STRONGER THAN A DIAMOND AND JUST AS PRECIOUS
Self-Love & Self- Image Love Who You Are!
Take A Look At What Cornell Women Are Doing To Make A Difference!
Diversity at Cornell
Looking At The Cohesion Of Our Communities May 2011 | 1
IMARA Magazine Co- Editor-in-Chiefs
DEVANEKE CRUMPLER UJIJJI DAVIS Managing Editor Chandeerah Davis Creative Director Matilda Ceesay Layout Director Briana King Director of Finance Courtney Johnson Director of Publicity Raven Harris Secretary Sheretta Noel Senior Advisor Chineze Ebo
STAFF EDITORS Kyeiwaa Amofa-Boachie Theresa Anoje Jasmine Wade STAFF WRITERS Katrina Ablorh Khamila Alebiosu Kyeiwaa Amofa-Boachie Theresa Anoje Devon Bryant Ashley Black Chandeerah Davis Ujijji Davis Chineze Ebo Jamila Grampus Briana King Zena Kolliesuah Alysa James Meave Otieno Jacqueline Perkins Reetchel Presume Amara Pinnock Angelica Ruth-Wekwete Dean Myra Sabir Alana Siexas Chardae Varlack
2 | Imara Magazine
LAYOUT EDITORS Matilda Ceesay Devaneke Crumpler Chandeerah Davis Ujijji Davis Briana King Jessica Gardenhire
we are imara...
This is the year we elevate ourselves, as individuals, organizations, and community members. This is the year we break free from our comfort zones, stretch out and grab onto to new ideals, new practices and new people. It is this year we embrace ourselves, flaws and all. At IMARA, we know the importance of self-worth and we want to share that magic with our Cornell community. Loving yourself is the first step to loving others; and with our extreme work climates, and with Cornell seemingly a million miles from home, we want to remind our readers how important it is to remember just how beautiful, strong, intelligent, courageous and fantastic they truly are.
Table of Contents
4 Self-Love and Self-Worth 6 Natural Hair 8 Inferiority Complex 9 Awkward Moments 16 Self-Image via the Media 18 Rap Sessions Reflection 19 Self-Image & Spirituality 21 Uplifting Music
Health 5and Beauty 8
Fall Beauty Secrets Mental Health Stigmas
Don’t let the wind chills dampen your spirits, and don’t let jealous eyes uncurl your smile. We are the leaders of tomorrow, and we are worth all the joy the world has to bring.
10 161 Things Part III 13 Poetry: Women for Sale 21 Poetry; A Conversation 24 Food For Thought 25 DivaSpeaks 27 Naked Spirit Rising
So no matter your creed, race, ethnicity or origin, we are all strong and worthy. We are IMARA.
14 Student Spotlight 17 Artist Spotlight 20 Eye Candy
Community 12 Friend or Foe
22 Diversity at Cornell
November 2011 | 3
Self-Image | Self-Love & Self-Worth At Cornell
Self-Love & Self-Worth At College
Our worth, as black women, doesn’t amount to any perishable thing. It’s a price no less than indefinable. Many of us come to college expecting to find the ONE, that one man to complete us and give us all we’re worth; and that is where we are wrong. You must realize that you and he, unaided by each other, must be an already completed equation. He should be an addition to your individuality, so, that if he should decide to subtract himself, your solution is still an exponential value waiting for her next unknown. The goal is to complement, not complete. When you see yourself as a prized possession and love yourself for all you’re worth, expectations from others sync with that positive image. You have the power to set the standards because your beauty and worth lie within you. We are women filled with compassion. But have you ever asked yourself if it is possible to truly love and cherish another until you’ve fully loved and cherished yourself?
By: Jamila Grampus
You are the soil in which your passionate love and worth are rooted. If you plant insecurities, you’ll sprout vulnerability and pain. But if you plant selflove and self-worth, you’ll blossom into a phenomenal woman. Let’s avoid making the mistake of placing our worth in the hands of others. Be the author of your own heart and paint the visual of a unique masterpiece, and once you’re ready to make a sequel then feel free to collaborate with another. Until then… love yourself. Give yourself a honey bubble bath covered with floating roses. Treat yourself to a manicure and pedicure. Have a spa day with the ladies. Cherish yourself and don’t wait for someone else to come along and determine your worth. Love yourself wholeheartedly and let your presence exude beauty and self-worth so that all who cross your path know that they’ve been faced with a phenomenal woman...:
...Whose presence is demanding but humble, Whose worth isn’t purchasable, And whose love for herself exceeds tangible definition. 4 | Imara Magazine
Fall Beauty Secrets | | Health & Beauty a beautiful, deep copper color that can be worn to class or to the next party. My eye shadow lasted for well over a year, so if you love this shade, the splurge might be worth it. Also try “Brushed Copper” by Revlon, $4; “Pure Silver,” by L’Oreal Paris Studio Secrets, $5. You can also find palettes that will include a family of
Fall Beauty Secrets By: Amara Pinnock
Hello Beautiful Ladies! So I will be briefly telling you all about some beauty trends for this fall. As a disclaimer, I am never one to say that I, nor anybody else, need makeup. But, when used correctly, makeup is a great way to show your individuality and to enhance your God-given, beautiful features. So let the primping begin! To start, one beauty item that was seen across runways for fall is the lovely shade of plum. Plum is a very flattering color for the various shades of brown we women possess and can add that extra pizazz to your look. One way to wear plum is as eye shadow. Be sure to apply a light sweep of shadow in addition to some black mascara and liquid eyeliner. Available at Victoria’s Secret, $12; or “Amethyst” by E.L.F., $3 available at Target.
colors which will work well together or singly to get more bang for your buck. Try “Copper Chic” by Maybelline, $7. As a personal favorite of mine, they work well together or alone, and give you a wide range of looks to try. Lastly, a trend that we have seen for quite a while now is the bold, red lip. The red lip is not for the faint of heart, and I myself am a teeny bit afraid of it. However, the red lip was seen all over runways for this fall and can definitely be pulled off by anyone…you just need the confidence! And for some, wearing red lipstick gives them that. What’s different about this season’s red lip is that Fall 2011’s red lip is a high-shine lip, as opposed to the matte reds we’ve seen in the past. The key to this lip’s look is to top off the look with a matching red gloss or a clear high-shine gloss. As this look is very bold, it is best reserved for a date, a night out with the girls, or when you want to give off a powerful and confident vibe, such as when you have that semester-long research project to present. When picking a red, it’s best to stay within two shades of the natural color of your lips. Also, there are a ton of red options to choose from, from fire-engine to red to the deepest wine. Experiment with what you like, and when you find the one you love, rock it. Any clear gloss on top of these colors will work well. As with the plum, when wearing a bold lip, keep the rest of your makeup subdued to avoid overkill. A swipe of mascara and eyeliner are a great match, and a bit of neutral shadow, such as a copper or gold as discussed earlier, would work beautifully too.
