Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Afrakans Making an Afrakan Centered Video Game

A Video Game That Transports Players to A    Different Kind of Afraka
                                 By Evan Narcisse

The Afrakan continent doesn’t show up in video games a lot. And when it does, it’s often shown in an exoticized way that makes it seem foreboding and dangerous. But an indie development team from Cameroon is going for something different: an action-RPG that draws on Afrakan fashion, music and myth for a saga aiming to be epic.

Created by dev studio Kiro’o Games, Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan focuses on Enzo and Erine, a newly crowned king and queen out to defend their fictional homeland of Zama from a coup d’etat. With its focus on mystically augmented combat and increasing power levels, the plot unfolding in Aurion is pure fantasy. But, as Dragonball Z as it all feels, Aurion is clearly drawing on cultures and beliefs from the continent, transmuting them into a fictional universe all its own. You can see me play through the public demo of the game in the video below.

Kiro’o means “spiritual vision” in Swahili and the sense of mission comes across strongly when studio founder Oliver Madiba talks about Aurion. “In Aurion, with the story scenario, there’s a symbolic analogy between the trials of Enzo and Erine and the common history of Afraka and our place in the stakes of the world,” he told me over e-mail his week. [Note: Madiba isn’t a native English speaker and I’ve edited his responses for clarity.] “There’s a universal wisdom to be found in the fact that trials like these show the real humanity of people. For example, Enzo’s battle gear is a [re-imagined] Masai tunic. When you look at some Aurion’s NPCs, you can identify various clothes inspired by many people: the Touareg (Mali), the Yoruba (Nigeria), the Peulh (Cameroon, Chad, etc.). There are a lot of examples but the game’s history remains a fantasy.”

Madiba also said that influences from outside Afraka were part of the creative process for Aurion, too. “The idea was to create an RPG with a ‘shonen-like’ story,” he offered. “The Aurion energy was already based on linking with ancestors, which is something very common in most Afrakan traditions.” The game takes place on a world called Auriona, premised on the idea of an Afraka that evolved in a different way.

“Auriona is based on a fantasy view of what Afraka may have been if we weren’t colonized, but it is really another world with another cosmogony (not a Big Bang),” Madiba offers. He says they imagined another world based on the Middle Ages: no electricity, no Industrial Revolution and a lot of magic. “The main idea was to create the lore of the game with another set of mind. We wanted the team not to focus on technological evolution but on ‘artisanal evolution.’ The goal was to imagine the kind of problems a world based on Afrakan countries’ inner conflicts and philosophies may have, while keeping it interesting for non-Afrakan players too.”


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Anthony Mackie Doesn't Care If 'Black Panther' Director Is Black: "They Didn’t Get a Horse to Direct 'Seabiscuit" 

Unlike many fans, Anthony Mackie — AKA the Falcon in Marvel's Captain America and Avengers movies — isn't concerned whether or not the studio hires an African American director to take charge of its first black superhero movie, 2018's Black Panther.

"I don’t think it’s important at all," the actor told The Daily Beast during a promotional appearance for his current project, Our Brand is Crisis. "As a director your job is to tell a story," he continued. "You know, they didn’t get a horse to direct Seabiscuit!"

Mackie went on to say that he doesn't believe that the race of a director "has to do with their ability to tell a story," adding, "I think it’s all about the director’s ability to be able to relate to that story and do it justice. I think men can direct women, and two of my greatest work experiences were with female directors. So I think it all depends."

At one point, Selma director Ava DuVernay was in the mix to take on Black Panther, which features Chadwick Boseman in the title role, before dropping out because she didn't "see eye to eye" with Marvel over the direction of the project. The studio is in negotiations with Joe Robert Cole to write the movie. Relatedly, Marvel's publishing arm announced last month that MacArthur "Genius" grant winner Ta-Nehisi Coates will write its new Black Panther comic book, launching in January.

The comments, which have already drawn criticism on social media, put the actor into hot water for the second time this week. An interview with BET on Monday, in which he appeared to endorse Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, required a hasty takeback on Twitter after fan complaints. 

by Graeme McMillan

C'mon dude, really. That's almost analogous to saying "As an actor your job is to play a character." followed by "You know, they didn’t get a dolphin to play Jaws." So lets recap; the Black Panther can be played by a white man as long as said white man can act and despite Flipper's excellent screen test he'll never play the shark. Have no fear, soon the so called color line will vanish and all so called blacks will be just another shade of white. For real.

The question I pose in regards to this position as it concerns BP's director is; why is it necessary for a so called black person to make such a statement? At one point there are screams for diversity and inclusion and at the other end denial of one's ethnic identity, cultural uniqueness and a lack of ethnic solidarity. Such is the cost.

Of course its true that a non so called black person could successfully direct a BP film, however this penchant for stating the obvious seems to rear it head whenever so called blacks want to show race, culture, gender and political neutrality. The reasons for such behaviors are all too transparent. Its like saying a search for a black director will not yield a qualified candidate.

Of the more than 600 major Hollywood films released since 2007, less than 7 percent had black directors according to a study released by the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California. With “a ratio of over 16 non-Black directors working to every 1 Black director,” and only two black women directors among the films considered.

