Monthly Archives: July 2009

Pres Obama in Ghana


President Obama arrived in Ghana today. The west African country was obviously chosen because it has moved so much farther ahead of other African nations in many crucial factors.

While not being anywhere near perfect (and neither is the USA, btw), Ghana has set an example to developing nations with a violence-free, democratic election; followed by a smooth transition of power from one party to another.  

Their economic development, while affected by the worldwide recession like everyone else, has incrementally progressed in a positive direction.

There are still poverty, child-labor/abuse, and environmental issues of significance that Ghana (and the world) must address and eliminate.

But as for today, this President’s visit to Ghana (with family in tow) sends a strong message to the 52 other African countries that America has recalibrated it’s message and example to the world. Join us in peaceful deliberations of differences, and cooperate together to lift the quality of life for ALL people.

The President will be visiting Cape Coast Castle; the slave fort erected in 1653. I’ve been there. I stood in the male slave dungeon, alone, and it was almost indescribeable; profound, suffocating, pure sadness.

It will be a solemn visit for the Obamas but one that might just symbolize how far we’ve come. And still, how far we must yet go; as spirits inhabiting these human forms.

Here’s part of the news article on this trip….

“Mr. Obama says he chose Ghana to ‘highlight’ its adherence to democratic principles and institutions, ensuring the kind of stability that brings prosperity. ‘This isn’t just some abstract notion that we’re trying to impose on Africa,’ he told He added: ‘The African continent is a place of extraordinary promise as well as challenges. We’re not going to be able to fulfill those promises unless we see better governance.”

“This region’s recent history underscores the extent to which Ghana is now an odd man out on the continent, after its own long history of dictatorship and coups: The election in December was extremely close, there was no violence, and the loser, the candidate of the party that had been in power, Nana Akufo-Addo, accepted his defeat without fuss.”

“Mr. Obama is expected to meet with Mr. Atta-Mills on Saturday, then deliver a speech to the country’s Parliament, after which he will visit Cape Coast Castle, a former slave trading post. And while his speech is meant for that audience, it will also be about his administration’s hopes to engage with the continent, including the responsibilities of both parties.”



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Summerfest 2009

Even though the temps have hovered in the low 60’s, this year’s Milwaukee Summerfest is not an oxymoron unto itself. Summer has definitely arrived here in the frozen tundra when this annual mammoth festival opens.


For me, it was another great experience. Earlier last week I had photo-pit access to Earth, Wind & Fire performing with Chicago in the Marcus Amphitheater….



…and The Wailers performing at the Miller Oasis… 




The grand finale for me came last night as a back-to-back-to-back-to-back lineup of West African peformers hit the Potowatomi Rock Stage. Starting with my good friend Lucky Diop and culminating with the legendary Femi Kuti with Positive Force, the beats were amazing, the rhythms were lively and the dancing was, well steaming. 


The highpoint for me was meeting with Femi in his backstage room before his performance. I gave him one of my prints (Cape Coast Fishing w/quote), as well as an image of him I took in 2007 . It was almost surreal meeting such a gracious, world-class and social conscious artist. We talked about Africa and music.


and here’s one of my favorite Femi songs, which was banned in Nigeria…

Posted in Misc