Archive for the ‘AFRICAN AMERICANS’ Category


February 11, 2013


Bleaching and communicable diseases

Written by Dr. Abiodun Adeoye
Saturday, 09 February 2013 12:04

If there is anything that has given me concern of late, it is the rate at which young and old, poor and rich people of African descent, especially Nigerians, engage in skin bleaching.

I once attended a church service where there was visible move of the Holy Spirit with powerful sermon and many souls I would say were won into the kingdom of God. But I was quite astonished to see the telltale signs of skin bleaching on the man of God. I want to believe he is not aware of the side effects of bleaching creams and soap. Or how else would we explain even some of our ‘respected fathers’ in high places who grossly engage in skin bleaching?

If they can be pardoned for lack of awareness of its side effect, can the same hold for actors and actresses in Nollywood? These are people that are supposed to be role models for young generation. After much thought, I feel we should all join hands to tackle this menace. I have never seen a white man who wants to change to dark skin. Is it inferiority complex or lack of adequate information? Yes, in certain communities light skin is associated with success, prestige and envy as women commonly turn to skin lightening products to achieve and maintain their desired complexion.

For example in India, the appeal of fair skin is deeply rooted in the nation’s culture and the caste system. Higher caste members traditionally had lighter skin and were less likely to be involved in manual work. This was shown to account for high rate of skin bleaching among the low caste especially the women. This is not the case in Nigeria, yet World Heart Organisation (WHO) ranked Nigeria first among nations endangering their lives with mercury-containing bleaching cream and soap. They have revealed that over 77 per cent of Nigerians use such products on a regular basis. We are followed by Togo with 59 per cent; South Africa, 35 per cent; and Mali, 25 per cent.

I encourage people in this category to please stop this habit. Skin bleaching contributes immensely to the burden of non-communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes mellitus, kidney diseases and cancers, just to mention a few. Worldwide, non-communicable diseases account for more than 70 per cent of deaths.

While the infectious or communicable diseases are being wiped out in developed and some developing countries, same is not true in Nigeria. This is a double burden on our economy. The fight against polio and HIV is enough headache; don’t add more to it by using bleaching cream and soap. The dangers of bleaching creams and soap are many.

Dangers of bleaching agents
The side effect depends on the ingredients contained in the cream or soap. Unfortunately, most of the manufacturers don’t give accurate information about the percentages of these dangerous ingredients. Hydroquinone is the commonly used active ingredient in many of these bleaching creams. This chemical works by stopping the production of melanin, which is responsible for the darkening of a person’s skin tone. Hydroquinone, when used in right proportion for limited time frame, may not be harmful. According to the US Food and Drug Agency, only two per cent content is allowed but most products have up to four per cent or even more. When used on long term basis, side effects set in. Exogenous ochronosis is a well known effect of prolong use. There is a paradoxical darkening of the skin which follows an initial skin lightening. Wherever I see people in this category, I appreciate absolute ignorance in them. Who will want to get a temporary light skin and later lapse into terrible scaly and thick dark skin with bumps thatare worse than his or her initial black and shine? Instead of allowing ridicule by the community, kindly stop the use of hydroquinone today.

Steroids are another culprit in the bleaching creams and other formulations. Bleaching creams like Dermovate, Movate, Top Gel, and Nuvotone have been found to contain the extremely potent steroids betamethasone and clobetasol propionate. Again, these are extremely cheap and available in all corners over the counter.

A researcher states that “with high-potency topical steroids used for a long time, you can get suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system. And with that suppression, you can get these endocrine problems like Cushing’s disease and diabetes.”

Black men and women have an increased risk of developing diabetes, and topical steroids would heighten their risk dramatically. With Cushing’s disease, there is excessive weight gain; rounded moon shape faces with reduced immunity. All sorts of infections are reported. Hypertension, stroke or depressions can occur. In case of accidents, there is poor wound healing and under stress, they bleed into the skin and brain.

Another ingredient is inorganic mercury which is injurious to the whole body system. According to WHO, once the chemicals get absorbed into the skin and enter the blood stream, the complications are worse. The effects include kidney damage, reduction in the skin resistance to bacterial and fungal infections, anxiety, depression, psychosis and peripheral neuropathy. Others are skin rashes, swelling of the skin, irritation, seizures, numbness, pain tremors and memory loss.





