The Genius Of Virginia Hamilton: Celebrating A Literary Icon
The award-winning author was one of the most prolific writers in history.
Virginia Hamilton was a pioneer of afrofuturism, a celebrated literary icon, gifted storyteller and noted children’s book author who released more than two dozen books including, The House of Dies Drear, Justice and her Brothers, The People Could Fly, The Planet of Junior Brown, and Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales and True Tales.
Hamilton’s family has a long history in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where she was born on March 12, 1936. The award-winning author’s maternal grandfather arrived in Yellow Springs via the Underground Railroad in the 1850s, and with him likely came a multitude of tales passed down from one generations to the next.
As a child, Hamilton found herself enthralled with reading and writing. She devoured countless books and won prizes in elementary school for her love of reading. Her family and teachers encouraged and helped cultivate what began as a passion for words that grew into a prolific talent.
Writing was perhaps destined to be a major part of Hamilton’s life as her father and husband were both poets, and one of her sisters worked as a journalist.
African music legend, Innocent ‘2Baba’ Idibia, will perform LIVE at the seventh edition of the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs) billed for Eko Hotel, Lagos on Saturday, March 14, 2020, the organisers said on Thursday.
The AMVCAs will also feature thrilling performances by talented vocalists Mercy Aghedo, Adeniyi Timilehin Adeola, Ighwiyisi Jacobs, and eclectic dance group, Dance Na The Main Thing (DNMT), who will all give special renditions of songs nominated for the ‘Best Soundtrack’ award, they stated.
According to them, the special renditions of AMVCA nominated soundtracks such as ‘Original Gangster’ by Sess, Reminisce and Adekunle Gold; ‘Tene’ by Larry Gaga and Flavour; ‘Stay With Me’ by Ighwiyisi Jacobs;‘The Gift’ by Mercy Aghedo, and ‘Run’ by Timzil will add glamour to the event.
The annual event would see leading African movie stars and filmmakers contend for honours in various voting and non-voting categories in recognition of their exceptional work and contribution to the movie and film industry in the African continent in the previous year.
Commenting on the event, the Channel Director, Africa Magic Channels, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, said: “As we celebrate another year of excellent work by African talents in film and television, we are excited to give our esteemed guests and viewers at home a show that will live long in their memory. “On Saturday, March 14, a lineup of performances by some of Africa’s finest voices will be on show for guests and viewers from across Africa and the rest of the world. “We urge viewers to tune in on all Africa Magic channels to find out what awards their favourite stars will be walking home with.” They further stated that viewers will be able to watch the show and 2baba’s phenomenal performance live on all Africa Magic channels on DStv and GOtv from 4pm Nigerian time.
The first trailer for ‘Soul’ spotlights Pixar’s first African-American lead character.
Pixar kicked off 2020 by introducing the powerhouse animation studio’s first openly LGBTQ character in the new film, Onward. Now the makers behind contemporary animated classics like Toy Story and Coco are moving onward to break another barrier: the just-released trailer for Soul gives viewers their first look at Pixar’s first African-American lead character, Joe Gardner, voiced by Jamie Foxx. And the Oscar-winning actor couldn’t wait to tease his history-making role on social media. “Honored to be the first ever African-American lead in a Pixar film,” Foxx wrote on Instagram. “I cannot wait for you all to see this beautiful story.”
Currently set to premiere in theaters on June 19, Soul is the latest film from Pixar mainstay Pete Docter, who also wrote and directed Up and Inside Out — two to the studio’s most beloved (and tear-inducing) movies. Based on the trailer, his new film is also going to go for the emotional jugular. As the story begins, Joe is a middle school music teacher on the cusp of achieving his ambitions of playing professionally in a popular jazz club. While celebrating the good news, he falls into an open manhole and the accident leads his soul to separate from his body. Ascending to the way station between life and death, Joe’s soul is informed that it’ll soon be paired with a newborn baby. But when he discovers that his own body is still alive, he teams up with feisty friend “Twenty Two” (voiced by Tina Fey) to re-enter the world on his own terms… and in his own skin.
The combination of Pixar, Docter and Foxx predictably has fans excited, led by none other than the actor’s Just Mercy co-star Michael B. Jordan.
