Have you ever wanted to participate in a carnival parade? Lisa Fraser reports for The Root that the annual Toronto carnival's worth a visit, whether you're in costume or not.

Underneath a sun-drenched blue sky, the noises of the steel pan pierce the air, their jubilant sounds forcing us into hip-swaying and rump-shaking as we trek down Lake Shore Boulevard in a blissful state.a caribana 2013

Everyone is under the influence of the infectious rhythm that the Caribbean music carries, while others find themselves under the influence of an attractive person of the opposite sex who has managed to make eye contact and -- to use Caribbean parlance -- "thief a little wine."

The road is ours. And we are "chipping" down the street, enjoying the sun, the music, the people, the dancing, the happiness, the food, the stares and the exquisite feeling of what it's like to participate in the festivities.

It was 2007, and it was my first time at Caribana -- North America's largest Caribbean carnival, held every August in Toronto. The all-day festival brings in more than 1 million revelers each year, all of them descending upon Lake Shore Boulevard to witness and be part of the beauty and the pageantry of all things West Indian.

I was taking part in the masquerade portion of the festival, also known as "playing mas," which requires partakers to be clad in colorful, bedazzled costumes. All of the costumes are made locally by masquerade camps such as Carnival Nationz, Louis Saldenah and the Mas-K Club and former NBA player Jamaal Magloire's Toronto Revellers. They each represent a particular theme, often related to nature, Caribbean history or Caribbean mythology, showcasing things like distinct birds, flowers and native tribes.

My cousins and I were clad head to toe in blue and gold and outfitted with feathery headdresses; the overarching theme was the rainforest, and we were the colorful blue-and-yellow Macaw parrots found in the Caribbean and South America.

The sounds of calypso music, along with its more racy and rambunctious cousin, soca, a blend that fuses East Indian and African beats, and chutney, which utilizes traditional East Indian rhythms, wafted out from the speakers of trucks that led the way for the parade floats showcasing each individual mas camp's theme.

As masquerade players danced on and around the trucks, lead mas players walked front and center showing off their one-of-a-kind costumes. The festival brings many big names in calypso, chutney, soca, reggae and dancehall music, including Machel Montano, Kes the Band, Alison Hinds, Ravi B., Beenie Man, Sean Paul and Mr. Vegas.

Caribana was first established in Toronto in 1967. It takes its inspiration from the Caribbean island-nation Trinidad's Carnival, the acclaimed two-week celebration culminating in a two-day parade, which happens every February before Ash Wednesday.

Numerous events are held beginning two weeks prior to Caribana leading up to the massive festival, which will be held this year on August 3. Many big and small events also follow, and each event caters to visitors young and old.

From boat cruises to fetes (the French-creole word for festival but often used to refer to parties) visitors to Caribana can enjoy a laid-back night on the water in Lake Ontario or opt for a more upbeat, fun-filled night at one of the local night clubs or outdoor parks where many of the big names in Caribbean music also come to perform.

ab caribOne main event leading up to the Caribana parade is the King and Queen Show, which will be held at Lamport Stadium on August 1. The leaders of each Caribana mas camp will don their costumes and showcase them to parade judges while onlookers admire. At the end of the night, a king and queen are crowned.

During the parade the mas bands are also in competition to be named band of the year; a judging spot they must pass by as they trek down the road rates each band on costume design, creativity, presentation and energy of the masqueraders.

Caribana marks a day of pure celebration of all things Caribbean, and it's a time when we all raise our flags in unison, each representing every single Caribbean nation -- a clash of cultures in celebration.

After the festivities of the Caribana carnival are over, cool down that same night or the next day by exploring Toronto's tourist gems.

The Toronto Islands are a scenic mini-getaway within a getaway. This small chain of islands offers a panoramic view of what is considered North America's cleanest city. Ferries to the islands leave from the Ferrydocks (9 Queen's Quay West). Explore the Centerville Amusement Park at Centre Island or the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse.

You'll most definitely work up an appetite after Caribana. Ritz Caribbean Foods (211 Yonge St.), not far away from Dundas Square, will satiate your appetite for rice and peas and oxtail or jerk chicken, which you can eat while treading down Lake Shore Boulevard.

Bond Place Hotel (65 Dundas St. East) is a prime place to stay overnight. Located just a minute away from Toronto's version of Times Square, Yonge-Dundas Square, Bond Place Hotel is within walking distance to many of the area's attractions, including the Eaton Centre Mall and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

I've been to Caribana three times, and each time I felt at home again; every sense was awoken as I reacquainted myself with my Guyanese culture and basked in the sun, the sweat, the good vibes, the music and the delicious food, including barbeque and jerk chicken and roti served with chicken curry.

