Sunday, 28 February 2010

Lifestyle: LUXE Ghana...

"LUXE Concierge & Consulting is an American based company who focuses on delivering essential services to African residents, expats, jetsetters, foreign business personnel, and leisure travelers visiting the continent.

With years of experience in West Africa and abroad, we provide you with the epitome of great service, personnel, and goods. We turn your corporate life from stressful to relaxed and your personal life from basic to extravagant. Additionally, we are the most affordable luxury that you will ever find.

LUXE's goal is to provide Ghana's high end consumer market with the availability to buy or have any service/good that they are willing to pay for. LUXE wants to diminish the need to wait long periods of time, pay high fees, and have to settle for less. Our ultimate desire is to make the lives of individuals in West Africa hassle free and the availability."

For those of you who know the luxurious benefits of Concierge services –you too will be as excited as I am about LUXE Ghana! I haven’t seen their portfolio, –and thus I don’t really know what services they truly provide, -or cater for –but its promises some seriously decadent packages [the type I’m going to need very soon]. For more information about their services and membership packages please visit:

**Note: It’s very important to meet, greet and see the work of any Concierge provider –you are interested in. Yes you maybe busy, busy but these services are costly [membership is paid for annually] –and you don’t want to end up paying lots of money to join a 'club' that only provides; catering or nightclubbing services [trust me -it happens]. Most Concierge Services should be able to cover: property rental, make hotel reservations, order and send flowers [on demand], book flights, taxi reservation, Home Services [repair, cleaning, installations etc], assist with –appointments, shopping, find you a doctor, find you a dentist -24 hours a day, 7 days of the week etc. Yep, the possibilities should be endless, -so it’s vital to check them out -paaa ….….…x

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Almaz women.....Oh Daddy God make me an Almaz woman...

She only smiles

He only tells her

that she's the flowers, the wind and spring

In all her splendor sweetly surrendering

The love that innocence brings


Almaz, pure and simple

Born in a world where love survives

Now men will want her

'Cause life don't haunt her

Almaz, You lucky lucky thing

Now I watch closely

And I watch wholly

I can't imagine love so rare

She's young and tender

But will life bend her

I look around is she everywhere

** repeat

He throws her kisses

She shares his wishes

I'm sure he's keen without a doubt

With love so captive

So solely captive

I ask if I could play the part

** repeat

Almaz, You lucky lucky thing

Almaz, You lucky lucky thing

When I was younger –my parents would pack my siblings and me into the back of our family car and drive [what felt like hours or a lifetime] to places like Basildon, Croydon or the seaside –from Edmonton [north London] and later from Waltham Cross [Hertfordshire]. These ‘much welcomed’ detours –meant I was not cleaning the house, or washing-up, or cooking –or doing some other thing(s) -good African gals do at home on Saturdays [I’m tired just thinking about it]. And even though these journeys would drag on [somewhat], –my sweet father’s love of [what he called real] ‘MUSIC’ meant –that our journeys were fun; –and thus all I have to hear is the first few notes /melodies of any Randy Crawford song [Street Life, One Day I'll Fly Away, ‘Rainy Night in Georgia’ and Almaz etc]; Gladys Knight, Roberta Flack, Elvis Presley [Return To sender’, In the Ghetto, The Wonder of You, Love Me Tender etc], Tina Turner [Proud Mary, What’s Love Got To Do With It], Lionel Richie [Hello, All Night Long, Running With The Night], Etta James [At last, I’d Rather Go Blind, Rock Me Baby] –and I know the words. These legendary songs must have gotten deep into my soul –because at a Ghana party [that’s what my siblings and I called family parties] my cousins and I meet a real Almaz....

Tall, willowy and the colour of roasted milk chocolate; –this beautiful young lady managed to keep myself, my sister –and my rowdy cousins quite and spellbound. Dancing in her pretty dress –next to her mother, it seemed that the disco lights had formed a halo around her head –and she was ‘belle du jour’. Her mother was doing a ‘look-at-my-beautiful-daughter’ dance, -the type African mothers do when they want grandchildren –but this was different. This mother was celebrating her daughter in a way I had never seen before –and it must have resonated because years later, –I find myself doing the same with my son. All my Alexander 'Jojo' [he is all of five] has to do is draw a line –and to me, –he is an artist; -when he sings ‘wheels on the bus’ –I hear echoes of early ‘Michael Jackson’ –and when he dances –well!

This goddess beauty –stopped dancing when she saw us looking at her –and smiled, beckoned us over –took our hands and started dancing with us, –effortlessly. There was no attitude, no sadness, no bitterness, no ‘bloodcl***ness, –just warmth and –the type of joy that engulfs you and ‘rights wrongs’. After the music stopped we followed her –as she took her rightful place next to her ever watching, proud and loving mother. All the men came to greet this beauty and as the lyrics of that famous song say's, ‘Now men will want her...Cause life don't haunt her’ –and we watched, -this ‘lucky lucky’ girl.

I still remember her face –all almond eyes, high cheekbones and the most beautiful smile –I had ever seen. I remember her mother calling her a lawyer –because she was studying law...Even now I’m wowed by this memory –and later it came to me; -this Ghanaian beauty was a real life Almaz, ...the very same girl Randy Crawford was sing about. I have stumble across three more Almazs since then –and these ladies never cease to amaze me.

The second Almaz was a seven foot black blue beauty [I now believe she was from Sudan]. I was in the first year of secondary school [I must have been about eleven years old], –and was walking with my then best friend, Jackie -when we happened across this uber exotic beauty. Like all Almazs, –she saw us, -and smiled [she was also the first person I ever saw with a weave-on –and it bellowed in the summer breeze]. Dressed all in white [a shirt and long skirt, -I have never forgotten] the sun seemed to cast its rays only around her, –and we thought she might be an angel. My mate Jackie and I were lost for words. We had never seen a black women with such skin -and definitely not one who was seven feet tall, –and she was stunningly beautiful ...She smiled some more, said hello and waved us good bye. There was no evil, no ‘what-the-hell-are-they starring-at’ ugliness, no nastiness, –just smiles and sweet laughter –as she turned around and caught us glued to the spot -and still looking. That’s the thing with Almazs –their beauty is inside out, overflowing, –without restraint and prejudice.

