Monday, February 28, 2011

Black People Love Us

The happy couple loved by black people.
I figured I would finish up my Black History Month series with some humor...

Black People Love Us is an absolutely wonderful website.

It is the story of a happy couple, who are loved by a myriad of black people.  They seem to love being loved and in response created this great website.  It comes complete with the testimonials of their black friends explaining why they love this white couple.

The site also addresses some common stereotypes, but you cant keep yourself from laughing...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Research for Possible Graphics project

After all this research, I think I will do another poster series, or some other graphics/art project, on African American history and culture.

Some possible topics could be:

1. The importance of African American hair and its history.  Why people started relaxing their hair.  Why it is seem today as good or bad.
- Black is Beautiful
- Intro to Black Hair  - Coil Review
- My Natural Hair Journey

2. Various activists
- Assata Shakur
- Marcus Garvey
- Sojouner Truth

3. African music, art and poetry.  Though I have not posted much here are some artists, I found interesting.
- Slam NUBA
- African American Reading List   (Secret Life of Bees, From Strength to Love, Black Power and Black Theology, and Bullets (from Slam NUBA))
- For Colored Girls (should be added to my reading list)

4. "Black is Beautiful," "Black Pride" or "My Black is Beautiful." One of the main issues that I found on this topic is the debate between relaxed and natural hair and what it says about an African American woman.
- My Black is Beautiful

5. African religion and spirituality
African Spirits in the Diaspora

6. White Privilege and Light-Skinned Privilege (you get some for ex. I don't get followed at wall mart but still cant see myself in a wedding magazine to see what a dress would look like on me.) This topic could also talk about how all (most) people have privilege and how to use those privileges to stand up for others.

7. I am not sure how this would be used in a project, but the importance of Black Liberation Theology.

These are just some possibilities for research that I can use in future graphics projects...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Some more Black Beauty for you

Black Art and ArtistsGorgeous art work

I love the use of the figure in many of these. I will be posting about life drawing in my other blog soon and will add a link with my artist statement.

African American Art

I’m not a huge fan of the song but the paintings are absolutely gorgeous.

Here is another Artist whose work I enjoyed - Vanessa Turner

I guess since I am black, I will post links to my work as well
Face Book Page - Be sure to like it
My Art Blog
My Website

Friday, February 25, 2011

White Privilege? Part 1

I went to a talk on white privilege, and how to use it, yesterday (it was given by a white person bum bum bum).  The talk was about what white privilege is, the cycle of prejudice, and what we can do to stop these negative situations.

The cycle starts with stereotypes, which lead to prejudice, prejudice leads to discrimination, discrimination leads to racism and racism goes back to creating and reinforcing more stereotypes.  Understanding this cycle can better enable someone to stand up for what they know is right and use their privilege.

This leads me to another very important fact, that nearly everyone has some sort of privilege.  On a racial scale, I have light skinned privilege, meaning that for the most part I don't get followed around Wall-Mart.  I only get followed if I am with people darker than me, never lighter.  On a side note the professor was talking about how ridiculous it is to watch employees following people and it is very obvious and quite hysterical.  Anyways, race and class are not the only things that are privilege.  It can also include the financial or emotional support of friends and family, good health care, having a stable job or the ability to have a job.  I would argue that everyone who reads this has some sort of privilege.  If you have the internet and/or a computer, you have privilege.

Privilege is not bad, infact it can be used to help many people and stop a myriad of social injustices.  All you have to do is confront someone who is acting in a way that shows they have fallen into the cycle of discrimination.   

This is the list that my professor posted about her white privilege, from my prievious post...

I guess just think about which of these you have (regardless of race).

Here is the video discussing the essay by Peggy McIntosh. 

These are issues that a lot of Americans don't want to talk about, but they will not go away because we wish they didn't exist.  The only (well not the only, but one)  thing that we can do is stand up for injustices whenever we see or hear about them.

Just found this video we watched a clip of this last night.  I haven't seen the whole movie yet but I will probably comment or talk more about it.  It talks about a lot more than just black and white issues.

Making Whiteness Visible Pt. 1

Pt. 2
Pt. 3 - Listen to the first couple min of this.  Holy crap!
Pt. 4
Pt. 5
Pt. 6 - I was told this was in six parts but I am not finding it...there might just be five.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Black superheros

Here is a chance for you to see my true nerdy-ness.  I love comics and superhero video games.  My favorite game is Justice league and my favorite comic is probably Arkham Asylum.  I would like to show you some superheros that are not as well known.

