Friday, 23 September 2011

The Great Debaters

On 22nd September, I had the unique opportunity to watch a screening of The Great Debaters at Kensington Library Theatre, presented by Black History Walks  and Images of Black Women Film Festival The Great Debaters is a 2007 American biopic period drama film directed by and starring two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington and produced by Oprah Winfrey and her production company, Harpo Productions.

The film co-stars Forest Whitaker, Kimberly Elise, Nate Parker, Denzel Whitaker and more.  The screenplay was written by Robert Eisele.  This remarkable film is based on a true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College, Texas.  In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.

I enjoyed the film alot and found it refreshing to see black characters in positive roles.  But more than that, it was inspirational and educational as I'd never heard of The Great Debaters before. The fact that this film has never been picked by any UK distributor saddens me but doesn't surprise me.  I've often questionned why is it that some of the best black films are being blocked from reaching our TV screens; it feels like a conspiracy to me.  I've witnessed this for far too long.  When I spent 3 months in Jamaica from September - December 2007, I was amazed and pleasantly surprised at just how many excellent black (American) films were screened along with other live concerts, e.g. Justin Timberlake (which was outstanding by the way). 

Thankfully, there is now an outlet for seeing films such as these and I look forward to being inspired further at future screenings.

For more about The Great Debaters:

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Respect the 'Fro

On 27th August I attended Respect the 'Fro, an event dedicated to the Afro held downstairs at Cottons - Rhum Shack in Islington, London, a lovely venue with a Caribbean Restaurant upstairs.  It was all about the kinks and curls and respecting the Afro.  This was a great opportunity to meet and greet natural beauties who showcased and displayed today's styles and tomorrow's headliners.  I was there to promote my latest anthology, Hair Power - Skin Revolution.

It was great to meet likeminded women, particularly Sonia of Evelyn Products, based in Cardiff, whose Fro Her range is formulated to naturally alleviate many common hair ailments.  Created by experienced cosmetic chemists, their range only contains ingredients which work with the hair's natural moisture balance and pH balance.  For more visit:

My favourite was Belinda's presentation on her journey to natural hair, referencing the film Malcolm X - the scene when Malcolm X (played by Denzel Washington) has his hair straightened.  Malcolm X has said that this action of wanting hair like a white man, was the first step towards self-degradation.  Belinda continued her powerful and inspirational talk by sharing some of the mistakes she made at the beginning of her natural hair journey, e.g. cutting her hair, dyeing her hair and using 'natural' relaxers. "There is no such thing," said Belinda. 

Belinda emphasised the need to do your own research using the Internet, or books.  In fact, Belinda has started to create her own products and is working on launching her hair care range next year.

Belinda's Hair Advice and Tips:

  • Take photos of your hair journey
  • Admire other Naturals BUT LOVE YOUR HAIR!
  • Not every product or hair tool is for you.
  • Find your own regimen, e.g. of washing/treating your hair
  • Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise (particularly the ends)
  • Use protective styling; protect the ends so that your're  not touching your hair everyday
For more visit Belinda's Blog:

Her final words were


Photos - Top: Belinda delivering her presentation;
Bottom: Nicole and Belinda.