Issuu on Google+


COVER FEATURES VIVICA A. FOX On the impact of Dr. Bello, her career and the Africa of her dreams PAPE SAMB The global social entrepreneur ambassador

5 10

CAUSES SHAUN OLLISON Model, Radio Personality and Humanitarian 14 CALIXTHE BEYALA Writer and activist who uses her fame and knowledge to condemn the “Françafrique mafia” 17 EBBE BASSEY The choice of playing and writing movies with causes 24 NANCY BROWN Brings hope with hair through her non-profit organization44 CAROLE VENUTULO Music with cause 48

5

LEADERSHIP TONY ABULU The man behind the movie “Dr. Bello” CHRISTALLE DE LA BRUYERE From modeling to entrepreneurship GUGU NDLOVU The social entrepreneur called “The fixer” ELIZABETH TRAORE-ANDONY Entrepreneur, mother and founder of CMOLondon 

14

24

27

20 31 32 49

WORDS OF POWER SONY KABENGELE Africa is not under curse

27

INNOVATION & CULTURE

42 2

afrIMPACT

44

49

BERN COHEN His interest in multiculturalism was rewarded by working with Tony Abulu NENKA EZENWA Her fashion is the expression of the balance between Modern and traditional Africa MASON EWING The ”father” of Eryna Bella EVAN BRINKMAN 11 years old and a bright acting career future

22 34 37 42


AFRimpact

INSIDE...

Volume 1; No 2

EVAN BRINKMAN

SEPTEMBER 2013

Editorial

How Playing Sam Stein In The Movie Doctor Bello Has Changed Evan Brinkman

BERN COHEN

‘’Playing With African Stars In Doctor Bello Movie Makes Me Want To Be Part Of Many More African Movies’’

EBBE BASSEY

She Plays And Writes Movies For A Cause

VIVICA A. FOX

ON THE IMPACT OF TONY ABULU'S MOVIE ''DR. BELLO'', HER CAREER AND THE AFRICA OF HER DREAMS

PRESIDENT, PUBLISHER & EDITOR

Andy Kalala EDITORIAL BOARD / CONTRIBUTORS

 

EDITOR

Andy Kalala CONTRIBUTORS

 

UNITED STATES

Kalka Princess Momo MawissiMegni FRANCE & WEST INDIES

Annick Dodien Vancouvert CANADA MONTREAL

Labana EDMONTON

Arsene Muamba PHOTOS & VIDEOS

Pasky Kalambay  

For subscription:

go to: www.afrimpactmagazine.com call: 00-1-717-278-9718 or email: afrimpactmag@hotmail.com 

4

afrIMPACT

T

hough Africa is still shaken by confusions in Mali, troubles in Egypt and a slow and unspoken genocide [6, 000, 000 dead so far] in Eastern Congo, we are here again to celebrate the potential and talents of the architects of positive impact who are making Africa and the world shine like the lamb on the hilltop. Their paths were full of obstacles, but they held on to their vision and kept on working on it. Shaun Ollison -page 14- former Miss San Francisco and Miss California, model and Gillette Lewat face, Radio Personality, Christalle de la Bruyère, former model from French Guiana -page 31, and Carole Venutulo, singer from Guadeloupe -page 48- turned their careers into tools of contribution for a better world while Calixthe Beyala, Cameroonian-French writer and activist -page 17- and Ebbe Bassey, Nigerian-American -page 24 all held on to their voices to help people rise up for their rights. Sometimes, people don’t know who they are until someone opens their eyes. Pape Samb, Senegalese-American -page 10- a first non-American CEO of Phelps Stokes called the “Global Ambassador” and Gugu Ndlovu, South African social entrepreneur -page 32, called “The fixer” are just doing that. Nothing can stop you from walking in your vision’s steps. Mason Elong Ewing, blind and talented Cameroonian-French film-maker and designer -page 37, Nancy V. Brown, Spanish-American, page 44- and Elizabeth Traoré-Andony, congoleseGabonese-british entrepreneur, mother and founder of CMOLondon -page 49- held on to their vision to give hope

to others and make them keep on walking. To complete Tony Abulu – NigerianAmerican -page 20- who thinks that it is time to attract the international audience to Africa, Nenka Ezenwa, Nigerian-American Designer -page 34 expresses and paints well the “balance between the traditional and the modern Africa” through her fashion. One hand cannot climb the tree Africa needs friends too as well as other continents need Africa. Bern CohenAmerican actor and friend of Africa -page 22- said that “his interest in multiculturalism was rewarded by working with Tony Abulu”. And Evan Brinkman, American young actor [11 years old] -page 42- is happy to start his acting career with the A-list Hollywood and Nollywood actors. Vivica A. Fox, African-American, Hollywood star [you saw her in Soul food, Set it off, Independence day with Will Smith, Kill Bill…] -page 5- humbled herself and shared with Afrimpact Magazine the impact of the movie “Dr. Bello, her career and how she would like to see Africa. With all this said, you will conclude with Sony Kabengele-CongoleseBritish preacher -page 27- that Africa is not under curse. Let’s celebrate together their positive impact through their ideas, voices, writings, acts and always RISE.

Andy Kalala


c over Feature

By Andy Kalala

D

oes “Anjanetta” mean something to you? Of course it does. It is my middle name. Most people don’t know about it, but that’s why I put an “A” between my first and my last names:Vivica A. Fox. “Dr. Bello” is a first movie in which Nollywood and Hollywood stars are playing beside each other. What that means to you? I never got chance to work with my African brothers and sisters. So “Dr. Bello” is a beautiful thing that made it possible to sail across the waters to meet with our brothers and sisters in Africa. Seeing the African talent and culture and them seeing African-American talent and culture was an amazing experience for both of us. It is a beautiful marriage.

October 2013

5


Tell us a little bit about your role in this movie. I played Isaiah Washington’s wife in Dr. Bello who lost her child to cancer. And that hurt her feeling from losing a daughter and she began drowning her soul in a bottle. She was facing a lot of blame, so the huge crisis caused her marriage to end up by a break-up. What do you know about Africa and Nigeria where Nollywood is from? I’ve been to Nigeria several times to visit, so it’s not foreign to me at all. And I’ ve been in northern Africa when playing “Queen of Sheba” in the movie “King Solomon”. I worked in other parts of Africa such as Johannesburg and Cape Town [South Africa] . . . Is there a personality, a book, a movie . . .that made you see Africa differently today? When I did the story of Solomon, I loved the idea that the Queen of Sheba had her own country. And when asked to bow down she said “I can’t bow down because I have my own country and my son will be King”. I found that amazing. “Why do Fools fall in love” “Two can play that game” and “Soul food” made the star you are today. In 1996, “Independence Day” where you played beside Will Smith made you an international brand. What makes the difference here? I have learned so much from “Two can play that game” in terms of romance. It taught a lot as far as the dating game and in “Why do fools fall in love” my character was just so raw. However “Independence Day” was 800 million dollars worldwide 15 years ago, which back then was unbelievable. The movie was sold out 24 hours a day for 3 days. I started off with sitcoms and soaps operas such as “Out all Night”, “The Young and Restless” . . .So, to me, being in a film of that facture, it catapulted my career and took it to another level. And on top of that it helped me produce my own films and television shows. To people’s understanding “Why do fools fall in love” is number one. Now can you confirm this or otherwise name your top 5. People liked “Why do fools fall in love” because my character, Elizabeth, was just so raw. She had the good, bad and ugly. But, Gosh, now could you make me pick out of these movies that were all amazing! I’ve been so blessed to work with amazing people, but I will

