Since July 2013, Organised Youth have been interviewing, photographing and filming former British Black Panthers. Come to our exhibition at Photofusion Gallery in Brixton from 16th - 26th October. There are only 5 days left guys, go see it! (at Photofusion)
I’ve obsessed a lot about Celia Cruz on this blog, so in honour of her birthday today I wrote this homage to the woman with a voice that never quits and style for days.
Mainly I focus on Celia’s incredible performance with Fania All Stars at the three-day Zaire ‘74 concert. The show was conceived by Hugh Masekela and his producer Stewart Levine and was meant to precede the George Foreman vs Muhammad Ali fight that President Mobutu had decided should be held in Zaire under the title “Rumble in the Jungle”. Go watch the performance, even her sound check is like, damn! But I also touch on her importance to AfroLatinidad as a black woman who showed two fingers to the tendency to hide or whitewash African cultural elements in Caribbean culture (and to the white male dominated Latin music industry). She sang about Shango, and she pulled syllables from Santeria to form her own musical lexicon (quimbara, quimbara cuba quim ba ba).
She was a woman formidable in her femininity: unapologetically flamboyant and colourful in a way that refused blandness, passivity and even fetishization. She also had a wicked sense of comic timing. In a 1988 BBC Arena performance she told the audience “If your husband hits you, make sure you hit him back…” adding “If you can’t do it with your hand, hit him with the frying pan” then breaks into a booty roll that is second to none.
Let’s say this super hot guy shows up, his wife had been dead for centuries, but he is only now realizing that she is dead. Then his wife starts showing up in dreams (let’s call them visions) …
So… Is he single? And if so, has he been single long enough for to be hit on?
Asking for a friend.
I discovered quickly that migration goes hand in hand with a peculiar kind of loneliness that not even fresh love can dispel.
Chika Unigwe “Losing My Voice”
Some of this exploration comes out of my own restlessness. I have a very short attention span. I suppose that I am also just curious. What would happen if this bends, if this twists, where might I be instead, where might this lead? Maybe I just cannot manage a sustained commitment to one way of being or looking. Maybe a singular approach is frightening to me when I think in terms of “lifetime.” Maybe I’m just afraid to collect one thing, so I surround myself with many materials out of which to build things. That is what I do. I take materials and construct other things, other hosts, other houses for ideas and possibilities.
What can I say about Kelela except that I’ve listened to this album ‘most every day for the past fortnight - I’m sprung. I’ve decided that this is music for the peripatetic.
I’ve been thinking about excess, but also about restraint. What’s held back - for whatever reason. And these artists who can make a home of the ache native to longing.
Some days I wake up unsure of what city I’m in, and if I’m here, I’m here at the edge of not-enough. Singing with Sampha “and I can’t get, I can’t get close…” or grasping for certainty with Kelela “Trust me I’ll feel better, say it’s over baby.”
Free The Town by Nikyatu Jusu - A forthcoming feature film set in Freetown, Sierra Leone
Exciting news! Bold and endlessly talented Sierra-Leonean/American filmmaker Nikyatu Jusu is working on a feature film set in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Nikyatu recently tweeted Achebe’s injunction to Africans, repeated by Adichie, to tell their own stories, and that’s what she plans to do: “make a film by the people, for the people”. Free The Town is currently looking for funding, so donate at the indiegogo campaign page if you can.
Hit play on the teaser above and check out the synopsis + links below:
FREE THE TOWN is Nikyatu Jusu’s feature film debut: As 17 year old Binta runs from a past riddled with accusations, she collides with two strangers: a Brooklyn teen reuniting with his estranged African father, and a European filmmaker relentlessly pursuing a story of African witch exorcisms. In a country struggling to progress, we discover the past often has an unshakeable grasp on the future.”
There’s a real crisis between us carers and those who exploit us. On the one hand, we want to care. But on the other hand, we don’t want that wish to care to be used against us as workers. And we have always to decide, as carers, as teachers, as nurses, as mothers, as neighbors, we have to decide how to defend our caring but not allow ourselves to be exploited because we have this “weakness,” and in fact, this vulnerability is the right word.
We have to say, “You have to pay us to do the right thing.” And we don’t take the little bit that [either] we want to do the right thing, or we want to take the money. We want both. That’s really crucial
Selma James | “Care Work and the Power of Women: An Interview with Selma James" by Julie McIntyre
A fisherman who rescued 47 people after a migrant boat sank off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy, says coastguards stopped him saving more people. He claims rescue workers refused to take people from his full boat so he rescue more, because it was against their protocol. More than 300 people are thought to have died in the disaster
See previous posts about the ongoing tragedy in Lapedusa, Italy:
And here a post about the “corporate practices” (i.e. protocols) that rule the administration of migrant lives in Europe. These “protocols” place corporate “efficiency” above human life.
The other feels it when we love or give generous attention, and benefits from it. The benefits may not be conscious, but they are real as long as love is really love, that is to say, the gift is one of attention to the other’s needs rather than an obsession or a demand to be loved.
Teresa Brennan - ‘The Transmission of Affect’
You know white people, get money don’t spend it
Or maybe they get money buy a business
I’d rather buy eighty gold chains and go ignant
I know Spike Lee gon kill me, but lemme finish
"The thought that leads me to contemplate with dread the erasure of other voices, of unwritten novels, poems whispered or swallowed for fear of being overheard by the wrong people, outlawed languages flourishing underground, essayists’ questions challenging authority never being posed, unstaged plays, cancelled films – that thought is a nightmare. As though a whole universe is being described in invisible ink." - Toni Morrison, Burn This Book
Anonymous asked: Book recs please? On anything fiction/nonfic alike
hi anon, sorry this took me forever. Here are some books I think are worth reading - which I’ve read + loved fairly recently / or read a while ago but am still thinking about / or which I’m currently lusting after:
noviolet bulawayo - “we need new names”
jamaica kincaid - “lucy” + “autobiography of my mother”
zoe wicomb - “playing in the light”
lydia davis - “collected short stories”
samuel r. delany - “times square red, times square blue”
sophie calle - “exquisite pain”
igoni barrett - “love is power, or something like that”