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OBAMA! -VOGUE MAGAZINE 2012 INTERVIEW WITH BOTH OUR BLACK PRESIDENT ATI OUR BLACK SKINNED BEAUTY FIRST LADY IN THE BLACK HOUSE!

March 17, 2013
BLACK LOVE IN ACTION!

BLACK LOVE IN ACTION!

VOGUE Magazine

Leading by Example: First Lady Michelle Obama

photographed by Annie Leibovitz


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At the start of a second term, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk to Jonathan Van Meter about their life as parents, their marriage, and their vision for America’s families.

One morning in late January, I am standing at one end of the grand red-carpeted corridor that runs through the center of the White House, when suddenly the First Lady appears at the other. “Heeeee’s comin’,” she says of her husband’s imminent arrival. “He’s coming down the stairs now.” The president is on his way from the residence above, and just a split second before he appears, the First Lady, in a midnight-blue Reed Krakoff sleeveless dress and a black kitten heel, slips into the tiniest bit of a surprisingly good soft-shoe, and then the two of them walk arm in arm into the Red Room to sit for a portrait by Annie Leibovitz. The photographer has her iPod playing the Black Eyed Peas song “Where Is the Love?” It is a mid-tempo hip-hop lament about the problematic state of the world. As the First Lady and an aide laugh together over some inside joke, the president starts nodding his head to the beat: “Who picked the music? I love this song.”

I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I’m gettin’ older, y’all, people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin’
Selfishness got us followin’ the wrong direction

A few minutes later, Leibovitz has the president sit in a comfortable chair and then directs the First Lady to perch on the arm. At one point, the First Lady puts her hand on top of his and, instinctively, he wraps his fingers around her thumb. “There’s a lot of huggin’ going on,” says Leibovitz, and everyone laughs. “You’re a very different kind of president and First Lady.”

See our animated video of Michelle Obama’s best looks.

That they are. Put aside for a moment that they are the first African-Americans to preside in the White House, or that it feels perfectly normal to see the president enjoying a hip-hop song in the Red Room before lunch, or that the First Lady has bucked convention by routinely mixing Thom Browne and Alexander McQueen with J.Crew and Target, or that Malia and Sasha’s grandma lives with them upstairs, or that the whole family texts and takes pictures of one another with their smart phones. What is truly unusual about the Obamas is that, in their own quietly determined way, they have insisted on living their lives on their terms: not as the First Family but as a family, first.

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“He is a dad,” says the president’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, “and a husband, and he enjoys being with his children and his wife. He doesn’t have a father. He’s trying really hard to be a good dad.” Says former senior adviser David Axelrod, “This is conjecture on my part, but I have to believe that because of the rather tumultuous childhood that he had, family is even more important to him. It’s central to who he is. That’s why he’s home every night at 6:30 for dinner.”

Click through our archival slideshow First Ladies in Vogue.

The president and First Lady both seem to be in ebullient moods, and deservedly so. His surprisingly decisive reelection is now history; the tonally precise inauguration is ten days behind them. The First Lady, it must be said, is funny, and it soon becomes clear that she can’t resist an opportunity to tease her husband. The first real question I ask them is about the persistent notion among the Washington press corps that they—unlike, say, the Reagans or the Clintons—are somehow antisocial, that they don’t privately entertain enough at the White House, that they don’t break bread and smoke cigars and play poker with their enemies. When I joke that they might want to “put that idea to rest” once and for all, the president starts to answer, but his wife, whose back has gone up ever so slightly, cuts him off. “I don’t think it’s our job to put an idea to rest. Our job is, first and foremost, to make sure our family is whole. You know, we have small kids; they’re growing every day. But I think we were both pretty straightforward when we said, ‘Our number-one priority is making sure that our family is whole.’ ”

They are quick to point out that most of their friends have kids themselves, and that when they go on vacation, usually with longtime family friends and relatives, they end up with a houseful of children. “The stresses and the pressures of this job are so real that when you get a minute,” the First Lady says, “you want to give that extra energy to your fourteen- and eleven-year-old. . . .” “Although,” her husband says, a big grin spreading across his face, “as I joked at a press conference, now that they want less time with us, who knows? Maybe you’ll see us out in the clubs.”

“Saturday night!” says the First Lady. “The kids are out with their friends. Let’s go party!”

“ ‘The Obamas are out in the club again?’ ” says the president, laughing. “What is true,” he says, more seriously, “is that we probably—even before we came to Washington—had already settled in a little bit to parenthood. And. . . .” Here he pauses in the way that only President Obama can. “Let’s put it this way: I did an awful lot of socializing in my teens and 20s.

Read André Leon Talley’s story on Michelle Obama as she settled into the White House in 2009.

“But what is also true,” he says, “is that the culture in Washington has changed in ways that probably haven’t been great for the way this place runs. . . . When you talk to the folks who were in the Senate or the House back in the sixties, seventies, eighties, there was much less pressure to go back and forth to your home state. . . . Campaigns weren’t as expensive. So a lot of members of Congress bought homes here in the area; their kids went to school here; they ended up socializing in part because their families were here. By the time I got to the Senate, that had changed. Michelle and the girls, for example, stayed in Chicago, and I had this little bachelor apartment that Michelle refused to stay in because she thought it was a little, uh. . . .”

“Yikes,” she says.

“You know, pizza boxes everywhere,” he says. “When she came, I had to get a hotel room.” The First Lady leans in toward me. “That place caught on fire.”

“It did end up catching on fire,” says the president sheepishly.

“And I was like, I told you it was a dump,” she says. Her husband continues, “As a consequence, I think, when the Washington press writes about this, part of what they’re longing for has less to do with us; it has to do with an atmosphere here where there was more of a community in Washington, which did result, I think, in less polarization. Because if your kids went to school together and you’re seeing each other at ball games and church, then Democrats and Republicans had a sense that this is not just perpetual campaigning and political warfare.”

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While the First Lady may not be a Tiger Mom, and the Obamas may not be helicopter parents (despite their access to Marine One), they are, in fact, exemplars of a new paradigm—the super-involved parenting team for whom being equally engaged in the minutiae of their children’s lives is paramount. Perhaps this is what has been misconstrued by old-school Washington. After all, it is so unlike the way that the White House has traditionally functioned, as a paragon of American family life, complete with a staff that all but invented the idea of standing on ceremony.

Later I bring this up to Anita Dunn, former White House communications director and a consultant on the reelection campaign who has a teenager of her own. “You know,” she says, “they are of a different generation. Most of [the Obamas’] friends have both parents in the workforce, and there is a degree of involvement from both parents in raising the children that simply wasn’t the case earlier. But they also both know what it’s like to be raising kids in this very challenging time—whether it’s video games or Facebook or smart phones. That they are experiencing these things along with so many other American parents gives them a unique perspective on the challenges families face.”

I mention the wintry tableau on Inauguration Day, all four Obamas texting and taking pictures of one another. “Sasha plays basketball with her little team at a community center in my neighborhood,” says Dunn. “My son played there and, you know, there are no bleachers or anything—parents are just standing on the sidelines. And that’s an experience that the president has, just like all those other parents. If I was in a school play, my father would show up. But, you know, he wasn’t at the rehearsals. It is a different model. But I think it has been a valuable thing, to help them break out of the bubble.”

From our 2012 Special Edition Best Dressed Issue: Michelle Obama: A Woman of Substance

A friend of mine with two kids who are just heading off to college pointed out to me recently that Malia and Sasha are on the cusp of that stage in life when parenting requires, as she put it, “elasticity”—and life in the White House seems anything but elastic. “Well, the environment becomes more elastic,” the First Lady says. “The Secret Service has to change the way they do things; they have to become more flexible. And they do. Because they want to make sure that these girls are happy and that they have a normal life. . . . There’s a lot of energy that goes into working with staff, working with agents, working with friends’ parents to figure out how do we, you know, let these kids go to the party and have a sleepover and walk through the city on their own, go to the game. Any parent knows that these are the times when you’re just a scheduler and chauffeur for your kids. And that doesn’t change for us. Ninety percent of our conversation is about these girls: What are they doing? And who’s got what practice? And what birthday party is coming up? And did we get a gift for this person? You know, I mean, it is endless and it gets to be pretty exhausting, and if you take your eye off the ball, that’s when their lives become inelastic,” she says emphatically. “So it requires us to be there and be present so that we can respond and have the system respond to their needs. . . . And he’s doing it while still dealing with Syria and health care. He’s as up on every friend, every party, every relationship. . . . And if you’re out at dinner every night, you miss those moments where you can check in and just figure them out when they’re ready to share with you.”

The Obamas’ unusually close partnership and decision-making process started long before they had children. It is now part of legend that when Michelle Robinson decided to leave her cushy office at a corporate Chicago law firm to go work at City Hall for Valerie Jarrett, then deputy chief of staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley, she asked Jarrett to have dinner with her then-fiancé before making the leap. When I ask Jarrett if she could offer any insight into how life in the White House has affected the Obamas’ relationship, she says, “They had a very good marriage going in, but it strengthened it because, well, it’s tested it. He has had some really, really tough moments in the White House, and the fact that his partner in this journey has been so steadfastly in his corner and never wavered, it teaches you every day to appreciate what you have. When you’ve had a really tough day and had to make the kinds of literally life-and-death decisions that he’s had to make in the Oval Office, to come home and know you’re safe and that your children are being well taken care of and you feel totally nurtured. . . . We joke about this: He goes home for dinner and no one’s interested in his day. They want to talk about their day. And that is such a relief. And she manages that for him.”

Find out more about Michelle Obama at Voguepedia.com.

When I paraphrase Jarrett’s observation for the president and First Lady, he shifts in his seat and leans forward. “Well, what is true is that, first and foremost, Michelle thinks about the girls. And pretty much everything else from Michelle’s perspective right now is secondary. And rightly so. She is a great mom. What is also true is Michelle’s had to accommodate”—he pauses for a long while—“a life that”—another pause—“it’s fair to say was not necessarily what she envisioned for herself. She has to put up with me. And my schedule and my stresses. And she’s done a great job on that. But I think it would be a mistake to think that my wife, when I walk in the door, is, Hey, honey, how was your day? Let me give you a neck rub. It’s not as if Michelle is thinking in terms of, How do I cater to my husband? I think it’s much more, We’re a team, and how do I make sure that this guy is together enough that he’s paying attention to his girls and not forgetting the basketball game that he’s supposed to be going to on Sunday? So she’s basically managing me quite effectively—that’s what it comes down to. I’m sure Valerie might have made it sound more romantic.” The First Lady, who has been staring at her lap through this entire answer, finally looks up and laughs.

