Category Archives: sports, music, dance

Move for Peace!!

Black Eyed Peas or Black Eyed Peace?

Despite the long gap in time, I am continuing the series hip hop meets poetry in a quest for peace. Everyone can surely remember the big hit the Black Eyed Peas landed in 2003: Where is the love.

It is a very good example of conscious hip hop.

Listen in again:

My favorite part is sung by apl.de.ap:

I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I’m gettin’ older, y’all, people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin’
Selfishness got us followin’ our wrong direction
Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinema
Yo’, whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness in equality
Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading lives away from unity
That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ under
That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ down
There’s no wonder why sometimes I’m feelin’ under
Gotta keep my faith alive till love is found

Now ask yourself

Where is the love?

Oh and don’t forget:

We only got one world, that’s all we got: one world.

That’s all we got guys, so let’s change the way we treat it and how we treat each other as well.

Best,

Nina

London goes green!

What we all have either used or at least seen in cities like Paris and Barcelona is finally coming true for London:

Bikes for hire all over the city!

Mayor Boris Johnson shows his environmentally friendly side and signed over the bike campaign to Barclays.

On July 30th 6000 bikes with the Barclay’s logos on them will swarm out into the streets of London. Barclays is paying £25m to take over the bike scheme. Is it a “payback for the mayor’s support of financial institutions in the credit crunch”??!

Do we care? We get to have the bikes!!

So, how does it work?

For £1 a day the bike is yours. Payable by credit card at one of the 400 docking stations all over London nothing stands in your way of living out your love for the bike. For those of you who like to ride for a while, careful, charges go up if you stay on for more than 30 minutes. Might be work taking an annual pass: the price then drops to 13 p a day.

Unfortunately it seems like we won’t get to enjoy all 6.000 bikes right on the 30th, since there was a delays in installing docking areas. Cycling the city will start with two cycle super highways that will connect the suburb to central London.

TfL expects 40.000 trips a day. Can we top that?

To those crazy bikers and those of you who have a car please pay attention to blue paint on some roads: this space is a shared zone for cyclists and drivers alike….so be friendly to each other!!!

This concept really works in other cities, let’s turn London into a success story, too!

Have fun with them and take care of our environment!

Sources: London Evening Standard Friday 28 May 2010 and BBC online

Mike Ellis – Mezeker Means to Remember

Sorry for the long silence and a big welcome to the second post in the series hip hop meets poetry in a quest for peace.

Today I would like to show you Mike Ellis‘ performance on Def Jam Poetry.

For me Mike Ellis has found a way to skillfully address a diversity of topics ranging from social grievances, to war, to the often not very helpful reactions of politicians. It questions perceptions of wrong and right, of suffering and  misery and teaches a bit of modesty. It is easy to feel as a victim, feel that one is suffering the worst but as he says for most of those who live in so-called ‘western’ countries, even those who one might consider to be bad off are comparatively well off.

But here is what I think. ‘Your story is worth a verse’. Every person experiences reality the way he or she does. So in their own context their suffering is as real and as threatening as any other persons. So, what is there for us to do? Of course I am not saying that we should deny our own conflicts and problems, but we should remember that ‘you can’t avoid strife until the next person’s struggle is so often worse‘. We should learn to place events in our lives into context, but at the same time never forget that ‘in the context of the universe, your story is worth a verse‘.

See you soon or more of the series.

Nina Aeckerle

Diddy and Kutcher team up: Malaria No More

malaria_no_more_peacebuilding

For the 4th of July P. Diddy and Ashton Kutcher teamed up to fight a forgotten killer: Malaria.

Diddy’s legendary White Party served as a reminder of how we can work against Malaria.

You can buy shirts from Comb’s Sean John Malaria No More Collection and for every shirt two bed nets will go to certain parts of Africa to help people protect themselves against the deadly mosquitos that carry Malaria.

Here is a special message from Ashton Kutcher:

Check out their website if you want to contribute: www.seanjohn.com/malarianomore

Peacebuilding initiatives like this are seem to be really effective in drawing the public’s attention to a good cause, but sometimes I wonder how long this interest lasts? Is it just a small publicity hype, or can the attention of these celebrities really make people aware of what is going on in other parts of the world?

NGOs have to ask themselves the same question: should they start advertising for peace? Should we turn something that is based on morals into something hot, sexy and flashy to catch attention?

Tell me what you think? Does it touch you if Diddy or Peter Gabriel or even the late Michael Jackson tell you to support their initiatives for peace?

Personally, I think it’s time to take the path that people are willing to follow. As long as it doesn’t go against one’s own values….

So, go ahead an contribute to the fight against Malaria!

Be in peace,

Nina Aeckerle

It’s not all bling bling

I want to kick off  the series hip hop meets poetry in a quest for peace with showing children and youth as victims with a slightly controversial topic: Hip hop.

