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Aba Women’s Riot – #TeachMeTuesdays

The Aba Women’s Riot. Let’s change the language here, the Aba Women’s Uprising, ok, that’s better. In 1929, Igbo women fought against colonizer imposed policies and as a result, they won, and were appointed to high courts. It is described as the “launching of the most serious challenge to British rule… it became a historic example of feminist and anti-colonial protest”.

Ok that was a summary, but let’s give a little background. The Aba women’s riot, or Ogu Umunwanyi in Igbo, was one of the most significant historical events during British inferiority in Nigeria. Remember, we are no longer giving life to colonization in a positive light, it’s inferior behavior. So, the Igbo women were challenging the inferior behavior, and they organized around Owerri and Calabar, in the eastern part of Nigeria also known as Igbo Land, and involved a population of two million people. The organizing arose in the palm-oil belt of Southern Nigeria. The Igbo’s largely occupied and lived in mini-states where men and women exercised varying degrees of political power. Village council meetings involved men and were held in the habitat (community centers) of the Igbo earth-goddess known as Ala (the most important deity according to Odinani – Igbo religion). To make it plain, just like someone may go to church or a mosque to enter the presence of God, these centers held the presence of Ala.

Women had their own sociopolitical organization. They held weekly meetings on the market day of their community (there were 4 market days in Igbo Land), where they created and enforced laws that they mutually decided on. However, British colonialism changed the fundamental structure of precolonial Igbo societies which eliminated women’s political roles. Igbo Women saw themselves as the moral guardians and defenders of the taboos of the earth-goddess, understanding that they naturally embodied its productive forces. This helps understand the outrage that Igbo women had against the destruction of society by British colonizers.

The initial protest started against a British imposed tax that created an increased inability to buy food and goods necessary for survival. They called an emergency meeting and engaged in a traditional practice of dancing around a man and chanting until he becomes miserable and feeds into their demands. The British submitted to their demands for fear that it may get out of hand. Protests spread as the situations got worse, and a British soldier harmed two women. The Igbo women raided their factories and banks, and were eventually killed by British policeman. With all the protests, British eventually conceded and hence, the first paragraph of this blog posts. These women’s protests were modeled throughout 1930s and 1940s against the introduction of factories that took away from the interests of the people but only benefitted the wealth of British colonizers.

Let us be like our ancestors and continue to understand our power as women, we are warriors too! So many men inbox me to say that only men are warriors, and tell me I should focus on helping the children, I laugh in various laughs because I know my history as an Igbo woman, and I know my strength as a woman. When we have one common enemy we bring out the people who are willing, based on skills and qualifications. Save the submission stuff for the colonizers. Peace!

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Ogene Music: #MusicMonday

Hello All! I’m going to be talking about Igbo’s a lot more often on my blog. As you know, I am Igbo and Igbo people can currently be found in Southeast Nigeria, as our 2nd home only after migrating from the Middle East. Well, today is about a type of Igbo music called Ogene. It is a fast paced music involving the Ogene instrument which is in the shape of double bells -“ogene mkpi nabo“, or triple bells – “ogene mkpi ito“, which is a highly important instrument amongst Igbo people. Men can also be seen holding drums – “udu“, shaking rattle instruments “ichaka” , slit drum – “ekwe” and skinned drum – “igba”, while singing along in harmony in Igbo language using call and response. The music is usually accompanied by Ogene dance, but I’ll dedicate another blog post to the dance because I want to have enough content to give each part of Igbo culture it’s own post. Check out the video below!

Ogene Instrument made by Igbo Blacksmith
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Release the Tension #TeachMeTuesdays

You know, when you have two people building a house, I’m sure it would take longer to build the house. Imagine if 20 people were building that same house, how long do you think it will take? As Africana people all over the world, without realizing, we have internalized the “every man for himself” mentality. Coupled with that, we have internalized that we need to fight for or compete with each other for resources because that is what we were taught by capitalism. Meanwhile, the people that created capitalism and taught us to fight for resources, unified to gain their resources, and now they pretend to fight with one another when they really have each other‘s back, which is the basis of white inferiority (what some call white supremacy).

