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Ancient Egyptian Wisdom ... Daily Practice

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Daily Dispatches from Kemet
Historian Jabari Osaze will be posting daily descriptions of the Center for the Restoration of Ma'at's annual trip to Kemet (Egypt). He's has been leading tours of historic sites in Kemet for over a decade. Follow along to retrace the ancient footsteps of our African ancestor who gave civilization to the world.
It’s approximately 11 AM and we’ve just arrived in Cairo, Egypt. We are all anxious to begin our odyssey searching for the wondrous achievements of out Kemetic (Ancient Egyptian) ancestors. This year, 16 people are partaking in “The Mysteries of Ancient Egypt Revealed” tour sponsored by the Center for the Restoration of Ma’at and the African Genesis Institute. Today’s simple activities include checking in at the Le Meridian Hotel which overlooks the magnificent pyramids on the Giza Plateau and a dinner cruise on the Nile River.

It’s fair to say that our 10 hour flight has left us in need of a good night sleep. However, each and every person on our trip has also expressed excitement over tomorrow’s visit to see the Great Pyramid (pyramids called mr or mrkhut by the Ancient Egyptians). Viewing the monument from the hotel with their own eyes has only left them with more questions. Even our travelers with mobility issues are considering descending the narrow long passage into the burial chamber of the third mrkhut on the plateau.
This is my tenth year of leading tours to Egypt. I am quite concerned about reports of the looting of sites all throughout Egypt. The revolutionary actions in Egypt over the course of the last year and a half have also allowed opportunist to both desecrate and steal ancient items. Archaeological sites all over Egypt have reported looting and even artifacts like the bodies of King Tutankhamen’s grand-parents have been desecrated. I wonder whether I’ll be able to receive more information on how extensive this problem is. As groups of people of African descent like ours are continuing to visit important sites on the African continent to look for our ancient footsteps, I can only hope that these sites will remain intact until we’ve become powerful enough to assert the importance of our homeland. These issues have left my head spinning. That’s enough for now. Tomorrow I’ll recount our tour of the magnificent mrkhuti (pyramids) on the Giza plateau.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

UNCONDITIONAL: Multi-Media Art Exhibit & Performance Showcase

Uniting with our creative essence is the Key to our Holistic Restoration as individuals and as a Global Community.

Inundated with stereotypical, gender-degrading and culturally warped images and
perspectives on networks such as BET, the internet, movies, journalism, institutions,
etc…the intent of grassroots organizations Savaé inc and FreeLaavéSól’s is to
magnify the ingenious creativity of richly pigmented persons of the Diaspora.
"UNCONDITIONAL: An Art Exhibit and Performance Showcase, March 10th, 2012, will highlight the extraordinarily multidimensional artists as they artistically delve into what they know are the true fibers of the dynamic tapestry of Black Love—how Black Love is expressed for ourselves, our families and significant others, our legendary history, our domestic and global community.

"Unconditional" is inspired by the numerous requests for a display of images that exemplify positive and romantic reflections of Black Love. The selected artists will showcase their diverse styles through images that depict the true essence of LOVE and how it strengthens our understanding of acceptance, commitment and community. The images will represent how love binds and unifies us...Black Love is often misrepresented in mainstream media. We want to highlight the beauty of nurturing and loving relationships, while exploring the complexities of Black Love in today’s society. The ultimate goal of the Unconditional Exhibit is to create a space for and encourage dialogue about the importance of cultivating positive reflections of Black Love." -Savaé Inc

Black Love headlining the discussion opens the floodgates wherein founders Petula Payne and Fatima Friday delve into the at times unspoken and hidden aspects of Black Love in order to , deconstruct, decipher and synthesize the means for fortifying ourselves such that we can consequently lay the foundation for a healthy, vivacious and optimal future. The legacy of the ones who preceded us must be redeemed and honored.

This event entails what we Africans shall return to (Sankofa) in order to move forward and to ultimately ascend. The exhibit will navigate the roots of Black love as it is expressed from the perspectives of sculptors, fine artists, photographers, musicians, dancers and choreographers, spoken word artists, and vocalists. The pertinent cultivation of a dialogue between artists and the community accentuates the critical nature of Savaé inc and FreeLaavéSól’s desire to forge an artistically and intellectually-centered community that will continue to support one another in upbuilding of supportive collaborative-based artistic and healing-oriented endeavors.

The energetic vibration of African drums is just one magnificent element that
the Black Love Art Exhibit and Performance Show case will masterfully engage and
revitalize everyone with.

This multifaceted event will remind us of the reality that each of us are literally the stewards of our own destiny. Creativity--the thought, act and purposeful manifestation--has the power to foster a clairvoyant sense of perpetual optimism. Optimistically envisioning our lives--at each present moment and what we foresee in our futures, drastically improves how we see our lives-- both as individuals and as a global collective.

