Archive for December, 2010


Posted in Articles, Black History, Newsletter with tags , , on December 31, 2010 by

“The eyes believe themselves.  The ears believe other people.”


Greetings and welcome to PANTHER NEWSLETTER


For the first time in many years Britain had a snow-covered Christmas.  Despite the national weather crew forecasting the snow was coming, airports closed, trains were cancelled, cars were abandoned on motorways and main roads were not gritted.  When it comes to snow, the Brits (bless dem) can never get it right.  However, regardless of all the woes and complaints about the cold snap, the children loved it and at least two good things have surfaced; Mother Earth is claiming back her seasons and the Festive Season looked seasonal.

Welcome to our new PANTHER NEWSLETTER readers.  In this issue we have an expressive ARTIST OF THE MONTH, the FEATURED STORY, NORMSKI’S ARTICLE and everybody’s favourite, THE CULTURE CORNER.  There’s lots of news to get through in this issue, ‘So tune in ’til ah mornin’ me bredrins and sistrens and enjoy this issue of PANTHER NEWSLETTER; Bless. ‘  



 Black Students Deserve Better From Oxbridge

Last year only one Afro-Caribbean British student was accepted at any of Oxford’s 38 colleges to study as an undergraduate.  Only 27 British students from any origin defining themselves as black were admitted as undergraduates.  Read more about it here…

Pizza Hut Apologises to AFC Bournemouth Over Bill Row

Pizza Hut has apologised to a group of black League One footballers who claim they were racially discriminated against at a restaurant; read on…

Birmingham: Gunshot Sensors Used in the UK for the First Time

Sensors which can detect gunshots being fired have been installed in areas of Birmingham; more…



Nigeria Files Charges Against Dick Cheney, Haliburton Over Bribery Case

Nigerian prosecutors filed charges against former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and companies including Halliburton Co., where he was chief executive officer until 2000, for alleged bribery, according to court documents; more…

Death Toll of Bomb Blasts Reaches 80 in Nigeria’s Jo’s

The death toll from the Christmas Eve bomb blasts in central north Plateau State had risen to 80, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said Monday; read on…

Gbagbo Supporter Calls For Ouster of UN Peacemakers from Ivory Coast

The leader of a militia that supports incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo is calling on his supporters to oust foreign troops by Friday; Continued…

African Leaders Meet With Gbagbo to Deal with Ivory Coast Crisis

Three African presidents met with their defiant counterpart in Ivory Coast Tuesday in an effort to defuse the country’s political crisis; more…

Crossroads Sudan: Lines of Division

Sudan stands at a crossroads with the people of the South set to vote in January on whether to become an independent state; here… 



Haiti Election: Manigat, Celestin and Martelly profiles

The second round of Haiti’s presidential election, set for 16 January, will be between governing party candidate Jude Celestin and former first lady Mirlande Manigat; more…



UK Snow: Big Freeze Returns as Airports Shut and Roads Closed

The big freeze returned with a vengeance as heavy snow closed schools, shut airports and brought traffic to s standstill; here…

Snow Brings Travel Gridlock on Busiest Weekend Before Christmas

Blizzard conditions brought large parts of Britain to a standstill as major airports closed their runways and roads became impassable during the busiet weekend before Christmas; continued…


Blizzards Strand Thousands in US

An East Coast blizzard that has forced nearly 7,000 US flight cancellations will leave many travellers stranded until the end of the week; here…



For those of you who want to know about Kwanzaa.  Check out the interesting comments; here…


Glory to the Word-Sound-Power of  HIM; here…

Winnie Mandela Opera to Premiere in South Africa

An opera about the life of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the ex-wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela is to premiere in Pretoria next year, it has been announced; read on…



US Soul Singer Teena Marie Dies at 54

The Grammy-nominated American soul singer Teena Marie has been found dead at her California home at the age of 54, her manager has said; more…

Billy Taylor, US Jazz Musician and Composer Dies at 89

The jazz musician and composer Billy Taylor has died in New York of heart failure at the age of 89; here…

