Nikai in the Forest


There was no escaping, there was nowhere to hide, I couldn’t be a wall flower today, I had just found out that today was day I was to be signed over. I called my other, she did not come. There was no taunting today, no Sleeping beauty to my Cinderella, today was the day to let down her hair and come save me.

One of the older sisters had summoned me after Morning Prayer, she asked me to sit on a low stool and began to paint intricate designs in henna on my feet and hands, her designs were basic, I could do better.

I asked her why, she smiled and said,   ‘Your time has come’.

‘Time has come for what’ I asked, ‘am I to be released, am I to be killed or what?

She smiled again, fake smile, the kind that showed your teeth but never reached your eyes.

‘Abdul Rahman has chosen you, you are lucky’

And so it dawned on me, I was to  be married to Abdul Rahman, a man child  I had never met, I had heard the other women say he was one of the mean young ones, he was assured martyrdom, a chosen one, he tricked some of new the girls into speaking English and got them punished, western education, western languages were banned, in defiance all my thoughts were in English, I prayed in English, I sung to myself in English, I counted  each day in English, they could steal my freedom but not my thoughts.

And so I waited for my turn, I was told by one of the older girls that it was to be between Zuhr and Asr prayers.

‘It won’t be that bad’ she said,

‘Just think of past good times, at least you will belong to someone’.

I can’t imagine why she thought it was a good thing, may be the sun had got to her head, she’d been here too long.

The call to prayer went out, we washed and prayed… and then it started, I and five other girls were ushered into a room, the youngest was 9, I knew her, we lived on the same street, her parents were rich, they had the big house with a bore hole and would open their gates to let people fetch water for free. They were nice to me when my other decided she had had enough, the world was too cruel, people were too cruel, she was the smart one and I was the beauty. What does beauty do for you when you’re trapped?

‘I told you to come with me, but you wanted to stay’ she whispers.

She has an annoying habit of whispering.

‘Mum and dad would have got over us, they would have had more children, now they don’t know whether you alive or dead’.

We were each given a clean Hijab,  a pair of new shoes and a gold bangle, the  older sister  rubbed  my feet with camwood  and cheap perfume, the smell made me  gag, throwing up might put the Nikai off for a day or two, but would also get me punished. The Imam called my name – the new name.

‘A Muslim husband must look after his wife, she is his property and he is her property, she must do everything he says without question’….

She who submits to Nikai is truly blessed and highly favoured

 And he went on and on quoting made up verses, while dabbing his forehead with a dirty handkerchief

I was led over to Abdul Rahman, dressed in a flowing white Kaftan with a black skull cap, he didn’t look at me, I doubt whether he knew any more than I did about marriage, his beard, which all the men were encouraged to grow was a sparse as the hair on his head, he couldn’t be more than eighteen, I doubt if he knew one end of a women from the other. He looked familiar. The Iman asked if  he was willing to marry  me  he said, yes,  I was not asked for my opinion.   I looked at him again  and understood why he couldn’t look at me, what holy book says that a man can marry his half -sister?…

‘Be quiet, don’t say a word and you will go home soon’.

Maybe there was light at the end of this dark tunnel, maybe the parents will get one child back.

D is for Donna and Diana #atozchallenge

D offers a dilemma of which deliciously fabulous diva to choose as my number one.

I could start from the wonderful Donna Summer who wasn’t a diva in the real sense of the word, but had a huge impact on disco music in the seventies and eighties or I could go for the the lady that reigns supreme in my mind and is one of Motown’s greatest stars- Ms Diana Ross. Too hard to choose – they both make the list.

Donna summer.


I’m starting with the Disco Queen – She made us Feel Love and sang about a State of independence, a lot of deep meaning in that song.

Donna Summer sashayed into our lives in 1975 with Love to Love You Baby, as a child I didn’t quite get it, but then the penny dropped. She said she recorded that song’s breathy, moaning vocals lying on her back on the studio floor with the lights out, thinking about how Marilyn Monroe might coo the words. It was and still is right on the money, methinks!

In an industry where stars are here today and gone tomorrow, Donna Summer will always be remembered for creating iconic music that sounds even better today.  41 years after it was released I feel love sounds fresh and original, I still can’t dance to it, but boy do I love it.   Her career had its ups and downs, but she always created music that got her back on top reclaiming the spotlight.

