Coloring your blackboard: Makeup ideas to enhancing your amazing dark skin

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For some of us, makeup enhances what is already in place. I think it is important that we take care of our inner being as well as our physical appearance. Even though it is only recently that I started wearing makeup because I focused more on my intellectual gorgeousness, I find the art of body beautifying exciting.

Amongst African Americans and other diasporans I understand that dark skin women are often told to avoid  bright colors. For example, when I was an undergraduate in Texas, my mixed race Caribbean roommate would always highlight the fact that I was “charcoal” black and discouraged me from wearing bright colors. Her “warnings” did not have much of an effect on me, however, I was intrigued. After years of studying and life experiences in the diaspora, I concluded that our brothers and sisters are sick. This serves as a motivation for me to contribute in the healing process. Ladies, our dark skin is like a blackboard, it complements any color of chalk. I find inspiration from other women, and I hope these images awake your creativity.Color that board hunny!

Kenya-Moore

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Yoknyam Dabale aka professor Dabale

Tiwa-Savage

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White Power in Africa Today

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Africans often pride themselves of not having race issues like their diasporan counterparts. When people of African descent highlight the impacts of racism /white supremacy on their daily lives, many continental Africans view them as excuses.These differences are especially apparent when tragedies occur such as the recent killing of an unarmed African American boy, Michael Brown, by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, Missouri. On social media, many Africans are indifferent to the event because they believe, wrongly, that racism is not a problem. The belief that racism doesn’t exist or rarely happens in Africa is incorrect. Here’s why:

1.Even though African workers take  heavier work loads, white workers for Non Governmental  Organizations ( NGOs) make thousands of dollars a month, while their African counterparts barely survive on their salary.

2. In initiatives to “partner” with Africans, whites typically dictate how things must be done. Africans are constantly encouraged to abandon all things African and depend on European methods of doing things.

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3. Less-educated whites in Africa get more opportunities than highly educated Africans.

4. African made goods are  considered inferior to foreign products. For example, Dutch wax (ankara) is relatively expensive and many Nigerians would rather buy it than the Nigerian made wax that is of equal quality. In my home region, Middle-belt (aka Northeast Nigeria), when people want to insult your choice of clothing, they can say “your clothes are local.”

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6.Middle and upper class Africans are now abandoning the tradition of naming for European names. This is also becoming a growing trend amongst urbanized rural citizens. When you go to my hometown, you will find Africans with names like Celine Dion or George Bush.

7.  White beauty standards are becoming prevalent, especially amongst urban communities. Women and, less frequently, men bleach their skin to look like white people. Others are determined to marry white women or men in order to make  mixed race children. These Africans have internalized the belief that dark skin is inferior. I have frequently heard Africans insisting that “mixed race children are more beautiful.”

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Vera Sidika before and after bleaching her skin

8. Religion- Even though Christians and Muslim are often at odds with each other, they agree on one thing: the demonization of African indigenous religions. Many Africans are opposed to indigenous African spiritual systems. They consider African religions  to be pagan, superstitious beliefs. These racist ideas were imposed by Arab (Muslim) and  European (Christian) colonialism.Today, Africans are reproducing these ideas that they have internalized.

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9. White power in Africa also applies to Asians and Arabs. African governments frequently favor their non black population–Indians, Lebanese, Chinese, white Americans, etc.–more than their black citizens.These groups are given opportunities to start businesses while natives are ignored. I noticed this, for example, in Sierra Leone and Liberia where most of the businesses are owned by Lebanese. When black citizens ask for loans to start their business they are often denied, but these governments give their support and resources to anyone that has “white” skin.

What is the way forward?

1. Admit there is a problem

2. Talk about it with your children at home, school, religious  and secular spaces

3. Work towards solutions

Additional information 

1.“Wealthy Kenyans inject themselves with creams to become white”

2.”Apartheid may be dead, but racism is still with us”

3.”Practitioners of African Traditional Religion (ATR) in Ghana have expressed disappointment…”

4. Why Do Africans (People of African Descent ) Bleach Their Beautiful Dark Skin,Perm Their Natural Kinky Hair,And Have “Pointed Nose” Operations?

5.“Model Irene Major: ‘I spend thousands of pounds to lighten my skin’

Watch her interview here: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=irene+major+interview+on+skin+bleaching&FORM=VIRE1#view=detail&mid=57171112FB9831FC395057171112FB9831FC3950

6.”Lebanon FM pushes trade in Africa”

Extraordinary African American Boys Making Us Proud

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African American boys/males are often viewed through a narrow lens. In order to keep alive racist views about them, you hardly hear about their numerous contribution to the American society. This dangerous beast often rear its ugly head whenever a continental African or non indigenous black gets a little recognition. Recently Katherine Cohen, CEO and founder of IvyWise, a New York-based consulting firm. While offering her views on Kwasi Enin (Ghanian origin) being accepted into 8 ivy league universities.Cohen could not help but to be divisive and racist about it, she reportedly states, “Being a first-generation American from Ghana also helps him stand out…“He’s not a typical African-American kid.”

