August 20, 2016

AN EVENT FOR AFRICAN WOMEN LEADERS


2ND AFRICA WOMEN INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP FORUM (AWIEF)


Under the theme “Accelerating women’s economic empowerment in Africa’s best interest", the 2nd edition of the premier Africa Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) will once again gather, from across Africa and the globe, top women entrepreneurs and women in business, thought leaders, investors, SMEs, MSMEs, international development organizations, NGOs, foundations, government policy-makers, and the media. AWIEF is a platform to discuss the role of women in Africa’s economic growth, address the challenges faced by female business-owners, analyze those challenges and proffer innovative and sustainable solutions that effectively foster the empowerment of African women and unleash their full potential for successful business entrepreneurship.

The conference will feature participation from global leading institutions and decision- makers seeking to transform the African economy with women empowerment as a driver of development.

AWIEF Founder and MD Irene Ochem

Addressing current challenges


According to Irene Ochem, AWIEF Founder and Managing Director of ICO Conferences & Events, “despite leading the world on women entrepreneurship, African female business-owners enjoy less recognition and support than their male counterparts for their contribution to poverty reduction, employment and wealth creation. AWIEF will unveil comprehensive strategies for enhanced economic participation and opportunities for women throughout the continent. We are addressing such current challenges as inequalities in access to economic opportunities, less access to finance, technology, market information, business networks, as well as gender bias in education and skills development”

She continues: “This year the AWIEF pre-conference training workshops will focus on three areas: 1) Technology in Business 2) Entrepreneurship Strategies and Creativity in Business 3) Result-Oriented Sustainable Business Development.”

The 2016 AWIEF Conference targets the broadest spectrum of participants and regional inclusion from across Africa and has received endorsement and support from many relevant African and global institutions and organizations. AWIEF will create a networking opportunity with potential business partnerships, knowledge-sharing and peer-learning. It therefore allows African women entrepreneurs compare their challenges, learn and connect across borders to enhance and expand their impact.

With a wider coverage of exhibitions, AWIEF provides the perfect continental platform to present and showcase your brands, technologies, products and services to female African decision makers, influencers and qualified buyers from diverse industry and business sectors.

AWIEF is your opportunity to be a part of a continental drive to invest in and support the empowerment of women for unleashing Africa's full economic growth and transformation. You will meet face-to-face for two days with top local and international professionals and business women from diverse industries.

Meet the leading women and esteemed speakers for the event


Speakers


AWIEF 2016 has an exciting concentration of esteemed, high-level, reputable and international speaker profiles which include:
  • H.E. Susan Shabangu, Honourable Minister of Women in the Presidency, South Africa 
  • H.E. Dr Diane Gashumba, Honourable Minister of Gender & Family Promotion, Rwanda 
  • H.E. Senator Aisha Alhassan, Honourable Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Nigeria 
  • Almas Jiwani, President Emeritus, UN Women Canada & Founder/CEO, Almas Jiwani Foundation, Canada 
  • Melody Kweba, President/Chairperson, South African Women in Mining Association (SAWIMA), South Africa 
  • Tara Femi-Durotoye, CEO/Creative Director, House of Tara International, Nigeria 
  • Adenike Ogunlesi, Founder/Chief Responsibility Officer, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, Nigeria 
  • Khanyi Dhlomo, Founder/CEO, Ndalo Media, South Africa 
  • Fiorina Mugione, Chief, Entrepreneurship Section, United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Switzerland 
  • Mary Olushoga, Founder AWP Network, USA 
  • Regina Honu, Founder/CEO, Soronko Solutions, Ghana 
  • Melanie Hawken, Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Lionesses of Africa, South Africa 
  • Shimite Bello, Group President/CEO, Quintessential Group, Nigeria 
  • Thelma Ekiyor, Co-Founder/CEO, Afrigrants Resources Ltd, Nigeria 
  • Sandra L Ross, Associate Executive Director, LITE-Africa 
  • Nkemdilim Begho, Founder/Managing Director, Future Software Resources Ltd, Nigeria 
  • Christine Ngiriye, Managing Director, Africa 2.0, Rwanda 
  • Achenyo Idachaba, Founder/Creative Director, MitiMeth, Nigeria 
  • Hilda Ndude, Chairperson, Black Business Women Association (BBWA), South Africa 

AWIEF dates and venue:


Two-day Conference and Exhibition: 29 – 30 September 2016
Pre-Conference Workshops: 28 September 2016
Venue: The Civic Centre, Lagos, Nigeria


To register and attend (by email or online):

Telephone: +27 21 826 8878
Mobile: +234 814 376 9875 (Nigeria); +27 76 052 1199 (South Africa)
Email: info@icoconferences.com
Web: http://awieforum.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AWIEFInitiative
Twitter: @awieforum

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER



August 14, 2016

TIWA SAVAGE on RED

Catch TIWA SAVAGE in the USA on her RED Tour coming to your town

Friday August 5th, Tiwa Savage graced her fans in Houston, Texas with her presence in what would be considered a highly energetic show. I personally have never been to any of her shows before so I have nothing to compere it to. This would be the Houston leg of her U.S. RED Tour at Ayva center. The Doro Diva was live with her cherry colored backup dancers, highly animated for the audience entertainment.

