Showing posts with label interracial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label interracial. Show all posts

Friday, August 31, 2012

South Africa's Great Advertising [Creative] Divide

Over @ the Daily Maverick, Mandy de Waal has a much discussed piece about South Africa’s extremely white advertising industry, and why she thinks it continues as "a colonial enclave where racial polarisation is rife and the best profits are being creamed by a handful of foreign-owned advertising companies." But it is the quote from the Association of Black Communications Practitioners' spokesperson, Taelo Immanuel, that sets up the video clip below:
“There’s a white creative director and a black team, and when they try and talk to each other there’s that chasm because of their respective upbringing. The references are vastly different. As a result there’s a cult of viewing life in an American way through hip hop, movies and music videos,” said Immanuel, who maintained that because of this the advertising mirror that reflects black culture back to South Africans is warped. What we’re seeing isn’t a true reflection of real South African life, but a perversion of its peoples and culture. “In terms of advertising work that speaks to your everyday black South African—say, for instance, my own parents—it is very difficult to find creative work like that. You just don’t get work that has real insight into the South African condition. Instead agencies and brands go to film, and there are black people singing and dancing and they slap in whatever product they want to sell,” said Immanuel. 
One of those American references for white South Africans Immanuel was referring to above was the Cosby Show. Watch the first 3 mins of the 2009 interview with South African director Gavin Hood to get an idea of how huge, for white South Africans, the Huxtables were and the gratitude owed to Bill Cosby.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Algeria/ Mali: Urban Saharas

Placing side by side links to Dutch photographer Jeroen Evers photos, taken in small towns in the Algerian Sahara where the neighboring Arab Springs feel like galaxies away, and Brent Stirton's National Geographic photoessay gaze at Timbuktu posted back in January.

But the real keeper is Peter Gwin's accompanying article about One-Eyed AQIM godfathers, ancient books buried in the desert and doomed love btw native girls and American soldiers that comes riddled with paragraphs like the one below:
As she spoke, Aisha noticed tears had fallen onto the letters. She smoothed them into the paper and then carefully folded up the documents. She said she would continue to wait for David to send for her. "He lives in North Carolina," she said, and the way she pronounced North Carolina in French made me think she imagined it to be a distant and exotic land. I tried to lighten her mood, teasing that she had better be careful or Abdel Kader Haidara would hear of her letters. After all, they are Timbuktu manuscripts, and he will want them for his library. She wiped her eyes once more. "If I can have David, he can have the letters."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Africa: Beauty (and Some Drama) Queens

Current Miss Ireland Emma Waldron and her Nigerian boyfriend Manners Oshafi have been given their own Brangelina-like portmanteau by friends - "Memmers." Daily Mail has the juicy details about the public backlash and internet campaign against this coupling.

Also, we had no idea Norway had so many black beauty queens. Black Women in Europe blog has been profiling them:

Miss Norway 2010 and Miss Universe contestant: Melinda Victoria Elvenes

Miss Earth Norway - Iman Kerigo: (more)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gambia/ Uganda/ Sweden: Othman Karim's "För kärleken"

Danny Glover plays a newly arrived immigrant from Gambia to Sweden in Ugandan-Swedish director Othman Karim's 2010 För kärleken (Dear Alice). Fab Afro-Euro blog has the details. Trailer below's a blast:

Afro-Euro blog also dug up this RT clip of Othman Karim breaking down his film:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Africa: Arguing "Racial Purity"

One of the more interesting videos to come out of the just concluded CPAC annual meeting shows a white supremacist by the name of Jamie Kelso arguing with some young conservatives about the urgent need to keep their white lineages pure. From what I can make of his argument, his whole premise ties the "purity" of white lineages to an idea of white essentialism, which he feels must be maintained to preserve white exceptionalism, which he is equating to "American exceptionalism." Sit back and enjoy:

To make his case, he cites how conservative African cultures also are when it comes to interracial mixing and ends up totally misreading what that sort of conservatism is all about. Those African parents, extended families and communities are not about racial purity or preserving genetic endowments. Rather they are about cultural compatibility and resource allocation - i.e. hard pressed African communities trying to make sure its future generation directs the maximum amount of its time and resources their way rather than to another culture. Go figure. But what's glaring is how he cherry picks and takes out of context any conflict in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa to make a point. Fascinating stuff.