US Soul Singer Bernard Wilson Dies Aged 64

US soul singer Bernard Wilson, a member of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, has died at the age of 64; read on…

Boney M Singer Bobby Farrell Dies Aged 61

Bobby Farrell, front man of the 1970s disco group Boney M, has died at the age of 61, his agent has announced; continued…

Those We Have Lost in 2010

Lena Horne the Jazz singer, Guru of Gang Starr, Siphiwo Desmond Ntshebe the Opera Singer, Gary Coleman, Allie-Ollie Woodson, Marvin Isely of The Isley Brothers, Sugar Minott, Vonetta Mcgee the Blaxploitation Film Star, Abbey Lincoln, Robert Wilson, Solomon Burke, Gregory Isaacs, Shirley Verrett, Leslie Nielsen.

…And Those Nearest and Dearest

Agnes Weekes and Petrie Hendrickson

“May their love-light continue to shine on them and those they loved the most – Jah Bless.”


Posted in Articles, Black History, Newsletter with tags , , on December 31, 2010 by

He is a young man on a mission who is passionate about making a living from doing the thing he’s loved doing since he was a child.  In 2008 at the age of 22, he achieved a first class B.A honours degree, in Illustration/Visual Communication and in the following year, sailed through his Masters degree in the same subject both at Birmingham City University’s Institue of Art and Design.  At present he is studying for his PGCE at the University of Wolverhampton.

In this issue of PANTHER NEWSLETTER the ARTIST OF THE MONTH is Aaron Linton-Chambers.  I hooked up with Aaron to talk with him, about him and his works.  Check out his interview with me here…


Posted in Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , on December 31, 2010 by



 © 1983, 2010 Norman Samuda Smith

Curious is featured in Britannia’s Children – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

Buy your copy @


Joel was brought up with the ‘heavy hand’, if he stepped out of line, or dared to back-chat, he would be punished.  His mother was always out of town working, his father, he didn’t know. School was sometimes just a word, an establishment he rarely saw or experienced. His education was the nearby bustling town streets, his grandparents land, the chickens and the goats.

‘Freedom’ came his way came his way one day. England attracted his attention. The promise of “streets paved with gold”, plenty of work, a permissive society, the dream of owning a house and a car, the things that compelled him to come. When most of his fellow country men and women were planning a five year stay, Joel made up his mind he wasn’t coming back.

Then here came the fishes swimming by the plenty, wriggling their way into view, pleasing his eyes.  He cast his line, eventually he attracted the one he married.

The babes were weaned as the years strolled by. Two sons and a daughter were cultured into the ways of the ‘heavy hand’ by Joel.  No after school activities, none of their friends were allowed to visit their house; be seen but not heard. The boys rebelled against their curfew. They tried to reason with Joel, but reasoning didn’t come. They found out from their mother that in his youth, Joel was punished until he was conditioned not to ask questions or answer back. To him, that was right, but was it a good enough reason why he should have passed it on? The boys were reluctantly granted their freedom, still with a few tricky knots to untangle.

So elsewhere the boys had to roam, to seek for what they desired. Out there it’s like a large plastic dome waiting to explode. Evil lurks around many-a-corner. The genuine are few and far between.  The good can also be corrupt. It’s sad and hard out there, but it can be fun.

Which left daughter at home receiving the feed back; hearing how great it is to be out there.  She only heard one side of the story, the other half was never told…

            CURIOUS until she skipped a couple of classes.

            CURIOUS until she skipped most of college.

            CURIOUS until she wanted to be noticed.

            CURIOUS until she slipped…OOPS!CONCEIVED!

Dear Mom, Dear Dad

I didn’t really want us to part this way, but I’m scared, it has to be done. Please try and understand.

Love…Andrea was just sixteen when she ran away from home. On her dresser she left that note and waited patiently until her parents were asleep. Then at 3.00am she simply walked out the front door leaving her keys. All she carried with her was a case full of clothes and her parents’ grandchild.

She strolled down the road, calm but not content, with the planted seed forming in her mind’s eye, asking the questions, “What am I gonna do? – How did I get here?”

