Saturday, April 9, 2011

What if we had a black Dreamworks?

When Spike Lee named his production company 40 Acres and a Mule he meant to make a statement about American injustice and one of its worse offenders, Hollywood. But if you stop there, you miss the bigger point, which is, wait on the mainstream decision makers at your own peril. The day where they recognize the worth of our stories and our talent for telling them is not coming. Understanding this, filmmaker Ava Duvernay recently launched the African American Film Releasing Movement. Aligned with the black film festival circuit, she’s coordinating same-day, multi-city theatrical releases without any help from Hollywood.

Inspired by the do-it-yourself approach, TAP picks up on the theme and imagines a studio as big and powerful as DreamWorks Pictures guided by the sensibilities of black people. Much as Stephen Speilberg and fellow media moguls Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen pooled their resources and made movie making history, we envision a similar scenario for Black Hollywood with Oprah, Jay-Z and Will Smith as primary investors and other imaginative creators and talent nurturing movie making magic and running the day-to-day operations. Did Spike Lee make the cut? Of course he did. Can you guess who else?


Afrca's Emerging Markets

Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia account for about 40 percent of Africa’s population outside South Africa and almost one-half of its GDP. They all share a common economic trait: They are Africa’s emerging markets, according to an IMF report.

The same crucial developments that presaged the arrival of institutional financial investors in emerging markets in the 1980s are taking place in parts of sub-Saharan Africa today—growth is taking off, the private sector is the key driver of that growth, and financial markets are opening up. The global environment has played a key role. The search for yield, triggered by significant global financial market liquidity, has encouraged investors to expand their horizons…

This group of African countries compares favorably with the ASEAN countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore of 1980) . ASEAN was already experiencing strong economic growth in 1980 but, in many other areas, the ASEAN countries looked quite different than they do today—and the African candidates perhaps have lower vulnerability and greater economic stability than the ASEAN countries had in 1980. Growth in sub-Saharan Africa is strong, as it was in Asia. Unlike the high ASEAN inflation in the 1980s, inflation in Africa is single digit. High international reserves and low debt-to-GDP ratios—the result, among other things, of debt relief—characterize the African countries relative to the ASEAN countries of 1980. Government, however, comprises a larger share of the African countries than it did in the ASEAN countries.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Rove warns Republicans: Shutdown could boost Obama

Washington (CNN) – Furloughed jobs, interrupted services, and the potential economic ramifications aside, top Republican strategist Karl Rove is warning a government shutdown is likely to strengthen President Obama's hand as he heads into his reelection campaign.

In his weekly polling memo, Rove notes the 1995 government shutdown bolstered President Clinton's image in the eyes of voters as a strong leader, positioning him for a relatively easy reelection victory one year later.

"The shutdowns helped improve Clinton's political standing, boosting both his approval rating and perceptions of him as a strong leader," writes Rove. "At the time, poll watchers noted that, 'the only time Clinton's ratings have improved substantially the past year as a result of his actions has been when he adopted a strategy of confrontation.'"

Rove reports Clinton's approval rating saw nearly a double-digit jump during the 1995government shutdown and continued to climb as the reelection campaign began in earnest.


Race To Government Shutdown by Ben Harvey

Just as our economy seems to be slowly recovering from the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression - sustained GDP growth, unemployment rate at the lowest in two years and consumer confidence edging higher - the Tea Party led GOP is threatening a government shutdown unless they get virtually all the spending cuts they want.

The Tea Party faction of the GOP seems to believe they have a election return 2010 mandate to demand just that. So, with self-righteous fervor they attack, early childhood education, PBS, Planned Parenthood, women's health, Medicaid, environment protection, public education, Amtrak, infrastructure spending; and, of course, they demand more tax cuts for the wealthy.

The master the Tea Party led GOP serves is obvious - the very, very wealthy. Additionally, Tea Party loyalist seem to conveniently overlook that our fiscal problems and government debt are because of economic policies they support.
Reaganomics and supply side spending over the last 30 years has diminished the middle-class, created obscene wealth for the top 1%, decreased government revenue and waged an all out class war against the poorest 33% of the country - in particular our urban poor.

If this is not a call to action for the upcoming 2012 elections, I honestly don't have a clue to what it takes to get folks to pay attention and take action.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Steve Harvey: The Importance Of Mentoring

Steve Harvey: It's a travesty that we have more college age black men in prison than in college.
Sorry, it's not the government's nor slavery's fault. This is our failure for not teaching a new generation of males about the principles of manhood.
Manhood is not about your rims, how many babies you make, nor about your gun. Manhood is about how you treat you woman. Manhood is about being a productive member of your community.

