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Thursday, May 31, 2007

For months now there has been speculation as to whether model Oluchi Onweagba would be switching gears in the world of modeling to pursue a business venture. Oluchi recently put those rumors to rest when she announced that she is involved in a venture which "will soon become the proudest-to-be-Pan-African model management consultancy in the world!" Fittingly, the agency is called "O Model Africa." Oluchi and her partners (including Jan Malan) have opened up offices in Johannesburg, South Africa and says she "can't wait" to reveal more. O Model Africa has the makings to be the top African modeling agency ... Oluchi's star power and business sense has already attracted some of the most recognizable African models from around the world. The official launch is scheduled for Thursday 21 June 2007 and promises to be an exciting night filled with a who's who guest list of African stars. Of course MIMI will have all the details as they develop.

(Photo Credits: Provided Courtesy Of O Model Africa)
Since leaving the daytime soap-opera, The Young And The Restless, Victoria Rowell has been committed to using her voice to make a difference. She recently released the memoir, The Women Who Raised Me, in which she pays tribute to the women who helped her beat the odds (Rowell was a foster child). Now she's adding spokesperson to her list of duties. Victoria joined LACTAID(R) Milk, America's #1 lactose-free milkbrand, to educate lactose intolerant African-Americans about the importance of calcium and Vitamin D and the products available to help manage symptoms easily and effectively.

"Lactose intolerance is a common condition for African-Americans. I am also lactose intolerant and used to avoid dairy because I did not want thestomach discomfort that followed," said Rowell. "Over the years, I haverealized that avoiding dairy can put me at risk for osteoporosis. Products like LACTAID(R) Milk and LACTAID(R) Fast Act Dietary Supplements help me manage my lactose intolerance without eliminating dairy from my diet,putting my mind at ease about my bone health now and in the future. I also love that I can still enjoy my favorite foods with family and friends."

It is estimated 40% of African-American women in the U.S. over age 50 have either low bone mass osteoporosis(2), where bones become increasingly brittle and painful. For more information on lactose intolerance and LACTAID(R), visit www.lactaid.com

(Photo Credits: PRNewsFoto/McNeil Nutritionals, LLC)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Filmed over three years by Paul Taylor and his crew, We Are Together (Thina Simunye) is a heartfelt documentary exploring the lives of children in the South Africa Agape Orphanage, many of whom are AIDS orphans. The film follows Slindile, a 12-year-old South African girl living at the Agape Orphanage, along with her friends at Agape who form a choir which becomes their greatest source of comfort and hope, and which takes them on a journey beyond their dreams.
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We are together had its world premiere at the 2006 International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam (IDFA) where it won two prizes: First Appearance Award and the prestigious Audience Award, receiving the highest score in the festival’s history. It has since been screened at four festivals and won five awards. Learn more at www.wearetogether.org
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(Photo Credits: Paul Taylor)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Model Noémie Lenoir (whose father is French and whose mother is from Madagascar) attended the 60th International Cannes Film Festival rocking fabulous jewellery from Montblanc (she is wearing Étoile de Montblanc High Jewellery Collection Passion Earrings) and a short new bleach blonde do. We barely recognize her with her new do! Noémie attended an Ocean's Thirteen party as well as the movie's premier and was spotted again on the red carpet at the premiere for the film Auf Der Anderen Seite.
(Photo Credits: Peter Kramer)
Model Noémie Lenoir looked fabulous in silver at the Cannes Film Festival Premier of Auf Der Anderen Seite. The paparazzi obviously love her!

(Photo Credits: Sean Gallup)

The casting of Angelina Jolie in the upcoming film A Mighty Heart as Marianne Pearl, a mixed race woman, caused quite a stir last year—MIMI's own Ngum Ngafor shared her views on the controversy in the article Jolie Good Hollywood. Judging from their promotional photographs, it seems as they all they did was give her a tan and a perm.

