My Godson Josiah is a big man in a small 2 year old body. This little man is of Ghanian and Jamaican decent!
During his mothers pregnancy we shared a lot of precious moments, deciding his name, methods to help her loose pain and laughed at the times the only exercise she could do was walking up and down stairs and her franticly bouncing on her exercise ball!
2 years now and Josiah is healthy, smart and whitty. Here are some images I took of them when they visited me at a photo-shoot session I had!
Well…It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t blog this night, so here it is…the low down at my night at the BAFTA awards 2010!
It started off at 10.30am when I had to arrive at the Royal Opera House. I entered and got given my ‘ALL ACCESS’ pass with my horrendous head-shot on it and sat with the other chaperones waiting for direction. I was the only black girl and was feeling a tad bit shy! We got sent to our room and where given a layout of the entire event, from guests seating to the personal we would be looking after. I had Peter Capaldi an animator from Britain, others had Wild Things star Matt Dillan, Uma Thurman and others had Twilight stars Kristen Stewart and yes ladies Robert Pattinson! I was happy enough to be there and was the new girl whilst the rest had much experience chaperoning at the BAFTAs. They were all alot older than myself and you could see knew exactly what was going on, so I was quiet for the first few hours, bb’ing away to my cousins.
So we then went to dress rehearsal, they told us we would be autoqueing the person we were chaperoning so wouldn’t require there text. This was for Johnathan Ross to get a run through, along with the sound guys. During the rehearsal he Mr.Ross walked up to me and asked me who I was looking after and I showed him Peter’s picture, he said he looks just like you! So it was my turn to grace the stage at the Royal Opera House and although I was just a prop I wasn’t nervous at all, I was ready to go out and read Peters text well. So here it is, I arrive on stage, all set to read and BAMB! My glasses are in my bag and I CAN NOT SEE A THING! The only black girl, I looked like I was either blind or dyslexic and left feeling like a total moose!
All the same it was time for lunch and I went up to the canteen and started talking to the others, some from the BBC, Telegraph all types of media establishments and I sat there thinking again I am not qualified, but as a child of God you are an exception to the rule.
So it was time to get ready and I discovered a bathroom full of light and overshadowing Covent Garden with great view. I snuck up there, put my ipod playlist on Jasmine Sulivans ‘Dream Big’ and got made over. The day before my lil bro Maro found me a dress from Miss Selfridge, plain and black so after getting dolled up, I was ready to go.
We were lined up on the stairs of the Royal Opera House and awaited our guest. The red carpet had started and the producers would call the names of our guest and we would go and get them, and here it was, the star began to trickle in. Noel Clarke, Lee Daniels, Robert Pattinson, Universal Pictures executives all the big boys in the film world.
I was called for Peter and there he was with his daughter and my mind went totally blank. I remembered to take them to the champagne reception and had no idea how to get them back to there seats or anything but I blagged in. The champagne reception was filled with all the stars networking, catching up and arranging holidays together. I was in a room with such greatness and was admiring the view.
The show was about to start and Peter his daughter Cillily wanted the loo, I saw another chaperone with Matt Dillon and waited for her and followed her into the ROH.
The show had began and it was time to kick back, relax and enjoy the show. We got given chocolate and waited for our que to collect our guest to go on stage! Through out the night I sat in wonder, Uma Thurman, Prince Charles, Gabby Sidible, Kate Winslet all seated in a room, all living the dream I want for myself and I was sat in wonder looking at the lit stage, full of accomplished and many talented creatives.
The night ended and I spoke with everyone I thought I needed to, at this stage my adopted little brother James Campayne was outside waiting for me. He had seen everyone from James Camron to Uma waiting at the stage door and was full of stories to tell me. I then saw a friend, Bennet McPhee who’s film was up for nomination ‘ An Education’. I met him when I was 14 at my work experience at Universal and have stayed in contact since, but had no idea how well he had done as a director. I looked up to him and the rest of the guys I met during the work experience. Adam Randall and Fatima. They opened so many doors for me when I was there so it was great to catch up with him!
The stars were put in there Audi’s and driven to the hotel to have dinner and then the after party would commence. James and I made our way over, and although James was dressed as a runner we were determined this was going to be a night to remember. My pass somehow allowed him to follow me inside. A remarkable experience, we called the rents and they told us we deserved to be there and should enjoy every last minute, network and enjoy!