Donna passed away on May 17, 2012, from lung cancer, at her home in Naples, Florida. When she died President Obama released a statement, saying, “Her voice was unforgettable, and the music industry has lost a legend far too soon.”

RIP Ms Summer.


Diana Ross


Diana began singing in an all girl group called the Primettes, she sang with friends Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard and Barbara Martin. Barbara Martin dropped out, but the remaining members of the group went on to become the internationally successful 1960s R&B and pop trio the Supremes .

They were signed to Motown Records by  label founder Berry Gordy Jr., in 1961, they scored their first No. 1 hit with Where Did Our Love Go?(1964), and went on to break music records by having a run of five singles topping the charts— Baby Love (1964), Come See About Me(1964) Stop! In the Name of Love (1965) and Back in My Arms Again(1965) — and becoming the first U.S. group ever to have five songs in a row to reach No 1.

Diana left the Supremes in 1969 and released classic the Top 20 Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand and the No. 1 Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.

Despite her personal and professional ups and downs, Diana Ross has withstood the test of time as a performer with a career  spanning more than four decades. She has won  a Golden Globe, a Tony and several American Music Awards. Diana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 as part of the Supremes. She was awarded for her hard work again in 2007, when she was presented with Black Entertainment Television’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2009, Diana jumped back into the limelight when it was revealed that pop icon Michael Jackson had requested the diva as an alternate guardian for his children. – hmm.. Great choice I say.
In 2012 Diana received a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement; it would become her first Grammy ever, despite having been nominated twelve times. Four years later, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama, the nation’s highest civilian honour.In 2017, she added to her collection with Lifetime Achievement honours at the American Music Awards.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNtyHz-T-Gc

Diana Ross is the ultimate Diva, check her coming out in the YouTube video above, that cape screams Diva, who else could make such a grand entrance. Divalicious. 





C is for Cyndi #atozchallenge

Girls  just want to have fun‘  was a staple at parties when I was growing up,  When the distinctive cords of Ms Cyndi Lauper came over the stereo, we got up shook our stuff Time after Time... -..We weren’t all coming home in the middle of the night, but our mamas were asking the same question – ‘when you gonna live your life right’. Rumour has it that the original lyrics of what became “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” reportedly had misogynistic undertones, Cyndi looked at it and decided to change into an empowering song for women. It is still empowering women today.

I come home in the morning light
My mother says when you gonna live your life right
Oh mother dear we’re not the fortunate ones
And girls they wanna have fun
Oh girls just want to have fun
The phone rings in the middle of the night
My father yells what you gonna do with your life
Oh daddy dear you know you’re still number one
But girls they wanna have fun
Oh girls just want to have
That’s all they really want
Some fun
When the working day is done
Oh girls, they wanna have fun
Oh girls just wanna have fun (girls and boys wanna have fun, girls wanna have)
Some boys take a beautiful girl
And hide her away from the rest of the world
I want to be the one to walk in the sun
Oh girls they wanna have fun
Oh girls just wanna have
That’s all they really want
Some fun
Cyndi’s sense of style led a fashion revolution, it was bright, it traffic stopping and fun, it was easy to imitate, she definitely gave Madonna a run for her money in the fashion and music stakes. Cyndi mixed, matched and clashed colors, patterns, textures and styles to create looks that were uniquely her, there weren’t any claims of culture appropriation. She was known throughout the ’80s for a variety of hair colours, today’s mermaid hair is tame in comparison!
Her powerful and distinctive four-octave singing range, and unique singing voice makes her a standout Diva, not copied, sometimes imitated but never equalled.


  • Cyndi was born on June 22, 1953 in Queens, New York.
  • She got her start in the music industry by performing as the vocalist for several cover bands in the mid-1970s. including Bad Company, Jefferson Airplane and Led Zeppelin.
  • She released her first Grammy-winning studio album She’s So Unusual in 1983
  • Over the course of her career, Cyndi has been nominated for 14 Grammys, 2 Emmys, 2 AMAs, 7 American Video Awards and 18 MTV awards.


Cyndi composed the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, Harvey Fierstein wrote the book. -.it tells the story of a struggling British shoe factory’s young, straight-laced owner, Charlie, who forms an unlikely partnership with Lola, a drag queen, to save the business. Charlie develops a plan to produce custom footwear for drag queens, rather than the men’s dress shoes that his firm is known for, and in the process, he and Lola discover that they are not so different after all. It opened in Chicago in October 2012 .In May, Lauper won for best score for Kinky Boots at the 63rd annual Outer Critics Circle Awards. Lauper won the award for Best Original Score. Lauper was the first woman to win solo in this category.