How to publish a book: Finding an agent
Publishing a book can feel like a minefield. There are so many ways to go about it – from the traditional agent and publisher route, to entering writing competitions to self publishing.
Before my first book, Five Steps To Happy came out last year, I was pretty much clueless as to the process. I took a 3 month novel writing course with Curtis Brown Creative, which offered a valuable insight into how the industry works.
A couple of years (and a lot of rejections) later, I signed with literary agent Richard Pike, at C&W, Curtis Brown’s sister agency. My novel was bought by Trapeze, an imprint of Orion – and my dream came true.
Going through the process first-hand, I’ve gained a lot of useful knowledge. Burning questions about where an agent fits in with publishing a book? Read on!
Should I finish my book completely before approaching agents?
“With a novel, it’s best to finish the book, edit and polish it and then send it out once you’ve got it in great shape,” advises Juliet Mushens, literary agent and director at Caskie Mushens.
Susan Armstrong, an agent at C&W agency agrees. “Ideally, you will have finished the book, unless you have a good reason to start submitting before the manuscript is finished. If I’m excited by someone’s opening chapters, I’ll be eager to carry on reading and know the book in its entirety so I can discuss all aspects of the book with the author.
It’s important to be able to sit down with a new writer and ensure you can both feel confident that you share the same vision and editorial direction for the book.”
How do I find an agent?
“My suggestion is using the Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook as a jumping off point,” says Juliet. “It lists every agency in the UK and the genres they represent. Then get online and research them via their websites.”
“I would look at who represents books that you’ve recently read and admired, (the agent will often be named in the acknowledgements at the back of books),” suggests Susan. “I’d also look up interviews online and on social media to see who is actively taking on and championing new writers.”
Unsolicited manuscripts – that is, those which are sent in cold, without being attached to an agent – are referred to in the industry as the ‘slush pile.’
“There can be a feeling that the ‘slush pile’ is a black hole but the key is to be in the right slush pile i.e. with an agent/agency who has a record for signing new writers in this way,” says Susan. “Around half my list is from unsolicited submissions so I pay very close attention to material that comes to me this way.”
How many agents should I approach at once?
“Because of the volume of submissions, it can take several weeks to hear back from agents,” says Susan. “I receive over 100 submissions a week, so I would suggest submitting to your top five agents first, and then expanding out if you start to receive declines.”
“Receiving declines,” she adds, “is a rite of passage – so view them as such and keep going.”
Juliet agrees. “I’d recommend approaching 5-10 agents. If you get an offer of representation, be sure to let everyone else know.”
What should I include in my cover letter to an agent?
“The elevator pitch for the novel [summing up the concept in a sentence or two], the genre, and a blurb like you find on the back of a published book,” says Juliet. “You want to whet their appetite to dive into the book and find out more.”
“I’d keep it short and clear,” adds Susan. “Note what sort of book you’ve written – historical crime, literary love story, contemporary coming-of-age, speculative thriller – with a line or two on the central premise highlighting what makes your book different.
Add anything interesting about yourself and it’s always a good idea to note why you are submitting to that particular agent – did you read an interview by them or do you love certain writers on their list? Show you’ve done your research and take finding the right agent for your work seriously.”
Three stacks of paperwork on white background
How do I know if an agent is right for me?
“The author-agent relationship is a very close one based on mutual respect and trust (and hopefully fun too) so it’s good to chat with an agent before signing with them to get a sense of whether you have a connection and would work well together,” says Susan.
“The aim is to have a long-term, working relationship, building your career from book to book so make sure an agent has the same vision you have for your writing, that they are communicative and collaborative.
Ask them how they work and what their agency can offer (for instance, do they have their own in-house translation rights department, legal team, book-to-film department, editorial input etc?). Ultimately, is your gut telling you that you’ve found your literary home?”
Timi Dakolo teams up with Olamide Baddo for a new joint titled; “Take”.
Take is a love song that comes with Assurance. It’s about pleasing your woman and filling her hear with happiness, love and joy. Giving her your all (body, soul & heart).
The song was produced by; Pheelz, and video shot by; Frizzle N Bizzle.
