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Is being Black only about being Poor, Bad & Dirty?



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Your excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, all protocols observed...

I just love that, in Africa when you are giving a speech or addressing an audience you always start off the salutation like that, this just kills me. So I thought that I would start by greeting you all this way. Well my people, yes to your shock and some of you, your dismay I am alive I did survive my close brush with death and managed to come out of the “black women’s singles seminar” alive and with all of my body parts intact, I will fill you in on my narrow escape later in my blog.

But before we get into that we are about to debate a very serious issue and you are entitled to take whichever side of the debate you please, but please do debate this with your family, friends, colleagues (white/black, young/old, male/female).

Is being Black only about being Poor, Bad & Dirty?

Lets paint the scenario, you are part of a group of people of all colours, nationalities, ages and sexes, sitting in the living room of your house/flat/room share etc (I trust you have a place to live) and there are drinks a plenty and our South London sisters/brothers have ordered in Nandoes, North London crowd Kebabs/Pizza, West London Chinese, East London Jerk Chicken/Rice and Peas or Jollof Rice and everyone else that is not from London or the UK are eating whatever they like.

You have all just finished watching the first part of a three part series  calledWelcome to Lagos”  which was shown on BBC 2 (if you missed it CLICK HERE to watch it on BBC iplayer). 
The programme is described as This extraordinary three-part observational series explores life at the sharp end of one of the most extreme urban environments in the world: Lagos, Nigeria. Today, more than half the world's population live in cities, and this eye-opening series shows what life is really like in the toughest parts of the world's fastest-growing megacity. With extraordinary access to some of the poorest parts of town, the series celebrates the resilience, resourcefulness and energy of Lagos's 16 million or so inhabitants, and shows how successfully many of its slum-dwellers are adapting to the extreme urban future.”
The debate is as follows – Is it that everything black is only about being poor, crooked or dirty? 
This programme is about Lagos, Nigeria in Africa but there have been similar programmes on Jamaica, Ethiopia, African Americans and Black British people and unless I have not been to spec savers recently it just seems to be that anything black never seems to be shown in a positive light. There have been similar programmes done by the likes of Ross Kemp’s filming on gangs and he also did a programme on Nigeria and other squalid black areas around the world and they all had they same theme, everything Black is about being poor, bad or dirty.
I am not saying that Nigeria does not have slums or poverty and the same applies to Kingston (Jamaica), Rio de Janerio (Brazil), South Central, LA or Harlem (USA) but at the same time the question must be asked that how come they never do documentaries on the good parts of these places, how come they never show the beautiful houses that have been built or the great cars that are driven or the beautiful opulent weddings and shows that are produced or the educated people that are contributing to the development of their respective countries and when I say we, I refer to all black countries.
It frustrates me that when black people are portrayed, their countries are always shown in a very negative light or they are shown as fraudsters, drug dealers, muggers, hoes, living in abject poverty and begging for hand outs and require the western world to come in and save us, I could go on and on – I know they say the colour black represents evil and bad things but they do not need to take it literally and always show us in a bad light.
I think the BBC would have done the programme more justice and it would have been more  balanced if out of the 3 programmes they at least did one that showed how the other half of Lagos lived and showed the gap between rich and poor. All I can say is thank God for Nollywood movies because at least in some of them you get to see that Nigeria is not just about abject poverty.
It would be interesting to know your views on this, whether you be white, black, oriental or whatever, do you see things the same way as the BBC and agree that the best way to initiate change is to show the negative sides of black countries or is this just a true reflection of the black society across the world. On the other hand is it that the BBC and other programme makers are just playing to the colonial mentality that if we wish to keep the black man down we must give the world the impression that black people are living in the 18th century and are in desperate need of the modern western world to come in and save us and this can only be done by showing half truths?
I am sure you can all remember the Nigerian “pants bomber”, we produced one stupid pants bomber and we as a nation get put on the terrorist watch list, the UK allegedly produced the shoe bomber and a number of other alleged terrorist and they are seen as partners in the fight against terrorism. So even though it is unfair to Nigerians as a nation, power within the media is not in our control and as such we will always be faced with these negative stereotypes.
It is a worthy debate but I also believe that there is now the opportunity to produce our own versions of such programmes that show us in a different light (and I think that Ghana has gone a long way in doing this), it is important for the likes of HiTV, AIT, Ben TV and other independent black owned TV & film producers to lead the way.
I will stop here as I am dragging on and its getting boring but don’t just ignore it, talk about it, comment on It, start debates on Facebook etc and lets push for a more fairer representation on BLACK – not everything black is poor, bad and dirty.
Purple Ball...

