Documentries News

Afro-Brazilian Hair Stories Part 1

While Essence produced their August global issue in Rio de Janeiro, they interviewed women who are celebrating the “Afro” in Afro-Brazilian. However, their hair journey has been a battle of personal, family and social acceptance because of Brazil’s complicated history with race and identity.

Documentries News

Too black for Brazil (Documentary)

Nayara Justino thought her dreams had come true when she was selected as the Globeleza carnival queen in 2013 after a public vote on one of Brazil’s biggest TV shows.


News UK

The 4th Annual Igbo Conference Preview Series: Nnedi Okorafor

By Chigbo JP  Ibe

When:  Day 2, Saturday 18th April 7pm (Keynote Address)

Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American writer of fantasy, science fiction, and speculative fiction. Some of her publicised books consist of Zaharah The Windseeker, The Shadow Speaker, Long Juju Man, Iridessa and The Secret of the Never Mine, Akata Witch 1& 2, Who Fears Daeth Moom (Short Story), Kabu-Kabu, Lagoon. Next month she will be releasing her next novel The Book of The Phoenix (prequel to Who Fears Death)



What part of Igboland are you from?

I am from Imo State. My father is from Arondizuogu, and my mother is from Isiekenesi .



Author and Associate Professor at the University at Buffalo, NY.


What made you decide to get involved with this year’s Igbo Conference?

Key words: Igbo, Womanhood, Conference. Heck yeah.


Favourite Igbo female figure, and why?

My favourite Igbo female figure is my mother, Dr. Helen Okorafor.

Why? because despite growing up within a deeply patriarchal Igbo society where the epitome of a woman’s success was measured in how many children she birthed, my mother was Valedictorian of her high school and university classes, one of Nigeria’s top athletes in college (she made the Olympic team in the javelin), and went on to become a Midwife, registered nurse and earn her PhD in health administration.

She raised  three infants (my two sisters and I are each a year apart) while finishing her PhD. My mother showed me by example how to be magnificent.


Do you feel the role of Igbo women has changed over the last 50 years if so how?

Yes. I think Igbo women have a greater variety of role models to choose from,  to emulate, or just learn from. Examples are good because they show us possibility outside of our dreams; possibility in action.

Though there is resistance by those who don’t want to see change and think that culture is stagnant (as opposed to alive and adjusting to the times), it’s clear that the role of the Igbo woman in Igbo community has become more diverse (just as the role of the Igbo man has), which is a good thing in my opinion.



What are the biggest challenges facing the Igbo women today?

The confidence to pursue her dreams, hopes and aspirations, even when they go against what is expected of her.



Its 2020 and you have been elected the first Nigerian female President, what are the first 3 changes you will make?

All I’ll say is that if I were President of Nigeria, I’d fire a lot of government officials, from the top to the lower level.  I would spend a lot of time with my administration vetting those who are hired to replace them.


How can people contact you?

I’m @Nnedi on Twitter and my website is 



The Igbo Conference Team in conjunction with The Centre for African Studies, SOAS Univeristy of London presents “The 4th Annual Igbo Conference: Igbo Womanhood, Womanbeing and Personhood”  Friday 17th – Saturday 18th April 2015
This conference seeks to engage with various conceptions of Igbo womanhood, in relation to the changing position of Igbo women and the changing practices in Igbo culture. It will explore Igbo traditions in relation to the role and status of women and examine the numerous social and political contributions made by Igbo women.
This year we have a wide range of   plenary panels, roundtable discussions, workshops and film screenings.
Prices range between £25 – £50
Find out more here
News Radio

Nubian Forum Talk Show Returns

The Nubian Forum Talk Show will be returning in January 2015.

The Nubian Forum Talk Show is a legendary platform hosted by Community Activists Kwaku Bonsu & Nii Kodjo. The Nubian Forum Talk Show use to broadcast previously on the now defunct Powerjam 92FM, every Tuesday evening.


The talk show was a pillar in our community for years, i.e. helping to raise money for community causes, READ HERE


The show will start  broadcasting on Power Extra Radio every Sunday from 12pm – 4pm some time in January 2015.


