Cecilia Gärding wins silver at the Eurovision Connect Awards 2015.

Cecilia Gärding
Cecilia Gärding

Black Women in Europe Power Lister Cecilia Gärding‘s first trailer Tolvkommfyra, that she directed, as part of the 12,4 Campaign, to address the issue of Swedish youth not finishing secondary high school, initiated by The Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company, won silver at the Eurovision Connect Awards 2015. The Sochi Winter Olympics campaign won gold.  The film explores the reality of youth not staying in school; a hiphop group taking on this by making a song of the youngsters lyrics; and later the music video about this issue.

Powerful Woman – Cecilia Gärding

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

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

PWL.2014 IMAGE.001

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

PWL.2014 IMAGE.009

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

Sweden is like living in Russia.

In a new series of articles, black women living in Europe share their views from the inside. In our first article, Cecilia Gärding explains why she is dedicated to fighting against racism in Sweden. 

I come home from my vacation in the north of Sweden and go back to work as the project-director for ”The Cultural Heritage Agents”. A project with the purpose to help culturally active youth with a status as a national minority and youth with an immigrant background to become more included on the Swedish cultural scene. One of the main reasons for this project is to address how different minority groups are marginalized in the public debate about how they as a people or as a religious group are portrayed in cultural expressions made by mainly ethnic swedes.

Their responses have been strongly criticized by the majority society at large but also been questioned by certain media, celebrities and others. That has scared many people to silence. The few that has had the courage to keep struggling know that the prices they pay are persecution and threat to their lives. In Sweden we have followed the anti-gay laws in Russia and persecutions of the gay community. We might have the laws against racism in Sweden but in many ways, what we are going through here is similar to the Gay community in Russia. We and they know that these persecutions will never be prosecuted and people rarely choose to report these incidents. I know, I am one who is subjected to this. Instead we try to focus on the positive.

For me I try to turn the negative into constructive dialogue by writing books and making films. Through the film “We are like Oranges”, which is inspired by

authentic stories about how Afro-Swedish youth in Sweden face racism, from the book Afro-Swedish in the new Sweden we raise the question about hate-crime towards Afro-Swedes and remind the public about the racist past of Sweden. Where the otherwise untold story of 200 years of Swedish slave-history and blackface scandals at a student party at Lund University 2011 suddenly makes sense. We made the movie to educate and create understanding but Sweden has a long road ahead. Because the latest blackface scandals in Sweden which all happened late summer this year are signs that we are moving backwards. The scandals where Josephine Baker was portrayed by a white woman at a commemoration of her performances at a Stockholm club named Berns and the Pride festival scandal where blackface participants were allowed at the Pride festival and pictures were displayed on their website, can only be seen as warning-signs. As one of the founders of the Facebook page “No pride in Pride” I took a stand to show that blackface stereotypes have to criticize no matter what organization accepts them.  Because of this I have received support but also a massive criticism. A criticism , that once again, comes from a white ethnic Swedish community that reminds me that my experiences and my body as a South-African and Swedish is not mine to own.

I feel a responsibility for the young who grow up in Sweden. What is the effect on them when they hear how grown-ups with no experience of racism tell us who has the right to say what about who´s bodies and who´s experiences. Both the ones with ethnic Swedish background and those who have another background learn right from wrong from us. How are they affected to hear it is ok to say demeaning words to others with another ethnic background or religion? That it is ok to dress up in blackface, that artistic freedom goes before human rights? Or even worse, that this is NOT blackface at all, that we who are involved are the ones that need more education? We already know that the young born in Sweden with another ethnic background are more affected than their Swedish friends of depression, self-inflicting harm, youth unemployment and suicide. This is the result of living in a racist society.

Sweden has been in international news off and on when different ethnic groups have been subjected to racist acts. Researchers are keen on defining this as “Swedish Naivism”. This problem definition should change name, it is nothing naïve going on here and has never been in the history of Swedish or western racism. Instead is a calculated strategy showing its ugly head. The effect of the silencing of ethnic minority groups is the most effective way to deliberately kidnap the right to react and criticize. This is exactly what happened and is happening in the gay right movement and the women rights movement. People who belong to these movements should reflect on these similarities and question status quo.

Sweden is today a population that consists of 28.6% that either has a status as a national minority or has foreign background. Within 10 years the second generation of immigrants will be bigger than the first.  That these groups are not represented in the education of journalists, as co-workers in our cultural institutions or as members of the cultural organizations is a problem. Sweden has a cultural sector that is completely segregated . Because of this the cultural heritage Agents  have decided to create a vision to ensure that this part of the population receives more representation.

The other problem we have is that we lack an understanding of Sweden’s racist past and how different groups have been stereotyped in our art forms. That is why our project analyses for example the connection between Afrofobia, Antiziganism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism In Swedish Film history to create understanding that we need new Swedish film that doesn’t relate to old prejudice. For this reason we have created a film festival in Stockholm named “The diversity of the Swedish film heritage the 24-25th of August.

It is only when we are in agreement that we have a problem that we can work for change together. It is when we reach representation in our culture and media sector, in the gay and women rights movement, when we are respected as cultural actors but also as respected cultural consumers, when we feel safe to react, that Sweden stops to feel like I am living in Russia.

Cecilia Gärding
Cecilia Gärding Photo credit: Joachim Ljunqvist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cecilia Gärding is Zulu, British and Swedish. She is the Project-director for  The cultural heritage Agents and the producer of the film We are like Oranges. She is also the the Swedish Ambassador of Adyne-The African Diaspora Youth Network in Europe.

Next month Thania Moore shares her hair experiences in Madrid.

Another reason to be disappointed about Stockholm – Blackface strangeness in Pride Parade

What the hell is this?

 

What the hell?
What the hell?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cecilia Gärding, a dynamic young and beautiful Zulu, British and Swedish woman bought to light for me the above pic snapped during last weekend’s Stockholm Gay Pride Parade. What the hell? I do know that participants have to be approved by the organizers, as Democrats Abroad Sweden was allowed 15 participants in the parade.

So the question is, “who approved these two in blackface and whatever the heck it is they have on?” Who I ask.

Dear Gay Pride
Dear Gay Pride,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above is the letter I sent the organizers.

More about Cecilia Gärding: she is a writer and editor for the book “Afroswedish in the new Sweden, and also a filmproducer who made the first film against hatecrimes toward afroswedes named “We are like Oranges”.