Timothy Zachery Mosley aka Timbaland has blessed our ears with some of the most authentic and creative hip hop beats ever. There is stiff competition from Dr Dre, Pharell & Swizz Beats as they have all impacted the 90’s and 00s in emphatic style. Timbaland first worked with artists such as Jodeci, Ginuwine, Missy Elliot and Aaliyah, where his beats seemed futuristic and ahead of his time. He blended R&B and Hip Hop in such a seamless way, it became internationally acceptable and he quickly shot success working with some of the best and most popular artists of our generation. These days we have a mixed bag oh hip hop producers, and a lot of the genre sounds the same. The innovation in his music is blatant and the results are astounding. Timbaland will forever be one of the greatest producers of his time.
The Richest African in the world Aliko Dangote
The Richest black person in the world is Aliko Dangote with an estimated net worth of $ 16.7 billion as of March 2016. He is the founder of the Dangote Group which has various operations in Nigeria and several other countries. Dangote Cement is Africa’s largest cement manufacturer with over 26,000 employees in Nigeria. The company is building cement plants in Ethiopia, Zambia, South Africa and Sengal. Aliko Dangote has been planning on listing Dangote cement on the London stock exchange. There were rumours about this from 2012 and the company is currently listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of $ 15.8bn, making it the largest company on the Nigerian Stock market by market capitalisation.
To protect this vast fortune in a Country as unrefined as Nigeria, the Dangote affiliation has gone to extreme lengths to protect the reputation of the company, even when people shit on it, which is literally what happened in Gboko, March 2014. A young man named Terhile Jirbo relieved himself in a bush after playing snooker near one of Dangote’s factories, but the place was commonly used as a toilet. A soldier manning one of the security posts inside the factory saw what happened and ordered Jorbo to pick the mess up with his mouth or risk getting shot, Jirbo said he wanted to use his hands so the soldier shot him in his mouth. The bullet tore his mouth open and threw him to the ground, but he jumped up quick, ran away and collapsed nearby.
This was one attack out of many where soldiers in that area have been harassing residents for a while. Incensed, understandably, dozens of youth gathered at the factory protesting and insulting the soldiers for hours. At this point the protestors began to question why government soldiers were sent to protect a private company and verbalised this. It’s like having SAS guarding Marks and Spencers in Dartford. The soldiers got increasingly riled up and started shooting people, bullets were hitting people in the back and a woman was shot in the head point blank. Six men and one woman died , dozens injured and the spread of devastation through families and friends will live on forever. The Dangote cement factory agreed to pay compensation to the families of the dead victims and injured.
There are still parts of the world where the sanctity of life seems to have little value, but yet corporations and business enterprise can create huge fiscal returns. There are around 170 million people living in Nigeria, and 57 million people living there don’t have access to safe water. Over 130 million don’t have access to adequate sanitation and two hundred thousand people die from AIDs. We can see how desperation and disease must be on the fringes of the mindset of millions. Making one wrong choice can set you back lifetimes in Nigeria so people in all situations will do anything to keep themselves from becoming victims of their environment. They will protect corporations, to the extreme, even if the corporation wouldn’t want them to. The creation of a predatory environment comes from limiting resources, and inducing fear, and as a result the evolved psyche of a human changes. Irrationality can easily breed in these environments.
Nigeria is ranked 15th in world in oil production and for years has been a member of OPEC. The richest black man in the world lives in Nigeria and yet 4.4 million Nigerians are effected by starvation. I am in no way saying this is the responsibility or the fault of Dangote, because it’s not. I am merely making an observation about the huge disparity between the super rich and the dying in Nigeria, which is having cataclysmic cerebral effects on the population. Talk about crabs in the barrel. The natural resources of the Country are being utilised by the sharper minds who have processed the abundance of African commodities and turned it into multi-national businesses. The wealth is extremely concentrated and as a by-product the scraps are left for the chickens to fight for. Every now and then the wolves arise on the scene and tear the chickens apart. This can come in the form of a government soldier or as a terrorist, but the results are the same and the circle of accumulation and devastation continues. Its good to see a company that has employed so many African people and has given back so much to society strive on the global forefront. The company is still trying to grow and Nigeria definitely has a framework for business development. The next African Billionaires will have to come from sustainable technologies, something that is accessible by most people no matter how rich they are. For now, Aliko Dangote reigns supreme.
