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bel Editor’s Note — Linda O ba a K d n i l e Eth — y r o t Feature S G-spot — Gerald Montg omery See, Hear, Speak no Ev il — Evalyn Githina wange m O id v a D — y tr e Po

Tech Buzz — Anthony Odufuye r e rg e b m a B n la A Art —

Fashion — Mutheu K iilu

atson W ta li A — s l e Alita’s Trav

Evalyn Githina editor AIM Network

Wangechi Ruguaru graphic designer AIM Network

Alita Watson Alita's Travels AIM contributor

Tony Odufuye contributor AIM Network

Ethelind Kaba contributor

Gerald Montgomery contributor

Mutheu Kiilu Fashion AIM Contributor

David Omwange contributor - poetry AIM Network

Ghanaian born and raised Ethelind Kaba has made Minnesota her adoptive home for the last twelve years. During this time, she has reinvented herself as a wife, mother and a lover of fine things in her hands and dreams.

He is an author, speaker, recording artist, husband and father. He has written a collection of poetry (not published), a book about the rules of one-on-one communication (self published) and (current project) a book entitled “Mapping the Dream: the Routes and Milestones of reaching Dr. King’s Dream”.

In the current issue of AIM, Ethelind steps out of her comfort zone from corporate America to paint a behind the scenes intimate picture of spoken word artist, IBe.

His current passion is The institution of the Black Family; rebuilding its infrastructure by restoring the black man as father and husband. “My current battle cries are: “Please recycle, be a father to your child”, “A Cast for the Past” and “S.T.A.N.D!” (which stands for Solution Talks and No Distractions!)

Alan Bamberger contributor AIM Network

Nyandia Kamawe graphic designer AIM contributor

Art consultant, advisor, author, and independent appraiser specializing in research, appraisal, aspects of original works of art, artist manuscript materials, art-related documents, and art reference books.

Our AIM is to celebrate, and share our differences. We publish a monthly magazine that highlights" Africans in Motion" i.e Fellow Africans that are inspiring, driven, and successful in their various fields. For more information please contact Aim Network 612. 205.9828

Life Is Short S

omeone near and dear to me has been saying this as a mantra for quite a while, and to be honest, it’s a good motto to live by. Too often we hold ourselves back from enjoying ourselves in life because we are being cautious.

We don’t want to spend money having a good time with friends because something might come up where we need the money. Sometimes we opt not to take a chance on that new job because of the economy, what if things go south with your new company and then you get laid off because you’re the “new guy”? How many times have you chosen not to get involved in a new relationship because you are afraid of getting hurt? In life we always seem to be in a hurry to go somewhere or get something done because this is the culture we live in. Time flies by and life keeps moving forward without us realizing it. When was the last time you took a moment

to take in your surroundings? The beautiful fall colors are here and some of us haven’t even noticed it. We all need time to just relax and unwind. Summer is a great time to have fun, but the dropping temperatures should not stop us from enjoying life. Before it gets too cold, throw on a sweater and scarf and get outside. Take a walk to the park and sit on a bench and people watch. I’m a big fan of “me” time. It’s amazing how serene and peaceful this will feel. As one of my favorite quotes says, “Yesterday is history, the future is a mystery. That’s why today is called the present.” Life is short, take risks and have fun doing it. Take care of yourselves, because if you don’t who will? Much Love and Respect,

Awuor Obel


little while ago, I received my very first interview and writing assignment for AIM. My first thought was that the task was going to be a breeze. After all, I was very fortunate

to be interviewing IBé, a writer I am very familiar with, a spoken word artist I have seen perform since the days when his hands would shake hold-

ing a paper to a mic, to these days when he leaves an audience of young and old in awe. Nearly ten years since those hand shaken days, IBé is a staple in the spoken word community, taking the stories of Africans in America from Cloquet to Marshall, Minnesota, from Washington D.C. to Denver, Colorado. Along the way, he has garnered recognition from his peers and art supporters far and wide.

IBé Kaba The more I reflected on IBé, the writer and the spoken word poet, the more the notion of interviewing him unnerved me. Although I have spoken to IBé several times, I kept thinking about the perfect way to interview him. The perfect scenario was eluding me but after much deliberation (i.e. procrastination), it suddenly dawned on me that I was taking the wrong approach to this interview. I am not a professional journalist or writer and all one has to do is run some Google searches to realize the impact IBé has had on telling stories of Africans in America. What is hard to find on Google, however, are stories about IBé—the man! Not just the poet or writer. And who better to tell it than me, his wife and if I can say so myself, better half and muse of nearly 10 years. With my newly discovered approach in mind, I decided to write briefly about this man before interviewing him about his writings. So for anyone who has ever wondered, “Who is IBé”, I provide you with a brief “Behind the words” insight into

his personality and creative process.

