DYNAMIC AFRICA

Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is a rich content-driven creative space with a Pan-African outlook established as an expressive platform for African experiences, African culture and African stories.


Dynamic Africa is a diverse multimedia platform, which curates global ideas, memes, attitudes and other phenomena that shape popular culture, with both a local and global African perspective.




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Posts tagged "diaspora"

Zara McFarlane - “Open Heart”.

I hate that I’m one of those people who is constantly in search of new music but takes forever when it comes to taking the time to listen to artists and musicians that come highly recommended by reputable sources.

Despite having seen the name “Zara McFarlane” appear for over a year on the various publications I look to for sound music recommendations, I never tapped into just what it was that resulted in McFarlane receiving nothing but positive news. My goodness was I foolish!

The British-Jamaican East London-based singer’s blend of lyrical jazz and her distinct vocals make for an absolutely magnetic and captivating sound.

Zara is currently on tour in Europe and will be performing in Nantes, France, on August 31, before moving on to dates in England, France, Spain and Belgium.

Also recommended: “Move”, “Chiaroscuro" and "Police and Thieves”.

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Cecile Emeke’s ‘Strolling’ Series Documents and Gives A Voice to Diasporan Youth in the UK.

Armed with the objective of removing the veil of invisibility cast upon young black voices and faces, Strolling is a multimedia series created by filmmaker Cecile Emeke that sees her walking through the streets of London with other young black individuals discussing any and everything that concerns their daily realities. Strolling was birthed from Emeke’s everyday conversations with friends and acquaintances that often found her sentiments about issues relating to life as a young diasporan African in the UK being echoed, inspiring the filmmaker in her to document these interactions.

Whilst the series adopts a one-way casual form of dialogue, the importance of this project is not in any way diminished by the nature of the conversation. Rather, the messages embedded in these videos are all the more amplified by this form of broadcast, and the visual communicative platform allows the audiences to engage with the individuals without interrupting their agency or representation of themselves.

As Emeke says:

"Growing up in London I was not reflected anywhere, not fully. I think most of us tried to grasp on to images of African-American culture, and we tried to cling on to our identities from the Caribbean and Africa. We’d wave our Jamaica flags at carnival and watch reruns of fresh prince but ultimately nothing reflected us. We didn’t exist.

Part of the aim of erasure is to alienate you and therefore silence you. Strolling is the complete and utter rejection of this implicit call to silence and the self-destructive assimilation required for survival.”

In this video, Abraham strolls through Hackney with Emeke as he chats to her (and us) about everything from male feminists, patriarchy, crying, to “great” Britain, reparations for Africa, Palestine, Boko Haram, hair and more.

The full playlist is embedded above.

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"The challenge is that when you’re telling a story that is unorthodox and people aren’t so familiar with it, it’s hard to make it cool. And, you know, it’s taking a lot of us, a lot of work really trying to tell this African story.”

- Blitz the Ambassador saying some highly resonating words during a recent interview with NPR

Reminds me of this quote, “It’s bad enough … when a country gets colonized, but when the people do as well! That’s the end, really, that’s the end.”
― Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions.

Watch more from this Baldwin discussion.

Vintage cover photos of magazines that catered specifically to black women. 

Movie Mondays: “Burning An Illusion” - Dir. Menelik Shabazz (1981).

Pat is a single woman, employed, financially independent, carefree and living in her own flat in London, until she meets suave and smooth talking Del. The two start dating and it isn’t long before Del moves in with Pat.

At first, things seem rosy between the them, that is, until Del quits (or loses) his job. As newly unemployed Del becomes more complacent with his situation, fully relying and taking advantage of the care that Pat and her job provide for him, their relationship takes a quick downward spiral and it isn’t long before things heatedly escalate.

Burning An Illusion is a powerful and important film for so many reasons. Not only does it feature a black woman as the central character, Pat - played by Cassie McFarlane - is a woman with complexities that defy stereotypes of black women throughout the history of Western cinema. She’s both strong and sensitive, defiant and desperate, lovestruck and lonely.

The film also tackles a number of issues related to gender roles and expectations within the Afro-Caribbean British community, black consciousness, race, class and other socio-economic factors that personally affect the film’s many characters.

In making this film writer and director Menelik Shabazz, born in Barbados, became the second black filmmaker to produce a feature film in Britain. Shabazz is also the founder of the BFM (Black Filmmakers) Film Festival in England.

The film won the Grand Prix at the Amiens International Film Festival in France, and  actress Cassie McFarlane won the Evening Standard Award for “Most Promising New Actress”.

Burning an Illusion and director Menelik Shabazz were honoured with a Screen Nation Classic Film Award in October 2011.

The relationship between Pat and Del at times reminded me of the couple in Nothing But A Man.

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Test Shots by Rog Walker.

