Somalian models Iman and newcomer Ubah Hassan, the spring face of Ralph Lauren, sit down with New Yorkmagazine for an intimate chat on their African roots, being black in fashion and her big break with Ralph Lauren.
“I talked to young models and I asked them, ‘What is the most upsetting thing that is happening to you guys now?'” Iman says. “And singularly they said they would go to go-sees — especially when there is the fashion shows coming up — and they would say to them, ‘We’re not using black models this season.’ Like it’s a category — like we’re not doing denim this season. It’s very upsetting.”
As for her moment with Ralph Lauren, Ubah said she went to an open call and the famed designer complimented her face. After the casting, she got a call that she was Ralph’s new girl!
Madonna is expected to arrive in Malawi this weekend to spend time with Mercy Jones, the Malawian girl she has picked to be her next adopted child.
Even though she faced harsh criticism when adopting David Banda from Malawi, one of Africa’s poorest countries, the 50 year-old singer forges ahead with plans to adopt again.
Mercy Jones is 4 years old and comes from the same orphanage as Banda. Both of her parents are deceased but her grandmother Lucy Chekechiwa, 61, claims it had been agreed that she would take custody of Jones at the age of six and accuses Madonna of “stealing.”
“Why doesn’t this singer pick other children? It is stealing. I want to go to court, I won’t let her go,” Chekechiwa said.
Madonna recently divorced film director Guy Ritchie and has two other children, Lourdes, 12, and Rocco, 8, in addition to 3 year-old Banda.
African countries vie for top spot at this week’s Francophone World Scrabble Championship in Dakar, Senegal as 600 entrants from 21 countries, more than half of which are African countries, compete in this year’s games.
Now in its 37th year, the francophone competition is incredibly popular among French colonized countries of West Africa, with Africans claiming top honors since 2000. Mali’s Ministry of Sports picked up the tab for 10 players to compete in this year’s championship and Senegal’s Minister of Sports declared the tournament one of the year’s most important sports events, proving Scrabble is more than just a past time for many African countries.
Even though Africans face considerable economic and educational disadvantages, they have proven to be extremely resourceful in their quest for Scrabble dominance. Ivory Coast player Joseph Kouassi, 27, remembers making his first Scrabble set from discarded kitchen tiles because he was too poor to afford the board game. Fellow Ivoirian Elisee Poka, 32, traveled for 5 days in a bus to attend this year’s competition and prepared for the games by studying words in his notebook while his French competitors arrived by plane and used computer programs to generate anagrams.
Senegal holds nine world titles in Scrabble despite a literacy rate of just 40%. Amar Diokh, 53, of Senegal won the one-on-one title from the French last year and says, “French is not my mother tongue. I taught myself French when I was in my teens. So I can’t help but feel enormous pride to be able to beat the French in their own language.”
An African country has yet to nab the grand champion title.
A plan to join the 27 states of the European Union and countries bordering the Mediterranean, including North Africa, has been launched and led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Dubbed the “Union for the Mediterranean”, the plan is outlined as aiming to improve energy supply, fight pollution, and strengthen the surveillance of maritime traffic, among other goals.
Sengal’s President Abdoulaye Wade has criticized the plan, claiming that the union will divide Africa into two separate groups. “Africans should now brace themselves to face up to the consequence of the departure of some African states from the African Union in favor of Europe,” Wade says, pointing out that “there are other obvious goals behind the Union for the Mediterranean initiative like Algeria’s oil and gas and Libyan oil.”
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi also describes the plan as “divisive and dangerous to African and Arab unity.”
Princess Diana’s flamed-haired son, Prince Harry, may be the third in line to the British throne, but he has always been the first monarch to make our hearts go pitter-patter.
Speaking at the Thuso Center in the impoverished African kingdom of Lesotho, the 23-year-old prince says his mother would be proud of the work he and his regiment, the Household Cavalry’s Blues and Royals, are doing to revamp a special needs school for children in Lesotho.
“It would be wrong for a patron of a charity to not get involve,” he said of the projects he’s working on through the charity, Sentebale, which he established in his mother’s memory with Prince Sessio of Lesotho.