…Andrea never wanted to, but she did. She let herself fall foolishly in love again, knowing the consequences that would follow as before. She never expected them to last; she just fantasised about them while she had them, and then thought about what she was going to say when they finally drifted away from her.

Sometimes her words were strong, and at other times just sweet words of “I Understand; of course we can still be friends,” deep down it hurt, but she had to keep altering the rehearsed lines that were so carefully thought out before the feeling of ‘It’s the end’ came…

            “…otherwise it would all sound the same ennit? I mean you gotta use your imagination.  Think positive and quick too, so it sounds effective. The hurt buries itself then and stays buried ‘til you’re free to let it out.”

She had a love once, a real love, but due to Joel’s ‘heavy handed curfew’ he went away.

            “I hardened my heart. I wanna love again, but I’m scared. When I think I’ve got him, he slips away, and when he slips away, I live in hope that he’ll come back again, but all in vain.”

It was all so familiar to Andrea, almost timed even. She knew how to bury her hurt, she was good at that. Non-emotional, no tears, just a cynical smile that quivered a bit when she was nervous and thought she was going to break out into rivers of tears. She controlled that though, always controlled it.

             “…But that’s the way to be ennit?”

Andrea shrugged her shoulders, strolled on further away from home, still deliberating…

             “…Anyway, I’ve done Mom and Dad a favour. I made it easier for them.”

She looked down and rubbed her belly, smiling at the prospects the little person growing inside her will have. Then her eyes rose to look at the clear night sky and the golden moon that shone its silver light.

            “…Dear Lord, show us a sign…”

She put her hand in her coat pocket and felt a screwed up piece of paper. Unravelling it she saw scribbled on it her two brothers’ address.

            “…Signs and wonders…” she whispered dropping her case and raising her arms to the heavens extolling HIM. “…Thank you!”

On their doorstep, she knocked the door…

            “Welcome sis…” they greeted her, “…our family starts here…”


*All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*



Posted in Articles, Black British Literature, Black History, Newsletter with tags , , , on December 31, 2010 by


My Vision

© 2010 Norman Samuda Smith


I had a vision earlier this month, which I would like to share with you.  In my dream His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I said in a speech to a multitude: “…The people are the true lords of Mother Earth. When heads of government stop passing shambolic laws which creates the suffering of every day people, and leaders of churches and religious institutions stop sermonizing about religion but encourage the act of faith, life here on Earth will be much better…”

‘Til next month – Everyting Bless


*All rights reserved.  No part of this article may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*



Posted in Articles, Black British Literature, Black History, Newsletter with tags , , , on December 31, 2010 by


“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture, is like a tree without roots.”

Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887 – 1940)

Every year in October we celebrate BLACK HISTORY MONTH. Black history is with us every second, minute, hour, week, month and year. PANTHER NEWSLETTER’S CULTURE CORNER will attempt to enlighten you with what they never told you in your history class. Our story will be told right here – So enjoy the journey of clarification.


Blacks in Britain (Part One)

Not Widely Known – But True…

In 210 AD, African soldiers described as a “division of Moors,” were sent by Rome to defend Hadrian’s Wall.  The presence of these Africans predates the arrival of those who are today considered “English,” since Britannia (Modern-day England) was created during Roman rule.

In 800 AD, the ancient Irish recorded the existence of “blue men” from Morocco who were captured by the Vikings and taken to Ireland.

In 1000 AD, the skeletal remains of a young African girl was found at North Elmham in Norfolk, England.

In the early 1500’s, a small group of Africans, probably taken by Scottish “privateers” from Portuguese slave traders, were “attached,” or enslaved to King James IV’s court.

Between 1541 and the 1850’s, 61 taverns were called the “Black Boy” in both London and in the provinces, (during the same period in London itself, there were 51 taverns called “The Blackamoor’s Head.”) African or black references were also popular for sailing vessels.

In 1550, the first English traders landed in West Africa.

In 1555, five West Africans came to London from present-day Ghana to learn English and assist traders. The Africans, although slaves, had been “borrowed,” since England’s slave trade did not start until 1563.