The show itself was quite animated as she and her dancers shimmied on stage in acrobatic twists and turns, hyping up the crowd in hit songs such as Girlie'o, Without my heart, Key to the city,  Eminado. It is the true mark for an artist to reach the high status, when fans know every word on the lyrics and sing along as the artist performs on stage. Tiwa truly has loyal fans. Worthy to note on this day however her many female fans. They lit up everytime she ushered in one hit song after another, their night was made when Dr. Sid, another Mavin label and crowd favorite turned up to perform their hit song If I Start to Talk out of her latest album R.E.D.

Judging from this event one thing is sure. Her fans love her. The gracious star took the time for a one-on-one selfie overload with as many as possible backstage.

Her trajectory is already high, she just signed on with Roc Nation, Jay Z' s label. I hope she remains as authentic as she is now with music that we've come to know and love her for. In her own words "we ain't done" she's fresh off another highly energetic show One Africa Fest at Barclay's Center, Brooklyn, New York. Concert dates include Atlanta, Ga. and Philadelphia, Pa.

Full photo album now available at www.facebook.com/msadaku

Watch Tiwa Savage's live event on YouTube


August 13, 2016

U.S-Africa Cultural and Business Expo 2016

U.S. - AFRICA CULTURAL EXPO AND BUSINESS MATCHMAKING 2016

OCTOBER 13 - 15, 2016 IN AUSTIN, TEXAS USA.


This three-day event will include professional opportunities such as, strategies for
growth, competitive advantage, and incentives for foreign investment. Participants will
enjoy entertainment activities, cultural shows, networking events and a marketplace of
local vendors.

The 3rd annual U.S.-Africa Business Matchmaking Conference is a high-level global conference. Throughout the conference participants will stay engaged through keynote presentations, panel discussions, business matchmaking and workshops. Networking receptions will facilitate effective partnership building for businesses, investors, and government entities. The U.S.-Africa Business Matchmaking Program affords conference participants and delegates the opportunity to meet with high-level business executives, exhibitors and sponsors on a one-on-one basis.

Breakaway Matchmaking Sessions with Business Owners

The Business Matchmaking is uniquely designed to target the right contacts and fulfill your market objectives in order to establish a long-lasting relationship in U.S. and African Markets.


Brought to you by AFTV5

AFTV5 is a 501c (3) non-profit. AFTV5 promotes the development of African and U.S.
businesses by sponsoring The Annual U.S.- Africa Business Matchmaking Expo. Africa
has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and African business owners
want to establish strong U.S. partnership during this historically high growth period.

The annual US-Africa Cultural Expo and Business Matchmaking is our marquee event, which
attracted a lot of business owners last year. These business owners from Africa and the United
States will meet to discuss existing and potential business opportunities in both markets.
The event is a high-level global conference that will combine keynote presentations, panels
expo, business matchmaking, gala and networking receptions to facilitate effective partnership
building for businesses, investors and government’s entities.
Facilitated panel discussions will engage the audience with topics such as:
  •  Business opportunities in Africa and in the US 
  • Incentives to ensure foreign investment and the establishment of global companies in Africa 
  • Access to finance for African businesses to include government incentives 
  • Strategies for growth and competitive advantage 
  • Social media and reaching the market
For more information on this event including the high profile speaker line up, visit their website.

Dallas Fashion Week 2016

4th Annual Dallas International Fashion Showcase

On September 4th 2016, the 4th Annual Dallas International Fashion Showcase Presented by the City of Dallas and Trendy Africa Magazine will hold at the magnificent and historic Music Hall at Fair Park, Dallas.

Dallas International Fashion Week is set to be the most DIVERSE yet with lot's of culturally exciting inputs. The historically glamorous Music Hall at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas will host up to 12 talented designers, more than 30 hot models and a host of presidential and diplomatic guests. It's time to make your reservation to attend and if you are a vendor; there is no better opportunity with the 3000 seat venue. Expect World Class Fashion, Music and Entertainment.


Click to learn more about Dallas Fashion Week

Courtesy of Trendy Africa
More, including ticketing information can be found here.

August 7, 2016

Africa's biggest cultural convention in the diaspora celebrates with Kumbo's own Chilli

Cameroonian Cultural Ambassador and singer Chilli delivered a mesmerizing performance at the 28th annual Bui Family Union National convention, a four-day cultural fête that took place on July 21-24, 2016 at the Hilton in Westchase. The singer mesmerized the audience in her signature dance moves and lyrical style with masterful use of the local dialect. Chilli is from the grasslands of Kumbo, Cameroon.
For four days, the Ambassador and singer kept delivering hit after hit, to an impressed crowd that all agreed that the next cultural crossover has already happened. Most delegates argued that Chilli is the next big thing in contemporary traditional folklore music from Africa.