The third Almaz I spied was about three years ago, –when I was feeling like the world had kicked me in the head. I was pushing my little man down chichi High Barnet –high street when I saw the most captivating sister ever, –and she looked just like Genevieve Jones. Petit, willowy –with glowing, brown skin, -she was literally 'hopping and skipping' down the road, –smiling at the world. Dressed in a retro Ali Mcgraw way [dark polo neck jumper, 70’s corduroy shirt and 70’s hot boots], -she was so tiny and so pretty! I think I must have stopped dead in my tracks –because this butterfly stopped, caught my eye, smiled –said hello; she then looked at my little king [he was asleep] –smiled again and went on her merry way. I still can’t get over her hair, –all healthy, dark and glossy: beautifully relaxed and long; -it seemed to swish about [like our Caucasian sister’s hair] –as she skipped joyfully down the! Her lightness [on her little feet] and that carefree demeanour made me think of Almaz.... I had to phone a couple of friends [that evening] to tell them about this sister ...and one of them told me -that to her, –I have always been Almaz...I cried!

My Alexander and I stumbled across the last Almaz a couple of weeks ago [when he was on half term]. We had decided to do, ‘what mummy does’ every Friend [on her day off] –which is to go into Enfield Town, have a hot chocolate in McDonalds’ [cheaper and tastier than the rest], buy some flowers from the ‘one-pound-a-bunch’ flower man –and do some serious budget shopping at the ‘Pound’ shop. As we were having our hot chocolate in the window seat –on the very tall seats [king Alexander just can’t get enough them], - she walked by and stopped to acknowledge the very young, handsome young man who could barely look at her through the window.

I would describe this Almaz as maybe 42 years –but looking and feeling 21. Tall, roasted almond in colour; slender, dressed to kill [in tight jeans, hot boots and one of those very expensive puffer or padded jackets that Italian women do soo well], -with her long, glossy [naturally] brown relaxed hair –moving in that way, -soft black hair moves,-when its owner is in love. I thought I was the only one that had clocked her –but I noticed folks inside and outside –looking, and had no idea that my son had also spotted this beauty -and was pretending to shy away. Full to bursting with joy..., –on a day ‘many’ found difficult to get ‘out-of-bed’, -this Almaz gave me the biggest, whitest smile ever, then stopped to wave at the ‘little man’ -he was still playing shy! She came up close to the window, -winked, laughed, smiled, -and waved and waved as –Alexander waved and waved –then blew him a kiss [he caught it] –and went on her merry way ...leaving my baby boy, -happy, happy, happy –and wanting more.......Wow..

I remember a middle aged wealthy man saying that he preferred younger women because they were less bitter, less cynical, happy and full of life [in some documentary on why middle aged men leave their wives for younger women] -and it dawned on me that –he was describing all the Almazs I have meet, –and even though I don’t know the aforementioned ladies stories, I have observed their lightness, their beauty, their ‘jour de vive’, their happiness, –and I guess there was a time before my resent ‘trials and tribulations’ when I too -was less cynical..But life is what it is, –and I believe in being in my ‘truth’..–And whatever took my joy –no longer affects me [Amen]. I think of the beautiful Ghanaian Almaz –and I’m reminded that even if you are not celebrated by your mother [as she was], –you can celebrate yourself... I think of the Sudanese beauty and I know that its all about –the way you carry yourself; –of the Genevieve Jones look-a-like; -and I know, -its about keeping a youthful ‘lightness’ about you, –and of the last Almaz; I get LOVE –real love......[the ability to love yourself and others –and the beauty of spreading that love –without fear]. Make someone’s day –smile like an Almaz woman.....xx

Friday, 26 February 2010

Hair: Eve Owusu [Senior Afro Technician at Errol Douglas, Knightsbridge Hair Salon].

“Eve grew up in South London and trained at Croydon College for two years before going on to join Charles Worthington. She was a stylist there for 5 years before joining the Errol Douglas team. A key part of what Eve enjoys has been creating styles for photo shoots which gives her the chance to express herself creatively. Recently this has been rewarded, along with Gemma, by receiving a nomination for British Afro Hairdresser of the Year. For Eve the competing, and hopefully, winning of this award is a long term goal that has come early in her career.”

I’m loving the above ‘fashion forward’ hairstyles by Afro Hairdresser of the Year 2009 finalists, Eve Owusu [assisted by Gemma Hummes]… A celebrity favorite, -Eve works at the prestigious Errol Douglas hair Salon in chichi Knightsbridge, London. ….To book an appointment with Eve please see details below:

Errol Douglas
18 Motcomb Street
London SW1X 8LB
020 7235 0110

Music: Abenaa

I’m loving Grammy nominated songwriter, Abenaa’s music….Her songs are well written; soulful, evocative –intelligent [I don’t know if you can describe music as intelligent –but I just did], classic melodies -that transcend trends and the ‘here-and-now’! She is cut from the same ‘timeless’ clothe as Anita Baker and India Arie; -and even though she sound much lighter [and much younger] -like these greats, –Abenaa’s music will stand the test of time…To buy her latest album entitled ‘Tuesday’s Child’ please

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Politics: the Rise of ...Conservative MPs and Voters of Ghanaian heritage in the UK...

