Across the globe, women remain underrepresented in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). This is especially true in many African countries including Nigeria. In June 2014, three young women came together with a vision; a vision of a world where the number of women in the Science and Technology industry would rise and women would feel welcomed, accomplished and appreciated for their efforts and achievements. They realised that the best way to do this was by encouraging more young girls to take up STEM at secondary school and university levels and stick with it even after learning. As a result, Afro-Tech Girls was born.
At Afro-Tech Girls, they are really passionate about encouraging more girls to embrace the STEM industries and are making it a point to do this in fun and innovative ways. Watch the founders speak in the video below:
Mission – to encourage, educate and empower African girls of secondary and university levels in the STEM fields to follow through and acheive whatever goals they set for themselves through mentorship, teamwork, creativity and innovation.
Heartwarming greetings from my African sunkissed heart to yours 🙂 and a Happy new month of August to you!
I just arrived from my home country of Nigeria the past month of July, promoting my debut album“Organically Singing” and garnering some press/media presence and on ground performances. Follow me at @Tosinger on instagram to have a sneak peak of that journey, see a few pics below. Thank God for His mercies, grace and favor and thank you Lagos for your hospitality.
I am also delighted to present to you a creative product of my visit to Nigeria which is officially released digitally today. I worked with the multitalented Producer/Musician – FloRocka– on my latest project, an audio drama/spoken word titled ‘Silent Thoughts’.
‘Silent Thoughts‘ is an Audio Drama/Spoken Word/Storytelling Project with an afro-theatrical edge addressing the issues of our times. As a spoken form of art on a musical backdrop, ‘Silent Thoughts’ intends to provoke and inspire thought towards change. Things have been quiet lately about the Chibok Girls. Whatever happened to #BringBackOurGirls? What is currently happening?
People always ask about the designer of some of the dresses I wore on my brand material and at a few performances, well they were designed by no other than the sweet spirited Ms Afua Sam of Studio D’Maxsi. Studio D’Maxsi is the notable fashion house owned by Ghanaian Fashion Designer Afua Sam based in Washington DC . Celebrated as an innovative, sophisticated and edgy women’s wear line for the modern woman, STUDIO D’MAXSI makes unique designs for the classy, funky, chic and confident woman.
Studio D’Maxsi’s success journey so far includes having her designs grace Hollywood’s Red Carpet, the BET Honors event, the Grammys, celebrity music videos, TV and documentary appearances, styling various beauty queens, features at national & International fashion shows, multiple awards won, collaborations and much more. Full of gratitude for how far she has come, Afua Sam reflects on how she took a leap of faith traveling from Ghana to America knowing no one on arrival and despite struggles and rejections, her talent and love for fashion withstood the odds and built the strong fashion brand we know as Studio D’Maxsi today.
Afua Sam also founded ‘Operation Prom’, a ‘win a PROM dress’ competition open to deserving academically excellent high school female students.
As a single mother of two, Afua Sam has successfully pulled through balancing motherhood, health, personal struggles while pursuing her passion of fashion. Motivated by her personal story, Afua has over the years embraced social responsibility as a major part of her brand, significantly contributing her talent to support various charity events and causes. Studio D’Maxsi has contributed immensely in developing businesses, personality brands and charity organizations by supporting fundraisers and donating her designs for charities like ‘Fashion For A Cause’, ‘Pink for Africa’, ‘Tigerlily Foundation’, American Breast Cancer Foundation’ and ‘Steps For The Cure’ ; to name a few. Afua Sam herself modeled on the runway for ‘Runway Moms for A Cause’. Giving back remains an important of the vision of the brand.
In the month of June, to celebrate the ten year anniversary, there will be a giveaway to the general public of specially designed fashion items by Studio D’Maxsi with the hashtag #studiodmaxsi10years. More details on social media @dmaxsi. The new and improved website will still be hosted at www.studiodmaxsi.com and it will feature an e-commerce shopping platform for the general public and fashion lovers to shop exclusive non-couture Studio D’Maxsi designs and accessories that are for the everyday woman. Afua Sam is thankful for family, a great team of Photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, models, fashion show producers, nonprofit organizations, the media, fans, PR clients and everyone who believed in the brand over the years.
STUDIO D’MAXSI’s brand of elegant yet edgy collections has gained her a diverse clientele that also includes artists Jamie Foster Brown, Grammy nominated artist Carolyn Malachi, Miss Ghana Universe, Miss China America First Runner Up, Miss Maryland, Miss Black USA DC among others. STUDIO D’MAXSI specializes in Red carpet looks, party dresses, casual chic (men & women), wedding dresses, prom dresses, suits (men & women) and accessories-for all events.
