Tag Archives: black culture

10Sep/16
Fifty Shades of Duku

“Fifty Shades of Duku” is a Must Have for Headwrap Lovers

Ofentse “Princess Ofee” Maluleke is the CEO of Taji Holdings and author of Fifty Shades of Duku. Taji is a Swahili word for CROWN. The company is focused on manufacturing and distributing natural hair and skin products while teaching Queens how to take care of their crowns. She also has a relentless love affair with head wraps and began teaching others how to wrap in 2013 on her Youtube channel.

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Ofee was born and raised in Empangeni  (Kwa-Zulu Natal), South Africa, ensuring that she got an all-round South African experience and that she could speak at least 5 languages. Her love for entrepreneurship began in high school where she was nicknamed “the popcorn lady” as she sold popcorn during break times for pocket money. She continued to sell other items such as beaded jewelery and muffins all the way through to university.

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The way that African women wear their duku’s is significantly different to the way other ethnicities wear theirs.  Instead of tying the fabric below the chin or at the nape of the neck African women tie it on the crown of the head or on the sides and tuck in the fabric in the wrap leaving the face and neck exposed. This ensures the head is puled upwards and the features of the face  are highlighted. In other words, an African woman wears her duku as she would a crown.

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“My life purpose is to inspire, heal and help African Queens to look and feel beautiful and be their authentic selves for God’s glory through my products, seminars, blogging and vlogging online.”

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In this book, Ofee will showcase 50 different ways to tie a Duku step-by-step.

Headwraps (Duku) hold a significant role in the history of African women all over the continent and the diaspora. The tradition has been passed through the generations and has never gone out of fashion. Duku’s have been historically worn by both men and women of all races but, in recent times it has become associated almost solely with women of African decent.

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Among other incredible works, she also sells locally produced organic body, lip and hair products.

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Many thanks to:

 @FlashingLitesPhotography

@TajiShop

@Marabouess

@papi9525

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09Sep/16
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Lindi Roaming the Streets in Celebration of Our “Imbokodos”

In this edition of Lindi Roaming the Streets, Lindi celebrates our “Imbokodos” (Rocks/Women)!                                                                   

“Take a girl to the dance Campaign”

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Because every girl is a princess, they deserve that one night to celebrate their hard earned work. Rapunzel is a bit more relatable than the other princesses, especially because she doesn’t even know that she’s a princess until the very end. I like to think of her as the bohemian princess, as she’s barefoot and living in a tower. She paints and reads… She’s a Renaissance woman.

We are earnestly persuading all of our loving Queens out there to donate their matric dresses, and make someone’s prom night one they never imagined. This initiative gives education a meaning in rural and underprivileged communities, as they can only dream of nights like this.

This campaign runs from  01 August 2016 to 01 August 2017, in honour of all the hard working princesses that never gave up despite the obstacles that barred them from all angles, for they are our future QUEENS.

Imbokodos

                                                                  “Let’s take a girl to the dance, shall we?”

Please contact details below for more details and assistance.

Your donations are highly appreciated, and many thanks in advance.

IG:@muhlez

FB: Lindiwe Lee Tshitlho

Email: lindi@tajimag.com

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11Apr/16
Slave Stories

10 Reasons I Will Never Get Tired of ‘Slave Stories’

In the wake of WGN’s newest hit show ‘Underground’, which premiered last month starring Jurnee Smollett Bell and Aldis Hodge and follows a group of slaves attempting to escape a Georgia plantation through the Underground Railroad, I want to remind the nay sayers of the value these stories still have all these years later. Just because the ignorant choose to believe Black history started with slavery does not mean we cannot honor our foremothers and fathers by keeping their struggle alive through various art forms and reminding ourselves the stock from which we come. From soul food to head wraps the very fiber of our being, just like this country’s, was built on the backs of slaves and there is no shame in that. We should embrace our ‘slave stories’.

Here are 10 reasons I will never get tired of well crafted books, movies and television shows where the plot includes slavery.

10. I KNOW MY HISTORY

Some Black folks get wind of a movie about slavery coming out and immediately get upset. “Damn! Another slave movie!” And I get why. Slavery is not the beginning of the history of the African Diaspora nor is it the pinnacle of our existence in North America. Why can’t movies be made about our Kings and Queens? Why hasn’t a movie about Black Wall Street or The Move Organization been made? I agree with that sentiment. I do wish a wider range of our stories made it to the silver screen. HOWEVER- because I am a seeker of knowledge and information I don’t REQUIRE others to show me my people in a positive light and I don’t EXPECT them to. I do that for myself. And WE must do that for OURSELVES. For those who haven’t noticed, our images in the media will never be what we want them to be unless we are controlling them. And when we cannot control what someone else is passing off as ‘Blackness” we must provide the world with alternative interpretations of our multidimensional selves.

