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Common in celebrating the release of his latest LP Nobody’s Smiling with a free album release party at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre on Monday, July 21st.

Details on entry here.

Join the Sweet Spot Festival on SATURDAY July 20th from 12-6PM in Harlem’s JACKIE ROBINSON PARK for PEPPA SOUP, an electric dance party and celebration of African music and culture. 

Jam to AFRO beats, house, funk and soul by DJ Tafari, DJ Kwabena, DJ Herbert Holler and DJ Simoroobes. 

Special African food, art, jewelry and vintage vendors will be featured at 
the Sweet Spot Marketplace 

Okayafrica will be bringing some great goodies and giveaways 
The Studio Museum of Harlem will be hosting an engaging art workshop for kids and familes 

Bilingual Birdies are bringing their guitar and puppets for a free French music class for  the little geniuses in training 
and the fun continues at Silvanas for dinner and after-party at 7PM

This one will be beautiful! 

Visit the Sweet Spot Festival website to Reserve a picnic table. Come on out to DANCE! MUSIC! SHOP! RELAX!

EVENT: GO-SLOW: Diaries of Personal and Collective Stagnation in Lagos

New Directions in Contemporary Photography
May 30th - July 31st, 2013

SKOTO GALLERY 529 West 20th Street, 5FL.
New York, NY 10011 212-352 8058

Photo: Uche Okpa-Iroha: Thinking Man, 2010

EVENT: TOYIN ODUTOLA, My Country Has No Name, May 16 – June 29, 2013.

Opening reception for the exhibition: Thursday, May 16th, from 6 – 8 PM at 513 West 20th Street.


Film Festival: Bringing Human Rights Issues to Life

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival returns to New York screens from June 13 to 23, 2013, with a program of 20 challenging and provocative films from across the globe that call for justice and social change. Now in its 24th edition, the festival will once again be presented at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and this year adds downtown screenings at the IFC Center.

The festival will launch on June 13 with a fundraising Benefit Night for Human Rights Watch featuring the HBO documentary Which Way Is the Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington. The film is Sebastian Junger’s moving tribute to his lost friend and Restrepo co-director, the photojournalist and filmmaker Tim Hetherington, who was killed while covering the Libyan civil war in 2011. The main program will kick off on June 14 with the Opening Night presentation of Oscar-winning filmmaker Freida Mock’s ANITA, in which Anita Hill looks back at the powerful testimony she gave against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas and its impact on the broader discussion of gender inequality in America. The Closing Night screening on June 23 will be Jeremy Teicher’s award-winning drama Tall As the Baobab Tree, the touching story of a teenage girl who tries to rescue her younger sister from an arranged marriage in rural Senegal.

Traditional Values and Human Rights: Women’s Rights
Traditional values are often cited as an excuse to undermine human rights. In addition to Tall As the Baobab Tree, five documentaries in this year’s festival consider the impact on women. Veteran documentarian Kim Longinotto’s Salma is the remarkable story of a South Indian Muslim woman who endured a 25-year confinement and forced marriage by her own family before achieving national renown as the most famous female poet in the Tamil language. Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief’s Rafea: Solar Mama profiles an illiterate Bedouin woman from Jordan who gets the chance to be educated in solar engineering but has to overcome her husband’s resistance.In Karima Zoubir’s intimately observed Camera/Woman, a Moroccan divorcée supports her family by documenting wedding parties while navigating her own series of heartaches. It will be shown with Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s Going Up the Stairsa charming portrait of a traditional Iranian grandmother who discovers her love of painting late in life and is invited to exhibit her work in Paris. Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s candid HBO documentary Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer centers on the women of the radical-feminist punk group, two of whom are currently serving time in a Russian prison for their acts of defiance against the government.

Traditional Values and Human Rights: LGBT Rights
Three films in the program remind viewers that, despite recent strides toward equality, LGBT communities around the world still struggle for acceptance. Shaun Kadlec and Deb Tullmann’s Born This Way is an intimate look at the lives of four young gay men and lesbians in Cameroon,where there are more arrests for homosexuality than in any other country in the world.Yoruba Richen’s The New Black uncovers the complicated and often combative intersection of the African-American and LGBT civil rights movements, with a particular focus on homophobia in the black church. In Srdjan Dragojevic’s drama The Parade, a fight by activists to stage a Gay Pride parade in Belgrade leads to an unlikely alliance in a black-humored look at contemporary Serbia.

Traditional Values and Human Rights: Disability Rights
Harry Freeland’s In the Shadow of the Sun is an unforgettable study in courage,telling the story of two albino men who attempt to follow their dreams in the face of prejudice and fear in Tanzania.

Crises and Migration
Three documentaries highlight the issues of humanitarian aid, conflict, and migration. In the Festival CenterpieceFatal Assistance, the acclaimed director Raoul Peck, Haiti’s former culture minister, takes us on a two-year journey following the 2010 earthquake and looks at the damage done by international aid agencies whose well-meaning but ignorant assumptions turned a nightmare into an unsolvable tragedy.Danish journalist Nagieb Khaja’s My Afghanistan – Life in the Forbidden Zone shows ordinary Afghans in war-torn Helmand who were provided with hi-res camera phones to record their daily lives, giving a voice to those frequently ignored by the Western media.Marco Williams’The Undocumented isan unvarnished account of the thousands of Mexican migrants who have died in recent years while trying to cross Arizona’s unforgiving Sonora Desert in search of a better life in the United States.

