provide the best forum to positively project Africa's image and tell the world that Africa is not about poverty and war but that with good investments channelled into creating business opportunities and rebuilding infrastructure, Africa would take its rightful place in the world community.

Said Boateng: "I'm very proud to be a part of this exciting moment. We have all come together in a celebration of culture and art, helping to bring Africa's attention to the international community. We no longer have to see the same message of poverty and war, but we can show case the best of Africa's talent to help drive the message home that Africa is on its way up and encourage other continents to build bridges and ensure Africa achieves its rightful place in the world's economies by, rebuilding infrastructure and creating businesses that transform the lives of Africans."

Obaigbena also commented that the festival would demonstrate that the real problem of Africa is lack of social and physical infrastructure and that what Africa desires is deployment of investment in infrastructure and microfinance in order to rebuild the continent.

"Right now the international community seems to be dealing with the symptoms not the problems of Africa. The symptoms are poverty and disease, but the problem is lack of social and physical infrastructure. This initiative is to highlight the need to focus sustainable solutions on the problems through massive investment in infrastructure and microfinance in order to rebuild Africa from the ground up. Europe is what it is today because after World War II the 'Marshall Plan' took hold. It did not deal with poverty, it focused on rebuilding Europe, " Obaigbena said.

The festival will take off in Abuja on July 11 and will move on to Lagos on July 13. It will also hold in Washington DC on August 1st while the grand finale will hold in London on October 14.

"The continent's culture will be on full display as patrons will live the fun African experience at every event", the statement stated. It added that the mission of the festival is "not only to reflect the culture and positive attributes of Africa's social, political and economic progress, but also to reach out to the continent's diverse population as well as the diaspora and international communities".


The 2008 edition for the THISDAY Music and Fashion Festival is the third, as the festival has become an annual parade of stars from all over the world. The last two editions held in Lagos and saw stars like Alicia Keys, P Diddy, Missy Eliot, Ne-yo, Busta Rhymes, Ciara, John Legend, Snoop Dogg, Shakira, Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and Rihanna.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Four Monks And A Nun

Guffaw with God…Four Monks And A Nun return with a new show!
”beautifully performed sketches" The London Lite
"A show not to be missed” The Link
Are these Christians really funny? Or do they deserve to be thrown to the lions? Only one way to find out...come along.
See free sketches at: http://www.myspace.com/fourmonksandanun
25 July 2008 at 7:30pm
tickets £7.50

Italian Vogue shows black models only




Italian Vogue has used only black models for the July issue of the magazine, in a statement against discrimination in the fashion world.


More than 100 pages of the issue, including the cover, will feature images of black women taken by the acclaimed New York based photographer Steven Meisel.


The pictures will be accompanied by articles on successful black women in arts and entertainment.


The move is in reaction to recent anger over the reluctance of fashion magazines to feature black models on their covers. Many industry insiders claim black girls are not used because they just "do not sell".


Leading black figures, including models, designers and agents, have now formed a protest group in New York to highlight the problem of racism in the industry.


Italian Vogue's editor, Franca Sozzani, said her decision was influenced by the New York group, as well as by Barack Obama's success in the US presidential primaries.


Meisel photographed several of the black fashion world's biggest names for the issue, including Naomi Campbell, Iman, Tyra Banks, Liya Kebede, Jourdan Dunn, Alek Wek and Pat Cleveland.


Meisel said: "I thought, it's ridiculous, this discrimination. It's so crazy to live in such a narrow, narrow place. Age, weight, sexuality, race - every kind of prejudice.


"I have asked my advertising clients so many times, 'Can we use a black girl?' They say no."


Naomi Campbell has also spoken out several times on her concern that black models are "sidelined" by the major modelling agencies.


Italian Vogue's all-black issue is unlikely to be emulated by its US sister magazine, but American Vogue is planning to run an article about the lack of black models.

made in lagos

Ok so my guilty pleasure is by far contemporary Nigerian music, I just can't help myself- IM OBSESSED!

I have decided to pretend I am posting this to promote Made Magazine- Nigeria's answer to GQ magazine, and not putting it up so that I can play it with out having to do a tedious search on Youtube.

http://mademags.com/#

Are All Nigerians Criminals ???

Most of the oil in Nigeria comes from the delta area, I spoke about the exhibition at CCA Lagos that I attended on the issue.
The issues with crime and fraud started with low amount of money being fed back into the communities and poverty increasing.

HOWEVER growing up in the UK I have never felt so afraid of being here in all my life. I feel like the fear epidemic has caught up to me and I literally feel the tension with every step I take.

SO as I count down to my move to Nigeria for a one year residency I am preparing to put together some work on migration and on identity.

I found this video very interesting as a Nigerian / Black-British-African or what ever box I have to tick.

Hope it encourages and challenges you either as artists or as individuals to highlight these type of isssues in your work.