Creativity offers the energy burst of faith wherein what we THINK we can attain becomes less of a figment of our imaginations and an actual holograph of our Divine Expression. That Omnipotent expression we each possess is love. Love is UNCONDITIONAL for it resurrects the sacred essence of our legacy...the legacy of our ancestors.

Venue: Saturday March 10th, 2012, 6:30-9:00 pm. Free Candy 905 Atlantic Ave 2nd Fl, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Wise Sage Amenemope

Throughout my life experience, Divine clairvoyance has activated my spiritual molecules in that, I have an infinitely deep understanding of the dynamic variables that constitute this present day/time and each precious moment. Essentially, I am finally beginning to understand that though many may like to reiterate that the language, culture, tradition, and other facets of African persons, have been stripped, stolen, warped, diminished, etc, that no one and nothing can eradicate attributes of the soul that are intrinsically Divine and immortal. Thus, asking for guidance to tune in to the true intent upon reading the translations of ancient texts—both that of the Instructions of Amenemope and Biblical Proverbs—will unlock that Divine meaning and convey not what one wishes to hear, nor that of autosuggestion, but maakheru (true of voice)…the voice of the Supreme, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient Creator. Therefore, it is also not surprising nor ironic to realize that Maakheru is one of the foremost mentions Baba Amenemope references in his instructions. Lastly, in this comparative analysis of two pertinent texts, Amenemope written during the Rammeside Era 1300-1075 BC and Biblical Proverbs written 931 BC which asserts that Proverbs was written after The Instructions of Amenemope, I will juxtapose content from both texts and offer commentary to stimulate further exploration and discussion into the meanings of these wisdom teachings.

In the Introductory phrases of the Instructions of Amenemope, wisdom says “Hoermmaakheru is his true name.” Proverbs “1:1. The parables of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel…1:2. To know wisdom, and instruction Implication of Solomon as the wisest and maakheru—true of voice Hoerm where Heru or Horus is derived even Horem from Horemakhet. Instructions of Amenemope: “The beginning of the instruction about life…The guide for well-being…All the principles of official procedure.” When once the pricinciples are grasped, i.e. the principles of ma’at, the doctrine to live accordingly is but a consequent manifestation, is related to “ Proverbs 1:3. To understand the words of prudence: and to receive the instruction of doctrine, justice, and judgment, and equity”

Baba Amenemope “To know how to refute the accusation of one who made it… And to send back a reply to the one who wrote” addressing the origin of the malaise, deviation and the proliferation thereof in order to ascend from regressing in infantile states of retaliation, eye for an eye, egoistical approaches of reacting to resolve situations of wrongdoing… Related to

“Proverbs 1:4. To give subtilty to little ones, to the young man knowledge and understanding.” As stated in the instructions of Amenemope, to “reply to the one who wrote” the “accusation” is to address his lack of understanding, your wisdom offers poise, compassion and humility in the way in which you address the matter of another’s deviation as it states in Proverbs “1:5. A wise man shall hear, and shall be wiser: and he that understandeth shall possess governments.” Possessing governments imply law and order, balance, reflecting back to the priciples subtly asserted in the Instructions of Amenemope To set one straight on the paths of life…And make him prosper on earth…To let his heart settle down in its chapel.” A “steer” is really a seer in that the instructions of Amenemope, “As one who steers him clear of evil…To save him from the talk of others…As one who is respected in the speech of men” and Proverbs “1:6. “He shall understand a parable and the interpretation, the words of the wise, and their mysterious sayings” essentially says that the wise advisement of the seer, the intuitively sound mind of the guide teaches the aspirant, inundated by the external/environment vices around him, to harmonize with the vibration of Righteous action, to know real from unreal, right from wrong. This behavior, practiced first in thought, cannot be refuted by the observance of others because the authenticity of truth is perceived by action and not superficial postures and projections.

The author of Proverbs made a very grave misstep in the interpretation of Amenemope’s instructions, misconstruing for their own benefit to dominate and control the people with fear, inciting them to pursue acts of revenge and mockery, taking it upon themselves with arrogant and incompassioned acts of judgment when as Amenempome says, that we should leave our criticisms behind and surrender to the Divine conveyence of the the Most High when he stated
“1:7. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Amenemope actually states: “If you spend your life with these things in your heart…Your children shall behold them.” Whether your heart is as light as the feather of Ma’at or your heart is bogged down with sentiments of resentment, wrath, infuriation, etc because of the wrongdoings of others, that energy will manifest itself in the reproductive structures of our parents, the womb and almost certainly express itself as an aspect of that offspring. That offspring, with the intuitive guidance of Divinity must then heed the instructions and practices of Wisdom, “Sharpen her/his eyes and tune her/his ears so that she/he will know what they see and understand what they hear”—as stated by scholars such as Chike Akua, Anthony Browder and Jabari Osaze. This Very one prolific statement in The Instructions of Amenemope clearly defines the nature of the African mind versus that of the European mind. To twist information such that the message conforms to egoistical principlse is far from what Amenemope and other wise counselors have ascertained.

