Saturday, 31 May 2008
Congratulations to Jazzie B for winning an Inspiration Award at the recent Ivor Novello Awards. It's only fitting that I dedicate the next installment of Back to UK Blak to one of my favourite groups, like ever. 'Back to Life' and 'Keep on Moving' still remain the group's most popular hits, but for me it was always about this track. 'Fairplay' featuring the cool and classy Rose Windross on lead vocals, conjures the feel-good spirit of the soul clubs during the 80's (not that I'd know about it, my mum rarely let me out). Check out the flamboyant styling, and unabashed creative expression. This was the first time we were exposed to Soul II Soul's style ethos which comprised of medallions with African flag pendants, funky dreads and bold, vibrant head wraps. The group's main influences were from Africa, the Caribbean and America - the three strongest influences for Black British youths of my generation. If my memory serves me correctly the video was shot at one of the legendary Soul II Soul nights at the Africa Centre in Covent Garden. I remember as a youngster really wanting to go, but the closest I got was visiting their library with my best mate Antonia during the daytime *frown*.
Side-note: I've also posted another video from the group, "Missing You" feat Kym Mazelle. I totally forgot about this track, what a choon!
Thursday, 29 May 2008
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
I came across the really interesting article in today's Independent about an ex-Gawker publication blogger, Emily Gould, who received a bitter dose of her own medicine when the finger of scrutiny and derision that she leveled at celebrities during her blog posts, reversed inwardly as she rose through the ranks to emerge as a pseudo-celeb herself. The piece offered some really interesting insights into the psyche of us bloggers, suggesting that bloggers blog out of a deep seated desire for validation from peers and society alike. Mmm interesting point. Read the piece for yourself.
Monday, 26 May 2008
The new issue of Colures is on the news stands. I'm not going to lie - I absolutely adore this mag. The images are breathtaking, the design is minamilist and chic. It's just a classy and aspirational affair, the kind of mag that instantly adds a touch of class to your coffee table. My only gripe is it's so hard to get hold of. It's not readily available in Smiths, or Borders...In the past I've been able to pick up a copy at the newsagents not too far away from me but that's the only place I've spottted it. Mini gripe aside, check out the latest issue www.coluresmagazine.com
Jamelia strikes a pose
It seems as if the programmers at BET have finally got their act together. When the channel launched in the UK a few months ago it was criticised strongly for churning out old programmes which were aired in the US months ago. Now UK audiences are pretty clued up on what is happening across the pond, so they couldn't pull the wool over our eyes. So taking the criticism on board last night they aired an half hour profille on Estelle's US escapades, and tonight at 8.30pm you can check out 'Beauty Blackout' a programme which takes a look at mainstream attitudes to black beauty. The show will be hosted by Britsh journalist, Sharon Carpenter and feature interviews with the likes of Jamelia, Alesha Dixon, and Rachel Ritfield, so the programme makers have obviously done their home work...Should be a good one. Check it out if you can.
Beauty Blackout, BET, Sky Channel 209
Correction: The show airs from 8pm - 9pm
Sunday, 25 May 2008
Saturday, 17 May 2008
Some of the attendees from the 'Black Role Models' seminar
I just want to take the time out to big up my mate Leila Thomas, who for the last year has been busy creating a mentor resource pool for black professionals who want to do their bit for the community. Urban Synergy was formed by Leila who fed up of reading about yet another black teen stabing or shooting, decided to rally her friends and family members together to create a scheme designed to match black professionals with young people.