H/T: Daily Dish & Weigel

Saturday, February 5, 2011


From last weekend's NYT. The article cites a 2010 Pew Center study on immigration and inter-racialmarriages, some of which we blogged and brokedown here.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cape Verde: A "Cluster of Writing and Art Work"

Transition (103) is the Cabo Verde issue. The issue also announces a new editorial team consisting of literary and cultural critic Glenda Carpio, multi-media historian Vincent Brown and philosopher Tommie Shelby in the wake of the departure of editor Abiola Irele from Harvard to assume the role of Provost in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Kwara State University, Malete, Nigeria.

Among the cluster of writing and artwork from Cape Verde—the first of its kind to be made available to an English-speaking audience--gathered by doctoral candidate Carla Martin for the issue, includes the article Contemporary Cape Verdean Literature by Russell G. Hamilton.

Excerpt (subscription needed):
...Cape Verdean intellectuals have long exalted in and struggled with their national and ethnic identity as Africans and as Creoles. Racially, linguistically, socially, and culturally, Cape Verde is a quintessentially Creole nation. Cape Verde has the distinction of having been the first and most comprehensive Creole society in Portuguese Africa. Much of this distinction can be attributed to the fact that many Portuguese men—including Sephardic Jews—arrived as settlers in Cape Verde, where they fathered children with African slaves. Manumission came early in the archipelago's history, and many mixed-race offspring of white fathers and black mothers were recognized as citizens of the colony, which was often referred to as a Portuguese Overseas Province. Here I quote from Robert Harm's The Diligent: A Voyage Through the Worlds of the Slave Trade, an account of a French slave

Thursday, September 16, 2010

South Africa: Humor in the Context of Black Modernity, Cont'd

Continuing a series of posts looking at all kinds of attempts, from within the context of black modernity, to milk the tragic cows of race and underdevelopment for humor. NPR has another review of South African dir. Jann Turner's White Wedding (2010). Check clip above for the scene described in the excerpt below:
...Like most grooms, Elvis (Kenneth Nkosi) thinks he has all the time in the world — five whole days to cover a few hundred miles — but he's not counting on buses that leave without him, a best man (Rapulana Seiphemo) whose girlfriend slashes their tires, and a granny who decides she'll skip the wedding but send a goat instead. Oh, and then there's the hitchhiking English tourist (Jodi Whittaker) the groom and best man reluctantly rescue in the middle of nowhere. Having just discovered that her fiancé slept with her best friend, she launches into a lengthywhy-would-anyone-get-married? rant before discovering her rescuers are heading to Elvis' nuptials. This white English girl traveling with two black men raises a few eyebrows in rural South Africa. And as it happens, that was a good part of the inspiration for making the film. Director Jann Turner, who is white, and her leading men came up with their screenplay after taking a cross-country trip of their own along much this same route. Finding "whites only" signs more than a decade after the end of apartheid had them thinking about the transitions the country was still in the process of making.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Liberia: The Aspirant is Naked

The old Italian ad below, depicting a butt naked George Weah--Liberia's football icon and presidential aspirant--is suddenly gaining clicks thanks to "a heated debate on morality" leading up to next year's presidential elections.

