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Wear All Black
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Why Do People Wear All Black? – Trends vs Staples

“I’m about to wear all black for a year straight..” said Jay-Z on “Death of Autotune” which released in 2009 off of his Blueprint 3 album. So why is it that now, eight/nine years later, wearing all black has become so trendy throughout the entire world –especially New York City! Maybe it was Kanye West with his monochromatic looks he’d wear and inspire various celebrities to wear as well. Did Ye’ do it again? Is Kanye to credit for yet another trend swallowed by the fashion forwards? Or is it a lackadaisical effort for depicting ones mood of “I didn’t know what to wear.” Don’t get me wrong, the black monochrome look is pretty artistic when pieced in an artsy manner. But let’s be honest, not everyone who wears all black seems to be reflecting it in a form of fashion, which is also considered art. I wonder how the Gothic society feels that their “uniform color” is now looked at as trendy by larger society. There was once a time where you only wore all black if you were attending a funeral, working for a particular retail company, or considered yourself emo/goth. Well, that has all changed now hasn’t it.

Last week, I randomly stopped a woman wearing the monochromatic black look and I asked her “What about all-black do you like?” She explained how deeply she perceived the color, while also clarifying with me that “it’s a shade, not a color.” She then stated how all-black provides a sort of mirror for the observer. Further explaining how black allows the public to perceive however they feel, so if you feel their look is sad and depressing then that says more about yourself, same as if you perceive it as rich, said by the fashionable young lady awaiting her Uber. She then concluded, “It’s like a painting… I am fashion therefore I am walking art. There is no right or wrong when perceiving a piece. Either you have a vision of some form of the art or you see… nothing.” I’m not sure if everyone has the same cognitive likeness for wearing all-black but I can say, I definitely appreciated her creative way of thinking. It allowed me to then perceive the many other black outfits I later witnessed that day, and even now. All black has become a staple within fashion by being more than just a trend. I mean, it’s been what, nine years since Jay-Z rapped the lyric which is the epitome of today’s no. 1 trend. How will you wear it? Lackadaisicalness of “I didn’t know what to wear” or artistically allowing observers their own perception as “a piece of walking art”?

I’ve complied this look to give you an idea of how to put together an all-black look in an artistic manner:

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—Calvin Chandler

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Alan King, book cover
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#MustLoveBeards Profile: ALAN KING

Happy #MCM everyone! This week, Taji Mag sat down with the talented brother Alan King, author of the new book POINT BLANK. Alan King has worked with the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper. King has also been an outspoken housing rights advocate. He has also served as a researcher with the Center for Public Integrity. In addition to his impressive resume, he is a devoted husband and father. Mr. King has an upcoming book tour, and took a break to talk to us about his work, love, and the perseverance it takes to be an artist.

POINT BLANK

Africa Jackson: What do you love most about being a Black man?

Alan King: I love being another line in the legacy of Black people. I’m juggling two legacies as a Caribbean American. I’m inspired by the writers that come before me. Writers who are ancestors now like John A. Williams, Clarence Cooper Jr. and Chester Himes. Oh yeah, and Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison. Let me throw some women in the mix: Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Wanda Coleman, Octavia Butler. I also love Black culture.

poet, husband, father, visionary

poet, husband, father, visionary

AJ: You mentioned ‘legacy’. What does that word mean to you? In what ways have you seen that manifest in your career and/or personal life?
AK: There’s a heritage that connects us to the diaspora. There [is] rhythm, history. There’s a beauty in our culture. Being a husband and father allows me to pass on the best of myself. I was a teacher. That role allowed me to be an example to my students. I taught a class, where I was the first married black men the young women encountered. This was middle school. They kept staring at my wedding band asking about what it’s like to be married.
AJ: The “wicker” reference from the latest Point blank trailer is indicative of Black culture. Have you ever been discouraged from being too Black? If so, by who? How did you respond?

AK: I had a higher up, during my work study placement, who asked me to read poems, but then said “Don’t get too back with it.” That came from a Black man. I wasn’t sure if I should still read poems. It was for an office party.
But my writer friends encouraged me to do it. They said by me going through with it, it would show him that his biases are wrong. As a writer, I don’t worry about being too black in my work. White writers aren’t asked not to be too white. I feel I should have that same freedom to explore various types of blackness in my work. In Point Blank, more of my Caribbean heritage comes through. Rereading the poems, I was surprised how present it is.
AJ: What advice can you offer to other artists struggling with double consciousness?

AK: My advice to other artists is to be true to yourself.