The festival welcomes everyone from North America to Europe and even Africa, bringing together all of the cultures who helped shape the Caribbean -- though this time, not under the iron fist of colonialism, but under the welcoming smiles and open arms of celebration. That reason alone is enough to go, give it a chance and, as one popular soca song urges, get on bad.

Source: Repeating Islands                                                                                                                                                                                 For the original report go to

Photos: Courtesy of CaribanaToronto

fela logo main 2A spectacularly inspiring and triumphant tale of courage, passion and love, FELA! is based on the life of Fela Kuti, who created Afrobeat—a blend of jazz, funk and African rhythm and harmonies—and mixed these sensual eclectic rhythms with simple but powerful lyrics that openly assailed Nigeria’s corrupt and oppressive dictatorships. Featuring many of Fela Kuti’s most captivating songs performed by a combined cast of the original Broadway production and the Royal National Theatre production all under Bill T. Jones’s visionary staging, FELA! reveals Kuti’s life as an artist and human rights activist and celebrates his pioneering music in what has been hailed as one of the most exciting, exhilarating and vital stage experiences in recent memory.

FELA!, the most critically acclaimed musical of the 2010 season, received three Tony Awards®: Best Choreography, Best Costume Design for a Musical and Best Sound Design of a Musical! His story inspired a nation. His music inspires the world. FELA! tells the true story of the legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, whose soulful Afrobeat rhythms ignited a generation. Motivated by his mother, a civil rights champion, he defied a corrupt and oppressive military government and devoted his life and music to the struggle for freedom and human dignity. FELA! is a triumphant tale of courage, passion and love, featuring Fela Kuti’s captivating music and the visionary direction and choreography of Tony Award® winner Bill T. Jones. 

FELA! first came to life in 2000 when New Yorker, Stephen Hendel, stumbled across a CD of the Nigerian firebrand, iconoclast, rabble-rouser and composer of genius, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. He was so impressed with the music and with Fela’s keen sense of social justice that he determined to create a theatre piece expressing the timeless and universal message contained in how Fela committed his gift as a voice for the disenfranchised.

In 2004 Steve Hendel joined forces with Tony Award®-winning choreographer, Bill T. Jones, who he invited to direct the play. Bill then brought in writer Jim Lewis and together the three set about mounting a series of workshops, involving musicians, actors, dancers and technicians. It soon became clear that attempting to compress the entirety of Fela’s turbulent and event-filled life into a stage play was impossible. They elected to create a painting; an ode to determination and truth to power by concentrating on one short, highly-charged period during the late seventies, using it as a vehicle through which to present a prime example of commitment and courage and art used as an expression of human dignity.

Fela had used his extraordinary big-band music as a medium in which he created biting, satirical diatribes against the excesses of successive military regimes in his native Nigeria. Any form of injustice, oppression, mismanagement, corruption was fearlessly and ferociously attacked, using eloquent harangues that specifically named the perpetrators.

He had paid a steep price for his bravery in the face of powerful and implacable enemies, with 200 arrests and countless beatings that left scars all over his body. But even these beatings didn’t stop him. “Ah well, they didn’t kill me,” he would proclaim as he wrote yet another acerbic lyric and gave inflammatory quotes to the press.

Fela died in August 1997. AIDS, they said, but as far as those close to him were concerned, he died of one beating too many. He was a giant of a man, but a man nevertheless. The system can only take so much. One million people attended his funeral.

His legacy was a testament of incredible courage, together with almost 50 albums of music that are now available globally through Knitting Factory Records. His message of transparency, honest government and justice for all is still as relevant today as when it was when first released 4 decades ago—not just in Nigeria, but globally.

Inspired by Fela’s courage and incredible musical mastery, it took two years of development for the creative and technical team to reach the stage where they were ready to begin mounting the piece Off-Broadway at a New York theatre complex, 37 Arts.

They spent three months at 37 Arts perfecting the production before they were ready to open “FELA! The Musical.” The show was an immediate and unmitigated critical and public success. Celebrities flocked to see the show: Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Christine Amanpour, Charlize Theron and countless others. The decision was made to go to Broadway.

With the blessings of the Kuti family, in 2009 FELA! opened at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre and with Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Will & Jada Pinkett-Smith coming on board as producers, played to half a million people over the next 15 months. Celebrities kept coming; Madonna, Denzel Washington, Ben Stiller, Mick Jagger, Sting, Harry Belafonte, Spike Lee (8 times!), Kofi Annan and Michelle Obama, to name but a few. The show received 11 Tony® nominations and three Tony Awards® for Best Choreography, Best Costumes and Best Sound. In 2010, whilst still on Broadway, a second company was formed to present a sold-out season of performances at London’s prestigious Royal National Theatre.