Shehu Usman dan Fodio (1754 -1817)Shehu Uthman Dan Fuduye set up the Yantaru educational system for women was the most advanced educational system for women in the whole of the African continent and because it still exists it remains the oldest. He was a Moslem teacher and theologian.  One of the principal reformers of Islam in Hausaland in Northern Nigeria, he founded an Islamic empire at the beginning of the 19th century. Uthman don Fodio whose complete name was Uthman ibn Muhammad ibn Fudi, was commonly known simply as Shehu, the Hausa word for sheikh. He wrote more than a hundred books concerning religion, government, culture and society.

Johannes IV (1831-1889) also known as “John” was Negusa Nagast of Ethiopia (Ethiopian Emperor) from 1872 until his death.  His full title: “His Imperial Majesty John IV, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of Kings of Ethiopia and Elect of God.”  Johannes IV was born in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigre with the baptismal name of Kassa. After inheriting his father’s position of nobility in 1867, Kassa declared himself the independent king of Tigre. He is known as the Emperor who thwarted Egyptian, Italian, and Sudanese attempts to overrun Ethiopia and took important steps to unify the country.

Dusé Mohamed Ali (1866 – 1946) was an influential Pan-Africanist, a supporter of Islam, mentor to Marcus Garvey.  (This Islamic influence can be seen in Marcus Garvey’s motto “One God, One Aim, One Destiny.”) He travelled widely throughout the African Diaspora. He founded the African Times and Orient Review in 1911, which spread the call for African nationalism, and later founded The Comet in Lagos, Nigeria. He created the Universal Islamic Society in Detroit, Michigan (which in turn influenced the creation of the Nation of Islam by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in 1930). He was the most likely source of the African conscious independent view of the world we hold today. Were it not for him there probably would not have been a UNIA (Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association), a Nation of Islam, a Moorish Science Temple or any of the leaders and movements derived from these sources, Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Gods and Earths, the Black Panthers, etc.

Billie Holiday (born Eleanora FaganApril 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959) an African American jazz singer and songwriter nicknamed “Lady Day” by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday was a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing.  Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo.  Critic John Bush wrote that Holiday “changed the art of American pop vocals forever.” She co-wrote only a few songs, but several of them have become jazz standards, notably “God Bless the Child” “Don’t Explain” “Fine and Mellow” and “Lady Sings the Blues.” She also became famous for singing “Easy Living,”  “Good Morning Heartache,” and “Strange Fruit”, a protest song which became one of her standards and made famous with her 1939 recording.

Sarah Lois Vaughan (March 27, 1924 – April 3, 1990) another African American jazz singer, described by Scott Yanow as having “one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century”. She had a contralto vocal range. Nicknamed “Sailor” (for her salty speech), “Sassy” and “The Divine One”, Sarah Vaughan was a Grammy Award winner. The National Endowment for the Arts bestowed upon her its “highest honor in jazz”, the NEA Jazz Masters Award, in 1989.

Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), also known by her stage name Nina Simone,  is the third African American singer featured in this month’s CULTURE CORNER. Also a songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music. Simone aspired to become a classical pianist while working in a broad range of styles including classical, jazz, blues, soul, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. Despite having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia, Simone recorded over 40 albums, mostly between 1958 when she made her debut with Little Girl Blue and 1974. 

Here ends your history lesson for this month.


I trust each and every one of you enjoyed or are still enjoying your holidays. For those of you celebrating Kwanzaa; Happy Kwanzaa and I pray your affirmations of the Nguzo Saba, (The Seven Principles) guides you to a happy and prosperous New Year – Jah Bless.


Log on for more CULTURE CORNER next year and remember…  

Europe stretches out her hands on every side to squeeze the darker races to her advantage, because she knows the people of Africa and the people of Asia to be divided. Her aim has been to promote division. It therefore behoves you, men of Asia, men of Africa, to join yourselves in one common bond of lasting friendship.

Duse Mohamed Ali



“Til next month – Everyting Bless.”

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