It almost comes as a relief to see the president, so famous for his cool, get a little defensive. I bring up what someone described as his “Hawaiian mellowness” and ask the First Lady to describe this aspect of her husband. “I’ve tried to explain this guy to people over the years, but there is a calmness to him that is just . . . it has been a consistent part of his character. Which is why I think he is uniquely suited for this challenge—because there is a steadiness. And maybe it’s because of his Hawaiian upbringing—you go to Hawaii and it’s Chillsville; maybe it was because his life growing up was a little less steady, so he had to create that steadiness for himself . . . but he is that person, in all situations, over the course of these last four years, from watching the highs and lows of health-care reform to dealing with two very contentious, challenging elections. . . . The most you get from him is ‘You know, that is gonna be tough. . . .’ There are a lot of times I can’t tell how his day went. Unless I really dig down. Because when he walks through that door, he can let go of it all. And it just doesn’t penetrate his soul. And that’s the beautiful thing for me to see as his wife. That was one of the things I was worried about: How would politics affect this very decent, genuine, noble individual? And there is just something about his spirit that allows all that stuff to stay on the outside.”

Someone recently introduced me to the concept of “borrowed functioning,” something that successful couples do without even realizing it. When I describe the concept to the Obamas and confess that my partner of fifteen years is an unflappable, hard-to-read Midwesterner and that I am an emotional hothead from Jersey, they both laugh and gamely play along.

“Well, patience and calm I’m borrowing,” says the First Lady. “Or trying to mirror. I’ve learned that from my husband, that sort of, you know, ability to not get too high or too low with changes and bumps in the road . . . to do more breathing in and just going with it. I’m learning that every day. And to the extent that I’ve made changes in my life, it’s just sort of stepping back and seeing a change not as something to guard against but as a wonderful addition . . . that can make life fun and unexpected. Oftentimes, it’s the way we react to change that is the thing that determines the overall experience. So I’ve learned to let go and enjoy it and take it in and not take things too personally.”

Without missing a beat, the president says, “And what Michelle has done is to remind me every day of the virtues of order.” The First Lady lets out a big laugh. “Being on time. Hanging up your clothes. Being intentional about planning time with your kids. In some ways I think . . . we’re very different people, and some of that’s temperamental, some of it is how we grew up. Michelle grew up in a model nuclear family: mom, dad, brother. . . . She just has these deep, wonderful roots. When you go back to Chicago, she’s got family everywhere. . . . There’s just a warmth and a sense of belonging. And you know, that’s not how I grew up. I had this far-flung family, father left at a very young age, a stepfather who ended up passing away as well. My mother was this wonderful spirit, and she was adventurous but not always very well organized. And, so, what that means is that I’m more comfortable with change and adventure and trying new things, but the downside of it is, sometimes—particularly when we were early on in our marriage—I wasn’t always thinking about the fact that my free-spirited ways might be having an impact on the person I’m with. And conversely, early in our marriage, Michelle provided this sense of stability and clarity and certainty about things, but sometimes she resisted trying something new just because it might seem a little scary or push her out of her comfort zone. I think what we’ve learned from each other is that sense of. . . .”

“Balance,” she says.

“There’s no doubt I’m a better man having spent time with Michelle. I would never say that Michelle’s a better woman, but I will say she’s a little more patient.”

“I would say I’m a better woman. You couldn’t say it.”

“I couldn’t say it,” he says.

The First Lady looks at me: “It’s good that he learned not to say that.” And then turns and looks at him and smiles. “Don’t say that.”

Being around the Obamas, I am struck by a few things: They are both tall and great-looking, and his hair is not so gray. In fact, neither of them looks like they’re on either side of 50. He has beautiful hands, with long, slender fingers that make his wedding band seem enormous. Her Midwestern accent is pronounced, and his legendary Hawaiian mellowness is in full flower for most of the interview—though he is also capable of more than a little swagger. When I ask the First Lady if her husband’s mellow nature is what gets interpreted as “aloof,” she says, “Absolutely. I mean, I don’t know what people expect to see in a president. Maybe they want him to yell and scream at somebody at some point. Sometimes I’d like him to do that.” She laughs and looks at him. “But that’s just not how he deals with stress. And I think that’s something we want in our leaders.”

“It is true that I don’t get too high or I don’t get too low, day to day,” the president says. “Partly because I try to bring to the job a longer-term time frame. I’m a history buff, and I know that big changes take time. But I also know that, setting politics aside, usually things are never as good as you think they are or as bad as you think they are. And that has served me well temperamentally.”

But as the First Lady observes, “all it takes is watching him spend time on a rope line” for you to see the emotion and the connection. I got to watch the president doing just that two days earlier, in a high school gymnasium in Las Vegas after his speech on immigration, and what was unmistakable was the genuine pleasure he took in hugging and handshaking and saying “I love you back!” to the several hundred people who were screaming and crying as they reached out to touch him. It seems that he loves the attention, sure—but it struck me that he loves it to the right degree. How did the First Lady put it? “It doesn’t penetrate his soul.”

Everyone I spoke with about the Obamas said the same thing: What you see is what you get. “The president, when he goes to an event, that is the same Barack Obama who’s in a meeting,” says Dunn. “There really isn’t a divide between their private and public personas.” The First Lady’s chief of staff, Tina Tchen, says, “When people ask me, ‘What’s she really like?’ I say, ‘Well, you’re seeing it. That is exactly who she is and what she’s like.’ ”

As White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reminded me, the Obamas went from relative anonymity to worldwide superfame—potent symbols of once-unimaginable progress—in the blink of an eye. Most couples take the long road to the White House; the Obamas’ zip-line arrival left them no time to develop the public personas presumed to be essential for surviving a life subject to that level of scrutiny. “There is a distance that naturally happens as you rise up the political ladder,” says Jarrett. “And I think because his rise happened so fast there was no time to create that distance.” To illustrate, she tells me a story about the time in 2004 when she was vacationing with the Obamas on Martha’s Vineyard, shortly after state senator Obama gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston that launched him onto the national stage. “He went out for a jog,” says Jarrett, “and he came back and he said, ‘Can you believe it? Someone took a photograph of me.’ He was shocked. And we were like, ‘Really?’ He and Michelle went back to southern Illinois and suddenly they were rock stars.”

The president chooses to see their rapid ascent as an advantage. “I think that’s been very helpful . . .” he says. “We were pretty much who we are by the time I hit the national scene. We didn’t grow up or come of age under a spotlight. We were anonymous folks. I was a state senator, but nobody knows who a state senator is. So most of our 30s and 40s were as a typical middle-class family. . . . That really didn’t change until I was 45 years old. And there’s something about having lived a normal life and raised kids.” Here he slips into the syntax of his younger self. “We had to figure out how to make a mortgage, payin’ the bills, goin’ to Target, and freakin’ out when . . . the woman who’s looking after your girls while Michelle’s working suddenly decides she’s quittin’. . . . All those experiences made us who we were, so that by the time this thing hit, it was hard for us to. . . .”

“Be different people,” says the First Lady. “And I think we are accountable to each other for being who we are. There’s no way I could walk in the door and be somebody different from who I’ve been with this man for 20-some-odd years. He would laugh me out of the house!” She goes on, “And we are also blessed with families who hold us accountable.”

“Exactly,” says the president.

This reminds me of something the First Lady’s brother told me. “I played basketball in England for two years,” said Craig Robinson, “and I didn’t realize it, but apparently, I developed somewhat of an accent, and my sister and my father killed me when I came back. They were like, ‘What happened? You go to England and you have an accent?’ It would have been the same thing if Michelle had gotten to be the First Lady and started acting differently. She would have heard it from me and my mom.”

“My mother doesn’t do interviews,” says the First Lady, “but let me tell you: She is not long on pretense. She’s the first one to remind us who we are. And it’s been very helpful having her living with us. . . . We can check reality against her sensibilities.”

“Now, in fairness,” says the president, “there is one thing that’s changed.” The First Lady looks at him. “What’s that?”

“Which is, I used to only have, like, two suits,” he says.

Now you must have dozens, I say.

“Thank God,” she says. “Now, let me tell you: This is the man who still boasts about, This khaki pair of pants I’ve had since I was 20.” The president throws his head back, laughing. “And I’m like, ‘You don’t want to brag about that.’ ” Jay Carney and the young staffers from the White House press office, who are all sitting on a sofa on the other side of the room, crack up.

“Michelle’s like Beyoncé in that song,” says the president. “ ‘Let me upgrade ya!’ She upgraded me.”

“The girls and I are always rooting when he wears, like, a stripe. They’re like, ‘Dad! Oh, you look so handsome. Oh, stripes! You go!’ ”

Taking fashion advice from the First Lady wouldn’t be the worst thing the president could do. After all, she has inspired a modern definition of effortless American chic. Later she tells me this about her relationship to fashion: “I always say that women should wear whatever makes them feel good about themselves. That’s what I always try to do. . . . I also believe that if you’re comfortable in your clothes it’s easy to connect with people and make them feel comfortable as well. In every interaction that I have with people, I always want to show them my most authentic self.”

The week I am in D.C. happens to be Secretary Hillary Clinton’s last week at the State Department, and just outside Valerie Jarrett’s office, glowing on the computer screen of her longtime assistant, Katherine Branch, is a photograph taken this very day of the president and the secretary: He is signing a presidential memorandum promoting gender equality and women’s issues globally as a priority at the Department of State, a longtime cause of Clinton’s. When I remind Jarrett of the bruising primary and the rancor that colored those days before Obama nominated Clinton to his Cabinet, she laughs and then brings up the recent joint interview the former rivals gave to 60 Minutes. “I saw him yesterday and I said, ‘Did you watch the interview?’ And he goes, ‘No, I lived the interview.’ And I said, ‘You gotta watch it. What you probably aren’t aware of is how the affection that you two have for one another just came through completely.’ And he said, ‘Well, of course it did. I love her.’ ”

As we talk, Jarrett draws my attention to an elaborately framed pair of documents on the wall above the table where we are sitting. It is a birthday gift from the president, given to her just nine days after he won reelection. I get up to study them. On the left is the “petition for universal suffrage,” dated January 29, 1866; on the right, a proposal from the House of Representatives, dated May 19, 1919: “Amendment to the Constitution extending the right of suffrage to women.”