February 3, 2013

FRESH VISAS for youth empowerment, entrepreneurship

Thursday, 31 January 2013 00:00 By 


SIREN blaring ambulances, skip eaters in the toe while a state chief executive is sealed!

The natural thing is to do a panoramic view of such a place, look for a possible exit route and possibly beat it. Not even at this time of adverse security challenge in the country.

Just when you are trying to get out of the flux, behold, amid a hail of dust ambulances and compactors came to a halt. One after the other, to the surprise of onlookers, women drivers started alighting from the vehicle and heading straight to the dais to salute Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola.

Indeed, Bimbo Olasoji, a female driver of one of the ambulances started out with the ambition of securing white-collar job in the state having graduated at the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, with lower credit in Business Administration.

Having sat at home waiting for the elusive job, with hope almost fading, she reluctantly opted to join the then newly created Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES), at least, according to her, “to give a semblance of dignity.”

Today, Bimbo, like the others who joined this scheme, has been transformed to a paramedic with a full-time job as driver and caregivers in case of emergency.

When asked what motivated her to venture into a job usually meant for men folks, Bimbo said: “I joined O-ambulance because I have passion for driving and saving lives. Though I did not study health-related course, I have been trained to attend to emergencies.”

“Bimbo is not the only OYES cadet that has been transformed. Abdul-Azeez Yusuf from Egbedore Local Government, hitherto unemployed is today by all standards, an entrepreneur.

Indeed, watch closely the jungle boot when you see a military, paramilitary and voluntary organisations, you are likely to see one made by Yusuf among varieties he is producing.  Also, if you see Aregbesola kitted in football jersey for a novelty match, his soccer boot is made in Nigeria, courtesy Yusuf. Reason: He actually presented a customized pair to the governor at the OYES parade on Tuesday.

A part from being an entrepreneur, Yusuf is today training about 20 apprentices and, according to him, if the resources are available, he hopes to accommodate up to 80 or 100 more.

What could be more fulfilling than seeing your baby nurtured to adulthood? This captures the mood of the governor at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Orientation Camp, Ede, when he set aside protocol, sang and danced to the admiration of the cadets dignitaries and other well wishers.

A programme written off by Cynics at inception is today the toast of other governors and even the World Bank could not but commend its replication in other states as antidote to poverty and employment.

The big question, however, is if other state governors could let go N200 million on monthly basis from their security votes to support such programme, what will become of unemployment in Nigeria?

But that has been the forte of Aregbesola in the last two years and he is not relenting, as according to the Chairman, OYES Implementation Committee, Femi Ifaturoti, said another batch of 20, 000 will take their turn in February.

While Governor Aregbesola presided over a colourful programme to mark their engagement, the state government disclosed that no fewer than 18,000 of them had found one form of job or the other to keep them out of the unemployment market.

The Governor, who spoke before a crowd of stakeholders and visitors from the Federal Capital Territory, members of the Course 35 of Command and Staff College, Jaji, and others, observed that the OYES has become the foundation of the development and revolution started two years ago in the state.

Aregbesola said that the scheme has in a short period of time become an astounding success, saying the government has the evidence of its success when the World Bank recommended the scheme for study and adoption by other states for public sector mass job creation and youth engagement.

In an address he titled “We are Simply Unstoppable,” Aregbesola said “We are happy to announce that this effort is already yielding positives fruits in numerous areas where about 18,000 of the cadets passing out today have found permanent job placements.

“At the newly established Oloba Farm, OYES volunteers are engaged in cattle and ram fattening and in the broiler out-grower scheme.”

He disclosed that OYES is a programme like no other, which instead of being a white-collar or blue-collar job scheme, was uniquely conceived and designed to take the youths in the state off the streets, give them an orientation about public service and the need to contribute to the development of their society.

According to him, skill trainings for the cadets were also incorporated which involves partnerships and collaborations with the private sector and academic institutions, such as Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State University, Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Fountain University, Adeleke University and some other private training and development organisations.

The governor said this is why the scheme is a stop-gap scheme to train the youth and imbue them with positive work orientation and ethics such as self-sustenance, resourcefulness, character and competence, and to give them the self-confidence to forge ahead and overcome life’s numerous challenges after they must have spent two years and be ready for disengagement.

