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Spotlight: Manale Dagnew’s New Designs Support Girls’ Education in Ethiopia

Ethiopian designer Manale Dagnew's new collection of accessories are produced with motifs and colors from Ethiopia's North and South and raises funds for Girls' Education. (Photo courtesy: Manale International)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

October 16th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-born designer Manale Dagnew spent several years in New York and Paris successfully creating couture wedding gowns and evening wear prior to returning to Ethiopia and “rediscovering the beauty of her cultural heritage.” Soon thereafter she designed original accessories including scarves, wraps, neckties and pocket squares celebrating the diversity of her native country with a philanthropic purpose of giving 10 percent of all sales to educational initiatives for girls in Ethiopia.

“The collection’s designs are inspired by the practice of the North’s traditional weaving and the South’s intricate body painting,” says Manale. “More than just raising awareness of African art and culture from my homeland, I want to make a real difference and positively impact education for girls in rural regions of Ethiopia.”

“During the initial phases of this effort, Manale will work with established schools and learning centers to improve the lives of local children and their families,” the press release adds. “Once a revenue stream is more established, the goal is to start new schools for primary education and also training academies for graduates to learn job skills in the Belessa, Gayent, and Addis Zemen regions.”


Learn more about Manale Dagnew’s designs at www.manaleinternational.com.

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She Met Her Prince (for Real!) at a D.C. Nightclub

Ariana Austin and Joel Makonnen were married on Sept. 9 in a lavish ceremony in Temple Hills, Md. Mr. Makonnen is the great-grandson of Haile Selassie, the last emperor of Ethiopia. (Photo: The New York Times)

The New York Times

Few love stories resemble a fairy tale as much as the courtship and marriage of Ariana Austin and Joel Makonnen. Of course, it helped that the groom is an actual prince and the bride has a prominent lineage of her own.

Mr. Makonnen, known as Prince Yoel, is the 35-year-old great-grandson of Haile Selassie, the last emperor of Ethiopia. And Ms. Austin, 33, is of African-American and Guyanese descent; her maternal grandfather was a lord mayor of Georgetown, the capital of Guyana.

As the couple noted on their wedding website, their union happened when “Old World aristocracy met New World charm.” The old and new combined on Sept. 9, in a marathon day of events that lasted from 11 a.m. until late in the evening, and took place within two states.


Guests watched as at least 13 priests and clergymen helped officiate the Ethiopian Orthodox ceremony. (Photo: The New York Times)

The festivities began with a ceremony at the Debre Genet Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Temple Hills, Md. In an incense-filled sanctuary, guests in stockinged feet watched as at least 13 priests and clergymen helped officiate the Ethiopian Orthodox ceremony between Mr. Makonnen and Ms. Austin, who just days before had converted to the religion. Hours after the ceremony, the pair celebrated with a formal reception at Foxchase Manor in Manassas, Va., with 307 guests, amid gold sequins, platters of Ethiopian food and preboxed slices of Guyanese black cake for people to take home.

Their marriage had been more than a decade in the making. In the nearly 12 years since they first met on a dance floor at the Washington nightclub Pearl, in December 2005, Mr. Makonnen and Ms. Austin have pursued degrees, jobs and, at times, each other. Eventually, planning a wedding just became the next item on this ambitious couple’s to-do list.

Read more »


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TSEHAI Publishers Turns 20, Launches Book Under Harriet Tubman Press

From Left: Shonda Buchanan, Editor of the Harriet Tubman Press; TSEHAI Publishers Founder Elias Wondimu, Congressmember Karen Bass and CNN and NPR analyst Angela Rye at the launch event for 'Voices from Leimert Park Redux,' the debut book by Harriet Tubman Press, an imprint of TSEHAI Publishers, in Los Angeles, California on October 14th, 2017. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: October 15th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — TSEHAI Publishers celebrates its twentieth anniversary this month along with the launch of the first book under its new imprint, Harriet Tubman Press entitled Voices from Leimert Park Redux.

Founded by Ethiopian American publisher Elias Wondimu, TSEHAI Publishers — which is located at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles — is the only African or African-American owned press housed in a U.S. university (Howard University Press closed in 2011). “The launch of this historic imprint boldly reinforces the necessity and value of giving place for our voices in the national and global discourse on race, culture, the arts and so many more important facets of our collective humanity,” says Elias.

The book launch event was held in front of the Vision Theatre in Leimert Park on Saturday, October 14th sponsored by PEN Center USA and LA Review of Books. The program included live readings by the poets featured in the inaugural publication highlighting the “diverse voices of Los Angeles” and speeches by Congresswoman Karen Bass, Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, CNN and NPR analyst Angela Rye, as well as Elias Wondimu and Shonda Buchanan, Editor of the Harriet Tubman Press and the press’ first book Voices from Leimert Park Redux.

“It is going to be a great continuation of LMU and TSEHAI’s Harriet Tubman Press’ engagement in the Leimert Park Community,” Elias added.


Click here for updates on Facebook.

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After a Young Couple Was Killed, Alleged Gunman Fled to Ethiopia. He May Never Face Trial. (The Washington Post)

Sileshi Simeneh, 54, left, the father of Kedest Simeneh, is pictured in his Springfield, Va., home with his youngest child, Christina Simeneh, 12. At right is a framed photo of Kedest Simeneh surrounded by candles. (The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

The former college soccer player was gunned down in his own home, shell casings scattered around his body, police said. His girlfriend’s body was found a couple of miles away, slumped against a tree with a bullet through her head.

Authorities are confident they know who carried out the brutal double slaying in Northern Virginia last December. A witness places an aspiring rapper at the scenes of the killings. A Fairfax grand jury indicted him for murder. Detectives know where he lives.

Yet, nearly 10 months later, Yohannes Nessibu remains a free man. He was spotted strolling down a street in recent months. On Twitter, he still promotes a mixtape that features him rapping about shooting a woman.

Nessibu, 23, is out of reach because he boarded a flight to his native Ethi­o­pia, just before police closed in on him, the victims’ families say. The families say he’s now the subject of an international tug of war: The United States wants him returned to stand trial, but Ethi­o­pia refuses because it bars the extradition of its own citizens.

Read more »


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New Ethiopian-American Radio in Colorado

Endale Getahun in KETO studio in Aurora, Colorado. The radio station, KETO 93.9, which was launched on Ethiopian New year last month, is the only Ethiopian FM radio station in the U.S. (Photo: Aurora Sentinel)

Aurora Sentinel

New Ethiopian-American Radio Aims to be Immigrant Voice in Aurora, Colorado

AURORA | Metro Aurora’s newest radio station has been broadcasting for less than a month. But the low power FM station’s presence on the air represents a 17-year journey for a radio station dedicated to the immigrant community of Colorado’s most diverse city.

When 93.9 KETO-FM launched on Sept. 11, the Ethiopian New Year, it represented almost two decades of work for Endale Getahun, an Ethiopian immigrant whose dream has been to provide immigrants from across the world who live in Aurora a voice of their own.

“Sept. 11 we were on air. We got our license on Aug. 30 and the transmitter arrived on Aug. 8, which was my birthday. It was an awesome birthday gift,” Getahun said. “And the (immigrant) community was surprised. Some of them didn’t know (we were going to be on.) They were just switching the dial and found us.”

While the radio station is in its infancy, it’s broadcasting music and other news programs. But in the coming months, it plans to do everything from provide a platform for law enforcement officials, including the FBI and Homeland Security, to reach out to the immigrant community to broadcasting Aurora City Council meetings in 11 languages.

“We want to be the ear and mouth of the community,” Getahun said. “We want to attract other speaking communities to fill the programming. After (we attract more programming) we will use radio animation to make sure certain programming airs at certain times. And we will have a week’s worth of programming saved online as well.”

Getahun said there’s still work to do to fully realize his dream of what KETO can be including gathering more equipment to allow for things like call in shows. But after 17 years of work to make the station a reality, everything after getting the station on the air is the easy part.

“Building a capacity is much easier than getting to hear. Getting it (on the air) was the hardest part,” Getahun said.

Read more »


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NYC: International Day of the Girl 5k Run & Panel for Ethiopia Hosted by GGRF

(Photo Courtesy: Girls Gotta Run Foundation)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: October 11th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF), which employs a successful method of combining athletics, education and others skills-training to empower young women in rural areas in Ethiopia, is hosting an “International Day of the Girl 5k Pop-Up Run & Panel” in New York City on Wednesday October 11th. The run and panel discussion is hosted in recognition of the International Day of the Girl.

For the past five years October 11th has been designated by the United Nations as the International Day of the Girl, honoring the world’s 1.1 billion girls who are “a source of power, energy, and creativity.”

According to the United Nations “the day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.”

The event announcement adds: “Girls Gotta Run is the only non-profit organization in Ethiopia that uses the national sport of running as an innovative approach to creating safe spaces, ending child marriage, and expanding access to secondary school for vulnerable girls. All proceeds generated by the 5k pop-up run and panel discussion will go towards providing GGRF Athletic Scholarships for girls in Ethiopia.”

Following the run, a panel discussion will take place at Shutterstock HQ at Empire State Building, with various “female changemakers and running ambassadors, exploring the creation of safe spaces through running and how sport can be a community empowerment [and] mobilization tool.” Panelists include Mekdes Mersha, Model & Clinical Researcher; Beatrice Frey, UN Women Communications Specialist and Sport Portfolio Coordinator; Alison Désir, Founder of Harlem Run & Run 4 All Women; Jessica Zapotechne, Founder of Girls Run NYC & Black Roses NYC; and Candice Huffine, Model & Founder of Project Start.

“The IDG GGR 5k pop-up fun run will start at 6 pm at Shutterstock HQ and run along the West Side Highway,” Organizers say. “All runners are welcome.”


If You Go:
Click here to RSVP

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Ethiopia: 2017 Mandela Washington Fellows Tell Their Stories

Abinet Tasew, a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow from Ethiopia (pictured above), is the author of the following article. (US Embassy Addis)

US Embassy Addis

By Abinet Tasew, 2017 Fellow

The fellowship is a game changer

The name of the program, “Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders,” itself was my inspiration to apply. I learned about the program two years ago from the radio; someone talked about “Young African Leaders,” then associated it with two great leaders I love the most – Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. I thought about two things: how prestigious the program will be and how great young African minds will come together. I looked back at my accomplishments and I told myself that I fulfill all the requirements. I was confident when I wrote my application; I was sure that I would be one of the 2015 fellows. I made it as a semi-finalist, proving me right, but I ended up being an alternate candidate. Guess what I told myself, “This is the result of quotas for the program, and it has nothing to do with me.” I pulled myself together and reapplied. This time, I made it as a finalist and I become a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow. The program is prestigious and I met great, young African minds and hearts.

The fellowship is a game changer. I never thought that a six-week experience could have this huge impact on my worldview.

Read more »


Related:
“Applying To MWF was one of the best decision I have ever made” — By Tigist Seife Haile
Former Mandela Washington Fellow Gersam Abera Shares Advice for 2018 Applicants
“The Mandela Washington Fellowship was a life changing experience” — By Azeb Gebresilassie Tesema
Four tips to apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship program — By Helina Stiphanos, 2017 Fellow
What inspired you to apply? — By Melaku Girma Lemma, 2017 Fellow
Meet the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Meet the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
Meet the 2014 Mandela Washington Fellows From Ethiopia

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Tirunesh Dibaba Wins Chicago Marathon

Tirunesh Dibaba won the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 8th, 2017 with the second-fastest time ever recorded at the event. (Getty Images)

LetsRun.com

CHICAGO – Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, who during her illustrious career has won 12 global titles including three Olympic golds, added a new accomplishment to her CV today — she won her first marathon as she captured the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2:18:31 – the second-fastest time ever recorded in Chicago. Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei was second in a massive new pb of 2:20:22 (previous pb of 2:24:45).

Dibaba’s victory was much-deserved as well as she hammered from the gun. She ran her first 5k in 16:09 (that’s 2:16:09 pace) but five women were still with her at halfway. Shortly after that it became a two-person battle between Dibaba and Kosgei as Kosgei did her best to stay with Dibaba, who often was swerving from side to side to prevent Kosgei from drafting off of her. A 5:15 20th mile gave Dibaba a sizeable lead, which only grew to the finish.

With Dibaba’s victory assured, the only drama was how well everyone else would hold up until the finish as all of the five women in the lead pack at halfway ran a positive split.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba dusts women’s field at Chicago Marathon (The Chicago Tribune)

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Friends Partner to Open 95-Seat Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant in Virginia

Longtime friends Philipos Mengistu and Daniel Solomon opened Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant on Van Dorn Street near the Landmark Mall in Alexandria, Virginia on Monday. (Photo: Alexandria Times)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

October 8th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Philipos Mengistu, owner of the popular NYC restaurant Queen of Sheba, has partnered with his childhood friend Daniel Solomon of Virginia to open Makeda — a new 95-seat Ethiopian restaurant and bar located in Alexandria.

Makeda, which is located at 516 S. Van Dorn St., “features traditional and authentic Ethiopian fare,” notes The Alexandria Times newspaper. “Chef Senait “Mimi” Tedla is running Makeda’s kitchen.” The new menu includes traditional fare alongside Makeda Tibs, Quanta Firfir, Assa Dullet, and Assa Goulash. Extra food options at Makeda include rice and pita bread as well as a kids meal section. “In addition, Makeda will offer gluten-free injera and is working to make sure its menu caters to health-conscious eaters,” says Philipos.

The food news site DC Eater adds: “The plan is to create a vibrant bar scene. The restaurant features a full lineup of beer, wine, and liquors, and plans to offer live music in the evenings.”

Philipos and Daniel have known each other for more than four decades going back to their growing up days in Ethiopia. Solomon has been a resident of Alexandria since the early 90s and looked forward to opening an Ethiopian restaurant with Philipos.

“We opened [Queen of Sheba] to introduce Ethiopian food to New Yorkers and to serve the international community. We’ve loved sharing with family and friends and now we’ve brought that experience to Alexandria,” Philipos tells The Alexandria Times as Makeda opened its doors last week.


Related:
Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant opens on Van Dorn Street (The Alexandria Times)
Manhattan Restaurateur Exports Latest Ethiopian Restaurant to Alexandria (DC Eater)

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Kelela Explains Why ‘Very Personal’ Debut Album Took So Long to Finish

Ethiopian-American singer Kelela performs at the Quebec City Summer Festival on July 15. (Getty Images)

Newsweek

If you’ve never listened to Kelela’s music, then you probably don’t know how long people have been waiting on her. You’ve probably never heard the complaints that she’s taken too long to release her first studio album. And you probably don’t know that although fickle, the grievances are warranted, given the success of her first two mixtapes, 2013’s seductive Cut for Me and 2015′s hypnotizing Hallucinogen.

She’s heard the gripes. But sharing vulnerabilities with the world isn’t easy. Doing so takes a certain level of thoughtfulness and respect. Kelela knows that too, which is why she took her time before finally releasing her first studio album, Take Me Apart, on Warp Records on Friday.

“I sort of had to have all of the experiences that I am speaking on throughout the album. And it’s part of the reason why it’s taken so long. It’s all very personal and sort of drawn from my actual experience,” she told Newsweek during a phone call Thursday.

“I sort of embarked on making some sort of project when I was working on the mixtapes,” she said. “It essentially meant that I was compartmentalizing on some level so that there could be a narrative, a story.”

The narrative the Washington, D.C. native tells on Take Me Apart is one of confusion, loss and clarity.

Read more »


Related:
Kelela’s New Song on NY Times Playlist
Kelela Previews New Album With Potent Hook-Up Anthem ‘LMK’

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Spotlight: US Ethio-Jazz Band Debo Makes Debut in UK and EU

Debo band. (Photo by Joe Del Tufo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: October 6th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This month Debo Band will make their debut performance in the United Kingdom and European Union countries with concerts in the cities of London, Ljubljana, Vienna, and Munich.

Founded by Ethiopian-American Saxophonist Danny Mekonnen Debo Band focuses on original compositions drawing homage to the Ethio-Jazz sounds of the 60s and 70s. The band’s latest album, Ere Gobez, was released in 2016. Debo Band is currently working on their third LP and will go into the studio in 2018.

Since 2006 Debo Band has performed across the United States and Canada, as well as in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Brazil.

Debo Band members include “Bruck Tesfaye (vocals), Danny Mekonnen (tenor saxophone), Gabriel Birnbaum (tenor saxophone), Marié Abe (accordion), Kaethe Hostetter (violin), Harjinder Singh (guitar), Adam Clark (bass) and Danilo Henriquez (drums).”


If You Go:
Oct 15: The Water Rats––London, United Kingdom
Oct 17: Cankarjev––Ljubljana, Slovenia
Oct 18: Porgy & Bess––Vienna, Austria
Oct 19: Kösk––Munich, Germany
Details for the shows can be found at http://www.deboband.com/shows

Video: NPR – All Songs Considered – Field Recording Featuring Debo Band

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Ethiopia: Almaz Ayana Nominated for 2017 World Athlete of the Year Award

Almaz Ayana celebrates winning the gold medal at the Rio Olympics 2016. (AP photo)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

October 4th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Olympian and World 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana has been nominated for the 2017 World Athlete of the Year award.

The Ethiopian long distance runner, who was also the winner of last year’s Female World Athlete of the Year prize, won the 10,000 metre race at this year’s World Championships held in London this past summer.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced that “a three-way voting process will determine the finalists. The IAAF Council will cast their votes by email, while fans can vote online via the IAAF’s social media platforms. Individual graphics for each nominee will be posted on Facebook and Twitter later this week; a ‘like’ or ‘favourite’ will count as one vote.”

IAAF adds: “Voting closes on 16 October. At the conclusion of the voting process, three men and three women finalists will be announced by the IAAF. The male and female World Athletes of the Year will be announced live on stage at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2017.”


Related:
2017 WORLD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – WOMEN’S NOMINEES

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Cyclist Tsgabu Grmay Sings With US Team

Cyclist Tsgabu Grmay, who is the current time trial champion in Ethiopia, has signed with the U.S. road racing team Trek–Segafredo for the 2018 season. (Getty Images)

News 24

Ethiopian climber Tsgabu Grmay has joined Trek for 2018, the American team announced on Monday.

The 26-year-old, the African time-trial champion two years ago, joins from Bahrain.

He has ridden five Grand Tours including the last two Tours de France.

Read more »

Tsgabu Grmay signs with Trek


Twenty-six-year-old Tsgabu Grmay is the current Ethiopian Time Trial champion and combines his TT-skills with a predilection for long climbing efforts. (Lampre Media)

Cycling News

Trek-Segafredo announced the addition of two riders to their 2018 roster on Monday, completing their line-up for the coming season. 26-year-old Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay and 20-year-old Italian trainee Nicola Conci will join the American WorldTour team next year.

Grmay, the reigning time trial champion in Ethiopia, got his start with MTN-Qhubeka in 2012 and spent three seasons with the team before jumping to the WorldTour with Lampre-Merida. After two years there, he joined Bahrain-Merida for 2017. A three-time time trial champion and two-time road race champion in Ethiopia, he finished fifth overall at February’s Tour of Oman.

“I’m very happy about this move. Trek-Segafredo really stood out for me because they offer a very professional guidance for their athletes. I am confident that within this team I can continue my development as a rider in the best circumstances,” Grmay said in a team press release.

“I really like stage races because they suit me better than one-day races. Of course, it would be a dream come true if one day I would be able to win a stage race. But let’s take it step by step. I want to keep learning and improving and will give it my all, and who knows, maybe one day, achieve that ultimate goal. In the meantime, I will honor my jersey, my team and my country. Being the first Ethiopian rider ever who turned pro, I feel the support of the whole country standing behind me and that gives me the strength to keep going until the bitter end.”

Read more »


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Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week Preview

(Photo from previous Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week/courtesy of HAFW)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

October 2nd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – The sixth edition of Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week (HAFW) — an international runway show featuring both established and up-and-coming designers from across the African continent — will be held in Addis Ababa from October 5th to 8th, 2017.

Supported by Vogue Italia/Talents the 2017 events will take place at the Addis Ababa Exhibition Centre. Organizers announced that this year’s program includes panel discussions, master classes, presentations and a pop-up shop at Sapphire Addis Hotel.

“HAFW is extremely proud with the line-up of close to 35 participating designers, international models, and fashion makers from across the African Continent,” the media release states. “Vogue Italia /Vogue Talents will be scouting for talents to take part at Milan Fashion Week 2018.”

The announcement adds:

“Since inception in 2010 HAFW has been able to assist in the transformation and development of the continental fashion industry. Fashion must be thought of in business terms and HAFW has endeavoured to connect emerging and established designers with, buyers, manufacturers, distributers and investors in order to grow the continental fashion industry to reach its potential.”

Participating designers are shown below:

1. ADAMA PARIS – SENEGAL
2. ANYANGO MPINGA – KENYA
3. ARNOLD MURITHI – KENYA
4. AYNI’S DESIGN – ETHIOPIA
5. EDEN ASBEHA – ETHIOPIA
6. EJIG TIBEB – ETHIOPIA
7. FETEL DESIGN – ETHIOPIA
8. LALI – ETHIOPIA
9. MAFI – ETHIOPIA
10. MUSTAFA HANSANNIL – TANZANIA
11. PALESA MOKUBUNG – SOUTH AFRICA
12. RATATOUILLE – ETHIOPIA
13. REPUBLIC OF LEATHER – ETHIOPIA
14. ROOI – NIGERIA
15. RUSSEL SOLOMON – NIGERIA
16. SAMRA WORLD CLASS LUXURY LEATHER – ETHIOPIA
17. TG’SH – ETHIOPIA
18. YE’FIKER – ETHIOPIA
19. YOHANNES SISTERS COUTURE – ETHIOPIA
20. YORDI – ETHIOPIA
21. ZAAF – ETHIOPIA

PARTICIPATING DESIGNERS PRESENTATION

1. AACHERA – KENYA
2. AIDICHO – ETHIOPIA
3. ENZI – ETHIOPIA
4. EYERUSALEM ABERRA – ETHIOPIA
5. FALONE RUSAMAZA – RWANDA
6. KOMATRE DESIGN – ETHIOPIA
7. MENABE JEWLERY – ETHIOPIA
8. NEEMA – KENYA
9. NIGISTI – ETHIOPIA
10. PARSHYGIAN JEWLERY – ETHIOPIA
11. ROOTS IN STYLE – ETHIOPIA
12. TIYAA – ETHIOPIA
13. YE’TSEDEY – ETHIOPIA
14. ZIM TIBEB – ETHIOPIA


If You Go:
More info at www.hubfashionweekafrica.com.

Related:
Photos: Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week 2016
Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week 2015
In Pictures: Hub of Africa Fashion Week 2014

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Ethiopia Movie Lambadina Comes to DC

Lambadina is Messay Getahun's first feature film (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

September 30th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – The Ethiopian film Lambadina will make its Washington, D.C. premiere next week. Directed by Messay Getahun, Lambadina features 9-year-old Joseph, the abandoned son of Solomon, who finds refuge in another home and falls in love with the daughter (Ruth) in the new family. Showing resilience and overcoming several obstacles in life Joseph eventually emigrates to the United States taking a riveting journey from Addis Ababa to Los Angeles.

“The beginning part of the film has elements of true events” explained Messay Getahun in a Q&A with Tadias last year pointing out that parts of the narrative are autobiographical.

“It’s a story of a split that happens between a father and son during uncertain times in Ethiopia.” Messay shares. “That portion of the story is actually my personal story. My dad was involved in politics. I was about 6 years old and a new government was coming to power, so I based the story from some childhood memories I had of an era that I thought was important for the source of the film.”

Regarding the title Lambadina Messay tells Tadias that the word is “an Ethio-Italian word which means ‘lantern’ or ‘night light.’ The definition represented the theme of the film, which is about overcoming the obstacles that life throws at you. I also wanted a one-word title. Something foreign enough but yet easy enough to pronounce. We wanted to make a universal film. Something the older generation, the younger generation, Africans and non-Africans could watch,” Messay says. “Finding a good balance was essential.”


If You Go:
Lambadina Premieres in DC
October 12th & 13t
The Miracle Theatre
535 8th Street, SE
Washington DC 20003
www.lambadinamovie.com

Watch: ‘Lambadina’ official trailer [HD]:

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Spotlight: Aida Muluneh in MoMA’s Being: New Photography 2018

(© Aida Muluneh)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

September 26th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Photographer Aida Muluneh from Ethiopia will be featured in the upcoming Being: New Photography 2018 exhibition, which is the current edition of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)’s New Photography series in New York.

MoMA announced that the show that will be on display next Spring (March 18 – August 19, 2018) “investigates charged and layered notions of personhood and subjectivity in recent photography and photo-based art, presenting works by 17 artists working in the U.S. and internationally.”