Operation Prom’s Vision
Operation Prom seeks to make the prom night of one very special high school senior a special night to remember. It is the “giving back” vision of Ms. Afua Sam of Studio D’Maxsi. She designs a prom dress for three lucky 12th graders selected for ‘Academic Excellence’ by their one-page essays.
This is a collaborative effort with Ms. Charlene Brown, a Celebrity Hair Stylist, who has been part of the “Glam Team” since Afua started Operation Prom six years ago. Ms. Brown and the Glam Team, also provide hair and makeup for the girls during a scheduled photo shoot before the prom!
Congrats to the winners of 2016’s Operation Prom
NAMES OF STUDENT WINNERS
PHOTOGRAPHER// Marcus Bennet
HAIR // Charlene Brown
DESIGNER// Afua Sam of STUDIO D’MAXSI
Excerpt from thr winning essay by FAVOR OGU
My name is Favor Ogechi Ogu and I am a senior at Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus in Washington D.C. I am originally from Nigeria, but was born and raised in the DC metropolitan area. I have two younger sisters who look up to me as a role model and a caring mother who is my biggest support. My mother and my father are separated; I live with my mother. Growing up in a household with just a single mother and two sisters took a mental, physical and financial toll on me. I feel as though I was not exposed to nor had the same doors opened for opportunities compared to those students who have the advantage of living in a two-parent household. Yet, that did not discourage me; I took this as a way to prove myself more, as another obstacles I had to overcome…..
It’s been a minute and here is what I’ve been working on. I sing, I write, I act and I tell stories. I am a modern day griot and a cultural ambassador and my name is Tosinger. 🙂
Here’s introducing, the first vlog/webisode/series, whatever you choose to call it, edition of my weekly (on Tuesdays) folk storytelling project- TALES WITH TOSINGER,
Folk tales and fables are an educational and entertaining means of passing down traditions and customs from one generation to the next. An African tradition for several generations, adults would tell tales by the moonlight while teaching morals and lessons. I have chosen to gather adults and children alike around a social app, a youtube video, the millennial way to get the world’s attention 😉
Enjoy Episode #001 Dawu the Lion King. DO SUBSCRIBE, like, comment and spread the word. Ese! ( pronounced “E-shay ” — which means ‘Thank you’ in Yoruba)
There are stories that need to be told over and over again. Havard Business School has just released an audio commentary of the story of the entrepreneurship and progressive success of the historical hair business icon and philanthropist, Madame C.J. Walker aptly titled The Amazing Life of One of America’s Earliest Black, Female Entrepreneurs
Culled: Though not everyone may know her name, Madam C.J. Walker helped invent what have become staples of our modern country and economy: national sales forces, corporate social responsibility, and, yes, even basic hair care. Orphaned at age 8, married at 14, and widowed at 20 with a daughter to raise, Walker went on to become a millionaire entrepreneur in the Deep South at the turn of the century, against all odds. Professor Nancy Koehn describes Walker’s inspiring real life story of making good on her own unique American dream.
ROOTS, The MiniSeries
I remember watching and re-watching Roots in the earlier years on Nigerian TV, truly drawn in and deeply empathetic and affected by the horrific experiences of the primary character Kunta Kinte(played by LeVar Burton) and his kin.
Roots: The Saga of an American Family is a novel written by Alex Haley and first published in 1976. It tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18th-century African, captured as an adolescent and sold into slavery in the United States, and follows his life and the lives of his descendants in the U.S. down to Haley (via Wiki).
“Roots opened up the minds of Americans of all colors and faiths to one of the darkest and most painful parts of America’s past.” – Publisher’s Weekly
PBS states that Roots is one of the most-watched miniseries of all time, Roots captivated its audience over eight consecutive nights in January 1977. The award winning series followed the multi-generational account of author Alex Haley’s family line from enslavement to liberaton. For the first time, America witnessed on film the horrors of slave ships, the mistreatment of slaves and human cost of slavery. Roots has since become a part of American cinematic history and cultural consciousness.
Fast forward to 2016, Roots has been remade. IT PROVES SOME STORIES ARE WORTH TELLING AGAIN, ISTORY® premieres “Roots” on Memorial Day 2016, airing over four consecutive nights at 9 p.m. beginning Monday, May 30, 2016. The four-night, eight-hour event series developed by HISTORY, from A+E Studios, is a historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family and their will to survive and ultimately carry on their legacy despite hardship.
