Archive for the ‘BLACKS IN INDIA’ Category


October 17, 2008


Blacks must slay lie of inferiority

Thursday, October 16, 2008 6:10 AM EDT
By Leah Carter

IF polls are any indication, there is a real chance Barack Obama will be elected president of the United States. On its face, this seems to suggest that America has seen the worst of its complex and painful history of racism.

A closer examination of the presidential race reveals we probably should not be patting ourselves on the back just yet. As political analyst David Gergen points out, race is still a factor and Obama’s “blackness may cost him the election.”

It is unclear which group more accurately represents contemporary America: the smiling, screaming fans proclaiming that Obama brings “change you can believe in,” or people like Bobby Lee May, the former McCain campaign chairman for Buchanan, Va., who wrote that Obama, if elected, would “hire rapper Ludacris to paint (the White House) black.”

Is the United States a country that has moved beyond racism, leaving behind a small group of reactionaries? Or are the attitudes that sanctioned slavery and Jim Crow laws still going strong and hiding beneath the surface of our society?

The answer seems to be that both are true. The United States cannot quite seem to make up its mind about race.

American blacks are making tremendous strides forward. The rest of America has progressed as well, in both attitudes and actions.

However, beneath many people’s actions and conscious thoughts lurks a deep-seated conviction that black people are inferior. They might be better at dancing, slam-dunking and avoiding skin cancer, but certainly are not as smart, hardworking or beautiful as white people.

This view may seem like a relic of ancient history, but a 2008 report on a study conducted by a Stanford University psychologist concluded that many white Americans subconsciously associate black people with apes.

The saddest part of this is that black people are not immune to this. While black Americans gain success and fortune in increasing numbers, many are simultaneously hindered by a sense of inferiority. In other words, nearly all Americans seem to believe the same lie: that black people are not as smart, valuable, capable or worthy as white people.

The lie of black inferiority was first told hundreds of years ago when Europeans decided it was profitable to colonize Africa and export its citizens for labor while declaring them less than human. It was a useful lie, and successfully instilled — so successfully that it has been propagated through generations to today.

When the U.S. Supreme Court was hearing Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 case that ended legalized segregation in the United States, psychologist Kenneth Clark demonstrated that school segregation negatively affected black children’s image of themselves. The children thought that black dolls were ugly and dirty, and white dolls were prettier, cleaner, nicer and generally more appealing.

When a similar study was conducted just a few years ago, decades after the end of legalized segregation, the majority of black children still preferred white dolls.

The lie no longer needs to be explicitly stated. We absorb it as if from the air. It is everywhere in our society, and yet seemingly undetectable in a world in which Obama may be our next president, Oprah Winfrey is the world’s most influential media personality and Tiger Woods is the world’s most popular golfer.

Part of what makes the lie so influential is its flexibility. It can coexist with the phenomena of Obama and Winfrey. They can be seen as mere aberrations from the norm.

The result is that while black people can look around and see some blacks succeeding in America, they still find it difficult to love themselves, to believe they deserve the best life has to offer.

The New Haven-based Community Healing Network ( — launched by a group led by the Rev. Victor Rogers, rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and the Rev. Bonita Grubbs, director of Christian Community Action — has issued a “Call to Healing and Renewal,” declaring that the time has come to extinguish the lie of black inferiority. It wants to replace the lie with “the truth of black people’s beauty, worth, value and dignity.”

The group is calling on the black community to build a movement for emotional emancipation — for freedom not only in body, but also in mind and in spirit.

The group is starting annual Community Healing Days on the third weekend of every October, starting this year on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, to focus the black community on healing the lie of black inferiority.

The goal is to encourage blacks to take special care of themselves and each other on these days. The hope is that the celebration will continue past the weekend, until the day when black children everywhere believe that they are just as smart, strong, capable and worthy as other children. If the work of the Community Healing Network succeeds, as I believe it will, that wonderful day will come sooner rather than later.

Leah Carter is a volunteer with the Community Healing Network. Readers may write her in care of the Register, 40 Sargent Drive, New Haven 06511. Her e-mail address is

The following are comments from the readers. In no way do they represent the view of

Bill wrote on Oct 16, 2008 10:38 AM:

” Leah Carter is absolutely right. The democrat party is guilty of fostering the idea that somehow blacks are inferior. They insist that they cannot make it on their own, they need affirmative action, and handouts. The democrats insist that blacks need a boost up while other minorities many of them just a dark skinned or darker than American blacks come to this country and succeed in record numbers in spite of perceived racism. They don’t know that they cannot succeed so they do. ”


History wrote on Oct 16, 2008 4:24 PM:

My father grew up in a time when black folks were beaten – by uniformed police officers, in the open – on the way to the polls, and small black children had to be escorted to school by the national guard to protect them from enraged citizens. This was ONE GENERATION AGO. You think this has no historical reverberations? You think it’s reasonable for black folks to disregard the experiences of thier parents and grandparents? You think ‘the inferiority complex’ comes from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton?

There is a reasonable difference of opinion about how to heal these wounds; niether of you contributed anything worthwhile to that debate. ”

History wrote on Oct 16, 2008 10:12 PM:

” “History is just that. History.”

Let’s talk specifically of Connecticut. This state has the unfortunate distinction of having one of the highest achievement gaps in the country, meaning that poor and minority students perform well below the levels of their wealthier collegues (for more on this, see There are lots of reasons for this, but surely we can agree that history is one of them, that there is a strong link between generations of slavery, housing discrimination, instititionalized racism, etc, and the poverty that many black families face today.

Having said that, I do believe we should ask ourselves if affirmative action is an appropriate way to attempt to right this historical wrong. Like you, I feel that a healthy debate is a good thing – it helps us flesh out our positions and fortify our thinking. But part of that debate is acknowledging the tenacious legacy of racial discrimination in this country without placing the blame solely on the Jacksons and Sharptons. If nothing else, that’s an insult to black agency and intelligence, to say that black folks can’t analyze what comes out of Al Sharpton’s mouth the same way you can, and separate the bad ideas from the good. It would be like blaming crimes committed by Italian-Americans on The Sopranos, which is absurd.

“race-baiting opportunists”

I’m surprised to see that your list of “race-baiting opportunists” includes only the Sharptons and Jacksons of the world. Would you agree with me that the Strom Thurmonds, Robert Byrds, and David Dukes of the world are also “race-baiting opportunists?” If so, do they bear no responsibility for their own negative messages?

“I’m not hearing it from the leaders of today’s black community.”

Maybe you aren’t familiar with Dr. Cornel West, or didn’t hear Senator Obama’s Father’s Day Speech – those are two outstanding examples of positive black leaders recognizing history while speaking hard truths to the African-American community. There’s lots, lots more of that out there.

