Category Archives: Culture

Black Land Matters

Duende Naturál & Black Land Matters Finds Egypt in Washington, DC

Black Land MattersDuende Naturál & Black Land Matters Finds Egypt in Washington, DC

 Sharpen your eyes and tune your ear so you’ll know what you see, understand what you hear.” — Listervelt Middleton

As part of Duende Naturál and Black Land Matters 2017 tours we will be returning to Washington, DC May 20 for our 2nd annual Egypt On the Potomac Field Trip with Historian, Anthony Browder.

One of the most stunning symbols we learned on our inaugural trip last year was the presence of two *Tekhenw (pronounced ‘Tek-en-nu’) which symbolizes a timeline: the Tekhen on the left stands for the past, on the right the Tekhen stands for the future, and the space in between the present.

(*Tekhenw is plural for Tekhen, also erroneously called an Obelisk and Cleopatra’s Needle)

It is very clear Browder’s keen knowledge on the design and makeup of the Nations’ Capitol bear clairvoyance to the fact the trans-generational leaders of the world aim to maintain their position as vanguards of Afrikan cryptic knowledge and history having to only acknowledge its truth to another Afrikan if he is “on the level” — which in most cases means you’re male and a 32nd degree Mason — alarminlgy a reason as to why of the many original stolen Tekhenw placed around sacred places in the world, few — if any — are in pairs.

Black Land Matters

Anthony Browner

Browder quoted Listervelt throughout the field trip as we were introduced, better put, re-initiated into the mysteries of our Ancestors as creators of geometrics, math and symbolism using the constellations to bring the heavens to earth as masterfully done by Washington, DC planner, Benjamin Banneker — a free Afrikan by the way.

 

Through Browder’s easy to digest teaching style, in a few short hours we were equipped to exercise the significant power of recalling our past through observation of the alignment of building structures and numbered streets, and connecting it to the present to chart a promising future.

Thanks to Baba Browder, our eyes have been sharpened and ears tuned as we look to counter the next wave of Transition 13.

TRANSITION 13

Whenever dealing with the topic of history — particularly the role of its effect on the Afrikan Diaspora pre- and post colonialism, Browder’s poem, our plight is best described in poem, ’Transition 13’:

We knew not
We studied
We learned all there was to know
We taught others
Then we forgot what we had learned
And then we forgot that we had forgotten
Now we are taught
(By those who where once taught by us)
Knowledge
(That we already had)
So…
We study
We learn all there is to know
We teach others
Will we forget…AGAIN?

Taking the Egypt On the Potomac Field Trip reveals this hidden truth; our forgetting we forgot and then having been taught by the very ones responsible for this collective cultural amnesia.

It got me to thinking, Browder’s poem shows at the root of it all this memory loss is the driving point behind the loss of ourselves, our communities and our land.

Although at the core of issues we face as a community defensively are at the hands of racism, socio-economic displacement, and police brutality, there are offensive methods we’ve forgotten was in use before the days of integration when we were all that we had and realized through cooperative means we took care of ourselves. We did this through community, where we invested in each other.

Recognize, we are in the Information Age… a cultural reclamation is at hand.

Our intent through Duende Naturál and Black Land Matters is to serve as the metaphoric space between the Tekhenw (the present) to bridge a self-determining future for ourselves.

We’ve implemented a tangible resolution for those in search. At a bare-bones level we’re enrolling folks interested in committing to saving up to a minimum of $5,000 each to acquire Costa Rican and domestic land projects we’ve scouted to build intentional diasporic communities through membership in our Black Land Matters Real Estate Investment Trust (BLM-REIT) through what’s called an ASCA or Accumualting Savings & Credit Association.

This will enable us to participate in the (re)building and sustainability of our communities together instead of facing the virtually tedious task of doing it alone.

In alignment with the tenants of Sankofa (to go back and fetch our history), we of Duende Naturál and Black Land Matters understand the importance of “going back” to the historical makeup of this Nations’ Capitol to see the very real Afrikan presence that sits as the cornerstone of America — hidden in plain sight! This is what makes Anthony Browder’s work indispensably   invaluable! And the reason we are returning for his Field Trip this year.