Once upon a time, -all Ghanaians [like all immigrants] voted Labour in the UK; -and all of ‘middle England’ believed –all immigrants lived in council houses; were educated at the local comprehensive, eat fried food, existed on ‘state benefits' –and thus, were naturally, -Labour voters. Well times have changed and so has the Ghanaian community [globally]. In England as in the USA [and Canada, Germany; Belgium, Holland etc] where there's a growing Ghanaian middle-class, -many of these upwardly mobile ‘go-getters’ are no longer 'natural' Labour voters; -and the 'Liberals' and the Conservatives -have benefited greatly from this group...But I wonder, how do black/Ghanaian Conservative MPs/ Voters -justify the Conservative party’s 'laissez-faire' attitude towards helping those ‘less-well-off’, -when the majority of those ‘less-well-off’ are from your 'own' community?

As a ‘natural’ socialist and thus –a ‘natural’ Labour voter [my grandmother’s family are tomato sellers from Abanzi and Anomabo, –so I like to keep it real] – I’m fascinated by ‘Conservative' values and even more intrigued by ‘ethnic minorities’ –who vote for the Conservative/Republican party etc... It drives me crazy that some people in the States can’t quiet get their heads around President Obama’s ‘Welfare Reform’ etc –it totally shocks me. ....It appears prosperous black folks in the USA are under the illusion that all is well –and thus can’t fathom the growing numbers of 'post-Katrina homeless population', or folks living without water in Detroit [45,000 households are without], -never mind the obvious medical needs of many poor families in the States -and …..I kind …of feel -Ghanaians [and other minority] Conservative MPs/voters –hold similar views/values etc.. What's so wrong with ‘loving thy neighbour’? ....

I’ve found the vast majority of black Conservative MPs/voters –to be judgemental and fearful people. Fearful of being mugged, fearful of foreign accents, fearful of their own people, fearful of mass immigration etc,...-the very things ‘Middle England’ feared when their ‘own’ parents first migrated to the UK [oh how times have changed]... Anyway, let me not loose track, -and please note that if we lived in a ‘just’ world; –a world where all people started the ‘race-of-life’ at the front of the line...on an ‘even playing field’ –with all the privileges that a good education afforded, –I too would vote for the Conservative party! Please note, -I honestly respect all peoples, –and their democratic right to their own political views/persuasions etc etc..

I stumbled across the following piece on the ‘Booker Rising’ website about Adam Afriyie, Sam Gyimah and Kwasi Kwarteng, –and even though I soo don’t share their political ‘point-of-view’, found the following very interesting..[and I'm sure the afore mentioned Conservative MPs and candidates are lovely]....enjoy..x

Title: Britain: The Year Of The (Partially) Black Conservative "
By: Shay Riley Taken from:

The Conservative Party continues to lead in British polls for the upcoming election - which can't occur any later than early June - to return to power after 13 years or so. Right now, there are two black folks in the British Parliament: Adam Afriyie in the House of Commons and Lord John Taylor in the House of Lords (whose body consists of appointed officials. However, that is likely to change this year. I knew that it would change, but about half of Conservative Party black candidates are new to my radar screen. The Daily Mail (UK) calls them and the Asian candidates as Conservative Party leader David Cameron's "Obama Army", 44 candidates who are ready to change the face of the Conservative Party. The newspaper discusses their electoral hopes and I've highlighted the (partially) black folks on the list:

Adam Afriyie, 43
Windsor, southern England | Tech entrepreneur & shadow minister for science & business innovation

Assuming that the Conservative Party wins the upcoming elections, Mr. Afriyie - a tech entrepreneur with an estimated net worth of US$156 million - is slated to become the country's first black Conservative cabinet minister.

Mr. Afriyie, whose father is Ghanaian and whose mother is white British, is no stranger to Booker Rising. This blog had Mr. Afriyie pegged as someone to watch back in 2004, before he joined the Parliament. It's good to see it coming to fruition.

Sam Gyimah, 33
East Surrey, southeastern England | Banker

Sam Gyimah is a new face to Booker Rising, but sounds pretty good. An ex-Oxford Union president whose parents come from Ghana, he was voted CBI's "Entrepreneur Of The Future". He writes on his website: "In 2003, I left my City Job at Goldman Sachs to start a small business which trained and placed low-skilled people into work. When I left three years later, we were turning over £10m [US$15.5 million], had a staff of 70, had trained 4,000 people and I was named CBI Entrepreneur of the Future for my efforts."

Mr. Gyimah is running in the 6th safest Tory seat in the country - even though he does not yet live in the district, Tory activists in the district recently chose him in a straw poll among six candidates - so he is extremely likely to join Parliament this year as well.

Kwasi Kwarteng, 34
Spelthorne, southeastern England | Journalist & historian

Mr. Kwarteng, whose parents are from Ghana, is another new face to Booker Rising. He writes on his website: "I was very fortunate to win a scholarship to Eton College, when I was 13. I enjoyed History in particular, which I then proceeded to read at Trinity College, Cambridge. I earned a Bachelor's degree and a PhD in British History and was also on the series-winning team on University Challenge in Jeremy Paxman's first year as the host. I have worked as a company analyst in the City for seven years, and as a journalist."

His book, Ghosts of Empire, about the British Empire's global legacy, will be published soon.


Music: Scizo

I managed to catch the 'Chart Show' presented by the ever beautiful, Foxxy on OBE TV the other day; -and in at number ten was Scizo’s ‘Rain Rain’ [I love it]. For those of you thinking that the gorgeous Scizo has just arrived ‘it-not-be-so’.. This talented musician has been kicking about for some time -and as far as I’m concerned, –just gets better. Someone needs to sign this guy up -right now –he’s hot! ....

Monday, 22 February 2010

A Ghanaian Hero: Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah [rode a bike across Ghana to challenge the stigma of being disabled].......

