It's been a while since I last did a blog but that was because I was waiting to move to my new home, which is now permanently based at Fashions Finest (FF) magazine. I am pleased that FF has invited me to host my blog, so please tell people where I have moved too.
My blog is meant to be interactive so please give your views or comments on the page and it is very easy to do, don't be afraid to, as all views good or bad are welcomed.
This is a very exciting year for Mr Mahogany and with the year just starting there are already some very exciting things happening.
Events for the People...
One of the key aims of Mahogany is try and do many affordable events and where possible even free events, either to participate or to attend. I can't promise that this will be the case all the time but where we can we will.
Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL)...
Mahogany Events has been taken on as the show producers for this exciting two day fashion week, which will be taking place in July 2011. So if you are a graduate, new, emerging or established or international designer then
for how to showcase, the great news is for those that are selected if they are UK based there will be no fee to participate. We also have places for companies that wish to exhibit (sorry this is not free).
AFWL will bring together all of the fashions industries greats, including culturally diverse, emerging, aspiring and established designers, publishers, fashion icons, fashionistas, celebrities, media, socialites and members of the public.
AFWL is a platform that will showcase top international fashion designers alongside new and emerging designers who use African fabrics in their designs, are inspired by the African culture, sell to the African market, have ties to Africa and who want to cross over into mainstream fashion, thereby creating an atmosphere for cultural exchange, a fusion of western
and African culture through fashion.
Fashions Finest Renaissance Fashion Shows...
This has been a phenomenon and since its inaugural show on the 16th January we have already done two shows and on the 19th & 20th February we would be having our two days of London Fashion Week shows. Most of the designers that have showcased have never showcased before and since doing FFR these designers have attracted nationwide publicity and numerous contacts from within the fashion industry.
The evenings have not only been about fashion but have also included great entertainment and brilliant networking opportunities where already I have been informed that lots of business and deals have been done. Fashions Finest have been kind enough to agree not to charge people if they are on the guest list and the average cost to participate in these fantastic shows has been under £100.
I like to call this the people's awards as it is about recognising people from all types of backgrounds and ethnicities that work within the fashion industry that would not normally be recognised by mainstream fashion or the fashion industry greats.
From the 18th to 23rd February, its here again and it would be 6 days of sleepless nights, running from show to show and I will be reporting for Fashions Finest, so check out the LFW update from Mr Mahogany and the various FF reporters.
Lord Taylor - Parliamentary Expenses...
I can only say Fool Fool, did he honestly believe that after claiming expenses for a house he never lived in or even knew where it was, that he could go to court and expect to be found not guilty. What an idiot, a previous MP had already got an 18 month sentence, a second one had pleaded guilty and the high and mighty Lord Taylor thought he would get off free with a lame duck excuse as to why he fiddled his expenses. The great thing about this is that I don't have to say allegedly.
The Mirror Boy World Movie Premiere...
It is not often that black or Nigerian movies are able to do movie premieres at the home of movie premieres, the Empire Leicester Square but on the 24th February a Nigerian movie called the Mirror Boy featuring Genevieve Nnaji, Osita Iheme (Paw Paw) and my good friend Fatima Jabbe will be hosting its world premiere. I feel privileged that I know a lot of people involved in this fantastic project (yes i am name dropping) but this film was written and directed by another friend of mine Obi Emelonye.
By the way they will all be coming for the premiere and Fashions Finest will be doing red carpet interviews and taking pictures of the guests and celebrities that attend. So if you are coming out to see the stars make sure you come and see us so that we can feature you on FF who are proud media sponsors of this world premiere.
I know it has been a very long time since I last did a moan and groan and I have received numerous emails and texts form readers that when am I doing one again. Hey I can only do one when I have something to say and trust me this time I do.
Models You Are Not (The Do Not Use List)...
A lot of the shows that I do or try to be involved in for me they must have an element of giving something back and as such we try and give models the chance to participate in big or professionally managed shows and sadly as much as I hate it a lot of the time the models are not paid (but they do get great experience, training, pictures and lots of publicity – models that have been in our shows can attest to this).
Any way that is an aside, recently following a show that I did I asked for models to volunteer and model for the show and a number of models put themselves forward – THEY WERE NOT FORCED OR A GUN PUT TO THEIR HEAD OR WERE THEY TORTURED to put themselves forward, so why did they agree to do the show and then not turn up and to make it worst they did not even have the courtesy to call, text, email, send a courier pigeon, write a letter, dhl, ups, call a friend, Facebook or BBM me to say they would not be showing – rude people.
Now for those of you that know me, know that I don't take nonsense and I am an action man. I have spoken to a number of casting directors, magazines, designers etc and we have all agreed that we will maintain a DO NOT USE LIST of models not to use for shows (including free shows & shoots). We can't keep fighting for black models 2 get more work and then they do exactly what mainstream says they will do - be unprofessional (this is only aimed at the unprofessional, no show, I am sick, a member of my family is sick or just died model) - Models need to get their act together or get out of modelling as you are spoiling it for others.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ITS NOT BY FORCE THAT YOU MUST BE A MODEL!
