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Rest, Love

a happy family

Hello all, Happy 2022! I know a lot of times we make plans for the new year, and rightfully so, but I think one of those plans must be rest.

I remember hearing a doctor say that rest is one of the most underrated forms of healing. When we rest, it allows our bodies to reset, it allows our immune system to power up, it actually detoxes our brains from things that have happened throughout the day. Rest also gives us strength, and my Afrikan people, I know we’ll be needing our strength more than ever. It may not be time to hit the gym, it may be time to rest and reset. I know rest also means sleep, but I’d like to introduce other forms of rest.

  • Laughter – some may say “laughter?”, let me tell you, laughter is the hearts medicine, it actually says that in Proverbs 17:22. When we enjoy and laugh and celebrate, it allows our body to destress. I even notice when I laugh or socialize while eating meals, the food digests better. Our bodies need joy, the default emotion is joy. I have studied my body, and I know joy even has helped reduce symptoms of stress related body functions. Stress is actually a number one cause of weight gain in the gut, our body holds on to all these toxins because stress keeps our bodily functions lifeless. We often think of exercise and food when it comes to a healthy body, but laughter and enjoyment are just as important. That is why many people I have known who were in the best shape, but mentally not in shape, suffered from stress related issues (ie -stroke), because they never took time to enjoy. Laughter specifically loosens up build-up in the body, that is why sometimes when you laugh hard, you feel mucous loosening in the throat, and even tears from the eyes, your body is reacting to the joy! Mucous build up in the body is one of the number one causes of holding on to diseases in the respiratory system, it’s all related, friends! According to an article I read, stress as a cause of weight gain is a mix of hormonal and psychological factors. The body has a system of hormonal checks and balances that may actually promote weight gain when you’re stressed out. The “stress hormone” cortisol is released in the body during stressful times along with the epinephrine and norepinephrine hormones that trigger the “fight or flight” response to a perceived threat. Following the stressful event, epinephrine and norepinephrine levels return to normal while cortisol levels remain elevated over a longer time period. Cortisol levels can remain persistently elevated in the body when a person is subjected to chronic stress. What is the opposite of stress? Joy! I notice after a joyful day full of laughter, I sleep better. It is important to keep people around who make you laugh and smile, your body rests better when you are in the presence of laughter and joy, you get?
  • Love – In line with laughter and joy, love is the best form of rest. Acts of love, with good intentions, can make the body rest in ways that exercise can’t. When love is present, the body feels safe, the body feels spiritually safe, and there’s not that lingering stress of worrying who is around you. I speak from spiritual perspectives as well, and let me tell you, the only time I’ve felt anxiety is when the people, places, or things around me were not good for me. I’m not talking about the anxiety you feel when you are about to perform your song or waiting to hear back from a job. I’m talking about that nagging feeling of being sad, wondering what’s wrong but not knowing what’s wrong. That, my friends, is your spirit telling you that someone or something around you is not good for you, so beware. Every time I’ve had that feeling, and I removed myself from the person, place, or thing, I ended up not having that nagging feeling anymore, instantly! This may not be something doctors will tell you; they’ll tell you, you have anxiety – but until you get rid of that friend, spouse, job, or whatever, it will never go away. When people tell me they cry all the time for no reason, it is a sign that your spirit is telling you something is wrong. Pay attention to your reactions of people, if you feel happy when they’re around, fine! If you feel anxiety when they’re around and uneasy, run! There is nothing else to figure out, it’s not anxiety from your past, it is your spirit saying “watch out for them right now”. Whether you have fears from your past or not, a person’s presence should make you feel at ease if they are genuinely good for you. When you enter love, you’ll enter rest, and it’ll feel easy. I am talking about friends, family, and romantic love. This love is also needed to make it through life, when you are surrounded by love, that can boost your chances of achieving, because that is an energy that boosts you forward, and does not hold you back
  • Living – my dear, it is good to live. Sometime people are always waiting for everything to be good to live. living means, enjoyment. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect to enjoy and live life, however, you may have to shift your perspective of what enjoyment means depending on your situation. Don’t look at Instagram and say enjoyment means what everyone else is doing, it could mean that, but it could also mean gathering some friends and dancing. If you are going through a hard time, and it is financial, you still have the right to enjoy where you can. Joy makes you feel better and achieve more. When you allow yourself to enjoy, your mind resets and even comes up with new ideas on how to handle the situation. I speak from experience, friends! No matter what, things may stress me out, but I’ll find enjoyment, and in that enjoyment, I’ll find ideas. I am a solutions based, faith-based person. I understand life comes, and life will always have challenges, however, my confidence comes from knowing that I will always find ways to overcome those challenges, whether on my own or with help; it’s all part of the process. So, if I know for a fact that I will overcome, I will not stop my joy if it doesn’t happen right away. I have too many examples of victory to worry – all I do is pray, act on solutions, and wait for the results. Don’t worry about what people will say, “oh she owes bills and is enjoying”, “she’s getting divorced and partying” so what! Because if you have a stroke when stress becomes too much, will they take care of you? Again, enjoyment may not mean a $500 concert, but it can mean a night out, an inexpensive event, or inviting friends over to eat and watch movies. I used to isolate myself until I figure things out, but with good people, I don’t need to do that, because remember what we learned in the love section, they will understand and even boost you to success. Let me explain something; stress isn’t normal, because of this society we live in, people have become individualized, chasing things that don’t matter, when in reality, a community is sustained by all the things I’m mentioning in this blog post. The best thing we can do for our loved ones in need is be love, be life, and be laughter to relieve their stress.
  • Learning – My dear, learning is one way to relax the mind. When the mind is bogged down with the same thoughts all the time, it is stressful. Sometimes escaping that cycle, learning something new, and expanding your mind is all you need. Social media exposes us to thoughts of people all day, and information can be learned, but sometimes, learning is best when it can be applied. I can learn about the news of the day, or I can learn how to plant a garden, one is useful for life, one is just passing knowledge. Our mind likes to be challenged, and there is a time for it, but don’t allow your mind to stay in the cycle of the same knowledge. Your mind feels free when you learn something new. You can even feel more aware, and inspired. All of these things the body needs to rest. It is actually a physical feeling of the mind being free. When I lived in Washington, DC, I was always at events, learning. I was partying too, but I would attend events where I can learn and engage in important dialogue, it felt so freeing to just learn – and when we feel free, we rest easy.

