Black Women in Europe™: Power List 2014 – A List of Our Own©

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Black Women in Europe™: Power List 2014 – A List of Our Own©

In 2010 the Black Women in Europe™ Blog released its first Power List naming 58 women across Europe in 6 categories. To commemorate our fifth list this year we name 5 women the following categories: Advocacy, Culture, Lifestyle, Politics, and Sports.

This list, presented in alphabetical order, is intended to acknowledge powerful black women in Europe and to inspire others to reach their full potential.

What constitutes power?

Power is defined as the ability to act or produce an effect.

Methodology:

The list does not aim to assess rank but rather to showcase influential women who, in some cases well known and in others, are up and coming stars.

Tina Turner Bach

Tina Turner Bach

Tina Turner was Born in Brownsville, Tennessee, and raised in Nutbush, just like the song says, and was in recording sessions as early as 1953 when she was barely a teenager.

In 1958 she married guitarist and bandleader, Ike Turner, and in the 1960’s they recorded a string of hits, including “A Fool In Love” and “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine”.The recording of the ground breaking “River Deep, Mountain High” with producer Phil Spector was a monster hit in Europe and the start of Tina’s superstar status.

The 70’s brought hits such as “Proud Mary” and Tina’s self-penned “Nutbush City Limits”, but the marriage was disintegrating due to Ike’s abusive behaviour and after starring in The Who’s 1976 film of “Tommy”, Tina was ready to strike out on her own.

As the massively successful film “What’s Love Got To Do With It” would later depict, she had to haul her way up a mountain of debts and disinterest but in 1982 she landed a solo deal with Capitol Records and by the summer of ’84 the album “Private Dancer”, with its acclaimed singles “Let’s Stay Together” and “What’s Love Got To Do With It”, was on its way to world sales of 11 million and 4 Grammys.

Since that time the successes have just kept coming: a starring role in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome; duets with Bryan Adams, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger and Italian superstar, Eros Ramizotti amongst others; a best-selling autobiography, ‘I, Tina’; which was made into the critically acclaimed film “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, chronicling her life and receiving two Academy Award nominations; a string of hit albums and awards; and sell-out world tours; including:

the 1986 “Break Every Rule” album and world tour. Tina entered the record books when she performed in front of the largest paying audience ever to see a single performer -186,000 spectators at the Macarana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro;

the 1989 “Foreign Affair” album and tour, spawning hits such as “Steamy Windows” and “The Best”;

the 1995 “Wildest Dreams” album and extensive world tour, breaking box office records in 12 countries; and

in 2000 the phenomenally successful “Twenty Four Seven” millennium world tour, the highest grossing US tour of the year.

In 2004 Tina released her last album, a compilation of Greatest Hits with the newly recorded single “Open Arms”. It was a worldwide hit, debuting at #2 in the US charts.

In 2005 Tina was honoured as one of Oprah Winfrey’s legends, African-American women who broke barriers through their work, and ended the year as one of the recipients in Washington DC of the Kennedy Center Honors, the highest form of recognition of excellence in the arts in America.

In February this year, Tina performed with Beyonce at the 50th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. She electrified the audience and received a standing ovation for her performance and duet with Beyonce, and garnered highly positive reviews in the press. It was due to this overwhelming reaction, and requests from fans all over the world to perform live once again, that she has decided to do some select concerts in North America and Europe.

With sales of 170 million albums and a phenomenal number of hit records to her career;

River Deep, Mountain High, Proud Mary, What’s Love Got To Do With It, Better Be Good To Me, Typical Male, What You See is What You Get, Steamy Windows, We Don’t Need Another Hero, Goldeneye, The Best … Tina Turner is the most successful female rock artist of all time and the undisputed Queen of Rock N Roll.

Source: Tina Turner Live website
http://tinaturnerlive.com/bio/

Cecilia Gärding

Cecilia Garding

Cecilia Gärding is Swedish and South African and was born in Sweden. Her background is both in academia and the arts. She has a Bachelor of Arts in ethnology and a Master’s Degree in political science, where her main interest is integration and diversity issues. She is a film producer and director and a member of the band Khumalo.

Her essays have focused on youth and integration policy and education issues. She worked for the Ministry of Justice in 2006 for then Integration Minister Jens Orback as a political expert focusing on the labor market, education and youth.

She continues to developing cultural projects that strengthen vulnerable groups in society and also create international projects in countries with conflict zones to use culture as a means of conflict resolution. Cecilia created “Innovate4peace” as a forum for innovation in peace and reconciliation work where partners together with industry and other stakeholders are using innovation for a better society. Cecilia was name one “Women Inspiring Europe 2014 and is the ADYNE Ambassador for Sweden.

Sources: ceciliagarding.se and wearelikeoranges.org
http://www.ceciliagarding.se
http://www.wearelikeoranges.org

Alice Bah Kuhnke

Alice Bah

Alice Bah Kuhnke is the Swedish Minister of Culture and Democracy since October 2014, a former television presenter, Board Professional and one of the founders of the think tank Sektor3. On October 3 she was elected to Minister of culture in the Löfven Cabinet, just three days after becoming member of Miljöpartiet (the Green Party of Sweden).