Some of my favorite back superheroes include Onyx, Green Lantern, Storm and Black Panther.  I like Onyx because she is an assassin and Elektra is also one of my favorites.  Storm is pretty famous, and Hal Jordan is the Green Lantern that I play as in Justice League.

Anyways enjoy some characters you may not be familiar with.

over 60

20 more

Vol 3

not just female

Alicia Keys - Superwoman

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Are We All Murderers?

Proverbs 4:23 says, "Be careful what you think because your thoughts control your actions(CEV)"

Part 1
"It is terrible that people can do this to one another.  How? Why?"  I asked this in one of my classes while we were talking about the history of slavery in Haiti.

The professor responded with the fact that we still have slaves.  For example, we buy cell phones with parts that are mined by children in terrible situations (similar to those depicted in the movie Blood Diamond).  We purchase diamonds and clothing made overseas.  We are only adding to the ability of to take advantage of those already disadvantaged.

The examples of our seeking simplicity, money and power are devastating and shocking when we really look into what we are supporting and purchasing.  I am not saying that we are as terrible or mean as the people who tortured this young man but I would like to say that we do not like people who take away our power or are fighting for their freedom at the expense of our money.  We do not like it when we are not in control.  We do not like certain people groups based on our own irrational fears and ignorance.  We do not treat other people well and we do not love our brothers and sisters.

In this story the boy smiled and talked to a white woman.  There are people today who are still murdered for similar actions (think of the GLBT community**).  Think about being hit on by a gay man.  What are your thoughts in this situation?

Keep in mind that your thoughts do lead to actions...

Part 2

PBS page

Posts on what we can do...The only ideas I have anyways

Grace can Save Lives

The Gospel - a poster from the Grace is A Bit Queer Series

What If? - another poster

A Love Letter From God to print

**Gay Teen Suicides/Murders
**News Report

 Invisible Children  

I am sure that there are more organizations where we get involved on a larger scale.  Do you know any?  Please post them below.  I will do the same as I find more organizations.

What else can we do to show love instead of hate?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

African America Reading List

The Secret Life of Bees
By: Sue Monk Kidd

I worked at a church camp one summer and one of my campers gave me this book. It was the grandmother of three of the children (it was a family camp).  This book is about strong black women living in the 1960's dealing with life and racism.  I remember that I really liked the book but don’t remember much.

Book Review
Movie Trailer

Another clip of the movie and an interview with Alicia Keys.  I had no clue that she was in The Cosby Show.  Either way I have always love Alicia Keys...

From Strength to Love

This book is compiled of sermons from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. They are incredibly powerful.

When reading this book you can really see how it is black theology.  MKL Jr. addresses African Americans and standing up to the white man with love an peace. 

When I was reading it I was really excited that I could see parallels with James Cone (which makes sense).

Black Power and Black Theology

James Cone

James Cone takes his theology from the Christianity of Martin Luther King and mixes it with a little Malcolm X.  We are starting to read one of his other books in my African American Religions Culture class.  It should be a good controversial read (considering I am going to school in Wyoming).

More information on James Cone

You Tube Video

What Obama’s church says about Obama is that he has deep roots in America’s history and his hisoty different from that of the average white person.  We are one America with the same history but denying that different people had very different experiences in that history is complete ignorance.  I think that the fear is that many people are afraid to admit that this historical difference still has major impacts in society.  Cone should also be seen as a art of the time period. 

God is the God of the oppressed.

Bullets by Suzie Q Smith

This is the next book on my reading list...

I have heard one of these poems performed love and loved it. The main aspect of slam poetry that I love is how it is usually socially active and intelligent. It is a powerful form of art that can, and will, change the world.

What books would you add to this list?

Monday, February 21, 2011

African Spiris and the Diaspora

I am currently in a class called African Spirits in the New World. In this class we are discussing African spirituality/religion and tracking the spirit as the African Diaspora travels to various locations. We have talked about Vodou and Voodoo in Haiti, Candomble in Brazil. We will also be looking at Cuban and Cuban American Santeria, Revival Zion in Jamaica and the Black Christian church in the United States. One thing that all of these traditions have in common is the influence of the traditional African spirit and the origin of slavery.