MoMA’s press release notes: Being: New Photography 2018 “is constituted primarily of works made since 2016, both by artists who are just starting out in their careers, some showing in New York for the first time, and by others with more established practices who, in some cases, have been supporting the field of photography through teaching or creating other platforms for production. For all the artists, this will be the first exhibition of their work at the Museum.”

“While personhood is something that we all share, also inherent in these representations is the recognition of difference, which is especially urgent in our current moment,” says organizer Lucy Gallun who is an Assistant Curator of the museum’s Department of Photography. “Universality in humanity does not mean sameness.”

Aida was born in Ethiopia in 1974, but left the country when she was five years old and spent an itinerant childhood between Yemen and England. After several years in a boarding school in Cyprus, she finally settled in Canada in 1985. In 2000, Aida graduated with a degree in Film from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She later worked as a photojournalist for the Washington Post exhibiting her work in-between throughout the United States. Aida returned to Ethiopia in 2007. Her images are part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, the Museum of Biblical Art, as well as various private galleries and collections in New York and across the country.


If You Go:
Being: New Photography 2018
March 18, 2018–August 19, 2018
www.moma.org

Video: TADIAS Interview with Aida Muluneh

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From Dishwasher to Millionaire, Ethiopian Refugee Achieves American Dream

Tashitaa Tufaa drives one of his company's largest school buses, which seats 70 pupils, in Fridley, Minnesota, Aug. 9, 2017. Tufaa's company owns nearly 300 buses. (Photo: Abdi Mohamud for VOA)

VOA News

By Tigist Geme

MINNEAPOLIS — When Tashitaa Tufaa first arrived in Minneapolis from Ethiopia in 1992, he remembers craning his head skyward in disbelief. Looking up at the tallest skyscraper he had ever seen, he began counting the stories until he couldn’t count anymore. Eventually, he found out the building had 55 floors.

It was a long way from Negele Arsi district in the Oromia region of Ethiopia where he grew up. As a child, he worked alongside his 13 siblings on the family farm.

Now he’d have to do other types of work. He thought he had a fluent command of English that would open doors in the job market.

“But I found out that I didn’t after I came to Minneapolis,” he said.


Tashitaa Tufaa, owner, CEO and president of Metropolitan Transportation Network Inc., at the company’s headquarters, in Fridley, Minnesota, Aug. 9, 2017.

So he began as a dishwasher at the Hilton Hotel, earning $5.65 an hour. Eventually, he held as many as three jobs at once, including ones at manufacturing companies and another as a security guard.

The small paychecks of those days are long gone for Tufaa, who is now president of a successful bus company.

Each day, Metropolitan Transportation Network carries more than 15,000 children to schools, field trips and other destinations in Minneapolis and other Minnesota cities. The multimillion-dollar transportation company has more than 300 employees and recently moved to a new, larger operations center.

‘I do not believe in giving up’

The road to success hasn’t been easy, but Tufaa believes his experience shows that for those willing to work hard, anything is possible.

“I do not believe in giving up,” he told VOA.

Tufaa came to the U.S. as a refugee. He had been a school teacher in Ethiopia and was also active in politics. Following the fall of Ethiopia’s communist Derg regime in 1991, he helped campaign for the Oromo Liberation Front in his native Oromia region.

When his party withdrew from the transitional government after a fallout with the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, Tufaa no longer felt safe in the country and decided to leave.

“I was a political asylee. I didn’t like or agree with the Ethiopian government,” he said.

While working his menial jobs in the U.S. he also earned his master’s degree in political science and international relations from the University of Minnesota. After obtaining the degree, he worked for the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority.


A fleet of Metropolitan Transportation Network buses in a parking lot at the company’s headquarters in Fridley, Minnesota, Aug. 10, 2017.

Dishwashing and factory work were not enough to provide for his family, so he took an evening and weekend job as a shuttle driver, transporting senior citizens and people with disabilities to and from work.

“As a result I fell in love with transportation and I call myself an addicted driver,” he said with a chuckle.

He left his city job after a conflict with a supervisor and began driving taxis. But other drivers complained that he worked long hours and favored shorter trips to avoid long queues at the airport.

Eventually the taxi company fired him and, with no other options, he decided to strike out on his own.

“To do a business, you need to face a challenge. You can’t start business if there is luxury,” Tufaa said.

Starting with one van

After sketching out their idea for a transportation company in 2003, Tufaa and his brother began delivering handwritten letters to public school districts seeking contracts. He started with his wife’s single minivan transporting homeless children.


Tashitaa Tufaa chats with mechanics and drivers at Metropolitan Transportation Network’s maintenance shop in Fridley, Minnesota, Aug. 10, 2017.

Tufaa — who had once aspired to be a diplomat — says his negotiation and bargaining skills paid off. Their service was rated as excellent by public school districts and the business grew.

The business has steadily grown and now includes a fleet of nearly 300 buses and vans that take children to schools across the state. In 2012 Tufaa was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Metropolitan Economic Development Association in Minneapolis.

Since the beginning, Tufaa says, he prioritized the safety and punctuality of the children his company serves.

“I will not accept for my kids to arrive in school one minute late,” the father of five said. “I make sure that is the case for all the children we serve.”

Minnesota has long, snowy winters. Although buses typically drop off kids and leave, MTN pays its drivers to wait until the children get inside their homes or are met by an adult.

Employees marvel at his ability to grow the business without sacrificing his values.

“When I joined everything all I was hearing was, ‘We want to be more like a family,’” said Charles Marks, an assistant transportation manager at the company. “We kept that tradition and that makes the drivers come back every year. I always keep an empty chair next to my desk for anyone who wants to come and talk.”

Tufaa believes in building and empowering communities to be self-sufficient. He is active in the local Oromo community.

Estimated at 40,000 by the Minnesota Historical Society, Minnesota is home to the largest Oromo population outside of Ethiopia in the U.S.


A Metropolitan Transportation Network bus picks up students for summer school in Minnesota, Aug. 8, 2017.

Tufaa advises and mentors employees interested in starting their own business. In fact, since 2012, three former employees have started their own successful transportation companies.

“The greatest gift I think you can give people like you is that it can be done and I feel like I’ve done that,” Tufaa said.

This, he says, is a lesson for all African immigrants pursuing their American dream.

“When a person is free, you can do anything,” he said. “So appreciate what you have, work so very hard, and get rid of the wrong pride we have back home that if you have a college degree you have to be in a professional line [of work] and you can’t dig the potatoes or do the dishes. Work is work and go out there and do what is available. Be proud of it.”


Related:
Ethiopian Restaurants Foster Community in Silver Spring (Associated Press)

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Fall Arts Preview 2017: Kelela’s New Album

Kelela Mizanekristos, known mononymously as Kelela, is a second-generation Ethiopian American singer and songwriter. (Getty Images)

Metroweekly

After a busy and occasionally harrowing summer, 2017 looks set to wind down in style — musically, anyway…

Anyone who found themselves captivated by Kelela‘s mixtape and subsequent EP can look forward to the October 6 release of Take Me Apart, the second-generation Ethiopian-American artist’s first full studio album. It may have been a long time coming, but the single “LMK” promises a fierce, captivating work of otherworldly electro-R&B that will be well worth the wait.

Read more at Metroweekly.com »


Related:
Kelela’s New Song on NY Times Playlist
Kelela Previews New Album With Potent Hook-Up Anthem ‘LMK’

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Spotlight: Scientist Sossina Haile Honored With GE Grand Central Video Installation

Ethiopian American Scientist Sossina Haile honored with a GE video installation on the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal in New York City on Tuesday, September 19th, 2017. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: September 25th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Professor Sossina Haile, an expert in materials science and fuel cells research, was one of 12 female scientists who were honored last week with a spectacular video installation, projected on the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal in New York City, as part of a display called “Unseen Stars” recognizing “outstanding women in science.”

We featured Ethiopian American scientist, Sossina Haile, several times including in a profile interview in 2011 in which she told Tadias: “I delight in the discovery. When results make sense and we are able to explain something, I am thrilled. When that discovery has potential to solve critical societal problems, I am ecstatic.”

“Grand Central station is the epitome of New York — a place of connection,” Forbes magazine notes highlighting the GE sponsored show. “A myriad of train lines intersect and pass through the terminal, making it home to about 750,000 passengers daily. One of the most captivating aspects of Grand Central is the celestial ceiling, dating back to 1913. Today, Grand Central’s ceiling is being transformed, unveiling 12 portraits of female scientists, the hidden stars of science. This incredible light show is honoring women who have made significant breakthroughs in all fields of STEM and have shaped our society, whether we know it or not.”

The Grand Central installation was on display through Thursday, September 21st, and included “custom-designed animations, based on the iconic constellations, [that illuminated] the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal.” The faces of 12 female scientists and engineers appeared in an animated journey at the following times:

Tuesday, September 19 (7:30 p.m. – 11:59 p.m.)
Wednesday, September 20 (5:42 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.)
Thursday, September 21 (5:42 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.)


Related:
Outstanding Women in Science: Tadias Interview with Professor Sossina Haile

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In Pictures: Antu Yacob Performs “In the Gray” at United Solo Theatre Festival

Antu Yacob performing her one-person show, In the Gray, at the United Solo Theatre festival in New York City on September 17th, 2017. (Photo: Kidane Mariam for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: September 18th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Antu Yacob’s Ethio-American play “In the Gray” was featured at the 2017 United Solo Theatre festival in New York City this past Sunday. Antu was the first Ethiopian American to have a play staged at the festival, which is the largest solo theatre festival in the world.

The 75-minutes storytelling and performance art narrates Antu’s personal experience while growing up in the United States as she forms and re-negotiates her Ethiopian-American identity first as a teenager and later an adult pursuing a career in the theatre and film industry. In the Gray features Antu playing several engaging characters including herself, her 8-year-old son, as well as her muslim and Oromo activist mother who lives in Minnesota.

In the Gray is directed by Celestine Rae with lighting & set design by Matthew Fick, show image by Anthony Artis and executive produced by Tadias Magazine.

Below are photos taken during a tech rehearsal prior to the show as well as following the performance:

“It’s hard to put Antu into words. It’s even harder to put her in a box,” stated the show’s announcement. “Quirky, awkward, sometimes hot, sometimes lukewarm, this Ethiopian American woman, actor, daughter and mother explores her experience of being an outsider from deep within.”

Watch: Clips from Antu Yacob’s play “In the Gray” taped during tech rehearsal on 9/17/2017 (TADIAS)

Antu, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Rutgers University in New Jersey, grew up in San Francisco and Minnesota. Her acting career includes roles in NBC’s Law & Order: SVU and the recently released Netflix series Gypsy. She played lead roles in the films Eminent Domain (DeepFreeze Media) and Walking In Circles (NYU Film/Elegance Bratton) as well as supporting roles in Conjure (TerraLuke Media) and Fine Art (Shannon Ousley/Zoe Munlyn). Her play entitled Mourning Sun, set in Ethiopia and New York, was performed at the West End Theatre in Manhattan in 2015 and at the 2016 Kampala International Theatre Festival in Uganda last Winter.

The film Conjure, which she produced and acted in premiered at the 2017 Hip Hop Film Festival in August and won several awards including the Vanguard award (writer and director Adrian Luke Sinclair) and Best Supporting Actor award (Charles Richard Barboza). Likewise the Netflix series Gypsy in which Antu makes a guest star appearance as Sasha Knolls is currently playing.

Regarding In the Gray Antu says: “I knew that I wanted to write about my experience not only as an actor, but also as an Ethio-American professional in the entertainment industry. It’s a point of view that I don’t see reflected in mainstream media, but it is something that I live with.”


Related:
In the Gray: A One Person Ethio-American Show by Playwright Antu Yacob

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Ethiopia Film ‘Breathe in the Roots’ Director Interview

Tsedey Aragie interviewing filmmaker Indrias G. Kassaye. (Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

September 15th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Last month we featured the D.C. premiere of Breathe in the Roots, a new film by Director and Producer Indrias G. Kassaye that features a young Brooklyn-based African American teacher’s journey of discovery to Ethiopia.

Indrias Kassaye is a writer, photographer, and producer who “believes in the importance of storytelling that champions the voices and experiences of local communities and everyday people.” After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Indrias moved back to Ethiopia with dreams of contributing to the development of his country and the African renaissance in general.” In his latest film Indrias tracks Ty Christen Joseph’s (Chris) “journey from Addis Ababa to Lalibela, one of Ethiopia’s holiest pilgrimage sites, on horseback – documenting his once-in-a-lifetime experience and showcasing a side of Ethiopia that mainstream media rarely covers.”

Tadias caught up with Indrias, Chris and some audience members following the Washington, D.C. screening at the Anacostia Arts Center.

Watch Video:

The Anacostia Art Center screening was the first of a series of screenings, photo exhibitions and discussion sessions in the DMV area.

The next event entitled “Filmmaker Shop Talk” is scheduled for Saturday, September 16th at Gateway Media Art Center in Mount Rainier, Maryland, followed by a screeening at Busboys and Poets in Hysattsville, MD on October 17th.

In addition, Port Of Harlem magazine is organizing a showing of ‘Breathe in the Roots’ at Alexandria Black History Museum in Virginia on October 26th.


(Courtesy photos)


Related:
Watch: Breathe in the Roots trailer (A film Directed & Produced by Indrias G. Kassaye)

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2017 Bikila Award Recipients Announced

The 4th annual Bikila Award ceremony takes place in Toronto, Canada on Sept. 23, 2017. (Bikila Award Org)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

September 11th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This year’s Bikila Award recipients include musician and composer Mulatu Astatke who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Miruts Yifter, one of the greatest middle distance runners of all-time who died last year at the age of 72, will be recognized posthumously with the Professional Excellence Award “for his distinguished and legendary achievement in long distance running and as a world class athlete, double Olympic Gold winner and Ethiopian hero.”

The annual award ceremony and dinner, which takes place every September in Toronto, Canada, is named for the iconic marathon Olympian Abebe Bikila who captured the world’s imagination on September 10th, 1960 when he stormed the Rome Olympics barefoot becoming the first African to win an Olympic gold and setting a world record.

Organizers note that the Bikila Award “is created mainly to empower young people to reach their highest potential and to celebrate their achievements with the 2017 Academic Excellence and Scholarship Award given to students Wudassie Tamrat, Yonas Nigussie, Sarah Edo and Dagmawit Aberham.

In addition, Bikila Award, Inc. states that it will honor Dr. Edemariam Tsega and Dr. Frances Lester Tsega with the Professional Excellence Award for their “distinguished achievement as compassionate and dedicated physicians, and for playing a key leadership role in advancing medical care and education in Ethiopia and Canada.” The 2017 event will also recognize Dr. Enawgaw Mehari with the Community Service Excellence Award “for his philanthropic contributions in founding People to People (P2P) as a dedicated practicing physician, and for improving healthcare awareness and education,” as well as Dr. Fitsum Tariku who will be given the Professional Excellence Award “for his distinguished achievement as a scholar and researcher in building engineering, whole-building performance analysis and hygrothermal modeling.”

Photos from past Bikila Award Ceremonies:


Previous winners of the Bikila award include Ethiopian-Canadian pop music superstar Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) as well as Dr. Taffara Deguefe and the Pankhurst Family who were honored last year with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. (Courtesy photographs)

The keynote address this year will be delivered by Ted Alemayhu, Founder and Executive Chairman of US Doctors for Africa (USDFA), while the honorary guest speaker is Professor Suzanne Akbari who is the Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. Professor Akbari has played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Ethiopic studies program at the University of Toronto, the first of its kind in North America.

Entertainment will be provided by Barnes/Woldemichael Ethio Jazz Quartet.


If You Go:
The 2017 Bikila Award Celebration and Dinner
September 23rd, 2017
At Daniels Spectrum
585 Dundas Street East
Toronto, Canada
www.bikilaaward.org

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Spotlight: Yohannes Sisters From Ethiopia Showcase During NY Fashion Week

(Courtesy of The Yohannes Sister's Couture)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

September 8th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – It’s fashion week in New York City and the Yohannes Sisters are here from Ethiopia to showcase their emerging brand this weekend at PLITZS New York City Fashion Week that will be held at Hotel Pennsylvania on Saturday, September 9th.

With designs labeled as Lioness Arising and Enat the talented siblings, Lily and Zeze Yohannes, who are based in Addis Ababa combine traditional Ethiopian design and fabric with Western aesthetics to create their own original style. As the fashion website Style Cartel points out: “by threading love into every nook and cranny, their designs are nothing less than majestic, empowering, and personally yours.”


(Photo: PLITZS New York City Fashion Week)


The Yohannes Sisters in New York. (Photo: Instagram)

The Lioness Arising collection symbolizes the “Ethiopian woman that broke barriers and was confident to be herself,” Lily Yohannes told Style Cartel during the 2014 Hub of Africa Fashion Week. “And the second [collection] is called “Enat” which means “mother” in Amharic, and we were honoring moms. I know moms are special, but Ethiopian moms specifically have been through so much. So this was our way of honoring them. That’s why we were basically using traditional materials to represent the Ethiopian woman.”


If You Go:
PLITZS New York City Fashion Week
Hotel Venue – New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania
Sat, September 9, 2017
7:00 PM
401 Seventh Avenue & 33rd Street
18th Floor Grand Ballroom
New York, NY
Click here for more info

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Tebabu Assefa, Sara Mussie Brief Congress on Benefit Corp for Africa

Tebabu Assefa and Sara Mussie. (Photo: Maryland State Arts Council)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: September 10th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – The husband and wife team of Tebabu Assefa and Sara Mussie who are owners of Blessed Coffee — one of America’s first Benefit Corporations — are scheduled to brief Congress this week on their Maryland-based socially responsible and grassroots business model that can be used to improve business-to-business and people-to-people relations with Africa.

Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD-8) and the founders of US-Africa Diaspora Business Council (US-ADBC) are hosting the Congressional Briefing, which is “organized to present the Benefit Corporation for Africa Initiative (BCAI) to policy makers, the African Diplomatic Group, international development organizations, U.S. & U.S.-African Diaspora business leaders and the media,” the press release said. “In 2010, Maryland became the first state to pass legislation enabling businesses to register as Benefit Corporations, a new class of corporation that is explicitly formed to create a positive material impact on society and the environment. Congressman Raskin, then the MD State Senator, authored the legislation. To date, more than 31 states, including New York and California, have enacted similar legislation.”

Tebabu and Sara’s venture, which we featured here exactly six years ago this month, was founded in 2011 and is the nation’s second Benefit Corporation. Blessed Coffee (BC) is “based on a farmer to your cup direct market link that is geared towards development in coffee growing regions in Ethiopia, as well as in communities in the U.S. where the coffee is sold. As such, BC offers investment and profit sharing partnership to 323,000 coffee farmers in Ethiopia (representing over 1.5 million families), organized under a small coffee famers cooperative union,” the briefing announcement said.

This past Spring Tebabu and Sara’s work were also praised by US Senator Ben Cardin during the US Senate Foreign Relation Committee Hearing on Private Sector Engagement in International Development held on May 7th, 2017. In a 2016 interview with Bethesda Magazine, Congressman Raskin noted, “Blessed Coffee embodies everything a Benefit Corporation strives to be…It is a totally locally rooted business with an international conscientiousness devoted to community, but also devoted to the excellence of its product.”

The upcoming Congressional briefing announcement adds: “Tebabu and Sara titled and branded their dynamic social business as Virtuous Exchange (VE) – better than Fair Trade. US-African immigrant communities have massive untapped human and financial resources to positively impact social and economic development in Africa. Tebabu & Sara’s core conviction is that VE can leverage the power of Benefit Corporations and social businesses to achieve economic, social and environmental development in Africa and the U.S.”

Tebabu and Sara have received several awards, including the 2012 “Champions of Change” honor from the Obama administration, several Congressional citations from members of the U.S. Congress, the 2017 Green Business Award from Bethesda Magazine and the 2014 Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award from StartUpAfrica.


If You Go:
CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING FOR BENEFIT CORPORATION FOR AFRICA INITIATIVE
12:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, Rayburn HOB, Room S 215, 45 Independence Ave, SW Washington DC

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Spotlight: Antu Yacob’s Ethio-American Play “In the Gray” in NYC

Antu Yacob will perform her one-person Ethiopian-American play "In the Gray" on September 17th, 2017 at the annual United Solo theatre festival in New York City. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

September 4th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This month Antu Yacob will become the first Ethiopian American to have a play staged at the United Solo Theatre festival in New York City when she performs her one-person show, In the Gray, on September 17th at the largest solo theatre festival in the world.

The 75-minutes storytelling and performance art narrates Antu’s personal experience while growing up in the United States as she forms and re-negotiates her Ethio-American identity first as a teenager and later an adult pursuing a career in the theatre and film industry. In the Gray features Antu playing several engaging characters including herself, her 8-year-old son, as well as her muslim and Oromo activist mother who lives in Minnesota.

“I constantly have this experience of being between two cultures,” Antu told Tadias. “That’s why I call it In The Gray, because a lot of things are not black and white for me.” Antu says she tries “to experiment with social and political activism in an entertaining way.”

In the Gray is directed by Celestine Rae with lighting & set design by Matthew Fick, show image by Anthony Artis and executive produced by Tadias Magazine.

Antu was invited as a guest speaker to play excerpts from an edited version of the show this Summer at the Ethiopian Heritage and Culture Camp in Harrisonburg, Virginia where she led a theatre workshop for the children. “I was very happy with the feedback,” shared the Ethiopia-born actress and playwright who immigrated to the U.S. when she was five years old. “It was well received both by the kids and their parents.” In addition, Antu was also one of the panelists at this year’s “Empowering the Community Weekend” event run by the Helen Show in D.C. on August 26th.

“It’s hard to put Antu into words. It’s even harder to put her in a box,” states the show’s announcement. “Quirky, awkward, sometimes hot, sometimes lukewarm, this Ethiopian American woman, actor, daughter and mother explores her experience of being an outsider from deep within.”

Watch: In The Gray by Antu Yacob Preview Video

Antu, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Rutgers University in New Jersey, grew up in San Francisco and Minnesota. Her acting career includes roles in NBC’s Law & Order: SVU and the recently released Netflix series Gypsy. She played lead roles in the films Eminent Domain (DeepFreeze Media) and Walking In Circles (NYU Film/Elegance Bratton) as well as supporting roles in Conjure (TerraLuke Media) and Fine Art (Shannon Ousley/Zoe Munlyn). Her play entitled Mourning Sun, set in Ethiopia and New York, was performed at the West End Theatre in Manhattan in 2015 and at the 2016 Kampala International Theatre Festival in Uganda last Winter.

The film Conjure, which she produced and acted in premiered at the 2017 Hip Hop Film Festival in August and won several awards including the Vanguard award (writer and director Adrian Luke Sinclair) and Best Supporting Actor award (Charles Richard Barboza). Likewise the Netflix series Gypsy in which Antu makes a guest star appearance as Sasha Knolls is released and currently on.

Regarding In the Gray Antu says: “I knew that I wanted to write about my experience not only as an actor, but also as an Ethio-American professional in the entertainment industry. It’s a point of view that I don’t see reflected in mainstream media, but it is something that I live with.”


If You Go
IN THE GRAY BUY TICKETS

Performed by Antu Yacob, ETHIOPIA
Sun 9/17 2:00pm
drama, comedy, storytelling, movement, performance art, 75 min.

All shows are staged at Theatre Row: 410 West 42nd Street, New York City. TICKETS, with a price of $35 (plus a $2.25 Theatre Restoration Charge) are available at the Theatre Row Box Office and online through Telecharge at www.telecharge.com. You may also call Telecharge at 212-239-6200. When placing your reservation, please provide: the FESTIVAL name (United Solo Theatre Festival), the name of THEATRE (Theatre Row – The Studio Theatre), and the specific DAY and TIME of SHOW you would like to see.

Click here to buy tickets

Related:
In the Gray: A One Person Ethio-American Show by Playwright Antu Yacob

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In LA, Little Ethiopia Fest to Honor ‘Dir Biyaber’ Mutual Assistance Association

The 2017 Little Ethiopia Cultural Street Festival in Los Angeles will be held on Sunday, September 10th. (Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: September 2nd, 2017

Los Angeles (TADIAS) – Since 2002 when the city of Los Angeles officially designated the neighborhood on Fairfax Avenue between Olympic and Pico Boulevard to be recognized as “Little Ethiopia” — making it the first street in the United States to be named after an African nation — the Ethiopian American community has been hosting a popular outdoor festival every second Sunday of each September to celebrate Enkutatash.

This year the festival will honor the local Edir named Dir Biyaber Mutual Assistance Association, which has a membership of 2,000 families and representing over 10,000 individuals.