Or for a twist, try plum for your lips in a lipstick or a pigmented lip gloss. Because plum can be a strong color, choose one place to wear it—either on the eyelids or the lips, not both. Keep the rest of your makeup subdued for the prettiest look. Where to buy: Try “Plum Jewel” by Maybelline, $7;“Oh My Goth,” Some options to try: “Russian Red” by MAC, $14.50;“Revlon Red,” by Kat Von D, $18 available at Sephora. For gloss, try “Pearl Plum” by Revlon, $7 available at Target;“Linda,” by Buxom, $18, available at Sephora.
Another beauty trend seen on celebrities and on runways is the metallic eye. Shades of copper, bronze, gold, and silver are extremely flattering for brown skin tones. Always anchor the look with black mascara to bring out the look. Also, be careful of colors that are too pearly or too pastel looking, as they will look ashy against your skin. Instead, look for pigmented metallics for the best look. Metallics are great in that they can work for day or night, depending on the intensity of it. One of my favorite metallic shades is called “Romp,” by MAC which is
by Revlon, $7; “Black Label Cherry,” by NYX , $3.
Something to keep in mind about makeup in general is that it works best on a clean, moisturized and prepped canvas. As the temperature drops, switch to a thicker moisturizer that will protect and keep your skin moisturized throughout the day (the same goes for your hair!). For makeup, I find that using primers helps my makeup look the best as well as help it to last all day.
And lastly, it’s important to remember that the woman makes the makeup, not the other way around. November 2011 | 5
Self-Image | | Natural Hair
Embracing the Kink and the Curl
By: Jacqueline Perkins
I have had many goals and plans for myself—having a relaxer put in my hair as soon as I turned 16 was one of them. At least, that was my mother’s condition; I wanted one from time that I was seven. I can’t remember why I wanted a relaxer put into my hair in the first place. I guess I didn’t know there was anything I could actually do with my hair in its natural state. However, I can remember the exact moment that I stopped counting down to my 16th birthday and became completely uninterested in relaxers. Before I came to Cornell University, I went to a predominantly Caucasian school from 6th-12th grade. I don’t believe most of the students had ever even seen, let alone talked, to a person of African descent. Most of the young Caucasian girls would touch my puff and ask me about my hair, how it grew when it was braided, and how they could style their hair to look like my hair. I laughed the hardest with my friends to the last question. I thought you can’t do this with your hair; it’s unique to my heritage. In our community, we examine what relaxing our hair, despite its drawbacks, says about how we view ourselves and our beauty, inside and out. For some, it is simply a differ-
6 | Imara Magazine
ent hair style to change up our looks from week to week. But for others, it is a way to look more beautiful than our heritage has already made us. So I say to all the Sisters, relax away if you want, because you only live once. But understand that you do have options, because our hair is full of just as much potential and imagination as our future and the heritage that has come before us. Our heritage, perseverance, and spirit—not our hair, have enabled Black women to come through the double fire of racism and sexism. So, don’t underestimate the stuff on top of your head and, most importantly, the stuff in your head.
Complexion Complex | Community
Complexion Complex Light vs. Dark Skin Issues in the Black Community By: Theresa Anoje
It’s a problem that’s been affecting the Black community since some of our ancestors arrived in the U.S. in 1619. From the status of the House Negro vs. the Field Hand, to the “Paper Bag” test and passing for white, there are many issues concerning skin color within Black culture. After centuries of struggling with this division between the light-skinned and dark-skinned, have we made any progress in accepting all different shades of African Americans? Obviously not, if in 2011 you can still hear things like, “You’re pretty… for a dark-skinned girl.” This, as many of us know, is not an isolated incident of some close-minded jerk, and it’s not only a matter of aesthetics or sex appeal. This issue is a lot deeper, stemming from a euro-centrism that’s been ingrained in us and our ancestors since slavery. This was shown in the famous “Doll Test” cited in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case, where Black children were asked to identify which doll was the prettiest, smartest and nicest and overwhelmingly chose the White doll over the Black doll in each case. These shameful results were no surprise to researchers; they only demonstrated the damaging effects of racial segregation on Black children’s selfesteem. So fifty years after the peak of the Civil Rights Movement, after the end of the Jim Crow Era, naturally we would’ve made some progress in improving the self-image of African Americans, right?
Sadly, there hasn’t been as much progress as we’d like to think. Recent replications of the original Doll Test more or less show the same results: Black children choosing the White image when asked who is smarter, nicer or prettier, and choosing the darkest Black image when asked who is dumb, bad and ugly. Even in the absence of racial segregation, this distorted view is reinforced by the media. It’s easy to see why many, both in and out of the Black community, wouldn’t make positive associations between dark skin and beauty when virtually all the leading roles and love interests on TV, in movies, and even in music videos are White or, the few times we do see a Black face, light-skinned. It’s this unspoken cultural bias that pushes some dark-skinned girls to buy bleach creams, perm their hair and wear light-colored contacts; a bias that tells some guys—white, black or anything else—that there is something ugly about dark skin; a bias that causes some light-skinned girls to appreciate their complexion for all the wrong reasons. Fortunately many have found the strength to love their natural hues, whether that be light or dark or anywhere in between. Instead of listening to the signals that we think the rest of the world is sending us about our looks, we need to challenge and redefine cultural standards of beauty, starting with our own standards and self-esteem. Once we truly see ourselves as beautiful, smart, and good, no one will be able to tell us otherwise. November 2011 | 7
Health & Beauty | | Mental Health Stigmas
Mental Health Stigmas By: Reetchel Presume
Everyday we walk across bridges lined with tall, black, menacing fences and take in the sight of the Ithaca gorges. Occasionally we are awed by nature’s beauty. Unfortunately, more often than not, the sight is only a reminder of Cornell’s dismal reputation. I am certain that no one needs to be informed of Cornell’s “high-pressure” atmosphere. We are students. We live through the stress of tests, extracurricular responsibilities, personal issues, social issues and so much more that can jump out at us unexpectedly. With the suicides of past semesters so fresh in our memories, the mental health of Cornell students is a topic of large concern. The truth is, suicide among college students is national health crises, not only specific to our campus. It is a big issue and a tough one to address. To ameliorate strains on our mental health we can start by promoting a great deal of tolerance and openness in our community. Lets stop the silence and talk about it.
Ask for help
Depression is real. Depression is not “the blues” and it is dangerous to underestimate its impact. In the African-American community there has been a historically prevalent stigma in seeking treatment. In fact, only one of three African-Americans who need mental health treatment receives it. Many AfricanAmericans try to rely solely on home remedies, family and religious support. The general tendency is to minimize the significance of symptoms and attempt to deal with stress alone. The stigma of mental illness upholds the belief that depression is a sign of weakness, that our problems are personal and we should not invite others into our business. Stigma, literally, can be the death of us. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. There is a great need to confront stigma head-on for the sake of our and future generations; so that they can be accepted for who they are, seek help and accept themselves. 8 | Imara Magazine
Inferiority Complex | Self-Image
By: Briana King
Have you ever felt like there was someone better than you? Maybe they were prettier, dressed better, or were more social or smarter than you. Did you wish to be like this person or group, even if it was just a little bit? If you can answer yes to either of these questions, you have encountered the illusive “inferiority complex.” The inferiority complex states that an individual believes that there is a superior group or person and, for whatever reason, he or she is not a member of this group. A person may feel that they are not good enough or pretty enough the way they are. The concept of the inferiority complex is created through your thinking in regards to yourself and your position in the world. But, if your mind can create it, why can’t it stop the detrimental cycle? To deal with an inferiority complex, you must first realize that any flaw you are dwelling on is not nearly as bad as you think it is. Having a certain flaw does not change your personality or character. You are as strong as you believe yourself to be. And because I care, I will share a secret with you: EVERYONE has flaws. Everyone can find something that they don’t really like about themselves. It really could be anything, but don’t dwell on it. The key to your success lies in your ability to accept yourself the way you are—no matter what. Everyone has issues and difficulties to face, but in my opinion, the best determinant of success is how you deal with your negatives in life and turn them into positives. I would like to challenge each and every one of you to find something—it can be something small or major—that you like about yourself, as well as something that makes you unique. Find something and focus on it because it is a part of what makes you wonderful. And don’t ever settle for anything less than excellence. Trust me, inferiority is not excellence.