Africa Beyond Panel Discussion with Iniva:

Thursday 26 June, 7-8.30pm
Venue: Rivington Place, London, EC2A 3BA

Andrew Esiebo, Mahmoud Khaled and Goddy Leye join Gasworks' Residencies Curator Mia Jankowicz for a panel discussion. The discussion will reflect on the artists' projects and working approaches, while the practical hurdles - from visa difficulties to working with their subjects of interest – will be drawn upon as a source of reflection on internationalised and residency practice. Their residency forms part of an exchange in which three UK artists have taken up residencies at institutions in South Africa and Kenya through Triangle Arts Trust.

Admission is free, however as capacity is limited booking is essential. To book, phone 020 7749 1240 or email: bookings@rivingtonplace.org

Monday, 16 June 2008

Artist Talk: Andrew Esiebo

23rd June 2008, 7pm
Nigerian artist Andrew Esiebo, currently on an artist residency in London co-hosted by Gasworks and The Photographers' Gallery, will be speaking about his participation in Black Box, a photography collective in Nigeria and his work in London.

He will be In Conversation with Nilu Izadi from Photodebut.

Free, booking required
To book please contact the Information Desk on 020 7831 1772, or email info@photonet.org.uk

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Lift Festival at Stratford



The Lift Festival Stratford opened on Thursday night with a house warming party complete with Chinese food, wine and live music. The event saw the return of Lift to it's roots of producing an International Theatre Festival, which it has not produced since 2001. It also saw the opening of their new mobile venue The Lift.


The building is quite pleasing to the eye, almost tipi like in structure with a multi-coloured based design over a white backdrop. The structure houses a screen, devoted to a film on how the lift was made and two much larger indoor and outdoor screens. A stage has also been built which continues to platform established and emerging artist throughout the festival. The event makes use of both Stratford Circus Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East, the later showcasing the fantastic Dangalnama.


Dangalnama is a gripping account of sectarian rioting in India since the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984. Performed in five languages, with English subtitles the piece through the voices of journalists, students, artists and politicians presents survival stories that are in turn moving, shocking, thought-provoking and surprisingly humorous. The show runs until the 17th June and is a truly moving and educational piece of theatre.


The Lift festival will continue on to the Southbank and will also appear at the Shoreditch Festival.


For more information on the events please check out http://www.liftfestival.org.uk/

Saturday, 7 June 2008

How to Protest and Survive

After spending time with the I am a Think Tank project I feel it is only right to promote Art Activism by directing you to a post from the Guardian Blog, around successful protest!

How to Protest- and Survive
A poorly planned boycott is pointless, while a badly worded banner can land you in the cells. In this extract from her new book, Bibi van der Zee explains how to campaign effectively - without falling foul of the law
Bibi van der Zee
The Guardian,
Thursday June 5 2008
Article history



Direct action
Campaigns against the over-packaging of food have jolted supermarkets into acknowledging the need for change, while campaigns against the growth in aviation have kept airlines and the emissions in the headlines. In Wales and the west of Ireland, new gas pipelines have been the subject of unwanted attention. Direct action, done well, is probably one of the best ways of raising awareness and even getting a final concession.
Many of these actions have involved breaking the law: criminal damage, harassment, obstructing the highway, aggravated trespass. But direct action does not have to be illegal: it simply involves putting yourself on the line. You could spend your Saturdays outside the local petrol station dressed as a polar bear; that's direct action and it's certainly not against the law. You could, Women's Institute-style, bring back handfuls of packaging to your local supermarket, or stage a die-in in front of a coffee chain. Neither of these should land you in a police cell. Even entering an office or shop to stage a sit-in - as long as you do it peacefully without forcing entry - is not a criminal offence because trespass is a civil matter.
However, it is important to remember that, however well-behaved you are, the police may still arrest you. The shocking truth is that you do not have to do anything illegal in order to be arrested. If you are "making a nuisance of yourself", it is entirely possible that the police will haul you off. Still, you may well feel the risk is worth running. Direct action is cheap, quick and easy to organise. It can be massively embarrassing for the company involved, or for the government. Shame is one of the most potent weapons a protester has.


Demonstrating
Slightly different laws apply to demonstrations (static protests on public land) and processions/marches along a planned route.
For demonstrations, the world's your oyster, as long as you're not planning on protesting within the "designated area" around parliament, in which case you'll need police permission. You must, however, make sure you are not obstructing the highway, which is any road or path over which the public has the right to pass. This is a criminal offence under the Highways Act 1980. Make sure the demo remains polite and not threatening in any way, otherwise the protesters could be accused of aggravated trespass under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. If you have more than six vehicles, under the same act, the police can ask you to leave.
If you are organising a march, you will need to begin by letting the police know. You need to give them the names and contact details of the organisers, as well as the date and proposed route, and you should ideally get this to them six clear days before the march. If you fail to comply with police conditions, you face up to three months in prison.