AJ: Did you ever seriously consider another career?
AK: I’m a Communications Specialist for a living. I’ve always been a writer at heart. There was one time, in college, when I considered being a programmer. I later found out from my mom that she thought I was making a mistake. She knew my passion is writing. My dad kept pushing me to do something that makes money That’s why I went the programming route. But I don’t regret my decision. I’m also open to learning other skills that might mesh with my writing.
AJ: Switching gears, there is this belief that Black men don’t love Black women. What are your thoughts about that?
AK: I know there are some brothers who date outside the race, but so do some black women. It’s touchy to assume why those folks do it without knowing the whole story. I know for me, it was important to be open to however love presented herself. I had no idea that I’d meet my wife, a passionate Nigerian woman, the way I did. I think it’s important to be open to love, whatever way it presents itself. I don’t think someone should be with someone because the community feels that way.
AJ: Audre Lorde taught us that self-care is revolutionary. As an artist, father, husband, and Black man has self care been part of your life? 
AK: My family is part of my self care. I draw strength from my wife and my daughter. I hit the gym when I can and go for walks to clear my head. The important part of self care is having friends, people you can vent to when needed.

AJ: If someone were to choose between your new book and Starbucks, what would make them pick up POINT BLANK over a Frappuccino?

AK: The image of the young man on the cover. I purposely chose it because he embodies what people of color are going through in this country. The picture is powerful. He’s on his way somewhere. Depending on the point of view , he could be up to no good or just minding his business. I thought it was powerful how the photographer, Ewholomeyovwi Jeroro, captured him. The young man is in the photographer’s scope much like how people of color are in the scope of law enforcement.
CLICK HERE to purchase his book of poetry and learn more about why we love this Black man!
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Happy birthday Whoopi!
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Happy Birthday Whoopi Goldberg

I hated Whoopi Goldberg growing up.

Whoopi Goldberg

#teamnatural

I know that’s a messed up way to start off the birthday celebration for her. When The Color Purple came out, everyone thought I looked like her. Back then, Black gums, Black skin, and nappy Black hair were the perfect recipe for a depressing childhood. I was all kinds of African booty scratchers, skillets, and midnights. It was one of the things that made me miserable growing up. I only had two real friends during that time–my right hook and my mother. Needless to say, I fought a lot and wrote a bunch of angry poetry. Whoopi Goldberg represented (and still represents) everything I hated about myself.

whoopi-goldberg

Between elementary and middle school I got in dozens of fights over the way I looked. My main goal was to make the pretty white girls as ugly as I felt when they teased me about being so dark. I hated looking in the mirror. My mother was a kind and candid woman who reminded me that I was not ugly everyday. She asked me if I thought she was beautiful and of course I said yes. My mother was a striking, bold woman with high cheekbones and mahogany skin that glistened. She would laugh and tell me that I looked like her, so by default I must be beautiful. It made logical sense, but when I looked in the mirror I did not see her reflection. Instead, I saw what kids at school called me–shit skin. I was faster on the track than all the children who teased me. I was consistently ranked at the top of my class academically. I won awards. I earned internships while still in middle school. I was invited to special events for gifted children. None of it made up for my skin insecurity though. It was like running a long distance sprint that never ended yet I still lost.

At some point in high school I announced to my mother that I was too dark to run in the Olympics, so I was going to be a writer and stay in the shadows. My mother was tired of the decade long pity party so she showed me a movie she promised to God I would like. (My mother refused to swear to God). Those were the be kind, rewind days so she pushed in the tape and pressed play. The Associate changed the game for me.

In the film, Whoopi Goldberg stars as a brilliant investment banker whose talent is dismissed by a white male dominated financial world. First of all, Whoopi Goldberg plays the quintessential Black woman. She has a full time job and she owns a rental property. Before this film, I didn’t know Black women owned places to rent out. It blew my mind. One of her older tenants told her as she came home one night: “It’s nice you young girls have your your careers. But when you come home to an empty apartment what do you really have?

Without blinking an eye, her character replies: “Independence”. I was hooked.

When she tried to start her business, the bank almost denied her a loan, but she risked her home to make it happened. I came from a place where faith was too expensive. From there the movie got better and better. Instead of learning golf last minute to impress a client, she pulled in a golf celebrity to win the client over. She was the original spook who sat by the door. No one could have ever brought that character to life the way she did. She was slick, quick-witted, and dark-skinned. She had the confidence I never dreamed imaginable. Even pre-presidential Donald Trump was following behind her. She had a box of ideas she saved over the years–something i still do today with my pitches. She taught me that rejection is never the end. I won’t spoil the whole movie for you, but just know that I cried during the climax scene. She says what I think!

