Category Archives: Women

Developing Freedom: Interview with Jemila Abdulai

We recently added the following sentences to the ABOUT section of our website:

“For women to Live Unchained, they must be allowed to simply, live. For many black women across the globe, this basic entitlement is threatened on a daily basis.”

We thought it was important to acknowledge that although the intended scope of the project is vast, we recognize that so too are the challenges facing women of African descent. The resources and perseverance needed to bring about basic opportunities for women of African descent, their communities and family members is bigger than any one movement or publication–especially our own.

We were so honored and happy to connect with and learn from Jemila Abdulai, an International Development Correspondent based in Washington D.C., who believes that free women are important to Africa’s economic and political growth.

Born in Nigeria, and raised in Ghana, Jemila developed a keen interest in the history and current policies that continue to shape African development initiatives. Fluent in English and French, she also keeps her ear to the ground concerning Francophone countries, such as Senegal, where she traveled with the African Women’s Millenium Initiative (AWOMI). Jemila believes in the power of information sharing and discusses many of her experiences and ideas on her blog: www.circumspecte.com.

In this interview Jemila shares how she became involved in the African Women’s Millenium Initiative (AWOMI) in Senegal (as well as how you can travel and help with AWOMI), her interest in international development and her vision of empowered women and Africa at it’s strongest.

Can you tell us about your background?  Where are you from?  Where have you been?

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Nigeria’s Muse: Interview with Author and Professor Nnedi Okorafor

Originally from Nigeria, author Nnedimma (Nnedi) Okorafor, returns frequently; In her books she often brings her readers along the journey. Nnedi writes science fiction and fantasy novels, often exploring the hero’s experience from a young female’s perspective. Everything comes to life in her work–the trees, creatures and even the ground are animated in her stories.

In this interview, Nnedi shares her thoughts on how Nigeria influences her work, explains her thoughts on the business of writing, offers advice to aspiring authors, and shares what living unchained means to her.

You say Nigeria is your muse. How does Nigeria inspire you?

It’s not something I can really put words to. My parents have been taking me to Nigeria since I was a kid. It’s where some of the funniest, craziest, weirdest, scariest, happiest moments of my life have taken place. It’s where most of my relatives are. It’s where I’ve seen the coolest creatures.

It’s the place of the stories my parents and oldest relatives have told me. And I can’t name any books that contain the stories about Nigeria that reflect the ones in my head. That particular part of the earth speaks to me.

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She was Saartjie: Jessica Solomon Shares The Saartjie Project

Sara Baartman became popularly known as the “Hottentot Venus” throughout Europe in the 19th century.

Many black women have been exposing her story, drawing connections between her experiences and their own, as well as identifying her by a different name–Saartjie.

Jessica Solomon, along with other founding artists, formed The Saartjie Project, a Washington D.C. based performance collective to honor Saartjie’s experience.

In this interview, Jessica explains Saartjie’s history, why she started the collective, the attention it has received and why Saartjie’s story is so significant and relevant to black women today.

What is the Saartjie Project?

Wow. I always get a little stuck when asked this question because there are so many layers!

We are a tribe of creative women willing to stretch our own boundaries and those imposed on us.

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There is Beauty in Truth: The Photography of Delphine Fawundu-Buford

Delphine Fawundu-Buford

Photographer Delphine Fawundu-Buford pictured above

Delphine Fawundu-Buford’s photography shows a part of humanity that is not one dimensional.  Her photography is intriguing because of its capacity to show beauty in truth. Delphine captured the strength of people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the innocence of children and the many faces of women. Her work encourages you not to simply look, but also ponder the stories of the people in the photographs.

Delphine’s work has been featured in books, magazines, CD covers and greeting cards. She has traveled to many parts of the world including South Africa, Sierra Leone, Spain, Egypt, and Cuba to photograph.

Live Unchained is pleased to have had the opportunity to ask Delphine questions about her work and thoughts on photography. More of her photography can be viewed at: http://www.delphinefawundu.com/


On your website you highlight a collection of photos called “Real Women.” Can you tell us about that project? What inspired you to explore the idea of real women through photography? How did you choose what and whom to photograph for the project? Is there a specific message that you hope your viewers will gain from this collection?

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Photographs from "Real Women" by Delphine Fawundu-Buford

Real Women explores the idea of “beauty” in our society.  Who is beautiful? What makes a woman beautiful and by who’s standards? The project celebrates a myriad of women who reflect beauty in their own way.