Was it so hard to cast Thandi Newton, Sophie Okonedo, or Halle Berry ... just to name a few among many talented mixed race actresses? Nevertheless, with the film slated to be released in June of this year, we suspect the controversy will be put to rest given the critical acclaim that is surrounding it.

(Photo Credits: © 2006 Paramount Vantage. All Rights Reserved)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Last month, Reuters published a thought-proving article titled: "Fat Models Stay In Africa As West Wants Size Zero." According to the article, women who are accepted as beautiful and suitable to model in Africa are more shapely but African modeling agencies are unable to sell their look abroad because the West is still fixated with the superskinny look. Ugandan fashion designer Sylvia Owori is quoted as saying, "Few Africans want to see a superskinny model ... I think most Ugandans would be disgusted. They'd think she'd just come out of the village and she was malnourished." You can read the full story at Reuters: www.reuters.com/article/companyNewsAndPR/idUSL1655405120070422
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This issue runs deep—it is rumored that the career of former Face of Africa winner Benvinda Mudenge (1999) came to a screeching halt because of her weight. Perhaps this explains why African models who are naturally very skinny, like Oluchi, Iman and Alek Wek have acheived iconic status. But what kind of message does that send to girls at home who dream of making it big in the industry?
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MIMI Features Link: Catwalks, Cameras And Covers www.mimimagazine.com/november2006/02-08-catwalks01.html
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(Photo Credits: Ivan Naudé)
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in the case of this photograph from the CW Network's upcoming television show about a family living in South Africa called, Life Is Wild, the photograph says it all. So much for getting over the pet lion stereotype? At least there are no promotional photographs from the television show depicting naked, malnourished Africans ... yet!
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(Photo Credits: David Bloomer/The CW © 2007 The CW Network LLC. All Rights Reserved)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The CW Network recently unveiled its schedule for the 2007-2008 season with details about its upcoming schedule. Among the new shows is the family drama Life Is Wild, a story of a dysfunctional blended family from New York who moves to a rural South African town and finds they must rely on each other more than they ever did back home. The show will be filmed entirely in South Africa, with a diverse cast of American, British and South African actors. You can find out more about the show, as well as get a preview of what's to come at the CW Network's website: www.cwtv.com/thecw/life-is-wild The show sounds promising ... let's keep our fingers crossed that Life Is Wild not feature a pet lion or anything of the sorts!


Speaking of the CW, hit-show Girlfriends got renewed for a history making 8th season! With Girlfriends going strong, the creator and executive producer behind the show Mara Brock Akil is making her mark as one of only a handful of African American females working behind the scenes in television. As Mara continues to make TV history we'll be watching.
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(Photo Caption: Pictured (Left To Right): Golden Brooks as Maya, Tracee Ellis Ross as Joan, Persia White as Lynn)
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(Photo Credits: The CW/ Frank Ockenfels 2006 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Naomi Tutu, passionate advocate for peace and human rights, a child of Apartheid and daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, gave a stirring commencement speech to Bentley College graduates during the 88th undergraduate commencement ceremony this past Saturday, May 19.
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She told graduates to beware of the myth of the self-made person, reminding them of what her own parents often reminded her, "What you achieve is not yours alone. It is actually a wonderful feeling to know that you are a part of something larger than yourself." Tutu said she had been fortunate to meet some of those who had made a better life possible for her. She pointed to people who had been killed or imprisoned for protesting Apartheid, including President Nelson Mandela with whom "I had an opportunity to spend time and see the effects of the years of working in those chalk mines on his eyes—and know that the sacrifice was for me."
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For Tutu, one of the most poignant benefits of those sacrifices was her ability to vote 13 years ago, for the very first time in the country of her birth. "I know that those of you sitting here are not self-made people," she told the graduates. "Not to take away from your achievements, (but) you know that those people sitting behind you—your family and friends, along with your college faculty and staff—those who came before you to put up the buildings, those who gave to the college so you would have the wonderful facilities you now have, you know that each of these people have part of the degree that you are going to receive today. "But of all those people who went before to prepare the way for us, most of those people will not ask us to pay them back," she continued. "But what they do ask of us is to pay it forward. That we make this world a better place for those who come after us in just the way that they made this a better place for us."
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(Photo Credits: PRNewsFoto/Bentley, A Business University)
Michel Martin of NPR's Tell Me More recently interviewed the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, about challenges in other African countries, such as Nigeria (the elections) and Sudan (Darfur). She also discussed her experience as the only woman currently leading a nation on the African continent. This is definitely an interview that should not be missed, you can hear it all at NPR