“Roots” will be simulcast on A&E and Lifetime, in addition to HISTORY. The stellar cast includes Academy Award® winners Forest Whitaker (“Fiddler”) and Anna Paquin (“Nancy Holt”); Academy Award® nominee and Emmy Award® winner Laurence Fishburne (“Alex Haley”); Golden Globe Award® winning and Emmy Award® nominated actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers (“Tom Lea”); Tony Award® winner Anika Noni Rose (“Kizzy”); Grammy Award® winner Tip “T.I.” Harris (“Cyrus”); Emayatzy Corinealdi (“Belle”); Matthew Goode (“Dr. William Waller”); Mekhi Phifer (“Jerusalem”); James Purefoy (“John Waller”) and introduces Regé-Jean Page (“Chicken George”) and Malachi Kirby (“Kunta Kinte”).
Happy ThanksGiving to friends and fans in the U S of A.
This special song is my way of saying “Thank You” to you all for your support and love..download ‘Merci Beaucoup’ from my recently launched album ‘Organically Singing’; just enter 0.00 at checkout. For a limited time only. Click HERE to download
Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. Brian Tracy
Today marks 55 years of when Nigeria broke free from colonial rule. We may not be there yet but we are on our way. Even Google cannot resist celebrating Africa’s most populous nation and has this to say:
Via Google —A country of enormous diversity where over 500 languages are spoken, Nigeria is home to Africa’s largest population and a dizzying array of ancient cultural traditions. Drawing inspiration from the Nigerian coat of arms, today’s Doodle features the mighty Niger and Benue rivers that wind across the country’s fertile plains before merging and flowing into the Atlantic. Symbolic of resoluteness and strength, an eagle cuts across a vast Nigerian sky at the center of today’s logo, which Doodler Robinson Wood has washed in the colors of the Nigerian flag.
And here is my rendition of loyalty to my home country, Nigeria’s National Anthem as performed on Periscope
As a diasporan, I echo the words of Yetunde Shorters, the Afropolitan Chef:
“Happy Nigerian Independence. 55 years ago Nigeria got her liberation from the British Empire. I commend our journey, let’s remember that we still have a long way to go. Take pride in our culture as we evolve to a new generation. As a second generation Nigerian American, my perspective is influenced by nations, our collective history: including, Nigerian slaves brought to the world, their successes and challenges and my experience. This much I know, whether I like it or not, every time I step out of my personal space, I am clear that I represent a people and I hold that representation to high esteem. I look forward to doing my part to inspire and empower my people Nigerian and American. Let’s remember that freedom has to be taken. It is never given. Cheers”
This blog brings you the best and latest of African talent and art; on the continent and in the diaspora. Here are 3 movie finds that would be worth checking out-
Popular Nigerian filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan, on Thursday in a press conference unveiled the full details of his next movie, The CEO. The film showcases a cross-selection of African & international cast and crew members with diverse talents and backgrounds.
The cast includes Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, entertainer and activist from Benin, Angélique Kidjo; Haitan actor and model Jimmy Jean-Louis, best known for his role as The Haitan on the NBC television series Heroes; actor and founder of the New Nigeria Cinema movement, Wale Ojo; French-Ivorian actress and model, Aurelie Eliam; South African actor and presenter, Nicolaos Panagiotopoulos; Nigerian actress, Kemi Lala Akindoju; Moroccan star, Fatym Layachi; Kenyan actor Peter King, and Nigerian actress, Hilda Dokubo among others.
Synopsis – The CEO tells the story of TransWire Communications, a global phone network with major operation in Nigeria. The CEO, an expatriate, has retired; hence the Global Chairman has decided to send five nominees among his most senior-level staff across Africa on a leadership course in order to determine which one to appoint as the new CEO of Nigeria. The process that started relatively smoothly suddenly climaxed in a game of an intriguing death.
(Trailer not yet released) To stay updated, follow on Facebook here or follow the hashtag #theceomovie on social media
Hot off its selection for the 2015 BFI London Film Festival, EbonyLife Films today released the official trailer for its highly acclaimed feature film, Fifty. The movie stars Ireti Doyle, Dakore Egbuson-Akande, Omoni Oboli and Nse Ikpe-Etim.
Directed by Biyi Bandele and executively produced by Mo Abudu, FIFTY, captures a few pivotal days in the lives of four Nigerian women at the pinnacle of their careers. Tola, Elizabeth, Maria and Kate are forced at midlife to take inventory of their personal lives, while juggling careers and family against the sprawling backdrops of the upper middle-class neighbourhoods of Lagos.