Spokesperson for Weah's party goes "meh" and adds...:
...personally has never seen the promotional video but its publication will ony help to make Mr. Weah popular amongst voters, especially women voters. “Only constitutional deviants should not be elected,” he said, adding that “Mr Weah committed no crime by posing butte naked.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nigeria/ Kenya/ China: Speaking of Genes - A Blonde, Blue Eyed Igbo Girl, Cont'd

Nigerian daily eavesdrops on some skeptical Nigerian parliamentarians discussing reasons--i.e. a "mixture of a mutation, like albinism, combined with a dormant white gene"--given for the birth of Nmanchi, the blonde, blue eyed white girl born to a black Nigerian couple in the U.K. last week. Sorry non-pidgin speakers, but the whole piece is comedy. We'll take it from here:
...this thing happened abroad where they don't make that kind of mistake. If it's in Nigeria, I will say maybe it is possible. But Oyibo people are usually thorough when it comes to something like that. The truth of the matter based on what I have read is that genetics have something to do with the birth of that white baby. Genetics is something that can behave in such a funny way that you can see two very black couple giving birth to a light complexioned baby or even children. I have seen it happen...". But a parliamentarian by name Solomon had immediately pooh-poohed the explanation. "Abeg, leave that matter. Which kind gene is that that will make black people to give birth to Oyibo? They should ask
the mother of that baby some questions; she's the one to tell us what happened; how she take waka," he submitted. Alfred readily agreed with him, saying: "Yes O, it's the woman that should tell us what happened because I strongly suspect that she must have played an away match with an Oyibo man who pregnanted her in the process. Let them return back to Nigeria. By the time the mother-in-law starts asking her questions the truth will come out.
lol. Naijablog gave a possible explanation for the early sexual contact supporting the dormant gene theory. And speaking of "early sexual contact" but not so dormant genes, a reader who came across the Siddis of India, sent a link to the piece on a Kenyan village claimed to be inhabited by descendants of shipwrecked Chinese seamen 500 years ago:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ghana/New Zealand: Tarzan, Jane and Lots of Delicious Melanin

New Zealand chocolate company, Whittaker, has been around since 1896 and is big on fair trade and the fact that it sources its cocoa beans from Ghana. Its ads used to be quaint - even the one about the best cocoa in the world coming from a place called Henryjameswhittakerville, Ghana. The new ad for its new "Perpermint Ghana" brings its "Dark Ghana" brand to life as a Tarzan who meets Jane and they trade melanin -- Jane I'm guessing is the one the chocolate consuming demographic identifies with, yes? Which makes the ad either a naughty fantasy dipped in chocolate or the parody of an Hallequin cover gone off the rails. Making of the ad below:

And a reader on the other side of the planet who loves the particular brand of chocolate in the video below just texted...

... "Ghana is a country?"


KMBA & Ad Freak

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Africa/ China: Sino-African Soccer and Other Relations

Reuters' Africa-Journal report below offers a glimpse at some African lives in China...

... but unlike most reports that focus on the merchant class and blue-collar jobs, this report--like this '09 report-- focuses more on the student class and white-collar workers and their movement and negotiations through a more middle class China.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nigeria/ Scotland: Poet Jackie Kay on her "Dad's Awful Poetry"

Scottish poet and novelist Jackie Kay's birth mother is the Scot while her father's Nigerian, but she was adopted by a couple of Glaswegian communists "who threw the kind of parties where everybody ended up singing Cole Porter and Rabbie Burns songs." Above, she talks about the perceived contradiction of being black and Scottish and how her mother gets asked about her daughter's tan. Here she talks on BBC's Strand about her memoir Red Dust Road and finally meeting her birth parents. Bernardine Evaristo's review in the Independent retells Kay, also a lesbian and a single mom, meeting her "dad":
...The book opens with Kay, now in her forties, waiting for the Nigerian father she has never met to turn up at a hotel in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. Yet as soon as he arrives he whisks her off to her room and spends two hours trying to convert her to Christianity amid much "clapping and foot-tapping and spinning and reciting and shouting to God Almighty". It turns out that her father, a born-again Christian and preacher, wants to cleanse her of his past sin. "I realise with fresh horror that Jonathan is seeing me as the sin, me as impure, me the bastard, illegitimate." With characteristic humour, Kay quips, "He's like a bad poet who doesn't know when to quit, reading one poem after another to a comatose audience".
But she does meet one of Johnathan's sons for a beer, finding with her half-brother the recognition she sought: "I could happily sniff his ears and lick his forehead." It's also interesting to note that on meeting her birth mother in '91, now "... a divorced Mormon with Alzheimer’s, clutching plastic bag," it struck her that "both her parents had become extremely religious – and both came to meet her holding carrier bags."