From this reclamation we are able to shift from in between the Tekhenw (the present) to the Tekhen on the right which depicts our future — for we are rebuilding that future starting on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica.

So. With our eyes sharpened and ears tuned, we can now affirm to Ances-Star Listervelt Middleton we know what we see and understand what we hear: Wherever Blackfolk Are, Black Land Matters!

If you’re in the NYC/DC area we invite you to come with us May 20th to Browder’s Egypt On the Potomac Field Trip. For details and registration:

 Cooperatively.

Black Land Matters

 NEXT STEPS

  • Those interested in these “next level” talks email us at yesland@duendenatural.com
  • Come with us to Costa Rica August 12-20, 2017: Join our annual August Family Caribbean Excursion on the Caribbean Coast and get a taste of ‘Pura Vida’ or ‘the Pure Life’! For details, goto: http://www.duendenatural.com/tour/

 ADDITIONAL SUPPORTIVE RESOURCES:

Books

  • Egypt On the Potomac, by Anthony Browder
  • Finding Karakhamun – The Collaborative Rediscovery of a Lost Tomb, by Anthony Browder
  • Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization (Exploding the Myths), by Anthony Browder
  • Afrikan Burial Ground – Urban Unrest – Remnants of Slavery in New York, by M’Bwebe Ishangi (eBook and Digital Print)

Articles

  • Sankofa Kemetamorphosis: Ancestral Calling…

http://daghettotymz.com/current/kemetamorphosis/kemetamorphosis.html

  • The Significance of Historical Consciousness

http://daghettotymz.com/current/significance/significance.html

  • The Unapologetic Quest to G.E.N.T.R.I.F.Y.: Ethnic Cleansing Through Economics

http://daghettotymz.com/current/gentrify/gentrify.html

  • KMT vs NYC & DC

http://daghettotymz.com/current/kmtny/kmtny.html

  • Her Em Akhet vs Sphinx

http://daghettotymz.com/current/heremakhetsphinx/heremakhetsphinx.html

Video

  • The Classified Origin of D.C.

When speaking of the origin of Washington, D.C., the founding “fathers” of this country showed their enormous affinity toward ancient Kemet. Master Historian, Anthony Browder reveals this Afrikan influence with his field trips of D.C. This Video Article both honorz and serves as a complimentary visual of his works.
> Watch here: http://duendenatural.com/may2017.html#classifieddcvid

  • ‘The Future of Our Past – Using Cooperatives to Survive and Compete in the Next Twenty Years’. Take a look at the core issues stemming from Emancipation as well as Integration that’s led to the rise and fall of our collective loss of landeconomics and opportunity and how resuscitating the use of the Cooperatives can be a key factor in the next two decades.
    > Watch here: http://duendenatural.com/media.html#mediavideo-1
  • Black Land Matters featured on the Laura Flanders show

Black Land Matters’ co-founder, Mark Scott joined Weeksville Heritage Center’s Tia Powell Harris on the Laura Flanders show on the historic relevance of using cooperatives as a tangible solution to addressing the disparities of POADUS’ (People of African Descent in the Untied States) socio-economic opportunities.
> Watch here: http://duendenatural.com/media.html#mediavideo-2

 ———

M’Bwebe Ishangi

Where Eco & Culture Meet.
DCEG, LLC
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Black Land Matters
Wherever Black folk are, Black Land Matters!
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Glamourina

Glamourina Announces New Collection of Athleisure Wear

Local Washington, DC designers Kia Renee and Nekol Choo are thrilled to announce the premier of their Glamourina Kente Athleisure line. Glamourina is an online athleisure apparel store. Co-founders Kia and Nekol are working mothers who have always had a passion for fashion and desire to encourage women and uplift women. “Our mission is to provide affordable, comfortable, and quality athleisure apparel to average, and above average working women and girls in efforts to promote self-esteem through beauty, health and fitness.”