Since its 15 month Tony Award®-winning run on Broadway, an amalgam company has been created from members of the American and European casts. Audiences in their many hundreds of thousands on both sides of the Atlantic, including a triumphal series of performances in Fela’s beloved Lagos, have risen to their feet in admiration of the play’s ethos and execution. We would be surprised if you do not do the same.

The show is back on tour in the United States. Don’t miss it! For schedule of tour near your city, visit

                                                                                                                                                                                      (part one)

The dream of Parliament Square Cultural Center in Freeport, Grand Bahama began with my stepping out of bed one morning in 2008 and saying the words “Parliament Square" to my utter amazement.I was not dreaming nor speaking to anyone including myself. I knew this had something to do with Junkanoo our major cultural celebration but I was convinced that it was incorrect. I argued with this because in my mind I knew that this was not the place I should be thinking of. I asked some of my colleagues what they thought and they confirmed what I was thinking that it should be Rawson Square. Rawson Square is like mainstreet when it comes to the annual beginning and year end JunkanooParades. On insistence form an inner voice I went to the internet and found that the British House of Parliament looked much like the drawing which I drew a few months earlier when we had discussed at work a place to house Junkanoo.

150132 363499283713874 1281510028 nA few months later my company sent me to London for training (what makes that trip more unbelievable was the fact that I didn’t feel I would be sent on such a journey as it took some 26 years for me to be promoted). In London we visited Westminster Palace as it is also called and I bought a book that gave information on the House of Parliament.        

I returned home but still not clear on exactly what I was to do with this Parliament Square. I heard the inner voice that said you have  the book read it. I found that it was saidin the book that the House of Parliament contained British cultural heritage that spanned many centuries. Thus the concept of housing all aspects of Bahamian culture in Parliament Square Cultural Center was born. 

I developed a plan including a diagram of what this new place should look like and the format that it should take based on what ideas came to me. I determined the funding necessary using a shoe string budget of $70K. Realistically, I would have required over $3M using conventional block building. After acquiring the assistance of a consultant who tried to dissuade me from proceeding, I determined that the project was possible with the meager budget as many of the items that were included in his assessment were unnecessary and his suggestion to do something else was not consistent to my skills or desire.I sourced the funds form my savings but after having been turned around with a place to house the venture, I lost more than a third of the money.Realizing that the project could be completely derailed, I sought and found a warehouse building at the south end of Oak Street behind Savemore Food store 4 minutes from downtown Freeport.

I sought the help of my family: wife and children, brothers and sisters, mother, and brother and sister-in-law. With their help I had the necessary funding to begin. Together we place a facade on the building giving it the appearance of Parliament Square in Nassau. My oldest brother was responsible for most of the construction work inside and outside. My second oldest brother painted a mural of Bahamian undersea life on the western wall inside the show room. My sister gave a major portion of the funding necessary. Along with her research skills, assistance from her husband and children created several spaces of interest. We acquired replica cannons from a third party who purchased them form Nassau. They are still on guard at the old location.

Bahamian Flags and flag poles were purchased from Compusec Printing to grace the front of the building. We created an interior that takes you through aspects of Bahamian culture such as government, Christian, music and arts, islands Junkanoo and back yard or Over-Da-Hill. The prime ministers and governors general were hung on the wall in the foyer and the hall way to give the tour a significant starting point. This was accentuated with a video playing of an interview of Sir Lynden Pindling, our first Prime Minister with Dr. Keith Wisdom of Cable Bahamas. (This was one of many interviews that I had purchased from Cable Bahama to show Bahamians and visitor some of the prominent persons in our country and culture.) A display in the foyer also gives the guests a view of the Bahamas constitution before and after independence all of which came from out of thegarbage after having being thrown out). This type of format graced the other rooms that although they were small give more than enough information to even the most learned visitor and guests to Parliament Square Cultural Center.

We had two opening one in October of 2010 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church and January of 2011 at Parliament Square Cultural center Oak Street. Strangely enough, although I was told that I need to invite all the dignitaries on the island including the business community not one showed except Dr. Eric Brown to any of the openings. Mrs. Smith from Tourism was the highest ranking government official if you can call her that since she came on her own interest. Both functions were well supported by family and friends. My mother, sister and brother and his family flew in from Florida on both occasions. Undaunted we opened to small groups mostly from the local schools.

After opening our first patrons were the Kindergarten class from the neighbouring Hugh Campbell Primary School whose teacher was Ms. Moss. Many students came on field trips even though the message was “muffled” and did not reach many of the teachers. Our largest group was from the school in Chicago with some 77 persons. We had another group from Bonaventure College of about 65. Sometime after opening, we received visits form the Ministry of Tourism executives. Ms. RennamaeSymonette of the Ministry gave us assistance with much need brochures which were designed by my oldest daughter as our first order was running out. Visits from the taxi and tour community proved unfruitful.