~Love, Live, Laugh, Learn~

Friends, I am transitioning this blog into a subscription-based blog. I will be writing more lengthy, informed blogs with references, and research, and I would love for you all to support. I will still be inspiring you all, and I will be vlogging for the most part. That would require you to subscribe to my YouTube. My YouTube will feature Vlogs and interviews that will still be free, and allow you to connect with me. DiasporAfri started as an educational blog, as you will see from the 10 years’ worth of blog posts on this site, and there is information I want to share with you all that can really transform lives. Help support me as I grow and provide you with quality content. Lookout for the transition and announcements by subscribing here, or following me on Twitter. As an empire builder, I will be using all my talents and gifts to give content in a variety of ways, please consider supporting the ones that speak to you.

Melanated Gem is still here to make you look beautiful ladies! and here to make you look handsome, sir.

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2021 Top 4! #ForwardFridays 4ward

Hello all! Thank you for making these 4 blog posts my top 4! I love all the love y’all show me on ALL my blogs, but I wanted to highlight these 4. I think it speaks to the need for our people to move forward with actionable solutions. Remember, I’m micro to macro. I also understand it to be a sign that my audience is simply warriors, like me! Whether silent, loud, observant, or active, my audience is here to make change – so let’s make it! Check out the links for each blog post y’all loved the most, see you in 2022! Happy holidays, no matter what you celebrate, enjoy your time and be safe.

TOP POST: Igbo in the Caribbean #TeachMeTuesdays – https://diasporafri.com/2021/05/17/igbo-in-the-caribbean-teachmetuesdays/

TOP POST #2: Aba Women’s Riot #TeachMeTuesdays – https://diasporafri.com/2021/04/06/aba-womens-riot-teachmetuesdays/

TOP POST #3: It’s My Hair, Period #TeachMeTuesdays – https://diasporafri.com/2021/02/09/its-my-hair-period-teachmetuesdays/

TOP POST #4: How Has Your Culture Shaped You? Interview Ft. Jerrell Sweetgrass #ForwardFridays – https://diasporafri.com/2021/03/26/how-has-your-culture-shaped-you-forwardfridays/

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Titles Don’t Matter… As Much as The Work #TeachMeTuesdays

I don’t disagree with the philosophy of many titles, I’m just authentic to myself, and always one to never care about what you believe more than what I see you do – more importantly how you treat me, and other people. You see, it’s the English language, titles were earned in African languages; it’s only in English where people put titles before actions. Even in some African cultures, babies aren’t named until you see their character. I identify with action words. You can see it in how I talk, I tell you what I’ve done, I’ll tell you that I teach, I’m not so focused on you calling me a teacher.