6

afrIMPACT


give you my top 5: “Independence Day”, “Soul Food”, “Set it off”, “Two can play that game” and Kill Bill. NAACP Image Award, Prism Award as Best Actress in a Television Series “Drama”, Career Achievement Award, MTV Movie Award for best Kiss for “independence Day” with Will Smith, People Magazine’s fifty most beautiful people . . .How do you utilize this fame to impact your community and the World today? An award is beautiful when someone comes up to you and say “Hey, you did the best of this”. I want to make my fans look at movies played or produced by Vivica Fox as a quality work. It makes me proud to continue do my own projects but it shouldn’t define who you are. What makes an onscreen kiss a “Best Kiss of the year”? Because it was awesome! A lot of People did not realize that me and Will Smith in that scene we were both crying real tears. I enjoy kissing and Will Smith is a wonderful man and one of my favored co-star. He is a great artist and he has a great family . . . So the fact that we won “Best Kiss” was beautiful but unfortunately I wasn’t there; I was in Africa at the time making “King Solomon”. Then we see you Vivica A. Fox still on the top of the game doing Reality TV that seems to go for celebrities who are going out of show business. Why? Reality is dominating right now. That works for me. I absolutely understand people to what they are going through because I fall in love with some of the stuff they are going through. I host reality TV such as “Prank my mom”, “Jersylicious” . . .I am basically the Ashton Kutcher for moms. People are like: “I love the

8

afrIMPACT

show, how can I prank my mom?” There’s not really a “Why?”, it’s more of a “Why not?”. It’s just what people are doing now. There’s no lie that the public wants to see “reality”. Actress and Producer, how do you make all this happen? I got a wonderful team. I’m surrounded by a wonderful group of people; My manager, my assistant and my partners. We have been working together for over 20 years. We are working hard to make things better and we are always looking forward for new opportunities to extend the brand of Vivica A. Fox. Why are hair and shoes so important to you? Sometimes I get asked in twitter “When is you Hair line going to come here?”. We need to bring Vivica Fox network to Africa. Vivica Fox Hair collection has been around for 3-4 years now and it is doing fabulous. I am really glad to have my own hair line. And shoes? I am a true shoes lover. I simply love them. How do you relate your career as an actress, producer, TV Personality and entrepreneur to your social status today? I worked really hard to establish the brand of Vivica A. Fox socially. I’m just glad that people can accept what I have to offer. I am an actress, a producer, I have my own hair line, I produce my own TV Shows . . .The social status is just that people respect how hard I work. What is the Africa of your dream? I would like to see the corporations that are going to Africa contribute to building a stable economy and a nice environment instead of focusing only on diamond, gold, oil . . .I would like to see clean water, well fed people, and a protected environment.


A La Une

PAPE SAMB The youngest and first non-American President and Chief Executive Officer of Phelps Stokes, Pape Samb is a social entrepreneur focused on international development, who has over seventeen years of leadership experience in program and resource development, fundraising, partnership building, entrepreneurship, strategic planning, training and facilitation, global leadership, content management, and public speaking. Pape Samb, among many titles, played a key role in the design and development of the IFAD’s sponsored Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN), a network of 5,000 young leaders, entrepreneurs and farmers from more than 100 countries. By Andy Kalala

Y

ou are a social entrepreneur. How do you define that position? A social entrepreneur is somebody who sees society is a problem, an issue and I am trying to build a network and mobilize the resources to solve those problems. That’s how I see and that’s how I define a social entrepreneur. But in addition to that I see a social entrepreneur as somebody who cares to improve the work of local organizations, the work of local communities, to improve the work of the world or of the society as a whole and try to come up with solutions that will help them answer better or improve better the situation.

10

afrIMPACT


2

afrIMPACT

October 2013

11


So anyone doing some kind of job in social environment is a social entrepreneur? I think that everybody in this world is a social entrepreneur. It’s just that we have different levels of entrepreneurship. So, once people dedicate to each other to supporting local organizations, I think that they are doing the job of a social entrepreneur. The difference here is what people value, what social entrepreneur value; is it time, is it money, is it culture . . . My point is that the things you do locally can apply to things you do globally. In other words, you cannot be global without doing something locally. So, you might start somewhere but, the end goal is being global. People have to look at the fact that what they do in their country would affect people outside their country.

has been around for 100 years, an organization that fought a lot for African-Americans, for native people, for Latino people even for Caucasian people and now you have an African man who pretty much couldn’t know all American problems, even if I know some, is a real challenge. The main problem is people don’t understand each other because they don’t know each other well. What I do is to bring people together, so people should travel, people should be able to know people from different cultures, from different regions . . . once they do that, once they know each other, they will be able to understand each other, to collaborate each other and work together. And it’s very difficult for other people to invest the idea, so it’s very challenging for me.

You have to look at values and culture . . . Is that all the same for different countries and populations? Every country, every human being has different values, expectations . . . that’s how we learn and be able to bring the importance of working together to the attention of the people from these countries. We have to help people solve the challenges they face in this world. That’s what we do to work together as social experts and bring these values to the attention of the people.

The second challenge is my age. Being a very young man, I am still young compared to my predecessors and you have to learn a lot but be able to capitalize, I don’t know everything that has gone on in last 100 years because everything that I might be able to do may be a thing that was already done and that may be a challenge. I have to do a lot of researches, I have to go to the archives in New York, in DC, even in Africa and try to know a little bit better.

What are the ups and downs of working with different countries that have different understanding due to different values? What are the strategies . . .  Pretty much what we’re doing is help people do what they want. what we ‘re trying to do is to ask people what they want, what are their expectations . . . we ask them what they think we should, we ask them to identify their own problems, we ask them to come with their own solutions . . . our role pretty much is to facilitate those interactions, help them find more resources, help them find more expertise to help them figure out and resolve their own problems, help them mobilize more resources and develop partnership. Our approach is to follow people, nothing for them without them. So, beside being good listeners, we try to follow their directives and directions, we try to support their actions, we try to bring more resources and more partners from outside because we believe that local communities know their problems much better than anybody else. They have the solutions but they lack resources and expertise.

The third challenge is bringing people from different parts of the world to come around the idea of living globally. I care about America but also, I care about the world as a whole and try be able to take a vision of a continental focus to a global focus, to bring the world together. I see myself as a global supervisor.

You are a Chief Executive Officer for PHELPS STOKES, what are the challenges for a non-American to manage a 100 years American foundation? There are many challenges . . . Me being a non-American is the first challenge because an American foundation that

12

afrIMPACT

The Africa of tomorrow needs good and great leadership. How do you define the Africa of tomorrow? When Africans elect their leaders, it should not be a process of power, but it should be a process of being able to identify local problems, and be able to address the needs of people. Leaders should follow the demands of the people and allow them to have access to information, strong media…this would help people to know when their leaders are lying or telling the truth. Education is the key. How Africa benefits from your position as social entrepreneur? Africa is very dear to my heart. There is a lot of things I learn from outside Africa. What I learn from different countries, from traveling, from meeting other people is something I share with Africa. I want to bring more partnership to Africa. My position pretty much could be used as an African Ambassador. WASHINGTON DC / USA


C auses MODEL, RADIO PERSONALITY AND HUMANITARIAN By Andy Kalala

F

irst African-American woman to be crowned Miss San Francisco in 1998 and Miss California in 2000; what’s the impact of these titles on the young woman you are today? Greetings Afrimpact! And Many thanks for your interest in my work and journey as a model. Being crowned ‘Ms.’ has impacted my life greatly. I could not imagine any other path to be on. Being chosen to represent my City, and later my State is not only a great honor but provides one with the necessary confidence to take on the world and trust your own ability to dream bigger and accomplish more. This is the spirit that I keep with me always. As a Top Model, you worked with Chanel, Versace, Donna Karan, Alphadi, Betsy Johnson...You are a spokes model and an Ambassador for Gillette Leuwat and you are the official face of MGC Cosmetics. Do you have some time left for yourself and what do you do with the rest of that time? I absolutely love what I do. To be honest, being a model does provide a lot of “down time’’. I have been a professional model for over 10 years now. Many of those assignments did not take place in one week or one Month even. Versace, Betsy Johnson and Donna Karen were much earlier in my career. However, those large US fashion houses gave me the training for the International stage. MGC; I no longer represent; it was a 10 year contract that concluded in 2012. Gillette Leuwat Natural cosmetics Paris is very special to me because it’s not simply a job for me, Madame Leuwat is promoting a way of life and is educating members of