At the welcome ceremony on Thursday July 21, 2016, Chilli thrilled the crowd with her signature song from her debut album titled “My Heritage”, so many convention delegates remarked “ It was awesome putting a face to this great track.” Friday was the cultural night where she again delivered on a rare energetic and crowd pulling style. Saturday night at the gala was another surprise performance of “Mbaya” from her recent album titled “Bih Wo” filled with stylized acrobatic dance from Kumbo. Chilli shared the stage alongside the Zouk legend Guilou and other great performers in the likes Dj Skeeper, Lanre Manuel, Banla and Ventura, Young Flo and Myra Maimoh.

Chilli has attained her long lasting dream of exporting original traditional music from the grass fields of Kumbo to the world stage. "I am more than happy I have achieved one of the biggest dreams of my career" she said smiling while thanking BFU-USA organizing committee on this rare opportunity. The theme of this year’s convention was “Development through Education with focus on information Technology.” 

The 2016 BFU-USA National Convention in Houston was a great success, the next edition of the convention has been scheduled for Atlanta Georgia in July 2017.

Please enjoy this video titled “Hayo” from her latest album “Bih Wo”


"Hayo" is an inspirational song calling on us to have faith in ourselves because when you believe, you can. The video was directed by Yibain Emile.

Follow CHILLI:

On twitter @ClaudetteChilli, Instagram @ChillyChilli, Facebook: Claudette Chilli 
For Bookings contact: info@francorecords.com / +011-281-728-4374.
Twitter: @Francorecordz, Facebook: Franco Records LLC

July 30, 2016

Wazal Couture 2016/2017 collection


Presenting...


2016/2017 Wazal Collection "Ova Tété"

This collection is inspired by a Cameroonian slang 'ova' which means bigger and noble person and "tété" which refers to chic and bourgeois. In addition, the word chic here is used to describe the amazing and modern appearance of the clothing. Therefore those who have good taste and know how to well dress are characterized as chic.


"Noble and quality materials were used in this collection, including first choice wax (African print) from Senegal or Mali. I will say this collection is indecent, 10 years in advance or shameless 5 years in advance. I prefer being ahead because the fashion world is in constant évolution" noted the designer Ayissi.

Check out the collection below.


More on this collection can be found at www.wazalshop.com


July 24, 2016

Cameroonian film WOMAN premieres in Houston Texas

July 16, 2016 was the US premiere of the highly acclaimed movie called "Woman", a film that underlines the strength of a woman as she deals with infidelity in a relationship. Film is exclusively shot on location in Cameroon. The Cameroonian film industry is on the rise with the advent of talented filmmakers that hail from the country. "Woman" has been well received by its London premiere, it will be making many more rounds in the USA as well as overseas.

The story of "Woman" continues poignant today and hits close to home for filmmaker Goretti, who plays lead in the film. It calls into question what it takes to be a woman in a slowly progressive society where she is still at the bottom of the food chain in terms of her rights. While cultural and sometimes religious norms protect  men who get a pass with infidelity and misogyny, it's not too kind to women.

This premiere doubles as a fundraising gala, benefiting The Dr. Fonya Foundation whose mission is to continue to aid widows and orphans in Cameroon.





Catch the trailer below


Check out photos of this premiere on www.facebook.com/msadaku.

July 11, 2016

The African Film Festival has established a landmark in Dallas

Last July 4th weekend was the longest day that I have had in a long time as the days ran into each other. It was a whirlwind at The African Film Festival in Dallas, a three-day marathon of events that included screenings of African films that terminated at the closing night Awards Gala. It was a non-stop meet and greet of filmmakers, special guests, attendees and volunteers that had me feeling like Bobby Fischer. I could tell that the attendees really enjoyed themselves by the look of satisfaction and happiness on their faces.  One patron said to me, "Wow! I wasn't expecting this, I am very happy I came." "I definitely will be coming back... With my friends!" They all applauded the effort and vision it took to put this together.

The city of Dallas became the epitome of cultural diversity. To put it in perspective, TAFF received almost eighty films this festival year and selected forty-two. Twenty-five countries participated to include filmmakers from non-African countries that told African stories. Now that is outstanding for a platform starting out its inception year. 
Kelechi shows a 10 minute preview of festival screenings after receiving a proclamation by the mayor from the city of Dallas and addressing the crowd, Regina Onyeibe stands by (above top l)
I also heard from many Dallas residents and film enthusiasts who were merely curious, when they learned the platform's mission to bring the African continent to this city, they were excited. Many wanted to lend their support however they could, we are still getting volunteer requests! Many wanted to buy our t-shirts as a way to support. The love had become overwhelming. In a conversation with a friend, I eluded to the fact that one can be busy putting things into place as part of one's vision not realizing the many lives that are being affected.