"When you are a deformed child, people think your mother sinned." Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

"I wanted people to know that if you are a disabled person in your leg, you're not a disabled person in your mind," Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

*I believe that the following piece about athlete and activist, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah –a disabled brother; –who overcame prejudice and all manner of obstacles by riding a bicycle across Ghana to challenge the stigma of being disabled, -will inspire you. It is written by Alyssa [from Sycamore Junior High –dated 9/17/2008 for a website called ‘My Hero’]......I wonder...what of other disabled people in ‘our’ Ghana, –what are their options? Begging? Killed at birth? ...Anyway be inspired....x

EMMANUEL OFOSU Alyssa from Sycamore Junior High
What defines a hero really? In my opinion, there are endless standards to being a hero. Being a hero doesn't necessarily mean the person is a big hot shot who always saves the day. A hero can be a person whom the community greatly admires, someone who shows compassion for life and has an unending supply of faith in themselves that helps them achieve their goal. The hero I discovered is named Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah and he is a hero of faith and courage. Emmanuel struggled throughout his life to find some sort of thing he was good at, something he could do without being made fun of or discriminated against. He isn't the everyday comic book hero that saves the day, but all the same, he is a very honourable person.

Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah was born in Ghana, Africa without a right tibia, the inner and usually larger of the two bones of the lower limb between the knee and ankle, which left him crippled. In a country where the crippled are viewed as cursed, Emmanuel was shunned. His father abandoned the family because of his son's deformity. His mother was advised to murder him or leave him in the forest to die.

Emmanuel earned about $2.00 a day shining shoes to provide a living for himself and his family. When he heard about a Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) grant program through a missionary in his town, he wrote a letter to America pleading for a bike to ride across the country. He did not know how much that letter would change his life. He received a bike through the CAF program. Supported by sponsors, he eagerly jumped on the bike and started the rough journey across the country to free himself from the discrimination he received because of his handicap. Even though he met with skepticism, the CAF program asked him to come to San Diego for its annual 56-mile bike ride in November 2002. Shortly after this in April 2003, Emmanuel was fitted with a prosthetic leg. The following year, in the same event, he shed three hours off his time. Recently, he received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the annual ESPY Awards in July 2005.

Emmanuel shows many of the praiseworthy qualities of being a hero. His qualities are mostly related to the "hero within" category of heroism according to T.A. Barron. I believe he is most related to the "hero within" category because he shows courage for not accepting the fate which he was condemned to. He had faith in himself that he could overcome the hatred which was shown towards him. Most of all, he adapted to the prosthetic leg which was fitted to him, even though in the beginning it was frustrating and awkward. That is why I believe Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah fits the description of a "hero within."

In reading my essay I hope you have come to realize that there are different types of heroes and they are each defined with a special quality all their own. Emmanuel isn't the everyday hero, but that's what makes him unique. He had the courage to overcome his disability, and he did it with all the strength he could. Emmanuel set an example for me and he made me realize that I can overcome anything I set my mind to, even when the odds are against me. Most of all, he made me believe that no one should ever give up.[Credit:]

*There is a wonderful insightful book about Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah called ‘Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, Champion of Ghana's Disabled’ by Leanne K. Currie-McGhee [$28.25], –and can be purchased from Amazon at:

Publishing: Afua Acheampong

As you all know by now, –I love glossies [magazines] –especially the high-end fashion/lifestyle ones [and in the UK we are so lucky, –we can buy almost any magazine from any country in selected stores]. My only pet peeves are so called ‘black magazines’ [especially the hair magazines]. I find most of these magazines -inferior [on all levels]; lacking substance, badly written –and poorly laid out – and thus, - tend to avoid them [or flick through when I’m in my local library]. So you can imagine my surprise when I stumbled across the latest ‘Black Hair’ magazine; -with it’s ‘on trend’ cover, –and low and behold at the helm of said magazine is a lovely Ghanaian sister called Afua Acheampong. As acting editor, – Afua I believe; has helped to transform this hair magazine –and made it relevant…you go girl…

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Beauty: The 'Black's Secret' Makeup Bar is now open...

“The first ever Makeup Bar in Ghana is finally OPEN. Venue: OSU, behind Trust Hospital. Black’s Secret Makeup Bar is offering exceptional makeup services in a luxury ambience.”

Some time ago...I wrote a piece about a new make-up brand called ‘Black's Secret’ [owned by Berlin Investments Limited] that was about to launch in Ghana, –well the 'Black's Secret Makeup Bar’ is now open – serving as both showroom and retail outlet. The Makeup Bar provides a relaxing space to buy ‘Black Secret’s extensive product range [including Pressed Powder, Crème to Powder foundation, Loose Powder, Waterproof Mascara, Lip-gloss, eye shadow and Facial wipes], -professional makeup accessories [brushes and tools] –and offers services like: Bridal needs, private make-up lessons, Parties, Events and Fashions shows. Personally, I’m so impressed with this lovely Bar –and can’t wait to visit [I will be in Ghana later this year]. The contact details are as follows....

Black's Secret Makeup Bar[is located behind located in Osu, near the Mama Mia restaurant, behind the Trust Hospital]..
P O Box CT 5372
Fax: 00233 21 660734

Textile Designer: Elizabeth Anyaa

"At Anyaa your dreams will come true........From wall hangings to soft furnishing, room dividers, ottoman, pillows,throws and curtains, your wish will be a reality."

Anyaa’s down-stuffed pillows in hand-dyed silk velvet or felt are available via her website ($145 to $350 each)….

**I’m so happy to have found this piece on fabulous textile designer, Elizabeth Anyaa -I love her work...…The following is by Holly Haber…...Enjoy..x

Title: Born in Ghana, trained in Finland, textile designer Elizabeth Anyaa now calls Dallas home By HOLLY HABER Date: Thursday, January 21, 2010

If there were a Nobel Prize for patience, Elizabeth Anyaa could win it.
Few on the planet could match the Dallas-based designer's fortitude for making felt by hand, which takes days of rubbing and rolling wool and silk filaments until they lock together into a textile so strong that, even when cut, the edges won't fray. But to Anyaa, who creates one-of-a-kind fashion, home furnishings and art, it's no big deal. "I'm a weaver," she says simply. "And I'm an extremely patient person – so patient it's not even funny."