14

afrIMPACT

the diaspora, along the way. Being part of that type of movement is extremely fulfilling and enjoyable. Tell us about your experience as Journalist and how much do you like that job? I really enjoy journalism, both in editorial form and television. Speaking to and sharing with other artists who inspire me is priceless. I feel very fortunate to have been given such an outlet. As a model people look at you, judge you, and analyze your personality. As Journalist, you look at others, judge them and analyze their personalities. How do you manage between these two deep waters? I would hope that it adds a level of sensitivity to my writing because I do know both sides of the coin; so to speak – Because I am an artist or personality myself. I am very careful with the way I share someone’s story (artistry) with the public. I try to do more listening . . . than talking and allow the artist to paint their own picture for the audience. Although I try to be an avenue of which their story is being told/ shared, I do my best not to ‘sum up’ their life experiences but allow them to tell their own stories. You are one of those who use their life experiences to impact others; what triggered off that passion for humanitarian work in you? I feel that we are all part of the World community. It is our duty to leave this world better than we found it. My passion and understanding of this comes from


my Mother. She is a born humanitarian. She helps people on such a deep personal level and in many cases has impacted their lives greatly. She has been an amazing example for me. I feel very blessed to have the chance to live my dreams while at the same time I am able to express my compassion and love for others. You have been working in reconnecting African natives to the Diaspora. Why is Africa so important to you? I am Africa! All of us are. It is the blood of me and I feel that we could do much more together; United than apart. I try my best to ‘bridge the gap’ via my involvement in fashion, activism and, journalism. Sharing in our similarities is often times the best way to bring people together. If and when the Diaspora is ever Truly united. We will be unstoppable! You have been in 6 African Countries and you were Key Speaker during the 2007 African Union meetings. Since then did you see some positive change on how Africa is doing things politically? To be honest for a while, yes I did. As recent as the 2010 World cup in South Africa, I felt that the African community was shifting in a positive direction. The commitments made by African leaders during the ALR (African leadership retreat) during the games, were so empowering and unifying. The meeting was called “establishing the roadmap for Africa 2020’’. The impression that I took away was that everyone-individually-had a job to do in order to fill a collective commitment. Present day Africa in my opinion is Sad. It worries me with the various uprising throughout the North, the

brutal assignation of Colonel Gaddafi, the civil war and political unrest in Côte d’ivoire-A Country very dear to me-etc... However, Mama AFRICA is strong! With all or many of her children doing right by her, she will one day-soon-be restored to her great glory! I must continue believing and working in this manner. Describe us the Africa of your dreams. Beautiful, Rich, Healthy, and United. The beauty can be seen all around. It is my dream that it is maintained and celebrated without continued warfare and bloodshed. The richness is in the land. It is my dream for Africa to one day benefit off of its riches the way that the rest of the World does- and more so! I would like to see the Real end of the blood diamonds, and the ability for African leaders to conduct Fair trade. I dream of the day that the west no longer has the monopoly on African resources. (*which is currently taking place from previous Colonial powers). I want Africa to become a healthier nation. No one should be dying of starvation, malaria, or even AIDS in this day and age. We must establish a more sufficient medical regime throughout the Continent. I have said it many times throughout this interview but Africa and the Diaspora must not lose sight of the importance of Unity. A United Africa would benefit the whole World. We are a loving people. Full of wisdom, talents, and perseverance. We should encourage and celebrate one another. Work together, build business together, and support one other. This is my dream, my vision for AFRICA! PARIS / FRANCE

September 2013

15


C auses

W

hat is the difference between the “Françafrique” you disapprove and the “Francophonie” you defend? Listen! “Francophonie” was created by intellectuals who thought that it was good to have a state fund for communication between people who speak French language. It is first of all a place of culture’s level, a place of vulgarity that would allow “francophones” of the world to travel from one country to another…Technically on knowledge’s and color’s levels. It is a way of getting back to the popular “francophonie” that has nothing to do with Françafrique that is a mafia organized by nations, industries, immoral individuals…who have connections with African leaders… What is amazing with you is that you are not shy; do you think that it is one of the reasons why you were not elected to be General Secretary of “Francophonie”? Oh, yes, it is obvious that my candidacy scared all the “françafricains”. For the first time, all the big French corporations bosses were so scared that they bother themselves to travel to Paris and got together in order to go against my candidacy. They were scared because I would stop their manipulations, their plots. In nutshell, I would not tolerate that “Françafrique” lives…I realize that during their meetings, they adopt my thoughts, my projects, my writings but they don’t like me. My personality scares them and they don’t apply my projects. Today, you never hear about the francophone passport I proposed ten years ago. It is illogical! Normally, one can serve only two terms as secretary of “Francophonie”, but because they did not have another candidate ready to serve them, they reconducted Abdou Diouf. And this is the man who allowed the “Francophnie” summit to take place in a country [D.R.Congo] were human rights are not met, a country were elections were stolen a few months before….this is compromising and it is not my cup of tea. I can’t sell my soul to the devil. I live well my life as a writer; so I am not trying to make money with the “Francophonie” or defend others’ ideas but however I consider it as a platform to highlight the cultural aspect of friendship, of fraternity and mutual respect between francophone nations. Abdou Diouf is serving the needs of those who place him there. I am not corruptible. And everytime, they will have elections for the General Secretary of “Francophonie”, I will be a candidate. Do you think that Abdou Diouf has a free hand as General Secretary? He deserves to be there for the cause of the “françafricains”. He is doing good job for those who placed him there…they would kick him off October 2013

17


if he was not serving them. Abdou Diouf recognized the stolen elections, he closed his eyes on human rights violations, for the love of money, Abdou Diouf allowed the Islamic Kathar in “francophonie” . . . All this is far from the vision of the fathers of “francophonie”. A lot of people don’t know what “Françafrique” means. What is it representing really? A lot of people don’t know what it is. “Françafrique” is a club of French corporations and individuals who have “la main-mise” on African countries’ riches. They back wars and even some assassinations in Africa such as Sankara’s death in Burkina Fasso, the murders of great African leaders… The cultural Africa wakes up while the political one is sleeping. It looks like their success finds its impact in their collaboration. How the political cultural you are reads this state of facts? I always look critically at the way African politics is conducted today. The African politicians care about ideologues instead of taking care of their mission. African politicians are scared of intellectuals. They spend their time to make it hard on them, put them in prison, ill-treat them in order to make them dependent economically. That happens a lot to African journalists as many of them do what I would call “nutritional journalism”. Since there is no reconciliation between intellectuals and politicians, it will be difficult for Africa to succeed. The African youth of yesterday condemned the way the elders were doing things. Today they are walking on their steps. What is the reason for this? I think that we are still in transitional period. As we can see it, there is a light of hope and courage with the African youth. But what leaves me speechless is that those who lead Africa wore more to please the west even if they have to hunger

