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For this issue’s editorial I have chosen to share with you the reader, a message from Sister PerAnkh one of the OAH’s face book group members . In this message she addresses the condition and position of the Black Woman at present. I pray that this sister’s words be of some enlightenment and empowerment to you as we delve into this edition of OAH. Bless

the Editor

From

-One perfect lov e Paul Rock. Ras Simba “Many of our sisters are so overwhelmed by the survival construct of pleasing the forces that govern our communities that it is done at the cost of our souls, our children, our marriages, our families and our nation. It is amazing that some of the most progressive and conscious folks amongst our families are still struggling with personal imbalances of sexual promiscuity, lust, physical pleasures associated with greed and want, along with domestic violence that has become common place for our children, neighbors and even elders to experience and be abused by. The trend of praising others and not our Indigenous Afrakan people will continue until we have more institutions that shift this energy and paradigm. The apathy and disregard for Afrakan women amongst our family has reached an all time wicked level as sisters find it common place to refer to their own selves as “Bs” and their

men as “Ws” and others in between as “Ns”.... this is experienced across class lines believe it or not. So, while it may seem awkward to protocol keepers of our ancestral lands our solutions have been to refer to each other as “Empress”, “Queens” “Princesses” not in disrespect to the existing powers that exist within our Royal families but to shift our verbiage and word sound power to terms more endearing and positive...nevertheless it is not amazing or uncommon for the strongest most conscious sisters to endure verbal and emotional abuse in the name of “revolution” from their “revolutionary comrades” or “ Life partners” as marriage has become a negative vision to most “conscious” and “progressive” folks...paper trails and contractual arrangements founded in ancestral traditions of AST [Isis] are usually overlooked...and in contemporary times most brothers are searching for a real queen so the one that endures right next to them is usually disrespected, called a “B” daily in front of their children and treated like a doormat and then expected to pick herself up with dignity and still

annual subscription to

produce as expected....or she can be thrown out of her own space she has worked to maintain and contribute to while still being replaced by the plethora of other sisters looking for what on the outside appears to be a “good” brother based on the bipolar shift in his behaviors with everything new.... Afrikan women are to continue revering themselves and living within the grace of the celebrations, commemorations and sacred ceremonies shared through us by our ancestors through to our ascendants and beyond in our work, worship, study, ra-creation, education and more... Shem Hotep

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CONTENTS The Words of an Afrikan Emperor Afrikan Teaching Principles Who Will Revere the Black Woman The Power of Nim Medusa Was Black! The Weakness of the Strong Black Woman Afrikan Spiritual Healing The Afro-Latin Experience in America The Evolution of Reggae Music AyjahTal Jewellery COMIC - Triple Dogg D Life’s Only Promise The Daffodil Ladies 20 Questions for Princess Takelia Nyam Jamaican Cuisine - Exerpt

Thanks for the Support Mrs. Linda Rock Ms Alisha Dottin Ms Claudette Roberts Ms.Yvonne Miller Ms Andrea Francis Mrs. Felicia Browne

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Magazine Layout: IMOGEN Design Studio

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Publisher: No. 79 Prior Park Terrace St. James, Barbados, W.I.

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COMIC: Story - Akbar Imotep Illustrations - Omar Schekhli Cartoons

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Editorial Statement: Our Afrikan Heritage (OAH) is an independent Afrikan owned publication, committed to long-term community development. OAH is a unique magazine, which promotes issues affecting the economic and cultural development of Afrikan people in Barbados and abroad. 2008 OAH ISSN 1996-8116 All rights reserved. No part of this publication my be reproduced or stored in retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electroniic, mechanical, photocopying , recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher. Disclaimer: While making every effort to be accurate, the editor will not be deemed responsible for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies appearing in the publication. The publisher cannot be held responsible for the information disclosed by advertisers which are taken in good faith. The opinions expressed by the various contributors are not necessarily those of the editor.

Peace is costly but it is worth the expense


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the Words

Afrikan Emporer

of an

H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I May 26. 1965.

Broadcast On African Liberation Day

The first conference of the independent African states was held in Accra, Ghana, on April 15, 1958.

been established here in Addis Ababa. Under its Secretary-General, His Excellency Mr. Diallo Telli, of Guinea, the Organization is successfully discharging its responsibilities and commitments. The Ethiopian people, who have struggled and made untold sacrifices for their independence and freedom for thousands of years an independence that has been a beacon for all of Africa today celebrate this day together with all Africans by consolidating their freedom and independence with the freedom and independence of their African brothers in the spirit of Modern Ethiopianism.

This year, two sister African states Zambia and Gambia have won independence and they have joined the family of independent African states. It was decided then to celebrate this We share their joy and we extend again, as historic day as African Freedom Day. we did on the occasion when they won their Until recently, April 15 was celebrated independence, Our sincere felicitations. We are throughout our continent as African anxiously awaiting the day when those Africans Freedom Day. However, two years ago in the dependent territories break the shackles today in May the Summit Conference of of foreign tutelage, and become masters of their the Independent African States, which own fate. was convened in Our Capital City of Addis Ababa, decreed that May 25, the On this solemn day, all of us must pause and day on which the historic Charter of remember the plight of our African brothers who the Organization of African Unity are under foreign rule and who are desperately was signed, be celebrated every struggling to win their freedom, their basic year as African Liberation Day. fundamental human rights. Instead of granting Accordingly today is celebrated as their rightful freedom and independence to the African Liberation Day. indigenous Africans in Angola, Mozambique and Portuguese Guinea, the Portuguese Government The African Unity Charter was has intensified even more its campaign of ruthless signed two years ago today. suppression of African freedom fighters in these Within this brief period much territories, under the outmoded, illogical pretext has been accomplished that that these territories are part of Portugal. In augurs well for African concert with the other African members of the Unity. In accordance with United Nations Organization, Ethiopia has never the resolution of the first ceased advocating at United Nations and other Assembly of African international conferences that the Portuguese Heads of State and Government should grant independence to each Government held in and every territory under its rule. Cairo last year, the Don’t headquarters of Rhodesia the Organization set sail of African on someone The United Nations Anti-Colonial Committee of Unity has which Ethiopia is a member, is presently visiting else’s star

Africa to follow closely the dangerous situation in Southern Rhodesia. In South Africa and in South-West Africa, the policies of apartheid and oppression are becoming increasingly unbearable. The South African Government is accelerating its ruthless campaign: a methodical campaign of arresting daily, detaining without trial and torturing the Africans and their leaders who are struggling for the their fundamental human rights and freedom. All the peace-loving countries of the world must act together to force the colonial governments of South Africa and Portugal to desist from these policies - policies which are inhuman, policies which deny basic human rights, policies which are detrimental to the peace and security of the entire world and grant independence and freedom to these oppressed people. To the U.N. The Assembly of the African Heads of State and Government has authorized the Foreign Ministers of Senegal and Algeria to bring the cases of racial discrimination and oppression in South Africa, the inhuman colonial rule of the Portuguese Government and the dangerous situation in Southern Rhodesia, before the Security Council of the United Nations to find permanent solutions to the unrelenting struggles of the African governments and people. As a result the entire world is today more conscious of these pressing problems. From discussions in the United Nations in recent years,We have cause to believe that some friendly nations fully support the efforts to impose an economic boycott on South Africa and Portugal; it is unfortunate that some great powers who have been entrusted with the maintenance of international peace and security have not cooperated in these worthy efforts. These powers are the main obstacles to an effective economic boycott of South Africa and Portugal. The establishment of the Organization of African Unity, the concerted action of the memberstates and the pooling of the aid to Our brethren African freedom fighters, have helped to revive and strengthen as well as intensify the liberation


7 movements throughout Africa. For this we are grateful to the Liberation Committee of the nine African States, of which Ethiopia is a member. On this day, we should all recollect with gratitude the support of all those friendly nations in our endeavour in the United Nations and other international conferences to free Africa of all the colonial vestiges. Next Assembly It will be recalled that the Cairo Assembly of the Heads of State and Government decided to convene the Second Assembly of the Heads of State and Government in Accra, Ghana, in September this year. Because of misunderstandings among certain member states of the Organization of African Unity’s voices have been occasionally raised recently against the convocation of the Assembly in Accra. Nonetheless, the regular Assembly of the Heads of State and Government was, in the first place, designed to find peaceful solutions, through deliberations and frank exchange of views to such misunderstandings among member-states. We believe, therefore, that any change in the venue of the next Assembly will make no major difference. Consequently we have dispatched our Minister of State for Foreign Affairs to West Africa, with personal messages from us, to mediate with the leaders of the West African states concerned. We earnestly hope that the member-states of the organization of African Unity will meet in Accra in September in accordance with the decision of the first Assembly of the Heads of State and Government. On this day, we extend our fraternal greetings to all our brethren Africans who are still suffering under foreign colonial rule. We reiterate that Ethiopia, in co-operation with the memberstates of the Organization of African Unity, will always continue to give her full support for their just struggles to win their inalienable rights to freedom and independence, and to be masters of their own destiny. May Almighty God assist us in these endeavours.


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Afrikan Teaching

Principles

African teaching functions must be embedded in and must serve an African community. Traditionally, African communities have been identified by a shared belief in several key elements. It is these elements that are the foundation for African teachers.

1. The belief that the cosmos is alive. 2. The belief that spirituality is at the center of our being. 3. The belief that human society is a living spiritual part of the cosmos, not alien to it. 4.The belief that our people have a divine purpose and destiny. 5. The belief that each child is a “Living Sun,” a Devine gift of the creator.

11. For the African teacher, teaching is a calling, a constant journey towards mastery, a scientific activity, a matter of community membership, an aspect of a learning community, a process of “becoming a library,” a matter of care and custody for our culture and traditions, a matter of a critical viewing of the wider world, and a response to the imperative of MAAT.