Producer and Director of Blood diamond Edward Zwick has worked on a number of epic action packed movies such as Legends of the fall, glory, traffic and the Last Samurai. He also executively produces the new Nat Turner movie, birth of a nation. Thoughtful concepts, excellent visionary materialisation and compelling writing have made the projects he has been involved in successful and meaningful. This is a name that we should look out for in the future as I’m sure he’ll have another awe inspiring production coming soon.
The blackest most whitest, white black girl…..Rachel Dolezal
Rachel Dolezal – The blackest most whitest, white black girl that’s ever lived. She’s the ex-leader of the NACPP who ‘identified’ as a black person for most of her life. She was hated and vilified after being ousted by her own parents who didn’t know why she told people she was black. She pretended for years to be a race that she wasn’t in order to pursue social justice and change for struggling black folk. This story goes to the heart of America’s on going love affair with race. Consider these facts;
- She attended Belhaven College to be part of a racial reconciliation community development project.
- She was awarded a scholarship to attend Howard University, one of the best known historically black universities.
- She worked as a part-time professor in the African studies aprogramme at Eastern Washington University in 2010.
- Her quest for civil rights & social justice landed her the top spot in the Spokane NAACP.
- She grew up in a loving family around black adopted siblings.
She stood down from the position after her parents dry snitched on her, telling the world she wasn’t black, which she obviously is not. She was well respected amongst peers in one of the most prestigious civil rights associations pushing for social change in America, so coupling this with her educational background and credentials it seems like the only thing making her ‘unfit’ for the role was the fact she was white.
And….maybe the fact she lied about her race was another damaging character flaw. The problem with this situation is this. Comparably, black people have accepted self confessed murderers, monogamists, drug dealers as leaders of black social movements. These people have reached millions of black people offering them words of advice on how to deal with being black in the world. Whether its a tv star, sports star, rapper or intellectual, we put stock in the words that come from those thick African lips. Rachel Dolezal, has probably helped instil positive change to more black people than any rapper has done yet black people choose not to accept it. Those Pink french fry lips didn’t help her out one bit.
The comparison isn’t to say Malcolm X wasn’t a good black leader or Jay-Z can’t speak to kids about making a better life for themselves. We have now realised that Rachel Dolezal has been a little shady in her over-zealous appropriation to black culture, but drug dealers ruin communities and families but we allow them to teach our children about the right moral path. Everyone deserves a second chance I guess, but if we can separate the shady past of some of the most powerful black leaders then why can we not do the same for Rachel, who has a wealth of experience within black culture through work and education. On paper she is well qualified to speak about the struggles of black people, you don’t have to be black to empathise with be black people. Her lying is shaking head worthy, but as a person she’s done a lot of good. She’s certainly done more for the black community than a lot of them other lazy niggas have in the US. Black people in America need all the help they can get, and its crazy because even when someone is willing to give their whole life up to ease black struggle, the most despised race in the world will allow race to get in the way of that help. Plus she wore braids once, and it doesn’t get much blacker than that!
First human in a photo
Daguerreotype was the first publicly announced photographic process. It was invented by Louis-Jaques-Mande Daguerre and introduced worldwide in 1839. To make a daguerreotype the daguerreotypist would polish a sheet of silver-plated copper to a mirror finish, treat it with fumes that made its surface light sensitive and expose it in a camera for as long as was necessary. Viewing a daguerreotype is unlike looking at any type of photo. The image does not sit on the surface of the metal, but appears to be floating in space. The first photo of a person was taken using the daguerreotype process. The man in the photo, we should call him Jean-Louis Le Franc, was having his shoes shined. It would be interesting to see howJean Louis would take to Snapchat or Instagram, but we’ve definitely come a long way since then. Modern day photography has become a convenient way to self promote but the ability to physically capture a memory will always be important for us.