Whoopi Goldberg was equally phenomenal off screen too. She is an interracial relationship pioneer (as fr as I knew at the time), natural hair advocate, and human rights activist. Like me, she was raised by a single mother. She embodies resistance. Her critically acclaimed, award-winning one-woman show about Moms Mabley. Whoopi’s impact on me was parallel to Moms Mabley’s impact on her.

All those years people idolized Halle Berry we could have been praising the original sexy beast.

Before her brilliance graced the big screen, she was a stand up comedian who rivaled the likes of Eddie Murphy and Redd Foxx (for those who don’t recognize those names, that’s like saying she was up there with Kevin Hart).

Whoopi is still a force. Her guest star appearance on this terrible ABC show called 666 almost coerced me to become a fan. When her character flew away, though, so did I. She has worked with undeniable talents like Ernest Dickerson (Good Fences Director), Angela Bassett (duh), Danny Glover, and others over her career. This woman has won a Tony, Grammy, Emmy, and Academy Awards. People sleep on her resume.

My top 10 favorite Whoopi Goldberg films

  1. Soap Dish (Rose)
  2. The Associate (Laurel Ayres)
  3. Corrina, Corrina (Corrina)
  4. Sister Act 2 (Sister Mary Clarence)
  5. The Lion King (Shenzi)
  6. Color Purple (Celie)
  7. Ghost (Oda Mae Brown)
  8. How Stella Got Her Groove Back (Delilah Abraham)
  9. Sister Act (Sister Mary Clarence)
  10. Good Fences (Mabel)

In honor of all she has done and continues to do, I proudly exclaim: “I’m poor, Black, I may even be ugly…but dear God I’m here. I’m here!”

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Melonie
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Black Royal: Melonie Torres in LES

Melonie Torres having fun being sexy in LES, NY.

Melonie

Model: Melonie Torres
Photographer: Gerald Deus
Stylist: Unconventional Labels Boutique
Set direction/Concept: LJE Model Agency
Agency: LJE Model Agency
IG/Twitter
Model: @Melonieeeeeee
Photographer: @GeraldDeus
Stylist: @UnconventionalLabels
Agency: @LJEModelAgency
Melonie Melonie
Melonie Melonie
IG/Twitter
Photographer: @fly_imagez
Make-up artist: @GlamMakeupDiva
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banner
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Black Royal: Temitayo Agoro

Temitayo Agoro – “I just love teaching kids the positive notion of shooting with a camera, not with a gun.”

Temitayo Agoro

Temitayo A. Agoro
Morehouse College
CTEMS
African American Studies
NIH Published Researcher
CEO of AUCCAM LLC
Shoot with a Camera, Not a Gun! ™
The Running Punter
@agoronomics
@auccam
@therunningpunter
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The Only Way Is Ghana
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“The Only Way Is Ghana” is Helping the Diaspora Migrate Back to Ghana

image17The Only Way Is Ghana is a website and YouTube channel that follows the journey of founder Lorissa Akua, a London born Ghanaian as she migrates from London to Ghana to build a new life and work on a real-estate project. The platform also follows the journey of other members of the diaspora who have migrated back to Ghana. For those who are thinking of migrating from other countries in the world to Ghana, theonlywayisghana.com serves as a hub when it comes to information about moving and connecting to the business network in Ghana. Visitors can find facts mixed with honest first hand experiences with a humorous twist. Tips and advice on how to survive and make a success in Ghana when it comes to life skills, real estate and doing business.
As money can be tight whilst migrating, theonlywayisghana.com demonstrates how to look great on a low budget by up-cycling clothes and accessories with Ankara (vibrant African print) fabric.
The Only Way Is Ghana get inundated with questions through the blog, social media and YouTube channel about Ghana, finding jobs, accommodation, shippers, business, buying items in Ghana, you name it!
So to help everyone get answers in a timely fashion, they have created a community led forum where people can post announcements and all the questions they like. Experts/Ghana Guru’s and the community are on hand to answer any questions. It is also a great way for people to connect and collaborate on business ventures.
 
Overall theonlywayisghana.com aims to dispel the negative views placed on Ghana and Africa as a whole as well as promote all the positive people and things happening in the continent. Showing the positive side of Ghana and young people in real estate and business.
There is honestly nothing like this out there!

 

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Louis Coleman
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#MustLoveBeards Profile: Rev. Louis Coleman

Before the #BlackLivesMatter movement, there was Rev. Louis Coleman

Welcome back to the #MustLoveBeards series here at Taji Mag! We took a short (much-needed break). One of our subscribers suggested a profile that was quite different than the men we have featured to this point. Our #MCM is the dearly departed elder Rev. Louis Coleman.