The trailer is a sneak peek into this tender but unflinching exploration of love and lust, power and rivalry, life and loss in twenty-first century Lagos. The four lead characters, six-inch heels, partying hard and loving strong, with courage and fortitude, navigate life’s unending curveballs.
Fifty will premiere in a special grand Lagos ceremony on the 13th of December 2015 at The Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos and will be released in cinemas nationwide on the 18th of December 2015.
The powerful new film starring Idris Elba recently had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and will screen at the Telluride Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, and London Film Festival. Beasts of No Nation, A Netflix Original Film.
Synopsis – When civil war tears his family apart, a young West African boy is forced to join a unit of mercenary fighters and transform into a child soldier. Available in select theaters and on Netflix October 16.
Written and directed by Emmy Award winner Cary Fukunaga (“True Detective,” Sin Nombre) and starring Golden Globe winner Idris Elba (“Luther,” Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Beasts of No Nation will debut Friday, October 16, 2015, the same day in Landmark theatres in the U.S. and worldwide on Netflix in all territories where the world’s leading Internet TV network is available.
Beasts of No Nation is based on the highly-acclaimed novel by Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala, bringing to life the gripping tale of Agu, a child soldier torn from his family to fight in the civil war of an African country. Newcomer Abraham Attah gives a stunning portrayal of Agu, while Elba dominates the screen in the role of Commandant, a warlord who takes in Agu and instructs him in the ways of war.
The film is produced by Amy Kaufman and Cary Fukunaga (who previously worked together on Sin Nombre), Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Riva Marker and Dan Crown for Red Crown Productions, along with Elba. Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King are executive producers for Participant Media; Donna Gigliotti is executive producer for Levantine Films; Elizabeth Koch and Kristina Kendall are executive producers for New Balloon; and Bill Benenson, Laura Bickford and Todd Courtney are also executive producers.
Beautifully Dreaming, Positively Doing
Organically Singing the new album, click here to download and sign up for updates
Introducing to some and presenting to others two Nigerians that are reaching for the heights, literally.
Freeman Osonuga is one of Africa’s leading voices on poverty alleviation, advocacy and care for people with disabilities, orphans and the less privileged. Freeman is a One Young World Ambassador, one of the 2013 Ten Outstanding Young Persons In Nigeria, and Founder and Executive Director of Heal The World Foundation Nigeria. In 2014, at the Peak of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, he worked as a volunteer and worked with the African Union team of Ebola responders for 6 months in Sierra Leone.
Freeman, a Medicine and Surgery graduate from Olabisi Onabanjo University, has been selected (through the Rising Star programme, which launched at the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin) toembark on a once in a lifetime flight to space and also offered a three year management contract. The programme invites both One Young World Ambassadors and outstanding members of the public aged 18-35 to be nominated to take on the trip of a lifetime.
If selected for the program, he will be the first Nigerian and First
black African to fly to space!
Osonuga is a 2015 WIRED Innovation Fellow. He will be speaking live on the London stage at the WIRED 2015 conference in October.
View Freeman’s profile here on the Kruger Cowne website and watch video below.
Kimberly Anyadike is a young pilot who learned to fly from an after school program focused on helping at-risk youth realize dreams — Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum in Compton, CA.
Inspired by the Tuskeegee Airmen, then 15-year-old (now 21) US based Kimberly Anyadike of Nigerian descent flew a single-engine Cessna cross-country from her hometown of Compton, Calif., to Newport News, Va. Anyadike is said to be the youngest female pilot to complete the journey, which took 13 days.
Born in Los Angeles in 1994, Kimberly Anyadike never remembers a time in her fifteen years she wasn’t interested in flying. Her passion for aviation began with a 20-minute demo flight at Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum, a flight school and youth mentoring center in Compton, CA. Kimberly washed airplanes and did other tasks to earn “museum dollars” that she traded in for flight lessons. Among the mentors available to kids in the program are several Tuskegee Airmen, who Kimberly has been immensely inspired by.
Exposed to a wide range of activities, Kim was a junior lifeguard at Venice Beach for five years, where she also learned how to surf. She attended the Lula Washington Dance Academy, taking ballet, hip-hop and tap dance classes. Kimberly is a youth member at her church where she learned how to read music, and is now learning how to play piano, violin and guitar.
