Live Podcast: African Women and Girl Storytellers in the Digital Age


Live Podcast Today at 6:30 pm EST

In honor of Women’s Month please join me in listening to a live podcast regarding Afrian women and girl storytelliers in the digital age. Listen to female journalists, writers and storytellers from South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda who are living in the Diaspora talk about their work and how they are tackling depictions of African women in media in a LIVE podcast called “African Women and Girl Storytellers in the Digital Age.

For more information and to tune in please check out Spectra Speaks


Back to Africa


Happy Black History Month! Today I want to look at Pan-Africanist Marcus Gavery. Garvey was a political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur and founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).  Garvey knew the UNIA would find its most enthusiastic audience in the United States after African-American soldiers returned from fighting in World War I.

Although African-Americans fought for democracy, they returned to the raise of discrimination, racial violence and segregation with white Americans. Garvey noticed the level of frustration among the black community was raising and therefore used his charisma to get the attention of blacks to follow him as he became the most popular black leader in America in the early 1920s.

According to researcher the “UNIA, committed to notions of racial purity and separatism, insisted that salvation for African Americans meant building an autonomous, black-led nation in Africa.” The movement offered in its “Back to Africa” campaign a powerful message of black pride and economic self-sufficiency.

I want to share Garvey’s 1921 speech, “If You Believe the Negro Has a Soul,” courtesy of the Marcus Garvey and the UNIA Papers Project at the University of California, Los Angeles.  In his speech garvey  emphasizes the inevitability of racial antagonism and the hopelessness of interracial coexistence.

Marcus Garvey: Fellow citizens of Africa, I greet you in the name of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League of the World. You may ask, “what organization is that?” It is for me to inform you that the Universal Negro Improvement Association is an organization that seeks to unite, into one solid body, the four hundred million Negroes in the world. To link up the fifty million Negroes in the United States of America, with the twenty million Negroes of the West Indies, the forty million Negroes of South and Central America, with the two hundred and eighty million Negroes of Africa, for the purpose of bettering our industrial, commercial, educational, social, and political conditions.

As you are aware, the world in which we live today is divided into separate race groups and distinct nationalities. Each race and each nationality is endeavoring to work out its own destiny, to the exclusion of other races and other nationalities. We hear the cry of “England for the Englishman,” of “France for the Frenchman,” of “Germany for the German,” of “Ireland for the Irish,” of “Palestine for the Jew,” of “Japan for the Japanese,” of “China for the Chinese.” We of the Universal Negro Improvement Association are raising the cry of “Africa for the Africans,” those at home and those abroad.

There are 400 million Africans in the world who have Negro blood coursing through their veins, and we believe that the time has come to unite these 400 million people toward the one common purpose of bettering their condition. The great problem of the Negro for the last 500 years has been that of disunity. No one or no organization ever succeeded in uniting the Negro race. But within the last four years, the Universal Negro Improvement Association has worked wonders. It is bringing together in one fold four million organized Negroes who are scattered in all parts of the world. Here in the 48 States of the American Union, all the West Indies islands, and the countries of South and Central America and Africa. These four million people are working to convert the rest of the four hundred million that are all over the world, and it is for this purpose, that we are asking you to join our land and to do the best you can to help us to bring about an emancipated race. If anything stateworthy is to be done, it must be done through unity, and it is for that reason that the Universal Negro Improvement Association calls upon every Negro in the United States to rally to this standard. We want to unite the Negro race in this country.

We want every Negro to work for one common object, that of building a nation of his own on the great continent of Africa. That all Negroes all over the world are working for the establishment of a government in Africa, means that it will be realized in another few years. We want the moral and financial support of every Negro to make this dream a possibility. Our race, this organization, has established itself in Nigeria, West Africa, and it endeavors to do all possible to develop that Negro country to become a great industrial and commercial commonwealth. Pioneers have been sent by this organization to Nigeria, and they are now laying the foundations upon which the four hundred million Negroes of the world will build.

If you believe that the Negro has a soul, if you believe that the Negro is a man, if you believe the Negro was endowed with the senses commonly given to other men by the Creator, then you must acknowledge that what other men have done, Negroes can do. We want to build up cities, nations, governments, industries of our own in Africa, so that we will be able to have a chance to rise from the lowest to the highest position in the African Commonwealth.

Pioneers of Television


Tune in tonight to PBS to watch the newest Pioneers of Television episode as they feature the cast of Root and discuss what the miniseries brought to light.

In 1977 ABC aired Roots, a miniseries based on the best-selling novel by Alex Haley. Unfortunately, it was during that time ABC was worried no one would watch, however, the eight-night epic became one of the most watched dramas in history.

Roots defiantly played a huge role in the African-American community. The television show made a monumental impact as it educated and grabbed the attention many Americans. As a result of the show, Black people were interested in retracing their own history, debating about race issues. What I love most about Roots is that the storyline is told from a black perspective with a predominantly African-American cast. This bold choose helped change the face of television.

 So again please tune into PBS to watch the cast of Roots talk about their ground breaking miniseries and being part of an iconic film.

A Message to the People of Kenya from President Barack Obama

As Kenya embarks an important election next month, President Barack Obama sends the people of Kenya a message.

In this video message, President Obama tells the people of Kenya that the upcoming elections are a historic opportunity for Kenyans to stand together, as a nation, for peace and progress, and for the rule of law.

