Aminata kamara

Allow Me to Re-Introduce Myself…

Business

The last few weeks have been really defining for me. I have learnt so much about myself, more than I could ever image. I’ve taken time out to really think and reflect on who I am, evaluate and re-evaluate who I want to be, and hopefully take active steps in becoming that person.

So for now, here goes…

I am passionate about people and communities. My hope is to see lives impacted by the power of thought provoking performance, but also to see people empowered to make an active difference in their own lives. I’m currently working at De Montfort University as a Programmes Administrator, where I am learning so much about processes, personal organisation, professional service support, management and operations. My hope is to carry these skills into my personal work, and one day work alongside others who share my vision and will work hard to make it come alive.

The journey continues, but for now this is me. I’d love to hear from any others who identify with what I’ve mentioned above. Send me a message and hopefully we can connect visions and make things happen.

Yours truly onto myself ;)

Aminata 

The Bank of TMC

Unidentified Drama are staging their 1st Live Debate – and WE NEED YOU!

Business

On the 29th April 2014 Unidentified Drama will be staging their first live debate where a choreographed performance will take place, based on the topic of  ‘Young People as Future Leaders’

This performance is part of the Bank of TMC’s Big Event!, A series of inspirational events lead by successful young entrepreneurs, in aid of helping other young people explore creative enterprise.

I am looking for individuals (no experience needed) who will be available to attend 2 2hour rehearsals on DMU Campus, between now and the 29th April. There will also be a brief dress rehearsal on the 28th April at the Peepul Centre, where the event will be held.

The performance will last no longer than 20minutes and will take place at 10.30am and 13:30pm on Tuesday 29th April.

If this is something that would interest you I would love to hear from you. Please comment below or send an email to info@aminatakamara.co.uk


The Bank of TMC, a programme run by The Mighty Creatives believes in ‘backing great ideas’ and is an initiative for young people aged 16 to 25 years old. The programme provides bespoke support to start a business or grow an existing business. this is done by providing young people and businesses with tailored advice, support and cash awards of up to £5000.

To hear from other young people, including myself, who have been through TMC’s programme watch the following YouTube video!

dencia whitenicious

Who Gave You the Right?

opinion

Who Gave You the Right?

A critical response to Dencia’s Channel 4 interview on her beauty product Whitenicious

Some of you may have seen the brief interview on Channel 4 with the Cameroonian born pop star Dencia, defending her beauty product Whitenicious. If you haven’t seen it yet click HERE for full coverage on the story, or simply watch the interview below:

Whitenicious is defined by Dencia as a product that helps to remove dark spots and hyperpigmentation. She defends her brand by stating that it is not directly marketed as an allover bleaching cream, however “if you see your whole body as a dark spot then fine”. When questioned about the name of the product being a play on the words white and delicious, she argued that the word white means “pure” and has nothing to do with the white race. She repeatedly states that she never directly sold Whitenicious as a skin lightening cream (although she herself has used skin lightening products), but rather Whitenicious has been displayed by the media as a formula to turn your skin from dark to light.

Now whether you agree with her claims or not, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Who is responsible for defining beauty?
2. Does what we perceive as beautiful/attractive have any connection to success?
3. Should someone else be responsible for validating your identity?

What struck me the most about this interview was the extreme difference in opinion between Dencia (the celebrity) and Phinnah Ikeji (the ‘moral’ voice). Dencia very clearly rejecting any form of responsibility over the image her brand gives out, whereas Phinnah was adamant that a person such as Dencia who is so highly esteemed among many young girls, has a responsibility to represent her race and pride in her natural skin colour- as has Lupita Nyongo. Now which one is right?

I think the real question we should be asking here is: who should be responsible for defining or affirming our identity?

In society we have esteemed celebrities to such a high degree that we expect them be a positive representation of success, achievement, confidence and self-acceptance. We sit there struggling to find our own identity, to understand and love who we are, yet we chastise and criticise those in the lime light who are probably facing the same battles as us! Do you ever question yourself as to what struggles they might be having with their identity, even more so because they are in the public eye and constantly under scrutiny?