18

afrIMPACT

millions of their own people…But this adventure pleases the west and because of that, the current African leaders have no legacy to leave to history…To be a leader is not to please a neighbor, an adversary, a friend but first of all your people. I never saw people like this! However in the west, the major worry for leaders is their own people first. It is not the west fault but I think that African leaders have to change their behavior. The old Africa had impacted the world with pyramids, the reputation of the University of Alexandria in Egypt… Today, according to you, what is the positive impact Africa has on the world? It is not only positive because it depends on Africans’ will since we have riches that we don’t profit from. Let’s stop dreaming! Billions of Africa’s peoples need to rise as one man to build but with their behavior it looks difficult. Some hide themselves behind computers, others say “Misses Beyala, you must do this, and you must do that”. My question is “what do they do”? Their main worry does not have to be eating and sleeping. Africans don’t have the sacrifice mentality, they are scared of death despite the fact that you like it or not death is everyone’s way because one has to die one day of something… Describe us the Africa you are fighting for… I think that one has to be humble first and to my opinion every human being must do things on his level because human life is relatively short. And if in France, I can do something to rise the level of education, to see less and less of our children in the streets, to help them to be

conscious of their being and that they have fight to win every time, then I will be happy. With that said, I will be very happy if African peoples rise to defend their lands, their wives, their houses. I will be very happy if one day their countries will be counted in the nation’s concert and that they are respected as a force to the grandeur’s level of the African continent. For me, that means that African peoples have access to health care, education, food, water, electricity and that the human being must learn from the nature that if he has needs they have to be turned toward the people around you because life is a relation with the cosmos, a relation with your neighbor… What is your final word for the Africans and the world? Wake up and much courage! PARIS / FRANCE


QUEEN OF SHEBA BAR & RESTAURANT 4511 Baltimore Avenue Philadelphia, PA19143 Tel 215-382-2099 / Fax 215-382-1352 queenofsheba3@verizon.net www.queenofshebaphilly.com


L eadership

TONY ABULU By Andy Kalala

Entrepreneur and President of Nigerian Association of film makers, Tony Abulu brought Hollywood and Nollywood actors together in his movie “Dr. Bello” in order to seek more mainstream Afrocentric American / Caribbean, Continental African and European audience.

W

hat is the inspiration behind “Dr. Bello”, the movie that you wrote and produced? My inspiration for “Doctor Bello” was to produce a film that will introduce Africans to a wider global movie audience. What makes this movie an important project for you? The movie is important because i hope to achieve the above objective. The African film industry (Nollywood) is presently the only industry in Africa that has the potential to create job opportunities for Africa’s teeming youth. Accessing a more global distribution network is going to be the key to its survival. “Doctor Bello” seeks to open that door. Tell us a little bit about the audience you target with “Dr. Bello” compared to your other movies such as “Crazy like a Fox”...? “Crazy like a Fox” was targeted to a direct to DVD mainstrean innercity urban American audience, “Doctor Bello” seeks a more mainstream Afrocentric American/Caribbean, Continental African and European audience. You have been the publisher and editor of the worldrenowned black Ivory Magazine. Why Africa’s image matters so much for you? Africa’s image is important to me, because it translates directly to Africa’s economic and cultural survival. You brought American and African actors together for the first time when filming “Back to Africa”, what makes the difference working with this A-list cast and crew this time? A list Hollywood actors and Crew are more difficult to manage. They come with high standards expectation all around. Your team MUST be highly experienced to accommodate them. They are highly trained and professional. They will only accept the best quality standards. As a Nigerian-born living in the US, what are the crossroads of these two cultures in your movie “Dr. Bello”? The cultural cross roads in “Doctor Bello” are selfevident. It is America in all its high end expectations, meeting Africa on an equal and mutually respectable level.  NEW YORK / USA

20

afrIMPACT


I nnovation & Culture

BERN COHEN

By Andy Kalala

New York gangster in Mr. Obscure and God’s lawyer in Frank Vs. God in which he represents God in court when he is sued for letting a tornado destroy Mr. Frank’s house, Bern Cohen’s interest in multiculturalism was rewarded by working with Tony Abulu.

Y

ou come from an educational environment; you were a school principal for a long time which means you are very careful in choosing your roles in cinema. What made you accept the part in Doctor Bello? I feel that many Americans will be educated by this film and sensitized to traditional African culture. When I was a high school principal I was also President of The Association for Bilingual and Multicultural Education. It is important that media entertainment start acknowledging the international nature of entertainment and make crosscultural films with shared stories. This film pioneers in this regard. What is it like playing under the supervision of the writer and producer Tony Abulu? My first meeting with Tony was 90-minutes long at his Harlem office and we did not even look at the script for the first 75 minutes. From the initial meeting with Tony, I could see that he always is working on two levels, the surface and the depth. And, when you are acting a scene that he is directing, he is multicultural, telling you such things as “The African audience would appreciate it if you were more diabolical….” My interest in multiculturalism was rewarded by working with Tony. How did you get along with Hollywood stars such as Vivica A. Fox, Isaiah Washington, Jimmy Jean-Louis and Nollywood stars such as Ebbe Bassey, Genevieve Nnaji, Stephanie Okereke...? First-off, Ebbe was a hoot. We met at 7:30 in the early morning Harlem at the van taking us to location. She recognized me from some pictures

22

afrIMPACT

and approached me because we have a big scene together. We spent 30 minutes on the steps of Tony’s building rehearsing our scene. It was great fun. Isaiah has so much more experience than I, so I was a bit nervous when Tony asked us to rehearse our scenes alone, without Tony. BUT: Isaiah was so helpful to me, actually I’d say he was inspirational to me, offering suggestions to bring out more of the evil in my character without making the role into a cartoon. And, he was very funny on-set. Vivica was such a sweetheart. I first met her at Bello Team Dinner the night before the New York City shooting started. She was so “down-to-earth” and personal. She, Isaiah and the other Nollywood and Hollywood actors I met were all so much a part of a team without any diva attitudes. How much do you know about Nollywood (Nigerian movie industry), Nigeria and Africa? Because of my personal background, I’ve always been interested in Nollywood. I grew up in a NYC housing project in Manhattan and was the only white child in grades 4-6 in my elementary school. As such, I have had an interest in African nations since I was a child and most of my childhood friends were people of color. My son, a biologist, now travels to Nigeria and several other African nations, delivering medicines to very rural areas and training local clinics and dispensaries on pharmaceutical procedures. I would love to expand my film acting to include more Nollywood films, especially when they need the evil White guy or “authority

figure.” Maybe I’ll get to travel with my son to Nigeria to shoot another Nollywood success. Tell us about the Africa you never knew that the movie Doctor Bello helped you discover? Although I thought I knew about Africa, I was impressed with the love of tradition and traditional medicine in Africa. Knowing my son’s work to modernize African medicine, it was a surprise to see such a great interest in traditional curing. The movie production also helped me learn that Nollywood talent is worldclass. The performances of the Nollywood stars are just as professional and impact-oriented as the USA team’s performances. In my USA-chauvenism, I had


expected the African cast members to be over- dramatic and, perhaps, a bit melodramatic; but they were truly authentic. I also learned that many Africans are multicultural in and of themselves; meaning that most of the Nollywood people I met can flow freely between the modern Nigeria of digital filmmaking and the traditional

world of their parents and grandparents. Working on this movie came right after I filmed a New York gangster role for Mr. Obscure, and just before I shot Frank Vs. God in which I represent God in court when he is sued for letting a tornado destroy Mr. Frank’s house.