Glamourina

Why Kente? Kente is a traditional tribal fabric originating from Africa.  Africa is a strong and powerful continent.  They are here to motivate and encourage women to be strong, powerful and confident. “We are especially excited about our Kente line of athleisure apparel,” said Kia and Nekol. “Our followers are in for a treat this year.  When we premier the new line in April, everyone will finally get a glimpse of a very special design we’ve been working on for the past two years.”

Glamourina’s Kente Athleisure line will be available for purchase online exclusively at www.Glamourina.com before expanding to other retailers. Follow them on all social networks @shopglamourina!

Glamorina

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06Mar/17
Minda Honey is NOT Your Negro

#WomensHistoryMonth: @MindaHoney

Minda Honey is our Women’s History Month feature

Black women are brilliant; Taji Magazine knows and celebrates that every month. For #WomensHistoryMonth this year, we will profile four women who embody the talent that makes us smile.

First up is the fashionable and witty Minda Honey, creator of WrMindaa + Issaite Louisville and all-around amazing woman.

Minda Honey is a writer, editor, and Louisville native. She writes about love, relationships, and food. The common denominator for her work is consistently critical analysis that lends visibility to marginalized intersections that would otherwise be ghosted. She has introduced us to other stellar Black women like Issa Rae and Cynthia Bond. From earning an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside to founding Write Louisville, she is a southern woman with a global heart. Minda Honey was recently featured in Teen Vogue. The article explored the hair discrimination Black women face in the workplace.

Scholar, Agitator, Lover

When others shied away from addressing the Nate Parker rape accusations, she took the issue head on:

Yes, Black women on Twitter held Nate Parker accountable…Black women were also the majority of filmgoers who saw and supported Birth of a Nation—but of course we don’t get credit for that part. (Well, I don’t deserve credit for that part because I refused to go see it).”

But did anyone really expect less from a woman who shares a birthplace with Muhammad Ali, CJ Fletcher, and bell hooks?

In a 2016 piece, Minda Honey explores the audacity of whiteness and encourages us all to do us. She urges us to have “the confidence of a mediocre white man”.

Minda HoneyMinda Honey is a columnist and regular contributor for The San Diego CityBeat, The LEO (Ask Minda Honey), The Establishment, Thrillist Louisville, and The Voice-Tribune. Her company, Write Louisville, has recently taken off. Minda Honey is not just a another writer; she is the Zora Neale Hurston of our time.

You can follow her all over social media on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. She also writes website copy, blog posts, infographics, and more. We are exciting to be first in line for a copy of her memoir-in-progress, Anthology of Assholes.

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18Feb/17

Lindi Roaming the Streets with Artrepreneurs of Mzansi

ARTREPRENEURS ON THE LOOSE!!!

Artrepreneurs

Sibusile Xaba, born in Newcastle KZN and having to find music as a passion at an early age,  became engrossed in the art form regardless of circumstances. After completing matric (Grade 12), he decided to peruse music as a career and enrolled in a music college. With the knowledge acquired from college, he recognized a need to study further and expand his musical capacity. It was at this point when he enrolled into university to study jazz and major in jazz guitar.Artrepreneurs

This decision turned out to be a turning point in his career. It led to tours around the world with him playing his love for all sorts of people; young, old, political and apolitical. Furthermore, it honored and privileged him with opportunities to share a message with the countless people that he has met in his journey.

Artrepreneurs With constant practice, performing and connecting with different people, Sibusile has witnessed a continual growth in him as an individual and as a musician. It is a kind of growth that he values as important and worth sharing.

In addition to touring, Sibusile has worked with many different artists through session work, contributing as a composer and guitarist – both live and in studio. These endeavors have led to the creation of a lot of beautiful music with value that has not gone unnoticed.

Artrepreneurs   Artrepreneurs

Through his work Sibusile illustrates that Music is a collective effort; the more layers of sound put together in unison the greater the final piece. Furthermore, collaboration through music is a fundamental way of building unity within society and the community at large. The more artists that can come together and work together, the higher the standard of art will be. The more music is accessible to different communities, the better artists are sustained through their art.