“It’s, like, the real thing!” says Jarrett. “Signed by Susan B. Anthony!” The day she opened the present in the Oval Office, she stared at it for a minute, and as the significance of the gift dawned on her, she said, “Where did you get this?” And he said, “I’m the president. I can get things.” Reminding his best friend of the legacy of those women who have come before is thoughtful, but its underlying message is echt-Obama: Progress takes time. (Fifty-three years in this case.) When I mention this to the president, he lights up. “We talk about this all the time in the White House,” he says. “In some ways the changes that have taken place in this country are amazingly rapid. There are very few examples of countries where you go, basically in one person’s lifetime, from segregation to an African-American president. And yet, we live in a culture that is impatient, and so, if things don’t happen in one month or one year, folks start wondering what’s taking so long.”

David Axelrod no longer works in the White House, but there was no more beleaguered presence on television during the first term, doggedly defending his boss against the ideologues in his own party. “I was struck,” he says, “that there were so many who were unhappy about how long, for example, it took to end the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, and there were some who felt that the health-care law was insufficient. And, you know, hanging on the wall in the Oval Office was the Emancipation Proclamation. It was a reminder that there was great disquiet among many in [Lincoln’s] Republican base that he didn’t sign it immediately. And there were those who felt it wasn’t enveloping enough. But it was what he could do, and it was momentous. And you are reminded of that constantly in that building, and it’s comforting to remember that you can only judge these things in the fullness of time.”

What’s astonishing is just how suddenly such liberal-dream issues like gun control, immigration reform, and marriage equality have dominated the outset of Obama’s second term. I point out to Axelrod that these would seem to be perfect lessons in presidential patience: how unseen events can create, out of thin air, political opportunities over once intractable issues. “There’s no question about it,” he says. “We have a chance now to get immigration done, whereas we didn’t have that chance in the last four years. The awareness of the gaping holes in our gun laws is much greater now as a result of the tragedy in Newtown. But you have to grab that moment. That’s how progress is made. And the longer you serve in the presidency, the more you learn that.”

Though President Obama faces moral quagmires of every imaginable sort in every part of the world, from the Keystone oil pipeline to drone strikes to peace in the Middle East, in the big picture, he will no doubt be remembered for ordering the assassination of Osama bin Laden and ending the war in Iraq and hopefully Afghanistan. But if he accomplishes even part of the agenda he laid out in his inaugural address, he has the chance to go down in history as one of the greatest domestic-policy presidents ever. The issues that he’s prioritized—health care, reviving the economy, education, and now, gun control, immigration reform, and marriage equality—are first and foremost family issues. The First Lady’s initiatives—military families and childhood nutrition and health—likewise are about as domestic as you can get. If you think about it, who better than the man who can’t wait to get home to his wife and kids every night at 6:30—the Dad-in-Chief—to carry the flag on what the future of the American Family should look like?

“Well, I’ll tell you,” says President Obama, his wife looking at him with a beatific smile as our interview winds down, “everything we have done has been viewed through the lens of family. And I mean family broadly conceived. I was raised by a single mom. We have kids in our family who were adopted. We have people from every race, every economic stratum; we have gay and lesbian couples who have been part of our lives for years. And all of them, what’s consistent is that sense that we look out for each other. And that’s the lens through which we’ve always viewed our public service. . . . Broadening this fierce sense that we have of: I’ve got your back. Beyond just the immediate family to the larger American family, and making sure everybody’s included and making sure that everybody’s got a seat at the table. . . .

“The work I did in the first couple of years to make sure we didn’t go into a Great Depression—that was family policy. Both of us, given our upbringings, know what it’s like when money is tight. Both of us know when a parent feels disappointed because they can’t do everything they can for their kids and the stresses and strains and the emotions that arise out of that. So, making sure people have jobs, making sure the economy is working, making sure that people’s savings aren’t dissipating—those have all been family policy as well. But there’s no doubt that as we stabilize the economy, part of what I’ve tried to argue, and certainly a major theme in my inauguration speech, was this idea that we’re all family, that we have obligations to each other, that we don’t just think about ourselves. This is a common enterprise. If I live in a city where I know kids are getting a good education, my life is better, even if they’re not my kids. If I know that women are getting paid the same as men for doing the same work, then when I have daughters, I’m going to feel confident that they’re going to be able to fulfill their dreams and ambitions. If I am looking out for that same-sex couple, making sure that they’ve got the same rights as everybody else does, then I’m confident that they’ll look out for somebody in my family who has some sort of difference, that they’re not going to be discriminated against, because that same principle applies. And that idea really is sort of at the heart of, not just my presidency, but who I am. And Michelle has applied that same idea with her work in Joining Forces and thinking about kids and nutrition. Look, they’re all our kids! They’re all our families.”

The day after my interview with the Obamas, I head back to the White House to attend a presentation ceremony for the National Science & Technology Medals laureates and their families. The Marine Corps band is playing jazz in the Entrance Hall, just inside the North Portico, as the attendees mill around, sipping soda and juice. Trumpets blare, “Ruffles and Flourishes” plays, and the president makes his entrance into the East Room. “If there is one idea that sets this country apart,” he says from his blue podium, “one idea that makes us different from every other nation on Earth, it’s that here in America, success does not depend on where you were born or what your last name is. . . .”

After the presentation, I am taken into the Blue Room, where there will be an opportunity for the medal recipients to pose for photographs with the forty-fourth president of the United States of America. Word comes that it will be another 20 minutes, and so a handful of staffers and I hang in the back of the room, scrolling through our BlackBerrys. Suddenly, a side door opens, and there he is, by himself, unannounced. The president spots me standing in the back of the room and shouts, “JonaTHAN!” It is how I imagine he might say my name on the court right after I sank a three-pointer just before the buzzer to win the game.

All the technology-medal recipients, most of them men in their 70s and 80s, are lined up on either side of the president for a group photo, which the president immediately begins to art-direct himself. You two get on this side. . . . We need one more person over here. . . . You stand next to me. That man is Art Rosenfeld, known in his field as “the godfather of efficient energy.” He is 86 and frail, and as they wait for some of the others to arrive, Rosenfeld struggles a bit. Just as the other men are being hustled into the room and lined up, Obama steadies Rosenfeld and then leans down and sweetly says in his ear, in a tone that every loving father in the world would recognize: “I gotcha.”

– March 14, 2013 12:01a.m.

 

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OBAMA! -OUR BLACK PRESIDENT HAS MADE HISTORY with his popular Vote TOTALS!

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.

YORUBA MALE ATTIRE! -THE BEST IN THE WORLD-THESE PROUD BLACK MEN RULE THE PLANET WHEN IT COMES TO CLOTHES!

April 6, 2011

FROM

OJOGBON AKINWUMNI ISOLA,ORLANDO JULIUS AND HIS BLACKamerikkkan WIFE ADUKE

OBAMA WITH HIS YORUBA FRIENDS IN YORUBA DRESS!

OKO IFEDOLAPO!

Traditional Attire of Nigerian and African Men
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By Philipo
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Surprisingly, most men in Nigeria especially Lagos State wear the traditional Yoruba cloths. This comes in various styles and designs. They have different names depending on the type of design like:

Agbada – this is a 4-piece Nigerian Agbada apparel that is made up of hat, buba, flowing Agbada and pants with embroidery.

Babariga – This is men’s 4-piece African Babariga clothing apparel comprising a Hat, long-sleeved shirt, flowing Buba and pants with embroidery.

3-piece Gbarie outfit. Hand-loomed Aso Oke material with matching embroidery.

They are suitable for special occasions and events. Have you seen what the Nigerian women wear? See this http://hubpages.com/_1rfosdrnucsn9/hub/Glamorous-and-Gorgeous-Yoruba-Nigerian-Women-Dress

>OBAMA! -NEW BOOK ON OBAMA -"THE FIRST:PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE" BY BLACK JOURNALIST ROLAND S. MARTIN!

February 17, 2011

>

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bib-05-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0883783169&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrFROM aalbc.com

the firstThe First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as Originally Reported by Roland S. Martin
Click to order via Amazon
by Roland S. Martin
Includes a DVD of the author’s interviews with the Obamas
Paperback: 372 pages
Publisher: Third World Press; 1 edition (January 31, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0883783169
ISBN-13: 978-0883783160
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches

Book Review by Kam Williams

“On February 10, 2007, Barack Hussein Obama stood before thousands waiting in the cold in front of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois and made his intentions known: he was running for president. This book traces tracks this journey through my eyes as I covered the improbable road to the presidency of Obama…
My aim in publishing this book is to offer an historical account of covering this stunning and exciting race, but to also offer in real-time the ups and downs of the campaign, and even take a look back at various moments from my perspective , as well as those of some of the entertainers and others I crossed paths with along the way.”
-Excerpted from the Introduction (pgs. xxii-xxiii)

If you’re interested in revisiting the 2008 Presidential campaign from the perspective of an African-American journalist afforded access to candidate Barack Obama, then this coffee table keepsake was undoubtedly designed with you in mind. For, between December of 2006 and Election Day a couple years later, Roland Martin filed hundreds of reports, in his capacity as a political correspondent for the CNN and TV-One Networks, as a radio talk show host, and as a nationally-syndicated columnist.

The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House is essentially a chronological rehash of Martin’s interviews, articles and news stories which collectively paint a complete picture of the evolution of Obama from long shot to contender to favorite to the first black President of the United States.
What is likely to make this opus fairly absorbing for the average history buff is the fact that these real-time entries accurately reflect the pulse of the country at each moment of the campaign, as the political sands shifted back and forth beneath the feet of the pivotal players.
It’s all recounted here, mostly in the author’s own words, from the Iowa caucuses (“All of a sudden, there is a sense that Obama actually could win this thing.”) to the Michelle Obama patriotism question (“Was it a big deal. Nope?”) to the Reverend Wright controversy (“I fundamentally believe that whites and blacks reacted differently [to] the snippets of Wright’s preaching.”). Overall, the astute observations of a partisan who never hid his allegiances yet still proved pretty prescient in terms of forecasting the outcome of the landmark presidential election.


Related Links
Read an Interview with the author about this book
http://aalbc.com/reviews/roland_martin.html
All of Roland Martin’s Book and another Interview
http://aalbc.com/authors/roland_s_martin.htm

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from rolandsmartin.com

The First

Get your copy of Roland S. Martin’s new book today!
Washington, D.C. – January 12, 2010 – Award-winning journalist Roland S. Martin, who captured the first interview with  President Barack Obama regarding the racial controversy surrounding Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), releases his third book, The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House on January 20, 2010. The book marks the first year anniversary of Barack Obama’s presidency.