6. The belief that, properly socialized, our children will experience stages of transformation, moving toward perfection, that is to be more like the 12. The African teacher is a parent, friend, guide, creator (“mi Re” or like Ra, in the KMT language, coach, healer, counselor, model, storyteller, meaning to try to live like God). entertainer, artist, architect, builder, minister, and advocate to and for students. 7. Since the deep guiding principle of “living like God” is to follow MAAT (Truth, Justice, Typically the African teacher leads a social Righteousness, Order, Reciprocity, Harmony, collective process, one where social bonds are and Balance), then African teachers focus the reinforced or created. In this social process, the curriculum on the real and the true, on what was, destinies of the students are connected to each what is, and on what can be, in keeping with divine other, to their families, to their communities. principles. 8. African teachers place a premium on bringing their students into knowledge of themselves and knowledge of their communities. African people place great value on WHO each person is, on WHO the community is and the honored place that each member of the family occupies within the community. 9. African teachers respect mastery, and seek through apprenticeship to learn from true masters, masters who are valued agents of the African community, who are steeped in the deep thought and behavior of the community, who exhibit an abiding unshakable primary loyalty to the community and who are in constant communication with the wise elders of the community.

He who learns, teaches

spirit. We do not question a child’s possession of these things. In touching the intellect, humanity and spirit within children, African teachers recognize the centrality of relationships between teachers and students, among students, and within the African community as a whole.

10. African teachers recognize the genius and the divinity of each of our children, speaking to and teaching to each child’s intellect, humanity, and


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Kola nuts (or cola nuts) are the seed pods of various evergreen trees that are native to Afrika: Sterculiaceae cola vera is the

scientific name of the most common species. The kola nut trees, which grow as tall as 60 feet (18 meters), are most common in Western Afrika and the Atlantic coast area of Central Africa. Kola nuts are important in many Afrikan societies, particularly in Western Afrika. Besides the fact that Kola nuts contain caffeine and act as a stimulant and anti-depressant, they are also thought to reduce fatigue and hunger, aid digestion, and work as an aphrodisiac. In some parts of Afrika, kola nuts are given as gifts to visitors entering a home, usually with some formal ceremony. Offering the kola nut is a gesture of friendship and hospitality. The kola nut ceremony is similar to the traditional American Indian peace pipe or breaking bread in a religious context. Elsewhere, before a marriage, a bag of kola nuts are often given by a groom to the parents of the bride. Kola nuts are a used in rituals performed by religious healers. Besides the ceremonial uses, many Afrikans consume kola nuts regularly, even daily, for the medicial effects described above. Kola nuts are a common sight in Afrikan markets in cities and villages. They are often sold by street vendors at bus and train depots. On a train or bus, a traveller with a kola nut will often offer a piece to the others nearby, whether he knows them or not.

KOLA

NUT


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WHO will revere the

BLACK WOMAN?

- Abbey Lincoln

Mark Twain said, in effect, that when a country enslaves a people, the first necessary job is to make the world feel that the people to be enslaved are subhuman.

The fact that “Negro” is the Spanish word for “black” is hardly understood, it would seem; or it would seem that the word “black” may be intimated or suggested, but never simply stated in good English. Too many Negroes, if described or referred to as “black,” take it as an affront; and I was once told by a Canadian Irishman that I’d insulted him by referring to my person as a Black woman. He insisted that, in actuality, I was brown, not black; and I felt obliged to tell him he described himself as “white,” and that he wasn’t white either. The fact that white people readily and proudly call themselves “white,” glorify all that is white, and whitewash all that is glorified, becomes unnatural and bigoted in its intent only when these same whites deny persons of African heritage who are Black the natural and inalienable right to readily and proudly call themselves “black,” glorify all that is black, and blackwash all that is glorified.

The next job is to make his fellow countrymen believe that man is inferior, Yet, one is forced to conclude that this is not and, then, the unkindest cut of all is to the case at all, that an astonishing proportion make that man believe himself inferior. of the white population finds it discomforting that Blacks should dare to feel so much glory in A good job has been done on the being beautifully black. In the face of this kind of Black people in this country, as far as “reasoning,” the only conclusion one can logically convincing them of their inferiority come to is that there is something wrong with this is concerned. The general white society and its leadership. “The Man’s” opinion of community has told us in a million God is sorry, to put it nicely, and his opinion of different ways and in no uncertain himself is simply vague and hazy. terms that “God” and “nature” made a mistake when it came to Consider: Swearing his love and devotion to the the fashioning of us and ours. Omnipotent One on the one hand, yet defying and The whole society, having cursing him with rank impudence on the other; been thoroughly convinced using the crutch of his “inherently” base and callow of the stained, threatening, nature on the one hand, and claiming his godhood and evil nature of anything on the other; worshipping a Jew as the Son of unfortunate enough to God on the one hand, yet persecuting all other be, or to be referred to When Jews as enemies of God on the other; historically as, black, as an intended there is placing this same Jew on the African continent on matter of courtesy the one hand, and describing him as a European in no enemy refers to those of physical appearance on the other (still, one would within, the African extraction suppose that it’s tacitly understood by all that as “colored” or enemies “God” couldn’t be anything other than “white,” “Negro.” outside cannot no matter where He was born); advocating that the Black man is made of inferior stuff on the one hurt you

hand, yet defying him not to prove his superiority on the other; naming hurricanes for women on the one hand, yet H is for the heart as pure as gold on the other; giving her pet names such as “whore,” “slut,” “bitch,” etc., on the one hand, yet, put them all together and they spell mother, the word “that means the world to me,” on the other. No wonder the slogan “white is right” could take a whole nation by storm. One could never accuse this society of being rational. Still, instead of this irrational society warping my delicate little psyche, it only drove me, ultimately, to the conclusion that any Black human being able to survive the horrendous and evil circumstances in which one inevitably finds oneself trapped must be some kind of a giant with great and peculiar abilities, with an armor as resistant as steel yet made of purest gold. My mother is one of the most courageous people I have ever known, with an uncanny will to survive. When she was a young woman, the white folks were much further in the lead than they are now, and their racist rules gave her every disadvantage; yet, she proved herself a queen among women, any women, and as a result will always be one of the great legends for me. But strange as it is, I’ve heard it echoed by too many Black full-grown males that Black womanhood is the downfall of the Black man in that she (the Black woman) is “evil,” “hard to get along with,” “domineering” “suspicious,” and “narrow-minded.” In short, a black, ugly, evil youknow what. As time progresses I’ve learned that this description of my mothers, sisters, and partners in crime is used as the basis for the further shoving, by the Black man of his own head into the sand of oblivion. Hence, the Black mother, housewife, and all-round girl Thursday is called upon to suffer both physically and emotionally every, humiliation a woman can suffer and still function. Her head is more regularly beaten than any other woman’s, and by her own man; she’s the scapegoat for Mr. Charlie; she is forced to stark realism and chided if caught dreaming; her aspirations for her


11 and hers are, for sanity’s sake, stunted; her physical image has been criminally maligned, assaulted, and negated; she’s the first to be called ugly and never yet beautiful, and as a consequence is forced to see her man (an exact copy of her, emotionally and physically), brainwashed and wallowing in selfloathing, pick for his own the physical antithesis of her (the white woman and incubator of his heretofore arch enemy the white man). Then, to add guilt to insult and injury, she (the Black woman) stands accused as the emasculator of the only thing she has ever cared for, her Black man. She is the scapegoat for what white America has made of the “Negro personality.”

women who were raped, are still being raped, and our bastard children snatched from our breasts and scattered to the winds to be lynched, castrated, de-egoed, robbed, burned, and deceived. We are the women whose strong and beautiful Black bodies were—and are—still being used as a cheap labor force for Miss Anne’s kitchen and Mr. Charlie’s bed, whose rich, black, and warm milk nurtured—and still nurtures—the heir to the racist and evil slavemaster.

We are the women who dwell in the hell-hole ghettos all over the land. We are the women whose bodies are sacrificed, as living cadavers, to Raped and denied the right to cry out in her pain experimental surgery in the white man’s hospitals she- has been named the culprit and called “loose,” for the sake of white medicine. We are the “hotblooded,” “wanton,” “sultry,” and “amoral.” women who are invisible on the television and She has been used as the white man’s sexual movie screens, on the Broadway stage.We are the outhouse, and shamefully encouraged by her own women who are lusted after, sneered at, leered at, ego-less man to persist in this function. Wanting, hissed at, yelled at, grabbed at, tracked down by too, to be carried away by her “Prince Charming,” white degenerates in our own pitiable, povertyshe must, in all honesty, admit that he has been stricken, and prideless neighborhoods. robbed of his crown by the very assaulter and assassin who has raped her. Still, she looks upon We are the women whose hair is compulsively her man as God’s gift to Black womanhood and is fried, whose skin is bleached, whose nose is “too further diminished and humiliated and outraged big,” whose mouth is “too big and loud,” whose when the feeling is not mutual. behind is “too big and broad,” whose feet are “too big and flat,” whose face is “too black and shiny,” When a white man “likes colored girls,” his woman and whose suffering and patience is too long and (the white woman) is the last one he wants to enduring to be believed. know about it. Yet, seemingly, when a Negro “likes white girls,” his woman (the Black woman) is the Who’re just too damned much for everybody. first he wants to know about it. White female rejects and social misfits are flagrantly flaunted in We are the women whose bars and recreation our faces as the ultimate in feminine pulchritude. halls are invaded by flagrantly disrespectful, bigoted, Our women are encouraged by our own men simpering, amoral, emotionally unstable, outcast, to strive to look and act as much like the white maladjusted, nymphomaniacal, condescending female image as possible, and only those who white women in desperate and untiring search approach that “goal” in physical appearance and of the “frothing-at-the-mouth-for-a white-woman, social behavior are acceptable. At best, we are strongbacked, sixty-minute hot black.” Our men. made to feel that we are poor imitations and excuses for white women. We are the women who, upon protesting this invasion of our privacy and sanctity and sanity, are Evil? Evil, you say? The Black woman is hurt, called “jealous,” and “evil,” and “small-minded,” confused, frustrated, angry, resentful, frightened and “prejudiced.” We are the women whose and evil! Who in this hell dares suggest that she husbands and fathers and brothers and sons have should be otherwise? These attitudes only point been plagiarized, imitated, denied, and robbed of up her perception of the situation and her healthy the fruits of their genius, and who consequently rejection of same. we see emasculated, jailed, lynched, driven mad, deprived, enraged, and made suicidal. We are the Maybe if our women get evil enough and angry women whom nobody, seemingly, cares about, enough, they’ll be moved to some action that who are made to feel inadequate, stupid and will bring our men to their senses. There is one backward, and who inevitably have the most unalterable fact that too many of our men cannot colossal inferiority complexes to be found. seem to face. And that is, we “black, evil, ugly” women are a perfect and accurate reflection of And who is spreading the propaganda that “the you “black, evil, ugly” men. Play hide and seek as only free people in this country are the white long as you can and will, but your every rejection man and the Black woman?” If this be freedom, and abandonment of us is only a sorry testament then Heaven is Hell. of how thoroughly and carefully you have been blinded and brainwashed. And let it further be Who will revere the Black woman? Who will understood that when we refer to you we mean, keep our neighborhoods safe for Black innocent ultimately, us. For you are us, and vice versa. womanhood? Black womanhood is outraged and humiliated. Black womanhood cries for dignity We are the women who were kidnapped and and restitution and salvation. Black womanhood brought to this continent as slaves. We are the wants and needs protection, and keeping, and

holding. Who will assuage her indignation? Who will keep her precious and pure? Who will glorify and proclaim her beautiful image? To whom will she cry rape?