Gannett Health Services offers counseling and psychological services. Please call 607-255-5155 to help you or a friend.
Awkward Moments| | Self-Image
All We Can Do is By: Zena Kolliesuah
Everyone remembers their first college class where they got lost and showed up 20 minutes late, with all eyes on them, making them even more aware that they were a freshman. Or that long awaited date with the boy of your dreams, only to realize that you had spinach stuck in your teeth. While these moments can be traumatizing and also embarrassing, these instances help to keep us laughing through the tough times of college. Many of you weighed in with your own funny stories including:
“Well I can start by saying my freshman year of college I crashed into someone I had a crush on with my tray. Luckily nothing spilled and I quickly apologized. Just when I thought I made it through without any further embarrassment, I walk a few steps and something happens that causes me to drop pasta on my pants. Not just my pants... my crotch-area. So I got red-pasta sauce on my crotch. I didn’t check to see if my crush saw me (because I was too mortified of course), I just kinda ran out the cafeteria.”
A Night to Remember
My freshman year, I was a little over zealous when it came to having fun, and I went a little too hard at a... lets call it a “house gathering”. I was walking across Ho Plaza with a friend when I noticed it was really quite slick (from ice and what-not) and asked my amazingly supportive friend to make sure I didn’t fall/make a fool of myself. Just as the words left my mouth, I slipped forward, straight on my face. Without thinking I got back up in silence and walked the rest of the way to North without another word. Waking up the next morning and looking in the mirror was pure shock/horror. My face was swollen, my head hurt, and I wanted to cry. Grudgingly I called Gannett... walking to the appointment was the most memorable part. Walking across the Arts Quad I noticed a few drops of red, then a few more, until I finally get to Ho Plaza where it seemed my blood had pooled. A huge red stain for everyone to wonder about! Embarrassing, but mostly an ugly reminder of the broken nose and concussion I had evidently given myself the night before...
So the other day, I was walking to class and it was super windy. The wind was blowing so hard and it was messing with my hair (which is NOT okay because I don’t like when my hair looks crazy). So I proceeded to walk towards what I think is an empty car, and look in the window so I can fix myself up. So there I was, fixing my hair in front of this car window, and I’m like “Hey, why not just fix everything on me?” So I continued to brush my hair, fix my makeup, adjust my dress, just EVERYTHING in front of this car window. Suddenly, the car window dropped down and the owner of the car is sitting there, looking me DEAD in my face, laughing hysterically. My mouth dropped; I had NO idea anyone was in that car! And they had been watching me fix myself for some time! I managed to let out a quick “Oops, I’m sorry, bye!” before I dipped real quick. It was TOO embarrassing!
If you can relate to some of these stories, check out the new web series by Issa Rae
The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl www.awkwardblackgirl.com
November 2011 | 9
Features | 161 Things
Things Every Woman of Color Should Do at Cornell
PART III by Chandeerah Davis
When I embarked on this list of “161 Things,” I never imagined the endless possibilities for it! Even when IMARA finally gets to good old #161, this list should not be considered the exhaustive list of options! The truth is, as I find new and exciting things to share with all of our readers, I inevitably come up with ideas even I haven’t tried yet. In Part I, I emphasized the importance of creating and engaging. In Part II, I stressed seeking out those unique opportunities to connect. In this, Part III of the “161 Things Every Woman of Color Should Do At Cornell,” I’m saying PIONEER and INNOVATE!!! There are still things women of color here would love to participate in and contribute to that just don’t exist! You and your friends could be the ones to TRAILBLAZE those paths to the most unforgettable experiences. Be the mastermind and you could affect not only your own Cornell memories, but those of thousands of Cornellian women to come! Case in point: IMARA Magazine! With all that said....here goes!!!
Never been to Cafe con Leche? Coordinated by the Latino Living Center, these community discussions cover various pertinent issues and this year they gave students an opportunity to propose one of their very own!!!! They’ll be going on all throughout Spring semester so look out for them! Next time, the topic covered could be your idea!
42 | Initiate a biweekly MOVIE NIGHT with your girls!! Each time someone different can choose the movie you view...it’ll be a chance to relax and a chance to share each other’s diverse cinematic tastes! 43 | Create and found a NEW student organization!!! People are doing it all over campus and yet there are still needs on and off campus that could uniquely benefit from students whose passions drive their involvement!!! 44 | Have a “shower each other” night once a month!! Get together with your besties and exchange little gifts. They can be things you made, a small card with notes of appreciation, a book you know your friend will love, or even just a photo of her covered in compliments!!! Head over to the Women’s Resource Center! Students can join the Center as volunteers at any point in the year! Find out what resources are available on campus to support all of your endeavors! 10 | Imara Magazine
161 Things | Features
46 | Decorate your roommate’s mirror with Post-Its that say nice things about her! When she looks in it she’ll be reminded of how special the reflection she sees there really is! I only have a few words to say for this one: the FIRST ever the Cornell Women of Color Conference, held in November, is going to be amazing!!!!
48 | Start a vlog!! Video blogging is an innovative way to get SEEN and heard! Pick topics of your choice and ones that are relevant to your audience and speak out! 49 | Take a class like AEM 3340: Women, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship! 50 | The ALANA E-Board is introducing its first ever Culture to Culture Contest with the challenge: “You make them collide, we give you the PRIZE!” It’s a chance for orgs across the Cornell community to create an AMAZING cross-cultural program that’s never been done before!!! 51 | Attend a BWSN Sister Circle or, better yet, contact them and offer ideas for new ones!!! 52 | CHECK OUT 626 Thurston Ave where the brand new Intercultural Center is poised to do great things!! Co-located in the facility will be the Asian/Asian American Center; the African Latino Asian Native American Students Programming Board; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center; and the Alumni-Student Mentoring Program. Groundbreaking initiatives are destined to be bursting from its seams!
