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This morning, I came across a bit of wisdom from the Dagara people of West Africa that really struck a chord. The words below were spoken by Malidoma Patrice Somé, a spiritualist and writer from this tribe, whose work is centered on the ancestral healing traditions and sacred rituals of his people.

In Dagara communities, the function of the soul is very carefully examined. The appearance of each individual means far less than the essence or truth that is contained within one’s body. The soul is seen as an entity that doesn’t have a start or an end, moving in a constant orbital mode between the spirit realm of the ancestors and the land of the tribe.

“In the culture of my people, the Dagara, we have no word for the supernatural. The closest we come to this concept is Yielbongura, ‘the thing that knowledge can’t eat.’ This word suggests that the life and power of certain things depend upon their resistance to the kind of categorizing knowledge that human beings apply to everything. In Western reality, there is a clear split between the spiritual and the material, between religious life and secular life. This concept is alien to the Dagara. For us, as for many indigenous cultures, the supernatural is part of our everyday lives. To a Dagara man or woman, the material is just the spiritual taking on form. The secular is religion in a lower key — a rest area from the tension of religious and spiritual practice. Dwelling in the realm of the sacred is both exciting and terrifying.”

This wisdom is a shining example of the cross-cultural (and cross-continental) similarities that exist in the spiritual beliefs of many tribes worldwide. I’ve heard Malidoma’s words echoed by elders throughout the Americas, time and time again. Especially this notion that there is no separation between the spiritual and the material world, and that every moment is an opportunity for ceremony and deeper connection.

About Nick Polizzi

Nick Polizzi has spent his career directing and producing feature length documentaries about natural alternatives to conventional medicine. Nick's current role as director of "The Sacred Science" stems from a calling to honor, preserve, and protect the ancient knowledge and rituals of the indigenous peoples of the world.

 

 Original source http: thesacredscience.com/soul-wisdom-from-the-dagara-tribe/

 

 

cultural-heritage 8The Florida Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc. recently held their annual Pan African Cultural Heritage Leadership Conference at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Downtown Pensacola to launch their Pan African and National Cultural Heritage Initiative. ‘The Initiative’ includes the use of cultural economics, cultural heritage tourism, and the arts to promote and develop disadvantaged communities. The Initiative was developed based on research conducted in the promotion of the Historic Belmont De Villiers Community and its businesses and leaders. The conference speaker’s presented their individual programs and businesses and explained how their entities support the Pan African and National Cultural Heritage Initiative.

Approximately seventy Initiative partners and leaders were in attendance from across the globe. Nathalie Blanc Chekete, Cultural and Heritage Tourism Project Manager for the National Agency for Heritage and Tourism for the country of Benin, in Africa, spoke of her country’s work in developing a cultural heritage program and interviewed several of the conference attendees for feedback. Owen Roper traveled from Michigan to seek first hand advice on a community development project he is working on, that includes portions of the research model.

Highlights of the conference were presentations given by Dr. Phyllis Gray Ray, a professor and researcher at Florida A&M University and the Director of the Pan African Cultural Heritage Institute, Inc. Her review of her acclaimed book, "The African American Experience, Real and Imagined", that deals with the realities of African American history, was well receive. She was followed by Dr. Theresa Okorochukwu, a native of Nigeria, and graduate of the University of Florida and developer for African Network Television, located in Gainesville, Florida. Theresa’s presentation allowed the audience to see the potential of marketing to the African Diaspora and showcased the cultures and huge growth of the middle class population. She warned against the traditional stereotyping of the Great Continent and its people. Everyone was thoroughly impressed with her presentation and speech.

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The Estevanico Awards’ were presented in several categories to each of the speakers for their work in support of the Pan African and National Cultural Heritage Initiative. The awards were presented by Captain Frank Smith, USN/Retired, and Chairman of the Florida Black Chamber. Hank Harris, Director for the National Black Tourism Marketing Corporation and Conference Sponsor, assisted Chairman Smith.

Awards were presented as follows:

Chairman’s Award’:  Dr. Phyllis Gray Ray, for work as Director, Pan African Cultural Heritage Institute, Inc.