Friday, July 1st started out like any other normal day. Then in the late afternoon, filmmakers and guests all gathered on the 6th floor, in the flag room at Dallas City Hall. They were greeted by tribal dancers (Djeli Kunda West African Dance Company of Moussa Diabate Dance Group) that really turned the ambience and gave the feeling that Africa has come to town. We were all fascinated by the dance group as they beat their drums, sang and danced to the rhythm of their song. We all made long videos and took pictures. There was media presence, I met Greg Flakus, correspondent for Voice of America, my good friend Tosan Aduayi of Trendy Africa was there, as well as Victory media. We were all excited for this event that has finally crept up into our time.  Then came the ushering in of the guests of honor. Ms. Patience Ozokwo, who came straight from Nigeria for the event, our host for the gala—filmmaker and actress Uche Jombo, led by our Executive Director, Kelechi Eke just in the knick of time as West Africa Liaison for Dallas, Ms. Regina Onyeibe, began her speech and properly ushered in TAFF 2016 along with some of her friends and colleagues, notable was a Liberian businessman from JP Morgan and Chase. The Mayor of Dallas delivered a proclamation to Kelechi, The African Film Festival had become a Dallas landmark. The audience got a taste of the genius of Ben Amushie reciting some of his poetry. Finally Kelechi addressed the crowd giving them a little glimpse of his journey getting to this particular day and a taste of what the audience were in for in a 10 minute preview of films to be showcased at the festival. Looking into the audience, I could tell they had become enthralled, no one moved until the end of the clip, I heard whispers of wonderment under their breath. I realized then and there that peoples' lives were going to be affected.  Friday, July 1st left a big indication of what the weekend was shaping up to be.

The celebration continued on to Texas theatre for the Short films showcase. Eight short films were juxtaposed into a feature length showcase approximately 3 hours long. Films were from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa and South Sudan.
Clockwise from top L: Ms. Patience Ozokwo addresses the crowd after receiving TAFF African Legend Award, screening at Pan African Connection, Filmmakers Arthur Iyok, Arthur Musah and friend, Mr. Eke and Best Actress winner and filmmaker Constance Ejuma, TAFF Leadership recipient Yeharerwerk Gashaw and TAFF Host and actor Benjamin A. Onyango, representing Cameroon on the red carpet.
Saturday, July 2nd began early as patrons lined up at our various screening locations—Aldeez, Cardillac Dream Studios, Pan African Connection and Texas Theatre. Some of our filmmakers brought along their audience, our special guests had arrived from various parts of the country as well  as abroad, locals were there to take part of the movement after they learned about it on Kera art + seek: the Big Screen days earlier. Saturday was the feature length screening of 22 films from countries of Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, The Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania; a combination of Narrative and Documentaries. Each screening was followed by a Q&A session and the audience had the opportunity learn more about the filmmakers.

It looked like a scene from an invitation-only exclusive African conglomerate party that evening at Kelechi's home. There they were, filmmakers from across the African continent and beyond. The likes of Ike Nnaebue, Honeymoon Aljabri, Mike Wargo, Jacqueline Farris, Deyemi Okanlawon, Tola Olatunji, Kang Quintus, Arthur Iyok, Claudio Oben, Uche Jombo; each came with their entourage. Mama G was the special guest for the evening and no one could get enough of her, (dare I say, #SelfieOvereload??). Everyone was honored by her presence. Kelechi and family graciously hosted the evening with never ending food and drinks. Guests had a good time, "gisting." In his true form, Kelechi's filmmakers dinner would turn into screening time, everyone settled into Uche Jombo's latest film "Lost in Us."
Sunday, July 3rd our filmmakers were hosted on a boat ride along Lake Travis where they enjoyed the camaraderie of their colleagues, BBQ and fresh air from the lake. Locals enjoyed more screenings  of what was left of Saturday. Not long after, Dallas City Performance Hall would be transformed into sheer elegance with red carpet and backdrop that welcomed guests into the closing night gala. Guests honored us for the evening in colorful pageantry of African regalia. DCPH is a venue no one would forget in a hurry—a state-of-the-art architecture made for performances, galas such as ours, encourages interaction from the outside in, guests were enveloped in a 750-seat proscenium theatre with multi-level seating that accommodates viewers at every angle, and an impeccable sound system.

"Wow! I wasn't expecting this, I am very happy I came." "I definitely will be coming back... With my friends!"