Stop by the Cornell Store and pick up “Part and Apart: The Black Experience at Cornell, 18651945” – Historian Carol Kammen’s book considers Black student life in the context of decades of social and political change, from the post-Civil War era through World War II. Or check out
the website here: http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/earlyblackwomen/introduction/ ! 54 | Whether you are an underclass- or upperclass- “woman,” make a commitment to introduce yourself to at least one woman of color you’ve never met each week! 55 | Be sure to register early for Les Femmes De Substance’s Annual Retreat! This is a one of a kind chance for Black women to connect and learn from one another. What better place is there to learn all about leadership and trailblazing?!! 56 | Have your own radio show for all of Cornell to hear!! Contact Slope Radio at http://www.slopemedia. org/slope-radio/ for more information! You could be the next hostess with the mostest! 57 | Take a class like AMST 4391: Writing Women’s Lives. 58 | Stop by the Tuesday Lunch Engagements at the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives for awesome presentations about everything from “Strategies for Academic Success” to “Decoding Prelims”! 59 | Check out the Africana Studies and Research Center John Henrick Clarke Library for unique texts, articles, and videos about the historical experiences of women of color!
AND lastly...since this issue is all about the ways we view ourselves and each other, try to invest at least a few moments each semester in doing something groundbreaking in your school, dorm, with your friends, or even in your own personal life! As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the WORLD”! The truth is, You CAN be the change you want to see at Cornell!!!
If you missed the first 40, check out our previous issue online at http://issuu.com/imaramagazine/docs/ imara_magazine__dec_2010. and May 2011 Enjoy! November 2011 | 11
Community | Friend or Foe
Friend or Foe?
By: Devon Bryant
Ladies, ever been walking and feeling good, when all of a sudden you feel a pair of eyes on you? Not in a good way, but in a bad way with one of those ‘who-does-she-think-she-is’, looks? Those looks that, when you turn around, you notice some girl cut her eyes at you like she knows you? Have you ever been on the other side of it, and been the one giving the dirty look? Unfortunately, I think at this point, most women have been on both sides of the spectrum at least once. These types of negative interactions are too commonplace among women today, especially amongst women of color. Why is it that we are so quick to tear each other down, instead of jumping at the chance to help build one another up? No one ever likes to admit this, but perhaps this is due to a little hint of jealousy. It’s human nature to feel threatened by something new and unfamiliar. It seems as though this ‘natural instinct’ frequently brings out the worst in women, especially when dealing with each other. The tension that we as women have, at times, causes us to become our own worst enemies and most of us have most likely witnessed many instances in which women put themselves against each other. We give and receive sideways glances, up-and-down looks, and participate in gossiping. A lot of the trouble seems to arise when it comes to issues regarding men. We fight over the same guy, and often times, these guys are not even worth it. Instead of falling back and giving our fellow sisters some space to be happy, some women tend to go after those we know should be left alone. Consequently, it ends up being a vicious cycle, especially when other women pick sides and multiple women begin silent feuds against one another. Of course, this is not to say that all women despise and resent each other. It is entirely possible for women to get together and produce a positive, supportive environment of strength and support. The thing we have to learn, however, is that it is okay to reach out beyond our current group of close-knit friends and accept that new girl who we assume will be nothing but trouble. Once we stop thinking that other women are out to get us, we will be able to expand on the sisterhood that we should have had all along. Particularly, in our own Cornell community, we are fortunate to have various safe spaces to build up this connection, including the Black Women’s Support Network (BWSN) and Les Femmes de Substance, just to name a couple. In a time and place where there still aren’t many women of color, we need to utilize these opportunities to connect with other women who can help us reach success as we, in turn, help them. Instead of creating a lifelong enemy out of one another, it’s time to make a conscious effort to embrace a new, loyal friend. 12 | Imara Magazine
Poetry | Features
Women For Sale
buttercream breasts busting out By: Khamila Alebiosu for truth in disguise
Come! Look at these, Chinese Japanese Spread those knees at ease her Vietnamese eyes must say that she wants it
besides those red velvet, Jezebel thighs marching with fear. Sugar bitten by his sweet tooth the uncouth
Wants to be his Geisha for the night Her Asian persuasion craves his late night sensation seducing the soulless with her soft voice spoken but not heard voices behind the brown skin sistah screaming for someone to listen
Saccharine senorita sways those hips sampled only by a few caramel curvy swinging coconuts chicana, ms. cha cha’s chestnut cheeks chased by his eyes
lips only kissed never spoken Women for Sale. unfree on the shelf waiting to wrap legs around waists they waste away spoiled, rotted by abandonment batter battered by body image pressures she better trim down that fat meat on her bones only to be eaten by the shark teeth of a system telling her to hate herself
Never speechless but spared attention sizzling siren screaming solely savored as a spectacle candy-coated cunt curvacious cocoa buttered booty drops jaws double dipped double-Ds Ms. dark chocolate sistah is bittersweet. she leaves tongues tingling tasting her pain feeding off her sorrow sexy sassy, seduction
and their like its better than yours damn right its better than yours her milkshake, milkshake you drank sucking her dry slicing her cherry pie
unsweetened women. sugarless make her sour. make bitter. tasted only, sampled, or fully swallowed for his pleasure only
compacting her into those cookies, goodies, not her goodies, goodies,
booties, bodies bodies commodified to his midnight snack late night pleasure
Women for sale at the house of erotica exotica come get ‘em while they’re still hot.
Eaten, swallowed, consumed taking her sweetness, comfort, dignity and pride and chugging it down like a milkshake her milkshake brings all the boys to yard November 2011 | 13
Spotlight! | Student Spotlight
Orgs: Black Students United, Coalition of Pan-African Scholars, Association for Students of Color, Wanawake wa Wari, Laboratory for Rational Decision Making, Vagina Monologues, Tradition Fellow
Orgs: Black Students United, Cornell Daily
HumEc, Human Development, Global Health ���12
Public Servant: I have felt most fulfilled while doing service with the various organizations that I have been part of. In every organization I have tried to add some kind of service component. Community service has had a huge impact on my time at Cornell. Service always gives me perspective and reminds me of my obligation to give back to those who have provided me with all that I have. I would also add that you should never short change yourself. Every single person has a gift to give to the world. Share these gifts! College is a time for exploring and honing your talents. Do not let doubts or intimidation stand in your way. 14 | Imara Magazine
A&S, Government ‘13
Words of Wisdom: Don’t be afraid to try so dence to put yourself out there and when y never take no for an answer. Cornell is a hug ever you are most passionate about here. If y pursue and stumble upon a few roadblocks, path that will lead you to the same destinatio that can help you get to where you want to b no for answer” was overrated and nothing co and maintain your motivation and drive, no achievements.
Student Spotlight | Spotlight!