BioBah grew up in Horda in Småland, Sweden with her father from Gambia and Swedish mother. She went to a track and field athletics oriented high school in Växjö, and was one of the country’s best female sprinter runners in the late 1980s, with 200 meters being her speciality.  Her television career began in 1992 with SVT’s Disney Club. Between 1998-99, she had her own talk show at TV4 and many other television assignments including current events show Kalla fakta.

After she left television to study political science, and has, among other things, been Director of the Department Ideas for life at insurance giant Skandia. In 2004-2007 she worked as Secretary General of fair trade organization Rättvisemärkt.

She was a member of the Swedish Church synod 2006-2010, member of the Board of Dramaten Theatre, as well as Vice President of YMCA-YWCA Sweden.

In September 2009 she started as the Environmental and Corporate social responsibility manager at ÅF. Alongside her job at ÅF, she also serves as a board member for internet consultancy firm Doberman.

Source: Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Bah_Kuhnke

Gloria Mika

Gloria

Gloria Mike is a model and human rights advocate living in Greece. She is the founder of “School Up”, a global initiative which aims to promote Global Education and give students the opportunity to have their say and advocate for educational programs leading to the development of a global consciousness and a more responsible global citizenship.

She is also the founder of “The Guardian Angels” (Les Anges Gardiens du Gabon) a citizen watch initiative which aimed to foster a culture of citizenship and empower civil society to be key actors promoting peace while monitoring elections. She fought for a free & fair transitional electoral process in Gabon in 2009 before the son of former President Omar Bongo Ondimba takes over through an electoral coup.

Gloria is an active member of ADYNE, a platform in the making, dedicated to the development of an official network that shall enable us to represent the interest of the African Diaspora Youth living in Europe and work on strategies to strengthen the development of a constructive dialogue between European and African societies.

Source: Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/GloriaMikaOfficialPage/info

Shanaze Reade

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Shanaze Danielle Reade is a professional British Bicycle Motocross (BMX) racer and track cyclist whose prime competitive years began in 2002. She has won the UCI BMX World Championships three times.

Reade began racing in 1998 at the age of 10, at Tipkinder Park in Crewe. A local track operator named Bob Field, whose son also raced at the time, became her mentor. She was influenced by BMX professional racer, Jamie Staff, who was also from Crewe and raced at Reade’s home track before Reade’s career and during its early stages. She bought her first BMX bike for £1. She was previously a Track & Field enthusiast but apparently got bored with 100 metre sprint running and the Shot Put after five years in those sports before discovering BMX.

She won her first professional race in the Girls Pro at the American Bicycle Association (ABA) Winternationals in Phoenix, Arizona on 1 April 2006. She also won the following day. In 2006 she became British National No.1 in 19 & Over Elite Men after racing the National series with men all year, despite being only 17 at the time.  She won the World Championships in Brazil in August 2006 despite an earlier injury to her foot.

Her BMX victories at junior level include three World, eight European and five British BMX championships. Reade is also a champion track racer, riding on Velodromes. In July 2007 she became the Women’s Senior UCI BMX World Champion and at the 2007 UCI Track World Championships, she won the gold in the women’s team sprint with Victoria Pendleton. It was only her second track race ever.  Not only was she the first ever to win a track championship in her rookie year, she completed the feat after only six weeks of training. She had originally taken up the sport to keep her fit for BMX competition.

Reade went on to take first place in Team Sprint at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Palma de Mallorca along with Victoria Pendleton.  It was also the first ever Women’s Team Sprint Gold Medal title in that event.  At the 2008 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester, she again won the gold in the women’s team sprint with Pendleton. Reade was named one of the “Magnificent 7” by the Daily Mail in 2005, and on 20 November 2007 Reade was named The Sunday Times Young Sportswoman of the Year.

Source: Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanaze_Reade

The Night Malcolm X Spoke at the Oxford Union

The Night Malcolm X Spoke at the Oxford Union

Monday 1 December | 17:15 – 18:30 | The Oxford Union, St Michael’s St, Oxford  OX1 3DU

Stephen Tuck (Prof of Modern History, Pembroke College) will discuss Malcolm X’s visit to Oxford with responses from:

Rodnell Collins (Malcolm X’s nephew and Director of the Malcolm X House)
Selina Todd (Oxford historian and author of The People)
Hope Levy-Shepherd (Co-Chair of CRAE: Campaign for Race and Equality)

Followed by a questions session moderated by Lyndal Roper, Regius Professor of History, Oxford University
(Books will be available for purchase after the discussion.)

