From Sweden to Brussels to Denver?

I am heading to the Democrats Abroad (DA) Europe, Middle East and Africa Regional Caucus today in Brussels.

Among other issues 4 Obama delegates will be chosen who will attend the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August. Additional delegtes will be chosen at other DA caucuses.

The Obama campaign has approved my application to be a delegate. Now I have to convince my peers to send me. Tomorrow I will have between 1-2 minutes to say why I should go to Denver.

Can I go to Denver? Yes I Can!

Stay tuned.

Brief Look At Swedish Pop Group Afro-Dite

F??rglada, meriterade och folkk??ra tog vi dem i v??ra hj??rtan.

Colorful, well known and loved by their audience we took them to our hearts.

If??rda glittriga kl??nningar vann denna glamour??sa grupp Melodifestivalen 2002 med “Never Let It Go”, den f??rsta engelskspr??kiga vinnaren i den svenska finalen. Kl??derna kom att skapa ett nytt ord p?? de svenska l??psedlarna; “Nakenchock”.

In glittering robes the glamourous group won the Swedish song contest 2002 with ???Never let it go???, the first English spoken song to win the Swedish song contest final. The clothes created the word nudity shock on the Swedish headlines.

Under v??ren samma ??r s??lde singeln platina och var d?? ??ven den b??sta s??ljande singeln i Sverige. I Eurovision Song Contest i Tallinn var de storfavoriter, men kom bara p?? ??ttonde plats. Ett album har hittills sl??ppts, “Never Let It Go”, som n??dde h??gt p?? f??rs??ljningslistan i Sverige. Fr??n albumet har gruppen ??ven sl??ppt singlarna “Rivers Of Joy” och “Turn It Up”.

That same spring the single sold to platinum status and was the best selling single in Sweden. In the Eurovision song contest in Tallin they were favorites, but only became number 8. So far one album has been released, ???Never let it go??? wich sold very well in Sweden. From that album they also released the singles ???Rivers of Joy??? and ???turn it up???.

Afro-Dites medlemmar members ??r Kayo Shekoni, Blossom Tainton-Lindquist och Gladys
del Pilar. Alla tre hade framg??ngsrika solokarri??rer innan de bildade gruppen.

All three of them had successful solo careers before they formed the group.

2003 var Afro-Dite ??terigen sugna p?? att representera Sverige i ESC och st??llde upp i Melodifestivalen med l??ten “Aqua Playa”. Gruppen gick till final i Globen, men slutade d??r p?? sjunde plats. Ganska snart efter detta nederlag valde gruppmedlemmarna att arbeta mer skilda. Blossom blev programledare p?? TV och Gladys gjorde ett solof??rs??k i 2004 ??rs Melodifestival med “Baby, I Can’t Stop”.

2003 AfroDite again wanted to represent Sweden in the ESC and entered the song contest with the song ???Aqua Playa???. They made it to the Swedish final but ended as number 7. Soon thereafter this defeat they returned to their solocareers. Blossom became a TV hostess and Gladys made another attempt to win the Swedish song contest with ???Baby I cant stop???.

2005 var Kayo programledare f??r en av delfinalerna Melodifestivalen och i samma program stod hon tillsammans med Blossom och Gladys ??ter p?? scenen som pausunderh??llning.

2005 Kayo hosted one of the Swedish semi-finals and during that show the group sang their songs during the breaks.


Mattiwilda Dobbs: Legendary Opera Singer and my friend Florie’s aunt

My long lost friend Florie told me that her aunt is an opera singer, but I could never remember her name. Just a while ago my friend Angela shared an article with me about the first graduating class of 10 black women to from Harvard Law School, of which she was one. In that article Angela discovers her Harvard classsmate’s book on Black Expatriates. In that book she sees an entry on Mattiwilda Dobbs whom she remembers as their classmate’s godmother.

When I researched Mattiwilda Dobbs I realised that she is my long lost friend Florie’s aunt, the opera singer I had been told about many years before! Here’s a brief look at her ground breaking life.

Mattiwilda Dobbs has sung in virtually every major concert hall in the United States and abroad, with her sparkling voice thrilling audiences and astounding critics. She is considered to be one of the great coloratura sopranos of our time. With a career that has taken her to every corner of the earth and onto stages of the great opera houses of the world, including the Bolshoi Opera, the Vienna State Opera, Glyndebourne, the Paris Opera, and the Stockholm Royal Opera, she often broke color barriers. Her 1953 debut at La Scala as Elvira in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri marked the first time a black artist ever sang in that famed opera house. That same year her great success as Zorbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos at Glyndebourne resulted in her first major performance in New York with the Little Orchestra Society. Dobbs desegregated the San Francisco Opera Company two years later. The following year she became the first black soprano to sing at the Metropolitan Opera House and the first black female to sing regularly under contract with that house. Her debut as Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto followed Marian Anderson’s and Robert McFerrin’s barrier-breaking debuts by one year.