Aregbesola continued: “Two years after, we can now proudly say that our dream has been realised. After the orientation and passing out, the cadets were deployed into various areas of public needs such as public works, sanitation monitoring, paramedics, sheriff corps and traffic marshals.

“Along the line, they were also trained in entrepreneurship and in different vocations of their choices so as to give them what it takes to be on their own and be the masters of their own destiny.

“I must also let you know that OYES is not about youth employment alone. It is also about re-inflating the economy of the State.

“Every month, the N200 million allowances paid to the cadets sink into the economy of the State. Our backward integration policy requires that all the uniform, kits and equipment used by OYES be obtained from the markets spread round all the local governments in the State.

“This has created value chain, improved the economy of the State, empowered families and created wealth.”

He described the passing-out parade as a defining moment towards development and progress as the first batch of OYES volunteer cadets disengaged.

He noted that his administration is certain that the cadets are marching onto greatness, self-fulfillment and self-actualisation, adding that they are another testimony to the fact that the march of progress the state embarked upon last two years is unstoppable because it is backed up by vision, passion and action.

At the event on Tuesday were the Governor’s wife, Alhaja Sherifat Aregbesola; Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti; Chief of Staff, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola; members of the Executive Council, traditional rulers, religious leaders, leaders and members of various trade organisations and others.

Ifaturoti added that 200 of the cadets had been selected to travel to Germany for a two-year intensive training on agriculture and soil management adding that three others have been trained and participating in the manufacture of the first locally manufactured hydro turbine for generation of electricity under a partnership by UNIDO /NASENI/the state government.

He also said that 74 are currently in Leventis Foundation School for training in modern Agricultural practices while 610 are in OREAP Agriculture training facilities for training in modern agriculture, cultivating farms under a profit- sharing scheme.

He said,“500 are in Odua farmers’ academy for training in modern agricultural practices and 2100 were trained under OYES-TECH public private partnership with RLG to manufacture mobile telephones and laptop computers at their factory currently being set –up and to provide after sales support and services.

“OYES cadets are currently engaged on the largest apiary farm for honeybee production in Africa. 600 are currently engaged in red bricks production under the O- brick partnership and tannery of O’LEADS. 100 are engaged in fish farming through a PPP fish farm at Okuku and other fish farmers.

“182 OYES trained paramedics, 173 are deployed to O-Ambulance scheme and 2 are call-tracking personnel in the Min of Health. 1501 with teaching qualifications are about to be engaged by SUBEB and being posted to primary schools while more than 600 OYES are to be trained and engaged through the state’s Emergency Call Service operations as call operators, emergency service providers and system engineers.

“More than 300 are being supported under a Public Private Partnership driven Farmers Input Supply Shops and 5000 are being supported to provide mobile money, e-payment and allied services through various Schemes adding that more than 10,000 entrepreneurs are undergoing incubation.

Ifaturoti noted that more opportunities abound for the volunteers, who apply diligently adding that successful service in OYES is a demonstration of readiness for greater calling.


January 29, 2013


iHarlem Arts Alliance Presents: On the “A” w/Souleo

January 24, 2013 · No comments
Culture · Tagged: africa, afropop, Culture, gabourey sidibe, Souleo

Actress Gabourey Sidibe Shines Light on Africa with ‘AfroPop’

Actress Gabourey Sidibe is ready to take on one of her most important roles to date as host of AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, a documentary series highlighting contemporary life, art and pop culture in the African Diaspora. The fifth season of AfroPoP, produced by Black Public Media, premiered Tuesday, January 22 on public television’s WORLD channel, continuing on Tuesdays weekly through February 5, 2013.

Sidibe, who is best known for her Oscar-nominated performance in the film Precious, decided to accept the role of host as an opportunity to learn more about her roots. “I am part African—I am Senegalese. So I looked at it as a chance to get closer to where I am from,” she says.

Furthermore, she is hoping that this season, which focuses on human and women’s rights issues, will shatter myths about Africa. The challenge is not new for the Harlem- raised star, since as a young woman she had to combat stereotypes. “Growing up I was the African kid in my school. Every time I went back to Africa people thought I was sleeping in a bush and being chased by lions, but it wasn’t that. So I hope people can see themselves in this series and I hope it highlights that everyone struggles and celebrates.”