Free, all welcome. If you would like to reserve a place, please go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-night-malcolm-x-spoke-at-the-oxford-union-registration-14502275697

About the book:
Less than three months before he was assassinated, Malcolm X spoke at The Oxford Union—the most prestigious student debating organization in the United Kingdom, which regularly welcomed heads of state and stars of screen and served as the training ground for the politically ambitious offspring of Britain’s “better classes”. Malcolm X, by contrast, was the global icon of race militancy. For many, he personified revolution and danger. Marking the fiftieth anniversary of the debate, this book brings to life the dramatic events surrounding the visit, showing why Oxford invited Malcolm X, why he accepted, and the effect of the visit on Malcolm X and British students.

A tale of two cities: Bruges and Ghent

In the 11th article in our “Inside View” series Madalena Pedro Miala recounts growing up in Belgium.

Not so very long ago a video of actor Jesse Williams surfaced on the net, in it he explains quite eloquently – as we’ve grown to be accustomed by now coming from him – why he, like many others, was not interested in (American) history growing up. The essence behind his explanation reminded me of Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk about ‘The Danger of A Single Story’. At the risk of being accused of namedropping, I would in closing like to cite director Tim Reid, who in an interview given some time ago last year so rightly pointed to the fact that we are no longer living in a time in which only one narrative is relevant. We are now in fact dealing with a very mobile diaspora in which all voices and stories are very much deserving of a listener.

This long preface just to bring me to a a point we often discuss when talking about Black women living in Europe: racism. We often wonder whether one has experienced discrimination as a Black person living in Europe? Yes, I have. It ranges from petty behavior like always having to show my bus ticket when I step into the bus to more institutionalized forms of discrimination that I believe are part of the culprit that have kept me and many others stagnant in our career paths despite being fluent in numerous languages and possesing an array of much needed and employable skills. I am not going to focus on either one of those two stories, we have enough dichotomies going on in our worldview today. I’d rather share a more nuanced, humorous story that coincidently also consists of two parts, hence the title ‘A tale of two cities’.

Bruges

Madalena in 2nd grade in Bruges.
Madalena in 2nd grade in Bruges.

Caspar* threw a puzzling look my way as we were going up the stairs after the break. He repeated this about two or three times. I braced myself mentally for what I was sure was about to ensue: the generic N-word was going to verbally be tossed my way. Imagine my surprise when instead Caspar asked me whether I was a fan of Cercle Brugge. I must’ve given a negative response because the next question he threw my way was why then, if I wasn’t a die hard fan of Cercle Brugge, did I decide to wear their scarf. That’s when my attention shifted to that thing around my neck. We had just moved to Bruges and despite having lived most of my life on the Northern hemisphere, even till this day I am not accustomed to the weather conditions and always prefer spring and summer over the colder months. So in all my haste to protect myself from the winter, I just threw something on without thinking too much about it. No, it had not occured to me that Caspar and most people living in Bruges preferred Club Brugge (the blue soccer team) as opposed to Cercle Brugge (the green soccer team).

Ghent

Madalena in 3rd year of high school in Ghent.
Madalena in 3rd year of high school in Ghent.

After a decade of living in Bruges, my mother decided it would be best for us to move eastward for a better chance at receiving permanent residence papers and pursuing our higher education. Seeing that me and my siblings are close in age and were all soon about to embark upon another journey in our lives, my mother saw this as most fit. Being an introvert – at the time I didn’t have a word for the way I was, I just knew I had a hard time opening up and making friends – made it hard for me to be happy about moving to another town and changing schools. In hindsight it was one of the best decisions my mother made for our lives, some of the friends I made in my new school are still in my life today. But at the time I didn’t see it that way. One particular accident that stands out to me till this day is about my first days at the new school. I had moved from a Catholic school in Bruges to a public school in Ghent, the system was more relaxed for lack of a better word. In my former school we had to stand in line prior to entering our respective classrooms, in my new school we were allowed to get up about five minutes before the bell rang. We would then all huddle to the door and stand there for another five minutes, just chatting away. I dreaded this time, especially since I was new…and had a foreign accent. I had a West-Flemish accent, which differs significantly from an East-Flemish accent, even after living for a decade in Ghent (that is in East Flanders) my West-Flemish accent persists (as I was told during a recent job interview with a fellow West-Flemish man). The difference can be compared to that between Americans from the south and those further up north. Each time I tried uttering a word, laughter would ensue. I understood that they weren’t making fun of me, but rather laughing at my accent but try telling that to an awkward, shy, introverted, sole teenage black girl in the entire class. Nowadays I can laugh about it, and it gives nuance to our perspective of discrimination. A comedic one at that, which we can all use this day in age.

Madalena

Madalena Pedro Miala is a 29 year old who has been living in Belgium for over a quarter century. Her parents first came to Belgium to work at the Embassy of Angola, the country from which she hails. Five years later they decided to return to Angola following the cease-fire. Three years later the war resumed and the family were forced to leave Angola for Belgium, this time as refugees seeking permanent residence. My father stayed in Angola and shortly after we got news from our family that he was deceased. She grew up with my a brother and three sisters to whom she remains close. Next summer she is set to graduate with a Master of Arts in African Studies from Ghent University. Her long term dream is to be fluent in several languages, write for a living and be a walking billboard that harbors the potential of the African continent.