As you can see from above I am in a bit of a sour puss mood and I am just about to get into an even worst mood when I think about the purple ball.

Now you all know that I review shows that I am invited too and that I attend, but this is a show with a difference as I am about to do a review on a show that did not even take place. This is not a typing error I am reviewing a show that DID NOT TAKE PLACE...

About 2 years ago I was a producer on a show called “the Big Search” and this was aired (if you can call it that) on one of the sky channels and put very mildly even though we had some great content and footage, the final production was not very good and had to be taken off the air (THANK GOD). Anyway I digress but as part of the show the executive producer was meant to do an after event for all of the crew, contestants, judges and anyone else that wished to attend, but just like the show it did not take place that year but was scheduled to take place on Friday 9th April 2010.

Yes you guessed it, after lots of publicity and a lot of hype and people running around London looking for purple outfits to wear, it did not take place. Now as a show producer I understand that shows for a variety of reasons get cancelled but listen to this, the organiser knew that it was not going to take place nearly 3 days before the scheduled event and she did not tell anybody. It just so happens that at 5pm (show meant to start at 6pm), on the day of the event I get a text not from the organiser but from a friend who had found out by accident that the show had been cancelled. No text or email or message from the organiser and to make matters worse she allegedly failed to inform the caterers that the event had been cancelled and they showed up at the venue with over £2000 worth of food for non existence guest and no event.

Now tell me is that not wickedness, if you have known for a while that you could not afford to pay for the venue and that you would have to cancel, would you not have the common decent courtesy to text and phone around and let people know it is cancelled and by putting up a message on Facebook an hour before the event does not cut it, how many people read Facebook when getting dressed or on their way to an event.

I guess you have realised that I was pissssssssssssssssssssssssssssssseeeeeeeeeeeed & so was everyone else that I had to inform to turn back and go home as the event was cancelled. GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER & do not take peoples niceness or silence to think that we are fools to be treated with disrespect.


News In Brief:

TMC UK

There are only 14 days to enter Top Model of Colour and I believe that if you don’t buy a lottery ticket you can’t win the lottery, so you have to be in it to win it. CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Police brutality (Allegedly)

Watch the video and decide for yourself are they stupid or what...


When will the police ever learn, it just seems that the police want to play into the public’s perception of them, that they are ALL STUPID. You know and I know and everyone else knows that nowadays there are CCTV cameras everywhere and people have tiny little camera phones and video recorders that can film things and they can post them on the internet within seconds and ensure that it is featured around the world. Did they honestly believe that they could beat a person in the open in front of 100’s of people and think that no one would film it daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhremember Rodney King.

So how did these Maryland cops believe that they could beat a poor innocent student and think it would not be filmed and they even had the audacity to lie in their official police report and say that the student attacked them first.

Somebody is about to lose their job and the city is about to make this young student extremely rich.


Black women’s single seminar

I entered the lion’s den and I survived. I believe that I should be awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry while under intense enemy fire. For those of you saying what is the big deal, you try and go to a seminar filled with 100 SINGLE BLACK WOMEN, trust me one black woman is hard enough to handle, but 100 that is intense enemy fire.

It was a very interesting afternoon with the women asking the panel of men (about 14 of us including my good friend photographer extraordinaire Jason Grant) and they asked us a variety of questions ranging from why are more and more black men going out with white women, do black men think black women are hard work and they also wanted a definition of what black men mean when they say they are “single” compared to a woman’s definition of being single.