Must Read Books by African Authors

In case your wonder where have I been lately, I’ve been reading great books by African authors and I’ve now collected a great list. Here’s my top picks, enjoy!


Diaries of a Dead African – Chuma Nwokolo 

This book, told through two generations, tells the story of how rumors, envy and caring about what others said influenced the way the Jumais lived their lives.               



Arrow of Godd – Chinua Achebe 

This book is set in the 1920’s, before secularism became dominant. I enjoyed reading this book because I felt it did a great outlook about the conflict between generation, old and new traditions, and the impact of colonialism on African tribal communities.


Is it Coz I’m Black? – Ndumiso Ngcobo  

This book draws no border line when it comes to color and what it means to be apartheid. This is a must read for anyone who is inspired to know more about South Africa.


Happiness is a Four-Letter Word – Cynthia Jele    

I enjoyed reading this book and it reminded me of an African version of sex and the city. Jele covers the challenges of friendships and relationships of four ladies who are in search of happiness.


The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives – Lola Shoneyin

This is my favorite book so far and completely blew my mind when I read it. This book is about a polygamous family that is not aware they will be imploded. The fourth wife, Bolanle, has not conceived a child in two years of marriage, thus setting in motion the unraveling of the lives of everyone in the house.  I don’t want to reveal too much but the wives in this novel are so unpredictable.

 Other great books I plan to read by African authors:

The Stone Virgins – Yvonne Vera
When Rain Clouds Gather – Bessie Head
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born – Ayi Kwei Armah
Black Diamond/Ways of Dying – Zakes Mda
Men of the South – Zukiswa Wanner
Who Fears Death – Nnedi Okorafor
On Black Sisters’ Street – Chika Unigwe
Underground People – Lewis Nkosi
Waiting for the Rain – Charles Mungoshi
A Simple Lust – Dennis Brutus
The Setting Sun and the Rolling World – Charles Mungoshi
Walking with Shadows – Jude Dibia
Wife of the Gods – Kwei Quartey

Top 5 African Women Leaders

Some view Africa as a developing continent offering rich investment opportunities for the rest of the world, I see a Africa that is developing the next generation of world leaders. Today I want to focus on African women leaders. If I had to make a list of  my top-pick of leaders who I see as game-changers and trailblazers, these women would be on my list:

Joyce Banda, Malawi, President of Malawi

As fourth President and first female President, Joyce Banda is the definition of a true leader. I had the honor to interview President Banda for as she shared highlights of her life and what it means to be a leader. During our discussion she spoke about her experiences and her future plans for her country. As the first women President, Banda’s leadership style has been majorly influenced by her life experiences and hardships. When I think of inspirational African women letters that set great examples of what it means to have a fortitude attitude while uplifting and encouraging others without showing fear, I think of President Banda.

Biola Alabi, Nigeria, Managing Director, MNET Africa  

As Managing Director for multi-national cable and satellite content company, MNET Africa, Alabi is one of the most powerful women in African media. In 2012 the World Economic Forum named Alabi Young Global Leader, she has been at the forefront of the expansion of the AfricaMagic channels brand across the continent. Before becoming managing director Alabi served as director for international strategy at Sesame Street where her first project was working the Nigerian Sesame Street.

Isha Sesay, Sierra Leone, News Anchor & Journalist, CNN 

Sesay files reports for “African Voices” and “ Inside Africa“, CNN International’s award-winning, weekly program that covers political, economic, cultural and social trends in Africa. Sesay is also an anchor on CNN International and a contributor to CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 and HLN’s nightly news show “Evening Express.”

Leila Lopes, Angola, 2012 Miss Universe

On September 12, 2011, Lopes was crowned Miss Universe, becoming the first Angolan woman to win the position, the fourth African to win the title (Miss South Africa took the title in 1978, Miss Namibia won in 1992, Miss Botswana won in 1999) and the second Black African woman to win following Mpule Kwelagobe from Botswana in 1999. As the reigning Miss Universe, Lopes used the platform for advocacy for HIV and AIDS patients worldwide.

Leymah Gbowee, Liberia, Peace and Women’s Rights Activist

The peace activist was one of three female recipients who were awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize “for non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” Gbowee helped organize and lead the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, an alliance of Christian and Muslim women, in public protest during Liberia’s tumultuous times. Now, through her organization Women Peace and Security Network Africa, Gbowee trains and empowers women in Africa to bring peace to their own countries. Gbowee is a recipient of multiple awards including the Blue Ribbon Peace Award from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School, Gruber Prize for Women’s Rights, the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, the Medal for Justice from New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Women’s eNews Leaders For the 21st Century Award. 

“If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (nation).” – Ghana

Time to dance, motivate, and donate!

I love when I run into awesome organizations that are doing inspirational and motivating things, especially when it’s regarding music and Africa.

Music for Life Center Program

Music for Life Center Program is about bringing children together through music and dance as a symbol of celebrating to life no matter what stuggles they face. These children are full of joy and energy despite the different circumstances they came from.

To bring a similar experience to children outside the Choir program, Music for Life partners with community schools in Uganda and Kenya to establish Music for Life Centers.

There are currently Music for Life Centers in Uganda and Kenya. Each center has approximately 50 children attending each week. Each Music for Life Center provides a meal or snack as well. For many of the children, this is the only meal they will eat that day. If you want to learn more or feel like donating check out Music for Life Center.