Before Proverbs asserts “1:33. But he that shall hear me, shall rest without terror, and shall enjoy abundance, without fear of evils” which is very similar to the most recent quote included from Amenemope’s instructions. This immense difference must be addressed because it sets the tone, since these differences appear at the very introduction of each book. Several verses in Proverbs institute underlying gestures of a Supreme Deity that expresses such intense disappointment in the unrighteous, God purports his disapproval with the following statements: “ 1:24. Because I called, and you refused: I stretched out my hand, and there was none that regarded…1:25. You have despised all my counsel, and have neglected my reprehensions….1:26. I also will laugh in your destruction, and will mock when that shall come to you which you feared…1:27. When sudden calamity shall fall on you, and destruction, as a tempest, shall be at hand: when tribulation and distress shall come upon you:…1:28. Then shall they call upon me, and I will not hear: they shall rise in the morning, and shall not find me…1:29. Because they have hated instruction, and received not the fear of the Lord…1:30. Nor consented to my counsel, but despised all my reproof….

These statements in Proverbs is quite appalling because say he, the messenger of the Lord, these quotes are akin to that of a spoiled child engaged fervently in a tantrum because she/he has not gotten their way. The Instructions of Amenemope advises that when the Righteous teacheth and speaketh, she/he need not await a favorable outcome from the aspirant because, even in the teachings of Martial Arts—the ways of the Warrior/Spiritual Initiate, temperance is the art of detaching from those things that create tumultuous bouts of fluctuations in the heart and Spirit of Seekers of the Way. Ayi Kwei Armah, the pre-eminent author of Two Thousand Seasons, The Healers and others has also attributed attributes of the wise as those who neutralize the enticing antics of impulsivity, haughtiness, thirst-quenching endeavors of the ego, etc. So, though Proverbs speak of beholding sentiments of fear of, to and for the Most High God, Proverbs speak of honoring the principles of Righteousness, of Ma’at—the feminine principle who sailed within the Solar Boat of Ra as Ptah created the Neteru…the principle of Truth, Righteousness, Reciprocity, Balance, Harmony, Order, and Justice. Thus, this aforementioned dis-similarity between Proverbs and The Instructions of Amenemope is obvious in Chapter 4 Amenemope’s advocacy that “the truly temperate man sets himself apart…He is like a tree grown in a sunlit field…But it flourishes, it doubles its yield…It stands before its owner…Its fruit is…something sweet, its shade is pleasant…And it reaches its end as a statue.” Whereas, “The hot-headed man in the temple… Is like a tree grown indoors…Only for a moment does it put forth roots… It reaches its end in the carpentry shop…It is floated…away far from its place…Or fire is its funeral pyre.

Proverbs also states “ 1:31. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and shall be filled with their own devices….1:32. The turning away of little ones shall kill them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.” While the true wisdom of Amenemope’s Instructions actually warns us that “The evildoer, throw him the canal… And he will bring back its slime. Sadly, the Proverbian translators were so sequestered with feelings of ‘let me show them what will happen if…’ that they missed one of the most vital insights of Amenemopes’s instructions. That, one cannot extract goodness from evil if one is so adamantly fixated on constantly magnifying, criticizing, and punishing those befallen with the desire to gratify their animalistic indulgences. Sadly enough, this Biblical interpretation is not only symbolically implemented in our contemporary ‘courts of justice’, the notion of punishment versus that of rehabilitation for those who have committed some of the most agregious crimes, (perdition, purgatory) are sentenced to imprisonment and further immersed into lethal acts of violence. So, the question is, is a person, upon their release back into society from serving time, better or exponentially worse than before they were locked up? Well, the statistics most certainly reports that many times, criminals of this society and system tend to be second third and even fourth degree offenders—each time, the heinousness of the crime increases. Is that what Amenemope advised that we refrain from…is that what Biblical Proverbs advise that we entertain? In which society do inhabitants exist in non-calimitous versus hellish conditions—African or European societies?

Furthermore, chapter 2 of Amenemope’s Instructions states:” Lift him up, give him your hand…And leave him the hands of god…Fill his gut with your own food…That he may be sated and ashamed…Something else of value in the heart of God… Is to stop and think before speaking.” Which progresses as these teachings are found in the context of other wise practitioners who have stated “Give yourself to the one most high and keep thyself for the Divine.” It is quite obvious that Amenemope does not have to insinuate that the righteous attune their thoughts and behaviors to the thoughts and behaviors of the Supreme, Omnicient Creator. Which is to shortly conclude that as Highly Pigmented Melinated People whose pinenal glands are not calcified, our Udjats (Third Eye) is Clairvoyant, so much so, that we know that the Defining characteristic of Wisdom and the wise is knowledge and understanding that s/he who is great, the Divine, pervades as the subatomic structure of all things and thus beholds the mechanism, though seemingly unfathomable, to correct the missteps and deviation of all entities. Hence, why in Chapter 3 Anemope further constitutes righteousness and Divinity as the capability to refrain from these behaviors: “Do not get into a quarrel with the argumentative man…Nor incite him with words…Proceed cautiously before an opponent…And give way to an adversary…Sleep on it before speaking…For a storm come forth like fire in hay is…The hot-headed man in his appointed time…May you be restrained before him…Leave him to himself…And God will know how to answer him.”