Sponsor of the Year’: African Television Network, Inc., owned by Theresa and Victor Okorochukwu, for work in connecting and promoting Pan African culture and heritage.

Person of the Year’:  Alison Davenport, President - Johnson Beach Society, for her work on the Private Rosamond Johnson Beach Celebration and Commemoration.
                
President’s Award’:  Sonja Griffin Evans, Artist, for her work in support of Cultural Heritage Tourism and the Arts and her traveling exhibit, "From Whence I Came! – De Villiers!" 

Partner of the Year’:  Pam Tedesco, National and Florida Black Business Support Corporation, for her work in funding Black Businesses.

Cultural Heritage Tourism’: Kitty Pope, Publisher - African Diaspora Tourism Magazine, for her work in support of the Pan African and National Cultural Heritage Initiative.

Accolades were also given to Chef Judy Lewis and Chef Early McWilliams of Sister Sarah’s Catering for their outstanding meal and menu, and to Georgia Blackmon of the Gathering Awareness and Book Center for her excellent display of Black Classic Literature. Artist Erik O’Neal received praise for his artistic rendition of the ‘Estevanico Trail’. Kudos were also given to the National Black Tourism Marketing Corporation for their evolution as a national tourism marketing entity.

(Pensacola) The Florida Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc. announced its Boards of Directors for the Affiliates Organizations under the Pan African and National Cultural Heritage Initiative. The chamber was organized in 2004 as a ‘State Chamber’, with the mission of supporting the economic development platform of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Incorporated, Washington, D.C.; and to act as a resource for minority chambers and economic development organizations in the State of Florida. The Florida Black Chamber’s primary focus is to be an advocate for Pan African American businesses and communities.  All effort is placed on accurately marketing, advertising, and promoting the culture and heritage of African Americans and seeking opportunities for minority owned businesses and chamber members, by involving the community, as a whole in our efforts. No resource or relationship is discarded in Florida Black Chamber’s effort to create jobs and business opportunities. A Pan African and global cultural marketing strategy enhances the opportunities and success for all initiative and chamber members. For more information on event, visit http://www.nbtmc.org/the-news-letter.html.

 

Pictured: Rev. Dr. Eugene Franklin presents Estevinico Awards to African Network Televison founders Theresa and Victor Okorochukwu. Hank Harris, Director of National Black Tourism Marketing Corporation looks on.

 

 

phyl headshotThe Pan African Cultural Heritage Institute has appointed as its first director Dr. Phyllis Gray Ray, Chair and Professor of Sociology/Criminology at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL.The Pan African Cultural Heritage Institute was founded by Rev. Dr. Eugene Franklin, chair of the Florida Black Chamber of Commerce, as a part of the Pan African American Cultural Heritage to educate, celebrate and promote the culture and connectivity of the people of the African Diaspora. Dr. Yvonne Freeman, the owner of the Alliance for Global Education and Leadership in Atlanta will serve as chair of the Institute.

 

 As director of the Institute, Dr. Gray Ray, who has produced approximately 20 professional research final reports, and has presented nearly 60 papers at national and international conferences, will be in charge of providing documentation and research related to black culture. A foremost researcher and veteran in getting needed funding, Dr. Gray Ray has generated close to 10 million dollars in external research funds.  Her research has been funded by such noted Organizations as the National Science Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U. S. Department of Education, the Kellogg Foundation and various departments of the government of Mississippi.

 

Dr. Gray Ray will use her expertise in funding to help with some of the Institute’s projects. In addition to cultural heritage and cultural commerce research, some of the goals of the Institute include the launch of the Leadership Academy which will serve to develop leaders and cultural ambassadors with character and integrity. The Institute has already set up youth academies, a speaker’s bureau and an arts and entertainment department will do various conferences, workshops and seminars and festivals related to black cultural awareness. The Institute will help to enhance the platforms and visibility of cultural heritage artists in various cities, thereby contributing to the livelihood of the artists.

 

For the past 30 plus years, in addition to her research, Dr. Gray Ray, the founding Director of the pan instNational Black Graduate Student Association, Inc., has used her professorship to teach about the African American Experience in areas of race relations, classism, the justice system and crime and several other topics related to race. Her administrative leadership skills include having once served as a coordinator, director, department head, dean, and a vice-president where her social and scholarly network has spanned across the African Diaspora. She is the author of “From Imagining to Understanding the African American Experience” which will be the basis of the core curriculum of the Institutes Leadership Academy.

