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Article

Baqi<ayn>e Bedawi Muhammad

pioneer Sudanese woman singer and activist during the struggle for Sudanese independence and the first woman to perform on the radio in Sudan. Born in 1905 in Kassala City in the eastern region of Sudan, Ahmad was the eldest among her seven siblings, including three brothers and four sisters. Among them was a sister Jidawiyya who played a crucial role with Ahmad in their journey as female musicians. Ahmad’s family was originally from Nigeria and migrated to Sudan in the late nineteenth century as pilgrims on their way to the holy places in Saudi Arabia. Her father, Musa Ahmad Yahiyya, was from the Fulani-Sokoto ethnic group, while her mother, Hujra, was from Hausa. Ahmad’s nickname is Aisha al-Falatiyyia, a reference to her father’s ethnic group, the Fulani, or Fallata, as they are known in Sudan.

The documented history indicates that Sudan served as a crossroads to the holy places in ...

Article

Peter Hudson

While Louise Bennett was not the first writer to use Jamaican dialect, the facility with which she reproduces it in her writing and performances has marked her as a pioneer. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Bennett was the daughter of baker Augustus Cornelius Bennett, who died when she was seven years old, and dressmaker Kerene Robinson. Bennett, known as Miss Lou, studied social work and Jamaican folklore at Friends' College, Highgate, Jamaica. In 1945 she received a British Council Scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, England.

Bennett began writing in dialect in the late 1930s, inspired by the language she heard spoken by Jamaicans on the streets of Kingston. Soon after she began writing, she staged public performances of her poems. In 1942 her first collection of poetry, Dialect Verses, was published. Starting in 1943 Bennett contributed a weekly column to ...

Article

Since the middle of the 1960s, soap operas have become not only Brazil's favorite television shows, but also the key element in the development of the country's television industry. Black actors have been a part of Brazilian soap opera history since the first great success, O Direito de Nascer (The Right to be Born) in 1964. But no black actor seems to have escaped playing the role of the slave or servant in this forty-year history, not even those, such as Ruth de Souza, Grande Otelo, and Zezé Motta, who had already had solid careers in the theater or cinema when they came to television.

In the soap operas produced during the 1960s, black people played only subordinate roles. Beyond repeating the stereotypes common to North American film and television, such as “Uncle Tom” and “mammy” roles, the latter most prominently represented by Isaura Bruno ...

Article

Philip Nanton

Radio series broadcast by the BBC between 1943 and 1950 aimed, through creative writing, at capturing the Caribbean from as many sides as possible. In the life of the programme some 400 stories and poems, along with plays and literary criticism, were broadcast. There were some 372 contributors, of whom 71 were women. The years 1946 to 1958 comprised the high point of the programme, which coincided with the editorship of Henry Swanzy (1915–2004). In any period of six months during his years as editor some 24 programmes were broadcast. They contained around 28 short stories and sketches. Thirteen programmes of this total were devoted to poetry, and the remainder of the time was allocated to critical discussion groups, called the Critics' Circle, comprising a mix of critics from the Caribbean and Britain.

The programme helped to launch the careers of many authors including a number who went ...

Article

Evan Mwangi

Moroccan novelist, dramatist, and radio commentator and producer, was born on 15 July 1926 in the French Moroccan town of Mazagan (present-day el-Jadida), near Casablanca. His father was a fairly liberal tea merchant who regarded European education as a vestibule to a better Moroccan society. As a young boy Chraïbi received his early education in a local qurʾanic school, but when the family moved to Casablanca a little later, he joined a French school. In 1946 he left for Paris to study chemical engineering, graduating in 1950. However, he abandoned his graduate studies in neuropsychiatry just before receiving his doctorate. He traveled across Europe and to Israel, settling in France with his first wife, Catherine Chraïbi (née Birckel), and their children.

From 1952 Chraïbi devoted himself to literature and journalism, and in 1954 he began writing for the National Radio and Television Broadcasting System Ranging from epics to comedy ...

Article

Stephen Bourne

Trinidadianactor and singer who settled in Britain in 1944. Two weeks after his arrival he made his debut on BBC radio in Calling the West Indies. Connor's appealing voice and charming personality endeared him to the British public, and he became a major television and radio personality. Connor saw himself as an ambassador for Trinidad and promoted Caribbean folk music and dance wherever he could. He married Pearl Nunez (also from Trinidad) in London in 1948.

For almost two decades Connor played featured roles in a number of British and American films, including Cry, the Beloved Country (1952) and Moby Dick (1956). In 1958, when Paul Robeson turned down the role of Gower in Shakespeare'sPericles for the Stratford Memorial Theatre he recommended Connor for it Connor thus became the first black actor to appear in a Shakespeare season at ...