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Everyone is flagging the trailer of Claude Bernard-Aubert's 1961 French expliotation film, Les Laches Vivent d'Espoir which was released in America as My Baby is Black (1965). Aimed at the American drive-in audience, the trailer is designed for utmost shock value though the flick is said to be more "thoughtful and less exploitive than its American release suggests." But like shock jocks Opie and Anthony point out below btw bouts of laughter and derision...

... it is still a "freak show."

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Africa/ United States: Immigration and Interracial Marriages

The Pew research center's recently released study on interracial or interethnic marriage trends in the United States based on figures pulled from U.S Census data and a nationwide phone surve affirm that the modern wave of immigrants into the United States have drastically changed the marriage pool:
Three major immigration waves have occurred in U.S. history. In their racial and ethnic compositions, the first two were strikingly different from the third. Nearly 90% of the 33 million immigrants who came during the first two waves (in the late 19th and early 20th centuries) were white Europeans. They changed the country in many ways, but they did not enlarge the pool of potential partners for interracial marriage by whites. (Nor for blacks, who were barred by law from marrying whites.) The modern immigration wave, by contrast, has enlarged the intermarriage pool. It has brought 40 million new immigrants—of whom 50% are Hispanic and 25% Asian—to the U.S.since 1965. This onoging wave is now mature enough to have produced a large second generation born in the United States, many of whom are themselves now of marrying age. These children of immigrants are intermarrying at much higher rates than their parents. All of these demographic changes have produced an American population tapestry that is more racially and ethnically diverse than ever before. But the compositional changes would not have produced such a sharp increase in intermarriage rates unless norms and attitudes changed at the same time....Even with that sharp increase, however, black-white couplings represented only about one-in-nine of the approximately 280,000 new interracial or interethnic marriages in 2008. White-Hispanic couples accounted for about four-in-ten (41%) of such new marriages; white-Asian couples made up 15%; and white-black couples made up 11%...
Assuming the kids of those white-hispanics will pass for white, some speculate a "whiter USA." The study makes no mention of interracial marriage trends among immigrant blacks, but I doubt tendencies differ much from those of immigrant hispanics or asians and probably with a large disparity between genders going by the graph below:
Marrying out is much more common among native-born adults than among immigrants. Native-born Hispanics are more than three times as likely as the foreign born to marry a non-Hispanic. The disparity among native- and foreign-born Asians is not as great, but it is still significant; native-born Asian-Americans are nearly twice as likely as those who are foreign born to marry a non-Asian. Here again, there are sharp gender differences. Among Asian men, the native born are nearly four times as likely as the foreign born to marry out. Among Asian women, the native born are only about 50% more likely than the foreign born to marry a non-Asian.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Egypt/Israel: Marriages Threatening National Security?

Lots of pundits spitting and ink spilling (Above Aljazeera talks with Amb Hassan Issa, Arab Org 4 Human Rights' Alaa Shalaby and civil rights attorney Mohammed Daleh) over the decision of Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court to uphold a lower court ruling to revoke the citizenship of Egyptian men who are married to Israeli women. AP says cites estimates of around 30,000 such marriages.

