Miss Calypso: Maya Angelou’s Life in Music

Repeating Islands


This short piece by Dee Lockett appeared in Slate.

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness,” the revered poet and activist, Maya Angelou, who died Wednesday at age 86, once described her relationship with songwriting. As the former U.S. Poet Laureate and the author of a classic memoir, she’ll likely be remembered most for her writing, but Angelou’s talents extended well beyond the written and spoken word. In fact, in the early 1950s—a decade before her first published writing—Angelou started out as an aspiring dancer and singer who slowly gained a following from her performances in local San Francisco nightclubs.

And in 1957, at the height of the calypso movement—a style popularized by Harry Belafonte—Angelou recorded her first and only album, Miss Calypso. In it, she covers Nat King Cole’s “Calypso Blues” and Louis Jordan’s “Run Joe,”…

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Lebanon, a land of fat boys: study | News , Lebanon News | THE DAILY STAR

After ranking highly on a string of top 10 lists, Lebanon can now add being one of the fattest countries for young boys to its list of achievements.

The percentage of boys under twenty who are obese in Lebanon range between 13 to 19.1 percent, placing the Mediterranean nation at fifth in the world, tied with the Caribbean nation The Bahamas. The findings are according to a recently released global analysis on country-by-country obesity funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“This is largely due to low physical activity,” said Stephanie Nehme, a dietitian at the So7i W Sari3 clinic in Ashrafieh.

Nehme said that the changing of lifestyle and exchanging homemade food for fastfood was among several factors that led to an increase to obesity in youngsters.

via Lebanon, a land of fat boys: study | News , Lebanon News | THE DAILY STAR.

WHO | Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update


From 23 May 2014 to 27 May 2014, 4 new districts reported 14 new clinical cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) and 5 deaths as follows: Boffa, 5 cases and 1 death; Telimele, 7 cases and 4 deaths; Boke, 1 case and 0 death; and Dubreka, 1 case and 1 death. Community and nosocomial transmission are still occurring in Gueckedou, Macenta, and Conakry.

As of 18:00 on 27 May 2014, the total cumulative number of cases due to EVD is 281 and 186 deaths. The classification of these cases and deaths are as follows: confirmed, 163 cases and 103 deaths; probable, 66 cases and 56 deaths; and suspected, 44 cases and 23 deaths. The geographical distribution of the cases is as follows: Conakry, 48 cases, and 26 deaths; Gueckedou, 176 cases and 126 deaths; Macenta, 31 cases and 19 deaths; Kissidougou, 7 cases and 5 deaths; Dabola, 4 cases and 4 deaths; Djinguiraye, 1 case and 1 death, in addition to the cases and deaths in the newly affected areas. The total number of cases in isolation is 16 (10 in Gueckedou, 3 in Telimele, and 3 in Boffa). The number of contacts under follow-up is 427 (250 in Conakry, 213 in Gueckedou, 126 in Macenta, and 88 in Telimele).

Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone, 16 cases, (7 laboratory-confirmed, 9 suspected) and 5 community deaths have been reported from Kailahun district. The district is located in the eastern region of Sierra Leone sharing borders with Gueckedou in Guinea and also with Liberia.

via WHO | Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update.

Food Politics » Historic! First Lady and President actively support school nutrition standards

Today, the House Appropriations Committee will discuss the annual spending bill for the Agriculture Department, meaning that it will consider proposals to weaken nutrition standards for school meals.

In what has to be a groundbreaking move, First Lady Michelle Obama has an Op-Ed in today’s New York Times.

Yet some members of the House of Representatives are now threatening to roll back these new standards and lower the quality of food our kids get in school. They want to make it optional, not mandatory, for schools to serve fruits and vegetables to our kids. They also want to allow more sodium and fewer whole grains than recommended into school lunches.

…Remember a few years ago when Congress declared that the sauce on a slice of pizza should count as a vegetable in school lunches? You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that this doesn’t make much sense. Yet we’re seeing the same thing happening again with these new efforts to lower nutrition standards in our schools.

Our children deserve so much better than this.

Yes, they do, and how terrific that she is saying this.

via Food Politics » Historic! First Lady and President actively support school nutrition standards.

Only Chinese-born parliamentarian in UK to quit politics over racist abuse | UK news | theguardian.com

The Hong-Kong-born immigrant, who has lived in Northern Ireland for four decades, said she was also considering leaving the province for good because of enduring sectarianism and now rising racism.

Lo, who represents South Belfast in the regional parliament, blamed continual racist behaviour towards her, as well as first minister Peter Robinson’s support for a born-again Christian preacher’s depiction of Islam as “the spawn of the devil”, as her reasons for wanting out of Ulster politics.

In an interview with the Guardian on Thursday, Lo said she was shaken up by a recent incident during the European election campaign when a loyalist mob followed her out of an east Belfast shopping centre.

“They started hurling abuse at me and I decided to get out of Connswater shopping centre as quickly as possible. About three or four individuals then followed me to the car park but I kept ahead of them walking as quickly as I could. Even when I got inside my car there was a young girl who climbed out of the wound-down window of a parked car and started shouting vile things at me. If I hadn’t decided to act quickly and get out of there I don’t know what would have happened to me,” Lo said.

via Only Chinese-born parliamentarian in UK to quit politics over racist abuse | UK news | theguardian.com.