9. YALL STILL RACIST OUT HERE

How could I ever be upset about present day proof of the barbarism and hypocrisy of this country and where it all started? We still have men shooting down men, women and children in cold blood simply for being Brown skinned and getting away with murder because the system is rooted in the very thinking that made slavery acceptable for centuries. How could I not be a fan of knowing the truth? Plus it’s nice to be reminded how far we’ve come, but more crucially, how far we still need to go in order to achieve a truly equitable and accessible society.

8. SLAVE IS JUST A WORD

I think part of the aversion Black people have to movies about slavery is an association with slaves because they are Black. They don’t want to think of themselves in that situation and they don’t want to witness their people being subjugated. That is understandable. But what we have to understand about slaves is that they were people first. They belonged to their mothers, wives, tribes, and children long before outsiders deemed them property. It is just a word and no slave was ever “just a slave.” They were people like you and I and I am not ashamed of my ancestors. If anyone should feel shame it is the descendants of the slave holders, NOT the descendants of the slaves.

7. OUR PRESENT IS DIRECTLY EFFECTED BY OUR PAST

When you look at a slave movie, and you watch the interactions between slave master and slave, between the slaves from different African countries, between the dark skinned and bi-racial children born into slavery and treated differently because of their hair texture and complexion, you understand the root of a multitude of modern day ills effecting the Black community. There are many different types of slavery. Think of the woman with locs who had to cut them to keep her job because someone somewhere with bone straight hair decided dreads are “unprofessional” and it became unwritten law. Think of the youth killing each other in the streets because they can’t see eye to eye simply because they live in different housing developments. Think of how many times on social media you see the phrase team light skin or team dark skin. These are all modern day manifestations of century old foolishness meant to keep us separated from each other while trying to assimilate into a culture that wants nothing to do with our authentic selves.

6. THEY’RE TRYING TO ERASE SLAVERY FROM HISTORY

Did you hear about the board of education in Texas changing the name of slavery to ‘the transatlantic triangular trade’ in its text books in the first of many steps toward erasing US slave trade from the history books altogether? Cause it happened in 2012. And its happening all over America. In addition to white-washing our characters in film, excluding us all but completely in history, misrepresenting and/or continually trying to discredit our leaders in the public sphere and picking and choosing whom to celebrate based on who posed the slightest threat to the status quo, they are straight up trying to erase slavery from the collective conscious of America.

5. I WILL NEVER FORGET AND YOU SHOULDN’T EITHER

The erasure of slavery from American history would not only be an insult to the memory of the millions of slaves who were bought, sold, starved, raped, beaten and dehumanized before our time, but it would also make the current situation of Blacks in America a mystery. If you understand that Africans were deemed only 3/5 of a human being at the very same time the U.S of A was fighting for freedom and autonomy from Great Britain than you can comprehend why the Trayvons, Jordans, and Rekias of the present day cannot receive justice.

4. NO FORM OF SLAVERY WAS AS BARBARIC AS THE TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE

When discussing the brutality of the TransAtlantic slave trade people often argue that slavery was everywhere, since the beginning of time, and that some Africans sold their own people into slavery. Since this is true, some believe what happened to the Africans traveling through the middle passage and arriving in the colonies can be lumped into all the other forms of slavery throughout history. That is a cop out and an insult, not only to the memory of the human beings who lived through slavery, but also to those after them who lived through the Jim Crow era, lynch mobs, the KKK, and those after them who were beaten, jailed, attacked by dogs and sprayed with high power water hoses during the Civil Rights era not even 50 years ago. If you take a good hard look at not just slavery, but its short and long term ramifications, there is no way a comparison to anything else could be legit.

3. HISTORICAL FILMS ARE IMPORTANT

Film and literature enable us to travel to places and times we may never get to actually experience. In the case of films about slavery I think it’s important to relive that pain and anguish. Not to be overcome by it but to understand the greatness from which we come. We survived this. The strength, determination and resilience of our people is showcased by the simple fact that we are still here. After centuries of subjugation we are still fighting to be seen as human beings by some members of society, and yet we live as students, artists, doctors, lawyers, entertainers, educators, politicians, engineers, authors, athletes, and the list goes on. Knowing our history helps many of us strive for excellence in the present as a way to pay homage to those before us.

2. YOUNG PEOPLE LIKE UPDATES

If you ask someone under the age of 15 whether or not they have seen ‘Roots’ the answer will most likely be no, but if you ask them whether or not they’ve seen ’12 Years a Slave’ you might be surprised how many of them would be able to discuss it with you. It’s very important for young people to stay current and they often shy away from anything deemed ‘old (with the exception of vintage/thrift clothing which is now trendy.) Contemporary films about slavery keep dialogue on the subject open and give young people the option of simply watching a movie to learn more about the time period.

