Deirdre Childress Hopkins explores the world, entertainment and sports

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Whiner or activist film critic?

I’m offering a bit from Spike Lee today because the day of the Oscar nominations could not pass without hearing a bit from Lee about the state of films and African Americans.

Link to is below and thanks to them for letting us know what he said:

PARK CITY, Utah—Spike Lee just premiered the fifth film in his “continuing chronicles of Brooklyn, N.Y.,” at the Sundance Film Festival, but the filmmaker is still frustrated at the lack of diversity in the entertainment industry.

Lee said Monday that in the “upper echelons of television and studios, it’s 1950. It’s Eisenhower.”

George Lucas speaks on ‘Red Tails’

It’s funny but what George Lucas is saying about Hollywood’s familiar to fund his new film, “Red Tails,’ brings another all-black, or let’s say – the lead roles, to mind.

Today on the Jon Stewart show, Lucas talked about trying to get $58 million together to produce one of the greatest black history moments – ever. Tough sell with the movie studios.

I had the pleasure of meeting several of the Tuskegee Airmen last year and I can tell you they are real black history and it’s too bad it did not go easy for Lucas. The airmen were cordial, polite and some of the smartest gentlemen I’ve had the pleasure to meet. They signed a book and passed it along the row for me. I know when a piece of history is being handed to me – and with a smile.

Truth: I have assigned two stories on this film and now we are waiting for a film review. I am doing what I can because sometimes a project is just plain worthy, something that needs to be shared with everyone.

So, yes, if this lack of respect is familiar, I am right there with you. It’s happen to us for year but there was one time it felt acute, like a heartache. I had to turn away from my beloved Oscars for a moment.

Remember Steven Spieberg’s  ‘The Color Purple” and how the Oscars gave it no love? How many people remember any lines from “Out of Africa” which won the Oscar that year?

But hey, I’m not advocating someone hand Miss Celie a razor, but…..

Chika Onyeani — Africa Affairs Expert

Today I want to send my readers over to the pages and work of my friend Chika Onyeani of the Africa Sun Times.

See the report below:

Video Clip: Click to Watch

Saturday, December 31, 2011 – A major thrust was undertaken today, in an impromptu parley, by the African Union Commission’s Director of its Citizens and Diaspora Directorate, Dr. Jinmi Adisa, when he met with the President of the National Conference of Black Mayors, the Hon. Mayor Robert Bowser of East Orange, in a more determined effort to enlarge the reach of the African Union in ensuring a faster process in achieving the goals and objectives of the Union in recognizing the African Diaspora as the 6th Region of the continent. The meeting took place at the home of Dr. Chika and Mrs. Loretta Onyeani of East Orange. Onyeani is the publisher and editor in chief of the award-winning African Sun Times and Chair of the Celebrate Africa Foundation, whose goals are the positive promotion of Africa and rewards African countries with good governance with the “Best Country of the Year Award.”

The parley was a result of a thorough briefing on Friday, December 30, between Onyeani and Dr. Adisa and his three-person team on issues affecting the African Diaspora and the upcoming Global Diaspora Summit, taking place on May 25, 2012 in South Africa. After their discussions, Onyeani then briefed Dr. Adisa on his recent visit to Senegal with the National Conference of Black Mayors to the World Summit of Mayors Leadership Conference, organized by Dr. Djibril Diallo, Coordinator, U.S. African Renaissance and Diaspora Network, and Senior Advisor to the Executive Director UNAIDS New York.

During the course of the briefing, Onyeani expressed how he was impressed with the work that the National Conference of Black Mayors had accomplished, and how the Conference could be a faster conduit through which the African Union would be able to achieve its goals of the African Diaspora as the 6th Region of the African continent. The Mayors are better situated in reaching out and bringing together a wider amalgam of the African Diaspora, especially in the U.S., where they are really the first tier of black leadership. Dr. Adisa became thoroughly excited by the prospect and expressed a desire to meet with Mayor Bowser, President of the National Conference of Mayors.

After Dr. Adisa’s request, Onyeani sprang into action, contacted Mayor Bowser and arranged today’s 12 noon 3-hour meeting. Both Dr. Adisa and Mayor Bowser expressed genuine excitement at meeting. Accompanying Dr. Adisa from the African Uncion Commission were Ms. Nadia Roguiai, Expert, ECOSOC; Mr. Wuyi Omitoogun, Expert, Diaspora Relations; and Mr. Ahmed al-Bashir, Head Diaspora Division. Dr. Adisa informed the Mayor of his belief that the NCBM could play and should be playing a major role with the African Union. He would welcome a meeting between the NCBM and the highest level of the African Union Commission in the nearest future, and foresaw the role for the NCBM in the AUC’s roadmap towards the Global Diaspora Summit, especially the attendance of their leadership at the Summit.