Take A Look At What Cornell Women Are Doing To Make A Difference! Janet Nwaukoni
CALS, Biology & Society, Global Health’ 12 Sun, Business Department
omething new. Have the confiyou do, never give up. Remember: ge campus and you can find whatyou see something you want to just know there is always another on and someone along the way be. I always thought “never take ould be done, but if you persevere one can get in the way of your
Orgs: Project Lansing, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Multicultural Greek Lettered Council, Baraka Kwa Wimbo Female Gospel Ensemble, Mortar Board Passion: Mentoring has a special place in my heart, as I have been mentored by phenomenal women and to be given the opportunity to mentor others is truly a privilege. Project Lansing thrives with amazing mentors dedicated to changing the lives of young girls who made a wrong decision in life. We teach these girls about self-image, self-worth, and show them how to BE mentors when they return home. I would also definitely say reach for the stars and step outside of your comfort zones! You all are amazing, beautiful women, gifted in different areas. Don’t be afraid to let your light shine, as long as you are working to uplift others. Remember, surround yourself with like-minded friends who can aid in your self-development and from there, all you can do is grow. November 2011 | 15
Self Image | Self Image via the Media
SELF IMAGE VIA THE MEDIA By: Alysa James
It’s a gray morning in Ithaca and I find myself waking up too early for my 11:40 class. I roll out of bed and open my computer to check my favorite morning websites; I read Essence, Jezebel, Glamour, People and finally, Mediatakeout. Mediatakeout is my guilty pleasure. I read it because it’s funny and more importantly, because Macs don’t get viruses. However, sometimes their articles (if you want to call them that) shock and bewilder me, especially on mornings where I would pay someone to tell me I look beautiful. Every so often they will have unflattering pictures of celebrities. The celebrities are usually women who have cellulite or a bad hair day - something that, to the rest of the world seems totally normal. However, I digress, after seeing Beyoncé without makeup, I realize that my judgment of these people is harsh and uncalled for. How can I, a girl who admittedly struggles to tell herself she’s beautiful, find fault in any person who on a daily basis deals with attacks to their self-esteem? Which begs the question, if someone can tear a celebrity apart, can this happen to the little folks of the world who cannot afford a make-up artist, personal trainer, and a personal stylist? How can we as media consumers perpetuate healthy self-image while hypocritically tearing down celebrities? It took me years to see the irony of this and since then, I have made a conscious effort to suppress every urge I have to rip apart a celebrity. Someone may very well be doing the same thing to my profile picture on Facebook. My years of struggle with self-image have led me to this conclusion: Self-confidence does not come from looking through a fashion magazine. Hell, if we followed anything the media said we would be all 16 | Imara Magazine
scary, bitter, loud, stereotyped versions of our wonderful selves. I mean, have you ever looked through a fashion magazine and thought to yourself, “my thighs would not be able to fit into those pants,” or “maybe if I lose weight I can look like her.” First off, realize that those pictures are airbrushed and that NO ONE actually looks like that. Secondly, a healthy selfimage will not be found on any glossy page or on any blog. It comes from realizing what and who you are. The media will always perpetuate that there is something wrong with you to sell products or to get you to buy a magazine. We as a people are bombarded with clever ways to fake self esteem - how much makeup we should wear, weight we should lose. Really, a healthy self image cannot be faked and you exude it when you feel it. So I ask all people who may be reading this article, that the next time you open a magazine, turn on your television or computer to take a personnel assessment of your self-confidence. If you feel good about yourself continue with what you’re doing and if you don’t, take a second to think about all the wonderful things you bring to the table. Do not let the media tell you anything other than you are perfect the way you are!
Artist: Goapele | Spotlight!
Goapele By: Chardae Varlack
very now and then, you go through an endless number of songs on your iPod in search for that one artist to listen to that will lift your spirits. Finally, you come across one. Her name is Goapele (pronounced “Gwa-puh-lay”). Coincidentally in Setswana, her name means, “to move forward”, which is the same attitude that is portrayed in her music.
oapele officially released her first album in 2002, entitled, “Even Closer” through her independent record label, Skyblaze. Although it has been a few years since Goapele has released an album, it is the music of her previous albums which truly generates the feelings of self-confidence, beauty, and determination. Goapele is known for being a humanitarian, as seen by her contributions to various organizations such as the Bay Area Black Women’s Health Project, Be Present Inc., and Empowered Youth Educating Society. The listeners of her music are able to incorporate the positive energy that she radiates into their own lives.
ot many artists incorporate the positive attitude that Goapele tends to encompass in her music. Even as a soul and R&B artist, she captures the attention of listeners of all genres of music due to the encouraging messages that exude from her lyrics and sound. Not only do the sensuous instrumentals draw you in, but her vocals do the same.
s a Cornell student, have you ever needed a boost of confidence on a dreary day? Have you been stressed about prelim grades and upcoming finals? In one of her most popular songs, “Closer”, Goapele
highlights the idea that each step of the way you take on your pathway in life is a step closer to fulfilling your dreams. This is a wonderful song to listen to when you need the encouragement to keep pushing through, even during your darkest times. Fill up that cup of coffee, blast this song, and take that trek to the nearest library to continue “moving closer to your dreams.”
hat about those days you just feel inadequate or scared of what the future holds? Both “Change It All” and “Find A Way” are empowering songs that will encourage people to want to make a difference. Many times, we all struggle and lose sight of what our true focus is. Yet by listening to these songs, you can regroup and regain the strength you need to make it through that all-nighter, climb that hill, and ace that test. It is important to rid ourselves, as women at Cornell, of the negative attitude we may cultivate and change our viewpoint to a more positive one. By listening to the music of Goapele, not only will you be inspired, but you will be driven to help inspire others as well.
hrough the good times and the bad, it is important to remember that our academic pursuits come first. So on that bad day, remember that Goapele’s inspiring lyrics are only a YouTube search away. If you enjoy what you listen to, be sure to look out for her upcoming album, “Break of Dawn”, which will be released at the end of October 2011.
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Self-Image | Rap Session Reflection
Just Know the Name: Don’t Know the Pain I remember when I saw Precious. I watched it in fragments, needing time to digest the terribly sad segments that were the narration of someone else’s life.
By: Ujijji Davis
Being a black woman in America is not easy. I still get asked if I’m in the right place at certain venues; my name is still butchered at every roll call; I am I remember when I saw For Colored Girls. I had still assumed to be the help at stores and restaurants. read the play and played the Girl in Red while in high But it’s that image of us—the low and downtrodden school, but I sat in the theatre frustrated and angry. image—that we can change. So how do we do that? We continue to do I didn’t bother to watch The Help. I wasn’t ready great things. Black women have made great contributo watch another movie about black women and subtions to this society, and the world at large. We start servience, or about friendly white ladies in a time of with ourselves: making differences, painting new porracial stigma and segregation. traits and marking new tracks. We dismiss the image of a creature that is barely surviving into a new image In these recent films, it seems as though the where we are the fittest. Our history is what makes media’s choice of portraits for black women don’t reus strong, and our long-term struggle is what drives ally speak to us anymore. It seems like the story of the us. But it’s our achievement and endurance that will black woman is more than struggle: it’s mere survival. define us for an image that we truly deserve. There is no more room for overcoming or achievement; its been replaced with staying alive. To be fair, there are girls like Precious, and there are colored girls who have considered suicide. We’ve met them, maybe, or we’ve heard about them. And there’s the polar opposite side of the spectrum, like the Huxtables and the Obamas. That sparks the question: who’s story has the right to be told? And those in middle ground: where do we fit in, and when does our story get told? Tyler Perry probably won’t make a movie out of my life: it’s not a tragedy, I’m not selling my body for drugs, and I don’t have a grandmother that’s 6’5’’. Still, my story is valid because I am living the black female experience every day. However, I’m seeking before i ever knew the rainbow cud be enuf opportunities to highlight an untold story of a black ‘Mama said life would be this hard Growing up days as a black girl scarred woman in America: my story. In every way still we’ve come so far Here at Cornell, we are role models for the They just know the name next generation. We’re setting standards by merely They don’t know the pain being here, and we raise bars by excelling here. We are So please hold ya heads up high empowered by our own drive, our own aspirations, and Don’t be ashamed of yourself our own lives. Our achievements are our stories, and Know I will carry it forth till the day I die those are the kinds that resonate with the people that They just know the name follow. They don’t know the pain We are more than the framework in the meBlack girl…’ dia. We are not all cleaning ladies, or single mothers; we are not all illiterate, or a social worker’s case. We ~Black Girl Pain, Talib Kweli & Jean Grae, should not be defined by our struggles, but by our tri“The Beautiful Struggle” umphs. 18 | Imara Magazine
Self-Image And Spirituality | Self-Image
Self-Image: What He Wants You to See By: Ashley Black We are often concerned with whether or not our (or a friend’s) self-image is healthy, but what defines this personal snapshot as being in tip-top shape? Media, psychological studies, and self-help books have all gotten their word in, but I’m here to tell you what His Word says. You are Loved. First and foremost, God loves you. No matter how much you screw up, complain, or what have you, His love continues to cover us. Look at the Israelites as an example. They melted down gold and made a calf to worship (Exodus 32), but God still led them into the land of “milk and honey.” From a Christian point of view, the ultimate proof of God’s love is the sacrifice of Jesus: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him shall not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). If he can love you that much, despite all that you’ve done, you should be able to love yourself and see yourself as being worthy of love from others.