It is unfortunate that many African immigrants in the US and other people of African descent ( i.e from Jamaica, the Bahamas etc.) buy into the stereotype, they participate in spreading its venom.This poison is eating and destroying us. For example, you would often hear without any factual context from cycles of African Immigrants and Caribbean that, “African Americans (AA) are not taking advantage of the opportunities that the US offers them,” “AA do not like education,” or AA are lazy.”etc.

Below are few examples amongst many achievements and contributions of African American boys/ males. These young people are keeping the  tradition of AA ingenuity despite being in a society that does not often appreciate nor celebrate their contributions.They remind me of folks like Paul Robeson, James Baldwin, Paul Laurence Dunbar,Percy Lavon Julian and Ossie Davis.

1. Akintunde Ahmad aka Tunde accepted to top 12 universities including Ivy League

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2. James Martin -Molecular biology

  • James-Martin17 years old
  • Youngest in his graduating class
  • Graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a 3.9 GPA in Molecular biology
  • He is working towards earning a PhD in order to be a professor
  • Watch him graduate here :

3.Carson Huey-You -youngest student to attend Texas Christian University (TCU)

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4. Aylen Bledsoe – motivational speaker, president/ CEO of his IT company  worth $3.5 million

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  • Started his company at 12 years old using his home computer
  • High school student
  • Company $3.5 mullion and growing!
  • Plans to attend law school to become copyright lawyer
  • Besides being a student, he held several leadership and volunteer roles in his community: “president of the Student Council and the Parent Teacher Student Association.Served as the chief technology officer of St. Louis Volunteen, a program to promote teen volunteerism, according to Patch. He was even partly responsible for bringing vegetarian options to his former middle school’s cafeteria.”
  • He started with 2 employees and now has 150 contracted employees
  • Read more of his story here:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/03/jaylen-bledsoe_n_3860585.html

5. Joshua Williams – homeless through most of his college career, started  his own scholarship to help other students 

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6. Chad Thomas – offered 150 scholarship for his skill as a musician and football player 

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7. Avery Coffey applied to 5 ivy league Universities and got accepted by all of them
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Note: I dedicate this entry to parents that are doing their best to raise young African/black boys.

Ideas to help you cope with stress

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Life is stressful, how we deal with our problems make living “enjoyable.” Our environment contributes to ways in which we cope with stress. Some people in an attempt to escape their problems they seek out quick solutions that often lead to long term destructive behavior. For example, extreme anger, drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, over eating, misbehavior towards elders, waywardness, etc. Rarely do we hear stories about troubled people who gravitate towards empowering strategies in order to cope with life. As a person that has gone through series of life changing events, I am often ask, “how do you maintain your sanity?” Below are few suggestions for those of you that are going through something, may you find your balance!

  • Do not compare yourself with others
    I tell this to some of my family members that are always trying to be something that they are not. If you want to make it in life, you must avoid comparing your life with other peoples’. Be the best you!
  • Cry on your friends’ shoulders
    Loyal friends would celebrate your victories and mourn your struggles.
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  • Learn from others struggles and victories
    The gods/spirits/ universe brought us together to inspire each other.
  • Exercise
    It would relax your body and keep you fit, I have utilized jogging for many years and it works.
  • Take a nap 
    Like exercising, it would calm you down and energizes you when you are awake.
  • Praying and waiting on “God” would not change your situation.
    You must be proactive in finding solutions. I.e Set your goals and then find ways to accomplish them. There are many route to solve a problem, do not be dependent on one method just because it is popular.
  • You are not special,others are dealing with stress too!
    This is a hard one, do not be a source of stress for others just because you are unhappy. Even in pain, be compassionate towards people around you.
    For example, I know grown folks who would ignite hell fire for their parents when they are in need, ignoring the fact that they have ill health, struggling with younger siblings and grandchildren.rescue
  •  Have a sense of humor, laugh alot:)o-OLDER-AFRICAN-AMERICAN-COUPLE-facebook

 

Blacks/Africans need their indigenous Methods of Education: Islamic or Western Educational Models are not Enough

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Many Africans on the continent and in the diaspora are setting themselves aback. They believe that the only form of education that they need is Islamic or European.Anything indigenous is considered backwards and worthless. For example, in Nigeria, Christians often seek European forms of education and English is their primary language. While for Muslims, they insist that  their children must attend Qur’anic school.

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The problem with this approach is that, African children from an early age are conditioned to believe they are inferior and nothing good can come from their place of origin.These schools often rely heavily on colonial models, books that are outdated and profoundly racist. As a result many African students upon graduation they are convinced that :

  •  Africans were in the dark until Christianity and Islam brought light to the continent. African indigenous spirituality that predates both religions are satanic, pagan and simply superstitious beliefs.
  •  It is African to be violent especially towards women. I have read and debated with both African men and women who expressed such sentiments.
  •  Ethnic languages are useless. i.e I noticed for many years and it became  apparent the last time I was in my home village, Bawagarik in Middle  Belt, Nigeria.Young people who spend time in the city, working or getting their “Education,” upon their arrival to the village they exhale air of arrogance that is toxic for many of us concern “uncivilized” people. When relatives speak to them in Yotti/Bali our language, they replied in Hausa or English,even though they were aware that those relatives do not speak English.
  • That Africans did not resist slavery and colonialism, because it brought civilization to them.
  •  Africans do not have the intelligence to build or invent anything.
  •  Dignified careers are “office” jobs, handy work are inferior, etc.