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The POWER of Nim Anita L. Wills The Power of Nin

The “Power of Nim” refers to having GRACE UNDER FIRE - and no better word describes Black Women.

My mother was my first role model, the one constant through most of my life. There were seven children in our household, four boys, and three daughters. As the eldest daughter, I was assigned to assist my mother in her duties, which included cooking, cleaning, and waiting on the males. Our mother was the family Griot, passing our history along through her stories. I was the one who heard my mother’s stories first hand. She did not work outside of the house, but sold candy, and crafts for Pin Money. She also knitted and crocheted hats and other items for family and friends. She brewed potions to give us before or after we became sick. Most of the brews involved roots and plants found up in the Welsh Mountains near our home. My father told stories as well, but they were more tall tales than truth. My father was a laborer in the Steel Mill, which was the main source of income in our community. Besides his job at the Mill, he worked several parttime jobs, and was a Constable. He was also a linguist who wrote and spoke seven languages including, Spanish, Russian, German, and French. I sat at my father’s feet for many years, listening and learning from him. He was pro Castro and when Batista was overthrown, he sent me to the store to buy a Spanish Newspaper. He sat and smoked a Cuban Cigar, as he read the news that Cuba was under a new regime. Maybe I sat at my father’s feet too long, and heard too much about the world outside...

Wherever man goes to dwell his character goes with him.

From the age of twelve onward, my mother was the de facto breadwinner in our family. It was then that my father moved us to another town and left. In the eyes of some in our community, my mother became one of those women who could not keep her man. It took a lot of courage for her to continue to show up at Church every Sunday, and endure ridicule, but she did. She dismissed any of the remarks the other Church members made, as ignorant. I remember hearing her laugh after my dad left, and it was a wonderful sound. Yet when he was diagnosed with Cancer, she offered to take care of him. I asked her why, and her answer was, “He is my husband.” He died of Cancer just shy of his fifty-second birthday in 1971.

In 1978, my mother and I started documenting the stories she told me as a child. Although the Oral history was informative, we needed to have documents to back it up. This was a project we started, which has continued to this day. She died on September 12, 2001 and is buried in our family graveyard in Pennsylvania. Before she passed, I was able to confirm most of her stories. She often visits me in my dreams and looks healthy and beautiful. In one dream, she and dad were together and both were smiling. Great-Great Grandmother Warner

Great-Great Grandmother Leah Warner was born in Guinea about 1818. Her father was an Imam (Muslim), and King of her Tribe. Leah stated that they, (the Royal Children), often panned Gold at the River near their village. She was twelve years old, when the slavers kidnapped her and the other children. My belief is that they were panning Gold for her father, when the attack took place. She stated that they were taken five miles down river, to a Dutch Ship, and held there.This would be the last time Leah saw the land of her ancestors, and the people she called family. The year was 1830 and it was illegal to sale African Slaves in America, so they were first taken to Bermuda. From Bermuda, she was taken to South Carolina and sold at the Auction Block in Charleston. The man who purchased her was Robert Ruth, a planter in Beaufort District South Carolina. Although married, Ruth impregnated her several times, and is the father of my Great-Grandfather, Samuel Ruth. The one son she had was sold by Ruth, shortly after his birth.The son she bore was by a man, Ruth promised her she could marry, Jack


13 Warner. Enraged, Leah jumped on Ruth, who out of fear sold her, Mr.Warner, and the children. He sold the Light-skinned children to Savannah Georgia as House Servants. Leah and Jack were sold to Hilton Head South Carolina, a large Plantation.

The fourth generation of those born in Westmoreland County was, Patty Bowden. She was born in 1750, and immediately indentured to George Washington’s Family. In 1781, Patty turned thirty-one and received her Freedom Papers. Both Mary and Patty settled in Fredericksburg, as the law did not permit them to return to Westmoreland County. In 1811, Patty married James Jackson, a freed slave, and the father of her sons, Samuel and William. When she died in 1830, Patty was nearly eighty years old. Mary Bowden died sometime prior to 1820, but was alive in 1810, making her over eighty when she died. In the end, Mary and Patty were together as mother and daughter. Their family remained in Virginia until just prior to the Civil War, when they fled. The story of my ancestors transcends time and continues to find strength in the telling.

Leah and Jack Warner became husband and wife on Hilton Head.They had a son, Georgy and daughter Isabella. Leah felt at home on the large Plantation, which housed many Africans, even some from Guinea. She and Jack lived as a family until after the Civil War, when first Mr. Warner and then her son Georgy died. Her daughter Isabella moved to Savannah, while Leah remained on Hilton Head. In 1889, her son Samuel Ruth found her and took her to Pennsylvania to live. He was a prominent farmer and built a house for her on his farm. She spent the rest of her days, talking about her life in Guinea, and the white Buckaroos who enslaved her. It seems that we are losing sense of what is important, here in the twenty-first century.Where I have possible surnames for Leah down to either are the values that our ancestor held so dear? We Keita or Camary, with Camary being the most are no longer the generation of, “We”, but the likely. These are the surnames given to me as generation of, “Me.” The history that our young common to the Malinke of Guinea. In response people should hear is not going to be taught in to a request I sent to the Guinean Embassy, the school or college. There are African Americans Christian wife of President Conte’ sent an email who are embarrassed about slavery and want to stating that the Royal children had been taken in gloss over it. We cannot afford to forget, “Those 1830. At the same time I was tracing my ancestor who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” We back to Guinea, she was researching the taking of are playing into the hands of those who want the Royal Children, from Guinea to the Auction a, “Pure White History” in which they did not Block in South Carolina. Her email confirmed enslave us, but saved us. to me that the story of Leah, told to me by my mother, was accurate. Four Generations of Female Ancestors There were four generations of my female ancestors who resided in Westmoreland County Virginia. The first generation was a white woman, Lydia Hilliard (born about 1690), a servant to William Monroe Senior. In 1710, she had a Mulatto child by a Negro man, whom she named Mary, (the second generation).The child was indentured to William Monroe Senior, the grandfather of President James Monroe. As a Mulatto and female, this child was to serve a thirty-year indenture (for males the Indenture was twenty years). In 1730, Mary Monroe bore a child by her husband, William Monroe Junior, a white man.The child was named Mary, and was the third generation born in Westmoreland County. After her Childs’ birth, Mary Monroe was charged with bastardy, and taken before the Grand Jury. Interracial marriages were against the law in Virginia, and a child born to a union was illegitimate. Mary was summoned to appear before the Grand Jury, which surprisingly threw out the indictment. The Jury cited the ambiguities in the laws, as the reason for tossing the indictment. Seven years later, the courts again took up the case of Mary Bowden, and declared her a Mulatto. She was sentenced to a thirty-year indenture at the Washington Family Plantation, (Popes Creek). Mary spent nearly forty years at the Washington Family Home, due to her frequent attempts to escape.


14

Medusa!?

Medusa Was

- Dorothy Wright Tillman

Medusa was a Blackwoman, Afrikan, dread cut she eye at a sista mirror turn she same self t’stone.

Quarrels end, but words once spoken never die

Black!

She looks really kill? Ask she nuh! Medusa would know. She terrible eyes leave me stone coal. Medusa lost looking for love kept behind icy eyes fixed inside the barricade for anybody who come too close, runnin’ from she own in case the worse thing happen an’ she see she self like them see she. The blood haunted: if you black, get back if you brown stick around... Is that okay? Being black your way, whitewashed an’ dyed-back black, am I easier to hold in an acceptable role? ...And if you white comelong y’alright... Make it go away, the nappiheaded nastiness too tuff too unruly too ugly too black ...Get back... Scrub it bleach it operate on it powder it straighten it fry it dye it perm it turn it back on itself make it go away make it go away. Scrub it, step smiling into baths of acid and bleach it red raw peel skin of life-sustaining melanin. Operate on it

blackskin - lying, useless - discard it powder it. Head? To hell with it, wild-haired woman, straighten it fry it, desperately burn scalps. Banish the snake-woman the wild-woman the all-seeing-eye woman. Dye it, remembrances of Africa fast-fadin’ in the blond highlights, turn us back on ourselves slowly making daily applications with our own hand. My hair as it comes is just not good enough. The blood haunted: if you brown stick around and if you white comelong y’alright... Say: make it go away make it go away da nappiheaded nastiness! Is too tuff too unruly too ugly too black too tuff too unruly too ugly too black. Get back Medusa! Black!

[Stupse!] Get back.