You are more than a Conqueror. God has predestined us to be powerful – “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). If we love God, we can triumph over anything that gets in our way as long as we remain in His will. He speaks through Isaiah and says, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn...” (Isaiah 54:17). To sum this up, “Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Romans 8:28). Basically, you should know that we are #winning. Just not in the same way as Charlie Sheen. You are Worth It. Embedded in your self-image should be the FACT that you are not perfect, but you are still worth it! We all make mistakes, for “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23). However, remember you are consistently growing, changing and renewing. As God says, “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare… ” (Isaiah 42: 9). Regardless of what has happened, is happening, or will happen, God’s thoughts are “thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” When you find yourself pondering your self-image, don’t forget to add God’s lens to the camera.
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Spotlight! | Eye Candy
By: Chineze Ebo
don’t see many stars in the sky; if any at all. At the time I was dating a young lady who complained from time to time that she had never seen a star-filled sky, so after dinner I surprised her by taking her to a mountainside where she could see them. We had a good time. hat’s your view on relationships? HEALTHY relationships are great when everyone is open and honest. It’s beautiful when two individuals find a connection rooted in trust and love and are committed to building upon that connection. It’s not easy to find or pursue, but as long as communication is open and honest, I believe it can be achieved. hat’s your perfect date? That’s a hard question only because, as a man you want the woman you’re taking out to enjoy herself. Maybe spend the day in the city and grab lunch. If she likes to dance, maybe later on take her to the club, but ideally, I like to finish the night comfortably at the house watching a DVD. When you can just truly cool out with someone I believe you’ve found someone special. Sweat pants and basketball shorts dates are the best!!! Final answer. hat kind of music do you like? I mainly listen to Hip-Hop and R&B. I love the Motown classics. I have certain jazz and classical pieces I enjoy when I’m in need of something different. hat are your plans after graduation? It’s my plan to teach while pursuing my law degree. ho serves as a role model for you? Hands down, my grandfather! He was a sharecropper from a segregated rural region of Virginia. My grandfather wasn’t as fortunate as most and was forced to leave elementary school to help tend the fields. When he finally had a family of his own he eventually moved to New Jersey in hopes of offering his family a better quality of life. He worked several jobs tirelessly to provide for his family. Never did his family go without. His devotion to his wife and children inspires me to no end. He embodies the definition of a husband and father. His example as a provider makes clear to me the importance of man’s presence within the family structure and motivates me to insure that I am in a position to provide for my family one day.
W W Name: Phil G. Reed Jr. School: CALS From: Newark, New Jersey Major: Communications; Minor: PAM Description: 6’1, African American, Athletic
hat physical characteristic do you appreciate the most in a female? I assume I’m supposed to say a woman’s eyes or smile are what I most appreciate in a woman, but honestly what stands out to me are the lines in a woman’s body. I’m not speaking on how “thick” a woman is, but the defined lines that outline a woman’s shape are what I find most attractive. hat personality trait do you admire in a female? I like a woman with an attitude or what most would consider edgy or unapproachable, yet still preserving an air of class and intelligence. A “strong” personality is definitely something that sparks my interest. hat is your ideal woman? I don’t believe there is an ideal or perfect woman. That’s an unfair standard. However, I like a woman who complements me. Someone who brings balance and PEACE to my day-to-day is someone I would invite into my life. That’s priceless. hat’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for a female? I’m not exactly sure if this is romantic, but back home we
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Self-Image | Uplifting Music
Listen Up: Uplifting Music for the Cornell Female By: Alana Seixas We are living in an time where it is acceptable for a Top 40 hit to say something like “ I’m trying to find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful.” Do these singers really have such limited vocabulary? Why should we waste our time listening to music that defaces and demeans us? We should make a point to surround ourselves with music that describes women in a positive and respectful way. It is essential for us to listen to music by female artists-- music that aims to build our character and our confidence, and teaches us about healthy relationships. “I am woman, hear me roar/ In numbers too big to ignore/ And I know too much to go back and pretend…” This is how Helen Reddy begins the famous song “I Am Woman”, the anthem of Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1970s. In Reddy’s search for a song that embraces female self-image, she was disappointed to find none. So, she took it upon herself to write a song that embraced her femininity. We are fortunate enough to have a variety of positive female artists to sample, from Beyoncé to TLC to India.Arie.
Poetry | Features
A Conversation By: Katrina Ablorh You have not a CLUE. I think you’re acting brand new. You went there, without a care. Left me behind, man that was unkind... You are FAKE. Are you serious? You must be delirious. From ninth grade to college, I have kept it one hundred with you. From ninth grade to college, the only thing that has changed about me was the fact that I have matured. You should be happy for me. But instead, you’re bitter and salty that I have Blossomed. Sounds like jealousy. Who do you think you are? Your whole swag changed. You’re feeling yourself a bit TOO much.
Being a Cornell female is difficult. But we must remember that we are the next generation of female leaders. Below are a compiled playlist of my personal favorite female anthems. I Am Not My Hair- India.Arie Unpretty- TLC Moment 4 Life-Nicki Minaj Wait ‘Til You See My Smile- Alicia Keys Pretty Girl Rock- Keri Hilson Pearl- Katy Perry Private Party- India.Arie A Woman’s Worth- Alicia Keys Independent Woman- Destiny’s Child King of Anything- Sara Bareilles Took the Night-Chelley Powerless- Nelly Furtado Who Runs the World(Girls)- Beyoncé
Because I am more sure of myself, you’re hating? Because I am comfortable in my skin I am accused of feeling myself? This is absurd. So what? I’m confident. Bite me. Comm’on son. If anything, I have evolved into a better me. November 2011 | 21
Community | Diversity at Cornell
Black Students United?
