I was woken up early this morning by a consistent ringing of my phone, I must explain. I tend to go to bed generally each night between 3 to 5 am and don't start my working day till 11am (I might be up before 11 but no answering of phones until then. I don't care if you are calling me about a national emergency it is just going have to wait till at least 11 before I can help. This 11 am thing is important before you think I am waffling, because my phone kept ringing consistently and it was not 11, so I decided to answer it after about the 50th time of non stop ringing.
Of course I put on my I am wide awake voice, to try and sound all business like in case it was a client but to my surprise the first response I got to my "good morning" was "have you seen the article in the ES Magazine" (ES = Evening Standard), it is a gross misrepresentation of the facts about where and how Afrobeats started".
The article seems to imply that DJ Abrantee of Choice FM was the man that made Afro beats popular, and people in the know are very upset by this as historically and factually this is not the case, to me this is a bit like saying that Eminem invented Rap music.
Before I go on I must say that DJ Abrantee is a good friend of mine and this point of correction article is not aimed at him personally but it is only fair to those that came before him that they get the credit they deserve.
I believe that Jimi the Bald Headed Guy summed it up perfectly when he said that "Afrobeat as a music genre, was created and made popular many years ago before Dj Abrantee kicked off his Late Saturday show on Choice FM, by the late Fela Kuti and it bears no relation to the various contemporary African music genre(s) that have emerged on the London club scene". As far as he is concerned "Abrantee is only representing what is already there. Naijapop and Hiplife have been around for over ten years and Abrantee knows that".
The various African genres of music include HIplife from Ghana, Kwaito from South Africa, Ndombolo from Zaire. Zairean Ndombolo, Camerounian Makossa, Cote D'Voire's Mapouka and NAIJAPOP from Nigeria and a lot more.
I was fortunate to grow up during the times of Fela Kuti, frequently visiting his house, partying with his children and was a regular at the world renowned Shrine, so I can and am categorically saying that Afrobeats was made popular by Fela Kuti and many others that followed after him. To put it into perspective for my Caribbean brothers and sisters a good way of explaining this, is to say that people were playing and singing Reggae music long before Bob Marley came along but Bob Marley made Reggae Popular and brought it onto the international scene but let's say that all of a sudden DJ Abrantee or Daddy Ernie from Choice FM started playing Reggae how many years after the death of Bob Marley and all of a sudden people say that they made Reggae popular, I hope this makes sense.
Afrobeats started many years ago and was made internationally popular by the pioneer of Afrobeats Fela Kuti and developed a resurgence internationally in 2006 with the hit African Queen by 2face Idibia. This award winning hit track "African Queen" was used as the sound track of the 2006 comedy film, Phat Girlz.
There are many Dj' and clubs in East and South London that have been playing Afrobeats as it is now being called, to full houses for many years and it must be said as with anything in this country if you have access to mainstream and you do something, you get the credit for it – Choice FM is owned by the owners of Capital Radio and we all know that the Choice FM of today is not the same as of the old days, both in terms of its commercialisation and its play list and anything that it now does would and does get mainstream credit. So bearing that in mind in one way the article is correct in saying that Dj Abrantee has brought it to mainstream in terms of the significant numbers that get to hear Afrobeats, purely and simply because he has Choice FM as the medium to do so and not because he is the pioneer of Afrobeats.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston RIP – August 9 1963 – February 11 2012...
I need not say much about her but just give you some facts below about how phenomenal an artist she was.
In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all-time. Houston was also one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide. She released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification.
Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. She is the second artist behind Elton John and the only female artist to have two number-one Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly "Top Pop Album") on the Billboard magazine year-end charts. Houston's 1985 debut album Whitney Houston became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. The album was named Rolling Stone's best album of 1986, and was ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Her second studio album Whitney (1987) became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Houston's first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992). The film's original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single "I Will Always Love You", became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. With the album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period under Nielsen Sound Scan system. The album makes her the top female act in the top 10 list of the best-selling albums of all time, at number four. Houston continued to star in movies and contribute to their soundtracks, including the films Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher's Wife (1996). The Preacher's Wife soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history.
On February 11, 2012, Houston was found dead in her guest room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California, of causes not immediately known. News of her death, the day before and after the 2012 Grammy Awards, featured prominently in American and international media.
