EDITOR’S DIARY: FOLLOW-UP FRIDAY

EDITOR'S DIARY: FOLLOW-UP FRIDAY

Dear Readers

I can’t tell you how often our ComplexdWomen amaze me.

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Back in January we featured Bahamian based photographer Lyndah Well’s and her gorgeous daughter Layla (here). Congratulations are in order as Lyndah recently welcomed a new addition to the family, a healthy baby girl named Sadie Arabella Chinenye Wells. And, just to emphasise the wonder in wonder woman, she has become a new mum all while planning and executing the launch of her latest collaborative project ‘Beneath the Hat’.

Bahamian women(L-R) Chantal Bethel, Lyndah Well, and Laurie Tuchel

Launched on International Woman’s Day, ‘Beneath the Hat’ features 18 portraits of Bahamian women wearing exquisite hats. Lyndah joined forces with Artist Chantal Bethel and writer Laurie Tuchel to ‘take their hats off’ to the numerous roles that women play. Whether the hat worn is of the mother, breadwinner, creator, or innovator the portrait and accompanying statement celebrate what these women love and are passionate about.

As much I’d love to visit the exhibition and bask in the crystal clear blue waters of the Bahamas, I’m enjoying the posts released each week on their events page (here).

Hats 01Ms. Beverly Chin

‘Every hat tells a story.

Every woman tells a story.

This exhibit tells both an ongoing story of the many hats women wear—their myriad passions and lives—as well as being an exploration of the changing tides and times of Bahamian culture; a culture in which historical, religious, occupation, fashion, and practical day-to-day moments are celebrated through the metaphor of hats.

Bahamas

“ Hats could be a metaphor for my journey right now. My favourite hat would be an elegant, wide-brimmed straw hat. I like to think about how people change hats in the same way that one’s own ideas or moods change. Hats are protective, elegant and expressive – and make a statement. I don’t own one of these designer straw hats, but one day I hope to in the same way that I hope my work will be expressive and elegant.” — Contemporary Mixed Media Artist, Piaget Moss 

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EDITOR’S DIARY: THE WOW EFFECT

EDITOR'S DIARY: THE WOW EFFECT L-R Gloria Ojulari Sule a British Nigerian Visual Artist and Yvonne Brennan an Irish Ghanaian Musician, Songwriter and Author of Small mercies sharing a moment. 

Dear Readers,

On my way back from WOW – Women of the World festival, I felt so WOWed that I had to write this facebook status.

‘When a woman is confident and speaks eloquently, intelligently and passionately it’s the sexiest thing in the damn world!’

The beauty of this festival held annually at Southbank Centre in London is that it attracts extraordinary women from all walks of life who have very valid experiences and concerns to share.

I could write about the events, exhibitions, debates and films, but that is not the long-lasting impression you’re left with after a day at WOW festival. The word that resonates is FREEDOM, the freedom to attend. To listen to women who have the freedom to speak and reciprocating because you have the freedom to share.

For most attendees the highlight was listening to Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived an attempted assassination. Malala did not have as much freedom to speak, so when she put her concerns in words it nearly cost her, her life. Speaking at the We Day youth empowerment event yesterday she said: “I had two options, not to speak and die, or to speak and then die. I chose the second one.” To a packed audience at WOW festival she advised women in the UK to use social media to highlight issue’s girls are facing in India and Pakistani so that they know someone is speaking out for them.

I attended the Weave vs Natural? The Politics of Afro Hair talk chaired by British–Eritrean writer and journalist Hannah Pool and the Being Mixed Raced panel discussion and workshop led by Irish-Nigerian PhD Researcher Emma Dabiri. What I really enjoyed about both talks was the confident, intelligent and eloquently spoken women who felt they had the freedom to voice their opinions, ask questions, challenge the panel and share their experiences.

In closing I’d like to leave you with quotes from panel members and the audience.

Weave vs Natural? The Politics of Afro Hair

WOW festival 01Panel Speakers L-R – Crystal Afro of KinKdom, Natalie Clue of Beauty Pulse London, Hannah Pool Author of My Fathers Daughter, Angel Dike of The Natural Lounge and Sandie Okoro Chief Legal Counsel at HSBC

‘I confess to being a young girl, putting a towel over my head to emulate long blonde hair now I’m in love with my Afro’ – Hannah Pool

‘My hair is my accessory to express how I feel. Having the option to change it is my choice as a woman’ – Natalie Clue – Beauty Pulse London

‘Why don’t we engage in a discussion about healthy hair, rather than the politics of our hair’ – Audience Member

‘Be yourself, be comfortable with your hairstyle. If you try to be something other than yourself then you cant be comfortable with anything let alone your hair’. – Sandie Okoro – Chief Legal Counsel at HSBC

‘Natural hair is not a new movement, just because people blog and vlog about it doesn’t make it a movement, my mother and grandmother has been wearing their hair natural since the beginning of time’ – Audience Member

There is no avoiding the history and politics behind Afro hair, but we should not apply hierarchy to hair type, we are all different’  – Crystal Afro – Blogger of KinKdom

