Editors Diary

The culture, life, style and inspiration of the Editor Kered Clement


Caribbean films and filmmakers will feature heavily in my diary over the next few days.  My weekend and the days ahead will be consumed by the creative geniuses brave enough to pioneer the Caribbean cinema movement. Up until now, there has never been a platform dedicated to exclusively showcasing film productions by, featuring and for a Caribbean audience, but a dedicated few are determined to make that change.

I remember years ago curiously peering out the window of my bus home from school at Bollywood posters plastered across an abandoned Indian cinema. When it was finally demolished I knew that it’s sad fate was a result of the blockbusters bucketing out of Hollywood and raining on the parade of these cheerful posters that couldn’t attract audiences big enough to keep its screens open. I strongly believe in the power of the people and what the people want, they get! Growing minorities of people want more than just American blockbusters that tell the same stories in the same settings. They want to be enlightened while being entertained and they will go in search of it, even if it’s not readily available.

Cue New Caribbean Cinema (NCC), a collective of Caribbean filmmakers who combine their skills to create films with a deep cultural impact regardless of budget and means of distribution. Cofounders Storm Saulter and Michelle Serieux are the definition of ‘labour of love’, they love what they do and live what they do, which is why when Michelle travelled to London last year to meet David Somerset, the Cultural Programmer of the British Film Institute, she made sure audiences in the UK could have access to films produced in the Caribbean.

This weekend saw the UK premier of award winning Jamaican feature film ‘Better Mus Come’, directed by Storm Saulter and the world premier of ‘RING DI ALARM’, a series of seven short films by six Caribbean Directors. The response from the audience was very positive, one of intrigue, respect and admiration of the work that had been putt into making the short films. I caught up with founders of NCC Storm and Principle Producer Michelle who brought together directors Nile Saulter, Joel Burke, Kyle Chin and Michael ‘Ras Tingle’ Tingling for the weekend’s BFI takeover event titled ‘Jamaica We Love You’.

Trailer Better Mus Come


Storm Saulter was born and bred in Jamaica and graduated from The Los Angles Film School in 2001. He took on the role of writer, editor, director and cinematographer for his first feature film ‘Better Mus Come’. Set in the ghettos of downtown Kingston, Jamaica in the 1970s, the film is a tragic love story that focuses on the agendas of opposing political parties who enforced their messages through gang warfare and violence. 

Editor: What would you say to a non-Jamaican audience member who has just watched your film and was already fearful of travelling to Jamaica because of the violence they have heard or read about in the media?

Storm: Bettter Mus Come is a period piece that shows the root cause of a lot of this crime and violence and it’s something that needs to be addressed in Jamaican society. Jamaica has changed; it’s definitely safe to travel there. The film shows that a lot of the violence is self-inflicted; it’s Jamaican people against each other in their own communities with a political motive behind it. The violence seen in the film is not random violence, it’s not targeted at outsiders; it’s a social dynamic in a country that is perpetrated by the politicians. This is not a film about bigging up the badman and political thuggery is not unique to Jamaica, I’m telling a universal story because this kind of violence happens all over the world.

As a Jamaican I want to address the violence in Jamaica by showing cause and effect rather than glamorizing it. We had a good turn out for our screenings in Montego Bay and Kingston, but there are still a lot of Jamaicans who haven’t seen it yet because it has not been released on DVD. I really want to do public screenings in community centers in more rural parts of Jamaica to bring it to the people because it’s the people’s story.

Trailer ‘Missed’

Born in St Lucia and based in Jamaica, Producer, Writer and Director Michelle Serieux received her MA in film, cinema and video studies at Columbia University in the City of New York. Her short film ‘Missed’ is a study of human interaction and expectation. 

Editor: How does it feel to be showcasing your work in London for the first time and what do you bring to the creative table as the only female in the New Caribbean Cinema collective?

Michelle: I’m extremely excited that we had the chance to show our films at a sold out BFI screening in London. I came to London last year to discuss the work that we are doing with New Caribbean Cinema with the BFI, so I’ve been excited about this day for a long time. I came knowing the value of what it is we had done and David Somerset validated that as well. We worked really hard to make it happen and I am so thrilled we had a packed house and we sold out ‘Ring The Alarm’ three days before the screening. It shows the demand for Caribbean cinema and the strength of our philosophy.