The universal human experience is also the core theme of visual artist Peter Wayne Lewis’ exhibition Paintings from the Middle Earth Part IV at Skoto Gallery. Special guests on opening night included legendary painter Ademola Olugebefola and writer of the exhibition’s e-catalog, Babacar M’Bow. The series of works presented visually unites themes of science, art and music as the artist’s fluid lines draw parallels between these worlds to demonstrate their interconnectedness. “There are creationists who think science is an aberration and not part of the equation,” Lewis says. “But it is only a description of the majesty of what you may say your God is, so it is all one in the same thing. Human beings, in our foibles, are trying to describe this gift we are given which is life.” The exhibition is on-view until February 23, 2013.

Further exploring themes of life is the exhibition Elements in Red, on view at New World Stages and curated by Bernard Stote. Works by artists such as Harlem Arts Alliance member Leon Nicholas Kalas, Joyce Yamada and Math-You explore this primary color and expand its connotations beyond passion and violence. “When I did the call for art I noticed getting such a diverse application from artists from blood and war to love to landscape,” says Stote. “It’s amazing how vibrant that color is and how many different themes it can invoke in artists.”

While this week offers opportunities to check out all of the aforementioned projects, you’ll also want to support upcoming events including actress/comedian Kim Coles’ one-woman show, Oh But Wait, There’s More and Keith Sweat’s appearance at MIST Harlem.


The Harlem Arts Alliance is a not for profit arts service organization celebrating 10 years of service to a prestigious list of members such as the Apollo Theater, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, Columbia University, Harlem Stage (Aaron Davis Hall) and over 850 more cultural/arts institutions and individuals. The weekly column, Harlem Arts Alliance Presents: On the “A” w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture and entertainment scene in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of event/media content production company, Souleo Enterprises, LLC.



January 5, 2013

Obama’s popular vote totals put him in small club

The 2012 presidential election has obviously come and gone, but before we move on entirely, there’s a little tidbit of statistical trivia that struck me as interesting — and chart worthy.

Bloomberg reports today that, thanks to some provisional ballots that have now been counted in New York City, President Obama’s popular-vote total is up to 51.06%. That wouldn’t be especially interesting, were it not for the fact that Obama is the first presidential candidate since Dwight Eisenhower to top 51% twice.

In fact, in American history, this is a feat that’s only been pulled off by six presidents: Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and now, Barack Obama.

In case you’re wondering if Reagan made the cut, he came close, but ended up with 50.7% in 1980. Plenty of other candidates might have had a better shot at this, were it not for third-party candidates.

Also, though Obama’s popular-vote win on election night seemed quite narrow, it’s now grown to about four percentage points (and roughly 5 million votes), which is a pretty comfortable margin of victory.

We can debate the utility and value of electoral “mandates,” but if they mean anything, Obama has earned enough public backing to have Congress take his agenda seriously.

Our BLack Skinned Beauty Gabourey Will Host AFRO-POP!

January 4, 2013

Gabourey Sidibe Lands NEW GIG As Host Of Public Television’s “AfroPoP” + Fantasia Goes On APO

Jan 03 | by _YBF

Actress Gabourey Sidibe has landed a new gig as the host of Public Television’s “AfroPoP”. Get the details on her new job inside and read Fantasia’s latest rant about people who judge her….

On January 22, Yelling to the Sky actress Gabourey Sidibe will make her debut as the host of Public Television’s AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, an innovative documentary series highlighting contemporary life, art and pop culture in the African Diaspora.

Produced by Black Public Media, the show will premiere on the WORLD Channel at 7:00pm ET on Tuesday, January 22 and continue on Tuesdays weekly through February 5, 2013.

Gabourey spoke about “AfroPoP”, which uses independent films to bring awareness to human and women’s rights struggles saying,

“This season of AfroPoP helps give voice to those who truly need to be heard. I’m happy to help bring these stories to the American public and raise awareness of issues of vital concern to women and men in Africa as well as all who care about human rights.”

And since she’s a star product of indie films like Precious, this new role suits her.

Leslie Fields-Cruz, Black Public Media Vice President and Director of Programming, explained Gabby’s hiring saying,

“Gabourey’s energetic spirit and connection to the youth culture made her the perfect choice to host the series this season and we are happy to have her as such an integral part of AfroPoP.”


January 4, 2013

Black Beauty Supreme!

January 1, 2013

Black Skinned Beauty Supreme!

January 1, 2013


December 11, 2012

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December 11, 2012

Barack Obama election


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