I am not suggesting that Western or Islamic education are bad. As a people who have for centuries interacted, exchanged ideas with foreigners ( i.e Africans were early innovators of smelting steel, c-section, agricultural  techniques etc), traded ( ink, gold, fabric ) and later were violently enslaved and colonized. It is important for us to introduce our students to Islamic and European education. As a people on the continent and in the diaspora we cannot move forward without knowing about our past. Additionally, those that  enslaved and colonized us are still benefiting from their acts of violence (i.e.FranceBritain,Belgium, U.S. etc), as a result they control majority of the world’s monetary wealth. We must learn their craft combine with our indigenous ideas to protect our lands, create a truly liberated independent African world on the continent and in the diaspora that does not depend on its “former” enslaver and colonizer for “aid” but on African intellect and innovation.

What is the way forward?

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We must reorient ourselves by learning African indigenous/village ideas and skills. Below are few ideas:

  • Doing things with our hands. We must encourage our youth to be innovative instead of teaching them to memorize exam questions and after graduation they seat at home waiting for a savior. Africa has many “graduates” looking for work instead of them creating work for themselves.555209_328890327160980_135207673195914_791181_1453615157_n© Yoknyam Dabale
  •  Group work, we need to teach our youth the value of collaborating with their peers to produce something. A community cannot survival without the participation of everybody. I.e The great wall of Zimbabwe was built by community participation.
  • Teach our youth their history at home and in school. This can happen using oral history ( great  way to keep their brains sharp ) or written history ( for those whose memory is not that great ). A people that know nothing about their past are setting themselves up for failure and elimination. Here are three examples of how we have failed our youth by not teaching them our history.Genevieve Nnaji a nigerian actress during her interview on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight in Canada, she was asked about her thoughts on Biafara since she was on the movie cast of Half of a Yellow Sun based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book.To the audience dismay Genevieve told the interviewer that she is young and does not know anything about that history, and she added that even though she is from the  Igbo “tribe” a group that was central to the conflict she was not informed about that period ( watch the interview below)

    Black british of Nigerian Igbo origin, actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, was asked by Woopi Goldberg on The View ( U.S talk show) along side his cast mate Lupita Nyong’o for their roles in Steven McQueen’s movie 12 years a slave, wether they were “aware” of the breath of slavery in America, given they are not African Americans. Ejiofor staggered through the interview, highlighting that to him the storyline is a human story. One can clearly tell that he knows little about his history.
    Porsha Stewart (Williams), cast member of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) and granddaughter of Hosea Lorenzo Williams one of the well known civil rights leaders. Porsha often brags about her family name, evidently she does not  know much about slavery and what her (our) ancestors had to endured. In one  of the  RHOA episode Porsha insisted to her cast mates ( who are more knowledgable of the history ) that the underground railroad, enslaved Africans used to escape oppression was a real train. ( video clip below)

5. Rites of passage through gender based secret society. Where young people are taught about their sexuality and the importance of leadership in their community. For example Dipo in South Eastern Ghana.

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 6. Do away with colonial ideas and things. For example, the outrageous blond wigs that African lawyers in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana wear. Stop defecating on our ancestors who fought for our freedom.

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Additional Information

Listen to Mmatshilo Motsei a renowned writer,poet, gender activist & spiritual healer on how village knowledge is important for African development. She talks about finding strength and new meaning in life from rural South African communities.

Saki Mafundikwa founder of Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts and author of African alphabets. Below he talks about little known fact that Africans had writing systems. He teaches this information to his students.

Dr. Ben (Yosef Alfredo Antonio Ben-Jochannan) talks about how African knowledge provides foundation for what we know today as  Western Civilization

Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina encourages Africans to ” Free Our Imaginations.”  Wainaina is convinced that many Africans especially the “middle class” are limiting themselves, their children and the continent more generally because they believe that success is only possible if Africans approximate white people’s culture.

Healthy Diet for Healthy Skin : Skin Care Tips for Black/African Women

 

 

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Many city ( urban ) women have being conditioned by marketers to believe that what they rub on their skin is more effective than what they put on their plates. As a result, many African/black women think buying all the “beauty” products that they see in advertisement would help them get smooth and healthy skin. For example, older city women in Africa encourage  young ladies that are suffering with acne and skin disease to use skin bleaching cream. The understanding is that, bleaching creams such as tura, top gel, G&G, fair&white, etc fade dark spots and discoloration instantly, that is true.

However, the long term side effects of bleaching creams include sensitive skin (you get bruises easily), skin cancer ( because the dark pigmentation/melanin that protects you from sun is removed hence living you vulnerable ) nasty body odor, stretch marks, uneven skin tone, mercury poison damaging your liver and kidney ( pictures below ).