These two films are very American in character and theme. It was a wonderful and very different experience to work on Doctor Bello, a film with an international story and an international cast, reaching out with a thrilling plot to an international audience. NEW YORK / USA


C auses

She talks about her part in the movie “Dr. Bello” and her writing passion for the movies with cause

EBBE By Andy Kalala

W

hat part do you play in the movie Doctor Bello and why did you accept it? I played the part of Helen Obi, a nurse who orchestrates the meeting between Dr. Durant (Isaiah Washington) and the title character Dr. Bello (Jimmy Jean-Louis). I accepted that part because like all actors I needed the work . . . all jokes aside, I love portraying strong women characters. This was an opportunity to showcase the many Nigerian women who work in many hospitals in the United States as nurses and care givers in a positive light. It was a chance to portray a character in a film that shows Nigeria in a positive light as a possible mecca for alternative medicine. You believe that Art should educate. What’s the lesson you got from playing in this movie? Yes, I definitely believe that it is our mandate as artists to use our talents in projects to not only serve to entertain but to educate the audience as well. In working on Doctor Bello I learned that people really fear things that they don’t understand. In the film, a western educated doctor is asked to open his mind to the extraordinary, to step outside of the boundaries set by his upbringing and education to explore what to him is unusual. I reaffirmed what I’ve always known that money speaks loudly in many situations as the audience will see, the hospital bends over backwards to accommodate the young patient for one year because his parents make big donations to the hospital. How easy or difficult was it playing your part in Doctor Bello compared to the other roles you interpreted in Law & Order and NYPD? I have three important women in my life that are nurses so I have witnessed up close the intelligence, alertness, selfless sacrifices, the tiredness that accompanies the job so these women served as my research resources. And since I was working on a project with a director who is a friend with whom I had worked before so I felt safe to explore because he trusted my instincts and gave me a certain amount of liberty. NYPD Blues was my very first television acting project so I was a nervous wreck . . . I mean Dennis Franz was the biggest name on the biggest television at the time and I had a

24

afrIMPACT


BASSEY scene with him. Law & Order was not so difficult because those folks are the nicest bunch of people you will ever want to meet in the fast paced world of television production. Mariska Hargitay was so very sweet to me; I couldn’t believe how down to earth she was for being one of the highest paid women on television. She still remembers me whenever I have been able to get back on the show, she is the coolest lady.

form of keeping young girls and women oppressed . . . we don’t have to stand for it!

How far do you use your fame and knowledge to assist the victims of the mutilation practiced in some African countries? Fame . . . am I famous? I didn’t know that . . . news to me! As I continue on my journey in entertainment, I hope to continue using any platform I’m presented with to discuss this issue, especially since I seem to Born in the Bronx [USA] and raised in be asked this question due to people having Calabar [Nigeria], how do you manage to seen or heard of the film. For instance, the live within these two cultures? Art in Flux Harlem showed the film to EBBE BASSEY If I am to be completely honest with you, several artists recently who will use it as I think more like a Nigerian . . . an Efik woman . . . than I inspiration for their next projects . There are many other do as an American. My formative years were in Nigeria issues I am pressed to discuss such as vesico-vaginal where I lived from age 1.5 to 16. I find that it is much fistula (VVF), HIV/AIDS and senior citizens (the topic easier to assimilate into the American culture than it is of my next short film), immigrant abuse etc. My problem to imbibe the Nigerian culture which is filled with many, now is that I feel I don’t yet have that clout or the money many, many unspoken rules and nuances. So frankly, to do all that is in my heart to do . . . I am not Angelina in my life I tend to lean towards my Nigerian culture Jolie, I wish I had her resources in order to advocate more especially when I am considering any course of action for the women of Africa and the world. But on my very because in our culture unlike the American culture, small level, I will continue to do my very best though it one is not an individual. One is part of a unit and every isn’t nearly enough from my perspective. It always helps action one takes affects the rest of the family. I think my to know the right people behind you who believe in your upbringing in Nigeria has added amazing color to my goals and dreams, the right people who have the name if life in the States. you don’t or who have the money if you lack . . .  Female genital mutilation is one of the subjects you like to talk about. What makes you angry about this? My short film Siri Oko Fo (Mending Fences) touched on this subject matter . . . am I angry? I wouldn’t call myself “angry” that this exists, I would describe myself as aware. I think that anger is a weak response . . . a wasted emotion while awareness leads to action. I do believe that this is an injustice to young girls and women all over Africa and the Middle East so therefore with my film I hoped to bring about awareness to this blight on the face of our civilization. I could have been put through that ordeal had my grandmother had her way but for my father who put his foot down. It isn’t every young child of African or Middle Eastern descent who has a father like me who championed my right to not have my sexuality tampered with. So if I can use this film to stop at least one incident, I consider my job done. These acts are another

Describe us the Africa of your dreams... The Africa of my dream is truly free and democratic. The Africa of my dreams has selfless, visionary leaders with the heart to truly serve the people. The Africa of my dreams has countries where the citizens enjoy basic needs such as good roads, electricity, uninterrupted quality affordable education, social services for the elderly, homeless, mentally ill, abuse victims and orphans, hospitals where the Hippocratic code is truly respected and enforced, an environment where people feel safe from harm from their fellow citizens, the police and the military. I want to see an Africa with a justice system where the rich do not buy their way out of jail and due process exists. I dream of an Africa that lives up to its true socio-economic and political potential. We are a great people and I know that we are capable of much more than what we have today.  NEW YORK / USA

October 2013

25


W ords of power

P

astor, can you tell me where came the idea of people relating Africa to Ham, Noah’s third son? There’s no scripture that says that. It is simply a pure bad interpretation of the word of God. When we look at what is happening in Africa such as wars, dictatorship system...can we say that Africa is under curse? Africa is not cursed by God as many think. The Africa’s real problem is leadership’s one. Mouth is between two ears so that before talking or making good decision, a real leader has to listen from both ears, which means from his friends as well as from his enemies, from his advisors as well as from the other parties, from his people and above all from God. African leaders miss that part. How can Africa be cursed with all the resources she has. Is it not a blessing to have such a rich soil? Many believe however that the curse came from God through Noah when he cursed his son Ham... The curse people are talking about here happened when Noah’s third son Ham saw his father’s nakedness. Noah was drunk and was sleeping undressed. Ham talked to his brothers who reported that to Noah. Noah called all his three children: shem, Japheth and Ham. But what people don’t realize is that when came the moment to curse, Noah cursed his grand-son Canaan. Genesis, chapter 9, verse 18 to 27 says it better: “The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. [Ham was the father of Canaan.] These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the earth. Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became

drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said, Cursed be Canaan!’’. Wait a minute, but why Noah cursed his grand-son who had nothing to do with the situation? That is good question! There’s a lot to say here, but I can just tell you that the two sons who walked backward to cover their father’s nakedness represent the law and the prophets while the cloth they covered their father with represents the veil that was cut in two pieces when Jesus-Christ died on Golgotha. Remember, when that veil was cut the truth was no more prophets’ secret only; it became everybody’s as it was revealed to the world. The word of God says that Canaan who did nothing did not complain. He didn’t justify himself, he didn’t defend himself, he didn’t proclaim his innocence; Canaan stayed calm. He took the curse upon him. Why? Because what we get from all this is Jesus-Christ’s image. Falsely accused, dragged to the cross of Golgotha by those he was dying for, the curse of the all humanity fell on him. He didn’t complain, he didn’t justify himself. He took the curse of the world upon him. This is clear in Isaiah Chapter 53, verse 7: “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.’’ BIRMINGHAM / UNITED KINGDOM

October 2013

27


STEVE'S AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGY 1027 DILLERVILLE ROAD # 16, LANCASTER, PA 17603

PA SAFETY / EMISSION INSPECTION & GENERAL REPAIRS

ALL MAKES & MODELS

TEL: 717-33O-0041


L eadership

CHRISTALLE DE LA BRUYERE From French Guiana, Top Model, former muse for Paris great designers, international make-up artist, beauty coach, cosmetics face, Christalle de la Bruyère embraces successfully luxury beauty career [Paris, Monaco, Saint-Tropez and the world]. Founder and President of CDLB [An image consultant Agency], Christalle de la Bruyère is also a founder of the brand “Tralalaparis”; an online shop on www.tralalaparis.com By Annick Dodien Vancouvert

W

hat a path since you left the fashion parades! This path seems too far to me now because I needed to take another one.