15

Weakness strong

the

of the

black woman - T Curry

The societal attacks that have weakened the black women of today started many generations ago. One form of these attacks can be seen in the choices most of our sisters face when it comes time to deal with reproduction. So grave is this attack that is has become almost a miracle if she does not give into the societal pressures that often lead our black women to opt for the resolve of abortion.Waiting next in line for black women, those of them that have a made the decision to have their babies, are the medical practitioners or who I like to call “the drug dealers.” Many black mothers will either not have the strength and support to say no to all the drugs that she will be strongly advised to take. A lot of these drugs can be very harmful to her babies causing

conditions such as Asthma or even birth defects. Compounding the lack of support and strength is the fact that the majority of black women do not have enough knowledge and information on the potentially harmful side effects of these prenatal medicines or later immunizations to say no. If they try without knowledge, strength, or backing they are threaten with CPS (Child Protection Service). The attack is generational for it has spanned our mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers life times and is attacking our black women now. So now here we are at this critical state where we must recognize that we must heal all black women with support and education but most of all understanding. This must also be done for the future of our little black girls so they may be empowered physically, mentally, and most importantly spiritually. These little girls will grow to be the black women who will secure the future of the black race. Let us now look at the so-called, self proclaimed successful black woman who earnestly pursues the America ideal of success.This ideal is based on two concepts, material and myself as an individual. She becomes more like the most destructive race on this planet, she becomes more like the European (White). Many of these black women have been through an extreme pro black stage possibly due to their guilt of loosing hope in

their fellow black people and particularly the black man. This is a very real stage in a lot of black women‘s lives and it affords them the opportunity to sit on the fence. They can say in Afro centric company I had natural hair or I used to do this or that, I have read this or that. Then in other crowds they will just fit in as an assimilated black woman. At one moment all Afro centric with natural hair chanting up you mighty race, then all of a sudden you will see them with their permed hair again, weave in longer than before, and a valley girl accent. Black women are obviously now looking at compatibility through the eyes of the European who views material possession more valuable than humanity. They feel that they cannot be compatible with a man that makes significantly less than them. These women forgot about the more important things to look for when finding a mate and one of those things is love. The type of love that sees them as allies in her pursuit for material wealth and power. She often turns to the white man to if she feels the Blackman is standing continued on page 18 >>

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When two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled


18

The Weakness of the strong black woman - continued from page 15 in her way of such things. The only reason why a black woman wants to be white is because she was made to be dissatisfied with whom she is.This dissatisfaction is brought on by media influence and propaganda. Television is the biggest threat to the black woman’s self esteem. She is constantly bombarded with images of fair skinned women with long stringy hair and light colored eyes.These images are often tied with images of success as we spoke of earlier in the article. Like the black man the black woman falls victim to this trick and now like the black man is on the hunt for a mate with a lighter shade skin color. To throw balance off in a major way you would have to get two polar opposites on the same side. This unbalancing is the white man getting the black woman to be on his side or better yet to be like him. Because the black woman is in pursuit to be like the most destructive and even hated race on earth. The black woman has now become the most undesirable woman on the planet. This is a problem, but is it too late? Can this be fixed by holding the black woman accountable for contributing to the destruction of the black family? And why won’t some black women take their share of the blame? The black woman’s strengths are also her weakness. In order for the black woman to survive in a Eurocentric (white) patriarchal society she would have to be strong in many ways. And in the pursuit of the American dream by way of the white man she now puts herself

If you climb up a tree, you must climb down the same tree

in the position to be sole bread winner. This is of course the position of the white man in his family unit. Yet she is now being described as too strong. This strong black woman blindly pursues education and career as a means to fill her. She views these fledgling things like being a CEO of a fortune 500 company more important than being a wife and mother. The black woman is under attack what are we going to do? There have been much slander concerning the black women. The black woman is not marriage material. Black women carry the HIV virus more than any other woman. Around 50% of black women have herpes. As I step back and look I can see that this whole scenario is like that of a high school sitcom. The popular girl/white women spreads viscous rumors about the unpopular girl because the popular girl feels threaten by the unpopular girls/black women’s potential. It is always the unpopular girl who shines the most because she is not trying to be anything but herself. The most sort after boy always co-signs with the popular girl but secretly has a crush on the unpopular girl. The popular click always tries to get the unpopular girl to feel like she belongs in their click as a part of their plan to humiliate the unpopular girl in front of the whole school/ world. Think about it black women. Do you want to get tricked into being portrayed as the school/ world slut or to have something gross pored over you? They’re all going to laugh at you.


19

Afrikan

Spiritual Healing 1. Blessings of LOVE! My name is Gogo Nana and I am a African Traditional Healer of three major African Healing Systems.

Although I was born in America my ancestors were from Africa as this is the case for Black People born in America. I am extremely blessed because my ancestors made a point to show me my lineage and return me to the place of our original birth, Africa. I have ancestry from West and South Africa. My connection to South Africa is clearly from my father’s side. No one else in my immediate family line is a traditional healer. This gift is something that was passed to me from my great, great beyond the great, great grandfather who was from South Africa and was a Inyanga, Ngaka (some of the names used to identify traditional healers of S.Africa) In the South African Tradition I am called a Sangoma or Gogo which means return of the grandmother. Other names for a Sangoma are Inyanga, Ngaka, Mathuela, Amakhosi, Inyanga, Ngaka Moporofeta, it’s just one name translated into different languages. Since I am also an Akan Priest, I am called Nana which is a title given to Akan Priest, male or female. In my role as a Yoruba Priest to Oshun I am called Iya or Yeye which means Mother. I am a vessel for communicating with the divine spirits. I can hear them, see them and they can enter my body. They give me instructions for my life and instructions for the lives of others who come for spiritual consultation. In this spiritual consultation I am the mouth piece for the ancestors, my Abosom Nana Asuogyebi, my Orisha mother Yeye Oshun or other divinities that I work with. I also connect with the ancestors of the person who is sitting before me so that the individual can receive what their personal spirits are requiring, so that they can move to spiritual alignment and move in the proper energy for obtaining their destiny. Often in the West we tend to think of spiritual healers as elderly persons. The fact is age is one the least important factors in becoming a African

Traditional Spiritual Healer as one can receive the calling from birth to eldership. It is up to the spirit when they come to fetch the person and it is not of the person’s own choice but because spirit has called him to become this way. If one feels they are to become a traditional healer at any age then they should receive a divination. Going to church inspired me as I always knew there was more than just going to church and listening to the doom, gloom and Jesus is coming on the cloud. After being in the ballet modern dance arena for years I prayed to be guided and my spirits, over the course of some years lead me straight to African oriented environments so I started doing African dance, drumming, singing and found myself getting possessed by the drums. Interesting enough it was not frightening but seemed quite natural. I saw heard and spoke with my spirits. In my calling I had an illness that could not be explained. Some people in their callings may experience a lot of deaths of family members, others may have temporary insanity, others may be depressed, others may see and hear spirits, sometimes major accidents or just a feeling of depression and dysfunction in life or a major illness. It varies truly from one person to the next. Once the person accepts their calling there are a process of protocols and cleansing that must take place. The process of being initiated into the realm of a spiritual healer is based on a number of factors concerning the person who is called, and can take anywhere from a year, five years, seven years, even up to twenty-five years. Some of these factors include the level of spirituality the person is currently at when they initiate, the spirit that is calling them, Abosom, Orisha, Ancestors, Loa. The person’s own humbleness during the process and ability to follow the protocols, the instructions and taboos associated with being initiated. In my experience gender separations as it relates to male and female depends on the spiritual system being practiced. For example in the Akan TSH system there are specific roles of an Obrafo who is a member of Priest shrine family and the one who upholds the law of the shrines and is responsible for all sacrifices. I’ve never met a female Obrafo. Yet even if the Akan Priest is female she has all the rites to do whatever is required for her

spirit which includes sacrifices. In terms of the title Nana for Akan Priests it applies to female or male. There are also menstrual cycle taboos for female priest. They can not go to their shrine or perform other duties if their shrine has taboo for cycled women. There are also specific shrines that are attended to by only men. In the Sangoma Traditional Spiritual Healing system I have not seen any major differences. In the Yoruba a woman may not have some of the rites that a Babalawo (who is always male) has but can still be initiated to Ifa and perform some of the rites. I am considered married to the Obosom Nana Asuogyebi a powerful male spirit amongst the Akan people of Ghana, West Africa. He is a river spirit and he has his own river in Ghana. He is a divine communicator. He loves to help people to communicate better. He is a healer, a nurturer and specializes in the healing of mental and spiritual illness as well as abdominal illnesses. It is said that no one knows all of what Nana Asuogyebi can do as more things are being discovered by his Priests everyday. He is one of the most popular Abosom’s in the states as he was the first to come across the water with Nana Okomfohema Oparebea. He is said to have the most wives in America. In the Akan Traditional Spiritual Healing system you become married to the spirit. I also have my South African Ancestors who are herbalist, water spirits, and who may show in or as specific animals. They help people to align themselves with their ancestors and He who heal them of many cannot illnesses and spiritual dance will say: concerns. I have spirits of specific “The drum is royal lineages bad”


20

add watermark to this page that I can not disclose at this time. They dwell in nature, ocean, rivers, mountains, under the earth through fire. They use all elements to heal and have given me specific gifts to do their healing work. I am a daughter of Yeye Oshun LOVE Goddess spirit of the river who is truly the LOVE. She has gifted me with the power of more love, joy, she has the power to heal women of bad relationships, womb issues, pregnancy issues, self love, abundance and prosperity. There are others that I can not speak on at his time. Each one has given specific reasons for being with me. What I eat is very serious for me as I have to eat for my spirits or not eat for my spirits. When I first initiated as an Okomfowa (priest in training in the Akan order) I was a strict vegetarian due to some specific protocols I had to consume some meat. Then this kept being the case for the Sangoma and Yoruba systems. I have a serious taboo for seafood. I can not consume it or be around it. They will let me know right away if I am in the presence of seafood. The seafoods are like my brothers and sisters. I have taboo for goat with one of my spirits but there is another of my spirits that specifically wants goat meat. So there is a procedure I have to follow in these matters as to honor each and not offend either. I do not eat meat outside of what they must have for ritual ceremony, but I do honor the code of eating for which they require of me. If I don’t follow their laws I will become sick. It’s a real humbling of the self and what we think should be or not be. For each one of my spirit a particular dress is required. Nana Ausogyebi; when he possess me he has his own wardrobe which consist of a blue Batakari which is blue and white or red and white. He carries a knife and a whisk. He wears red and white beads. His wives are then covered in all white powder on their skin to indicate it is no longer the person but