Artrepreneurs

Resources, space and equipment will be easily shared…
Special information or comments: The Unlearning is the stripping of self from all indoctrination that the world has thought us and becoming one complete piece with thy self. The music we create is a harmonious massage of love, peace, happiness and equality for all.

Artrepreneurs

Brothers from the hood creating food for the soul.

Artrepreneurs

He goes by the name ‘Kabelo Khunou’, from The City of Sedibeng. He graduated from Wits University in 1999. This father of twins has traveled the world to pursue his career in the food industry. Creating food from the likes of chocolate art, fruit carvings, you name it!!!

Artrepreneurs Artrepreneurs Artrepreneurs Artrepreneurs

Artrepreneurs Life in the hood is not what it’s made out to be when you’re born with a creative mind and the passion for life. The aim is to utilize it to the best of your abilities and capture the hearts of many, while having fun. Who wants to wake up day after day to make someone else’s dreams come true when you can assemble your craft to make wonders. I salute people like Kabelo, BIG UP’S HUSTLER!!!

You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food. Food, in the end, in our own tradition, is something holy. It’s not about nutrients and calories. It’s about sharing. It’s about honesty. It’s about identity.

Food is our common ground, a universal experience.

Artrepreneurs

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17Feb/17
Knox Mahlaba

“Back from the Dead”- The Rising of the Spirit by Knox Mahlaba

“Back from the Dead” by Knox Mahlaba

The Rising of an African Spirit is a celebration of life, it’s different seasons, and the struggle to overcome. It is an anthology consisting of fifty poems; some poems are images of personal struggles, others visualize the celebration of love, and a few are odes to great leaders and historical reflections.

The single message this book intends to transfer to the reader is that a sense of self-love and appreciation does a world of good. Throughout the book, references are made to Africa with the sole intention of encouraging people, Africans on the continent, and across the Diaspora, to reflect on their rich identity, take responsibility for their self-concept, and to be proud of their heritage in order to inject a greater sense of self-worth and responsibility in their daily lives.

His poetry appears in the Kampala poetry anthology, which we’re launching during the Babishai Poetry Festival, August 26th to 28th at The Uganda Museum. Knox Mahlaba was born in Johannesburg, a proud Sowetan who has had the opportunity to live in different countries as a result of circumstance beyond his control and a desire to obtain an education. A copywriter by trade, he has worked for a multinational advertising company and with international brands. When writing wasn’t paying the bills, he supplemented his income with business initiatives and speaking engagements.

Moving from South Africa to Swaziland after the 1976 Soweto Riots and growing up in exile, he studied at a South African university and then overseas. Studying in America was an eye opener and afforded him the opportunity to interact with Africans from different countries. He had many Ugandan friends in the States and even visited the Ugandan embassy there. Writing about Kampala was like a home coming because as a child Uganda was in the news for the wrong reasons. Fortunately, his friends exposed him to another side of the story.

He has one published collection, Back From The Dead: The Rising of an African Spirit, available via Amazon and various online bookstores. He is currently working on his next book and intends on setting up a program to encourage writing and reading among the youth. As a Pan Africanist, his passion is sowing unity among Africans on the continent and abroad.

Writing is a release and something that comes naturally. Writing was a hobby that became a copywriting job and ultimately he began writing for a greater purpose. Mahlaba writes poetry to highlight the numerous conundrums that life offers. He prefers to relay life’s questions to readers to provoke possible answers. He also writes because he thinks African people should take the lead in defining the African experience and shaping young minds toward positive behavior.

“Soweto is a big place, where people are known by their nicknames, names related to their specialty. You really have to stand out to be recognized. It’s a place that thrives on confidence and big dreams. 1976 Student Uprisings define Soweto, the people are resilient and forever seek creative ways to achieve the best results and be the best.”

He has always been fascinated by words. “As a kid I disliked reading fiction because the characters and the plot undermined the aspirations of black people by misrepresenting them; I started reading newspapers from the age of five. It was only after reading ‘I Write What I Like’ by Steve Biko and the African Writer’s Series that I realized that there was only one way to alter the literature landscape, writing and detailing the black experience from a sympathetic perspective without being patronizing.”

