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Beads in the News Archive 3

Articles posted from 13 June 1997 to 5 July 1997

Clinton Meets Beads in China

Beads Take Over the Sporting World

African Theater: "Beads Are Not Just Beads"

Posted 5 July 1998 -- Sources: AP, Africa New Service, Corel WTA Tour, USA Weekend, Time, Sports Illustrated,The New York Times and CNNin

Beads on Clinton's China Tour. In the village of Yucun, near the tourist center of Guilin, President Bill Clinton wandered about, entering a shop. There he discovered a beaded frame, an abacus, being used in place of a cash register. "'Look at this,' he called out. 'An abacus for the store, for counting.'"

"He pushed the beads around and pronounced that it 'still works pretty well.'" There was no word on whether the visiting President actually knows how to use an abacus.

Beads Take Over Sports. Beads in the hair and at the necks of the Williams sisters of tennis fame are by now old hat, but they are showing up everywhere in the world of sports.

Item. The NCAA tournament (annual US college baseball finals) at Omaha, NE saw beads following the Louisiana State University (LSU) team. In the parking lot, LSU fans demonstrated their loyalty, handing out "sparkling necklaces of gold and purple beads like those fashioned at Mardi Gras to anyone who wants them." The act was declared "The spirit of Mardi Gras, baseball and Louisiana," by one fan.

Everyone involved was seen wearing the beads - fans buying tickets, sports announcers and convenience store clerks. One fan from Texas declared that selling the beads would bring bad luck to the Tigers, the LSU team. "We believe in that kind of thing," she added.

Item: Football (soccer) players are also wearing beads and other jewelry. An AP headline reads, "It's So Hard to Coordinate Accessories with Cleats." An increasing number of players are wearing showy jewelry on the field. FIFA (the governing body of the sport) says there is nothing wrong with it as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. Referees have the duty to bar items that might hurt other players, such as heavy rings. "Although they might come on the field with bangles and beads, most of it is already stripped off them in the referee's preliminary check," said FIFA spokesperson Keith Cooper.

Item: Finally, some statistics on Venus William's hair style. Her braided hair is embellished with no less than 1,800 beads. It takes ten hours to put them in. She has said she will not play after the age of 28. Maybe she's planning to open a bead store.

Beads in the African Theater: Recently opening in Johannesburg, Zakes Mda's play "Love Letters" is part of a three play ensemble of African writers. "Love Letters" focus on the value of pre-colonial culture and the power of men and women in negotiating a love match. The title refers to the beaded squares made by Zulu girls to express their romantic (or otherwise) feelings about boys.

"Focusing on the way Zulu beadwork can be used to pass coded messages, the play helps us see that beads are not just beads, that 'there is something deeper in them than decoration. Beads speak the language of love.'" The main action takes place in the past, with a framing device in the present of an old woman talking to children about the failure of their parents to teach them traditional stories. She focuses on the story of Ananse the spider, a tale that originated in Ghana but is now retold worldwide.

Old Posting Headlines

Amnesty International and Young Beadworkers

Barter Council Gets Bead History Wrong

AP Displays Homemade Rosary

Sports: The Williams Girls

Posted 13 June 1998 -- Sources: L.A. Times, AP, Reuters and CNNin

Young Husnain is 11 and snares, "a tiny silver bead on a tinier needle and (threads) it to a pattern of beads taking shape on a length of purple chiffon." He is used as an example by Amnesty International in their campaign against child labor in South Asia. Husnain is lucky. He attends school in the afternoon, works in a pleasant, airy room and can look forward to an eventual $US 3.00 per day when he comes to work full-time. Children working in garages or making bricks have it much worse, as the report pointed out.

The Corporate Barter Council celebrated the "first major corporate barter deal" in America, the 372nd anniversary of the purchase of Manhattan Island. But they got the details wrong. They proudly said, along with generations of Americans (and Europeans) that, "Peter Minuit, a director of the Dutch West India Trading Company, bartered about $24 worth of beads and trinkets to local Indians in exchange for the island of Manhattan." But did he? See the answer here. Also, it is simply the "West India Company" and Minuit was not a director. (They'll be hearing from me -- ed.).

The Associated Press, marking its 150th anniversary, opened an exhibit at the Freedom Forum's Newsmuseum in New York, including a home-made rosary. The rosary was made by Terry Anderson, who was held hostage in the Middle East for seven years. He constructed it from "beads, wire and carpet strings." They didn't say where he got the beads.

Venus and Serena Williams continue to dazzle the tennis word and make sports headlines for beads. The AP reported, "The French have set fashion trends for decades, but after watching the Williams sisters smash tennis balls for two weeks they may all rush to bead their hair." Their hair is not the only place they wear beads. Venus has a necklace made "out of dice [sic] that spells out, 'Venus No. 1'" And they loose beads as they play, usually a few each game, though the other day the ball girls and -boys found a whole string from Venus' hair. The string was added to the T-shirts and rackets found on the court and raffled off among the ball girls and -boys at the end of the tournament if they remain unclaimed. Do they keep any loose beads they find?


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