Showing posts from 2016

Open Letter to Victor Owusu-Bediako and

* Since writing this piece on 26 December 2016, the AllAfrica Customer Service department finally responded to me on 5 January 2017. They have removed the article but have failed to clarify how they sourced my story and why someone else had been cited as the author. See below for more details.

I was no less than appalled to see a story that I had so carefully crafted had been taken by you and your organisation without any reference to the real author. My article ‘Destination Africa: Why producer Maame Adjei is championing African travel’ was published on the website on 18 September 2016 without my permission. I have no idea how you sourced this particular article as I had published it on my blog page on 12 September and sent the article to online publication ModernGhana, which printed it on 19 September. 
In your version, my byline no longer materialises and instead it seems Owusu-Bediako has replaced me. After endless attempts to contact or even find this so…

Six creative initiatives Black Britons are spearheading in 2016

Sharing stories is a simple way all of us can disseminate knowledge, experiences and inspire others around us to aim high. That is why I started writing. Below are six initiatives created by ordinary Black men and women that are helping to shape our creative landscapes. Feel inspired to do the same and please share.

Black Ballad aims to redress the media imbalance in the portrayal of Black women in the British media. British-Nigerian founders Tobi Oredein and Bola Awoniyi launched the website in 2014 and used the platform to explore topics linked to identity, perceptions of beauty and mental health - centring women at the forefront. They plan to take Black Ballad to a new level in March 2017 with the launch of a subscription-based online offering that provides a voice for Black women to take back power, lead debate and set the agenda. To learn more, check them out here

Diversity Mattersis an awareness platform launched by British-Ghanaian student Kai Lutterodt to promote diversity at …

Black canvas, white letters - why discourse on slavery is always relevant

For me, this striking image typifies just how pivotal we Black people have been in shaping the modern world. In a single shot, we see the depths to the subjugation and disrespect shown to men and boys from what is now modern-day Nigeria. These men were deemed to be no better than paper and used as such to communicate a festive message. How insulting!

Birth of a nation
It is a funny dichotomy. We have the source of mankind, born on African soil, shipped abroad or enslaved on their land; mentally and physically beaten to accept that they were nothing more than a commodity. And yet without our acquiescence, tenacity, and skill nothing that we value in terms of modern-day development would be here.
Trump tells the world he wants to make America great again and the nostalgic hark back to 'Great' Britain all smack of a period when industry and economies were at a peak...thanks to the abundance of free African labour. So it is particularly comical when people with little knowledge a…

Skin sensitivity spurs British-Ghanaian to launch vegan business

Living with sensitive skin from a young age spurred Catherine on to develop a range of vegan facial skin products called Kokoa which went live on 21 November. Although the British-Ghanaian founder is not vegan, she is a firm believer in many principles such as respecting the environment and animals that vegan communities both in the UK and abroad share.

The Kokoa skincare brand was developed late in 2015, while Catherine was studying biomedical science at university. “I mixed and formulated various concoctions, finding that nothing worked better than the products made with natural ingredients,” she said.

She then focussed her time trying and testing combinations to find a perfect formula, she said. “The results were outstanding, and what started off as a hobby evolved into a business idea: a completely natural cosmetics line. I believe nature holds the answer to beautiful skin, without the negative side effects of unnatural ingredients.”
Destination Ghana After her second year at universi…

Where has the Black family gone from the John Lewis Christmas advert?

This piece was updated at 15:00 on 5 December 2016 to include the response from the John Lewis press office (see final paragraph). The blog was originally published at 00:36 on 5 December 2016.

There was a time – not too long ago - when the airing of the Coca Cola advert in the UK heralded the start of the Christmas season. But in my opinion, UK high street supermarket adverts are slowly but surely stealing Coke’s thunder. Anticipating what our retail chains are going to come out with annually has become a big talking point that even deserves column inches in our top newspapers.

This year, the supermarkets did not disappoint. They provided us with liberal helpings of the stock Christmas ad ingredients: snow; Father Christmas; Turkey with all the trimmings, presents, the Christmas tree and animals – in recognition of the UK’s pet-loving culture. So when UK retailer John Lewis unveiled its 2016 contribution on 10 November, I was pleasantly surprised and pleased to see an all-Black cast. …

Ghanaian filmmaker explores the 'burden' of womanhood

The burden of responsibility often placed on women whose children are born ‘imperfect’ in the eyes of society forced all of us watching Priscilla Anany’s film ‘ChildreN of the MountaiN’ to address some uncomfortable cultural truths still present in today’s modern world.
The Ghana-born filmmaker made boy-child Nuku (played by Jessica Dablo…..yes a girl playing a boy) the star of a film that poignantly looks at how society blames women for things often out of her control.
Defining womanhood Essuman, played by Nigerian-Ghanaian actress Rukiyat Masud, and Edjah, played by Ghana’s Adjetey Anang were ecstatic to learn they would soon be proud parents of a little boy.  Edjah’s first child from another woman is a girl.
But all that changed when Nuku is born with Down’s syndrome, a cleft palate and cerebral palsy. Essuman’s status drops from being the ‘favourite wife’ to one accused of sleeping around and as having a ‘dirty’ womb. As a result, Nuku is denied the right to hold his father’s surname…

Ghana's afro-gypsy mulls over a third Pidgin-English musical

Ghanaian-Romanian musician and film producer Emmanuel Owusu-Bonsu aka Wanlov the Kubolor is considering making a third instalment to his Ghanaian Pidgin-English musical 'Coz Ov Moni'.

'Coz Ov Moni I' and 'Coz ov Moni II (FOKN Revenge)' chart the adventures of two friends who run into humorous challenges while highlighting the ordinary struggles of young Ghanaians in modern Ghana. Co-producers Mensah Ansah and Kubolor star in the films and are real-life friends. They started on their creative path during their school days when they used to run away from class to rap together. The pair wanted to create a concert album where everything takes place in one day in the life of two friends in Accra, Kubolor told MisBeee during a meeting hosted by BloggingGhana. While writing, the songs turned into movie scenes, spawning what Kubolor calls the first Ghanaian English-Pidgin musicals in the world.

Moni talks
A third film is a possibility, although Kubolor has ruled out self-…

Film Africa 2016 and Ghana's cinematic contributions

Should I be jubilating to learn that a total of three films made by Ghanaians and those from the diaspora will feature at the Film Africa festival in 2016? Last year there was just one, while in years 2014 and 2013, there were two films. Even though the number of films showing this year is higher for a third consecutive year, I will refrain from popping the champagne just yet.

The reason is two-fold. Ghanaian film representation at Film Africa has never been as good (if you can call that good) as in 2011 when the festival was first launched and a total of five flicks were showcased. It fell to four in 2012, and has never managed to hit five digits ever since.

Secondly, in the grand scheme of things, the Ghanaian contribution to films in this festival is meagre when compared to movie heavyweights such as South Africa. In 2015, the festival showcased 67 narrative features, documentaries, and short films from across 26 different African countries. Over 20% of those came from South Africa. …