I am not for one second defending Dencia or her product Whitenicious (you will never catch me anywhere near the stuff – I am shade NW58 and proud of it!), I am simply posing the argument that we need to think twice about representation and why we freely give other people this right to represent/validate us. We all have to take responsibility for ourselves, or rather teach young people to love and accept themselves and embrace their differences.

As a society we tend to give famous/popular people the right to validate our identity. This is because with much success comes much influence. Therefore inevitably Dencia and many others in her position will play the part of a role model for many young girls. Having said that, we must reconsider the role of a role model and evaluate the extent to which they influence our generation and the generations to come.

There has to be a line where we can differentiate between the different purposes of a role model. Do we have a role model that is:
a) a model of success because we want to aspire to their level of talent and achievement, or
b) because we think they are beautiful and to be successful we must look, act or behave like them?
In this day and age, the line has been blurred, and I wonder if it even still exists!

We live in a generation where the media has been given the right to shape our understanding of beauty. The media has been given the authority to define our identity and in some cases even defend it. We have naturally conformed to this ideology and seldom stood to challenge it.

I want to challenge this, so I kindly ask again that you consider the same questions as above, but this time from a different perspective:

1. Is it possible that one day love for yourself will become your definition of beauty?
2. Do you have to mirror what your role model looks like to become successful?
3. Can you truly accept yourself without anyone or anything playing a part in that journey?

The real question is do you want to? Or are you happy for someone else to take responsibility?

Feel free to have someone to aspire to, but think twice before you give them permission to define or validate your existence! Confidence and self-esteem have to come from within. It has to come from knowing that you are special and unique regardless of what anyone else says or does.

We have to believe this, and we have to become dedicated to teaching our young people and many others the same.


This article is also published on AFRICKSWAG! Make sure to check out their website. 

 

What on Earth is Black Theatre and WHY Does it Still Exist???

opinion, personal

Last week Thursday I attended an open space forum by Devoted and Disgruntled (D&D) to discuss the following topic: What are we going to do about Race and Diversity in UK Theatre.
For those that don’t know, open space is a platform where delegates have the opportunity to ‘call a session’ based around the topic on the event.

This was my 2nd time taking part in D&Ds open space forum and I called the following session: “What on Earth is Black Theatre and why does it still exist”.

I began the session by setting the context as to why I raised that question. Black Theatre is still a subject area that I’m not sure I’m 100% comfortable with. Actually – I’m really not comfortable with it at all. I still wonder as to why in the 21st century we still carry a platform that in my opinion ‘segregates’ ‘black work’ (whatever that may be), from other theatrical platforms. Having researched into Black Theatre, I have understood the reasons as to why it came about in the 1970’s, during post war migration when black people felt marginalised and without a space to celebrate their culture and identity in white Britain. Black people had to create platforms through comedy, music and theatre to 1, challenge racism and discrimination; 2, celebrate their uniqueness and share their stories with one another and 3, to create an identity space where they could be understood and valued as individuals. So there was indeed a time when black people were not given the opportunity to have a voice via mainstream art forms, so they HAD to create their own platforms and thus the emergence of Black Theatre.

I’d also like to point out that Black Theatre was not isolated as a platform/identity space for black expression. The same took place in music, politics, and social spaces such as night clubs, comedy clubs and churches. Much of this ‘segregation’ (YEA I SAID IT!) still exists today, and so my question is, why, especially when conditions for black people today, are completely different to the way they were all those years ago.

Right, so now I’ve got your attention (and potential insults ready to be unleashed), let’s get back to the point! What on Earth is Black Theatre and Why does it exist?