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This is not to suggest that I don’t do daily facial routine. But my focus is mostly on what I eat, because our skin reflects the health of our organs.My tips are simply encouraging you/us to eat foods that are nutritious for a wholistic health of both our internal and external organs.

Foods

  1. Before every meal, drink a large cup of hot  water ( as you would tea ). This helps you with digestion and  it would prevent you from over eating.
  2. Avoid anything white, e.g rice, eggs, sugar,etc. Food companies especially in the “developed” world would bleach food items for cosmetics purposes, in the process they  remove nutrients. Dark foods are better for you.
  3. Eat lots of raw vegetables and fruits. This is the best way for you to get        nutrition, vitamins C, D etc. One of the many benefits of growing up in the village is that, I have the advantage of knowing food items that can be eaten raw.For example,a. Sweet Potatoes ( Americans call it Yams)

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b. Cassava ( Yuca)

Digging cassava in Bawagraki, my village in Middle-Belt, Nigeria

Digging cassava in Bawagraki, my village in Middle-Belt, Nigeria

If you are anti raw food, you can juice your fruits and vegetables. For those that have frequent electricity, you can blend your vegetables ( spinach, parsley, ginger,moringa leaves, etc) and add honey  to make it tasty. If your community lacks electricity you can sun dry your vegetables, then pound it into powder ( this is common sense for most villagers like myself ). When you are ready to have a drink, simply add it in room temperature water mixed with honey or just drink it plain.

Here is an example, I/we just made this. We juice twice a day with different fruits and vegetables. Ingredient ( all natural and organic ): ground cinnamon, mango, almond nuts, berry, carrots, celery, ginger and honey.

© Yoknyam Dabale-Shabazz, Yotti:Chamba village woman from Middle Belt, Nigeria© Yoknyam Dabale-Shabazz, Yotti:Chamba village woman from Middle Belt, Nigeria (2)


4. Roast or bake instead of fry
.  For example, instead of frying your  “irish potatoes” bake it, if you do not have a stove and electricity, simply roast them over an open fire.

5. Cook your meals with little to no oil, but if you must, stick to olive oil and for those in Africa, coconut or peanut butter  ( groundnut) oils are easy to find and are fantastic. below is an example, I cooked this last night and did not use oil. Ingredient: organic chicken ( I hardly eat meat but when I cook it this is how I hook it up ), onion, spinach, pepper, garlic, salt and brown rice ( boiled).

© Yoknyam Dabale-Shabazz Yotti:Chamba Village woman of Middle-Belt, Nigeria (3)

6. If you are not active, excise regularly.

7. Drink a lot of water, if you do not like to drink plain water, you can always add drops of tamarind or lemon. 

8. Avoid “fast foods” burger, fries,etc. But if you are an addict, once a month fast food is okay. I know that many young people in Africa, especially in Nigeria consider eating at “Mr Biggies” a “civilized lifestyle” because that is what they see on western tv, I get the mentality,  but if you want to live long and have a healthy skin you must avoid fast food. Most of the food they sell are processed and genetically modified.
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9. Say no to sugar and sweets.
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If you have sugar rush, make sweets on your own with ingredients that are less harmful to your body. For example, I make banana bread a few times a year.
Ingredients all natural and organic:  wheat flour, brown sugar, butter, olive oil, vanilla extract, almond nuts, vegetarian brown eggs, gluten free baking powder, and of course ripened bananas.

© Yoknyam Dabale-Shabazz Yotti:Chamba Village woman of Middle-Belt, Nigeria (4)

© Yoknyam Dabale-Shabazz Yotti:Chamba Village woman of Middle-Belt, Nigeria (4)banana bread

 

10. Do not drink soft drinks ( soda, pop,etc)

they are empty calories, would make you break out and destroy your teeth.

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11. Do not cook with maggi, it is poison.I know that many Africans use this condiment, claiming it is indigenous to Africa, but it is actually not. And most importantly, it has ingredients that are harmful to your/our health for example, disodium guanylate.

 

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Additional Information

Acne Treatment

  • Wash your face with black soap ( or face wash of your choice ), pat your face dry with towel, using cotton balls or your fingers tips rub tea tree oil all over your face. Repeat this at least twice a day,
  • Drink  lots of room temperature water as always,

When you are on your period/cycle and you have breakouts. Drink hot water ( as you would tea ) with lots of lemon   See “Taking Care of Your Vagina is Important to Your Overall Health: Suggestions for Sisters.”© Yoknyam Dabale-Shabaz, Yotti:Bali village woman, Shea Butter Moisturizing Your Skin

Raw  organic shea butter ( they are mostly made in Africa, Ghana is one place that has a large production ) it prevents “ashy” dryness of the skin, burns, helps and maintain your silky beautiful black skin. This is the only thing I use, I have a smooth, even dark skin, from head to toes because I do not use hash chemicals in pursuit of healthy skin. If you do not like the natural smell of shea butter, you can mix it with scents of your choice.  For example, the picture above shows my final product. I mixed shea butter from Ghana and coconut oil from Middle-belt, Nigeria .