Focus on Asia
The festival will screen two important documentaries from Asia.In Joshua Oppenheimer’s chilling and inventive The Act of Killing, the unrepentant former members of Indonesian death squads are challenged to reenact some of their many murders in the style of the American movies they love.

Marc Wiese’s Camp 14 – Total Control Zone tells the powerful story of Shin Dong-Huyk, who spent the first two decades of his life behind the barbed wire of a North Korean labor camp before his dramatic escape led him into an outside world he had never known. Wiese is the recipient of the festival’s annual Nestor Almendros Award for courage in filmmaking for his film.

Human Rights in the United States
Four American documentaries – including festival opener ANITA – highlight human rights issues in our own back yard. 99% – The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film goes behind the scenes of the 2011 movement, digging into big-picture issues as organizers, participants, and critics reveal what happened and why. Al Reinert’s An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story tells the story of a Texas man who was wrongfully convicted of his wife’s murder and was exonerated by new DNA evidence after nearly 25 years behind bars. Lisa Biagiotti’s deepsouth is an evocative exploration of the rise in HIV in the rural American south, a region where poverty, a broken health system and a culture of denial force those affected to create their own solutions to survive.

In conjunction with this year’s film program, the festival will present the photo exhibit Dowry: Child and Forced Marriage in South Sudan. The exhibit is Getty photographer Brent Stirton’s visual investigation into the devastating impact the tradition of child marriage has on girls in this East African nation. It will be featured in the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater for the duration of the festival. 

Photo: © 2012 Harry Freeland

EVENT: Saharan Frequencies at BAM (Mar 4—Mar 18, 2013)

Inspired by the aesthetic of the intrepid recordists at film and record label Sublime Frequencies, this series explores the sounds of North Africa as captured by two of the label’s key directors Hisham Mayet and Olivia Wyatt and their influences.

Presented in conjunction with Mic Check on BAM’s mainstage.

From the recent revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East, rappers have emerged as torchbearers of the movement’s progressive energy and restless defiant spirit. In Mic Check, four of the region’s most influential MCs—Amkoullel (Mali), Deeb (Egypt), El Général (Tunisia), and Shadia Mansour (Palestine/UK)—come to BAM for a unique evening of hip hop born from radical social and political change.

Sat, Mar 9 at 7:30pm
Tickets start at $20

EVENT: New York Premiere of Alain Gomis’ film ‘Tey (Aujourd’hui)’ at BAM

Today is the last day of Satché’s life. Though he is strong and in good health, he accepts his imminent death as he walks through the streets of Senegal, taking in the sites of his past as if he were looking at them for the last time: his parents’ house, his first love, the friends of his youth, and his wife and children. Acclaimed actor, musician, and poet Saul Williams stars in this stirring, reflective drama.

Named one of Film Comment’s Best Unreleased Films of 2012.

The film also stars Djolof Mbengue, Anisia Uzeyman, Aïssa Maïga and Mariko Arame.

The event takes place on Sat, Feb 16, 2013, at 6PM in the PEter Jay Sharp Building.
General admission: $13.
BAM Cinema Club Members: $8
Students (under 29 w/ valid ID)/seniors: $9 (Mon. - Thu.)

EVENT: 'The Suit' at BAM Harvey Theatre

Based on the short story of the same name written by South African author Daniel Canodoce “Can” Themba, The Suit tells the bizarre story of Philomen and Matilda, a middle class couple living in Sophiatown, and the strange ‘guest’ - in the form of a suit - that arises as a form of punishment against Matilda’s infidelity.

After catching his wife red-handed with her lover, Philomen forces Matilda to treat the suit left by her fleeing lover as if it were an honored guest in their house and attend to its needs as if it were a human being - including feeding it and taking it out for walks. But the humiliation is more than Matilda can bear and eventually takes a fatal toll on the couple.

WHEN: Jan. 17th - Feb. 2nd 2013



Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui @ Brooklyn Museum

February 8th -August 4th, 2013

The first solo exhibition in a New York museum by the globally renowned contemporary artist El Anatsui, this show will feature over 30 works in metal and wood that transform appropriated objects into site-specific sculptures. Anatsui converts found materials into a new type of media that lies between sculpture and painting, combining aesthetic traditions from his birth country, Ghana; his home in Nsukka, Nigeria; and the global history of abstraction.

Image: El Anatsui, Earth’s Skin, 2009


NEWSFEED: Anonymity & Social Media in African Revolutions and Beyond
October 18, 2012 – January 20, 2013

Curated by Jessica L. Moore & Nelson Nance
Opening Reception on Thursday, Oct 18, 2012 | 7pm – 10pm

Be it in New York, Paris or Bamako, the world is experiencing a paradigm shift that began in Africa. Sparked by the 2011 toppling of Egypt’s thirty-year dictator, calls for revolution echo through mass media and populate social networking newsfeeds.