“The ugly crutch of history”

Again, I’m not saying that we should use history as a crutch. I’m saying that we need to give history its due, and that any debate about affirmative action or perceptions of black ‘inferiority’ needs to start with a recognition of the lasting legacy of that history. ”

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Michael wrote on Oct 17, 2008 2:39 AM:

” “Ed” said:We need more messages like that of Dr. King.

I agree; in particular I think a lot of people need to hear what Dr King said, in particular
A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for him, to equip him to compete on a just and equal basis.

If a city has a 30% Negro population, then it is logical to assume that Negroes should have at least 30% of the jobs in any particular company, and jobs in all categories rather than only in menial areas.

No amount of gold could provide an adequate compensation for the exploitation and humiliation of the Negro in America down through the centuries…Yet a price can be placed on unpaid wages. The ancient common law has always provided a remedy for the appropriation of a the labor of one human being by another. This law should be made to apply for American Negroes. The payment should be in the form of a massive program by the government of special, compensatory measures which could be regarded as a settlement in accordance with the accepted practice of common law.

…and …

[…] our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race

You can either disagree with King (which is not necessarily a bad thing, because an appeal to authority is not a conclusive argument), or agree with him and cite him to get respect for your own position, but don’t cite him to oppose things he supported, to whit affirmative action, particularly using racial quotas if need be, reparations for slave descendants, and a clear-eyed view of the original sins of our nation. ”


September 18, 2008


Restoring The Dignity Of Africa

BY Sule E. Egya

Brain Gain for the African Renaissance, Edited by Okello Oculi and Yakubu Nasidi; published by Ahmadu Bello University Press, Zaria; 447 pages.

What we know of socio-cultural and scientific civilisation today, it has been established, started from Africa. Per Ankh, the house of life, in the ancient Egypt was a brain-home from where knowledge spread to other parts of the world. World-class African thinkers such as Cheik Anta Diop, Ayi Kwei Armah and Theophile Obenga have persistently forged a narrative to connect us to that glorious past. Regrettably, their narrative, what Armah calls “the way,” is countervailed by forces that have retrogressively reduced the height of Africa. The Africa that housed intellection in the past, as absurd as it sounds, is now a pitiable shadow of itself, its intellectuals driven to continental self-enslavement. During the slavery of the past, the white people came and captured Africans, but in the present slavery Africans willingly present themselves to the white people as slaves. It is the exodus to the West; it is the brain drain Africa suffers from.

To stem the tide of intellectual erosion as a result of the brain-drain phenomenon, Africa Vision 525, a non-governmental think-tank based in Kenya and Nigeria, has initiated what it calls Brain Gain book project. Part of the objective of this project, according to Okello Oculi and Yakubu Nasidi, editors of the first book in the series, is “to contribute to ameliorating [the crisis of brain drain] by drawing back into African universities intellectual products of the African Diaspora and Africanist scholars resident outside Africa” (ix). Contributions by outstanding scholars on the continent are also brought into the pool of intellectual productions the project injects into a system that is practically comatose. This first volume of the project demonstrates the feasibility and, indeed, the fruition of a concerted effort to reconstruct the canon of intellection in Africa. Here is a conscious response to a continent’s moral, ethical and intellectual failures; a measured criticism that validates the notion of inward positivism and a pragmatic approach to Africa’s solutions to Africa’s problems.

The theme of this volume is “Issues in Governance.” A crucial angle from which to begin the business of renaissance in Africa, you may say. The choice is vital. Governance is perhaps the most derailed sphere in the evolution of nationhood in Africa. It is a continental weakness—really, an insurmountable vice—that reduces one of the wealthiest continents in the world to beggardom. The choice of scholars to tackle these issues Brain Gain has made is both appealing and gratifying. The names are intimidating: Ali Mazrui, Toyin Falola, Okwudiba Nnoli, Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, P. Anyang Nyongo’o, Okechukwu Ibeanu, Crawford Young, and others. In their diverse themes and styles, tones and tenors, these intellectuals engage the readers in profound dialogues that evaluate and define the course of governance in Africa.

Falola’s “Writing and Teaching National History in Africa in an Era of Global History” is a primal discourse. The eminent, globe-trotting scholar returns home, patriotic, having been exposed to the sophistry of globalisation. Beginning his argument from the existence of nation-states, in spite of what he refers to as the “ambiguities” surrounding them, Falola harps on the conspiracy of the globalists to undermine, and consequently nullify, national historiography. In doing this, he undresses globalisation and presents her to us in her full nakedness, with all her ugly joints. The scholar informs us that “[it] is the weak nations [in the sense we see all nations of Africa] that are being asked to adjust, to subordinate their national histories to the threatening agenda of a global world and a global history” (58). In this design, globalisation weakens weaker nations and strengthens stronger ones, insofar as the concept of globalisation is continuously fashioned and manoeuvred by the powerful nations of the world. A powerful nation, then, upstages her history to what Falola calls “metanarrative”. In this premise, the less powerful nations must evolve a history to confront the many lies and infamies of globalisation, and with resilient intellectualism and vigorous historiography. A further antidote, pragmatic in its chemistry, is offered here:

We have to keep decolonizing African historiography, to turn to indigenous creativity and ideas, to empower the marginalized voices, to shed light on the tremendous energy and success represented by popular cultures, market women, craft workers, and local cultivators, among others. Oral history should not be abandoned in the face of global history. Students and researchers must contribute to our understanding of a variety of topics: migration flows within Africa and nation-states; regional conflicts; ethnic and religious divisions; inter- and intra-national relations within Africa; development and modernization; processes of democratization and participatory practices; neoliberal reforms; cultural transformations; market and economic networks; the Cold War and its aftermath; ecological history and sustainable development; and mass communication. (Italics mine, 77-78)

It seems like a thesis that will liberate nation-states in Africa from what one may call globalism i.e. the dishonest rhetoric of globalisation. But many Africa-based students and scholars, as some of the essays in Brain Gain attest, have been engaging in the enterprise Falola proposes, except that the overall socio-political climate of Africa does not welcome—and, indeed, kills—intellectual activities meant to forge a liberated and equitable nationhood.