These two videos show a bit about Candomble in Brazil. Though the traditions are different I would like to make some connections with the vocabulary and definition of Candomble.
What is Candomble?

Candomble is a religion that arose from the large African population in Brazil. The slave population in Brazil was huge, as it was the last place to end the enslavement of African people. (Their slavery was slightly more humane because slavers were much more valuable because they were no longer unlimited numbers as there in Haiti. It was easier to kill a slave and get a new one than to put up with any nonsense. Click here to learn more about Haitian history).  Candomble consists of many long ceremonies to become a leader. Here is a video of certain aspects of these ceremonies.

Click here to see the video on YouTube

If we look at the correct grammatical way to use the term Candomble as well as compared the idea of the Candomble to the idea of the church (Christianity). I think that using the idea of the Chrisian church will help those of us who understand Christianity to understand the many ways that the word Candomble can be used.

The idea of the church referring to both the body of Christ, comprised of many members (Rom 12), and the actual building that the church body (members of the church) meets in. I think that sometimes this distinction is missed and leads to a misunderstanding of what the church (in Christianity) is and is not. It is not just a building or a once a week event. It is everything from the relationships that make up the body of members, to the service (including dance, music, and worship), to the meeting place. (not always a fancy building, church can be held on a ski mountain, or around a campfire.) The church is the spirit thst is living inside a Christians as well (1 Cor, Rom 12 etc.).

In the same way the Candomble represents the community, the service, dance or worship, and at the same time a space. The members of the Candomble (community) would have their own individual roles in the body (mother similar to a priest etc.), and the Candomble (place) is where the Candomble (worship) takes place.
It is fascinating that two religions, often seen as so different (and are doctrinally) can have so many significant similarities when it comes to human nature and the nature of religion.

Click here for YouTube

Well I am back to studying the specifics of the rituals for my test tonight...with me luck

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hair Lesson - What is Good Hair?

I have spent around 5,000 on my hair. I know that people would say that I am prettier with straight hair but I love love love not having relaxed hair anymore. (Some people might prefer the curls, but I think that is mostly because it is different or uniquie.) I can still flat iron it but I want to take care of my hair. Part of taking care of your hair is not relaxing it.

I don’t shampoo my hair…The winters in Laramie are way too cold. It will kill it and break. I grew up with mostly white people who didn’t know what to do with my hair. One time when I had braids in there I actually broke break my braids off because they were so fragile from over washing. Conditioner does have many of the cleansing properties that shampoo has, it just doesn’t have all of the harsh chemicals. I have recently started co-washing.

What is Good Hair – Part one

Part 2

This video makes me want to cry…Relaxing does burn. The first time my scalp was covered in scabs. I couldn’t brush it without bleeding. Like I said I was raised around mostly white people so it wasn’t until middle school that I had my hair relaxed. Three years old is crazy.

I have a friend who has really nappy hair and when she wears it down on our college campus she will get dirty looks from many of the black girls on campus.

Part 3

Madame CJ Walker, the first female millionaire, invented hair relaxer and skin bleach so that black people could pass as white people. Is that still why we relax our hair?

Part 4

Part 5

I want to do a Graphic Design Poster series (or art series) called My Black is Beautiful (or something similar) based on this idea.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Why I Hate Black History Month

First off it is obvious that I don't hate Black History Month but figured I would throw give you a break with some other perspectives.

The Video Below 

Jewish American Heritage Month

Is Black History Month Racist 
I like this video quite a bit.

Morgan Freeman

My Personal Rant (Just some thoughts, I hope they are not too jumbled and I hope they are developed enough that you can make some sense from them)  Just comment if you want clarification or to argue.  I am not dead set on any of these being the right answer (nor am I set on there actually being a right answer).

Hmm I think that culture and the color of skin (this is a little about James Cone - see below) are some things that should be praised and cherished, not ignored. Trying to turn all history into American history is a lofty and respectable goal; however if there is any chance that we would loose the individual and unique cultures along the way, I can not support “one history.”

I can see American culture morphing into one culture over time but I am not going to fight for less variety in culture or a unification of two cultures that don’t necessarily work as one.