This must read Al Masry Al Youm editorial bemoans the fact that this decision will now pit Egypt's interior and foreign ministries, which have courageously rejected the ruling, against a judiciary that's chosen to be pro-national security over a "revered [past of] protecting freedoms and civil rights." As Amb Hassan Issa makes clear, Egypt's national security concerns here are apparent, though I think the courts' "quarantine" of Egyptian men so to speak, goes at this problem with sword instead of a scalpel. Al Masry Al Youm however thinks, in challenging Israel, Egypt has really screwed up priorities:
Revoking the nationality of some 5000 citizens, many of whom are married to Israeli Arabs, reflects an ideology on the part of Egyptian elites that harms society at large. One only needs to look at fascist and Nazi regimes, who implemented such policies in the past, as historical precedents...Since the 1978 Camp David Accords, Egypt's real challenge--which it has failed to meet--has been to compete economically with Israel by offering better quality products and services on the international market. We've instead excelled only at slogans, while failing to
confront Israel in any meaningful way. Amidst the jubilation over the court's recent decision, many forget that those 5000 Egyptians went to Israel only after failing to secure a decent living back home. The sad tragedy is that Israel--an occupying power and racist state--did not consider these Egyptians enemies and instead welcomed them, while Egypt, with all its history and multicultural heritage, has failed to incorporate these people into its social and cultural fabric. For the past 30 years, we've been looking at matters only through the lens of national security. We have forgotten how Egypt used to incorporate different ethnic groups into one unified national fabric. more

Monday, April 5, 2010

DRC: A Frank Discussion about Conflict in the Congo (Paris, 1960)

The clip below is from Jean Rouch's Chronique d'un été/ Chronicle of a Summer (1961). It contains interviews with, and observations of, characters in Paris in 1960 during the ongoing civil war in Algeria and at a time when Paris' newspapers were filled with headlines about agitations and negotiations for independence in the Congo where the colonial Belgian govt wanted desperately to avoid the French experience in Algeria.

Already a landmark example of cinema verite and a landmark scene in the annals of visual ethnography, it works here we think, first, as an uncanny conversation not that far removed from conversations today about ongoing conflicts in parts of the Congo. Then there is also the clash of interpretative worlds Rouch liked to provoke, as you will see in the scene where the Ivorian students offer their intepretations of the tattoo on Jewish Marceline's arm.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Gambia: Some Economics of Female Sex Tourism

Charlotte Rampling and Karen Young play tourists visiting Haiti in Laurent Cantet's Vers le sud/ Heading South (2005).

Delphine Barrais article in JeuneAfrique looks at female sex tourism in Banjul. The dodgy translation below is from the excerpt on how the economics work out for all involved:
It's not only tourism professionals who take advantage of this new clientele. The marabout, who are consulted by the gigolos to bewitch the toubabs (wealthy traveler), rub their hands. "We have a spike in traffic towards the tourist season," says one of the makers of charms. The gigolo's wife and especially mother has nothing to fear, noting the Older European is not a competitor since she's past childbearing age. "Even if he frequents toubabs, Ndiaye I know ...will return sooner or later," says Codou, a 22 year old Gambian, speaking of her fiance.

The gigolos do not always get money in exchange for their service, but receive gifts. Sometimes the relationship lasts only over the vacation time, but may be prolonged and last up to several years. The lucky ones are offered a home, a motorcycle or a small business. This applies to 25 year old Ebrima. His "bride", a Hollandaise of 49 years, gave him enough to open an internet cafe.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

South Africa: Rose of Rhodesia

The Rose of Rhodesia (1918), directed by the American Harold M. Shaw and shot in Cape Town and on location in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, is not only said to be one of South Africa's earliest silent films, but for the better part of the century it was also thought to be lost. No copy was known to exist in any archive in South Africa, Britain, or the United States, until an intact print with German intertitles was donated to Nederlands Filmmuseum in 1985 as part of a Dutch private collection. But the film remained undiscovered till 2005 and wasn't fully restored till 2006.  

The Rose of Rhodesia  depicts the story of a diamond thief whose actions set in motion a chain of, um, events. The film is still streaming - here - as part of the Screening the Past  special issue (fall 2009) dedicated to it. This post over at Bioscope stresses the progressive interracial dynamics of the film:
The Rose of Rhodesia is distinguished in particular by its portrayal of Africans. The African parts were taken by members of the M’fengu people, with Ushakapilla played by ‘Chief’ Kentani (probably a local headman) and Mofti by ‘Prince’ Yumi (possibly a migrant worker or student). The portrayals are sympathetic and convincing, and the friendship between Mofti and Jack Morel affecting and unforced. The theme of African discontent over loss of lands reflects genuine feelings of the time, and the potential for uprising was one that greatly


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