“This organization has done a great service in our community,” says Nikki Legesse of the Little Ethiopia Cultural and Resource Center, adding: “they are going to be the keynote speakers and they will be recognized by various dignitaries at the festival.”


The Little Ethiopia neighborhood in Los Angeles, California. (Photograph: Little Ethiopia Business Association)


(Photos: TADIAS)

According to the 2017 festival announcement: “Dir Biyaber Edir Mutual Assistance Association, was established on September 1, 2014 for the purpose of providing monetary assistance for funeral expenses. The association acts like a low-cost funeral insurance service for its members here in the U.S. The members pool their money to cover the high cost of burying loved ones. Members pay a one-time membership fee and a minimum affordable monthly amount, so that the emotional struggle of losing a family member is not compounded by financial difficulties. Continuing the Ethiopian cultural tradition of Edir, the association encourages its members to attend services to comfort and support the families in times of emergencies.”

The Little Ethiopia Street Festival and Enkutatash celebration takes place on Sunday, September 10th and as always features live music, food, vendors, and a cultural dance performance. Invited guests include city officials and other dignitaries.


If You Go:
The 2017 Annual Little Ethiopia Street Festival
Sunday, September 10th, 2017
Fairfax Avenue (Between Olympic & Whitworth)
Los Angeles, California
For more info call: 323.360.4431 or 310.877.3530
www.littleethio.com

Related:
Mayor of San Jose to Attend Enkutatash
Ethiopia Fest Chicago 2017 Ready for Enkutatash Celebration

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Tariku Shiferaw’s First International Solo Exhibition at Addis Fine Art London

Tariku Shiferaw. (Photo via Anthony Philip Fine Art)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 28th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Tariku Shiferaw will hold his first international solo exhibition at Addis Fine Art’s London project space from September 14th to October 8th, 2017. The exhibition entitled Erase Me is also the gallery’s inaugural show at their London location.

Tariku’s latest body of work “interrogates the concept of mark-making both physically and metaphysically,” states Addis Fine Art’s announcement. “Using titles of songs from Hip-Hop, R&B, Jazz, Blues, and Reggae music, these paintings embody both the experiences and struggles expressed through music by Black artists…In appropriating song titles as painting titles, the work automatically inherits the references, identities, and the history portrayed through the songs.

Tadias profiled the Ethiopian-born, LA-raised and New York-based emerging artist last year focusing on his collection of paintings that he described as featuring “contradictions, glitches, interruptions, and disagreements in a system.” In addition, this past Spring Tariku’s work was part of the 2017 Whitney Biennial, an influential annual exhibition held at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City that’s considered the leading contemporary art show in the world.

Addis Fine Art gallery shares that in Tariku’s upcoming display “every song used to title paintings tells a story that refers to a certain reality. The work becomes a reference of a reference, much like a signifier to another symbol. This creates repetitive patterns both aesthetically and conceptually. Subtle, yet intricate works that overtake a space with authority, these paintings are placeholders for Black bodies, creating a literal way of being “seen” in a society that does not often see the “other.”

ABOUT TARIKU SHIFERAW


Tariku Shiferaw. (Instagram)

Tariku Shiferaw (b.1983) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is a Brooklyn-based artist whose work deals with mark-making in ways that addresses both the physical and the metaphysical spaces of painting and societal structures. At the age of nine, he moved to Nairobi, Kenya with his family and shortly after immigrated to the U.S. He spent the latter part of his childhood in Los Angeles, California. He studied for his bachelors in Fine Arts (BFA) at the University of Southern California (USC) in 2007 and later attained his MFA at Parsons The New School for Design in 2015. Shiferaw has exhibited throughout New York and Los Angeles. Recent exhibitions include The 2017 Whitney Biennial as part of Occupy Museums’ Debtfair project (New York, 2017); Hard Cry, Lubov (New York, 2017); Life Sized, Anthony Philip Fine Art (Brooklyn, 2016); Introduction 2016, Trestle Gallery (Brooklyn, 2016); The LA Art Show, Werd Gallery (Los Angeles, 2016); ATAVAST, Roomservice/Standard Practice (Brooklyn, 2015); New Work New York, 1st MFA Biennial Presented by St. Nicks Alliance & Arts@Renaissance (Brooklyn, 2015).


If You Go:
Addis Fine Art Project Space
Tafeta, 47 – 50 Margaret Street
London, W1W 8SB, UK
Tel: +44 7931557544
hello@addisfineart.com

Exhibition Hours:
14 Sept: Opening Reception (6-8pm)
16 Sept: Artists Talk with Sharon Obuobi (2-4pm)
17 Sept – 8 Oct: Mon to Sat 11am-6pm
Admission: Free
www.addisfineart.com

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Spotlight: New “Deseta Emojis” App on iTunes Celebrate Everything Ethiopian

(Courtesy of Deseta Design)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 25th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — For your next text message you may now include Deseta Emojis to express yourself with Ethiopian humor.

The digital icons often used to communicate ideas and emotions comes courtesy of Deseta Design. Announcing that its keyboard app contains over 200 small emojis Deseta Design says that the current collection is available for download on the App Store (Android version coming soon). Deseta emojis include icons of injera, buna, jebena and goursha.

The images “celebrate everything ethiopian in all of its glory,” says Maro Haile, owner of Deseta Design, an NYC-based online creative venture, whom we featured here three years ago highlighting her Ethiopia inspired holiday cards.


(Image: Courtesy of Deseta Design)

So how does this cool looking app work?

According to Deseta Design the emojis work in several ways including “a sticker pack that you can use while you are in iMessages and a keyboard that you can use in multiple messaging apps such as Whatsapp, Viber, and Facebook.

Deseta Design states: “As messaging apps keep evolving and new platforms keep getting introduced – such as Snapchat, Fitbit – we will continue to release new versions that will work with them as well.”


Click here to download Deseta Emojis on iTunes.

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Wayna Ethiopian New Year Concert at Joe’s Pub NYC to Honor Bezunesh Bekele

Joe's Pub in partnership with Tadias Magazine presents a celebration of Ethiopian New Year with Grammy-nominated songstress Wayna and the music of Bezunesh Bekele (Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 21st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — For the upcoming Ethiopian New Year Wayna will perform at a special midnight concert at Joe’s Pub in New York City, honoring Ethiopian music legend Bezunesh Bekele.

Wayna who spent a better part of the year performing with Stevie Wonder as a soloist and supporting vocalist, has previously performed at the Kennedy Center, the White House, Lincoln Center, and the Blue Note along with a 3-month performance residency in Ethiopia in 2016. The Ethiopian American Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter started her one-of-a-kind tribute to Bezunesh this summer with a show at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club in Maryland held this past June.

The late Bezunesh Bekele — who was once dubbed the “First Lady of Addis” and the “Aretha Franklin of Ethiopia” in the 1960′s and 70s — was a popular and one of the most iconic Ethiopian female singers of her generation.

Below is a Tadias exclusive video from Wayna’s first show paying tribute to Bezunesh Bekele:


If You Go:
Wayna at Joe’s Pub
Friday, September 8 at 12 AM
Joe’s Pub at The Public
425 Lafayette St
New York, New York 10003
Click here to buy tickets

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Helen Show Brings Empower the Community Event to DC

Helen Mesfin of the Helen show on EBS TV. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 19th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Helen Mesfin from the popular Helen Show on EBS TV is launching a trailblazing annual event entitled “Empower the Community” in Washington, D.C., combining her broadcast experience with her professional work in the hospitality industry, and creating a space for community members to participate in panel discussions as well as provide resources and information for families. The event is scheduled to be held at the DC Convention Center on Saturday, August 26th, 2017.

Panel discussion topics include “The Power of Civic Engagement” featuring Menna Demissie, who is Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus; Henock Dory, former White House Policy Advisor for the Obama Administration’s Office of Public Engagement & Intergovernmental Affairs; and Yodit Tewolde, criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor, and legal analyst. Additional speakers include Dr. Senait Fisseha, MD, JD Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Director of International Programs at the Susan T. Buffett Foundation; and Dr. Debrework Zewdie, Distinguished Scholar at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.

“Empower the Community Weekend is a groundbreaking new event that will bring together the largest East African community in the Washington D.C. Metro Area,” Helen says. “The event provides panel discussions, entertainment, empowering information on education, career, arts, finance, health & wellness, giveaways and much more.” She adds: It’s focused on providing resources and family centered activities. We will have various pavilion and activities engaging families with information they need to live productive lives and thrive.”

Helen says the program will also include kids corner with activities such as “reading time, games, fun exercises, art and a booth by D.C. United Soccer Clinic.


Empower the Community Weekend will be launched Saturday August 26th, 2017 by the producers of Helen Show on EBS TV. (Courtesy photos)

Here is a summary of parts of the program on August 26th from 11am-7pm at the Washington Convention Center

Empower Youth: follow your passion. Actress Azie Tesfay; Director/Producer Messay Getahun; Author Michael Asmerom, and Graphic Designer Heli Amare.

Business Leaders Panel: Getting To The Top: Strategies for breaking through the glass ceiling with successful Ethiopian American business leaders. Tefere Gebre, Executive VP AFLCIO, Meskerem Tadesse Director of Center for Minority and Business and Professor of Business Administration and 2 more to be announced next week.

Health & Fitness Pavilion:
Free health screenings provided by Kaiser Permanente, American Kindy Fund, Silver Spring Smiles & Pearl Smiles Dental – BMI, blood pressure, blood glucose, dental screening, fitness consultants, zumba, resources for families with special needs, giveaways and much more. Partner organizations and sponsors are Kaiser Permanente, American Kidney Fund, Ethiopian American Nurses Association, Silver Spring Smiles & Pearl Smiles as well as Ethiopian American doctors.

Career Pavilion:
Hear high energy career motivational speakers. Learn career advancement tips. Participate in informational interviews. Receive mini career coaching. Assess your career aptitudes. Partner organizations include 21st Century Community, YEP – Your Ethiopian Professionals, Alexandria Workforce Development and MBC.

Finance Pavilion:
Topics covered include raising money savvy kids, financial responsibility, creating generational wealth, dealing with college debt, getting your credit right, securing your family’s financial future, and home buying 101. Partner organization are Primerica, CLRA group and Your DMV Team.

Immigration and Legal Issues with Attorney Yemmi Getachew & Hellina Hailu
Fear NOT, Know Your Rights as Immigrants – 11am
Surviving the Stop – How to Engage with Law Enforcement 1:00pm
Teaching Kids & Young Men What to Expect and Know

Warrior Moms – Special Needs Parenting
Leah Tesfa, Birollei Debela and Salem Hagos

Entertainment
Wayna, Ras Nebiyou, Ethiopian Traditional Band, Abel Dureyew, Comedian Gergish and more.

Vendors at the event will also be selling various artisan merchandise

If You Go:
Saturday August 26
11am -7pm
Walter E Washington Convention Center
801 Mt. Vernon Place, NW
Washington DC 20001
www.empowercw.com

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Spotlight: Indrias Kassaye’s Ethiopia Film ‘Breathe in the Roots’ Screens in DC

Still shot from the new film 'Breathe in the Roots' by Indrias G. Kassaye. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 18th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This weekend in Washington D.C. Director and Producer Indrias G. Kassaye’s new film Breathe in the Roots will be screened at the Anacostia Arts Center on Saturday, August 19th starting at 4 pm. The documentary features a young Brooklyn-based African American teacher’s journey of discovery to Ethiopia.

According to the media release, “the ‘work in progress’ screening presents Ty Christen Joseph’s (Chris) quest to discover more about his African ancestral heritage. The film tracks Chris’ journey from Addis Ababa to Lalibela, one of Ethiopia’s holiest pilgrimage sites, on horseback – documenting his once-in-a-lifetime experiences and showcasing a side of Ethiopia that mainstream media rarely covers.”

Indrias Kassaye is a writer, photographer, and producer who “believes in the importance of storytelling that champions the voices and experiences of local communities and everyday people. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Indrias moved back to Ethiopia with dreams of contributing to the development of his country and the African renaissance in general.”

“Indrias is the author of ‘Beyond the Throne: The Enduring Legacy of Emperor Haile Selassie I’ (Shama, 2001). He has worked with UNICEF in Ethiopia and Sierra Leone. He has also worked on media projects in South Sudan, Uganda, Egypt, and South Africa.”


Breathe in the Roots is about a regular guy engaging with regular people on a journey of discovery that few have attempted before. (Courtesy photo)

“The film delves into what it means to grow up without knowing where your ancestors came from, and offers one man’s unique path to reclaiming a lost heritage.”


(Courtesy photo)

The Anacostia Art Center screening will be the first of a series of screenings, photo exhibitions and discussions sessions across the DMV area.


If You Go:
Click here to learn more and RSVP your seat for the DC screening.

Watch: Breathe in the Roots 3 min sampler (A film Directed & Produced by Indrias G. Kassaye)

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Ethiopia Fest Chicago 2017 Ready for Enkutatash Celebration

(Image courtesy: The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 17th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Enkutatash is around the corner and so is the fourth annual Ethiopia Fest Chicago, a colorful September festival in the “Windy City” marking the Ethiopian New Year.

The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC), host of the weekend celebration scheduled for September 9th, announced that their holiday gathering this year features live music, food, fashion show, cultural performance and a gursha contest.

“We are really excited to see Ethiopia Fest continue to grow bigger and better each year,” said Dibora Berhanu, Events Director of the ECAC’s Auxiliary Board. “This year we have all five hours packed with great entertainment and an array of vendors.” She added: “It will be a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon [celebrating] the beautiful Ethiopian culture.” The program also includes traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony and poetry reading by up-and-coming artist, Tigist Dadi.

The non profit organization said it’s expecting up to a thousand people to attend. “This Festival is a wonderful opportunity for Ethiopians in Chicago and other members in the community to engage in festivities to celebrate the New Year,” the press release stated. “The attendees include the Greater Chicago Ethiopian community, adoptive communities, the African and African Diaspora communities, as well as many people who travel from all over the Midwest.”

The press release notes that the festival organizers have partnered with Ethiopian Airlines and offering a raffle of a round-trip ticket to any Ethiopian Airlines destination in Africa. “We also have many local sponsors including The Wild Hare, New City Moving, The African Life, The Meeting Point, Safari Lounge & Ethiopian Cuisine, Ian Sherwin Gallery, and Selam Ethiopian Kitchen” states the press release.


If You Go:
Admission is only $5 and free for children under 5. You can purchase your tickets online or with cash at the door. For more information on Ethiopia Fest Chicago, please visit ethiopiafestchicago.com.

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Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School Names Yohannes Abraham 2017 Fellow

Yohannes Abraham served as Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs under President Obama and as Senior Advisor to the National Economic Council. (Courtesy Photo).

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 15th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Yohannes Abraham will be a 2017 Fellow at the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School. The prestigious institution announced that Yohannes “will guide students through discussions on how White House staff develop and advocate for policy priorities, advance nominations, and manage crises.”

“I can’t think of a more important time to invest in the next generation of public servants,” Yohannes shared in a statement. “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to join this community as a Fall Fellow.”

“Yohannes Abraham has not only had a front row seat, but was an active participant in the complex process of shaping national and international policy,” said Cong. Bill Delahunt, Acting Director of the Institute of Politics. “His willingness to share his White House experience with students will provide them a rare first-hand perspective on the challenges of governing.”

Yohannes served as Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Public Engagement & Intergovernmental Affairs and Senior Advisor to the National Economic Council during the Obama administration. He is currently Senior Advisor to the Obama Foundation.

The press release states Yohannes’ White House experience put him “in the middle of many of the highest profile confirmation, legislative, and communications battles of President Obama’s second term.”

The announcement notes that “Abraham first began working for then-Senator Obama during his Iowa Caucus campaign in 2007. He went on to serve as Senator Obama’s Virginia Field Director in the 2008 general election, helping turn Virginia blue for the first time in 44 years. During President Obama’s first term, Abraham served in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs during the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and other key pieces of the President’s agenda.”

The Institute of Politics at Harvard University was established in 1966 in honor John F. Kennedy, America’s youngest president to be elected. According to its website: “Since its founding half a century ago, the Institute has used its programming and activities to ignite passion, appreciation and respect for politics and public service.”

Yohannes added: ““If there is a subset of students that leave my study group more likely to pursue a career in public service, I will consider my time as a Fellow a success.”

—-
Related:
Yohannes Abraham Named Senior Adviser to the Obama Foundation
Tadias Interview with Yohannes Abraham

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Prevail: New Film in the Making About Ethiopia’s Resistance Against Fascism

The amazing story of Ethiopia's resistance against Fascist Italy's invasion. It's an epic tale of courage, betrayal, faith, love and a proud nation that refused to back down. (Photo from the book Prevail)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: August 14th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The recent publication entitled Prevail — focusing on rarely told personal stories from Ethiopia’s victory over fascist Italy during World War II — is now being converted into a documentary film. Written by Toronto-based journalist and author, Jeff Pearce, Prevail features profiles of heroes including Jagama Kello, Ambassador Imru Zelleke, Lekelash Bayan, Lorenzo Taezaz, African-American pilot John Robinson and Emperor Haile Selassie.

“This is our story and unless we tell it no one else is going to do it for us,” says Bereket Kelile of Sacramento, California who is helping to fundraise for the film project. “It was above-the-fold front page news in the New York Times and other big newspapers at the time, but today it’s not a very well known event. The really urgent part is that there are still people alive from that era, so we are kind of racing against the clock to get them on tape. Unfortunately, we have already lost valuable people in recent years such as Jagama Kello and historian Richard Pankhurst.”

Bereket, who was born and raised in the U.S., first learned about the book after reading the Tadias interview with Jeff Pearce three years ago. He later purchased the book and wrote his own review for the website Medium that led to an introduction and friendship with Pearce.

“Jeff has done his homework,” Bereket says. “It’s a well-researched book. In addition to narrating the story from the Ethiopian point of view what I like about what Jeff says is that from the non-Ethiopian perspective it’s a story that’s very much relevant even here,” Bereket explains. “It had an impact in this country as well. African-Americans were concerned about it and there were thousands of people in Harlem, for example, lined up to volunteer to fight for Ethiopia.”

The online fundraising page for the Prevail film project (www.gofundme.com/ethiopiawins) notes some of the few astonishing facts about the war including that “everyone from Gandhi to Trotsky, from Josephine Baker and Langston Hughes to Bertrand Russell and George Bernard Shaw, had an opinion about it; a Broadway play was shut down over it; Marconi, a Fascist, was trying to build a microwave weapon to fight the British because of Ethiopia; about 20,000 Black Americans marched on one day alone over it on August 3, 1935, and there were other massive protests in America and around the world; It inspired a 17-year-old Nelson Mandela.”

The war was full of atrocities including the massacre of “tens of thousands of Ethiopians over a three-day period, and thousands more taken to concentration camps, where about half of them died.” And finally “it ended with an astonishing rescue against overwhelming odds. A true tale of underdog victory.”

Bereket shares that their initial goal is to raise $50,000 to cover the interviews that will be conducted in Ethiopia, England and the United States as well as to pay for archival footage.


Click here to learn more and contribute towards the making of Ethiopia Prevails (a film).

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Almaz Ayana: Queen of 10,000 Metres

Almaz Ayana celebrates winning the World Athletics Championships Women's 10000 Metres final in London, August 5, 2017. (Reuters)

Reuters

Olympic champion Almaz Ayana Destroys Field to Win 10,000 Metres at World Championships

Ethiopian Almaz Ayana destroyed the field to win the 10,000 metres at the World Championships on Saturday, finishing around 300 metres clear of her rivals in her first race of an injury-plagued season.

The Olympic champion began pulling away from the field after 10 laps, sweeping past back markers who were made to look sluggish in comparison.

She finished in 30:16.32 seconds, well outside the world record she set when she won in Rio last year but still enough to win by an astonishing 46.37 seconds, by far the biggest margin in championship history.

Ayana’s compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba, the former world and Olympic champion, added to her impressive collection of medals when he took the silver with Kenya’s Agnes Tirop in third.

“I am very happy to win this title, much more than when I won the Olympic gold because I have been sick this year and didn’t expect it. In fact, this was my first race of 2017,” Ayana told reporters.

A repeat of her world record-breaking performance in Rio was never on the cards after a slow, tactical start to the race in which the field crawled around the first lap in 81 seconds.

But the last two thirds of the race was reminiscent of Ayana’s extraordinary run last year where she also blew away the field.


Almaz Ayana and Tirunesh Dibaba celebrate after winning gold and silver medals at World Athletics Championships – women’s 10000 metres final – London Stadium, London, Britain – August 5, 2017. (Reuters)

Read more at Reuters.com »


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Kelela’s New Song on NY Times Playlist

Kelela (photo courtesy: Alice Chiche/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

The New York Times

By JON PARELES, JON CARAMANICA and GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

The Playlist: Kelela Wants Answers

Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and videos — and anything else that strikes them as intriguing. You can listen to this Playlist on Spotify.

Kelela sings about a potential one-night stand in “LMK,” the single preceding her official debut album, “Take Me Apart,” due Oct. 6, after four years of sporadic releases. “LMK” isn’t a flirtation — it’s a negotiation, close to an ultimatum. Her potential partner can’t expect romance, can’t say the wrong thing and has to “let me know” fast: “I ain’t gonna wait if you hesitate,” she announces. The encounter takes place in the subterranean ambience of a production by Jam City with wavery bass tones, chattery percussion and countless layers of Kelela’s nonchalant voice ricocheting through the haze. “It ain’t that deep,” she shrugs, but it’s not exactly casual, either. JON PARELES

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related:
Kelela Previews New Album With Potent Hook-Up Anthem ‘LMK’

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Julie Mehretu’s New Towering Project

Julie Mehretu was recently inducted in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. ((Photo: NYT)

The New York Times

Julie Mehretu, a MacArthur Foundation “genius,” is executing a monumental new commission for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Harlem, New York — The artist Julie Mehretu has been flying awfully close to the sun.
Soaring midair on a mobile platform inside an unused Harlem church, she has been working and reworking two towering paintings taking shape on opposite walls, a monumental commission for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

For the last 14 months the vaulted neo-Gothic nave has served as Ms. Mehretu’s temporary studio as she executes the most physically demanding, politically charged and collaborative work of her career. Later this month, her paintings will be installed in the museum’s atrium, where they will remain on view for more than three years.

“These are my most American paintings,” said Ms. Mehretu, 46, running her hand through her crop of dark curls as she contemplated the two radiant and complex canvases, each stretching 27 feet by 32 feet.

Ms. Mehretu made her first marks on the canvases in the days right after the November election. It was her shock that moved her to rapid action and she said the current “miasma” informed her improvisational language of roiling calligraphic brush strokes and erasures. She is interested in what “gestural abstraction” — her intuitive and personal expression — ”can conjure in this political moment,” she said, adding that the works “are trying to make sense of where we are in our country right now.”

Read the full article at NYTimes.com »


Related:
Julie Mehretu: The Addis Show at Modern Art Museum Gabre Kristos Desta Center

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Aminé: Joyful Rapper With Eye on Politics

Aminé’s parents moved to the United States from Ethiopia in the early 1990s, settling in Portland; his mother works for the post office, and his father has been a teacher and translator. (The New York Times)

The New York Times

Meet Aminé, a Joyful Rapper With an Eye on Politics

PORTLAND, ORE. — There is a door at Portland State University that doesn’t quite lock, and one afternoon in early April, the rapper Aminé walked up to it and gave it a hopeful tug. It popped open with an easy exhale, and he smiled. A couple of years ago, when he was still a student here studying marketing but plotting a music career, he would sneak into this building, make his way to a nondescript beige room on the second floor, and, in the quiet of night, accompanied by no one, work on his songs.

Striving to be a rapper in this city better known for indie rock, roots music and “Portlandia”-level whiteness was “super depressing,” he said. The scene was dead. No one replied to his entreaties to collaborate. He couldn’t afford to pay for a real studio.

But there was this unassuming room, where, in the fall of 2015, Aminé recorded onto his laptop the vocals for “Caroline,” the goofy flirtation — “great scenes might be great, but I love your bloopers/and perfect’s for the urgent/Baby, I want forever” — that became a surprise breakout hit last year, and took Aminé from frustrated college student to ascendant hip-hop star signed to a major label, Republic Records…


Aminé with family members in Portland, Ore. (Photo: The New York Times)

It was one of pop culture’s first powerful responses to the election, and it marked Aminé as someone unwilling to be pigeonholed. “I had people that didn’t even congratulate me for the success of ‘Caroline’ saying, ‘Thank you for doing that.’” he said. “Trump as the president doesn’t make sense to me. Someone talking about the country and the people who live in it that way when this country is made up of immigrants, I don’t get how that can even resonate with people.”

