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     BLACK MEDIA CONGRESS 2004

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 The influence of the media on our perceptions, way of living, opinions, inter-actions and views about other cultures is undoubtedly high. Information provided by the mainstream media reaches millions of people daily. Unfortunately, in the mainstream media, favourable information about Blacks in general is seldom and usually stereotypical . In order to promote balanced information about the activities of the Black community in the media as well as networking, the third Black Media Congress was organized by cyberNomads in October 2004. Afritopic was present at the 3-day event.
 
 The cyberNomads team, Michael Küppers-Adebisi and Abdel Rahman Satti, organized the third Black Media Congress at the House of World Cultures in Berlin . The event began in the evening of the 29th October 2004 with an opening speech by Thomas Krüger, president of the Federal Agency for Civil Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (BpB)). The agency is the major sponsor of the Black Media Congress. Krüger's speech was followed by a welcome address from Peter Seel, an official of the House of World Cultures and project leader/curator of the Black Atlantic event. After his welcome address, Michael Küppers-Adebisi and Abdel Rahman Satti explained the work of cyberNomads and the goals of the Black Media Congress.

In a press conference that followed, the cyberNomads team answered questions from journalists and discussed diverse issues pertaining to the Black Media Congress and the May Ayim Award events. The first international German Black literary prize award May Ayim Award began after the press conference later in the evening. At the highly

 
Stephen Lawson
 
impressive award ceremony that included literary performances and music shows, first prize winners were presented with golden sculpture and a bunch of flowers each while each second and third prize winner received a bunch flowers.

In the next two days 30th and 31st October, a series of presentations/lectures, roundtable discussions and workshops formed the agenda of the Black Media Congress.

 
 The cyberNomads team was able to attract academics, filmmakers/producers, actor/actress, music and media professionals from as far as Africa, North and South America as well as European countries to participate in the congress. In the very tight schedule of the two-day program, about 17 presentations/lectures, 8 workshops, 2 roundtable discussions and 4 movies were available for participants to consume. The range of topics included Black history/ African Diaspora, self-empowerment, Black music, cyberculture, Black Business/ entrepreneurship, networking, best practice, survival strategies, race and equality issues. As examples, the contents of 3 presentations are briefly summarized as follow:
 continued>
 
 
 
 
Küppers-Adebisi and Rahman Satti
 
 The Situation of Blacks and Black Media in Brazil by Regina dos Santos and Paulo Rogerio Nunes : Regina dos Santos is a Brazilian historian, educator, activist and founding member of the organization Sociedade de Cultura DOMBALI. The organization fights against discrimination and racism in Brazil . Together with her colleague, Paulo Rogério, she presented the work of the organization DOMBALI and the situation of Blacks in Brazil. Some of the issues she spoke about included the following:
  • Brazil has a population of 91 Million with about 50% Blacks
  • 70% of the population are teenagers
  • The economy is dominated by Whites of Jewish origin who are also in control of the mainstream media
  • The main infrastructure are to be found in areas occupied by the White population
  • Blacks are generally excluded from the economy system
  • Open discrimination against Blacks is part of the mainstream system
  • The system keeps majority of Blacks in extreme poverty thereby causing hunger, frustration and violence. In short, the system is inflicting genocide on Blacks.
  • The DOMBALI organization aims to gain media power. By having media power, they could channel important information to the Black community and educate them of their rights.
Aissatou Thiam and Dieudonne Mbala
 
 Black Music Research by Mykael S. Riley: Mykael S. Riley is a musician and music researcher living and working in the UK . He is one of the 4 Blacks in the music research academia in Britain and the founder of Black Music educational Trust (BMET). Riley identified some of the problems and obstacles Blacks in the music sector have to deal with as follow:
  • The most valuable archives of Black music history and developments are owned by White governments and institutions. In the case of Britain , the archives were taken away from her former colonies.
  • Blacks do not have easy access to the archives, even for research purposes. There are several formalities to go through in order to access Black music archives
Congress Participants
 
  • Black music is now a lifestyle/culture that has been adopted by old and new generations of the White society that prefer to use the word “Urban” instead of “Black”. Unfortunately, since the majority of producers and buyers of Black music are White, the term “Urban” is gaining more recognition in the society. Even the term “Urban” is now often used among younger Black generation, which indicates that knowledge of Black music history is lacking.
  • The Black Music Educational Trust (BMET) is a non-profit organization with the aim of researching Black Music activities in Britain from historical and academic viewpoints. Its focus would be on educating both the industry and the public about Black music. continued>
Branwen Okpako (left)
 