As the Principle Producer of New Caribbean Cinema and the only female in the collective I think I bring all of my sensibilities in terms of organisation and sensitivity, but I do a damn good job of keeping things together not just as a woman, but as a producer.  My short film ‘Missed’ allowed me to grieve the death of my cousin who passed away in 2007. It was something that was really preoccupying my spirit and I really needed to deal with it. ‘Missed’ has answered a lot of questions for me and let me say what I wanted to say about taking things in life for granted. What I like about the response of the film is that women really get it so much more than men. After the screening women surrounded me and were very intrigued by the leading lady played by Sharea Samuels. That’s a really special thing for me because it’s really about her and her story.

There are so many untold stories that I would like to tell through film because our lifestyles are so complexed. I am very interested in character driven stories, the Caribbean is full of characters and we have such a diverse set of people and culture.

Editor: One more thing, why did you go for the brave shave?

Michelle: I had dreadlocks and when I cut it off people behaved like I had killed somebody. I have never had processed hair in my life, it’s just never appealed to me. My hair is a homage to African women and it’s low maintenance.

Images by Frederique Rapier

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My mother at carnival in Grenada a year after I was born. 

Notting Hill Carnival evolved from a way for Afro-Caribbean communities in the UK to celebrate their own cultures and traditions to becoming the largest street festival in Europe. Since I could walk, I’ve been ‘chipping’ (small marching steps to the beat of the music) down the streets of London, with my flag in hand, behind a truck with a massive sound system. And, even when I couldn’t walk I would cry watching my mother ‘chipping’ away because I was too young to take part. Carnival is in my blood and bones so as you can imagine I can hardly contain my excitement for tomorrow’s festivities.

Today is preparation day, and my favourite nail parlour MWnails have also caught the carnival fever with these fun designs inspired by Notting Hill Carnival. I’m heading down there to see if talented nail artist Afia can attempt the Grenadian flag on my tiny nails. I’m much more of a T-shirt reveller so I will be joining a paint mas band, but for those of you who will be in costume for the first time this year or considered joining a costume band next year. Here are some handy tips from experienced Caribbean carnival queens on how to prep your body and fitness for carnival.

Heidi Walcott – Trinidad 

‘Don’t wait until  the day of carnival to exercise! A month before the big day, exercise 5-7 days a week! Mix it up between cardio strength training and stretching. I usually replace a meal with a salad and protein and two weeks before replace two meals with salad and protein/soup. Women should stop strength training about 2-3 days before so your muscles aren’t swollen, bulky and too masculine. To survive on the road, every so often get some H2O/electrolytes in your body. You will last longer, not to mention have less of a recovery time. Without it you will feel drained, dehydrated and weak instead of jumping up enjoying your self! If you prepare your body, all that’s left to do is enjoy how great you will look in your costume!’

Jadine Ferguson – Grenada

‘I cut out lots of meat from my diet and eat mainly seafood and fish to prep my body for carnival. I cut down on red meat and eat it once a week.  I don’t overdo it with the exercising, but I do regular breathing exercises and ab workouts. My advice is to build your alcohol tolerance up before carnival. I’ve been partying for a solid month before Grenada spicemas. But try not to drink too many mixed drinks on the road. Stay hydrated and drink lots of water.’

Aiasha Gustave – St Lucia 

‘A lot of people start prepping a couple months before so they can look their utmost best on the road and I’m guilty of that too sometimes, but I find jogging and core exercises have a huge role in getting you stronger and full of energy to go the whole route! WATER WATER WATER WATER! It’s your life supply at carnival especially if it’s a hot day and you’re drinking lots of alcohol.’