What started out as a release of social grievances, frustration and anger, over the last decades to a big extent has turned into a lot of talk about bling, cars, girls and how those artists made it to the top. However, one can still find some songs that go below the surface and touch deeper issues, this type of hip hop is often referred to as conscious positive hip hop.

I would like to start with a song by Kanye West called Diamonds from Sierra Leone.

This video shows very well a number of things:

  • The exploitation of children in diamond mines in some parts of Africa,
  • The incredible circumstances and living situations these children are subdued to and
  • The incredible ignorance with which some people buy and wear diamonds.

To have a critical song like this come from the hip hop community might be an incentive for those who listen to it to be more aware of conflict diamonds, also called blood diamonds. What I hope for is that this song inspires people to check whether the diamonds they buy come from conflict regions. Currently there is no official system of certification in place, however it is known which areas of Africa are conflict diamond free and which have blood diamond mines. So knowing what region of Africa your diamonds come from can already give you a clue as to whether you have blood diamonds or not. Furthermore, there are two main certificates, one is the Canadian Certificate and the other is the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme that sets out to surveil the entire process: from mining for diamonds up to their sale.

Conflict-free diamonds on the other hand are diamonds whose profits are not used to fund wars and which are produced and mined under ethical conditions.

Please, if you think about buying your girlfriend a diamond ring, make sure they are not blood diamonds.

People are being abused in the process of mining for those diamonds! And the most vulnerable among them are the children. They experience extreme forms of violence, sickness, amputations and in many cases death. These children do not have the chance to a peaceful life, they are being used just like tools or machinery and are being thrown away, killed when becoming useless.

Let me ask one question: How cool can you be if what you wear on your hand is a token of the death and suffering of others?

Here is the remix of the song, which goes into more detail on the realisation that what some consume and buy and wear and enjoy and in some cases identify themselves with hurts and kills others.

What do you think about the song? Do you think it is an effective way to raise awareness of conflict diamonds and the way kids are being exploited in the process of getting to those diamonds? Are people really listening to the lyrics or are the beats more important than the content?

Leave me some comments and let me know if you have other good examples of conscious hip hop.

Next week on the hip hop meets poetry in a quest for peace: Mike Ellis – Mezeker

Check back with me soon for more of the series.

Nina Aeckerle

Hip hop meets poetry in a quest for peace

start peaceIn an earlier post, I have introduced you to the article The Unexplored Power and Potential of Youth as Peace-builders. It showed that youth can take up the powerful role of peacebuilders and can engage in creating positive social change. Today I will start a small series of posts on the topic of youth as peacebuilders but also on some of the other roles youth can play.

Through hip hop and poetry I will look at different topics, such as conflict diamonds, different conflicts from different perspectives, and many others.

Be ready to follow my first series on Take Your Initiative.

Nina Aeckerle

Michael Jackson – a peace activist dies

michael-jackson peace activist

A couple of nights ago Michael Jackson died.

The story of his life was both a miracle and a tragedy at the same time.

Young and incredibly talented he came to rapid success. The last years were rather coined by scandals, seemingly by loneliness but nevertheless an immovable admiration from his fans.

His success is indisputable. Be it in the way he made music or in his dance, it is clear that he revolutionized the music industry. He created his own style, his own way  and his influence on modern music – not only Pop, but also R&B, hip hop or even Rock – has been quite obvious and will be indisputable in the future.

I would like to mention two of his songs; both express his commitment to changing the world in a positive way.

The Earth Song

This song is a painful reminder of how humans have managed to treat each other and the planet we live on:

  • we consume
  • we waste
  • we brutalize
  • we torture, trouble and tantalize
  • we attack
  • we destroy
  • we beat, bite and scratch
  • we rape
  • we scar
  • we infect
  • we cause fear and tears
  • we hate

and the list could go on and on.

Michael Jackson’s song reminds us of what we can and should do:

  • we save
  • we create
  • we protect
  • we heal
  • we embrace
  • we love
  • we include and change for the better.

Not only with regards to humans but also with when it comes to animals, plants, nature: our planet. Our one and only planet.

Michael Jackson did not only plea for a different fate of the earth. For example together with Lionel Richie, he was responsible for USA for Africa and the song We are the World.

This song is an intent to bring different artists, such as Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen, Quincy Jones, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Cyndi Lauper, Stevie Wonder or Bob Dylan,  together in order to express their concern for current affairs and grievances.

It reminds us of a number of things:

  • there is need for change
  • we cannot continue the way we are going right now
  • and it is us who can change this world. Every single one of us can.

Of course one could go on analyzing some of the other songs of Michael Jackson, such as Black or White and many others: all of them with a deeper meaning that touches on social issues.

Drop me a comment, let me know what you think about those videos, whether you think it is a way to reach people, what could be changed in its expressions and approaches.

Until next time, peace.

Nina Aeckerle