Baba Amenenope also states is chapter 6: “Desire, then, to make yourself prosper…And take care for the Lord of All…Do not trample on the furrow of someone else…Their good order will be profitable for you. Gluttony, crabs in a barrel, higher leverage of CEO’s with billion dollar bonuses while ‘minute’ workers are defamed with the loss of their employment, employability, and worst, their violation of their promissory notes—their pensions… These entities have not “Take care not to topple over the boundary marks of the arable land…Not fearing that you will be brought to court…Man propitiates God by the might of the Lord…When he sets straight the boundaries of the arable land

Chapter 7: “Do not set your heart upon seeking riches…For there is no one who can ignore Destiny and Fortune…Do not set your thoughts on external matters…For every man there is his appointed time.” Strenuous straining of the mine for attainment—whether that attainment is perceived in the form of material wealth or spiritual refinement. This prophetic passage communicates the cunning impact of extremism on either side of the spectrum. Such that, hyperstimulation can reverse the process of enlightenment and lead one into the chambers of fanaticism, while complete indulgence in extroversion can also create fanatical deviants. Thus, in chapter 6: “Better is bread when the mind is at ease…Than riches with anxiety” and in chapter 7: “Do not exert yourself to seek out excess…And your wealth will prosper for you.”

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Closure of The Slave Theatre is NOT an Option

The Slave Theatre is more than a building with a base and four walls; this preeminent institution, founded by the Honorable Judge John L. Phillips, aka “The Kung-fu Judge,” is an iconic representation, historically spearheaded by culturally-conscious, community and family-oriented persons of the African Diaspora. In the late 1980s early 1990s, organizers of the Slave Theatre strategically fostered dynamically relevant programs, symposiums, lectures, events, and forums, to name a few. The artistic and intellectual versatility Judge Phillips offered with this imperative space, generated positively progressive influences within the predominantly Afro-Caribbean communities in Brooklyn, New York. These individuals became so profusely versed with knowledge of their African Origins, their activism spanned not just the boroughs; they became global visionaries—traveling to Africa (Egypt and Ghana) with Dr. Yosef Ben Jochannan and other renowned scholars. Like scholastic leaders Dr. Ben, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Ali & Helen Salahuddein—co-founders of the D’zertclub: African Genesis Institute—Judge Phillips had the intuitive foresight that charged him to create a space he knew and African persons knew was critical then as it is even more so today for the empowerment, purification, healing, and holistic collaboration of persons of African Descent. It is the thorough reflection of his clarity, his vision, his mission, his extraordinary execution and the immensely constructive impact his creativity has had within NYC, that ignites the fervor to do everything possible to resurrect life back into the Slave Theatre.

Middle and High School Educator and Entrepreneur Sandra John nostalgically remembers the event held at the Slave Theatre after the Release of Nelson Mandela. “The Slave Theatre was an extremely effective establishment because it instilled a sense of pride, a knowingness of who you are. You felt connected to your people. During that time, there were a lot more interactions in the streets. People made eye contact and stopped to have conversations about how to make our communities better, our children, various services like counseling and legal aid. I felt like I had a true extended family because my family and I along with other families, grandparents, attended events at the theatre at least twice a week and even during the weekends. I remember the internal environment of the theatre; the life force energy was powerful because the images and writings reflected so many aspects of African people.”

Like Sandra John, young people and adults alike are crying out for a platform, a place of refuge, where communal efforts can arise again. As of now, on Tuesday evenings, West African Dance Classes are taught by professional Dancer, Lycist and Educator Empress Idama on a contribution-based system; on Thursday evenings, film screenings and discussions are held and on Sundays, a Rastafari Upliftment concession is held. How will the resuscitation of The Slave Theatre further aid and benefit the development of African-American, Caribbean and Latino communities? Besides the exponential growth and evolvement of the programs currently hosted at the theatre, young people will play a consciously active role in combating the stereotypes and functions of systems and persons who terrorize and subjugate them to falter into criminal behaviors. Their artistic gifts will be nurtured and scaffolded by adult educators and leaders of various fields—both artistically and academically. Young people will receive training in music, martial arts, African history, science and mathematics to name a few. The expertise and guidance of aware adults who know that cultivating a youth’s identity determines that youth’s self-esteem and consequent contributions to their education, their families, community and our global schema, further highlights why The Slave Theatre needs to be revamped and why its Closure or change of Guardianship is NOT an Option!