Simply, IBé is an interesting character, never to be boxed up into one definition. For instance he has the calmness I only read of in my collection of self help books. I will bet my last penny that the serenity of The Dalai Lama has nothing on him. He has a calmness about him that is really annoying, especially to someone like me. He accepts things the way they are without feeling the need to change them.

talking to himself, in the shower, in the kitchen, in the back-yard… everywhere! Every time he is memorizing poems, I keep thinking back in growing up in Ghana and seeing crazy people walking in street. My grandmother used to tell me those people were in fact very smart people that somehow went overboard. I think about that whenever I see him talking to himself. If he were ever to turn insane, it would not be a pretty sight.

To me that is pure laziness, but to him, it is allowing people or things to be-the ultimate acceptance- not chastising, only providing feedback and allowing things or people to change naturally. IBé is a thinker. He over- thinks, over processes and it is no wonder he is very Mathematical. He chooses his words very carefully, except when memorizing poems. I genuinely worry about his sanity sometimes during the memorization process. The children and I are used to it but it feels like there is a mad man in the house, constantly

Imagine a crazy person walking next to you just reciting poems, I mean hundreds of them, blundering lines that don’t belong. What a nightmare, I shouldn’t even think such horrible thoughts. Moving along… Some people expect poets to be dashiki wearing deep talkers. IBé on the other hand, although he is likes wearing African prints, he hates dashikis. And his style is more metrosexual than “conscious”. I probably should not say this but since I was not equipped with self censoring

...I draw my inspiration from my family. By that I mean Africans all over the world.

mechanics, I will. Frankly, IBé sometimes find dashiki wearing, conscious talkers with constant references to the motherland , mother earth, “the system: or using “namaste” as a salutation a bit exhausting. That’s why the funniest joke we share is when people think I am not down to earth enough for him. Don’t get me wrong, he is the poet that makes audiences go “amen”, but he is also the man I sometimes have to kick away from the bathroom mirror. Not down to earth enough for him? Please! I prefer to think I have just been blessed (most days) to know the complete man, to understand the complexities of human and spiritual beings, to recognize that no one person can be defined in definite terms. Perhaps it is that wisdom that he embeds in his stories, depicting the various struggles and contradictions of not just Africans in American, but humanity as a whole. Shortly after drafting my profile of him, I spontaneously dived into

the interview late one night as he watched his favorite re-runs of “Star Trek”. Come to think of it, I probably interviewed him on the impulse to prevent him from watching another re-run of “Star Trek”…but that is a whole different story. Let’s just say, I was quite pleased to interrupt his “downtime” to discuss his creative process of writing, his inspiration and where he is in his life currently. With apprehensiveness and cynicism in his eyes, our interview began. Me: Hi, thanks for agreeing to mute the TV for the interview. Could you still not watch the screen though? I really appreciate you allowing me to intrude. To begin, please tell me your full name and where you come from? IBé:(laughs). I didn’t have much of a choice so let’s do this. I think you know the answer to this question. Me: Can you please answer the question? Seriously. It makes the interview official plus don’t assume I know everything about you. Who knows, I might find

something new out about you. I better not! IBé: Fine, let’s play. My name is IBé (or Ibrahima Kaba). Born in Kankan, Guinea; grew up in Koindu, Sierra Leone Me: You forgot Chicago? IBé: I don’t really count growing up in Chicago as where I am from. Me: You don’t? Even though you probably lived there longer than Guinea and Sierra Leone? How long have you lived abroad? IBé: Well…My experiences and world view were shaped as a young man in those countries. Living here for the last 19 years has definitely expanded on that but yeah… (silence as eyes glare to “Star Trek”) Me: IBé!!!!! IBé: Sorry! Me: Only one more warning...

community in Washington DC invited me to write and come perform a poem commemorating Guinea’s 50 independence anniversary… that was very special! Me: The one you didn’t invite me to? I am still kind of bitter about that, by the way. How can you go without your muse?. So yeah, speaking of muse, where did you draw inspiration from? IBé: You know our issues with baby sitting. If not, trust me, would have wanted nothing more than for you to be there… Me: Aaaaww...