Find out more about Power Extra Radio at


Sky TV Unveils New Targets to Improve BAME on Screen Representation

Sky today announces stretching new targets to improve the representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people across its entertainment channels. The targets are designed to ensure that programmes on Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living and Sky Arts better reflect the diversity of Sky’s 10.7 million TV customers in Britain and Ireland.
In addition, as the fastest-growing source of investment in original British programming, Sky wants to play a leading role in making the television industry more accessible to talented people from all backgrounds.
Sky’s new targets address the diversity of talent both on screen and behind the camera. To drive real and sustainable change, Sky will work closely with companies from the independent production sector to seek out and nurture new talent.
By the end of 2015, Sky aims to achieve the following targets for the new programmes it commissions for its entertainment channels.

On Screen Portrayal

All brand new, non-returning shows on Sky entertainment channels will have people from BAME backgrounds in at least 20% of significant on-screen roles. This commitment covers all genres of programmes, including drama, comedy, entertainment and factual.


All of Sky’s original programmes will have someone with a BAME background in at least one senior production role. This is aimed at providing more opportunities for people with BAME backgrounds to reach senior positions within the production community.


20% of writers* on all shows will be from BAME backgrounds in order to promote a greater diversity of voices in Sky programmes and scripts.


Sky will also be offering a 12 month placement within our commissioning team as part of the Creative Diversity Network’s Commissioning Leadership Programme.

Stuart Murphy, Sky’s Director of Entertainment said: “Sky is dedicated to making programmes that feel representative of every one of the millions of viewers that watch our content every day, whatever their colour. So we have tackled the issue with the same sense of ambition that we show in all other areas of our business, setting ourselves a set of tangible goals that will hold us to account. Our aim is to kick start a sea change in the on screen representation of ethnic minorities on British television. It’s an incredibly exciting time, and I am very proud that Sky is going to be at the forefront.”

Sky will continue to work closely with the CDN, which recently also unveiled its cross broadcaster plans.

Sky is the UK and Ireland’s leading home entertainment and communications company. Around 40% of all homes have a direct relationship with Sky through its range of TV, broadband and home telephony services.


Letter to BBC and other broadcasters: actors and writers call for action over diversity

Text of letter sent to: BBC director general Tony Hall, ITV chief executive Adam Crozier, Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham, BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch and Philippe Dauman, chief executive of new Channel 5 owner Viacom

We the undersigned are writing you this open letter because together you are responsible for the most powerful broadcasting institutions in Britain and are therefore in a unique position to shape and form the future of British television.

We are dismayed at the poor numbers of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people both on our screens and working behind the camera

Today, only 5% of employees in our creative industries are BAME, despite BAME’s making up 12.5% of the total UK population.

In order to redress this imbalance, we believe that the training, mentoring and development schemes recently announced, although welcome, are not sufficiently radical to effect significant change.

We propose, therefore a solution that would almost immediately stimulate growth throughout the BAME creative community: a ring–fenced pot of money for BAME programmes.

The effect of this fund would be to engender and encourage television that would reflect one of Britain’s greatest strengths; our diversity.

Let us be clear about how this ring-fenced money would work. It is about quality of programming, not quantity: money is only spent when quality projects are identified – not to fill a quota. The major broadcasters have already set targets for the number of programmes produced outside London, and in the nations.

To increase ethnic diversity we are asking you to look at what has worked before and extend it for BAME communities. Ring-fencing money would not only guarantee results, but also create a more stable space for BAME talent on screen and behind the camera.

Signatories (to date)