We all know that there is a serious generation gap in our community. Much of the wisdom gained by those who lived during the time of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ella Baker is locked away, waiting to be revealed. The power of technology (specifically social media) is often wasted on memes that divide us rather than unite us. Rev. Coleman’s entire legacy was built on defying these norms.

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As a human rights activist and anti-police brutality hero, he fought daily to build up the power of young people in the south. When 19 year old Michael Newby was shot in the back by police, it was Rev. Louis Coleman who reached out to high school and college students to offer not only support, but also a plan. He led the Justice Resource Center in Louisville, KY for years. There, young people could receive job training, learn about the civil rights movement directly from people who lived through it, and fellowship with other community activists.

Rev. Louis Coleman was more than a leader. He was a man who took action. Up until his death in 2008, he worked diligently to bring about community change through legislation and protest. He was a great visionary who welcomed folks from all background to join in the cause for social justice. His love for Black people went beyond his hometown. He was on the front lines after Hurricane Katrina. He fought against the wars our young folks were forced to fight.

Dick Gregory once spoke of Rev. Coleman, commenting that “nobody covers as much territory and spends as much time of his life for the liberation of suffering people.” We venerate Rev. Louis Coleman. The work he put in over more than three decades continues to impact people he never even met. We hope to be at least half the advocate he was for Black people.

Rev Louis Coleman

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black witch convention
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Why We NEED a Black Witch Convention

Don’t believe the hype despite what you read in a pagan blog. I have spoken to the organizers of the Dawtas of the Moon: Black Witch Convention, and their statement is as follows:   

My exact answer that I submitted in writing was as follows: “Since we are having the event in a public space, I cannot say that they cannot come. However, they need to understand that if they make a choice to come they need to recognize that they are in OUR sacred space.” When I hosted the Enter the Womb event, we were on private property which gave me the opening to say no non-women of color and with me renting a public venue, I was not quite sure of how I would be able to carry that for legal reasons. So I used the wording I felt would cover that. However, after doing further research and realizing that we are an organization with specific memberships I am in my full right to say that if you are not a women of color, do not waste your money because I will not refund it.”

So to reiterate…..If you are not a Women of Color, do not come. If you buy a ticket we will dismiss you without refunds because you were told in advance that this event is not for you. If you are a brother…wish us well and send us your love. Make sure your wife, sister, dawta, mother have all their needs met so they can attend this event. ~ Mama Omi of Dawtas of the Moon

You see, I don’t want to spend time trying to explain to non-POC women the intricacies of my life. When the topic of this conference came up, I had to take the time to explain things to them that were exasperating, and ones that I really think they should know.

Part of the lesson I had to teach was that Black Witches/Workers/Healers get it from BOTH ends. Our own people shun us because they have been brainwashed by the church. Even though our practices and beliefs are thousands of years older than theirs (and well documented), they believe and judge us based on a book that was written 300 years after Christ died, and they only believe it because someone told them that they were going to hell of they didn’t.

Incidentally, I keep looking for the physical evidence of my former religion, but I can’t find any. If you can, let me know because I can find plenty of evidence of the religions I follow.

I had to take the time to exaplain how disappointing it is that I’ve been told by Black people that those who practice the ways of our Ancestors are savage devil worshipers. I’ve had family and friends (who I believed had better sense) tell me that they were not comfortable staying in my home anymore, much less having a conversation about my religious beliefs. They change the conversation, walk away, hang up on you, and leave Facebook group conversations without so much as a goodbye.

Now ain’t that a bitch considering I’ve spent my life having theirs shoved down my throat whether I wanted to hear it or not?

This is not to say whites don’t experience that as well, but because of our culture’s deep entrenchment in Abrahamic religions, and our values of keeping families intact that have been ripped apart for so long, these things add extra pain to this kind of ostracization.

So do you think I want a whole day of that shit when what I really want is to be around women who get me?

In my Bey voice, “HELL NAW.”

black witch convention

When I began to study Vodou, other ATRs, and aspects of the Occult (which by definition means “hidden” for nothing more than the above stated reasons), I thought I was entering a place where people had open minds and were welcomed. I found out very quickly how wrong I was. There were few places where I felt welcome, and often I was asked questions like I was the only Black occultist on this planet.

The funny thing is, life is the same for Black people in the occult as it is anywhere else in the world. You get to be the spokesperson for all Black people. Racism doesn’t disappear because someone no longer worships an Abrahamic religion. The venue of this treatment simply changes. It doesn’t go away.