How did you go from modeling to beauty career? To transition from modeling to beauty wasn’t a problem for me because after College, I chose to do a B.T.S in cosmetics-beauty and went to make-up School. Independent and Open-minded person, I was already a beautician and make-up artist before being a model. So, it is naturally understandable that after my beautiful international modeling career, I had to coach myself in beauty, in make-up and as an image consultant. What is the state of “Tralalaparis’’ since you started it up a year ago? The state of Tralalaparis is positive even though nothing is established yet as the work continues. I stay vigilant and introduce every month new products to my customers worldwide. There’s a huge work of communication here and there. It pays off. What’s the secret of your success? There’s no success without hard work. I don’t like this word. It’s like a sword over the head. Hard work produces success. Hard work is like a jealous lover who leaves no space to nothing else. It demands the spirit of sacrifices and deprivation. While others are having fun, I am either working or traveling. I chose to live this way because I get bored quickly. It’s not up to me to tell if I am successful or not. I don’t ask myself that question. What are your projects for this year? A TV Channel is proposing me to host a beauty program, Image coaching... What’s your final word? Don’t try to become a successful man; try to become a man of values [Albert Einstein] PARIS / FRANCE

October 2013

31


L eadership

GUGU NDLOVU

As a young south african social entrepreneur, her vision is “a person is a person because of the other people around him / her”

A

s a social entrepreneur, your adventure started with GUYZ, which stands for Gugu Uniting Youth in Zululand. Tell us more about it. GUYZ Models & Productions was the first entertainment and media company in South Africa to have six com­ ponents/divisions under one roof. These six divisions complemented each other and they were: Artiste Manage­ ment, TV Productions, Fashion, Image Consulting, Magazine and Music. My purpose with GUYZ was to create a platform for newcomers in the entertainment and media industry to showcase their looks and talents through modeling, acting, and music; while at the same time I provide advertisers, producers and directors with well-groomed artistes for their projects. GUYZ allowed me the opportunity to be the first director in South Africa to produce a straight-to-dvd film with my project U-Sthandwa (The Loved One); and this was the first project to use all new actors in the whole cast of the film. It was through GUYZ that I was able to create my own clothing label, G*Fly, to give

models an opportunity to showcase their talents. When I created the online magazine I wanted to honour the role models in South Africa who are inspirational in the media and entertainment industry of South Africa. My main focus with GUYZ was the youth especially from the rural areas in KwaZulu-Natal but as the company grew I ended up having artistes from different provinces of South Africa. How can you take a break from GUYZ that was doing so good to go back to school? GUYZ made me learn more about challenges that youth face which most of those challenges are not visible through the media. The pressure they (youth) find themselves under, which for some becomes too much and lead them to substance abuse. I witnessed some of my artistes I was managing wanting to see results overnight, not strong enough to exercise patience. As much as I had a good understand of their behavior from an educator’s point of view, I felt that I needed more knowledge not just to understand them but to be able to come up with practical strategies that will help them cope. I could have chosen any other course but I chose BA in Health Sciences and Social Services and decided to specialize in Psychological Counseling because after doing my research I discovered that it was this course that would help me achieve my goal of assisting with emotional struggles that youth and people in general in media are experiencing. My goal was to become a special psychologist within the entertainment industry. Since I have the background as a teacher I decided that it is at school that I can be more exposed to the youth in numbers. When I shared my plans with my profit share partners, with an idea to let one of them continue running GUYZ in my absence, they doubted that I could finish my degree in less than four years and also felt that GUYZ was not going to survive without my full attention. To me four years did not seem too big but since they had invested in the company I had to respect their decisions which meant sharing the profit and me going back to school with a hope of coming back more wiser and ready to make bigger difference in the lives of the community. You are currently MD of your new business called VMC. What this stands for and what is its purpose? VMC is a legacy for my kids. These initials are taken from the middle names of my kids which V stands for Vanessa my first daughter, M stands for Moses Jnr, my

32

afrIMPACT


son and C stands for Charlize, my second daughter. With VMC I bring the activities I was doing under GUYZ which is Media Center of VMC includes film productions; and I am also able to provide the practical strategies I went to school to study for. I am able to empower through motivational talks and workshop, have a one-onone with clients and assist them in turning their lives for the better, provide them with practical strategies which will help them achieve more. I have a better understanding of people, their behavior and the different challenges they face but the good thing is that studying psychology has helped me to come up with solutions which is why most people call me The Fixer. I am a consultant not only in the media and entertainment but I am now able to assist small businesses turn around, I work with NGOs in making sure that their projects especially youth projects are effective and also sustainable because I provide skills; I assist with public relations and communication for companies and individuals at the same time help my clients to create the image they want. From GUYZ to VMC it has always been some kind of connection with people. Why this passion for community? I grew up in the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal and I learnt very early that “umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu� which means a person is a person because of the other people around him/her. It is in our culture to help others and growing up without a father and a mother who worked very far as a domestic worker, I had my grandmother to look after our extended family. I remember the days where we would go to our neighbors to borrow sugar and salt sometimes. My education was paid for by my aunt. These things made me love people with passion. I believe I was born to make a difference because in my village I was always among the first people to learn new things and I would call the kids from the neighbours and teach them, for example new dance moves. I was again very lucky to work for an organization that was passionate about the wellbeing of the community and their work was in rural areas, which connected me to people even more. What did you learn from your work experience with Africare that helps you change peoples’ lives today? Part of my duties at Africare was public relations which meant writing about the success stories of the projects that Africare has implemented in the community. In order for me to produce the facts I had to visit the project sites before the implementation and after; and also talk to the beneficiaries. The appreciation they expressed and the visible change that the projects made would bring tears in my eyes but at the same time made me realize that help will never be enough. As part of the team developing the proposals we always discussed and strategized the sustainability which taught me that you can not always give people fish but rather teach them to fish so that even when you are no more there, they can still survive. This knowledge has taught me that liberation of the minds is more important than any other because it is the liberation of the mind that leads to liberation of economy which will eventually lead to other achievements; and psychology has emphasized this for me and gave me knowledge on how to do that. KWAZULU-NATAL / SOUTH AFRICA

October 2013

33


I nnovation & Culture

Nenka Ezenwa Africa is modern yet traditional, flamboyant yet understated; always striking a balance of moving forward while holding on to its roots at the same time — Nenka Ezenwa

W

hen did you discover your love and passion for fashion? Ever since I was a little kid, I have always been intrigued by style and presentation from fashion and handwriting to restaurant menus, cars and hotel interiors. How do you make Africa present and visible in your designs? By showcasing its juxtaposition – Africa is modern yet traditional, flamboyant yet understated; always striking a balance of moving forward while holding on to its roots at the same time. We strive to capture this essence in our designs through color, pattern, fabric and style. How would you dress an African and a non-African woman today in order to make Africa present in them? Due to the internet, immigration, mental emancipation and more, women are becoming increasingly exposed to a number of cultures, fashions and styles and so I think the delineation between African vs. non-African women in terms of dress is becoming blurry. Our goal is to dress any woman in an African vein by conveying the part of Africa that highly resonates with how the woman wishes to convey her style – be it through our coral tech clutch with a white dashiki and jeans or a kanga wrap over our akwa ocha white hand loomed

34

afrIMPACT

mermaid dress and touareg jewelry. How do you make your designs acceptable to the non-Africans? I think everyone appreciates high quality, functionality and ranging levels of modernity, which we strive to provide. What do bags mean to you as a fashion designer and as a woman? Africans have had a long history of bags dating as far back as when traditional medicine men would store herbs and other remedies in sacs. We’ve come a long way since then of course. Today, if clothes are the tablecloth, then bags are the centerpiece! Bags have gone from being simply utilitarian pieces of fabric used to efficiently carry knick knacks and are currently emblematic of a woman’s style and class. You bags are made of African materials only. Is it just a trend or are you trying to send a message? It’s a clear message – Yes, we can and we must. We must use our resources to create economic opportunities for ourselves, others and generations to come. How do Africans and the world embrace your fashion designs? I love the word ‘embrace’ – it’s so warm and welcoming and captures the essence of

Aphropolitan’s experience thus far. It has been a big global hug. Our “museum dress” was on display at the National Museum of Women in the Arts and attracted a lot of attention. Our backpacks serve as a great souvenir for those that have taken a journey to West Africa while our cosmetic bags evoke the romantic pinks found at Lake Retba in Senegal. Upon visiting your website, one would wonder “What do books have to do with fashion”? Tell us about this book section of your website. www.aphropolitan.com is more than just a fashion destination; it’s a celebration of African lifestyle and culture – clothes, comforters, writing and naturally knowledge via books. What’s your personal understanding of the “Aphropolitan” and how would you like to see Africa in the next five years? Aphropolitan is a parfait of African modernity and tradition and captures what Africa is today and should be in years to come. In the next five years, I would LOVE to see Africa as the number one destination for financial investors (versus charitable contributors) and as a beacon to the world of progress and positive change. WASHINGTON / USA


I nnovation & Culture

Mason Elong Ewing;

“FATHER” OF THE SERIES ERYNA BELLA Cameroonian by his mother’s side and American by his father’s, Mason Cyrille Elong Ewing, 30 years old, is a blind designer and audiovisual producer. His mother, Marie Francesca Elong died when he was 3 years old. At age 6, Mason left Cameroon for France where he lived under his aunt’s and uncle’s supervision.

