The show goes on: Photography Exhibition Fundraiser for Refuge.

Photography by Elizabeth James

The closure of the Redgate Gallery and disappearance of its owner Yara Caroline Tshallener is very disappointing. However, I’m pleased to announce photographer Elizabeth James, one of the artists scheduled to exhibit this summer, will now have a three week show at the Free Space Gallery  2 Bartholomew Villas Kentish Town London NW5 2BX

Her 1st solo exhibition examines the ‘shape’ and ‘form’ of various selected subjects. This collection is dedicated to, and in aid of REFUGE, a charity close to her heart. 15% of sales will be donated to Refuge, a charity providing safety for women and families fleeing domestic violence.

Elizabeth James

They are able to offer these families much more than shelter, from psychological support to community outreach programmes which help settle families back in to their new safe community upon leaving refuge and re-locating

The private viewing is on Wednesday 5th October 2011 from 6pm to 9pm and includes a live music by singer /songwriter Ivy Chanel. A second night of live music takes place on Friday 21st October with band NUBREEZE providing a smooth mix of Reggae Soul and Jazz- Fusion.

The companies Boutique Princess & Cheeryhub sponsor this event.

So, if you’re around Kentish Town why not pop in and support?!

United Nations Says “No Comment” On Ethnic Cleansing Of Black Libyans?!

The following article By Milton Allimadi appears on Black Star This is very very disturbing and leaves me wondering what the future holds for Libya under the guidance of its new regime.

United Nations Says “No Comment” On Ethnic Cleansing Of Black Libyans

The Wall Street Journal reports today that Black people have been emptied from the City of Tawergha in Libya, their homes razed, and that the words “slaves” and “negroes” are scribbled on their abandoned buildings in the now ghost town  by the NATO-backed rebels. The chilling account of ethnic-cleansing of Black people in Libya, occurring right before our eyes, appears under the headline “Revenge Feeds Instability in Libya.”

These are the “liberators” that President Barack Obama, President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister David Cameron helped install in Libya to replace Maummar al-Quathafi? They all rejected an African Union proposal that would have brought a ceasefire and the warring parties to a table to create a constitution and to hold elections.

Meanwhile, the so-called “prime minister” of the “rebels” Mahmoud Jibril, is quoted in the Journal, with respect to the fate of the Black citizens of Tawergha, saying: “Regarding Tawergha my own viewpoint is that nobody has the right to interfere in this matter except the people of Misurata,” who are actually the ones doing the cleansing. Surely Jibril knows that he’s inciting to further ethnic cleansing.

An earlier Wall Street Journal article had reported that the Misurata unit carrying out the deed is called “The Brigade for Purging Slaves, black Skin.” So we are witnessing genocide of Black people in Africa again and doing nothing. Simply because Washington, London, and Paris happen to support the “rebels” who are committing the targeted killings.

“Now, rebels have been torching homes in the abandoned city 25 miles to the south,” of Misurata, reports the Journal. The Journal’s reporter also witnessed the burning of “more than a dozen homes,” and adds, “On the gates of many vandalized homes in the country’s only coastal city dominated by dark-skinned people, light-skinned rebels scrawled the words ‘slaves’ and ‘negroes.'”

The White House has yet to issue a single statement condemning this ethnic cleansing of Black people. Hillary Clinton’s Department of State remains mute. The leaders of organizations that profess to protect the rights of Black people, such as the NAACP’s Ben Jealous and the National Urban League’s Marc Morial, have yet to make statements. Surely, someone must read The Wall Street Journal.

This is the second article detailing the specific campaign to wipe out Black Libyans that The Journal has reported on; the first article was on June 21, 2011.

Other major corporate media, such as The New York Times, CNN, and BBC, all of which to varying degrees surrendered pretense at “objectivity” and openly supported the NATO bombardments are now in a bind. They have yet to report major stories on the ethnic cleansing in Misurata and Tawergha. Rather than concede that the side they supported in the civil war is carrying out war crimes they would rather suppress the story.

Welcome to the 21st Century; the Newspeak George Orwell feared.

