International Sisters of Soul, Jazz, Pop and R&B Spotlight: Kornelia Mango

This is a guest post by Lorraine Spencer. Many of you who read the BW-IRR forums know Lorraine for providing a lot of back end research to forum hosts. She is a great resource for many women who seek to elevate themselves. The married, mother of two arranged the Aftenposten interview some of us participated in as a matter of fact.

Though she must parse her time in other endeavors instead of blogging full-time, she is a supporter of black women leading successful lives. To that end, we had a conversation last year about women singers in Europe and Asia who are of African-descent. Some time later, she sent me 10 volumes! While for the purposes of this audience I normally don’t find it beneficial to AA women to promote the daughters of Helga, Junko, Marta, etc I did think highlighting one of the entertainers was suitable.

We need to continue thinking globally, vetting allies and separating ourselves from opportunists. We also need to see the world. No one else can successfully explain the intangible insights gained from world travel done smartly. We should also walk through this life holding our heads up high! I’ve previously discussed our specific heritage and support (or lack of) our historical contributions and music trends in the series Deploying A Little Negro Spirit, which I encourage you to review.

Here’s Lorrraine’s essay on Kornelia Mango after the jump:

Kornelia Mango Pop Princess and Russia’s Soul Diva

Kornelia Mango (Donato) turned Russia upside down.  When you look at Kornelia, you may not know exactly what she is ethnically.  She hails from Astrakhan, one of Russia’s largest cities.  Kornelia Mango is a beautiful woman who majored in fine arts and had even started to teach art at the university level.   With three successful art shows under her belt, Kornelia and was living her life as artist and occasional night club singer when she decided to enter a singing competition.

“Star Factory” is a show similar to “American Idol”.  Kornelia entered Season 7 and blew away audiences with her power voice and awesome stage presence.  Watch her performance with fellow contestant and then boyfriend Mark Tishman singing “Who Are You?”. She was eliminated from the show but not before leaving a permanent mark on the Russian pop music scene making her a certified celebrity.

Kornelia was what we in America call a “thick” girl [Note from Faith: I DO NOT this promote for BW].  She is described as an explosive mix of African, Portuguese, Spanish and Tartar.  If you know anything about the Tartar people, you will see that Kornelia has the perfect face of a Tartan princess, (Genghis Kahn descended) but dominated by unmistakable African features that make her even more beautiful.  That is because Kornelia’s father is African and Portuguese from Guinea-Bissau (but now lives in Portugal). I have to admit I was a bit puzzled when watching a mock wedding with Kornelia Mark Tishman but later realized it was to promote their song “Nash Tanec”.

Kornelia dazzles the audience when she joins Star Factory Season 6 group Tutsi,  for a lively song called “Chashka Kapuchino” with a Brazilian, carnival-esque flavor.  The sister in her is evident as she belts out the vocals and dances effortlessly with the four petite members of Tutsi.  There is no comparison in the voices hands down.  Kornelia seems to be having a wonderful ball of a time performing this fun song. It is fun watching the audiences enjoy Kornelia.

While there is no shame in Kornelia’s game, her size is almost invisible when she is performing as she was once a dance instructor.  However, Kornelia realized for health reasons that she needed to lose weight.  Her webpage depicts a much smaller Kornelia who looks absolutely fantastic!  Enjoy this Afro-Russian superstar as she and Mark Tishman’s heartfelt performance moves the audience singing ballad Nash Tanec (Our Dance)
Kornelia spends these days with her half Mali, half Russian fiancé Ivan Blackmann.  He grew up in Russia barely escaping a revolution in Mali that left his family dead or missing.  He now works for MTV Russia and loves Kornelia.  People are glad to see Kornelia happy in love as the on screen romance with Mark Tishman was just PR for the show ratings, as if she needed any help.  Kornelia is a pop princess, but she also most definitely the Soul Diva of Russia.



10 Replies to “International Sisters of Soul, Jazz, Pop and R&B Spotlight: Kornelia Mango”

  1. You would be 100% correct there Faith! The lovely London I grew up in has been overtaken by really rude people from all over who need to GO BACK HOME!!! As Khadija has even stysted on her website that at leats blacks from the Caribbean were INVITED to come to work in the UK to help build up a country that was ravaged after WWII especially London regarding the Blitz and all that.

    The Europeans AND others that I see over here were never invited and they need to go home if they can't stand to see a part of Europe with blacks in it. And the WOMEN are the worst. I think they think that everybody who's black just jumped off the boat from Africa really and truly. But I don't care. They are too rude for my liking and they need to go home.

    On Sojourner's Passport Khadija and others mentioned how Europeans from the copntinent, the women in particular, like to 'Bogart' every black woman on the street and it's true.

  2. It's very well possible. Usually, people will hear a non-African accent and only THEN will they possibly respect a woman of color. It's probably why I didn't experience any racism in Australia (Aborigines there are still treated like utter garbage). It could be the same in Russia, but I'm willing to visit & see for myself.

  3. This story is cool. You learn something new every day. Russia is another place I'd like to visit although I'm a bit put off by what I've heard is rampant racism. But I guess I'd have to see for myself.

  4. Thanks for posting Lorraine! It's always nice to know about new musicians, especially one who is definitely a credit to BW.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I don't arbitrarily prescribe "being a credit to BW" without evidence, so this is merely a highlight of a woman who happens to live abroad. I have no idea whether she's an ally. this is where critical thinking and discernment comes into play. My featuring her doesn't guarantee that and no one should make assumptions. Everyone -- including me -- must ALWAYS be vetted.

  5. I agree, why highlight this.
    On the other hand, what a difference between Kornelia and the Asian/African teen singer. Kornelia seemed to be more accepted. Good for her.

    1. Ann: I'm not sure what you mean when asking why I highlighted this post. I explained the overall purpose. Where it may prove useful for some black women and AA women in particular is in knowing there is no country off limits to them. If people did more reading of history of they'd know about the Russians of African descent like Aleksandr Pushkin which would instill a sense of pride in many and be a buffer for those who still like to place blacks in an inferior category. He certainly isn't the only one. The overall point is we have been and are everywhere, but the individual work for AA women to be proud of their unique heritage and legacy must continue. My only reservation was in making sure highlighting non-AAs or those whose mothers are not AA (or black) is to not favor their representation. It's also a call for more AA women in particular to STEP IT UP and take full advantage of connecting with people GLOBALLY. So there it is….

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