Sometimes I wonder if the main reason for the argument that we should not have an African-American, and a Mexican-American, and a Italian-American and all the other hyphenated-American cultures is because some of the histories are too hard to deal with.  I guess what I am trying to say is that we already don't talk about "the other" or the US history of "the other."  If you want to learn about more of some of these histories, click on a name.  Asatta Shakur   Mumia Abu Jamal  Sojourner Truth   Marcus Garvey  Maya Angelou   Langston Hughes  Still on the way - W.E.B. DuBois  James Cone (see my above rambling)  Dead Prez  Bob Marley  The Marroons   Malcolm X   MLK Jr  Emmit Till  Harriet Tubman.

At some point I would love to do a series on Native American History, maybe I will for Native-American Day.  I think that many NA's got the shaft more than many blacks in the US.  Many people don't even know what is going on, on many of the Indian reservations.

Maybe people don't want to admit that there are still problems, they don't understand that there are still problems, or understand the nature and history of these problems.  It is ok to not understand or think that we should just get over our past histories but it is not ok to sweep the history under the rug of the dominate culture because we want to maintain our naive ignorance.

Here are some more responses to the original video

My favorite response
These guys are pretty funny, but watch "I hate Black History Month" first.

Jewish American Heritage Month

I like this girl too

Another response I enjoy
Hah, I don't blame Bush for the events she is discussing but for more conspiracy theories check out my Illuminate you mind project (my blog post and website)

I have heard that they don't study the Holocaust in Germany nearly as much as we do in America. Is this true? Does Germany ignore some of the events that we see as blatant facts? Just curious, because if this is true it does show that "the winner" controls the history. If anyone knows, I am really curious to hear input.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I attended The Good Mule Conference last weekend. One of the sessions included a workshop with the group Slam NUBA. The group was incredibly inspiring. We discussed writing from the heart and using art as a form of activism. My favorite poem was by Suzie Q and was about black beauty. I am having a hard time finding it (it is in this book but not online anywhere) but here is some of her other poetry. The first in this video was one that she performed for us.

Suzie Q
The second poem does include some swearing.

One of my favorite quotes from Suzie Q was that her “goal is not to make you hare [her] beliefs but to make you understand, to see, just for a moment.” This is so beautiful because that is what activism, and art, are all about. You want to educate people about an issue but your end goal is not always to agree but rather to both come out as better, more well rounded, and socially aware individuals.  If a piece leads to dialog, that is often more intriguing and beneficial than a conversion of ones beliefs.

In response to her second poem, I think I will be posting about God not being on sides (hmm I will either take the “God doesn’t pick a country” argument or the “what race is God topic?” Maybe I will write a post on both theories).

Bobby LeFebre and Ayinde Russell were the other two poets in the conference. I love how Bobby uses Spanish. It is so beautiful.  I remember when I asked my Spanish prfessor where a rule (I think about a stem change) came from and his response was "por que es mas bonita, es no fea como Ingles ."

Both of these guys had poems for their wives which inspiring as well.

The three of these performing artists were so full of soul and wisdom.

Bobbly LeFebre

I didn’t get to see either of these poem live.
Click here if the video doesn't play.

The passion and humor is great!

Ayindie Russell

We didn’t hear this one either…

We saw at least part of this. I don’t remember the “We rise together part” but do remember him singing “we are not alone.” Either way, I love it when people break out in song.

Click here if the video doesn't play.

I am curious to know where NUBA comes from. Does anyone know? or are you going to make me do all the work? :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

De Honkify Your God

James Cone
What exactly does race have to do with religion?

I just had an interesting conversation with my professor (she used the term de-honkify and I liked it) from my online class (African American Religious Culture).  This is the same professor from my White Privilege post.  I will be learning much more about these specific theologians/philosophers later this semester, so I may come back and make some changes in the comments section.  But here are my thoughts for now…

First of all, humans are visual creatures.  We see color and beauty often times before we see anything else.  When the African world and the European world collided, there were  obviously significant visual differences.  These differences were emphasized and became an integral part of American society when the two cultures a clear social hierarchy.

These differences affect ever aspect of our daily lives including religion and God.  During slavery, God was made white. This white God was used to justify slavery and the superiority of the white man (look farther back at Manifest Destiny).  Along with a white God there are several subtle ways that white privilege, and the idea that white was the status quo, both played a role in the development of this lens in which we view society.