The First takes readers behind-the-scenes for a closer look at his interviews with both Barack and Michelle Obama for CNNTV ONE, Essence.com,  WVON-AM in Chicago and the Tom Joyner Morning Show over the last two years. The book includes insider details that go beyond the regular reports, like original coverage of celebrities who were heavily invested in the election, sixteen pages of color photos, and a DVD featuring two interviews with Martin and President Obama on TV ONE that won back-to-back NAACP Awards.
As a member of CNN’s “Best Political Team on Television” and political editor for the  TV ONE Cable Network during the election

Click book to buy your copy today!

campaigns, Martin found himself in the catbird seat while one of the most momentous events in black history was on a collision course with destiny. Now, his new book, which is being co-published by Martin and Third World Press, takes readers back down President Barack Obama’s campaign trail in a chronological journal of events that dates back to when then Senator Obama had yet to announce his candidacy and follows him on his journey to the presidency.
“It was always amazing to listen to journalism icons like Vernon Jarrett, Lerone Bennett and Sam Lacy talk about covering some of the major stories of the 20th century, such as Jackie Robinson breaking the baseball color barrier, Muhammad Ali’s rise to become heavyweight champion, and the Civil Rights Movement. Covering the eventual election of President Barack Obama was on par with those historic achievements. To have a front row seat at history was amazing, and I wanted to serve as sort of my recollection of the campaign as it was unfolding. It was also amazing to go back and talk to individuals who hit the campaign for then-Sen. Obama, and get an understanding of their motivations, and the raw emotions they felt as the race went down to the wire and history was made. “This campaign dominated my life for two years and it was worth every moment.”
Through his charismatic writing style, Martin presents an in-depth analysis of the presidential campaign and Obama’s struggles and successes. He gives readers insight on how each important event played out in front of the nation and also shares interviews from his broadcasts, including a one-on-one conversation with President Obama after his win in Iowa in January 2008. Other notable interviews include Dr. Cornel West, Rep John Lewis, Spike Lee, Maxine Waters and Michael Eric Dyson.
Roland Martin is a multi-faceted journalist, reporting on many different platforms including, television, radio, newspapers and online. He is the host and Managing Editor for TV One’s “Washington Watch with Roland Martin,” and a CNN contributor, appearing on a variety of the network’s shows. In addition, he is a senior analyst for the Tom Joyner Morning Show providing daily reports for the program. And is a syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate.
In addition to his interviews with President Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama, Martin has recently made waves in the media with high profile interviews including Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele on TV ONE and General Colin Powell on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. Earlier this year, he was presented the “Broadcaster of the Year” Award by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and was named one of EBONY magazine’s “Power 150″ for the third year in a row.
Roland S. Martin is also the author of  Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith, and Speak Brother: A Black Man’s View of America.

 http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bib-05-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B001OI2208&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr(THE FIRST) President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as Originally Reported by Roland S. Martin [With DVD] by Martin, Roland S.(Author)Paperback{The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as Originally Reported by Roland S. Martin [With DVD]} on01-Jan-2010

>OBAMA! -OUR BLACK PRESIDENT IN NIGERIAN CLOTHES!-WILL FIND OUT WHEN AND WHERE HE TOOK THIS "AWORAN"!

January 19, 2011

>

COME BACK TO AFRICA FOR THE BLACK HERITAGE FESTIVAL,APRIL 4-11,2010-LAGOS/BADAGARY,NIGERIA!

March 20, 2010

from

from ladybrillanigeria.com

thenationonlineng.net

Lagos prepares for ‘Black Heritage Festival’
By Emmanuel Oladesu Published 3/02/2010 Life Midweek Magazine Rat

For seven days, Lagos State will host the world in April for the historic ‘Black Heritage Festival. The hosts are the people of Badagry Division, the haven of tourism Fin the state. The communities are full of eagerness. The three councils in the area are cooperating with the state government to ensure a hitch-free festival.

Visitors from across the globe will comb the history of horror that made the town memorable. The lamentation of slaves, who passed the town on their way to plantations in distant Europe and America, would be recalled. The return of their descendants to their roots in April will rekindle their attachment to Africa, the most populous African country and largest supplier of the unwilling slaves, and the beauty of the titanic liberation war that shook the universe.

The visitors are expected to pick works of arts and artifacts that gave content to the culture of their forebears before they went into captivity. Many of them will locate the under-development of the Dark Continent in the centuries of disruptions, cultural dislocations, neo-colonialism and lack of reparations.

Governor Babatunde Fashola(SAN) has enumerated the conditions for the success of the third Lagos Black Heritage Festival, urging the royal fathers and people to tap its abundant tourism and economic opportunities.

His Deputy, Princess Sarah Sosan, who is from the division, asked the towns and villages in the three local government area to prepare for the inflow of tourists and visitors from across the federation and abroad into the area.

The commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Rotimi Agunsoye, who represented the number one and two citizens at a stakeholders meeting in the ancient town, said the visitors who will live, eat and interact with local folks expect a “To have a meaningful festival, our environment should be clean. Many people will come from far and near. Not long ago, we came here to clear the gutters. The governor and deputy governor who I am representing here asked me to tell our royal fathers, chiefs and community leaders to mobilise people and ensure a clean environment,” he told the people at Badagry Town Hall.

The Special Adviser to Governor Fashola on General Matters, Prince Sunny Ajose, who highlighted the elements of the festival, said the division would savour the economic boom and project the cultural heritage of the towns and villages.

He expressed concern for the disposition of the communities to the notion of hygiene.

“In the past, Badagry was neat, from Seme to Ajegunle. Population explosion has led to an unclean environment. Refuse dumping is a challenge. Instead of dumping refuse at Ilewo, we want LAWMA to create another dumping site near the Badagry area,” he said.

Ajose warned that, if the atmosphere is not conducive for the visitors, they would relocate to Ikoyi and Eko Hotel where they will buy souvenirs, thereby making the people to lose their patronage.

Programmes slated for the festival include symposium, painting competitions, cultural performance, traditional dances, and ‘fitila’ procession.

Ajose said no township festival would be allowed to coincide with the Black Heritage Festival. He enjoined townspeople to preoccupy themselves with the removal of shanties in the neighbourhood so that the towns could wear a new look.

“We want to showcase what we have, including our masquerades. We have tools for slave trade in the Heritage Festival Museum. Black writers have works on slave trade. They will also come to talk about the trade and its implications for us. They will like to visit Iyana Gberesu, the terminal exit route for the slave trade. We have Oduduwa shrine in Ilogbo. We should improve on what we have to be able to get what we want. We want to prepare for all these and record success so that there will be an improvement next year,” added Ajose.

The traditional ruler, Aholu Menu Toyi of Badagry, Oba Babatunde Akran, said the festival is the responsibility of all, urging his subjects to cooperate with the government to ensure its success.

He enjoined the authorities to conduct training sessions for the school pupils who may be useful as tour guides to the visitors during the programme.

‘The visitors will be in our markets. They want to see how we are living .They want to take photographs with us. We should be good hosts’, he added.

The Alabarin of Ikaare, Oba Kayode Akinyemi, said the onus is on the council chairmen in the division to rise to the occasion and embrace their roles towards making the festival a success.

Another royal father alerted the government to the danger of inadequate medical facilities in the local governments. He said the hospitals in the area lack ambulance facilities. He also said, since April falls within the raining season, flooding may mar the festival because the drainages are bad.

Agunsoye said the government has taken note of these challenges and all these facilities would be in place before the commencement of the festival.

The festival which brings to memory the historic pains of forceful separation of kindred holds in Lagos State at a time of intense campaign for greater exploration of tourism, one of the most neglected sectors of the economy. In the days of yore, the ancient town which served as a route for ferrying the black slaves to Europe and America was thrown into monumental panic .It took the earlier generations a long time to erase the terrible experience from their memory. However, the incident has also become a blessing to the town.

Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka visited Badagry early last month for a meeting with the community leaders and elders on the importance of the carnival and modalities for a successful outcome.

At the weekend meeting presided over by Agunsoye, prominent leaders of Badagry Division took their seats with eagerness. They include Oba Moshood Asafa, Onijanikin of Ijanikin; Oba Oyekan Adekanbi, Alapa of Apa; Oba Olanrewaju Aina, Oloto of Oto; Oba Abedeen Durosinmi, Prince Dele Kosoko, Moses Dosu, Amuda Abidu and Joseph Bamgbose.

Agunsoye congratulated the people for hosting the world for the important event, saying that the division is being immortalised by the focus on it.

“Many years ago, many people suffered for our freedom. Some black men died for us to have today. Badagry is one of the famous routes where our forefathers passed to Europe. It was sad. Now, we are happy. History cannot forget Badagry. That is why we want to discuss how to immortalise the ancient times,” the commissioner said.

He said the governor and deputy governor attach much value to the festival because of its implication for the black community in the world.

The commissioner said they acknowledged the fact that an unclean environment would breed disease, adding that sanitary inspectors would be in the towns to ensure compliance with sanitary rules.

“Our black brothers abroad want to come home to mix with us. But they need a clean environment,” he emphasized.

A LAWMA official told the meeting that: “All households must have dustbins. The PSP will do its work, LAWMA will evacuate the refuse. LAWMA sweepers recruited from Badagry will be on the roads. The ‘street captains’ will distribute refuse nylon to households.”

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2 Responses to “Lagos prepares for ‘Black Heritage Festival’”
kazeem balogun at 18 Feb 2010 2:41:58 PM WAT kazeem balogun Rating: Unrated ( Author/Admin)

said this on 18 Feb 2010 2:41:58 PM WAT
its a welcome development,we shall participate
(Reply to this comment)(Cancel this reply)(Comment Replies Disabled)

EKO1CITY at 19 Mar 2010 8:48:40 PM WAT EKO1CITY Rating: Unr

said this on 19 Mar 2010 8:48:40 PM WAT
Ola Jones Lagos Black Heritage…… nice 1,but, so far i cant connect the vision of the group their objectivity pursuit, pro grammes and strategy I a son of the soil by interest in badagry thus am in total cooperation with any social articulate school of mission that set to project badagry historical value.meanwhile here is an overwhelming challenge, so much is been orchestrated in the median while all the node featuresthat makes the history are not preserve,e.g slave route,harboure,artenuation well and the gbelefu point- of- no- return. etc

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from ladybrillenigeria.com

Home » Events
3rd Annual Lagos Black Heritage Festival 2010
by Ladybrille®Nigeria on March 1, 2010No Comment
3rd Annual Lagos Black Heritage Festival

Place: Badagry Township, Lagos, Badagry

Date: April 4th, 2010

“For over a millennium, African indigenes South of the Sahara have been hunted, bartered, and sold into slavery by European and Arab slavers, often, alas, with the active connivance and participation of Africans themselves. Millions perished even before destination along the Trans-Atlantic route, the Trans-Saharan route, and the Indian Ocean route to Iraq and Persia, now known as Iran.