I learned a few things on July 4th weekend as a first time event organizer. The beginning is always rough, no matter how well or well-in-advance that you plan. Many of us are familiar with instances when things just won't work right or "corporate," like when you've spent countless hours working on media that won't finalize and render up till the day of event, losing movie files slated for a scheduled time and you're faced with patrons expecting a scheduled film to begin in the auditorium, specialty envelopes ordered with One-day shipping didn't arrive until 7-days later, winner cards designed to specifications that could not be printed by an office supply store after 24 hours of trying and wasted materials. My biggest challenge I'd say would be not being familiar with the City of Dallas, it took some extra time locating the addresses. Timing is everything. You have to be on top of your timing or events can start to unravel. Once the gala started, events went by in quick succession, a lot of preparation ahead of time is vital. I have my presenters and volunteers to thank for their assistance in moving things along, they all did their part in anticipating when they'd go on stage and making note to be ready, many assisted in carrying the trophies to designated areas backstage. They were a good sport even though they didn't have a copy of the program, they all congregated back stage to copy and screen shot my master copy. At first having all of them at the same time seemed overwhelming as they all asked questions at the same time and wanted answers, but it all worked out as we all figured it out together.  They were all just happy to be there and help wherever they could. Communication is absolute. Members of your team must be on the same page to be able to coordinate events in a timely manner. That way one could avoid sending out a presenter that was both one of the nominees in a category being presented and the winner! When I realized this at first (one day later) I was flabbergasted, but then I laughed. Mr. Eke came back stage to ensure we still had the same version of the evening program and I didn't quite understand why. Roll with the punches. You've got to. You've got to resort to the last resort up to plan Z, so have them. For me, there were presenters I had to send to the stage more than once to replace those that couldn't make it. I ended up using unscheduled presenters and they all graciously accepted the task. Not having winner cards prepared ahead of time, I had to improvise and it worked just fine. Not having the finalized visual program meant hauling a heavy equipment to the venue and guess what? It was perfect to operate from the source and not risking having a corrupted file or potential hard drive problem. The work was never done for Mr. Eke up till the last minute that day.
Listening in the Flag room
Still reeling from the now concluded TAFF 2016, the past year now seem like a blur. To think of the start of this journey from the beginning, I'm very proud of the outcome. TAFF received mostly positive reviews. I listened to the audience speak about how pivotal this platform is for Africa, a platform that unites not just the continent but with the rest of the world. African film art have been in existence for decades, yet it had been only a small part of international mainstream. I can echo the sentiment of many when I say the TAFF has been a long time coming, the magnitude is felt far and wide. TAFF managed to introduce me to other African cultures that now I'm looking forward to learning more about. TAFF is part of Texas Film Commission, Dallas Film Commission and Dallas Arts District.  I can't thank the city of Dallas enough for taking us in, Kera art + seek for propelling it further, Voice of America for opening its platform to us, Victory media and Trendy Africa for its exceptional photos and video coverage, many others that lent their support, and of course our many volunteers.

Congratulations to the winners of 2016 TAFF awards:
  • Papa'z song by Ror Akot Ft. Michelle Norbido for Best Soundtrack in ROR from South Sudan
  • The Shadow Boxer from South Africa for Best Cinematography
  • Rejected from Cameroon for People's Choice - Best Poster
  • Nico Piro as Best Emerging Filmmaker for Documentary Killa Dizez from Sierra Leone
  • Constance Ejuma as Best Actress for Ben and Ara from Cameroon
  • Okey Uzoechi as Best Actor for Lost in Us from Nigeria
  • Rob Schermbruker for Best Director in Good Business from South Africa
  • Alma from Cameroon for People's Choice - Best Trailer 
  • Nowhere to run from Nigeria for Best Documentary Short
  • Fakeh from Cameroon for Best Narrative Short
  • The Vanished Dream from Guinea Bissau for Best Documentary Feature
  • Aisha from Tanzania for Best Narrative Feature

Congratulations Mrs. Patience Ozokwo for receiving the African Film Legend Award for her many years contributions to the Nollywood industry. You deserve it Mama G! Franco Bonghan is a true pioneer who has used his platform to groom many young artists and aid in the fight for Ebola. His music video, Africa for Ebola Orphans harnessed great music talents from four African countries - Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guniea and Cameroon for an awareness initiative through music. The two phase initiative included making a music video and holding a musical concert in each country. The result is a moving musical tribute that became a vehicle that would bring support to children orphaned by the ravaging disease. Congratulations on your Humanitarian award! Yeharerwerk Gashaw have long been an activist for Africans for many years, advocating for education, the fight against drugs and injustice. Over the years, she single handedly raised money for schools and awareness campaigns. Her campaign against drugs led her to work with several Heads-of-State, notable is her meeting with Nelson Mandela and President Mobutu of Zaire. She is the first Black Model to grace the runnways of Christian Dior and Guerlain Paris, the first Black actress featured in Soap Opera Dallas. Congratulations on your Leadership Award.
Filmmakers and patrons enjoyed a festival full of activities
Kenyan Hollywood actor and filmmaker extraordinaire Benjamin A. Onyango held down the floor for us with Nollywood actress Uche Jombo, keeping our guests entertained throughout the night, ushering in the presenters. Between the dynamic duo, they wear many hats as filmmaker, comedian, actor, actress, masters of ceremony, the list would go on (I covered them here and here). I have to recognize the visionary who had the guts to put this together, TAFF Founder and Executive Producer, Filmmaker, Director—Mr. Kelechi Eke, watching your vision unfold is inspiring and gives us hope! Judging by the reception of TAFF this year, there's already anticipation for what next year will bring.

Well, "that's all folks!" (The famous words of bugs bunny) Until next year.

Pssst: The African Film Festival 2017 dates have been released: June 30 - July 3!

Images courtesy of Victory Media Pro

July 6, 2016

Houston International Hit DJs

Meet Houston's Hottest Hit DJs

At least once a month, the hottest Afro DJs in Houston are getting together to deliver the latest in hits and hooks they can muster. Stay tuned for updates on this conglomerate.

Where: Zanzibar, Houston
9003 Westeimer Rd, Houston, TX 77063

Zanzibar is an urbane lounge with contemporary decor featuring DJs, Comedians and happy hour in a laid-back locale.