Most of us are acquainted with a recent article entitled Ivy League Fooled: How America’s Top Colleges Avoid Real Diversity. Personally, I did not appreciate how this article was formulated. First, the title of the article is actually misleading to the article’s purpose. Why mention “real diversity”, and then only speak on the behalf of “black” people? Furthermore, most black people check off “black” on the general ethnic identification checklist. When speaking of “black” people, why make it African immigrants versus native African-Americans; how about non-Hispanic Afro-Caribbeans living in America? Where do they fit into this article? I also did not appreciate the article’s interchange or assumed synonymy of the terms black immigrant and African immigrant; a black immigrant to the United States can come from anywhere in the world. For those who have not read this article, it essentially makes three assertions: One, that black immigrants are accepted into American universities more than native black-Americans because black immigrants are wealthier—that is, universities promotion of “diversity” purposely ignores affirmative action; Two, that promoting general diversity does not fix economic class inequality; and three, that the disproportionate representation of black immigrants versus native black-Americans may actually not be because of wealth, or qualifications, but because of a will to succeed. First, I’ll explore the assertion that universities’ 22 | Imara Magazine
By: Meave Otieno
promotion of diversity ignores affirmative action. Quoted directly from the article, “While affirmative action started as a system to right the wrongs of slavery and institutional anti-black racism, helping wealthy immigrants who weren’t here for those struggles doesn’t serve any of the program’s original intentions.” While this assertion may hold true, it would have to assume that wealthy black immigrants (especially those who are citizens of the U.S.) do not have a historical experience of anti-black racism, which I doubt. Furthermore, these wealthy black immigrants would have to claim the nonexistence of racial discrimination in America —once again, something I doubt. However, within this argument of wealth, I do in fact suspect foul play in the part of admissions administrators. For instance, as drawn from Walter Benn Michaels’ book, The Trouble with Diversity, selective universities are not beyond using “diversity” as an excuse to accept a wealthier “black” immigrant, as opposed to a less wealthy native black-American with the same qualifications, to fill their “black” quota. Further research, however, particularly from a study in Sociology of Education mentioned in the Ivy Leauge article, found that native blacks are just as likely as black immigrants to attend non-selective American universities. Furthermore, native blacks are much more likely than black immigrants to attend historically black colleges and universities. Thus, the disproportion of native black students versus black immigrants is mostly observed in highly selective universities, these including the Ivy League universities. The second assertion the article makes is that promoting general diversity in the university admissions process does not fix economic class inequality. Michaels also argues that defining diversity in terms of different ethnicities is useless given the “narrow social stratum from which
Diversity At Cornell | Community college students come” (quoted from Andrew Delbanco’s review of Michaels’ book). What Michaels argues is almost in lieu with the ignorance of affirmative action mentioned above. Michaels states that promoting general diversity obscures the problems of class division. Within this promotion of diversity, those of the lower class, i.e. poorer people, barely have a chance into selective universities because the heavy promotion of diversity is against them.
Female Minority Represented? Michael stretches his argument as far as to state that racism and sexism do not exist in America to the extent that they need to be considered in areas of equal opportunity—i.e. class should be the deciding factor. Although Michaels presents a strong and quite applicable argument in the consideration of class, I disagree with his views on the non-importance of racial and gender identification, though for this article, I’ll concentrate on racial identification. It is true that over the years different ethnicities have inter-reproduced and thus many people are of mixed ethnic backgrounds. However, if President Obama is considered the first black President of the United States, then obviously there is still a strong sense of racial identification. It should be noted that class identification in America is more mercurial; today poor can mean tomorrow wealthy, and vice-versa as opposed to racial identification. In relation to racial identification, i.e. black identification, the Ivy League article seemingly incites or better yet promotes a division within black people in America. That is to say, we already divide ourselves (light skinned vs. dark skinned etc); this article essentially fosters the already existing division of African
immigrant vs. native African-American. The article’s final assertion is that the disproportionate representation of African immigrants versus native African-Americans may actually not be because of wealth, or qualifications, but because of a will to succeed. The author of this assertion states, as quoted from the article “Descendants of slaves came here on a ship as chattel, not on a plane or inner tube with hopes of an American dream. Honestly, I believe it’s difficult to strive for better when you already live in what people name the American dream, but what you have lived is a nightmare.” I cannot even begin to disagree with this statement. I agree with it wholeheartedly, although I also wonder, what about those immigrants who give up quite a comfortable life in their respective nations and do not find the American dream, and are thus stuck struggling in the American lower socioeconomic class? Now that I’ve somehow broken down what the article delineated, as well as my thoughts on those delineations, how does all this apply to Cornell? As students within a selective university, there is obviously a disproportionate representation of black immigrants in comparison to native black-Americans. However, I do not think this disproportion creates a divided community. Yes, we have many specific Afro-organizations such as Nigerian Students Association, Ghanaians@Cornell, Haitians Students Association, Caribbean Students Association, Coalition of pan-African Scholars, and Black Students United to name a few, but, for the most part, we all identify as black students and usually attend each others’ events. However, I’ve often heard black students speak of the phenomenon where other students would either tell them, or speak of the idea that some (or even most) black students are only accepted because of the university’s “diversity quota” or because of “affirmative action” and not necessarily because the students made stellar achievements in high school that would get them into such a selective institution. And so it seems that as this idea of the disproportion of black immigrants vs. black Americans perpetuates, a division in the black community (or some animosity) may soon emerge with regards to this problem of “why” someone was accepted into the university, and possibly disrupt black unity on this campus and others alike. November 2011 | 23
Features | | Food For Thought: Guilty Until Proven Innocent
Guilty Until Proven Innocent
By: Kyeiwaa Amofa-Boachie
It is no secret that a large percentage of the black population is incarcerated by the federal justice system in some form of facility. According to the Race, Ethnicity, & Healthcare Fact Sheet produced by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation of 2006, 1.5% of the White male population and 3.6% of the Hispanic male population was locked up by the year 2005. The percentage of black males locked up by 2005 was a staggering 10.1%, excluding men on parole. The black population in America is composed of roughly 14%, yet in America’s prisons, black males compose roughly 40% of the population. However, do not let the high statistics of the percentages of blacks in prison fool you into thinking that there is something wrong with all of the black men in America. “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime,” is one adage that many keep in mind when it comes to the idea of punishing an individual for their actions. Yet, there are cases when more than just “time” is the punishment, and there are cases where individuals did not actually do the crime. These people are innocent, but remain trapped under the judicial system. The growing use of the death penalty as punishment is what helped initiate the growth of organizations such as the Innocence Project, which was founded in 1992 as a non-profit organization dedicated to freeing wrongfully convicted people by “DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.”* And, they emphasize that “the prospect of innocents languishing in prison or, worse, being put to death for crimes that they did not commit, should be intolerable to every American, regardless of race, politics, sex, origin, or creed.”