For centuries, and even till today, many could neither recall nor manifest the slightest interest in their antecedents. By contrast, especially since the latter half of the twentieth century, hundreds of thousands of descendants of the victims of this execrable commerce have embarked on the return journey home – some in search of their true origins, others in the spirit of a symbolic pilgrimage, and yet others to re-claim and re-settle in their ancestral space. Whichever way, for many, this has proved an emotional but fulfilling experience.

It was in fulfillment of this yearning for the healing of dislocated sense of identity that the Lagos State government instituted, with the support of UNESCO, the Black Heritage Festival in the symbolic town of Badagry, one of the more infamous departure points, with surviving landmarks, a Festival that seeks to enshrine the place of Memory in the history of peoples, and to celebrate survival and the resilience of the human will.

The third, 2010 edition of this Festival, appropriately billed as MEMORY AND PERFORMANCE IN THE RETURN TO SOURCE, is planned to raise this awareness to new heights, broaden and deepen the linkage between the African continent and its Diaspora. . .”

Visit Lagos Black Heritage Festival.org for more info.

You might also like:

Abuja Food Festival 2009
Lagos Carnival 2010 – April 3rd-5th, 2010

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from ladybrillenigeria.com

CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY WITH THE LAGOS BLACK HERITAGE FESTIVAL
Feb 22nd, 2010 | By Ayo Peters | Category: LOCAL GOVERNMENT NEWS, TOURISM DEVELOPMENT
The 17th century will forever remain in the hearts of Africans. This was when its history was taken backwards through a trade that was inimical to its growth – Slave Trade.

The Slave Trade (known as the trans-Atlantic slave trade) started with the exportation of blacks to Europe by Portugal in the 15th century. Other European countries like Spain, Netherlands, Britain, Denmark etc soon followed suit. It was not until the 17th century however that the trade got to North America. It was there that it gained real currency.

Thus, in 1619, a Dutch warship brought the first cargo of twenty blacks to Virginia in the then British colony called New World.
Consequent upon the traffic in blacks, scores of black men and women were separated from their African homes and carried into the New World before the Slave Trade was ended. Although a lot of black men like Olaudah Equiano, Candido da Rocha, Samuel Johnson, Mojola Agbebi and others regained their freedom and found their way back to Nigeria, millions were totally separated from their families.

These Africans were not slaves but were made to work in an environment where they were referred to as slaves. Back in Africa, these men were free and respected farmers and herdsmen, craftsmen skilled in pottery and weaving, wood-carving, and blacksmiths. Some of these Africans brought out of the continent against their will were traders and hunters, musicians and dancers, poets and sculptors. Many were princes and warriors, feudal chiefs, rulers of kingdoms and empires.

These important men of African descent were taken to Europe and the New World through ports marshaled by these European masters. A lot of these slave ports existed in West Africa but some stood out. These were: Goree Island (Senegal), Whydah (Benin Republic), Elmina (Ghana) and Badagry (Nigeria).

The slave port in Badagry was notorious because hordes of Africans were taken through it. Little wonder, this port was dubbed: “Point of no Return.”

One Nigerian who suffered greatly as a result of the slave trade was Gustavus Vassa (Olaudah Equiano). Gustavus Vassa was born in the ancient Benin Kingdom in 1745. He was kidnapped from his family and sold into slavery. He was later sold again to traders and chained on a slave ship bound for America. He passed on to a Virginia planter, and then, to a British naval officer, and finally to a Philadelphia merchant who gave him the chance to buy his freedom. In his autobiography, ‘The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African,’ he narrated some of the ordeals he and his fellow African brothers went through on shore to the New World. For instance, a black man was flogged while on deck so unmercifully with a large rope that he died in consequence of it. Olaudah wrote that some of his countrymen were chained together and when they were weary, preferred death to such a life of misery and somehow, “made through the nettings and jumped into sea.”

The narrative by Gustavus Vassa was a fraction of the hardships blacks were made to undergo in the New World and in Europe. Many blacks died as a result of this hardship. Slaves like Nat Turner and John Brown who revolted were murdered in cold blood while one of the most brilliant Americans of the nineteenth century who started his life as a slave on a Maryland plantation, Frederick Douglas, in his autobiography asked: “Why am I a slave? Why are some people slaves and others masters? How did the relation commence? He wrote that he didn’t know he was a slave until he found out he couldn’t do the things he wanted.

Indeed, not having anything to say about the use of your own time and labour is probably what makes you feel bad. This is the absence of freedom. As providence would have it, that is all gone; total history.

Slavery and slave trade have been abolished after series of protests here and there and the great grandsons of former slaves have now become free men in Europe, Caribbean, and North America. These men after careful study, based on the ‘reign of terror’ of the slave port in Badagry, have decided to remember their roots, history, culture, and land of their forebears by celebrating the Lagos Black Heritage Festival.

Logically, Badagry is the preferred host as it is poised to hoist the Third Lagos Black Heritage Festival starting from the 3rd of April, this year.

Badagry, it will be recalled, was the departure route of these ‘slaves’. Once they got to Badagry, they were certain they would not return to their homes.

Today, Badagry still retains a lot of slavery artifacts. This includes one of the largest slave markets – Vlekete slave market – in West Africa. Here, slaves were sold at competitive prices. Hence, most countries that traded in slaves had their forts in Badagry. This included Portugal, Britain, Spain, Brazil, France and the Netherlands.

The Mobee slave relic is another of the artifacts that survived the infamous trade. It is housed by the Mobee family. We also have the Seriki Abbas compound, the Egbado-born businessman, who settled in Badagry and partook greatly of the obnoxious business.

In truth, the Lagos Black Heritage Festival has come to stay. This feat was achieved by the Lagos state government and the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). According to Emeritus Professor, Wole Soyinka, the third edition of the Black Heritage Festival “seeks to enshrine the place of memory in the history of peoples, and to celebrate survival and the resilience of the human will.”

The third edition, which starts on April 3rd, this year, is tagged: Memory and Performance in the Return to Source, has been planned to broaden and deepen the linkage between the African continent and its Diaspora. In the words of Soyinka, “this will be effected through a focus on the lives and works of three eminent representatives of, and close collaborators in this racial mission… pan-Africanist and cultural activist, Aime Cesaire; prime mover of the Journal Presence Africaine, and the publishing house of that name, Alioune Diop; and statesman, Leopold Sedar Senghor.”

Badagry local government is leaving no stone unturned towards ensuring that Badagry had a hitch-free festival. Accordingly, the local government has ensured its cleaning every day.

Most residents of Badagry are eager to see the D-day. Hon. Husitode Moses Dosu, the executive chairman of Badagry local government says the “Lagos Black Heritage Festival connotes a return to the source.”

Activities lined up for the festival includes a symposium, feature films, documentaries, a book exhibition, contemporary art, theatre, concerts, traditional and modern dances, a boat regatta, a Children’s Heritage Village and African tradition games.
We await this reconnection, revaluation, and revindication.

Other Related Stories
December 29, 2009 — Badagry Local Government Celebrates One Year in Office as Hon. Husitode Moses Dosu Renders Stewardship (0)
December 29, 2009 — CHAIRMAN DOLES OUT BURSARY AWARD TO BADAGRY STUDENTS (0)
November 19, 2009 — Group Gives Free Medical Services to Patients in Badagry (0)
September 18, 2009 — Woman Delivers Triplets at Badagry General Hospital (1)
September 16, 2009 — Unite in Badagry – Chairman Tells Badagry (0)
September 11, 2009 — PDP GROUP DEFECTS TO ACTION CONGRESS IN BADAGRY (1)
September 9, 2009 — Hon. Husitode Moses Dosu Reconstructs Badagry Roads (1)
September 3, 2009 — Chairman Donates Wheel Chair to Physically-Challenged (0)
September 3, 2009 — Hon. Husitode Connects Badagry To Digital World (0)
September 3, 2009 — Badagry Chairman Honoured As Best Performing Local Government Chairman In Lagos State (4)
Tags: a boat regatta, a Children’s Heritage Village, African tradition games, Alioune Diop prime mover of the Journal Presence Africaine, Badagry Local Government, Badagry Nigeria, book exhibition, Brazil, Britain, Candido da Rocha, concerts, contemporary art, documentaries, Elmina Ghana, Emeritus Professor Wole Soyinka, feature films, France, Frederick Douglas autobiography, Goree Island Senegal, Hon. Husitode Moses Dosu, John Brown, Lagos Black Heritage Festival, Lagos state government, Leopold Sedar Senghor, Memory and Performance in the Return to Source, Mobee slave relic, Mojola Agbebi, Nat Turner, Netherlands, Olaudah Equiano Gustavus Vassa autobiography, pan-Africanist and cultural activist Aime Cesaire, Point of no Return, Portugal, Samuel Johnson, Seriki Abbas, Spain, symposium, theatre, traditional and modern dances, United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Vlekete slave market, Whydah Benin Republic
One comment
Leave a comment »
uzoh hilary March 5th, 2010 9:21 pm :

as a fashion designer and loving arts i like to participate in the black heritage festival. so please can you detail me on the event. thank you.

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from travelintelligence .com

The Badagry Route by Pelu Awofeso
Anyone can understand why callers to the slave ports at Elmina (Ghana), Goree (Senegal) and Ouidah (Benin) weep and wail after they have walked round the remains of the transatlantic slave trade in those regions. To even see images on the screen is enough to affect the senses sorely. The Black Heritage Museum—just opened to tourists in palm-and-coconut-rich Badagry, western Lagos—is another of the kind. Maybe the place won’t stir you to tears, but after going in and out, then up and down its nine galleries, it is certain to make any visitor sober.

The National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) in Nigeria, which helped with the research and installation, displays sketches, sculptures, photos, documents and dated shackles to tell the touching tale of over 300 years of ‘trading’ of which the African people were the ‘goods’.

We are now inside the building and this ad published in 1784 in the U.S. stares me in the face: “NEGROS FOR SALE: a cargo of very fine stout men and women, in good order and fit for immediate service, just imported from the windward coast of Africa…” Another in New Orleans, this time in 1835 described its ‘ware’ in detail: Chole…aged 36 years. She is without exception, one of the most competent servants in the country, a first-rate washer and ironer, does up lace, a good cook, and for a bachelor who wishes a housekeeper she would be invaluable. She is also a good ladies maid, having travelled to the north in that capacity.”

One learns a typical slave’s safari goes something like this: A freeborn is kidnapped, captured at war or despatched to a creditor to offset a debt. He is kept in custody and made to do simple menial duties at first. A time comes when a white businessman, sailing across from the west, seeks out the community’s head and demands for people to serve him and his wealthy colleagues back on their own soil. He proffers gins, guns and some other processed goods in exchange.