Learning About Africa: Step by Step Suggestions by a Nigerian Village Woman

“Can you build an identity without awareness?” Malin Falu ( broadcaster, Afro-Latina ). Falu asked an important question, many times the underrepresented are not aware of their margination because they have being in that position for generations. A number of uninformed Africans/ blacks on the continent and in the diaspora assume their subjugated position as the status quo. They are convinced that disproportionate unemployment,discrimination, poor living conditions,civil wars in Africa, lack of African representation on the global platform, and in world history are self inflicted and also they are results of Africans inferior “race.” Many Black/African people in contemporary times are not aware of their oppression. I often write about the importance of decolonizing the African mind individually and collectively.But sometimes I forget that not everyone is aware of the source of their second class citizenship. Below are  fews suggestions I hope they  assist you/us with the awakening process.

Early Civilization/ Africa the birth place of humanity and inventions  ( African History in General )

Religion 

Before Islam and Christianity were created,  Africans practiced African Traditional Religions (ATRs). To date on the continent and in diaspora, there are Africans that practice ATRs and many are reclaiming, unchaining themselves from the grip of “colonial religions” ( Islam and Christianity) and are going back to their roots.

  • African Religions and Philosophy by John S. Mbiti

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  • African Spirituality Forms Meanings and Expressions by Jacob K.Olupona
  • The history of the Islamic faith on the continent of Africa spans fourteen centuries. by Nehamia  Levtzion
  • Significations: Signs, Symbols, and Images in the Interpretation of Religion by Charles H. Long
  • Of Water and the Spirit by Malidoma Patrice Some
  • The Religious and Political power of African women. “Women of Zimbabwe as Keepers of Sacred Space”
  • A History of Christianity in Africa: From Antiquity to the Present by Elizabeth Allo Isichei
  • “Duke University Professor J. Lorand Matory discusses Voodoo and other African-inspired faiths”

Economics

  • George Ayittey: Africa’s cheetahs versus hippos
  • Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa by Dambisa Moyo
  • “Black Wall Street, Little Africa, Tulsa, Oklahoma 1921″ full version http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4IvFXPGYNA
  • How Europe Under Developed Africa by Walter Rodney

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10 Ways to Survive United States of America and Abroad in General

I was not born with a “silver spoon in my mouth” and I am eternally grateful that the gods and my ancestors  (Mwari, Kimpa Luh, Su ) did not chose that path for me. Because of my rural, village Yotti/Bali up bringing, I have bush knowledge.
Our day to day activities in the village were in of the themselves lessons on how to be self-sufficient. Granted life in rural space is not often glamours particularly in contemporary times when most of our resources are scarce because of natural disasters, governmental exploitation etc. The knowledge that I have sustains me as I pursuit my “formal” education abroad.

Contrary to what many Africans are fed with on mainstream media, living abroad is not easy. Many of us are simply trying to survive and you must have a strong backbone in order to be successful. If you are black/African things could be tougher for you compared to let say poor white Eastern Europeans that migrated to the US. In general you must have strength and wisdom to keep you going when things get difficult.

  1. Humility, this mostly applies to children of “wealthy” Africans in the diaspora who think they have “arrived”. It would be impossible for you to survive abroad, if you are not willing to get off your high horse and learn from other people in your new destination. The fact of the matter is, no one cares whether you came from money. What will matter much more to them is that you are black.
  2. Learn about the history and the roles  black/ African Americans played in building the US  and learn about the black /African contributions in other country that you currently live in.
    Vicissitudes Ring under water sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor in honor of enslaved African ancestors  thrown overboard, off the crowded slave ship Zong off the coast of Grenada

    Vicissitudes Ring under water sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor in honor of enslaved African ancestors thrown overboard, off the crowded slave ship Zong off the coast of Grenada

    For example  Sidis in India, Kaffir in Sri Lanka, Afrika kokenli Turkler in Turkey, Afro Cubans, African-Iraqis, Afro-Brazilians, Afro-Mexicans and Afro-Ecuadorians etc.This is important because it would help you have a healthy relationship with people of African origin.Many continental Africans have little to no historical knowledge of what has happened to their ancestors that were enslaved and or migrated as warriors to other parts of the world, centuries ago. A lot of continental Africans have the tendency to discredit diasporans because they believe they are not doing enough to earn wealth. I recall being told by a Nigerian woman at her church’s charity event that African Americans are lazy, she went further to say, “president Obama doesn’t have African American mentality, that is why he succeeded in life.” If the Nigerian immigrant knew her history she would know that African Americans made it possible for immigrants from all around the world to live in the US, they are constantly fighting for the equality of all people especially for people of African descent in a white dominated country. Despite hundreds of years of racism, African Americans have fought and accomplished what 160 million Nigerians in a country that is predominately black has not done with all the wealth ( human and mineral ) at their disposal.The Nigerian nation state is often in cohort with white power to subjugate its citizens. 