Since Urban Synergy was launched in 2007 it has gone from strength to strength. Last week the organisation worked in conjuction with a group of boys from Deptford Green School to create a seminar entitled 'Top Tips To Reach The Top' where the youngsters were granted the opportunity to talk to black professionals in the career fields they wish to enter. Read the full story here in The Mercury newspaper. And if you are interested in learning more about Urban Synergy visit http://www.urbansynergyuk.com/
In honour of Father's Day, Pride magazine is planning a real life story about men who are currently living the day to day existence of a stay at home dad. I would like to interview 3 men who gave up their careers to stay at home and raise their children. Maybe your partner earns a higher salary so you both felt it was financially viable for you to give up your job. Or maybe you were tired of working 9 to 5 and found fatherhood the perfect opportunity to severe ties with the rat race to embark on something more fulfilling. Whatever your story, I'd love to hear from you. Please email me at email@example.com
Oh my gosh, I laughed soooooo loud when I found this clip on You Tube. I really didn't think any other living soul would remember Glen Goldsmith apart from me. For those who don't know, Glen Goldsmith was a Black British soul artist who scored a hit with a song called 'Dreaming' during the mid-late 80's. The song was a nice enough two step soul ditty, but my young adolescent self was more preoccupied with the way he looked. Back in the day he's what we would refer to as a sweet boy. I've got a bit of a Glen Goldsmith story actually, don't worry, it's innocent enough. While doing the promotional rounds for his hit single he came down to my local Our Price (which was a rival to HMV for those not old enough to remember) in Lewisham and you know I just had to be there. So me and my bessie mate Antonia arrived at the store in what we thought was good time, but was surprised to see hordes of equally enthusiastic young women queueing to get a moment with their idol. Nonetheless we joined the queue, and I remember spotting a few friends from school and having a catch up. And then it happened....I finally got the chance to met him. He was handsome, no doubt, but I was mortified to discover he was tiny... We're talking Prince tiny. Probably no taller than me and I'm 5ft 3 and a lil' bit. So alas, my GG fixation slowly started to wane. Also, now looking back at this clip as a "sophisticated adult, I'm surprised to see how camp he looks. The leather jacket, leather gloves, eyeliner, incessant vogue-ing, were all a bit lost member of the Village People. But was he genuinely camp or were all men like this in the 80's? Hmph, the verdict is still out on that one. I've Wilkepedia'd my childhood crush and and apparently he hasn't migrated to 'One Hit Wonder Heaven' but has been busy writing songs for other artists, and was the author behind the mega hit 'Mysterious Girl' by Peter Andre. Not bad eh? Check out the video and tell me what you think.
Thursday, 15 May 2008
Work wasn't too bad though surprisingly. It's a nightmare at the best of times, and usually amplified when I'm in a foul mood. But today thankfully there were no calls from emotionally fragile poets trying to recite their work to me over the phone (true story), or pushy mums calling to pitch a non-story about their beauty queen daughter passing her GCSE's. At lunchtime my grey mood was to make an unwelcome return though. I had to go to the bank, so was left with no choice but to have fast food for lunch, cue: CrapDonalds. Whilst nattering to my friend on my moby, I went to pay for my chicken deli sandwich and realised I had no money - shame. "We take cards now ma'am", the unusually chirpy cashier informed me much to my delight. So happily I inserted my card, juggling the transaction along with my phone convo with my mate which had now moved on to the merits of living in Catford, and whether or not moving to Penge would be a savvy move in view of it's chavvy reputation. Unbeknown to me though in the midst of my chat I had left my bloody debit card in the Mickey D's card reader - doh! Moral of the story: if you get out of bed on the wrong side, make sure you lie back down, roll over, and fall out on the right side.
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
But most importantly, word on the street is the film lives up to it's hype. Roll on May 28th...
Saturday, 10 May 2008
Yaya: Honeydripper is a real beautiful story that takes place in the 1950’s. One thing that I think that people will come away with is is that this film is different. And I just mean it stands out from all the other films that John Sayles has done because of the political undertones which is just a natural consequence of the time, the place and the people. It’s really just about people’s lives and I think it’s something that everyone can relate too, or maybe not everyone, but I know so many people around the world who really for example love blues music and it’s interesting to pay attention to that moment.
Yaya: No I don’t. I mean of course there were moments where you look at yourself saying things that you didn’t say because of editing. Or seeing situations manipulated and looking back at your journal at what you wrote that doesn’t coincide with what they were showing the viewers. But because it’s your career, you have to get over that of course. But it was positive. And the most positive thing about it was that I was able to use the attention from that to attract viewers to the projects that I’m really interested in, like HoneyDripper, hadn’t it been for Top Model, we may not be doing this interview.
MsQuiche: Do you still keep in touch with Tyra?