Had it not been for The Wall Street Journal breaking ranks with other corporate media, this genocide might well have been concealed and attributed to a figment of al-Quathafi’s imagination.

Even the United Nations was unable to respond today to the ethnic cleansing reports when contacted by The Black Star News, and after the Journal’s reports were forwarded. A spokesman for Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was asked whether: the targeted actions qualified as ethnic cleansing; whether they qualified as war crimes, and; whether the United Nations is demanding for an investigation.

The spokesman, Eduardo del Buey, ignored the specific questions and responded with a statement from the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, which in part states that “In situations of transition or unrest, restraint must be observed.” Small comfort to the now depleted citizenry of Tawergha.

“We are not commenting on media reports. The High Commissioner speaks to the issue of human rights, and this is what she has said to date in Libya,” Eduardo del Buey added.

When contacted for reaction, Brenda Jones, a spokesperson for Congressman John Lewis, stressed that Rep. Lewis, the civil rights hero, as a matter of principle, opposes warfare as solutions for resolving disputes even though there might

have been legitimate human rights concerns. “He does not agree with war because of its ramifications, because it leads to these moral compromises,” she said. “It puts you in a difficult position, where you have to commit the same crimes that you are intending to stop.”

More U.S. elected officials and ordinary Americans of all races should read The Wall Street Journal’s accounts and weigh in on the reported crimes being committed by the rebels. They are, after all, in power due in part to American support.

The Journal articles also quotes a Misratan rebel leader, Mohammed Ben Ras Ali, saying, “Tawergha is no more.”

How many times does the world have to keep saying “never again”?

Editor’s Note: Readers are not obliged to stand by and watch the ethnic cleansing of Black people in Libya. Please call The New York Times at (212) 556-1234 and ask Foreign editor Joe Kahn why the Times hasn’t done major stories on the Tawergha and Misurata war crimes. Also pose the same question to Times Publisher Sulzberger.

 “Speaking Truth To Empower.”

Artwork available to purchase online.

Smiling Girl - Acrylic on Canvas

So, my September show is no longer taking place.  However, I’ve received good news from a leading gallery in Chelsea, New York regarding a show in March 2012.  I’m quite excited about exhibiting in the spring so I will focus my attention on producing some new thought provoking and hopefully much appreciated pieces! I will update you shortly.

I have also recently updated my website to include an online shopping facility for original artwork, framed prints & gift cards. A majority of work featured on my website are available as reproductions. Full colour 20 x 16 inch and 30 x 20 inch framed prints are now available. Larger prints are available on request. Please allow ten to fourteen working days for delivery following full receipt of payment. Please visit my online shop or drop me a line if you have any questions.

Showing Respect to the Music Industry Divas!

The Jazz Singer- My own respect to the ' Divas' of this world

My daughter has been shortlisted for a ‘Glee’ inspired singing competition at her school. All encouraging as she begins her high school years with a platform to nurture her own talents.  It was fitting to see the theatre production ‘Respect La Diva in London’s West End Theatreland this weekend. Respect La Diva is very much an uplifting musical celebration paying tribute to some of the greatest female singers of all-time including Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Etta James and many more. The cast includes Shelia Ferguson from 70’s Girl band The Three Degrees, Denise Pearson from the Eighties band Five Star and Andrew Abraham, finalist of The UK’s X Factor in 2005. It seems to have received a mixed bag of reviews but I can say we thoroughly enjoyed it and are full of praise for all involved with this entertaining production. So well done to my friend Kerys Nathan, the director Adrian Grant and the cast and crew. The show, which supports the charity REFUGE, runs in London until September 24th. For further info please visit the official website.

Hope you’re all enjoying the weekend!

Singer/Songwriter Fayola Timberlake: New Beginings

Fayola Timberlake

In contrast to my last entry, I’m pleased to focus positively on the career progression of an individual I’ve grown to respect for her ambition and talent. It pleases me to see artist Fayola Timberlake working on her first EP.  I caught up with her for a chat on the release of her track ‘Pull the Plug’

The first and obvious question to ask is when did you start singing?