To say I was disappointed is a massive understatement.

There is still a portion of the Pagan population who are racist as the day as long, and, to add insult to injury, we have cultural appropriators running roughshod through our religions and traditions trying to change things about them that make them uncomfortable.

When the writer of the blog referenced above was uncomfortable with Mama Omi’s words, she CHANGED THEM.

“When we call them on it, we are accused of being segregationists, and even racists. It only shows me than many don’t even KNOW what the sociological definition of racist is. You do know you have to have the ability to systematically oppress people, don’t you? Ask any Black person the last time we were able to do that.

Please, I’ll wait.”

We have not been able (or really tried that hard for that matter) to keep non-POCs out of ATRs, so please, please, please tell me how we have oppressed whites by simply saying, “you can’t sit with us” for ONE FUCKING DAY???  Oh, I know what is at play here.

They realize that we might actually like it and start doing it MORE OFTEN.

(You do know that is why there are loitering laws that are always directed at Black people. If you cannot gather, you cannot plan anything.)

Can non-POC still sit “other” places? Yes. Isn’t that what we were always told? How is that “separate but equal” sitting with you now that the shoe is on the other foot? It hurts like your ass has bunions, doesn’t it?

And no, men of ANY COLOR  will be in attendance at the conference. I don’t care if you are Black, Brown, and down. The fact that a brother has to point out the fact how we are continuously ignored in the movement on national TV is shameful.

We want, no we FUCKING NEED, a safe place to go to be with women who experience the same things and face the same struggles. And it is not because Black women are not diverse, it is because our oppressors treat us THE SAME!

We have a need to gather, to love, to commune, to bemoan our condition, to find SOLUTIONS, and just to fucking BE!

No, I don’t need “Becky with the Good Hair” or “Mister/Hotep” looking over my shoulder and writing everything down/recording it on an iPhone while I do it.

It just ain’t gonna happen.

So now, I am delighted to see that there is a place for US where we can discuss the strange dualities of the church and Paganism. Where we can be Black and Brown women of all types. Where we can see our diversity even if no one else can. Where we can share, love, support, and grow. I hope that all sista witches support this. To register, please purchase your tickets here:

Dawtas of the Moon: Black Witch Convention

Eventbrite.com/e/dawtas-of-the-moon-black-witch-convention-tickets-25518355087

I’ll see you in October.

Black Witch Convention

via Big Liz’s Conjure Corner

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Am I Allowed
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“Am I Allowed”

“Am I Allowed”

This lady walked pass me in Manhattan on a street that not too many ppl were clit-clatting… and grabbed her purse

At first… Yeah I was hurt

Then… the anger kicked in because I simultaneously realized what made her comfort divert

………………………………..

Shut up white boy!

Mannn, cops pulled up on me and I was in some B’Ball shorts

Not just any ol’ cops, these were D’z… not that local B’Boy force

Next to me, as I was walking pass, was a vehicle stripped to the tee that was clearly not mine

Long story short I saw the cop pull from his waist… wrapped with metal tape… around the handle said it was mine 

and if the car comes back stolen then they’ll pin me for grand theft and the glock nine

……………………………….

Shut up white boy!

We need to come together and kill all that blue and red 

…those be the same colors in the rear view behind yo head

But nahhh …you blue… and you red 

…cop says… 

…”both you black so both you dead!”

We need to organize

SHUT …UP …WHITE BOY!

See this is the thing!

Y’all side eye me… because my lighter mel-la-neen

… when we really on the same team!

Why the fuck I gotta fight my own people to fight with my own people?!

MY NIGGAH?! If they shoot you they shoot me too! If they shoot me they shoot you too!

You think I had an easy life just because my lighter pigment?!

MY NIGGA?? No… WE ARE NEGUS (as in Kings) …And my Black is just a lil different!”

—Cal

Am I Allowed

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WrapCentury®
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Black Royal: Welcome To The WrapCentury®

Welcome To The WrapCentury®

WrapCentury®

Centering around the idea of an Ancient Future while embodying the aura of Emperor Haile Selassie I & Empress Menen Asfaw. They’re showcasing the presence of our luxurious Regal lineage as Afrikans, and amplifying the importance of balance & unity between a wombman & a man.

Photographed by T.O.K.Y.O. Photography (@tizzy_tokyo)
Creative Team (Models, Headwraps, Wardrobe, Stylist): Nise (@EsinbyNise) & SA-RA (@YawSARA)
Follow them on IG at @WrapCentury
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