James Cone needs to be seen for what he was in the culture that he was a part of.  He was not some black power racist but rather a man trying to explain to theologians of the time (19600s) that race and color play a significant role in religion.  In response to the white god, Cone said “no God is Black, he is the God of the oppressed.”  If you want to see God at work, go to the ghettos, go to the homeless shelter, not the churches.  Cone explains this by breaking down exactly what God did through Jesus on the cross.  Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes, not the Pharisees.  God’s character has not changed he still emphasizes with and is present in the lives of the oppressed.

In response to this idea of a black (or more importantly, a non white God) the white theologians and white churches responded by stepping back and ignoring the truths that cone was presenting.  They, in a sense, whimpered and said, “no, God is not White and God is not black, race doesn’t matter.”  They wanted to keep “their God” and if this meant not letting him be white either, that was fine.  It was clear to them that he was not black.  Instead of seeing the issue as an issue, they became outspoken about how God has no race and that race doesn’t matter when the truth is race does matter.  

I plan to continue this exploration of exactly how race plays a role in orienting oneself in the world (Longs definition of religion) and how race and history are involved in the history of the church...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

White Privilege?

My professor from my African American Religious History class just posted a list of everything she gets because she is white (her white privilege). I thought I would post my response. Many of the items/events on the list were things that I have just gotten used to some of them like getting a card with a person on it that looks like me is one of the most exciting events that can happen. I will see if I can get permission and post some quotes from her post in class.

Here is the essay her post was based on. If you scroll about halfway down you will see the list.
Anyways here is my response.

That list is fascinating, sad, and true. I didn’t really think about it but many of the examples on that list are significant. Getting a card with people who look like you is an exciting feeling for a little girl. Not being able to find a wedding topper with an interracial couple is nearly impossible (we used Black Barbie and Ken instead).

I also have many of those advantages when I am with white people, with the exception of the last twenty. : ) Ok so I also have the economic advantages, not the others. (I typed the first sentence before I finished reading the list, but it made me think so I left it.) I only get followed around Sheels in RC when with others who are Native or black. By myself I am fine. : )

As of the last few years, I have realized that a lot of my economic advantage has come from the fact that I was raised by white parents (my biological mom and adoptive father) and not my biological father or with my half siblings. I grew up on the nice side of town and went to the good/rich/white school, not the “poor little school” (as the previous superintendent referred to the other school.  I’m not sure that I am allowed to tell people that).

If you look at my biological siblings, none of them went to college or even managed to make it as a “productive member of society,” as my parents would say. (They were both in gangs; my sister is dead and my brother in jail). They both had to deal with a lot of racism. They are the two kids that were living with our biological father (Anthony Dye) in this newspaper article.

People (close white family members again, I love them all) tell me that it is not because of race but because I work hard. Both of my siblings also worked hard. I do work hard as well, but I also didn’t grow up watching my daddy get shot when I was 10 years old, and then move to one of the worst reservations in the US, either. It is hard not to attribute my success, at least somewhat, on the race of my parents or their situations. My grandma (also white) does as well. She has told me that she is glad about these specific situations and others. For example, she congratulated me not because I had gotten engaged but because I “found a nice white boy,” and then explained why it would be detrimental for me to be with a black man.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Strange Fruit

Link to Strange Fruit Video

I am currently reading OLudah Equiano for my African American Religious Culture class. The chains in this video remind me of the chains and mussles he talks about seeing other Africans being forced to wear.  It makes me cringe...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Black is Beautiful

 Black is Beautiful

Here is some self love for Valentines day!

This video alludes to some of the spiritual implications from black culture and history. Several African cultures saw their hair as connecting them to the spirits, or God because it reached to the sun. This is where the term “children of the sun” came from.  Anyways I like the history of natural hair way more than the history of relaxed hair.

Here is some of that history.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Coil Review

Coil Review
I don't know much about this but it cracks me up every time I see it.

In the comments sections on YouTUbe felixicon says "actually i dont mean to b rude but we are not (black's) the only race of people that feel that way it's every culture and race everyone is trying to achieve the european look asian, american, indian, midle wast ect.. so again alot of black people need to recognize the problem and stop blaming things on each other embrace our brother and sisters faults so we could grow out of this epidemic."