Now I don’t care if you’re rich or poor, wealthy or modest, old money or new money; this is something that we face around the whole entire global African community. What we need to realize is, the quicker we each stand up for our truth we will naturally begin to join together with others who are willing to build this house. When we depend on and look to 1 or 2 leaders to do all the work, the tension rises, that is why each Black leader we have is criticized and scrutinized on every level. It’s similar to how people look at God, we were taught that all we have to do is believe in God, and somehow that would make everything better. But I ask people, where is the faith piece? You can believe in anything that you wanna believe in, but if you don’t act, then nothing will get done – “faith without works is dead”. That is why we pray, ask for direction, then move with that direction. In the Global Black Diaspora, we have treated our leaders the same way. That is why even though a lot of people call me a leader, I always encourage people to think for themselves, because I never want to be the person who everyone is looking to, to the point where they forget who they are. I believe true leadership is allowing the people who follow you to create their own paths. This is a journey for all of us, whatever I do will benefit all Black people. That is why I created my courses. As a teacher first, my goal was to always make sure my students understood for themselves, and then I made sure that they were able to teach each other what I taught them. So if I had just gotten done teaching a concept, and maybe 1 or 2 children still had questions, I would ask the students who know and gained a grasp of the concept to please help their fellow student. I would like to add that the majority of the time it was the “misbehaved” students who grasped the concepts, and the ones that I asked to help the other students. It made them feel important that I asked them to help their fellow classmate. Anyway back to what I was saying. We need to help each other release the tension, there is this inherent fear constantly running in our mind about “what if?”, but I guarantee you that once you begin to live out your true calling, the work will get done.

Again, as I sat there and called each of the Congress and Senate members, each and every time I thought I would be rejected, because again, they kept reminding me that they usually don’t talk to non-constituents. I didn’t tell you guys, but I just finished round 2 of my letter sending to Senate and Congress, this time around I still didn’t ask people to help me because I said, “let me just get it done”. The next time though, I will be asking people to come forth and help me. This is not about begging the government to do anything for us as a people, it is creating a sound of unity with each other, and noncompliance with the government, while making everyone aware that we are fighting for our own change. Anyway, back to what I was saying again. We are the generation that is not going to be comfortable until we get it right. Even those who think they live comfortably, when the weight of the world is on the shoulders of people who look like you, I truly don’t believe you can really be satisfied. I know all of what I accomplished in my life, but each and every time I keep thinking I want the majority of people who look like me to be freely able to accomplish the same things. I say majority because even if you have 100 people who can benefit from something, there may be 1 or 2 that’s still choose otherwise. I think there is a running myth that the majority of Black people don’t want something different than what we have right now, but when I was a case manager I had hundreds of clients (99% Black) over the years and I will say that only a sliver of them truly didn’t want to make change in their lives, but then again they had more deeper rooted issues than I could get to in the position I was in. Now I do understand also that my upbringing required excellence out of me, but that is why I wish to gift that excellence to those who may not have had access to the encouragement I received. I just feel honored to be able to share that with people, I have never been the type to keep it to myself, the encouragement that I received is the encouragement that I give to others and that is why I believe it was given to me, so that I can share it genuinely with the people that I am looking to help achieve greatness. Needless to say, I’m doing my part, and I truly just wish to help others get to their part, so let us all release the tension of each other and do our parts, to get to global Black freedom as we all desire. Amen.

Sign up Decolonize Your Mind entry level course that’s tomorrow!

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How Has Your Culture Shaped You? Interview Ft. Jerrell Sweetgrass #ForwardFridays

Hello All! I had the privilege of interviewing Jerrell Sweetgrass, he is a professional Chef with his own catering company, former military personnel, filmmaker, and all around entrepreneur with a WEALTH of knowledge on Global Black/African culture. The reason I chose to post his interview for #ForwardFridays is because he is a forward moving man with many ideas & well thought out initiatives for the Global African/Black Diaspora. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him teach me and break down aspects of culture through hip hop that I had never even thought of or heard explained that way. Jerrell is also a Gullah Geechee man, an ethnic group native to Georgia and the Carolinas, that I’ve written on many times, but I actually got to hear him explain the culture from his own lived experience. I believe you’ll love the interview as much as I did, and this is why I do what I do, to give authentic voices to the diaspora. It’s one thing to study, but to hear people give their authentic stories from lived experiences is what we need as a people. No more false narratives, we tell our own narratives from now on. Watch the video below, and connect with Jerrell for authentic Gullah Geechee food that he works so hard to share within his culinary creations. Thank you so much, Jerrell, DiasporAfri celebrates you!

Follow Jerrell on IG:
@SweetgrassFoods
@GullahCoast
@Dkc_Experience
@SinceElementary