I’m African first, African is Ubuntu, that shows up especially in how we treat other Black people. I love and respect and follow many philosophies of PanAfricanism, but as I’ve said, I’ve already reckoned that I’m fully African. No matter what one believes, it doesn’t absolve them from the self work. I’m well versed in enough African history to know that I embody all of what PanAfricanism is, and more, which is completely African. More than a title, it’s the reclaiming of my heritage, especially the parts that were stolen. You see, that means I accept and not reject other Black people who even follow religions and ways that I don’t agree with, because the African mind is an understanding mind, especially knowing our 400 year history, we work to restore not reject. That means I show love to Black people who live lifestyles I don’t agree with, unless they’re causing unnecessary physical harm. That means when I am amongst my own people, I should be doing my best to unite us and not divide us. If you can’t greet the poor black Woman or Man, don’t say you respect me.

That’s just it, I have never in my life met anybody from any belief system – to include religion, politics, social, and philosophical, that talked about their title so much and also embodied the qualities of the title, even to this day, even many of the people who follow me and that I follow online. I talk a lot, but about ways I embody the titles. I keep reminding everyone that there is so much pessimism in our community that I tell these stories to change the narrative and say that it can be done at a micro scale, let’s join together and achieve these victories at a macro scale, but people are waiting for me to claim a title and that will never happen. People claim to be revolutionaries and have not named one solution and state the problems all day, and are hopeless pessimists! They come and comment on my posts then go back to posting their pessimism. People claim to be PanAfrican but go back and forth insulting Black people all day, publicly, that they don’t like. In 10 years on this blog and online, you have never seen me do that, because I find no fulfillment in it. Our enemy is not other Black people but the system that has divided us. I’m African because I’m African, not as a political title but it’s literally my DNA, I don’t believe in politicizing everything, especially life.

It’s hard for people to understand when human beings are so complex. I went to graduate school to get a Master of Arts in Africans Studies, to learn and be able to educate and serve my community from many angles. I enjoyed learning, and especially loved learning about PanAfricanism and Marcus Garvey. I just never believed in following someone so hard that I never met, and I understand that in this life I have my own purpose. While I respect and love the greats, they lived their calling, I have my own greatness to live. We take what is useful for us but we don’t have to agree with and embody everything a person said just to seem dedicated. I wish for people who quote Marcus Garvey and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. all day long to actually tell me an original quote of their own. I know it’s in there, but I notice people get so caught up in wanting to know and be well versed in other people, that they live their whole lives not being well versed in themselves. Wake up! The same greatness is in you! The same greatness is also in those around you. You can celebrate someone living, the only reason many people celebrate the greats who are dead is because they didn’t know them. The way people go back and forth about the greats who are living; tearing them down, is the same thing that happened to the greats who are dead, and many now who praise them would’ve joined along in tearing them down based on some things they did and believe.

I can come up with any group today and if people are infatuated with me enough they’ll follow everything I say, that’s never my goal. My goal is to get people to think for themselves, and follow their purpose because this world is big and there’s enough room for many ways to achieve the same goal. That’s why I’m not quick to criticize other African leaders’ styles such as Dr. Umar Johnson, or whoever people ask me my opinion about; because if his work is liberating people, then that’s his style; my style reaches different people. As long as we’re reaching, that’s what matters, and it doesn’t look the same for everybody. I empower people by letting them know that I am not needed to lead you because you have those same qualities in yourself. A lot of times people see me as strong, which I am, and strong enough to lead them, which I won’t. All this energy I have is also your energy, which is why I change the narrative in people’s mind, because I understand the power of a transformed mind and actually believing in the person of the mind you are transforming. It’s also my teaching style, the reason my young students were successful is because I gave them the tools to think for themselves and empowered them to exceed their expectations, which they did, and the expectations of other “professionals” who didn’t believe in them. Critical thinking is a gift.

We have to understand that the framework of the world we live in doesn’t allow for authenticity as much as we claim to believe. That’s why we create it ourselves. I’ve come to my own understanding of the world and that I am a speck in billions of specks. I can live authentically to myself and attract other authentic people based on that. That is my tribe. Those who connect with me, will, and those who don’t, won’t. The way capitalism and classism has destroyed the minds of people, all philosophies are tainted. Which is why within many philosophies and religions, it leads to more division. People ultimately agree with who has the most money and influence, hence, following so hard those who are dead and popular, and can’t appreciate those who are living and genuine.

That’s why I created my Decolonize Your Mind™class and the Dear Black People™ series. It is based on truths and facts that I put years of research into, and I provide references; but the purpose is for everyone to leave thinking for themselves, and to create the dialogue in their mind that leads to true freedom… join!!!!

