- Created on 11 April 2013
AfricaBelle Festival Bringing Communities Together While Celebrating African and Francophone Culture
The French speaking African culture is closer than most Atlantans realize. Instead of learning about the culture from television, reading about it or even making a trip to Africa, the Alliance Française d' Atlanta's widely attended AfricaBelle Festival can enlighten one's curiosity on the culture and its people right here in Atlanta.
For the entire month of April the AfricaBelle Festival will not only serve as a celebration for French speaking Africans but as an outlet for French speakers to mingle and socialize as a means of connecting their culture with the Atlanta community.
"We wanted something really fun. We wanted it to be light and fun yet we wanted to educate people," said Obsé Ababiya, Director of Outreach and Development for Alliance Française d' Atlanta.
"We also wanted to provide a venue for the African French speaking community in Atlanta to present their work and by the same token we wanted to present that culture to the general community in Atlanta."
The AfricaBelle Festival will host its third annual community and cultural celebration during the month long celebration which began April 10 and runs through April 27. It will provide free and ticketed cultural events to expand the perception of Africans while celebrating their culture through art, food and fellowship.
"This is a brain child of the executive director, Hélène Touré. She wanted a series of events focused on Africa," said Ababiya. "It started it out with just one event but then we ended up with a series. It just exploded. We thought it would be just a one-time thing but no, there is a demand for it. So we kept doing it. Now it's our third year."
Supported in part by the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs and presented in partnership with the High Museum's Friend of African Art, this years' festival will focus on African fashion and identity. The High Museums' Friends of African Art will promote the "Symmetry/Asymmetry: African Textiles, Dress and Adornment" exhibition funded by the Fred and Rita Richman Special Initiative Endowment from March 23 thru August 25.
"The High often partners with the Alliance Française but this is the most extensive High/AF program related to African art," said Carol Thompson the Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art at the High Museum.
Thompson, who met Ababiya years ago when taking French classes to prepare her for a visit to Burkina Faso, is an example of how connected the African and French speaking community is and how much a part of the Atlanta community they are and can be.
"The hardest part about this festival is, really not knowing exactly which African groups to promote our events to," said Ababiya. "A lot of it is done through word of mouth."
"The other problem is there isn't a French-speaking African consulate in town. There isn't one unit body that organizes everybody; there isn't a database of people's mailing list," she added.
Statistically, there are approximately 136 million people who speak French worldwide. More than 90 million of those French speakers live in Africa. It is significant information like this that is often unknown by people who have never been introduced to the culture.
The Alliance Française d' Atlanta, founded in 1912, offers French language lessons in addition to cultural exchange programs that promote the French culture.
The Alliance Française is an independent, non-profit organization. It serves the community by encouraging the study of the French language and its cultures while fostering cultural, intellectual and artistic interactions between the French-speaking world and local communities.
"Because of this same language that they all share, there is a culture. Even if each culture is different, because they share the same language it makes communication easier. You speak the same language, you are like home," said Ségolène de Marolles, Marketing and Communication Director at the Alliance Française d' Atlanta.
Most of the AfricaBelle events will be at the Alliance Française, which is located at 1197 Peachtree Street, Colony Square, Plaza level, Suite 561 in Midtown.
Below is a schedule of events for Africa Belle 2013.
Film & discussion: Pièces d'identité
Wednesday April 10 @ 7pm: $10
African Storytelling and Arts & Crafts for Children
Saturday April 13 at 10am to 13 pm for children
Children 6-12 years old: $5 parents/guardian: free
Cultural Workshop: "Fashion & identity in Zanzibar, the Paris of the Swahili coast" by Sidney Kasfir, Professor Emerita, Art History Department, Emory University
April 24 at 7pm @ the High Museum of Art: Free
AfricaBelle Community Soirée
April 27 at 7pm to 11pm, student $15- AF members: $20- Non-members: $25.
Art Exhibit: Symmetry/Asymmetry: African Textiles, Dress, and Adornment. "Meet the collector: Michael Mack"
@ the High Museum of Art, Skyway Gallery, Wieland Pavilion at 6:00pm to 7:00pm, fee: $10
For more details on the AfricaBelle Festival and for reservations, visit afatl.com.
- Created on 10 April 2013
(CNNMoney) -- President Obama on Wednesday will propose a $3.77 trillion budget for 2014 that would cut deficits by $1.8 trillion over the next decade, according to senior administration officials.
Obama's budget blueprint -- which has already drawn criticism from the left and the right -- will offer changes to Medicare and Social Security. It will also include tax increases that would primarily hit high-income households and corporations.
The plan will call for greater spending on infrastructure, early childhood education and nondefense research. Those investments would be paid for by other measures so that they don't add to deficits, officials said.
The president's budget is late this year, coming after the Senate and House have each passed separate and very different 2014 budget frameworks.
While it's not expected to fly on Capitol Hill, Obama's budget nonetheless sets an important marker for continuing debt talks with lawmakers.
Boost infrastructure spending: The president's budget will call for a $50 billion investment to, among other things, repair highways, bridges, transit systems and airports. He would also create a National Infrastructure Bank to bring together public and private capital for important projects.
Change how inflation is measured: Obama has already gotten blasted from the left for supporting a switch to "chained CPI," which is a new way to measure inflation that would reduce projected federal spending by slowing the growth in federal benefits that are annually adjusted for cost of living. Those include Social Security benefits.
His budget, however, will also call for ways to compensate for the change for low-income veterans, recipients of Supplemental Security Income and the oldest Social Security beneficiaries, a senior administration official said.