June 15, 2016

Uche Jombo to host The African Film Festival

Credit: Uche Jombo
Uche Jombo is easily the most recognizable face in Nollywood with a long acting resume—60 films to her credit to include many under her production company Uche Jombo Studios. She has endeared our hearts on screen with notable films like Games Men Play, Damage, Oge's sister. Her strong work ethic has propelled her to the top of her game with millions of fans worldwide.

Uche embodies the epitome of TAFF's mission as an avid African independent film trailblazing Director, Writer and Producer believing in the talent and ingenuity that can only be from the motherland. Under her production company, she has produced many quality films and procured distribution rights to international markets and online streaming houses such as Netflix, an online streaming platform.

The African Film Festival is honored to have Nollywood's darling Uche Jombo as host for its 2016 festival year. The sentiment is mutual as she eluded to her excitement, believing this platform is what the African independent film industry needs. She has been a supporter of this platform from its inception, graciously accepting the invitation despite her busy schedule. 

As an actor and a filmmaker, it's imperative to go to film festivals. I have always done that over the years, it's always a pleasure to be a part of anything that shines light on the continent. You have no idea how many Americans that still think Africa is a country, its an opportunity to see other filmmakers from other African countries...  I am looking forward to seeing the different films from African filmmakers, plus Dallas is my 3rd town after Aba and Lagos, yes in that order.
Uche will join Kenyan Hollywood actor, Benjamin A. Onyango in the inaugural presentation of The African Film Festival, 2016. We can only expect a lightening powerhouse from the duo.


African Film Festival is now 18 days away! Can you believe it? Get your tickets now.

July 1-3, 2016
Dallas, Texas
25 countries | 42 Films
Parade of Flags | Red Carpet | TAFFest Boatride | Shorts Screening 
 Feature Screening | Networking seminar | Dallas City Tour 
Awards Gala | Afterparty

April 13, 2016

Introducing: TAFF 2016 Selected Films

Happy new month every body! I hope you enjoyed April fools? Many of you might have something to celebrate this month and so does my team at The African Film Festival.  Have you checked us out yet? You should, go on over right here.

It's been a grueling past few months and at long last, I am proud to present selected films for this year. It's overwhelming the amount of submissions received, I wondered how we can screen them all, but not to worry, our panel of judges have been hard at work through the selection process. I can confidently say from our selected films, you're in for a treat! Our filmmakers went deep with the topics explored, they addressed the many issues on our minds. I'm really proud of the quality of the films too, in my opinion, they would easily compete with films in other recognized film industries, in other words, industry standard. I wouldn't mind streaming them on Netflix. African filmmakers must be recognized for their hard work. TAFF is screening films from at least 15 African countries, many of these countries with multiple films. This indicates to me the abundance and availability of talented filmmakers all across Africa, many now see the value of this platform and appreciate its mission. In time, we hope to have the whole of Africa. So far, we're starting out strong. 

This platform can unite our brothers and sisters—we are one, we have similar issues and circumstances, there's something about our geography that unites us, from one place to another, you'd start to notice, from our films, that there's little that differentiates us. It is time to blur the dividing lines and recognize that, indeed we are one. Together, we can make for a better Africa.

That's all for now. You can preview some of the selected films trailers below. Check back next week for more.

Be sure to like my Facebook page and stay updated of the details while it unfolds. You can also head on over to TAFF Facebook page and YouTube to see the Trailer of the Day.


Title: A People at Sea
Country: Cameroon
Filmmaker: Samson Tarh
Synopsis: ANAN, a young fisherman dreams of owning an engine boat in the future. These dreams gradually become a fantasy when the government announces his plans to relocate the people of the sea to the city.Unlike ABIGAIL one of the rare privileged to go to school, All that matters to Anan and most people of the dogyard is the daily catch of fish that sustains them.Relocation to them may mean the end of living and the beginning of existing.



Title: Waiting for the (T)rain
Countries: Burkina Faso, France
Filmmaker: Simon Panay
Synopsis: Waiting for the (t)rain explores life in a rural village in Burkina Faso. The village survives by the generosity of passengers in transit on a commuter train that runs through it, throwing out food items and water bottles. Its inhabitants, young and old would reminisce and dream of their colonial masters - France. The older generation remember years of servitude to France, while the younger generation dream of escaping to France for greener pastures. 




Title: GENDER & NUMBER
Countries: Ethiopia, Spain
Filmmaker: Ines Poggio
Synopsis: Women in Ethiopia have to face unpleasant situations everyday in order to fulfill other peoples' expectations. But they keep fighting, trying to be the change they want to see. This film transmits their way of living from a positive perspective. It shows their energy, strength, courage, and their will to fight.




Title: My Gallery
Country: Cameroon
Filmmaker: Enah Johnscott
Synopsis: A devoted husband and artist struggles to provide for his family, amidst the poverty and death plaguing his community. After the sudden death of a well respected philanthropist, his life takes a different turn as a wicked mayor attempts to frame him for murder.





Title: Wings of my Dreams
Country: Nigeria
Filmmaker: Ike Nnaebue
Synopsis: A teenage girl growing up in the slums of Makoko believes there is a better life out there for her. She is determined to chase her dreams despite all odds.