I can appreciate Marvel hiring Afrakans (so called blacks) to write and draw the BP's comic as well as their attempt to bring Afrakans (so called blacks) to write and direct the BP movie.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with Afrakans at the helm of the Black Panther franchise, in fact it is most right.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

African Billionaire Launches $100 Million Dollar Program for African & African-American Entrepreneurs

Tony Elumelu, a philanthropist and African billionaire, is a highly respected businessman with specialized training in economics, wanting to change the economic standing of those in the African-American community. Elumelu chairs Heirs Holdings and Transcorp and is also the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

In 2014, Elumelu, along side of other respected American and African business moguls, helped form a three day summit in Washington DC that consisted of more than 45 African and American business heads, along with 50 African business leaders. The goal was to strengthen the economic bond and provide opportunities for those that participated.

Elumelu spoke with Black Enterprise  about his vision for a real partnership between the United States and Africa, not just a relationship of providing aid, but trade as equal partners, appealing investors and the need for consistent electricity.

“We should welcome the fact that the journey has finally begun. I like the nature of the imagined engagement between Africa and America. President Obama’s visit to Africa last year was the starting point,” Elumelu says. “The fact that they have realized the need to engage with Africa at the scale and magnitude that they are going about it now is welcome.”

His foundation is playing their part by reaching out to minority and women-owned businesses. “The Tony Elumelu Foundation will launch an entrepreneurship program with 100 million dollars that will touch 10,000 entrepreneurs across Africa and the United States,” he says. “We will train and mentor them and create platforms for them to have commercial business engagements.”

The trip to Africa taken by President Obama was another sign that steps were being taken in the right direction to strengthen business ventures between Africa and America. This bond between Africa and the U.S is one that can create a positive form of growth for African American entrepreneurs who stay focused and take the route the foundation has designed. The vast amount of negativity surrounding African Americans in the media makes it necessary for many to find resources that help them reach their full business potential.

Courtesy of Chocolate Soup by Lee Bailey's eurweb

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Solar Power - From South Africa to South Carolina


This eponymous title borrowed from one of my most appreciated Gil Scott-Heron albums (yes, I said  album and not cd as a result of my being mature enough to appreciate vinyl) seemed all too apropos for the two articles I'm posting below.

Solar Panel Efficiency Takes A Great Leap

Hidden deep in the South African Kalahari desert lays home to the world's most efficient solar electricity generation system.

A Swedish company which is helming the development of the project, which is integrating military technology along with an idea brought to light by 19th century Scottish engineer and clergyman is currently being tested, and many have very high hopes.

“Our whole team in South Africa has been hired locally, and our new systems have all been built with local South African labour. It works great,” says CEO Gunnar Larsson.“What we hope is to become one of the biggest competitors for renewable energy in the world.”

Their unique system in place ensures they get every last drop of sunlight put into the power grid, unlike current devices in place that waste roughly 15-20% just by hitting the grid alone.

One of the major challenges over the last few years has actually been to get the technology accepted by not just consumers, but also by the financing community (mainly referring to banks). This is sucha new concept that many have a hard time wrapping their heads around it but with cost savings such as these, people are going to have to do it.

Thankfully their projects have been privately funded, and should be green lit to go commercial soon.

New Solar Panel Cuts Energy Bills In Half. South Carolina Power Companies Are Furious Over New Policy.

This is the 1 simple truth your power company doesn't want you to know. If you currently own a home and live in a qualified zip code, you could be eligible to get an extremely huge discount on your energy bill.

Additionally, the government has implemented new energy policies that gives $1,000's back to every consumer who uses solar panels. But do you think your power company will tell you that? I bet not. When homeowners visit the Provide Solar Savings™ official site and enter their address, the results can be pretty shocking. We weren’t surprised when we got questions from homeowners askingif these rates are real. The truth is people say it‘s possible to save up to 70% on their car energy bill and some say they were eligible for rates as low as $19/ month due to recent policy changes. When we heard about these claims, we decided to investigate it for ourselves.

Our in house financial team set out to test these types of savings and after a few days of research what they found was very exciting. Our team discovered that not only were these claims true, but that one of our team members ended up saving over $1500 a year when compared to what they were previously paying. They also found that many other people are indeed able to save similar amounts.

Does this mean you're being scammed by your power company? Our research indicates that many people are being misled into thinking these savings aren't possible with your home. When one of our team members confronted their power company about this, they were told "because every house is different, we weren't sure if your house would work with this type of program." Yeah, right.

For more info

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Persuasions Mallence Bart-Williams

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Mallence Bart-Williams introduced her second home Sierra Leone and its talented people, who are part of her project FOLORUNSHO.

Mallence Bart-Williams was born in Cologne, Germany. She is a Sierra Leonean writer and filmmaker and a German fashion designer. She pursued her studies in economics and finance in Paris, Singapore, and Great Britain.

Today she lives across the globe, produces an all-natural cosmetics line in Hong Kong, and is the founder and creative director of the Freetown-based creative collective FOLORUNSHO, a ‘SHARITY’ that she initiated with street kids in Sierra Leone

                                               Find out more via

Monday, October 12, 2015

Panther Vision

I can't wait to see the Black Panther drawn like this in the pages of his new series.