It is this hostile climate in Africa that Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja draws our attention to in his “Challenges to State Building in Africa”. His discourse is clear and familiar to us. His first sentence opens the wound we have been nursing for long: “After three to five decades of self-rule, the people of Africa have yet to see the fulfilment of their expectations of independence for full citizenship rights” (87). This is painfully true. The eminent scholar goes on to outline some of the factors responsible for this condition. The problems are home-based, though mostly engendered by the hypocritical posture of the West, Africa’s chief coloniser. Greed and Dishonesty, the twin sisters, are the hot-legged prostitutes cradling African leaders on their laps. They caused the disillusionment of the post-independence era, lengthened to destructive militarisation, which has begotten anaemic democracies in Africa. Nzogola-Ntalaja neatly ties this to the globalisation-syndrome Falola has expounded: “contrary to the political vision of Amilcar Cabral and other progressive founding fathers of African independence, post-colonial rulers have not transformed the inherited structures of the state and the economy to serve the deepest aspirations of their peoples instead of the interests of the dominant classes of the world system, with which these rulers tend to identify” (88). The gist is simply that African leaders, since independence, have set their visions abroad to cater for their greed and the interest of their colonial masters. Nzogola-Ntalaja believes that Africa is yet to severe its umbilical cord from the West and that is one of its greatest problems. He harks back to the early rhetoric of Pan-Africanism, reminding us of the good intentions of the fighters of independence, giving us an insight into the stupendous wealth waiting for Africa at the dawn of independence, and he regrets that Africa today is a famished continent whose children troop to the West in search of food and survival. Really, every section of Nzogola-Ntalaja’s essay echoes the ignominy that Africa Vision 525 intends to redeem with its book projects. Part of Nzogola-Ntalaja’s suggestion for a better Africa is that “a successful development strategy [for Africa] requires a radical break with the past, that is, with the authoritarian and predatory character of the colonial state, as well as the promotion of egalitarian and participatory values” (107).

Some of the essays in Brain Gain are very revealing. Okechukwu Ibeanu’s “Petroleum, Politics and Development in the Niger Delta” is an eye-opener for non-Nigerians whose knowledge of the Niger Delta conundrum is what the radio brings to them. The depth of Ibeanu’s research and the clarity of his language are such that you will see, most graphically, the situation in the Niger Delta today. “ECOMOG Operations in the Resolution of Conflicts in West Africa”, by Gani Yoroms, is another eye-opener for those who have heard much but have known less about Africa’s peace-keeping operations in Africa. Deftly expository, Yoroms’s essay is different from most others because of its tone which is less critical. Yoroms is interested in furnishing us with facts with which we can conclude that Africa, after all, can tackle its crises, although what we see of Somalia and Darfur today confounds us. But no matter what we see today, if we read Yoroms’s essay, we are likely to agree with him that “it is important to acknowledge that ECOMOG operations were indeed path breaking approaches to peace keeping in Africa” (373).

Other essays, such as Kristen Timothy’s “Defending Diversity, Sustaining Consensus: NGOs at the Beijing Women’s Conference and Beyond”; P. Anyang Nyong’o’s “Good Governance for Whom? How Presidential Authoritarianism Perpetuates Elitist Politics in Africa”; and Adagbo Ogbu Onoja’s “The Commonwealth Intervention in the Zimbabwe Land Reform Crisis: Africa’s Security in the Post Cold War Era” give us profound education on issues that are here with us and yet we know just little about them. Beyond the depth of the researches collected in this book, the spread, which is an attempt to embrace all facets of political life of Africa, is a commendable feat.

With about fifteen essays, the book is one that every scholar and thinker, irrespective of the field of specialisation, ought to possess and give it a prominent space on his/her shelf. Perhaps, those who need the service of this book most are the politicians and the policy-makers of present-day Africa who have become persistently noisy and noisome about reforms. The book will help them reform themselves, and give them a lead-way towards the evolution of a genuinely democratic norm in Africa.

Sule E. Egya, Ph.D, writer and scholar, teaches in the Department of English, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nasarawa State.


September 16, 2008


Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Finally, after years of ambiguity and doubt, Serena Williams scored an amazing emotional victory to win this year’s Australian Open, obliterating Maria Sharapova 6-1 6-2 in the Women’s Singles final.

Her show of determination, power and passion that eclipsed anything the former world No 1 had previously achieved. Her performance proved that she still remains potentially one of the most formidable force in women tennis.

Persistent wrist problems prevented Serena’s sister, Venus, from playing in Australia, but a trip to Ghana in November last year revitalised Serena.

“I saw things there that my ancestors had been through and it couldn’t be worse than that,” she said. “I thought about that and I think it helped me a lot.”


September 10, 2008


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Cashing In On His Roots

When he came to Nigeria almost 20 years ago at the urging of his Nigerian friends living in the United States, John Marcus Cashin was enthralled by what he saw. An African-American, his childhood curiosity about the motherland had finally been satisfied but he won’t let go. He decided to stay. Now the chief executive of Metrolan Ventures, authorised resellers of Apple Super Computers, Cashin spoke to DEBO OLADIMEJI on his sojourn in Nigeria.

ALABAMA, United States-born John Marcus Cashin dramatically landed in Nigeria in the process of tracing his roots on Christmas Day in 1988. His singsong had always been: “We are all black. You should remember your brother coming home.”

Cashin recalls growing up in a segregated society, having attended a black nursery school and black kindergarten.

At the University of Alabama, he decided to study Communication and Broadcasting to liberate blacks from racism because “of the politics I grew up with. It is like you interview somebody white, they play it the same way. You interview somebody black, they edit it or only take what they want.

“So I knew the power of that when I was young and my parents complained about how the white reporter misinterpreted what Luther Martin King or Andrew Young said. They all try to confuse us,” he reminisced.

Born in 1959 to Dr. John Cashin, a dentist, now 80 and Mrs. Joan Marie, a psychologist, who passed on in 1997, Marcus, who is the first of three children, comes from an elite family. Like his father, his grandfather, Dr. John Legan Cashin, was also a dentist. His great grandfather, Hershel, one of the first black lawyers in Alabama, graduated from Cheney University in 1869.

Marcus’ sister, Sheryll Denise, graduated with Bachelor of Law from the prestigious Oxford University, England. His father owned a weekly newspaper called The Eagle Eye and a monthly magazine, The Valley Informer, published for Tennessee River Valley.

His father ran for the governorship of Alabama State in 1970 on the platform of his own predominantly black political party, the United Democratic Party of Alabama. The senior Cashin founded the party when, during the 1964 Democratic Convention, he observed that the whites wouldn’t allow the black delegates to have a say.

His father it was who introduced former President Bill Clinton as candidate of the Democrats to the Black Dental Association and the National Democratic Party of Alabama, the black community in Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, New York and Washington DC.

Because his father was preoccupied with political activities and was always travelling for political reasons, Marcus was closer to his mother who happened to be always around to attend to his immediate needs.

She was on the board of the Community Action Agency for the whole of South East United States, an agency that helps the poor and distributes rations for the people on welfare.