IBé: And then? Interview stops or TV goes off. Me: Ha! Anyway, what was the hardest adjustment to living far away from home? IBé: Being locked inside all the time, especially during the winter months. Where I’m from, life is lived outside; we only use inside for sleeping. Here everything is inside. It gets to feel like a cell at times. Me: So with living life on the outside, how did you find inspiration to become a writer/poet? IBé: The love of words, the power of words, being able to tell stories that touch people’s lives. Specifically, growing up listening to my mother tell folktales. I saw what they did for us children sitting around her feet, and everyone else in earshot. Stories can entertain, educate, inspire, affirm, etc. Not very many other media can boast the same. Me: What is your most unforgettable career milestone? IBé: Winning the Verve Grant in 2005 was pretty special. It gave me the validation that is very important for a young beginner. But I must say back in 2008 when the Guinean

IBé: (groans uncomfortable). To answer your question, before you get all weird and sentimental, I draw my inspiration from my family. By that I mean Africans all over the world. But especially those of us living in the United States. When you see a Somali grandmother in booths trekking through a snow-packed sidewalk…there is a story there. When a cab driver tells you about the rise and fall of Africa’s post independence euphoria in a form of a Greek tragedy….there is a story there. I want to tell these stories.

African. His poem “Africa” was the first poem I ever read on stage. Chinua Achebe is always classic. Ama Ata Aidoo’s one book “Dilemma of a Ghost”made a lasting impression on me. I admire Ngugi wa Thiong’s a lot. I like where Chimamanda Ngozi is going. Me: Should I admit that I’ve never read any of their works? I am familiar with them though but never read them. I should probably move on before that judgmental look on your face cuts this interview short. So…What causes or issues are you passionate about? IBé: Yeah let’s move on although I shouldn’t judge because you have your Wayne Dyer books and I haven’t read them either…No judging. Regarding issues, I am passionate about Immigration. Not so much the political, more the human and social transformation that comes with this state of being. Me: What advice would you give to young upcoming writers/poets? IBé: Read, read, write. Then read, read, write. Then read some more. Me: Where can readers find you books or where do you perform?

Me: Note to self. February is going to be “single parent month” for me.

IBé: Right now, they can get my book, “Bridge Across Atlantic” from my website at http://www., or http://www. They can also get it at few independent bookstores in the Twin Cities area. All listing on my website. I also keep my performance schedule on there. But lately, my regular spot is every last Friday of the month, I host an open mic at Kilimanjaro Café on the west bank.

IBé: ( Laughs). Yeah! Something like that.

Me: Great. That’s it. See, wasn’t bad now was it. Thanks for your time.

Me: Ugh, we’ll talk about that later. Tell me this, with play writers and other poets, if you had to pick 5 favorite African authors/poets who would you chose?

IBé: (turns TV volume on). Anytime. No problem.

Me: So what projects are you currently working on? IBé: I recently won an award (Midwestern Voices) to write a script about my recent trip back to Guinea after a 15 years hiatus. I will be doing that this July, and hopefully staging the play in February 2011.

IBé: I like David Diop. His poems make you feel proud to be an

by Ethelind Kaba


A Word of Encouragement The essence of beauty is balance through symmetry or symmetry through balance. When multiple objects are in harmony with each other it brings about rhythm - and rhythm is the evidence of perfection.


ometimes we ask God [or our Higher Power] to in essence “remove the leopard’s spots”- To have a thing fly that was never meant to do so, to get fresh fruit from a dead tree. We pray and we fast and we shout, pleading with Him to change the leopard’s spot. But every time we get off of our knees and open our eyes to look at the leopard, we see that it still has spots. Why is that? It is because God created the leopard to have spots; it’s one of the attributes that makes a leopard, a leopard. He created the leopard to stalk prey and to climb trees. He is not going to change the appearance or the nature of what He created simply because we ask Him to.

it because everything has its place in the grand scheme of things. It is how we are all connected. For the good or for the bad the leopard must play his part in our lives. The same goes for the dove and the serpent.

When people are in your life that have no business being in it but these are the relationships you are praying to salvage this is the primary reason why you look up and still see the same old things happening. And not just people, but the antagonistic aspects of who we are also haunt our lives like ghosts, possess us like demons. I, like you, have my own demons as well. If baggage is a word you are more comfortable with then call them baggage instead of demons. The No matter how faithful to our cause important thing is that you identify we feel we have been, He is not them. Anyway, I too, have demons going to do it. He is not going to do that need to be exorcised.