He has a good point but embracing ourselves (wether natural or relaxed) could be a wise priority.  The lack natural being beautiful is something that should be addressed and changed and this video does that in a slightly humorous way.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Afrikan Education and the Three Rs

Afrikan Independent Education - A different cultural grounding, a different world view (the way we see and interact with the world.)

- Make it Plain vid.

I’m not as big of a fan of the two hosts as I am the people that are interviewed.

I really like the interviews. It is great that they speak with people in the education field. The teacher (she seems like an art teacher, but is a Social Studies teacher and has art in the background) is my favorite. I love that she compares the African to American values of relationship and knowledge (2:40). The breakdown of the way people see the world (4:20).

I also agree with the math teacher. We don’t need more math in the “boarding worksheet kind of way,” lets start a chess club where we break down the math.

I do think that programs like Central High School has for Native Americans are essential.
“Its not about getting a job…”

education part 1

I don’t think that most education systems are as bad as the one in this video. I can not argue about the race part. I have never been in a black public school. I also am not a huge fan of this video but I will point out some of the more interesting quotes and through out some random comments.
I agree that schools should stay a local issue.

The three Rs.
reading, remembering and regurgitating
I know that it is bad when the schools teach our kids things that we don’t want them to believe, it is bad. I understand this and don’t disagree but I do also believe that staying home with our kids will do more for them than changing the school system. If the school isn’t doing its job of making kids think for themselves, the parents need to step in and teach the kids to think and learn on their own. It is true that you get educated at home.

The language thing is a silly argument, here and in relationship to the Internet and texting. Kids can separate the two.  But in response to my solution to the problem, I might have to say that the kids might need to work harder.  It stink but sometimes you need to work harder to get the same grades as others.  I am not trying to be mean and I realize that this isn't always realistic but when it is possible, do it.

I agree we should have more arts infused into other subjects. Math and science wont do any good without creativity and the ability to think critically for your self. The best Geometry project we had was to design a racetrack. We then voted on our favorite and drew it in the parking lot. We raced remote control cars for extra credit. I still remember how on ramps and exit ramps were created from that project.

I disagree with them about MLK Jr.  I think that both the Panthers (and other similar groups) and MLK were necessary for the battle but I think that MLK did more good than harm.  I would also say the same about the Panthers, Malcolm X, James Cone and many other famous African American activists.  You need the balance (through variety) for a social movement to end well.

How would you change education, the education system, or the way you responded to the education system?  Do you think it needs changes?  What can you do to actually solve or better a problem that you see?  It can be in regard to race, religion or anything else.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Langston Hughes

The greatest presentation I ever gave was a twenty minute analysis of the Weary Blues.  It was for my high school AP English Lit class and my dad came and played the saxophone as I recited the poem.  It was great fun.

I still love how you can imagine what it would be like to be listening to the blues player.  This whole time period had such powerful artistically and spiritually moving qualities.  It would have been an inspiring time to live in as an artist.

My watercolor based on the Harlem Renaissance

The Weary Blues
by Langston Hughes

Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
I heard a Negro play.
Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
He did a lazy sway . . .
He did a lazy sway . . .
To the tune o' those Weary Blues.
With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
O Blues!
Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
Sweet Blues!
Coming from a black man's soul.
O Blues!
In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan--
"Ain't got nobody in all this world,
Ain't got nobody but ma self.
I's gwine to quit ma frownin'
And put ma troubles on the shelf."

Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
He played a few chords then he sang some more--
"I got the Weary Blues
And I can't be satisfied.
Got the Weary Blues
And can't be satisfied--
I ain't happy no mo'
And I wish that I had died."
And far into the night he crooned that tune.
The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singer stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that's dead.

The Weary Blues

I Too

A documentary from the library of congress

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Natural Hair Juorney

In response to my hair videos (I still have a couple more coming) I figured I would post some photos of my hair.  The last time I relaxed my hair was a few weeks before my wedding (May 23, 2009).  Since then I decided that I didn't want to deal with spending the time or the money to get it relaxed, so i didn't.

My hair still takes time but I am taking care of it better and I have so much more freedom.  I can get my hair wet, don't have to worry about the humidity, and I have the option of wearing it curly or flat ironed (I know this does damage the hair).  Here are some photos since I have gone natural.

They are all pretty bad photos of me, but you can see the hair.  I usually do my hair, or take it out, late at night (from 12 - 4am) so they are all late night before bed images.