I know that you want me to give an insight as to my responses to the above (which were funny, but factual and well received) but you should have been there.

But trust me a woman’s definition and a man’s definition of being single vary tremendously. Excuse me, why are you going on, I said I am not giving the definition - ok ok I might in a later blog and let you into the big secret.

MOAN OF THE DAY...

To be fake or not to be fake

How many times have you seen a friend carry a Gucci or Fendi bag or a dude wearing a pair of Versace glasses and you say to them are they the real McKoy and they slightly hesitate (the sure giveaway that they are fake), they quickly recover and say of course they are real forgetting that they bought them the other day from the pound shop or for those slightly more upmarket from East Street or Dalston Market.

I am not into designer stuff (when people say that it is either cos they are too bush and could not tell DESIGNER from DESINER or simply like me cos i am too cheap, can’t afford it or sometimes it just seems silly paying enormous amounts of money for a designer shirt or suit). To make matters worse besides the Gucci’s and Versace’s of this world that think people would only buy their expensive stuff if they put their name everywhere repeatedly, like putting it once is not enough as we all can’t read,  the only way that you can know that it is designer is by reading the label that you can’t even see. It kills me when I see guys wearing a designer suit and they refuse to cut off the label that is on the sleeve of the suit, just so that they can let people know they are wearing a designer suit or you have a lady that has a designer bag and every minute she is going into the bag to find something that does not exist in the hope that someone will notice and say “is that a Gucci bag, how much did you buy it” etc etc

I don’t understand that when you can hardly afford to put petrol in your car of buy credit on your phone you are prepared to go and spend a whole month’s salary to buy that designer outfit or fake real hair (something just does not ring right with that, you are buying real hair but it’s not yours so it is really fake hair but you call it real hair), this is a subject for another day, as ladies we must get into this.

People with real class don’t need to advertise they are wearing designer outfits, class will always show through.


Do I want to talk to you?

Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh today is a day of frustration. You are at home just finished cooking and about to sit down and watch Eastenders, Coronation Street, Holyoaks, American Idol, the Simpsons or Magic Roundabout  (that was for the ladies) or for the guys you have driven many miles using your last spare cash to buy petrol to go and see your babe in the hope that you may get some and then the phone rings and you look at the caller ID and it is a good friend or family member but no one important so you decide to ignore it as you really want to just chill and watch TV or start the mating process with your babe. But what happens it rings again, now for the woman, life is not to bad (just irritating) as you put it on silent and hope that the person will send you a text or leave a voice mail and you will come back to them later but for the man he is beginning to sweat, cos guys you know how it is, your babe is asking you “ why are you not answering the phone or who is it that keeps calling you” – but you know that you dare not answer the phone and you start to pray silently – please Lord let this girl not call again – but what happens she does – every two minutes and you know that you can kiss getting some goodbye.

My point is this – if you call someone once, twice or thrice and they do not pick up the phone it means that they are either busy, on the phone, getting their groove on or very simply THEY DO NOT WANT TO SPEAK TO YOU – get the message and send a text, leave a voicemail of just go away. You calling a 100 times is not going to make them answer the phone – o yeah by the way don’t then get smart and call them back withholding your number or using someone else’s phone.

If they don’t pick up the phone there is a reason why they are not answering - so stop calling!!!!!

Be good and take care – tomorrows another day!

Are There Any Good Black Men Out There?



Ladies, Ladies. Ladies, I know I said I would talk about why it is hard for a black woman to find a good black man, but please I was not expecting to be inundated with emails and text messages that I must hurry up and send out the blog.

I was intending to send out my blog next week after I had sat on the panel entitled single black female? How to find the right black man for you”  being held by Des O'Connor on Saturday 10th April, but due to unprecedented demand I am having to send out my blog early. Now having seen the response to my earlier blogs I am seriously worried that I am setting myself up to be crucified. So here goes....

Why is it so hard for a Black Woman to find a Good Black Man?