I am still very much afraid to show vulnerability, even with my wife - the person I am supposed to be vulnerable with. I still keep a very low friend count (as I have been known to say, “Jesus had only 12 friends and one of them still betrayed him, so why have more than 11?”). I don’t like to borrow [money] or ask for help with situations that are supposed to be under my control, because I don’t like the power a friend would then have over you as a lender. I don’t challenge friends and family members with any major tasks because I am afraid to give them a chance to let me down. So my requested favors are typically very simple and easy to execute and if my friend or family member fails to complete the task there are no hard feelings. But this, I recognize, is a cop-out on my part. But I have learned how to show my

vulnerability through writing and performing comedy or improvisation at Open Mics. I’ve learned how to be vulnerable by myself or with just one person I can truly count on. Realizing that I don’t have to be vulnerable with everyone- some people are just too mean-spirited to be vulnerable with! So, as you can see, I’m making the effort- which is all any of us can do. Life is truly too short just to live for others (your children and spouse included) if you never take time for yourself. And to hell with trying to look or act like what others want you to be. People are so busy validating themselves at the expensive of others that very few of us truly know who they are or who the people around them are, only knowing the version of everyone they expect them to be or the version of themselves others expect them to be. Ask yourself; who gets to say what a flaw is and on what authority do they say so? The essence of beauty is balance through symmetry or symmetry through balance. When multiple objects are in harmony with each other it brings about rhythm - and rhythm is the evidence of perfection. “Ugly” is when one aspect of a thing is out of rhythm because it is asymmetrical, to a fault, or causes the whole to be unbalanced. So find your rhythm; put things in balance and be your own kind of beautiful! Perhaps from your perspective, right now, everything looks like utter chaos-a hot mess. And if this is what you see, then that is what it is. The only remedy to chaos is order. In other words dear friend, it’s time to clean house! When we need to clean our entire house we don’t just clean the house all at once. This is impossible to do. Instead, we start with one item in one of the rooms. We start by picking something up then deciding if we are going to put it back in its place (restoring symmetry) or throw it away (restoring balance). And if our house is in need of cleaning we begin the cleansing process with the fore knowledge that some things in our house must be thrown away. Otherwise we are not really cleaning our house; we are merely moving the trash in it from one part of the house to another. Life is no different than a house in this respect. We clean our lives one day at a time, one moment of the day at a time and begin throwing away the BS (and I don’t mean Bachelors of Science) in our lives! Iron sharpens iron, so lets be better because of it!

by Gerald A. Montgomery

Pictured above is a cover to Gerald's book

MEMS, Rips of Rhapsody: A Spoken Word Rendition of King Solomon's Proverbs Meets Plato's Republic Available at this link

Les NUBIANS Pictured above are Les Nubians with the ladies of AIM Eva and Wangechi


rammy nominated international artists Les Nubians are the pioneers of contemporary Afropean music. Their distinctive sound embodies the timeless vibrations of Miriam Makeba, Fela Kuti, Edith Piaf, The Fugees, and Soul II Soul.

Their hit single “Makeda” propelled their 1999 debut album to the top making “Princesses Nubiennes” the most successf u l F re n c h - l a n g u a g e a l b u m in decades! They followed that success with “One Step

Forward” which was a successful album in its own right. Echos: Nubian Voyager was the first executive production for Hélène and Célia Faussart that featured poetry and edgy music. In their bio, Les Nubians proclaim that, “everywhere we go, we look for music that speaks of Culture: people, history, stories.” In their new album, Nü Revolutions, Les Nubians were inspired by their Cameroonian homeland, the election of President Obama which was a manifestation of the dreams

of so many, they also express their dissatisfaction with the representation and condition of the minorities in France and especially the strife and division caused by President Nicholas Sarközy. I was amazed by their spirit and their dynamic ability to reach out and make you feel and identify with their vision; there is a spirituality in their music that is healing and infectious and in a venue as intimate as The Fine Line Music Cafe, no nuance was lost to the audience. The Congas and the Drum set were spotlighted in their concert, just

...everywhere we go, we look for music that speaks of Culture: people, history, stories.

as they were in the Nü Revolution album.. The intro is a rhythmic track that features an instrumental of drums played in an African rhythm that is infectious and that uniquely fits with the Les Nubians Vibe. But for me, the track that shows a new direction in the music of Les Nubians, is “Africa for the future” Hélène and Celia play with different vocal arrangements that are more spontaneous and that is more of a sound that your soul can dance to. Hélène and Celia have a fun way of discussing female empowerment and the pursuit of liberty, freedom and revolution. They framed female empowerment as P Power (I am not going to tell you what the P stands

for, so do not hold your breath). They seamlessly flow into discussion of politics and the audience is left very clear about the issues that are in their view, in need of attention and that are a solution of the for the society we live in. The contradiction of our wants and desires was captured perfectly in their concert when they talked about the things we want and the cost of those wants. Are we willing to pay the price? Hélène asked us, why we say want children but complain about the stretch marks that we get as a result of giving birth. Why we want diamond rings but complain about how much they cost.

