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How to Properly Gatekeep Black Culture

When I worked at a Jewish daycare (as part of americorps), I was told I can’t touch the food because it will become unholy. That’s how we should gatekeep black culture, just because you’re here, don’t mean you invited.

I see, especially with the N word – a word I don’t believe should be used at all – being defended by non-black people all the time. Their excuse is that they grew up around black people, so what? Another lame excuse is that Black people use it, well, there are many aspects of culture that are only used by the owners of those cultures, it gives us no right to use it. Ok, some Black people have taken on the N word and changed it to mean a term of endearment, fine, that’s up to US to choose though! Everyone has closed their cookouts to outsiders, and for good reason, every aspect of culture is not shareable. Some things are just not meant for outsiders, and that’s ok. When I was told I cannot touch the Jewish food, even though I was helping the children learn how to read, I did not argue, why? Because that’s their culture and belief. All I say is, we should be the same way, proudly. These cultural blueprints have been left for us by our ancestors for our outcomes, when we downplay them or let them become public ridicule – or public consumption for capital – it upsets the flow of our culture. Not everything is for sale, and not everything is for everybody, and that’s ok!

Have you ever asked yourself why Jews and whites own the corporations that sell out black peoples “culture” for money and fame, by utilizing our talents to sell horrible messages to our community? Why aren’t they doing it with their own cultures? Why aren’t they selling Jewish insults, the equivalent of the N word, for fame, through their music and media? Why aren’t they exposing their women, calling them b words in their own music, yet make themselves billionaires by doing it with our music? If it’s that marketable, why not sell out your own people? Because it’s a form of modern day slavery, that’s why. Make the whites rich on black talent, resources, cultural appropriation, etc. You have to ask yourself these questions, because it is a billion dollar industry, mostly funded by Black culture. Have you read most gossip blogs? They are mostly filled with black culture gossip. With our Black cultures, it’s up for ridicule and sale, but with their white and Jewish cultures, it’s holy and protected. Well darn it, my culture is holy too!

It is necessary to correct people who are not part of Black culture on the proper ways to conduct themselves when handling black culture. Too many of us joke around with special, important parts of culture. There is enough to laugh and joke about, but when we know our history and stand on it, we will not allow just anyone to have a say, and a joke. I don’t see Asians or any Jews joking around on very important parts of their culture, with them it’s considered sacred. Especially when it comes to spirituality, these African traditions were held on by our ancestors, and used as essential tools for revolt and liberation. When I hear radio show hosts joking about Haitian Vevé (spirituality also known as voodoo) in a time when Haitians are being mistreated, it is not funny to me.

I remember when Jeannie Mai, a host on ‘The Real’ stated that she likes her “dark meat on the side, white meat keeps her lean” when asked about dating black men (at the time she was married to a white man). I watched it real time, I saw it, and the reactions of the Black co-hosts. She didn’t take it back, she doubled down, and it was surprising to me as someone who is always talking about her Asian culture. Years later, she is dating rapper Young Jeezy, now married to him, and said, in a clip I saw, that Jeezy has to remove his shoes when he enters her house, respecting her Asian culture. So again, the same people who will disrespect our culture, will demand respect of theirs. Referring to black men as “meat on the side” should have had her access removed from the black community, and what makes it sad is, Jeezy defended her! He said “she grew up around black people, she listens to E-40 (blah blah blah)”. When will we respect ourselves enough to not accept such behavior. The society sees black people as meat to be slaughtered everyday, I don’t take her comments lightly at all, and would never even think to befriend or date someone who referred to my people in that way, the cookout is closed!

So I challenge everyone today, if you haven’t already, to read up on African and Black culture, and the meanings behind many aspects of our culture. I have written 10 years of blog posts on this website, search “culture Tuesdays”, or “culture Wednesdays” in the search at the bottom of the website. Read up on some culture, ask your parents and grandparents to teach you. Hold on to your pride, and correct people when they get it wrong. Remember, small resistance builds over time.

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Do It the Black Way!

young black men with dreadlocks standing near building entrance

I try to tell people, you don’t have to do anything as it pertains to changing who you are for society; you don’t have to code switch, straighten your hair, be careful what you say, or anything. Consistent resistance in small and large forms is how you take power away. People underestimate what small resistance does. I watch as people comply to society’s white standards without even being told, because they assume the opposite will result in chastisement. Let me be clear, it can result in a negative reaction from whites, but I found that even in that, our resistance is protected by the ancestors, something higher than us. Yes, I’ve had negative reactions to my actions, for doing it the black way and not conforming, but greater opportunities have come out of it each time, and I was always protected. It’s literally the most innocent act to be yourself and act out your culture in various ways, that’s what makes earth spicy. When we do something with the right spirit, it is always rewarded, always!

