Leona Lewis – Singing sensation

Leona Louise Lewis (born 3 April 1985) is an English singer, actress and winner of the third series of The X Factor UK television talent show. Her UK debut single, “A Moment like This”, was released in December 2006, breaking a world record after it was downloaded over 50,000 times within 30 minutes.

Her second single, “Bleeding Love,” was the biggest-selling single of 2007 in the United Kingdom, topped several other national singles charts and became a US number one single on April 5, 2008. After falling a couple of places the following week, it returned to the number one spot in the chart dated April 19, 2008.

Leona Lewis was born in the London borough of Islington to parents Aural Josiah, a Guyanese Caribbean youth worker, and Maria Lewis, a social worker of Anglo-Welsh descent. At the age of five, she attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School, and later the Italia Conti Academy and the BRIT School.

Take a behind the scenes peek at Leona during a photo shoot for a fashion magazine:

Visit her YouTube channel.

Visit her official website.

Black Women Bloggers in Europe Series – England 2 – The Blay Report by Zandile Blay

Zandile Blay is a fashion writer earning a graduate degree in fashion in London. Among other things she authors The Blay Report:

The Blay Report (T.B.R) is a daily blog which delivers news on fashion, art, and culture from across the world. In addition, T.B.R gives it’s readers a glimpse into the lives, careers and closets, of movers and shakers in the fashion and media industry via exclusive interviews. T.B.R was founded in May 2006 by style writer, Zandile Blay, whose work has been featured in publications like InStyle, Vibe, Seventeen and Paper Magazine’s. In addition, she writes regular column on fashion and travel for the prestigious political blog, The Huffington Post.

Previous entries in the series:

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.


I’m black again.

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


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.