The most endearing message in all this is that we are capable of love. All we have to do is plant it, water it as we would a plant and watch it grow. The question is, could it really be as simple as that? Please contemplate that as you listen to the Nü Revolution.

by Evalyn Githina

see no evil

Independence Celebrations in October: This October we celebrate the Independence of Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, Kingdom of Lesotho and Equatorial Guinea. This is a perfect opportunity to review and understand these countries’ history. For that purpose we recommend the following: On Nigeria read, A History of Nigeria by Toyin Falola and Matthew M. Heaton it covers early history from 999 to the present. On Uganda, read Uganda Since Independence: A Story of Unfulfilled Hopes by Phares Mutibwa. This covers the Political history of Uganda, but be warned, this book avoids discussion of the social history of Uganda. On Equatorial Guinea read Equatorial Guinea: Country Study Guide (World Country Study Guide Library) by Ibp Usa On Zambia read Historical Dictionary of Zambia (African Historical Dictionaries/Historical Dictionaries of Africa) by Brian V. Siegel. This book gives critical insight into the pre and post colonial history and perspective of national identity especially in light of the unique pressures that are faced by Zambia due to its geographical location. On the Kingdom of Lesotho there is very little that is published. However, the Historical Dictionary of Lesotho (African Historical Dictionaries/Historical Dictionaries of Africa) by Michelle Frisbie-Fulton , Scott Rosenberg, Richard F. Weisfelder should be a wonderful start.

hear no evil

by Evalyn Githina


(dedicated 2 Christina,,,,MMWWAAAAAHHH, God bless U) by David Omwange (of the movie Shuga)

listen the latest album, nü revolution. please read the profile on les nubians and visit


A gorgeous canvas of flesh & blood. A depth hidden from the eyes of blind envious women & lustful men. A carnival of eyeliner co existing with strokes of burning blonde A soul weaved by the tailors known as passion, rage, loss, & defiance A masquerade of cleavage & playboy bunny fantasy A voice sculpted by the clays of poetry & the hands of Shakespeare A glowing body that screams perfection & is subject to physical plagiarism A growling heart that roars against misjudgment With emotion, ink, & paper as its representation A walking contradiction, a non-cliché.

I believe that with a little diligence and research, you too can cut the cable and watch television when and how you want it.

tech buzz Living Without Cable Television. For many months, I flirted with the idea of canceling my cable TV. It all started a few months after my introductory rate had expired and my bill went up three-fold. At first, I spent time calling the company and asking them to give me discounts on my bill. They obliged, but the small discount expired in just three months. Frustrated with the quality of programming I was doling out good money for, I formed my resolve and canceled the service. Here is how I have dealt with it so far. The first step I took was to figure out a way to connect my laptop to my television. I researched prices for an hdmi cable, a 3.5mm to RCA cable and a mini dvi to hdmi converter. The answer I found was a little surprising. Total cost for all these from Monoprice ran about $20. The same cables would have cost in the range of $80 - $100 if purchased from common electronics stores. Excited about being able to finally watch whatever I liked on my TV via computer, I tried out a few different entertainment services over the last few months.


Hulu has been rising in popularity for the last couple of years. Born out of a collaboration of a number of media heavyweights, it boasts a large collection of television shows and movies. I started out with just the free hulu service and for some time found it to be sufficient. That is until I caught up on watching some of my shows and decided to start on brand new ones. I found out that for most shows, hulu restricts access to entire season episodes and will only have a few available at a time making it impossible to start fresh with some series. I also grew quickly tired of the

advertisements pushed to me. At one point I turned off the TV completely after being served the same ad at least 20 times in one day. Eventually I caved and signed up for the hulu plus subscription for $10 a month. The subscription gave me more episodes to watch but did not reduce the amount of ads I was served. Dissapointed, I canceled my subscription and moved on to something better.