Boulevard du Temple – Paris
First colour photo
Thomas Sutton collaborated with the theoretical physicist James Clerk Maxwell to take three separate exposures of a tartan ribbon through red, green and blue filters. The developed negatives were projected through separate magic lanterns, with the same coloured filters, on to a screen to create a single image. The principle of colour photography was born.
First war photo
One of the very first war photographs was of US forces fighting in the Mexican War in 1847. The image of American troops riding into the city of Saltillo was captured using daguerreotype technology. The photographer was an unknown American who wanted to take pictures of the likenesses of army officers, Mexican civilians and battlefields. The Mexican war resulted in the US forces being victorious and acquired 500,000 sq miles of land. It is estimated close to 5,000 Mexicans were killed during the land acquisition. The photos are rich in history and the rough and abstract finish makes for striking photography.
One day I will meet myself, and it will be Epic!
Whether the Universe is infinite or infinite is something we won’t be figuring out for a while. We do know that the Universe is massive, and is expanding at an exponential speed. We’ve only been able to see up to the particle horizon which is the most distant observable part of the Universe but there is so much more to be unveiled. There are over a 100 hundred billion galaxies which contain hundreds of billions of stars and to be honest, these numbers start to melt my brain a little bit. Since the earth has only been in existence for 4/5 billion years, and the first homo sapien skeletons were found in Africa 200,000 years ago its still early days for us to be discovering the surroundings of our cosmos. It’s only in the past 50 years that we’ve seen inventions like the Hubble space telescope and computing technology which have given us the ability to observe further into the depths of the unknown.
It seems like its only a matter of time until we make those outrageous discoveries which will re-shape society as we know it.
Is there life on other planets?
Is there already extra-terrestrial life on this planet?
Could there be parallel universes?
Was Mars attacks actually based on a true story?
By us trying to find out the size of the Universe and sending probes and satellites out we are inching our way towards answers. We have figured out that after 13.8 billion light years in all directions the Universe doesn’t repeat itself , and based on this some super smart scientists have figured out that the Universe is currently around 93 light years across. This is how far we’ve got with the technology and brain power we have so far. However, assuming the Universe is infinite causes a different set of dilemmas.
Consider this, in a cubic meter of space there’s a finite number of particles that can possibly exist within that region. Those particles have a finite number of configurations considering their charge, spin, velocity etc. It is estimated that this number of particles is 10 to the power of 10 to the power of 70. This is a number so vast, you can’t write it out with all the pencils in the Universe. There are only 10 to the power of 80 particles in the observable Universe, so that’s much less than the possible configurations of matter in a cubic meter. If the Universe is infinite, eventually you will reach a place where there’s a duplicate cubic metre of space. The further you go the more duplicates you find.
As time goes on, you will discover more and more identical regions of space and eventually you will meet another you. And then you’ll stop, because at that point you’ll think you’ve gone crazy, but once you have a conversation with yourself you will realise that your both on the same path finding the same types of cubic metres of matter. As you continue you search you will find hundreds, then thousands then millions and billions of you. The number of you’s is infinite, and they will all be collecting other you’s. Some will be vastly different from you, some will be extremely similar. Have you ever looked in a mirror opposite another mirror and seen multiples of yourself? This is kind of like that but on a whole other level.
Determining whether the Universe in finite or infinite will have huge implications. Either way, whoever’s on that journey is going to have a real fun time.
Its 1941 and the 25th infantry division of the Red army, has been ordered to defend a hill near a village just outside of Odessa in the Ukraine.
German and Romanian soldiers are on the approach as a young Ukrainian soldier peers through the scope of a mosin nagant rifle. The sniper finds a target, exhales slowly and fires a shot into a Romanians chest creating an exit wound the size of an apple.
After cycling the rifle’s bolt action, the sniper places the cross hairs on another Romanian and sends a second round down range striking a second Romanian in the heart.
