Wednesday, September 23, 2009

how [not] to write about africa

a satire piece written by binyavanga wainaina for granta magazine
as narrated by djimon hounsou

"Whichever angle you take, be sure to leave the strong impression that without your intervention and your important book, Africa is doomed."

Wainaina is a kenyan author and award-winning journalist and is currently a Bard Fellow and Director at the Chinua Achebe Centre for African Literature and Languages in Bard College.

read the entire piece, here

[thanks, kweli.]


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

new music: k'naan and q-tip

we've heard the african roots and the roots rock reggae. and now, the folk/poetry inspiration.
the brilliance continues

j.period and k'naan present the messengers: episode 3: bob dylan

download here.

also, after eight long-ass years of being foolishly overlooked and underrated, q-tip's kamaal the abstract has finally been released.

i am, quite literally, jumping around in excitement.

dear 2009, re. music, you are rocking my world. love, me.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


you may be wondering why i am currently doing a dance of's because of this:

Rwanda was named today as the world's top business reformer, measured by the changes the country has made over the past year to make doing business there easier. And Mauritius retained its top ranking as the African country in which it is easiest to do business. The two countries are named as top performers in the annual report on the ease of doing business published by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank. "It now takes a Rwandan entrepreneur just two procedures and three days to start a business," said a statement issued by the IFC and the World Bank. "Imports and exports are more efficient, and transferring property takes less time thanks to a reorganized registry and statutory time limits. Investors have more protection, insolvency reorganization has been streamlined, and a wider range of assets can be used as collateral to access credit." Rwanda's ranking was based on the number and impact of reforms introduced in the year to May 2009.

woo hoo! brilliant news for a people that have worked so hard to rebuild and redefine.

image source

mixtapes of awesome: ian kamau and k'naan & j.period

it's a generally awesome music week for me: new mixtapes from both k'naan and ian kamau. i've been listening to little else but k'naan and j.period's the messengers: episode 1: fela kuti and kamau's september nine: vol 1 since they were first released, so i'm ridiculously geeked for volumes 2 of both.

ian kamau titled his mixtape september nine because the date marks his 30th birthday and his aim was to release his complete album on this date. the album has been pushed back, unfortunately, but in the meantime he has awesomely released two mixtapes to tide us over. the first volume featured clips from spike lee's do the right thing and is a smoothly effortless blend of hip hop, spoken word, and song. i was captured immediately by 'dear summer' and was captivated by his quiet yet steady and unwavering delivery throughout the EP. seriously, though, his voice--whether rhyming, singing, or speaking--is mesmerizing and is not unlike the feeling of floating on your back in the ocean. my favorite track remains 'majority report', but i'm also loving 'say it ain't so.'

september nine: volume two dropped yesterday, and i cannot wait to hear what's in store. download here.

k'naan and j.period's the messengers: episode 2: bob marley was released on 08/09/09 and is exactly how you would imagine their collaboration. it honours the original tracks beautifully and k'naan's remixes of his own tracks are pure fire. j.period is a genius. i will no doubt say that again, numerous times. stand out track: the combination of 'stir it up' and 'fatima'. i can and have listen[ed] to that all day long. another highlight is the 'small axe' remix in which k'naan addresses is Somali countrymen in a poignant plea for a collective search for peace in a country so torn apart by senseless and continuous violence.

download the messengers: episode 2 here.

canada's bringing it this year, for real. enjoy the free music, people!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

the criteria

not to get all carrie-on-her-laptop-pondering-love/sex-lives-and-whatnot,'s september and we're now at the end of wedding season around these parts. and all the festivities have naturally given rise to conversations about relationships, marriage and finding the ever-elusive 'one' people keep going on about. the other day, we had a pre-wedding gathering for my cousin, in which everyone was asked to give their list of the ideal mate.

it reminded me of the time that my girlfriends and i all sat around during happy hour a few years ago and made the same lists. we wrote them down, in detail, and they were hilariously long and incredibly specific. and a little ridiculous. (aside: idris elba was sitting at the next table, but none of us knew who he was. so busy making lists, we MISSED THE IDRIS!). after writing down our lists, and reviewing them, we tore them up. we decided that in all the list-making, we could easily miss someone standing right in front of us, and we could get so hung-up on criteria that we'll lose out on something real. i've tried to hang on this idea, since then. it's incredibly tempting to have criteria and--realistically--everyone has their own criteria even if they've never taken the time to compose a laundry list of expectations. it just doesn't make sense to have a detailed checklist because so few--if any--are going to manage to meet every single requirement on that list. today, however, i came across a quote that essentially sums up not what i want, but what i need.

I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.

Anais Nin

i think this encompasses whatever i would have on my [non-existent(kinda)] list. now...that's not too much to it? IT?