‘You are all older and self-assured women, what about the young impressionable women who are having real issues with their hair in schools. How are we going to address that and why don’t you consider doing talks in schools’. – Audience Member

Being Mixed Raced 

WOW festival 02Panel Speakers L-R Emma Dabiri Phd Researcher, Yvonne Brennan Author of Small Mercies, Sunita Pandya, Arts Producer at Southbank Centre and Artist Phoebe Collings-James

‘I was brought up in a white environment with Nuns who tried to stamp out my blackness because it was seen as dirty’ – Yvonne Brennan – Irish Ghanaian Author of Small Mercies

‘In my opinion I was British and that’s how I identified, until I went to university, was around the different sides of my family and started working. I became known as exotic at Uni, too contemporary for my Indian and Maltese family and either too Asian or not Asian enough with a name like Sunita’ – Sunita Pandya – Arts Producer at Southbank Centre

‘Why do people think its ok to ask ‘what are you?’ when they can’t figure out where you’re from’ – Audience Member

‘It shouldn’t be about colour, its about individuality’ – Yvonne Brennan author of Small Mercies

‘My dad is a tall black man with locs, my mum is white, my sister looks Indian and I’m fairer than my sister. Everything in my home made sense but the outside world treated us differently’. -  Artist Phoebe Collings-James

‘I feel fortunate that I was raised by a Black mother who taught me about my history and was able to prepare me for the fact that the outside world would see me as a black woman even though I am mixed and my dad is white’ – Audience Member

‘I am a Jamaican woman and I am about to get married to an Italian man, I was extremely nervous when we travelled to Sicily to met his family, but it all panned out fine’ – Audience Member

‘Among white people you are black and among black people you are white, you just have to love and accept yourself as a person and embrace the two beautiful cultures you have’ – Audience Member

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EDITOR’S DIARY: MILLION WOMEN RISE – 2014

Dear Readers,

On Saturday 8th March 2014, more than 10,000 crusaders will fill the bustling shopping streets of central London to remind every man, woman and child that ending violence against women is a collective goal.

 EDITOR'S DIARY: MILLION WOMEN RISE - 2014

Marching from Selfridges, the home of the big spenders and finishing at popular tourist attraction Trafalgar Square, Million Women Rise (MWR) is an effective International Woman’s Month event that really grabs the attention of residents and visitors.

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I learned about MWR through my childhood friend Simret Cheema Innis who marches every year. I was informed of the voluntary efforts of MWR organisers when working with Nina Kelly at the Guardian Newspaper. And, I am so pleased that our in-house Photographer Frederique Rapier is supporting the cause by spreading the word and capturing these heroic women in action.

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MWR is also supported by women’s organisations around the UK such as the SouthHall Black Sisters, the Women’s Resource Centre, Women and Girls Network, Imkaan and Rape Crisis England and Wales. It’s amazing to witness diverse groups of passionate women, drummers, whistlers, banner and placard holders come together to ensure that the silence and acceptance of all forms of violence against women is broken.

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Sabrina Qureshi, founder of Million Women Rise, said:

“Worldwide, one in three women will experience some form of violence in her lifetime. If violence against women were a disease, governments everywhere would be declaring a state of emergency. To do nothing is to accept this violation of our human rights and to say that those lives are valueless or less important than others.” 

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In our Gender Issue, Nina Kelly expressed her thoughts and concerns in an article titled, ‘Why Violence Against Women is Everyone’s Business’. Did you know, that in the UK…

  • One woman in four will experience domestic violence at some point in her life
  • One woman in four will experience sexual assault as an adult.
  • Two women are murdered every week by their partner or ex-partner
  • 250 cases of forced marriage are reported each year.
  • Up to 1,420 women per year are trafficked into the UK for sexual exploitation
  • More than 20,000 girls could be at risk of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the UK.

To voice the thoughts and concerns you feel strongly about the meeting point for the MWR march is at 12:00 noon on Duke Street, W1. The marchers set off at 1pm and the rally starts in Trafalgar Square at 3pm.

For more info visit http://www.millionwomenrise.com/ and follow www.facebook.com/MillionWomenRise

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EDITOR’S DIARY: WOMEN OF THE WORLD FESTIVAL

EDITOR'S DIARY: WOMEN OF THE WORLD FESTIVAL

Dear Readers

International Women’s Day is approaching (March 8th) and the Southbank Centre has announced an exciting programme of talks, debates, music, film and comedy for the fourth annual Women of The World festival – WOW, which kicks off tomorrow.

300 speakers and performers from around the world will take part in more than 120 events during the five-day festival. From Miss Representation’s powerful film highlighting how America’s mainstream media contributes to the lack of women in leadership positions to the London premier of Nirbhaya based on the tragic Delhi gang rape written by South African playright Yael Farber. The festival celebrates the incredible achievements of women and girls and looks at the most potent topics for women today.

yael-farber-portrait-1Yaël Farber is a multiple award-winning director and playwright of international acclaim. Her productions have toured the world extensively – earning her a reputation for hard-hitting, controversial works of the highest artistic standard. 