 

Dr. Gray Ray wrote this book to aid individuals in developing their “sociological imaginations” and to broaden their understanding of the “Sociology of the Black Experience,” particularly in the United States’ multicultural society. Her book provides a unique sociological exploration of the African American experience and how it has been specifically impacted by culprits such as slavery and racism. “The reality of slavery and racism is deeply threaded throughout the fabric of the current state of African Americans and this threading must be understood,” explains Dr. Gray Ray.

 

phylis bookDr. Gray Ray says that “From Imagining to Understanding the African American Experience” is applicable to the goal of the Institutes’ Leadership Academy since the focus of the academy will be teaching the next generation of leaders from a cultural perspective by using proven historical experiences as a teaching foundation. She hopes that the book will serve as inspiration to prepare individuals to appreciate their responsibilities in seeking out opportunities that will make their communities a better place. 

 

“Individuals and young adults who are interested in participating in the Pan African Cultural Heritage Institute’s “Leadership Academy” must be trained about the book as a part of its core of the curriculum. I hope that the Institute will have a profound and lasting impact on today’s youth, blacks in general and other races,” says Dr. Gray Ray. She intends to lead the Institute in such a way to accommodate African American students who still find themselves subjected to segregated and inferior schools that are located within their own neighborhoods.

 

Dr. Gray Ray knows firsthand about inadequate schooling because,even though she was bright as a student, she was often overlooked and unsupported in a white school system. “The importance of educating “Negros” (African Americans) “the right way,” was first boldly introduced by William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B.) DuBois and Carter G. Woodson.”

 

W.E.B. DuBois who advocated that blacks are going to have to save and educate themselves, was a crusader for the creation of a black college educated elite group leaders and teachers to educate the masses with an emphasize on heritage. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black History,” wrote the book “The Mis-education of the Negro” where he blasted the educational system in America, and described the vicious cycle that occurs when mis-educated people graduate from schools, and then go on to teach and mis-educate others. Both of these through leaders believed that black children are denied the real truth about their race and culture. Both scholars were ahead of their time, and contributed monumental knowledge through their writings, and their message is still very relevant today.

 

“If some of their knowledge teachings had been rigorously applied especially throughout the black community, perhaps the outcome for Blacks in terms of education would have been a lot better,” says Dr. Gray Ray. “The Pan African Cultural Heritage Institute embraces these men’s philosophies, and hopes to fill gaps within the current educational system. My hope is that the Institute will have a global impact and contribute to the re-education of Americans and the Global Diaspora in terms of contributions of black people.”

 

The philosophies and teachings of these great men will be incorporated in the curriculum and mission of the Institute, which is one of the basis for Rev. Franklin founding it. Dr. Gray Ray will work with Rev. Franklin as well as Dr. Freeman towards accomplishing these and other goals and missions of the Institute. Other goals of the Institute include working to improve and alleviate disparities not only in education, but also regarding cultural commerce issues that affects economic development in African Americans communities in particular.

 

With the National Black Chamber of Commerce as a strategic partner and member of the Pan African Alliance, the Institute has a goal of contributing to cultural economic development. The Institute will support and work with other chambers of commerce, state and local governments, community and economic development groups of the US and global African Diaspora. Colleges, including HBCUs; institutes of higher learning, schools, churches and faith based initiatives, as well as corporations and organizations have started partnering with the Pan African Institute to help in the preservation, education and promotion of cultural heritage and cultural economic development.

 

For more information and continued updates about the Pan African Cultural Heritage Institute, please visit panafricanchi.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On September 20, 2017, Black Meetings and Tourism will host the 1st Annual Champion’s Awards during the lunch hour at the Marriott Marquis in Washington DC. We are looking forward to honoring Elected Government Officials who have been instrumental in promoting travel and tourism.

 

In addition to honoring the travel Champions, we are pleased to announce that we will be kicking off the BM&T Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Mentoring Program.  One hundred young men & women, two from each state,  will be flown to DC to meet their mentors for the first time.