We were finally able to convince one government minister and an ambassador to visit but that was to no avail. Our most promising visit came from a local tour operator who after seeing the front had already made up her mind to bring guests to us as part of her tour but she came in the week we had to fulfill our eviction notice. The land lord had been good to us but as he said business is business; especially when you can increase your bottom line. Note, I left owing nothing even though as one prominent Bahamian business man said “you need land, a big place, and you have no money. You are bankrupt”. I may have no money but I am far from bankrupt as long as God gives me ideas and the opportunity to pray.  

The road thus far has been difficult because of the difficulty of attracting guests from the cruise ships that come to Freeport, Grand Bahama. We did everything possible but to no avail.We were not able to attract numbers that were consistent in keeping the doors open. We have a website and Face Book presence and have done other promotions but were not successful in attracting any of the more than 2,500 passengers a day. The cruise lines have said that there is nothing on the island but that has to be said another way: "there is nothing on the island that the certain people wish the passengers to participate in". 

I thought I had good news, as I was able to negotiate an old building Queen’s Highway. That deal soured as the land lord wanted to lock me into a situation where I was not given fair concessions to ensure success. One of our reviews on Trip Advisor said that we were “not the usual "tourist tour". Months after are closing we were still doing well on Trip Advisor and receiving requests which we turned over to those taxi drivers who would have assisted us. 

After closing the business, we have had to store all that we could remove from the building and took losses on those that we could not. At present the sign for Parliament Square Cultural Center is in my garage albeit even though “my” refers to partnership with the bank that has already sent letters regarding the inability to pay the full mortgage. Some of the costumes are in my in-laws’ house who themselves are victims of the downsizing that is epidemic on Grand Bahama; despite which there are any number of individuals plotting the failure of legitimate Bahamian companies knowingly and unknowingly. But should we come together on this island in the face of this atmosphere we can achieve much even though the powers that be are not tilling the ground for our success. God is on our side and in due course with the proper funding Parliament Square Cultural Centre will reborn and provide for this community and country what many have not envision or believed.





















Dr. Longdummers longA Memorial toast was held for the late Dr. Richard A. Long who passed shortly after New Years Day. The services was on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at Clark Atlanta University Galleries in Atlanta. The event was attended by a hosts of relatives, friends, associates and colleagues. The bio from the memorial services is as follows:

Richard A. Long, recognized as a major cultural historian, was the Atticus Haygood Professor Emeritus of Interdisciplinary Studies at Emory University. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Temple University; did doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania; was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Paris; and received his doctoral degree at the University of Poitiers. He began his teaching career as a graduate assistant at Temple. Subsequently, he taught at West Virginia State College. He spent a decade and a half as a teacher at Morgan State College (now University) followed by two years at Hampton Institute (now University), where he was also Director of the College Museum. While completing his doctoral work, he also worked as a lecturer at the University of Poitiers. Upon returning

to the United States, he taught English and French for the Hampton Institute and directed its College Museum. He became a Professor of English in 1968 at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University), where he was founder of theAfrican American Studies program. From 1971 to 1973 he was visiting lecturer at Harvard University. He was a U.S. committee member at the Second World Black and

African Festival of Arts and Culture in Lagos, Nigeria, from 1971 to 1977, and acted as a consultant for both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He lectured widely in West, Central and South Africa, the Caribbean, India and Southeast Asia. He began an association with Emory University in 1973 as adjunct professor and became Atticus.

longs audienceHaygood Professor in 1987. His writings include Black Americana (1985), The Black Traditlong speakerion in American Dance (1989), African Americans: A Portrait (1993), Grown Deep: Essays on the Harlem Renaissance (1998), One More Time: Harlem Renaissance History and Historicism (2007), and Maya Angelou: A Glorious Celebration (2008), He edited Negritude: Essays and Studies (1967) (with Albert Berrian) and Afro-American Writing: Prose and Poetry (1972, 1991) (with Eugenia Collier) and Black Writers and the American Civil War (1989). He founded the Triennial Symposium on African Art, Atlanta University’s Annual Conference at the Center for African and African American Studies, and the New World Festivals of the African Diaspora. His most recent activities included serving on the Board of Directors of the Smithsonian Museum of African Art; the Board of Directors of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta as a life member. He served on the Board of the Society of Dance History Scholars with the designation as an Honorary Fellow of the organization. He also was an active member of the National Planning Committee of the Zora Neale Hurston Festival. Dr. Long continued to lecture widely on a variety of topics and served as a consultant to many cultural organizations and institutions. Dr. Long’s Papers are deposited at the Auburn Avenue Research Library. He is survived by his brother, Curtis W. Long (San Diego, CA), and a host of nephews, nieces, family and friends from around the nation.long cover Photos: Susan Ross