Read the full article at NYTimes.com »


Related:
Rolling Stone: Ethiopian American Aminé Among 10 New Artists You Need to Know

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Spotlight: Mahlet Mesfin New Deputy Director at Center for Science Diplomacy

Mahlet Mesfin, the new Deputy Director at Center for Science Diplomacy, previously worked at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). (Photo via AAAS)

AAAS

New Deputy Director at Center for Science Diplomacy brings experience from academia, White House

About halfway through her PhD program in bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, Mahlet Mesfin started thinking about connections outside the micro world of proteins to the macro world of science-society issues. Several years later – and with stints as a AAAS Science and Technology (S&T) Policy Fellow at the Department of Defense and working at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) – Mesfin has come full circle from the academic and governmental spheres, joining the AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy as its Deputy Director in May.

For Mesfin, the intersections of science, policy, and society stretch back to her time as a graduate student at Penn studying traumatic brain injury. For example, her PhD adviser had advised in safety standards for football helmet design, demonstrating the role that science can play in addressing societal problems – and, as importantly, proposing solutions.

“While doing my PhD, I started thinking about how S&T can help answer bigger questions, such as how it can be used in capacity building in low and middle income countries,” she said. “I also got more involved in my university community and advocating for the needs of underrepresented student groups, such as African-American students and women in science and engineering, which gave me my first experiences in policy.”

Her interest in policy led her to spending six months at the U.S. National Academies for Science (NAS) where she worked on projects related to advancing women in STEM in academia and girls in engineering. Her policy interests have been focused on the intersection of S&T and global issues. Mesfin was able to formally enter the science and diplomacy fields at the United States government level, beginning at the Department of Defense, which at the time was seeking to increase its coordination of international S&T efforts among each of its services. In this role, she interfaced with OSTP, which plays a key role in coordinating international S&T activities across the U.S. government. During Mesfin’s second year as a AAAS S&T Policy Fellow, she came on board at OSTP as a detail, and then stayed on to eventually become the Assistant Director for International Science and Technology.

During her time at OSTP she gained greater appreciation for how science, technology, and innovation (STI) make an impact in the world. “Other countries look to the U.S. STI ecosystem to try and model it to meet their national goals. In the current U.S. political environment, with potential cuts to S&T funding and disinterest in soft power, it is unclear how U.S. government leadership on these topics will change over time.”


PRESIDENTIAL SCIENCE ADVISOR JOHN HOLDREN AND MAHLET MESFIN LEARN ABOUT ANCIENT POLYNESIAN VOYAGING TRADITIONS ABOARD THE HŌKŪLEʻA AS PART OF THE U.S. DELEGATION TO THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES HELD IN 2014 IN SAMOA | CREDIT: U.S. EMBASSY NEW ZEALAND

However, Mesfin is confident that the role of STI and its role in diplomacy doesn’t have to be led from a governmental level.

“AAAS is in an excellent position to advance the conversation,” she said. “It is a well-respected organization with a convening power able to bring a number of governmental and non-governmental voices together.”

Mesfin sees a part of her role at the Center for Science Diplomacy as helping to continue to define science diplomacy in the context of current events. “It is paramount that scientists have a seat at the table in relevant matters of foreign policy. I am excited to be a part of a team that is focused on these types of conversations.”


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Wondwossen Dikran’s New Comedy ‘SNAP!’ Playing on YouTube Red

Producer Wondwossen Dikran on the set of the new comedy special, SNAP!, from All Def Digital and Dormtainment currently showing on the online film platform YouTube Red. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

July 17th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-American filmmaker Wondwossen Dikran is the producer of SNAP!, a new comedy special released last week by Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital (ADD) and Dormtainment. The latter is one of the first sketch comedy groups to launch their video content on YouTube. Wondwossen was previously featured as director of the independent film Journey to Lasta released in 2004.

Speaking about his new venture, Wondwossen tell Tadias: “The Co-founder of Dormtainment, Amanuel Richards, is my first cousin and this brought back a lot of the JTL crew. Russell Simmons and All Def Digital are the Executive Producers.” SNAP! is directed by Olumide Odebunmi, Wondwossen’s business & creative partner.

According to Dormtainment, the short comedy SNAP! is “about the hottest Atlanta Snap Rap Group of 2006 aka Stacks-4-Daze. Now the band members are all broke working dead-end-jobs in LA, but when they accidentally go viral on Worldstar they get a second chance at fame. Can they bring the stacks back?”

Describing his cousin Amanuel of Dormtainment Wondwossen shares, “He is much younger than I am, and I have been kind of encouraging him to come out to this side of the coast.” Amanuel — who was born in the U.S. to parents hailing from Ethiopia and the Virgin Islands — is also the co-director and lead actor in SNAP!.

“Once Amanuel came to LA several years ago Dormtainment began to get a lot of buzz. They had a show on Comedy Central, and they were doing a lot of work for LOL network,” says Wondwossen. “So when the opportunity came and they were approached by the multi-channel network, All Def Digital, they asked me to develop and produce this half hour pilot.”

All Def’s Chief Executive, Sanjay Sharma, states: “We are thrilled to have partnered with Dormtainment, one of our earliest partners on the YouTube platform, to produce this unique, hilarious special. They have such a loyal fanbase, and their ability to create highly engaging short form content, long form premium content, and even sell-out, live stage experiences is truly special. We are excited to get this project out for our fans and theirs, and for the broader world to see, as we continue to expand and work with some of the brightest up-and-coming talent in the industry.”


Wondwossen Dikran and Olumide Odebunmi working on set of ‘SNAP!’ (Courtesy photo)

For Wondwossen the main focus has been developing and producing content for the digital space. “We have found opportunity because the business is shifting from traditional models to various digital platforms,” he says. “We’ve been working with several agencies in developing talent for feature films, music videos, as well as high-end commercials and other branded content.”

In order to become a regular series the success of this pilot “basically depends on how much people respond to it based on the numbers and algorithms”, Wondwossen explains. “We encourage people to watch the pilot and give us your feedback, a like, a review, or whatever you think about it.” He added: “We would love as much eyeball as we can get.”


Click here to watch SNAP! on YouTube Red (if you don’t have an account you can sign up for their 3-month free trial)

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P2P Announces 2017 Ethiopian Health Care & Medical Education Conference

(Photo: Courtesy of People to People -P2P)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

July 6th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The U.S.-based non-profit organization for Ethiopian health care professionals in the Diaspora, People to People (P2P), announced that it will be hosting its 9th annual Health Care and Medical Education conference on September 23rd, 2017 at the Residence Inn, Pentagon City, just outside of Washington, D.C.

“The central theme for this year will be ‘Cancer and Cancer Care,’ a topic you will agree, is gaining increasing importance in Ethiopia and beyond,” said Dr. Enawgaw Mehari, Founder and President of P2P in a statement.

The conference will address the current status of cancer care in Ethiopia and participants will “brainstorm on ways to support clinical care, education and research in this field,” Dr. Enawgaw shared in his letter. “To this end, we have assembled an impressive roster of speakers with wide experience in academia, and building and supporting fellowship programs in Hematology and Oncology.”

Dr. Enawgaw added: “P2P has been promoting the concept of triangular partnership since its inception in 2009. This model recognizes the pivotal role Diaspora Health Professionals can play in fostering partnerships between US and Ethiopian institutions of higher learning. The conference this September will provide further opportunity to network and meet Ethiopian and US institutions of higher learning who share the same mission and vision.”


If You Go:
P2P 9th annual Health Care and Medical Education conference
September 23rd 2017
The Residence Inn, Pentagon City
Arlington, Virginia
www.p2pbridge.org

Related:
Watch: 2015 People to People (P2P) Conference Award Ceremony

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A Bone Marrow Drive Underway at Ethiopian Soccer Tournament

(Photo: ESFNA Instagram)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

July 5th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — A timely bone marrow donor drive is being hosted by the Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA) at this year’s annual Ethiopian soccer tournament and cultural festival that’s taking place this week in the Seattle suburb of Renton, Washington.

ESFNA announced that the bone marrow registry will be held in the vendor area of the tournament and festival in coordination with Be The Match organization, which is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program.

“Our hope is to offer a cure for the thousands of people diagnosed with life-threatening cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma each year,” ESFNA said. “Many of these people are of Ethiopian descent.”

Last month we featured Elsa, an Ethiopian-Canadian mother of two children, who is currently in urgent need of life-saving marrow transplant, and who has not yet found a match in the current International Registry of 29 million individuals.

“We encourage all interested parties to please visit the Bone Marrow Registry at Renton Memorial Stadium,” ESFNA added. “Through your donations, lives can be saved.”

Related:
Elsa Nega, Mother of 2 in Canada Needs Life-Saving Marrow Transplant

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Have Women Shattered the Glass Ceiling in Tech? Betty Abera on Fargo INC

Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg on the cover of the July 2017 issue of Fargo INC magazine. (Fargo INC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

July 3rd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The last time we featured Software Engineer turned Social Entrepreneur Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg she had just won the prestigious Bush Fellowship for her non-profit organization, uCodeGirl, whose mission is to encourage young girls to aim for careers in the high-tech industry.

This month Betty, who works and lives in North Dakota, made the cover of her local business magazine, Fargo INC, as one of five women invited to discuss female representation in the technology sector.

“It’s the question no one can seem to answer definitively: Why aren’t more girls going into high-tech fields?” asks Fargo INC introducing its July 2017 edition. “We assembled a panel of five FM-area women working in tech to try and figure out why.”


(Photo: Fargo INC July 2017 issue)

A mother of three boys, Betty is also the author of a children’s book entitled The Alphabet Takes a Journey…Destination Ethiopia. She was born and raised in Ethiopia and attended Addis Ababa University, later working at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) before immigrating to the United States.

Regarding her non-profit, uCodeGirl, which strives to democratize “the technology sandbox with diverse voices as a result of increased participation of women,” Betty told Tadias that it was “inspired by the question — How can I see more people like me in the technology workforce?” She added: “I am engaging my vision and passion to create and foster an enrichment program that will inspire and empower young girls to be the driving force, the innovators of the technology they consume.”

Click here to read the latest issue of Fargo INC »


Related:
Tadias Interview with Ethiopian Children’s Book Author Bethlehem Abera Gronneberg

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On the Roof of Africa in Ethiopia, Amazing Portraits of a Christian Community

(Photo by Sebastião Salgado)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

July 2nd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The following amazing photographs were taken by the legendary Brazilian social documentary photographer and photojournalist Sebastião Salgado and appear in the July 2017 issue of The Smithsonian Magazine.

The photographer was on “a 500-mile, 55-day hike through some of the most inaccessible passages in the Ethiopian highlands, a region known as the roof of Africa, where the elevations range from a few thousand feet to almost 15,000,” notes the Smithsonian Institution publication. “For him, the villages bespeak a continuity over millennia, and the landscape — with its blazing shafts of sunlight and a river-carved canyon deeper, at points, than the Grand Canyon — inspires a connection to eons past.”

The magazine adds: “That river, the Tekezé, ultimately nourished the Blue Nile Delta, hundreds of miles away. All that fertile land energy came from there, eroded from there,” Salgado says, “and boy, me walking there, seeing this, doing my task inside the beginning of our history, was something amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing.”


The Simien Mountains. (Photo by Sebastião Salgado)


The patch to the Yemerehana Kristos church. (Photo by Sebastião Salgado)


(Photo by Sebastião Salgado)

Read the full article and view the rest of the photos at smithsonianmag.com »


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In Australia, Grandson Marks 50th Anniversary of Haile Selassie’s State Visit

Pictures of HIM Haile Selassie taken in Canberra & Melbourne during his State visit to Australia in 1968. (Photos: Pinterest)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 28th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Former Emperor Haile Selassie’s grandson, Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, began a major commemorative tour of Australia on June 16, 2017 to mark the upcoming 50th anniversary of his grandfather’s State Visit to Australia. The International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA), where Prince Ermias is a Senior Fellow, is a major sponsor of the tour.

Prince Ermias, who works with ISSA in conflict resolution issues around the world, is the co-Patron of the ISSA Zahedi Center for the Study of Monarchy, Traditional Governance, and Sovereignty. The association states that in Australia, Prince Ermias “was being accompanied on the visit by ISSA Pres. Gregory Copley and ISSA Executive Director Pamela von Gruber, and a number of ISSA Senior Fellows would participate in the visit in various parts of the trip.”

“Prince Ermias’ Commemorative Tour embraces Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, and Perth, and will include similar activities to those undertaken by the Emperor in 1968,” said the announcement from the Washington, D.C.-based NGO. “Although the visit is a private one, Prince Ermias has been asked to address a significant number of groups in each city, including several black tie dinners.” The press release added that “a ministerial reception was scheduled for the Australian Parliament in Canberra, and a luncheon was to be held for him in the New South Wales Parliament. He will lay a wreath at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, accompanied by the Memorial’s Director (and former Australian Defense Minister) Dr Brendan Nelson. Former Head-of-State Michael Jeffery will also host a dinner for him in Canberra.”


Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie was quoted by the Financial Review Australia publication as stating: “People identify with Ethiopia – its resistance to colonialism, its long history, its sense of pride, sense of tolerance and the living together of all these different religions in peace.”

According to The International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA) “In Melbourne, Prince Ermias will plant a tree at the Royal Botanic Gardens, near the one planted by the Emperor in 1968. He will also meet with a number of Ethiopian-Australian community leaders.”

Watch: HAILE SELASSIE IN AUSTRALIA (AP Video)

Watch: Haile Selassie visits the Australian War Memorial – 14 May 1968 — No Sound


Related:
Ethiopia’s Prince Selassie. The exiled prince from the world’s oldest monarchy (FRA)
Family of Ethiopia’s Late Emperor Gives $700k to Haile Selassie School in Jamaica
Tadias Interview With Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie
In Pictures: 50th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Historic Visit to Jamaica
Under Pressure from Family Christie’s Skips Auction of Haile Selassie’s Watch
New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie (TADIAS)

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Marcus Samuelsson Brings Red Rooster to London

Chef Marcus Samuelsson at the new Red Rooster in London (Photo: Bloomberg)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 27th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Chef Marcus Samuelsson has expanded his popular Harlem restaurant business across the pond, opening a new Red Rooster in London late last month. The restaurant, which is housed inside the elegant Curtain Hotel in the East London neighborhood of Shoreditch, is the first Red Rooster location outside of New York City.

As Bloomberg News points out: “Red Rooster became a hit in Harlem thanks to chef Marcus Samuelsson’s take on Southern comfort food — and became internationally famous because former President Barack Obama was a huge fan. He even held a fundraiser there. The first foreign outpost of Red Rooster opens at the new Curtain Hotel in London’s hip Shoreditch neighborhood. About half the menu will be the same as the New York location: There will still be chicken ’n waffles for £10 ($13), fried yard bird (£19) and the Obama short ribs (£33), a recipe fit for a president. But he’s using some local ingredients and adding dishes to reflect his background, such as Uncle T’s herring (£8). Plus, there will be a taqueria called Tienda Roosteria.”

Why London?

The Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised celebrity chef and author says that like New York he is attracted to London for it’s multiculturalism. “New York is a world city, and so is London, but London has a different kind of diversity than New York and I thrive off that,” Marcus told The Globe and Mail. “We wanted to find a neighbourhood that matched the excitement of Harlem, and felt that Shoreditch and London, as a town, really matches New York.” He added: “It has incredible mystique, funk and coolness. I’ve been asked to open a new Red Rooster every week for the past four and a half years, and I always say no. When you walk into the restaurant, the first thing you’ll see is a taqueria inspired by the barrio. We have a huge Latin community in east Harlem.”

“Samuelsson, 46, became a star early in his career more than two decades ago, as he earned a three-star review from The New York Times as the chef at Aquavit. Now his brand and marketing empire has expanded to restaurants in Bermuda, Sweden, and Norway, and he’s a regular on shows such as Chopped and Iron Chef America.”

—-
Related:
5 Things to Know About Marcus Samuelsson’s London Red Rooster

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In Pictures: Beteseb Painting Session at Smithsonian in DC

Beteseb Painting Session at the Smithsonian African Art Museum in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 2017. (Photo by Victor Mayeya Odori)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 26th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Last week the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. hosted an evening of painting and Ethiopian Jazz “under the summer skies” with Beteseb Center and Feedel Band.

We featured the Beteseb art program when it was first launched two years ago as a weekly Saturday painting session for amateur artists in a rental space on 18th street in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.

Beteseb founders Solomon Asfaw and Aleme Tadesse envisioned providing a creative outlet for individuals as well as groups not only to create art, but to also jumpstart a movement for youth to spend their time in more rewarding ways. Indeed the movement is underway and growing. The most recent event at Smithsonian on June 17th was “attended by 529 people while 189 people painted,” Beteseb shared adding “Thanks for Feedel Band making the evening super nice.”

Below are photos from the event:

Beteseb announced that it will host its next event in August and September, closer to the Ethiopian New Year. They will also “be opening up more weekly paint sessions in Virginia in addition to the current one every Saturday in Adams Morgan.”


More information can be found at facebook.com/BetesebCenter.

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Face2face Africa Honors Mimi Alemayehou

Ethiopian-born Mimi Alemayehou, Managing Director at Black Rhino Group, was Executive Vice president of the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corp (OPIC) under the Obama administration. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 21st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Face2Face Africa has officially announced the honorees for the 2017 annual FACE List Award — a prestigious celebration of pan-African achievement in the U.S. — and this year the list includes Ethiopian American Mimi Alemayehou who is the Managing Director at Black Rhino Group, an investment firm focused on the development and acquisitions of energy and infrastructure projects across Africa.

“Ethiopian-born Mimi Alemayehou is one of the most influential and sought-after experts in African Business,” Face2face Africa said in a press release. She is Managing Director at Black Rhino Group, and also serves as an Executive Advisor and Chair of Blackstone Africa Infrastructure LP. Previously, she was Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC), under the Obama administration, and was one of the architects of the Power Africa initiative to increase energy access across the continent.”

Prior Ethiopian recipients of the Face2Face Africa award include Chef and Entrepreneur Marcus Samuelsson and Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Founder and CEO of soleRebels.

Mimi is being honored along with Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of the National Action Network; Beverly Bond, Founder of Black Girls Rock!; and Tuma Basa, Global Programming Head of Hip-Hop at Spotify.

“We are very proud of our 2017 honorees for their distinguished careers and achievements,” Face2Face Africa added in their media release. “Their impact and legacy will shape and influence the pan-African community for generations to come.”


If You Go:
2017 Pan-African Weekend
New York City
Thu, July 13 – Sun, July 16
More info at face2faceafrica.com.

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Elsa Nega, Mother of 2 in Canada Needs Life-Saving Marrow Transplant

Because Elsa Nega is an Ethiopian, her chances of finding a donor on the international registry is slim and so her family is appealing to Ethiopians worldwide to help save her life by joining the registry at Match4Elsa.com

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 21st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Elsa (Elizabeth) Nega is an Ethiopian-Canadian mother of two children who is currently in urgent need of life-saving marrow transplant. Her family is searching worldwide to find a match for Elsa. “Her brother and sister in Ethiopia were her best hope but are not matches,” states a recent press release. “Of the 29 million people in the International Registry, no matches have been found.”

According to her family Elsa was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia after she suddenly fell ill earlier this year. A statement from the family said she walked into her local ER on February 8 and was rushed into an intensive care unit. The following day she was diagnosed with the acute form of leukemia (or cancer of the white blood cells). “She started on chemo immediately,” the statement said. “Unlike 90% of patients who go into remission after the first round of chemo, Elsa did not. Now, after 3 rounds of chemo, a bone marrow transplant is her only hope of recovery.”


Elsa Nega. (Courtesy photo)

Because Elsa is Ethiopian, her chances of finding a donor on the registry are slim, and so her family is appealing to Ethiopians worldwide to join the registry to help save Elsa and so many others like her. “Specifically, there is a great need for young adults, ages 18-35, of African descent. The younger a person is, the healthier their marrow is, which means more possible matches for patients like Elsa.”


You can learn more and join the match registry as potential marrow donors at Match4Elsa.com.

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Tech Crunch: Interview with Yonas Beshawred, Founder & CEO of Stackshare

Yonas Beshawred — an Ethiopian-American from Maryland -- is the founder and CEO of Stackshare, a developer-only community of engineers, CTOs, VPEs, and developers from some of the world's top startups and companies. (Photo: Techcrunch.com)

Tech Crunch

Why Stackshare is quietly becoming a secret weapon for developers and Silicon Valley CTOs

On Stackshare, Airbnb lists over 50 services in its “stack,” Slack lists 24, and Spotify lists more than 31; these stacks are collections of different pieces of software that each company is using to run their operations, and range from infrastructure tools to communications tools to container tools to email services.

Why are companies beginning to share the specific mix of apps that’s enabling their businesses to grow? Because they know it’s the missing piece of the puzzle for developers, many of whom struggle to learn which tools certain companies use and why, says Stackshare founder and CEO Yonas Beshawred.

In fact, Stackshare is quietly becoming a go-to platform for numerous players in the startup ecosystem for a few reasons, Beshawred argues.

The benefits are clearest for developers. “If you’re trying to build a new on-demand service,” he notes, “you can come to Stackshare and see all the tools that Instacart uses.” Stackshare also benefits companies; when big or small startups volunteer what tools they’re using, they have a better shot at attracting developers who are well-versed in those very same technologies.

Meanwhile, Stackshare is attracting the attention of SaaS vendors, a small but growing number of which are beginning to sponsor sections of the platform and that now have a new place for their communities to evangelize their products.

Certainly, something seems to be clicking. Stackshare, founded in San Francisco in 2014, currently features the “verified” tech stacks of 7,000 companies. More, it claims that more than 150,000 developers are now using the service, where they not only see which companies are using what but they’re also invited to (and do) comment on the tools, helping their peers understand what they should be using and avoiding.

Investors like it, too. At least, today, Stackshare is announcing that it had raised $1.5 million in seed funding late last year, led by Cervin Ventures. Other participants include Precursor Ventures, Square exec Gokul Rajaman, and former VMWare and Facebook exec turned VC Jocelyn Goldfein. The round follows $300,000 in earlier seed funding from 500 Startups; MicroVentures; Airbnb’s first employee, Nick Grandy; Heroku’s former engineering manager Glenn Gillen, and others.

Read more »


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Meklit Releases New Ethio-Jazz Album, Set to Perform in DC and New York

Meklit Hadero's album cover "When the People Move, the Music Moves Too" (courtesy image).

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 19th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American singer and composer Meklit Hadero will be performing in Washington DC on June 20th and in New York City on June 21st as Six Degrees Records releases her latest album entitled When the People Move, the Music Moves Too. This past May we shared her video single “I Want to Sing For Them All” as featured on Vibe Magazine.

Meklit’s new album was composed after a chance meeting in Addis Ababa with Mulatu Astatke, the legendary Ethio-Jazz musician, composer and vibraphonist. “He was very pointed with me, saying several times ‘You keep innovating!’” she recalls. “He took me to task and.. it took me a while to digest that. It’s a big thing to have someone like that say that to you. I sat with it for a couple of years.”

Having first launched her music career in the mid-2000s, Meklit has since released five records, been named a TED Global Fellow and was an artist-in-residence at De Young Museum, Red Poppy Art House and New York University. She is the Co-Founder of the popular international group, Nile Project, which brings together musicians from 11 countries in the Nile Basin to tour and perform. She is also Founder of the Arba Minch Collective composed of Diaspora-based Ethiopian artists looking to collaborate with colleagues residing in their native homeland. Meklit performed at the concert inaugurating the UN Campaign for Gender Equality in Africa, and currently sits on the Board of the San Francisco Chapter of The Recording Academy, the organization that puts together the annual Grammy awards ceremony.

Meklit’s upcoming album, produced by Grammy-winner Dan Wilson, is also accompanied by the Ethiopian-born pianist Kibrom Birhane who is based in Los Angeles.

“I am an immigrant, so I guess you could say this is immigrant music,” Meklit says, speaking of her new work. “But I would not be who I am without Jazz, and Blues and Hip-Hop and Soul. This music is Ethio-American, just like me. I find joy in the bigness of that space.”


If You Go:
Album Release Concert (When the People Move, the Music Moves Too)
June 20th, 2017
Washington DC
Tropicalia (click here for tickets)
2001 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

June 21st, 2017
New York City
Nublu (click here for tickets)
62 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009

Watch: Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz


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Art in NYC This Week: Julie Mehretu ‘Uptown’ at the Wallach Art Gallery

(Courtesy Image: The Wallach Art Gallery and Culture Mag)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 14th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Last month Ethiopian-American artist Julie Mehretu was inducted into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters. The Academy, which is chartered by the U.S. Congress, was established in 1898 “as an honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers.” According to the organization’s website: “The Academy seeks to foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts by administering over 70 awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theater, and purchasing artwork for donation to museums across the country.”