the presence of spirit. The Amadloszi / Abogogo have various cloths to represent which one may be present. It may have a lion, zebra, big snake or maybe an entire outfit of specific color like blue and white, red & white, all green to indicate the level of initiation the Sangoma has completed. I must also wear all of the beads acquired doing my initiation. Since Yeye Oshun is the Goddess of Love she loves bright yellow, orange and lime green. She uses a fan to heal, like peacock feathers and honey must be available for her at all times. She likes me to wear her colors and adores beautiful dresses that fit me nicely. Nana Asuogyebi and the Amolozi are not concerned with this. My personal dress is always in traditional clothing my legs are covered, my head is always covered as it belongs to them. I wear exotic clothes for Oshun always and during ritual more according to what spirit is being evoked at that time. Each of them have their own clothes and tools. I work with water, stones, shells, sand, wind, animal bones, snake skin, trees, specific types of sticks, staffs, candles, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, cigars, knives. I can’t not explain all the sacred details of each but they are utilized in ceremony for the spirits I commune with. The alcohol is tuned to medicine. I don’t drink or smoke. These items are used in divination and how my spirits speak with me. I throw what we say are the bones and ancestors tell me what is going on in a person’s life when I read them. Nana Asuogyebi speaks to me through a particular shrine pot and he take white horse scotch. He shows me visions and speaks to me to tell the client of his or her case. The Cowrie shells I use are to speak with Oshun. Specific sticks that I have are used to guide me to places that are sacred to my ancestors if when I am traveling in town or out of town. They will put a specific stick on my path. I pick up the stick and then they tell me where to go and do things I must do in that region. Money is not the priority of the work. It is truly a lifestyle and within this lifestyle, because this is what I have been called to do I humble myself and follow the calling. Material wealth is not the object of the healing path but the healing of the person’s spirit. However money is offered as a sign of respect to the person who has to live this way. My spirits will not allow me to go out to work a 9-5 so I have to charge. When we are in training as a Twaza in the Sangoma tradition the Twaza is not allowed to speak to anyone unless it is their teacher. If someone wants to talk to the Twaza they must put money down and then talk. This is how the ancestors take care of us. In anyone’s line of work they do not go to work form 9-5 and expect not to get paid this is there profession and so it is for all Traditional Healers. This piece is usually very challenging for people who need our help to understand or overstand. They think we should do it for free. I don’t know anyone who goes to work 9-5 and has not made money at the end of the day. I have been reprimanded by spirits for not charging so now I charge properly as what they allow me to do for people is priceless! People want to know about their spirit path, relationship issues, pregnancy

issues, family issues, career and MONEY issues! On the physical level with all the knowledge I have acquired death is still a real challenge for me as I have lost my mother and my one and only younger brother. Over the years I have healed and I have been in contact with both of them. That helped me to know truly the spirit never dies but ascends to another dimension. It still shakes me every time I hear of someone passing. It’s not till much later that I adjust my spirit to the truth. The hardest thing is not being able to touch that physical person as we are both physical and spiritual. I did have an experience once where my mother and brother on separate occasions touched me in a dream and I woke up feeling great. I knew it was real. When someone dies depending on the level of their spirit we have to make offerings for their elevation and smooth transition and it does require blood offerings. In the case of my brother he was shot due to a mistaken identity. He was 28 years old at the time and two of relatives saw him in my house that week. My mother who passed after he did told me he came and talked to her and told her about where he was and even sang to her he said he was making music for the angels now. In all Afrikan Traditional Healing Systems there are proper burial rites that must be followed especially in the case of priests, Sangomas and traditional healers of such. I think for those of us born in America it is a greater adjustment than those born in Africa as we are not taught of the continuity of spirit but we are taught that the person and the spirit of that person is dead gone forever and we wait for the judgement day to find out if we are saved and then we may get a chance to reunite with them and only if they are saved too. It’s only when we wake up from our mental slumber that we know differently. In all the traditions the spilling of blood is crucial as it serves man purposes. To help an ancestors spirit to elevate, for atonement, to help prevent negative spirits from interfering in a person’s life, to extend a person’s life whose life may have been otherwise met with disaster.The offering of animals large and small is the way the they stay close to us through this exchange. I don’t know all the science behind it I know it works. It has certainly saved my life and the life of those that I love and it helped my deceased brother to ascend to the light as not to be stuck at the site where he was shot. There are many spirits walking amongst the living confused, still wandering in the place of their death. This is how people began to have haunting and other spiritual disturbance as these spirits are not at rest. The spilling of blood is important and right now in my way of life, it may change but It remains to be seen. I had to slaughter a goat, cow, birds, chicken, ram so that I could stop being sick. Once these were done. I could walk again. I hear that this is common amongst Sangoma healers. The illness doesn’t leave until after the blood of the chosen animal is offered the spirits. Marriage is up to the spirits that guide us. If the person is not married when they initiate they can not get married as during initiations rites there are taboos for sex. If a person is married they still must follow the sex taboo. If they are single


21 after initiation we can only marry a person that the spirits have agreed upon. In the Akan tradition since Nana Asuogyebi is considered my husband I have to present the person to him and see if Nana Asuogybei is in with who they are and what might need to be done before the person can have me as their divine partner. In the Sangoma tradition the divine counsel of elders and the ancestral court must agree and they will also talk to the ancestors of the potential wife or husband. In Orisha I can go to Oshun to see what she says and ultimately consult Ifa to see what Orunmila is saying. It is best for the person who wants to marry me to be the same path or very similar one. It is very difficult to understand or overstand that my spirit path is first and my spirits are in charge not the man. I must in turn know the same for the man I marry he must be on a spiritual path and his spirits are in charge not me. This is where the spirits can say ahead of time if our paths are destined merge on this journey and also how we are to carry out our journey together without interfering in the each other’s destiny. In all African Traditional Spiritual Healing Systems the man must make offerings to marry the woman Most religions are guided by the laws of man and spirituality is guided by the laws of divine spirit. Man can and will fight on behalf of religion and what it says. Man can never fight on behalf of divine spirituality is always unfolding. Religions condition of our mind to keep us away from that which is truly powerful. Just like all the other conditions of celebrating Halloween spokes, ghosts, goblins, vampire. Who does this and say we are of god? Spirit works do not celebrate these dark holidays.Those who believe in the devil will dress their children up on Halloween like one of the devil’s workers. We refuse to take time to see things for our selves but to see based on what has been put in our faces and whispered in our ears since birth. It’s like a caged bird whose been in the cage so long when you open the gate walk away he’s still sitting there on the post and never thought once to fly out the gate even though it’s right there wide open. I believe in the supreme being and I am not certain about Jesus as I have never met that particular spirit or entity. I do know from the description that the Bible speaks on that he appeared to be one of elevation. I can respect his journey and that he stood for truth and the saving of souls to higher consciousness and living in an order that is of elevation. That is beautiful! If there is such spirit I am open to knowing him. I know my ancestors, who they are what they do. I know the Abosom who they are what they do. I know Orisa who they are what they do not from what I read in a book or what someone told me about them, but because they are active in my life. I talk to them I see them. They tell me what they going to do and not just for me but for my family and people who come to seek guidance. I never had Christ Jesus do this for me and I was baptized about six times at six different churches looking for him. It’s very funny to me now. I have not lived in South African for an extensive period of time but I can see the effects of Christianity on South Africans. Many of their spiritual songs speak of

Jesus is the only way. What I also see is when real trouble occurs they stills seek Traditional Spiritual Healers. I always say you don’t have to believe in the work the spirits believe in you. I have seen people who come to service and are skeptical until the spirit starts revealing things about them. Even cases where people were warned of certain things and they didn’t believe but when it happens they call me. I can say now that I am passed the point of, moaning and groaning. I am joyous everyday, grateful everyday, full of love everyday, motivated everyday. Truly in a space where I am still growing and learning and discovering. I feel I am always somewhere in the beginning of a new venture. They have so much to offer I feel I can’t drink the water fast enough as my thirst to know, learn, grow and help others to do the same is endless. Sometimes they make me dizzy cause they want specific medicines from South Africa and I have to make time to get them shipped here to America. I am at a level where I’m clear about my path and what I must do and no one could give me a million dollars to turn my back on my spirits. This world is so backwards like fruit with no seeds, women are being constantly degraded in songs and videos, people taking lives and not wanting their life to be taken, extramarital affairs, meaningless sex, no family values, anything goes and God is not at the top of the list. What is important about what I do in today’s society is that I can address the spirit and see what is going on in a person’s life and their behavior may be steaming from a disgruntled spirit that has been passed down from generation to generation. I can see if there is a war of the ancestors and how to cease fire so to speak. I can speak up and say this is working check it out if you really want something more for yourself, your children, your family. Here are some pointers that can assist you in your spiritual and physical growth. 1. Pray with humbleness of spirit to the best of your ability. 2. Have an open spirit because if you knew what to do you would have done it already. 3. When you get guidance follow the guidance. 4. If you are really stuck seek help. 5. If you get a divination done (spiritual counseling) follow the counsel of the divination and experience results. 6. Don’t believe anything negative someone tells you about African Traditional Healing systems if the person/s has never done the following: a. had a divination and followed the divination prescription b. been to a ceremony c. been initiated d. spent time at least 3 years knowing and interacting with a Traditional healing environment. e. or if their only resource is what someone has told them, they read it in a book and worst case has seen it on television 7. Learn more about Africa and the sacred ways of our people

8. B e grateful for everything good so that more will come. 9. Appreciate your life and the life of those around you 10. Treat your body as a temple spirits like cleanliness inside and out. 11. Drink plenty of water 12. Eat fresh foods 13. Spend time with people who are positive 14. Nurture your gifts & talents 15. Trust the Supreme Sprit it is never wrong 16. Do what you know to be good until more comes 17. Have Faith 18. Watch your thoughts turn them to good always 19. Appreciate and LOVE yourself! 20. Love! Love! Love! Love! Shine wherever you are!


