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Showing posts from October, 2011

Film Review: Miracle at St. Anna

Yesterday I went to the BFI (British Film Institute) to see the first European screening for the film Miracle at St.Anna, a fictional film directed by the famous black American Director Spike Lee, the film was about a black American army regiment (called Buffalo) that fought in Italy during the Second World War.
The film starts off in the 80's where we see an old man commit a murder, it then goes back to his past in the Buffalo army regiment were we come to understand its connection with future events. Trying not to give much away, the story follows 4 stranded black soldiers and a stray Italian boy with a harrowing history; they all find refuge in a small Tuscan village proclaimed by the Germans.
Generally I’m not keen on war films. I find the concept of war to be heinous, indoctrinated men and women lay down their lives for a false cause or belief, so I find it hard to watch these types if films on the big screen. Miracle at St.Anna was no exception to this; in fact I actually found…

The Glamour Puss!

As much as I don't agree with cosmetic surgery for purely superficial reasons, the procedure that burns me the most is the hymen reconstruction. This idea of restoring ones innocence is derogative to women and the fact that this obviously appeals to men makes me feel sick! This clearly shows that the male chauvinistic attitudes hasn’t changed in the last 100 years of women’s rights & feminist movements, (most) men still have little to no respect for women and continue to perceive them as mere sexual objects.
What has always been my problem with the cultural value placed on virginity is that for men this is seen as something to be rid of as young as possible, where as in women its seen as some kind of coveted attribute.
In the 21st century do men still shop for women like they did cattle?!
It’s easy to blame women for buying into this obsession but the truth is until men fix their attitudes towards women; women will continue to live up to these expectations in hope of gaining a hus…

Black Womanhood in Britain

Yesterday I attended my first feminist meeting which was hosted by Black Feminist UK and was aimed at women of colour (not specifically black).
Not knowing what to expect from the event and to be honest a little nervous, I ended up having an amazing evening talking to and listening to other similar minded women.

The organisers had invited members of the Brixton Black Women’s Group who in the 60s, 70s and early 80s actively campaigned and supported the black UK community as well as highlighting and supporting the plights of black people in African and America back in the days. The group disbanded in the late 80s/ early 90s as many of the women left the country or focused their energies elsewhere, though what they managed to achieve has made a profound effect on the present lives of black people in London.

I won’t lie at times I felt a little out of my depths, aside from the women elders I was in a room filled with PHD students, organisation/social workers and activist. My introductio…

No To Safe Sex, I'm British!

To me one of the biggest medical advancements of the 20th century was contraceptives, so it always surprises me the reluctances people have with practicing safe sex!?
I would be interested in seeing the rest of the research and how all the counties rank, though tut tut to us Brits, with family planning services widely available (and free) we really have no excuses!

Article pictured was taken from: Stylist Magazine, issue 98, 19th October 2011, page 18.

Racy Tee Trend Sweeps High Street!

     

I couldn't believe my eyes yesterday, while out shopping I spotted the above tees on the high street.The worse in my eyes was the ‘Always Time to Party’ circle covering the girl’s crotch’s, how suggestive is that!? And what right minded girl (or woman) would buy this, let alone wear it?! - I'm still shocked.
Seems like patriarchy rule is still firmly in place, and the resent drama with Topman only highlighting what seems like a trend of inappropriate T-shirt prints aimed at our youth (if your not familiar with the Topman tees I urge you to check out the below link, they where terribly offensive to women).

It is becoming more apparent that modern day representations of femininity are highly sexualised and conforms to patriarchy values. What is most scary is that this representation is aimed at young girls and often linked with girl power!  Popular culture are littered with examples across all spheres, take the TV shows Hollyoaks and The Vampire Diaries or f…

Capitialism = Cheap Labour!

Lately I have been thinking about how essential cheap labour is to the fundamentals of our current model of capitalism. In the current economical climate, we are forever being told that the economy is retracting due to consumers spending less.
From a (fashion) retail perspective, the fact that people are not only buying less but that they are also not buying in the same frequency as before, has caused some of the big UK high street brands to go into administration. Poor sales performance is creating much uncertainty within the industry; even Tesco's, the UK's largest supermarket who are said to be pocketing £1 in every £7 spent in Britain, have announced a slump in profits.

Though I'm aware there are other contributing factors that affect the economy such as inflation, unemployment, wages, etc, the underlining message is that the more we consume the bigger and better the economy will be. The perfect example of this was back in 2008 when the VAT was lowered to 15% for a l…

Film Review: When China Met Africa

Over the weekend I attended the premiere of the docufilm (documentary film- me being smart!) 'When China Met Africa'. The film shows the workings of the strategic partnership made by the two nations back in 2006.
Directed by British film makers Marc and Nick Francis, I found it hard to understand the direction the film was taking, was I meant to be feeling sympathetic for the Africans who again were being exploited or impressed by the work ethics displayed by the Chinese or was I meant to take on the role as a voyeuristic Westerner?

The film focused solely on Zambia's relationship with China, and the story swapped frequently between the political aspects of the relationship to the business side. 
The storyline follows the lives of 3 main characters, Zambia's Minster of Commerce, a Chinese farmer and a Chinese project manager, both of whom were living and working in Zambia.