January 30, 2016

Films on TAFF


Films on TAFF
Enjoy the progress we have made so far with TAFF with clips from some of the films we have received. We commend all the filmmakers from various countries involved as we work together to take African films to the next level.
Posted by The African Film Festival - TAFF on Friday, January 29, 2016
Enjoy the progress we have made so far with TAFF with clips from some of the films we have received. We commend all the filmmakers from various countries involved as we work together to take African films to the next level.

Submission Deadlines

Earlybird Deadline: November 1st - November 30th
Regular Deadline: December 1st - March 31st
Late Deadline: April 1st - April 15th

More info:

Website: www.theafricanfilmfestival.org
Facebook: facebook.com/TheAfricanFilmFestival
Twitter: @TAFFOfficial
Instagram: TheAfricanFilmFestival

Msadaku.

June 30, 2015

Tale of Africa's fashion week

AFWN wrapped up May 23-24 2015 at Eko Hotels, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria

I arrived at the tents at Eko Marquee to fashion enthusiasts, photographers, exhibitors and the media. The rain didn't slow anything down on the green carpet set outside. I grab my press pass and head inside the tent to the show in progress. It was the first day, the show’s opening, and it delivered some heavy hitters. Designs mainly by the up and coming and students. I tell you, we have some talented folks in Nigeria.

This year’s installment delivered as promised, there were a lot more designers rolled out in two days. As usual, I enjoyed it all—the pageantry, the models, the designers, the intricate fabrics of different colors, textures, styles, the ethnic inspired accessories with a with a modern twist, mingling with fellow industry professionals, meeting new faces, celebrities, fashionistas, collaborators. I got many compliments on my hair. Nigeria have really come a long way in fashion, the designers were really on point this year, had me wondering who to patronize at the end of the show. I’m just glad that as time goes, African inspired fashion have gained a mainstay and international recognition.

Day one delivered designers by the up and coming and students, namely Yaba Tech, FADAN, a Nigerian Student Fashion and Design Week winner. If the showcase was any indicator, I’d say the future is bright for these designers. Day two delivered more seasoned and well-known designers that have been making names for themselves and are recognized internationally, to include my good friend Adebayo Jones (more on him later).


Designers include:

ADEBAYO JONES

AFT

ADAORA’S

ADY BY LINDA

AFRICAN THINGS

ALABI COUTURE

ANUBA COUTURE

BAROQUE BY WENDY

BELLE ARRAY

BIG BEN KILANI

BISI DARAMOLA

BUCHIVER

CHAIVO DESIGNS

COLOURS OF C.U.E

DAY_IDAH

DEBBY AFRICAN STITCHES

DE LAURELS OUTFIT

DOUGHYEEN

ELAWE CLOTHING

ELIKEM. THE TAILOR

EMINENCE 1129

ENKAYSTYLINGS

FAW COUTURE

GRAZEE STITCHES

HEMERA

HOUSE OF LINEN

HOUSE OF PAMBAL

HOUSE OF SOLANGE

JP KOUTURE BY HADASSAH

JREASON

KAYE CREATIONS

KING HAKBAL

LINES BY CHAAB X DAVIVA

LORENORE

LUMIERE COUTURE

MARCO MARTINEZ

MASSIVE BY FANNY

MAUFECHI

MBANA HOUSE OF STYLES

MC STELL

MY OLAEDO

NARA COLE

OLAYINKA CLOTHING

OKIKI MARINHO

OMAEMIHE

ON-RU COUTURE

OSUARE

QOZIE

OVEM’S FASHION

SAZIIS

SOUZA

TRISH O

T-NGAZY

RUTH 1470 ACCESSORIES

REVOLUTION BY YETTY D X DAVIVA

ZEENO DEE

VHOR

ZHUKKIIAFRO DESIGN

ZIZI CARDOW
More photos on Facebook
Designs ranged from haute couture to ready-to-wear, mens styles and children’s wear. There’s a little something for everyone and taste. There were artfully crafted evening dresses, cocktail dresses with cut-outs, thigh-high slits, long, short, asymmetrical hemlines, oversized, tailored suits, jackets, tops, pants and ethnic accessories, extensive bead work, sequins, patches, embroidery in delicate and durable fabrics and vibrant colors. It’s traditional-meets-modern, it’s afrocentric, it’s European, it’s regal, it’s edgy, it’s sophisticated, it’s classy, it’s a combination of things. Each piece is made to flatter and accentuate any curve and physique, the laces, silks and sequins just cascaded each model's body and bounced effortlessly, the fitted pieces were as if molded in place. The handbags and accessories are crafted using African textiles. Each is designed for today's man or woman, there’s hardly any design that’s not wearable.

