THE FATHER of the McClure twins has landed himself in hot water after racist tweets have resurfaced on social media.
Justin McClure shares mixed race twin daughters with his Nigerian wife, Ami Dunn McClure, and together the couple has risen to fame by posting amusing videos of Ava and Alexa to their 998,121 subscribers on YouTube.
Justin’s tweets that were made back in 2011, have been deleted from the family Twitter page, however, the screenshots remained.
They're deleted, but I saw these online pic.twitter.com/i43r4Ge47Z
— Man of the Decade (@MissZindzi) July 8, 2018
McClure has since apologised for what was tweeted before he met his wife and blamed the remarks on his comedic career in addition to being a “womanizer” and “drunk”.
On the family channel, Justin alongside his wife and 7-month-old son said: “These tweets were jokes I did about race, I did about gender, about where I’m from in the south, that’s what I thought was funny at the time.”
McClure said the tweets were no longer a reflection of his humour recalling that he was a “very insecure person” but “years of therapy, years of sobriety” have helped change his life.
Meanwhile, wife Ami appeared to stand strongly by her man as she said: “What I dislike is people always brandishing things as racist were they bad jokes? Absolutely, but is he racist? I mean, really?”
As the pair concluded the post, Justin said: “I will not be responding to any comments or tweets but my wife will if you have something to say about it.”
Koffi Olomide ‘not banned from Zambia’
Police and government authorities in Zambia have cleared Congolese rhumba star Koffi Olomide to perform in the country next weekend, contrary to media reports earlier in the week that the singer would be arrested on arrival.
It follows allegations published in the state-owned Times of Zambia newspaper that he assaulted a photojournalist in Zambia during a previous tour.
He has also been accused of sexually assaulting his dancers, kidnapping them and employing them without valid permits in France.
The article prompted the 62-year-old to hire lawyers to talk to the authorities to clear his name.
Now Zambia police spokesperson Esther Katongo says Mr Olomide is free to enter Zambia.
She says there is no international arrest warrant for him from Interpol, no criminal record in Zambia, and says “an assault case that was reported at Lusaka Division by a journalist was closed due to lack of evidence”.
The rhumba star is not new to controversy. In 2016, he was caught on camera kicking his female dancer on arrival in Kenya. He was swiftly deported.
In 2012, he was convicted in the Democratic Republic of Congo of assaulting his producer, resulting in a three-month suspended prison sentence.
The altercation with his producer was over a debt of about $3,700 (£2,800), the court heard.
In 2008, he was accused of kicking a cameraman from DR Congo’s private RTGA television station and breaking his camera at a concert in the capital, Kinshasa, following a disagreement over recording rights.
In the end, the speaker of the national assembly stepped in to resolve the dispute, brokering a reconciliation between the star and owner of the TV station.
Wakanda forever! ‘Black Panther’ spin off comic in the works written by Nigerian author Nnedi Okorafor
MARVEL are working on a spin-off comic following the success of Black Panther – and the focus will all be on fan-favourite character, Shuri.
Black Panther was listed as the 10th-highest box office earner of all time, making $1.2bn (£916m), Forbes reported in April.
According to BBC, the series will be based on T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri, a character played by Guyanese-British actress Letitia Wright.
The new series will be written by Nigerian author Nnedi Okorafor, who penned the digital comic series Black Panther: Long Live the King for Marvel, and drawn by Leonardo Romero.
“Shuri is an African young woman of genius level intelligence who is obsessed with technology and has travelled spiritually so far into the past that she’s seen Wakanda before it was Wakanda.
“The Ancestors call her Ancient Future. And she’s super ambitious. What do I love about her? All that and more,” Okorafor is quoted as saying.
Marvel expects to release the series in October.
German woman blocked by Facebook for detailing racist abuse
A BLACK German woman has created an anti-racism blog after Facebook removed her for a revealing description of racial abuse she suffered in Austria.
According to BBC, Imoan Kinshasa says youths insulted her with the “N-word” and people stared at her when she wore a traditional dirndl dress at a wine festival near Vienna.
Facebook censored her post because she repeatedly used the offensive term which was aimed directly at her.
In her blog (in German) she posted the message from Facebook explaining that her original post had violated the social networking site’s community standards. It says the block is active for three days.
She wrote that no sooner had she arrived in Traiskirchen with some friends that a group of boys insulted her, using the N-word.