Both soldiers fall to the ground motionless. Dead.
The shooter is a 24yr old Ukrainian woman Lyudmila Pavlichenko. This was her killing her first two soldiers and it took just a year after this for her to be hailed the most successful female sniper of all time.
She was born in a small Village near Kiev on July 12th 1916. During her teens she worked at Kiev’s Arsonary and participated in Kiev’s mandatory military training programmes. She began to get noticed due to her supreme accuracy and entered various shooting competitions where she was a step ahead of the rest of the competition. She joined a paramilitary organisation where she learned to hand glide and parachute. She volunteered to join the red army at a time were women were not really accepted. She was told to become a nurse instead when she offered to join the rifle regiment, but her marksmanship certificate convinced the recruiter about her capabilities.
The Soviet Union were more relaxed about having women in combat compared to the United States. Women could join the army in a number of roles but were especially suited for sniping due to them being smaller, flexible, cunning, patient and more susceptible to combat stress. Lyudmila was wounded on 3 separate occasions, but continued to fight and racked up over one hundred kills in 10 months in the region. Lyudmila was promoted to senior sergeant but Odessa was eventually lost to the Germans and she was shipped out to the city of Sevastopol. She fought her for 250 days and promoted to the rank of Junior Lieutenant.
In June 1942 Lyudmila was wounded by mortar fire and moved out of Sevastopol to the mainland. Her final kill count was 309, including over 100 officers and no less than 36 enemy snipers. She was one of the highest scoring female snipers in the history of combat. Sadly, Lyudmila’s division the 25th did not make it out of Sevastopol. The Germans took the city and a majority of the soldiers, including her husband, were killed. The story of Lyudmila Pavlichenko was a propaganda dream and she ended up travelling all around the world so people could hear her story.
As popular as Lyudmila Pavlichenko was, she conflicted with American women. Pavlichenko expressed her concerns in an interview with Time magazine. She was amazed at the kind of questions put to her by the women’s press correspondence in Washington. Lyudmila stated;
“Don’t they know there’s a war, they were asking me silly questions like do I use powder, nail polish and curl my hair. One reporter even criticised the length of my uniform skirt saying that American women wear shorter skirts, and that my uniform made me look fat. This made me angry, I wear my uniform with honour, it has the order of Lenin on it. It has been covered with blood in battle. It is plain to see that with American women, what is important is whether they wear silk underwear under their uniforms. What the uniform stands for they have yet to learn.”
Upon returning to the Soviet Union Lieutenant Pavlichenko was promoted to major. She was also awarded the title, hero of the Soviet Union which is equivalent to the American medal of honour. She instructed snipers at the central women’s sniper training school for the rest of the war. There were 407 instructors which produced 1061 graduates. These students and teachers were responsible for nearly 12000 confirmed kills during the course of the war. She moved back to Moscow and became a Historian for her remaining years before she died in October 1974 at the age of 58. Lyudmila Pavlichenko not only experienced conflict, but she also experienced the ideological conflict that existed between the East and the West.
Major Lyudmila Pavlichenko was more than just a sniper she was an icon of her time, a hero to her countrymen and example of the conflict and cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union.
You don’t have to be cruel to be kind
An act of kindness is a spontaneous gesture of goodwill towards someone or something. You probably wouldn’t realise, but we all perform many acts of kindness on a daily basis, whether it be smiling at someone or paying someone a compliment. Kindness is important because it broadens life’s frame of reference. I am unsure why there aren’t more genuine kind acts shown on TV and as consumers we are definitely more drawn to the negative aspects of human nature. It is humbling to witness kindness and empowering to actively be kind even when the opportunities in our daily routines are slim. Kindness doesn’t warrant a reaction and is one of the purist sentiments a human being can carry out. Being kind is strength and is important to acknowledge that it is a core response which comes from deep inside us.