Event highlights include performance by child models for Tinnah Stylings by designer Toyin Lawani. They sashayed down the stage with swagger, to a rousing cheer by the audience, it’s like they were born for it! Amarachi—Nigeria’s got Talent winner and former alum led the procession, performing on stage. Although children’s clothes are hardly ever boring, this designer’s is especially fun. One would be excited to dress a kid up in the morning. JPKoutrue by Hadassah presented designs for full figured women with sass. Entertainment and flamboyant personality Denrele Edun didn’t fail to do what he does best—give the audience a dose of his big personality! I give it up to a guy who can rock high platformed heels like sneakers and big hair like mine. I loved his crochet braids. Notable actors Uti Nwachukwu and Ikechuchu Ogbonna walked for Big Ben Kilani collection.
There was ample opportunity to catch the show as it was divided in three time slots, a 2pm, 5pm and 8pm. Day 1was a sensory overload as models kept sashaying down the runway in the packed tent until late in the evening. A day like this one is not without a few run-ins—with other photographers vying for prime real estate. A photographer has to double up as a hunter for great content, one has to be ruthless in the field, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. Any hesitation and you miss all the good shots, any misstep or shift and another has already taken your place. There are not many second chances for the money shot, no grace. My hair drew attention for right and wrong reasons. For the general audience mostly positive, for other photographers it’s was mostly in the way or a distraction. It all played out to my advantage really, I generated fans. Photographers (and the rest of the audience) all wanted pictures—of me!

I was throughly spent by the end of the first day. I was reeling and expectant of what the finale show would bring—more heavy hitters. Attendees had the opportunity to catch the Pre Gala and the Gala Show. With my gear in tow, I stepped out in the late afternoon to the red carpet to members of the media and guests, the show's already started. They pull me aside for interviews on my personal style. I spend approx. 30 mins with a young protégé. My goal was to find the models backstage. I love to catch them out of their element, their different personalities during downtime. Backstage was organized chaos, everyone was everywhere. As a photographer, I'm always a little hesitant to get in a person's personal space. I thread softly, gaging body language, not everyone likes having their picture taken. As soon as they see me though they open up almost instantly. This was my chance to acquaint myself with all these human mannequins. "Oh yeah! I remember you from last year" some say to me. They're all smiles, posing as my lens flicker away. I catch the models, , makeup artists, other photographers, the designers. Everyone ever so curious about my hair. I laugh now as I recall these lines: "Is this all your hair?" “Can I touch it?” Apparently, Nigerians are not well acquainted with crochet braids—a hair trend that pretty much rescued women with natural hair.

The venue at Eko hotels had been transformed into fashion wonderland, models sashayed late into the evening, coming to a head at the grand finale—the Gala Show. Cool FM’s Mercy Ajisafe and Mr. Nigeria 2014—Emmanuel Ikubese kept the audience entertained, dishing out awards and transitioning the audience through the program. Socialite, business mogul and fashionista—Ms. Abiola Okoya (more on her later) introduces a cause close to her heart. As the Global Ambassador for AFWN 2015 she’s on a fight for the eradication of Sickle Cell Anemia with Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria. SCFN is making access to treatment more attainable, continues on research studies that would make SCA more or less a chronic illness than a death sentence. The disease she knows all too well as it hits close to home with two of her children. A global awareness for a disease that affect quite a population in Nigeria cannot be understated—150,000 reported cases annually, with countless healthy carriers of the gene [more info here]. I’m especially proud a platform such as this one is creating awareness for serious issues in Nigeria, to include the fuel scarcity currently suffered by it’s citizens, it was especially hard for some attendees who navigated the jungles of Lagos to obtain fuel to be able to attend this event.
Fuel Scarcity by Apple art creations
The Gala show produced exquisite designs by those that have perfected their craft overtime, notable is the King of Couture— Mr. Adebayo Jones, a London based designer, whose collection—Adebayo Jones Luxury, closed the show. He just commanded attention, his attention to detail is impeccable. His designs spell opulence, it’s luxury and regal with the use of chiffon, organzas, velvets, brocades, silks, damasks. I was blown away. It’s no surprise for a designer with more than 30 years in this business.

AFWN 2015 Style and Fashion Awardees include: Emerging Fashion designer McStell, Emerging Stylist Damilola Oke for Fierce & Modish, Emerging Fashion Journalist Antonia Soares for Complete Fashion, Most Stylish Female Celebrity Yemi Alade, Most Stylish Male Celebrity Kunle Afolayan, Young Fashion Entrepreneur Olakunbi Oyelese for April By Kunbi, Fashion Icon Opral Benson and Contribution to African Fashion Lexzy Mojo-Eyes. One lucky audience member with a business card won a round trip ticket to Africa Fashion Week London 2015, courtesy of Travelfix.
With Adebayo Jones (second left), Yetty Ogunnubi (center) and friends
Special thanks reserved to AFWN team Ronke Ademuliyi, Abiola Okoya, Abiola Olatunde Aloba, Yetty Ogunnubi, thank you for sharing your platform with me. I loved Yetty’s artsy-inspired collection, Revolution by Yetty D, filled with geometrics and color. All the wonderful people in the media and press or otherwise that I got to meet, Rich Tankley, Sonya Banjo, Shade Oladipo, the one and only African doll designer to compete with Barbie, Taofick Okoya (more on him later), the models (inbox me!). The master designer himself Adebayo Jones, next stop—definitely another one of your shows.

It’s been a whirlwind and this article is long overdue. More pictures from AFWN 2015 on my Facebook page.



Msadaku.
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