On his part, Mayor Bowser welcomed the idea of his Conference playing a significantly wider continental role. He spoke about how the Conference has benefited from their experience at the recently concluded World Summit of Mayors Leadership Conference in Senegal and praised President Abdoulaye Wade for making it possible for his group and other well-known African Diaspora leaders to participate in the Summit. He spoke of the programs they intend to start with their Senegalese counter-parts, and how these could be expanded on a continental-wide basis. He had no doubt that his Conference leadership, through its Executive Director Ms. Vanessa Williams, would be very happy to participate in the Global Diaspora Summit.

Onyeani will be coordinating the activities between the African Union and the Diaspora Mayors and legislators. His newspaper, the African Sun Times, will be producing a special edition of the newspaper in a magazine format for the Global Diaspora Summit. A website, is being constructed.

About Chika Onyeani:

Chika A. Onyeani is acclaimed author of the internationally-acclaimed No.1 bestselling book, “Capitalist N—–: The Road to Success – A Spider Web Doctrine,” the blockbuster novel, “The Broederbond Conspiracy” (aka The Black James Bond), and the first in a series of African Folk Tales for children, “ODUM: The Lion.” He is the Publisher/Editor in Chief of the award-winning African Sun Times, acclaimed by the African Union as champion of the African agenda in America. He is well known consultant on African issues and has traveled to many African countries on paid speaking engagements on the economic empowerment of black people.

Celebrate Africa Foundation (CAF) is the continental-and Diaspora-wide organization with a dual mission. First is that of celebrating Africa and to promoting a positive image of the African continent and its people by highlighting the best practices in good governance, sound management of public funds, respect for human rights and the rule of law. Secondly, Celebrate Africa Foundation believes that Africa must celebrate its achievements in order to upgrade its image throughout the world; and that it is incumbent upon all of us who love Africa to do our best in promoting this great continent.

First Url: Story on African Sun Times Official Website


Second Url: African Sun Times Home Page



Happy New Year – Inspiration

To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critcs and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; This is to have succeeded- Bessie Stanley

Film preservation

Every week, my partner and I ask ourselves which movies should we buy? How can we get more classic films on tape?

Our collection is getting better. We also care about the quality.

It is with anticipation that I await Thursday night’s PBS screening of “These Amazing Shadows.” which will talk about film preservation. Who knew “The Godfather” already needs to be preserved?


See a youtube link here –


Deirdre in Dakar

Deirdre in Dakar

These students assisted us and always made me comfortable. I learned from them in a few short days.

A president, vice president and an ambassador

The dateline should really be Dakar, Senegal as I am home but still taking it all in. I went to Senegal on a five-day trip and had one of the most incredible experiences as a journalist thanks to friends and colleagues.

This is just the second step of a long trip – my life – in trying to understand the globe and specifically Africa. Yup, I have been overseas but this is different.

Last time I wrote a travel piece about the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture in December 2010. I tried to give it a little heft. Today, I am thinking about more of an essay style because the more I learn, the more complicated it is.

In these short days, I shook the hand of a president, interviewed the Vice President of Colombia and the U.S. Ambassador to Senegal. Amazing.

More to come.


Colombia’s Vice President Angelino Garzon

DAKAR, Senegal – Interesting morning spent with a few journalists and the Vice President of Colombia, Angelino Garzon. He granted us a 45-minute interview through the efforts of Miami Herald World Editor John Yearwood who is responsible for assisting journalists attending the 2011 World Conference of Mayors here in Dakar.

Garzon spoke, through an interpreter, about the common goals of human rights, the fight against HIV/AIDS and discrimination against people of African descent.

One topic we did not address – the war on drugs.

Garzon was a charming ambassador for his country. His own record was one of working within workers’ unions for the last 20 years.