 

African Americans spend $56 Billion annually on travel & tourism yet they represent less than 2% of upper management in the industry.  This one of a kind event promises to close this disparity.  We invite you to join Black Meetings & Tourism Magazine as we alter the state of affairs in the industry in which we have served diligently for over 20 years.  

For more information, visit www.bmtchampions.com

 

African-American tourists represent 12% of the tourism market and are responsible for a whopping $2.4 billion in economic impact for South Carolina, an impact that is associated with approximately 26,000 jobs and $800 million in labor income. These are just a few of the findings from a study recently completed by University of South Carolina's SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism. The study, jointly funded by the SmartState Center and South Carolina Parks, Recreation & Tourism, employed a mixed method approach that included an inventory of African-American attractions, in-depth interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders, and surveys of current, latent, and potential visitors. 

The inventory found nearly 500 cultural sites but many are in need of repair, lack updated infrastructure and technology, and are poorly promoted. The focus group and interview participants acknowledged a need for investment in product development, followed by improved marketing, and recommended a more accurate portrayal of history at these sites. Stakeholders also suggested that racial issues are still prevalent in South Carolina that inhibit the growth and success of African-American tourism. There was a perceived lack of support, funding, and promotion at the state and local level, and the need was recognized for collaboration between organizations working on African-American tourism. 

 
 
But the surveys showed significant potential to grow African-American tourism, along with high interest from travelers of all races outside of South Carolina wanting to explore the state's African-American cultural experiences. Certainly, the removal of the Confederate flag in 2015 has boosted this interest, with almost half of the 900 travelers surveyed saying that it had, or would, influence their decision to travel to South Carolina. 

However, we already know that travel decisions of African-Americans are closely related to their perceptions of welcome and racial acceptance, and this study confirmed that, as 50% of African-Americans who have not been to South Carolina before still fear racial discrimination if they were to visit. This number is slightly less (40%) for those who have already visited, but is still a barrier to growing this market. Similarly, there is a lack of awareness of the Gullah culture and Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, so this needs to be addressed.

 
Other interesting findings include the fact that there are significant differences between African-Americans and other tourists on the cultural experiences they would like to explore in the state.  African-Americans, for example, have no interest in visiting plantations, whereas this is high on the list for other groups of travelers. What all travelers have in common is the desire to taste African-American cuisine. So keep serving up that Low Country Boil, oyster roasts, Frogmore Stew, shrimp and grits, and barbecue!
 
A copy of the report can be downloaded from our website here, but please don't hesitate to contact me for further information at shudson.hrsm.sc.edu or (803) 777-2705.
 
Source: BlackMeetingsandTourism.com

UNWTO-conference-in-JamaicaJamaican Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett said that the ‘UNWTO, Government of Jamaica and World Bank Group Conference on Jobs & Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism’ will be held in November in Montego Bay, Jamaica. This conference of prime importance has received full endorsements from over 21 African Ministers from the UNWTO Commission for Africa.

 
To quote Minister Bartlett, “My visit to Africa has been a resounding success in terms of the approaches we have made to the African Ministers through their Commission and the responses they have given us in regards to the conference. We are very pleased to have the endorsement of 21 Ministers and we were assured that another 15 or so will also participate.”

 
Minister Bartlett has been using these engagements in Africa for discussing possible partnerships for sustainable tourism for development with potential investors, donor agencies, the academic community and other tourism stakeholders, who will be targeted to attend the upcoming global conference.

 

Source: Travelandtourworld.com

 

If you wanted to make a pilgrimage to the childhood home of W.E.B. Du Bois in Massachusetts or Malcolm X in Nebraska, you’d have to settle for a historical marker: The houses of those civil rights activists were lost before preservationists could save them, as many important African-American historical sites have been.

It’s a fate that easily could have met a humble three-room clapboard perched on a rise in this tiny, pretty town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, unknown even to many residents until a few years ago. For those who knew that 30 East Livingston St. was the birthplace of Tryon’s most famous resident – the singer, soul legend and civil rights icon Nina Simone – the house’s appearance on the market late last year crystallized fears that its existence, as stubborn as that of Simone herself, might be coming to an end.

