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Precolonial Africa: Submission or Liberation? #SoulfulSundays

So there’s a long running debate on cultural practices that we shared in precolonial Africa. I’d like to say upfront that I don’t believe that how we practice our marriages have any bearing on unity as a people. I believe that as long as we are engaging in healthy, life-giving (man and woman), relationships, we will be able to build families around strong bloodlines and generational wealth building as we move towards liberation. The foundation of societies are strong families, but I want to use this blog post and video to debunk that all of precolonial Africa practiced patriarchy and submission.

This is part 1 because, I want to go way more in depth about this. In this video is use 3 models: my Igbo culture (Nigeria), the Himba people of Namibia that I lived with when I was teaching there, and Ghanaian culture based on accounts from Ghanaian friends to show that women were honored as the life giving vessel, seen as closer to God because of our ability to give birth, and esteemed amongst society. God was also genderless as a being, I’ll get into that in part 2. Let me know what you think of this video!

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#MusicMondays… Igbo Highlife Music

Hello All! I’m loving learning the voice of my audience. Your voice plus my voice creates a universal sound, and we can move forward together! Speaking of sounds, have you ever heard of Igbo highlife? If you’ve been following me for some time now, you know that I’m Igbo. On my dad’s side I’m fully Igbo, on my mom’s side I’m Igbo by ancestry via slavery (unfortunately but we’re getting it back SOON!) Well, there is a form of music called Igbo Highlife, and I want to talk about.

African cultures have a storytelling tradition that comes through in the music. Highlife music tells important stories over highly instrumental beats using guitar, horns, drums, and is bass heavy. Many times, the songs pace increases as the song goes on, starting off slow and eventually becoming fast enough to dance. The songs are usually long, and sung in Igbo with a mixture of English words as time went on. I am telling you what I know having grown up with my dad playing highlife music all the time. A major artist he listened to was Chief Osita Osadebe, who famously released the album, Kedu America – Kedu is an Igbo greeting. Chief Osita Osadebe’s career lasted over 40 years and is widely celebrated as the king of Igbo Highlife. I mean, his songs are in my spotify playlists, I love him! Check out a video then continue reading below…

Flavour N’abania is a contemporary highlife artist, and sings my favorite Igbo song to date, Oringo. I love how Flavour is contemporary but keeps the Authentic Igbo sound that older and younger generations can relate to. He singlehandedly made one of the most popular Nigerian songs that can be heard at most African parties, Nwa Baby. Flavor hails from Enugu state in Nigeria, with origin In Anambra state, so we may be cousins 👀. Just kidding! Take a listen to Oringo!

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#MusicMonday: Siddi Music

Hello All! Happy Black History continuation! So, today I wanted to talk about music that I have never heard of before. I was searching and searching, and googled Ancient Bantu Music. Everyone knows Bantu people are one of the original tribes in Africa with descendants in many countries. Well, suddenly an article comes up of how Siddi people have thrived through music. Remember I wrote a blog post about the Black Siddi people of Pakistan last week? Read it here. Well, the Siddi are descendants of Bantu people.

Siddi Dhamal, is an expressive form of dance that represents the Siddi spirit of community. Dhamal, originally a celebratory dance, was performed when community members returned from a successful battle. Women sing repetitive song patterns, and the men play a dammam; a percussive instrument made of wood and deerskin on the sides. They proceed to participate in call and response by repeating what the lead singer is singing.

Dammam instrument: Courtesy or Irancultura.it

The Siddis respect nature and often make songs based on their everyday current experiences. Meaning, if they are cooking fish, they will make a song about cooking fish as they are cooking fish. In that case I must be related to the Siddi’s because I do that too. I’ll make up a song about eggs, which I have LOL. Check out this video of the Siddi, descendants of Bantus, do their thing while dancing and singing to Dhamal music; enjoy!

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We Are Making Black History #SoulfulSundays

Hello All! It’s the last day of Black History Month but we all know DiasporAfri celebrates the Global Black Diaspora all year long. I want to let you, Melanated Gem, know that we are making Black History, and we’ve always made it. We’ve been put in a unique position where just coming out of our house, being ourselves, wearing our hair the way it was created, and being unapologetically us is an accomplishment. Not that I like us to see it that way, but the reality for many Black people is that we are waking up everyday and learning to love ourselves. When I say waking up, I mean waking up to the oppressive ways and brainwashing that taught us to hate ourselves.

Because of you, Melanated Gem, your children and grandchildren will love themselves too, that is why you’re making history. We literally had the whole world screaming Black Lives Matter less than a year ago, and we still manage to overcome in an area where we don’t even feel safe, an area that’s laws are built against our very existence. Consider yourself a history maker, trail blazer, creative thinker, and movement maker. You are it, Melanated Gem, you are rare, and you are the one to make change in your generation. Each day you wake up and decide to be your unapologetic Black self, you make history. Others are looking at you, kids are looking at you, older people are looking at you: anyone can pull from your strength. Then your strength begets strength and we build up that unity we’re looking for in the Global Black Diaspora. Well at least that’s how my life works.

Be proud of yourself, Melanated Gem, whether you impacted your neighbor or impacted the world, your impact is felt and is worth you continuing to wake up everyday. Continue to be unapologetically Black on March 1st, and forever. Black History Month just highlights a very few greats, in comparison to what we do everyday. We are the culture, we set the trends, we create the standards, even if we don’t get the credit, we are Black history.

Well, Melanated Gem, I have something just for you, authentic and handmade by me, Ndidi Love; waist beads, headbands, and bracelets with powerful messages to speak to who you are. You guessed it, it’s called Melanated Gem! Check out this blog post I wrote on the history of African Waist Beads, then check out a few pictures from the collection below and I’ll notify you in a few days when they begin to go on sale!