I see so many people concerned about the most minuscule things: eating chicken, eating watermelon, eating African food – all in front of white people. I say, “are you serious?”, so food, that nourishes our body, just like every human in the entire world eats, is somehow a threat to whiteness? I kid you not people, I’ve had this conversation more times in my life than I’d like to admit. A lot of times, it was other black people criticizing me for eating something African, or not appealing to whiteness in the presence of whites, or, people telling me they don’t eat certain foods at work in front of whites. What kind of plantation behavior is this? Just eat your food! Why is every little thing evaluated in the eyes of whiteness? And people will literally try to convince you that there is a certain way to be around white people. I’m like, “wow”. I have no words. To live in fear over the thoughts of white people is madness. Imagine, I’ve gone even farther than eating chicken, to actually stand up to injustice, the black way. That means that those who choose alfredo over chicken in the face of whiteness wouldn’t dare stand up tp injustice that affects a whole nation.

You’ve got to rewire your minds. These people, came to earth and their encounter with everyone on earth has been to steal, kill, and destroy; stop giving them power to judge your every move. If you want to wear your hair a certain creative way, wear traditional clothes, eat Nigerian food, or use Ebonics, do it! I had a training at a job where the white people were using black vernacular to emphasize certain points. Non-white cultures are only valued by whites when they feel they can appropriate it, don’t be mad when they appropriate our styles that you chose to downplay to appeal to them. Abeg, don’t fall into the 400 year trap, be yo self!

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Global Reparations

colleagues looking at a laptop on the desk

We need to be fighting for reparations globally from the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, U.S., etc. All arguments of who deserves reparations more is useless. We need a United global fight! Africa and her stolen children were all tortured, Africa and all her stolen children need each other. The United Kingdom, in 2018 and 2020 admitted that they stole the majority of Africa’s resources that are in the UK museums, and proposed to Africa to let the various nations borrow them back. How foolish! Imagine the gaslighting, imagine going to someone’s house, stealing their items, and asking them to borrow them back, you would be in jail, nobody would ever accept that in real life, so the idea that Africans would accept such subpar, insulting proposal is preposterous. The sad part is, Nigeria considered it. What if the rest of us outside Nigeria advocated with them to not allow such foolishness?

My people, my people, we need each other in this fight. African Americans need continental Africans; Caribbean’s need African Americans, Black people in the United kingdom need Caribbean’s, and replace any of those with any Black population, we need each other. Any victory amongst us should be celebrated by all, and any attack against us should enrage us all. We need to understand that all colonizers are the same and they united with one another to oppress and suppress Africans when it was time. Yes, at one point, various colonizers hated each other, but when it came time to oppress Black people, they teamed up to be stronger in number. Well, I see a lot of subdivisions amongst Black people, and I actually have no problem with them. I mean, I wish we would all recognize ourselves as African, but I’ve made myself clear, as long as we are all liberating in our own way that leads to the liberation of all, do you. I see FBA, ADOS, PanAfrican, etc. Then on the continent we have colonial made countries, who sometimes speak the same language, that are fighting each other (ex. Rwanda and Burundi, Ethiopia and Eritrea). For some reason, you can’t tell them they are the same, but it’s literally colonialism and the fight over Africa’s resources that divided them. There are so many subdivisions amongst blackness, and if you feel strongly about what you believe, then you should believe, but none of it matters if we cannot unite for the greater purpose of our people. Why can’t FBA collaborate with PanAfricans while maintaining their beliefs, and vice versa? Why can’t Christians collaborate with Muslims, and vice versa? If all beliefs should be for the greater good, then it should inspire, not divide. Just like colonizers collaborated when they realized their power in numbers against a divided people, now is the time to collaborate, despite differences, as Black people all over the world, to unite against the divided people. White inferiority is in shambles right now, they are back to arguing over their false sense of supremacy, and they can’t get it together over major issues, which is normal, but now the veil is off. If we are to unite, this is the time. I personally don’t give a care about what you believe in, for me, it’s about character. I’ve worked side by side people who had a heart for black people, without believing the same thing: which I talk about in my Decolonize Your Mind class.