His parents, he recalled, were always there to guide them. “Even though they knew something, they would tell us to go and look it up in the dictionary. We thought they were hard on us, not knowing that they were nurturing us on how to become a star in our field,” he said appreciatively.

Marcus attended Integrated University Place Elementary School in Brandon, where he was the first black to attend a white elementary school in the town. He and his brother, Carroll, were the first blacks to attend Integrated Blossom Wood Elementary School for their Second Grade.

He recalls that during his Junior High at Hartsville for his Seventh and Eighth Grade, his history teacher was the only one that gave him a B. “She did not like the way l used to answer my history questions, according to the history books l read in my father’s library. She was not comfortable that black people discovered certain things like George Washington Carver, who invented the machine that makes shoes and Lewis Latimer, who did the installation of the first electric steel lighting in New York City,” he explained.

He also remembers being a wrestler and sprinter while in his Ninth Grade at Ed White Junior High City Champ. He was indeed a state champion wrestler and a chess champion in his Fourth Grade. He attended Slammel Butler High School for his 10th to 12th Grades.

Marcus wanted to be an architect but his mother wanted him to be a doctor because her father, Dr. Marcus Carpenter, was one. However, although he was precocious and did well in the sciences at elementary school, he rebelled or was not keen to go the medical way. So he settled for Broadcasting and Film Communications at University of Alabama, which he wanted to use as a vehicle to project the black race.

“That meant that I got to find the right information and disseminated it to thousands of my people out there,” he stated.

But fortunately or unfortunately, he could not complete it. One day, while he was at the University of Alabama, he met a white lady, who introduced Geological Petroleum Engineering Technology to him, a course he ended up studying at the University of Southern Texas.

“I was riding home with a 25-year-old lady, who told me that she was studying Geology. I said, ‘what does that mean?’ She said that they had a way of getting petroleum out of the rock. I was just anxious to know more about the course,” he recounts. And that was the genesis of his final withdrawal from Alabama to Southern Texas.

While at Southern Texas, he developed more interest in Computer Science, which he did as a course. “I had to learn the computer to see how it worked. That was how I sharpened my knowledge about computer, joined a computer science club and used to go for their programmes.”

After graduation, he had a stint at Philip Petroleum Company in Texas before coming to Nigeria. But he actually started mixing with Nigerians while at Alabama. He had a girl friend, Angel John, who, though not a Nigerian, had lived next door to a Nigerian named Labu Adeleke. “Labu then asked whether I had ever heard about Fela and I said no. He said Fela Kuti, I said no. He said, ‘come over.’ So I went to his house,” Marcus recollects vividly.

Labu, he added, was the first Nigerian he ever met and who introduced him to Fela. Labu was studying Agricultural Science at Alabama University of Agriculture and “was really a cool guy” with whom he has lost contact for somet ime now.

The same Labu also introduced him to other Nigerian musicians such as Sunny Ade. “I like Fela’s music. I started listening to Fela since 1976,” he disclosed, adding that he got to know about FESTAC through Fela’s music.

“So in 1977, Labu invited me to come to FESTAC, saying Stevie Wonder would be there. But I couldn’t make it,” he said regretfully.

His performances at Southern Texas also attracted the attention of many Nigerians. “I was doing well in school and was on the Dean’s list 3.0. They had respect for me and everybody knew my name. Out of about 600 people, half of them were Nigerians. They saw my name out there and many of them became inquisitive about me,” he stated.

His Geography and Geo-Physics lecturer at Southern Texas, Dr. Ken Chinwezu, was also a Nigerian. Chinwezu told his students that the Niger Delta region in Nigeria was just like Louisiana, Mississippi Delta but that there is more oil in the Niger Delta.

“I was still in my last semester but I was working and going to school. We had two classes with him. One will start at 5pm and stop a 7pm and he will take a 30-minute break, then from 7.30 to 9pm, we had another break and everybody who went to a night school knew him,” he said with fond memories.

Marcus decided to follow four Nigerian schoolmates: Paul Ene, Joe Chuks Uzoka, Hyke (IK) Chuks and one Godwin to Nigeria in December 1988.

He retraced this journey to Nigeria: “I remember one of them saying that there was a business that we could do in Nigeria. IK told me that he would fly from New York to Lagos, then to Enugu and from there go to the village. That when I get to his village near Ozalla in Enugu State, I should ask of Chuk’s compound. He asked, ‘are you going to make it?’ and I said, ‘don’t worry, I will plan it.”

He asked IK the meaning of Enugu and was told that it stands for hilltop. “I said, ‘so I am going to the hilltop?”

His friend also gave him the name and phone number of an uncle in Enugu to call once he got to Lagos, because there was no telephone in their village. They agreed to meet on Christmas or Boxing Day of 1988. But he was reminded that if he did not go as planned, he would miss his friend, who was returning to the US after the Yuletide.

So Marcus left Miami for Germany, then to Nairobi, where he stayed for two days before going to Cameroun aboard Ethiopia Airline. He landed in Lagos on Christmas Day of 1988. Aboard the flight, he met some Nigerians as they wined, dined and chatted together.

“We all exchanged addresses. One of them warned me to beware of Nigerians. We landed safely at Murtala Mohammed Airport. N5.32 exchanged for a dollar at that time,” he recalls.

He checked into Sheraton Hotel in Ikeja and later walked down to the bar for some oranges. “I heard somebody calling my name John Cashin. His name is Kentler, a black American. He came to Nigeria too. We knew each other before. I told him that I was planning to go to Enugu to see my classmate.”

He was to go to Enugu the next day but he got to the airport and was told that the defunct Nigeria Airways, which was the national carrier, could not fly because of the harmattan. Then he remembered that if he did not get to Enugu and then his classmate’s village, he could miss him.

So he called IK’s brother office at Enugu and was able to talk to one of the nurses in his office who put him through to IK’s brother, whom he told that he was stranded in Lagos. He finally got another flight to Enugu a week after.

The passenger sitting next to him happened to be one Arthur Nwube, also a graduate of Alabama, who gave him his telephone number in Enugu and his address in Lagos, in case he had any problem.

Marcus eventually found his way to IK’s brother’s office in Enugu around 6.30pm and he sent somebody to take him to the village. They got to Chuks’ compound around 9pm.

“They were playing Prince’s music, Sign of the time in the dark. I said Sign of the time by Prince in the middle of an African jungle? No, it can’t be.””

It later dawned on him that IK brought the tape from Houston, Texas and was playing it in front of his house. “IK couldn’t believe that it was me, at that time of the night,” he recounted.

After a few days, Marcus went to buy a flight ticket back to Lagos, but again the weather was bad. So he had to stay back in the village until the weather improved for the plane to fly.