Troy Titus Adams

Simon Albury

Kenton Allen

Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE

Amma Asante

Marianne Jean-Baptiste

Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE

Juliet Blake

Alan Bleasdale

Gurinder Chadha OBE

Lolita Chakrabarti

Act for Change

Chris Chibnall

Ron Cook

Dominic Cooke CBE

Daniel Craig

Allan Cubitt

Richard Curtis CBE

Stephen Daldry CBE

Russell T Davies OBE

Gregory Doran

Nadine Marsh Edwards

Jennifer Ehle

Idris Elba

Marianne Elliott

Barbara Emile

Daniel Evans

Sir Richard Eyre CBE

Julian Fellowes

Dexter Fletcher

Aminatta Forna

Michael Foster

Neil Gaiman

Lucy Gannon

Rupert Goold

Tony Grisoni

Charlie Hanson

David Harewood MBE

Lenny Henry CBE

Harry Hill

Sally Long-Innes

Terry Jones

Asif Kapadia

Kanya King

Sarah Lam

Baroness Doreen Lawrence

Adrian Lester OBE

Phyllida Lloyd CBE

Matt Lucas

Lisa Makin

Tony Marchant

Simon McBurney OBE

Jimmy McGovern

Jed Mercurio

Courttia Newland

Bill Nighy

Rufus Norris

David Oyelowo

Ashley Pharoah

Lynda La Plante CBE

Stephen Poliakoff CBE

Lucy Prebble

Hugh Quarshie

Beverley Randall

Ian Rickson

Alrick Riley

Kristin Scott Thomas

Geoff Small

Elaine C Smith

Lord Alan Sugar

Meera Syal MBE

Emma Thompson

David Tse

Indira Varma

Sally Wainwright

Matthew Warchus

Emily Watson

Richard Wilson OBE

Benedict Wong

David Yip

Pat Younge

Online Shows

Tammy V speaks to Samantha Chioma, Writer of New Webseries “Life of Hers”


Samantha Chioma is a British born Nigerian writer who has recently debuted her first web series “Life of Hers” directed by Olan Collardy and Ola Masha of Cardy Films UK. Life of Hers explores the challenges of being a young woman of the African Diaspora in a world where ambition and drive are in conflict with the traditional values of an African upbringing.

I caught up with Samantha to discuss the series, the inspiration behind the characters and how the series can help young people to understand their position in a cosmopolitan city…

Can you give us an overview of the 1st season without giving too much away?

Season one comprises five episodes, and over these five episodes the viewers are introduced to the four main characters, Kaima, Cassandra, Hodan and Valentine. The season gives some insight into their individual personalities, backgrounds and personal conflicts, and how some of these conflicts are resolved (or not!).

What was the inspiration behind each of the four main characters?

I wanted to develop four women who had different backgrounds, different personalities, different outlooks in love and life and different circumstances, but were united in friendship. I also wanted to address different aspects of modern life with these women, so for example, with Valentine, we see how religion can play a part in a young woman’s life, and with Kaima we see the difficulties that can arise when you choose a career path that’s more entrepreneurial and creative, instead of the usual 9-5.

How did the actresses who play each character win you over at casting?

I wasn’t actually involved with casting – the producer and directors took care of that. I did, however, have a discussion with the director beforehand about how I imagined each character looked and their idiosyncrasies. When I finally met the cast it was a real pleasure and I was excited to see what each would do with their characters, and how they would bring them to life.

Are any of the characters based on yourself and your experiences?

I think they all have an element of me or of things I’ve thought or discussed with friends. I’m very interested in people and what motivates them and excites them, what makes them feel embarrassed or sad or happy or ashamed.

Who is your favourite character and why?

Interesting question… I like all of them, but my favourite characters are Hodan and Onama (Kaima’s little sister). Hodan, because I think she’s the most complex and unusual of the women, and Onama because she’s young, brilliant and wise, but also a little naive.

Who is the target audience for the series?

The target audience are young women and men, both from the UK and around the world. For those in the UK, I hope it will be an accurate representation of some aspects of life as a young black woman in London, and for those around the world I think the themes and characters will still be relatable as a young adult in an ever-changing society.

Do you feel that only having women with an African background limits or even ostracises the series when it comes to women of other cultures e.g. Caribbean’s?

No, I don’t think so. Whilst British Africans and Caribbean’s have many similarities of experience, there are also many significant differences. Coming from an African background myself, I felt that the black British African experience was not one that receives much attention or exploration on TV, beyond the typical caricatures or stereotypes. I don’t think that having main characters who have an African background isolates viewers who don’t. We are unified by many other things, for example, our blackness, gender, goals, desires, beliefs, and the fact that we are young Londoners.

How do you feel the series will affect your target audience?

I’m hoping the audience feel familiar with Life of Hers, like I’m an old friend who has just told parts of their own story!

What was your main goal when you begun writing the series?

I wanted to write the type of show that I wanted to watch myself. I wanted to write a series that was about young British black women, that reflected some of the issues that we face today, and was also about friendship. The main goal was to write something that was relatable and could document and explore different aspects of life as a black British woman in the 2000s.

Do you think there is too for much pressure put on young women when it comes to choosing between family, career, tradition etc?