To wit, she can spend as much as a week hand-rubbing ivory wool into abstract stripes on black or white silk organza to create an artistic wrap or table runner. And she will hand-dye silk velvet with a rainbow of colors to make a double-sided pillow stuffed with down, or roll dozens of strands of wool felt and hang them, one by one, to create a curtain. "I like elegant and bohemian and eclectic styles, so my work is a mix of all that," Anyaa explains. "I see myself in all three categories. It depends on where you are going. Sometimes I want to be elegant, sometimes I want to be relaxed, and sometimes I want to put everything together. I'm not narrowed."

Such open-mindedness can be traced through Anyaa's personal history. She grew up in Sierra Leone and Ghana, soaking up the glorious colors in the mountains and seascapes and watching women dye cloth into vivid patterns and colors. She then earned a fine arts degree in textile design and manufacturing at the prestigious Rovaniemi Institute of Industrial Art in icy Finland, where she was, as she put it, "a black spot on a white dress – the only black person a lot of them had ever seen."

She landed in Texas and El Centro College at the invitation of a Lewisville couple, Dr. Wanda Neely and her husband, the late Herb Sherman, whom she met when they were traveling in Finland. Anyaa was among the first designers to be promoted in 2004 by the Dallas Fashion Incubator, which nurtures small businesses and has since been renamed Texas' Next Top Designer.

With such disparate and formidable influences, Anyaa is equally adept working with the cool neutral hues and spare aesthetic of Finnish design and the hot, bright colors of West Africa. "The Nordic colors of black and white are my signature, but I also do color. A lot of people ask for it," she explains. "When I make felt and weave, I think in Finnish. When it comes to color, I go back to Africa."

Anyaa's one-of-a-kind scarves, felt-wrapped soaps, tablecloths and other goods are carried by several chic stores, including Haven and Rich Hippie in Dallas. She also sells and takes custom commissions by appointment at her studio at South Side on Lamar. Prices start at $12 for a French-milled soap wrapped in multicolor felt, $90 for a silk scarf with felt accents, and rise beyond $1,000 for an elaborate wrap or table-runner. "Her work is absolutely stunning," says Nikki Solomon, who co-owns Rich Hippie in Inwood Village. "Everything is unique, beautiful and flattering, and unlike anything else in the marketplace. It is such a reflection of her – unique and beautiful." THE END [Credit:]

*For more information about Elizabeth Anyaa please visit her website at:

Beauty: Organic Whipped Body Butters from Tamu....

“Rich, thick, and seriously whipped, our 100% organic body butters are made from high concentrations of exotic butters and essential oils - with no chemical fillers or added water. Unrefined Ghanaian shea butter is our main ingredient purchased directly from women living in Goasu, my mother's village. We draw on their wisdom to create creamy body butters that melt into your skin to make it soft and glowing. A little goes a long way.”

Tamu is a seriously gorgeous website selling natural beauty products sourced from Ghana and beyond in a fair and ethical way. They offer all the yummy goodies that we sybarites covet: pure, organic, gentle products that are environmentally friendly, -kind to our skin and free from Parabens. I’m loving their Organic Whipped Body Butters [including: Lemongrass and Ginger, Almond Brule and Virgin Coconut & Lime] from £15.95 each –and their Moroccan Rose Sensual Body Oil –£19.50. For more information on Tamu please

Music: Shasha Marley

“SHASHA has recorded alongside several top artists and has won several awards to his credit. When the Hall of Fame multi Grammy Awards winner, Isaac Hayes heard his music, he said “Wow, this brother is pure talent, he and I are going to do great things together”, and sure enough, they have.”

I remember the first time I heard ‘So Nyame Mu’ –I couldn’t get the melody out of my head –and fell in love with the song but I didn’t catch the name of the artist [very frustrating] –and had to wait for some time before I heard it again. Well the moment I heard the name Shasha Marley –I just had to google –and I’m so glad I did...what a ‘force-of-nature’! Ghana’s very own Lucky Dube, -Shasha is a national treasure –and I’m kind of disappointed that I hadn’t heard of him sooner. We must celebrate this great talent! Anyway congratulations to Shasha who has been nominated for best African Reggae Artiste at The KORA AWARDS 2010 [It will be taking place on 04-04-10 at PALAIS De SPORTS, Ouagadougou –Burkina Faso: 7pm]. For more information about Shasha Marley please visit:

Ghana Rising Hearts Rachel Ritfeld

I first met Rachel Ritfeld at 'The Kulture2couture Fashion Show at the V&A [where she and a couple of my models [Alethea Van Der Puije-Quartey (Miss Ghana UK 2006) and Tiffany Fraser were modeling]-many moons ago and she was very sweet. Known for dating Akon -and as a wag [she is engaged to Damien Frances] -Rachel is so much more than that. A Good Will Ambassador of Suriname in the UK, a great beauty; a successful model and the founder of The Rachel Ritfeld Trust [it provides free education for underprivileged children in Suriname] -Rachel is 'all-that-and-more'. A fabulous va va voom mix of Surinamese, Ghanaian, Indian, Dutch, German and Lebanese heritage -Rachel is also a killer dresser. From the classic crisp white shirt and jeans combo -to red carpet hotness in long [body con] black dresses -this stylista is soo fashion fabulous......

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Congratulations to Dizzee Rascal [Dylan Kwabena Mills] who won ‘British Male Solo Artist’ at the Brit Awards 2010…..