On getting to the airport, he met Godwin waiting for the same flight back to Lagos. He was on his way back to Houston. Godwin, with whom he used to discuss politics in the US, after a while, looked at him and said: “John Marcus Cashin, you are the only black American that I know that will come to Nigeria and Enugu.”

That was the beginning of Marcus’ sojourn in Nigeria. “We came back to Lagos. I stayed in Sheraton for about three to four weeks on and on. I did not want to go back. He urged me to stay back and renewed my visa for me. That was how I got hooked on Nigeria.”

He got into the computer business in the 1980s while still in school and working part-time. In Nigeria, he soon became an Apple man and a major reseller in Nigeria in 1998.

Marcus has been basically an Apple exporter, buying and reselling in the last 10 years under the auspices of Metrolan Ventures Limited.One thing that fascinated him about Nigeria is the level of freedom and the fact that there is no discrimination among the citizens.

The Apple magnate hopes that there is a drastic improvement in the supply of electricity soon. “You can imagine what the rate of development will be in Lagos with 24 hours supply of electricity,” he opined.

The last time that he visited his people in the United States was in 2001. He is in contact with his brothers and sisters via the telephone and the internet day in day out. His sister, Sheryll, a lawyer, is also into the business of Apple Computers.

He is not planning to marry yet “but it is possible for me to tie the nuptial knots in due course.”

© 2003 – 2007 @ Guardian Newspapers Limited (All Rights Reserved).
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September 6, 2008



September 6, 2008





August 26, 2008


WOFEYAC: Objectives

i. Promote, preserve and protect Yoruba culture and its people

ii. Offer a credible platform for Yoruba cultural revitalization

iii. Use the platform for positive economic, social, cultural and historical advancement of Yoruba as a people

iv. Serve as a good means of projecting the creativity, rich spiritual and cultural artistry of Yoruba nation

v. Inculcate in our youths the core values of the Yorubas and the concept of Omoluabi through culture to make them better citizens of the world.

The Festival of Yoruba Arts and Culture, seeks to bring to the fore, the rich cultural heritage of the Yoruba all over the world. From the South west Nigeria to the rich agrarian hinterlands of Kwara, Kogi, Edo & Delta State as far as, Ghana, Benin Republic, Brazil and even the United State of America, Europe and other continents of the world, the Yoruba nation has a culture which needs to be revisited and revive.


— To organise a programme that will ensure we remain a people
– To showcase the artistic and cultural values of the Yoruba nation
— To re-awaken in the consciousness of the people and the ethics embedded in the culture of the people.
— To preserve our culture and arts for the on coming generations

– The Festival has no fetish inclination
– It is purely entertainment
– It involves no sacrifices of any idol
– It is only meant to re-awaken our artistic and cultural values
– It has no religious tendency


– Pre event
– Event
– Post Event

3.1.1 Stakeholders forum
This is a forum where the agenda for the festival and the activities of the same is unveiled and other issues discussed. At the end of the meeting, a communiqué will be issued

The meeting will form the basis for follow-up activities in keeping the forth coming festival in the minds of the enlightened segments of society through the print & electronic media.

The group of Stakeholders includes:
Royal Fathers, South-West States Governors Dignitaries, Media Community, Commissioners for Culture and Tourism, Information and Youth and Sports, Ministers for Information, Culture & Tourism, Professionals and Institutes of Arts and Culture/ Tourism, Academia, Leaders of various Yoruba socio-cultural groups.

These groups have been selected into various categories such as:
Life Patron,
Grand Patron
Life Advisers
Special Ambassador
Special Partners

3.1.2 Stakeholders’ Dinner
A found Raising Activity
The essence of this is to raise funds for the festival. This will complement sponsorship drive within selected Public & Private sector organizations.

A three day extravaganza of the Yoruba culture & heritage, exhibited at street level, out door and indoor venues in a selected city within South West, Nigeria.

– Availability of appropriate venues for street level, indoor & outdoor activities
– Availability of hotels, motels & guest houses capable of accommodating anticipated local & foreign guests.
– Availability of hostels capable of serving as camps for invited performing troupes.
– Availability of good road and accessible road

3.2.2 PROGRAMME OF EVENTS Street exhibition of Arts and Culture
A 3 – day exhibition of arts/crafts, trades, professions, vocations, food, music, agriculture etc in about two or three streets in the host town. This is to afford the entire citizenry of the host town get a feel of the festival at street level.

– Each road will accommodate specific items for exhibition
– Efforts will be made to provide literature for each exhibited item/activity
– Opportunity for food/drink vendors especially of traditional Yoruba meals to sell to visitors.
– Each road will equally play host to various traditional musical group who will provide all –day entertainment.
– Each road will also play host to selected masquerades to add colour to the street level festival.

The Streetl activities offer various opportunities such as:
Direct Sales activities Opening Ceremony
The festival will be flagged off with funfare States Performance
The three days have been designated for all the participating states in the South west and those in the Diaspora.
The performance will include music, poems, masquerades, dancing, dressing and other performances of special interest.
This will form the basis for the daily activities at the festival grounds.

Immediately after the opening ceremony, the first three states and their troupes begin their performances.

Day Two
Performances by three other State & their troupes:

Day Three
Performances by troupes from Yoruba in the Diaspora including Kwara, Kogi, Edo, Delta, Benin Republic, Ghana, Brazil, Cuba, Europe, the United State and other continents. SPECIAL RECEPTION
The Host Governor & The Paramount Ruler will receive the visiting Governors & leading traditional rulers of the performing states each day.

This colourful display of royalty will afford us an opportunity to showcase our Royal Fathers as the centre of our modern culture.

It will equally provide the platform for governors from other state to catch the excitement of the festival thereby preparing themselves in the hosting of subsequent editions.

The festival grounds provides the following opportunities
Establishment of out door viewing/entertainment centres
Direct sales activities


This will include:
Nights of Yoruba Poetry
Grand Finale
Night of musical entertainment Nights of Yoruba Poetry/Drama
– Literary events spiced with rich traditional music in an inviting atmosphere.
– Invited guests will be treated to reading of rich Yoruba literature, e.g. Drama, Alamo, Ewi, Itan, Aroba, Aalo, Arofo, Ijala, Rara, Ekun Iyawo etc.
– This activity portends full/part sponsorship by various groups in the public/private sector. The Grand Finale
This event will serve as an opportunity to felicitate with all Stakeholders for a successful hosting of the World Yoruba Festival 2008.

Dignitaries from the public & private sectors – the sponsors and representatives of the participating States & communities will be feted by the host governor.

Leading Yoruba World Class Musicians will be on the band stand supported by other artistes.