If you are anything like me every time the post drops through the letterbox there is a feeling of dread as most of the time the mail just includes demands for money. So it is always a pleasant surprise when I get a nice package as opposed to a bill and this happened just the other day when I was sent a complimentary book in the post. Not only that but the author signed it and wrote a nice message in the book " To Sola Oyebade with gratitude for all you are doing". Even though I don't feel I do anything, it is nice to be appreciated.
The book is entitled "ALMOST BRITISH" by Olivea M. Ebanks, it is a deep read and is over 420 pages long and has been endorsed by Doreen Lawrence OBE (The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust).
The book is about Olivea's rare story of victory. " This can't be happening! Not racism. Not in the 21st Century in England. and not in Her Majesty's Prison Service! But it was happening and Olivea had two options: she could either take the constant abuse , ignore the racial comments, and differential treatment in the hope that it would go away or she could stand up to her bullies. In 2008, Olivea chose bravely, and took the Prison Service and her colleagues to court for direct racial discrimination, harrassment and victimisation. She stood alone to represent herself in a 15 day hearing and won!"
It is a great read and I think Doreen Lawrence OBE surmises the book eloquently "I believe this book will bring attention to the racism and suffering of individuals and it will help to bring about change for the institution as a whole"
Another great read is a book that has been donated to TMC 2010 winner Nana Afua by Alison Husbands entitled "THE AFRO HAIR & BEAUTY BIBLE". The must have beauty book for women of colour. Ever wondered how some women of colour can grow long thick healthy hair down to their waist; when your hair seems to stop growing at shoulder length? Yes...then this book is for you.
In this book you would discover the secrets of how to achieve and maintain beautiful healthy Afro hair and learn the proper techniques and methods to make you look and feel your best.
Learn what skin care and make-up brands work best with black skin as well as discovering natural alternatives for everyday beauty regimes. So natural or relaxed, grab a copy of this book and find out how to get the long hair you have always wanted.
It would be very bad manners of me if I did not start by saying Happy New Year to you and I pray that it is an Austerity Free year for you and all of your hearts desires may be fulfilled, whether it be seeking financial reward, love or marriage, a new job or the success of your business or career, you will achieve them – that is my prayer for you.
It is amazing that the besides people going to church for christenings, weddings and funerals the one other time that most people seem to attend church is on New Year's Eve, it is as if people feel that if they go to church on New Year's Eve good luck will follow them for the whole year (before you asked I was one of them that made it to church last night) and I must be honest that I have not attended church as much as I should have, so I may just be in the group of people I talk about above. I do however pray daily but as I have been told I should go to church more regularly.
At this time of the year I like to do a quick review of what has happened throughout the year and also briefly talk about what Mr Mahogany has been up to.
President Obama We still have the most powerful man in the world being a black man, but 2011 will be a tough year for him as he prepares to bid for a second term. Mr President we got your back because the world would be in serious trouble if Sarah Palin gets elected as president.
Afghanistan The war still goes on, enough already.
Wikileaks This website has changed the way spies work and how governments will communicate with each other. It would be interesting to see what the long term effects will be on freedom of information, but more importantly will the Americans get their man the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange. You know they will not rest until they get their man dead or alive – I wonder!
Is the World Coming to an end?
Haiti - One of the poorest countries in the world faced further devastation with an earthquake that killed at least 150,000 people. Sadly the international response was very slowly and may have been the cause for many people dying.
Pakistan – record flooding in northwest Pakistan led to tens of millions of people being made homeless or having to leave their homes.
Iceland – the volcano eruptions in Iceland led to worldwide disruption of air travel for many across the world.
UK and USA – unusual heavy snowfall led to the closure of two of the world's largest airports, JFK and Heathrow and a lot of angry people.
Chilean Miners One of the happiest stories of the year was the rescue of 33 Chilean miners that were trapped underground for over two months. Well done to the Chileans that were able to complete a fete that many western countries would struggle to do. Can't wait for the film.
Africa is the New Fashion and Entertainment Capital of the World If you have not been to Africa then you better get on the band wagon as Africa is the new fashion and entertainment capital of the world. Nollywood is officially rated as the second largest film industry in the world and with films like, Aje, The Figurine and Mirror Boy getting rave reviews across the world. The quality of films produced by Nollywood has improved and some of them are on par with Hollywood films. An aside, watch out as I am expecting the Ghanaian movie industry to do some great things having already produced great films like Sinking Sands featuring Ama K and the likes of Rachael Williams (Miss Black Britain) hoping to make her mark within the Ghanaian film industry, things are looking good.