Enjoy Dizzee Rascal and the fabulous Florence Welch at the Brit Awards doing a live performance

Kwaw Kese aka Abodam featured on BET’s "it's my Thing",

It was fabulous to see Abodam [Kwaw Kese] representing Ghana [hard] on BET the other night…I love this guy [for me he of the same school of music and verve as Okomfo Kwaadee] –and I pray big things for him… For more information on Abodam please visit his website at:

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Fashion: Ozwald Boateng on CNN…

Art: Lynette Yiadom Boakye

Diplomacy II [2009]

'The Magnifying Monkey's Glass' 2009

'I like the decadence of oil paint. I like decadence in general. I wanted to paint the person that soul singers have written love poetry for, or the type that missionaries would like to teach. In the end, the history and act of painting is what matters.' Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

It’s lovely when there’s a creative buzz about you –and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye has been causing artistic explosions since 2007. Ekow Eshun called her, ‘a rising star'; Charles Saatchi is 'sitting-up-and-taking-note'....and she continues to exhibit internationally -yep, Yiadom-Boakye is hot right now! You can catch her at the upcoming ‘The Armory Show 2010' in NYC this March. ...Contact Details:
Date: March 4th -7th 2010
The Armory Show, Inc.
7 West 34th Street, Suite 1027
New York, NY 10001 USA
TELEPHONE -212.645.6440

Ghana Rising's favourite Ghanaian male model -Richard Ampaw

*I can't believe it, -I didn't realise the male model -I've been admiring from afar -[and happens to be UK's most successful black male model] is called Richard Ampaw; -and from what I gather, -Ampaw is a Ghanaian name. One of the highest-earning black male models -Ampaw has worked for Swatch, Hilfiger, Banana Republic, Next, M&S and Macy's, and featured in editorial work for i-D and Wallpaper. He is with Select model agency in London. []

Friday, 12 February 2010

Music: Brie Boateng's 'Free your Mind' Rocks....

I'm loving Bridget Brie Boateng's latest tune, 'Free your mind' -its fabulous uplifting funky house music at its best.....Go Brie! For more information on Brie please visit:

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Christian Aid -‘Ghana: slave trade to trade slaves’

“In Ghana, as in many developing countries, 70% of people earn their living from agriculture. Unfair trade rules forced on poor countries by the World Bank and IMF are having a disastrous effect on local farmers and are putting many of them out of business.”

“In the 21st Century rich countries and financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank exert enormous control over the economies of poor countries like Ghana. Instead of being a means by which countries could work their way out of poverty, international trade works against the interests of poor communities.”

“People migrate from the grinding poverty of the north hoping for work and a new life in the cities of the south. What they find, however, is far from streets paved with gold. Some may be lucky and find low paid work in factories while others hustle their international wares in the cities market stalls - tomato paste from Italy, British chicken or American rice. They soon discover their small profits are not enough to pay for a roof over their heads in the city slums or for water bought from the local pumps.”

'I used to own a tomato farm but I couldn’t feed my family' says Kofi Eliasa who couldn’t make a living competing with cheaper European tomato imports flooding local markets. As a result Kofi often has to work a 12 hour day in the searing heat breaking stones in a quarry for less than a £1 a day to help feed his family.”

“International trade is worth $10 million a minute but poor countries only account for 0.4% of this trade. According to UN estimates developing countries lose $1.3bn every day due to unfair trade rules.”

“What many of the slum dwellers don’t know is that the World Bank and IMF encouraged Ghana to privatise their public services in return for loans. The privatisation of water led to higher prices and made accessibility for poor people even more limited.”

“With no prospects of employment or income some survive, but risk their health, by scavenging for food, or things they can sell, on the stinking city rubbish dumps.”

“The Ghanaian government has been forced to open its markets to cheap foreign goods, and to stop giving support to its own farmers, in return for loans, aid and debt relief from the rich world. This means local farmers struggle to sell their produce and they are angry.” [Photos and text courtesy of]

For more information or to donate to Christian Aid please visit:

Home & Art: El Anatsui’s wall hanging.......

I’m loving the golden wall hanging by uber artist El Anatsui on the wall of Rosita Missoni[founder of fashion house Missoni]’s home. Rosita Missoni’s beautiful sitting room demonstrates perfectly – how to display [and decorate with] African art in the home.... [Photo: House & Garden magazine]

Lifestyle: Ghana voted ‘Best Place for a Funeral’

"No. 6 ..Funerals here can last for days, with mouners in lavish robes and wooden coffins carved into shapes symbolising your life or dreams. Perhaps they do one in the shape of a Prada bag?" Elle magazine..

A couple of years ago, –British Elle magazine voted Ghana –the best place to hold a funeral in their ‘Elle’s hot 21’......I agree, just check out the coffins..what a fabulous way to go..... x

Friday, 5 February 2010

Fashion: www.serwaabags [an online store]

“There are many outlets and online stores which sell bags etc; but Serwaa Bags is different. It is a comparatively young on & off line store offering unique, high quality, most excellent and most up-to-date bags and shoes. Most of our products are real designer ones and the envy of non-customers......Having very good taste ourselves, we found out years go that most of the outlets out there offering the products we deal in are presenting just too much-hyped and over-priced merchandise. We are therefore in the market to provide a customer focused service.....The result is enshrined in our uncomplicated mission statement: We pride ourselves in listening to our customers, advising them, giving them true choice and putting REAL smiles on their faces.......In our short life, we have successfully organised shows which attracted a good number of people who all went away with very high regard for our goods and services. We are planning more of such shows - watch this space!”

*I know that you KNOW, I get very excited when I stumble across new businesses by fellow Ghanaians in the fashion/beauty/lifestyle industry, –and Serwaabags doesn’t disappoint! Young and trendy, – Serwaabags’ online store carries all the yummy accessories needed for a fabulous night out. They have an eclectic collection of ‘on trend’ uber high heels and funky clutches for you ‘to-live-for’. Please visit their website at:

Contact Us
Abena Serwaa Bags
P.O. Box SC7935
Community 7,Tema
Zip Code
Ghana-West Africa
Ghana: + 233243614433
UK: +447817641252

Community: A rise in ‘Farmer Suicides’...-what is being done for the famers in Ghana?