Most recently she has completed college courses at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, the Saturday Science Academy at Charles Drew University and is taking a range of art courses at the Plaza De La Raza. She volunteers to feed the homeless in downtown Los Angeles and is very active in her church, while maintaining her G.P.A Kimberly’s career goal is to become a cardio-vascular surgeon with a pilot’s license. Like her FB page here
Kimberly Anyadike (born c. 1994) is known as the first Nigerian American teen to fly across the United States. Her Dad is from Nigeria, and Anyadike means (Eye of a Warrior). She flew from Compton, California to Newport News, Virginia in 2009. It took her 13 days to complete the flight The miles flown were 2,342. The plane used was a Cessna C-172. She was accompanied by safety pilot Ronnell Norman, a certified commercial pilot and Major Levi H. Thornhill, a retired U.S. Air Force pilot who at age 87, is a member of the elite Tuskegee Airmen who served during World War II.
Anyadike is from Compton, California. She paid for her flight lesson by working many regular jobs around the compton airport — via wiki
Wishing these two “reach for the skies” trailblazers all the best!
Beautifully Dreaming, Positively Doing
Organically Singing the album is not out, get yours here
Following the release of an EP of 6 tracks titled FINALLY’ in 2012 and the AfroSpire Demo in 2013; Tosinger, Atlanta based, Nigerian AfroSoulFolk Inspirational Singer-Songwriter known for her unique afro eclectic brand image and sublime soulful voice, is set to officially launch her debut album ‘Organically Singing’ on July 27, 2015. Two years in the making and highly anticipated by fans, it will be available to the public on all major digital outlets and physical copies can be purchased at http://www.tosinger.com beginning August 31, 2015.
Tosinger has been following a professional music path as a solo artist for more than a decade spanning three different continents (Africa, Europe and currently the USA) supporting other acts, performing at events, churches and theatrical creative productions including being part of vocal ensembles of a few London Broadway shows. Tosinger recently opened for International legendary African artist ‘Lagbaja’ at the notable Variety Playhouse Atlanta, during his 2015 US Tour, doing a couple of her originals from her new, debut album. She will kick off a tour series nationally and internationally, beginning September 2015 to promote the album. Stay tuned to http://www.tosinger.com for dates.
Tosinger says the title of the album ‘Organically Singing’ derives its inspiration for her preference for the use of her natural, organic voice and the healthy, lyrical content of her songs to uplift her audience, spirit and soul. Delivered with a soulful vibe with an incorporation of Afro musical flavors and a sprinkle of her Yoruba language; the 16 track album includes original songs written and arranged by Tosinger herself, with a collaborative production effort with various international musicians/producers including (to name a few) Morocco based, Cameroonian Bassist – Arnaud N’Gaza, DC based Nigerian Producer – Lexisugar and the legendary Yoruba Musician/Producer Mr Bola Abimbola who has worked with King Sunny Ade & Giovanni Hidalgo among others. The album, recorded and mixed at Sound Resort Studios & FCR Studios, Atlanta and mastered by Last Drop in California, have the themes – ‘Of Faith, Of Life and Of Africa’ and includes an instrumental prelude and a bonus track, a 360° remix of the current fan favorite; ‘Ile – Home’. Tosinger incorporates a unique interpretation of a few traditional well known Yoruba folk songs on a contemporary musical platform. Her music displays a simple conveyance of heartfelt richness, inspiration, meaningful lyrics and nostalgia. A must have album for lovers of good indie music.
The album sampler can be previewed at this link https://soundcloud.com/tosinger/organically-singing-album-sampler.
Atlanta based Afrosoul/Afrofolk Indie Singer-Songwriter has been singing for more than two decades at festivals, intimate music spaces, churches, theatre stages, events during her years in Nigeria and London, respectively. Tosinger comes with a musical flow that’s as soulful and ethnic as it is a sheer loveliness of heavenly inspiration. Her vocal essence and sound has been described as soothing and uplifting and her voice displays a simple conveyance of heartfelt richness. An eclectic artist with a warm personality and matchless passion, she names her African (Nigerian/Yoruba) heritage, Gospel Music, World Music, Soul, Folk & Jazz as influences. She also mentions legendary artistes such as Miriam Makeba, Nina Simone, Angelique Kidjo, Sade Adu and Tracy Chapman among others as creative influences. Tosinger is unique in her creativity as she occasionally incorporates her Yoruba language to the contemporary soul, sometimes jazzy/folksy sound of her music.
She released ‘FINALLY’ an EP of 6 tracks early 2012 and in 2013 digitally published – The ‘AfroSpire’ Demo – a collection of songs with African sounds, Yoruba sayings and lyrics on a contemporary musical platform. Her debut album ‘Organically Singing’ will be available July 2015. Tosinger is very much on her way to warming herself into the hearts of lovers of organic music globally as she continues to brand herself in the Afrosoul/world music scene while her message remains consistently inspirational. For more info, please visit http://www.tosinger.com