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Soft & Beautiful brand of hair care products has named the uber-fabulous actress Sanaa Lathan, Miss Soft & Beautiful 2007. This award from Soft & Beautiful recognizes role models. Lathan was selected based on a recent Sister 2 Sister Internet poll. Readers chose Lathan from amongst a list of other beautiful celebrities which included, Beyonce, Tyra Banks and Queen Latifah. "I'm so honored to be named Miss Soft and Beautiful 2007," Lathan said. "It is such a delight to be recognized by the women in my community. A huge part of my life intention is to uplift women. This means so much. Thank you."

(Photo Credits: PRNewsFoto/Soft & Beautiful)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

CeCe Winans has always used her fame to help others and with the release of her new book, Always Sisters, CeCe Winans is bringing hope and help to forgotten and abused girls as well as those who appear to have it all together. Winans covers topics pertinent to young girls such as image and self—esteem, behavior, dating and sexuality, prayer life and much more. Always Sisters will make a great gift for young girls and teens to affirm and remind them that they are, indeed, a princess.

MIMI Features Link: CeCe Winans—Sister To Sister www.mimimagazine.com/may2006/02-05-cecewinans01.html

(Photo Credits: Provided Courtesy Of eByrd Communications)
We know that summer is upon us because there are all sorts of concerts about to take place. We're really excited that Cesaria Evora, Angelique Kidjo, and Les Nubians are all about to embark on summer tours around America and Europe! In June/July Cesaria Evora will be hitting up Los Angeles, New York and Boston to name a few (check out Cesaria Evora's tour dates and ticket prices here). Angelique Kidjo and Les Nubians will be coming to a city near you even sooner as their tours have already embarked (get all the details of Angelique Kidjo's tour from her official website and get all the details of Les Nubians's concert from their official website). See you at the concerts!

(Photo Caption: Cesaria Evora)

(Photo Credits: Provided Courtesy Of Sony/BMG)

Monday, May 14, 2007

A few months ago, the South African Broadcasting Corporation 1 (SABC 1) paved the path for cutting-edge and thought-provoking television with the launch of its four-part mini-series, Society (read MIMI's post about Society here). Now that SABC has told the African woman's story with Society, it's the men's turn. SABC 1's new four part mini-series After Nine follows the lives of black gay men in a modern society. The show is the first South African drama to deal with the sensitive and controversial subject of gay men in the closet, playing dual roles. It delves into the secret underworld of a black gay man and his inner struggles and hopes to find a way to deal with the torment of revealing his true sexuality to his wife and family.

After Nine Co-Producer Sechaba Morojele explained that the mini-series is about an affluent man (China) who is involved in entrepreneurship scheme called Black Economic Empowerment and is about to become CEO of a company and about to be married. China meets Hector, an architect who has just been appointed to work with China in the same company. The two establish a good relationship through basketball, and they eventually fall in love. While the two are deeply in love, China learns that he impregnated his girlfriend and is pressured by his family to marry her. That's as much as Morojele would reveal about the show, although he also added that the phrase "after nine" refers to people who act straight during the day but homosexual after hours.

SABC 1's mini-series are definitely pushing the envelope and representing a different view of modern Africans. Perhaps this will open up a dialogue about what it means to be African in today's society.

(Photo Caption: After Nine Cast Members Denver Vraagom (Who Plays Zane) And Sidu Majola (Who Plays Sbu))

(Photo Credits: SABC 1)

Oh Really?