I started singing from the little age of 5 years old. I went to a private dancing school from the age of 2 where I did dance theatre shows, competitions and exams all around England . I would also sing cabaret, jazz and musical theatre songs with dance. I was the first in my school at the age of 8 years old to get through to ‘The All England Finals’ dance competition with my song and dance singing Fire Fly. During my career, I would always meet music producers along the way and started experimenting in the studio. I was very shy ,it took a while before I overcame it and realised that I really wanted to go for it.

You’ve worked as a performance artist for a while, dancing and now more ambitiously singing; Did you ever have an interest in pursuing a different career? 

No never. Dance and singing/songwriting has been my life; I could not imagine doing anything else. I love expressing myself creatively. It’s when I’m at my best. I must say I have a keen interest in people. So if I had to choose a different life and path I would be interested in psychology or anything humanitarian.

What has been a determining factor in your success so far?

I have a lot of self belief even though it can be hard at times with setbacks and challenges that come your way in life or with people letting you down. You have to bounce right back up and be consistent. So no matter what, you have to find the strength within to stay focused and positive, hold a picture of the outcome in your mind. I am also a risk taker and very much live in the moment and grab any opportunity that comes my way and just enjoy it. You have to enjoy the journey otherwise what’s the point. I also think having great family and friends who are so supportive and continuously believe in me and what I do really helps and is very comforting.
Which artists have been most influential on your career to date and why? 

Hmm very hard to pin point really. I think growing up being exposed to a vast amount of sounds and styles of music ranging from classical, jazz, 80’s, rock right through to pop and more, has reflected a lot on my songwriting and musical creativity to date. But I would say the one and only Michael Jackson has had the biggest influence of them all due to his innovative approach, to his style, music, pushing the boundaries and creativity with his videos and spectacular performances has been very inspiring. He has inspired me to experiment and try something different, fusing sounds whilst still maintaining a commercial edge.  I’m happy I got to meet him. Madonna for pushing the boundaries and always reinventing herself with her image and going from one style to another and still here, has been very inspirational as it’s hard for me to stick to one style because I love to experiment but try to keep that link between all my music with my vocal style. I also love Prince for his originality and genius.
Where do you get your motivation from and how in such a competitive environment do you keep a positive mental attitude?

I guess I have never been one to be threatened by anything or anyone and have always been competitive with myself. I have carried this attitude from very young throughout my dance career and has stayed with me ever since. I am naturally a positive, motivated person with a lot of energy and enjoy what I do. I have always believed that with determination and belief we can do anything we put our minds to. I also look at other people’s experiences and think well if they can do it then so can I.

Fayola (Corruptions Photography)

You are talented and one of a number of gifted female artists I know. You also model so is being photogenic or deemed attractive fundamentally the prerequisite for success? Is this an attitude that will ever change to simply allow success to emerge purely on a person’s ability to sing particularly live? 

Firstly thank you! No I don’t think it is at all. But unfortunately in today’s society where everything in the media is so focused on looks and image to sell a product it does play a part. But it also seems that for most people as soon as someone is in the public eye they seem more attractive to them anyway. But I do hope and I think it will change slightly because music is so accessible now and people just really want to hear a good tune regardless of someone’s looks.
Which artists have you worked with so far and who would you love to collaborate with?

So far I have collaborated with Supafly Inc also known as (Supafly) which is a UK dance act composed of Panos Liassi (Mister P) and Andrew Tumi (One).

They are best known for their track ‘’ Lets Get Down’’ – which was a club hit around the world. I have also collaborated with a couple of UK rappers. Updates coming soon!!

I would love to collaborate with Bruno Mars because I love his voice and melodies. It would be great to write for him to. It would also be interesting to collaborate with someone like Example and crossover with our sounds. And would love to do something with a band like OneRepublic because they are so versatile and rock!!

What does the next year hold for you; what will we see you doing?

I will be releasing my first single ‘Pull the Plug’ which is finally now up on you tube and getting a great response so far. Release date to be confirmed. I am in the process of finishing my first EP which I’m very excited about with lots of gigs and festivals to come.  As you know I am also a songwriter working on a couple of big projects at the moment so stay tuned!!!

I wish Fayola the greatest success with the track and her career!