MoCADA’s Curatorial Series, NEWSFEED: Anonymity & Social Media in African Revolutions and Beyond, features a compilation of new media art, contemporary works and digital installations that investigate global interconnectivity and how anonymous parties define, construct, and support uprisings in Africa via social media. As text, images and videos are tagged, re-tweeted, and shared virally, are these so-called “revolutions” reflecting real world events or merely constructing an online reality? How does this digital dialogue influence global society’s relationship with Africa?

Pertinent to the concept of African revolution, NEWSFEED is proud to include work by artists who currently reside in Africa and are approaching this concept from a Continental lens.

(via dynamicafrica)

For the first time ever, the Friedman & Vallois gallery in New York will present the work of French artist Rachid Khimoune, of Amazigh (Berber) origin, in exclusivity  from November 8 to December 21, 2012.

Amazigh (Berber) in origin, Rachid Khimoune grew up in a Parisian suburban housing project. As a a result of his dual cultural heritage, all of his work is imbued with elements that invoke the two which can be found in his choices of mixed and found materials and objects.

On the occasion of this exhibition, Rachid Khimoune will be presenting a recent series of totems, masks, and tortoises.

Totems and masks, made during the past five years, evoke Africa and its traditions with humor, assembling disparate scraps of modern life and fusing them into a new identity playing with their initial definitions.

Furthermore, tortoises, drawn or sculpted and symbols of longevity, occupy a prominent place in his work. Khimoune states “The tortoise chases bad luck and evil spirits. it is the image of wisdom”, which is a philosophy his mother taught him. Helmets of soldiers replace the shells, an approach for him to denounce his abhorrence of war.

Opening Reception 8 November 2012, 6-8pm
November 8th - December 21st, 2012
Friedman & Vallois Gallery
27 East 67th Street, NYC NY 10065
If anyone happens to attend this exhibition, please report back if you can. I’m incredibly curious to see how his work comes together concerning these vast subjects and the re-contextualization of historic art.

From Sierra Leone to the Streets of New York: The Story of Shea Moisture

There’s no one like your grandma—she’s the bearer of secret recipes, teller of stories, and for Richelieu Dennis, she’s the inspiration behind organic bath, body and hair care line Shea Moisture.

“My grandmother made and sold shea butter products in our village market in Sierra Leone,” says Richelieu, the founder and CEO of the company.

Helping his grandmother during the summers, Richelieu learned the tricks of the trade at an early age. But when a civil war broke out in Liberia and Sierra Leone, Richelieu, along with his mother and sister, came to the U.S. to escape. “In 1991, we started making and selling my grandmother’s products on the streets of New York to support ourselves,” he says. “That’s how this all started.”

The certified organic and sustainable line has expanded to include soaps, shampoos, and lotions galore, all which still boast the same indigenous raw ingredients, production processes and recipes that Richelieu’s grandmother first used.

So with fall on the horizon, and its own skin and hair care problems to follow suit, we thought it was only appropriate we give you the scoop on this line at Target. Below, Richelieu fills us in on the details of the collection.

How are Shea Moisture products made today?
Richelieu Dennis: We import most of our ingredients from villages in different parts of Africa. We’re still using the same production processes and raw materials as we’ve always used. As we’ve grown, we’ve extended the therapy to include ingredients indigenous to Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean.

Who comes up with the recipes for products?
RD: My sister creates the newer recipes, but everything is based on and rooted in my grandmother’s original recipes and formulations.

How is Shea Moisture unique from other skin and hair care brands?
RD: We study how different cultures use ingredients native to their area to resolve their issues. We’re not just about using the bar of soap to wash your body. It’s learning what ingredient various cultures are using and in what forms they are putting those ingredients to get the maximum benefit. We take the guest on a cultural journey.

What are some of the most popular products sold at Target?
RD: Our hair care products based in shea butter and coconut oil, and our moisturizing soaps. The retention shampoo helps to soften, moisturize and repair damaged hair. With raw she butter, argan oil, and sea kelp, the shampoo is cruelty-free and doesn’t contain any chemicals like sulfates, parabens or synthetic fragrance or artificial flavor. Also, the coconut and hibiscus curl enhancing smoothie, which is an all-natural styling cream that hydrates hair while adding a shine and bounce to curls. Made with organic shea butter, coconut and neem oils and hibiscus extract, it is also cruelty-free and made without chemicals, artificial color or fragrance. Our baby products are also great, because they’re safe for baby and free of any chemicals.

Your products are certified organic and sustainable. What does that mean?
RD: That means the ingredients that go into our products are grown without any chemicals that are used in producing a crop. There are no chemicals used throughout the supply chain.

Why do you think a healthy skincare regimen is so important?
RD: Your skin is the largest organ on your body. It’s the one that shows and filters in all of the elements that we encounter. Taking care of that helps not only protect the skin, but also to protect the rest of the body from toxins and various ailments that are airborne. For us, that’s the first line of defense.