Though sparingly beneficial, the Media has done a grave injustice and disservice to young people of African Descent. Too often, young people of African Descent are subliminally affected by information that degrades them. If they are not viewed as pursuing activities lined with criminal intent, they are purposefully displayed as ignorant and unlearned, disrespectful to their parents and friends, etc. Essentially, they are rarely depicted as entities of value like their White, Asian, and Latino counterparts. Individuals of different ethnic groups represent identities that are complete because of the vast array of depictions viewed within the media…and they tend to stand second to none whenever their skill—intellectually or otherwise—is magnified.

The Slave Theatre, as a functional unit, will train young people and adults alike to utilize technology to show their intrinsic gifts in a light that, instead of denigrating themselves, their family, culture, history, and ancestors, resonates in the light and magnetism of their true character—powerful and bright. These true aspects showing them in multifaceted lights, will eventually eradicate the false stereotypes that have fueled the behaviors—low performance in schools, violence, imprisonment, etc.

To support the revitalization of The Slave Theatre, call 718.669.9992 or 347.465.0926 and come to the “Redeem-Restore-Reclaim” celebration on October 22nd, 2011 with a $10 donation—enjoy Vegan food, partake in an exciting raffle drawing and prepare for several dynamite performances. Start time 7 pm. Closure of The Slave Theatre is NOT an option.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Sacred Essence of Wombmen Part I

The arts…what a powerful concept to ponder. Dance…music…sculptures…architecture…science—yes… science. Our ancestors’ keen, vast and ingenious mastery of the sciences—metaphysics, astrology, mathematics, to name a few—from Imhotep to Lady Peseshet… Dr. Ben Carson to Ma’a Bowman, illumine and magnify one very pronounced truth. We, African peoples, have an intrinsic propensity--from our spiritually formatted genetic legacy-- to hear, know and innerstand the multifaceted ways in which art expresses elements of our Divine Legacy. In spite of systems created to disenfranchise, dehumanize and annihilate us, the spirit of our proclivity to traverse ALL challenges, is persistent and pervasive through our art. We are the very breadth of our ancestors’ mastery, for their paramount intent functions as the core of our ingenuity as artists.

We are all artists. The question however is, what inspires you to create? What catalyzes and
propels you to study, research, question, and acquire information? What is the gravitational substance you, the artist, possess, that enables you to exemplify an aptitude of artistic creativity? How does that artistic manifestation grandiosely resonate within the hearts, minds and spirits of all persons inhabiting this fertile, viable, enriching and nourishing earth?

African persons throughout the world are like planets that give birth to immeasurable galaxies of viable procreating entities of light. In this lyrical collage, I am paying tribute to the womb—the loving, healing, birthing, homeostatic womb of African women artists—their challenges, their art, but more importantly, the wisdom embedded in their journeys…the wisdom within their cardiac rhythm, the wisdom of the spirit molecules of oxygenation that fuel their cerebral hemispheres, the sage-like wisdom that stimulates the pineal gland that clairvoyantly taps into their ancestral spheres…motivating them to persevere.

African women artists—Tamara Tunie, Ntozake Shange, Dr. Glory Van Scott, Carol Maillard, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, and the legendary Ruby Dee, are multifaceted artists with a collective purpose. The sacred essence of their divine wombman-hood has led them up the path as artists whose mission has been to restore the true identities of African women. Their voice, their presence in the global media, their fervor to exterminate stereotypes, has served as an ensemble that strive to keep us connected to our roots. The activism entrenched in their artistic contributions, continues to perpetuate the fortitude of our ancestral legacy. As a wombman of African origin, seeing representations of and studying the art of women who exude the sacred essence of my ancestral mothers, has nurtured, protected, and heightened my sense of self…my identity as a proud yet humble, brilliant and pioneering wombman. They redeemed, resurrected and revolutionized African beauty, African Dance, African thought, African literature, African values and principles through their creative arts.
In spite of the multitude of obstacles these phenomenal women have endured and continue to surpass, they are steadfast as uncompromising vessels of transformation and ascension—using their art to reinforce that we should never forget the greatness of who we are and from whom and where we came.

