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Exclusive: Miss Africa USA 2010. Her thoughts as a Muslim on the Ground Zero Mosque

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Communications and Broadcasting Major, , 22, beat 31 other contestants to win the beauty pageant in Maryland. She is a Guinean Muslim and also winner of the Miss USA crown. Soumah’s victory comes at a time when the country is debating an issue that relates to Muslims all over the United States; the Ground zero mosque. Vibes sat with the Beauty Queen to discuss her win, her thoughts on ground zero mosque and her inspiration.

Congratulations on your win. It is no easy feat to compete against 300 applicants to be selected as one of 32 delegates and to make it all the way to the top as the winner of a very competitive pageant as the Miss Africa USA. What do you think made you stand out during this competition?

 

Miss Africa USA 2010 Delegates awaiting the announcement of the new Queen.

I must admit that all 32 delegates who made it to the finals were very beautiful and talented. It was the little things that made me stand out, such as my stage presence, eye contact, smile, involving my entire audience in everything I said or did on stage, and my confidence. I stayed focused the entire journey of the competition. It was a fun journey with the ladies…we had many laughs.

What was it like right before you were announced the winner?

Wow…I had a lot of different emotions going on inside of me. I was however, mostly nervous, yet expecting, while trying to stay calm and confident.

You did impress the judges. Now that you have risen to the top and earned the crown, what will you like to accomplish with your new role?

I will like to continue my platform of raising awareness of the ills of practices of () which cause several adverse effects to the health of a growing young female who is a victim of such practices. I hope to continue pushing for change and for the eradication of such practices in Guinea and other parts of the world. I will also be actively carrying out activities to educate especially the girl child in underserved communities in Guinea. My activities will range from supplying school supplies and a comfortable learning environment. I will also work with the non-profit organizations here in the US and in Guinea serving the community. I will be traveling to Guinea to work on my projects on the ground. I also plan bridge the gap between Africa and the US by encouraging and organizing trips to Africa and promoting cultural exchange. While I remain a fulltime student, I will be every involved in serving my community.

As a young woman rising to the top, how do you think you can empower other women?

African Women of today are fast becoming a part of the African society, and not just passive listeners and women who solely take instructions and are pushed around. While they remain respectful, they are strong, beautiful, smart and very talented. Who would have ever thought many years ago that an African country will one day have a woman as President? I see today’s African woman as one who does not wait to see change, but is part of making the change.

As a 22 year old, my stories may not be many, but as a strong African woman living in America from Guinea, my stories are vast. I have faced many challenges in life but never once did I give up. I always set my goals and work towards accomplishing them each time. I ask that every woman should give herself a purpose in life, be a voice in your community, stay true and dedicated and never fall short of what you believe, even when others tell you that you can’t…because you can!

 

Your win as Miss Africa USA 2010 comes around a time when the United States is engaged in a heavy debate about building a Mosque close to where September 11th attacks happened. There are those who say it is an insensitive move and others who argue that it is the constitutional right of the Muslims to build a Mosque there. As a Muslim, what are your thoughts on this debate?

As a Muslim and a good citizen I agree with the construction of the Mosque at ground zero. The United States of America is built on freedom and this includes religious freedom therefore all citizens have the right to practice their religion. We all need to be sensitive towards the families of the victims of 9/11, it was a huge loss for the United States of America and also for all religions. This sensitivity shouldn’t be used to go against our constitution. Terrorists are not Muslims because in Islam no one has the right to kill innocent people, so all Muslims shouldn’t have to suffer because of the actions of terrorists. Not letting this project happen in America will give victory to the terrorists.


4 THINGS YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT BEAUTY QUEEN FIFI SOUMAH

Her Inspiration: My Mother inspires me. She has taught me so much and provided me with the tools to navigate through life. She believes in me and supports my projects and dreams. Her never ending promise of love for me continuous to flow. She is everything I want to be. Mama, you are my number one fan!

Her Favorite Books: The “Qu’ran” because to me God is first in everything. My second favorite book is By Agatha Christie “And then there were none” and the third is about my vampire lover Edward (laugh)”Twilight” by Stephanie Meyer.

Her Favorite Guinean Dish: My favorite Guinean dish is “konkweh”, which is made out of smoked fish cooked with palm oil. Yummy!!!

What she loves about Guinea: The food and hospitality of the Guinean people.

What she will change about Guinea: I will give a voice to the younger generation and the women. I believe we stand to have a better Guinea and Africa as a whole with new ideas from the youths as legislators and with our mothers taking their managerial skills from the homes into other sectors of the country.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. masade

    August 26, 2010 at 8:49 am

    she is so beautifull!!!!! Congratulations!!!!