[Photo courtesy of]

I often wonder about the farming sector in Ghana [especially small scale farmers] during this never ending recession. I wonder only because in England -where ‘government subsidized’ farmers are suffering –they at least get some help.....but what of Ghanaian farmers? Is there help for them concerning debt, loan sharks and market access? I stumbled across the following alarming piece by Erika Fredrickson -and it’s got me thinking........

Title: Farmer Suicides Rise in India and Ghana
By: Erika Fredrickson Date: Friday, 13 February 2009
The number of farms in India is decreasing while the number of farmer suicides increases. Between 1997 and 2007 it's reported that 182,936 Indian farmers killed themselves over debt-related issues. The actual number is probably higher because women aren't considered farmers in this kind of data-collection (they rarely get land in their name) yet they often are primary farmers. So any women suicides are deemed “suicide” but not “farmer suicide.”

This is the largest sustained wave of suicides in historical record. The way the stats break down is that ever since 2001, a farmer has committed suicide every 30 minutes on average in India. Peasant farming debt has doubled since the first decade of neo-liberalism “economic reforms.”

The suicides are highest among cash crop farmers, especially those who grow vanilla, groundnut, sugarcane, coffee, pepper and cotton. Giant seed companies have displaced cheap hybrid seeds and traditional seeds. When these farmers switch to GM crops, the crops often get attacked by pests and also need double the water. Farmers have to invest in pesticides: something they were told would not be needed. Their crops often fail, and they find themselves in huge debt. Hunger among farmers is skyrocketing. Healthcare costs make it worse. Many farmers have to work on other people's farms to make a living. And as government subsidies keep Western farmers strong on the international market, the Indian farmers can't compete. Many of them kill themselves by drinking the pesticides they thought they wouldn't need.

In Ghana, there's also been a suicide wave, but here it's among small-scale tomato growers. The importation of tomato paste on the international market makes these farmers tomatoes difficult to sell because people are buying the paste instead of local tomatoes. Lack of refrigeration options leaves tomatoes to rot. And the farmers find themselves harassed by creditors at which point they see suicide as their final option. [Credit:]

Objects of Desires: Kente Design Accessories by Francis Serlom Seshie........

Check out this fabulous collection of shoes, boots and accessories in Kente fabrics by Francis Selorm -they really are ‘to-live-for’.

Contact Details:
Cross Culture International
Mimersgade 9, st.
DK-2200 Copenhagen N
Tel: (+45) 35 39 00 53
Fax: (+45) 35 39 04 54

Fashion: Prince Ampong of 'Finally Made'............

I’m so inspired by the following piece –and I know you will be too....enjoy x

Title: Young Ghanaian entrepreneur finds success with his own clothing brand
By: Austin Counts Date: Friday, December 04, 2009
Visions of the American dream are shining through the recession’s ominous landscape for a young Ghanese entrepreneur who came to this country with little, but dared to dream without limits.

To Prince Ampong, a 23-year-old T-shirt designer and owner of the clothing brand and boutique Finally Made, 845 E. University Blvd., the desire to better your life is what everyone should be striving after.

“This recession doesn’t bother me,” said Ampong. “When you come from the bottom, you can’t go anywhere else but up”. Ampong had plenty to smile about recently.

He and the rest of the Finally Made family celebrated the boutique’s first year in business, as an eclectic mix of hip-hop pumped through overhead speakers. Throughout the night, Ampong made the rounds to customers ranging from hipsters, hip-hop heads, and college kids who had converged on the small shop, bearing witness to the young entrepreneur’s American dream.

One question seemed to be asked repeatedly by newcomers to the boutique: what does Finally Made mean?

“I chose the name Finally Made because we all want to be successful, we all want to do something with our lives,” Ampong said to an inquisitive customer. “It’s like you finally made it to where you want to be in life.”

While showing new Finally Made T-shirts for the fall season, Ampong weaves together an introspective tale of his modest roots growing up in the West African country of Ghana.

As a youth, he desired to own a new pair of sneakers that had not been worn by anyone. Ampong wanted to own the kind of shoes he saw in an old Eastbay sports apparel catalog he would look at with school friends between classes. At the time, all Ampong could afford were used or irregular shoes he would find at small shops that would buy defective goods from major manufacturers to resell.

After graduating high school at 18, Ampong booked a flight to Tucson for a two-month stay with his uncle, Ato Fynn. After spending just a few weeks in Tucson, the young man knew he would not be returning to Ghana despite the fact he had little money and no credit.

After discovering Ampong could draw and had a talent for graphic design, his cousin, Francis Fynn approached him about starting a T-shirt brand. The two devised a plan to make money by creating a T-shirt they could sell to friends, but soon they ran into the all-to-common stumbling block — funding.

On a whim, Ampong and Fynn approached Ato to help finance the first batch of 50 T-shirts with the original Finally Made logo-the brand’s initials, F.M., set crooked with white letters and black outline on a white T-shirt.

Ato was impressed with the idea because he thought it would be a good opportunity for the pair to learn about business, so he took out a $1,000 loan from Bank of America. It was the largest amount of money Ampong had held in his hand at one time. He spent sleepless nights wondering how he would pay the amount back if the shirts didn’t sell.

Fortunately, Ampong and Fynn sold all 50 shirts - at $15 each - in two days, mostly to friends. The pair spent $300 to get the shirts printed through an online T-shirt company and took in $750, making a net profit of $450.

“Once we saw that we could sell 50 shirts to our friends we realized we could sell to other people and their friends,” said Ampong. “We knew we could make this happen.”

All the money they made from the first pressing was put back into the business. Ampong and his cousin reordered another 50 shirts and began selling them out of the trunk of their cars to acquaintances at Pima Community College. Within six months, they had paid back the loan and were ready to move to the next level. The pair felt people would not take the Finally Made brand seriously until they had a shop.