ron sempleRon Bobb-Semple rendered an acclaimed re-enactment of Marcus Garvey for the African Diaspora World Tourism Awards and Travel Expo event in Atlanta. The two-day included the Africana Extravaganza of cultural performances and a cultural heritage Travel Expo. The awards ceremony was dedicated to the late great Marcus Garvey who was all about uplifting people of African descent and preserving their culture. Since the ADWT-Awards event, Bobb-Semple has been getting many invites to do his signature re-enactment of Marcus Garvey.

Bobb-Semple has moved audiences around the world with his brilliant one-man show, The Spirit of Marcus Garvey. As Michael Reckord wrote in the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper, “The words ‘show’ and ‘performance’ do not do justice to the actor’s portrayal of our National Hero. As we watched, Bobb-Semple seemed to become Garvey.”

In 1999, Bobb-Semple, who was born in Guyana, journeyed to Dakar, Senegal, where he presented The Spirit of Marcus Garvey" on Goreé Island. In November of 2000, he returned to the Motherland with the project, this time at the Elmina Castle in Ghana. Bobb-Semple received the Marcus Garvey Awards from the Government of Jamaica’s United Nations Association in 1988, and from the Marcus Garvey Celebration Committee in 1991.

For Black History Month 2001, Bobb-Semple was the voice of Garvey in the U.S. Public Broadcasting System’s special film, Marcus Garvey: Look For Me In The Whirlwind. He recently returned from London, Sweden, Belgium and Germany where he showcased his cultural and educational presentation on Garvey as part of the Marcus Garvey Legacy Tour 2012 to Europe. The Spirit of Marcus Garvey has also been seen in Bermuda, Jamaica, Barbados, St. Lucia, The Virgin Islands and throughout the United States.

In 2012, Bobb-Semple appeared in Award winning playwright August Wilson’s Seven Guitars at the American State Theatre in St. Petersburg, FL, and as Steve Daniels in Athol Fugard’s “A Lesson From Aloes,” at the Banyan Theater Company in Sarasota, FL. following his portrayal in 2011 of ‘Slow Drag’ in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

 A few of Bobb-Semple's other stage credits include:

 •Wilson's Seven Guitars, The Piano Lesson and Fences, the latter co-starring with Avery Brooks;

•South African playwright Athol Fugard's My Children, My Africa!; •Bingo!, a musical directed by the legendary Ossie Davis who said, “Ron, you are one of the most gifted performers I have worked with.”; •Pulitzer Prizewinner Derek Walcott's musical, Steel;

•Pepe Carille's, Shango de Ima, for which he received the 1994 AUDELCO (Audience Development Committee) Award for 'Best Supporting Actor,' in New York.

In 2005, Ron won the AUDELCO's 'Lead Actor' award for his portrayal of Durbin Freeman in Joyce Sylvester's 'A Freeman’s Hope' at The Billie Holiday Theatre in Brooklyn, New York.

Bobb-Semple’s film credits include Tyler Perry’s soon-to-be-released, The Marriage Counselor; Nursing Tuskegee; Mental Vengeance; Playing Both Sides; Deep Trouble; Pressure; Truth; Lost Money and several national television commercials. 

ron headshotCritics have written of Ron Bobb-Semple:

“In body and features, [Bobb-Semple] looks very much like [Garvey]. However, it is what he did with these attributes that persuaded the audience to suspend disbelief in a ‘performance.’” – The Jamaica Gleaner

 “…You even have his smile.” – Ruth Prescott (Niece of Marcus Garvey)

 “I saw my father; I heard my father; I was moved by my father.” – Marcus Garvey, Jr.

 “You brought Garvey onto the stage, and then to reality.” – Kamau Braithwaite, Author/Professor

 Ron Bobb-Semple can be heard hosting Caribbean Forum and Golden Sunday Sounds respectively on Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. EST on The Uhuru Radio Network (

CEO Chief Tunde Adetunji with His Excellency Jean Ping 1Since its inception, Southern Polytechnic State University and African Heritage Foundation (AHF) collaboration has led numerous landmark events, as a means of creating a steady bridge between several African nations and Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU). One notable event held last February was the Celebrate Africa: Journey through the Ages Exhibition. The AHC at SPSU has played host to many noteworthy African dignitaries, including the under-secretary general, special advisor to Africa. Beyond showcasing the talents of many African inspired artworks, the event also played as a catalyst for many interested African nation representatives to make their presence known in the U.S.A.