In this intimate space at the Riverside Theatre in Harlem, the energy of this historic moment created a fusion of levitation beneath the soles of my feet as each sister artist expressed the relationship they shared with each powerful art form they have mastered. Fortunately, despite several prejudices, their resilience and undeniable artistic power has successfully been exposed in mainstream media. Legendary artist—actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist, and activist--Ruby Dee passionately and emphatically shared with us, as she does with such great poise, why art is the key to our liberation. She emphatically stated, “is there any greater power than it is to BE? We have something we don’t quite yet know how to use—we come from that ultimate power! Demons came in, subverted our attention—we forgot who we were—that we are somebody.” Divine. “The power is in each of us. We started feeling our greatness instead of knowing WHY we were! We are the stabilizers of the nation;” we are here “to balance” the scales from unrighteousness to righteousness. Enthralling are mama Ruby Dee’s words because this wombman has lived through so many generations as an African in America where she, like we, have been subjugated by the “Demons” of masterful deviation. Nevertheless, how can I resoundingly put forth the beaming radiance and joy my heart feels knowing our propensity to withstand so much grief, strife, insanity, disruption, corruption, demolition and still create the most brilliant, the most magnificent and astonishing art forms to grace existence?

Ntozake Shange, playwright, poet, author of the renowned Choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf explains that “struggle itself is the fulcrum of art—what you have to write about…” Sister Ntozake’s sentiments ring and reverberate out of the primordial waters of Nu because writing has been and will forever be my saving grace…from despondency, neurological dysfunctions, physiological diseases, the faith of Spirit to supersede the visage of a world of disillusionment. Writing is the tool I use to communicate with my higher self. The initial frenetic, neurotic, and exasperating symptoms I experience from discomfort, angst, and past traumas, transform my being into a state of stillness—I am able to deeply process my emotions, their origin, the stimuli, and profoundly resolve any crisis through my writing and deeply spiritual communion with the spirit world. Writing is also expansive; I get to dive in to the most imaginative recesses of the universe within my mind. It’s the due process that we all should, in one aspect or another, partake in.

Ma’at’s symbol is a balance scale. Whenever your equilibrium is out of order, you must consider utilizing a process that is effective and builds efficiency in order to deflect the potential for reacting in the same counterintuitive mannerisms to future situations—mannerisms that hinder and alter your progression to heightened spiritual ascension. This mastery exemplifies the artist. As sister Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, founder, artistic director, dancer and choreographer of Urban Bush Women, stated, “ when you fall down, you get up, learn how to fall, how to recover, and keep connected to the thing that’s driving you. Focus on your work; don’t get bitter or stuck ‘cause [your] creativity will [go] down…LISTEN…and keep going forward.” Sister Ntozake Shange further stated, “Don’t let yourself scare yourself…don’t be afraid to [express] the ugly” because you “fear what [you] have revealed about [yourself]. Be aware…you have power over fear.” You are in “control.”
Finally, Dr. Glory Van Scott—producer, dancer, performer, educator and civic activist—fervently explicated, “Whatever I’m doing, I can face it! Work on it. Make perfection by your work” for “when you sit and become quiet within” yourself “ answers come. It’s all about the BREATH and standing your ground.” We must stand our ground and “keep courage high, our faith strong because the Most High “dwells within us AS US echoed Carol Maillard—Actress, Singer, Songwriter of Sweet Honey in the Rock. Sitting in that audience, a powerful mystical force charged through the air and into me. I felt like the words of each of those prominent women were slingshots of Ra’s particles directly into the souls of every person in attendance. We need to be reminded to remember…to remember who we are from who we were because only then will we truly be able to move forward. As actress, Tamara Tunie stated, when you are “creating and bringing to a revelation” different aspects of your art which is your SELF… “it never gets stale.” When you are willing to “step out of your comfort zone” you will finally acknowledge…we, African peoples, are the finest art—our humility, compassion, formidability, wisdom…our Ma’atian ways… are the highest expressions of innovative, artistic invention.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


On Saturday, April 2nd, a Worldstar Hip-hop video was posted to YouTube featuring a series of 14 consecutive short interviews of high school students voicing their opinions on light and dark skinned black people. The nature of many of the comments articulated was quite disturbing to hear. While some of the students had more neutral or enlightened statements to share, the opposing negative remarks expressed a level of self hatred which has become endemic among black people in many parts of the world. The voracity with which the students expressed their views of black people of different pigmentation is testament to the damage that has been done to the collective group historically.

The video begins with a young girl of dark complexion explaining that “Even though, I’m dark skin, I’m not black. I’m Dominican and Cape Verdian.” She goes on to describe black people as “very ignorant people” also stating “I would never date a black boy. I would never have a black girlfriend, because they have that bad hair, both of them.” However, despite these comments among other denigrating and stereotypical remarks, she states she is not being racist. This is disturbing, especially since it is coming from the mouth of someone who looks like a Mini Me version of rapper Foxy Brown and former actress Maia Campbell.

For this young lady to deny her African ancestry because she is Dominican and Cape Verdian is erroneous. From 1455 to 1975 Cape Verde was a colony of Portugal. In an article on Cape Verdeans, the “Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia” says the following, “The Portuguese based their slave-trading economy on these islands in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. Slaves worked on Cape Verdean sugar plantations, and they did general labor and household work. It was common for slave owners to have children with their servants. That is largely how today's native Crioulo (Creole) population evolved.

