Monthly Archives: October 2009


Working on Live Unchained keeps freedom on our minds. Live Unchained has been a journey of freeing ourselves–mainly from the fears and anxieties of taking on such a large and important project. As we continued to share the project with our sisters, we found the love and support that allowed us, and the project to grow.

We are still questioning for ourselves what freedom is and means.  Can one of us be free if we aren’t all free?  Is freedom, as Nina Simone said, something you can’t explain with language?

Typically, when we reach a stumbling block in writing or designing for Live Unchained we play something by Nina Simone–like, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Be Feel to Be Free.”  (For this song, Nina Simone should be considered the unofficial co-author of our upcoming press release.)

This clip got us thinking:

What does freedom mean to you?

My Sister Helps Me Tear Down Walls I Didn’t Know I Had Built–Tribute Blog

Miriam and I started Live Unchained in the hopes of bringing women from different parts of the world closer to each other. Of course, appreciating women of African descent, starts at home. I am writing this blog for my sister, Ciara Arnise Calbert, one of the most brilliant and beautiful women that I know.

One of my favorite quotes from Hill Harper’s, Letters to a Young Brother, is “You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends. So pick friends who you wish were your family.” It just so happens that one of my best friends, was reading that book at the same time that I was. She is like family to me so I always refer to Ciara as my sister.

I can be really demanding, critical and just, in general, hard on myself. When it comes to school and Live Unchained, sometimes I think that I could and should be doing things quicker and better. But, I can say to myself, if God thinks I deserve to have someone as wonderful as Ciara in my life, I must be doing something right. Ciara leads by example. As Pearl Cleage said, “she taught me how to fly by flying.” She helps me be the woman I want to be, the woman I feel I ought to be to realize all my goals for Live Unchained…

Here is just one example of how wonderful she is…I had just gotten back from Madrid, Spain. Because, my bank hadn’t received some checks by the time that I thought they would have and because I hadn’t budgeted my money right, I returned to the United States broke and anxious. Who likes to ask their parents for money in situations like this? I called Ciara. After I explained the situation, she didn’t judge or suggest someone else that I should talk to about it or even give me “tough love.” She trusted that I would learn what I needed to learn from the situation without her having to lecture me. She paid for my shuttle, gave me a ride to the airport the next day and even gave me money for breakfast. After apologizing and thanking her profusely all she said was, “I’m just honored to have the opportunity to help.” By the way, she said this in a “don’t be ridiculous!” tone. Now, that’s a good friend… Continue reading

Life is a Journey: Lola Akinmade Discusses Travel, Photography and Following Her Passions


Lola Akinmade’s photography is simply stunning. She reveals beauty in  ways that only a camera can capture. Just as impressive as her photos are all the places she’s visited to take them. Lola has traveled across Latin America, Asia, over 30 countries in Europe and regularly visits her country of birth, Nigeria. In addition to travel photography, Lola is a travel writer and has submitted to several travel magazines. She has received numerous awards for both her travel writing and photography.

In this interview Lola discusses how she became interested in travel and got her start as a professional travel writer. She also offers advice to those who share the travel bug. Most importantly, Lola demonstrates that when traveling to far away places, a sense of personal and spiritual grounding is important. We are so happy to have spoken with her. Here is what she shared…

Many people think of traveling as an opportunity to learn about and renew yourself–people gain a lot by traveling. You’ve traveled to industrialized nations as well as developing countries. Do you think that what a traveler stands to gain or contribute varies in different settings? If so, how?

Travel is such a profound experience that touches each of us very differently. Travel renews the soul. It rejuvenates it by reminding you that you’re connected to something much larger than yourself. Continue reading

Virginia Buika–¡Vuelvo a por más!

Virginia Buika--¡Vuelvo a por más!Virginia Buika es músico, actriz, cineasta y empresaria. Ella nació en Madrid y se marchó a Londres en busca de más oportunidades artisticas. Ha viajado a través del mundo para hacer performances y colaboraciones con otros artistas. Ella ha consiguido todo esto aunque los criticos le dijeron que su color de piel no era comercializable. Ella ha encontrado muchas dificultades en su lucha por sus sueños. De cualquier modo, nunca te darñias cuenta al mirarle. Ella tiene una sonrisa y demuestra estar muy segura de sí misma– así qu ella hace que los desafíos se vean fáciles.

En esta entrevista, ella explica algunos de los cambios que tuvo que enfrentar en la industria de la actuación en Europa. Ella explica por qué la integridad y la seguridad en uno mismo son tan importantes en esta industria. Además, Virginia sabía que ella no estaba sola en este esfuerzo. Su compañia, Virginia Buika Entertainment lanzará el documental, Nos Quitamos La Venda/Can we take off the blindfold, a explicar los desafíos de los actores negros en Europa. En esta entrevista nos habla de sus experiencias, sus intereses, que se encuentra persiguiendo sus sueños, y por qué está participando en Live Unchained.

¿Puedes contarnos un poco de ti? ¿De dónde eres? ¿En qué lugares has vivido? ¿Dónde vives ahora?

Soy actriz, cantante y productora. Nací en Madrid, capital de España y crecí en Londres, capital del Reino Unido. He vivido en Nueva York por una temporada y actualmente me encuentro entre Londres, Madrid y los Estados Unidos, un poco locura, pero por mis compromisos de trabajo es lo que toca, jajaja. Continue reading