More recently, Cyndi has been celebrated for her humanitarian work, particularly as an advocate for LGBT rights in the United States. Her charitable efforts were acknowledged in 2013 when the singer was invited as a special guest to attend President Barack Obama’s second-term inauguration.

Cyndi started the True Colours Fund, a non-profit that seeks to “inspire and engage everyone, particularly the straight community, to become involved in the advancement of LGBT equality.”

Cyndi says: “Everyone—whether straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender—should be allowed to show their true colours, and be accepted and loved for who they are. Every American should be guaranteed equal treatment, at school, at work, in their relationships, in service of their country…and in every part of their lives”

There are a lot people behind you Cyndi, thank you for showing your true colours.

B is for Beyonce #atozchallenge


I don’t think anyone has a bad word to say about my second diva – Queen B  – aka Mrs  Carter, aka Sasha Fierce. This lady might be a diva, but she has a heart of Gold, in December 2016 she was named the Most Charitable Celebrity of the year, she’s not spending all those dollars on herself.

Recently Queen B has been doing what all mums do  – go grocery shopping! Look for bargains and push a trolley (shopping cart to you guys in the US) around the supermarket, what’s the big deal? she’s a diva,  I hear you say…she shouldn’t be doing that! she has minions to do that for her…. yeah I know, but sometimes you just want to touch and feel what you’re buying. Good on you Mrs Carter I say.

The latest story about this diva is the ‘Who bit Beyoncé non-story? – as if anyone would dare get close enough to touch her face  let alone sink their teeth into her,  a whole load of cods wallop (fishguts🤮) and speculation going nowhere is my verdict!


What’s interesting is that Beyoncé lets this speculation fester rather than shutting it down. “She doesn’t provide the answers,” says Canadian journalist Lainey Lui. “She makes us look for the answers – you don’t just enjoy Beyoncé, you study Beyoncé. To create this distance, this mystique, requires discipline – the discipline to release your work into the world without being tempted to explain it. So it really doesn’t matter whether anything is proven or disproven. It matters more that she remains elusive.” and why not? She is definitely a female version of a hustler… Divalicious.. I still want to know where this non-story is going and what the point of it is. 15 secs of fame for the alleged biter, we have yet to see.

Queen B  is a mistress of contradiction. Her on-stage persona exudes this sexy all knowing diva,  she says its all just for show, She embodies female empowerment, struting her stuff in her videos and singing her heart out,  she controls as much of her destiny as she can – we all know we can’t control it all! Beyoncé owns her brand and slays it eveyday, even her wiki page reads like the beginning of a well written and researched biography – Beyoncé runs her world.

Inspirations:  Beyoncé said in an interview with GQ magazine that”Even the silliest little thing that you hear on the radio, comes from something deeper. ’Bootylicious’ was funny, but it came from people saying that I had gained weight and me being like, ’I’m a southern woman, and this is how southern women are.’ My motivation is always to express something or to heal from something or to laugh and rejoice about something.”



Beyoncé Giselle Knowles was born in 1981 in Houston, Texas.

She started off in a teenage girl group called Girls Tyme, the group changed their name to Destiny’s Child in 1996. In 1997, Destiny’s Child released their major label debut song “Killing Time” on the soundtrack to the 1997 film, Men in Black. The following year, the group released their self-titled debut album, scoring their first major hit “No, No, No”. The album won the group three Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards for Best R&B/Soul Album of the Year, Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist, and Best R&B/Soul Single for “No, No, No“. The group released their Multi-Platinum second album The Writing’s on the Wall in 1999. The record features some of the group’s most widely known songs such as “Bills, Bills, Bills”, the group’s first number-one single, “Jumpin’ Jumpin'” and “Say My Name“, which became their most successful song at the time, listening to it today, it is still classy and relevant. 

Fast forward to 2003 and Beyoncé branched out from the young supremes to release Dangerously in Love and her fame and well justified Divadom has been skyrocketing ever since.