This week Julie Mehretu and Jessica Rankin’s art works are also featured at Columbia University’s Wallach Art Gallery. The exhibition, aptly titled “Uptown,” inaugurates the gallery’s new space in Harlem at 125th Street and Broadway.

“Uptown showcases established and mid-career artists alongside emerging talent from Harlem, El Barrio, Washington Heights and all neighborhoods in between,” the gallery announced. “With this initiative, the Wallach Art Gallery joins northern Manhattan’s vibrant art scene. Uptown celebrates these neighborhoods long at the vanguard in nurturing vital, internationally recognized art.”


If You Go:
SPECIAL EVENTS AT THE WALLACH ART GALLERY
615 W. 129th St
(Enter on W. 125th street, just west of Broadway)

Uptown exhibit is open from June 2 – August 20, 2017

All programs are free and open to the public.

More info at columbia.edu.


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Inside The Weeknd’s $92 Million Year–And The New Streaming Economy Behind It

This story about The Weeknd (Abel Makkonen Tesfaye) an Ethiopian-Canadian singer, songwriter, and record producer appears in the June 29, 2017 issue of Forbes Magazine. (Photo: Jamel Toppin)

Forbes Magazine

Inside The Weeknd’s $92 Million Year–And The New Streaming Economy Behind It

Five years ago, Spotify was a fledgling music-streaming service only months removed from its U.S. launch and YouTube had just started its push into original programming; Netflix was a year away from doing the same, starting with House of Cards. For the members of the Celebrity 100–our annual accounting of the top-earning entertainers on the planet–meaningful streaming income was a distant dream.

But sometimes profound change happens quickly. Streaming is now the dominant platform for music consumption, and it’s growing rapidly–up 76% year-over-year, according to Nielsen. YouTube has birthed a whole new breed of celebrity: the YouTube star. And Netflix plans to spend hundreds of millions annually on original content.

“It’s not just about music–it’s about every form of entertainment,” Nielsen’s David Bakula says. “You don’t really have to own anything anymore, because for $10 a month you can do this: You can have everything.”

Full List: The World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities

The indirect spoils of streaming can be even greater. Abel “the Weeknd” Tesfaye parlayed his play count–5.5 billion streams in the past two years–into an estimated $75 million touring advance. To him it’s all part of the model he’s been following throughout his rapid rise, one that applies to all sorts of businesses: Create an excellent product, make it widely available and flip the monetization switch when the timing is right.

“I really wanted people who had no idea who I was to hear my project,” he says. “You don’t do that by asking for money.”

Steve Jobs would have been the logical choice to headline the launch of Apple’s eponymous streaming service, but by the time the tech giant rolled out Apple Music two years ago, he was busy putting dents into faraway universes. In his place was a pair of young musicians who walk the line between hip-hop, pop and R&B: Drake and the Weeknd. The latter stunned the crowd with the first-ever live performance of his new single “I Can’t Feel My Face,” which premiered on Apple Music and has generated more than 1.5 billion spins across all streaming platforms.

The Weeknd knows as well as anyone that streaming isn’t the future of music–it’s the present. As digital downloads and physical sales plummet, streaming is increasing overall music consumption–since their Apple appearances, Drake (No. 4 on our list at $94 million) and The Weeknd (No. 6, $92 million) have clocked a combined 17.5 billion streams–and that creates other kinds of monetization, including touring revenue.

“We live in a world where artists don’t really make the money off the music like we did in the Golden Age,” says the Weeknd, 27. “It’s not really coming in until you hit the stage.


Ready for the Weeknd: Boosted by the ubiquity of his music, he’s now grossing north of
$1.1 million per stop on his Starboy: Legend of the Fall World Tour. (Forbes)

Read more »


Related:
Teddy Afro ‘Grateful for the Love’ After New CD Ethiopia Ranks No. 1 on Billboard
Watch: Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz
Spotlight: Mulatu Astatke’s Landmark Album ‘Mulatu of Ethiopia’ Gets a Reissue

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Congrats to Ezra Yoseph High School Student Offered $6 Million in Scholarships

Ethiopian American high school student Ezra Yoseph of Las Vegas, Nevada was accepted to 24 of the top and prestigious universities in the United States this month with an offer of $6 Million in scholarships. (8 News)

8 News LAS VEGAS

LAS VEGAS – Later this month, thousands of local high school students will graduate and move on to college, including one spectacularly successful student who’s been offered more than $6 million in scholarships.

[His] name is Ezra Yoseph and attends Clark High School with an impressive academic story.

Ezra was accepted to 24 of the top and prestigious universities in the United States. He started thinking about what to write in his application essay when he was a freshman in a high school.

“It’s amazing to watch him grow into such a fine young man,” says Mrs. Lonie Lim, Clark High School Counselor.

“So, I wrote about a lot of things in my essay but mostly I wrote about something I’m really passionate about [which is] social liberation in Africa, and specifically I talked about literacy rates among Ethiopian women where my family came from; I spoke about basketball, I tied so many things I like and enjoy and passionate about,” says Ezra Yoseph.

He is the first person in his immediate family to go to college and has a 4.73 GPA. Choosing the right school wasn’t easy and he visited several of them after narrowing it down to an impressive final four of Stanford, Yale, Princeton and Columbia Universities. Ezra finally felt more comfortable with Stanford University and plans to attend in the fall of 2017.

Ezara Yoseph, who grew up in a single parent household, has his sights set on becoming a clinical neurosurgeon. He says, “I want to focus on studying Parkinson’s disease that really stems from my grandmother who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease six years ago.”

“He is a remarkable kid and I’m telling you, in four years when he graduates, he’s going to do even bigger and better things.”


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Wayna Pays Tribute to Legendary Ethiopian Musician Bezunesh Bekele

Grammy-nominated singer Wayna will perform a tribute to legendary Bezunesh Bekele at Bethesda Blues & Jazz club on June 9th. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

June 8th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Following her performance with the Stevie Wonder as a soloist and supporting vocalist, Ethiopian American singer Wayna is starting this summer with a one-of-a-kind tribute to Ethiopian music legend Bezunesh Bekele. Wayna’s upcoming concert is scheduled to be held at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club in Maryland on Friday, June 9th.

As a Grammy-nominated musician Wayna has previously performed at the Kennedy Center, the White House, Lincoln Center, and the Blue Note along with a 3-month performance residency in Ethiopia in 2016. Wayna also recently released a music video this past March in honor of Women’s History Month entitled You’re Not Alone, which featured images of Ethiopian women by photographer Aida Muluneh as well as photos of women that she encountered at the historic Women’s March on Washington in January 2017.


If You Go:
Friday, June 9th, 2017
Door open at 6pm
Show at 7:00PM
Tickets $25 (click here to reserve seats)

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Timnit Gebru: Among Incredible Women Advancing A.I. Research

Timnit Gebru, a Computer Science PhD Candidate at Stanford University emphasizes inclusion and diversity in the artificial intelligence field. (Photo: Stanford)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 22nd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Last week Forbes Magazine featured Ethiopian-born Timnit Gebru among 21 incredible women behind artificial intelligence research that’s fueling new discoveries in the field. “You already know that artificial intelligence is transforming virtually every industry and function,” the business publication wrote. “But you might not have met the brilliant AI researchers and technologists driving the edge of innovation.”

Timnit Gebru, who came to the United States when she was 16 years old and is currently a PhD candidate at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, states “my main research interest lies in data mining large scale publicly available images to gain sociological insight, and working on computer vision problems that arise as a result,” adding that her “research is supported by the NSF foundation GRFP fellowship and currently the Stanford DARE fellowship.”

Forbes highlights that Timnit also “actively works to boost diversity and inclusion in the field of AI.” After noticing that she was the only black woman at a major AI conference, she co-founded the social community Black In AI to drive connection and participation in AI research. In addition Timnit returned to Ethiopia to co-teach AddisCoder, a programming bootcamp, to a diverse range of young students and to help them gain admissions into top U.S. colleges.

“This is the most diverse/inclusive classroom I have ever been in,” says Timnit regarding her Ethiopia experience. “All regions of Ethiopia were represented with many religions and at least 10 languages (there were 85 students). There were different income levels ranging from students working as shoe shiners to put themselves through school to kids who went to private middle schools. Some kids had never touched a computer before while others have programmed in Java. But all of them currently understand the basics of recursion, dynamic programming, graphs etc. And they only took this class for one month. I hope to one day see a computer science classroom in the U.S. that is this diverse.”

Forbes notes that “since AI affects all aspects of society, even being used to manipulate elections and identify criminals, Gebru cautions that “AI researchers should not be silent regarding the repercussions of their work. Only when technology creators tend to inclusion will the exponential benefits of artificial intelligence positively impact all.”


Related:
The Economist appluads Timnit Gebru’s recent work: A machine-learning census of America’s cities
Spotlight: TADIAS Interview With Solomon Kassa, Host of TechTalk on EBS

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Spotlight: Mulatu Astatke’s Landmark Album ‘Mulatu of Ethiopia’ Gets a Reissue

(Photo: Mulatu Astatke's Facebook page)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 21st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – Mulatu Astatke’s seminal album Mulatu of Ethiopia was officially reissued on Friday, May 19th. The label, Strut Records, announced that the “official reissue of Mulatu Astatke landmark Ethio jazz album from 1972, including new interview and photographs, features previously unheard mono mix and session out-takes.”

The New York Times featured Mulatu’s album this week on their playlist, and noted: “The Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke studied vibraphone and percussion at Berklee College of Music in the mid-1960s, and a small label gave him the chance to record Ethio-jazz fusions. He made his funky, forward-looking, newly reissued 1972 album, “Mulatu of Ethiopia,” in New York City with jazz and Latin musicians, combining his African and American elements differently for each track. The melody of “Mulatu,” named for the composer himself, uses an unmistakably Ethiopian mode, while the track also has a crunchy wah-wah guitar, a steadfastly riffing horn section, a bullish saxophone solo and Mr. Astatke’s own vibraphone shimmering in dark spaces.”

Born in Jimma in 1943 the legendary artist is best known as the father of ethio-jazz. “At 73, Mulatu Astatke is as relevant as ever, and that goes for the music he made 45 years ago,” adds the music website Treble Zine in a recent highlight. “Mulatu of Ethiopia isn’t new, but every spin feels like a fresh discovery.”


Related:
Mahmoud Ahmed & Ali Birra Rock the Stage in Melbourne, Australia
Teddy Afro ‘Grateful for the Love’ After New CD Ethiopia Ranks No. 1 on Billboard
Watch: Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz
Mahmoud Ahmed Brings Down the House at Carnegie Hall Debut Concert – Photos

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Mahmoud Ahmed & Ali Birra Rock the Stage in Melbourne, Australia

Mahmoud Ahmed and Ali Birra played two concerts together to an enthusiastic audience in Melbourne, Australia on May 14th, 2017. (Photographer – Mario De Bari)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 16th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – This past weekend, Mahmoud Ahmed and Ali Birra shared the stage for a rare and memorable concert held in front of a jubilant audience in Melbourne, Australia.

The Ethiopian legends played two shows accompanied by a local band, The JAzmaris, “to ecstatically exuberant audiences” reported the website Australian Stage.

And there was plenty of eskista and sing-along from Ethiopian concertgoers at the performance, which took place on Sunday, May 14th inside the Playhouse concert hall at Melbourne’s Arts Centre. According to the review by the Australian Stage: “the two most revered jazz singers of Ethiopia sang with the band at high voltage – the love in the room was immense with members of the audience leaping on stage to plaster money on the white-suited singers’ heads and in their pockets, sharing a moment of song with them.”

The concert featured Mahmoud and Ali’s most popular songs, but Ali Birra also sang a few songs in Somali, along with the song that originally made him famous: Birraa dhaa Barihe.

Both musicians who are in their seventies are considered Ethiopia’s cultural icons and two of the earliest voices of Ethio-Jazz.


Related:
Teddy Afro ‘Grateful for the Love’ After New CD Ethiopia Ranks No. 1 on Billboard
Watch: Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz
Mahmoud Ahmed Brings Down the House at Carnegie Hall Debut Concert – Photos

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G7 & Africa: Dr. Lemma Senbet on Why Growth Should be More Inclusive

Prof. Lemma W Senbet is the Executive Director of the African Economic Research Consortium. (Photo: ISPI)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 15th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American financial economist Dr. Lemma Senbet, who is the Executive Director of the Pan African economic policy organization African Economic Research Consortium based in Nairobi, Kenya, was one of the presenters during a high–level panel held in Rome, Italy last week comprising of representatives and experts from the G7 and selected African think tanks. According to the announcement the conference “focused on Africa and addressed three key issues related to Agenda 2030: food security, innovation and mobility,” in preparation for the upcoming meeting of the G-7 Heads of State in Italy.

Prof. Lemma Senbet Says Africa’s Economic Renaissance Should Be More Inclusive and Sustainable

In the past few years “Africa has actually witnessed a growth syndrome,” says Prof. Lemma Senbet, who is currently on leave from the University of Maryland, College Park where he holds the William E. Mayer Chaired Professorship of Finance. “Some people call that growth renaissance and so moving forward growth has to be inclusive… and agents of those inclusivity are small farmers, women, youth and medium enterprises.”

Prof. Lemma added: “Technology and innovation is really key to leapfrogging and empowering these individuals and institutions. You need innovation not only in agriculture but also in finance. For instance in the area of agricultural innovation, which is actually linked to finance, is the idea of making our small farmers insurable and bankable so they will have access to credit because that’s a big constraint.”

Below is the full video of Prof. Lemma Senbet explaining his presentation at the G7 & Africa panel held in Rome on May 5th:


Related:
Professor Lemma Senbet Leads AERC to Top Global Index Ranking
Tadias Interview with Professor Lemma Senbet: New Head of African Economic Research Consortium

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Teddy Afro ‘Grateful for the Love’ After New CD Ethiopia Ranks No. 1 on Billboard

Teddy Afro performing at SummerStage festival in New York on July 5th, 2014. (Photo by Tsedey Aragie)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 13th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – Teddy Afro’s new album, Ethiopia, made the number one spot on Billboard’s World Albums chart this week as “the highest ranking debut” based on Nielsen Music’s tabulation of sales that measure weekly popularity of singles or albums worldwide.

I am “overwhelmed with your response,” Teddy Afro said on Facebook following Billboard magazine’s announcement. “Grateful for all the love and support.”

The 40-year-old pop star’s latest release, which so far has sold over half a million copies, builds on his previous record smashing albums including Tikur Sew (2012) as well as Abugida (2001), Yasteseryal (2005) and Yasteseryal Edition 2 (2005).

Teddy who has dominated the Ethiopian music scene for over fifteen years produces socially conscious lyrics emphasizing “reconciliation, unity, history, justice, and equality,” notes the online independent music distributor CD Baby. “These subjects have gained him the hearts and ears of millions of adoring fans.”

Later this month the iconic singer will also be honored with an award by the Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED) in Maryland. The the non-profit organization recognizes that Teddy Afro (Tewodros Kassahun) “is an accomplished and distinguished singer and songwriter who has endeared himself to the Global Ethiopian Community in general and to the Diaspora Ethiopians in particular.” The 2017 SEED award will be given to Teddy Afro on May 28th “in appreciation of his tireless efforts to preserve our history and culture through his thoughtful and meaningful musical composition and lyrics that make us feel proud as Ethiopians and inspire the new generation of Ethiopians around the world, in acknowledgement of his inspiring humanitarian support to the less fortunate among us as well as in recognition of his talent as a rising star that is loved and admired by countless Ethiopians.”


Related:
Ethiopia’s star singer Teddy Afro makes plea for openness (AP)

Watch: Teddy Afro Rocks New York’s SummerStage and B.B. King Blues Club — 2014 (TADIAS Video)

Photos: Teddy Afro at SummerStage 2014 Festival in New York

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Ethiopian American Designer Jomo Tariku Presents at Venice Design 2017

Jomo Design's 'The Birth Chair II.' (Photos by Bemnet Yemesgen @Elasticreative)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 11th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American Designer Jomo Tariku’s latest work, The Birth Chair II, was featured at Venice Design 2017 in Venice, Italy this week as as part of Venice Design’s Time, Space Existence exhibition. In addition, the exhibit highlighted four new designs by Jomo Furniture including “the incorporation of African textiles into modular backrests.”

According to Jomo “The Birth Chair II is inspired by African birthing chairs, which are still used in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Like most home furnishings in African countries, it is both utilitarian and decorative as well as a functional furniture that is also a work of art. Jomo original model is modular, with swappable backrests featuring various designs. Spare backrests can be displayed as decor. The ultimate design is modern, though rooted in African history.”

The press release adds: “Jomo’s unique exhibition ushers in a new era of mainstreaming African design. Africa has been severely underrepresented in events such as Venice Biennale due in part to the ethnic, rather than nation-based identity among many in African countries. Mainstream events are typically organized around national representation.”

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Related:
Contemporary Design Africa Book Features Jomo Tariku’s Ethiopia Furniture

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Spotlight: Interview With Solomon Kassa, Host of TechTalk on EBS

Solomon Mulugeta Kassa is the Producer and Host of the 'TechTalk with Solomon' television show on Ethiopia Broadcasting Services (EBS). (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 8th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Long before Solomon Mulugeta Kassa launched his popular TechTalk televised show on Ethiopia Broadcasting Services (EBS) highlighting Ethiopian scientists, his friends used to tease him about his nonstop enthusiasm for the newest robot, space exploration, or digital gadgets. “I am always excited about the most recent human innovations in science and technology that impact our lives,” Solomon said in a recent interview with Tadias Magazine, noting that it was one of his buddies who suggested that he become a TV personality so he can free them from his constant obsession. “It was a jokester friend of mine who inspired me to do it,” Solomon recalled with laughter. “So I eventually contacted EBS and made a proposal for the show. They loved it. They said when can you start? That was in 2012.”

Fast forward five years later and Solomon — who works full time as a Senior Technology Consultant for Deloitte — has so far taped over 130 episodes of his show featuring fascinating guests including NASA scientist Dr. Brook Lakew, who is an Associate Director for Planning, Research and Development, Solar System Exploration Division at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as well as Ethiopian American scientist Sossina M. Haile who is Professor of Materials Science & Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University and one of the leading green energy researchers in the world.

Solomon said his only requirement for the show was that the DC-based program conducted interviews in Amharic so as to avoid “any language barrier” for his target audience especially in Ethiopia. “We know that even in this age of the Internet there is a huge information gap that exists in Ethiopia,” Solomon said. “That knowledge gap has always felt like a burden to me, so this is my way of sharing a little bit of what I know with people who are both younger, older and much smarter than I am.” Over the years Solomon has won an enthusiastic following both in Ethiopia and abroad. He has even appeared as a guest on various national Ethiopian TV shows, and last year received the SEED award from the US-based Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora.

SEED said they recognized Solomon for “his extraordinary commitment in promoting the use and teaching of technology through his “Tech Talk” initiative on EBS, reaching millions in the Ethiopian community and doing so in our native language.” And his alma mater, The George Washington University, where he received his Master of Science degree in Information Systems Technology Management in 2011, was equally enthusiastic in a recent feature on their website profiling their former student as trailblazer in the Ethiopian community. In his episodes, “Solomon interviews subject matter experts who enlighten viewers on recent science and technology developments, applications, and uncharted areas of exploration,” the university wrote. “The more than 100 weekly sessions have covered such diverse topics as robotics, space exploration, industrial design, transportation technology, construction engineering, aviation, and futuristic innovations.”


TechTalk with Solomon on EBS. (Courtesy photo)

Like many immigrants Solomon shared that adjusting to life in the United States wasn’t necessarily a smooth ride for him. “It was more like a roller coaster,” he said. “I arrived in Washington in late 2003 (on December 31st to be exact) on a scholarship to attend the University of Jamestown, a private liberal arts college, located in Jamestown, North Dakota.” Solomon, however, never made it past the D.C. area. “When I came here I had only $120 in my pocket,” he recalled. “The scholarship I had was not 100%. It covered about 65% of my expenses. So it became immediately clear to me that I had to find a way to support myself and get my papers straight in order to finish school.” That included crashing at a friend’s studio and working for a while at a convenience store “shelving beers and mopping the floor.” After a while he found a job at a hotel as a front desk supervisor from 3:00pm to 11:00pm, which he said allowed him to attend school during the day, starting at Northern Virginia Community College where he earned another technology associate degree (his first associate degree equivalency was from a private software engineering school in Ethiopia). He also briefly attended George Mason University, but had to withdraw because “working full time, supporting family and going to school was not working out.” At the end Solomon, who is a father of one, graduated from DC’s Strayer University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2008. Soon he landed a new professional job as a software developer working at the American Society of Clinical Oncology for five years prior to continuing his graduate studies at George Washington University and moving on to join his current position at Deloitte in 2011. And less than a year later Tech-talk with Solomon’ was born on EBS.

In addition, Solomon announced that he is putting the final touches on an upcoming new book aptly titled Science and Technology: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, which he says is “the first Amharic publication of its kind both in content and detail. “It will cover major science moments in history, its effect on the world and its relations to Ethiopia from the industrial revolution to the information age.” Solomon says. “The book will also contain a reflection about the future. Where are we headed? And what is our role? I am talking here about Africans in general and Ethiopians in particular. The fact of the matter is that we started civilization, but when it comes to modern technology we are still playing catch up.”

Asked about the ongoing debate on social media about Ethiopia’s fledgling space program Solomon said he is not as skeptical as some people although he has his own cautious opinions about what the priorities of the orbiters should be such as to “improve agriculture or provide useful weather data as opposed to focusing solely on communication,” he said. “Actually right now technology is the only solution to leapfrog and address some of our most pressing issues.”

“For example in the 1990′s people used to mock our entire continent saying what good is the Internet for Africa?” Solomon emphasized. “Well, look where we are now. So it’s not a luxury. Why should we be the last adopters? Why?”


You can learn more about the show at www.techtalkwithsolomon.com.

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Watch: Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz

Meklit pays homage to her Ethiopian influences on “I Want to Sing For Them All.” (Image: Meklit H. video)

VIBE

Ethiopian Jazz musician Meklit Hadero gives us an amazing tune that shows love to her musical roots, titled “I Want to Sing for Them All,” it features violinist and whistler Andrew Bird. The track is the latest single from her forthcoming album, When The People Move, The Music Moves Too.

“I Want to Sing for Them All” is a beautiful medley of lush and rich sounds from the African diaspora that inspired the song…Meklit’s beautiful visuals pay homage to every sound and artist that crossed her path since she was a child. Her soulful melody shows all of her cultural influences — from hip-hop, soul, and American pop music to Ethiopian jazz music, which shapes her stylistic range. The former TED fellow explains how “I Want to Sing For Them All” is her musical manifesto, and how she intertwines both of the music of American and Ethiopian heritages

She adds, “We came to this country when I was about two. I am an immigrant, so I guess you could say this is immigrant music. But I would not be who I am without Jazz, and Blues and Hip-Hop and Soul. This music is Ethio-American, just like me. I find joy in the bigness of that space.”

Read the full article at Vibe.com »


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Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu Among 2017 Most Influential Africans Worldwide

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu named Most Influential Person of African Descent. (Twitter@BethlehemAlemu)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 4th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) -- Ethiopian entrepreneur Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu has been named one of the 2017 Most Influential People of African Descent -- in recognition of the International Decade for People of African Descent proclaimed by United Nation’s General Assembly resolution 68/237 to be observed from 2015 to 2024.

The awards dinner for ‘MIPAD Class of 2017’ will take place on September 26th, 2017 in New York City subsequently after the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly closes. The press statement notes that "former U.S. President Barack Obama and current UN Secretary-General António Guterres are expected to attend as keynote speakers."

The 2017 honorees were announced during the World Economic Forum on Africa, which is being held in South Africa this week. The individuals are selected from the following categories: Politics & Governance; Business & Entrepreneurship; Media & Culture; as well as Religious & Humanitarian. Bethlehem joins Beyonce, Usain Bolt, Trevor Noah, Didier Drogba, Tiger Woods and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the 2017 list.

"It is with great honor we unveil the 2017 Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) global list to recognize the positive contributions made by people of African descent in public and private sectors worldwide," the press release stated. "MIPAD is a unique global list that identifies, in total, 200 outstanding individuals under 40, with 100 inside Africa, 100 outside Africa in the Diaspora."

MIPAD described their mission as aiming "to build a progressive network of civil society actors to join together and support the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent, 2015 – 2024, as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 68/237."