Speaking to the BBC, Kinshasa said she was aware of “everyday racism” not only in Austria, but also in Bavaria.
“Basically it’s the same, because Bavaria and Austria are very similar – there’s not a big difference when it comes to racism.”
“I want to share others’ stories – I got a tonne of stories from others about racism.”
By publicising the experiences of other racism victims, she said, “we can show that we are all human and have feelings, and it hurts”.
Kinshasa grew up in Bavaria and says she loves the dirndl. “Whatever I wear, people stare at me,” she complained.
The 25-year-old IT professional who now lives in Vienna said the level of racism is not as bad there as in small-town Austria.
Austria now has an anti-immigration government, which includes the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ). And German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, a hardliner on immigration, was previously Bavarian prime minister.
VP Prof. Osinbajo’s Sweet Message to Wife Dolapo on Her Birthday
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo celebrated his wife Dolapo’s birthday today.
He used this sweet words on his Twitter handle to send lovely message to her.
“I found a girl, beautiful and sweet many years ago. I got to know you and you became Queen of my heart.
You are my past, my present and my future. You complete me!
You are as beautiful as the day I met you.
Happy Birthday Oludolapo, your heart is my home.”
I found a girl, beautiful and sweet many years ago. I got to know you and you became Queen of my heart.
You are my past, my present and my future. You complete me!
You are as beautiful as the day I met you.
Happy Birthday Oludolapo, your heart is my home. pic.twitter.com/SV7T1K2LBj
— Prof Yemi Osinbajo (@ProfOsinbajo) July 15, 2018
June Sarpong MBE hosts glittering celebration of women
ON THURSDAY (Jul 12), host and author of Diversify, June Sarpong MBE hosted the Rising Star 2018 winners’ celebration, amongst an audience of some of the UK’s most influential female business leaders.
Speaking about hosting the awards, Sarpong said: “2018 has been dubbed the ‘year of the women’ and has very much thrown gender and diversity into the public consciousness – the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, gender pay gap reporting, and marking 100 years of women’s suffrage.
“Despite all that has been achieved since the Suffragettes’ won the vote, more still needs to be done to reach gender parity. Awards such as these are incredibly important – and needed – to continue to raise women’s platforms and showcase how talented the female population is. I’m extremely proud to support the 2018 Rising Star Awards and look forward to meeting the amazing and inspiring women, who are flying the flag for womankind.”
On Monday 18 June, WeAreTheCity announced the winners of the 2018 Rising Star Awards. You can view the full list of winners’ here.
Now in its fourth year, the Rising Star awards were introduced to showcase the UK pipeline of female talent below management and to create female 100 role models across 20 different industries and professions.
Alongside the Rising Star categories and Rising Star Champion award, we are also pleased to announce the winners of the Company of the Year award. This award recognises the achievements of a company who can clearly demonstrate that they are actively supporting its female talent pipeline through their initiatives, training, development programmes and internal employee relations and diversity network groups.
The awards were entered by 1,250 individuals and were judged by a panel of 54 independent judges. Over 35,000 public votes were received for the 200 shortlisted nominees.
The awards were kindly sponsored by The Times & The Sunday Times and supported by 3M, Accenture, Aon, Barclays, Bloomberg, Cancer Research UK, CMI Women, Edit Development, EPAA, Jessica Huie Public Relations (JHPR), Jobbio, Kier, Lloyds Banking Group, Lloyd’s, Northern Trust, PedalSure, Reed Smith, Royal Navy, SAGE and Sodexo.
Anambra receives Miss Africa
The Governor of Anambra State Chief Willie Obiano received the Anambra born Miss Africa world Queen Uche Umeagukwu in Awka, the state capital.
The Governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artworks, Culture and Tourism Mrs Sally Mbanefo while giving a welcome address described Anambra State as a hub of tourism stating that this is why the present administration is doing everything possible to develop all its tourism centers to meet international standards.
Mrs Mbanefo said that a successful partnership with Diaspora investors will help push the industry to an international audience.
The Commissioner urged Ndi Anambra in Diaspora to partner with the state government in her drive to tap and market the tourism potentials in the state.
She emphasised that the Golden Tulip Hotel, Agulu lake which is in the final phase of furnishing and Owerre Ezukala caves and waterfalls that is now under construction to help upgrade and create easier access to tourist, are few of the projects being prioritised by the present administration to kick starts its unparallel boost of tourism industry in the state.