Chained CPI would also raise more revenue, since many parts of the tax code are adjusted for inflation every year -- including income tax brackets, the standard deduction and contribution limits to 401(k)s.
By 2020, the use of chained CPI could mean an average tax increase of $311 among the nearly 81% of households that would see a tax increase, the Tax Policy Center estimates.
Cap value of itemized deductions: As he has proposed before, the president wants to limit the value of itemized deductions and exclusions for high-income households.
Normally a taxpayer multiplies her top tax rate by the amount of a deduction to calculate the taxes saved. But Obama would cap that rate at 28%, which is below the top two income tax rates. So someone in the 39.6% bracket today would save $39.60 on a $100 deduction. Under Obama's proposal, she would save $28.
Enact a Buffett Rule: Last year, Obama proposed the "Buffett Rule" as a guiding principle for tax reform.
The idea: to make sure that people earning more than $1 million paid their "fair share" of federal tax -- which he defined as a minimum of 30%.
This year, he will include a more concrete version similar to one proposed in a bill last year by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, according to a senior official.
The Senate legislation would impose a minimum 30% effective federal tax rate on those with adjusted gross incomes above $1 million, although it phases in for those making between $1 million and $2 million.
Taxpayers subject to the Buffett Rule would still get a break for charitable deductions when calculating what they would owe under the Buffett Rule.
Impose new limit on tax-deferred retirement accounts: Among his new tax measures, Obama would set a limit on the tax-advantaged portion of an individual's savings across IRAs and other tax-preferred retirement accounts.
The account balance threshold would be based on what could finance an annuity of $205,000 a year in retirement. In 2013, that would be $3 million, the administration estimates.
At that threshold, the proposal would affect far less than 1% of IRA and 401(k) account holders, according to estimates from the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Depending on how the threshold is adjusted in future years, however, that percentage could rise significantly.
Raise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products: To fund expanded access to pre-K education, an idea raised in the State of the Union address, Obama will propose a new federal tax on cigarette and other tobacco products.
It won't be the first time. In 2009, he signed into law a federal tax increase on cigarettes to help pay for an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides health care for 8 million children.
Raise tax rate on investment fund manager income: Managers of private equity, venture capital and hedge funds are taxed 20% on the portion of their compensation known as carried interest, essentially paying the long-term capital gain rate. Obama wants carried interest to be treated as ordinary income. The result: fund managers could pay a rate as high as 39.6%, or more than 2.5 times the rate they pay now.
Reduce deficits by $1.8 trillion: Obama's debt reduction proposal comes straight from an offer he made to House Speaker John Boehner last year during their fiscal cliff negotiations.
The proposal would replace the automatic budget cuts that went into effect last month.
Close to $600 billion of the $1.8 trillion would come from new revenue -- specifically the cap on itemized deductions and the Buffett Rule.
The other $1.2 trillion would come from spending cuts: $200 billion from defense and nondefense programs on the discretionary side of the budget. Another $400 billion from Medicare and other federal health programs in ways that largely affect hospitals and drug companies. And $600 billion in cuts affecting non-health spending on things like agricultural subsidies and unemployment insurance.
A senior administration official characterized Obama's offer to Boehner, which these measures represent, not as a starting point for talks but a "sticking point," noting that if Republicans can't agree to include revenue as part of any negotiated package "there will be no deal."
It is unlikely the president's proposals will be adopted wholesale. But if they were, his budget would bring total deficit reduction in his tenure to $4.3 trillion.
- Created on 08 April 2013
Halle Berry and designer Michael Kors have teamed up to tackle the battle against world hunger. Berry and Kors announced the launch of their philanthropic campaign called Watch Hunger Stop.
The campaign will focus on raising money through the sale of Kors' best-selling Runway watch. The watch will sell for $295 and for each sale 100 meals will be donated to children through the U.N. World Food Programme.
The two plan to visit the places where the meals are sent, possibly Africa, Syria or Central America.
"I hope we go while I'm pregnant, so I can talk about prenatal care," said Berry, who recently announced her pregnancy with fiancé Olivier Martinez. "And I will have time off. I'm not working right now."
Berry, already a mother of a 5-year-old daughter, said she wanted to meet and talk with mothers who are struggling to feed themselves and their children while she was expecting. She believes it will help build a connection.
"It's so important to me, being a mom, that I can help educate women on how important it is that when you have a healthy child," said Berry. "It helps set them up for life."
Kors and Berry hope to get 5 million people involved in their effort, either through donations of time or money.
Berry, a supporter of the Jenesse Center, an anti-domestic violence shelter in Los Angeles, plans to expand her charitable efforts, adding that working with the U.N. "is the next evolution in my philanthropic world. It puts my heart and compassion on a global scale."
"The change you saw when people going hungry got a meal — it was an immediate difference," said Kors, a longtime supporter of God's Love We Deliver, a New York-based organization that delivers meals to those in need. "This isn't about research or a big political or social change, this is about giving a meal to people who need them."
Kors noted that "there are very few things in the world that are solvable catastrophes, this is one of them."
- Created on 09 April 2013
Legendary rapper L.L. Cool J. and country crooner Brad Paisley have teamed up to create “Accidental Racist,” a song so ridiculous and, well, arguably racist, that social media is questioning if it could possibly be satire.
Released Monday, one day before Paisley’s album “Wheelhouse” hits stores, the track has been raked over the coals and mocked by...
- Created on 08 April 2013
Uganda is proposing a new law that could lead to arrests for those wearing skirts above the knee and would ban "sexy" images, reports the Daily Mail.
The proposed bill would also extend to movies, TV...