And we did just that. It was so soreal. It was just so unreal! Walking past these ‘stars’, talking to them, dancing with them and it felt so right! Some made promises and others made jokes, just it was a night I will never forget and I give God all the praise and glory for ordering our steps into a night I pray will be life changing!
The legacy of Michael Jackson is one that no musician will ever be able to fill. His life dedicated to entertainment leaves him as the the greatest musician our generation has seen. Easily acclaimed the most famous man on the earth. From the age of 8 he gave us music that kept us dancing. Breaking barriers in religion, music and race.
His artistry was sheer perfection and he will always remain a musical genius. June 25th 2009 was the day we lost him and his death affected the world. I happened to be on Miami Beach, Florida when an influx of tweets saying MJ was in cardiac arrest were being delivered to a friends phone. I simply shrugged it off, telling my cousin and her that it was a media stunt for him to take the money for those attending the ‘This Is It’ London concert and that he was just fine (I also had a ticket for the opening night). We got in my cousins car and drove to a local Dunkin Donoughts in Miami, with utter silence we listened to the radio changing and flicking through stations to get an updated report on his progress, the media was in a frenzy and no one could confirm whether his death was true. As we entered DD everyone was glued to the screen with CNN’s updates surrounding the condition of MJ.
We got back in the car around 5pm, a male reporter announced that Michael Jackson, the King of Pop was dead. Instantly tears started streaming down my face. The weirdest sensation ever. The car was silent all the way home and it was almost as if the world had come to a stand still, the only sounds alive were those of the many hits Michael had left us as we drove through the streets of Miami.
I had never ever met him or even had a conversation with him, but like many felt like I knew him and he was almost part of the family. Through his court cases to press releases I was always there backing it 110% for Michael. Childhood memories are incomplete without his influences. He was a part of the family, parties, reunions and more. We all had our moments in front of the TV imitating his innovative dance moves. I remember running to the screen yelling at my cousin that I was going to marry Michael Jackson as we fought to kiss him through the screen. He was a part of all of our lives and his music connected to memories growing up will continue to live in our hearts.
King of Pop – Michael Jackson – Gone to Soon
His death still brings tears to my eyes today. I stubbled across this poem written by the great Maya Angelou. Read by Queen Latifah at his memorial, and although some of the words are confusing to me, I still feel like ‘We had Him’
“We Had Him”:
Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.
Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace. Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon.
In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing. No clocks can tell time. No oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure.
Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone.
Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him.
He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance.
Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that.
He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.
We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes.
His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.
And we laughed and stomped our feet for him.
We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing. He gave us all he had been given.
Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana’s Black Star Square.
In Johannesburg and Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England
We are missing Michael.
But we do know we had him, and we are the world.
Justice will be served. June 25th 2009 saw the loss of music’s hero and legend Michael Jackson. His death was a shock to the world and had his fans, family and spectators all at a total standstill!
His death was said to be the result of his personal doctor giving him to strong a dose of medicine. Dr. Murry was hired during MJ’s preparation for This is It!
2009 was a great year for me. Nia Long, Hollywood actress was in London and I went down to the press conference to ask her some questions about her life as an actress and a successful black woman. It was truely amazing. Short in stature and striking to the eye, she had the glow of Hollywood all around her.
During the conference I posted the question to her about the black hair industry, following her premiere of ‘Good Hair’ directed by Chris Rock shown at the BFI’s. During the film it was said that $9 billion dollars a year is spent on black hair products alone, the most spent than any other race, but heres the joke, only five distributers are black owned.
Good Hair Trailer –
In the link below you will find a sound clip to the interview and her response. Black hair is such an interesting topic for me and at times a sensitive one.
A white jouralist at the press conferance pointed out a lady from the press who had an afro, he asked why she wouldnt be able to work in the city, in a high end law firm in Canary Wharf or even in the Houses of Parliment with her 9inc afro. The answers were ‘She would not be taken seriously’, and to much form this is very true.