DETHRONEMENT OF SANUSI LAMIDO SANUSI: A STATEMENT FROM WOLE SOYINKA
FOR WHOM THE GATES OPEN WIDE.
These are depressing times – stemming from different factors of course – for a large sector of the nation. Insecurity, economy in a coma, a leadership in name only, having vanished into ether, permanently AWOL in a time of serial crisis. No wonder mimic and debased forms of leadership assertiveness rush in to fill the vacuum! The latest in the stakes of such power appropriation makes one wonder which is the more reactionary order: the so-called feudal institution, or the self-vaunting modernized governance whose apex can bring the feudal to heel quite arbitrarily, without check and without seeming consequence. To rub pepper in the wound, the protagonist of that “progressive” order enjoys near-absolute immunity, thus, even when it has disgraced its status and violated its oath of office, caught literally with its pants down in open defecation, it can still pretend to act in the interest of progress, modernity and public well being. Such are the ironies raised by the purported dethronement of the Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi, with one stroke of a pen!
I was participant, albeit on the sidelines, when a similar scenario began to unfold in my own state, Ogun some years ago. The then governor, on account of an imagined slight by one of the monarchs in his domain was actually poised – not virtually but physically – poised to sign the dethronement and banishment order on that traditional ruler. His office was invaded by some of the panicked chiefs and stalwarts of Ogun state who rushed to ward off the impending order. One of them stopped at my home after the pacification session to narrate what had transpired, and how some of them had actually gone on their knees to plead with that governor to stay action. I was furious. I knew every detail of that affair, had listened to a recording of the speech that was supposed to have given this mighty offence. It was pure piffle!
“Why did you people plead with him? Don’t you realize you were making him feel a god? You should have let him carry on, then we would see what a cataclysm he had launched on the state!”
The man, an independent businessman of absolute integrity, and one of that governor’s intimate circle, smiled and said, “No, we couldn’t do that. We are his friends. We were pleading with him to save him from himself.”
What a pity Ganduje lacked friends who could have saved him from himself! Insofar as one can acknowledge certain valued elements in traditional institutions, the man he thinks he has humiliated has demonstrated that he is one of the greatest reformers even of the feudal order. That is beyond question, a position publicly manifested in both act and pronouncements. By contrast, Ganduje’s conduct, apart from the innate travesty of justice in this recent move, is on a par with the repudiated colonial order, one that out-feudalized feudalism itself, and is synonymous with authoritarianism of the crudest temper. The record shows, in this particular instance, that it is one that embodies modernized cronyism and alienated pomp and power – never mind the cosmetic gestures such as almajiri reformation. It has proved one of the worst examples of a system that enables even the least deserving to exercise arbitrary, unmerited authority that beggars even the despotism of the most feudalistic traditional arrangements.
Emir Sanusi was a one-man EFCC sanitizations squad in the banking system taking on the powerful corrupters of that institution. Unblinking, he trod on the interests of powerful beneficiaries of a worm-infested sector and, in the process, created permanent enemies. By contrast, confidence in immunity has catapulted his tormentor to the ranks of the most notorious public faces of the disorder that Sanusi strove to eradicate. Obviously, vengeance lay in wait, and he was not unaware of it. The signs were omnipresent and Sanusi acknowledged their imminence. I know this for a fact. Apart from exchanges some mutual associates – we held, not so long ago, a phone conversation during his visit to London, just after the shrinking of his domain signaled the commencement of a systematic attrition of his status. I assured him I would shortly fulfill my long-standing promise to pay him a visit. He sounded very much aware of the impending fall of the axe of vengefulness and power primitivism. I can testify that he remained totally unfazed.
Most important of all, and most pertinently for the nation, Sanusi was one of the early warning voices against religious extremism whose bitter fruits the nation is currently reaping. Those who wish to understand how deeply he had anticipated and explored the potential consequences of this menace should refer to his novelette: The Adulteress’ Diary, a work that exposes and satirizes the hypocrisy of fundamentalist Islamic clericalism from the inside, that is, from the authoritative point of view of an Islamic scholar. This work did not endear him to hard core fundamentalist purveyors of social division, but even those opponents would have been wise to pay heed to his exposition, and its implicit warning. Then perhaps even if Boko Haram still remained inevitable, the nation would have been much better prepared for its onslaught, and those of allied malignancies like ISWAP.