Just when we thought the Akon scandal couldn't get any creepier, celebrity gossip site TMZ is reporting that the underage girl Akon pulled on stage celebrated the event and described it on her MySpace page as "girls nite out! best time!!" Since this story leaked, her MySpace page has been set to private (suprise, suprise). For anyone who still cares about this mess, visit TMZ.com (search for Akon) for the details.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

In more positive news from the continent, International Trade Forum Magazine's latest issue is themed Changing Brand Africa. This issue contains articles that seek to change others' views of Africa beyond HIV/AIDS and poverty as Africa is about so much more than that. As the magazine's website says, "In tourist offices, the most frequent images of Africa are those of safari animals. In the news, the tragedy of several conflicts lingers. On film screens, African conflict diamonds take centre stage in a Hollywood movie. This image of Africa does not reflect its economic diversity, entrepreneurial aspirations or the optimism that goes with rising investment, growth and greater stability. 'Brand Africa' is in need of a change if Africa is to take its rightful place in world markets." There was an especially wonderful article about the ways in which African women have stronger roles in various African countries nowadays (click here to read the article). Love it!

MIMI Related Links: Read Articles From The Changing Brand Africa Issue
MIMI's Summer issue is now available, and it features Miss Ghana Universe 2006 and this year's Face of Runway Africa, Angela Asare on the cover. This is a special double issue of MIMI!

In addition to bringing you celebrity features (including 2006's Nokia Face of Africa Winner Venantia Otto, and Desert Rockers Tinariwen), the MIMI Team worked overtime with special guest contributors to bring you a mix of informative, fun, and thought-provoking bonus articles in the Style, Heart & Soul, and Mambo sections of the magazine.

Although a new issue of MIMI will not be published until the Fall, the Blogspot will be updated with all things African, so be sure to check this space regularly.

All About MIMI Link: Volume 3, Issue 5: Naturally You, Naturally Beautiful www.mimimagazine.com/2007/may

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Word has spread that in a concert in Trinidad and Tobago held on April 20th at an 18 and over club, rapper Akon called out a girl from the crowd on stage. Donning a low-cut bathing suit and jeans, the girl (who credible sources are reporting is the 15-year old daughter of a preacher) began to dance with Akon and his DJ. Akon then pulled her aside and simulated graphic sex with her before sandwiching her with the DJ. Video footage of the performance quickly popped up on youtube.com and other Internet sites. But according to various websites, Akon's music label (Universal) has sent out cease and desist orders to prevent the video footage from being viewed.

In a statement to the Trinidad Guardian, the young girl is reported to have said: “I am ashamed about what happened. I got carried away in the moment ... my parents had no clue I was going to the concert or how I was dressed ... I told them I was going with my cousins for ice cream.”

Verizon (a sponser of Akon as well as his tour with Gwen Stefani) dropped their contract with Akon, stating: “After . . . consideration of various issues, Verizon made the business decision last week to no longer support Akon in any way, including pulling out of the Stefani concert tour sponsorship to which he had been booked as an act.”

This story has been catching wind in celebrity blogs and online news sources, and this is likely not the last we are going to hear of Akon and his Trinidadian concert. Even if Akon did not know that the girl was underage, it is really disappointing and disturbing to see such a display of graphic and degrading behavior from Akon. But then again, can we really expect better from someone who recorded songs such as Smack That and I Want to F*** You?