I am not sure whether it was the films intention, but I found Zambia's Minster of Commerce …

Skin / When She Was White - A True Story About Colour

When I first heard about this film and story back into 2008 I promptly bought the book to read first.
A story about the unfortunate luck of a 'coloured' child born to white parents in South Africa during the apartheid. Sandy Laing, who is played by Sophie Okonedo in the film, spends the early part of her childhood battling to be considered white by both the government and her peers, only years later to be disowned by her Africaan family for falling in love and running away with a black man.
After which her life gets more complicated, since legally being white in South African at that time meant she is not allowed to be living with her black partner within the black community nor is it legal for them to have children, which they go on to have 3!

The story is truly fascinating on soo many levels, as it not only gives an insight into the sentiments of South African before and after the apartheid era, it also exposes the laws of apartheid as shallow and empty.
One of my favourit…

Event: 200 Years of Black Troops in British Forces

Today I attended the For King and Country event at the Imperial War Museum London for Black History Month this October. The discussion was on the untold story of black soldiers in the British forces.

Very interesting and interactive, the staff were passionate and knowledgeable; they shared facts, showed unseen photographs and played with artefacts.  I really enjoyed and learnt a great deal, for example, WWI wasn't solely fought in the trenches in France! - In fact black soldiers from Africa & the British West Indian Regiment fought the Germans and the Turks in Iraq and Palestine.
As expected the level of racism was high, with accounts exposing facts that captured German prisoners had better living conditions then the black solders at the Battle of the Somme.

The lecture later explained that black soldiers serving in the British forces dates back as early as the 18th Century, where many were bought from slave traders. Both the West Indian Regiment and the British West Indian R…

FYI: Miracle at St. Anna

Miracle at Santa Anna. A Spike Lee Joint 

Sat 29 October 2-5pm

BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road SE1

Tube: Waterloo

African Odysseys at the BFI www.bfi.org.uk

Although this film came out in the US in September 2008 it has never been released here and this will be its cinematic premiere. One must question why such quality films on black war heroes by a famous director are not selected for distibution while other far less edifying films are on heavy rotation. In World War 2 thousands of African-american troops were sent to fight for freedom and democracy on behalf of the USA which refused black people to right to vote. Initially the Armed Forces were reluctant to use black troops but due to the agitation of the US black community and the increasing casualty rate segregated units like the 92nd Infantry, the 761 Black Panther Tank Battalion and the Tuskeegee airmen were sent into action. The film follows the exploits of the 92nd infantry division and their activities in Italy when a small unit is …

Film Release: The Help

Have heard lots about this film, the reviews have been very positive.
Taken from a best selling book of the same name, The Help is set in America in the early 1960s during racial segregation. The lead character a young white woman called Eugenia is a journalist who writes a controversial book inspired by her relationship with two black maids during the Civil Rights movement, exposing the racism they face working for white families.
Now some argue that its typical for black films in mainstream cinema to conform to the racial stereotyping, in this case the compliant, fearful working class image.
I have not yet seen the film though I do agree with the argument, but what I find most interesting is that in contrast to the American press, the UK reviews don't seem to think the focus of the film is on the black element of the story.  Example being the November issue of UK Vogue dedicating 2 pages to the films actress Bryce Dallas Howard and the fashion, none of the film screen shoots u…

Paying Parents For Being Good Parents, Good Idea?

I actually think Argentina could be onto something, this could really be a very good idea as it would provide a positive incentive on a sensitive subject.
Our government may favour the practise of penalising parents with fines and loss of benefits but this hasn't seemed to help, instead it has only managed to stigmatises parents on a lower income as being bad parents!
I may not have children (does a god daughter count!?) but from observations being a parent isn’t easy, especially with present day factors at play. Parenting is a huge responsibility and I can’t imagine many new parents’ hopes and intentions aren’t to raise a well adjusted son or daughter!
So consider if in this country (despite the government cuts) child tax credits were performance related? The aim would be to reward parents whose children had good attendance rate, behave in school and had no criminal records or ASBO’s. Obviously the amount of money would need to be class related like the scraped child tax credits, …

Tell'em Sister!

Inspired by SlutWalk, the women of Jakarta, Indonesia came out to protest the sexist remark made by their government, that a woman recently gang raped in the capital was to fault for wearing provocative clothing!

Was The Nivea Ad Racist Or Are We Just Too Sensitive?

I know I'm late on discussing this but 'better late than never'!

 The recently Nivea for men advert with the caption "re-civilize yourself" which featured a clean shaven, well dress black man holding his 'former' uncivilised head (see photo above) has caused much outrage.
On twitters many voiced their anger about the adverts racist connotations and it’s not hard to understand why.  Of course an image of a black man and the caption “re-civilize yourself” was going to cause controversy, apart from the fact that it implies black men are not civilised it also implies that they once were but have now regressed.  Meaning some time after the abolishment of slavery where they were first made 'civilized' we went back to our ‘primitive’ ways!
Maybe the cause of this was the end of the Jim Crow law or maybe it’s all the civil rights movement’s fault, what about Hip-Hop? Or maybe we (black people) are simply over sensitive! Not that black people don’t have…