It is also a historical fact that Africans and Arabs, referred to as moors conquered and ruled over Portugal, Spain, portions of France and Italy for approximately 700 years. During this time they intermarried with Europeans creating a very racially mixed population in those regions of the continent. Many individuals from that southern area of Europe have African ancestry which is depicted in the coat of arms of their families. Ivan Sertima’s “Golden Age of the Moor” and J.A. Rogers’ “Nature Knows No Color Line” are works which discuss in detail the African ancestry of Europeans in that area of the world.

Based on the facts above, this young woman’s lineage indisputably traces back to Africa, for even the Spanish who controlled the island of Hispaniola during colonial times mated and had children with the indigenous natives and African slaves under their domination. And as explained above, even the Spanish had African ancestry. It is thus saddening to see someone who exhibits the physical characteristics of black people deny her heritage.

One catalyst of this situation is the character defamation to which African people have been subjected. The culture of Africans has been demonized to the world as well as Africans themselves. In addition to that psychological blow, their countless historical accomplishments and advancements have been ignored, suppressed and stolen by others. This ultimately creates within black people a negative perception of themselves and others in their group to the point where they evaluate standards of beauty based on the lightness or darkness of skin tone. For instance, in the third interview of the video a young dark skinned boy says, “When you see a dark skinned girl you think crusty. When you see a light skinned girl you think, Oh my God she’s beautiful.

Such statements are shocking and appalling. This color issue which is common in many black communities is historical residue from years of slavery and colonialism. Marketing guru Tom Burrell discusses this historical circumstance and the roll the media has played in perpetuating the problem in his monumental book, “Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority.” In a chapter titled “Uglified” he presents information about the conditions during slavery which reinforced the color prejudice among blacks such as “Division among slaves was aggravated by the privileges some slave masters awarded to their light-skinned offspring.” He presents the long lasting effects of such treatment with the 1954 black doll white doll experiment of Drs. Kenneth and Mami Clark which was duplicated in 2005 by Kiri Davis yielding the same results of black children choosing a white doll over a black doll. He further explains how media such as rap lyrics and videos exacerbate the color bias and friction among black people.

It is obvious that the children making the disparaging remarks about other blacks in the WorldStar Hip-Hop video suffer from the ills presented by Mr. Burrell’s book. However, to correct such self destructive behavior, at the end of each chapter Burrell does offer solutions to each problem he presents. In addition to his suggestions, a careful study of the true history of African people all over the world must be conducted. Numerous Africancentered scholars will testify to the redemptive powers of learning one’s true history. These children need to be educated about the glories of Ethiopia, Nubia, Kemet, Monomotapa, Songhai, the Moors and others, as well as learning about the high value placed on blackness of all shades in the world pre-slavery.

"Session 3" of “Journey of the Songhai People” state the following: It was not until our degradation in America that our color was a badge of degradation. Down through the ages our color was a badge of triumph. Over twenty-five hundred years ago, Herodotus, the Father of Western History remarked in his chronicles regarding his visit to cities in Africa that those people had skin the glorious colors of the setting sun and that “truly the very gods must have made their homes among the Africans.””

It isn’t difficult to recognize that if African children such as the ones in the video knew the information above their behavior would be different. Resolving this color issue is of great importance due to the need to facilitate unity among black people. It is disunity which mainly prevents African people from advancing in the world. And it was partly disunity which placed them in the deplorable situation they currently occupy. However, without knowing their history they will not be able to know what is necessary to facilitate unity for any type of social, political and economic progression. An African proverb accurately states “"If you do not know that you are lost you will not seek a way home" and former Botswana president Seretse Khama says, “"A nation without a past is a lost nation, and a people without a past is a people without a soul." Thank you for reading.

THIS IS SAD/Lightskinned Vs Dark Skinned: http://youtu.be/JwG5y7OY8Mw

Burrell, Tom, “Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority,” SmileyBooks, 2010

Robinson, Clavin R., Battle, Redman, Robinson, Edward, “The Journey of the Songhai People,” The Pan African Federation Organization, 1987

Rogers, J.A., “Nature Knows No Color-Line,” Helga M. Rogers, 1952

Van Sertima, Ivan, “Golden Age of the Moor,” Journal of African Civilization, 1992

Cape Verdeans: "Cape Verdeans." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. 1999. Encyclopedia.com. 6 Apr. 2011 .

Sunday, March 27, 2011


For the past four months a critical battle has been waging on the campus of Cornell University. Faculty and students apart of the Africana Studies and Research Center have been at odds with the decision of university Provost Kent Fuchs to merge the center with the College of Arts and Sciences, effective July 1, 2011. This decision came abruptly on December 1, 2010 during the week of class finals on the college’s campus. The announcement came as a surprise to students and faculty of the ASRC who were not consulted in the decision making process.

