All posts by Africa Jackson

Africa Jackson

About Africa Jackson

Africa Jackson is a politics and culture writer from the deep South now living as an international nomad. She is a fervently nasty woman who spends her days offer unsolicited whistles and comments to construction workers. In her spare time, she volunteers by working with at-risk adults and randomly calls white people the “C” word. (It’s ok, her best friend is white.) Her critically acclaimed multi-national lecture series is a figment of her imagination. She specializes in making the best of poor decisions (#lemonade), but doesn’t let that get in the way of her mission to amplify the voices of marginalized groups. As a Black Chahta scholar, her research focuses primarily on the arts. Africa is a staff writer for Black-Owned Taji Magazine. Her writing has also been featured at Black Girl Dangerous, Role Reboot, and The Tempest. Her articles about anti-Black microaggressions piece and Self Esteem Among Girls of Color have been published by The Establishment. Africa is currently working on her non-traditional anthology about the power of unearthly orgasms as a natural remedy for anxiety and depression. Her #MustLoveBeards series featured on Taji Magazine celebrates entrepreneurship. You can follow Africa Jackson on twitter @AfricaJwrites and on Facebook: AfricaJacksonWrites. Or don't. Jerk.

29Aug/16
Chaz Pope

#MustLoveBeards Profile: Chaz Pope

Since GOD is everywhere, then THE MOST HIGH must be from where I’m from. #GodIsFrom

This week’s installment of our #MustLoveBeards series features Chaz Pope, “God Is From” apparel series creator. Taji Mag came across this king during our recent trip to Atlanta. We sat down with him at the Black owned business Boogaloo Lounge to find out more about this dope brother.

Chaz PopeThis Black man got into the habit of marketing when he was 13. Now at 38, he feels like he is in his groove. What most people don’t realize about him is that he taught himself how to screen print when he was 35. Most folks in their mid 30s are content to settle, but he was determined to step out on faith.

In his own words, “numbers don’t lie”. How did our #MCM get to this point though?

Once he got the idea that God is from everywhere, he reached out to a friend who owned a small corner store. The shirts sold out in an hour and he knew he had something special. He took his last $1,000 and moved to Atlanta to pursue his endeavors. After moving in with his uncle for a few weeks, his shirts quickly made that $1,000 back. He was printing bulk orders in his living room by the second month.

Once he came up with the term “God is from”, he searched for the trademark. Even with all the signs, he held on to the idea for all year before making any big moves. He started what he describes as all “shitty” website that stayed up for 7 months without really moving product the way he wanted. Then a big turning point happened. He met independent filmmaker Raxiel Sinz. From there, he met Big Tigger who got in touch via DM. Tigger, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Ludacris, Adrienne Joi Johnson, and a host of other celebrities started rocking his shirts. You can even catch our ongoing #WCW Da Brat in his “God is from” gear.

Aside from building a brand that speaks volumes, Chaz also teaches entrepreneurship to youth. He acknowledges the other Black entrepreneurs he has met over the years for motivating him to aim higher. Unlike a number of young business owners, Chaz believes that we have to work together to be successful. Thankfully, his ideology is one that is starting to trend among the Black Owned Business community.

22Aug/16
#mustlovebeards nestle snipes

#MustLoveBeards Profile: Nestlé Snipes

There is something eternally sexy about a Black man with a beard and a plan. The everlasting regality exhibited by today’s #MustLoveBeards king is my blessing to all of our Taji Mag readers. In his own words, “My lineage is rooted in greatness. The history of Africa is one of high achievement and excellence that has set the precedent for the rest of the modern world.” Entrepreneur Nestlé Snipes sat down with Taji Mag to share his story.

So who is this fine, chocolate brother? Let me tell you a bit about the debonair Mr. Nestlé.

Creator and lead photographer for Made For a King Photography, Nestlé Snipes is an emerging artist, photographer, and actor living in the New Jerusalem (better known as East Orange, Jersey). He is a well-traveled navy man with aspirations for greatness.

Nestlé credits his love and appreciation for Blackness for making him the man he is today. Through independent research, he grew to love the countless contributions made by the Pan African world. This dedication to celebrating our origins goes beyond the for-profit arena. He and a collective of dapper Black men organized a “Rebirth of Cool” charity event that showed us what a classic man is really about.

His images are a classy mix of traditional, modern, and futuristic looks that are simply breathtaking. Scroll through his IG for more than 5 seconds and you will fall in love with your Blackness all over again. With more than 3,000 followers, his work is undoubtedly the blues in many a left thigh, trying to become the funk in our right… and that’s alright.