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The Revolution within the Revolution by Abdul Alkalimat: Prof. Abdul Alkalimat is currently Professor of Africana Studies and Sociology and Director of the Africana Studies program at the University of Toledo, Ohio. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and is the editor of both Malcolm X: A Research Site and eBlack Studies. In his lecture, Alkalimat presented how the modern technology in particular the internet could be implemented to create a large network for Blacks worldwide as well as promote Black history. Some of the points he presented are as follow:

  • The internet provides a platform where Blacks could share information without giving it away totally; historical information, intellectual and artistic productions could be made available for everyone
  • The eBlack Studies is intended to be a virtualisation of the Black experience and the basis of the next stage of the academic discipline Black Studies.
  • The challenge is to develop eBlack into a positive force for Africa and the African Diaspora. On global level, it will represent a new era of struggle against known enemies like AIDs, poverty and dictatorship. It could be a new form of Pan-Africanism
  • Three general principles or theoretical concepts namely cyberdemocracy, collective intelligence and information freedom will guide the debates and discussions to promote eBlack.
 
 A cross-section of the presentations/lectures, movies and roundtable discussions include the following:  
  • Historian Paulette Reed-Anderson ( USA )
    Bismarck ’s African Hostages -lecture & dramatic reading with Mark Headley
  • Professor for Literature Anne Adams ( USA )
    The Global Importance of the May Ayim Award for the Black Diaspora
    Analysis of May Ayim Award in global context
  • Musician & Researcher Mykael S. Riley ( UK )
    Black Music Research
  • Comedian Dieudonne Mbala ( France )
    The Black Code - a Case Study of French Colonial Rule.
  • Professor for cyberculture Abdul Alkalimat ( USA )
    The Revolution within the Revolution
  • Artist & Curator Shaheen Merali ( UK )
    The Black Atlantic as open source code
  • Professor for Media Literacy Gilda L. Sheppard ( USA )
    Visual Tactics of Subversion in Black Movies
  • Activist Regina dos Santos ( Brazil )
    African-Descendents in Brazilian Mass Media
    Producer Letebele Masemola Jones ( South Africa )
    Sharing our stories with the Diaspora
  • Filmmaker Alain Gomis presents L'AFRANCE and answers questions of audience
    Filmmaker Otuh Teteh ( Germany ) presents PAPA AFRICA and answers question;
  • Film intro with Producer & Screening
    Filmmaker Kevin Fitzgerald ( USA ) presents FREESTYLE a self-produced Hip Hop Movie
    Film intro with Producer und Screening
    Filmmaker Oliver Hill ( UK ) presents
    COPING WITH BABYLON a Reggae Documentary.
    Film intro with Producer & Screening
  • Entrepreneur Lauren Coleman (USA/France)
    Black Entrepreneurs in Europe-Challenges and Solutions
  • Rosemary Emodi - Business Manager for Equalities and Policing Mayor of London ( UK )
    Establishing an African Diaspora Network continued>
 
 
 
 Photo Album>
 
Roundtable Discussion
"Farbe Bekennen, Farbe Bekannt" for the anniversary of publication of the book FARBE BEKENNEN by ORLANDA
with Anne Adams (USA), Abena Adomako (Germany), Eleonore Wiedenroth (Germany), Katarina Oguntoye (Germany)

Round Table Discussion
Black Media Network with Abdel Rahman Satti (Germany), Michael Küppers-Adebisi (Germany), Branwen Okpako (Nigeria/ Germany), J.N. Edjabe (Cameroon/ SA), Letebele Masemola Jones (SA) Abdul Alkalimat (USA), Mykael S. Riley (UK)

 
 Books and magazines were also on sale at the congress. In general, the atmosphere was friendly; participants engaged in discussions, exchanged views and contact details. The congress brought together people of African descent from different nations, academic and professional backgrounds working constructively in their fields to achieve self-empowerment. By presenting their works, sharing their knowledge, discussing problems and probable resolutions, announcing and celebrating their achievements, the participants proved beyond doubt that Blacks have taken up the challenge and are determined to be successful.
 
 Afritopic.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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