Soon, Ampong and his cousin found the 750 square-foot space on University Boulevard that was available for $2,000 per month. Although the rent was high, the pair felt the space was an investment to put the clothing brand on the same level as other retailers in the area. It was a risky move considering the University of Arizona Main Gate area already had several established clothing retailers such as Urban Outfitters, American Apparel and Ed Hardy. All of them were corporations with better ability to tap resources to endure the financial storm.

Ampong and Fynn approached Tony Akator, a family friend from Ghana who had moved to Tucson in the 1990s, to help finance the boutique. Ampong discussed his vision of owning a boutique here that had the feel of independent clothing retailers like Jonny Cupcakes he had seen in New York and Los Angeles.

Much like Jonny Cupcakes, Ampong wanted Finally Made to focus on a quality product over quantity that could be mass produced and sold by chain retailers. The youth also wanted his store to bring real hip-hop/street culture to Tucson instead of the gangbanger style he saw many of his acquaintances wearing.

“I strive to dress people clean and establish our own ‘street culture’,” said Ampong. “Its time for hip-hop to get away from the negativity gangs made for the scene.”

Akator liked the business plan and decided to make an initial investment of $5,000 into Finally Made so they could secure the location. The pair used the investment to begin production on their first seasonal T-shirt line while making connections to get other brands like Stussy clothing, Ray Ban sunglasses, and Nike shoes in the shop.

Ampong determines the price per shirt based on the cost of manufacturing, how many colors the shirt will have, and the quality of the T-shirt. Producing high quality T-shirts raised manufacturing costs from $300 to $650 for 50 shirts. To keep up with their operating costs, the business increased the price per shirt to $34 each. Considering each shirt costs $13 to make, Finally Made takes in $21 on each shirt sold.

Once a particular design sells out, Ampong retires the design or changes the colors to signify when the shirt came out.

“Limited releases of shirts add value because if I make a lot of one design, nobody will care about it” said Ampong. “If customers can get a shirt that they can’t find anywhere else, they’re willing to pay a little more.”

On average, the company takes in $10,000 to $12,000 per month during the school year from clothing, sunglass and shoe sales, according to Ampong.

Sales during the summer are a different story. When students are away, the business struggles to turn a profit but Ampong hopes their newly designed flash website - – will help boost out of state and international sales during these months.

“Summertime is like standing in front of a bus and getting hit,” said Ampong. “Then getting up the next day to do it all over again.”

Website sales have increased since it launched in September but Ampong insists it is too early to tell if the site is going to positively affect the bottom line. One thing is for sure - international clothing retailers from China, England and Germany have been in contact with the business through the website to inquire about stocking their shelves with Finally Made clothing.

Ampong is reluctant to increase production that would fill these clothing order inquiries because it may compromise the quality of his product and lose the vision Finally Made is supposed to be about.

“I’m just not sure if I want to mass produce my shirts for larger retailers,” Ampong states with a concerned look. “More money means more problems and I don’t want to lose focus on what I originally set out to do.”

Ampong now runs Finally Made by himself, after cousin Francis left the business to pursue higher education. Ampong says it was “sad to see his partner leave the company.”

Ampong remains dedicated to living his dream and stays humble.

“In Ghana, electricity is a luxury to many people,” said Ampong. “Coming from that, I could be in a room that had nothing but lights and I would be happy about it.” THE END [Credit:]
Contact Details
845 E. University Blvd
Tucson, Arizona

Music: R.E.U.B's new album's out....

"I am rededicating myself to making "myself" happy, and what I think will make "myself" happy, is being absolutely honest, creative, and free. So here goes nothing: I am not a crip, blood or any other type of gang member. I am not a pimp or womanizer, I am not ignorant (if you and I got a problem I will try to talk first, then beat your ass!), I don't sell crack, and I don't drive a Benz yet! Now that I got that out of the way, lets get to it: I hate that stupidity is the climate in which I am living. The dumber the better, that's the slogan for the last 10 years. Its everywhere, sports, television, life in general, and of course music. The lyrics in hip-hop are weak, like old lunch meat left on the counter to spoil in hundred degree heat for a month. No one cares, no one loves, and no one dares smile: we all have bad attitudes, sell crack, degrade women, shoot first, snatch chains, and drive Bentley's but never leave the hood! How many CD's can be about the come up! Can someone black write about something else. Can there be some more black movies, that ain't about hood life. What about a black movie that was just a movie but happened to have black people in it... you know just a good movie! At the end of the day: I write to entertain myself not you, because you collectively don't care what I say. At the end of the day: My face is the only face in the crowd that I really want a smile out of, so love it or hate it, I'm going to do what I love the way I love to do it! At the end of the day: it's dark!" R.E.U.B

*Ghanaian born and DC & NYC raised, R.E.U.B. (it stands for: Real Entrepreneur in the Underground Business of hip-hop)’s new album, ‘The Black Rappers Show’ is now out. A talented MC/Producer [R.E.U.B has been releasing albums since 2004] –has collaborated with DJ/Producer Clinton Sparks for this hard-hitting album. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to the album –and it's hot. To download or Listen to ‘The Black Rappers Show’ please check out: or

I’m loving

“ is a bi-monthly online magazine exclusively designed, produced and powered by DesignGhana. This magazine from the words "design" and "Ghana" will every two months seek to inform and educate readers/visitors with articles, images, videos/animations about designs in Ghana and Ghanaian designers with the aims of celebrating Ghanaian designers, appreciating the efforts of unsung Ghanaian designers and in the process unearth talents who will redesign Ghana.”

It’s soooo sleek, innovative and uber informative…..I hope to work with these guys soon…

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Ghana Rising: Our Favorite Ghanaian Male Models

Duke Dadzie [Model with]

Kamal Ibrahim – [Model & Designer -CEO of St. Frimpong]

Nathan Kwabi [Actor & Model]

Lyrio Boateng [Dancer & Model at]

Kwame Danny [Model with]

David O'cansey [Model with]

Ernest Osei [Model & Catwalk Trainer]

Meme Kweku Falconer [Model & Basketball Player]