Test Shots is an ongoing series of portraits taken in the studio with photography couple Rog and Bee Walker. Each photograph, taken mostly of their close friends and fellow creatives, is as striking as it is simple.

Opting for a sombre and dark background, coupled with poised and pensive subjects, Walker’s shots manage to maximize on the simplicity of the traditional portrait style by making use of a medium format camera that provides an image quality which, despite the powerful stillness of each individual, vividly brings the details of each photograph to life. This brings out both a sense of strength and vulnerability in each picture, alluding to the intimate two-way dialog between subject and photographer.

"This is the most organic method of communication I have. Photography is the way I speak…It doesn’t get more personal than another human, and that’s what I’m looking to capture, that connection between humanity." - Rog Walker

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GLOBAL EVENTS LISTINGS - ART & FILM: July 18th, 2014.

FRANCE: Maroc, couleur désert (Morocco, desert colour).

Consisting of over 100 rugs, blankets and cushions woven by the Aït Khebbach - a semi-nomadic Amazigh (Berber) people living along the border with Algeria, the exhibition highlights the cultural and personal significance of these woven pieces, through multimedia arts such as film, photography and music, and the women who create them.

Each life-size photograph taken by Serge Anton reveals not only the artistic tapestry of each textile, but places the woman responsible for its creation in front of her work as a way to give credit where credit is due.

Musée Bargoin, Clermont-Ferrand.
30 April - 25 August 2014.

FRANCE: Yinka Shonibare - “Egg Fight”.

Fondation Blachère is presenting a solo exhibition and new light installation by Yinka Shonibare MBE RA. The exhibition takes its cue from Shonibare’s installation Egg Fight (2009) recently acquired by Fondation Blachère.

Inspired by Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver Travels, the piece is a satirical staging of the divisions between Protestants and Catholics through the argument over which end of a boiled egg should be broken, the large or small end. This work reflects Shonibare’s interest in addressing conflicting ideologies observed in culture, politics and society.

Fondation Blachère, Apt, France.
23rd May - 20th Sept. 2014.

ENGLAND: Yinka Shonibare at Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2014.

See some of Shonibare’s work at the Royal Academy of Arts in London as part of their “Summer Exhibition”.

Royal Academy of Arts, London.
9 June - 17 August.

SOUTH AFRICA: “21 Icons” photography exhibit opening June 16th at MOAD.

Mercedes-Benz presents ‘21 Icons – Portrait of a Nation’ opening at the Museum of African Design in the Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg, on Youth Day, 16 June. The exhibition runs to 17 August and features the work of award-winning photographer Adrian Steirn who, for several years, has photographed some of South Africa’s most inspiring icons.

MOAD, Johannesburg.
16 June – 17 August.

USA: “Tête de Femme” by Mickalene Thomas.

Tête de Femme, a new body of work by artist Mickalene Thomas, explores the intricacies of female beauty through painting and collage, focusing on how artifice serves both to mask and reveal the individual essence of her subjects.

Lehmann Maupin, New York.
June 26 – August 8, 2014.

GERMANY: “Giving Contours to Shadows”.

The art and research project Giving Contours to Shadows takes its cue from the Glissantian concept that history, a “functional fantasy of the West“, cannot be left in the hands of historians only. In that sense, the project looks at ways, by which artists, curators and thinkers relate to their epoch, to times past and to the drawing of prospective trajectories, thus weaving alternatives to established narratives – from embodiment practices to possibilities of pre-writing of History.

Unfolding into a group exhibition at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein and SAVVY Contemporary and a performance program at Maxim Gorki Theatre and Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, a roundtable program as well as a series of satellite projects in Marrakech, Nairobi, Dakar, Lagos and Johannesburg, Giving Contours to Shadows reflects on philosophical, socio-cultural and historical aspects of global interest.

Look out for:

September 2014 Kër Thiossane, Dakar
October 2014 Video Art Network / CCA, Lagos
November 2014 Parking Gallery / VANSA, Johannesburg

Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin.
May 24 – July 27, 2014.

USA: Trenton Doyle Hancock: “Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing”.

A new and exciting exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston features work from American artist Trenton Doyle Hancock amassed over a period of two decades, from 1984 to 2014, chronicling the foundation of the artist’s prolific career. Beginning with his childhood, the exhibition provides a unique glimpse into the evolution of Hancock’s idiosyncratic vision.

'Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing is the first in-depth examination of Hancock’s extensive body of drawings, collages, and works on paper. The exhibition features more than two hundred works of art as well as a collection of the artist’s notebooks, sketchbooks, and studies, many showing the preparation for several public commissions.

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Texas.
April 27 – August 3, 2014.

ENGLAND: “Return of the Rudeboy” Exhibition.

This summer, London’s Somerset House is highlighting one of Jamaica’s most influential exports on British fashion, music and style - the Rudeboy.