    African Americans built US white house

    African Americans built US white house

  3. As Paul Robeson would say “remain loyal to your convictions’ I would say stay faithful to your goals,do not be overwhelm by fast and materialistic life style that many people live. Think beyond here and now. Remind yourself that you are in the diaspora for a purpose, and therefore you have no business “uselessing” yourself.
  4. Attend African centered festivals/events. For example, in Pakistan Sheedi Mela have annual festival in honor of their African ancestors they, “gather at the shrine of Mangho Pir in Karachi to hold a sacred festival,”  in the US  there are several events such as National Black Theater Festival (NBTF) that attracts 60,000 black/African people,Juneteenth festival celebrates the end of slavery (June 19 ), Kwanzaa December 26-January 1 etc.This would provide you with opportunities to interact with Africans/ people of African descent and participate in keeping African cultures alive. To parents, your children would learn about their heritage and also see positive portrayal of African people. Research shows black children with strong African/black cultural identity do well in school.
  5. Exercise, it will help you stay in shape and focus mentally.Below are two ideas, African dance by Werrason congolese girls, and Black Girls Slim 
  6. Do for self, you can make your own shampoo, hair grease, etc.
  7. Speak up and don’t allow others to exploit you simply because you are black/African!
  8. Join /create groups that are meant to empower and enlighten you. Cultures in the western world are highly individualistic, so if you don’t have a support system it would be difficult for you to accomplish your goals. You have to be proactive in being part of a community, be pan-african and join hands with other black people to uplift each other.
  9. Leave within your means
  • Cook your own food, fast food is not healthy and it is mostly synthetic. That is to say it is man made with toxic additives that are cancer causing, the food does not digest properly so it sits in your stomach longer compared to natural food. This is one of the reasons why majority of Americans are obese and many Africans after few years in the diaspora they too become extremely fat. You can buy natural vegetables and food items at farmers market, ethnic food stores. If you can’t afford natural foods you could come together with others ( the power of collectivism, village style ) and put together some money then buy in bulk then share.
  • If you must buy new clothes, don’t buy anything on full price, there is always  sales. Personally I have been doing online shopping for years,they often have sales that are not available in stores, sometimes they have free shipping and handling.And if you don’t have a car this is a great way to shop!
  • Buy from thrift/second hand store, this is where they sell used books,electronics, magazines, tables, clothes, kitchen utensils etc. Many times you could find good quality things as cheap as 50 cents. You could even take bus trips to wealthy neighborhoods, their thrift stores are usually great.The things I would discourage  you from buying at thrift store are underwear, mattress, pillow and  fabric couch/sofa. You have to buy these things new for health reasons.
  • Avoid buying cheap food, they are not good for you. The companies that make majority of American foods are only interested in making money so your health is not a priority. For example, fake sugar, salt, flour are often mixed with real ingredients to increase quantity of the product. And they are sold very cheap, advertisements get you to think you are paying less for more but in reality,the food will killing you slowly.
  • Attend events/lectures that serve free food ( college/graduate students) this should be on your daily time table. This way when you get home tired, you don’t have to cook.
  • Take public transportation this is the cheapest way you can live in the diaspora. You don’t have to bother about gas money, car insurance and monthly car payment. You will live a responsible environmental friendly lifestyle and it opens up a different world for you. You would get to meet people of all works of life. For example if you live in Boston,Massachusetts majority (black, white, Asian etc)  of the population takes public transportation, while in small town e.g Winston Salem, North Carolina it is predominately African Americans and Mexicans.
  • Do not get credit card, the interest rate is high many Americans live the rest of their lives paying it off. Live within your means, I have never had a credit card and I intent to keep it that way.

10.  Ask questions, if you don’t understand something ask for clarification. Yotti/Bali people of Northwest Cameroon and Middle-Belt Nigeria have a proverb that goes,“a person that ask questions will never get lost.”

Additional Information 

1.“The Monsanto menace takes over”

2. “Food Additives to Avoid”

3. How to Eat to Live  by Elijah Muhammad

4.How Cuban Villagers Learned They Descended From Sierra Leone

5.“National Black Theatre Festival to present more than 40 shows” Generates over $14 million dollars

6.“Arab Racism against Black People in Iraq”

7.How to live without a credit card

Interracial/Mixed Race Relationships: The Delusion of a Post-Racial World

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I often hear the phrase,

“I don’t see color, I only see people” or

“love is colorless” or “

you can’t help who you love” or

“in a few years we are all going to be mixed and it would be one world [ie. mix marriages will eliminate conflicts]” or “

there is only one race, the human race” etc.

These claims, for the most part, are based on feelings and lack proper context.

In the past, interracial relationships were outlawed and considered unnatural by the supposed “superior race” (white people) that did not want to “contaminate” their gene pool. [1] The legal sanctions have gone away and interracial marriages are much more common nowadays. In the USA, research indicates a generational shift–younger people are more accepting of relationships across the color line. Some have pointed to the seeming increasing tolerance to argue that the world is becoming more “colorblind”  or “post-racial.”

There has been progress.