I have a LOT of female friends and in my day to day life I work with a lot of women and as a young black man (yes I do consider myself young, so no funny comments please), I am continuously asked by woman of all ages that where are all the good black men and why can’t “I” find one? Well you know me I am going to say it as it is and some of you will agree with me and some of you will send me an email or text telling me about myself, as Simon Cowell would say it’s only an opinion.

It would take me forever for me to explain everything in a long essay style blog and I do not have the time to write a thesis on this subject so I will put it down in bullet point form.

The Facts:

According to Oprah Winfrey  70% of African American women are single and it is believed that the percentage of black women in the UK that are single is of a similar percentage. 

WHY? Could it be because...

·         Their are more black women than black men?

·         Their are a high percentage of black men in jail?

·         Their is a high incidence of mental health problems among black men?

·         The pool of available black men is further reduced by the number of black gay men their are?

·         They say all the good men are married?

       A large percentage of black men are now dating Caucasian women, further reducing the pool of  black men available to black women? 

      Black women are considered too aggressive, have attitudes and no longer ready to be the woman in a relationship?

       Black women do not in significant numbers date outside of their race?

       A good percentage of black men don't have a job and as such are not considered as good   catches for the well to do black woman? Not to mention  Black women generally do not marry beneath their social status unlike men. Let me explain – nowadays as a whole black women are doing better socially and economically than black men. A black man that is a chief executive of a multinational could walk into Tesco’s and see a woman that he likes, woo her and marry her. However the chances of black woman that is a chief executive of multinational or any type of company marrying a dustbin man is significantly reduced. 
     
      BUT WAIT - it is further compounded by the fact that the well to do black woman is further competing with the black woman that she feels is not well to do like her, as when it comes to men all women are equal chief executive, student or check out girl, who really cares. so the well to black woman is competing on all of the above as well as with all black women of all social classes (& races)

Ok looking at the above there is not really anything controversial in the points raised as they are just the facts as to why it is hard to find a good black man. Simply put, because the numbers do not add up, more woman than men equals a  shortage of black men. But where it does get a bit controversial is the issue that raises its ugly head over and over again as to why are black men dating white women and further decreasing the number of available good black men.

How many times as a woman do you watch TV or look in a magazine and say to yourself that successful black man, I bet he is going out with a white woman? Now don’t even think about denying it as I know that even if you have not done it yourself you have friends that have. Trust me I have heard it many a times and have myself been accused of dating or even it was expected that I was married to a white woman. For the record I have never dated or been out with a white woman in my life, they are lovely women but I just believe in “the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice” and I have to say my own AMEN to that.

Anyway back to the subject at hand, I know that it riles black women up the wrong way when they see famous sports stars, politicians and movies stars dating or marrying white women. Now it would be unfair for me to single out anyone in particular but I would leave that for you to come up with your own examples.

BUT why do black men both of status and the ordinary man now seem to prefer to date white women, is it because they will progress further in their careers with a white woman on their arm, it is alleged that this was the reason for Tiger Woods marrying his wife or is it because black women are WAY TOO stressful and black men can’t deal with the stress a black woman or could it be because the black women has become to independent and claims “I don’t need no man” and black men are now saying if thats how you feel than you can be bad all by yourself. (I blame Beyonce for this "Independent Women, Single Ladies (put a ring on it), Say My Name (now that is a good one to throw in there - I wonder what your response is to that one is), she has stirred up a revolution, but all you single ladies while you are singing the words to some of these tracks she is married and you are not, so be careful about how you throw these words in mens faces (just a friendly piece of advice).

I was actually thinking that I would comment on all of the above but I love my life and I already get accosted about different aspects of my blog and I am not in a position to afford 24 hour round the clock protection, so I will leave you to debate it.

MY ADVICE...

I am not offering  a solution/s but the one thing I would say is that if you find a good black man, do not automatically tar us all with the same brush, that we are all worthless, two timing no good players, no job black men, that have 50 babies from 70 different women (yes I did say 50 & 70) just trying to over emphasise how black men are perceived.