22

AfroLatino Experience in AMERICA The

- Senayt Gaim

Afro-Latinos are often rejected, sometimes accepted, but mostly misunderstood. Their unique ethnic diversity is usually relegated and dismissed according to their skin color, facial features, and the many assumptions made about them. Today Afro-Latinos still experience extensive racism and societal roadblocks throughout Latin America very similar to what blacks in North America have experience and continue to experience to a lesser degree. They must still answer the question of whether a person can truly be a Black-Latino and they are often perceived as somehow denying their blackness by also claiming Latino status. So what is an Afro Latino? An Afro Latino is a Latin American person of African ancestry. Several issues arise from the theme of AfroLatin American. How can you tell what an Afro Latino is? After all, how could you define what a Latino is? One is based on the selection of countries which are normally included in the definition of Latin America which, being based on the language spoken, excluded all countries in the same Poverty geographical area, such as Surinam, is slavery Trinidad and (Somalia) Tobago and Jamaica,

where the people do not speak the Latino based language. As a result, several countries which have significant Black heritage are excluded from being called Afro-Latino because they don’t speak Spanish. In many countries, the people, who are counted as black or of mixed ancestry are based on choices made by the individuals in responding to questions on who may or may not define themselves as black based on their own ideas or specific cultural biases concerning blackness. Jimmy Martinez is not the typical looking Central American. He has long dreadlocks going down to his lower back, soft caramel skin, and a Caribbean accent. He could easily be mistaken for one of Bob Marley’s children. He’s traveled to Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, El Salvador, and knows those places well. He is from Belize. The only Central American country that doesn’t touch the Pacific coastline and whose official language is English. Belizeans consider themselves both Caribbean and Central American. Throughout Central America, Blacks remain the poorest in their countries. Black Latinos regularly face discrimination and battle racism, both in the United States and in their native countries. Such ridiculous terms as negrito (little black one), pelo malo (bad hair), or worse, are common words used for this group that have little political and economic power in the homeland of these Afro- Latinos. Poverty as well as poor educational and employment opportunities are high on the list of concerns to both African Americans and Afro-Latinos. Afro-Latinos have a long and varied history that includes civil rights movements, armed rebellions against slavery and resistance to discrimination. While African Americans recall the efforts of Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Gabriel Presser, and Denmark Vesey to end enslavement in the U.S.; Afro-Latinos have patterned their Black rights struggles after the efforts of Filippa Maria Aranha, and Zumbi, who led some 30,000 Blacks in guerrilla warfare against the Portuguese, in Brazil’s Quilombo dos Palmares, a three-walled city that became the largest community of selfemancipated Africans in the Americas and many more. One of the main issues both in the Latin countries and America is racism. Racism based on skin color is familiar to African Americans, but it is

also a struggle for dark skinned Latinos who are struggling with the understanding of what to call themselves once they reach the United States, black or Latino. In America, you are judged on the basis of your skin color and that defines your heritage. For example, if you are of mixed race, you are considered black and not white. You are usually put in a box of what you are supposed to be. Afro Latinos are considered black by the Americans living in the United States because of their skin color, but they have a hard time relating to African Americans because of their national identity. So what is the future of Afro-Latinos in America? The Afro- Latinos as well as the lighter skinned Latinos really need to start communicating better with the 135 million blacks in the Caribbean and South America. If they had more education and community support by both the Black Americans and lighter Latino communities- life would be easier for the Afro Latinos who have migrated to America. Black Americans and White Latinos need to see past the differences and realize they have more in common then they think.


Book review

23

Aisha Ayanna King 19th August, 2010

Well of course once you read the book you begin to realize the subtle nuances between the types of lives that are portrayed in the wonderful cascade of words so profoundly composed and how it relates to the contradiction of the title. Lives that are intertwined in a Barbados long gone however much of the mentality and ways of thinking still survive. As a native to the island it was interesting to take a look back at a time which was (early) post slavery. One of the main items that stand out for me is the fact that at that time Slavery and the history of our African Heritage (no pun intended) was not taught in the schools. An old woman is described as a crazy talker when she mentions the word ‘slave’. The children who over hear her are left to wonder what she is talking about. We see the life in the small village of Creighton through the eyes of a young boy whose intelligence often stuns the reader into thinking about ones own life. Young G, the novels protagonist explores the meanings of all the happenings in his village from a strike to a teen pregnancy, marriages, marital affairs etc. With his daily observations of the people in his village and the knowledge he gleans from his Mother,

a boy of his age. However we don’t only see his perspective but very interestingly the perspective of an elderly couple living out their remaining years together. They explore the possibility of what the future might bring for the village with the opening of the Penny Bank an’ Friendly Society. The Land Lord, Mr. Creighton is a much discussed topic. At this point slavery is no longer a reality but the plantation type mentality continues to be manipulated as the majority of land owners at that time were white. Loyalty and often worship of the Land Lords might mean somewhere in the future the black population might be given a small token of a land that is toiled by them but that reality seems far reaching even as they hold on to hope for a better quality of life. However it is easy to see that the mentality of this time is so pungent and rooted in the majority of the characters that as the reader one hopes that they will wake to reality soon. A hope of light eventually glistens when we are introduced to a cobbler whose education is limited but he is forward thinking and holds much respect from his fellow villagers. His thoughts on the strike against the Land Lord bring to light the struggle of the Afro-Caribbean populous on the island and those in neighbouring islands creating a bigger picture of the tyranny under the guise of ‘once there is a happy Land Lord there are happy Villagers’ in keeping with the on going oppression of the time. The regimental installments of following the Empire runs in tandem throughout every facet of the lives depicted in the novel. Placing a microscope on how it affects behaviour amongst the villagers and reactions and interactions with the oppressor - Land Lord and British Empire alike - Akin to a pack of steady mules the villagers trod faithfully and respectfully giving thanks for the little they are given whilst the oppressor lives in luxuries lap. Be it far from me to give away a story I highly recommend the reading of this novel especially to all who live in the Caribbean. It is insightful – giving knowledge of the past and establishing hope for the future – George Laming wrote this masterpiece in the 1950’s however it remains relevant to our lives today where

G learns and discusses these topics with his friends. He is very astute and often pensive for

oppression is now called ‘political correctness’. Colonial rule maybe far behind us but many of the

The first time I heard the title of this book I was tempted to say ‘George this skin aint no castle’. For it conjures up images of a flesh that is easy to live in without a care and devoid of hard times- Free!

Land Lords remain the same. The faces of the members of parliaments may have changed in complexion but many of the rules still apply where money and ‘who has it’ is concerned. And like the floods that create devastation every time they come, hard times are just as persistent but the strength of the African spirit prevails. Therefore you will find as I found that the old adage ‘as much as things change, they remain the same’ is well illustrated in George Lamming’s In the Castle of My Skin. Sir George Lamming

The fool speaks, the wise man listens


the

evolution of Reggae Music

by Gwendolyn M. Allen


25 then you don’t really know. There is no reason and need for stupidity and negative attitudes among us. You have only to open your heart, love is the key and love is the answer. One Love is the connection that links us all and it is free. What do you have to lose? Nothing. So the next time you Developed in Jamaica, it was first called Reggae pop in your favorite reggae Rock Steady. Terms such as the Organ Shuffle song take a step back and listen was pioneered by Bunny Lee and was featured in to the lyrics and the message, the transitional singles “Say What You’re Saying” therein and you will hear the (1967) by Clancy Eccles, and “People Funny Boy” inspiration brought about through (1968). The efforts of men like Bunny Lee, paved oppression of the people. The call the way for the greats such as Bob Marley and the We are all connected, hence the reason why reggae of the ancestors our ancestors for Wailers, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer in 1963. has been able to be spread all over the world. The we are all connected and we all are connection has been made and people are starting “One Blood”. to come into a more positive awareness now. The In 1972 the film “The Harder They Come” by message is being heard and people are uniting in Jimmy Cliff brought reggae into the United States. the prayer of song and Reggae music. The struggle I invite you to take a listen to some This film was integral in paving to road in bringing continues. A good friend of mine says “there is new artist that have taken up the torch the reggae revolution to the people in the United work to do”. My Granny who is now among the that carries the message. Have a look, States. Reggae is an art form that expounds the ancestors that guide us would say to me “you have a listen. http://gorillamafiaentertai hopes for freedom of the less fortunate people, have to pave yah own road gal, remember where nementuspromotions.com/ who are marginalized by our societies and suffer you came from. Never lose hope, God will always Rastafari. in poverty. Its cultural and public awareness provide a way”. It’s these small things that made messages reach out to the people who identify me aware of my surroundings but it was through Gwendolyn Allen with the less fortunate positions that our Reggae music I found hope and inspiration. The Golden Lion Music & Productions brothers and sisters are placed in. Reggae is not vibes of my breather the vibes. It gave me the faith, regulated to any one race. With the combination vision, strength and energy to keep trodding this of international exposure of this art form and the rocky road to our true salvation. To respect and cultural awareness it brings, Reggae has crumbled honor all those who have walked before me. To divisions of class and is enjoyed by people from honor them with I works and words. I have never all walks of life. Many today do not identify or forgotten the mission, and I have taken it upon I self care about the plight of the oppressed because to carry on with the work to keep the dream and they have not had that experience in their life hope alive for my people “Rainbow People, God’s and cannot relate to the feelings of a sufferer. The children”. Not to be blinded by colour, creed or 1970’s was the golden age for reggae music; this class and judge thereby. For I am not I father, it is is the period when the music started to make its only he that can earnestly judge mankind. migration into the world.

Since the 1960’s reggae music has been on the scene thanks to a combination of vision, hope and struggle.

When we think on reggae music today we as people tend to align ourselves with the fads of our time. Our motto has become, if it’s not in our face who cares. But reggae is so much more than a fad that comes and goes. It is the voicing of hopes and dreams of a brighter tomorrow for our people. We often tend to forget the contributions those who walked before us, our ancestors.These brothers and sisters who made it possible to have these songs of freedom with us today. When we first arrived as slaves, we landed with nothing. We had to find a way to express our thoughts while hiding our beliefs.The song became the healing key of an enslaved people. The use of the music kept our faith and culture alive. This should always be remembered and never taken for granted. Through the process of the Trans-

Atlantic slave trade our oppressors had taken a great deal from our people and given back little. The formulation of Reggae does just that, it gives back to our people and helps to restore a sense of pride in us. Leaping the barriers of race and class Reggae calls us together as an international unified tribe. It serves to bring an unconscious people back to consciences. This consciousness will not allow us to turn the other cheek while our brothers and sisters suffer in poverty and subjection. Talk is cheap we need action. Malcolm X said the “word behind a word has a different meaning“. Meaning you can’t take something for face or surface value. You have to research and find our own paths. Knowledge is power.The mind is the greatest tool the creator gave us, we now have to open our minds to the knowledge that all life sprang from one place, AFRIKA.