Her latest work Lemonade was released on April 23, 2016, it was nominated for nine awards at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards (2017), winning Awards for Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music Video. Its leading single “Formation” received nominations for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Music Video, while “Hold Up”, “Don’t Hurt Yourself”, and “Freedom” were nominated in pop, rock, and rap categories. 

Lemonade was listed as the sixth greatest album made by a woman of all time by NPR.

Nuff said. Beyoncé, keep on slaying it girl.

A is Amy #atozchallenge


My eldest daughter introduced me to Amy’s music, she came home from school one day and said, mum “I’ve got some music you’ll like”. hmm I thought… lets’s hear it then and she played the first few tracks of Frank.. I was hooked, I played it in the car every day for a month… we would skip past the lyrics I thought weren’t suitable for the younger ones…  15 years later… we’re all listening to Amy and wishing that she or someone had tried to save her from herself.

We will never find out what she would have become and what she’d be doing now.



Amy Jade Winehouse was born in September 1983 .

She was known for her beehive, her deep, expressive vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including R&B, blues, and jazz. Her debut album, Frank came out in 2003, it was was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her follow-up album, Back to Black came out in 2006,  it led to five 2008 Grammy Awards., Our girl was on fire! And her beehive got taller!

Amy won three Ivor Novello Awards: in 2004, Best Contemporary Song for “Stronger Than Me”; in 2007, Best Contemporary Song again, this time for “Rehab”; and in 2008, Best Song Musically and Lyrically for “Love Is a Losing Game.”

She also won the 2007 Brit Award for Best British Female Artist, having been nominated for Best British Album, with Back to Black.

Some say Amy’s marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil led to her downfall, there must have been some good in there once upon a time…, it couldn’t have all been drugs and alcohol or could it? We’ll never know.

The lyric in  Wake up alone  – I stay up clean the house – At least I’m not drinkingshows how much she battled to say sober.

It’s okay in the day I’m staying busy
Tied up enough so I don’t have to wonder where is he   ( Yeah, where was he and why did he treat her so bad?
Got so sick of crying
So just lately
When I catch myself I do a 180
I stay up clean the house
At least I’m not drinking
Run around just so I don’t have to think about thinking
That silent sense of content
That everyone gets
Just disappears soon as the sun sets

Amy died of alcohol poisoning on 23 July 2011, aged 27.

Following her death in 2011, Universal released a posthumous album of B-sides and covers titled Lioness: Hidden Treasures. The album didn’t do as well as they expected (but I loved it), so Universal UK CEO David Joseph destroyed the remainder of Amy’s unfinished demos.  WHY?  I scream.  But wait… a certain Mr Gil Cang, a composer and musician from Camden,  uploaded one of Amy’s earlier  recordings in February this year… it is beautiful – check it out – My Own Way

Rest in peace Amy. You are my number one diva.


A-Z challenge –

Hey there, long time no write, to get back into the swing of things, I’m taking part in the  A-Z blogging challenge


My Category is Entertainment and the theme is Divas –  I love music, especially Motown, 80’s, 90’s and the noughties R&B. I can’t hold a tune for more than three seconds, but that doesn’t stop me from belting out my favourite songs . For each day of the challenge I’ll be writing about a Diva whose name begins with the letter of the day.

What is a Diva anyway?

My definition….A female singer that can really hold a tune, demands and gets more than enough attention, and okay my favourites don’t have to be female, they just have to know how to strut their stuff , hold a tune and make you think, I want to be like her .



I watch as she tears open the letter, junk mail from the 419ers preying on the elderly and the desperadoes trying to make a fortune

Her face drops, she thought this would be her turn, it turns out she’s fourth in line to a 1.5 million pound fortune, if only she pays another £20.00 in postal orders, she’ll be bumped up to second in line, she looks at me expectantly, I shake my head

“Sorry, auntie, no more, you’re never going to win anything”  I open the next letter in a metre high pile, more promises and more requests for postal orders.

#1MinFiction – Don’t touch


What is it about signs that say Don’t touch, wet paint? You instantly get the urge to reach out and touch, is it really wet?

Bats breeding. It said, nah,  someone’s trying to stop me from getting my fix of mangoes, trying to spoil my healthy food diet!

I ripped the sign off and shook the tree.

Woosh!!!, flapping wings, high pitched screeching, they descended with my precious mangoes.

Droppings, gunk, baby bats looking dazed,  angry momma and papa bats.

I’ve learnt my lesson.