  2. Sagbu

    January 23, 2011 at 10:42 am

    “As a Muslim and a good citizen I agree with the construction of the Mosque at ground zero. The United States of America is built on freedom…”

    It really annoys the heck out of me when people from who are not of American heritage try to tell people what the hell the US was “built on”. The US was built on SLAVERY and colonialism, on the BACKS, BLOOD, SWEAT, AND TEARS of Africans who later became what are now the ethnic group African-Americans. The US was “built” on the all out enslavement and genocide of Native Americans. It was built on theft, slavery, torture, and barbarism.

    It was NOT built on “freedom”. What does that ridiculous statement even mean?? Save the propaganda, please. Let’s base our conversation in reality and then proceed from there!

    And on the topic of a mosque at “Ground Zero”, the way I see it, it is insensitive if the chosen area does not reflect a large Muslim community. And it does not. There are very, very, very few Muslims in that area, let alone on Wall Street.

    If there was a large Muslim community there, I would completely understand. But the fact is, there is not one. So why build the mosque there? I’m forced to assume it’s for another reason, perhaps to throw salt on an open wound and to simply prove “you can”.

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Celebrities

Popular Nigerian Musicians Lead The Campaign For Peaceful Elections

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On Saturday, February 23, 2019, Nigerians will file out en masse for the presidential elections. The election was earlier scheduled to hold on the February 16 but was shifted for logistic reasons. The election will mark another milestone in the country’s democracy. Previous elections have witnessed pockets of violence that are often fatal. However, popular musicians want this time around to be different.

One of the musicians that have consistently led the campaign for violence-free election is Innocent Idibia, popularly called 2Baba. 2Baba started the “Vote Not Fight” campaign and in the past and has enjoyed the support of fellow musicians in the past. This time around, the multiple-award-winning superstar is collaborating with the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). The musician in the company of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, appealed for calmness. In a video posted on NPF official Twitter handle the superstar can be heard saying,

“Vote not fight. Election no be war.”

Wizkid joins other celebrities to sensitize electorates

Sensational music star, Wizkid has also joined the growing number of celebrities calling for a peaceful election. He took to his Snapchat story to ask fans to reject any attempt by anyone to influence their votes. He said,

“Don’t let anybody wey don collect (that has taken) money influence your vote. Vote who you like. Vote wisely. If you’re old enough to get a PVC, you’re old enough to think. Don’t sell your vote. Your vote can make a difference. Go out and vote.”

The unguarded utterances of politicians

Part of the reasons for the tense atmosphere is the insensitive utterances of some politicians. Nigerian politicians are often accused of name-calling rather than issue-based campaigns. On Wednesday 13th February 2019, the presidential candidates were at the International Conference Center (ICC) to sign a peace accord. Sadly, some politicians in the past have failed to keep to similar agreements. Therefore, Wizkid also sent out a message to politicians to act right. He said,

“And politicians wey dey enter (that will win) stop joking with people lives! U’re responsible for the lives of millions of people and your decisions affect all. Help us make Naija a better place. Make una use una head! One love!”

The Candidates

There are a total of 72 presidential candidates. However, the front runners are candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC), People’s Democratic Party PDP), Young Progressive Party (YPP), and Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN).

All Progressive Congress

Muhammadu Buhari (Incumbent)

The presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress is incumbent Muhammadu Buhari. President Buhari is the current democratically elected president of Nigeria. He came into office on May 29, 2015. However, he is also a retired major general in the Nigerian Army. He was the military head of state from December 31 1983 to August 27 1985. Before becoming the democratic president he had unsucessfully ran for the office in 2003,2007, and 2011.

Peoples Democratic Party

Atiku Abubakar

Atiku Abubakar is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party. He has also served the nation as the vice president from 1999 to 2007. Before becoming the vice president, he was the elected governor of Adamawa State. Atiku is the founder of the American University of Nigeria and Adama Beverages Limited.

Young Progressive Party

Kingsley Moghalu

Professor Kingsley Moghalu is new to the political scene but will hope to cause a major upset come February 23, 2019 as the presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party. Kingsley founded the Institute for Governance and Economic Transformation in 2016.

Alliance for New Nigeria

 

Fela Durotoye

is also a new name in Nigerian politics. However, he is famous as the president of the GEMSTONE Nation Builders Foundation. Fela is also a motivational speaker and a leadership expert. On February 23 polls, Fela as the presidential candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria will hope to become the next president of Nigeria.

Not for sale

Late January 2019, 2Baba teamed up superstars including Chidinma Ekile, MI Abaga, Teni, Waje, Cobhams Asuquo, and Umar Shareef for a song titled “Not for Sale”. The main idea of the song is to discourage vote-buying, a practice that is gradually becoming a norm. Part of the lyrics read, “The power to change the nation for the better is in everyone of us.”