Queen Umeagukwu, an indigene of Uga in Aguata Local Government Area is the reigning Queen of Miss Africa world beauty peg entry based in California and a champion of the campaign to grant ‘’out of school children access to education.
Responding to the occasion, Queen Uche thanked the Anambra State government for the honour given to her stated that the youths must claim their place in moving the state forward especially in the area of marketing the state’s tourism and cultural potentials.
She further added that she has used her position as the Queen to attract a Japan based investor to the state as part of her pet project is to feed the hungry children in the state.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and creative Economy Mr Bonaventure Enemali welcomed the Queen on behalf of all the Anambra youth, who called on the youth in the state to maximize the opportunity giving to them by the Obiano administration to accomplish their potentials.
The permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Tony Ezenwaka giving a vote of thanks expressed joy over the Queen’s victory, stating that her victory is a representation of the aspiration of every Igboman to have freedom to exercise their right and privileges.
He further added that by her victory that she has automatically become the state Ambassador on Culture, Tourism and Diaspora.
The highpoints of the reception was the presentation of awards recognition to the Queen, for Ndi Anambra in California and the mayor of the city of Los Angeles, as well as cultural dance display by Ate.
Meet the Zimbabwean designer who hopes to rival Gucci
FASHION DESIGNER Yvonne Yvette wants to one day rival Gucci. She spoke to The Voice about quitting her day job to pursue her passion, Africa’s influence on her collection and why she wants to empower women through fashion…
The daughter of shopkeeper and a seamstress, some may say it’s no surprise that Yvonne Yvette became a successful fashion business owner. But despite her undeniable skills, she wasn’t initially sure that design was something she could make a living out of.
“Everything that I’m doing is self taught, I’ve never been to a fashion designing class, so I’m learning as I’m going,” she said.
The fashion designer’s passion for clothes stemmed from childhood and was clear to her loved ones later on it life too. “My partner always says to me I look good, and when he first met me he could tell I knew what to wear.
“When I was young I wanted to dress up and wanted to make sure whatever I wore would make sense. When I started it as a hobby I thought I was good at it why don’t I try to see where I am and then I just started making them and it came to me very easily. I started wearing them for myself and I got compliments from people, from my friends and family and they had make clothes for them.”
It wasn’t until Yvette began making clothes for other people that she realised she could make money from what started as a hobby. “I thought to myself I’m actually wasting time making stuff for free and I started charging and they were like you undercharge because you’re not confident.”
The accounting and information systems graduate and former banker juggled her side hustle with her full-time job but she has no complaints. “I even think that when I started I enjoyed it so much that I stopped going out, I was so excited.”
Eventually the time came when Yvette packed in her day job to pursue fashion design full-time. “I was working for someone and it’s one of those things where you’re going to work and keep doing the same things over and over again.
“Working for yourself, you have the freedom to do your own thing and I can work on a dress overnight and if I get an idea late at night I go into my work room and try and create it. I’m enjoying my work, so it doesn’t feel like I’m working.”
Yvette’s country of birth and the place where she grew up, Zimbabwe, and the country she now calls home, England, have both had a huge impact on her designs. “With my family we’ve always been a modern family…we were younger we could wear trousers, and I know some of my friends weren’t allowed.
“I think Africa is a bit behind on fashion compared to Europe, so moving from my home to here I realised there was a lot more you could do here.
“Coming here did make a big difference to my life.”
Since the birth of her eponymous company in 2014, the talented designer has received a number of awards for her work including North West UK Best Fashion Designer award and a BAWR award. She’s also been nominated for a Women4Africa award. She said the recognition “solidified” what she was doing.
Yvette’s clothes have also been worn by models and clients across the world but the reality of how well her creations have been received is still sinking in. “I still don’t believe it, I couldn’t believe that actually my work has gone to America and Australia…I’m hoping I can go even further and compete with Gucci, who knows. I don’t want to limit myself.”
Her latest work, “Kiss” ready-to-wear collection 2018, will be on sale from July and it’s a manifestation of her aim to “liberate” women through clothes. “I think in this day and age women should be allowed to decide what they want to wear and when, without being subject to cultural beliefs.
“Women face a lot of challenges because of social beliefs within our culture (African culture) whereby they can’t be themselves or wear what they want without being objectified. This collection is about encouraging women to stand for themselves, have a choice in society; about what they wear and above all self-love. I want women to feel good about themselves with this collection no matter, what size, colour and where they come from.”