Friday, May 4, 2007

TIME Magazine released it's picks of "the 100 men and women whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world" Among those in the top 100 were Oprah Winfrey, Condoleezza Rice, and Tyra Banks! Six Africans made TIME Magazine's list of the most influential people:

  1. Youssou N'Dour, Senegalese musician: Artists & Entertainers
  2. Peter Akinola, Nigeria's Archbishop: Leaders & Revolutionaries
  3. Barack Obama, Politician of Kenyan and American descent: Leaders & Revolutionaries
  4. Amr Khaled, Egyptian inspirational speaker: Heroes & Pioneers
  5. Monty Jones, Scientist of Sierra Leonean descent: Scientists & Thinkers
  6. Cyril Ramaphosa, South African union leader: Builders & Titans
You can read about all these and other inspiring people at www.time.com/time/specials/2007/time100

Thursday, May 3, 2007

You've heard about the sassy and heart-warming comedy The Salon (see our previous post) and now MIMI is giving away tickets to see The Salon to 30 MIMI subscribers. Send us an e-mail, at mail@mimimagazine.com with your name and mailing address and you'll get a pair of tickets to go and see The Salon. If you're not a MIMI subscriber, subscribe now at mimimagazine.com/subscribe and then enter the giveaway.

Before you send us an e-mail for your free tickets, please make sure you live in one of the cities where The Salon is opening: Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Birmingham - Anniston – Tuscaloosa, AL; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Cleveland –Akron, OH; Dallas – Ft. Worth, TX; Detroit, MI; Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Memphis, TN; Miami – Ft. Lauderdale, FL; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Norfolk – Newport News, VA; Philadelphia, PA; Raleigh – Durham (Fayetteville), NC; San Francisco – Oakland – San Jose, CA; St. Louis, MO; Washington, DC – Hagerstown, MD. Take your best friend, take your mother, take your sister, and we'll see you at the movies!

Please note, the information you submit to MIMI will only be used in connection with MIMI's giveaway and will not be distributed to any third parties.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Coming to theaters on May 11th is The Salon starrring Vivica Fox, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Kym Whitley, Monica Calhoun, Taral Hicks, Dondre Whitfield, De'Angelo Wilson, Garrett Morris, Terrence Howard, Brooke Burns, Tiffany Adams, and Greg German.

The Salon is a sassy and heart-warming film for the entire family that will leave you howling in your seats! Based on Shelly Garrett’s hit stage play, Beauty Shop and written, produced and directed by Mark Brown (Barbershop), The Salon stars Vivica A. Fox (Jenny) as the inheritor of a neighborhood beauty salon. Jenny is being forced to sell her shop to the Department of Water and Power (DWP) due to eminent domain, and is being forced to accept the money she is offered for her property. Regardless of the legal advice Jenny receives, she refuses to let the corporate giant take the one remaining pillar of her inner city neighborhood. She declines the money and decides to take on DWP in court—all while keeping it from her salon’s outrageously funny and colorful employees and clientele.

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A classic tale of the underdog, The Salon is a fresh look on the inside of a salon and inner city neighborhood where the unexpected happens and the “mom and pop” shop prevails! Hear what women really talk about behind closed doors ... Find out more at www.SalonTheFilm.com
Mayaeni is back in the United States after a brief stint in Japan and she is gearing up for some live acoustic performances. The first show (featuring spoken word nuyorican slam finalist Rico Steal) is slated for May 16th (Wednesday), 6:30 pm, at Arlene's Grocery, 95 Stanton Street. Get all the details about this, as well as other performances at Mayaeni's MySpace site: myspace.com/mayaenimusic. Summer is approaching so go out after work and enjoy a laid back evening at Mayaeni's acoustic show.

MIMI Mambo Link: www.mimimagazine.com/november2006/02-08-mayaeni01.html
On 20 April 2007, Janet Gabriel (former Miss Nigeria turned soul singer) attended a concert by Prince in Las Vegas. When Prince called a few people out of the audience to dance with him on stage, Janet was one of them.Prince then proceeded to play Play That Funky Music and asked if anyone would sing. He offered Paris Hilton who was also on stage the chance a few times and she declined—that's when Janet Gabriel stepped up to the challenge and delivered the song! According to Janet Gabriel's label, Amethyst Music, gossip rag US Magazine later twisted the story to make it look like Prince deliberately tried to embarrass Paris but that was not the case.