The deal sounds sensible enough and both parties come to an agreement. So starts the tortuous trip of an unfortunate African, the fall guy of unfeeling men (much later, markets were established to service the rising need for cheap human labour). He never travels alone; there are thousands of them at any occasion, group-chained, flogged to submission and silence, and ‘arranged’ in ships in patterns that guarantee little breathing space and more anguish. Not all of them survived. The dead were tossed overboard.

Sons and daughters, too, no matter how underaged, were hauled across the Atlantic from the African coast to the New World. The survivors were later put on kegs and boxes and auctioned like articles at Sotheby’s. Once sold, they toiled on the cotton, sugarcane or rice fields of their white masters—and it was almost round the clock—with the cruellest of punishments administered to those who attempted to bail (one exhibit shows a dog, purposely trained, biting at the throat of one). Others worked as domestic hands. There is more inside what used to be the District Officer’s administrative block in the colonial years and is a three-minute stroll from the white structure earmarked as the first storey building in Nigeria.

The opening of the museum in August 2002 put the inhabitants in the mood for the second Black Heritage Festival, said to be styled after Ghana’s decade-old Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) and organised to conform to UNESCO’s ‘Slave Routes Project’. Lagos State Waterfront and Tourism Development Corporation, the planners, intends for the festival with time to pep up the tourism receipts of Nigeria’s most commercialised city; for the time being, though, it is finding a sure footing and winning more participants from the Diaspora each year that are the goals.

Day four of the festival was all traditional stuff: The dozen delegates, all of them living in the U.S., had to go through a ceremony of ‘ethnic adoption and traditional robbing’ to choose the local names they wished to bear henceforth. Two home priests in the full glare of the town’s royal head, the Akran of Badagry, conducted that. The idea is not for the new names to replace the initial, but for the recipient to either add them on or to “keep it close to my heart”. The naming was performed with honey, sugarcane, salt, kola, and the other regulars in day-to-day Yoruba naming rites.

The Yoruba in Nigeria look to the Ifa for the same reasons Christians and Moslems search through the Holy Books. No move is made without consulting it. It gave its consent to the names the home comers preferred. At different times during the festival, the kola nut and bitter kola were tossed in another form of customary inquest. Each result turned out a pleasant omen: The land of Badagry agreed with the coming of Mayor Hawkins and co.

Badagry today is a smiling and struggling population of close to two hundred thousand. The Atlantic Ocean, its bane for centuries, flows subtly and quietly; the breeze still blows over it-and onto the mainland, and one can still sight natives paddling away in their canoes in the distance. The one thing it needs now is a rise in stature. The New Nigerians may well make that happen, because already, the group has promised to revisit its scholarship promise to the community’s bright minds; the other project will be to erect another impressive monument to the slave trade a la the ‘Point of no Return’.

The Akran, on behalf of the people, has promised pieces of land to the new natives, because they need, he says, to have their own homes—one they can come to whenever they please.
See all travel writing by Pelu Awofeso.

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from 234next.com
http://234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/5527680-146/story.csp

Council mobilises for Lagos Black Heritage Festival

February 16, 2010 10:38PM
print email

The Oto/Awori Local Council Development Area says it will mobilise the people to showcase their rich culture at the forthcoming 3rd Lagos Black Heritage Cultural Festival scheduled for April 3- 9.

The festival themed, “Lagos/Badagry 2010”, is aimed at celebrating the creativity of Lagos State in dance, music and theatre regatta.

The Council Chairman, Bolaji Kayode, told News Agency of Nigeria in Badagry on Tuesday that the Council’s contingent had been fully prepared for the festival.

“Our participation in the festival is part of Oto/Awori LCDA’s commitment to promoting arts and culture. We will mobilise our people to feature in the festival particularly in Gelede and Ajegbo events,” he said.

Mr. Kayode expressed the hope that the council’s contingent would lift the laurels in the two events.

The organisers said the festival would be a forum for showcasing Africa’s diverse cultural heritage. The maiden edition of the festival was held in 2001 and was declared open by the former governor of the state, Bola Tinubu.

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from punchng.com

http://www.punchng.com/Articl.aspx?theartic=Art20100319035970

Lagos Black Heritage: A festival of reconnection, revaluation
By Mudiaga Affe, Published: Friday, 19 Mar 2010

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka

Inspired by the spirit of convergence for which the most populous state in Nigeria remains pre-eminent, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has said that the forthcoming Lagos Black Heritage Festival would be an event of reconnection, revaluation and re-vindication.

Speaking on the festival tagged, Memory and Performance in the return to Source, Soyinka said, in a statement obtained by our correspondent in Lagos, that the event would celebrate the creativity of Lagos within a ”Carnivalesque of tradition and contemporary dance.”

The LBHF, which holds between April 3 and 9, 2010, is an initiative of the Lagos State Government.

According to Soyinka, the LBHF is a seven-day cultural manifestation during which hundreds of performers will animate the ancient city of Badagry and cosmopolitan Lagos in a blend of the traditional and the modern.

On the theme of the festival, Soyinka, who is the Festival Coordinator, explained that for over a millennium, African indigenes South of the Sahara were hunted, bartered, and sold into slavery by European and Arab slavers often with the active connivance of Africans themselves.

”Millions perish even before their destination along the Trans-Atlantic route and the Indian Ocean route to Iraq and Persia, now known as Iran. For centuries, and even till date, many could neither recall nor manifest the slightest interest in their antecedents.

”By contrast, especially since the latter half of the twentieth century, hundreds of thousands of descendants of victims of this execrable commerce have embarked on the return journey home – some in search of their true origins, others in the spirit of symbolic pilgrimage, and yet others to reclaim and resettle in their ancestral space. Whichever way, for many, this has proved emotional, but with fulfilling experience,” he said.

He said that it was in fulfillment of this yearning for the healing of dislocated sense of identity that the Lagos State Government instituted, with the support of the United Nations‘ Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, the Black Heritage Festival in the symbolic town of Badagry.

The playwright said the Lagos State Government plans to serve the discerning palates from within the country, the continent and the Diaspora of the Caribbean and Americas.

One of the highlights of the Lagos-Badagry 2010 is a painting competition featuring artists drawn from Nigeria and the rest of the world.

An international jury will decide which of the 25 finalists will be rewarded in the Gold, Silver and Bronze categories which go with the award of $20,000, $15,000 and $10,000 respectively.

Comments :

Lagos Black Heritage…… nice 1, but, so far i cant connect the vision of the group their objectivity pursuit, pro grammes and strategy I a son of the soil by interest in badagry thus am in total cooperation with any social articulate school of mission that set to project badagry historical value. meanwhile here is overwhelming challenge, so much is been orchestrated in the median meanwhile all the node features that makes the history are not preserve,e.g slave route,harboure,artenuation

Posted by: eko1city , on Friday, March 19, 2010

Report this comment

The slogan makes no sense to me. What is Lagos black heritage? I’ll rather call it ’Lagos reborn of African Heritage’. It makes more sense and gives me something to look forward to. I do not want to use the slogan of racisim, because that is the way they will call it in a land where there are other colours.

Posted by: Enitan Onikoyi , on Friday, March 19, 2010

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from
http://lagosblackheritagefestival.org/

HISTORY
THE LOGO
THE TEAM

Welcome to the Official Website of the 3rd Lagos Black Heritage Festival!
For over a millennium, African indigenes South of the Sahara have been hunted, bartered, and sold into slavery by European and Arab slavers, often, alas, with the active connivance and participation of Africans themselves. Millions perished even before destination along the Trans-Atlantic route, the Trans-Saharan route, and the Indian Ocean route to Iraq and Persia, now known as Iran…
More >>

The First Edition of Caterina de’ Medici Painting Award took place in Florence in year 2002. Three Nigerian Artists participated. One of these artists, Olubunmi Ogundare emerged as one of the best ten of the world-wide competitors!
More >>

Présence Africaine

Présence africaine is a panafrican quarterly cultural, political, and literary revue, published in Paris and founded by Alioune Diop in 1947. In 1949, Présence africaine expanded to include a publishing house and a bookstore on the rue des Écoles in the Latin Quarter of Paris. As a journal, it was highly influential in the Panafricanist movement, the decolonisation struggle of former French colonies, and the birth of the Négritude movement.
More >>

**********************************************
The Black Orpheus

HISTORY
THE LOGO
THE TEAM

For over a millennium, African indigenes South of the Sahara have been hunted, bartered, and sold into slavery by European and Arab slavers, often, alas, with the active connivance and participation of Africans themselves. Millions perished even before destination along the Trans-Atlantic route, the Trans-Saharan route, and the Indian Ocean route to Iraq and Persia, now known as Iran.

For centuries, and even till today, many could neither recall nor manifest the slightest interest in their antecedents. By contrast, especially since the latter half of the twentieth century, hundreds of thousands of descendants of the victims of this execrable commerce have embarked on the return journey home – some in search of their true origins, others in the spirit of a symbolic pilgrimage, and yet others to re-claim and re-settle in their ancestral space. Whichever way, for many, this has proved an emotional but fulfilling experience.

It was in fulfillment of this yearning for the healing of dislocated sense of identity that the Lagos State government instituted, with the support of UNESCO, the Black Heritage Festival in the symbolic town of Badagry, one of the more infamous departure points, with surviving landmarks, a Festival that seeks to enshrine the place of Memory in the history of peoples, and to celebrate survival and the resilience of the human will.

The third, 2010 edition of this Festival, appropriately billed as MEMORY AND PERFORMANCE IN THE RETURN TO SOURCE, is planned to raise this awareness to new heights, broaden and deepen the linkage between the African continent and its Diaspora.

This will be effected through a focus on the lives and works of three eminent representatives of, and close collaborators in this racial mission, all three now ancestral figures: the Martiniquan poet, dramatist, pan-Africanist and cultural activist, Aime Cesaire; prime mover of the journal Presence Africaine, and the publishing house of that name, Alioune Diop (whose centennial anniversary comes up in the year 2010, and the poet, essayist, and statesman Leopold Sedar Senghor. With this emphasis, a further step is taken to diminish the fragmentations in a common race heritage that were created through colonization under competing European cultures on African soil.