Birthed on the streets of Kingston, Jamaica, the Rudeboy (or Rudie) came to represent the young rebels who wore distinctively sharp sartorial styles such as Mohair suits, thin ties and pork pie hats. Much of their identity was rooted in aesthetics but their style was also closely connected to the music movements of the time, notably American Jazz and R&B musicians.

Curated by prolific photographer and filmmaker for music’s most wanted Dean Chalkley and fashion-industry favourite creative director Harris Elliott, this interactive exhibition focuses on and highlights the origins of Rudeboy culture in Jamaica, as well as its presence in the United Kingdom through various subcultures, through a series of portraits, installations and set pieces.

Somerset House, London.
13 June – 25 August 2014.

USA: Free Outdoor Screening of Wattstax.

A free outdoor screening of the legendary documentary that chronicles the events and social climate surrounding the 1972 Wattstax day-long concert, hosted by BAM.

Putnam Triangle Plaza, 22 Putnam Ave, Brooklyn, NY.
22 July at 8pm.

USA: “Drawing On Things” with Shantell Martin.

Inspired and led by Shantell Martin, adult workshop participants will bring their own objects to adorn with elaborate, original drawings! BYO blank canvas (any white object — clothing, curtains, tote bags, shoes, lampshades, whatever!) and drawing supplies will be provided. Open bar.

MoCADA, Brooklyn, NY.
July 2014 at
6:30 am (I think they meant pm) - 8:30 pm.

USA: 2014 AFF SUMMER SERIES, New York.

Lots of great movies to be seen all summer long thanks to the folks a AFF. Join them at various venues in NYC parks to get your fill!

Various parks, New York City,
July 7th - September 7th, 2014.

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DOCUMENTARY: “The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords.”

In a world where segregation was back both by laws and social attitudes, it’s no surprise that the mainstream press in the United States served as a reflection of these ills.

Knowing firsthand the impact of words and images as weapons against their welfare, black people in the United States knew that left in the hands of racist publications, their representation, history, culture and identities would forever be at stake. Starting with communities and individuals of free black people in the 1800s, to the birth of more contemporary publications like Ebony, the power of images and the written word of black people by black people, and in the interests of black people, has always been an act of self-preservation.

This documentary brings to light a powerful and engaging account of American history that has been virtually forgotten: the story of the pioneering black newspapermen and women who gave voice to black America. 

Watch it here.

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NEW MUSIC: Y’AKOTO - Perfect Timing.

With a new album a little over a month away from release, German-Ghanaian singer Y’akoto (nee Jennifer Yaa Akoto Kieck) has given us our first taste of her sophomore effort Moody Blues with the single and accompanying video for her song ‘Perfect Timing’.

Coated with a little bit of modern jazz, a soulful blues-y essence and charming pop catchy-ness, the uber cute Y’akoto takes us on a mini-tour of Accra atop her road bike (BMX riders are becoming synonymous with the city), followed by a band of stylishly dressed followers as she relays a story of a lost opportunity for love, lots of bad luck and how she’s learned to let go.

NEW MUSIC: SZA - Julia / (Tender).

Spotted SZA wearing a Bògòlanfini print jacket in this video, amongst other beautiful prints, patterns and fabulous bold jewelry.

NEW MUSIC: Purple Ferdinand - Wasn’t Taught to Love.

British singer Purple Ferdinand is back with a brand new EP that she’s currently offering for free on her websiteWasn’t Taught Love is the latest video release from her Dragonfly EP, having released Birds and Speak True - each being raw and highly emotional lullaby-like songs about love and heartache. It’s perhaps one of the most cohesive and striking EPs I’ve come across in a long time.

NEW MUSIC: LOLAWOLF - Summertime.

LOLAWOLF, the band fronted by Zoë Kravitz and signed to Julian Casablancas’ label Cult Records, released the video for their Summertime single.

Taken off their five song debut EP that’s a mix of electro-pop with subtle R&B hints, the song features what looks like 80s or early 90s visuals of a trio of young skaters rolling around NYC. 

NEW MUSIC: Talib Kweli ft Res - Whats Real.

Great vibes, a little different to what we’re used to from Talib but great nonetheless. Definitely a summer soundtrack anthem.

Speakers For The Dead: Documentary about the original black settlers of Priceville, Ontario Canada.

When Irish settlers first moved to the area now known as Priceville in Ontario Canada, to their surprise, they found a community of black people already living there.

This documentary reveals some of the hidden history of black people in Canada.

In the 1930s in rural Ontario, a farmer buried the tombstones of a black cemetery to make way for a potato patch. In the 1980s, descendants of the original settlers, Black and White, came together to restore the cemetery, but there were hidden truths no one wanted to discuss.

Deep racial wounds were opened. Scenes of the cemetery excavation, interviews with residents and re-enactments—including one of a baseball game where a broken headstone is used for home plate—add to the film’s emotional intensity.

By Jennifer Holness, & David Sutherland, 2000