In my session the group expressed what they felt Black Theatre is/represents:

1. A celebration of culture, language and physicality
2. An expression of stereotypes
3. Political views
4. Celebration of hidden, oppressed and untold stories
5. Diverse stories about a human experience
6. Fight for self-definition
7. A reflection of ones work, simply because their skin in black
8. Being integral to what you believe
9. Connecting humanity

Now as you can see the above list is VERY extensive. This is because every individual’s definition of ‘black’ is very different, and therefore their interpretation of Black Theatre will reflect that. I particularly like no. 5, the idea that Black Theatre portrays diverse stories of a human experience. That excites me because it’s almost as though we are finally beginning to understand that we are not just black, we are human. Yaayy!!! BUT – do we really need Black Theatre to teach/show us that we are different and have a unique story to tell? Please…. Ponder that!

Are you still with me? I’m getting somewhere with this, so hang on.

We then went on to discuss why Black Theatre still exists and the long and short of it was/is because not all black people feel like they have a place in society. Some black people still don’t feel they have equal standing with white people. Some black artists don’t feel like their art is appreciated by the Arts Council and others alike. Some black artists constantly feel oppressed, judged, undervalued and as though they have no place in ‘mainstream’ theatre.

This does indeed sadden me, because unfortunately for some, this much is true. Many who attended D&D expressed their heart-breaking stories of how they faced rejection after rejection – and to be honest, this was a real eye opener for me. You can’t deny or ignore someone’s experience because it doesn’t match yours! We cannot be ignorant to racial discrimination which still exists. These things still happen today – there is still a glass ceiling that needs to be broken. We cannot and should not deny that!

Something needs to change! And until this session happened I had no idea what it was.

It is for these reasons I feel Black Theatre serves no purpose in giving black artists equal standing with the rest of society. In fact I will go as far as saying is it quite destructive! One gentleman joined the discussion a little later, and after sharing his struggles in the industry suggested we (black people) form our own funding bodies- we should aim to “do it ourselves” and not go to the all white Arts Council for funding….. Ermmmm… *Tumble weed* and at this point a few members left the group and went elsewhere, but I’ll leave you to come to your own judgement on that!

My point is that segregating ourselves, serves no purpose. Something has to change structurally. I would suggest that change needs to come in the form of infiltrating the current infrastructure!

Will you consider for a moment, a world where diversity is not just reflected in the shopping centres and on the streets, but diversity is reflected in government, politics, education, corporate organisations, media and television etc etc. This diverse picture will create an environment which does not exert white supremacy because of the lack of diversity in our leaders. This picture will portray a message that Britain is diverse and has the capacity to know and understand all its citizens.

It’s important that we start to look at the bigger picture and see that this issue of race and diversity is not just about Theatre, it’s a wider issue that affects our society. We have to start broadening our thinking and think about the ways we can build an integrated society where every culture and race is represented. Our ancestors fought for this. They did not fight for us to stay angry and separate ourselves onto our own.

I’m not asking you to blindly agree with what I’m saying. I’m asking you to consider my points, and hear out my concerns regarding this topic and come to your own conclusions.

I often question God and ask Him why He made me black. I could have been any colour in the world, but here I am. Black as black can be. Damn it! I’m not even light skinned – hated by my own! – even Mac cosmetics just about recognise me!!! (lol – joke, it is not my intention to open up another debate on skin tone!)
all jokes aside though, it took me many many MANY years to love and accept myself for who I am today and I am not about to let anything or anyone hinder me from attaining my goals or reaching my full potential. In my personal experience I have not faced a glass ceiling, but that’s MY experience. It’s not my intention to undermine anyone who has experienced short comings because of their race.

There is so much more I could say on the topic, but for now I hope I have provided you with enough food for thought. If you have any thoughts on anything I have written, please feel free to drop a comment!

“Its Amazing what you can achieve when you work together”

Unidentified Drama

Last week we ran a fantastic workshop for a group of multi-faith parents and children in Belgrave, Leicester! We had a great time looking at the ways we can build positive relationships across different faiths, sharing our similarities and celebrating our differences, recognising our unique identity as individuals, but most of all, having fun in an energetic and dynamic space – regardless of age, gender, race or religion!