#mustlovebeards nestle snipes

Whether it’s his gold medal beard, his Malcolm-X-turned-hippie appeal, or the sheer brilliance of his passion, Nestlé Snipes is an intriguing Black entrepreneur on the rise. We are excited to watch out for what he does next.

 

17Jun/16
@AyeshaCurry

We Love you @AyeshaCurry

With all the unnecessary fuss over the tweet from @AyeshaCurry regarding game six of the 2016 NBA Finals and the general capitalistic nature of entertainment, I feel like we need to show this Black woman some love! In this June tweet, the famous Mrs. Curry defended her husband on social media.

ayesha-curry-deleted-tweet

She has nothing to apologize for. Ayehsa’s name is legendary. And since there are already a dozen stories out there about the tweet, we’re taking this in a totally different direction. Here at @TajiMagazine, we ADORE Ayesha and we want to celebrate her with the rest of the powerful Black women out there. Here is a list of 10 of the greatest songs featuring powerful Black women from the year Ayesha Curry was born: 1989. (They also happen to describe how we feel about her royal Curry-ness).

10. Aretha Franklin: Think

9. Janet Jackson: Rhythm Nation

8. Salt-N-Pepa: Expression

7. Anita Baker: Giving You The Best That I Got

6. Patti Labelle: If You Don’t Know Me By Now

5. Roberta Flack: Oasis

4. Jody Watley: Real Love

3. Soul II Soul: Keep On Movin’

2. Karyn White: Superwoman

1. Janet Jackson: Miss You Much

Of course, we couldn’t close out this list and neglect this classic honorable mention. That’s rigght, you guessed it. Another Bad Creation: “Iesha”

So Ayesha, for the moments when the money hungry machine known as the NBA aint your type of hype or you feel like the media is criticizing every little step you take, we love you!

22Apr/16
Samuel L Jackson

That Time Samuel L Jackson Gave Me #BlackGirlMagic

In 1997 I was a skinny tomboy with a ghetto name at a predominantly white school in the midwest. I lived with my father – let’s call him Tom – and his white wife whose daily message to me was that my hair was unkempt. I was going through a somewhat punk\alternative phase because that’s what the other kids were going through, and I wanted to fit in. I wore those super wide leg pants with holes in them and a pocket chain. Revolutionary adult me would have been embarrassed by such fashion choices, but 90s awkward preteen me was just trying to make up for the fact that I was dark skinned. It was a lonely and depressing time.

And then there was Samuel L Jackson.

Wait… the dude who yells in all his movies? The slave from Django? The ‘motherf—er’ man? Yes! The very same. I saw the film Eve’s Bayou, written by a Black woman named Kasi Lemmons (Caveman’s Valentine, 2001; Talk to Me, 2007). Set in the deep south, featuring an all-star Black cast (Lynn Whitfield, Debbi Morgan, Meagan Goode, Diahann Carroll, and, of course, Samuel L Jackson), the story was not centered specifically around the issue of race. Rather, it followed the experiences of Eve, a budding clairvoyant who could communicate with spirits. Eve was Black, and close to my age, so unlike my response to Shirley Temple, whose movies were pushed on me by my step-mother, I found myself moved by Eve’s character. The mother, father, aunt, and older sister all had darker skin like me. Eve was light skinned from a dark skinned mother. That had an impact on me because it meant that I was just as beautiful as a light skinned girl. Eve saw her mother as gorgeous and so did I. Every shade of Black was represented in the movie which made me feel like less of a pariah. Eve was curious and insightful. She cared deeply about her family and her heart was heavy with compassion. Those were qualities I felt trapped by as a child because I was oftrn described as ‘too sensitive’ or weird. I was captivated by both the literal and metaphorical presence of magic in the film.

A Black female director had little to no chance of having her film financed ny a major company in 1997. Knowing this, Samuel L. Jackson not only starred in the film, delivering what I still consider to be his best performance to this day, but he also produced it. In fact, this was the first film he produced. Younger me had no idea at the time, but a producer is basically the person who pays for the magic to happen. So, in many ways, Samuel L. Jackson is partly responsible for the ways in which Eve’s Bayou changed the trajectory of my self-image. I went from wanting to perm my hair to embracing my natural kinks (both Eve and her aunt had thick hair like mine). I felt more confident about my non-traditional spirituality. This was the first time I saw Afrocentric, non-Christian beliefs valued. Seeing Eve and her aunt as these women connected so closely to God and so comfortable in that connection was empowering. I learned the importance of patience and research when making decisions, after seeing Eve reflect on her own decisions towards the end of the film.