So, if we were all stolen from the same land, and impacted the same way, why are we arguing about beliefs and lineage? I always say, when we argue about these things, we are doing the colonizer’s work. We must do the work of restoration. We must treat “Haiti’s” colonizers the same as “Congo” colonizers, they are both French. The colonizer of “Nigeria” is British as well as the colonizer of “Jamaica”. All of us are here in the United States due to all colonizers. One may say that on the continent, they did not experience slavery, it is a lie. There was violence committed against all continental Africans, languages wiped out, structural adjustment programs (SAP’s), forced division, wars caused over resources, names changed to fit colonizer’s idea of “civilization”, genocides, resource theft, brainwashing, and education systems that benefit Britain, France, etc. Why do we celebrate independence in Africa if it was always free? I know that each group wants to feel superiority over the other group, but fighting over which colonizer did more and bragging that a colonizer did less to one than the other is absolutely ridiculous; it should enrage us all. Wake up people!

I will never forget one useless girl that told a Chinese girl, in front of me, that Ghanaians are more civilized than Nigerians because they were colonized by the British. I sad “fool, both were colonized by the British, but anyway, why are you bragging about being colonized?” There’s nothing wrong with being a proud Jamaican, Nigerian, or African-American, we should all have pride, but never let it make you feel like you have something more than another stolen African, we are all we got in this world. When we fight, we fight together. When I went on my virtual tour last year, contacting every Senator and Congress member in the United States, Meeting with 23 and reaching 70+, I wrote out a 4 page plan for African Americans that included reparations, however, I advocated for the U.S. to hold their allies accountable for reparations for Africa and the Caribbean; just like the “Jews” received reparations from the US, France, and Germany for the holoc*ust. It’s that simple, whoever had a hand in the torture of Africans has to pay up, and when I say Africans, I mean everyone who belongs to the continent by origin or by forced removal; you can’t take our origins away from us.

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Celebrating Black Queens

african woman showing handicraft earthenware in local workshop

You ever see another beautiful Black woman doing her thing and just thank God for making you a part of this tribe?

I do everyday. There is something, motherly and abundantly supreme about Black women that makes many other women want to be. Even gay male culture is modeled after the actions, sayings, and movements of Black women: although many times overly exaggerated. Black women have always been strong, “strong black woman” is actually not an insult. When the women’s right’s movement began, they modeled after the Aba Women’s Riot displayed by Igbo women against the British in 1929.Strength is normal to us, and any threat against our community, we stand.

When I was in Namibia living with the Himbas, the only African tribe to still practice their pre-colonial traditions – the women told me that they have always worked and been part of agriculture. The difference is, African women were seen as closer to God than men because of our ability to give birth, and, work was a community thing, so it is not like leaving home for hours to go away from our communities and work for a corporation. The Himbas cultivated their land together, as a community, and yes, women tended after the children, but their strength allowed them to contribute in more ways than one. Simply put, if many people are tending to the same load that benefits everybody, it is not as stressful on individuals. It takes a village.

Back to Black women

Western society has completely shifted our worldviews, we try to explain gender roles and societal norms from a western view, when we as Africans, and pretty much every indigenous people on the earth realize, the power of women. Go to any African marketplace, in Africa, and see who’s running the markets, African women. You see the connection? Agriculture, we tend to the health and wealth of society. When I look back on pictures of women from our past, everything about us was, and is, so elegant. From our hairstyles, to our originality, to our style, to our innovations, to the way we tend for children. I never knew that in 2021 we can still come up with new braid styles, yet here we are, as I watch YouTube, creating new styles everyday; and revamping old styles, coming up with new ways to do them. People may think “it’s just hair”, but hair in African culture has always been important. Hairstyles would tell you what tribe a person was in, their status, their current position in life – married, widow, pre-marriage -, and it was always important to maintain those styles. Even today, Black women spend more money on hair than any other race, even though it is not all on our original natural styles, it shows the importance of hair. Even when we wore our afros, it was to let society know we aren’t afraid to be us.

Black women have contributed 70% more to the workforce than any other race or gender, by force, yes, but we have given in love, and given in force, anytime in this life, we have given, and the world has taken. When we are robbed of our people, we are robbed of our wombs, for life comes through the womb. The womb that tends to humanity as the first home, and Africa is the first home of humanity, anyone ask yourself why we call Africa mama Africa?

Well, I celebrate my strength, I celebrate my femininity that is wrapped in my strength, and I celebrate my ability to be many things. A sister, a mom, a wife, a colleague, and anything else. Black women have always taken on many roles, and not to diminish men, but we work with our men to achieve, not the western way, but the African way. Whether people think it’s normal or not, the fact remains, we have done it, and it is nothing for men to be threatened by, it is only there to collaborate with. Always remember, everything African is about balance, women should not compete with men but women and men should complete each other.

Have you seen the style and grace of a black woman? Experience it today, experience her, all of her, and love her, and appreciate her, and uplift her, because she holds the key to your seed and the key to humanity.