Black Future Month #1

The beautiful thing about black folks is despite the hostile attacks we face in this country, we still have hope. Perhaps that’s why there tends to be such a particular disdain for black folks. We thrive when we are meant to die.

As the U.S. increasingly becomes dominated by folks of color, black folks are envisioning the future.  It’s why Afrofuturism has grown in popularity in recent years. What will black identity/thought/activism look like in 2030? How will racism/sexism/other isms impact or not impact our lives?

February is Black History Month. While there is still the tradition of giving honor to black heroes who paved the way, there has also been a call to to think about the future of black history. We are at a crossroads in this country.  The current atmosphere is taking us back to a time of intolerance and outright violence to curb dissent. Black folks have been there done that and don’t want to go back.  We are ready to move forward. We are ready to create communities that are built on love, respect, and equality.

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Image by EI Jane
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Happy Black History Month (BHM)!

I know, I know…where the hell have I been? My bad.  I got extremely sick near the end of January, had to move last-minute at the beginning of February, and then my laptop crashed soon after. Or so I thought. I was fiddling around with it last night and all of a sudden it wheezed on. It’s the only reason why I’m able to churn out this post today 🙂

I just wanted to peek in and wish folks happy Black History Month (BHM). I normally like to dedicate the blog to all things BHM, but just couldn’t get it together this time around. I hope folks have been able to partake in events in your area. There’s been some great happenings in my neck of the woods (an amazing feat since I live in a predominantly white city).

While BHM is all about celebrating the fabulous contributions of Black folks to this country that has treated us like crap, there is one VERY important issue that I feel often gets left out of BHM conversations…soul food 🙂

“The term soul food became popular in the 1960s. The origins of soul food, however, are much older and can be traced back to Africa. Foods such as rice, sorghum (known by some Europeans as “guinea corn”), and okra — all common elements of West African cuisine — were introduced to the Americas as a result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. They became dietary staples among enslaved Africans. They also comprise an important part of the cuisine of the American south, in general. Foods such as corn and cassava from the Americas, turnips from Morocco, and cabbage from Portugal would play an important part in the history of African-American cooking.[1]”   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_food

A couple of months ago, I met a friend at Starbucks for drinks and homegirl talk. She decided to also get a salad. After we sat down, she opened the package and picked through the dish, then pushed it away with a frown on her face.  “What is it with white folks new obsession with kale?” She asked. “It’s so annoying and they don’t even cook it right!” I looked at her food. It was a raw kale with a few tomatoes tossed on top.

I laughed because I knew exactly what she was talking about.  It’s been interesting to see white folks (particularly white hipsters) carry on about kale, mustard greens/collard greens, watermelon, chicken and waffles, etc. foods they have historically looked down upon because it’s been associated with Black folks (ie soul food).  Now many are acting like they discovered these cuisines (kind of like how Columbus thought he discovered America) and are going extremely overboard with it.

Of course, no props are given to Black folks for cultivating these dishes and making them an American favorite comfort food. If anything Black folks choice to eat soul food has often been bashed as unhealthy.  Initially, I was reluctant to watch Byron Hurt’s “Soul Food Junkies” documentary that came out a few years ago. I thought “please no more dissecting of black folks eating habits.” While I did roll my eyes at some parts of the film, overall I thought Hurt was fair. I recommend it for folks interested in learning about what soul food means to Black folks. It’s not just about the eating, but a way to say you love/care about kin/but not kin folks too 🙂

**This will probably be my last post for this month. I will get back into the swing of things in March. I still have some life happenings going on…but let me leave you with this chicken and waffles recipe to get you through. You know I love a good recipe 😉

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  • 1 Tbsp. dried tarragon
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 (3½-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Active time: 30 minutes Total time: 30 minutes, plus marinating overnight

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/food/Soul-Food-Recipes-Brown-Sugar-Kitchen-Recipes

Anti-Black Racism/Anti-Blackness Part.1

Wow, I can’t believe this month is almost over. The new year is going by fast! Soon it will be summer. Yesss! I hate the cold 🙂 Since this is the last week of Black History Month, I want to discuss anti-black racism/anti-blackness. Ironically,  there have been several anti-black incidents that have happened this month. One of the more offensive ones was rapper Nicki Minaj  degrading the image of Malcolm X to promote a new song:

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Of course, an insincere apology was later issued by Minaj and the cover art removed. But Black folks should never forget. The usage of X’s image with the word “Nigga” next to his face, is the continuation of anti-blackness that has been running rampant in the music industry. Besides Black women celebrities being pressured to bleach their skin, wear blonde weaves, straighten their noses, etc., black celebrities are being rewarded if they degraded/insult the black community or our icons.

There has been some rumblings that Minaj is being unfairly picked on because she is a woman. Maybe. I do think that black women are more harshly criticized when they do something wrong. However, rapper Lil Wayne was clowned (and rightfully so) when he also insulted another beloved son in the black community, Emmett TillI think a lot of the outrage is because many black folks are simply fed up with the disrespect and offensive behavior of many black celebrities today.

Also, it’s shameful when you think about the tragedies that have befallen the X family. The shocking death of Mrs.  Betty Shabazz. The grandson, Malcolm Shabazz (named after his grandfather), who later went on to repent for the accidental fire that contributed to the death of his grandmother, was trying to get his life together. Last year, he was found dead in Mexico under suspicious circumstances.

While there are a few black celebrities I enjoy,  I am always waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop.  The majority of black celebrities today are so obsessed with fame/money and white acceptance (because to them that means they have arrived) they will do anything to keep it. Even if it means throwing other black folks under the bus. Minaj isn’t the first black celebrity to degrade a black image, and won’t be the last.