Reason for the change was stated by Kent Fuchs as followed, “I’ve done a thorough evaluation of the programs that report to me directly — Africana is one of those — and I’ve decided that some of those programs need better support than my office is able to provide.”…… “Therefore, they should be in a college environment where they have the support of the staff … and the support of the deans.” “Fuchs added that the move would allow Africana studies to add a Ph.D. program and double the size of the Africana studies faculty, though he said the majority of the increase would come from joint appointments with other departments in the College of Arts and Sciences.”

Upon hearing the decision, a statement was released by the faculty of the ASRC decrying the announcement and the manner in which it was carried out. Director of the center Prof. Robert Harris Jr. resigned from his position in protest, but later rescinded the decision and went on to lead a student and staff demonstration on the campus to publicly voice their disapproval. In their protest demonstrators labeled the decision “autocratic and symptomatic of institutional racism.”

This event has drawn the attention of many individuals to decry the decision leading to the circulation of an online petition signed by “nearly 1,000 alumni, academics and others, started by two professors from institutions outside of Cornell. Organizations such as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and the National Council for Black Studies have written letters strongly criticizing the reorganization and requesting a reversal of the decision

Since its creation the center has operated independently of Cornell’s seven undergraduate colleges. It has successfully done so since 1969, with an international faculty of scholars from the African, African-American, and African-Caribbean diaspora. Great scholars such as John Henrik Clarke and Yosef Ben Jochannan have respectively been visiting and adjunct professors at the center during the 1970ies and 1980ies. James Stewart, president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, in his open letter to President David Skorton states, “Cornell has one of the most highly regarded Africana studies/Black studies centers in the country,” and that “Many, if not most, departments would like to have the structural arrangement that has given it strength for the past 41 years.”

The decision to reorganize the structure of the ASRC was supported by a 2005 Report of Visiting Committee to the Africana Studies and Research Center, written by professors outside the University. However, “according to Robert Harris, Provost Biddy Martin had said she would not use the report to pursue an examination of the Africana Center’s structure within the University at the time of its release.”” James Stewart called the members of the 2005 Visiting Committee”…….. “hand-picked consultants” with “limited knowledge of current trends in Africana studies.” Furthermore, it was established that when the center was created, the objective was that it should operate independently of other colleges at Cornell.

In a February 8th article in the Cornell Daily Sun, university President David Skorton responded to the backlash over the school’s decision in an interview. He defended the university’s move giving the same reasons Fuchs asserted as reason for the change. However, one interesting comment he made came when he explained that a student asked him, “What’s my vision for the future of Africana? What is it going to change?” He responded, “ I told him that the details are going to be worked out by the dean of Arts and Sciences, the director of Africana and the provost.” Such a statement is evidence that the university leaders had not fully developed a plan for the ASRC and that no careful thought was put into the decision.

When any institution decides to undergo such organizational changes, advance planning must take place and the people affected must be included in the process. If the director of Africana is supposed to be included in the determining the future of the ASRC, why wasn’t Robert Harris consulted in the decision making process? Is it because the university understood that he would have out rightly objected to the change? Such decisions are dirty politics. Additionally, to use the desire to create a PHD program as motivation for the change is problematic because after a 2006 external review, the center was already developing such a program.

Such a change to the ASRC would ultimately weaken and minimize the efficiency and effectiveness of the institution. Instead of having scholars who are specialist and totally dedicated to Africana studies, you will now have professors and administrators from other disciplines affecting operations and the curriculum of the center. When such things occur, the quality and authenticity of the education provided will diminish in value and purpose, because of the increased potential for mis-education of the students.

One important lesson to be learned from this current battle is the importance for African people to have total control of the education they receive. This requires having jurisdiction over the institutions that provide the education they so earnestly need. No group of people who are being oppressed can realistically expect their oppressors to do what is right and provide them with education that will truly empower them. John Henrik Clarke accurately states, “Powerful people cannot afford to educate the people that they oppress, because once you are truly educated, you will not ask for power. You will take it.” So, until African people in the United States control their education system, or at least unify themselves in a way to exercise the power to influence the education system, situations such as what is occurring at Cornell will continue to repeat themselves. Thank you for reading.


Africana Director Rescinds Resignation: http://cornellsun.com/section/news/content/2010/12/04/africana-director-rescinds-resignation

Day Hall Merges Africana Center Into Arts College; Director Resigns in Protest: http://cornellsun.com/section/news/content/2010/12/02/day-hall-merges-africana-center-arts-college-director-resigns-protes National Organizations Oppose

Africana Studies and Research Center Overhaul: http://cornellsun.com/section/news/content/2011/01/24/national-organizations-oppose-africana-studies-and-research-center-o Skorton

Responds to Africana Backlash: http://cornellsun.com/section/news/content/2011/02/08/skorton-responds-africana-backlash