The image you see above is of a game we played together where the group had to pass the ball as quickly as they could around the group. At their first attempt they managed to pass the ball around the circle in 31 seconds. Each round after that they got quicker and quicker. However what they soon realised was that the only way to get a better time was to work together, get a little closer, listen to one another, try and fail, but in time, try and succeed!

By the end of the task, the group managed to pass the ball around in a whopping 8.1 seconds!!!

I was really proud of them, not only because of the great time they achieved, but because they achieved it together! The parents had to work with the children and the children had to work with the parents. They had to act fast, but they also needed to listen to one another, try out the different strategies, and not give up when one method failed.

Sometimes the ‘big’ issues we see/experience in life can be solved with the simplest of solutions. My hope is that we will never fail to realise, that its amazing what you can achieve when you just work together :)

If you would like to find out more about our work, why not like our Facebook page and check in for regular updates.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Unidentified-Drama/318583078179127?fref=ts

me

Bolder, better, BBRIGHTER and Even Sooner

Unidentified Drama

These were the words of our Leicester City Mayor on the day we found out that our city lost out to Hull on the title of UK City of Culture 2017.

On that dark Wednesday morning, 20th November, we all gathered at Curve Theatre to hear what we thought was to be the start of many great things to come for Leicester. But unfortunately this was not so *inset tears here*. I was deeply saddened when the Secretary of Culture Maria Miller said… ‘and the winner of the UK City of culture is….. Hull’. :/ Words really cannot express how much this crushed me, especially because I knew how amazing our plans would have been for the city and how many lives it would have impacted.

I was invited to meet the Secretary if Culture when she arrived in Leicester in July of this year. It was truly an honour to meet with her and tell her a little bit about my work and the future for Unidentified Drama. I was then invited back to be a part of Leicester’s bid team, and fly out to Derry- LondonDerry (the current UK City of Culture) to represent Leicester, the voice of its young people and the social impact of the bid on its local citizens.

It’s been a few weeks now since the announcement, and having reflected on the whole process I can honestly say I was proud to represent a city that is so passionate about maximising on its diversity by providing a better life for all that are born, raised, living or commuting and working in Leicester. And although we didn’t win the title, I am more confident than ever that Leicester WILL come out on top. I for one am very dedicated to seeing social development take place in Leicester, by using my ideas and skills to work with the local community.

Unidentified Drama will be a big part of Leicester’s future and I am very dedicated to working with individuals and organisations who share the same passion. Regardless of age, ethnicity, status or ability, everyone has something to offer and I will make it my duty to give people the platform to share their ideas, stories and experiences so we can all live in a city that is becoming the Leicester we want it to be. Mark my words!

Have a great week everyone!!

 

If you live or work within Leicester and Leicestershire and would like to get in contact with me regarding what I have discussed above, PLEASE do not hesitate to get in contact. I am always looking for ways in which I can work together with others to achieve a common goal. “two heads are better than one”. Just send me a message in the contacts section and I will get back to you :)

image

#2013ChangeYourPerspective

opinion, personal

“The only difference between you and the person you admire is the perspective they have on life” – Bishop TD Jakes.

Today has been a really reflective day for me. I’ve gone through a whirlwind of emotions thinking about past ‘mistakes’ I’ve made. I say mistakes in inverted commas as defining a mistakes is sometimes based on your perspective, which is kind of what this blog is about.

I’ve done many things in the past that I’ve looked back on and thought “damn Aminata that was really stupid”. Other times I’ve laughed, and other times I’ve cried. Today I almost cried, but I didn’t have enough tears in me to let out. My whole demeanor was filled with sorrow as I allowed myself to become overwhelmed with negative emotions.

I’m naturally a very deep thinker, I love to analyse things and ask myself WHY?! Most of the time when I’m silent I’m thinking, asking myself questions or quite simply arguing with myself. My mind sometimes goes into overdrive and can sometimes show in my outward frustration. There are times when I speak, but most of the time I chose to think. If I know how to communicate how I’m feeling I will, but majority of how I really feel is in my head – very unhealthy I know!