The three ancestors led a closely intertwined career. Cesaire, it will be recalled, was a principal midwife, in company of Leopold Sedar Senghor and others, of the philosophy of Negritude, the Beingness of Black. In addition to the performance of Cesaire’s plays and readings from his poetry, rare archival material from Alioune Diop’s pioneering journal, Presence Africaine, of which Aime Cesaire was also past president, will be placed on exhibition for the first time in this country. At the same time, Lagos State pays tribute also to the late President Leopold Sedar Senghor who was the inspiration and spearhead of the first ever international Negro Arts Festival (1966), the second edition of which the late Alioune Diop, served as Secretary-General and principal organizer. That second edition was called the Black and African Arts Festival, 1977, better known as FESTAC.

Buffered by a symposium, films, documentaries, a book exhibition, a gallery of contemporary art, music, theatre, concerts, traditional and contemporary dances, a boat regatta, a Children’s Heritage Village and African traditional games, not omitting from the Nigerian Film industry, this promises to be THE cultural event to round off the first decade of the millennium. The City of a Thousand Masks – Lagos – will herself be a player in the events, since the Festival programme will feature a unique competition – in association with the Caterina de’ Medici Foundation – where artists of African descent will vie for the ultimate laurel with their painterly impression on the theme CITY OF A THOUSAND MASKS, a contest that will be held before a live audience.

To sum up, a Festival of RECONNECTION, REVALUATION, REVINDICATION – this is the feast that Lagos State plans to serve up to discerning palates from within the country, the continent, and the Diaspora of the Caribbean and the Americas.

HISTORY
THE LOGO
THE TEAM

The Activities for the 3rd Lagos Black Heritage Festival include:

PAINTING COMPETITION

(Collaboration with Catarina de Medici).

DRAMA / THEATRE

This segment will feature 3 plays:

– King Christophe
– A Season in the Congo
– Ireke Onibudo

Children’s play

DRAMA

CULTURAL PERFORMANCES

MUSIC

The Musical segment of the LBHF celebrates the indigenous Music and Culture of Lagos, Nigeria and the Black World. The segment encompasses every style associated with the city of Lagos. A wide scope indeed as Lagos State represents Nigeria and essentially the Black World.

From Traditional music to Contemporary – Juju to Afro Caribbean.
Ayo Bankole

Steve Rhodes Voices

Lagbaja

Seun Kuti

Fatai Rolling Dollar (Guest Appearance).

Tunji Oyelana – Guest Artist.

Fuji
(Kwam1 / Obesere/ Pasuma )
Apala
(Musiliu Isola / Apala-Porto-Novo)
Hip-Hop
(D Banj, 9ice)
Agidigbo (Eko)

Gbedu Oba (Eko)

CHILDRENS’ HERITAGE VILLAGE

(to be directed by Jimi Solanke).

DANCE & MASQUERADES

– Contemporary Dance

– ATUNDA Dance

Traditional

Ajogan (Badagry King’s Procession).

Vodun (Badagry)

Sato (Badagry)

Bolojo (Badagry/Ijio/Eko)

Obitun (Ile-Oluji/Ondo)

Bata (Lagos/Oyo)

Dundun (Lagos/Oyo)

Ijo Apeja (Epe)

Nyok (Calabar)

Ekombi (Calabar)

Sokorowo (Owo-all female troupe)

Fitila Procession
The sombre Remembrance procession.
Nasarawa Contingent

Masquerades
Zangbeto (Badagry)

Gelede (Badagry)

Eyo (Eko)

Ekpe (Akwa-Ibom)

Igunnuko (Eko)

GALA NIGHT

FILM SHOWS

-> Roots

-> Amazing Grace

CHILDREN’S THEATRE

FITILA PROCESSION

OLOKUN FESTIVAL

OPENING CEREMONY

CLOSING CEREMONY

CLOSING CONCERT

FOOD FAIR

AFRICAN TRADITIONAL GAMES

AFRICAN FASHION /LAGOS HAIR SHOW

ART & CRAFT ZONE

Crafts Artisans from the Lagos region of Nigeria and from around the world converge at Festival Crafts zone to demonstrate and sell their works. It is held at various locations around Badagry, Lagos and other selected locations around Lagos State.

Display Hours are 10am to 9pm.

SYMPOSIUM

The Lagos Black Heritage Festival Symposium creates a forum of Intellectual discourse of themes related to black history, heritage and the relevance of memory to contemporary concerns.

EXHIBITIONS

(a). Presence Africaine – Books Exhibition.

(b). Slavery Objects

HISTORY
THE LOGO
THE TEAM

Wole Soyinka

For over a millennium, African indigenes South of the Sahara have been hunted, bartered, and sold into slavery by European and Arab slavers, often, alas, with the active connivance and participation of Africans themselves. Millions perished even before destination along the Trans-Atlantic route, the Trans-Saharan route, and the Indian Ocean route to Iraq and Persia, now known as Iran. For centuries, and even till today, many could neither recall nor manifest the slightest interest in their antecedents. By contrast, especially since the latter half of the twentieth century, hundreds of thousands of descendants of the victims of this execrable commerce have embarked on the return journey home – some in search of their true origins, others in the spirit of a symbolic pilgrimage, and yet others to re-claim and re-settle in their ancestral space. Whichever way, for many, this has proved an emotional but fulfilling experience.

It was in fulfillment of this yearning for the healing of dislocated sense of identity that the Lagos State government instituted, with the support of UNESCO, the Black Heritage Festival in the symbolic town of Badagry, one of the more infamous departure points, with surviving landmarks, a Festival that seeks to enshrine the place of Memory in the history of peoples, and to celebrate survival and the resilience of the human will. The third, 2010 edition of this Festival, appropriately billed as MEMORY AND PERFORMANCE IN THE RETURN TO SOURCE, is planned to raise this awareness to new heights, broaden and deepen the linkage between the African continent and its Diaspora. This will be effected through a focus on the lives and works of three eminent representatives of, and close collaborators in this racial mission, all three now ancestral figures: the Martiniquan poet, dramatist, pan-Africanist and cultural activist, Aime Cesaire; prime mover of the journal Presence Africaine, and the publishing house of that name, Alioune Diop (whose centennial anniversary comes up in the year 2010, and the poet, essayist, and statesman Leopold Sedar Senghor. With this emphasis, a further step is taken to diminish the fragmentations in a common race heritage that were created through colonization under competing European cultures on African soil.

The three ancestors led a closely intertwined career. Cesaire, it will be recalled, was a principal midwife, in company of Leopold Sedar Senghor and others, of the philosophy of Negritude, the Beingness of Black. In addition to the performance of Cesaire’s plays and readings from his poetry, rare archival material from Alioune Diop’s pioneering journal, Presence Africaine, of which Aime Cesaire was also past president, will be placed on exhibition for the first time in this country. At the same time, Lagos State pays tribute also to the late President Leopold Sedar Senghor who was the inspiration and spearhead of the first ever internastional Negro Arts Festival (1966), the second edition of which the late Alioune Diop, served as Secretary-General and principal organizer. That second edition was called the Black and African Arts Festival, 1977, better known as FESTAC.

Buffered by a symposium, films, documentaries, a book exhibition, a gallery of contemporary art, music, theatre, concerts, traditional and contemporary dances, a boat regatta, a Children’s Heritage Village and African traditional games, not omitting from the Nigerian Film industry, this promises to be THE cultural event to round off the first decade of the millennium. The City of a Thousand Masks – Lagos – will herself be a player in the events, since the Festival programme will feature a unique competition – in association with the Caterina de Medici Foundation – where artists of African descent will vie for the ultimate laurel with their painterly impression on the theme CITY OF A THOUSAND MASKS, a contest that will be held before a live audience.

To sum up, a Festival of RECONNECTION, REVALUATION, REVINDICATION – this is the feast that Lagos State plans to serve up to discerning palates from within the country, the continent, and the Diaspora of the Caribbean and the Americas.

Wole Soyinka
Emeritus Professor in Literature
Obafemi Awolowo University
Nobel Laurette in Literature 1986

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OBAMA!-OFCOURSE OUR SMART BLACK PRESIDENT IS WINNING!-FROM THE WEEK.COM

March 13, 2010

FROM theweek.com

Robert ShrumEmail
Is Obama winning?
The president’s long-game strategy has confounded a town with a famously short attention span. With Obama doubling down on health reform, our columnist doubles down on Obama.
posted on March 11, 2010, at 5:00 PM

Robert Shrum Photo:
As the dreary winter winds down, the political weather is also changing. On the economy, the green shoots of recovery, seeded more than a year ago, may now have their spring. On health care, the Obama renaissance is real—a historic achievement is within reach. And as these events unfold, the media, in an act of swift revisionism, may conclude that the White House, rather than falling victim to an internal conflict between idealism and pragmatism, has instead married them to advance its ambitious agenda.

First, the economy.

The devoutly conservative Larry Kudlow, of the Reagan administration and CNBC, insisted on Obama’s inauguration day that markets were the most reliable predictors of the future. He was right. With unemployment down from peak levels and job losses ebbing, with housing prices stabilized and other indicators pointing up, the Standard & Poor’s stock index has soared nearly 70 percent since its March 2009 lows—and nearly 40 percent since Obama took office with an economy teetering on the brink of depression.

This remarkable rise anticipates as many as hundreds of thousands of jobs, which forecasters are now predicting not for next year but for this month. During the interregnum between passage of the stimulus bill last year and its impact this year, the president was urged to focus solely on “jobs, jobs, jobs”—as though the mantra itself would create them. But his policies had already averted the depression and begun to reverse the decline. More stimulus would help, and it will come—not in a largely symbolic jobs bill but in the Keynesian deficits of Obama’s new budget.

Obama refused to play to a public gallery angry at the bailouts that have proved indispensable to saving the financial sector. And he has defied the ill-informed clichés and partisan complaints about deficits. The fiscal outcry will fade as the economy strengthens, and a vindicated president will take the credit—and begin to close the budget gap.

Second, health reform.

Massachusetts supposedly sounded the death knell for a bill devoid of death panels. Washington wisdom, appearing triumphant, congratulated itself for having predicted that the smears would win in the end. But the president has a longer attention span than the cable networks. Instead, he pushed ahead, and harder, echoing the compelling clarity of his campaign voice in 2008.

Where was this full-throated champion of reform last summer? Tending to legislative strategy—patiently seeding Washington’s parched terrain. Obama had to try working with the GOP to convince enough moderate and Blue Dog Democrats to go along. Reconciliation, the recondite budget procedure that has become as familiar in this debate as it was frequent under Reagan, Clinton, and both Bushes, probably would be impossible without the “wasted” months last summer during which the awkward and earnest Democratic Sen. Max Baucus negotiated with his Republican opposite, the fallow Sen. Charles Grassley. Now Senate Democrats seem all but united in their resolve to use reconciliation. The bluest of Blue Dogs, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, has rebuffed the call of Republicans like Lindsey Graham to join in a bipartisan “gang” pledge to safeguard a right to filibuster. So has Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, who’s unequivocal “this bill is going to pass” should stiffen the spines of fellow moderates.