Tough question! I think this requires a conversation but I would say, sometimes, yes. I’ve been fortunate in that my mother never put pressure on me to do one or the other – she herself has been someone who has done practically everything simultaneously; education, career, family, business, etc. That said, however, for me and I’m sure many others, it was always implied that education (as in, up to degree level) was to be completed before anything else! I am sure that there were things she would have had to sacrifice for family, or sacrifice for her career. One issue is that young women are given such varying advice and this can be a pressure in itself. We are told by society and sometimes family members, to get our Masters degree, get a good job, be ambitious, but not too ambitious. Look good, but don’t wear too many designers or don’t buy that car or that house in case it scares off a possible suitor. So it can be difficult to find balance and the courage to do what you really want or need to do for yourself.

As a young woman who is building her career what steps have you taken to ensure that you do not have to sacrifice any of your dreams?

That’s another tough question! I’m a big believer in writing all my dreams down, so I have an A2 poster on the wall at home that has all the different things that I want to do and become. This serves as a reminder whenever I start to get distracted from my main goals.

I also try to ask for help or advice when I need it. This hasn’t been easy, and it’s not something that comes naturally but I do believe that many, if not all, things can only be accomplished with the help of others. It’s my way of being kinder to myself, and not working myself to the bone when there are people around who have the capacity, skills and desire to help.

I guess, another step I’ve taken is learning how to be audacious with my dreams and desires, and this requires lots of courage. It’s something that my friends and I discuss with and encourage in each other frequently, taking bold, innovative steps towards our dreams and careers, regardless of our fears, or the real (or perceived) lack of resource.

How did Ola Masha, Olan Collardy (director) and producer Waiki Harnais get involved in the project?

I had the idea for the series a while ago, and sent some ideas to Waiki and Ola for their opinion, as they have a lot of experience in film and script-writing. They then forwarded my ideas to Olan, who was really enthusiastic for the project, so after my exams (I’m studying full-time), I sat down and wrote the script for the five episodes over three weeks or so. Olan, Ola and Waiki took care of getting the cast and the rest of the production team together, and then finally all the filming and editing.

Social media has been used as the main advertising tool for the series, what kind of feedback have you gotten so far?

It’s been amazing, even before people had seen it, everyone was really very supportive and excited to watch it and were already claiming who they thought their favourite characters would be. Most of the people who have now watched the series remark how much they can relate to the characters and how well the series was produced, some going as far as saying it’s something that has been needed in the UK web-drama scene. It’s been overwhelmingly positive and I’m very grateful.

How did you get into writing is it something you have always wanted to do?

I’ve been writing fiction since I could read! I remember in primary school a teacher suggested an anthology be made of the stories I had written. I still have a few of those stories and they were imaginative but really quite cringeworthy. I love people, and I love exploring what motivates them, analysing them, empathising with them, understanding them and then explaining them to others. This passion is shown in my love for writing, and also in my chosen career path.

Have you done any other kind of writing and if so how different is it writing a series?

Over the years I have mainly written short stories and poems, though I wouldn’t call myself a poet at all! I wrote a play a couple of years ago. I also had a blog, The SuperWoman Chronicles, where I wrote articles about my life and my thoughts on culture, tradition, religion and womanhood.
Writing the webseries was an interesting experience and I had to learn a lot quite quickly, about structure and dialogue and writing succinctly; you don’t get the luxury of story writing where you can sit and spend paragraphs describing someone’s hair or clothes for example. Despite that, when it comes to storylines, webseries provide a flexibility that allows you to explore multiple themes without getting the viewer – or yourself – confused.

How did it feel to see your ideas come to life on screen?

It was really surreal. I had sat with these characters for months, reading their words and actions over and over again, editing and re-editing. So to see it come to life and see the characters take form is really an amazing experience.

What advice would you give a would be writer?

Just write. Write the story that’s important to you. Also, to paraphrase some advice that author Justine Larbalestier shared a while ago: consider your first draft a ‘zero draft’. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes or not getting everything right in the first draft. Write it all anyway and then rework it later.

How long was the process between writing the series and getting it produced?

The whole process has taken about six months! It was long and tiring but exciting. We learnt so much in the process and hopefully that will show in season two!

What are your plans for the next year?

