Carole Beausaint Denis


Carole Beausaint Denis is a singer-songwriter born in London and currently based in Amsterdam. She has co-written songs with many prominent members of the UK music scene such as Nick Van Gelder (Ozric Tentacles, Jamiroquai, Akimbo) and two-time Grammy Award winner Phil Ramocon (Jimmy Cliff, Neneh Cherry, Keb??? Mo???). Her career as a singer has likewise been a highly successful one. Carole was a member of the London Community Gospel Choir and has done session work on many different projects, lending her unique vocals to recordings and live performances for big names like Jennifer Holiday and Michael Bolton.

Get to know her better and listen to her music.

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Candace Allen explains what it’s like to be the only black person at a classical concert in London

Here’s an interesting read from Candance in London:

Not long after my arrival in London 13 years ago I had the extraordinary privilege to be sitting second row centre at an evening featuring Cecilia Bartoli singing Haydn concert arias. Being a reasonably “cultured” American, I was of course aware of Bartoli and had heard a few of her recordings on radio while driving the motorways of Southern California, but this in no way prepared me for her emotional and physical conquest of my entire being. Heart racing, eyes moist, arms tingling, one of the first thoughts that streaked through my still quivering synapses that evening was that any South Central LA gang member, Latino, Crip or Blood confronted with Bartoli would feel exactly the same as I did then.

The thought did not burst full-grown out of my head with no context. In the four years prior to my London relocation I had spent one day a week independently counselling a group of African-American girls at a shockingly decrepit South Central high school; so I was familiar with the milieu and I knew these kids, male and female, responded to honest delivery and to respect towards themselves, both of which Bartoli was demonstrating in spades. They would have been on their feet hooping and hollering for this Italian coloratura with her feet planted firmly on the stage, her voice and arms pulling them into her embrace without need of translation of any kind. She is human. They are human. The connection could not be more simple or clear.

More…….

I’m black again.

By K. A. Dilday who is a columnist for the online magazine Open Democracy.

London

I???M black again. I was black in Mississippi in the 1970s but sometime in the 1980s I became African-American, with a brief pause at Afro-American. Someone, I think it was Jesse Jackson, in the days when he had that kind of clout, managed to convince America that I preferred being African-American. I don???t.

Now I live in Britain where I???m black again. Blacks in Britain come from all over, although many are from the former colonies. According to the last census, about half of the British people who identify as black say they are black Caribbean, about 40 percent consider themselves black African, and the rest just feel plain old black. Black Brits are further divided by ancestral country of origin, yet they are united under the term black British ??? often expanded to include British Asians from the Indian subcontinent.

Read K. A.’s story.

Mary Seacole

Crimean war veteran nurse and original lady of the lamp

Mary Seacole’s reputation after the Crimean War (1853-1856) rivalled Florence Nightingale’s. Unlike Nightingale, Seacole also had the challenge to have her skills put to proper use in spite of her being black. A born healer and a woman of driving energy, she overcame official indifference and prejudice. She got herself out to the war by her own efforts and at her own expense; risked her life to bring comfort to the wounded and dying soldiers; and became the first black woman to make her mark on British public life. But while Florence Nightingale has gone down in history and become a legend, Mary Seacole was relegated to obscurity until recently.

Mary Seacole was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1805. Her father was a Scottish soldier, and her mother was a practitioner of traditional Jamaican medicine and had a boarding house where she cared for invalid soldiers and their wives. Mary learned about medicine from her mother, soon gaining her own reputation as a ‘skilful nurse and doctress’.

Visit her official website.

Bonnie Greer


Playwright and critic Bonnie Greer was born in America. She studied theatre in Chicago with David Mamet and in New York with Elia Kazan.

She has lived in Britain since 1986, where she has worked mainly in theatre with women and ethnic minorities. She has won a Verity Bargate Award for Best New Play and has played Joan Of Arc on the Paris stage.

She has had many plays produced by Radios 3 and 4, including a translation of The Little Prince, and her latest play, Jitterbug was presented in London in 2001.

She is working on a play for the National Theatre Studio. Her musical “Solid” had a workshop production in Stockholm for the National Theatre of Sweden. Her co-produced documentary, “Reflecting Skin” was shown over the BBC in 2004 and she is currently in pre-production with another about the education department of the Royal Opera House.

Bonnie’s second novel, Riding The 903, was published in 2005. Other books include How Maxine Learned to Love Her Legs and Other Tales of Growing Up, and Hanging by Her Teeth (90’s) (Hanging by Her Teeth (90s) for US readers).

Bonnie is a trustee of the British Musuem.

Read Bonnie’s articles in the New Statesman.

Listen to Bonnie on BBC Radio.