And that, unexpectedly, is where the New York art world entered the picture.

Over the last month, four prominent African-American artists – the conceptualist Adam Pendleton, the sculptor and painter Rashid Johnson, the collagist and filmmaker Ellen Gallagher and the abstract painter Julie Mehretu – quietly got together, pooled their money and bested competing bids to snatch the house up for $95,000. They describe the purchase as an act of art but also of politics, a gratifying chance to respond to what they see as a deepening racial divide in America, when Simone’s fiery example of culture warrior seems more potent than ever.

“It wasn’t long after the election that this all began to happen, and I was desperate like a lot of people to be engaged, and this felt like exactly the right way,” said Johnson, 39, whose work, like that of Gallagher and Pendleton, often directly engages issues of race and political power. (Johnson recently signed on to direct a feature film based on “Native Son,” Richard Wright’s classic novel of racial oppression.) “My feeling when I learned that this house existed was just an incredible urgency to make sure it didn’t go away.”

 

Simone died in 2003, at 70, but her presence may be felt even more strongly now than it was during many years of a life marked by struggles with mental illness and marital abuse. She has been the subject of three films in the last two years; President Barack Obama tweeted that one of her songs was in rotation on his summer 2016 playlist, and Ford (to the disapproval of many fans) used her anthem “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” in an ad during this year’s Super Bowl.

Anger and injustice

She was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon on Feb. 21, 1933, the sixth child of John Divine Waymon, a dry-cleaning shop owner and handyman, and Mary Kate Waymon, a Methodist minister, who had come to Tryon in the late 1920s during a short-lived period when their family was prospering financially.

Simone was delivered in the house, and she retained fond memories of the family’s years there, despite the number of children packed into its 660 square feet, with no running water. She remembered her mother hoisting her onto the kitchen counter and giving her “an empty jam-jar to cut out the biscuit shapes in the dough, singing all the while,” as she wrote in her 1992 autobiography, “I Put a Spell on You.” (Simone adopted her stage name in the 1950s while working at a divey nightclub, trying to keep that fact from her mother.)

THE SKIN GREW BACK A LITTLE TOUGHER, A LITTLE LESS INNOCENT AND A LITTLE MORE BLACK.

Nina Simone, from her autobiograpy “I Put a Spell on You”

Tryon, though segregated, was a town with less pronounced racial divisions than those in the cities around it or in states further south. White residents, proud of Eunice Waymon’s musical prodigy, established a fund to pay for piano lessons and to send her to a private high school. But even so, her consciousness was seared as early as 11, at her first public recital, in a library building that still stands, when her parents, seated proudly in the front row, were moved to the back. Their daughter refused to perform until they were allowed to return to their seats.

“The day after the recital, I walked around as if I had been flayed,” Simone wrote, adding: “But the skin grew back a little tougher, a little less innocent and a little more black.”

Her anger toward the town, expressed occasionally in interviews, and undoubtedly also the full-throated rage about racial injustice at the heart of her work – in songs like “Mississippi Goddam” – fueled resentment that residents say lingers in Tryon to this day. Those feelings probably contributed to a lack of recognition for her there until relatively recently. (A bronze statue of Simone was dedicated along the main street in 2010, but the fund-raising effort for the statue fell short amid squabbling.)

“There are folks here who really don’t want the story told because it’s still felt that Nina Simone did the town a disservice in turning her back on it,” said Kevin McIntyre, a former economic development director for Polk County, which includes Tryon. McIntyre bought the house in 2005 and spent more than $100,000 of his own money restoring it to its 1930s state before running into money troubles and losing it.

Finding saviors

McIntyre, known as Kipp, nurtured visions of making the house into a museum and community center, and sought out Simone’s oldest living sibling, her brother Carrol Waymon, a retired psychologist in San Diego, to get every period detail right, down to a crank telephone and pump organ. “I had to sell my truck to pay for the vintage windows,” McIntyre said.

THAT PART OF NORTH CAROLINA IS A VERY HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT TO ARCHITECTURE. IT’S A VERY RAINY PLACE, AND THE VINES JUST GROW. IF YOU LEAVE A HOUSE FOR A FEW YEARS YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO FIND IT WHEN YOU COME BACK. I FEARED IT WOULD JUST DISINTEGRATE.

