Mohammed Blakk originally named Mohammed Osumanu, is a visual artist, fashion stylist and a creative entrepreneur, who envisions pushing the limits of arts, culture and creativity beyond the Ghanaian boundaries.
He was featured on the 20th week of the 2019 Series of BET AiR (Artists in Residence) – an instagram specific initiative by BET to shine the light on artistes from the diaspora.
For four days from the 26th to the 29th of November, the feature was aimed at showcasing Mohammed’s creative processes, co-creators and results, as well as everything in between.
According to Mohammed who describes this as a milestone he didn’t expect anytime soon, he deems this as a step in the right direction, considering this is his seventh year in the industry.
“We have been doing this for quite a while now, and having to score a BET feature is an appreciable milestone which only goes on to prove that, better things are going to come by. The acknowledgement is real, and I am proud of my co-creatives for how far we have come.”
Speaking about what this meant for future projects, Mohammed replied, “Well, as an artiste this gives me a boost to keep up, and a signal to focus on authenticity as me and my friends like Revy Boadu, Peach Adepa have been pursuing. As an entrepreneur who idolizes the likes of Virgil Abloh, Jean-Michel Basquiat, I see this as an added leverage, to better position my brand in a constantly evolving space as fashion”
Check out the features below:
“THINGS FALL APART: Novel Considered Amongst The 12 Greatest Book Ever Written
Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart has been named one of 12 novels considered “the Greatest Book Ever Written”. The book was named on the list compiled by Encyclopaedia Brittanica, and Achebe masterpiece is named amongst other great literary works. Here is our selection of 10 quotes from Things Fall Apart.
One of Africa’s literary giants Albert Chinualumogu Achebe passed away in 2013 aged 82 but his works continue to make headlines. Achebe’s first novel Things Fall Apart (1958) which is widely considered his magnum opus, and is the most widely read book in modern African literature has been named as one of the 12 greatest books ever written. The honour comes just months after the 60th anniversary of the publication of the novel.
Things Fall Apart is regarded as an important novel and one of the greatest classics of our time. The story chronicles the pre-colonial life in Nigeria and the arrival of the Europeans during the late nineteenth century. The novel interrogates the clash of cultures, traditional values and belief systems.
You can check out the full list here.
To celebrate the selection of the novel as one of the 12 greatest books ever written we give you our selection of 10 quotes from Things Fall Apart.
- “The white man is very clever. He came quietly with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart”.
2. Eneke the bird: “Men have learned to shoot without missing their mark and I have learned to fly without perching on a twig”.
3. “Whenever you see a toad jumping in broad daylight, then know that something is after its life”.
4. “An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb. Okonkwo remembered his own father”.
5. “There is no story that is not true, […] The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others”.
6. “A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so”.
7. ”Living fire begets cold, impotent ash”.
8. “Among the Igbo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten”.
9. “When the moon is shining the cripple becomes hungry for a walk”.
10. “Okonkwo stood looking at the dead man. He knew that Umuofia would not go to war. He knew because they had let the other messengers escape. They had broken into tumult instead of action. He discerned fright in that tumult. He heard voices asking: “Why did he do it?”
Nana Akufo-Addo Launches ‘Beyond the Return’ Initiative.
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched the “Beyond the Return, The Diaspora Dividend” Initiative, at a brief ceremony at the Kempisnki Hotel, Accra.
As the ‘Year of Return’ draws to a close, President Akufo-Addo stated that the rationale of ‘Beyond the Return’ is to “engage Africans in the diaspora and all persons of African descent more positively in areas such as trade and investment co-operation, and skills and knowledge development”.
In September 2018 at the Washington Press Club, in Washington D.C., the President proclaimed 2019 as the "Year of Return”.
Its purpose was to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the time when the first 20 West African slaves were brought to the Commonwealth of Virginia, which subsequently became part of the United States of America, thereby initiating one of the most unfortunate and barbaric episodes of human history – the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
With 75 percent of the slave dungeons built on the West coast of Africa, through which the slaves were transported, located in Ghana, he stated that the country believed that it had a responsibility to extend a hand of welcome back home to Africans in the diaspora.
“It was our hope that the ‘Year of Return’ would be a joyful and learning experience all round for all of us on the continent and our kith and kin from the diaspora, especially in affirming our determination that never again should the African peoples permit themselves to be subjected to such dehumanising conditions, sold into slavery, and have their freedoms curtailed,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “It has proven, so far, to be just that, with some two hundred thousand (200,000) more visitors taking up the offer to visit Ghana during the year.”
The Ghana Tourism Authority, the implementing agency under Ghana’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, will be at the forefront of bringing all stakeholders together, in what will be a focused drive at the empowerment of black people, using Ghana as the hub.