African Americans are no longer being lynched or water hosed or attacked by vicious dogs. Black people fought that battle and won. And, yes, societies around the world have become more accepting of these relationships. I do believe that people of different races can develop loving relationships. For example, I have read stories of lasting interracial marriages like that of Ghanaian Nana Joe Appiah and his British wife, Margaret; James (African American) and Grace Lee (Chinese-American) Boggs in the US. And I have friends that are in interracial relationships. But what many people are missing is that just because you are dating/married to someone of a different race, it does not mean that you and the people that look like you would be accepted by that race. Indeed, your mate might not accept people who look like you. Ghetto-intellectual, Harvard trained anthropologist and Africana studies professor, Kwame Zulu Shabazz states in the interview below,“Acceptance on an individual level is not the same thing as accepting a group.”

To claim that sexual relationships or producing “mixed”/”biracial” babies signals the end of racism is naive at best and, at worst, it suggests the interracial couple’s unwillingness to tackle structural racism and oppression. These relationships are certainly not a proof that the walls of institutional racism have fallen.

Racism is alive and well. Racists can and do have sexual relationships and make babies with a member of the race that s/he hates. As Brazilian professor Joao Reis puts it,  although race is frequently a barrier to marriage “race is not often an obstacle to sex.” According to professor Henry Louis Gates Jr, “sex is colorblind.”

Justin Volpe, the cop that racially profiled, brutalized and sodomized Abner Louima a Haitian American had African-American girlfriend. Volpe’s girlfriend defended him claiming that he could not be racist because they were planning to get married. Thomas Jefferson, a slave-owning “Founding Father” and American president raped Sally Hemmings, an enslaved African woman (his wife’s half sister) and had children with her. Segregationists and US senator Strom Thurmond had children with African woman in secret while publicly promoting politices that would further oppress African-Americans ( Image below ).

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Actor Terrence Howard is on the bandwagon of interracial relationships, he calls it ,” a way forward….morally right.”  Howard reported being called “nigger” and “monkey” by his ex-wife, Michelle Ghent. Ghent allegedly told Howard that she would not make nigger babies with him (image below).

terrence-howard-052010-3In the UK, Lauren Beckham, a mother of four, reportedly screams racist slurs at her mixed-race children (below).

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A black woman of Jamaican descent complains that her husband calls her “Nigger Bitch,” during sex.

We have come a long way, but how far have we come?

One way of assessing racial progress is to “follow the money.” The wealth gap between whites and non-whites is still wide ( and widening ). Countries that have higher racial mixing are not exempt from this disparity. In fact, those with “mix blood” generally have more economic opportunity than Black people. For example, in the “New” South Africa, whites who are 9.5% of the population control 60% of the country’s wealth and the more indigenous “African” you look the less wealth you have. In Brazil even though the country has a large number of mixed race people, white Brazilians dominate the economy and the poorest Brazilians tend to be the darker people of African descent. The US is often referred to as a “melting pot,” but the reality on grounds is that the pot is just boiling. White Americans control most of the wealth. Globally, the more indigenous or Black you are, the less opportunity you have.

What is the way forward?

1.  Healthy self-esteem and self-love. Folks that say, “I would be more appreciated by other race…” are missing an important element of being fully human. If you hate yourself and others that look like you, it would be difficult for others to love you!

2.  In terms of economics, buy from other African American /black businesses. Africans/blacks need to regain their/our consciousness and start supporting businesses in our neighborhoods. If we don’t buy from our “peoples” it would be difficult to reduce poverty in our communities.

3. Set a good example to our children  and expose them to  healthy African/ American/ black relationships.That way our children would learn to treat their partners with love and respect. Research shows that most African- Americans marry each other, this debunked the idea that blacks are not marrying each other. Keep up the good work.

4. Empowering each other within our communities that way we would not look else where for validation. As Jill Scott puts it, we need to hold on unto our African culture in our relationships.

Notes:

[1] One important exception to strict ban on “miscegenation” was 1950s case, Loving vs. Virginia.

Additional Information 

1. Depiction of interracial relationship in US history.

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2. Nigerian husband ( Sambo Davis ) and Indian wife (Sheeba Rani ) shared their experience of tough life in India and the extreme racism that they face daily. Mr. Davis expresses, “It’s because I am from Africa, I am a Nigerian. I think Indians see us as inferior.”

3. Rachel Sullivan, a white woman shares that many of her  friends and family members are racists and treated her African-American boyfriend poorly.http://loveisntenough.com/2007/10/08/some-of-my-best-friends-and-family-are-racists/

4.“Statistics on Interracial Relationships”

5. Academic paper, ” ‘Two Nations”? Race and Economic Inequality in South Africa Today “

6. The rape of enslaved African American women by enslavers white men, this is such a fascinating book by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Wench listen to the interview of the author here‘Wench’ Explores Intimate Relationships Between Slaves And Masters

7. Mariah Carey’s mother ( white ) talks about her experiences married to a black man (Mariah’s father ). For example, her family disowned her and they had a hard time raising their mixed race  children in America.

8.The owner of Los Angeles NBA team Clippers,  Donald Sterling  a notorious anti black semitic expressed to his  Afro-mexican girlfriend that he hates African Americans despite the fact that they make him rich and he is very much  against her making friends with them in public. Listen to the audio of their heated conversation below:

 

9. People that don’t see race…

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Please note: I do not hold copyright on any of the pictures and videos.