Verne Dawson, a painter who owns a small farm outside of Saluda

The house, one of a few where the Waymons lived in Tryon, sat in the midst of what was for many years the economic heart of the town’s African-American community, near a thriving store and restaurant and laundry. “My interest in the house became more of an interest in that history,” McIntyre said, “which I was watching disappear before my eyes as houses got knocked down and fewer people remembered.”

The grapevine that buzzed into action to try to save the house after it came up for sale again started with Verne Dawson, a New York painter who owns a small farm outside of nearby Saluda. “Whenever anyone visited I’d take them to see it, because to me her life just gets more important with each passing year,” he said. “But that part of North Carolina is a very hostile environment to architecture. It’s a very rainy place, and the vines just grow. If you leave a house for a few years you might not be able to find it when you come back. I feared it would just disintegrate and go away even if no one knocked it down.”

Dawson talked to his wife, Laura Hoptman, a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, and the two wondered if they could get someone in the music industry interested. But then Hoptman began to think about artists who would have both the interest and the means, and she called Pendleton, 33, whom she has known for several years and whose profile has been rising rapidly in the art world.

“It took me about five seconds to know what I wanted to do, and I called Rashid and we talked and we knew we wanted to get women artists involved, and it all happened very quickly,” Pendleton said, while driving in mid-February on a trip to see the house for the first time. “We don’t have a blueprint for our ideas yet, but I think sometimes artists are the best people to deal with really tricky questions – like, for instance, how to honor the legacy of someone as vital and complicated as Nina Simone.”

Gallagher, 51, added: “We just hope we can activate this place.

“She formed a lot of who I am and my sense of history. And I think of the town as a portal to a woman who influenced so many.”

Word is only now beginning to spread in town that the house has gained powerful benefactors. But if Pendleton’s reception was any indication of the feeling of the house’s supporters, the new owners might be welcomed as long-awaited saviors. The broker for the sale, Cindy Viehman, started to shake Pendleton’s hand upon meeting him but then grabbed him. “I’m just going to give you a hug,” Viehman said. “I’ve been talking to this guy every day! I’ve got him on speed dial. We’re so glad to see you.”

McIntyre, who spent so many years trying to save the house, added: “This is really what we’ve been praying for. We wanted a place that, in the right hands, would become inspirational not only as a relic of the past but as a catalyst for right now.”

NEW YORK TIMES WRITERS JULIA WALL, MAUREEN TOWEY AND KAITLYN MULLIN CONTRIBUTED.

queen latifaQueen Latifah is giving fans a glimpse at how celebrities experience the world’s most beautiful destinations with her new Travel Channel mini-series, "The Best Place To Be.”

Executive produced by Latifah and business partner Shakim Compere’s production company Flavor Unit, each one-hour episode follows a noted personality sharing the hidden hot spots of their favorite international destinations, including Anthony Anderson (Barcelona), Jason Biggs and Jenny Mollen (Hong Kong), Mary-Louise Parker (Kenya), and Latifah herself (Rio de Janeiro).

The multifaceted media maven told The Huffington Post that she wants viewers to experience travel through the lens of a celebrity.

“The premise of it was something that Shakim came up with based on my life,” she said. “When I go on vacations I travel to different places around the world and oftentimes I’m with friends of mine who hip me to the cool places to be and things to go to. And for a lot of celebrities, this is our only little break to escape and kind of be normal without the spotlight.”

“And so, we want to share that place with the world and tell them about their secret spots, because we want to see it through their lens,” she added. 

The show couldn’t have come at a better moment for the production duo.

In recent years, travel research group MMGY Global has found a surge in African Americans’ intent to travel internationally, which some have argued was previously overlooked and undocumented by mass media. Reports credit travel websites targeting people of color and social media influencers as contributing factors for the supposed increase. 

With reports of the black travel movement” being on the rise, Latifah wants the mini-series to inspire even more people to broaden their international horizons.

“Sometimes it takes the media a minute to catch up and actually care about what we’re doing,” she said. “But we know what we do, and we know we love to take a vacation and get away and just enjoy life. But I’m hoping the show will just give them more places to go and stretch their horizons even further. I love to be in a land where I don’t speak the native language, but people are people no matter where you go.”