Being the cultural melting pot of Johannesburg, its multicultural environment encourages multilingualism and develops interest in other culture, breeding acceptance. Soweto teaches you to be universal by removing ethnocentrism {tribalism} from the mind-set.

“I write about everything, everything that touches and affects the African soul – politics, social issues, and love. The media often portrays Africans as an unloving people, pure because they define love from a western perspective.”

“Universal topics, love, romance, life challenges, and being an African, I also home in on the effects of slavery, colonialism, tribalism and apartheid. We no longer love ourselves and our ways because of systematic brainwashing!”

Piece of the past, highlights the need for Africans to rediscover themselves and rebuild the family unit. I often say, poets take credit for the work of angels. The best poems won’t let you sleep, the words will wake you if you’re asleep, stop you from sleeping if awake, stop you from doing something else until the poem has form. My poems write themselves from my experiences first hand and second hand interactions.”

All the poems are inspired by Africa, half deal with the spirit, a quarter celebrates love in its various guises, and the another quarter focuses on Africa and the plight of her descendants wherever they may reside.

nature’s revenge.

Singing shosholoza……………….
……………………………………….
A ravaged ecosystem bears the blame
Drought the diagnosis
The men ascend the mountain
Unable to pray for rain
The boulders of culture excavated
Unable to pray in their own language
Pain passed from generation to generation
The mountain laughs

Excerpt from ‘nature’s revenge’

“Different strokes for different folks, I prefer to focus on the words, the words are meant to move you and not the costume or stage devices. History is written by the victor.”

“Poetry offers a balanced narrative of events. I would agree that the poet, more spiritually equipped to portray the truth, pity poets don’t have the resources given to historians. For example, a historian will toe the party line when dealing with ethnic violence, whereas the poet will focus on the loss of human life. The historian is only accountable to the government of the day; the poet is answerable to the ancestors and has to be accountable for an eternity.”

Some of his unpublished work is available on his blog Nativedrum. You can interact with him on various social media platforms, including Facebook and Google+.

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16Feb/17
Social Yaruna

Lindi Roaming the Streets at the Social Yaruna

In this edition of Lindi Roaming the Streets, Lindi visits the Social Yaruna!

“CREATIVITY IS A WILD MIND AND A DISCIPLINED EYE”

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Social YaRuna is an out of the box, diverse and artistic movement aimed at providing a platform to mold and nature future leaders of the entertainment world. “Ya Runa”, which means ours, aims at creating unity among the artists as well as unifying art lovers with those that chose to pursue a career in the world of entertainment.  The idea of YaRuna is to draw in the masses and teach them knowledge of how broad the art/entertainment industry is by bringing in a diverse group of individuals under one roof who will each bring in their own element; ultimately giving a platform for emerging artists to grow as artists as well as make a living from their crafts.

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YaRuna, established in September 2016, is hosted every first Saturday of the month and is co-owned by Thabang Modupo & Thobile Nhlapo.

These emerging events co-ordinators & stylist/image consultants are also qualified Business Analysts. Born and raised in the east of Johannesburg (born in Hillbrow, resided in Tembisa (tshepo extention) till the age of 7, then moved to Kempton Park in 1999.

They were also recently a Top 15 finalist in the global blogger style challenge, being the only African to have been a part of the competition.

“What defines me is my capability to adapt well to ever changing circumstances in my life, constantly transitioning from what society’s perception of what a young black man should look like as well as how a young entrepreneur like myself should dress or behave in order to be successful. I don’t conform to the norms of society hence I don’t want to restrict myself to just settling for the regular 9-5 lifestyle we as a black community have been trained since birth to take up, where we slave day in a day out only to make millions (daily) for someone else’s company only to earn peanuts only once a month.”

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It’s not everyday that society is gifted with a radical youth, who is not afraid to dance to her own tune or help liberate the minds of other youth around her. This 23 year old photographer from Sebokeng, Vaal, began using her photography career three years ago, as a self-expressive art that she now wishes to share with the world. She describes her photography as a form of “Expressionism”- as most of her work carries subliminal meaning and weight from within!