Nigeria – this has been a good year for Nigeria, in February they hosted the Face of Africa Finale and in December they hosted the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA's) which was hosted by Eve.
South Africa – hosted the first ever World Cup in Africa which in my view was an outstanding success and Ghana was the only African team that did us proud, I am still an adopted Ghanaian. Well done to Spain for winning the World Cup for the first time in their history and shame on Holland for trying to kick their way to winning the World Cup.
Shows that got it Wrong:
Africa Music Awards – it has all been said in a previous blog but we look forward to them getting it right in 2011 and if they don't invite me cos they have black listed me I will still sneak my way in cos I have to support our own. Beffta's – as above. Australia's Next Top Model – get the result right in 2011. X Factor – Gamu, Wagner, Cheryl Cole – enough said. However I am looking forward to X Factor America and wondering if I would like American Idol now that Simon Cowell has left.
Mr EnglandMr England – congratulations to Vaughan Bailey for being the first black man to win the coveted MR England pageant lets hope he will not go down the line of Ms Rachael Christie the first ever black winer of Miss England.
Sour Grapes – one of the most disappointing events of 2010 was the attitude of the English football establishment at not being awarded the 2018 World Cup finals. Guys you lost, live with it and get on with life, you have no God given right to host it and like how you put South Africa down when they won, you did the same with Russia. Russia will host a good World Cup, not sure I want to go there though as it is far.
It has been a good year for Mahogany with our events growing from strength to strength and Mr Mahogany himself (by the way that is me) producing and event managing more shows abroad and in the UK, doing more presenting and judging work. I am eagerly looking forward to 2011 as I seek to become an actor (excuse me stop laughing, I am sure I could be a good actor) and we will be doing a lot more shows that aim to assist people get started or promote themselves within the fashion and entertainment industry. I have included some brief details below.
TMC Holland – the first ever winner of TMC Holland Adut Mawien was crowned in March 2010 and TMC Holland 2011 is expected to be even bigger.
TMC UK – celebrated its fifth year and Nana Afua Antwi and Jason Daniel Best won and to commemorate our 5th year all of our previous winners were presented with a special award.
Fashions Finest Magazine – is one of our biggest projects to date. We have been working on it for the past 6 months and it will go live in the middle of January 2011 and is an online fashion magazine that aims to promote people that either mainstream or the big players in the fashion and entertainment are not eager to promote or anyone locally or international that has something interesting to say or promote. The magazine is for EVERYONE of all nationalities, fashion and entertainment genres.
Fashions Finest Renaissance – fashions shows will be taking place every month throughout the year with the primary aim to promote new, aspiring and established designers, creatives, photographers etc to achieve maximum exposure within their communities as well as within mainstream fashion. The shows confirmed so far are on the 16th and 30th January and the 19th and 20th February (taking place during London Fashion Week).
Fashions Finest Awards – this is the event that everyone has been asking for and looking forward too. Fashions Finest Awards aims to redress the imbalance of small or medium size individuals or companies not being recognised by mainstream fashion either because they are different or not considered big enough or prestigious enough to be considered for a British Fashion Award. Through Fashions Finest Awards, designers, creatives and models that work within the culturally diverse fashion industry will be acknowledged and recognised for their talent. These awards are open to EVERYONE, of all nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, all genres of fashion, small and large. July 2011 will host the first ever annual Fashions Finest Awards, which will be a prestigious awards ceremony that would be truly appreciated by its invited guests, nominees, recipients and would be recognised generally within the British fashion industry and internationally as a sign of true talent and professionalism.
People I feel should be recognised (I am not giving a reason as if you know them I think what they do or have done speaks for themselves – if you don't then go and find out about them)...
Charles Thompson, Sherry Dixon, Alexander Amosu, JLS, Rachael Williams, Yemi Oshunkoya, Eryca Freemantle, Deborah St Louis, Natalie Barrett, Naomi Campbell and the Sleek Sisters (based in Nigeria – ok on this one I will explain – they run the biggest Sleek franchise in the world and are such nice as people), My TMC Team (Tope, Amina, Claudia, Redz, Eva and Gregory).
Finally I must end by paying tribute to all of those that have left us in 2010 including family and friends of people I know, but whom as much as I would want to mention them by name I am unable to, but our thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has lost someone dear to them. Here are a few of the celebrities that left us in 2010.
Alexander McQueen – British Fashion Designer Dennis Hooper – Actor Gary Coleman - Actor James MacArthur – Actor (Dan O in Hawaii five O) Lena Horne – Legendary Singer Teddy Pendergrass – Singer Tony Curtis - Actor Teena Marie - Singer
It's now time that I stopped as I know some of you are recovering from a hangover, lack of sleep from hard core partying or just want to spend some time with the family, so reading a long blog is far from being on your mind.
MAY 2011 BE YOUR BEST YEAR EVER!
MTV Africa Music Awards 2010 HighlightsWorld Television Group