Born in Atlanta, Ms. Dobbs sang her first solo at age six, and began her musical studies in piano one year later. She began her formal voice training under the tutelage of Naomi Maise and Willis Laurence James at Spelman College where she graduated valedictorian. Upon graduation Ms. Dobbs traveled to New York to study with Lotte Leonard. While in New York, she was granted a Marian Anderson Award as well as scholarships to the Mannes Music School and to the Opera Workshop at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. She also won a John Hay Whitney Fellowship and used the grant to study French repertoire in Paris for two years with Pierre Bernac, and to coach Spanish repertoire with Lola Rodriques de Aragon in Spain.

In addition to these awards, Ms. Dobbs won the coveted first prize at the International Music Competition in Geneva over hundreds of other singers from four continents. Shortly afterwards, her international career took off with her debut in Amsterdam with the Netherlands Opera, followed by engagements in Paris, London, Vienna, Stockholm, and Milan. Numerous engagements followed, including and invitation to sing a command performance before Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, and visiting King Gustave and Queen Louise of Sweden at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Following the performance she was decorated with the Order of the North Star by King Gustave. Her list of festival appearances is also extensive, including the Edinburgh Festival, Perth (Australia), Auckland (New Zealand), and the Caramoor, Meadow Brook, and Grant Park Festivals in the United States. In Russia, Japan, Australia, Israel, South America, Mexico, Scandinavia, the United States, and all of Europe, she became a favorite with the opera and concert goers and critics.


Although she remained close to her family and performed in Atlanta several times, personal as well as professional considerations prevented Dobbs from making the city her home. She lived in Spain with her first husband, Luis Rodriguez, who died of a liver ailment in June 1954, fourteen months after their wedding. She then married Bengt Janzon, a Swedish newspaperman, just before Christmas 1957. Her family attended the wedding, but because of the stir an interracial marriage would have caused in the segregated South, the ceremony was held in New York, and the new couple made their home in Sweden. Bengt Janzon did not visit Atlanta until 1967.

Following the example set by African American performer and activist Paul Robeson, Dobbs refused to perform for segregated audiences. In Atlanta she could have performed in African American churches or colleges, but she was not able to perform for a large integrated audience until the Atlanta City Auditorium was desegregated in 1962, when she was joined onstage and given a key to the city by Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. It was the first of many performances in her home city. Before the organization of the Atlanta Opera in 1985, Dobbs performed in operas produced and directed by the acclaimed opera singer Blanche Thebom, and in 1974 she sang at the gala marking the inauguration of her nephew Maynard Jackson as mayor of Atlanta.

In 1974, after retiring from the stage, Dobbs began a teaching career at the University of Texas, where she was the first African American artist on the faculty. She spent the 1974-75 school year as artist-in-residence at Spelman College, giving recitals and teaching master classes. In 1979 Spelman awarded honorary doctorates to both Dobbs and Marian Anderson.

Dobbs continued her teaching career as professor of voice at Howard University, in Washington, D.C. She served on the board of the Metropolitan Opera and on the National Endowment of the Arts Solo Recital Panel. Dobbs continued to give recitals until as late as 1990 before retiring to Arlington, Virginia, where she currently resides.


A Look At Daphne Sandberg – A Workshop Facilitator at the 1st Black European Women’s Congress

Daphne Sandberg facilitated the “Preparing for the Way Forward-The Importance of Networking” workshop, and moderated the question and answer session following the “European Black Womens’ Perspectives: Claiming a space for Gender and Identity through Empowerment” panel presentation at the 1st Black European Women’s Congress in Vienna. Daphne sits on the Executive Board of the Swedish Women’s Lobby and is a representative of Roks.

Daphne is very active in promoting women’s rights and has spoken on numerous occasions on different topics including “The Influence of Women and Girls’ Exploitation on the Internet” at the 2006 UNESCO Chair International Symposium – World Wide Women “The Currents and Prospects of Women’s Movement in the Cyber World”.

Listen to an interview with Daphne and other black women in Europe on FM4 Austria radio Being a Black Woman in Europe 4 part series.

Taking Care of Business in Sweden Part 2 – Daphne Wilding – Marie-Raphaelle

Daphne is designing and making delicate, beautiful handmade jewelry in southern Sweden. I picked up a pair of earrings and a necklace from her in the early days of her business to wear to a formal dance. I’m looking forward to adding to my collection.

Painting by Evangelina Diego

Daphne says: From my mother I inherited a passion for pearls. I chanced one day on a small shop in New York City where beads were sold and found one of the sales assistants making a beautiful pearl necklace. For my wedding I returned to the same little shop and placed an order for the necklace that I imagined for months.

My pieces are inspired from the women I have met over the years living in 6 different countries on 2 continents.

See her collection here and pick up something wonderful today.

More about Nyamko Sabuni

Nyamko Sabuni
Nyamko Sabuni – Photo: Johan Ödmann

In a tall, blond government, a small black woman like Nyamko Sabuni was always going to stand out.

It is, though, the former refugees outspoken views that have demanded attention in her adopted Sweden, where she wants a ban on the veil for under-15s and compulsory gynaecological checks for all schoolgirls to protect against genital mutilation masquerading as female circumcision.

Her views have led to death threats and round-the-clock protection in Europe’s most tolerant country.

Being appointed Minister for Integration and Equality in the right-wing Government provoked a petition signed by 50 Muslim organisations declaring that she breathed populism and Islamophobia.

Read the full story.

Source: David Charter in Stockholm of the The Times Online