As for the best way to maximize one’s travel experience, the award-winning actress-rapper recommends travelers venture off the “beaten path” of where tourists traditionally visit for a more cultured experience.

“You’ll have a much more richer experience when you travel like that,” she said. “If you really want an experience that’s gonna stay with you for your life and you can come home, tell people who maybe can’t get there at that time. It’s so much more rich and deep and fulfilling than what you would do if you hung around the pool all day.”

"The Best Place To Be” aired on April 11 at 12 p.m. / 11 a.m. Central on the Travel Channel.

Source: Huffington Post

Sheila-Johnson  01Charleston, South Carolina's International African American Museum is getting a big boost that just might push it over the finish line. Sheila Johnson, billionaire CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts and owner of three professional sports teams, has agreed to join the museum’s board of directors.                                                                                                      

“Mayor Joe Riley has twisted my arm … so we’re on a journey to get this museum built,” said Johnson at an event for the upcoming Hotel Bennett near Marion Square, which her company will manage. Riley was Charleston’s mayor for 40 years and first announced the idea of the waterfront museum in 2000. He said he’s confident that Johnson will provide the energy to raise the final $19 million to start construction early next year. The museum is scheduled to open by the end of 2019.

Sheila Johnson is an African-American entrepreneur who co-founded Black Entertainment Television (BET) and is part-owner of the three sports teams in the NHL, NBA and the WNBA.

Sheila Johnson was born on January 25, 1949, in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. She co-founded Black Entertainment Television (BET) in 1979. The successful station focused on African American audiences and was sold to Viacom for $3 billion in 2002. Johnson is currently part-owner of sports teams including the Washington Capitals (NHL), the Washington Wizards (NBA) and the Washington Mystics (WNBA) and is the second wealthiest black female in the United States. 

For more information visit: https://iaamuseum.org

Source: Post & Courier, Kulumn Magazine

 

nigeria

CHAIRMAN of Project Tourism and former Member of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Ned Nwoko, has promised to host 100 foreign tourists for the Host Family Scheme of the project in 2017.

Hon. Nwoko, who made the promised at a dinner held in honour of visiting Miami Dade Trade Mission to Nigeria, in Abuja on Thursday, explained that Project Tourism is to engineer the growth of tourism in Nigeria.

He added that “The committee will put in place what will make visits tourist sites in Nigeria possible. And as my own contribution towards developing tourism in Nigeria, I will organize a lottery through which I would sponsor 100 foreign tourists to Nigeria next year to experience the tourism potentials in Nigeria. The sponsorship would include their tickets, accommodation and feeding, among other things that would make them comfortable during their stay in Nigeria.”

The former Member of the Federal House of Representatives also said the committee would create a cordial relationship with other countries to propel growth and development in the Nigerian tourism sector.

Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Mariel Rae-Omoh, in her remarks reaffirmed her commitment to promotion of the Nigerian tourism industry.

Rae-Omoh said: “With the call for Nigeria to diversify her economy from oil after several missed opportunities in six decades since the discovery of oil in 1956, the new question begging for answer now is how fast and far can diversification solve economic recession and other problems in the short, medium and long term?”

She explained that “Project Tourism is in the right direction at the right time with its lofty ideals of promoting growth and development of tourism, attracting investment, participation and expansion of the tourism industry in Nigeria as key economic sector and foreign revenue spinner.

“In line with this, NTDC as the apex tourism policy implementation agency will continue to effectively carry out its mandate with the support of the public-private partnership and staff of the Corporation.

Leader of Miami Dade Trade Mission to Nigeria, Vice Mayor Erhabor Ighodaro, earlier in his speech Lauded Hon. Nwoko’s commitment to promoting tourism in Nigeria and ensuring cordial relationship between Nigeria and other countries.

Ighodaro described Nigeria as a land of deluge opportunities, especially in tourism, which if well attended to will improve the lots of the country and her people.

Source: ATQ News, Pictured: Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Mariel Rae-Omoh

Morocco defies geo-political divide, seeks to join ECOWAS

The Kingdom of Morocco, in what is seen as a historic move that defied geopolitical membership of regional groups, has officially requested to join the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as a full member.