Naomi Wilson – UK

‘I prepare my body by staying off carbohydrates the week before carnival. Overall I try and keep the carbs to a minimum and increase my protein intake. Leading up to Notting Hill Carnival I have been on a fresh fruit and raw vegetable juice diet. I’ve been going to the gym 4 times a week, which consists of 30 minutes cardio and 45minutes of weight training. Its grueling but hopefully the results will pay off. To keep up on the road I go to as many fetes as I can leading up to carnival so I’m prepared for the non-stop dancing. To survive the day get enough rest the night before. Having bags under your eyes does not look pretty even with beautiful make-up. Wear comfortable shoes and don’t drink too much so your always camera ready. Ensure there is a male in easy reach to keep your waistline busy and as an aid when you get tired.’

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Photographed by Kamilla Behrend Hartmann

To celebrate their 90th anniversary, manufacturers of Caribbean and Jamaican cuisine, Grace foods launched the UK’s first Caribbean Food Week (20th – 27th August 2012). Leading up to Notting Hill Carnival (Europe’s biggest street festival), the UK team at Grace couldn’t have picked a better time to celebrate the flavours of the Caribbean. The aim is to focus exclusively on creating awareness of Caribbean food and encourage people of all cultures to experiment with Caribbean dishes at home.

Photographed by Fiona Compton 

Chef Hasan De Four appeared alongside Chef Gary Rhodes in his television series ‘Rhodes Across the Caribbean’ on UKTVFood. Partnering up with Complexd Woman Fiona Compton, he is now working on his own TV series ‘Country Cooking’ where he is often seen in authentic Caribbean settings in St Lucia and Trinidad sharing the cooking secrets of West Indians. An expert in Caribbean cuisine, I asked the Chef his thoughts on Caribbean Food Week.

K: Do you think a week dedicated to Caribbean food will create more awareness?

I am incredibly excited about Caribbean Food Week – I think it’s long overdue. Statistics prove that people in the UK are interested in Caribbean food, as there has been an increase by 20% in sales of Caribbean products. People are becoming more and more intrigued by what the Caribbean has to offer, outside just jerk chicken and rice and peas. The Caribbean has so many cultures merged into one pot and the outcome is a vibrant meal full of flavor and uniquely Caribbean!

K: What’s the best piece of advice you would give to a first timer attempting to cook a Caribbean dish?

Chef: To any first timers, I would say be brave! Caribbean food is not scary and not complicated! Caribbean food products are becoming more and more widely available in convenient locations. Our methods are very easy to execute and not all our dishes are overly spicy. The key to a good Caribbean dish is seasoning. I recommend fresh herbs and spices like garlic, ginger, thyme, spring onion, coriander and nutmeg. All of these ingredients inject life into your dish. If you like your pepper, by all means add it!

Want to try what I was eating and drinking? Click on these images for the recipe.

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After a few attempts at trying reputable cosmetic brands only for them to peel away layers of my sensitive skin leaving it raw and irritated, I decided that the word natural was going to feature heavily in my beauty routine. My epiphany came after a Signature Facial at Malika Beauty Salon, where the beauty therapist used seasonal fruits, herbs and absolutely no chemicals throughout the whole treatment. It was by far the best facial I have ever had leaving me with a natural glow that could only be achieved with natural ingredients.

So imagine my delight when I heard about Beauty Within Me – a brand dedicated to promoting beauty, health and wellbeing with an emphasis on natural products. Over the bank holiday weekend, The School of Oriental and African studies in London will host the Beauty Within Me seminars allowing visitors to explore a variety of natural hair and skin products and holistic approaches to food, nutrition, exercise and spirituality.

Speakers like, Complexd Woman and founder of Raw Skin Food, Clare Eluka who was featured in the Beauty & Body issue, will discuss the benefits of natural skincare on Saturday 25th August 2012. The topic of health and well-being will feature heavily on Sunday 26th August 2012 with speakers advising on how to prevent high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes, one of the reasons why co-founding member Glen Yearwood created this event. Recently two members of my family had diabetes scares, which developed from stress and anxiety at work. It made me aware of the strong link between mental and physical health and I am eager to hear what answers counselor and psychotherapist Pamela Eytle has to the question, ‘Is our lifestyles making us lose our mind?’.