I had used Netflix for two years before making this move but once I made the decision, Netflix became a bigger part of my media entertainment. First, I watched Netflix’s play instant movies and television shows using my computer. Then, Netflix released the play instant disk for the playstation 3 enabling their content to be played directly through the device. On the 18th of October 2010, Netflix upgraded this service to allow playstation owners access to their content without the need for a disk. They also added support for 1080p HD content, subtitles and alternate audio streams. This combined with their incredibly large library of movies and television shows available on demand puts them far ahead of hulu by a considerable margin. While Hulu and Netflix could fill in for most of my video entertainment, I found a better balance by supplementing them with videos from network websites and also with content from network websites like NBC and Comedy Central. I believe that with a little diligence and research, you too can cut the cable and watch television when and how you want it.

by Anthony Odufuye

art Getahun Assefa Balcha’s “Azmari of Arada” N oted Ethiopian artist Getahun Assefa Balcha demonstrates consummate versatility and accomplishment in a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture and mosaics and is nationally recognized not only for his public commissions, heroic sculptures and large scale mosaics in particular, but also for his easel paintings. As if that is not enough, Getahun is also a full time art instructor at Addis Ababa University, and can truly be considered a modern day Renaissance man.

Red Arada Now for the first time, American collectors will have the opportunity to experience and appreciate Getahun’s art in a series of paintings he calls “Azmari of Arada.” For those unfamiliar, Arada is a night-

Zero Gravity club district of Addis Ababa abounding with song, dance, culture and celebrations of life; a destination not unlike any such nexus of late night festivities and revelry in any major city anywhere in the world. Arada is particularly special, though, a place where free spirits roam and where Getahun’s blithe muses, known locally as “Azmari” — the flutists, harpists and poets one encounters during a night out in this colorful neighborhood brighten the lives of all who come into contact

Getahun sculpting Hawassa Heroe with them. Through the interpretive brilliance of this remarkable artist, you can almost hear their sweet sounding jazz as you lose yourself in the rich vivid colors and spontaneity of his paintings. Though at times some might question whether the Western world is sensitized to African art, this matter is certainly not at issue here.

“Azmari of Arada” is truly a universal representation of grace, beauty, culture and the finer things in life, and as such, transcends all nationalities and territorial borders.

“Azmari of Arada” is truly a universal representation of grace, beauty, culture and the finer things in life, and as such, transcends all nationalities and territorial borders. Without a doubt, everyone everywhere can appreciate the characteristics and qualities embodied in Getahun’s art, regardless of where they may live, work or play. It is certainly of little surprise that collectors of contemporary African art have already acknowledged this artist’s marvelous creative talents and abilities to materialize the true essence of art-- and now you can too. Yes, we all love and cherish our own concepts of Arada and look forward to those precious joyous moments that we spend there.

Hawassa Project unveiling ceremony

At only 43 years of age and with the majority of his career still ahead of him, Getahun’s considerable achievements have already positioned him among the most acclaimed of living East African Artists. The eternal permanence of his grand and glorious public monuments coupled with the vision and inspiration of his paintings has put him on a legendary path. Getahun Assefa Balcha’s story is one that is only beginning to unfold, and his contributions to African Art are certain to be appreciated for many generations to come.

by Alan Bamberger Wolayata Sodo Sculpture, Sodo Town

Getahun pictured with “Women with Flowers”


fashion So what’s HOT this Fall?? 50s/early 60s AKA Vintage Fashion (Thank You Mad Men). Think ponytails, silk scarves, Olá! Full skirts and longer hemlines, BOLD cardigans, gemstone jewelry, yes jeggings and leggings. This trend is TOTALLY BOSS!

FOR MEN: A great coat – Single or double breasted with brass button details and fitted waists.

Vintage Meet me in the Quad Skirt

by Mutheu Kiilu

Buy it here

Full Skirts: Below-the-knee circle skirts, cinched waists. Look for heavier fabrics such as wool blends for Fall. Shop Vintage looks at Military: For this look in 2010… Do Army Greens and Navy. Do Military Jackets:

These military jackets available from

I’m totally digging Jeffrey Campbell. A tad eccentric… may be but totally rockable! More on

The Wonderful World Of Boots And Booties!

- These Ones Need To Go On My Never Ending Wish List.

Aryn K. Military Jacket, $108.00 click here

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Guys - Don the Velvet. Dare to stand out. A full-on velvet suit too much for yah? Baby steps… try a velvet sports jacket or a velvet bow tie.

Suede MacAlister Boots $587.00 click here

PinkDuchess $45.00 click here Common Projects $587.00 click here

Juicy Couture Skyler Military Jacket, $298.00 click here

Moleskin Military Jakcet$178.00 click here

Velvet Ludlow Sportcoat $225.00 click here

Today I got my toenails painted by a girl who told me that if she could give my students a word of advice as they choose their paths, it would be to follow their hearts. I love this because it reminded me that even in this difficult and brutal world, people, women, still manage to follow their hearts. 