Banners
Misworded banners can get you into trouble. The Public Order Act 1986 prohibits the display of material that could be threatening, abusive or insulting to members of the public, or provoke violence, or cause members of the public to fear violence, or cause harassment, alarm or distress. In 2001 the peace protester Lindis Percy and an evangelical Christian were both charged under this act, the former for defacing an American flag at a US airbase, the latter for displaying a placard reading, "Stop Homosexuality, Stop Immorality, Stop Lesbianism". Percy was cleared, the Christian, a 67-year-old called Harry Hammond, was convicted.


Boycotts
Mark Farmaner, who heads the Burma Campaign, suggests a campaign group "should have something planned every week for the first six months of the boycott: postcards, protests, handing letters to staff as they go into the office". For the campaign to get British American Tobacco out of Burma, he and his colleagues found out the names and home addresses of all the directors and sent press cuttings about the regime to their homes. If you can get some big colourful publicity coup in there too, you're on to a winner: when the Burma Campaign targeted the lingerie-maker Triumph, they had posters of women in barbed-wire bras, which was, Farmaner says, "the only campaign I've ever run which made it into the Sun". And once you get a reputation, just a threat can be enough. MK One, the fashion retailer, agreed to stop sourcing clothes from Burma four hours after Farmaner sent out the press releases. It helps, he points out, if companies actually know they're being targeted. "I get so many things asking me to boycott someone, but not asking me to contact the company and tell them. How are they going to know?"


Letter-writing
Anna Tims, the Guardian's consumer champion, says that it's vital to be polite and reasonable, otherwise you increase the chance that your letter will just be ignored.
"Even I'm tempted to ditch letters from people who are just ranting, so imagine how a company feels."
The first thing to do is work out who you should be writing to. "Find out people's names - that gives your letter more impact," she advises. Follow all the old-fashioned rules of letter-writing rather than doing it email-style (snail mail is better than email, she believes, because "you never really know where those emails go"). So begin your letter Dear so-and so, and put your address at the top and your name clearly at the bottom beneath your signature. Tims says she's astonished at how often people don't follow these basic rules. Keep a copy for yourself and start a log.
It is also worth sending your letter to multiple destinations: find out the name of a couple of directors and cc your complaint to them. In Jasper Griegson's book The Complete Complainer he gives an example of contacting three directors of the same company in this way: one did not respond, one offered a partial refund, and the third offered a full refund.
As for politicians, MPs do pay attention to the letters they receive, and will almost always answer. They even take note of those pre-printed postcards that campaigns ask their supporters to send in, and, according to one parliamentary researcher, start to think about taking some action when they've got a stack that's about a thumbnail's width. There is a wonderful website called Write to Them (writetothem.com) that takes all the faff out of contacting your MP. You can knock off an email in 10 minutes. Again, keep your letter polite; a rude rant about Palestine will simply be ignored.
The letters page in a newspaper is also a fantastic forum for local and national issues. Bertrand Russell, philosopher and anti-nuclear campaigner, wrote hundreds of letters to editors, and it was an angry reader's letter to the Times in 1937 that led to the creation of the 999 service. It's a tribute to their power that, in 2005, Labour press officers in the national office adopted the practice known as "astroturfing" - stimulating grassroots support - by writing model letters for supporters and party members to send to local papers.


Being arrested
The relationship between police and protesters is historically a bit sticky. The police should be more grateful, really: one of the reasons they were brought into being was the public uproar after the Peterloo Massacre in 1819, when local volunteer yeomanry were sent in to break up a political gathering. Eleven people were killed. After that a police force began to seem like a good idea, although anyone who has seen the police charging on horseback into a march might be feeling a bit confused at this point.
It is vital to know your rights during demos, marches, civil disobedience and direct action. First, it keeps you calmer. Second, it saves you from getting into daft arguments - I met one campaigner who didn't realise the police had the right to take her fingerprints in the police station and ended up having a big row.


So, when can they arrest you?
1) When you have committed, are committing or are about to commit an offence (criminal damage, perhaps, or threatening behaviour, or simply obstructing the highway).

2) When a police officer has reasonable grounds for suspecting that you have committed, are committing or are about to commit an offence.

3) When a police officer has grounds to suspect you are guilty of an offence that he or she has reasonable grounds to suspect has been committed.
Frankly, most things are covered in here, aren't they? The police can always come up with a reason for hauling you away if they want to; they must, however, inform you that they are arresting you as they do it. The police can keep you for up to 36 hours without charging you - 96 hours if authorised by a magistrate. Once under arrest, the police don't need your permission to take fingerprints, photos, oral swabs, saliva or footwear impressions. They can use force if necessary. They do need permission to take a blood sample, a urine sample, a semen sample, a dental impression, a pubic-hair sample or a tissue sample.