He had his own goals for attendance at the conference – seeking the leadership post of the ILO. He wants the support of President Obama and the Prime Minister of Canada, after receiving support here from Senegal’s President Wade. See the definition below from Wikipedia –

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues pertaining to international labour standards. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its secretariat — the people who are employed by it throughout the world — is known as the International Labour Office. The organization received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969.[1]

Black Mayors to Convene Historic Dialogue in West Africa

I will be traveling to Senegal this week. Please read the news release below (excuse typos from conversion): 


New York, Dec. 13, 2011 — More than 30 prominent African-American mayors are travelling this week to Senegal, West Africa, to convene a four-day historic dialogue with more than 200 black mayors from around the world. 

The 2011 World Summit of Mayors Leadership Conference will take place from Dec. 15-19 inDakar,Senegal. His Excellency Maître Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal, will host the conference, which is co-organized by the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM), the National Association of Senegalese Mayors (AMS), and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

“The foundational belief of the summit is that unified work on the development challenges facing cities on the global landscape is essential to the improvement of the wellbeing of all citizens in urban areas,’’ said Mayor Robert L. Bowser of East Orange, New Jersey, President of the NCBM.

Topics of discussion over the four-day meeting will include good governance, trade, tourism, twinning of cities, economic development, the response to AIDS, education, and media.

Political leaders and high-ranking government officials also will converge onDakarfrom throughout Africa, Latin America, and theCaribbean. High-level speakers at theSummitwill include Garry Conille, Prime Minister of Haiti, Hubert Alexander Ingraham, Prime Minister of theBahamas, Angelino Garzon, Vice-President of Colombia, and Reta Jo Lewis, the U.S. State Department’s Special Representative for Global Inter-governmental Affairs.

Mayor Bowser will lead theU.S.delegation of mayors, which will serve as representatives on behalf of the 658 black mayors that are members of the organization.   Among majorU.S.cities that will be represented at theSummitwill beWashington,D.C.,Atlanta,Sacramento,Las VegasandTallahassee. Mayors will represent both urban and rural communities. Also participating will beNorth MiamiandTuskegee.

 “This and other initiatives help to accelerate progress toward the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, using the response to HIV/AIDS as an entry point,’’ said Dr. Djibril Diallo, Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of UNAIDS. “This will bring the UNAIDS vision of “3 Zeros” into sharper focus: Zero new HIV infections, Zero Discrimination, and Zero AIDS-related deaths.”

“The U.S. African Renaissance and African Diaspora Network, a New York-based initiative that promotes sustainable human development, helped facilitate theSummit,” noted Dr. Diallo, who coordinates the Network.

 “The primary focus is restoring, strengthening and uplifting working relationships and collaborations among the various participating leaders, many of whom represent untapped resources and communities throughout the Diaspora,’’ said Vanessa R. Williams, Executive Director of NCBM.

Plans for the summit began to take shape a year ago when prominent African-American leaders attended the World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures inDakar. During the Festival, President Wade designated African-American leaders as Goodwill Ambassadors for the African Renaissance and called for the creation of partnerships between organizations in the Diaspora andAfrica.

As a follow-up, severalU.S.organizations and Senegalese counterparts — including mayors, university presidents, and artists and intellectuals — signed cooperation agreements last June. The results of the partnerships were presented to theSummitof heads of State and government of the African Union, the pan-African political body, in January 2011 inAddis Ababa,Ethiopia, and last July inMalabo,Equatorial   Guinea.


For further information, contact:


Nicholas Gouede | UNAIDS New York | tel. +1 646 666 8017 | mob. +917 842 8370 |


Richard Leonard | UNAIDS New York | tel. +1 646 666 8009 | mob. +347 420 1024 |


Shantel Gilbert | National Conference of Black Mayors Atlanta| tel. +1 404 765 6444 Ext. 106 |



NCBM: Founded in 1974, the National Conference of Black Mayors represents more than 650 African-American Mayors across theUnited States. Collectively, its membership represents over 48 million citizens. NCBM is a leader in the re-development of most vulnerable communities and works towards the empowerment of leadership on the local level.


UNAIDS: Leveraging the AIDS response, UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) works to build political action and to promote the rights of all people for better results for global health and development. Globally, it sets policy and is the source of HIV-related data. In countries, UNAIDS brings together the resources of the UNAIDS Secretariat and 10 UN system organizations for coordinated and accountable efforts to unite the world against AIDS.

Giving sisters their say –

Last week, I brought you sister Suheir Hammad, “Not your exotic, erotic” also chronicled here:

Today, I offer the sister from Chicago and her end-of-the-year broadcast for women:,b=facebook