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Related:
Spotlight: SoleRebels Founder Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu's New Coffee Brand

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Icons of Ethiopia US Exhibit at Museum of Russian Icons in Massachusetts

Ethiopia's ancient and storied history is explored in this exhibition at the Museum of Russian Icons, a non-profit art US museum located in Clinton, Massachusetts. (Image: Courtesy of Museum of Russian Icons)

Press release

The Museum of Russian Icons

The Museum of Russian Icons is opening a new mini-exhibit, From the Vault: Icons of Ethiopia, on Saturday, May 20, with a special members-only reception on Thursday, May 18. This exhibit, which will run through August 13, features a mix of Ethiopian icons, silver hand crosses, and artifacts from the Museum’s collection dating from the 19th and 20th century. Many of the icons were purchased from Ikon Gallery in Berlin, Germany between 2011 and 2014 including a Mother of God fresco, from the late 18th century that had been removed from the wall and transferred to canvas. “This very rare icon is one of the great treasures of the Museum’s collection,” notes Museum Curator Kent Russell.

Ethiopian iconography, which didn’t appear until the 16th century, is easily recognized by the stylized and graphically bold figures with large, almond-shaped eyes painted in bright and vivid colors. These icons could be found in monasteries, churches, and the homes of the wealthy.

A newly acquired “magic scroll” will also be on view in the exhibit. This traditional Ethiopian art form is based on ancient beliefs that illnesses and other crises were the work of demons. A cleric of the Ethiopian Church would create the scroll, customized to the height of the patron and inscribed with healing prayers, and stories of saints and angels triumphing over Satan. They were written in Ge’ez, the liturgical language of Ethiopia. The scrolls were believed to have protective and healing powers, and were always carried by the owner. Russell says, “The practice of creating and using magic scrolls continues today, despite attempts by Church officials to eliminate what they see as a superstitious tradition.”


If You Go:
Thursday, May 18, 7:00-9:00PM
Free for members and their guests.
Please RSVP by May 12 to (978) 598-5000 x121
http://www.museumofrussianicons.org

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Family of Ethiopia’s Late Emperor Gives $700k to Haile Selassie School in Jamaica

Mel Tewahade and Gabe Christian, Emissaries of Prince Ermias S. Haile Selassie, presented a check in the sum of $700,000 to Haile Selassie High School in Jamaica, April 27th, 2017. (Courtesy photograph)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 2nd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) -- Family of the late Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie has made a donation of $700,000 to a high school in Kingston, Jamaica. The school was established by Haile Selassie as a gift to the people of Jamaica during his historic trip to the island nation more than fifty years ago. The financial contribution to Haile Selassie High School last week fulfilled a commitment announced last year by the former Emperor's grandson, Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, during his official visit to the country that included a stop at the institution.

The $700K donation was presented on April 27th to the school's administration through representatives of Prince Ermias led by Gabe Christian and Mel Tewahade.

Prince Ermias described his visit to Haile Selassie High School a year ago as the highlight of his trip and personally moving. "It was emotional and overwhelming to visit the school that was donated by my grandfather," Prince Ermias told Tadias in an interview following his travel to Jamaica. "The school has been in existence since the late sixties," he said. "Many have graduated and many have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, government leaders, pastors. Some have migrated abroad and are serving their adopted home well." Ermias added: "My grandfather believed in education. Education enlightens and enriches one’s life and for society there is no better security than to educate its citizens."


Haile Selassie High School in Kingston, Jamaica. (Courtesy photo)

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Related:
In Pictures: 50th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie's Historic Visit to Jamaica

Haile Selassie’s visit was a momentous occasion (Jamaica Observer)
Under Pressure from Family Christie’s Skips Auction of Haile Selassie’s Watch
New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie (TADIAS)

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Millions Hope to Win What Could Be the Last U.S. Green-card Lottery

The days of the U.S. green-card lottery program, which has been around for 30-years, may be numbered as it appears to conflict with Trump’s immigration policy. (The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

On Tuesday, more than 14 million people around the world, including anxious applicants in the Washington area, will begin checking computers and smartphones in one of the strangest rituals of the U.S. immigration system. When the clock strikes noon in the nation’s capital, they will be able to visit a State Department website, enter their names, years of birth and 16-digit identification numbers. Then they will press “submit” to learn whether they have won one of the world’s most coveted contests: the U.S. green-card lottery.

Each year, the Diversity Visa Lottery, as it is officially known, provides up to 50,000 randomly selected foreigners — fewer than 1 percent of those who enter the drawing — with permanent residency in the United States.

The current lottery coincides with an intense debate over immigration and comes amid policy changes that have made the country less welcoming to new arrivals. President Trump has cracked down on illegal immigration and pressed forward with plans to build a wall along the border with Mexico. He has issued executive orders targeting foreign workers, refugees and travelers from certain majority-Muslim countries.

But he hasn’t said a word about the green-card lottery.

Its days may be numbered, nonetheless. The lottery appears to conflict with the president’s call for a “merit-based” immigration system. And at least two bills in the Republican-controlled Congress seek to eliminate the program.

Read more at the Washington Post »


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Addis Fine Art US Show Preview

Abiy Solomon, Primordial Modernity: The Raw Spirit of Lalibela I, 2014. (Courtesy of Addis Fine Art Gallery)

Press release

Addis Fine Art

Ethiopia — Addis Fine Art is pleased to present Girma Berta, Leikun Nahusenay and Abiy Solomon at the 19th edition of Salon Zurcher, New York.

Girma Berta is an award winning young artist based in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, whose work fuses street photography with fine art. Born in 1990, Berta is a self-taught photographer. In his Moving Shadows series, solitary figures are juxtaposed against vibrant backgrounds, creating truly unique artworks which exemplify the contrasting colours and personalities on the street of his home town

Leikun Nahusenay’s multidiscipline practice is based in Addis Ababa, where he works from the Nas Gedame studio creating exquisite mixed media works.

Abiy Solomon’s photography series, Primordial Modernity: The Raw Spirit of Lalibela, offers a meditation on spirituality and the profound interiority of faith, as he photographs monks in Lalibela exiting and entering the hushed, dark spaces within the ancient rock-hewn churches.

Full selection of artworks can be previewed here.


If You Go:
Zurcher Gallery
33 Bleecker Street, New York NY 10012
www.galeriezurcher.com

Tuesday 2 May: Preview Day
Wednesday 3 May: 12 – 8pm
Thursday 4 May: 12 – 8pm
Friday 5 May: 12 – 8pm
Saturday 6 May: 12 – 8pm
Sunday 7 May: 2 – 5pm

Related:
Girma Berta’s new series, Moving Shadows II, at Red Hook Labs, New York | 4 – 14 May 2017


Girma Berta, Moving Shadow Series II, II 2017

Addis Fine Art is pleased to announce the launch of Girma Berta’s new series, Moving Shadows II, at Red Hook Labs and Nataal’s second co-organized group exhibition: New African Photography II.

Girma will be joined by seven contemporary artists, whose work engages with present-day Africa. The selected artists are both emerging and internationally recognized, and will be showing new, personal bodies of work addressing issues of representation and celebrating fresh perspectives on the continent. Spanning documentary, fashion and portrait photography, as well as video and performance, the exhibition hopes to tell modern narratives that surprise, captivate and inspire.

New African Photography II follows the success of the inaugural curatorial collaboration between Red Hook Labs and Nataal in 2016. US Vogue called the exhibition “a journey into the rich visual culture of Africa” while i-D hailed the line-up as “the new generation of talent changing the face of African photography.” This latest show hopes to build upon these achievements by supporting a larger and more diverse roll call of exceptional image-makers.

Opening of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be held concurrently, and open to the public from May 5 – 7, 2017

Full selection of artworks can be previewed here.


If You Go:
Red Hook Labs
133-135 Imlay Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
https://redhooklabs.com
http://nataal.com

Thursday 4 May: Preview 6-9pm
Friday 5 May: 12 – 8pm
Saturday 6 May: 12 – 8pm – Artists’ talk moderated by Sara Jennings: 2-4pm
Sunday 7 May: 12 – 8pm
Mon 8 – Sun 14 May: 10am-6pm (daily)


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Editing Tadias While Pursuing Her Doctorate Degree: Meet Dr. Tseday Alehegn

Dr. Tseday Alehegn is the Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine.

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April, 27th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Most readers of Tadias Magazine know Tseday Alehegn for her profiles of inspiring Ethiopians from around the world. But very few people knew that in addition to her tasks at Tadias she was simultaneously juggling many other responsibilities, one of which was pursuing her doctorate degree in Health Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College, which she successfully defended this week. In addition, Tseday also holds a Master’s degree in Neuroscience from Columbia as well as her BA and MA from Stanford University in Human Biology and Education respectively.

Dr. Tseday Alehegn’s research topic for the Doctor of Education focused on mobile-health best practices and an analysis of programs using mobile technologies for chronic disease management, disease prevention and health promotion that she hopes will become a book some time soon.

Tseday who also gave birth only a few weeks ago to her first daughter (Naomi Liben-Eabisa), says she will continue to edit Tadias for the foreseeable future “motivating the younger generation to follow their own dreams.”

We congratulate Tseday on her accomplishments.


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Elias Sime Returns for Second Solo Exhibition at James Cohan Gallery In NYC

Elias Sime lives and works in Addis Ababa. . (Photos: James Cohan Gallery, NYC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April, 26th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian artist Elias Sime’s second solo exhibition at James Cohan Gallery In New York opens this week. The exhibition entitled Twisted & Hidden features Elias’ latest works of “large-scale artworks constructed from a grid-like arrangement of panels encrusted with electronic parts.” The show will be on view from April 28 through June 17 at James Cohan’s Chelsea location.

Similar to his previous show in Fall 2015 Elias’ new works also employ components of scrapped modern gadgets most of which he buys from Merkato. The press release adds that his “work is a meditation on connectivity and transformation. His unorthodox materials include reclaimed cell phone bodies, Soviet-era transistors, computer motherboards, brightly colored electrical wires, sections of plastic keyboards with other e-waste that has been discarded and sent to trash heaps across the African continent. This technological flotsam eventually washes up in the open-air markets of Addis Ababa, where Sime repurposes it into artworks.”

The New York Times described Elias’ work as being “culturally specific,” and “universalist” adding that “although never without critical thrust — no one knows better the horrors visited on Africa by shipments of toxic Western e-waste — it is utopian.”

According to James Cohan Gallery the current exhibition is “part of an ongoing series entitled “Tightrope,” which refers to the contemporary balancing act between technology and tradition, humanity and the environment. Elias Sime achieves effects from dense narrative to austere modernist abstraction. Some works recall pure color-field painting while others refer to architectonic geometries, textile patterns and information flows. Figurative moments emerge in some – a human face, a bird wing, a frog leaping from a tree branch. The artist resists the collagist’s shorthand of using discarded objects as poetic stand-ins for individual lives and instead finds renewal everywhere, taking the greatest interest in new ways that objects and ideas connect. The emphasis is on the transformative power of human creativity.”

About Elias Sime

Elias Sime (b. 1968, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) is a prominent name both in Africa and internationally. With the full cooperation of curator and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued, Sime founded and designed the Zoma Contemporary Art Center in Addis Ababa, an international art center described by the New York Times in 2014 as “a voluptuous dream, a swirl of ancient technique and ecstatic imagination.” His work has been shown internationally at the Dak’Art Biennale in Dakar, Senegal; the New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna, Austria; and in the United States at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem; and a survey exhibition that traveled from Santa Monica Museum of Art, California, to North Dakota Museum of Art. Sime designed various costumes, props and set-pieces for Peter Sellars’ production of Stravinsky’s opera Oedipus Rex, performed at the Sydney Opera House as well as in Los Angeles, Aix-en-Provence and London. An upcoming performance of the opera will be staged in Stockholm.

Elias Sime’s work is included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Perez Museum of Art, Miami; North Dakota Museum of Art; Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville; Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, NH; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, and Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, NY.

Elias Sime lives and works in Addis Ababa.

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If You Go:
Elias Sime
April 28 through June 17, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, April 28th, 6 – 8 PM
JAMES COHAN GALLERY
533 WEST 26TH STREET NEW YORK NY 10001
TEL 212.714.9500 FAX 212.714.9510
HOURS TUESDAY – SATURDAY, 10 – 6PM
www.jamescohan.com

Elias Sime Eye of the Needle, Eye of the Heart at the Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA) from James Cohan Gallery on Vimeo.

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Chicago Man Raises $11.7K for Michelle Obama Mural He Copied from Ethiopian Art Student Gelila Mesfin

This portrait of Michelle Obama as an Egyptian queen was painted by Gelila Mesfin, an Ethiopian art student in New York. (@thick_east_african_girl/Instagram)

CBC Radio

When Gelila Mesfin first saw that her portrait of Michelle Obama had been made into a mural on Chicago’s south side, she was flattered.

“I thought it was pretty cool. I didn’t know anyone had taken credit for it. I figured someone was just inspired and put it up there,” Mesfin, a New York art student from Ethiopia, told As It Happens host Carol Off. “It was kinda cool to see your art work displayed in such a huge manner.”

The mural of Obama decked out as an Egyptian queen was unveiled Friday two blocks from the former first lady’s childhood home.

It bears a striking resemblance to a digital portrait that Mesfin made and shared on her own Instagram account in October 2016, based on a photograph by the New York Times’ Collier Schorr, whom Mesfin credits in her post.

“I just wanted to portray her as a queen,” Mesfin said. “She was just such a class act and she inspired a lot of black women, black girls, and women in general to be strong, be educated and to stand their ground, and you know, to fight for what they love.”

But her feelings of flattery quickly wore off when she read an article about the mural on the website DNA Info, in which the man who painted it appears to take credit for the concept.

“I wanted to present her as what I think she is, so she’s clothed as an Egyptian queen. I thought that was appropriate,” Chris Devins, a city planner known for his Chicago portrait-style murals, told DNA Info on Friday.

What’s more, she learned Devins had crowdfunded more than $11,700 US to make the mural, and offered up signed prints to donors.

“I realized that, ‘Wait a minute, this person is not giving me credit,’” Mesfin said. “I was very disheartened and I just felt like it was disrespectful.”

So Mesfin went back on Instagram to call Devins out. “How can you just steal someone’s artwork,” she wrote in a post that has since been liked more than 5,000 times.


Portrait of Michelle Obama by Gelila Mesfin. (Instagram)

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Related:
‘So, What’s Been Going On While I’ve Been Gone?’ Jokes Obama at 1st Public Event as Former President

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Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora Announces 2017 Honorees

From top: Mahamoud Ahmed, Tewodros Kassahun (Teddy Afro), Ted Alemayehu, Dr. Zaki Sherif, Lemn Sissay, Abba Kefyalew Abera, Dr. Ambachew Woreta and Dr. Maigenet Shiferaw. (Photos courtesy of SEED)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 24th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED) marks its 25th anniversary this year with its annual awards dinners ceremony scheduled to take place in Hyattsville, Maryland on May 28th. The line-up of the 2017 honorees include social entrepreneurs, physicians and celebrity artists.

The U.S.-based non-profit organization, which aims to empower the Ethiopian American Diaspora in the areas of “academic excellence, professional development, and community service,” announced that its 25th anniversary award recipients include Ted Alemayehu, Founder and Chairman of U.S Doctors for Africa (USDFA); physicians Dr. Ambachew Woreta and Dr. Zaki Sherif, author and poet Lemn Sissay, as well as the founder of Sewasewe Genet Charity and Development Organization (SGCDO), Abba Kefyalew Abera, and musicians Mahamoud Ahmed and Tewodros Kassahun (Teddy Afro).

In addition SEED said it will posthumously recognize the late Dr. Maigenet Shiferaw, founder of the Ethiopian women for Peace, Democracy and Development (EWPD) and co-founder and President of the Center for The Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW), “as a distinguished scholar, author and our venerated teacher; in appreciation of her lifelong dedication and struggle for human rights and women’s rights; in acknowledgement of the rich and positive contributions she has made in the Diaspora Community and legacy she has left behind by exemplifying the highest ideals and standards of our community; in recognition of her inspiring academic excellence and many other positive attributes.”

The 2017 SEED Student Honorees are Kirubel Aklilu, Rackeb D. Mered, Teferi D. Tadesse, Yeabesiera D. Tadesse and Ms. Rahel Boghossian (Harvard Law School, Harvard University, Class of 2017).


If You Go:
25th ANNUAL SEED AWARDS DINNER
Date: May 28, 2017
College Park Marriot Hotel
3501 University Blvd. E.
Hyattsville, MD 20783
​301-985-7300
www.ethioseed.com

Video: Tilahun Gessesse SEED Award Acceptance Speech — May 28, 2000

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Spotlight: NYC Designer Hana Getachew

Hana Getachew, whose family left Addis Ababa when she was three years old, had an inspiring homecoming 18 years later. (Photo by Steve Koepp)

The Bridge

Bolé Road Textiles weaves modern ideas with traditional craftsmanship, to vibrant effect

After more than a decade at a major architectural firm, designer Hana Getachew knew that she wanted to break out on her own. The turning point came in planning her wedding in 2014. “I wanted to have an element of Ethiopian design for my table linens” to reflect the vibrant patterns and colors of her native land. Her family had left Ethiopia when she was a child, but she still felt intensely connected to the culture. Her journey back home to source her table linens became the spark for a new business.

In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s sprawling capital, Getachew went looking for weavers. “I went to one location where one of my family friends sent me. I showed them my designs. It was kind of hilarious because I didn’t know about weaving, and they said it couldn’t be done. It took me a while to understand,” she said, that their traditional looms had their limitations. But the weavers offered their own version of her design that was even more pleasing, in such colors as pink, red, and fuchsia. The linens were a success. “The napkins were beige, with fuchsia and red diamond-shape patterning all around.”

What started with wedding planning is now Getachew’s own housewares firm, Bolé Road Textiles, based in Brooklyn and named after a bustling thoroughfare near her childhood home in Addis Ababa. Getachew designs the patterns in her home studio, then turns them into textiles for pillows, rugs, curtains, towels, and other products in a running conversation with master artisans in Addis Ababa. She sells about half her merchandise through e-commerce on her website and the rest through retailers, including Home of the Brave in Greenpoint and Collyer’s Mansion in Brooklyn Heights.

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Meklit to Release New Album ‘When The People Move, The Music Moves Too’

Meklit Hadero. (Photo: @meklitmusic/Twitter) )

Broadway Music world

Ethiopian-American artist Meklit will release her new album When the People Move, the Music Moves Too on June 23rd with Six Degrees Records. The record was produced by Dan Wilson, whose previous work with artists including Adele, Taylor Swift and John Legend – as well as fronting the band Semisonic – has earned multiple Grammy awards. The album also includes Andrew Bird on violin and whistling, as well as New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band horns. A vibrant and inspired mix of Ethio-Jazz roots along with American pop, R&B and folk influences, Meklit’s upcoming record crosses both musical and generational borders to create a unified artistic vision, united behind her unique and unmistakable voice.

When the People Move, the Music Moves Too is the result of a fateful encounter Meklit experienced in Addis Ababa with the legendary vibraphonist/composer Mulatu Astatke, who helped spark Ethiopia’s 1960s musical renaissance. She was deeply engaged with his music at the time, but he pushed her to think about how to bring her own experiences into her songs. “He was very pointed with me, saying several times ‘You keep innovating!’” she recalls. “He took me to task and he tasked me. It took me a while to digest that. It’s a big thing to have someone like that say that to you. I sat with it for a couple of years.”

Meklit has embodied multiplicity since she first started performing at San Francisco’s Red Poppy Art House in the mid-2000′s. Born in Ethiopia, she moved with her family to Iowa at the age of two, and spent much of her adolescence in Brooklyn, soaking up the sounds of hip hop on the street. After studying political science at Yale she spent several years in Seattle before moving to San Francisco, looking to immerse herself in the city’s thriving arts scene.

“I’m always thinking about America and Ethiopia, about how the hybridization is going to work in both places,” she observes. The lapidary orchestrations on her new record were created by Meklit herself, with the help of her bassist Sam Bevan. But Meklit is quick to credit Dan Wilson’s lithe musical mind with a major role in shaping the ultimate sound of the record, in addition to his contribution of co-writing two songs. A prolific songwriter, arranger and producer, Wilson seemed to know exactly which player to place where to accentuate Meklit’s sound. He brought in Ethio-Cali’s tenor saxophonist Randall Fisher, who plays a perfectly calibrated Ethio-jazz intro on “You Got Me.” And Ethiopian-born, LA-based keyboardist Kibrome Birhane’s spare piano work levitates “Yesterday is a Tizita.” Meklit describes how Wilson’s songwriting precision, and razor sharp, generous feedback helped to weave a remarkable clarity into the music, enhancing Meklit’s already vivid hues.

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Family Seeks Answers in Police Shooting of Young Ethiopian Engineer in LA

Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu, who was shot and killed by police in LA last week, came to the US 8-years-ago on a scholarship to University of Idaho, and worked as an engineer for the California Public Utilities Commission.

OkayAfrica

Last Wednesday, 28-year-old Ethiopian engineer, Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu was shot and killed by police in Los Angeles, California.

The details of his death are conveniently murky. According to the LAPD, officers were responding to a burglary when they found Ewnetu sitting in his car. Officers approached him after smelling marijuana coming from his vehicle. He reportedly refused to exit his car when asked. Authorities say that when they tried to remove him from the car, Ewnetu brandished a gun and aimed it at the officers.

The deputies then fired at Ewentu, shooting him in the torso and killing him on-site.

A statement from the victim’s family, says that the initial account of the incident varied from what’s been reported by authorities. Following the shooting, the detective on the case, mentioned that they gun was found in the back seat, says the press statement. A photo of the vehicle, published in the LA Times, shows what appears to be two bullet holes in the back windshield.

Cases like this are, sadly, all too familiar and the varying accounts of what took place, certainly raise suspicion. Ewentu’s family is currently seeking answer and have started a Gofundme to help with funeral and attorney costs.

Ewnetu came to the United States eight years ago on a scholarship to the University of Idaho, and worked as an engineer for the California Public Utilities Commission.


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Ethiopia’s 93-year-old Singing Nun

She sang for Haile Selassie then retreated from the world, living barefoot in a hilltop monastery, perfecting her bluesy, freewheeling sound. (Photograph: Gali Tibbon)

The Guardian

The Extraordinary Life of Ethiopia’s 93-year-old Singing Nun

I’m no great singer, but Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou only really trusted me after I had sung to her. “Something from your country,” she instructed. So I found myself in the tiny bedroom of this 93-year-old Ethiopian composer-pianist-nun, croaking my way through the verses of a Robert Burns song.

Given she does not agree to most interviews, I felt I should do what I was told. The room, at the Ethiopian Orthodox church in Jerusalem, was cramped and sweltering. In it was a small bed, an upright piano draped in Ethiopian flags, stacks of reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, and a jumble of handwritten manuscripts. On the walls were portraits of Emperor Haile Selassie – Emahoy knew him in the 1930s – and her own paintings of religious icons. The door was propped open and, from the courtyard, came smells of food and the sound of monks chanting.

Emahoy is fluent in seven languages, but when I finished the Burns song (Ae Fond Kiss) she admitted the old Scots lyrics had been tricky to decipher. I gave her a potted translation – lovers meet, lovers part, lovers feel brokenhearted – and she gripped my arm and fixed me with one of her deep stares. “We can’t always choose what life brings,” she said. “But we can choose how to respond.”

If anyone is qualified to dish out such wisdom, it’s a woman whose choices were determined by religious self-exile, maverick gender struggles and Ethiopia’s dramatic 20th-century political history – and who became a singular artist in the process.

Most people familiar with Emahoy’s music come across it via her solo piano album released in 2006, as part of the Éthiopiques collection. That series put her poised, bluesy, freewheeling waltzes together with the Ethio-jazz that emerged out of Addis Ababa in the 1960s – and although she smiles fondly at the mention of fellow Éthiopiques musicians such as Mulatu Astatke and Alemayehu Eshete, she insists she’s not a jazz artist. Her training is purely western classical; her inspiration comes from the ancient modal chants of the Orthodox church. It’s a unique fusion and it sounds like nothing else.

Read more »


Related:
TADIAS Interview With Hanna M. Kebbede, CEO of Emahoy Music Foundation
From Jerusalem with Love: The Ethiopian Nun Pianist

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Watch: Ethiopian Food Truck Helps Adopted Ethiopian-Americans to Give Back

Pay it Forward Ethiopia food truck in Green Bay, Wisconsin is run by adopted Ethiopian-Americans. (WBAY)

WBAY

GREEN BAY, Wis. – A food truck that makes stops around the Green Bay area is on a mission to help kids in Ethiopia.

A dad, his kids, and some friends pair Ethiopian slow cooking and exotic spices with familiar American dishes for a Taste of Ethiopia. The food has rave reviews on Facebook.

Tesfaye Joyce lived in Ethiopia most of his life. While in an orphanage, he met some people involved in the project called Pay It Forward Ethiopia.