MsQuiche:You have beautiful hair by the way.
Yaya: Oh thanks! But it’s nothing new, you know like for me it’s just great because I’ve seen so many more curly, kinky, nappy whatever you want to call it, heads walking down the street now. I grew up in a time when that was not ok. In my family, you know my mother never had a relaxer in her entire life. My sister and I (have never had a relaxer) it was never an option. It wasn’t me trying to be a revolutionary, you know cutting off my perm trying to make a statement. It had nothing to do with that. That was just how I wore my hair and when I was younger, especially in junior high, I excelled academically but not socially I didn’t because people didn’t like me. I was skinny, I had natural hair and that’s just so uncool and I didn’t have name brand clothes and all those other things. So it became something that obviously was a part of me and I never wanted to change it and it never got to me to the point where I wanted to change it. I just realised that I was different and it was ok because my parents let me know that it was ok to be different. Once I got to high school though, things changed. Friends of mine who had relaxers started to ask me about to get my hair and started to confess that they like it like it was a really a dark secret. So I’ve always felt like an ambassador, I never really wanted to be but I would try to help people out and show love. I just realised how empowering it was and you know these days even strangers come up to me saying 'I cut my hair off and you inspired me' and it’s great and it makes you realise that times are changing. Ultimately I just want my hair to be healthy. So to act as the whole ambassador thing is by default and it’s a blessing and I’m glad that so many people are inspired, I think the more the merrier. That way if more girls feel beautiful as they are then great, but at the same time I’m not judging anybody, so please weave it up! Do what makes you feel good.
MsQuiche: You were born and raised in Harlem. What was it like growing up in such an iconic area?
Yaya: My parents are amazing people and I’m just lucky to have come through. They have four kids and all of us came out pretty sane. They are a wonderful example and I just hope I can be that good of a parent. You know, even last night, it was late and I try not to take taxis ever but it was late so I was like fine I’ll take a taxi home. So the driver was from the Gambia and my hair was out in loose curls. He was like “Are you Puerto Rican?” and I was like “what?” and then we had this whole conversation about being an African from here. I was like “I’m from Harlem” and he was like “No no, you're not a Harlem girl, Harlem girls come in here and they do this and they do that…” Basically saying that if you were really a Harlem girl you wouldn’t be dressed or acting that way. I came in his cab and said “Hello sir, how are you?” he was surprised. Well that’s very unfortunate. But anyway, how did my parents do it? I don’t know but I love them and I hope that I can do it too.
MsQuiche: Where are your parents from? I read somewhere that one of your parent's is West African, while elsewhere it said you were half South American?
Monday, 5 May 2008
Sunday, 4 May 2008
When you're a child you really don't know what good music is, do you? When Sade first hit the scene in the early 80's, I was hard pressed to understand what all the media hype was about. Maybe my infantile mind was too restless to sit back and appreciate the whisper like vocals, dinner jazz compositions, and understated coolness of Sade and her cohorts. I dunno... I just didn't get it. Fast forward to 2008 though and I'm a fully fledged Sade devotee. Looking back at the old music videos shows just how ahead of time she was. Sade captured the zeitgeist of 80's Britain, a time when the general population aspired to an upwardly mobile social status, a standard of existence that is still adhered to. Her style was iconic too. With trademark slick ponytail and fire engine red lips, the former St Martin's fashion student always looked as if she'd just strutted off the pages of British Vogue. And what I also love about Sade is that her elegant, cappuccino sipping, thoroughly middle-class imaging, works at total odds with how she conducts life off-stage. This is the woman for instance who had the Jamaican police force, no less, hunting her down for dangerous driving and disobeying an officer - bad gyal! Although her album releases are too few and far in-between, she still remains one of the greatest Black British musical acts this country has produced. 'Your Love is King' is one of the earlier hits from her debut album, 'Diamond Life'. Enjoy!
- I am a thirty-something African Caribbean female from South East London. My blog will shine a light on Black British culture offering the best in entertainment, fashion, beauty, community, film & music, with the occasional personal musing thrown in from yours truly. Thank you for taking out the time to peek into the pages of my diary. Now grab a cup of cocoa, relax and enjoy.