1. I HAVE MY OWN BRAIN

Black people are often made to feel as though they are wrong, rude, sensitive or delusional when they take a stance on racial issues. Some have opted out of having an opinion altogether and simply keep quiet in the wake of blatant racism or they will purposely take a self destructive stance so they don’t seem ‘butthurt.’ I think that kind of thinking has a lot to do with the sharp rise in numbers of people who are all of a sudden tired of slave movies and being very vocal about it. Part of my pride in being who I am comes from knowing where I’ve been and how people like me have persevered so I don’t mind being reminded of one particular part of our long, glorious and GLOBAL history of ingenuity, courage and uniqueness.

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09Dec/15
Messiah Ramkissoon

Messiah Ramkissoon | Poet, Artist, Activist

Messiah RamkissoonThe Twenty-First Century has indeed been full of trying times. Despite tons of intentional division and propaganda imagery, there has also been a banding together and a notion that we, as a people, must foster our own growth and progression. It is said that in the midst of turmoil, the air is ripe for the likes of a prophet; one who can ingest the struggle and obstacles of the time, and in return paint a portrait of a prosperous future. It is no easy task to be able to rise from police brutality, genocide and institutionalized racism, while still being able to see Nirvana and rouse others to do so as well. Insert: Messiah Ramkissoon.

A spoken word artist by way of Trinidad, this young man has accepted elevating the collective as his life calling. He started writing as a young child, and with the support of his family he has honed his skills. Idolizing the likes of Muhammad Ali, he has chosen to also use his skills to improve the world we live in. Thrice a ‘champion’ of Showtime at the Apollo, he contributes his successes to consistency. Much as his name suggests, his efforts truly reflect his desire to enlighten and uplift.

En lieu of enlightenment, he has gifted us with his latest work, a mixtape named ‘The Reminder’. A grail of sorts, Messiah intends for his work to ‘restore awareness’ to where we have been, where we are, and where we need to focus our efforts for the future. He addresses everything from recalling the loss of our civil rights heroes to rallying pride and unity in combat of recurring oppressive forces. In his own words from the mixtape, “As a collective, we are much more effective/ Kill the social contraceptive/ To live and let live is the ultimate incentive.”

When it comes to uplifting the collective, Messiah takes an approach even more personal. He has dedicated much of the past 8 years to prison outreach in Washington, DC, Baltimore and NYC. Coming face to face with our incarcerated males, he chooses to stand in where, often enough, there has been no one. A major part of the process is in fact within his ability to articulate conversation. In giving the young men a platform to express and reflect upon all aspects of self, true progress is made. His worlds often tie together. On ‘The Reminder’ he has dedicated a track to the late 16 year old Kalief Browder, who took his own life following wrongful imprisonment. In another case, a young man by the name of Asad Giles spent two and a half years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Upon his release, Messiah continued to provide support and resources. Asad is now employed and due to start school in 2016. He says of his philanthropy, “My goal is to empower each young brother I encounter… not only making change but taking the… example back to our own to duplicate this process of progress.”

An Artist in his own right, Messiah has not only chosen a life of dedication, but it seems to have chosen him. “I would like to leave a legacy as someone who loved his people, was passionate about his work, exuded excellence with each opportunity and [was] fearless… Fearless enough to accept any challenge which may arise on the road to providing true liberation and a better lifestyle for the babies! That would suffice.” Ashe, Messiah, Ashe.

Show him your support by following Messiah on IG & TW at @AllMessiah and www.facebook.com/messiah.ramkissoon. Visit his website, www.AllMessiah.com, for more on Messiah’s endeavors! Shine on King!

Written by Lola Valentine
Photo by NayMarie Photography

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Black Fashion: Model Kavan McCambry

 

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“Wall Street”
Model: Kavan McCambry (Model King) | Photography: Brittany JoRae’ With Ravish Beauty of Topeka Kansas | Blazer: Jermiah Hayden, Owner and Creator of MultiBlazer
“This photo was a vision was created by a blazer designer. A man’s blazer can give you the level of natural confidence you have always wanted. No matter what profession your in, you will always come out on top when you put on a classic blazer.”
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09Aug/15

Sistahood by Evelyn D. Hall

Sistahood

 

Different sizes, shapes and colors,

Yet we have some of the same problems:

Male problems, children problems, family problems,

Mental and physical problems.

You name them, we women have them.

We comfort one another, we share with each other,

and we get on each others nerves.

Sistahs helping sistahs, is there anyone like us?

You give me your shoulder to cry on,

I give you my helping hands.

You give me a listening ear,

I give you my advice and strength.

You give me me your friendship,

I give you my support and unconditional love.

 

By Evelyn D. Hall

 

Image: © NayMarie Photography | Black Beauty: Isha Rae | Makeup: Daphney Guillaume | www.NayMarie.com

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