Celebrating and Rebuilding Africa: Zeresenay Alemseged Ethiopian Scientist Who Unearthed World’s Oldest Fossil

Africans/People of African descent/Blacks on the continent and in the diaspora, I believe, can maintain (or regain) our collective self-confidence is when we constantly see wholistic representations of our lives ( negative and positive). Mainstream media feeds the world mostly with negative images of Africans, so I think its necessary to provide more positive depictions of Black life. We need to see Africans achieving, contributing to our communities and the world. Currently it seems as if the only time you see Africans depicted in a positive light is when white people are giving us handouts and promoting their “charity” work. This imagery stamps in the psyche of Africans/black people, especially our youth, that white benevolence and charity equals Black salvation.

On a personal journey to increase my “knowledge-of-self” and to embrace my African-ness, I immerse myself, on regular basis, reading alternative media outlets such as Sahara Reporters, The Herald Zimbabwe, Black Agenda Report,New Africa, Aspire, Democracy Now, TVONE, Al jazeera, Black Star News etc. My goal with this series of posts is to share some of my findings. It is my libation (prayer) that we all find strength and courage in the struggles and accomplishments of our beautiful people. For this installment, I have selected Zeresenay “Zeray” Alemseged

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 Alemseged is an Ethiopian scientist (paleoanthropologist ) that researches the origin of mankind.He earned his first degree from Addis Ababa University, worked at the Ethiopian National Museum, later he travelled to Paris for his Master’s in paleontology at the University of Montpellier and PhD at the University of Paris.

In 2006 Alemseged unearth a ground breaking 3.3 million years old fossil of a three years old baby, whom he calls  “Selam”. This discovery did not only make history in Africa but in the science field in general. Alemseged finding draws us back to the fact that, indeed Africans are the parents of humanity. He is quoted saying, “it’s in Africa that you find the earliest evidence for human ancestors,upright-walking traces, even the first technologies in form of stone tools. So we all are Africans, and welcome home.” Alemseged  taught in universities and researches around the world. Every year he leads a group of scientists to his home country and works with scientists in Ethiopia, who he believes in the future they would be the voice of African paleoanthropology.
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Additional Information

1. Alemseged shares his work on TED

www.ted.com/talks/zeresenay_alemseged_looks_for_humanity_s_roots.html

2. How Ethiopian Scientist Unearth 3.3-Million-Year-Old Child

http://www.africanglobe.net/africa/ethiopian-scientist-unearth-3-3-million-year-child/

3. Interview With Paleoanthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged

http://www.tadias.com/11/17/2009/regarding-ardi-lucy-selam-interview-with-zeresenay-alemseged/

 Note: I do not hold copyrights of the images.

Celebrating and Rebuilding Africa: President Joyce Banda of Malawi

President-Joyce-Banda-donates-fertilizer-to-Chiefs-of-the-eastern-region-in-Balaka-on-Sunday.-pic.-govati-Nyirenda-MANA.

Africans/People of African descent/Blacks on the continent and in the diaspora, I believe, can maintain (or regain) our collective self-confidence is when we constantly see wholistic representations of our lives ( negative and positive). Mainstream media feeds the world mostly with negative images of Africans, so I think its necessary to provide more positive depictions of Black life. We need to see Africans achieving, contributing to our communities and the world. Currently it seems as if the only time you see Africans depicted in a positive light is when white people are giving us handouts and promoting their “charity” work. This imagery stamps in the psyche of Africans/black people, especially our youth, that white benevolence and charity equals Black salvation.

On a personal journey to increase my “knowledge-of-self” and to embrace my African-ness, I  immerse myself, on regular basis, reading alternative media outlets such as Sahara Reporters, The Herald Zimbabwe, Black Agenda Report,New AfricaAspire, Democracy NowTVONE, Al jazeera, Black Star News etc. My goal with this series of posts is to share some  of my findings. It is my libation (prayer) that we all find strength and courage in the struggles and accomplishments of our beautiful people. For this first installment, I have selected President Joyce Banda of Malawi, not because she is perfect or that I agree with everything she does ( I disagree with most of her foreign politics esp with aid donors ), but, rather, because I think she is making an important contribution in Malawi and African progress:

1.Banda has made an earnest attempt to prioritize the voice of the underserved, especially those in rural communities as they are the backbone of Malwawian indigenous cultures and food production. Quoting Banda:

“In this modern 21st century, an ideal village should have good access to quality housing, roads, water, food security through subsidized farm inputs and where there are no subsidies people should have access to farm input loans to enable them to grow cash crops , own cattle which transforms the social and economic status of our citizens.”

2. She has made impressive reductions on government spending.

3. She is participating in building Pan-African bridges with other African leaders.

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Additional information

1. Follow her on facebook “Her Excellency Dr Joyce Banda” :www.facebook.com/pages/Her-Excellency-Dr-Joyce-Banda/325799237543309

2. Listen to her wonderful interview on Aljazeera :http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/south2north/2013/05/20135171428575590.html