Diyasha Smith (@DiyashaSmith) | Photographer: Christopher Morton | Diyashasmith.tumblr.com | Organic health and wellness business: Total Life Changes
MLNNNYC (Melanin NYC) is a group of Black women whose goal is to uplift and represent the Black woman in a positive light that is not shown in media. They have discussions on what is going on in our culture and how to help or live in current times. They provide relationship advice; hair skin, and nail tips; diet and nutrition; and more.
“We just want to show the world that we are more than what you see on reality TV.”
I See the Pattern Of Hate and Jealousy by Samuel H. Robinson
I walk the streets and I see people who are not me, who want desperately to be me; people who emulate us, but are not us. Whites. People lost in a culture which is uniquely defined by a lack of culture that is actually their own. They carry within themselves a sickness that seemingly permeates all other fair skinned cultures. They abhor us; berate and subjugate us. They want nothing more than to possess everything that we are. We live inherently as our people have lived since the tribes of our ancestors first formed under the skies of Mother Africa.
Their women inject their lips, breast and buttocks with collagen to give themselves the fuller, more attractive figure that our women are naturally born with. They sit under the sun, under lamps, and rub themselves down with chemicals to give themselves the sun-kissed skin that our people have from birth. They lock up their hair, decorate it with beads and jeweled accents and say that it’s a part of the hippie sub-culture; hoping all the while that we blacks will forget that the art of locking hair has its roots in North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Ancient Egypt, along with head shaving which was done by us to show status, hair dying which was done by us with henna and yes, even wigs worn by us to protect our hair from sun damage.
How many of these things are we told wrongly by today’s society are meant as expressions of white “culture”? Not meant for us?
Whites have adopted the raised tattoos of our African ancestors. They’ve appropriated ear gauging, nose and lip piercing and stretching, neck stretching, and other manners of body modification which they boldly call “alternative”, “goth” or “punk”, but which were actually introduced by the ethnic peoples of North Africa; the Pedi, the San and even the Zulu.
They take our music.
They take our dance.
They take our food.
They take the clothing and artistic styles that we make unique and make them a part of the white mainstream. They take our speech patterns and turns of phrase. They take our very BLACKNESS.
Yet how many of these things are we told wrongly by today’s society are meant as expressions of white “culture”? Not meant for us?
I see the pattern of hate and jealousy. Do you see it now too?
Samuel H. Robinson | https://www.facebook.com/
Photo: Rachael Arianna
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.
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.
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.
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.
Troy Spry is a certified life and relationship coach who uses his platform of blogging, speaking, writing, and facilitating conversations as a way to is a certified life and relationship coach who uses his platform of blogging, speaking, writing, and facilitating conversations as a way to further spread his purpose. His mission is to inspire people to improve themselves so they can become better partners. He ultimately became a certified coach through his blog, which he started after his Mother passed away from Multiple Sclerosis. His mother has been his biggest influence in life; she taught him about character, selflessness, work ethic, and love. As a child Troy dreamed of becoming a professional athlete but he quickly realized he wasn’t as big, strong, or fast as the competition. Troy’s greatest business role models and influencers are Lamar and Ronnie Tyler. They taught him about serving his audience and the business of blogging.
When I asked this man of wonderment if he could interview anyone from his life living or dead, who would it be, ladies wait for it… He said his wife. He’d like to know if he had lived up to her expectations and to see if he has done right behind the message he’s putting out into the world. He’s proud to boast about being a good husband and trying to build a great family. He also let me in on a little secret: Baby #1 is on the way.
NN: Troy, how would you like to be remembered?
TS: I would like to be remembered as a difference maker and one who didn’t just talk it but he lived it, and because of that he had influence on people in life and in love.
NN: If this was to be your very last conversation, is there anything you’d want to say?
TS: I would want to tell my late Mother that I love her and I would thank her for helping me to find my passion and my purpose so that I could help make a difference in the world. Then I would tell everyone to “start with you!”
NN: If you could do anything now, what would you do and why?
TS: I would do just what I am doing now! I’ve found my passion and my purpose and I enjoy every minute of it!
Troy’s accomplishments include being invited to be a staff writer for the award winning website www.BlackandMarriedWithKids.com. He was also invited to write for celebrity matchmaker Paul C. Brunson, and was invited by the HuffPost live, were he wrote his first E-Book, Teach Me How To Love; A Man’s Journey Toward and Through Marriage. He is currently working on his first full book, which he has credited as his ultimate accomplishment.
NN: Troy one last question. What lessons has your work life taught you? What was one piece of history that stuck with you?
TS: I’ve learned so many invaluable lessons but the one that is always consistent is that true change starts with SELF. It starts with being willing to engage in some true self-reflection and moving from a victim mentality to a victor mentality. One piece of history that stuck with me was the election of President Obama but not just his election but the representation of his family being the first family. I believe it gave a much-needed model of family and “black love!”