Opportunities are out there, one just needs to see them! Gilbert Parker once said, “Love knows no distance; it has no continent; its eyes are for the stars.” Another way of looking at it is, the distance between opportunities isn’t a hindrance, and it’s merely just a number. One could say that the AHF’s president Chief Ambassador Tunde Adetunji, certainly holds to these philosophy and sentiments. Dakar, Senegal has now become the nearest and closet African nation to Marietta, Georgia in terms of Technology transfer, brain gain, human resources and capacity building for sustainable development of emerging market of Africa nations even though is located 4,361miles away.

Ambassador Tunde’s ambition and passion to strengthen ties between the African nations and SPSU is a mission accomplished which should be highly commended. As far back as the centennial Olympics 96 the pioneering and visionary initiative of the Africa Heritage foundation have successfully launched and establish:AFRICA iN ATLANTA, project, AFRICA WORLD MUSEUM& CENTER, AFRICA OPEN FOR BUSINESS , USAFRICA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE , AFRICA HERITAGE DIASPORA RADIO &TELEVISION,AFRICA HERITAGE CENTER AT UNIVESITY , AFRAICA TRAVEL&TOURS AND AFRICA HORIZON MOVEMENT.

There are many aspects to his vision, to leave an indelible relationship amongst the Marietta, Georgia area and the many regions throughout the continent of Africa. One such example came a few month ago as the AHF welcomed fifteen Mayors and top government officials ,community leaders and decision makers representing various communities and local governments in Senegal to tour and learn more about the Africa Heritage Center instituted by the UN undersecretary general last February at SPSU campus.

CEO Chief Adetunju with   President Abdoulaye Wade of SenegalTheir main interest for the visit include: 1) establishing technological project ventures between the U.S. and Senegal, 2) fostering a stronger student exchange program, 3) creating attention/tourism between our two countries 4) a potential for a considerable more developing projects in the works to bridge the gap and build the bridge between the state of Georgia and Senegal. Beyond the items listed above the discussions at last weekend’s fact-finding-tour brought the focus to bringing more French speaking Dakar students to SPSU’s campus. Bringing these students abroad is an avenue to experience new opportunities and have an impact in the U.S.A relationship with the international communities.

These students also have an opportunity to take full advantage of many athletic programs that SPSU has to offer, mutually beneficial, as SPSU has a highly ranked soccer program and is always looking for more international talent. In many cases, free scholarships are available as great incentive. Invitation has also been extended to the CEO of AHC at SPSU, Chief Tunde Adetunji by four Chinese major universities whose main focus are in Agriculture, Mining & Technology, art & Culture, and university of Science & technology can also benefit from what AHF and SPSU has to offer. SPSU is a technology based university and has a thriving African heritage student body and technical input needed for many ongoing projects in the African regions and beyond.

Building and maintaining lines of communication between the two areas helps both involved. Opportunities are abound for Senegal and several other African countries in the U.S A. and if AHF/SPSU gets the chance to help create awareness and growth in African community both in Atlanta and the African continents, can have unforeseen advancements, bright future and progress.senegal mayors


Top photo: Chief Tunde Adetunji with former African Union Commison Chairman Dr. Jean Ping

Middle photo: Chief Adetunji with former Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade

Bottom photo: Chief Adetunji with Senegalese Mayors

haiti on iceFor the first time, “Haiti on Ice” will be held in Haiti. The Sylvio Cator stadium in Port-au-Prince, will be transformed from a sports field to an ice rink from January 17 to 19, 2013, to host the ice-skating show.

The show will feature the two-time French Olympic Figure Skating medalist Philippe Candeloro and the nine-time French National Champion Surya Bonaly. Bonaly won the French national title nine times and the European National title five time and is known for being one of the only skaters who can land a back flip on one foot.

It was previously slated to take place from November 28 - December 4th but was pushed back according to organizers who held a press conference. The figure skating exhibition has been held in Guadeloupe, where 20,000 people turn out to see the performers and in the Dominican Republic where 43,000 tickets were sold.

The event is in partnership with Haiti's Ministry of Tourism.


Original source:

Photo: Surya Bonaly by Bob Martin (Getty Images)


The 9th Annual Bahamas International Film Festival take place on Decemebr 6-9th at the Atlantis Resort. It will screen an incredible line-up of independent films, provide educational programs for youth, host panels and networking opportunities for participants and will attract celebrated actors and filmmakers from around the globe. Events will include classes, awards night, galas and receptions in addition to screenings. Notables expected to be in attendance include Lenny Kravitz, Zoe Kravitz, Rick Fox and Sean Connery.