Alita's travels B

eing in Africa this summer helped me remember how I got on this fighting path in the first place. This is the first time in a long time that I have been able to sit and “chat African-style” with each of my girls. While I listen, I feel so much love that I fear my heart might burst.

Every day we ride our bikes into the schoolyard, sit under a big tree and discuss everything under the sun.  There is no rush, there is no place to be, and there is nothing else that matters at this moment.   They are all dying to play at any given second, yet sit patiently and cautiously curious.  I catch them in the corner of my eye during group discussions and secretly wink at them… they’ll shyly look down to the ground, and then laugh behind their hands.  Shyness is a game in itself, and the silent exchanges

when guards are down are the most precious moments of all. “Menses” was a hot topic this year, and we were relieved to clear up some serious confusion. Rashida heard a rumor that if have a really bad menses, blood will come out of your fingernails. Hamida told us that her cousin gets her menses when she sees blood of any kind, and Eunice heard that eating sugar during menses can cause insanity. We assured them all that the insanity is normal and it has nothing to do with sugar.   One minute we’re giggling over bizarre urban myths, and then the next minute the older girls are repeating sentences they’ve memorized out of sporadic college textbooks.  And then there are girls like Hubeida.   Hubeida is 13, petit and always wearing pink.  She passed by our meeting selling oranges last year; I

bought her out of stock and asked her to join the group after she sat hidden behind a tree, listening to every word she could catch. Hubeida is too young to take anything seriously, but she has made this group her home and she lights up when given a task; today she drew the human heart and it may as well have been a true depiction of what hers actually looks like… exploding with colorful splashes and specs of light, pounding off the page.  I’ll send you her picture and you’ll want to hug her from the other side of the world. I’ve been able to disappear from that world for almost a month now, and I feel just as alive and in love as I did the first time I stepped foot on this hot red soil. I’ve been able to reflect and ask myself what I can do at this point in my life to continue on a fulfilling and evolving path.  

This book affirmed my dream for these girls and my fight to keep this project alive.

Today I got my toenails painted by a girl who told me that if she could give my students a word of advice as they choose their paths, it would be to follow their hearts. I love this because it reminded me that even in this difficult and brutal world, people, women, still manage to follow their hearts.    Speaking of adventurous hearts, Julie has been a spectacular Ghana Mama, and friend. We are both at similar places in life and spend hours sitting on our gratefullyshady front porch, contemplating options, relationships, the challenges of humanitarian work… we’re both reading this book that has really shaken me to the core, called “Half the Sky.”  Holy shit.    Everyone on this needs to read this book.  It is indeed an “urgent….passionate…and compelling” wake up call of a book that reveals the horrors of life for women in countries plagued

with war, poverty, and shocking brutality. But, it is also about turning oppression into opportunity, through education. This book affirmed my dream for these girls and my fight to keep this project alive. I love this Hawaiian parable they note in the middle of the book: A man goes out on the beach and sees that it is covered with starfish that have washed up in the tide.  A little boy is walking along, picking them up and throwing them back into the water. “What are you doing son? The man asks. “You see how many starfish there are? You’ll never make a difference.” The boy paused thoughtfully, and picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean. “It sure made a difference to that one,” he said.   We’ll be saying our goodbyes today. We’ll play pin the kidney on the cuerpo, eat “wachey,” dance D’agomba style, present our girls

with awards and beautiful BFI necklaces (thank you Tia!)… then kiss our sweethearts goodbye for now. To all of you who have supported me and this project from the beginning…thank you. I can tell you with my heart and soul, it has all been so very worthwhile.   Love, love love, Alita   Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.   ~George Bernard Shaw

by Alita Watson

Inspiration is everywhere, sometimes it is in the form of an empowering conversation with another entrepreneurs, sometimes it comes in the form of another artist work and sometimes its just shows up when you need it.

nyandia kamawe N yandia Kamawe is an artist by profession. She has a fascination with many other art forms including painting, photography, paper crafting just to name a few.

