>>Happy New Year 2010!<<
Welcoming in a new decade is noteworthy. I bet we can all remember what we were doing on 31 December 1999. I was ringing in the millennium in Thailand having a crazy, fun time. Where were you? Wherever you find yourself this year I wsh you happiness and safety.
>>Baracko Coin Discount for Black Women in Europe™ readers<<
Black Women in Europe™ social network group member Anne created the Baracko coin in Greece to celebrate Obama’s nomination as Presidential candidate. Now she is offering a 10% discount to Black Women in Europe™ blog readers:
>>Black Women in Europe™ Twitter List<<
If you or other sisters you know in Europe use Twitter send your Twitter ID to @bwie for inclusion on the Black Women in Europe™ Twitter List:
2009 marked the 3rd anniversary of the Black Women in Europe™ blog. Here are some highlights from the blog this year.
The Inauguration of US President Barack Obama
I followed the nomination of President Obama in Denver, Colorado as part of the accredited African American Poilitical Pundit Blog Team in Denver in 2008 and went home to Washington, DC for the inauguration activities and followed activities across Europe:
World Diversity Leadership Summit Europe March 11-12, 2010
Hosted by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance and the Vienna Chamber of Commerce and Industry
JOSEF PRÖLL, born 1968 in Stockerau/Lower Austria, graduated from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna. In 1993 Josef Pröll started his career as official at the Chamber of Agriculture of the Federal Province of Lower Austria. In 1998 he moved to the Austrian Farmers’ Federation as advisor on economic policy and assistant to Agnes Schierhuber, Member of the European Parliament. One year later Josef Pröll became Director of the Vienna Farmers’ Federation. In 2000 Federal Minister of Agriculture and Environment. Josef Pröll later became the Head of Cabinet of the then Minister of Economic and Labour. From 2001 to 2003 he held the position of Director of the Austrian Farmers’ Federation. Josef Pröll served as Federal Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management from 2003 to 2008, until he assumed the position of Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister of Finance of the Republic of Austria on 2 December 2008. Mr Pröll is Chairman of the Austrian People’s Party since 2008.
We are proud to announce that the opening minister and CEO reception of the WDLS-EU (March 11th) 2010 will be hosted by Minister Pröll in the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance
(Hintere Zollamtsstraße 2b, A-1030 Vienna/Austria.)
Born in Kampala, the Capital of Uganda, she began her vagabond like life the moment she was born. During her childhood, she travelled the rural areas of her home country with her parents. This is where she collected her first impressions of the life as a nomad. From birth on, wandering the earth became a part of her destiny. In the early nineties she undertook a huge step and immigrated to Sweden. The City of Gothenburg would become her adopted home from where she was able to access all the different destinies and directions, which were on offer to her.
Through all the borders Jaqee crossed, music has always been her steady companion whereas it never was a stereotype thing that let her get down with any special genre, than more like a special feeling. “To do what I want in a particular moment is my motivation. I like to express myself in all kind of sounds.”
So above all, she became a true nomad in the world of music.
After Several successful co-operations with numerous artists, in 2005 Jaqee made an impact with her debut album “Blaqalixious”, which was mainly a Soul and R&B album. “That was my direct contact to the music that a rural community in the Diaspora plays” she explains. But it did not end up there because a nomad like Jaqee does not settle anywhere. After further creative and fruitful collaborations, Jaqee released her second long player “Nouvelle d´ amour” in 2007. This time, the sound was more of a rocking, bluesy vibe. It seemed to be the total opposite to her debut album but for Jaqee it was only the next step on her path in the circle of life. “Everything is possible as long as it is real. I never wonder about things like genre as long as the vibe fits.” One step further on, she encountered the songs of Billie Holiday, which lead to the album “A letter to Billie” recorded together with Bohuslänbigband, a lovely homage to the great American Jazz Singer.
I put the call out to become a member of the cast or production team for this production in May. A seasoned black expat friend of mine who has lived in Asia and Europe recently went to London to see the Debbie Allen directed version of the classic play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Here is the feedback.
The first two sentences of the Dec. 2nd review in the “Telegraph” by Charles Spencer sums up the essence of my insights on this production:
“I suspect there would be howls of indignation if a white theater company decided to perform a classic black play such as Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun or one of the works of August Wilson, who chronicled the black American experience in each decade of the previous century. And some will doubtless put it down to craven political correctness that there have been no corresponding complaints about a black company performing Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
Herein lies the great distinction between the black European experience and the black American experience. White Europeans are the allies of black Americans only to the extent that we are into “protest” politics and we are the angry “antagonists” to white Americans. We are supposed to be comfortable in Europe provided that we are willing to join the black European “working classes”. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof produced by a black American capitalist Stephen Byrd and directed by a black American female director, Debbie Allen, takes us out of the working class, when we bring such ownership and operation to London’s West End theater crowd.
I’ve thought about this in relation to my own family experience. Two of my grandparents were professional, financial success stories based in a racially segregated America. One had a life long career as an accountant for the oldest and largest black American insurance company. The other owned two grocery stores and a supermarket in New York. Like the white American model as opposed to the white European model, their wealth was not inherited but “self-made” wealth. The plot of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is the projected inheritance of the offspring of this wealthy “self-made” man.
White American criticism of white Europeans is one thing, but black American criticism of white Europeans is just intolerable. Herein lies the significance of your going to see the play and bringing all of your friends. The production puts white Europeans in a catch-22. “Class” has always been a pretext for disguising “racism” in Europe. It amuses when white Americans post-1965 have tried to deploy these class versus race arguments in the US. Its so ridiculous that most times within two or three sentences I’m able to get these whites to start laughing at the lunacy of their own arguments. In Europe it cuts much closer to the bone.
It doesn’t surprise me that Debbie Allen wasn’t invited to direct anything on London’s West End, until there was a Barak Obama in the American White House. I certainly realize that unlike Englands’ Queen who “lives” in her house, Obama is a mere “visitor” in the White House, but being a visitor may be all that we need to make the difference.
I personally, loved the way that the connection between finance and sexuality were interwoven into the dysfunctional marital relations of the play. I know how serious these issues are for them in reality as apart from good fiction and entertainment.
You’ve got to see it. The performance is fabulous!!
CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF is playing for a strictly limited season from until Saturday 10 April 2010. Ticket prices start from only £10. I think I need to head to London’s West End again.