Robert L Curbeam
Most kids either want to be a doctor, cowboy or an astronaut. The problem is, as you grow up you realise that cowboys were mostly drunken homicidal woman beaters and becoming a doctor is a hell of a lot of responsibility. That leaves becoming an astronaut as the only reasonable dream occupation for a child. Children have a wondrous fascination with the cosmos and due to the shear vastness of the universe that childlike curiosity continues with us until we are adults.
The word astronaut comes from the Greek word space sailor and to become an astronaut you have to have a high level of fitness, acute technological and scientific skills. It’s a risky job which takes copious amounts of courage. I don’t believe any amount of rigorous testing can prepare you for a space expedition, and only a handful of people through out history will ever get this opportunity. Robert L.Curbeam was a NASA astronaut who embodied all of these skills and currently holds the record for the most spacewalks during a single spaceflight, the STS-116.
Robert spent hours as a child designing aeroplanes and rockets but never dreamed he would ever be on the inside of one on the way to space. He graduated from Wood-lawn High School in 1980, earned a degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Masters in Astronautical Engineering. He’s flown F-14s in the Navy and participated in three space shuttle missions as a NASA astronaut. He’s walked in space a whopping seven times, logged over nine hundred hours up there including forty five hours of space walks.
As of 2016 only six countries have full launch capabilities. Only three countries are capable of human space flight, they are; USA, Russia and China. That number will inevitably grow as the temptation of space travel unravels. As well as bragging rights, the technology that comes along with it is life changing. Memory foam mattresses, Velcro, and smoke detectors are just some of the technologies born from space technology.
What do you need to do to become an astronaut..?
– Bachelors degree in engineering, maths, biology, computer or chemical science. Three years job experience would be useful also.
– A second language always looks good for potential astronauts. Russian is top of the list for ESA.
– At least 1000 hours pilot in command time in jet aircraft.
– No age restrictions as ESA has considered candidates from 26-46, but you have to be in good shape.
– Nasa candidates have to pass the military’s water survival course and show they can cope with high and low pressure environments. Their vision must be 20/20 and have a blood pressure which is a maximum of 140/90.
We need to re-identify who we consider to be heroes. Rappers are not heroes, sports stars shouldn’t be idolised and we shouldn’t accept that our children aspire to be actors. The scientists, engineers and programmers who have shaped the world we live in today are what we should aspire to be. It takes a high degree of intelligence, drive and courage to become an astronaut. These are the attributes our future generations to take forward and develop. This is how future generational problems are solved. Especially considering we only have one Earth.
‘If you don’t leave this earth a conservationist, you will come back as one.’ – Robert L Curbeam
The earth is that beautiful. The nostalgia will catch you off guard and leave you breathless for a few minutes as you soak in the profound perspective that is our earth. The home we are destroying is seemingly still stunning in its decay. Losing eight percent bone density and being lonely for a while seems worth it when the images your eyes take in are burned in your brain forever. Space travel will humble you beyond your core and deep into your soul. Salute to Robert L Curbeam, a true hero.
David Adjaye & The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture
David Adjaye, a British architect born in Tanzania son to a Ghanaian diplomat is working on a astounding building in the heart of Washington DC. The almost complete Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) was a challenging project for the globally recognised architects, and is their most high profile project to date. The architects Adjaye has become kind of an underground celebrity, winning awards and being interviewed by GQ magazine.
The building is stacked in three volumes which forms the upper portion of the building. It’s covered in bronze plates perforated with patterns which is a reference to the history of African American craftsmanship. In 2009 Adjaye was selected as a team of architects which also include, Freelon Group, Davis Brody Bond and Smith Group to design the five hundred million dollar project. The design features a crown motif from Yoruba sculpture.
Adjaye speaks about having to prove himself to members of the black media community in order to be selected for working on this project. He’s done a hell of a job in projecting the cultural aspects of African art into a fascinatingly meticulous design which I hope will inspire the people of Washington DC to find out more about African History and architecture. DC has absolutely horrendous crime rate statistics with rapes and aggravated assaults happening on a daily basis. For the people of the city to know of a black man who creates art which doesn’t glorify negativity would be a positive change for for the people of the city.