Article

Emad Abdul-Latif

playwright, was born in Egypt's Al Sharqiya governorate to a middle-class family. His father was a government employee, and his mother died when he was five years old. He completed his primary and secondary education in Alexandria, then studied English literature at the University of Farouk I (after 1952 known as the University of Alexandria). After graduating in 1949, he worked as an English teacher for six years but abandoned this work for a career in the press. In 1959 he was arrested on charges of belonging to a leftist organization and spent five years in jail. For ten years following his release, Farag served in various posts in official cultural institutions in Egypt. However, he was forced to leave Egypt in 1973 following a clash between President Muhammad Anwar al Sadat and Egyptian intellectuals Over the course of fourteen years Farag lived in various countries including ...

Article

Black people have a long history of appearing on British film and television screens as long as the history of the media themselves Most black people feel that neither dramatic nor documentary representations capture the diversity of contemporary or historical black British experiences Comparisons are frequently made with what is ...

Article

Definitions of black films and black television programmes have varied over time In the 1980s the issue was to conquer media space for distinctly black representations and cultural critics like Stuart Hall and Kobena Mercer demanded a clear political message taking the blackness of the film makers and actors for ...

Article

Leila Kamali

African‐American jazz vocalist and vaudeville star. Born on 20 October 1901 in Brooklyn, New York, Hall made her debut with the 1921 Broadway musical Shuffle Along. She went on to perform at Harlem's famous Cotton Club, alongside great bandleaders and musicians including Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, and Cab Calloway, and introduced her signature wordless phrase on the recording of ‘Creole Love Call’ in 1927.

From 1928 to 1929 Hall starred in the musical Blackbirds, the show that featured her notable hits ‘I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby’ and ‘I Must Have That Man’. Her solo concert tour brought her to London in 1931, and she visited again in 1938, appearing in The Sun Never Sets at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and this time settling in Britain.

Hall hosted her own radio series making her the first black star to be given a ...

Article

Mahir Şaul

Burkinan film and television director and producer, was born in Banfora on 21 January 1954. His father was Mamadou Bila, a nurse, and his mother was Djibo Kadidia. The family moved to the capital, Ouagadougou, when he was a child; there he finished elementary school and middle school at the Lycée Zinda Kabore. The family then moved to Bobo-Dioulasso, where he attended and graduated from the Municipal Lyceum. He started college at the University of Ouagadougou as an English major; in 1977, he transferred to the newly opened film school in Ouagadougou, Institut Africain d’Etudes Cinématographiques (INAFEC), from which he graduated in 1981.

The film he made in order to graduate, Poko (1981 won the prize for the best short film at the Pan African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou FESPACO the first of many prestigious awards that he won during his prolific career ...

Article

Radio  

Shivani Sivagurunathan

Among the earliest contributions by blacks to British radio, before the arrival of the Empire Windrush in Britain in 1948, was the BBC's Caribbean Voices programme, founded by the Jamaican Una Marson in 1943. Marson was the first black female programme creator at the BBC, and Caribbean Voices was intended to promote the writings of Caribbean authors in Britain. It was broadcast on Sundays from London to the Anglophone Caribbean and continued to run until 1958, after Marson's departure from the BBC in 1945. The programme certainly provided Caribbean writers with a showcase for their work, but exposure of black creativity was not limited to exclusively black programmes like Caribbean Voices for black musicians, actors, and writers were performing on various radio shows. Indeed, a significant number who were regular features on Caribbean Voices went on to do more readings or dramatic adaptations for the ...

Article

Robert Fay

Since the first radio stations began broadcasting in Africa during the colonial period, radio has been the continent’s most important form of mass media. As more countries gained independence, the medium of radio progressively reached more people. Radio ownership in Africa increased about five times between 1965 and 1984 (from 3 to 16 percent). Between 1960 and 1987, the number of radio transmitters in Africa quadrupled from 252 to 1059. The battery-powered radio is an especially crucial source of information in rural areas, where literacy rates are low, electricity for television is often unavailable, and regular newspaper deliveries are impractical.

Radio broadcasts began in South Africa in 1923. Colonial Kenya began airing British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) programs in 1927 Colonial governments owned the radio stations and typically used them to entertain white settlers and broadcast messages intended to discourage Africans from political participation After World War II ...

Article

Ruth de Souza was born in Rio de Janeiro and was popular during the 1940s and 1950s. She was among the first members of the Teatro Experimental do Negro (Black Experimental Theater), founded by Abdias do Nascimento in 1944. She debuted in Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones at Rio's Teatro Municipal and was the first Afro-Brazilian actress to perform there on Brazil's main stage. In 1950 she was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship to study at the Karamu House, a cultural center in Cleveland, Ohio.

De Souza began appearing in Brazilian films in 1947 and became known as one of the greatest actresses in the history of Brazilian film. She was nominated as best actress for her role in Sinhá Moça at the Venice Film Festival in 1954, the first Brazilian actress nominated for an international prize. The other nominees included Katherine Hepburn, Michele Morgan ...