When I celebrate the Black artists in theater who influenced me – and cringe at fair-skinned, Zoe Saldana being cast as Blackface Nina Simone — I think back to the time Samuel L. Jackson and Kasi Lemmons brought me Black girl magic in Eve’s Bayou. So, instead of complaining that the beautiful and talented Uzo Aduba should have been cast to play one of the greatest musical activists of our time, I realized that we can, and should, make our own films. Samuel L. Jackson did it. Nate Parker did it. Love him or hate him, even the big homie Tyler Perry did it. We have everything we need to create our own magic. More than that, though, we have a responsibility as creative intellectuals to embrace and celebrate our natural shade. Some caramel colored girl will see Zoe Saldana in Blackface and think less of herself. I think about 1997 me being confused and turned off by Blackface Nina. Hopefully no Black children will see the film and will instead write, direct, and star in their own art that features them falling in love with their melanin, no matter the shade.

20Jun/15
Waiting to Exhale

Waiting to Exhale: The Top 3 Things Black People Must NOT Do

Waiting to Exhale: The Top 3 Things Black People Must NOT Do

Waiting to Exhale: If you want to end police brutality…

There are way too many people suggesting that we sign kumbaya with our oppressor and not enough folks offering practical solutions that will keep my son from being a target. Let’s get into the three things we must NOT do.

1. We must NOT appeal to the oppressor’s sense of morality.

Racism works to their favor. Dismantling white supremacy has no net benefit for those in power. Your Black life has no chance of keeping them in their homes and safely segregated away from us ‘thugs’. White people, even “hip” ones, will never be able to effectively empathize as a collective to a degree that will end racism. After a while, most of them get tired of hearing about race/racism. Getting the oppressor to acknowledge and confront their privilege is an uphill battle with concrete boots. I am often reminded of a quote from Dr. Cobbs and Dr. Grier from the book Black Rage: “slavery was never undone for either the slave or the slave master”. No matter how tempting, DO NOT attempt to appeal to white folk’s morality. STOP replying on white folks to save us.

2. We must NOT get caught up in a “who’s the better revolutionary” situation.

It won’t end well and nothing meaningful will get accomplished. Many Black nationalist movements are limited by their exclusively intellectual or political nature. So-called experts sit in their offices deciding policies and plans for people who they have never been with or around. Revolutionaries can be guilty of that too. The reason DC’s “Mayor for life” Marion Berry got so much love was that he was among and about the people. He did not have to prove that. It was evident. Similarly, Muhammad Ali was the people’s champ because he sacrificed a great deal with no guarantee of a decent return on investment. He approached people in a manner that did not demean, disregard, or insult them. Unfortunately, there are some folks in the movement who will dismiss your entire existence if you admit to shopping at a big brand store. The head shaking irony to this, however, is blanket condemnation and revolutionary snobbery. STOP looking down on your own people.

3. We must NOT assume that we are doing more for the movement just because you tweet, post, and show up to protests.

Remember, the Montgomery bus boycott lasted over a year and in order to be sustainable, it required the attention and participation of all Blacks. Commitment to real action is key. I know single parents who not only show up to demonstrate, but also make good for protesters and bring blankets and give more than they have physically, spiritually, and financially to end the assault of Black people. It is about more than photo ops. STOP your t-shirt revolutionary brigade. We are more powerful than we realize. In little pockets all over this stolen country, there are high concentrations of Black businesses with strong products and services. There are predominantly non-white neighborhoods where the dollar circulates multiple times. These businesses create jobs, teach people about political/economic power, and strengthen our communities. It is imperative that we learn about and support them (us). Think of how much you spend each week and where those dollars go. Write or type a list of where you spend your money. How many of those places are Black-owned or give something back to the community? For at least one week in the new year, try shopping with Black owned businesses for at least half of your purchases. It is easier than you may think.

But wait, this article is supposed to be about ending police brutality. How is capitalism going to solve that issue? If we can sustain our own communities economically, politically, and every other way, then we will not need their police to ‘protect and serve’. Instead, we can prevent these murders by developing our own financial strongholds. Economic freedom is a big part of being free from police brutality. The police are not killing white soccer moms en masse. This is a critical time where we can truly rise up and make solid demands. In my hometown, they shut down the mall and multiple intersections. We can demand small business grants, tax breaks, land ownership, secession, resources, or whatever else we collectively decide. I am tired of worrying about whether my son will survive his Blackness. I am ready to build with anyone who is serious about stopping these murderers.

Waiting to Exhale