You can watch the video below.

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Celebrities

Davido vs D’Banj: Which Of Them Was More Romantic This Valentine’s Day 2019?

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Valentine’s Day in many countries has become synonymous with the day of Love. We are often curious about how some of our favorite celebrities showcase their love.

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D'banj vs Davido: Which of these Nigerian Artists was most romantic on Valentine's Day 2019?

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David Adeleke aka Davido seized the opportunity to show off his romantic side. The music star shared a video of himself surprising his long-time girlfriend, Chioma Rowland, on Instagram. In the short video, there were cakes, saxophone, boxes of chocolate, a bottle of wine, and cameras to the delight of his girlfriend. Short of words, the surprised lover hugged the superstar as music played on. The caption of the video read,

I get time sha 😂😂😂 Happy Valentines @thechefchi IT IS THE CHI THERE!! ️ u said bring dollars they brought Bounty 🙄 still her fave tho 😂”

A Long, Public Love Affair

Davido met Chioma at Babcock University when she was a 300 level student of Economics. Ever since, the couple has never made their love affair a secret. In 2018, the musician threw her a lavish birthday party and gifted her a Porsche car. However, the height of the celebration was the release of the music, “Assurance”, dedicated to her. As of 15th February 2019, the song has over 35 million views on YouTube. Many celebrities can only wish for such a lasting and public display of love.

D’banj Also Pulls Off a Creative Romantic Stunt

Another music icon, Oladapo Oyebanjo, popularly known as D’banj successfully pulled off a romantic Valentine treat. He arrived at the door of their house like a delivery man carrying a bouquet of flower. His wife Lineo Didi Kilgrow obviously didn’t see that coming. He shared the video on his Instagram page. The caption read,

SURPRISE; She thought it was the Delivery Man 😂 … Happy Valentine’s Day Guys make sure you show love especially to yourself ️. Love you boo and will always do 💯😍 @lineo_dd #baecation … thanks, @may8gallery for the Gifts she loved them 🎁

In 2018, D’banj shared a photo suggesting the couple were on a vacation in Dubai. D’banj is also good with romantic gestures. On September 6, 2018, he shared a picture of himself feeding his wife.

D’banj and wife on vacation

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Soweto Gospel Choir Beat Three African Nominees to Win Third Grammy

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The annual Grammy Award is a celebration of music achievements in over 80 categories. Of all the categories, the Best World Music Album is reserved for international performers exhibiting “non-European, indigenous traditions”. Four African Albums were nominated for this category in the 61st Grammy Award. This includes;

‘Black Times’ by Seun Kuti – You can get the album here

‘Fenfo’ by Fatoumata Diawara – you can get the album here

‘Deran’ by Bombino – you can get the album here

‘Freedom’ by the Soweto Gospel Choir – you can get it here

However, it was the Soweto Gospel Choir that took home the award for their album, Freedom.

The annual celebration for the coveted award took place on Sunday 10th February 2019. However, this is not the first time that the group will be taking home the award. In fact, it is their third win in five nominations. The album ‘Freedom’ is a rendition of popular South African liberation struggle songs. Mulalo and Mary Mulovhedzi, and album producer Diniloxolo Ndlakuse Shimmy Jiyane were on stage to receive the award on behalf of the group.

poses in the press room during the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

Interesting details about the album

The Choir recorded the album in June 2018 as a tribute to Nelson Mandela’s 100 Years celebration. Nelson Mandela died in 2013 at the age of 95. The album is a collection of famous South African struggle songs. A worthy inclusion in the album is a brilliant version of ‘Asimbonanga’ by Johnny Clegg. The album release happened in the United States in 2018. The group also completed a three-month tour in the United States. The group will perform songs from the album in Cape Town Jazz Festival coming up in March. Soweto Gospel Choir also plans Australasia album tour from July to September 2019.

History and previous awards

David Mulovhedsi co-founded the group with Beverly Bryer, a producer, and director 17 years ago. The group won the Grammy in ‘Best Traditional World Music Album’ category in 2007. In 2008 they also took home the award in the same category for their album ‘African Spirit’. The win at the just-concluded 61st Grammy Award makes it their third. The group has also won the Metro FM Music Award and four South African Music Awards. Soweto Gospel Choir’s collaboration with pop icon U2 also won the Emmy.

The president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa took to Twitter to congratulate the group for their win. He wrote,

“Congratulations to the Soweto Gospel Choir for being awarded the Best World Music album for ‘Freedom’ at the #Grammys. This is the choir’s third Grammy award and we thank them for telling our story to the world and flying the flag high.”

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