At Complexd, our aim is to encourage you to embrace your natural beauty, which is why our editorials focus on enhancing your beauty naturally. Back in the Island issue we asked eight women to share their best natural beauty/health remedies passed down to them from their mothers and grandmothers.

GIVEAWAY: Share your favourite natural beauty/health remedy with us on Facebook or tweet us at @COMPLEXDMAG and you could be in with a chance of winning two tickets* to the Beauty Within Me Seminar on Sunday 26th August 2012.

For more info on the event click here  

* Tickets are non transferable. 



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Today I cooked, ate and ran! If you’re wondering why I’m writing about a mundane task that is necessary for basic human survival, then wonder not because today’s lunch wasn’t as dull as it usually is. It was in a snazzy kitchen, among city workers with a skillful chef named Andre who showed us how to expertly dice an onion.

Cook, Eat, Run is a cookery class at L’atelier des Chefs where you cook under the guidance of a master chef and enjoy your efforts with other members of the class – all within an hour. With over 15 schools in Europe, French brothers François and Nicolas Bergerault came up with the concept in the hope of breaking the habits of urban inhabitants who depend on frozen food and ready-made meals. Another city dwelling tradition is eating out, so with the locations in the heart of London, they have found the right balance between learning to prepare a healthy lunch in sociable surroundings.

I was catching up with a friend who will be joining the British Navy as a junior chef soon. I figured she would feel right at home and I could check out her culinary skills. The first L’atelier des Chefs, opened in London, near Oxford Street, but we decided to try out the intimate surroundings of their St Paul’s kitchen. On the menu was Paprika roasted chicken breast with a chorizo, butter bean, almond and tomato stew. Chef Andre who has cooked in Gordon Ramsey’s kitchen at Claridges was extremely composed and not as frightening as Mr Ramseys. He swiftly talked us through how to make our ingredients and cook our meal, while we starred at him in disbelief at how effortless cooking a complicated sounding meal actually was.

Cooking took no more than 25 minutes, which gave our group of around 12 enough time to sit around the welcoming dinner table and marvel at how delicious our own efforts looked and how tasty it turned out to be. Nervously giggling about the prospect of cooking, crying over chopped onions and cheering when our meal was finally finished with a bunch of complete strangers, was the most memorable thing about cooking at L’atelier des Chefs.

To try out this recipe see cooking instructions here

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Cultural pride has been running high over the last few days of the Olympic games in London. Every packed tube carriage, red bus and street corner has been revivified with colour from the painted faces or flags of patriotic spectators. From every London pub, café, bar and restaurant you can hear collective cheers when their teams compete and in every home someone is jumping up and down in front of the TV when an athlete from their home country gets that gold medal.  For anyone sucked into the Olympics, watching the Athletes compete has been nerve racking, and heart stopping with full of adrenaline-charged moments.

On the night of the 6th of August 2012, nineteen year old Grenadian Athlete Kirani James sprinted to the finishing line in 43.94s in the men’s 400m final. For me, and my country it wasn’t just another gold medal, it was our first and we couldn’t have asked for a better ambassador for our tri-island state. Today I had the pleasure of congratulating Kirani and meeting team Grenada at the Grenada House at the Arlington Business Centre in Camden Town.

It was a beautiful moment when fellow Grenadian Margaret Noel who carried the torch for the London Borough of Ealing planted a motherly kiss on Kirani’s cheek. Margaret proudly declared that she had been following his career long before the Olympics and believed he would be the one to inspire young Grenadian athletes coming up. When I asked her what she was doing on the night he won, she shyly confessed, ‘I broke my flag jumping up and down in Grenada House! It was a brilliant atmosphere here and probably the second best place to be after the stadium when he won his race’.

It was even more admirable when Corporal Johnson Beharry VC who was awarded the Victoria Cross, the UK’s highest military award for bravery was humbled by the presence of the young Olympic gold medalist. He later admitted to me that Kirani’s presence gave him goose bumps. While the High Commissioner of Grenada, Ruth Elizabeth Rouse and special guests hugged and congratulated the athletes and members of the Grenadian Olympic Committee, excited Grenadians were packing into another room anticipating the appearance of the team and eager to get a picture with the man of the moment.