May her soul rest in perfect peace.
I don't Speak Properly...
Over the weekend whilst producing the Fashions Finest London Fashion Week shows I was doing the voice over for the show and afterwards I was told that I don't speak English properly, can you believe that. Seriously it is bad enough that when I am in Nigeria I am called "Oyinbo Boy" (white boy ) cos of my English accent and how I speak and then to be in London and be told I don't speak good English because they say I say FREE instead of THREE, hello don't be slow – do you get it now. Anyway as far as I am concerned I speak the Queens English.
Black People Fashion...
London Fashion Week will be coming to an end tomorrow and I am sure for some of you it has just simply passed you by without too much recognition and I suppose rightly so, as firstly members of the public don't really get in to watch the shows and second black designers generally have to climb Mount Everest first before they would even be recognised just to be told you are not ready for LFW not to talk about actually showing at LFW.
Outside of the official London Fashion Week shows African and Caribbean designers have been getting some fantastic exposure. Le Geneve Events featured the Caribbean Collection which was a two day exhibition of designers from the Caribbean, Vauxhall Fashion Scout had a special show by Ubuntu initially known as the Nigeria collective show and of course Fashions Finest kept up its tradition of supporting and showcasing designers from across the African continent alongside both Caribbean and Asian designers, over two days over 27 designers showcased at Fashions Finest.
The only sad thing is that as mainstream designers start to use African fabrics and styles in their designs they once again steal the limelight and take all the glory for the so called Renaissance of African fashion. I think they need to remember that African fashion never went anywhere, it's always been here.
Check out the pictures from Fashions Finest LFW & the Other Fashions Weeks that have just taken place.
I should be feeling sorry for her, as in her to do list re her move to America she sacked her long time English manager and took on Will.I.Am as her new manager to help make her hot in the states, (he even through a welcome to America celebrity bash for her), she also took on celebrity trainer to the stars to help her get fit, was planning to buy a new house and bought all of the Digestive biscuits that she could find to buy in Tesco's.For those of you that don't know, she was fired due to her Geordie accent and the fact that the producers (including Simon Cowell) realised after two days of filing that no one would understand her and in addition she allegedly did not get along with Paula Abdul. For me it does not take Einstein to realise that no one in America would understand her as no one in England understands her either.
It Looks like the beautiful Nicole Scherzinger will be taking over from Ms Cole, not a bad promotion for Nicole as she goes from Co Host to Judge. A bit of extra gossip here, she was well upset that she could not sit next to Simon on the judging panel as that right belongs to Paula Abdul, so there would have been no extra camera attention on her likes she gets in the UK by continuously rubbing up with Simon in the hope that as the camera focuses on him she will get that extra attention she was desperate for.
Well Cheryl now that Danny has allegedly resigned or was sacked from the UK X Factor you can beg your mentor, your idol Simon Cowell to give you your job back in the UK. if he decides not to I for one wont be missing you. By the way Cheryl I have booked you a first class return ticket on Virgin Airways back to London for Saturday.
The Church is Getting it Wrong...
As part of my attempts to educate myself and to ensure that I am up to date on current affairs I was scouring through some international websites and came across an article that was talking about wealthy Nigerians that despite the global recession in the last year alone they had spent over $225 million dollars on purchasing private planes.
As I started reading the article I thought what is the big deal as wealthy people around the world regularly purchase private jets and if Nigeria has people that can afford to purchase planes than why not. I read on and became heavily dismayed at the fact that within this group of wealthy Nigerians a number of them were Nigerian clergymen and spiritual leaders that had purchased private jets.
Included within this alleged list were David Oyedepo believed to be Africa's wealthiest gospel preacher, acquired a Gulfstream V jet $30 million. He also owns a private collection of four aircraft. He is also reportedly creating a private hanger to accommodate all of his planes. Pastor Enoch Adeboye of The Redeemed Christian Church of God spent $30 million on a Gulfstream jet and Pastor Sam Adeyemi is also a jet owner.