I speak now from my personal perspective as a woman.There are many women that have taken up this cause in a male dominated business. I myself feel that there is a balance and women can carry out this work just as well as her counterpart. In my humble opinion there is no competition. It’s just that we are living in world of mighty egos and have become centered on self. The common mindset now has become “what can you do for I and not what I can do for the creation my brothers and sisters”. I view the world though the eyes a woman with compassion. It’s not about greed, it is about the fulfillment of humble pride and knowing that you have helped someone achieve their dream. I now have my own record label and I try my best to understand the people I work with. Getting to know the artist, understand their ways and what fuels their passion making them want to sing? Communication is the key and without it there is no understanding. If you can’t understand

Tears are best dried with your own hand


AyjahTal

Travail Artisanal Lokal Ayjah is a 33 year old woman. Her mother is from Guadeloupe and her father is from the Ivory Coast.


28

She was born in Moselle( France) where is spent her whole childhood. With her experience in custom made clothing and accessories, she decided to leave her hometown and go to Paris, city of fashion, design, artist and jewelry in order to improve and present her work. Ion 2006 she attended training in economic management at the chamber of commerce and industry. Two years later, she started her own micro company and officially became AyjahTal.

He who has done evil, expects evil

AyjahTal Local craft work (Travail Artisanal Lokal). Her world reflects her roots and the wealth she got from Africa and the West Indies. It is a mix of these two ancestral flavours that allows her to imagine and create, just like an artist with his canvas. The creator distinguishes herself using noble African and West Indian materials, and blending in them wood, calabash, Banana leaves, pearls and shells.....to make


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Perfectionist and meticulous only the detail counts. And this is the same detail that will make all the difference.

It’s a woman who dares and has class. It’s an urban eccentric woman who loves fashion. It’s an African, European, Asian woman or else. It’s just a woman.

Wearing a creation from AyjahTal is to be proud of your roots. It’s to be an active, independent woman and housewife. It’s a woman of character who feels beautiful and powerful.

Each piece is unique and handcrafted with much passion and patience. It’s am assemblage of natural materials and textiles that will tell it’s story as time goes by. It would be very difficult to part from it.

jewels sometimes glamorous or sometimes Afro eccentric.


30 Ayjah enhances ebony skin and works closely with various photographers such as MalonePhotographer, Afrochic by Pantherimage, Dmj Art Photographe, Oliver Caumartin or Eric Threinen who are specialized in the Ethnic sector. They put women forward in all their magnificence. Here is our motto : We accept ourselves and sweep away all stereotypes.

Contact info : ayjahtalkreation.com If you want to purchase an AjahTal creation, please visit and shop online : www.boutik-ayjahtal.com Email : ayjahtal@gmail.com


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‘Life’s Only Promise’ is Essential as African-Descended People Preparing Better for

By Tesfa Selassie

The death of my grandmother was met with mixed emotions; sadness for her loss, yet joy at remembering many fond memories of her over the years. Ultimately though, once the initial shock and sadness at the news of her death passed, the primary concern amongst my family shifted quickly to the practicalities of her ‘laying to rest’. For too many of us of African-descent, particularly for those living in Western societies, our cultural amnesia and financial illiteracy resulting from historical periods of enslavement, colonialism, and present day neoEven for those loved ones of ours colonialism often leaves us who are old and infirmed, the news of faced with much practical their death can be sudden and without unpreparedness when warning. At the time of the writing of the death of a loved one this article, I had recently received the arrives. For individuals or sad news of the passing of my maternal families who have negative grandmother. Affectionately called emotional and financial “Granny Sylvia” by her grandchildren, states exacerbated by I pray her spirit finds peaceful rest impoverished socioand that she takes her rightful place economic conditions, the amongst all the ancestors that have addition of the challenges gone before us. of both grieving for a loved one, accommodating As it was for my grandmother, death a respectful laying to rest and is an event in all our lives that is finding the financial means to inevitable. However, as much as it facilitate this process, may become is inevitable, death and dying are overwhelmingly burdensome. Additionally, a topics that most of us often avoid general financial illiteracy amongst people of talking, reading or even thinking African-descent on the nuances of modern day about, especially concerning our wealth management instruments often leaves us own mortality or that of our ill-equipped as to how to financially prepare for loved ones. While this may spare death, particularly so that our loved ones are left us the emotional challenge of understanding our final wishes and thus helping having to ponder life’s “only to prevent conflict over any wealth that may be certain promise”, it often left behind. leaves those who have to deal with a loved one’s Despite cultural amnesia, for African-descended death unprepared, both people living in Western societies, the emotionally and from commemoration of a loved one’s death often a practical point of Where retains many aspects of continental African view. The death of a you will cultural practices in regards to death. An loved one forces examination of these cultural practices on the sit when us to confront African continent can illuminate many similarities you are old both issues, the at home and abroad. For the Mandinga in Guineaemotional and shows where Bissau, the ‘aadoo’ (funerary custom) is marked practical ones you stood in by the wailing of the female relatives of the as well. deceased. Rice is pounded for the preparation youth

Death most often comes unexpected or, in most cases, undesired.

of ‘munkoo’, sacrificial rice flour sweetened with sugar or honey, which will be given to mourners after the burial. In the Asante (Ashanti) tradition of Ghana, to neglect the proper conducting of the death ritual is to invite a harassing of the dead one’s spirit from the after-life. The funeral rites are often lavish in terms of financial expenditure, many families being often left with large debts, and the rites often take place over long periods of time. Families of the bereaved are expected to entertain visiting mourners with music, drinks and food during the initial funeral event, where bodies are laid in state. In parts of Ethiopia, a traditional community organization called an ‘edir’ is central to death comm em o r a t io ns. Female members of the edir take turns to do the house work for the mourning family and prepare food, while male members take responsibility to arrange the funeral and erect temporary shelters for funeral guests. Edir members stay with the mourning family, often for three full days. Although quite different in terms of the practicalities of ritual practices, these commemorative events all have in common the importance of both an extended grieving process, familial support and a remembrance of the lives of the loved ones. As much of our history and culture does not remain in full with African-descended people living in Western societies, communicating to our families how we would like to be remembered and interred becomes important. It may be helpful to develop a familial tradition based on a particular African culture such as those described above, one that you may have ancestral roots in or an adopted one of your families choice. Although, the ritual and celebration are important aspects to discuss and establish in order to be better prepared for the death of a loved one,


41

matters of wealth and assets to be left behind are also critical. From an African point of view, the Ethiopian ‘edir’ provides an excellent model. Edir members make monthly financial contributions forming a fund that helps cover the funeral and other expenses associated with death. Members are entitled to receive money from the fund based on how close they are to the deceased.This type of system can also be adopted by African-descended people living in Western societies as well. Modern financial and legal instruments may be important as well but are often neglected by our society due to financial illiteracy and lack of education in general. The use of ‘living wills’ are important legal instruments that not only help to specify who your wealth should be passed on to but also can be used to specify what medical treatments you may or may not want if you become incapable of making the decisions yourself.The use of ‘trusts’ is another legal and financial instrument that is often not fully exploited by people of African descent. A trust is a legal arrangement where one or more people (trustees) are made legally responsible for assets. The trustees are responsible for managing the trust and carrying out the wishes of the person who has put the assets into the trust.The assets are placed in trust for the benefit of one or more individuals called ‘beneficiaries’. The benefit of using trusts is that they offer more protection of your wealth from various taxes that may be imposed on your assets upon death. Finally, if you are financially able to do so, enrolling in a ‘death insurance’ plan is a good method to ensuring that your loved ones have adequate finances to cover the cost of your burial and are not financially burdened in the event of your death.

practiced in relation to death and dying are critical to help us to deal with the death of our loved ones better, both emotionally and financially. In addition, increasing our knowledge of modern legal and financial instruments utilized to help better prepare for death is also crucial, both in terms of being better prepared financially to accommodate the laying to rest process as well as to prevent familial conflict arising as a result of any wealth and assets left behind. We can help strengthen both the emotional and economic state of our society by not waiting until its too late Developing an understanding of and embracing to be prepared for the inevitable, no matter how aspects of African-descended cultural traditions much we may think that day may never come!


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the Daffodil

Ladies

When we think of organizations we tend to focus in the areas of community, religious, gender oriented organizations and so on.

Seldom do we give credence to the organizations of the streets.