Athlete Kanika Beckles who wasn’t able to compete in the women’s 400m race because of a hamstring injury told of her disappointment, but eagerness to get back into training. Confident 100m freestyle swimmer Esau Simpson who was the first and only swimmer to represent Grenada at the start of the Olympic games and who won his heat, was happy with his personal best but plans to work on his sprint endurance over the next four years.

When asked at the prospects of a Grenadian swimming medley he mentioned a few strong talents, who if trained with the right facilities and structure could see a stronger presence in the pool for Grenada. 800m runner Nisha Bernard-Thomas, who hinted at a possible retirement to sports journalist Michael Bascombe, advised aspiring 800m athletes that they need passion and dedication to take up a sport that requires a lot of repetitive training and physical endurance. Andrea St Bernard who became the first individual to represent Grenada in Taekwondo said she was proud to be a part of Grenada’s Olympic Team, and competing heightened her sense of pride for her small island.

And that sense of cultural pride filled the corridors of the Arlington Business Centre when children, adults and elders couldn’t contain their excitement charging forward like athletes going for gold when they finally got to meet team Grenada.

As the Olympics draw to a close, we anticipate the closing ceremony and the torch gets handed to Brazil, there is a melancholy feeling among Londoners who are actually going to miss hosting the games for such talented athletes and spectators who travelled from far and wide. I am sure we are all going to miss the collective support for the outstanding athletes who made us proud no matter what country they came from.

I’m looking forward to celebrating more achievements from our athletes as the torch gets passed onto Brazil.

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Photographed by Chris McGrath – Getty Images 

In the men’s 200m Olympic final in London tonight, Jamaica dominated the race with Usain Bolt inevitably winning gold in 19.32s, Yohan Blake taking silver with 19.44s and a new Jamaican talent Warren Weir claiming Bronze in 19.84s. Yet, again the world waited, watched and stopped to see if Bolt would live up to his legendary status and it was quite a performance from him and his fellow teammates.

Photographed by Stu Forster – Getty Images

Jamaican cultural pride has been running high over the last few days as they also celebrated their 50th independence. At each event ever-present was the spirit of the people, the flavoursome food and the musical vibe. I visited the Respect 50 concerts in the Indigo2 featuring talented Jamaican musical legends, basked in Jamaicaness at the official home of the Jamaican Olympic team in Puma Yard in Brick Lane and revelled in the glory among Jamaican families celebrating their teams success at Jamaica House in the O2.

Image Puma Yard

Jamaica House – Image Reuters 

Tonight will be a memorable moment for Jamaicans all over the world, but the most touching experience, I have had of Jamaican unity over the last few days is when Reggae artist Tarrus Riley’s encore finished with him asking the audience to repeatedly place their hands on their hearts and in the air as a sign of faith, love, respect and togetherness.

One Love.

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The semi-finals of the first Olympic women’s boxing tournament kicks off tomorrow at 13:30 (UK time) with a women’s fly (51kg) fight between Cancan Ren from People’s Republic of China and the USA’s Marlen Esparza.

Watching the sheer aggression of these women in the rounds and quarterfinals was in complete contrast to a series of images I admire titled ‘Female Boxers’ by photographer Inzajeano Latif. Fascinated by people and their surroundings, Latif often photographs the diverse streets of London, with each of his subjects glaring deep into the lens and almost into the eyes of the viewer.

I guess that’s what charmed me about his captures of the women at All Stars Boxing Gym in North West London. Their posture was guarded yet vulnerable and their expressions were peaceful and harmless. It is impossible to imagine looking at his portraits that any of them would be capable of such aggression. Inspired by the documentary ‘Ways of Seeing’ by John Berger, he spent three months photographing the women to explore the way men look at women and how women look at themselves.

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Hosting the Olympics has given the UK time to shine and show off its beautiful heritage spots and share its vast history with athletes, spectators, and press around the world. I sometimes forget what our country has to offer, so today when we boarded the Orient Express – British Pullman to experience ‘The Golden Age of Travel’, it was an absolute treat in comparison to the mayhem experienced by commuters in London during rush hour.