The other thing ladies is LET IT GO, yes in your past some men will mess you about and mess you up emotionally, may even rip you off and leave you deserted at the alter but that does not mean that the new man in your life must pay for the sins of the man before the man, before the man. Every man is different, LOVE IS A GAMBLE, some you win  and some you lose. Also sometimes it worth remembering that when you point a finger at a man three fingers are pointing back at you as not all black women are perfect.

On that note I am swiftly moving on, hopefully with my life still intact.

News In Brief:

Top Model of Colour Holland

Top Model of Colour Holland took place on 27th March 2010 at the World Fashion Centre and it was a fantastic show, I was extremely impressed by what I saw and I must say well done to Monica Van Halder (TMC Holland Franchisee owner) and her brilliant team on the great show they people together (nearly said amazing, a word I hate as it is over used).



20 models competed to be TMC Holland and it was won by Adut Mawien, Kimberly (second) and Elise (third).

The Judges included renowned top dutch personalities including

HILMAR MULDER - Editor of Grazia Magazine
MARIANA VERKERK - Catwalk Coach van of Benelux Next Top Model 
RON STAM - Fashion Photographer
DIONNE POOL - Model 
TESSY VAN EERDEWIJK - L'Oreal, AMANDA RIJFF - Make-up artist, SOLA OYEBADE - CEO TMC International & CEO Mahogany Models


Black Does Not Sell

Everywhere I go I am told over and over again whether it be within the modelling and fashion industry or within TV and film, that Black does not sell and I have always thought that it was just a UK thing. I just happend to be watching the OSCAR award winning actress Monique, on her chat show and she was doing a Soul Food reunion and she spoke about the fact that within the American film industry, producers do not like to make black films as black does not sell and she was saying that was a load of rubbish and I totally agree with her and I think tyler Perry is testimony to the fact that black does sell as via his “black films” he has become one of the richest men in the American film industry, the same goes for the owner of BET, Oprah Winfrey, Denzil Washington, Will Smith etc, these are all black actors that have made their Hollywood producers 100’s of millions of dollars.

So people stop using that weak arse excuse to stop giving us work etc as for the companies that do make the move to add a bit of colour to their adverts it seems to be working for them for example look at the new Marks and Spencers campaign, Matalan, Halifax, Sandanter and the likes of GMTV that have been using black models during their fashion segments, they have not lost business because they use black models.

A Black Woman Wrote the Matrix (Read & Believe):

  
This is a bit of an old story but I guess a lot of you may not know this. (this was copied from the Thaindian News).

New York, Nov 11 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Sophia Stewart an African American who claimed to be the author of The Matrix will finally receive her just due from the copyright infringement of her original work, as the copyright case is finally settled in court.


A six-year dispute has ended which involved Sophia Stewart, the Wachowski Brothers, Joel Silver and Warner Brothers. Sophia Stewart’s allegations, involving copyright infringement and racketeering, were well received and completely acknowledged by the Central District of California, where the Judge Margaret Morrow was presiding.


Sophie Stewart had filed her copyright infringement case 10 years ago, in 1999, after viewing the acclaimed movie Matrix, which she felt had been based on her manuscript, ‘The Third Eye,’ copyrighted in 1981. In the mid-eighties Stewart had submitted her manuscript to an advertisement placed by the Wachowski Brothers, requesting new sci-fi works, which could be later made into a movie.


According to court documentation, “an FBI investigation discovered that more than thirty minutes had been edited from the original film, in an attempt to avoid penalties for copyright infringement. The investigation also stated that ‘credible witnesses employed at Warner Brothers came forward, claiming that the executives and lawyers had full knowledge that the work in question did not belong to the Wachowski Brothers.’ These witnesses claimed to have seen Stewart’s original work and that it had been ‘often used during preparation of the motion pictures.’ The defendants tried, on several occasions, to have Stewart’s case dismissed, without success”.