I think I’ve analysed myself to the point where I know why I am this way (but the explanation of that is not for the purpose of this post). Recently I’ve come to the understanding that every challenge or difficulty in life all comes down to perspective. There are situations that appear to us as almost impossible to overcome, but that all depends on your outlook.

In my quest for overcoming my problems, in the past I’ve chosen to reflect on all the negatives and consider all the possible ‘what if’s’. Well to hell with what ifs because you will never know ‘what if’ unless you landed yourself back in that very same scenario, in the exact same time zone, without the preceded lessons learnt! And we all know that is highly IMPOSSIBLE.

To get the best out of the time we have here on earth is to consider the type of perspective we will take on past, present and future situations. If we continue to ponder on the ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’s’ or the ‘ifs and buts’ we will NEVER get anywhere. We will never get past that same problem that tripped us up in the first place.

So make a decision, it’s 2013 – CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE

Review every situation that you are currently facing and think(yes think, thinking isn’t bad lol) about how you can view it with a positive mindset!

  • If you did something wrong or made a bad decision, think about the many more opportunities you will have to make it right
  • If you did something you now regret, forgive yourself and make the conscious decision to move forward
  • If a person/situation has had a negative impact on you, forgive them. Let go of the hurt and don’t let the past pain take another step into your present and future life.

You are in control of your future and you have the ability to live a life full of hope and gladness. The only thing stopping you is your current perspective.

stock-photo-3052251-success-and-perseverance

Thank You’s, Updates and MORE!!!!!

Business, personal

Over the past few months I have been extremely busy with work, university, performances, and of course the everyday hustle and bustle of life! But in the midst of it all I have learnt that perseverance is the key to success. Yes situations happen in life, and at times the easy option is to give up. But if you make up your mind to persevere and stand strong, everything you set your mind to do will be achieved.

I’ve also learnt that having good friends and family around you help to maintain your focus and keep you on the right track. I have been very privileged to have an amazing support system behind me, encouraging me all the way – ready to give me a kick, when I was on the brink of giving up. I know for a fact that I couldn’t have done it without any of them (you know who you are!)

So here is to every person, friend, organisation and funding body that supported and encouraged me along the way. Thank you for sticking by me and having faith in me especially when I didn’t have faith in myself.

Here are just a few images and details of what I have been up to over the fast few months:

***CLICK THE IMAGES TO BE DIRECTED TO RELEVANT WEBSITES OR VIDEOS!! ***

ami - curve yae

In August I successfully completed the Curve Young Arts Entrepreneurs (YAE) Programme, which depicted the start of my career as the Director of Unidentified Drama. It was through YAE that I gained the relevant skills and support to begin my journey as a theatre director, writer and producer of my own work! Whilst on the programme I established the company and also produced my first play I am Marley. Make sure to browse through the website to find out more about the I am Marley Project!

ami - award

In October I was awarded Leicesters Young Person of the Year By Leicestershire Police for the African and Carribbean Achievement Awards 2012 (organised by the African and Carribbean Citizens Forum, ACCF). I was awarded for the dedication and service to Leicesters community in the arts and youth work. I was truly humbled and really honored to receive this award.. We’re now in Febuary and I still can’t believe I won!! I am so grateful and I want to say HUGE thank you to everyone who made this possible!!!!! Ahhhhhh :D

Ami - grad

I recently graduated from De Montfort University with a Masters In Drama. This was one of the most testing times in my life as I was trying to juggles my studies, work, YAE and L.I.F.E!! But I’m so proud to say that now I am a graduate and I know I can achieve whatever I set out to achieve – Nothing is too hard, it’s all in your mindset!

changing perceptions

Finally, one of my most recent projects, one of which I am so so SO excited about, is a project i am working on in association with Leicester Charity Link – presenting issues of poverty in the UK for National Poverty Week!! The first showing of this performance took place at Leicester’s Crumbling Cookie on Wednesday 30th January 2013 and was a total success. But keep on the look out for more information about the production and
when it will be showing next!