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Thobile has photographed South African stars, including AKA, Kelly Khumalo, and Mandoza. “I hope to be given an opportunity to further develop my skills and more importantly, to working with people I can learn from.”

“SPIRIT IS HER NAME”

spirit

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“You can not use up creativity, the more you use, the more you have.”

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“The shoe cobbler”

“The Shoe Cobbler” is a customization business that was founded by 3 young entrepreneurs, Tshepang Ramoji, Thabo Kholoane & Sabata Mpholo who identified and realized how the local trend where they’re from was so behind, so they re-introduced a forgotten street culture (sneaker customization) in the Vaal.

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TSC basically gives all worn out sneakers a second chance by re-modifying them and giving them a brighter and better colour to match the look you’ve always had in mind.

•The vision of TSC is to be known and recognized internationally because of the creativity we all have to offer.
•Our mission is to provide high quality services that are trustworthy, join every well known markets that display art, and, most of all, enhance our entrepreneurial excellence.
 
IG-@the_shoe_cobbler
FACEBOOK – Tshepang Samson Ramoji

CELL no.- 0818790398

FACEBOOK – Thabo Lovey Koloane
CELL no-0603497163
 
FACEBOOK – Sabata Sabo Mpholo
CELL no.-0799882973
Hector Pieterson (1963 – 16 June 1976) became the subject of an iconic image of the 1976 Soweto uprising in South Africa when a news photograph by Sam Nzima of the dying Hector being carried by another student while his sister ran next to them, was published around the world. He was killed at the age of 13 when the police opened fire on protesting students. For years, 16 June stood as a symbol of resistance to the brutality of the apartheid government. Today, it is designated Youth Day — when South Africans honour young people and bring attention to their needs. #FEESMUSTFALL
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Live painting
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Soulful sounds by Sio
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Live Body Painting 
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The Royal Vibrations is a marimba group that has a percussive musical combination of marimba, djembe, dance and vocals. The band comprises of ten Members who share common roots with different social and cultural orientations. The group represents the nicest melodies ever found in the musical history of mankind and is based in the heart of Johannesburg, Hillbrow (at the Hillbrow Theatre).

The Royal Vibrations fuses traditional music with western sound effects and a modernized interpretation of time, space and circumstance. The band plays a variety of musical styles that include Southern Africa traditional songs, Afro-fusion, jazz, house, gospel, afro-pop and classical sounds. Members of the band respectively are rich in experience of the entertainment industry and have performed on both local and international music festivals and concerts.

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To date, the experience within the band blends into a unique acoustic feel with an essential rhythmic touch that refreshes, heals and gives an uplifting sensation that restores our sense of dignity and self-pride. The Royal Vibrationz works with a number of session musicians from all over South Africa, and has collaborated with international live bands on various occasions, including Melita Matsinhe based in Norway. The Royal Vibrations is currently the holders of the best marimba band in South Africa’s National Marimba Festival 2013 and the International Marimba & Steelpan Festival 2013. The great band has a live audio recording they did in 2013 titled “The Journey” That includes cover versions from the great African and international musicians and some of their own compositions. “We are here to give you the best marimba music at festivals, concerts, graduation ceremonies, corporate functions, parties and weddings.” They offer the following services:

Live Marimba Band (Afro-jazz, contemporary jazz, house, reggae, soul, afro-soul, RnB)

Take a chill pill and unwind with a game of Pack Man!!!
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“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that colour your world. Constantly colour your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humour, and your picture begins to lighten up.”

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Midrand Social Squad
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PHOTO CRED:@jay_dundidit      
                      GRAYSCALE                
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11Feb/17
Cultural Appropriation

Here’s When Cultural Appropriation is OK

Cultural Appropriation: A Beginner’s Guide

Curtis M. Wong at Huffington Post celebrated Ben Yahr, a gay white man who thought it’d be cool to inject cultural appropriation into Beyonce’s maternity photos. He thought wrong. While Wong is no critical race scholar, it is still surprising he finds Yahr’s behavior celebration-worthy. Just like it’s never okay for gay white men to call themselves “Black women,” Yahr is not functioning as an ally in this series of photos where he appropriates Beyonce’s Black body. It’s disappointing that the Huffington Post has chosen to give this microaggression a platform. It’s time for white people to fall back.