I doubt that congressional Democrats will heed the solicitous advice of Republicans that the only way to save themselves politically is to forsake health reform. They understand, as the president has argued, that they are far better off with Americans experiencing the bill than fearing it. I’m also convinced that enough members of the Progressive Caucus will consult their consciences—and conclude that health coverage for 30 million more Americans is more urgent than even the best-intentioned demand for all or nothing. (If the GOP and the insurance industry so bitterly oppose the bill, then it must be worth passing.)

Obama’s strategy, partly shaped by events, also reflects the combination of qualities that brought him to the Oval Office—and makes it more than likely that he will reach the goal that has eluded the nation since Theodore Roosevelt first proposed national health care in 1912. Obama has been “a steel fist in a velvet glove”—Carl Standburg’s description of Lincoln. The president who doesn’t panic, didn’t.

Third, the White House intrigues.

This story has been so arresting because it’s so uncharacteristic of the Obama operation. It started with a Washington Post column followed by a Page 1 article explaining how the president had been wisely warned by his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to choose bite-size rather than comprehensive health reform, to put off the closure of Guantánamo and to forego big change in favor of incrementalism. The story line migrated from the Post to The New York Times, which featured its own Page 1 portrayal of Obama’s friend and chief strategist David Axelrod as a naïf.

At a decisive moment in the health debate, the press suddenly pictured a White House fractured, with Emanuel pragmatically doubting the president’s health proposal and Axelrod gullibly, idealistically promoting it.

I’ve known Axelrod for more than two decades. He’s smart, principled, and tough. His anonymous critics have never come close to pulling off anything like the hard-nosed game changer he coached in 2008. I suspect the attacks on him only reinforce the president’s appreciation for Axelrod’s loyalty and candor—along with Obama’s own determination not to surrender progress to the Washington quagmire.

And here’s something I don’t know—where this premeditated spate of spin originated. Emanuel is very smart, too, and a paladin of inside maneuver. The transparently self-serving portrait of him as the level-minded presence in a Panglossian White House is so potentially self-destructive that you have to suspect—and someone in the administration suggested this to me—that the story may have come from “sources” out to hurt him or to derail the health bill.

But what’s in today’s papers is not the president’s focus. Obama takes the long view and plays a long game—just as he and Axelrod did in the campaign. Against the odds, the president and his “idealist” may actually break the chokehold of the conventional and petty Washington doctrine that less is more and political cowardice is the better part of wisdom. And if this president succeeds on health reform as well as on the economy, he will be empowered to advance the rest of an agenda that ranges from financial reform to the prodigious task of tackling climate change (even in an atmosphere of denial). He will begin to heal the shattered faith in government, opening the way to a new progressive era.

The first electoral verdict will come in the voting booths of 2010. Despite the dire predictions, the Obama comeback could be cemented as early as November. Assuming those jobs materialize, Democrats could minimize their losses and hold both Houses of Congress.

By 2012, with a full-blown recovery and wide ranging change achieved, it may well be morning in Obama’s America. And the Republicans, desperate to explain away prosperity, or still fulminating against socialism, will once again descend ungently into that good night.

There is something about them that seems comfortable with the darkness.

BLACK PEOPLE/AFRICANS!-SPEAK ONLY AFRICAN LANGUAGES TO YOUR CHILDREN IN YOUR HOUSE IF YOU WANT AFRICAN CHILDREN WITH AFRICAN BEHAVIOUR AND VALUES!-FROM ALL ALLAFRICA.COM WITH AFRI

February 15, 2010

FROM allafrica.com

——————————————————————————–

Daily Independent (Lagos)

Nigeria: Enforcing Indigenous Languages in Homes
Yemi Adebisi
14 February 2010

——————————————————————————–
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Lagos — The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation appears to be set to encourage the use of indigenous languages in Nigerian homes.

The institute also frowns at the mode of dressing of most Nigerian children, which it described as ‘near nudity,’ blaming this on the nonchalant attitude of Nigerian parents and the lack of respect for Nigerian culture. It has therefore assured that it would use its medium to address the total emancipation of Nigerian cultural details and encourage its proliferation. This would, according to the institute, help to market the value of Nigerian culture, home and abroad, when the essence and awareness of the culture is encouraged.

Apparently, the recent visit of the executive secretary/chief executive officer of NICO, Dr. Barclays F. Ayakoroma to Lagos office was primarily designed by the institute to gear up arrangement to start off the new academic session of its cultural institute. It was during the visit that Ayakoroma, in his chat with the media, unveiled plans to take Nigeria culture to all the nooks and crannies of the country and to ensure that it yields positive results than ever. NICO was established by Decree 93 of 1993.

The Institute has the primary responsibility of harnessing Nigeria’s cultural resources to meet the challenges of social integration, peace, unity and national development. It also serves as vital force for promoting Nigeria’s programme of Cultural Diplomacy and energising the various cultural establishments in the new direction advocated by Nigeria’s Cultural Policy and the World Decade for Cultural Development (1988-1997) declared by the United Nations.

NICO has a vision to be the apex and leading Cultural Training Institute in Nigeria and Nigeria’s contribution to world progress and civilisation through research and documentation, cultural assets and services, both tangible and intangible.

NICO is also committed to train cultural development officers, motivators and communicators who would be grounded in Nigerian cultural realities, philosophy and practices that are essential for national integration, peace, unity and development in a multi-ethnic nation.

It would be recalled that the institute has presented for graduation, the first set of students in the Certificate, Graduate and Diploma in Cultural Studies. By November 2009, registration processes started for the second set. Ayakoroma visited Lagos to ensure the successful take off of the new academic session. According to him, he was satisfied with the current academic programme and expressed hope that sooner, the training school will be in its rightful place in the culture sector. The vision of NICO is to run a school that will produce graduands that will occupy strategic position in various cultural institutions.

“Just like the Federal Training School trains clerical officers all over the country, ASCON trains administrative officers, and NIPS trains top government officers in the civil service and the military, we are positioning ourselves to train cultural workers at the middle and top level of cultural administration,” he said.

The secretary observed that NICO would only gain its relevance in the scheme of things when it comes out with some programmes that will impact the lives of the generality of the people. At the national level, according to him, there are programmes lined up, but specifically, the indigenous language programme appears to be a strategic option. With the notion that many Nigerians are not intact, language wise and that most of Nigerian children find it difficult speaking indigenous language, because of inter-tribal marriages and so on, NICO has developed a programme that will encourage the speaking of the indigenous languages.

“If these children are given the opportunity to learn indigenous languages, they approach them with every sense of commitment. This programme has gained ground to some extent. In the last long vacation of Nigerian primary and secondary schools, the programme took place in the six zonal offices of NICO.”

The institute has set up an agenda to introduce a programme entitled ‘Language in the Barracks’ to support its vision to immortalize indigenous languages. This is with the intention of taking indigenous language training scheme to police and military barracks. It was discovered, however, that among some military or police families, the wives might be Yoruba while the husbands, Igbo. It boils down on the challenge of the particular language that the children will be disposed to speak. NICO therefore believes that with this programme, parents as well as children will have the opportunity to learn those languages. The institute has also concluded plans, according to the executive secretary, to start a television programme called ‘WAZOBIA Quiz’. They are looking at a scenario whereby the parents and their children come for a quiz programme based on culture such as ‘Nigerian People and Places’. Such segment will be in the three Nigeria major languages.

“If the father is speaking Yoruba and Hausa for example, and the wife is Igbo, we expect that one of the children that will appear with you for the programme will also speak one of the languages. We believe it will be an interesting programme and it will enhance or energise the study or interest of Nigerian languages,” he said. This, to an extent, might help improve the readiness of Nigerian families to cherish the more the indigenous languages. NICO declared its intention to encourage the speaking of indigenous languages at homes and offices in Nigeria and not having English as lingua franca in respected homes. Other roundtable programme of the institute include annual roundtable conference, workshop on ‘Repositioning Cultural Workers for Improved Productivity’, World Culture Day celebration in May among others. The secretary also intimidated the media about the plan of the institute to start cultural club in secondary schools. This will be taking to secondary schools to catch the young ones culturally, like the debating and literary societies. The intention of the institute is for the children to appreciate every area of Nigerian culture, be it music or dressing.

He expressed his disappointment on how Nigerian parents are showing lackadaisical attitude to the dressing mode of most Nigerian children. According to him, some of these children go on the street almost in nudity. “It is very worrisome. The jeans, T-shirts, and the type of short sketches that our children wear in the name of fashion are really worrisome. That is why we are also looking at organising a programme called ‘Nigeria’s Dress Culture’. We want to look at aspect of dress culture.”

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Some Nigerian universities have been observed to institutionalised dress codes. Ayakoroma therefore appealed that such institutions should be encouraged, because if the students are allowed to dress the way they want, “very soon we will begin to see nude boys and girls on our streets in the name of fashion.”

NICO has vowed to step up actions on the creation of awareness on the essence and importance of culture in Nigeria. Culture, according to him, is what makes a man. He therefore warned that with the level of richness of Nigerian culture, it would be very unfortunate if Nigerian parents failed to carry their children along and sell them to the western world in the name of civilisation.

He also significantly pointed out that for Nigeria to move forward, there is a need for Nigerians to cooperate with the institute to appraise the level of corruption in Nigeria from cultural point of view.

THE OBAMAS ARE WHAT EVERY BLACK FAMILY IN AMERIKKKA SHOULD BE-UNITED!

January 27, 2010

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via Obama.

GREAT BLACK ADVICE FROM A GREAT BLACK PRESIDENT!- OBAMA

January 3, 2010

Obama.

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Obama’s March advice proves dead-on

From the Globe and Mail no less.

If Barack Obama ever gets tired of being President, he might have a future in the investing game.

In March, as share prices plumbed new lows and the economic malaise seemed impossible to shake, Mr. Obama was one of the few to call the bottom for the stock markets. At those levels, with U.S. stocks down by half from their 2007 peak, he said that “buying stocks is a potentially good deal if you’ve got a long-term perspective on it.”

About the only thing the forecaster-in-chief got wrong was the time frame. Nine months later, stocks have staged a recovery that is nothing short of incredible. Around the world almost every major market finished the year up about 20 per cent or more – much more in the case of Brazil, at 83 per cent.

(snip)

Anyone who took Mr. Obama’s advice to buy in March had a very good year indeed. However, many investors had trouble ginning up the nerve to dive back into the markets after their punishing fall.


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