The Bahamas International Film Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the local Bahamian community and international visitors with a diverse presentation of films from around the world. In addition to offering films that might not otherwise be released theatrically in the Bahamas, BIFF will provide a unique cultural experience and set of educational programs and forums for exploring the past, present and future of cinema.  

The Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) was launched in 2004 with its mission as a non-profit organization dedicated to create a cine-literate arts community, bridging cultures, gaining knowledge, and attracting a targeted tourism sector through the film industry. Each successive year, BIFF grows significantly, with public relations dollar value of $20 million over 8 years, according to the renowned publicity firm Rogers and Cowan. BIFF has attracted A-List celebrities such as Heather Graham, Johnny Depp, Alan Arkin, Sir Sean Connery, Nicholas Cage, Laurence Fishburne, Roger Corman, Daryl Hannah, Sophie Okonedo, Anna Faris, Naomie Harris and Zoe Kravitz.

BIFF has showcased more than 600 films from countries around the world exposing The Bahamas to an international audience of filmmakers. As recent as June 18, 2012, U.S. Secretary Hillary Clinton delivered a video message addressing the example of Nassau, Bahamas civil society joining together with the US Embassy to advocate and break barriers to raise awareness by showcasing films that combat discrimination.

Additionally, BIFF has succeeded in promoting The Bahamas as a tourist destination and potential cinema production venue through its annual events. For more information, visit

The Bahamas' 40th Independence anniversary celebrations will open next month with the rededication of the Paradise Island Bridge in honour of Sir Sidney Poitier. During a press conference at the Churchill building, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced, in a joint venture with Atlantis, that the 40th anniversary celebrations will open on November 2 through 3 with a bridge renaming ceremony connection, concert and fireworks show.poiter_bridge

Mr Christie said Sir Sidney has not only an inspirational life story, but has also made “significant contributions” through diplomacy representing the Bahamas, firstly at UNESCO and later as Ambassador to Japan. “Hopefully,” he said this (the celebrations) will symbolise to the Bahamas that “we are beginning a process that is intended to unite us and bring focus to what really keeps us together and minimises what divides us – that is the intent, to deepen and further the advance of our civilisation that is the Bahamas.”

Additionally, the Government has also committed to building a new Centre for the Performing Arts that will also be named in Sir Sidney’s honour.“It is time for us now to give also to those who are artists, actors and actresses, producers and directors, to release them and give their talent the best possible opportunity to be developed in the best possible facility – we are going to use the 40th anniversary as a catalyst,” said Mr Christie. Mr Christie said the Bahamas’ 40th Independence celebration is also an opportunity to ensure that the history of the Bahamas and the works and lives of influential Bahamians are recorded and preserved. He added that it also will be marketed so that not only the Bahamas but the world can enjoy this celebration of heritage and culture.

“I want to invite all Bahamians to see this as an extraordinary beginning to the committee’s work and know that we will bring tremendous focus to all that is right about the Bahamas and we hope in the process to receive the intention of the world and already major efforts are being made to make this an event weekend that the world will take note of,” he said. Co-chairs of the Bahamas’ 40th Independence Anniversary Steering Committee, Dr Nicollette Bethel and Charles Carter said the 40th anniversary is about building up a national identity and reclaiming Bahamian heritage and culture. Mr Carter said the celebrations are intended to bridge the gap between generations of Bahamians.“It will be a joining of generations, and I sincerely mean that, from the generation that brought you Independence,” said Mr Carter.

When asked how much the government intends to spend on the anniversary, Mr Carter said celebrating what it is to be Bahamian is “priceless”. “It is priceless, how much do you spend to be you – we don’t want to make money the focus of this because what we are trying to do is reclaim our heritage and that is priceless,” he said. “We look at ourselves as being priceless, that is the beauty of this, it is the greatest process that any person can be involved in, the rediscovery of who you are.” Mr Carter said Singer Jennifer Hudson will be performing at the concert next month and further announcements regarding ticket information will be announced shortly.

 Bahamas' 40th Independence anniversary celebrations will open next month with the rededication of the Paradise Island Bridge in honour of Sir Sidney Poitier.

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Make your plans now to attend the 3rd annual BronzeLens Film Festival, November 8 – 11, 2012 at the magnificent Atlanta Marriott Marquisbronze_festival_2011. In just three years, BronzeLens has become a must-attend event, drawing attendees and press attention from around the nation.

The BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta, Georgia is dedicated to bringing national and worldwide attention to Atlanta as a center for film and film production for people of color. The mission of the BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta, Georgia is two fold: to promote Atlanta as the new film mecca for people of color; and to showcase films and provide networking opportunities that will develop the next generation of filmmakers.