Having released season one on Friday 11th July, we’re moving into pre-production for season two now. So look out for that!

Where can audiences find the series?
Well the series is out! All five episodes of Season One are available to watch online now on the Cardy Films TV YouTube channel

News Radio Television UK

BBC pushes for diversity on air

The BBC has announced plans for greater black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation on and off air.

“The BBC should be giving talented people a chance wherever they come from,” said director general Tony Hall.

The BBC will put £2.1m into a fund intended to help BAME talent, on and off screen, to develop new programmes.

BBC targets call for around one in six people (15%) on-air to be from BAME backgrounds within three years – an increase of nearly 5%.

The 15% target would be across all BBC television output including news, drama, comedy and documentaries.

Lord Hall said BBC News had set local targets in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leicester to reflect the population.

‘All backgrounds’

“I want a new talent-led approach that will help set the pace in the media industry,” said Lord Hall, who was speaking to members of Creative Access at the BBC’s Elstree Studios.

“The only reason we’re here is to make great programmes that people of all backgrounds think are important… and for that we need to employ people that have got ideas,” he added.

Simon Albury, chair of the Campaign for Broadcasting Equality, welcomed the BBC announcement, calling it “a huge step forward”.

“The BBC has announced a very substantial package of initiatives, which will drive significant and welcome improvement in BAME representation at all levels,” he said.

However, he expressed disappointment with the Diversity Creative Talent Fund of £2.1m, saying it was a fraction of the BBC content budget “of £1,789.1m”.

Friday’s announcement also included a series of targets for staff representation off-air, to be achieved by 2017.

The BBC said it would launch an Assistant Commissioner Development Programme to train six Commissioners of the Future to work in comedy, drama, factual, daytime and children’s programming.

It will include a 12-month paid internship, aimed at bringing in young people from diverse backgrounds.

But Lord Hall told reporters: “We’re not guaranteeing a job at the end of it.

“I’m certain they will get a job either at the BBC or elsewhere – but what I’m saying is we want to make a difference here to finding great talent and backing them.

“I’ve seen it work in the arts. If it doesn’t then we’ll look for other things.”

Incorporated into the 2017 targets is also a new senior leadership development programme providing six people from BAME backgrounds with experience working at the top level of the BBC – including a placement with Lord Hall himself.

“It’s going to be very competitive – it’ll be open to people inside and outside the BBC and we’re hoping to have a broad range of people,” he said.

The BBC said it hopes BAME representation at a senior level will almost double over six years, increasing from the current 8.3% to 15% by 2020.

The corporation will also take on 20 graduate trainees from BAME backgrounds, as part of its work with the Creative Access Programme – a charitable organisation which seeks to improve the representation of the ethnic minorities in the media.


The BBC is also bringing together a group of experts, including Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, comedian Lenny Henry, Asian Network presenter Nihal and Lady Benjamin to form an Independent Diversity Action Group, chaired by Lord Hall.

“I think the group will be tough-minded,” said Lord Hall. “But it’s good to have people who are there to support you, but also say you can do better here.”

Delivering a lecture to Bafta in March, Lenny Henry said funds should be set aside to boost the presence of BAME people in the broadcasting industry.

He put the presence of those from BAME backgrounds in the creative industry at 5.4%.

He described this as “an appalling percentage because the majority of our industry is based around London where the black and Asian population is 40%.”

He added that the situation behind the camera was also “patchy”.

International News Online Shows

On the Reel ft. Tiara Williams Africans vs. African Americans, What’s the beef?

On this episode of #OntheReel,The Reel Talkers talk about the negative relationship between Africans and African Americans. Why does it seem Africans do not respect African Americans?
What are your thoughts.


Documentry: Wide Angle Presents Brazil in Black and White

“Am I black or am I white?” Even before they ever set foot in a college classroom, many Brazilian university applicants must now confront a question with no easy answer.

BRAZIL IN BLACK AND WHITE follows the lives of five young college hopefuls from diverse backgrounds as they compete to win a coveted spot at the elite University of Brasilia, where 20 percent of the incoming freshmen must qualify as Afro-Brazilian. Outside the university, WIDE ANGLE reports on the controversial racial debate roiling Brazil through profiles of civil right activists, opponents of affirmative action, and one of the country’s few black senators.