Steve Harvey Foundation: The mission is to share, teach and demonstrate the principles of manhood to young men, enabling them to achieve their dreams and become productive men who are balanced emotionally, politically and economically.

Programs: Motivational presentations by celebrities and business professionals

•Life Building with Steve Harvey
•Do It Yourself Session
•Looking Good and Feeling Healthy
•Manhood Responsibilities 101

Contact Info: Steve Harvey Foundation

My Take: 100%'s one thing to complain about the shortcomings of our youth, hip-hop, and their embarassing behavior etc.; and another thing to reach one/teach one.

Mr. Cosby, if our kids are our dirty laundry we have to collectively put them through the wash cycle.

Remember: Don't Curse The Darkness, Light A Candle...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lions on the Move - a new Africa being born? - by J├╝rgen Nagler

Egypt freed itself from a dictator because people claimed back their power. Protesters shouted "we are the people", the same acclamation that brought down the Iron Curtain when people in former Eastern Germany protested for their freedom. It also reminds me to the United Nations Charter starting with "We the People".

While Egypt culturally belongs to the Arab world, it is an interesting cross-roads also to Africa and the West. History is being written and it seems more and more people are awakening... what does it mean for Africa and the world?

As blogged earlier, since I arrived for a new project in South Africa last year, I felt that change is in the air.
This was further confirmed during a trip to Ethiopia last month. A lot of development and construction is going on, the Chinese are building a new African Union complex and the diaspora is coming back from the USA to start businesses.
If we look at the bigger picture about events on and around the continent, the signs make up a puzzle, imperfect but nonetheless we can see a path, a journey towards freedom. Just some examples: independence of African states (mainly 1950s-70s), end of cold war 1989 (which affected many African countries), end of apartheid in South Africa 1994, "first African-American" US president Obama 1998, first FIFA World Cup in Africa 2010, South Sudan separation 2011, Egypt 2011. What next?

This list is of course incomplete to give a full picture of a very diverse continent with 53 states where poverty, disparity and dictators remain in several regions. However, with omnipresent communications technology and a rising collective consciousness the trend is clear: people increasingly take ownership and demand fair political leadership, jobs and economic opportunities.

Africa's economic and social outlook is positive:
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon just recently spoke about "winds of change blowing throughout Africa" and "the new narrative for Africa is a story of growth". Africa is expected to be the the fastest growing region in the world, only behind Asia.
A recent McKinsey study paints a similar opportunity-rich picture calling African countries "Lions on the Move".

As the beginning 2011 is bringing change so rapidly, watch out for the rest of the year and 2012. Africa and the world are changing so fast, we better are open for it. Maybe our whole paradigm is changing once we reach a tipping point? Rather resisting, we can be in the "flow" with the change because each of us is the master of our own destiny. As Mahatma Gandhi said "Be the change you want to see in the world".

If you want to read more about the new, positive Africa emerging, you can for example follow Africa Good News, AfricanLoft and, of course, this blog Business4Good. Or best, see for yourself.

EXCLUSIVE: Andrew Young and MLK III Launch BOUNCE TV - Aimed At African-American Audience

By Jon Lafayette -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/3/2011 10:15:00 PM
A group led by Ambassador Andrew Young and Martin Luther King III is expected on Monday to announce plans to launch a new over-the-air television network aimed at African-American audiences in the fall.

Based in Atlanta, Bounce TV, is trying to line up distribution through the digital signals of local television stations. It plans to broadcast a mix of theatrical movies, live sports, off-net series and original programming aimed at adults 25-54. It has made deals to acquire TV rights to 400 African-American oriented films from NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution, Sony Pictures Television, Codeblack Entertainment and Image Entertainment.

Bounce TV will be run by a founding group comprised of Young and King and Andrew "Bo" Young III. The co-founders of African-American-owned production company Rainforest Films are also involved, with Rob Hardy serving as chief content officer and Will Packer holding the title chief strategy and marketing officer. Also involved in management are two former Turner Broadcasting executives, Ryan Glover and Jonathan Katz, who have been named executive VPs.

"My father envisioned the day that African Americans would play major roles in entertainment within ownership, not just serve as entertainers on the stage or in front of the cameras. That's what makes this even more exciting to me as we embark on this new endeavor of an independently owned and operated broadcast television network featuring African Americans," said King.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

MALCOLM X: "Wake up, clean up and stand up!"

Malcolm: As long as you are convinced you haven't done anything, you can't never do anything.