Government support
Media partnerships
Brand/corporate support
Service partnerships

These will include, but not limited to the following:
Stadium Rental
Street Branding/Sponsorship
Cultural centre Rental
Sponsorship of the Culture Gala Night/Closing Ceremony
Poetry/Artistes Night
Transportation, accommodation and welfare support for the State Contingents.
Police command and other security agents for security of lives and properties.
Payment for services at the outdoor/indoor venue e.g. P.A System, Big screens.
Coverage & Broad cast on TV/Radio Stations.
Other entertainments by Artistes/Musicians
To mention but few

Platinum Sponsor – Full payment for all sponsor able items
Gold Sponsors – A maximum of two sponsors who together pick up the bill for the entire festival
Silver Sponsor;s) – A maximum of four sponsors who take up full sponsorship of the event
Partners –Brands/service that pick up specific items on our sponsorship bouquet.

Festival partnership will be sought from:
Electronics Media
– Television
– Radio

Print Media
– Newspapers
– Magazines

Also, support of the following service providers and festival partners will be solicited:
Banking partner
Airline partner

Contributions are expected from all our Stakeholders as a tree does not make a forest.

The festival is our collective responsibility and its success is a joy to all of us and a pride to our great nation – The Yorubaland, Nigeria and Africa in general.

Oodua a gbe wa o!




The Yoruba is the largest contiguous group in Africa. South Western Nigeria, which is the economic nerve Centre of Nigeria and home to media, has the largest concentration of the Yorubas in Nigeria .

The World Festival of Yoruba Arts and Culture is conceived and designed to showcase the rich cultural content of the Yorubas, their socio-cultural artistry, tradition, heritage and other historical dynamics of the Yoruba people as a nation.

The event, which may appear sectional and exclusive, was meant to sensitize other nation and nationalities to mobilize and take advantage of what arts and culture has on offer to strengthen bond of friendship, global peace and harmony. It ultimately aims to serves as a bridge-building mechanism for all Yorubas in the African continent and the Diaspora.

i. Promote, preserve and protect Yoruba culture and its people.

ii. Offer a credible platform for Yoruba cultural revitalization.

iii. Use the platform for positive economic, social, cultural and historical advancement of Yoruba as a people.

iv. Serve as a good means of projecting the creativity, rich spiritual and cultural artistry of Yoruba nation.

v. Inculcate in our youths the core values of the Yorubas and the concept of Omoluabi through culture to make them better citizens of the world

Programme Content
It will feature exhibitions, performances, convention of all Yoruba traditional rulers at home and abroad, world Yoruba leaders’ conference, street level artificial markets, packaged tours, regatta and a platform for individual and corporate investment opportunities. It will have a children’s village for drama sketches, story telling and traditional games.

Target Participants
There are about four categories of participants namely:

i. Nigerian participants from States with people of Yoruba extraction ( Lagos , Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Edo, Kwara, Delta, Kogi and Niger States )

ii. People of Yoruba extraction from Brazil , Cuba , USA , Trinidad and Tobago , Canada , Republic of Benin , Togo , Cote D’Ivoire , Sierra Leone and so on. These countries are to stage performances at the festival

iii. Foreign tourists who may wish to savour the glamour, fun and taste the rich cultural heritage of the Yorubas

iv. Corporate and individual bodies who may wish to buy into the festival to showcase their services

Lagos and Ogun states are being considered to co-host the Festival being the first of its kind and in view of the facilities required for a befitting outing. This consideration would not however preclude these two states from competing with other States with people of Yoruba extraction for the hosting right of the next festival in two years time.

Expected Outcomes

Among others, the Festival promises to:

i. Serve as an avenue for cultural renaissance

ii. Serve as unification platform

iii. Harness the economic, moral and cultural potentials of the Yorubas

iv. Offer direct economic gains/values to the people and corporate citizens

v. Promote investment opportunities

vi. Project and boost tourism potentials of the Nigerian nation

vii. Serve as avenue to promote global peace and harmony

Benefits to Sponsors


i. It will have direct bearing to the host communities in view of the grassroots content

ii. It is also a most effective mass mobilization strategy

iii. It offers tremendous opportunities to project tourism potentials of the various localities, creativity of local participants and economic opportunities of your state

iv. It offers an informal interactive platform for would-be investors and potential stakeholders in your state’s economy.

i. It will give the organization the benefit of reaching out to a broad and very captive audience and potential customers

ii. Tremendous branding opportunities

iii. It is a one-stop international market place

iv. In view of the international involvement in this festival, organizations will invariably enjoy the best of media publicity

v. Broadening of market outreach

vi. Organization’s logo will be included in our promotional materials including our website, programme of events banners, posters and souvenirs

vii. It will undoubtedly offer organizations a most potent means of fulfilling corporate social responsibility to a critical mass of the people

It is against the aforementioned that we seek your collaboration; participation and sponsorship to enable us achieve the outlined objectives.


FROM the Guardian Newspaper,Nigeria

Organisers shift Yoruba arts festival

RECENT political developments in Ekiti and Ondo states have led to the postponement of the finals of the World Festival of Yoruba Arts and Culture (WOFEYAC) to the last quarter of this year.

The train of the festival, which opened in Ile-Ife, Osun State last November, should have moved to Ondo and Ekiti states before arriving in Ogun and Lagos states for the finals, but for the leadership changes in Ekiti and Ondo.

The Planning Co-ordinator of the festival, Mrs. Banke Akinlaja, said in a statement yesterday that the dates of the finals were shifted to allow calm return to the political terrain in the South-West.

“This festival is a programme that will continue years after years and we have to ensure that the foundation is well laid. Even if it takes us three years to get there, the task must be to get it right and have a programme that all Yoruba in the world will be proud of.”

Akinlaja said some of the programmes of the festival would continue from April where events promoting Yoruba culture and heritage would be taken round all the South-West states before the finals in the last quarter of the year.


August 2, 2008




Black beauty
published: Monday | February 16, 2004


JAMAICAN MODELS have always done well overseas and their accomplishments have been well noted in the media. However, in recent years, there has been an overwhelming demand for dark-skinned models – mainly for their exotic look. Ethnic models such as Naomi Campbell from Britain, Alek Wek, Liya Kebede and Yasmine Warsame from Africa have definitely made their mark in the world of fashion and have paved the way for other dark-skinned beauties such as our own Nakeisha Robinson, Nadine Willis and Jaunel McKenzie.

Lately, other Jamaican black beauties have made an impact in the international fashion scene and one of the modelling agencies that have made this happen is Saint International. Headed by CEO Deiwight Peters, Saint has placed a number of Jamaican models with leading agencies in the fashion capitals of the world such as Milan, London, Paris and New York. The agency has also broken into the South African market, where a number of Jamaican models have been placed doing either editorials, commercials or both. In this week’s issue, Flair focuses on the successes of some of these Jamaican beauties who have stunned the world and are managing to hold their own in a glamorous yet competitive environment.