* There are numerous situations to provide as examples in such an instance, because there are many ways for an individual to be wrongly accused and sentenced. The most common factors contributing to false convictions are centered around eyewitness misidentification, government misconduct, false confessions, bad ‘lawyering’, unreliable or improper forensic science, or the informants contacted. Alone, eyewitness misidentification plays a role in the improper conviction of more than 75% of people who have been freed through DNA testing. In addition, there are times when governments use harsh questioning tactics for people who do not cooperate with them. There is the troubling case of Eddie Lloyd, who was falsely convicted in 1984 for the murder of a 16 year old girl in Detroit after giving a written and tape-recorded confession. Turns out, Lloyd was mentally ill and DNA testing available in 2002 proved he was innocent. The only reason this individual had the chance to be exonerated was because the death penalty in Michigan had been outlawed at the time of his sentencing, which gave him the opportunity to use DNA testing to prove his innocence. Lloyd served nearly 20 years of his life for a crime he did not commit, and could have been executed for it as well. The recent case of Troy Davis was one in which many organizations were concerned about. In regards to Amnesty International, the main concern revolving around Troy Davis’ case was the immense doubt and the overall inhumane act of the death penalty. In regards to the Innocence Project, there was bad ‘lawyering,’ eyewitness misidentification, and improper or unreliable forensic evidence, just to name a few. This organization, like many others, called for Georgia to release Mr. Davis. That never happened, and on September 22, 2011 Mr. Davis was executed. As long as people pick and choose between situations that call for the death penalty versus situations that do not call for it, the death penalty will remain effective in America, and the government is given a different type of power; the power to kill. And, as we have experienced, the government is neither always right nor perfect. The government makes mistakes, and in terms of the justice system, the mistakes come in the form of innocent lives being either locked up or killed. The government should not be in the practice of killing the people they rule over, and we should not be in the practice of letting the statistics define the type of people we are. The point of all this is to hopefully remind some of you that there are cases in which blacks and other minorities did nothing at all to be incarcerated, and were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong group of people. It happens more often than many people think, especially in the cases of people of color. Yes, you may have been blessed enough to attend Cornell University. But, at the end of the day, if you happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong set of people, you could be the next innocent life trapped in what America calls its Judicial System. 24 | Imara Magazine
Diva Speaks | Features
Dear Diva Speaks,
I have a pretty complex question. If this issue is all about self-image, and how we see ourselves then my question should fit right in. Ok, so here it goes. I am heavy. As a 19 year old young woman surrounded by girls who look more like the pictures I see in most magazines it has never been easy to be the “chubby” girl and although I have always been taught by my amazing parents to love every curve on my body, since I got to college I’ve found that it’s tougher than ever. How do I deal with the fact that it seems like all of the guys here only want girls who look as much like the girls they see in music videos as possible. I’m at a point where I’m starting to over analyze every little thing about myself every day. I don’t usually feel like I’m not attractive but when I go through so many months on end without even one guy here showing any interest in me...well...a girl starts to wonder.... Signed,
Woman-In -The Mirror
Dear Woman in The Mirror, I have a pretty simple answer for you. And, this answer will apply for the rest of your life; whether you are at an institution of higher learning, out in the real world workforce, or taking a stroll through your local shopping mall. The minute we start defining how we feel about ourselves by the feedback we get from the outside world before we take stock of HOW WE FEEL, we are headed down a slippery slope into a dangerous place. I won’t be unrealistic and say that others opinions of us can ever affect how we see ourselves. That is almost inevitable. What I will say though is it can not and should not be either the thing we consider first or the thing we weigh most heavily. Weight loss, physical appearance adjustments, fashion or style changes...even a new hairdo, or the inspiration to attempt any of the latter, should come first from how we TRULY feel about ourselves when we “Look in the Mirror.”
Girl, the world may have nothing but negative things to say about the blue platform sneakers you absolutely love, right up until they show up on some french runway!! People’s opinions are fickle and styles and trends change every time you blink. We have to ask ourselves if we are contemplating a change because deep down we don’t like what we see and not because we think the change might affect how much the outside world likes what they see when they look at us. This is especially so when it comes to attracting potential romantic partners. Young men are at college exploring themselves, their own self-images and how much of that is influenced by their friend groups and mainstream society. But, as cliché as this may sound; the guy for you won’t be deciding if you’re beautiful based on any of those things. Besides, the best part about all of this is you have plenty of time to bump into this great guy! In the meantime do what makes you feel good. If it’s stiletto’s to class, a brand new hair color, the cutest outfits you love in all of your favorite fall and winter colors, or committing to go to the gym just one day a week with some friends you really adore, DO IT! In the end, those are the things that should determine how you feel about the beautiful woman “In the Mirror” looking back at you!
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i *mar* a: ee-mar-rah
noun, Swahili word for Strength the quality or state of being strong
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. ~Marianne Williamson
strength wisdom CONFIDENCE inspiration gentle Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
determination power charm charisma regality grace
Women speak two languages - one of which is verbal. ~William Shakespeare
Iâ€™m a woman / Phenomenally. / Phenomenal woman, /Thatâ€™s me. ~ Maya Angelou 26 | Imara Magazine
Naked Spirit Rising | Features
Naked Spirit Rising By: Myra Sabir
It was evening time, and my best friend summoned me to the back porch. She was unencumbered. A free-spirited, brown-skinned, healthybodied, naturally beautiful, young, black woman from the future who loved me. There was resonance between us. A thick, wide throng of deeply and richly colored people of all races were dancing in a circle around our house.
I joined the power of the dance for a moment, then became more interested in taking a look past the huge trees up the broad, steep incline beside the house. The trees were positioned at the base of the hill. The big full-leafed branches hang low, so I had to bend to peer under and up the path. The path was wide and the dirt rich and brown, sorta dusty, like one should walk in it barefoot. I slowed to take this in because this is Africa and I long to know her.
They were dancing with abandon in a single rhythm and having sooo much fun! My best friend from the future was one of those deeply and richly colored people of all races, so she rejoined the throng as it claimed her readily and wisked her away. “Let me into this,” I thought to myself, then jumped in near my friend, but she had already disappeared. Left without ambivalence. Rocking deep into her destiny.
I find she longs to know me too. Is intrigued by the newness of me. Deeply interested in learning from me what that newness is, and offering a protected space for me to freely be myself.
She is enamored with me, eager to know my thoughts and feelings, trusts and needs me to show her how to support my unfolding. I’m starting to feel real.
Myra Sabir is an Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a compassionate, strong, understanding woman of color that always has an open door and a will to listen. If you would like to speak to her, feel free to make an appointment. Because IMARA women are always there for each other.
It’s different in here where we’re all real. Truly beautiful people - each a unique embodiment of the mystery. We have the ups and downs, but the ups and downs don’t have us. This awesome world is 3-D and I like it.
Naked spirit rising. November 2011 | 27
Special Thanks to: Dr. Renee Alexander, SAFC, ALANA, ISPB, Bartels Family Fund The IMARA woman is... Cosmopolitan by nature She is modern by choice She is a queen by birthright She holds the puissance of Cleopatra The confidence of Nefertiti The allure of Aphrodite She embodies the Agape Theon She is the progeny of Isis She is fervent and resolute She is stronger than the strongest diamond And just as precious She is flirty, fun and fleeting She is a scholar, an athlete and a leader She excels, she succeeds, she overachieves She is the personification of IMARA We Are IMARA! Want To Be Part of Something Great? Then IMARA needs YOU! We need photographers, writers, reporters, make up artists and designers. If you're interested in working with IMARA, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or contact any of the eboard members today!
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