When I look at successful female black role models in todays media that young black girls aspire to, the majority of them have hair extensions. Lace weaves, long 14 to 18inc silky Indian hair. Tyra Banks, Beyonce Knowles and Megan Goode are all prime examples of women in todays media who have conformed to having a European look. If its not weave then its pressed and chemically relaxed with Michelle Obama, Oprah and at 71 years of age Maya Angelo would also fit the mould. So why is it so hard for us to have our natural hair. Dreads, Cornrols or a full blown afro. Conventionally this is not beautiful and these ideologies of beauty stem right back to the early 1800’s. From literature to modern day magazines, black hair has never been beautiful in the eyes of any medium, to the point many black women do not see natural hair as beautiful.
In this music video by Indie Arie feat Akon, she talks about the transistion many black girls go through, some turn to weave and very few hold out natural, simply because natural hair is regarded as nappy hair, not beautiful hair, afro-centric ideologies surrounded the idea of having natural hair, hence its lack of representation within the public eye.
In todays image conscious society, I’d like to see more young black females having there natural hair out. Personally for me to say I will happily start the movement would be a major lie. I believe if I had my hair natural, I would not be beautiful and at times wish my hair was long and flowey to give me the right image that I believe to be beautiful. Its an interesting psychology and one that many find hard to admit to or even acknowledge as being a problem.
With artists like India making the mark, I hope minds can be changed and re-positioned. For all you in the dark, i’ll give you the first few lyrics of the song, so you can understand the process the average black girls goes through…in the words of India
”Little girl with the press and curl
Age eight I got a Jheri curl
Thirteen I got a relaxer
I was a source of so much laughter
At fifteen when it all broke off
Eighteen and went all natural
February two thousand and two
I went and did
What I had to do
Because it was time to change my life
To become the women that I am inside
Ninety-seven dreadlock all gone
I looked in the mirror
For the first time and saw that HEY….
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations no no
I am not my hair
I ma not this skin
I am a soul that lives within”
After much anticipation and great reviews in the US, my eyes were brought to the attention of a new film featuring Mo’Nique and Mariah Carey, directed by Lee Daniels from Monster’s Ball. A film about a girl growing up in the projects who faced abuse by both her mother and father, pregant twice by her dad and her first child born with down-syndrome. A touching film and concept.
The film is based on a book called ‘Push’ written by African American ‘Sapphire’. Although it is not based on a a true story it was inspired by the lives of various women she encountered. It took me less than 42 hours to read the entire book as I was desperate to get to the end, which for me is a record.
Push a book by Sapphire covers the life of an overweight girl named Precious. Abused sexually by both her mother and father, she is a prime victim of a silent issue going on in todays society, but one that is rather masked. Haven given birth to her first child from her father, her daughter is taken away from her as she deals with down-syndrome and lives with Precious’ grandmother. She is expectant of her second child and we follow her life during this period, whilst she strives to get her GHD up and get an education.
The book is written in bad english as Precious struggles to read and write, so it really puts you the reader in her shoes. Though hard to grasp at first, once you get into the flow of it, its a hard one to put down.
The story progresses and in great depth explains the feelings of Precious. It goes into her thoughts during sex with her father or performing sexual acts on her mother and the detail of the explicit sexual events that took place. It was here I found the text quite disturbing and at times thought Sapphire didn’t need to go there in order to convey the story of Precious and girls like her. It was hard hitting and at those moments morbidly uncomfortable for me to read.
I found myself feeling extremely broken and miserable as I read the book as I was so engaged in completing it, it affected my mood and even my interaction with those around me. Which is a lot for book!
As the book comes to an end Precious happy ending remains rather vague. Although she has got an education and will be progressing onto High School, she still has the HIV virus and is left to care for her two children in the streets of Harlem, and the issue of her obesity is never raised.
It’s rather open ended and I found as a reader I didn’t get the closure that I had wanted as the reader, especially it being the story was fictional, but rather felt the impact of the abuse and was left feeling sorry for her and understood she had put an end to the cycle of the abuse.
Overall I found Push to be a warm warming book with a blend of both sadness and graphic imagery it leaves the reader disarranged and heart broken for the girl ‘Precious’. Sapphire has definitely brought the issue to light and Lee Daniels has helped to make this issue an internationally success with the film ‘Precious’ being a blockbuster and Gabby Sidibe and Mo’Nique winning awards for there performances left right and centre.
Overall I give ‘Push’ 3.5 Stars
Trailer for Precious – General release in UK February 2010