President Akufo-Addo urged diasporans to change the African narrative, which has been characterised largely by a concentration on disease, hunger, poverty and illegal mass migration.
“Let us all remember that the destiny of all black people, no matter where they are in the world, is bound up with Africa. We must help make Africa the place for investment, progress and prosperity, and not from where our youth flee in the hope of accessing the mirage of a better life in Europe or the Americas,” he said.
That, according to President, is what ‘Beyond the Return’ will seek to do, “so we can derive maximum dividends from our relations with the diaspora in mutually beneficial co-operation, and as partners for shared growth and development”.
Citing the contribution of Chinese diasporans to the growth of China’s economy, President Akufo-Addo noted that when foreign companies, in the late 1970s, reduced their investments in China, it was the Chinese Diaspora that shored up the economy.
According to the Washington D.C. based Migration Policy Institute (MPI), half of the foreign direct investment, i.e. $26 billion, that transformed China into a manufacturing powerhouse in the 1990s, originated from the Chinese Diaspora.
“That is why I am excited and keen on this new initiative of “Beyond the Return”, and the renewed enthusiasm around building Africa together. Let us imbibe in ourselves a deep consciousness and understanding of the goals and history of the African peoples,” he said.
The second half of the 20th century, President Akufo-Addo added, witnessed a great blow for human freedom and progress, when the African peoples, in the wake of Ghana’s shining example, liberated themselves from the colonial and imperialist yoke and the racist ideology of apartheid and emerged as free, independent peoples to construct new nations of hope and advancement.
“The first half of the 21st century should consolidate this development, and see the growth of modern, prosperous, technologically-advanced nations, within a united Africa, which would make a reality of the dream of the 21st century as the African century, and bring dignity and respect to black people all over the world,” the President said.
Mills Media Announces “Asantewaa: Battle For The Golden Stool” Comic Book And Game.
“Asantewaa-Battle For The Golden Stool” is the very first Ghanaian/African superhero featured character in a comic book and video game. The creators of this wonderful piece are driven by a strong sense of passion for culture and this piece is geared towards unveiling the culture and ancestral memories of Africa and to show the world there are real life superheroes people don’t know about yet.
When we think of superheroes, we usually see them as people dressed in costumes who have the ability to either fly, breath fire, punch through brick walls or even shoot webs.
However, there are individuals who do not have these special abilities but have done great things and these are the real heroes. These are our heroes, particularly African heroes and our motherland Ghana has seen the existence of many super heroes. The problem however, is our failure to acknowledge these great men and women as the heroes.
Instead, we have warmly embraced the fictional heroes created for us in movies and in books. “Heroes of the Past” is a project aimed at presenting the great Ghanaian men and women who have contributed to our Ghanaian history to the world in a modern and exciting way.
“Asantewaa- battle for the Golden Stool” is a modern retell of the story of the great Yaa Asantewaa, who exhibited pure bravery when she led the Ashanti Kingdom against British Colonialism in 1900. She led her people to fight the British to protect the Golden stool which was and still remains the symbol and pride of the Ashanti Kingdom.
Yaa Asantewaa is the reason why the Ashantis still take pride in the Golden stool. This project gives you the opportunity to relive these great historical moments as it provides interesting dialogue and graphic representation of events.
What a better way to learn about the history of our great nation than through the eye of an artist. It presents relatable characters which would make everyone especially children easily fall in love with our past Ghanaian heroes.
How cool would it be if our children would prefer to have Ghanaian/African hero themed parties instead of a Spiderman or ironman theme party. Technology is the sure way to achieve this.
THE DIASPORA & AFRICA: The Year of Return in Ghana, Be inspired.
"I was lost but now, I'm found. Was blind but now i see. It was grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home". These are the sacred words of the Christian Hymn, Amazing grace. These words resonate with many Africans in the diaspora and African Americans who have made a conscious effort to rediscover their ancestral roots in Africa.
The feeling is ecstatic. So much emotion, joy, sadness and beauty to rediscover a home your ancestors left many years ago. What a journey it has been.
For many African Americans, its about a different kind of peace rediscovered. A special kind of connection with the African continent that is a dream come true. Where skin colour is not a determining factor of who you are as a person. Where young people can rediscover an identity, a culture, a serene way of life never known in the West.
The year of return definitely is a blessing in disguise for many Africans in the diaspora who have felt empty and lost in a Country they struggle to find an identity and recognition.
Africa has its challenges like all parts of the world. Africa is however a beautiful continent with so much to explore, discover and rediscover. IT gives everyone an opportunity to reassert yourself, your identity and create the world in which possibility abounds.
Visit the African continent and be inspired.