There was excitement and great anticipation as varied groups of press attendees covering the Olympics marveled at performers dressed in Robin Hood attire. Their curiosity and the sudden click of cameras signified a familiarity with what they know about British culture from legendary tales. It was a comical and entertaining sight for us Brits seeing the characters and stories we grew up watching come to life.

We boarded at London, Victoria and nestled comfortable into the majesty of the Zena carriage, which in her earlier years carried film stars and the president and Madame Vincent Auriol of France. Each of the eloquently decorated carriages lined with mahogany and velvet and adorned with exotic art deco marquetry, were built by the most dedicated craftspeople at a time when royalty and heads of state travelled in style.

As we travelled through the countryside of Kent, it was pure bliss to be transcended back to a time when travelling was glamorous. We were even encouraged to dress elegantly as trainers and jeans are not permitted onboard these luxurious carriages. Peering through the window at the clear blue skies of the County of Kent, often referred to as ‘the garden of England’, was extremely refreshing compared to the industrial landscape of Brixton.

Nibbling on a selection of Sharpham Brie and Cornish blue cheese I enjoyed a light chit-chat with Complexd Women Adrienne Henry who is a Milliner from Berkshire, as you do when you’re not in a hostile environment like the London Underground.

We were entertained at each stop by dancers and brass band players and amused by the appearance of detective Hercule Poirot from the Agatha Christie murder mystery novels, who bared an uncanny resemblance to English actor David Suchet.

But the icing on the cake was the delicious four course meal served on board. The lunch menu was quintessentially British with a selection of English cheeses and homemade chutney, Kentish guinea fowl and clotted cream with seasonal mixed berries.

And, with that said I will continue to wear my grumpy frown while commuting on the tube because I know how good us Brits used to have it. At least some solitude is sought in the fact that this great British experience has been brilliantly preserved so that us 21st century folk could get an idea of how charming travelling used to be.

For more info on this trip click here

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What an exciting night it turned out to be at London’s Indigo2 last night when audience members got more Marley’s than they bargained for at the Respect Jamaica 50 concert headlined by Damian Marley.

Supporting act Wayne Marshall gave a lively performance and hyped up the crowd by testing their knowledge of old and new reggae songs. A mixed crowd of Jamaican flag wavers; bohemian Rastafarians and young conscious reggae fans reciprocated word for word showing their true love of reggae music.

Waving the flag of Ethiopia heartily from the beginning to the end of the show flagsman Garfield Logan a.k.a Judah, led Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley on stage to an ecstatic crowd. He maintains a cool and calm exterior offstage, but onstage he is a passionate, and energetic performer who brings his lyrics to life. He didn’t let the weight of his floor length loc’s hold him down and skanked across the stage throughout the night. His lyrics are provoking and at times just required the audience to sit up, listen and pay attention to the words and not the production. With a diverse vocal range he softened it up for the pleasure of the ladies performing favourites like ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Hey Girl’ from his third album Welcome to Jamrock and roughened it up by adding a little more base for the rebel music lovers.

Audience members were stunned when Cedella Marley was pulled on stage belting out falsetto sounds and showing what the Marley women are made off with her dancehall moves. There was a lot of sibling love and embrace as Cedella was once again reunited in song with Stephen Marley, who sang alongside her in Melody Makers, a group formed by their father in the early 80s.

As the male Marley’s performed (Julian, Stephen, Damian) it was hard not to notice the strong traits and influences of their father in their stage personas. Damian darted back and forth and performed like his father when singing songs like ‘Get Up Stand Up’, Julian covered one eye with his hand and shook his locs as Bob did singing songs like, ‘No Woman No Cry’ and Stephen gently rotated his waist as sensually as his father would when dancing to ‘Stir it up’.

After watching all four Marley’s onstage singing ‘Could You Be Loved’, there is no denying that Bob Marley is Legendary and passed down some very strong genes that keeps his legacy alive and his mission going.

Photographs by Frederique Rapier 

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