Why, I am not certain, but I do have the feeling that the palace gates of the Kano emirate are not yet definitively slammed against this Islamic scholar, royal scion and seasoned economist. It is just a feeling. Closed and bared, or merely shut however, the doors of enlightened society remain wide open to Muhammad Sanusi. As for his current crowing Nemesis, a different kind of gates remain yawning to receive him when, as must, the days of governorship immunity finally come to an end. Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. The list is long, there are comrades in impunity awaiting their day of reckoning. The files remain open, and the nation remains on the watch. The wheels of justice grind slowly, but sooner or later, they arrive.
Harvey Weinstein Received 23 Years Jail Sentence.
Ex-movie mogul-turned-convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein will spend the next 23 years in prison for his conviction of third-degree rape and forcible sexual assault of two women.
Judge James Burke pronounced the sentence after Weinstein’s victims denounced him while hoping for the stiffest punishment possible, and after Weinstein addressed the court to express remorse to all the women who testified against him, CNN reports.
Those allegations, which gathered momentum with the release of a pair of exposés in October 2017, landed him in court earlier this year to face his first criminal trial. The charges, including two counts of predatory sexual assault, could have led to him spending the rest of his life in prison, but jurors, after hearing weeks of arguments and deliberating another five days, acquitted him of the most serious charges.
The sentencing on Wednesday put a cap on Weinstein’s unfortunate fall from the highest heights of Hollywood, after he sexually assaulted dozens of young women, intimidating them and others into silence and trying to pay his way out of it.
Quite a number of women have publicly accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct including movie stars Lupita Nyong’o, Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Salma Hayek, ranging from unwanted touching to rape, and six women testified against him at his New York trial. Weinstein faced charges stemming from the accusations of two women, Miriam Haleyi and actress Jessica Mann.
In court, Haleyi testified that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006, while Jessica Mann alleged that she entered into an abusive relationship with Weinstein, whom she claims raped her in 2013. The charges against Weinstein also took into account the allegations of actress Annabella Sciorra, who testified during the trial that Weinstein raped her in 1993. Three other accusers took the stand as well, testifying that they had endured or witnessed similar abuse from Harvey Weinstein.
Harry & Meghan Markle Hosts Victor Ugo of Mentally Aware & Other Young Leaders.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, President and Vice-President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT), Harry and Meghan Markle, got to sit with Victor Ugo, founder of Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) alongside other young leaders to discuss mental health and MANI’s work with young people in Nigeria.
The royals hosted a conversation with young leaders from the QCT network, who each work with the Trust across its three pillars of a champion, fund and connect. The group met at Buckingham Palace to discuss mental health, equal opportunities for all, and the importance of supporting youth leadership to help address global challenges and drive positive change around the world.
Those who joined the Duke and Duchess from QCT were: Kenny Imafidon, social entrepreneur, activist and QCT Advisor, who helped to host the discussion; Esther Marshall, founder of sTandTall and author of the Sophie Says series; Izzy Obeng, founder of Foundervine; Victor Ugo, founder of Mentally Aware Nigeria; and co-founders of Birmingham-based female empowerment organisation Girldreamer, Kiran Kaur and Amna Akhtar.
All the young leaders who participated in the discussion work with QCT in various ways, including having their work and experience shared through its digital channels, being connected with peers, funding and resources, and feeding into the strategy and development of QCT.
The Duke and Duchess opened the conversation by asking the group about QCT and its role in supporting them. The group went on to discuss the significance of QCT’s global network.
The theme of inclusive support networks emerged across the conversation as vital to supporting equal opportunities and providing effective mental health awareness and support services, as the young leaders shared more about their personal experiences and commented on their work.
Victor Ugo stated:
I had very amazing friends and a support system that made it possible to see through a difficult part in my life. That was the inspiration behind setting up my organisation, Mentally Aware Nigeria because I was looking to create that community I had for myself and replicate it for others.