So what's the real deal? Here's what Janet Gabriel has to say: "Prince respectfully asked anyone to from the audience to sing that song with him and never said anything about whether Paris could sing or not. The microphone was with his backing singer, Shelby and she was the one that apparently offered the microphone to Paris. I knew the song and I in my excitement I frantically ran across the stage to seize the opportunity of a lifetime; the honour to sing with the greatest of all entertainers, Prince himself. It looked as though the problem was that Paris did not know that particular song, so I started singing the first bar of the verse of the song with the mic still in Shelbys hand. Prince then signaled Shelby to let me continue and that was it. Prince did not dis Paris and Paris did not storm off in anger. All dancers left the stage together."

Hm, why is Janet Gabriel coming to Paris Hilton's defense? Does she genuinely care about getting the truth out there, or is she trying to stay in the spotlight by ridding off of Paris Hilton's coattails? Is it a coincidence that just as this story comes out Janet Gabriel is set to perform her first concerts in Nigeria? Get more details at www.janetgabriel.co.uk

MIMI Mambo Link: Soul Diva: Janet Gabriel www.mimimagazine.com/march2006/02-03-janetgabriel01.html

(Photo Credits: Provided Courtesy Of Ilka Schlockermann)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Today marks the start of the the National Congress of Black Women's (NCBW) week long event, "Women Honoring Women." During the week from May 1st through Mother's Day, the NCBW's National Chair Dr. E. Faye Williams is calling upon women to wear something red (the color of love) each day to say "I love, honor and respect myself first, my mother, grandmother, sisters, daughters, aunts, nieces, cousins, girlfriends, and co-workers, too." She said, "We women must begin loving, honoring and respectingourselves and each other because if we don't love and respect ourselves, wecannot attract the love and respect of others. As my friend Dick Gregory always says, 'In order to be loved, we must first be lovable'. I would addthat in order to be respected, we must first be respectable, and to deservehonor, we must be honorable."

Each day of the week of "Women Honoring Women", women are asked to also consciously display at least one act of love, honor or respect for self and another for a significant woman in their lives. This can be a mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, aunt, niece, cousin, friend, or co-worker. Each day at noon, during the week of May 1st through Mother's Day,women are asked to pray for others to love, honor and respect women. Williams said, "The members of NCBW are asked to join the NCBW Board of Directors in fasting for the entire week in order to cleanse our minds andbodies of any impure thoughts and actions, so that we begin the week after Mother's Day with clean hearts and spirits ready to work together to takeon any forces in our nation that insist upon exploiting women and the mindsand talents of young people. We invite others to join us, and the stepswill be posted on our website at www.npcbw.org." You can also learn more about Congresswoman Williams by visiting her official website: www.efayewilliams.com

(Photo Caption: National Congress Of Black Women National Chair Dr. E. Faye Williams)

(Photo Credits: PRNewsFoto/National Congress Of Black Women, Inc.)
With Djin Djin (pronounced "gin gin"), Angelique Kidjo returns to the soul of Benin—and, for the first time, shares it with a cast of all-star guests, in a marriage of cultures that has significance far beyond music alone. Inspired by the traditions and culture of Benin, the title of the album refers to the sound of the bell that greets the beginning of a new day for Africa. The diversity represented by artsits such as Alicia Keys, Peter Gabriel, Amadou and Mariam, Josh Groban, Carlos Santana, Joss Stone, Branford Marsalis, and the countless others who contribute to Djin Djin speaks to the lesson of this project: for all the differences in the music of our time, the river of Africa flows through it all. Standout tracks include Arouna and Kidjo's remake of Sade's Pearls which features Josh Groban and Carlos Santana. For this week only you can listen to Djin Djin in its entirety at AOL's full CD all listening party at music.aol.com/songs/new_releases_full_cds.

MIMI Related Link: Listen to and purchase Djin Djin

MIMI Africana Link: Musical Visionary www.mimimagazine.com/march2006/02-03-angeliquekidjo01.html