In the article, Wong quotes Beyonce by noting that Yahr’s series of photos is flawless. Here I agree with Wong, these photos are a flawless. They are a flawless example of how gay white men can be racist too. Congratulations.huffpo cultural appropriation For Wong to suggest that this effort by Yahr encourages everyone to embrace body positivity is another way of telling us our Black bodies are not good enough or that some white man can perform Blackness better. As a Black woman who struggles with body positivity, Yahr’s work only silences the joy I felt when I saw Beyonce’s photos.

We collectively smiled at Blue Ivy kissing her mother’s belly. It was a contrast to of the way pregnant Black women were tortured during chattel slavery. Seeing Nefertiti in the background of her photo inspired the hope of resurrection for our culture. I thought about last Black History Month when she performed at the Super Bowl in a way that made me forget all the trauma we face on a daily basis as Black women.

Yahr attempted to desecrate that.

This is the norm: ignore Black culture until it is legitimized by whites. For example, there is an unlimited supply of young Black girls twerking, but white girls are often credited with popularizing the dance. Andy Cohen is an excellent example of a gay white man who appropriates Black women, yet fails to acknowledge his racial bias. The Bravo “Watch What happens Live” host called Amandla Stenberg a “jackhole” after she commented on Kylie Jenner’s cultural appropriation. This ignored the undeniable ways he has directly benefitted from the work of Black women: his show only came into existence after the predominantly Black Real Housewives of Atlanta, despite several all white Real Housewives series.

To say Yahr’s appropriation “slays” is an overstatement at best. What he really does is get a little more famous on the back of a hard working Black woman. That is not innovative. That is simply cultural appropriation. Please miss me with that.

Many of us remember Laganja Estranja whose cultural appropriation rivaled that of Elvis Presley. Estranja, a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, was the epitome of appropriation. This is a person known for twerking like Beyonce and fake code switchingIsobel DeBrujah notes that this is all “an obvious imitation of black voice/speech patterns, specifically black female voice/speech patterns, specifically black, southern, speech patterns popularized by white people at black people’s expense.”

The lack of respect and outright unwillingness to accept when they are called out is rampant.

Why do white men–especially gay white men, who in a better world should be our allies–feel like it’s ok to use our bodies without our knowledge or permission? There are ways to prove your point without the unapologetic cultural appropriation Black women. Any intended commentary is invalidated when you represent the same disregard for our existence as the people/systems Cultural Appropriationyou criticize. This is not some one-off incident. There is a litany of gay white men who enjoy our Black womanhood, while routinely dismissing our grievances.

We have been telling white gay men about their blatant cultural appropriation for years, but the message hasn’t quite sunk in for the Huffington Post. The proliferation of polite racism is why we can’t have anything. White supremacy persists because of the invisible privilege that white LGBTQ communities ignore. Yes, there are some people coming to Yahr’s defense and adding context, but this blatant disrespect will never be ok. There will always be white people who apologize and make excuses for their racist peers. Cultural appropriation and its apologists are not new and they are not acceptable.

I know what some readers are thinking, though. Can’t we celebrate everyone? Why does it have to be racial? What if we just enjoy the culture? These are all completely natural questions.

So when is cultural appropriation of Black women OK?

Try February 31st.

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03Feb/17
Bella's Adventures in Africa

Young African Sisters write Pan-African Children’s Book, Bella’s Adventures in Africa

Bella’s adventures in Africa is a self-published Pan African children’s book by British Zimbabwean sisters Rutendo Muzambi and Rebecca Darko, which is beautifully illustrated by Guy Stratton. It follows a girl who leaves England to embark on journey across Africa with her parents. It is a collection of nine short stories based in eight different African countries – Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Egypt, and Ethiopia.