Celebrities Launch PVC Citizen Movement
With barely 225 days to the 2019 general elections, some Nigerian celebrities have launched a PVC citizen movement.
The campaign which is initiated by celebrities like music mogul, don jazzy, award winning singer, Davido, rapper Falz and many others is aimed at getting Nigerian youths involved in the upcoming 2019 general elections.
Young Nigerians are to be educated on the importance of exercising their civil obligation as well as creating a new and better Nigeria.
As part of the movement, actor Alex Ekubo, Ik Ogbonna and Yomi Casual have invented a fun way to carryout the campaign as they have invited their fans out on a meet, greet and permanent voter’s card (PVC) registration spree.
Facebook boss Zuckerberg now world’s third richest
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now the third richest man in the world, overtaking Warren Buffett on Bloomberg’s list of the world’s richest people.
Zuckerberg passed Buffett Friday as Facebook shares rose 2.4 percent, Bloomberg reported.
Above Zuckerberg were Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, in the No. 1 spot, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
The daily rankings of the world’s 500 richest people listed in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index showed the top 3 remained the same Saturday.
Zuckerberg is now worth $81.6 billion, nearly $400 million more than Buffett, chairman of the Berkshire Hathaway investment group, rankings show.
Zuckerberg’s California-based social network business has more than 2 billion active monthly users.
The company’s stock has reached a record high despite ongoing scrutiny over its Cambridge Analytica data breach that leaked personal information of up to 87 million people, MarketWatch reported.
Zuckerberg has pledged to give away 99 percent of his Facebook stock away in his lifetime, his Bloomberg profile shows. Further, Zuckerberg has given $3.58 billion in stock sales away this year alone to a charity initiative he set up with his wife, Priscilla Chan, in 2015.
Buffett has donated about 290 million of his shares in Berkshire Hathaway to charities — an equivalent of about $50 billion.
*Reported by UPI
Genevieve Nnaji: “We should change the way we tell our stories”
Genevieve Nnaji sweeps into her office in the Lekki Phase 1 development on Lagos Island, offers a diffident hello to the folks in the lobby, and skips up the stairs. After greeting her disappearing form, the occupants of the reception area return their gaze to a Nollywood film in Yoruba playing on a screen hanging on the wall. It is the type of melodrama that made Nnaji’s name in Nigeria and around the continent. But over the past few years, Nollywood’s lead actress has avoided this kind of script.
“When I was very prominent in the film industry, I played all sort of characters,” Nnaji says, seated with her manager in the small but comfy office. “Mum, daughter, deaf, dumb, blind, young, in school, wicked, kind – [I’ve] done it all. Even a mad woman. But how do you make things more interesting?” She pauses, then answers her own question: “It’s really by the twists and turns. People are going to tell the same Romeo and Juliet story but what angle do you tell it from? I think that is what Nollywood needs. We have to be more creative in the way we tell our stories.”
After a good five years in which she was frequently absent from Nollywood screens, the actress has moved into production in order to make the kinds of film she wants to see. Her first film as a producer – in which she also stars opposite Oris Erhuero, with Chioma Omeruah and Majid Michel in supporting roles – was Road to Yesterday. Released in November 2015, it follows a couple as they try to mend their marriage on a road trip to a relative’s funeral. It is a generic story about matrimony, but the film tells it differently and acquires a psychological edge by the denouement. Reactions were mixed, but critics picked out the cinematography – including sweeping drone-shots of Lagos – and an original twist in the plot as worthy of praise, commending Nnaji for daring to break out of the familiar Nollywood formula.
Road To Yesterday was directed by Ishaya Bako, a graduate of the London Film School who acquired some notoriety for his 2012 political documentary Fuelling Poverty, which was banned by the censorship board in Nigeria. Bako belongs to a newer set of filmmakers – mostly young and film-school-educated – who have caused some turbulence in the film industry, fuelling talk of New Nollywood and Old Nollywood. Nnaji says this is meaningless: “People come in, and we should expect to grow younger artists. Every industry should transcend to the next level. There is nothing like New Nollywood or Old Nollywood. There is only continuation.”
Nnaji’s decision to produce her own films comes after a career where she has been both the darling of Nollywood and a pariah.