From November 8 through 11, 2012, film lovers, actors, and film makers will gather in culture-and-heritage-rich Atlanta, Georgia, at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis to share a creative platform of education, entertainment and empowerment discussions related to film, as well as television, and the production of both. The BronzeLens Film Festival will feature screenings in multiple venues, as well as informative panels, and enlightening Master Classes led by top names in film, direction, and production.

Here are some of the highlights you don't want to miss of this year's outstanding festival:
  • For the first time anywhere – join legendary casting director and producer Reuben Cannon for "The Producers Roundtable." Top film and television producers tell you how's it's done!
  • Listen to one of the internet's biggest webisode stars, Issa Rae. The producer, director, and lead actor of Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl opens up about her incredible journey.
  • Award-winning author and playwright Pearl Cleage talks about her newest project in "From Novel to Screen: The Pearl Cleage Film Project, with Pearl Cleage and Dr. Ayoka Chenzira."
  • NAACP Image Award winning producer Roger Bobb shares his creative expertise and insight in a new workshop "Creating Comedy Shows with Roger Bobb"

Plus, new feature, short, and documentary films from both local and national filmmakers. Don't forget workshops and panels on everything from How to Attract Investors" to How to Pitch Your Film to the Media" and so much more. If you are creative visual artist – producer, actor, screenwriter, film maker, film student, or film and television supporter – then you should be at BronzeLens Film Festival this year! For more information visit.

Photo: Kathleen Bertrand, Bronze Lens Executive Producer and Thomas Dortch, Jr., former chair 100 Black Men of America.


car_heri_awardsThe 19th Annual Caribbean American Heritage Awards (CARAH) Gala will pay homage to an an array of individuals who have excelled as writers, musicians, advocates and athletes. The Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) will present seven individuals with CARAH Awards on Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 according to South Florida Caribbean News. The event takes place at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC, USA.

The Caribbean American Heritage Awards recognizes individuals of Caribbean descent who have made extraordinary contributions and accomplishments in their field of expertise. This year's CARAH Awards gala celebrates the beauty of the steel pan, the power of the pen, global penchant for soccer and community advocacy.

This year's honorees include:

Dean Garfield, president and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council, a powerhouse of advocacy and influence for the IT community.

Colin Channer, acclaimed author and assistant professor of English at Medgar Evers College. He is best known for his novels "Waiting in Vain" and "The Girl With the Golden Shoes."

Shaka Hislop, former soccer player and ESPN analyst on Soccernet Press.

cab_her_awardsConstance White, Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine.

Monty Alexander, renowned jazz musician whose musical career has spanned decades and included collaborations with Quincy Jones, Ray Brown and Natalie Cole on her tribute album "Unforgettable."

Robert Greenidge, noted panist earning recognition for his skillful art on the steel drums with performance alongside Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefers Band, John Lennon and Ringo Star of the Beatles.

Andy Ingraham, president and chief executive officer of the National Associatio of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers, Inc. As the head of the national advocacy group, Ingraham has been central to increasing the number of African-Americans that own, operate and manage hotels.

The CARAH Awards raise the profile of Caribbean Americans who have been successful in their fields. It was created by ICS as a forum for highlighting
Caribbean Americans' contributions to the advocacy, business and entertainment industry.

"This year we celebrated two major milestones in Caribbean history, 50 years of independence for Trinidad and Tobago as well as Jamaica. The CARAH helps to bring a close to this wonderful year by placing a spotlight on some of our most admirable and accomplished Caribbean Americans," said White House Champion of Change, ICS President and Founder, Dr. Claire Nelson.

"We invite everyone to help us honor these great individuals but also celebrate the accomplishments of the past 50 years and our hope for a visionary 50 more."

For more information, visit CARIBBEANHERITAGEAWARDS.ORG.

Top photo: 2011 CARAH

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On October 3 through 13th Havana will host the Leo Brouwer Festival of Chamber Music with the participation of over 140 musicians from Bosnia, Spain, France, Holland, Italy, Mexico, Venezuela and Cuba.

With this being its fourth edition, the event will host top international musicians such as the Bosnian lutist Edin Karamazov, French piano duo Katia and Marielle Labeque, guitarist Ricardo Gallen of Spain, and Italian accordionist Marco Lo Russo.

Artists from Cuba will include pianist Ernan Lopez-Nussa, saxophonist Javier Zalba, bassist Jorge Reyes, flutist Niurka Gonzalez, and singer/songwriter Liuba Maria Hevia, as well as the groups Sonantas Habaneras, Grupo Giganteria and the Compania Danza Teatro.

The festival program also includes a series of talks on the now-deceased Buena Vista Social Club leader Compay Segundo, in whose honor Brouwer wrote the piece “Chacona, Compay Segundo in Memoriam,” which will be debuted to the world on October 13 at Havana’s National Theater.

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