“My hope for this to collect, especially Ethiopian Americans that came in through adoption, to be able to come together and pretty much give back the help the people back home, they need,” Joyce says.

Joyce say he’s grateful for his life in Wisconsin.

“We’re here because someone helped us, and we want to give back,” Joyce says.

Tesfaye, his brother, and his sister live with their adoptive father, Pat Joyce.

“As they are growing up, they’re–we’re realizing how important it is to keep their cultural connection, so they’re starting to go back to Ethiopia, and rekindle some of the long-lost relationships they’ve had,” says Pat Joyce.

Read more »

Watch: Taste of Ethiopia Food Truck funding mission to help kids


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Spotlight: Genet Lakew Sets Up Scholarship for Diaspora Students

Meet Genet Lakew, founder of the Mekonnen Family Scholarship for Diaspora students. (Photo: Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 14th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Genet Lakew knows first hand the value of scholarships when it comes to completing your higher education in the United States. The Ethiopian-American student finished her undergraduate studies at Howard University in Journalism and a master’s degree from New York University focusing on Africana-Studies without incurring any debt. The 27-year-old who now works for the National Urban League as a digital communications professional has launched a personal initiative to establish the Mekonnen Family Scholarship that she says “will benefit college-bound students at Washington-Lee High School (W-L), a public high school in Arlington, Virginia,” her alma mater.

“I’m an Ethiopian American millennial woman passionate about empowering the next generation of changemakers,” Genet says on her online campaign page, explaining the purpose of the funds. “The scholarship is named in honor of the humble, hardworking immigrant family I come from, who poured their hopes and dreams into me. I want the names and memories of the souls who are no longer on earth to live on through this scholarship.”

Genet adds: “My working class Ethiopian immigrant mother emphasized education as a gateway to opportunity and success. But she did not have the economic and social access to help me apply to colleges, visit campuses, pay for application fees, tuition, and housing. And that’s where my community stepped in. The Minority Achievement Coordinator at W-L (Mr. James Sample) sent scholarships my way and I was able to start my freshman year at Howard University with a total of $8,000 in scholarships.”

Genet’s efforts are also attracting national media attention. In a recent interview with Vibe magazine Genet explained what inspired her to set up the scholarship. “I actually had this idea for a few years now. I’ve been out of college for six years this May,” she said. “So I’m kind of going through these milestones; I’m in my late twenties, and I was reflecting on my educational journey.” She added: “But it wasn’t something I really thought I could pursue. I just realized how lucky I am to not have that financial burden. So I kind of felt it was my responsibility to give back in any way that I can. I felt this was a great time to offer something that shows support to immigrant students, and their families — to let them know not only do you belong in this country, but there is support out there for you to make sure that you have a good quality of life.”

Click here to learn more and support the Mekonnen Family Scholarship »


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Curated by Henone Girma Art in FLUX Harlem Exhibition Opens April 19th

Liberty on Ice, Ben Ponté, Oil and mixed media on paper, 2015, 25” x 30”. (Courtesy of Art in FLUX Harlem)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 13th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Next week an Art in FLUX exhibition, curated by Henone Girma, will open at ALOFT Harlem as part of the New York organization’s mentoring initiative. The exhibition entitled Woe-nderland features five NYC-based artists including emerging Ethiopian American artist Tariku Shiferaw whose work we highlighted here last year. Additional participants include Belinda James, Ben Ponté, Elan Ferguson and JaSon Auguste. Tariku’s work is currently part of the 2017 Whitney Biennial.

The show, which opens on Wednesday, April 19th, “presents works that evoke a collective feeling of world-weariness that saturates the current climate and paints an honest picture of lamentation apt for recent events,” states Art in FLUX.

According to the press release “the title Woe-nderland takes as its point of departure the 1996 single ‘If I Ruled the World’ by recording artist Nas that begins with “Life, I wonder, will it take me under, I don’t know” – a simultaneous testimony to the ills of society and contemplation of its potentials.”

The press release adds: The exhibition offers a rather satirical lens through which we may reimagine our current social construct – this perhaps creating a timely opportunity for relating and purging.

About the Curator:

Henone Girma has been a gallery assistant at Art in FLUX since September 2016. She also works as a Research Associate for the Arts of Global Africa department at Newark Museum in New Jersey. She is a recent graduate from New York University with an MA in Visual Arts Administration. Henone wrote her final thesis on contemporary Ethiopian art as it relates to the art market. She hopes Woe-nderland will be the first of many exhibitions she will have the opportunity to curate as she continues her career as an arts advocate and professional.


If You Go:
Exhibition: Woe-nderland
Artists: Tariku Shiferaw, Belinda James, Ben Ponté, Elan Ferguson, and JaSon Auguste
Opening: Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 6:00 to 9:00 PM
Dates: April 19 through August 31, 2017
Location: Aloft Harlem, 2296 Frederick Douglass Blvd. between 123 and 124th Streets, NYC
Hours: Daily 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Info: www.artinfluxharlem.com

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Zekarias Mesfin’s New Film Tells His Refugee Journey From Ethiopia to Canada

Zekarias Mesfin's biographical documentary "Ewir Amora Kelabi" will premieres at the 2017 African Film Festival in New York City next month. (Photo: Metro News Canada)

Metro News

Like many new immigrants, Zekarias Mesfin came to Canada with hope for a better life.

But the road to get here was long, and included violence, hunger, but hope too, he said. So this year he travelled back to his native Ethiopia, where he partnered with a film company to create Ewir Amora Kelabi, a new film getting some high profile attention.

Mesfin wrote, produced and stared the film, which premieres next month at the African Film Festival in New York City.

Mesfin’s story of resilience is not that uncommon among fellow refugees—he left Ethopia as an orphaned 14 year-old boy, he said, and crossed the Sahara Desert to Sudan on foot. He eventually made it to Egypt, where he said spent two years in prison for illegal border crossing.

Finally, he made it to Canada nearly a decade ago, arriving in Vancouver first become moving to Edmonton.

But what is unique is Mesfin’s determination to archive his journey, along with the struggle for survival faced by thousands of fellow African migrants.

“My dream has come true, and now the cup is overflowing,” said 32-year-old Mesfin, now married with two young sons, Christian, 2, and Yeab, four months, and working at a barber shop on 118 Ave.

The entire family will attend the prestigious U.S. festival, “with hotel, limousine, meals—it’s unbelievable,” he said.

“I made this film because it’s important for the new generation of Africans to know what is happening, and for my children and the world to know too.

Read more at Metronews.ca »


Related
Watch: Ethiopian Canadian Movie Ewir Amora Kelabi Trailer
Jessica Beshir’s Ethiopia Short Film ‘Hairat’ and 2 New Releases

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Ethiopian Hero Gen. Jagama Kello Who Fought Fascism Dies at 96

Jagama Kello, middle, left home at just 15 to fight Italian invaders. (Photo via BBC News)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 8th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – General Jagama Kello, who passed away this week at the age of 96, was among the Ethiopian heroes whose unimaginable bravery and resistance helped to defeat the second Italian invasion of Ethiopia during World War II.

His daughter Yetmwork Jagema Kello made the announcement on Facebook Friday noting that her father will be laid to rest at the Kidist Selassie Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo cathedral in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

Jagama Kello’s remarkable story, which has been shared by various Ethiopian media outlets as well as through national literary works, was also featured in the 2009 BBC documentary entitled Africa’s Forgotten Soldiers highlighting “firsthand account of African troops including the Ethiopian guerrilla forces, known as the Patriots (Arbegnoch).”

“Jagama Kello, was at that time no more than a young man. He was the son of a wealthy landlord, who owned 900 acres of farms with his uncle, in [Ginchi], not far from Addis Ababa,” writes Journalist Martin Plaut who worked on the documentary. “Jagama had heard tales of his brave ancestors as a boy and hoped to emulate them. When the Italian invasion took place Jagama saw his chance. With his elder brother and uncle, he took to the bush, determined to resist. At first he had no gun – only his elder brother had one. But they ambushed Italian troops and gradually armed themselves. Peasants joined the struggle and by the end of the war they had over 3,000 fighters under their command.”

Jagama remembers the battle at Seyoum Mariam in the outskirts of Addis Ababa as the biggest of his many deadly encounters with Mussolini’s ‘blackshirts,’ as they were called. Jagama told Plaut “they were told by a woman fighter where to find the Italians and in a surprise attack broke through their lines. They killed 72 Italians in the engagement, capturing some 3,000 rifles.”


Jagama Kello as a Colonel (left) and Jagama and his brother. (Martinplaut.files.wordpress)


General Jagama Kello. (Photo: Facebook)

According to Plaut: “On 5th May 1941, after years in exile in Britain, the Emperor Haile Selassie returned to his capital. Jagama, who had received no British help during the 5 years of the war, refused to go to Addis Ababa for the ceremony. In the end the Emperor came to [Ginchi]. Jagama says he put his 3,500 troops on parade, to greet Haile Selassie. He was then driven in the Emperor’s own car to his palace, where he was awarded a gabardine coat and a gold watch. But the war was not yet over. Jimma was still under Italian control. The Emperor asked Jagama for help and he says he led his forces into battle. Reports suggest the area was ‘swarming with Patriots’ – many of whom may have been loyal to Jagama. He told the BBC that his forces captured some 500 Italian soldiers, whom he handed over to the British.”


Related:
Book Review: ‘Prevail’: Personal Stories From Mussolini’s Invasion of Ethiopia

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The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago Marks 33 Years of Service

(Photo: Courtesy of the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago - ECAC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 5th, 2017

Chicago (TADIAS) — The Chicago area is home to one of the earliest Ethiopian immigrant communities in North America. And so is the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC), which marks its 33rd anniversary next month, as one of the oldest Ethiopian American organizations in the country “serving as a cultural anchor of the Chicago-area Ethiopian community” for more than three decades.

The non-profit was established after “the tragedy of a car accident in 1984 which took the life of an Ethiopian immigrant in Chicago,” which “sparked ECAC’s founding members to establish the association.”


(Photo: Courtesy of ECAC)

Since 1984 ECAC has also served as an “open door for refugee populations” including from Asia, Middle East, and Eastern European nations “seeking its services in areas of advocacy, education, employment, healthcare, and community outreach.” Today ECAC is also home to the only Ethiopian museum in North America “with more than two thousand Ethiopian artifacts in its collection – made possible by the generous donation of the late musician, composer, choreographer, conductor and cultural expert, Tesfaye Lemma. This one-of-a-kind collection has not only impressed but educated hundreds of visitors on Ethiopian culture, history, and tradition.”

The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago will host its 33rd Anniversary Benefit Dinner on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at ECAC’s Community Center (1730 E Greenleaf Ave). Organizers share that the festivities will feature guest speakers, live entertainment and an Ethiopian dinner.


If You Go:

More info at www.ecachicago.org

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Attempt to Escape: Sadly Ethiopian Maid’s Horrifying Kuwait Video is Not the First

A female employer and her children are accompanied by their domestic worker, back right, as they walk through The Avenues, an indoor luxury shopping center in Kuwait City. (Magnum Photos)

HRW

Last week, a horrifying video of an Ethiopian domestic worker falling from what media report as the seventh floor of an apartment building in Kuwait went viral. The video appears to have been filmed by the worker’s employer inside the flat with the woman dangling outside the window. The employer tells the woman to come back inside. The panicked woman calls out for her to grab her, but within 12 seconds of the recording starting, the dangling woman loses her grip and falls.

The Kuwaiti daily al-Seyassah reported that the domestic worker is being treated at a hospital for a broken hand, as well as nose and ear bleeding. Al-Seyassah also reported that the authorities arrested her employer, on Wednesday, and charged her for failing to assist her worker. The employer contends she tried to help. Another daily, Kuwait Times, reported on Saturday that members of the Ethiopian embassy visited the worker at the hospital.

This is not the first time a domestic worker – someone hired to clean, cook, and care for a household – attempted a dangerous escape or suicide. The Kuwaiti press often report such stories as “attempted suicides,” as with this recent incident. They don’t usually question whether these were suicide attempts or, rather, attempts to escape. In 2009, Human Rights Watch spoke to eight women who were reported as having “attempted suicide,” but who said they had really fallen from buildings trying to escape abuse or were pushed by their employers. No one has suggested that the employer in this incident was responsible for such abuse.

I have interviewed hundreds of domestic workers in the Gulf region. Many said their employers locked them inside, forced them to work excessive hours, and beat them. Some scrambled down or jumped off buildings to escape.

In 2015, Kuwait took steps to provide migrant domestic workers with labor rights, but it has not reformed the notorious kafala system, under which migrant workers cannot leave or change their employer without the employer’s permission. As a result, while domestic workers now have rights to a weekly day off, daily limits to their working hours, and overtime compensation – they can still be arrested for “absconding” if they escape from their employers, even abusive ones.

Kuwaiti authorities should investigate the working conditions that lead to all such attempted escapes or suicides and refrain from charging employees with “absconding.” No one should have to resort to climbing out of tall buildings to escape their workplace.


Related:
Kuwaiti woman ‘investigated over Ethiopian maid’s window fall’ (BBC)

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Letter on Why US Should Review Its Foreign Aid to Ethiopia

The letter was written by U.S. Representative Mike Coffman of Denver, Colorado on behalf of his Ethiopian American constituents to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations. (Photo: Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: April 2nd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This week in a letter to the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Program, Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman, whose district includes the vibrant Denver-area Ethiopian community, urged his colleagues to review the more than $500 million American taxpayers dollars for Fiscal Year 2017 in US aid program to Ethiopia. The letter comes the same week as the Ethiopian government announced the four-month extension of its strict emergency ban.

“I write to you today at the request of many of the Ethiopian-Americans whom I represent in Congress,” Coffman said in the March 30th, 2017 letter addressed to the subcommittee’s Chairman and Ranking member, Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky and Rep. Nita Lowey of New York. “These constituents have brought to my attention what they view as an ongoing campaign of human rights violations in their homeland of Ethiopia.” The Congressman continued: “They are convinced that these serious human rights violations are the result of an organized and concerted effort perpetrated by the Ethiopian government.”

The letter, which was shared with us by members of the Ethiopian American community, goes on to highlight the arrest and detention of journalists, students, activists and political leaders. Congressman Coffman noted that currently the amount of money that the United States gives to Ethiopia annually totals $514 million most of it allocated for “economic development, humanitarian assistance, health, education and social services.” Congressman Coffman pointed out: “While the goal of this aid is noble, numerous constituents and experts on the Sub-Saharan region tell me that this assistance may not be reaching those in Ethiopia who needed most, and maybe providing support and legitimacy to this regime”

“In light of these abuses and the United States’ stated strategy of strengthening democratic institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, I believe it is important for you to review the current aid program to Ethiopia to ensure that the aid provided is not subsidizing a government apparently committed to the systematic abuse of its own citizens and reduction of the democratic space within its borders,” the letter said. “I respectfully request that the subcommittee include language ensuring the suspension of appropriations FY2018 foreign assistance for Ethiopia pending its government’s implementation of real, concrete and measurable humanitarian reforms as outlined in H.Res. 128.” Rep. Coffman added: I believe that doing so will communicate to the Ethiopian government how seriously the United States views these human rights violations.”

Click here to read the letter »


Related:
Excerpts From US Congress Hearing on Ethiopia March 9, 2017

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Jessica Beshir’s Ethiopia Short Film ‘Hairat’ and 2 New Releases

Directed by Jessica Beshir the film 'Hairat" documents one man's nightly ritual in Harar. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 1st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — In her short film Hairat, Jessica Beshir goes back to Ethiopia to the city of her childhood “to tell the story of one man’s extraordinary ritual that unfolds nightly in the outskirts of the walled city of Harar.”

Hairat, which was screened at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival this past January, will make its NYC premiere at the Lincoln Center as part of this year’s New York African Film Festival in May. The film was also shown this month at the Dallas International film Festival in Texas and the Rincon International film Festival in Puerto Rico. Hairat will premiere at the upcoming Arizona International Film Festival and the Pan African Film Festival in Cannes, France later this month.

“An Imam in Harar spoke to me about the meaning of Hairat at length, but in short it means, ‘You are where you need to be,’” Jessica says.

Trailer | HAIRAT from Jessica Beshir on Vimeo.

In addition to Hairat Jessica also has two additional short films, Heroin and He Who Dances on Wood , premiering at various festivals across the U.S.

In Heroin, which make its world premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 20th & 21st, Jessica grapples with the question of free will as she “explores the creative process, inspiration and alternative reality of an artist.”

The short film He Who Dances on Wood highlights tap dancer Fred Nelson. BRIC TV describes it as “one man’s search for joy..culminated in a constant experience of rhythm in the world around him. Something so simple, yet beautiful, found its way into Fred’s life in the form of dancing on an old piece of wood.” He Who Dances on Wood will make its NY premiere at BAM’s New Voices in Black Cinema series on April 30th, and its international premiere at the 2017 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto taking place in early May.

Watch: ‘He Who Dances on Woods’ — A short film by Jessica Beshir trailer

He Who Dances on Wood (TRAILER) from BRIC TV on Vimeo.


Related:
Ethiopia: Director Jessica Beshir’s ‘Hairat’ Selected for Sundance Film Festival 2017

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Ethiopia Tribute Concert and Photo Exhibition Honors Getatchew Mekuria

Getatchew Mekuria. (Photo: The Ex Band)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 30th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — It was almost a year ago that the legendary Ethiopian jazz saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria passed away at the age of 81 leaving behind a jewel of more than six decades of musical legacy.

The memories of Getatchew Mekuria’s life and work will come alive next week in Ethiopia’s capital during a tribute concert by Ethiopian and international musicians as well as a photo exhibition and a presentation of a 170-page photography book dedicated to his career.

The tribute to Getachew — organized by his longtime music partners, The Ex band from the Netherlands — is scheduled to take place on April 4th at the Alliance Francaise in Addis Ababa, which also features a performance by the Norwegian big band Large Unit.


The book is entitled ‘Getatchew Mekuria (1935 – 2016) – A Lifelong History in Photos.’

“The photobook is the result of what appears to be an unlikely collaboration between Dutch ‘underground’ band The Ex and Ethiopian saxophone legend Getatchew Mekuria,” the press release said. “The Ex fell in love with an old Getatchew cassette from 1972, and in 2004 they wanted to invite him for their 25th Anniversary Festival. The result was a fruitful 10-year collaboration with more than a 100 concerts worldwide, plenty of enthusiastic press and two beautiful CD/LP’s.”

According to the Ex band, “In 2014, because of diabetes, he developed serious problems with his legs and couldn’t travel anymore. The Ex at that point decided to organize a ‘Celebration of Getatchew Mekuria’ concert series in Ethiopia, at the National Theatre in Addis Ababa. It was sold out. 1500 people came and there was a standing ovation. A truly honorable farewell to a great musician. Getatchew passed away on April 4, 2016 at the age of 81 after a musical career of more than 68 years.”

Audio: Getatchew Mekuria – “Almaz Yèharèwa”


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Exploring Ethiopia’s Past and Future Through Body Painting

(Photos by Aida Muluneh)

New York Times (blog)

Aida Muluneh spent a peripatetic childhood in Yemen, England, Cyprus, Canada and the United States before settling in the States to study and become a photojournalist. She returned to Ethiopia, the land of her birth, about a decade ago, where her work addresses issues of women, African identity and the connection between heritage and homeland. Her photos feature decorative body paintings that reflect Ethiopian culture or traditional fabrics and baskets and reflect her own life’s journey.

“We exist between the anxiety of the unknown future and the nostalgia of the familiar past,” Ms. Muluneh said. “We bear the burden of our duality.”

She is among the artists in “Afriques Capitales,” which is on view from March 29 to May 28 in Paris, before it travels to Lille, near the French boarder with Belgium. The show — a subset of the “100% Afriques” festival — is a sampler of the continent’s contemporary artists, from Akinbode Akinbiyi to Hassan Hajjaj to William Kentridge. The works are exhibited within the iron-and-glass cultural center in the Parc de la Villette — once the site of a slaughterhouse — and outside, in the park itself.

Ms. Muluneh was born in in Ethiopia in 1974, but her mother soon took them out of the country after the ouster of Emperor Haile Selassie. They moved often in search of a beter place to live to provide a good education for Ms. Muluneh. At 18 years of age, Ms. Muluneh moved to the U.S. to study film at Howard University and, later, worked at The Washington Post. She moved to Addis Ababa a decade ago – fulfilling a wish of her mother’s – and led the biennial Addis Foto Fest in 2010. She is currently the managing director at Developing and Educating Society Through Art for Africa, which fosters cultural partnerships.

“It took me a long time to understand that culture is soft power,” she said. “Looking at activities in my city, the same issues that we deal with here echo across the continent, and at times across the world.”

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related:

Video: TADIAS Interview with Aida Muluneh

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Ethiopian Community & Nurses Group Hosts Healthcare Conference in San Jose

(Photo: Courtesy of Ethiopian Community Services in San Jose, California)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 27th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Next week two Ethiopian American organizations are collaborating to host a timely healthcare conference in San Jose, California focusing on the prevention of diabetes, one of the top chronic diseases in the United States, which also affects many individuals in our community.

Presented by Ethiopian Community Services and the Ethiopian Nurses Association of California, the 3rd Annual Health & Wellness Conference features speakers from Stanford Health Care, Kaiser Permanente and Santa Clara County Valley Medical Center.

The Ethiopian Nurses Association of California (ENAC) is a non-profit organization that “aims to provide health education and awareness to the Ethiopian Community in the greater San Francisco Bay Area,” while Ethiopian Community Services (ECS) is a 20-year-old non-profit organization that is “committed to providing culturally-based adjustment and long-term services that enhance productivity and self-sufficiency within the Ethiopian Community in Santa Clara County (SCC).”

“Please join us as we come together to learn about diabetes prevention and management, and how we can empower ourselves to live happier, healthier lives,” organizers announced.

Sponsored by Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager & The Health Trust the event is scheduled to be held on April 8th at the Isaac Newton Senter Auditorium in San Jose.


If You Go:
Free admission! Food! Giveaways! Health Fair!
Saturday, April 8, 2017 from 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM (PDT)
Please RSVP by 4/1/17
For more information:
Phone: 408-681-8910
Email: info@ecssanjose.org

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Women’s History Month Spotlight: Abaynesh Asrat’s Vision for Ethiopia Solar Energy

Abaynesh Asrat, Founder & President of NNN, speaking at a training on solar energy at the College of Natural and Computational Sciences at Addis Ababa University on February 21st, 2017. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 24th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — What better place is there than Ethiopia, which advertises itself as the land of 13 months of sunshine, to utilize solar energy for basic household needs including cooking, boiling water and even charging your cellphone? A workshop held last month in Ethiopia — hosted by the U.S.-based organization Nation to Nation Networking (NNN) in collaboration with Addis Ababa University — demonstrated this untapped potential of abundant, clean energy with a long term goal of decreasing women’s backbreaking daily task of fetching firewood and coal for fuel. The solar energy program was led by NNN founder Abaynesh Asrat whose prior work included working to eradicate fistula, promoting youth ambassadors for health, and providing diversity leadership training programs.

“Themed ‘The way Ahead with Renewable Energy: A Role for Ethiopia,’ the recent training focused on the utilization of solar energy, solar cooking and water pasteurization,” Addis Ababa University shared on its website. “Nation to Nation Networking organized the training in collaboration with the College of Natural & Computational sciences of the AAU.”

In an interview with the Ethiopian Herald, Abaynesh noted that “solar energy helps families preserve food, saving scarce resources and keeping them healthy” adding the potential of dramatic improvements for the majority of the rural population in her native homeland.

“Young Ethiopians are working diligently to change their fate. Their enthusiasms tells me that Ethiopians have entrepreneurial acumen,” Abaynesh tells the Ethiopian Herald, stressing her hope that the training provided could be expanded as young engineers in the country join the effort and assist in the assembly of the necessary materials.


NNN’s Solar Energy workshop put together in partnership with Addis Ababa University was held from February 21-27th, 2017 at the College of Natural and Computational Sciences of the AAU. (Courtesy photo)

Abaynesh, who was among the 2014 honorees of the People of Distinction Humanitarian Awards, knows a thing or two about positively impacting disadvantaged populations. As a long-time board member of Hamlin Fistula USA foundation Abaynesh was at the forefront of the campaign to treat and prevent fistula, which is a childbirth-related injury affecting thousands of women in Ethiopia as well as various countries around the world. As the National Fundraiser Chair for the ‘Tesfa Ineste’ campaign Abaynesh successfully mobilized the Ethiopian Diaspora in the United States to contribute toward the building of a regional hospital, the Harar Hamlin Fistula Center, in 2009.