“I have always been selective,” she says. “The reason it seems like I did more back then is because there were a lot more choices. That seems to have died in the past few years. We are changing the kind of stories we tell when we should be changing the way we tell them.”
It is hard not to see this as criticism of a section of newer filmmakers who have been raised on Hollywood flicks and now seek to recreate them in Nigeria. “I saw quite a lot of stories with James Bond wannabes,” she responds. “They were not authentic to who we are as Nigerians and Africans. I am not buying it, so I doubt [other] people will. And for me it gets to a point when it’s no longer about the money. It’s about craft. I would not be part of a production I don’t believe in my heart.”
Recently, eschewing Nollywood was her choice, but back in 2004 the Actors Guild of Nigeria banned her and several of her peers from working, claiming they were asking exorbitant fees. “When a group says ‘You are done for’ and pretty much pulls the rug from under your feet… it was at that point I knew I could survive without the industry for a bit,” she says.
She has made forays into music, a clothing line and product endorsement, earning a reported N20m ($63,000) as the face of Lux. These days she’s into real estate – “that’s my nine to five” – but beneath her graciousness, she seems perplexed by the banning experience. It was a long time ago but it wounded her. Nevertheless, she has now moved on.
Nnaji was a child actor, starring in the popular television soap Ripples, but her middle-class family expected her to study to become a lawyer. She was drawn back into acting when she ran into an old, now famous, friend who was part of Ripples and who recognised her almost a decade after she left the show. He invited her for an audition. “I lied about where I was going,” she says. “I think I did very well because I got the biggest cameor ole.”She laughs a short, self- deprecatory laugh.
Her days of cameos were over shortly after getting that role in Most Wanted, a 1998 Nollywood action flick with female heroines, modelled on the US’s Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith vehicle Set It Off. Fifteen years later, however, after star- ring in numerous films, Nnaji accepted to play a cameo role again – in the 2013, Biyi Bandele-directed adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Half of a Yellow Sun. While the film was in production, reports that British actress Thandie Newton and American Anika Noni Rose would be playing the twin sisters central to the story were met with a negative reaction in Nigeria. A Nigerian ought to play the lead role, Nnaji’s fans said, and who else but the queen of Nigerian cinema, who is Igbo to boot?
Upon release, foreign reviews ranged from harsh to middling while local critics were either forgiving or hostile. The Nigerian actor OC Ukeje complained that a film he had a bigger role in was ignored for his brief showing in Half of a Yellow Sun. Nnaji’s performance was pooh-poohed by the Nigerian public. What did she think of the response?
She sighs, and, for the first time during our talk, appears ruffled. “Yeah, I heard,” she says, subdued. “I took the role in Half of a Yellow Sun for a lot of personal reasons,” she explains. “The Biafra war involved my tribe. Plus, I am an actor: I don’t believe in small roles. It was a big movie, but most importantly I think I owed it to myself, my tribe and my industry to bring the story home. I took on the role and I had no regrets at the time. And I did my best as an actor which is what you do: you accept, you access and you move on. I completely understood people’s reservations. I probably shared the same. But it was a deeper agenda for me.”
NOT A COMPETITION
Part of the disappointment at Nnaji’s casting in Half of a Yellow Sun was that many Nollywood fans credited Nnaji as the one Nollywood star who would make it into Hollywood. Has the actress herself considered Tinseltown?
“Even African-Americans are still struggling to be accepted into the Hollywood circle, so what are the chances that Africans will be welcomed in?” she says. “This is not a competition with Hollywood. I hope that we take from Hollywood the necessary things that we need to be progressive. But it is not the benchmark for me, Genevieve Nnaji. The only place I’ve ever envisioned performing has been Nigeria.
What Nnaji has always wanted is to be is the best in her field, in her industry. “I want to be better than yesterday and I want to improve as the industry improves,” she says. “And the only way we’ll get there is to tell our stories in a quality format. There’s a reason we are successful – we can’t overlook that element that makes us unique. We are enough. We have the numbers. Not just in Nigeria but the whole of Africa.”
She continues: “I have done exactly what I wanted to do, which is perform and act and that is exactly what I will continue to do. Except now I’ve gone behind the scenes, and for me that’s a transition to the next level. There are other productions in the future where I wouldn’t even be in front of the camera. Being behind the scenes of Road to Yesterday was quite an experience, and I am looking forward to it again.”
How soon? “Pretty soon,” she replies.
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