A former web-site administrator of the RJR Communication Group, Dionne Stephens entered the world of modelling two and a half years ago, but was signed internationally by Saint since last June. Standing at 5ft. 9in. tall, Stephens’ charcoal black skin is becoming a favourite among fashion photographers across Europe. She continues on her blazing success trail scoring the cover of one of Spain’s leading fashion magazines Punto H.

The black beauty, who is presently based in London with Profile Models, has also been a favourite among leading European magazines from the start. She has made two appearances in the iconic ID magazine with other high profile magazines such as Bolz, Tense, the South African Marie Claire, Colors, French Connection UK, Look Book, Star Mag among others. She also has an upcoming spread in Trace Magazine, which promises to take her career to yet another level.

In January, Stephens started the year with renowned British designer Ted Baker. She also strutted down the catwalk during London Fashion Week last year for another famous British designer Hamish Marrow and is expected to do so for other clients in this year’s Fashion Week.


We spoke to Stephens recently between castings in London via her cellphone and asked her a few questions about her new fabulous life as a model.

FL: How are you finding your new life as a fashion model. Is it glamorous as several persons may think?

Stephens: Before I started modelling, I always assumed as others that it was an exciting lifestyle. Now that I’m getting first-hand experience, I’ve realised that it’s not as exciting as it seems. It’s actually hard and photo shoots are definitely not glamorous while doing them. although the end results may seem so.

FL: What has been your most difficult photo shoot?

Stephens: The hardest shoot for me was while doing the one for Trace Magazine. I was strapped in a harness from the ceiling while holding a pound of iron in my hands. It was quite uncomfortable to say the least.

FL: What has been your most exciting project?

Stephens: I have a small role in a 007 James Bond spoof. It’s actually a French movie in which I am a cocktail waitress in the film. Parts of the movie were shot in the Pinewood Studios in England.

FL: What’s your biggest indulgence since becoming a model?

Stephens: Definitely shoes. I just love them. Sometimes when I get my pay cheque, I head directly to a shoe store. My favourite type of shoes are boots, I love them when they are knee-high with stiletto heels.

FL: Do Europeans warm up to you knowing that you’re a Jamaican?

Stephens: On first meeting me, many persons here think I’m from Ghana or Kenya – not Jamaica. I have to convince them that I’m all-Jamaican. Jamaican music is actually doing very well now and Sean Paul is big in London right now.

FL: Which famous persons have you met since modelling internationally?

Stephens: There are a few persons yes. The ones who stand out readily in my mind are British designer Julian McDonald and international model Alek Wek.

FL: What is one thing you would like to tell your family now?

Stephens: I’d like to tell them not to worry about me as I’m having a great time and they’ll all get a chance to see me soon. Big up to my crew at RJR.


August 1, 2008


It’s Harder When You’re Darker
by: Tasha M. Martinez

Turn on the TV and flip to your favorite music video station.

I think of Spike Lee’s School Daze. Will there every be a sequel where the dark-skinned women are the sought after ones? The idolized? That movie touched upon the idea of racism within the race, which is still very much an issue between blacks, especially in entertainment today. I can see why so many little dark-skinned girls feel left out and uncelebrated. Because in entertainment, we are not the celebrated women. At a self-esteem developmental age, young girls start wishing they were something they are not, instead of loving who they are for what they are. Regardless of what anyone says, beauty IS only skin deep, and I know this. Beauty is not just one thing. God made us all beautiful and we are beautiful because we are different. Tell each side of the story. Show each shade of beauty. The other day, I was watching VH1’s Driven on Beyonce’. Ok, it’s a known fact. She is a beautiful, talented, young black woman. Something her younger sister Solange said in the documentary caught my attention. She basically said that Beyonce’ has always been “hated on.” She then added that you take a lot of slack for being a black girl with light skin and long hair. I feel it is the contrary. That may indeed be the case for little seven-year-old girls playing together and not liking each other. But I feel that dark-skinned black woman take slack for NOT being light-skinned with long hair. It’s not the other way around. Why would you take slack? You are what the entertainment industry sees as a beautiful black woman. Hearing Tupac say, “The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice,” I’m sure made a lot of women feel good. But B2K wants to go on trips “with chicks that look like Alicia Keys.” This is what my three little sisters hear and see today in 2003. Now don’t get me wrong, I come from a family who instilled great self-confidence in me, and I have a mother who always taught me to love and respect myself because I am beautiful inside and out. She taught me to be proud of who I am, so I know that it starts at home for everyone. No one likes feeling left out though, especially when in most cases, those doing the berry picking are pots calling the kettle black. Basically, I feel it stinks the way dark-skinned women are portrayed, or are not portrayedÂ…more like betrayed. Is it that people have forgotten where they came from? Who they came from? If I started seeing chocolate beauties in music video’s now I’d think something was wrong because it is so out of the ordinary. I just feel like every form of media plays a major role in shaping our children’s lives. Imagine for just one moment that your pre-teen daughter comes to you feeling down because everyone on TV and in magazines that is classified as beautiful is the total opposite of her. This Essay Was Submitted By A VIBE Online User
Article tags: It’s, Harder, You’re, Darker

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Your comment:

t says:

I agree, they think they are better than us just because their light and that is tatall not true, half of them are so dag on UGLY and have the nerve to pick on our skin color,I`d rather be dark that look like who did it and ran…you cant wipe off ugly,being dark doesn’t make me ugly…being dark doesn’t make anyone who is ugly…I look at the inside too.if you have an ugly inside then dag on it you are hideous on the outside!!!! and besides the lightskin girls or boys are usually whores who end up in a no good situatuion,working for minimum wage or caught something and you know what that something is.I have alot to say about dark people but for now I am going to end it by saying BLACK IS* BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

October 12, 2007 at 6:03 pm

Ebone says:

I enjoyed your article concerning color issues that still hold us hostage as african american people. As a teacher and aspiring recording artist, it has always been evident to me that the industry is one-sided. And it really is a shame because the industry has no idea what they’re missing out on. Chocolate beauties have reigned supreme for years, whether its been celebrated or not. I have always been the “exception”. You know the girl who hears so often, “wow, I’ve never seen such a beautiful dark-skinned woman like you before!” As ignorant as that seems, its the reality and how do I respond, with knowledge hoping that it will breed some type of positivity. I find myself schooling our people everyday and not just my students about how lucky we are as a people to be represented as a rainbow of so many different hues and colors that should be celebrated and not ignored. We must press on and let our sun-kissed little sisters know just how royally beautiful they are and that their uniqueness will take them far. As f or me, I plan to take this music industry by storm and help change this poisonous mind-set that has resulted in bleaching creams and self-hatred. BLACK is beautiful and that will never change despite what anyone says !!!!!!