The North African country, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, on Friday, issued a statement on the plan to join the 15-member West African bloc.

The Kingdom of Morocco has informed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia who is the current chair of ECOWAS of “its interest to join the regional grouping as a full member” a statement from the ministry said.

morocco-defies-geo-political-divide-seeks-to-join-ecowasThis request is in line with provisions of ECOWAS founding treaty and in full satisfaction of its membership criteria, it asserted.

According to Morocco, its move comes “to crown the strong political, human, historical, religious and economic ties at all levels with ECOWAS member countries”.

It said these links were reinforced over the last few years, through the king’s 23 visits to 11 countries in the region.

The statement said these visits were crowned by the signing of several hundred agreements, which gave a “strong” impetus to bilateral cooperation with the 15 member countries of the regional bloc.

Morocco also maintains institutional relations with ECOWAS, through an observer status, which has been in place for several years.

Morocco has participated in several meetings of the organization and has contributed to its activities, particularly in areas relating to peace and stability, the statement added.

The desire to join ECOWAS is also part of the royal vision for regional integration, as a key to Africa’s economic take-off, and is in line with the African policy of King Mohammed VI, reflected by the return of the kingdom to the African Union (AU), the statement concluded.

The country was recently re-admitted into the African Union (AU) after decades of voluntary withdrawal from the continental body.

The country embarked on diplomatic shuttles to many African countries, including Nigeria and Senegal to mend sour relations and to seek support of the countries for its admittance into AU.

Source: globalsentinelng.com

hip hop

The Hip Hop Hall of Fame and Museum, “where Hip Hop culture and history lives,” has selected Harlem’s 125th Street to be the site of the major cultural addition to Manhattan’s skyline.

The museum will memorialize hip-hop culture and influence through its exhibits as well as teach valuable professional skills through its various classes and programs.                                            

J.T. Thompson, founder of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame and Museum, said that the world is ready for this piece of history and the impact it will have on the community.

 “The time has finally come where history will have a permanent home to build a foundation for history, education, knowledge, innovation and creativity for future generations to understand hip-hop’s origins, the elements and the struggle for socio-economic empowerment opportunities for young people and families around the world,” Thompson remarked.  

The exhibits will present museumgoers with timelines that tell unique stories of hip-hop and its influence on culture, politics, fashion…etc. Hip Hop has become more than music; it is a culture. 

The HHHOF museum is a chartered nonprofit. The Hip Hop Hall of Fame, Museum and Entertainment complex vision concept includes the hall of fame, museum, gift shops, arcade, TV studios, sports bars, restaurants and a concert lounge. According to a press release, the complex will produce permanent and part-time jobs and provide valuable internships and community volunteer opportunities to students. The end goal is to show people from around the world hip-hop’s culture and influence throughout the world. 

“Harlem has a rich history of art and cultural contributions,” a rep from Dove Entertainment said in a written statement. (Dove is responsible for press and coordination of the hall.) The rep continued, “The Harlem Renaissance has influenced artists, poets, educators, politicians, entrepreneurs, entertainers and community leaders from New York City and throughout the world. Hip Hop music and culture will now join the legacy in Harlem.”

The space is dedicated to education. Through internships, field trips and classes within the facility, students will be trained by industry professionals and will graduate with an online e-commerce store. The courses are designed to teach skills in entrepreneurship, business management and job creation. 

“All classes will include a ‘Life-Skill Module,’ teaching young people about personal development and financial literacy. The socio-economic impact in New York is estimated at over $350M annually,” said Dove Entertainment. The classes are designed to boost opportunities for the community. 

The hall of fame is taking donations and giving donors a chance to be forever enshrined on the walls of the museum. Their picture and a 20-second video clip explaining their love of hip-hop or the Hall of Fame with be available for viewing in an exhibit entitled “the fan wall of fame." Fans and supporters will also receive a VIP 10% discount on all official merchandise, events and products. 
    
The Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum is scheduled to open its doors in 2019-2020

Source: tnj.com/lifestyle/arts-entertainment/hip-hop-museum-harlem-to-offer-jobs-and-more-community

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