Nyandia's formal journey in the arts started at the Creative Art Center in Nairobi where she acquired certification in calligraphy and lettering. She then attended Kenya Polytechnic in pursuit of a diploma in graphic design. She interned for Action Aid Kenya, and worked for Taptok as a graphic designer. She then made the decision to leave the country and pursue a degree in graphic design. She has is a graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta, and is now the owner of two successful ventures. For AIM this month, she lends her graphic design skills to assist with magazine cover design, and layout, and also takes time for an interview. AIM: Please tell us your full name and where you come from? Nyandia: My name is Nyandia Kamawe, and I am from Kenya. AIM: What are your fondest memories of Kenya? Nyandia: I have plenty of fond memories I cannot commit to just

one! But I would have to say family and food, and probably not in that order. Just kidding! AIM: What is/was the hardest adjustment to living far away from home? Nyandia: I would say the interpersonal relationships we took for granted at home were a luxury here where life tends to be isolating. I miss the interactions I had with friends and family a lot because they were very tangible and real. AIM: Tell us about your business, when you started, the name, the products etc Nyandia: I currently have two businesses. The first is NK Designs LLC which is my graphic design company. NK Designs provides various services in print, and web design. I do a lot of branding and identity work which I love the most because I get to help other entrepreneurs like

myself bring their vision to life. It is true when they say that you should find something that you would do for free because this is truly my calling. Am not saying call me for free work but... I also own 33seventee6, pronounced thirty three seventee six. It is an expression of African culture fused with contemporary pop culture. The designs can be worn with sneakers or dressed up, and paired with a stiletto. It is simple, comfort, creativity, and flexibility all in one. So far the response to this line has been very exciting, and I have to say I get a kick out of seeing people wearing the pieces and how differently they translate from person to person. AIM: What is your most unforgettable career milestone? Nyandia: I don't think I have had that experience yet. A lot of what I

The relationship with fearless weirdo is a unique one in the sense that my shirts will be customized specifically for this store so each piece from them will be one of a kind.

am experiencing as a new business owner is a milestone for me as an individual. AIM: Where do you draw inspiration from for your business? Nyandia: Inspiration is everywhere, sometimes it is in the form of an empowering conversation with another entrepreneur, sometimes it comes in the form of another artist work and sometimes its just shows up when you need it. AIM: What projects are you currently working on? Nyandia: Right now I am preparing for a fashion show in Atlanta, Georgia that will be in Nov. 13th, my third since launching my line. This fashion show is exciting for me as a brand because the purpose of the show is to give expoure to designers to watch in Atlanta and I am flattered to be on that list. This will also be the first show where we have men on the catwalk which is definitely exciting because the one thing I hear all the time is- what about the brothers? So now we are going to debut some mens pieces. Cultivating retail relationships, is at the front line right now with 33seventee6 having struck our first such relationship with a local boutique. Fearless Weirdo located in the little five points area of Atlanta is going to be the first location carrying our shirts.

I am also working on branding a wedding for an adorable couple and for them I am creating a custom stationery set consisting of invitations, save the dates, programs menus etc as well as their wedding monogram and website. You name it, I am doing it for this wedding and I am most thrilled with this one because I get do custom handmade pieces. This is new territory for me but my friends have always insisted that I give the wedding invitations a go since I always did it for friends but not as a business so who knows, maybe the next time we talk I will have a wedding branch to my business. AIM: If you had to pick your favorite African role model who would it be? Nyandia: What is with the picking! Well if I had to pick one, it would have to be Wangari Maathai. I love a courageous, culturally aware, and visionary woman. But again I find it hard to commit to just one person. There are some pretty amazing people in Africa and I could go on, and on this one.

The goal of this program is to heal, inspire and empower young children. We will use the arts as vehicle with which to do so, but in the meantime, there are other urgent needs within the community of children we serve so we are focussing on providing a place for the children to go to school have a meal and interact with other kids while participating in various recreational activities as well.

This initially started off as a small family venture but has now grown. The center is currently located in my childhood home which now serves as a school, and provides the grounds and space for the various extra curricular activities we AIM: What advice would you give offer varying from language arts to people who want to follow in like Japanese to sports like soccer. your foot steps? I also serve as a volunteer teacher Nyandia: Hmm...the best advice? for a life enrichment program here in First don't be a follower — so don't Atlanta where I teach paper crafts follow me. That being said I would specifically greeting card making. say; Go for it already! Pursue it with It is a program through which I get all you have, whatever 'it' is for you. to share my passion and time with very deserving women who seek AIM: What causes or issues are you to keep an active lifestyle. It is the passionate about? highlight of my week every week because when am around these Nyandia: I am deeply passionate women nothing else exists but art about the arts and children. (that and great conversation! sounds horribly corny, but I am). I am behind a social program in To view her work visit: Kenya known as Tujenge ( which initially started off as my senior project in college, and is slowly coming to life.

What is your AIM? Our AIM is to celebrate and share our differences. We publish a monthly magazine that highlights “Africans In Motion� i.e. Fellow Africans that are inspiring, driven and successful in their various fields. For more information please contact AIM Network Cell: 612-205-9828 Email:

AIM Magazine October 2010  

AIM Magazine October 2010

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