I have no clue why I was making that face.
I think that this is my favorite curly hair or at least my favorite amount of curl.

Twists.  There is a better picture of them down below. 
I am still learning how to detangle/brush my hair so it took me a long time to get the tangles out without breakage.  
The twists probably took an hour maybe two, with detangling it was over 4 hours.
Here is my twist out.  It was late and I was tired.  It took a while.  I tend to leave protective styles in for a long time.  It was about one or two months, I think, some of the new growth started to dread.  It made for a late night.  But taking my time paid off.  I was shocked at the length that I had...
Deep conditioning, a co-wash, and four hours of flat ironing later.
In the winter (currently, I might change this) I co-wash about once a month and add about a tsp of olive oil before I go to bed every night.  I also use Shea Butter and other conditioners daily.  It seems to be working.  We have COLD, windy and snowy winters here and I do not want to risk shampooing the oils out, I also don't want build up of product.  Finding the happy medium may take a while.
In the summer I wash or co-wash my hair a about once/week.  I oil and condition more often.  About 3 tbsps a day if I wear it curly.
I do love how long my hair has grown due to going natural.

Miscellaneous photos

Simple protective style.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Marcus Garvey

The official Marcus Garvey website
The Influence of Marcus Garvey Video series
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

I had little knowledge about Marcus Garvey and the details of his life. Some of the things that I did know about him prior to these videos include the “Back to Afrika” movement and that he had involvement in Rastafari.

Wikipedia has some great information about the man.

Garvey played a large role in the African American religious scene in the 1920s, some even claimed that he was the reincarnation of John the Baptist and was preparing the way for Haile Selassie 1 of Ethiopia.  I will post about Rastafari in the future (though probably not for Black History Month).

I think that I will also post on the significance of these flags at some point.  I used to know what the colors specifically represent (both the slang and the traditional symbolism, but I do not remember).

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

African American Barbie

Black Barbie

There are many pro and anti Barbie arguments out there. I see some validity in both. I realize that Barbie does offer unrealistic and impossible ideals about body image to young girls. At the same time Barbie has shown many young women that they can be anything that they want.

These examples of Black Barbies are inspiring because a lot of black women may not have been told that they can do anything that they want, however, black women can do anything the same as anyone else.  I love that some of these Barbies have natural hair, another important topic to the black community.

No matter where you stand on the pro to anti Barbie spectrum, it is hard to deny that these images haveto potential to offer inspiration to many young ladies around the world. In addition they shed light on an important part of American history.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Black is Beautiful

This Black is Not Beautiful!
When I was little most of the black women that I had to look up to were not the greatest role models. There were not many respectable black people, male or female, on TV (BET or MTV). It is sad when an entire group of people is completely misrepresented for entertainment.

Anyone know what blackface was? Well a good example of it (people making money off of a caricature of black people) is the gangster rap they play on the radio. I will give you guys some examples of socially aware and intelligent hip hop in a future post, probably this month (here are some past music posts Bad Brains, a Gospel Choir).

NPR on blackface 

The point of Black History Month is not only to educate ourselves but to be proud of what makes us (not just blacks but people in general) unique and beautiful. Because I believe that all women and girls should have the opportunity to see beautiful, intelligent and respectable women who look like them, I decided to post this. And for those of you who are not a black female, I believe that you deserve to see something other than the dancer in the latest Jay-Z video. You deserve to see real beauty and real people. 

My Black is Beautiful Manifesto

My Black is Beautiful
From the color of my skin, to the texture of my hair, to the length of my strands, to the breadth of my smile,
To the stride of my gait, to the span of my arms, to the depth of my bosom, to the curve of my hips, to the glow of my skin,
My Black is Beautiful.
It cannot be denied. It will not be contained. And only I will define it.
For when I look in my mirror, my very soul cries out,
My Black is Beautiful.
And so today, I speak it out loud, unabashedly, I declare it anew,
My Black is Beautiful.
Whether celebrated, imitated, exploited or denigrated. Whether natural from inside or skillfully applied,
My Black is Beautiful.
To my daughters, my sisters, my nieces, my cousins, my colleagues and my friends,
I speak for us all when I say again,
My Black is Beautiful.

Download a Conversation Guide
TV Show
Some Good Health Tips

Share my post with others who might want or need to see this.