I chose women from all walks of life. Some, I knew, others I met in passing.  The cool thing is that for some of the women, I had no idea what they looked like prior to shooting them. Continue reading

On Travelling…You Can Do and Learn a Lot with a Little

Candice Johnson is a native of Chicago. Here she discusses the places she has traveled, what she learned and why she loves Live Unchained–she loves it so much she had to say it twice! And we love her too…

You may think that it requires a lot of money to visit many places–especially faraway ones like Candice has. However, being creative and flexible in terms of where, when and what you do when you travel may lead to opportunities you had not considered.

One option is to travel for free as a volunteer. Also, many people are taking advantage of the new opportunity to Couch Surf. Couch Surfing is a worldwide network that connects travelers with members of local communities, who offer free housing, food and sometimes transportation.

If you were able to travel without (financial) limits, let us know how you did it!

Below are pics of Candice in Italy and Morocco.

Lessons From a Madwoman: M. Nahadr Discusses Art, Self and Madwoman: A Contemporary Opera

Live Unchained is grateful for the opportunity to speak with artist M, also known as Mem Nahadr and Madwoman.

Possessing a six octave range, her voice is as powerful as her spirit–both are demonstrated here, in her performance of “Stay.” I heard this song and felt like it was holding me in its arms…

M has various passions and pursues them as a composer, performance artist, musician, actress, dancer, author, producer, audio engineer, filmmaker, graphic artist and philosopher. “What ‘drew’ me to all of these things,” M says, “was simply the continuous desire to expand and explore art form…and inevitably needing to express my feelings. It is only natural to gravitate to or resonate with that which you are. I am an artist. I express.”

The song “Stay” is included in Madwoman: A Contemporary Opera, which M wrote and performs in. The opera addresses many issues including difference, authority and the search for self in a world that encourages conformity and the supposed security it affords. The audience is encouraged to reflect on their personal and collective identities as the production calls for active audience participation. This unique performance with elaborate visual and audio works is achieved with innovative and experimental technology. “Supported by a Master team of Artists and Technicians, this presentation includes state of the art customized surround sound created by James P. Nichols, Broadway, Jazz and Grammy Award Winning Producer/Engineer with Dolby Laboratories; as well as Creative – Stage Direction by Claude E. Sloan, Jr., of the LOEB Drama Center Experimental Theater at Harvard, and the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Public Theater.”

Here M discusses Madwoman, race, albinism and her interest in Live Unchained.
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Discover, Explore, Unleash: TaMara Campbell Discusses Beautifully Me

Discover, Explore, Unleash: TaMara Campbell Discusses Beautifully MeLive Unchained had the opportunity to ask TaMara Campbell a few questions about her business Beautifully Me. TaMara describes Beautifully Me as a company that offers empowering, creative and innovative services that include: The Art of Pole Dancing, eXotic Dance & Sensual Movement,the trademark class SEXYROBICS®, SeXy Education classes including HIV and STD workshops Women’s Wellness and Education among several others.

TaMara’s business and other initiatives inspire women to embrace their sexuality, beauty and femininity in an un-apolagetic way. With the alarming rate of HIV and STD’s in our communities, TaMara’s efforts are significant as Beautifully Me empowers and inspires women to make safe choices about their sexual encounters and sexuality.

I’m honored that TaMara has shared some of her thoughts on Beautifully Me, Sex and femininity, with Live Unchained. In addition to the interview below, you can find out more about her and her project at: www.beautifully-me.com, and her blog at: http://beautifullymellc.blogspot.com


Can you tell us about Beautifully Me and your blog?

Beautifully Me is dedicated to creating experiences to empower women with the knowledge and skills necessary to embark on a journey of self-discovery, self-love, and self-efficacy, hereby increasing confidence which will enable women to feel good about making safer and healthier decisions that will increase the quality of life in the five dimensions of wellness, increase the value of reproductive health, and reduce risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI). It was important to me to create a place where women could feel safe, supported and free of judgment. We offer a variety of empowering, creative and innovative services that include: Our Blog, The Art of Pole Dancing, eXotic Dance & Sensual Movement, our trademark class SEXYROBICS®, SeXy Education classes including HIV and STI workshops, adult novelty home parties, “girls, night out” and our Savior-La Femme Pleasure Series, Women’s Wellness & Education and much more!

Our Blog is dedicated to addressing women’s most intimate questions and providing sexy and sassy practical educational information to empower women with knowledge, skills and tools needed to become a sexy, empowered and confident woman in and out of the bedroom.

It’s important for women to have a safe space to discuss sexuality, sensuality, love, relationships & much more. The Beautifully Me Blog serves as this place. Here, women can express themselves openly and honestly without fear of judgment and/or conditions.

The sharing of knowledge is invaluable! We as women embody a unique voice and wealth of experience from which we can all learn and grow. I respect and appreciate your input and invite you to share your thoughts, ideals, adventures and experience by becoming involved in the Beautifully Me Blog!

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