October 6, 2007 at 11:23 am

ray says:

i love me some dark skinned women. they the most beautiful women on earth. i would choose gabriele union and foxy brown over beyonce anyday. not every black male thinks light is right. im not gonna sit here and say i am not attracted to bright girls but i prefer chocolate more than caramel. at the end of the day all black women are beautiful and its time the media realised that. its not realistic to show all light skin women in videos- they not the only appealing females out there. there should be more divirsity so every one is represented. its not fair that in this day and age, little black girls are growin up with self-hatred coz they aint light enough.

December 31, 2006 at 2:54 pm

david says:

I agree with alot of what you are trying to say but, in my opinion you’re not looking at the total reality from both sides of the black color spectrum. mixed people aren’t blacks, and they never were black, only whites choose to group them as African Americans which have become a loose term and okay by me. the exat same way that each and every other amerian of half racial ancestry, that isnt white, is grouped.
Blacks in reality are dark, medium and lightskinned naturally, like most other darkskinned people are. while our ethnic features remain the same. its not so much about dark or light skin being accepted in our culture but the entire black race, regardless of complexion, being excluded in representation. outside of beyonce name more than five light skinned full black girls you know in the industry, and in fact there may be more darkskinned blacks you could named than you could lightskinned blacks . monica is a lightskin black girl to me or close to it, but she still doesn’t fit the standards americans are try to fit into these days.

i also want to mention that alot of the lightskinned females you see nowadays in hip hop video are in fact latino or of other ethnicities not black. and that the industry has become increasingly more diverse over the years since it has come to be as it has for the last ten years. So should we say NO Latinos in any videos. But i must also admit you are right and more ways than i think you are wrong. as most times these latino and more mixed looking individuals portray black characters’ roles it seems these days.

December 18, 2006 at 7:31 pm


July 17, 2008





Just like in one of her songs, there’s No More Rain these days for ANGIE STONE. This soul queen from Columbia, South Carolina had success with the groups Sequence and Vertical Hold before launching a solo career that led to hit albums Black Butterfly, Mahogany Soul (with the anthem Brotha) and Stone Love. That just wasn’t enough for the fickle music industry. So Stone kept busy in the studio and started acting (TV sitcoms, plays and the film The Fighting Temptations) before signing with the resurrected Stax label to release her latest smash The Art of Love & War.

We learned through her stint on VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club two years ago that she suffered from Type 2 diabetes. “[It] was brought on by Prednisone,” she told Tasty Clips. “I was taking some medication that saved my organs but enhanced the diabetes. I’m hearing that some research was done that said gastric bypass kills diabetes because the disease lives in your stomach. [It’s] under control because I don’t eat like I’m crazy and do what I’m supposed to do most of the time. When you’re a person on a steroid for medication a lot of working out doesn’t help you. It hurts you more than help you because you build muscle and mass. My regiment is joy and love and living life to the fullest. I go bowling two or three times a week and have a routine in my house. I clean instead of having a maid. If I stay active within the space I’m in I’ll be OK.”

These days, Stone serves as a spokesperson for the F.A.C.E. Diabetes campaign, which launched at Chicago’s Salem Baptist Church Children’s Ministry Building. Through a series of practical and sustainable programs in local communities, their goal is to help foster behavioral and attitudinal changes in areas critical to success in managing diabetes such as nutrition/cooking, physical activity, health and overall well-being.

Signing with a smaller label like Stax was a surprise. What made you make that decision? “Cause anyplace was better than J Records at the time. I’d had enough of [them] and I wanted a change. So I went and started from scratch with an independent label which eventually turned into another major situation.” Was J not giving you enough freedom? “Well I always had my freedom. It’s just that they start looking at you like they’re equal to you. When you become a slash artist/producer/mentor/and go-to girl for advice, you start to feel like an employee as well as an artist.” Are you happy with the way you’re being promoted? “Now. It’s getting better. Originally I wasn’t.” The Concord label is basically handling it. “[They’re] still handling it but I don’t think that they really have a clue, in terms of this level of success with an artist, of what to do.” Well, you seem to be doing an excellent job. “Guess what? The record is doing it because with very little presence I’m very excited and appreciative that [it’s] moving. Even though the pace is slower than normal, it’s moving nonetheless with very little awareness.”

How tough is it in the music industry now if you don’t have a certain look? “Well I think I look fabulous. Have you seen me lately?” I have. John Legend has a new artist Estelle who is considered difficult to promote because of her look. It really comes down to the music, doesn’t it? “It does come down to the music. We have to get out of this fairy tale guideline of looking a certain way. That’s not to discredit beautiful people, but God didn’t make us all look the same way. We all look the way we look. People need to recognize that in this world beauty is only skin deep. The industry is caught up in looks because that’s the way Satan has designed the game to control the mentality of the weaker species. I really feel sad because this young lady has a great record out and not even the relationship with [John Legend] can afford her a better outlook. It tells you that we’re in trouble.” There’s so much more to it and that seems to be gone. “Well, you know it goes back to the very beginning. If you were light skinned you were in, if you were dark skinned you were out. It very well works that way in the industry. You see very [few] dark skinned people on top of the game. Most of the superstars are very fair or mulatto people. You can check your stats. It works that way in the film world too. I have lost almost every single opportunity to star in a film to Macy Gray or Jill Scott because they’re light and I’m dark. I’ve been told so many times that it’s a certain look that they’re looking for. So you can’t even use weight anymore. You can’t use age because everybody’s over 35 that’s running around doing it. It comes down to what is more appealing. I’m only good for the pro political stuff that will afford all of my people from the hood to vote for the right president – or to support whatever because I’m more on their level, so to speak. So to me it hasn’t changed much. Slavery has just taken on a whole new different direction but it’s the same process.”

In addition to concerts, what can we expect from you this year? “I’m actually working on two books right now – [one is] poetry and [the other is] called Life and the Shadows of a Sex Symbol.” Is this biographical? “Hmmm. I won’t say that. There is some real stuff, then there’s some REAL stuff. You have to wait and see. I’m supposed to be working with Robi Reed on something and [also] Tracey Edmonds. I’m still working on a stage project and becoming a producer. I’m always ahead of the game. I have music in my back pocket.”

And apparently it runs in the family. Angie’s daughter Diamond Stone dubbed The Princess of Hip-Hop Soul is hitting the stage of Headliners on a bill led by southern Rock N Soul sensation Joe Tucker on June 14th. Diamond recently added a new title to Angie’s rep: Grandmom!

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