Engaging in anti-blackness seems to be the way many black celebrities will keep themselves afloat these days. It’s important we don’t support these actions by not buying their products/resisting their agenda.

I guess when you are young, you don’t think much about it. But I wonder how these folks are going to feel when they are in their 50’s/60’s and reflect back on their lives.  I’d imagine it’s not going to be a restful sleep for many of  them.

Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965…

DIY Black Women-1

I am a proud DIY (Do It Yourself) writer/blogger. I also have much love/respect for other Black women who are DIY artists/writers/entrepreneurs etc.  I think this is a great time for Black women. Technology is allowing us to express ourselves, like never before. On a grand scale. We can reach hundreds, thousands, and even millions (!) of folks via blogging, twitter, tumblr, etc. We can use these mediums to tell our stories in our own way.

In honor of Black History Month, this week is all about DIY Black women!  🙂

I came across the YouTube “The State of Black Women in Contemporary Media”  on the DIY blog “What About Our Daughters.” The owner is also the founder of “Blogging While Brown,”  a social media event.

The roundtable features five fabulous DIY Black women:  Issa Rae (creator of “Awkward Black Girl”), Lena Waithe (producer of “Dear White People”), Ashley Blaine (actress/producer), Numa Perrier (writer/director), and Andrea Lewis (actress/singer).

African/Nollywood Films (1)

This week in honor of Black History Month (BHM), I will look at African/Nollywood films. Every year, in my city,  there is a huge African film festival for BHM. I have missed the last couple years of the festival, but I am determined to see as many as I can this year.  There are so many great stories to be told from the African diaspora/beyond Hollywood.  The film festival is a great opportunity to see/support these groundbreaking films.

I REALLY wanted to see the first film of the festival. However, I was dead tired after work, so skipped it. The film is called“Grigris…”

“The great African filmmaker Mahamat-Saleh Haroun has made some of the most profound and important films to emerge from the continent in the past two decades, including A Screaming Man, which opened our 2011 festival after winning the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2010. His new film is not only beautiful to look at, but it is also a superb humanist drama with thriller elements. Set in Chad, Grigris follows a young man who dreams of rising above his economic and physical impediments. Despite his partial paralysis, 25-year-old Grigris (stunningly portrayed by Souleymane Démé) dreams of becoming a dancer. He displays nimbleness on the dance floor despite his serious disability, and becomes the toast of the nightclubs. When his stepfather falls critically ill, Grigris is forced to find dangerous and illegal work, which has grave consequences. This visually stunning, ultimately uplifting film is a thoughtful portrait of one man’s story in a war-ravaged country on the brink of change.

In French and Arabic with English subtitles.”

I wish I would’ve sucked it up, because the film looks really good. Hopefully, I can get the movie once it’s released on DVD

 

PBS Black History Month

It’s almost that time again…In our so-called “post-racial” society folks have challenged the purpose of still having a Black History Month. Personally, I think it’s still an important and needed month. Especially, for our black youth (and hell even some adults).  Yeah, yeah black history should just be considered American history. Yeah, yeah most black folks have made significant strides since the Civil Rights Movement. Yeah, yeah we have a black President, Oprah, Beyoncé etc. Black wealth/power is at a level it has never been before (too bad most of our black celebrities do absolutely nothing with it, but I digress  😦

YET,  there are  just as many black folks struggling. Many black folks live below the poverty line, highest rates of unemployment, targeted for the Prison Industrial Complex, shot in the back while walking from the store, etc. We still have a long way to go. It’s important we know our history, so we can’t be bamboozled into thinking we deserve our mistreatment. We don’t ever want racism/oppression to be normalized or thought of as “that’s just the way it is.” There’s a rhyme and reason for everything in our imperialist white supremacist patriarchal society (thank you, bell hooks).

Any who, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has an amazing line up of shows to celebrate Black History Month. Check ’em out, if ya can:

“ARLINGTON, VA – January 16, 2014 – In commemoration of Black History Month and as part of its year-round commitment to provide diverse programming and resources for all Americans, PBS today announced new shows and online content celebrating the African American experience past, present and future. From an AMERICAN MASTERS profile of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, to an INDEPENDENT LENS documentary about the secret spy agency created to maintain segregation in 1950’s Mississippi, Black History Month on PBS will provide programs that educate, inform and inspire viewers to learn more about the rich culture of our nation. The lineup begins on February 3 at 10:00 p.m. with “American Promise,” a powerful coming-of-age documentary from POV that follows the journey of two young African-American males from kindergarten through high school graduation as they attend a prestigious Manhattan private school. Confronting challenges from typical childhood growing pains to cultural identification within a predominantly white environment, the young men and their parents push toward success and discover their own individuality in the process.”–http://www.pbs.org/about/news/archive/2014/black-history-month/

The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross

Black folks have been through some stuff.  I really feel other communities of color (and definitely most white folks) don’t appreciate our story. The struggle to have our humanity recognized and respected. There have been many movements patterned after the  activism/resistance of African-Americans, yet we don’t get our props.

Next month, PBS will air “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.” Wow! And it’s not even Black History Month:

“The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross is a six-part, six-hour series that chronicles the full sweep of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent through five centuries of remarkable historic events right up to today—when America has a black President, yet remains a nation deeply divided by race. The series will explore the origins of the people from Africa whose enslavement led to the creation of the African American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives that African Americans have developed against unimaginable odds. All of these elements define the rich and compelling diversity of African American culture, from slavery to the White House.” From http://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/

The show premieres on October, 22, 2013 8-9pm ET

Get your history on…