If Men swear that they want to harm you when you are asleep, you can go to sleep. If women say so, stay awake

Not gangs per say but support structures erected by our societies marginalized. To pay honour and respect to one such structure OAH has invited one of Barbados’s girl crews called The Daffodil Ladies (DL) to share with us a little about themselves, as we would do for any other organization. DL are a group of young black females who are a source of support for each other through thick and thin. We love to life live, whether it be partying or just sitting around talking about the old times and things we are planning for the future. This group of young black females have evolved into a sisterhood. DL started with just Dazzler & Queen Avalon but as we linked with other females the group got bigger now we’re 7. We are, Senorita A.K.A Queen Avalon (29 yr old mother of two, medical professional), Melly A.K.A Dazzler (34 yr old mother of 1, Hairdresser, cook and would love to be a lecturer in the future), Tonia A.K.A Rasta Beauty (24 yr old mother of 3,Gov’t worker) Kim A.K.A Gad(35 yr old mother of 2 ,clerical officer) Tammy A.K.A Simeon (32 yr old mother of 4, medical professional), Kay A.K.A Sexy Darkie (30 yr old mother of 3, hairdresser, nail tech) and Sheen A.K.A Redz (23 yr old mother of 3 ,housewife). There was no reason really for forming the group it was just a natural progression from

a single event. Dazzler and myself were holding a fete and we wanted a name that most described us, but at the same time different to the regular girl group names you hear. As we were pondering, we were also watching a Luciano video. He was introducing his band members and when he came to the back up singers he introduced them as the singing Daffodil’s. The way they came on stage with such grace we knew there and then that was the name we wanted, and it was so different from all the other girl group names.When we did some research on the word Daffodil we found out it was an ancient African flower. That sealed it for us. Groups ,crews ,gangs and other street organizations are stemmed from the need to belong and be part of something. Comradery (friends), also for fame, popularity etc, to be seen and acknowledged .It’s been around for generations when our grans used to be by de stan pipe to wash and collect water there would be many a group of ladies that would filter round the pipe to talk about various things and catching up on events passed. The only difference is they never carried names like us now in these times. Now we give or collections of women titles that are intended to describe the girls who use them and what they stand for, example, the “Set It Off Ladies”. These are the girls who exploit men financially like in the movie Set It Off ( female bank robbers) etc. Our personally feelings are that every person has to choose there own destiny but at the same time not at the expense of your self worth or self esteem. As I mentioned earlier, one of the purposes of groups like ours is to be seen to have popularity that feeds our need to feel that sense of self value. Partying creates a platform for the groups to parade, and if you listen to the print media, from fete posters to Facebook shout-outs, they all speak to the image of the particular group and the one’s that identify with the particular mindset of that group. Due to the high level of sexual expression in the names of some of the crews and on promotional posters, our society has made grossly uneducated judgments on the girls of these crews. Looking sexy don’t mean you are dumb. Society prescribes norms and any deviation or questioning from of these norms are received


42

with disdain.You won’t wear a swim suit to church or a dress in the sea not cause it can’t be done but because it would be abnormal to the norms of the society we live in. Just as society has set their norms the dancehall has set it’s own norms and because of this most girls dress to fit in, just as worker bees humm their way around to be seen and attract attention. It is a fact that respect is earned and to be respected you first have to be respectful of yourself . At the same time you have to take into consideration who are these girls looking for respect from and why. DL would like to be perceived by the public has a group of young black independent females in their community who have worked hard for what they want. Who have made sacrifices to accomplish life’s necessities for ourselves and families.We love to party (dance) and free up ourselves, liberation of the body to the music, we love the spring, taking the children on outings and we also have movie nights. For spiritual growth and education we attend council, that is a form of praise to the creator. One of our greatest wishes is to start our own book club. Dazzler’s all time vision is to open a community center were troubled and abandoned children that have no where to go can come and be heard, respected and understood. A place where they can get involved in various activities such as reading, writing, cooking ,sewing, washing, karate etc. Showing our children the right way of doing things in the time that is now. We also have discussed with the then minister of Family and Youth Affairs Dr.Esther Byer-Sookoo sometime not long ago the serious issues of Domestic Violence towards women and child maintenance on the parts of our men. Girl crews are a sign of the changing of times, the street feminist so to speak. The changing roles in terms of gender today has a lot to do with the birth of these crews. Today crews are made up of BOLD women who would approach a male and propose an argument, this is a reversal of roles as that was primarily a mans domain. We know that lately girls have been more aggressive, cat fights have graduated to bottle throwing and stabbings. In this street assertion of self anything

is possible nowadays. In our opinion the girl groups as strong and independent as they may be, are degrading the young black women of today because they are not setting good examples for the coming generation of black women to follow. I’m very sure these very women who disrespect themselves in the dance, wouldn’t like to see their daughters come to a party and take off or pull up their clothes and show everyone their bodies. We are young black females living in a society where greed, violence, prostitution, destruction, envy and jealousy seems to be its very essence. We need to stand firm, grounded, independent and strong knowing where we came from so we know where we are going, and not to fall prey to all the bad influences around us. Let the good influences which reflect on yourself and families be your light. Have a reason when you act and let it be a positive influence in your life and others around you. A little advice for my sisters wanting to get involved in girl crews. Know up front and state straight up, how far you intend to go with the group. Are you serious about the crew or is it just for kicks or for an ulterior motive. Listen to the values of the group and think seriously if that is how you want to be perceived in your community. Girl groups can provide good positive motivation, offer friendships and support in times of need. Unfortunately , the wider society does not understand or respect these street organizations. They see them as fads that will be short lived becoming outgrown or destroyed by separation. Some of our more memorable moments as a crew would have to include when we were personally invited by Daddy Sims( owner) of Steppers Boutique to join him in studio LIVE for the radio program Roots Rock Reggae with Brother Reuben and Andy Thornhill. The way we flex and the name we carry had him curious as to who were the DL. That was a honour. Also we attended the first ever Reggae On The Hill ( the biggest reggae show in Barbados) together, and when we lost a dear friend Keisha Perch she will NEVER be forgotten. Our mentor is the Almighty Creator of Heaven

and Earth, only he can guide us towards everlasting life and to be the angelica beings we are. We also find inspiration in the music of Luciano THE MESSENGER. Live in love, be good to your brothers, sisters, neighbours, even be tolerant of your enemies. Be respectful of yourself and others and the creator will surely show you the way in. We would like to give special Acknowledgments to Paul Rock(Ras Simba) editor of Our African Heritage Magazine for giving us the opportunity for our voices to be heard, Steppers Boutique, Hardmoutbling for the promotion of bajan reggae artistes, the congregation of Israel and all our surrounding neighbors. Barachai, it means Bless


the Daffodil

Ladies


46

ns

tio s e u Q 0 2 for

s s e c n Pri a i l e k a T

1 – Please introduce and tell us a little about yourself

My name is Takelia Cook birth name, Princess Takelia is my model name and I am called Keda by family and close friends. I am 24 years old and was born in Selma, Alabama but have lived in Boston from the age of 10 months. I am African American and Native American Indian. My dad is Cape Verde mix with Cherokee Indian. My mom is African American and Cherokee. I am a student, print & fashion model, a fashion director for OAH and Orijin magazine’s. I also do some marketing for these publications. 2 – What inspired you to get into the modeling industry?

As a little girl I loved fashion. I watched the models like Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, AAliyah and all the strong women that came before me in the industry. I was inspired to try modeling at age 17 when my friend and I decided to try a photo shoot. I put together the outfits and my friend was the photographer and makeup artist. The outcome of this shoot was great and the rest is history. Never stopped since that time.

6 – What has been your biggest challenge thus far in your career as a model?

I think the challenges for any talented person is finding your image and making the right choices. I have positive role models and supporters but have also had to deal with users. Experience and integrity are the only ways to overcome challenges. 7 – How did you overcome that hurdle or what you doing at present to address that hurdle?

Always keep my eyes on the prize and know that success comes in many forms. 8 – In your own words define beauty for our readers?

3 – What do you think about the modeling industry in terms of it’s positive contribution to our people as Afrikans?

Loving yourself as you love your people and thriving to be the best, most dynamic beautiful person on the inside. Beauty is an expression of virtue and that shows people who you really are and what you are really seeing.

I believe that no industry can make a positive contribution for our people. Our people become a positive contribution to any industry that we are a part of.

9 – Do you think this industry degrades the essence of beauty?

4 – In your view what are some of the negatives in the industry faced by Afrikan people?

The negatives that apply to us as a people on the street apply to us in this industry. We are marginalized and tribalized due to ignorance. Only we can reach, teach and replace those negatives with positives.

A good thing sells itself, a bad one advertises itself

I think the industry is multi-faceted. I work with many wonderful people who are positive.We need to be honest about what influences us and makes the positive more profitable for the industry than the negative. Some among us are people who contribute to that negative in the pursuit of money. We need to help them find a better way.

5 - Do you think this industry has a more positive or negative influence on our people? Why do you say this?

I think the industry in terms of making money is always creating opportunities to degrade the essence of beauty. The market defines beauty in different ways and it is up to us to change the market. 10 – If you could change one thing in the industry what would that be?

A more unified standard of excellence. Also an outreach program, especially for young models who find bad advisors early on because they have no experience. 11 – To me when I look at Black Magazines that


47 expound fashion, I see a black version of what I see in other magazines. I don’t get the essence of our people. What would you say to this?

I think you are right. We need to change the definition of what represents our essence. Models are often hired to bring out the essence of the designer. We need designers to see that our essence adds a wonderful and beautiful ingredient to their designs. 12 – What would you like to achieve personally from modeling?

I would like to be known as a model who is a role model. A strong woman who shows other women young and old how we can be whoever we want to be. 13 – What would be for you your biggest accomplishment to be attained as a model?

I strive to have the freedom to make choices rather the making choices that make me less free just to survive. 14 – It is thought by many that there is a high level of casual sexual activity both heterosexual and homosexual in the industry. What would you say to this?

I think that is a deep question that speaks more to the values of a community and what we are motivated to become and how we define desire and satisfaction in life. 15 – How do you feel about the use of the sensuality and sexuality of women as sales tools? Do you think that is brings a certain level degradation to our women?

I see degradation all over in music videos; some Black entertainment magazines; but not so much in the modeling industry. We must distinguish between fashion models such as myself and celebrity models that often choose to be pin-up models and sexual by choice. I hope that young women do not make bad choices they will regret later in life, just for fast cash. Those images never go away girls. 16 – Just how important is nudity to a woman’s expression of her sensuality and sexuality?

support?

Family support is everything. I am lucky to have a strong family advising me, supporting me and sometimes picking me up when I fall. Family can have many definitions. We as a people are a family of support for one another. 19 – What would you say to families who are concerned about their daughters wanting to be models?

Teach them they are beautiful. Help them to know the definition of beauty and not just to pursue a career. One cannot simply perform surgery out of a desire to be a surgeon.Take time to find your way and know that the models you admire work hard and it isn’t glamorous behind the scenes. There are no shortcuts to success.

It is not important at all. It is what lies beneath 20 – Is there anything else that you would like to add to this interview? that is important. 17 – What advice would you give to young women wanting to get involved in the modeling?

Take your time. Discover who you are and don’t do too much too fast. Learn and find people you respect and watch them work and be a sponge. Your career will be ready when you are. Don’t rush things. Be willing to work and learn first. 18 – Was you family supportive of your choice of career? For you how important is family

Thank you for the interview and to my fans and family thanks for supporting me. Stay tuned for more from me!!


48

m a y N a c i a Jam

Exerpts from

arkinson

mary P by Rose


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Profile for Afrikan Heritage

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