· Rebel, Rebel: The Protestor's Handbook, by Bibi van der Zee, is published by Guardian Books at £14.99. To buy a copy for £12.99, visit guardianbooks.co.uk or call 0845 606 4232.
Share your protesting tips and experiences blogs.guardian.co.uk/politics
About this articleClose

This article appeared in the Guardian on Thursday June 05 2008 on p18 of the Comment & features section. It was last updated at 10:33 on June 05 2008.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

AFRICAN CONTEMPORARY DANCERS, AFRONEW

THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE PART OF CELEBRATING AFRICAN DANCE THIS SUMMER AT FESTIVALS AROUND LONDON. BEGINNING IN JULY 2008. THE FEMALE DANCER MUST BE COMMITTED, ENTHUSIATIC ABOUT DANCE AND WILLING TO ATTEND REHEARSALS WHEN REQUIRED AND MOST IMPORTANTLY BE FAMILIAR WITH AFRICAN DANCE STYLES

REHEARSALS WILL BE IN THE EVENING AND/OR WEEKENDS. THE PAYMENT WILL INCLUDE REHEARSAL TIME.

TO BE CONSIDERED FOR AN AUDITION PLEASE SEND INTEREST, CV, PICS AND OTHER INFO ASAP TO: oshunniyibose@aol.com

Monday, 2 June 2008

Hip Hop Misogyny

I found this article from Essence.com interesting:


They Weren’t Talking About Me

Blogger Gina McCauley tells why she used to dance to degrading rap lyrics—and what made her stop
Growing up in the South, I’ve always had a firm grasp on racism. It meant the loss of life, like that of Loyal Garner, Jr., a Black man who was beaten to death while in police custody up the road from me in Hemphill, Texas, when I was 12. Racism had consequences that were concrete and tangible. Sexism, on the other hand, was a fuzzier concept. I viewed it as a mild annoyance.

Sexism in hip-hop wasn’t a threat to me when I was growing up because the music was different then. When we danced to “Parents Just Don’t Understand” or “U Can’t Touch This,” we were all invited; the girls were more than mere party favors. The group 2 Live Crew, best known for the hit “Me So Horny,” was considered controversial. So I kept dancing, even as misogynistic lyrics and images crept into the mainstream. When Dre rhymed that “bitches ain’t sh-- but hoes and tricks,” he might as well have been talking about space aliens, because he wasn’t talking about me. I wasn’t a bitch. I wasn’t a trick. I wasn’t a ho.

My rude awakening came in the form of the television program BET: Uncut, a music video show that aired from 2000 to 2006. It featured jiggling body parts surrounded by men spewing the most vile, disgusting things about women I had ever heard. Who was the demented, woman-hating individual, I thought, that created this as a form of entertainment? I felt bad for myself and for the unfortunate souls I saw on-screen, and it no longer mattered whether they were talking about me or not.

I grasped the horror: I realized that the constant portrayal of Black women as sex objects sends the message that we are less than human. But I still didn’t wage war against it.

Then last year Don Imus came along with his “nappy headed hos” comment. Apparently he hadn’t gotten the memo that a group of college-educated Black women were exempt from that epithet. When the fallout shifted from White racism to sexism within Black popular culture, that spring Oprah Winfrey hosted two town hall meetings titled “After Imus: Now What?” She included a group of young women from Spelman College as part of her panel. In their discussion, they confronted the forces of misogyny. What I saw were accomplished Black women asking for someone to recognize the fullness of their humanity. All they got was this reply from some of the men on the panel: “Let’s have a meeting to talk about it after the show.” The young women’s frustration was visible and familiar. It brought to mind the hot lump so many of us have felt—the one that formed in your throat after your third-grade classmate called you “nigger,” and you faced the bitter knowledge that no matter what you said or did, another person was going to think you were less than they were based on some factor you could not change.

One panelist explained how the marriage between hip-hop and sexual exploitation had become so mainstream that corporations are using these artists as spokespersons. The desperation I felt during the town hall meeting, along with the realization that we consumers are financing our own degradation, pricked my conscience and pushed me to do something. I started a blog with a simple post asking if anyone else thought it was insane for Black women to hand their money to corporations who, in turn, pay rappers for treating us like props and prostitutes. The answer has been resounding: I am not the only one.

The revelation that sexism is just as hateful as racism changes how you see a five-year-old dancing to Soulja Boy’s lyric “superman that ho.” No matter how banging the beat, hearing a hook about what “freaky girls” do in the “front seat of a Hummer” isn’t entertaining. It’s a reminder that Black women have become the entertainment. We are no longer guests at the party; we’re the sideshow, and that’s not merely an annoyance. It’s a tragedy, and it happened on my watch.
Gina McCauley blogs at WhatAboutOurDaughters.com, which is dedicated to challenging negative media images of Black women.