H

e became his tutors’ victim. He reported the facts of physical abuse to the police. To them, it sounded like tittle-tattle of a capricious child. It stayed that way until “One day, I fell in coma and stayed in hospital for three months and three weeks. I went through three head surgeries. I even almost died! It was a miracle when the machines that stopped helping me hold onto life started working again. At the hospital they called me lucky person”. He was alive but he lost his sight because of the chili sauce put in his eyes as punishment by his tutors. Placed at DASS [State Services], he became victim of sexual harassment from a nurse’s aide. He complained but neither the State nor the judges listen to him. He lost for the second time against the society craziness. However his talents saved him. Fashion and cinema are his great passions. He started drawing and designing and one of his wedding gown called “Marie Antoinette” was worn by Miss France 2007; Rachel Legrain Trapani. People noticed him. His talent won him the confidence of Frederic Mitterrand, French Minister of Culture and Arts by the time, Brigitte Bardot, the retired French actress, Emanuel Petit, former professional soccer player, Olivier Lapidus, fashion designer Ted Lapidus’s son and Renato Salvatori, young comedian and grand-son of French actors Renato Salvatori and Annie Girardo.

In 2012, Mason Ewing realized one of his big dreams; he moved to the US. Los Angeles was his destination. That is where a big idea he started caressing while in France got real. He started working on a teen drama TV series called Eryna Bella. The series talk about high school beauty queens competing for the attention of the campus alpha male. A must see. He is in negotiations with two African TV Channels and one European. Mason may lack physical vision but not the insight vision. He got purpose in life and he knows it. He is blind but he has an open mind’s eye and a great talent. A catching story, great actors and beautiful images packed in “Eryna Bella Series” and signed “Mason Elong Ewing” are coming to the small screen soon! LOS ANGELES / USA

“They believed in me. My purpose is to showcase that blindness is not the end of the road. You can be blind and still get talent. Blindness does not have to prevent us from doing magnificent things” he said. Magnificent things don’t deal only with fashion area. He did not forget the images of great Hollywood guys such as Clint Eastwood, Whoopi Goldberg, Woody Allen, Will Smith...“To me they are the greatest. They are the masters” he said. The love of cinema made him create an audiovisual department of TV series production & Feature films called “Les Entreprises Ewing” / Ewing Corporation”. He started with a TV series called “Mickey Boom”.

October 2013

37


I nnovation & Culture

Y Evan Brinkman as Sam Stein in Dr. Bello

ou are playing a significant role in the movie “Dr. Bello’’. How did you get that part? I have been modeling and acting since I was five years old. In December 2011, the movie role for Doctor Bello was advertised on Backstage.com. It was a casting call for the role of a 7-8 year old boy in a feature film. I was nine years old but I have always been small for my age. My mom submitted my headshots and resume, despite the fact we lived in Florida and the filming was going to be in New York City. My mom corresponded with Tony Abulu several more times with additional submissions of pictures and a video audition. On December 30, 2011 Mr. Abulu informed us that I would play the role of Sam Stein. I felt like it was a dream, especially when we learned about all the wonderful actors and crew that would be involved in the filming of Doctor Bello.

By Andy Kalala

What attracted you to play this part? Sam Stein is a fun- loving and mischievous boy. He is very social and likes to tease with people in a playful way. I am a lot like Sam’s personality. I don’t have any experience though with the fact that Sam is extremely ill and dying of a brain tumor. I feel very bad for any child that is sick and what their family goes through. Sam Stein is a courageous boy that wants to live every day to fullest, like in the opening scene of Doctor Bello with Sam running around Central Park and touching the flowers. How much did you know about the writer and producer Tony Abulu before playing in the movie? When my mom was corresponding with Mr. Abulu about me playing the role of Sam, we Googled Mr. Abulu’s name. We learned that Tony Abulu has over 30 years of experience in the film industry and is the President of the Filmakers Association of Nigeria, USA. We had never heard the term “Nollywood” before the movie Doctor Bello. Tell us about your experience after playing beside Hollywood and Nollywood stars? It is still like a dream to me. I met so many fun and nice people. The actors from both Hollywood and Nollywood really focused on their dialogue and scenes. They were so professional and I really admire them. Also, the crew was so kind and gave a lot of attention to every detail of the filming. How do you see Africa artistically today after playing beside African actors such as Ebbe Bassey? Wow, how lucky I was to have begun my movie career with Ebbe Bassey and the other Nollywood Stars. I am really impressed and I can’t wait to see more movies from these talented Nollywood actors. I hope a lot of people will see Doctor Bello so they can enjoy and appreciate the dedication from the Nollywood film industry, especially Tony Abulu.

42

FLORIDA / USA

afrIMPACT


C auses

Nancy V. Brown A

s a Hairstylist and entrepreneur, tell us about your passion for hair and how did you turn it into business? I love doing hair. I used to draw when I was young and as far as I can remember, I have always been artistic. I believe that when you are styling, you are creating. We are able to do a lot with our hair since it is the platform and the expression of our hair beauty. So, I turned my passion into business by doing what I love in order to make other people happy. As a hair expert, how do you define bad and good hair? There is no such thing as bad hair. However, there are so much different types of hair that we can style by doing hair extension, weaves for people who have hair loss…To protect our hair we use conditions, moisturizer…So it is all about technics! How do you use your love for hair, fashion and art to give back to your community today? Hearing some of my clients telling their stories, I realize that some people have real medical issues such as cancer, leukemia…I then made a vow that I would give back the best way that I know; which is through my non-profit organization. I volunteer to hospitals and donate services…I have noticed that people with cancer and leukemia really have tough time. Their hair fall because of the strong chemotherapy treatment and some of them, mostly young women are affected by change. So, I am trying to Continued on page 54

44

afrIMPACT

SHE TURNED HER PASSION FOR HAIR INTO BUSINESS THAT HELPS THE COMMUNITY TODAY


HARRISBURG AUTO CENTER, INC 2325 Herr Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17103

www.harrisburgautocenter.com hbgac@comcast.net Your One Stop Automotive Superstore Auto Sales-General Repairs-Body & Paint Work-State Inspection

Buy Here, Pay Here and get help to ship to Africa Mercedes, Lexus, Infinity, Jaguar, Audi, BMW

TEL: 717-234-1000 / 717-234-9700 FAX:717-236-3394


C auses

Carole Venutulo

With her great voice, Carole Venutulo, exceptional Lyrical singer from Guadeloupe, i Carole! Introduce yourself to Afrimpact Magazine’s takes us with readers who are discovering you... A woman from Guadeloupe with a real passion for opera humility in her and who is been fighting for 20 years to democratize the lyrical song in Guadeloupe. She dedicated her voice to serve great humanitarian extra-ordinary causes [carolevenutulo.com]. My credos: “There’s neither great nor small music, there’s only “MUSIC’’. Love is the key for everything. successful path. Since when are you engaged in this beautiful adventure?