What makes you beautiful?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sojourner's Truth

"That man over there say that women needs to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen childern, and seen 'em most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talks 'bout this ting in de head; what this they call it? ('Intellect' whispered someone near) "That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or nigger's rights? (keep?) If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't ye be mean not to let me have my little half-measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he say women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothin' to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn de world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, de men better let 'em. Obliged to ye for hearin' on me, and now ole Sojourner hasn't got nothin' more to say…"

Speech given by Sojourner Truth at a Woman's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio in 1851

Up From Slavery - Interactive

Any thoughts?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I Rise

Dr. Maya Angelou experienced racism throughout but it only made her stronger and added to her faith. In addition to poetry she wrote plays and books, danced, and was an actress. She also taught in Egypt and Ghana. After her return she was asked by Dr . Martin Luther King to serve and the Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

After King’s assination she worked with James Baldwin on her famous book I know why the caged bird sings.

Find the rest of Maya Angelou's story on her website.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Is it justice over law or law over Justice?

"Is it justice over law or law over Justice?”
Free Mumia

Mumia Abu Jamal was a reporter and a social justice activist in the 1960s and a member of the Black Panther Party.  He was accused of murdering a police officer and is currently in death row.

Story from Death Row
Part 1
In response to the Free Breakfast program, 16 year old Jamal said, “The Black Panther Party is doing what the churches should be”
Part 2
Listen to the story at 4:00 min.  It shows the ironies of what was going on at the time.  In response to the Panthers, I think that they were needed at the time; today the Party is a little extreme.  MLK Jr. was a great leader but the balance between his pacifism and the Panther's Black Power was much needed in response to the police brutality that continued on for years.
Part 3
This video is my favorite of the three.  It explains some of the events that took place in regard to the trial.  It is hard to argue that the jury was not racist and it is hard to argue against the eye witness accounts.

After looking a bit at these videos, what do you think?  Did you know about Mumia before now?  I knew the name and what he represents to black activists today, but did not know much about the story.  Did he do it?  What would it mean if he was set free?  I did a 15 page report on the art of the Black Panthers a few years ago but would like to go back and look at their social programs (that were the "job of the church").

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Intro to Black Hair

More of my posters
Here is these guy’s blog. It is a little intense…but enjoy!

Regardless of where we stand in relationship to the belief systems of the hosts of this video, they do bring up some important issues in reference to black hair and the black community.  The first video interviews people and shows the pro-relaxer side of the story and the other shows the pro-natural side (my side).  Enjoy and learn a little about the debate.  I will add some links to my other posts on the topic, including pictures of my hair and a Tyra Banks Show on the topic.

pro relaxer, weave etc.
I did get my hair relaxed all through middle school and high school.  The first time I remember having scabs all over my head.  The chemicals were extremely painful and damaged my hair.  In the past couple yeast I have not relaxed my hair.  My natural curl has come back and my hair is several inches longer.  It is healthier.

I think that people who have natural hair tend to take better care of it.  They wear protective styles and see the importance of building strong hair.  Those with natural hair also tend to apply heat less also making the hair healthier and stronger.

I don't think that there is anything wrong with relaxing hair but I have seen how much healthier it is in its natural state and the curl is something to be proud of.  I also like the I can hot comb or flat iron my hair and wear it straight and long when I want to.

Anyways, what are your thoughts on the topic?  Did you know that it was an issue in the black community?  What are your thoughts on relaxed vs. natural?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Assata Shakur: A Political Prisoner

Assata Shakur - Part 1

The music/singing in these videos is absolutely gorgeous.  It helps me to understand the origins of the slave spirituals.  The people already had this natural musical ability and passion.  It later translated to their oppression rather than streaming from their joy.
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Part 3 talks about Cuba and the Gods.  In my African Spirits in The New World class we are learning about the spirituality of African People.  I am excited to learn more specifically about the people of the African Diaspora that landed in Cuba.  This video combined with what I am learning about traditional African religion make me want to visit Cuba. 

I would like to be in a place that combines two of the most fascinating cultures I have studies.  I always knew that there was a large Spanish speaking population, but didn't know until recently that it was largely African as well.

When we get into Santeria I will definitely post more about the religion in the region.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Black History Month

This month I am going to try to post some influencial speakers, speeches, quotes and other items that relate to either Black history, Black theology and the black church, or both.

Black History Month

Some inventors and inventions