Sophia Stewart’s released a press statement which said: ‘The Matrix & Terminator movie franchises have made world history and have ultimately changed the way people view movies and how Hollywood does business, yet the real truth about the creator and creation of these films continue to elude the masses because the hidden secret of the matter is that these films were created and written by a Black woman…a Black woman named Sophia Stewart. But Hollywood does not want you to know this fact simply because it would change history. Also it would encourage our Black children to realize a dream and that is…nothing is impossible for them to achieve!’


Manchester United Fans - you laughed to soon:


Sorry I know a lot of you do not like me talking about football but I have just have too (also you will be amazed at how many woman are seriously into football). 


It has been a tough long day with me being bombarded by Man U fans sending out jokes across the internet about the defeat that arsenal suffered at the hands of Barcelona. Yes to be honest we were well and truly beaten and our inexperienced, injury ravaged team was annihilated. I said it, so there is nothing else that need be said on that. 


BUT to all the Man U fans you should have at least controlled your teasing and jokes till you were certain that you had qualified, but you did not and the law of karma came into play and what happened you got knocked out by a German team even though you were winning 3 NIL, I repeat 3 NIL and you still got knocked out.


Remember he who laughs lasts, laughs best - I say no more....

MOAN OF THE DAY...

We Pay Too Much Tax:

I believe that in a well managed modern day society it is important that we pay tax to contribute to the maintenance of our society, so that roads can be repaired, our rubbish collected and hospitals and schools built etc but hello if I work a whole month, am I not entitled to have some money left over the day after pay day.

I have to preach here (now imagine that I am on the pulpit of an African American Baptist church) and as I say each sentence I am dragging my words, emphasising them, with highs and lows, with a little bit of harmony, and a strong southern drawl American accent and you can be the congregation and throw in the occasional “amen”, “I hear you”, “preach pastor Sola” etc (no disrespect meant to real pastors), say whatever comes to mind. (ps I don’t know how to write it in words but  the noise they make at the end of each sentence, I will be doing that) so if you know it say it – I will put thee dots at the end of the sentence so that you know where it comes in.

Everyday I gooooooooooooo to work and I work hard... toillllllllllllll to earn a living and take care of my famillllly and at the end of the day all I ask is to be paid... so I can payyyyy my bills and have me some fun...

But listen to me now... when I get paid... the government comes a knocking..., kicking down the door and demanding their dues... people are you hearing me... (somebody say amen), first its the tax man wanting his 25 to 50% income tax..., than its the council tax man wanting another percentage which comes to about another 10%... and everrrrrytime I go to the shops the bogey tax man takes another 17.5% in VAT... now I assssssssssssssssssk you, what am I left with, but hold on, I saiiiiiiiiiiidd hold on, as it does not stop there because my people, I said because my people, if you have a car you got to pay road tax..., you got pay tax everrrrrytime you put petrol in your car... now hear me now, i saiiid hear me now, on every litre of petrol that you buy, 80% of that has to go to the tax man... but hold on, wait a minute.... it does not stop there, as I have to pay to watch TV, yes I have to pay by force to watch TV as I have to get a TV license (and I no everyone has one – yeah right – my bad switched back into an English accent there). Does it stop there, no it does notttttttttttttttt... as you have to pay for all kinds of other things. is somebody hearing me? (come on now, say it loud and be proud and say i hear you Sola), you know what I am talking about, the dreaded words standing orders/ direct debits – o how I fear and hate the dreaded direct debits... direct debits for insurance this and insurance that, house insurance, car insurance, medical insurance, wife insurance, life insurance, contents insurance, dog insurance, school fees, sky, mobile phones... O how i could go and on but we don't have enough time otherwise I will be preaching forever...

O my lord I nearly forgot the most important payment after the tax man – your rent or mortgage payment, you sure don’t have any money left now!!!!!!!!!!!

Now after you have paid all of these – how much do you have left on the second day after pay day – NOTHING – that is why we all live on credit cards and loans and have no savings.

My suggestion on how to resolve this is move to another country, sad but true. 

I HATE TAX & BILLS - SOMEBODY SAY AMENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!

Be good and take care – tomorrows another day!

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