H

By Annick Dodien Vancouvert

I started taking singing courses when I was 10 years old and, soon it’s going to be 30 years since I fell in love with opera! I went on stage for the first time when I was 16 and since then, I never stopped performing new shows that I consider as a real bridge between cultures allowing opera to meet with other types of music such as the gwo-ka, jazz, gospels...

As successful as you are today, do you still have ambitions and projects in sight? My head is full of concepts. Every year I bring new things to the public. For instance, for the main concerts in 2007, the theme was “OPERA SOLEIL’’, in 2010 it was “NUIT LYRIQUE’’, in 2011 it was “L’OPERA-KA’’ and in 2013 it’s going to be “LE CHANT DES ORGUES’’ where organs and voice will be in honor. It’s a fascinating non-stop journey that I share with many people. Is it your ambition to make lyrical music progress? I am amazed to see the progress I have been making on the field for many years. It made various audience to grow. The public has to feel absolutely comfortable to go to opera’s concerts the same way they do for the so called “popular music’’. Let’s don’t forget it; the opera was born in public place. How do you exercise your voice? I do singing exercise every day, I listen to prima donnas and when I learn or work on a piece, I record myself in order to better improve my performance. It’s a global life’s hygiene that helps maintain a voice. How do you impact your community with your success? There was a generation of young men who used to come to the concerts on “LYRIKADO’’ era and for whom vocations were born. Today, they continue with their professional career overseas. What matters here is not to see the fruit of your work right now, but to make sure that what you have sowed will come out soon or later! Who do you want to thank particularly? In the course of 20 years, I met with kind people who helped me in my cultural initiatives. The list would be long but they know who they are [my family, institutions, media...]. May Grace always be with us! GUADELOUPE

48

afrIMPACT


L eadership

A

h t e b a z i l E y n o d n -A Traore

s founder of CMOLondon, tell us a little bit about this organization’s role in your community and in the CEMAC Region? CMOLondon Business Services is an organization that I founded in 2009. It is a “Club of ideas” composed of British politicians, businessmen, teachers / professors and anyone who has interest in CEMAC Region and is able to discuss, share, debate about the region. This organization is also made of consultants in political communication, geopolitics, strategies and political lobby targeting CEMAC Countries.

Our main objectives are to make many interests for Central Africa, to make its image credible by emphasizing its positive aspects in order to take away this cliché that people have about Africa, and finally to be able to attract investments. With this end in view, we organize conferences in London to inform anyone who is interested as well as the future potential investors about the development of Africa. We make it possible for them to meet with European companies’ representatives established in the region and also to share about business’ opportunities with experts, clients or partners. CMOLondon’s chief concern is to position herself as ambassador for CEMAC Countries values in Great Britain and to play the role of middleman between Countries and investors. The last but not least, she puts countries and people in touch with each other and makes a regular follow-up over its development’s implementation. What kind of relationship does CMOLondon have with Central Africa’s countries that compose CEMAC? We have requested the support of ministries of culture and tourism, of information, of economy, of economic development and investments and of foreign affairs as well as the assistance from great companies. Up to this day,

and E n tr e p re n e u r, m o th e r on, fo u n d e r o f C M O Lo n d n y d re a m s o d n -A ré o a Tr th e b a z E li a w h e re ic fr A c ti ra c o m e d a f o out b a e id c e d to le b a c it iz e n s a re y. th e ir c o u n tr ie s’ d e st in October 2013

49


50

afrIMPACT


Augustin Nze Nfumu, Equatorial Guinea minister of information and godfather of CMOLondon Edition 2011 as well as Gabriel Mbega Obiang Lima, Guinea Equatorial President’s son and minister of mines, industry and energy support us by taking part in conferences. We also get the support of Equatorial Guinea Embassy in London, the prestigious Grand Connaught rooms in London, the Associations such as Eliminate; member of the world foundation Kiwanis and companies such as Oxford Business Group... The positive government’s management of CEMAC Region Countries will make the success of CMOLondon? Is that the case here? Like everywhere there are bad students, but the region is making efforts. It made substantial progress in some sectors. Kofi Anan said: “There is no development without security and, there is neither development nor security without respect of human rights. Unless all those causes are put together, there will be no progress”. It was proved that there is a direct relationship between the dependency over some resources’ income, the risk that government’s system lacks charges towards local population and the risk of violent conflicts. In connection with this observation, I can allow myself to think that rich countries have a responsibility toward our people who in their turn have to make profound modifications in their roles and functions. Up until now, all that happened was not necessarily compatible with development’s challenges that our countries were facing and I would say that sometimes, it is not in line with their realizations. What strategies do you use to help these countries to “create” a confident environment that would encourage the investors? We remind governments that peace and security create a good atmosphere for the foreign investors to contribute to the good development of the natives. By organizing conferences, we emphasize necessary reforms in fields such as environment’s protection, economic and social domains. Moreover, CMOLondon plays an essential role in sharing and promoting information because the media articles most of the time present a simplified vision of the situation. With all these wars here and there and democracy denied, what is your secret to attract investors towards Africa? I can only speak about Countries that are members and have knowledge about lasting peace and investments. Though a large part of Africa is plunged into non-ending

and successive wars that have ravaged a large part of countries of great lakes causing some of them vulnerable in terms of proximities between them – Congo-Brazza and Congo-Kinshasa, Cameroon-Nigeria or Chad and Bangui with DRC etc . . . Many efforts were made to reinforce institutions: Justice Court, inter-parliamentary commission . . . However, because of the weakness in the implementation of decisions and the delay in practice of community projects, the state of affairs seems controversial. Describe us the Africa you disapprove... The Africa that I disapprove is an Africa with weak institutions where the youth is the victim. The governments invest more less in infrastructures such as roads, schools and hospitals, undoubtedly because Development’s Agencies and other investors don’t think that it would be appropriate places to invest. It is disappointing to see that women who are the spinal column of our continent continue to be victims of rape and mutilation. Our women and young girls are most of the time marginalized despite their dominating role in African Society. How do you see the Africa of your dreams and tell us about the projects you have for her? I see an emancipated, prosperous and capable Africa with strong institutions to guarantee free expression. I see an Africa without complexes and proud of what she represents fundamentally: the human cradle. I see a conscious and responsible Africa. I see Africa where it’s nice to live and where riches are fairly shared. My essential duty is to make African women and particularly the women of CEMAC’s Zone visible. “To educate a woman is educating a nation”. There are so many disparities in our countries that they become unbearable to contain. For example: There is an immense gap between a woman living in Capital and the one living in rural zone. Most of the poor populations live in the rural zones and, they are neglected or ignored. That’s why we want to collect funds, school supplies in order to build schools and to help them learn with appropriate tools. Furthermore, we want to get them microcredit in order to promote their autonomy. These types of low cost investments would be very effective in preventing catastrophes or crises. That is real in countries that are victims of climate change. I want these populations to be well equipped and be able to stand all types of daily vicissitudes. In nutshell, I dream of democratic Africa where citizens are able to decide about their countries’ destiny. LONDON / UNITED KINGDOM

October 2013

51


Continued from page 44 give them confidence by giving them new hair. Tell us a little bit about your work in Africa? I am excited to work with Alice Power who travels a lot to Ghana and South Africa and who knows what the needs are. We have been talking about education basics and we are planning to go down there at the beginning of the year. We try to see how we can educate entrepreneurs on technics. I love to go down there to research, talk about education aspects, be part of different technics and be part of different programs with different organizations. Plus, I have a lot of friends from Africa; I love African food and culture. I am really excited and look forward to this opportunity.

54

afrIMPACT

How do you define success? I define success as doing and enjoying what you love, seeing your goals and being happy of them. MASSACHUSETTS / USA


October 2013

55



Afrimpact