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I hope you enjoyed your Juneteenth Weekend? What did you learn the most?
I learned that the Juneteenth vibe was so great amongst melanated people, we were really excited to see each other. I learned that Black people are ready to be vulnerable with one another. I also learned that we have to do better at educating in these moments, but I felt the vibe was unity. At events there were Africans from all over the diaspora in their red, black, and green ready to unite! I was even surprised. I understood the power of our united vibe and keeping those spaces just for us…
Hey Y’all! I often hear people say that “history doesn’t matter” or, “don’t stay stuck in the past”. That narrative is often posed to Black people, trying to gaslight us into forgetting our past, the good and the bad. If we say “we were queens and kings”, someone will say, “well we aren’t now”; if we say “we were enslaved and we are owed reparations”, someone will say “well we aren’t slaves now”. The point is, all of our history matters, why?
Well, there is nothing new under the sun. I remember living in Namibia and them teaching me the importance of hairstyles. Braided hairstyles on both women and men could tell the person’s age and status, along with jewelry and markings that furthered these symbols (widow, wife, etc.). There was a particular hairstyle that was designated for little boys, it was two braids, braided towards the front or the back with the rest of the head shaved off. I remember coming back to the US, and 2 years later, that style becoming popular over here with the men. I told someone one day that their hairstyle is symbolic to Himba culture in Namibia and they laughed. Again, if we knew what a lot of the things we do mean, we would not take them so lightly. What if they knew that their hairstyle was a symbol of boyhood, and the next level hairstyle represented manhood, or even that it identified the tribe they were from? He could either wear it with pride, or wear the hairstyle that represents his status as a man! Through enslavement, all these identifiers were taken from us, and that part is important too! However, the fact that the royalty still found its way into the diaspora even through enslavement is why it matters, because we can still celebrate and live out our royalty, building on the legacy of the ancestors, even though some feel like they are doomed, and there’s still work to do…
I always get excited when I find cultural similarities between the diaspora, it’s the sociologist in me, but I find that others do not care. As I stated yesterday, freed Africans purchased their own land in Texas to even be able to celebrate Juneteenth in peace without being harassed for being on “white property”. Now, we are still being harassed on land that belongs to all of us, and in the spaces where we celebrate ourselves, we are not really living out the true meaning of these holidays and celebrations. Not that it has to be 100% serious, but we should always use these spaces to educate and edify and empower. There’s always the 1 Black person at the cookout who wants to celebrate blackness and teach everyone there, everything they know (I’ve been that person), but they get laughed at or told “this is not a Harriet Tubman moment” , you know what I’m talking about and you know I’m not lying. We always have people trying to remind us, but because of brainwashing, we are told to forget, or laughed at…. our origins matter!
So, this weekend, as you celebrate Juneteenth, and every other holiday for us, be sure to use those moments to be that person, whether laughed at or not. Educate, edify, and empower, trust me, they are listening!
Juneteenth, well, it’s a nice little combination between the words June and nineteenth, but what does it really mean?
You see, when slavery was abolished (not out of the kindness of America’s heart but to calm the rising storm of civil wars), there were reluctant states that did not want to end slavery, namely, TEXAS, also a couple of other states, but I would like to redirect the attention back to the enslaved Africans in this story.
First celebrated in Galveston, Texas; freed Africans held celebrations to commemorate the ending of slavery in June 19, 1865 (3 years after Abraham Lincolns emancipation proclamation), it is considered the “longest-running African-American holiday”. These celebrations were often held in churches, or near bodies of water, because even though we were physically “free”, we were still “prohibited” from using public facilities. It is Black people’s TRUE Independence Day, we don’t celebrate July 4th around here being that we were still enslaved while white Americans were fighting to be free from the British. We celebrate Juneteenth with educational events, barbecues, and use the time to reflect on where we’ve come from, strategizing where we’re going.
After a while, the holiday became more commercialized, and in Texas, became a paid reduced staff holiday. It used to be called Jubilee Day amongst other names, because it truly was a celebration of freedom. Black Texans raised their own money to purchase 10 acres of land to celebrate Juneteenth, that meant a lot to celebrate our own holiday on on own land. It soon gathered Black Texans from all over Texas. I often say that what used to be survival for us has now become commercialized and watered down. I say that about everything from Caribbean carnival to jerk Chicken to African spirituality. We’ve now commercialized it for tweets and likes and sponsorships. I would like to remind us all that we should get to the root of our traditions, not that we shouldn’t have fun, but we should never take it for granted. Everything we do should be to uplift our people, make sure we educate our communities, celebrate our holidays, and sell our products with joy and integrity, with authenticity.
I created the Juneteenth sale because I want to celebrate it with something the customers can take away with meaning. These Melanated Gem™RBG Freedom sets were created for my audience (who mostly identify as Pan-Africans) but with an empowerment message, I pray you all receive the items with joy and truly understand your purpose and value. I created the Decolonize Your Mind™ courses to really help us break down the walls of colonialism in our mind body and spirit, and for individuals to walk away understanding their purpose. As you all know, DiasporAfri, LLC is for all Black people, the Global Black Diaspora, I like to highlight holidays and traditions that are meaningful to us, but I always remind us that the work is 365. I hope that the whole Global Black Diaspora can join along in celebrating Juneteenth as we begin to join our movements together.
Enjoy 20% off of Melanated Gem™RBG Freedom Sets until 6/21, enjoy 50% off July Decolonize Your Mind™ Courses until 6/21 as well. I strive to provide service for the Global Black Diaspora with the upmost joy and integrity. Happy Juneteenth, everyone, we are FREE!!!!!!!