Wednesday, October 15, 2008

colin powell rocks out!

how amazing is this? i love how impassioned he is in these shots...

this is president bush the younger's 71 year old former secretary of state colin powell at the royal albert hall last night, in an impromptu dance/performance with a nigerian hip-hop group called olu maintain. he was there to speak as a part of THISDAY's 3rd annual africa rising festival, a celebration of african style, fashion and culture. apparently after powell left the podium, he was so inspired by the music that he joined in to sing and do a version of the nigerian dance yahoozee.

this is a side of colin powell i never imagined i'd ever see. he may be a republican and a conservative but apparently, he is truly blacker than black -- and proud of it. that gives me a lot of hope.

what's so exciting about this?

this festival is all about pan-african unity, involving models and musicians and leaders and activists from the entire black diaspora -- from alek wek and naomi campbell to lionel ritchie and beyonce, from king sunny ade to busta rhymes and then some. this is the first year that the festival has gone international. they were actually stateside, in DC! anything that brings all of us together to celebrate our accomplishments, that's focusing on "sustainable solutions" instead of problems, and that raises awareness of the good things that africa -- and africans everywhere -- are bringing to the table is a wonderful thing.

and here we stand as americans, on the brink of electing the first african-american to the presidency. the whole world is watching. it's so important that every eligible voter show up and do their civic duty on november 4th. perhaps it's true that africa is about to experience a renaissance. all africans, worldwide.

it's interesting to note that olu maintain's guitar-playing father is a medical doctor with the nigerian army and that olu studied accounting at the polytechnic in ibadan and has his own label, reloaded records.

here's a part of what mr. powell told the audience:

"I stand before you tonight as an African American.
Many people have said to me -- you became Secretary of State of the USA, is it still necessary to say that you are an African American or that you are black, and I say yes, so that we can remind our children.
It took a lot of people struggling to bring me to this point in history. I didn't just drop out of the sky, people came from my continent in chains.
A lot of wrongs have been done to the continent of Africa by Western powers faced with an iron curtain and a bamboo curtain. These barriers have now fallen and the world is being driven now by new financial forces.
Asia is expanding, it created jobs for people, and Eastern Europeans are doing the same, in my continent - in Latin America, it's happening also. It's now Africa's turn.'"

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