Bella's Adventures in AfricaRutendo’s inspiration for writing the book was derived from a number of experiences. One of the key reasons, was her passion for African culture and the need to promote more positive views of Africa. She has always been passionate about celebrating and embracing her African heritage. During her years in secondary school, she was awarded the Jack Petchey Award for her 5 year contribution and commitment to the annual black history competitions. However, she encountered negative stereotypical views from friends and colleagues, who would innocently ask whether Africans lived amongst wild animals and in tiny huts. These views were a far cry from the fun and happy childhood she and her sister had experienced and the modern Africa that we know and love. It appeared to them that some people did not realize that Africa is a continent of many nations, languages, cultures and values. Thus they wanted to write a book that moved away from the stereotypes and showed African children having fun adventures.

Like many other African young people, Rutendo and Rebecca followed the traditional route of going to university and gaining their educational qualifications. Rutendo gained her Masters degree in pharmacy whilst Rebecca also completed her Masters. However, they both still had a passion for writing and wanted to share their love of the African continent with other people. Thus during Rebecca’s maternity leave they began to write short adventure stories set in Africa and completed the book in December 2016.

With over 100 illustrations and adventurous short stories, this book shows African children having adventures. It is important for children to develop an understanding and appreciation of other cultures and to also foster a positive attitude towards people who are of a different background to them. When children of African heritage see themselves reflected in books, it enhances their self-esteem and builds their confidence. It also enables children of African heritage to see their continent in a more positive light, learn more about different African countries and to be proud of their African heritage.

Bella’s Adventures in Africa published on the 17th of January 2017. It is available on Amazon and on their website www.riverfrog.co.uk

Bella's Adventures in Africa  Bella's Adventures in Africa

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02Feb/17
Fashion On Belmont

3 Black Cats Café Announces Fashion On Belmont Event Feb 18th in Brooklyn

Fashion On BelmontOn February 18th, 2017 an exciting fashion event is coming to Belmont ave., Brooklyn. Fashion On Belmont, sponsored by progressive Brooklyn businesses 3 Black Cats Café, BGUConcepts and Georgia Stitch, is a night of fun, high fashion and community building.

Fashion and Brooklyn can come hand in hand. Three Brooklyn women owned and operated businesses are celebrating this idea on February 18th, 2017 at 3 Black Cats Café on Belmont ave, Brooklyn. The special event is titled Fashion on Belmont and is proudly being sponsored by 3 Black Cats Café and fashion trendsetters BGUConcepts and Georgia Stitch. Excitement surrounding the event is high.

“Helping empower community businesses and individuals is a big part of our vision,” commented a spokesperson from 3 Black Cats Café. “BGUConcepts and Georgia Stitch aren’t just making amazing fashion, but they are also inspirational example of what can be done when our community puts our mind to it. Fashion on Belmont shouldn’t be missed, it’s going to be a great experience.”

According to 3 Black Cats Café, the combination cafe/bakery and community space is the dream of three Brownsville sisters come to life. Proud to be a “cafe with a purpose”, the eatery has quickly become a Brooklyn “third space” that’s showing love to Brooklyn every day they are open. Fashion On Belmont is the latest expression of this drive.

Fashion On Belmont co-sponsor BGUConcepts is another proud Brooklyn women owned business. Since 2002 the fashion company has been a trendsetter and ground breaker in the plus sized community, respected for their fun, sexy and innovative designs and attitude. Well known for often being a choice for some very well known celebrity curves, their participation in the February event certainly adds to the excitement.

Third sponsor of the event, Georgia Stitch, has taken the art of custom designed clothing to the next level. Exceeding the expectations of everyone from high school girls wanting the perfect prom dress, community organizers and empowerment speakers, all the way to first ladies of the church, the Brooklyn-based fashion business never disappoints. Fashion On Belmont is certainly a great venue to see what Georgia Stitch is offering, both as a business and as a proud part of the community.

Fashion On Belmont takes place on February 18th, 2017 at 3 Black Cats Café. The cafe is located at 3 Belmont ave, Brooklyn, NY 11212. The event starts at 7 PM.

For more information be sure to email fashonbel@gmail.com.

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