Melvin Van Peebles – a life more creative


Paul Hensby looks at the life of one of the most unrecognised Black film makers, and the founder of the Blaxploitation genre.

One can only admire with astonishment and pride the life of Melvin Van Peebles who I first wanted to write about as the creator of the Blaxploitation movie genre. But this is just one of his huge list of achievements. Read on to find out more about this remarkable man.

Cassie Rodgers: An American in Paris!


Today is Tuesday, 17 November 2015. It is marked in my diary as the day I come back to work for OBV.

Scrolling back I see I’ve marked in colourful blue over the weekend ‘Paris trip’.

My planned adventurous weekend in Paris. I and many of my fellow Americans have this unimaginable dream about visiting Paris, perhaps the most romantic city on earth.

But as events unfolded this wasn’t to be the dream visit I or my fellow American friends had envisaged. Far from it.

Paris massacre: making sense of the senseless



After the shocking news began to filter through on Friday evening of the Parisian massacre of innocent men and women, perpetrated by the murderous Isis, I purposely began an almost news black-out.

Like many parents I sought to shield my ten year old son from such news that is almost impossible to comprehend as an adult, much less a child. Having seen snippets of it on his own tablet computer, his first reaction was, ‘Dad are they coming here too?



Our thoughts, feelings and reflections are with the people of Paris, and the nation of France.  Now is not the time for knee-jerk responses nor for divisive words.

OBV team

Apple Store: Being Black in Australia!


Imagine for a second being one of four smart black students-the fact that they were smart shouldn’t be important-walking into an Apple store and being confronted by white staff and security, who tell you straight to your face that you’re very presence make their staff feel uncomfortable, when one the students enquires why, he’s told, “because we feel you might steal something”.

'Jihadi John' killed by US air strike


The West’s public enemy number one, Mohammed Emwazi aka. 'Jihadi John' has reportedly been killed in an overnight airstrike in Syria by US forces.

Emwazi became chillingly nortorious for his public beheading of British and American citizens. The world was shocked by his brutality, the UK, and in particularly British Muslims were deeply saddened and angry that he called himself a British Muslim.

Race Card: The power of social media


There's lot of African and Caribbean history around the UK, much of it untold. For example in Chapletown, Leeds the West Indian Centre has for more than 40 years catered for and fought on behalf of the Black community there. 40 years on and they are still supporting and empowering their community. Last month, during Black history month the centre show cased their latest project. ' Race Card: The power of social media.

Brain child behind the scheme Claude Hendrickson told the audience:

Let's Talk Civic Engagement


As an intern at OBV, I was fortunate enough to aid in OBV’s recent training day for its Lewisham Civic Leadership Programme on Thursday 5th November.

The Lewisham Civic Leadership Programme is another partnership program, along with the MP Shadowing Scheme, the Magistrates Shadowing Scheme, Welsh Assembly and the Councillor Shadowing Schemes, run by Operation Black Vote.

Colorism: Alive and sadly kicking


There’s an old Blues song by Big Bill Bronzy: ‘Black, Brown and White; written back in the ‘Jim Crow’ days when the colour of one's skin could get you lynched. In it Bronzy sings: If you’re white, you’re all right, if you're brown, stick around, but if you’re Black, oh brother, get back, get back. It seems in spite of all the race equality we’ve gained since ‘Jim Crow’ racial prejudice in regards the shade of colour you are still matters one way or another.

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