My issue is this, these pastors were only able to purchase the jets due to their congregation giving gifts, donations and paying tithe, a number of these congregation members struggle each week to survive to pay their bills and to make ends meet and instead of these donations being used for Gods work their money is accumulated and spent on extravagancies such as private jets. I don't know about you but I think that this is disgraceful and a flagrant breech of what the Bible teaches and what the church should be doing with the money they receive. Nigeria is amongst one of the most religious country's within the world and bearing in mind that over 60% of Nigerians live below the poverty line for me it is a great shame that these preachers preach to their congregation that it is a command of God that they tithe and these people give up money that I am sure they don't really have, but do it because the man of God said they should and because they believe that they will get blessings from God in return.
The Bible says that there are many false prophets and as much as I might face ex communication (not sure if that is possible in a Pentecostal church), I am prepared to stand up and state that this is a disgraceful abuse of office and misuse of church funds as I can't see what urgent work that they do that they need to get to places urgently using a private jet or how they are celebrities that they are unable to travel first class on a commercial airline.
I am sure some of my avid readers will correct me and justify why this is a good use of church funds, sorry but no matter what you say I am not buying it. You read things like this and you still ask why less people are going to church and people are becoming disillusioned with the church. I say no more.
Do you know what $30m could do?
• Build Houses
• Feed sooooooooooo many people
• Build schools and bus books
• Pay school fees for possibly the whole of their congregation
As part of the ACLT Appeal Ashley Walters took part in a Celebrity auction held at Avalon in Shoreditch to raise some funds for the charity as well as celebrating Daniel De Gales Birthday.
During my life I have been fortunate in that I have seen many firsts, segregation coming to an end in the United States, Nelson Mandela being released from prison in South Africa, the Berlin Wall coming down between West & East Germany, the
Let's get down to the nitty gritty cos this is not about who attended but about "the journey" of The Mirror Boy, besides Africa United there has never to my knowledge been an African film premiere in the West End and this one I am sure of, there has never been a Nollywood p
Forget Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Libya there were more people on the streets of the West End then people that have been protesting in all of those countries combined, ok a little bit of exaggeration, well quite a bit of exaggeration but my point is that at the premiere itself there were over 1000 in the cinema and another 500 people stuck outside that could not get in.
Once you managed to get in, you had to fight your way through the media scrum, numerous photographers and film crews from all over interviewing the celebrities and stars in attendance. Beautiful hostesses provided by Mahogany Models who were well managed by Chantelle Hall.
Up until now I thought ok a little bit hectic and then it happened, the room became electric and if were not in London we would have had a power outage due to the surge of energy that entered the room as soon as Genevieve Nnaji, Osita Iheme & Fatima Jabbe arrived, even I was overwhelmed by how manic it became for a minute I thought that Oprah Winfrey, Eddie Murphy and Will Smith had arrived.
Hey if you were at the event and I am telling you what you already know, tough – this is for those that were not there or did not get to see some of the inner workings or what was going on.
The story continues – we got into the hall and I sat with Genevieve, Osita, Fatima and the young child actor Edward Kagutuzi (well he is not that young, about 20 really), right at the front. By the way sitting at the front at a major cinema is not cool, it's like the screen is about to eat you up and everyone in the movie looks like giants. A question and answer session took place and the film started.
The Movie: I have decided not to do a critic of the film as for me The Mirror Boy was about the history it was making more than how good or bad the film was, but in short it is a good movie, great sound
The length of the movie was just right and as soon as it finished there was plenty of back slapping and hi fives and lots of quick networking – "call me let's talk" networking and those of us that had some energy left and went off to the after party to shake a leg or two, still aching now I am really too old for this shake a leg thing.
I am proud that I, Mahogany Models and Fashions Finest were actively involved in this historic occasion but the real Kudos must go to Obi Emelonye (Director), Patrick Campbell (Producer), Charles Thompson (Consulting Producer) & DJ Abass who worked their magic to not only make this movie but also to have the foresight, the vision and the balls to do a premiere in the West End and trust me it takes cahooneys to do such a thing.
It feels a bit like the ending of apartheid, the West End is no longer just for mainstream movie premieres.
For those of you that want to read about the more serious stuff of the premiere watch out for the reports on Fashions Finest by our reporter Olakumbi Akiwumi & red carpet pictures by Fashions Finest Photographers Kenneth Asia & Trevor Fogah-Griffiths.