Likewise during her latest visit to Ethiopia in February, 2017 Abaynesh challenged Ethiopian scientists to think out of the box about solar energy and empower the new generation to improve their lives.

Abaynesh says she appreciates the assistance she received from Dr. Shibiru Temesgen, Dean of the College of Natural and Computational Sciences at AAU as well as the director of Office of External Relations, Partnerships and Communication of Addis Ababa University, Dr. Zenebe Beyene, in setting up the week-long joint workshop.

“I have lived in the USA for about 48 years,” Abaynesh told the program participants hailing from across Ethiopia. “I decided to come to Ethiopia to do something,” she added. “Moving beyond the rhetoric, improving the health of society supported by science and technology thereby creating jobs.. I hope fellow citizens second this.”


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Antu Yacob’s Play “In the Gray” Featured at 2017 United Solo Theatre Festival

Antu Yacob. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 21st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Antu Yacob has been selected to perform her one-person Ethiopian-American play entitled In the Gray next Fall at the 2017 United Solo, which is the world’s largest solo theatre festival annually held in New York City.

“It’s hard to put Antu into words. It’s even harder to put her in a box,” states the announcement. “Quirky, awkward, sometimes hot, sometimes lukewarm, this Ethiopian American woman, actor, daughter and mother explores her experience of being an outsider from deep within.”

Antu, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Rutgers University in New Jersey, grew up in San Francisco and Minnesota. Her acting career includes roles in NBC’s Law & Order: SVU and the soon to be released Netflix series Gypsy. She played the lead roles in films Eminent Domain (DeepFreeze Media) and Walking In Circles (NYU Film/Elegance Bratton) and supporting roles in Conjure (TerraLuke Media) and Fine Art (Shannon Ousley/Zoe Munlyn). Her play entitled Mourning Sun, set in Ethiopia and New York, was performed at the West End Theatre in Manhattan in 2015 and at the 2016 Kampala International Theatre Festival in Uganda this past Winter.

“I knew that I wanted to write about my experience not only as an actor, but also as an Ethio-American professional in the entertainment industry,” Antu told Tadias in an interview last Summer. “It’s a point of view that I don’t see reflected in mainstream media, but it is something that I live with.”

Antu’s parents immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia when she was about five years old. “I constantly have this experience of being between two cultures,” Antu shared. “That’s why I call it In The Gray, because a lot of things are not black and white for me. I wrote it so that people who watch it and relate to it can feel they are not alone.”

As a playwright Antu says “she tries to experiment with social and political activism in an entertaining way” noting that “America is made up of so many different cultures, and there is room to honor that diversity without sacrificing the beauty of who we are as a people. As Ethiopian Americans we make up a part of the larger American experience.” She adds: “The best thing about In the Gray is that you don’t necessarily have to be Ethiopian to appreciate the play because it’s an American story. It’s for everyone.”

Antu’s show is directed by Celestine Rae with lighting & set design by Matthew Fick, show image by Anthony Artis and executive produced by Tadias Magazine.


If You Go
IN THE GRAY BUY TICKETS

Performed by Antu Yacob, ETHIOPIA
Sun 9/17 2:00pm
drama, comedy, storytelling, movement, performance art, 75 min.

All shows are staged at Theatre Row: 410 West 42nd Street, New York City. TICKETS, with a price of $35 (plus a $2.25 Theatre Restoration Charge) are available at the Theatre Row Box Office and online through Telecharge at www.telecharge.com. You may also call Telecharge at 212-239-6200. When placing your reservation, please provide: the FESTIVAL name (United Solo Theatre Festival), the name of THEATRE (Theatre Row – The Studio Theatre), and the specific DAY and TIME of SHOW you would like to see.

Click here to buy tickets

Related:
In the Gray: A One Person Ethio-American Show by Playwright Antu Yacob

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Addis Calling II: Ethiopia Exhibition Featuring Contemporary Artists

Artwork by Addis Gezahegn, 2017 Floating City I , Acrylic on Cavas. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 15th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The second installment of the Addis Calling group exhibition curated by Addis Fine Art Gallery will open in Ethiopia’s capital city on March 25th. The exhibition promotes the works of contemporary Ethiopian artists and will remain on display until May 20th, 2017.

“Representing a new selection of local talent engaged in a diverse range of artistic expression, the exhibition is an exciting mix of painting, glass mono-prints and photography,” the gallery announced in a press release.

Artists featured in Addis Calling II include Addis Gezahegn, Mulugeta Kassa, Abiy Solomon and Bezawit Wondwossen.

Below are bios of each artist courtesy of Addis Fine Art gallery:

Addis Gezahegn

Addis Gezahegn (b.1978), a long-time artistic presence in Addis Ababa, is known for portraying the multifaceted characteristics of the city’s residents by detailing the external facades of their homes,” His signature piece in the exhibition, from his series Floating City, features a vast, dramatic night sky—a black expanse that towers above a shimmering horizon of urban homes that mostly appear rootless, blurred, and ephemeral. Over the years, he has taken an increasingly reductive approach to his work, rendering entire cityscapes as a flat patchwork of colorful doors and gates. Gezahegn is a 2011 graduate of Addis Ababa University’s Alle School of Fine Art and Design.

Mulugeta Kassa


Paintings by Mulugeta Kassa, UNTITLED III, 2012, Glass Mono Print, 40 × 30 cm and UNTITLED I, 2012
Glass Mono Print 40 × 30 cm. (Courtesy photos)

Mulugeta Kassa (b.1973), co-founder of the experimental collective Netsa Art Village, considers the singular nature of conception and fertility through his glass mono-prints. Embryo and phallus-like structures float by in a sea of neutral grays, greens, and browns. One of these is tweaked to reveal the outline of a woman carrying a mountain-like bundle of sticks on her back. Kassa graduated from the Addis Ababa School of Fine Arts and Design in 2003.

Photographer Abiy Solomon


Photo by Abiy Solomon, LALIBELA IV, 2014, Digital Archival Print, 47 x 70.5cm, Edition of 7 + 1AP.

Abiy Solomon (b.1983), is a photographer and one of the most prominent graphic designers in Addis Ababa. In his photography series, Primordial Modernity: The Raw Spirit of Lalibela, he offers a meditation on spirituality and the profound interiority of faith, as he photographs monks in Lalibela exiting and entering the hushed, dark spaces within the ancient rock-hewn churches. Offset by the bright sunlight that pours in through the open windows and doorways, the images are imbued with a reverent feeling: a contemplation of light and darkness, as well as the inner and outer manifestations of religiosity. Solomon holds a degree in Animation and Visual Effects from Maac University in India (2008). He is the founder and Creative Director at Orangeswitch, a design company, and Partner at Africology Media.

Bezawit Wondwossen


Painting by By Bezawit Wondwosen, Untitled X, 2016. (Courtesy photograph)

Bezawit Wondwossen (b.1987) uses bold, thick strokes of blues, oranges, and browns to create an abstract yet vigorous cityscape, against which splashes of black silhouette. The black forms a meditative core—seemingly haphazard, yet controlled; ornamental, yet integral to the logic of the works. It pulls viewers in to contemplate its various weights, and the sense of angst it evokes—a feeling Bezawit, a 2003 graduate of the Abyssinia School of Fine Arts, ascribes to the travails of womanhood.


If You Go:
Addis Calling II Exhibit
March 25th through May 20th, 2017.
Addis Fine Art gallery
(3rd Floor, Red Building Behind Mafi City Mall)
Bole Medhane Alem
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: +251 913 426553
www.addisfineart.com

Related:
Addis Fine Art Opens New Gallery With Inaugural Exhibition

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Spotlight: Wayna’s Facebook Video in Honor of Women’s History Month

Wayna (full name Woyneab Miraf Wondwossen) is a grammy nominated R&B/soul singer and songwriter who was born in Ethiopia and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 14th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — As Wayna prepares a public tribute to Ethiopian music legend Bezunesh Bekele this coming summer, the Grammy nominated Ethiopian American singer and songwriter has just released a new music video on Facebook in honor of Women’s History Month. The video entitled You’re Not Alone (Live) features images of Ethiopian women by photographer Aida Muluneh as well as photos of women that she encountered at the Women’s March on Washington this past January.

The new song shows solidarity with “women and girls in my native Ethiopia, for reproductive rights, for equal pay, and to put an end to violence against women and girls everywhere” says Wayna via Facebook. “Today, I say to all my sisters, mothers and daughters: You are NOT alone.”

You’re Not Alone (Live) is performed by Wayna and Eli Staples; Written by Nicholas Zork, Mixed by Awthentik, and Directed by E-hab Abasaeed. Photos in Ethiopia were taken by Aida Muluneh and Photos of the Women’s March are by E-hab Abasaeed. Styling done by Alison Carney.

Click here to watch the video on Facebook


Wayna Releases New Music Video ‘Amazing’ Filmed in Ethiopia

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The Story of American Immigrants from An Ethiopian Perspective

Ethiopian American heart surgeon and entrepreneur Dr. Lishan Aklog, with his wife (R) as well as his mother, son and sister (L) rings the opening bell for his company's Nasdaq IPO, April 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 9th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Who knew that when Dr. Lishan Aklog, CEO and co-founder of the publicly traded company PAVmed Inc., fled a brutal communist regime at age 13 and immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia nearly four decades ago along with his teenage sister he would one day become the youngest heart surgeon ever to join the faculty at Harvard University (his alma mater), or ring the opening bell in honor of his company’s Nasdaq initial public offering (IPO).

Like many of their peers in our community Lishan and his sister sought refuge as they ran away from a government sponsored deadly campaign called “red terror” in Ethiopia. Their father Dr. Aklog Habte-Michael was the first Ethiopian cardiologist serving in Ethiopia, while their mother Professor Almaz Eshete, who also attended Harvard, was Ethiopia’s first woman to receive a graduate degree.

Reflecting on his mother’s journey as a foreign graduate student in 1956 Lishan tells the women’s health website EmpowHER.com that “you can imagine what some of the issues in this country were to have this petite little African woman from the small, poor country in Boston and at Harvard to get a graduate eduction.” He adds: “I think about that and I am just absolutely amazed at what she has accomplished over the years, going back home and being again, the first woman to have her graduate education and to be one of the first professors at the university. She really became an international figure in child development..It’s an amazing inspiration for us.”

Regarding his father Dr. Lishan said: He “came from a very humble background. Earned his way through western school..just sheer work and brains and ended up getting a medical degree..and then he did his residency in the U.S. and then went back [to Ethiopia] and became one of the leading physicians for, you know, 40 years.”

In an article published this week in the Wall Street Journal, Lishan reflected on his immigrant experience in the United States amid the current backlash against refugees and immigrants in the Trump era. “Among the torrent of images in January after President Trump signed his first executive order on immigration, one photo resonated with me. It was a joyful scene: volunteers from a synagogue in Glencoe, Ill., cheerily welcoming a family of Syrian refugees — one of the last to be accepted — at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport,” Lishan wrote. “Thirty-eight years ago, a nearly identical scene played out at the same airport, perhaps in the same terminal. Pastor Gerald Nelson and congregants of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Naperville, Ill., welcomed two teenagers fleeing violence: my sister and me.”

Lishan added: “Two days earlier in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, dozens of members of a proud extended family had gathered at the airport as our parents, Prof. Almaz Eshete and Dr. Aklog Habte-Michael, tearfully told us farewell. Our family had suffered greatly under the Red Terror of the Soviet-backed tyrant, Mengistu Haile-Mariam. Fathers were imprisoned, sons were ‘disappeared’ or summarily executed, and children were roused from their bed by soldiers. Our parents had found a way to send us to a life of freedom in America… we arrived to a joyful welcome at O’Hare. Soon we were enjoying apple pie at Poppin’ Fresh Pies on the way to our new families. That’s how my American journey began — with a slice of apple pie.”

“After a rewarding career as an academic heart surgeon, I caught the entrepreneurial bug,” Lishan explained. “Two friends (descendants of Irish, East European and Filipino immigrants) and I founded five medical-device companies. Last April, that immigrant boy who peered out of the jet rang the Nasdaq opening bell with his immigrant family and colleagues at his side. Minutes later, we stood in Times Square, filled with awe and humility as images of our new company streamed on the sides of skyscrapers. I had just one thought: “This is our America.”


Dr. Lishan Aklog is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PAVmed Inc. (Nasdaq: PAVMU), a multi-product medical device company bringing innovative medical technologies from concept to commercialization with unprecedented speed and capital efficiency. (Courtesy photo)


Dr. Lishan poses for a photo with his family and colleagues in Times Square, NYC, after he rang the opening bell in honor of his company’s Nasdaq initial public offering (IPO) on April 28, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

In addition to Dr. Lishan, PAVmed was founded and is led by two other successful medical device entrepreneurs: Dr. Brian deGuzman, a prominent Harvard-trained cardiothoracic surgeon and a leader in medical device innovation, and Michael Glennon a medical device industry veteran and former senior executive in outsourced medical device manufacturing.

Per Bloomberg: “Dr. Aklog has received numerous awards and is a perennial honoree in Castle Connolly’s, America’s Top Doctors. Dr. Aklog has taken a keen interest in health care policy and medical device innovation. As a member of President Obama’s National Finance Committee and Speaker Pelosi’s Speaker’s Cabinet, he has the opportunity to advise members of Congress on health care policy, focusing on cost effective, quality delivery of high-cost, high-technology therapies.”

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Yohannes Abraham Named Senior Adviser to the Obama Foundation

Former President Barack Obama has named Yohannes Abraham as a senior adviser to the Obama Foundation. (Photo via Medium)

Politico

Obama adds former White House staffer Yohannes Abraham as foundation adviser

Barack Obama is continuing to staff his post-presidency with top aides from his presidency, adding Yohannes Abraham as a senior adviser to the Obama Foundation.

He’s coming on for what’s expected to be an at least six-month stint as the top deputy to foundation chief executive officer David Simas, Obama’s former White House political director.

According to a foundation official, Abraham will help run day-to-day operations, focusing on building the structure and then recruiting and managing the staff. He’ll also work closely with foundation executive director Robbin Cohen, who previously worked for former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s private real estate interests.

Abraham was chief of staff to top Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett running the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. He also served as a senior adviser to the National Economic Council.

“We always asked Yohannes to take on our toughest, most important projects, and he always always exceeded our expectations,” said Jarrett. “That’s why it’s no surprise that President Obama asked him to help lay the groundwork for his foundation. I have no doubt Yohannes will tackle this with his characteristic intellect, work ethic, sound judgment, and commitment to excellence.”

Abraham’s time with Obama goes back to the 2008 campaign.

Read more »


Related:
Tadias Interview with Yohannes Abraham
Overview of White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing
White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing and Civic Engagement

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Ethiopia: US Top Diplomat Misses Annual Human Rights Presentation

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson skips annual U.S. human rights presentation, while possible budget cuts to foreign aid faces bipartisan opposition in Congress. (Photo: © Greg Nash/The Hill)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 4th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson failed to attend the State Department’s yearly release of its human rights report on Friday drawing condemnation from lawmakers and activists alike.

Regarding Ethiopia the U.S. “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” highlights that “security forces used excessive force against protesters throughout the year, killing hundreds and injuring many more. The protests were mainly in Oromia and Amhara regions. At year’s end more than 10,000 persons were believed still to be detained. This included persons detained under the government-declared state of emergency, effective October 8. Many were never brought before a court, provided access to legal counsel, or formally charged with a crime.” The report adds: “The most significant human rights problems were security forces’ use of excessive force and arbitrary arrest in response to the protests, politically motivated prosecutions, and continued restrictions on activities of civil society and NGOs…Impunity was a problem. The government generally did not take steps to prosecute or otherwise punish officials who committed abuses other than corruption.”

For his absence the top U.S. Diplomat “drew fire from some members of Congress and advocates who said his decision not to personally unveil the report suggested the Trump administration places a low priority on advancing human rights,” The Washington Post reported. Human Rights Watch Washington Director, Sarah Margon, adds that Tillerson’s non-involvement “makes it much easier for other governments to ignore its findings.”

Meanwhile, in a related story, U.S. lawmakers from both parties say any proposal to cut funding for the State Department and foreign aid will not see the day of light in Congress. “It’s dead on arrival,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said in an interview with NBC. “It’s not gonna happen. It would be a disaster.”

“If you take soft power off the table then you’re never going to win the war,” Graham continued in the NBC interview. “What’s most disturbing about the cut in the State Department’s budget is it shows a lack of understanding of what it takes to win the war.”

New York Senator and Minority Leader Charles Schumer added: “Democrats and Republicans are both going to run away,” from the Trump budget proposal. “His proposals are falling apart everywhere,” Schumer said.


Related:
Debating Pros & Cons of US Foreign Aid
Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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In Pictures: DC Awards Dinner Celebrates Ethiopia’s Adwa Victory

Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie hosts the 2017 Victory of Adwa Commemorative Dinner in Washington, DC. (Photo: Tsehai)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This year marks the 121st anniversary of Ethiopia’s victory at the Battle of Adwa, which took place on March 1st 1896. This past weekend in Washington, D.C., Ethiopian guests and friends of Ethiopia from across the U.S. came together for the 6th Annual Victory of Adwa Commemorative Dinner — a black tie affair hosted by Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie. The program was held both in celebration of Adwa as well as to recognize individuals who have distinguished themselves through their dedicated contribution to Ethiopian society at large.

Below are photos from the event:

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Related:
Adwa: Genesis of Unscrambled Africa
119 Years Anniversary of Ethiopia’s Victory at the Battle of Adwa on March 1st, 1896
Reflection on 118th Anniversary of Ethiopia’s Victory at Adwa
The Significance of the 1896 Battle of Adwa
Call for the Registry of Adwa as UNESCO World Heritage Site

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AT the Oscars Ruth Negga Shows Support to American Civil Liberties Union

Ruth Negga wearing a blue American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.) ribbon during the Academy Awards ceremony in L.A. on Sunday, February 26th, 2017. (Photo: NYT)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, February 27th, 2017

New York (TADIAS)– Ruth Negga the first Ethiopian-born actress to be nominated for an Oscar made her presence felt during the 89th Academy Awards ceremony held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California on Sunday evening, arriving with a stylish red Valentino dress decorated with an ACLU ribbon.

The 35-years-old Ethiopian-Irish actress earned the Oscar nomination for her highly acclaimed performance in the American civil rights movie Loving, which depicts the 1967 historic U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in a case called “Loving v. Virginia.”

According to The New York Times “The A.C.L.U. took up the case and brought it all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which struck down miscegenation laws — those that enforced segregation in intimate relationships — in 1967.”


Oscar-nominated actress Ruth Negga. (Getty Images)

Ruth was born in Addis Ababa in 1982 to an Ethiopian father (a medical doctor) and an Irish mother (a nurse) and lived in Ethiopia until the age of four when she moved to Ireland with her parents. Ruth’s father died three years later in a car accident when she was only seven years old. Ruth grew up in Limerick, Ireland and has resided in London for the past ten years.


Related:
Ruth Negga: One of the Best Film Stars of Our Time
Ethiopian-born Actress Ruth Negga Gets Thumbs-up for Lead Role in ‘Loving’

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Spotlight: Ethiopia Habtemariam Honored for Black History Month

Ethiopia Habtemariam is President of Motown Records, President of Universal Music Group’s urban music division, and co-head of creative at Universal Music Publishing Group. (Photograph: Universal Music Group)

Radio Facts

The #New28 Honors Ethiopia Habtemariam, Chance the Rapper, and More

The #New28, a power dinner and ceremony, presented and sponsored by Walgreens and African Pride, recognized 28 influencers during Black History Month who are bold, brave, and brilliant in their approach at changing the world through their art.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia Habtemariam: Women In Music 2014
Motown Founder Salutes Ethiopia Habtemariam at Heroes & Legends Awards
Ethiopia Habtemariam to be Honored at the 2014 Heroes & Legends Awards
Ethiopia Habtemariam Named President of Motown
Barry Weiss Steps Down as Island Def Jam Motown Reorganizes (The Hollywood Reporter)

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Pen America Town Hall with Dinaw Mengestu: Role of the Writer in Trump Era

Award-winning Ethiopian-American novelist Dinaw Mengestu. (Photo: The MacArthur Foundation)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Next week in New York City Ethiopian-American novelist and writer Dinaw Mengestu will be one of the featured speakers at a Pen America town hall meeting entitled “The Role of the Writer in Trump’s America.”

“The role of the writer is being tested in an era of new and intensified attacks on the First Amendment, the discrediting of the press and journalists and efforts to obscure and distort the truth,” Pen America stated in a press release. “Writers have been at the vanguard of chronicling, interpreting and helping shape responses to fast-breaking developments that have the potential to remake essential aspects of our politics and society.”

In addition to Dinaw Mengestu scheduled speakers include Daniel Alarcón, Masha Gessen, Salman Rushdie, and Andrew Solomon.

Pen America added: “The last few months have seen so-called fake news and “alternative facts” challenge the authority of legitimate news sources, expertise and scientific knowledge discredited, and the value of arts and culture questioned. At the same time, millions of Americans are finding new ways to express their views in protest. These developments pose important questions for the role of the writer: Do writers have any unique obligations that derived from the political challenges of the day? Should the roles of writer, artist, citizen, and activist converge? How can the breadth and diversity of the literary community be reflected without detracting from unified efforts? What obligations exist within and amongst the literary community and its sub-cultures? Does the literary community need to evolve to meet the challenges of this moment, and how?”


TOWN HALL MEETING: The Role of the Writer in Trump’s America Opening remarks from Daniel Alarcón , Masha Gessen, Dinaw Mengestu, Salman Rushdie, Andrew Solomon, and more to be announced. (Pen America)

Following remarks from the featured writers an open mike discussion will be held among members of PEN America.


If You Go:
Wed, March 8, 2017
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST
Frederick P. Rose Auditorium
41 Cooper Square
New York, NY 10008
Click here to register

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Photos: Feyisa Lilesa’s New Life in Arizona

Feyisa Lilesa, who has not been back to Ethiopia since his protest at the marathon finish in the Rio Olympics last August, on a training run in Sedona, Ariz., not far from his new home in Flagstaff. (Photo: NYT)

The New York Times

Feyisa Lilesa, Marathoner in Exile, Finds Refuge in Arizona

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The young boy was getting reacquainted with his father after an absence of six months and climbed on him as if he were a tree. The boy kissed his father and hugged him and clambered onto his shoulders. Then, when a protest video streamed on television, the boy grabbed a stick, and the lid of a pot to serve as a shield, and began to mimic a dance of dissent in the living room.

There is much joy and relief, but also continued political complication, in the modest apartment of Feyisa Lilesa, the Ethiopian marathon runner who won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics and gained international attention when he crossed his arms above his head at the finish line in a defiant gesture against the East African nation’s repressive government.

Afraid to return home, fearing he would be jailed, killed or no longer allowed to travel, Lilesa, 27, remained in Brazil after the Summer Games, then came to the United States in early September. He has received a green card as a permanent resident in a category for individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business and sports.

On Valentine’s Day, his wife, Iftu Mulisa, 26; daughter, Soko, 5; and son, Sora, 3, were reunited with him, first in Miami and then in Flagstaff, where Lilesa is training at altitude for the London Marathon in April. Their immigrant visas are valid until July, but they also hope to receive green cards.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


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Feyisa Lilesa Reunites with Family
In Pictures: Feyisa Lilesa’s Daring Protest Reminiscent of 1968 Olympics
Washington Post Interview With Feyisa Lilesa
From Rio to America: Olympian Feyisa Lilesa’s Washington Post Op-Ed
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Arrives in the U.S.
In Seattle, African Athletics Org Renames 5k Race ‘Feyisa Lilesa Heroic Run’
Over $100000 Raised For Ethiopian Olympian Runner
Medallist Feyisa Lilesa fails to return to Ethiopia after Olympics protest
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Shows Solidarity With Protesters in Ethiopia at Rio Games
Ethiopia Says Protesting Marathoner to Be Welcomed as Hero, But Does He Want to Go?
Ethiopia ‘hero’ runner gets asylum donations after Oromo protest sign
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Shows Solidarity With Protesters in Ethiopia at Rio Games »
Ethiopia Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Protests Government With Marathon Medal
Ethiopian Marathoner’s Protest Puts Him at Odds With His Government
Ethiopian runner makes protest sign as he crosses line in Rio
Rio 2016 Olympics: Genzebe Dibaba Takes Silver Medal in the Women’s 1,500 Meters
Rio 2016 Olympics: Etenesh Diro Advances to 3,000-Meter Steeplechase With 1 Shoe
Ethiopia’s First Gold at Rio Olympics: Almaz Ayana Smashes 10,000m Record
Ethiopia’s Olympic Swimmer Robel Kiros: Body Shaming & Questions of Nepotism
All Eyes on Brazil as 2016 Olympics Starts

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