We are proud to announce that Skye Chirape our current ComplexdWoman cover has been invited to discuss misogyny, race and prejudices against lesbian women at the Global Gay Rights talk on Sunday 9th March.

Interviewing Skye was an emotional and enlightening experience and I have no doubt she will blow the audience away with her realism. On the topic of remarkable women, I cannot wait to be in the presence of Malala Yousafzai who will be giving a keynote on the systematic nature of gender inequality and bringing about change.

Malala Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani campaigner who was shot in a assassination attempt on October 2012 for her activist work. 

Jude Kelly Artistic Director at Southbank centre rightly states, “There is not one country in the world where women have full equality and in most countries injustices are commonplace. I founded WOW four years ago to ensure there was a high-profile cultural place where hundreds of women’s stories could be shared, feelings vented, fun had, minds influenced and hearts expanded” . 

WOW – Women of the World festival 2014 from Wednesday 5th March through to Sunday 9th March is a must for London based ComplexdWomen.

www.southbankcentre.co.uk/wow

www.facebook.com/womenoftheworldfestival 

 

 

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COMPLEXDMAN: KIBWE MCGANN

COMPLEXDMAN: KIBWE MCGANN

Name: Kibwe Zwadie McGann
Occupation: Film Producer, Event Planner, Talent Manager, Garage Proprietor
Place of birth: Kingston, Jamaica
Current residence: Jamaica

I grew up in a large culturally diverse family. My father is Rastafarian and my mother is Christian, which taught me to be tolerant of all types of people. Rastafarianism is more than just a religion, it’s a lifestyle that encourages humility and humbleness and revolt against oppressive systems. In my home religion is very colourful and open for discussion. It was this freedom to experiment  that inspired me to be creative and appreciate the arts.

I manage and operate McGann’s Auto Place, a full service auto-centre. That part of my life is a complete surprise to most people because my passion is film and entertainment. I have produced and directed several reality TV shows across the Caribbean and my biggest project to date was SPLASH, a Caribbean lifestyle series that aired on Black Entertainment Television (BET) in the UK and on Centric (BET’s sister station) in the USA.

In 2012 along with Sean Lyn and Kara-Ann Anderson I co-founded Kingston Bridal Week, the first and only bridal week in Jamaica. The week long event, which brings together the best in fashion, cuisine, lifestyle, family and entertainment has really changed the bridal market and expo space. We are now catering to the demand through Wedding Spectacular, a two day event that opens today and promotes peer-to-peer marketing, providing an interactive bridal platform for a younger market.

1383679_532360390186277_1161344291_nThe Kingston Bridal Week Team and Mr. Randy Fenoli

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Me and my business partner Sean Lyn run Intuit Concepts – a marketing firm that offers services in event management, new media and television production. We love nothing more than writing a strong business proposal, executing ideas and seeing them to fruition and Kingston Bridal Week definitely broke the stereotype of men being awful wedding planners. I don’t like to limit myself in my work and career, which is why you will find me juggling a few business projects that span a wide range of industries.

Jamaican Bride

I also enjoy the fashion, production and modeling aspect of putting on an event. This came from my earlier career as professional model. I was based in Johannesburg, South Africa and it was such an eye opener. South Africa has its own version of every popular magazine, catalogue and department store. Their commercial market is major so work is abundant because production is cheap. South Africa is the place for young models to build their portfolios and get magazine tear sheets. Then you move on, hence my return home to Jamaica.

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Jamaican people are very creative and industrious. We pioneered and pushed Reggae music to the four corners of the earth. In the last five years young talent such as Mykal Cushnie (director, producer and editor), Storm Saulter (movie director ‘Better Mus Come’) and Jay Will (Music video director) have been pushing the film barrier. Fashion is also very much alive and I believe that Kingston is going to be one of the next fashion capitals representing the Caribbean.

behind the scenesJamaica’s most talented Mykal Cushnie 

Men are people whom much is expected. The title ‘Man’ comes with considerable pressure coupled with the inherent expectation to lead and be the ‘breadwinner’. In my opinion, that’s where a lot of the contention and relationship issues stem. I love confident women who know what their about. Ambition and intellect are certainly deal breakers and I am most certainly drawn to cultured and well-travelled women.

BETBehind the scenes filming Splash

My philosophy in life is a quote from Oprah where she said in an interview, ‘do what you love and the money will come’.  I was always fascinated by film, as a model I was more interested in what was happening behind the scenes. My journey into production began as a Grip, the person that helps unpack the truck and carry the film equipment. I then moved up the ranks to Runner, the person who gets the coffee and basically runs around. Then, I pushed through to Production Assistant to become the Executive Producer of my own series on BET seen in 200 million homes.

527624_10151242919021061_1888550045_nFounders of Intuit Concepts discuss business with Fashion Designer Lubica 

I am a ComplexdMan because I’m a WORK-A-HOLIC. I strongly believe ‘where there is will, there is a way’. I believe that if I want the moon, I can have it.

To find out more about Kingston Bridal Week visit www.kingstonbridalweek.com

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