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You Can’t Insult My Blackness…

If you’re calling me ghetto to imply that I’m acting black, fine. If you’re calling me ratchet to imply that what I’m doing embodies Black qualities, fine. Im not saying you’re right in your words, I’m saying that I’m not insulted, because I know it’s your way of saying I’m acting Black, and I am black, so I act Black. I notice that this society labels anything Black people do that literally everyone else does as ratchet or ghetto. You’ve done it too. You see black people being loud, you say, “why are they being so ghetto?” No one thinks to say, “they’re being loud”, because that would be too simple to call an action an action. You see a white girl with pink hair and she’s creative, the black girl with the pink wig is ghetto. I lived in Washington, DC and I witnessed this daily. I see a group of white kids being loud at the train station, everyone literally laughs it off, “they’re just being kids”, “they must be excited about the hockey games”, “I wonder what they’re excited about?”. Black teenagers being loud? “See this is why they end up in jail”… for being loud? Wow black crimes get more interesting everyday!

I told you all that Black people are not always wrong, we are just criminalized, a very big difference. Blackness has been ingrained in peoples minds as some type of defect. We can’t just be loud and excited, it has to be attached to some negativity, but let me ask you, have you ever been to a black church? Wedding? Cookout? Anything? Tell me if you notice a difference in our expressions versus, pretty much everyone else’s. Ok, ok, you say Indians are just as loud at their events, but you call that culture my friend. What happens when you rob a people of their culture and minimize it? Exhibit A-Z being Africans and descendants all over the world, you mislabel it and interpret it according to whatever Europeans stated that it was, and that my friends, is wrong.

There are ways to describe our cultural expressions: happy, excited, enthusiastic – these things can be heard as loud and boisterous, and can be displayed with great body movements. I encourage you to go to YouTube and view some African cultural practices such as Ogene dance, and see if you notice similarities. We are a people of great movement, excitement, loudness, and proudness – not ghetto. Even when we are angry, it can be loud and passionate, you know, the way you describe white peoples anger – “oh she was just having a bad day, she was passionate about it and had to raise her voice”. Add the name Shaniqua to where the word “she” is, and see if that even sounds right. It should sound right, but Shaniqua would’ve been labeled as angry and loud for no reason, and “she could’ve handled it different”. Mind you she’s just been robbed but often black people are told to remain calm……. to not be seen as ghetto. Haha! You all don’t remember the famous Karen video last month (July 2021) where the white lady was BUGGING in bath and body works, shouting like a baby at the Black woman, but people in the store were telling the Black lady to calm down and she was the calm one! Y’all have to start seeing your anti-blackness and actively change it.

People actually provoke black people to be angry, then when we react, they say it’s ghetto behavior. I have seen it with my own 2 eyes many times. It has happened to me. White people and others, sometimes even other black people who feel that they’re not ghetto, literally say the most disturbing, provoking, things; and when you react, “why do you have to be so ghetto?” It’s the whole victim blaming, “I know I said the wrong thing but you don’t have to react like someone from the ghetto”. Hahaha! Hey listen, like I said, Black people, not all, but collectively we’re naturally loud. Growing up, my “Nigerian” side was so loud, that everyone knows what I’m about to say, “Nigerians” can be having a normal conversation but you’ll think they are arguing, especially coming from America. They’ll be like “no we’re just having a normal discussion”. That’s it my people, we are just loud. (I think you know why I put Nigerian in quotes).

Listen, there are loud black people who live in these so called ghetto’s that are actually gentrified areas and many times represent places that were once flourishing for Black people; but the government couldn’t have that so they actively removed resources, sometimes with violence and burning, leaving the black people in those areas as now newly created poor people (google six square in Austin, Texas). An area of living that lacks resources can sometimes lead to behaviors that help survival, you may call that crime, fine, but remember that the original crime was capitalism and the ghetto hood rat behavior that is colonization. Y’all don’t remember how America was “founded”, and maintained? On violence, rape, killing, and destroying every area they placed foot, to include actively withholding resources from whole communities they feel are not deserving. Face it, and you can say whatever you want, every attempt for Black people to flourish as a community is stopped by the government, individually no problem, but community? No. That’s another blog post though.

Do you know that growing up with white kids, they labeled my butt as “ghetto booty”, literally in 7th and 8th grade, the white kids used to call me “ghetto booty”. My body part, a butt like everyone else. I lived in the same neighborhood as them, my whole life, but because they are ignorant, they labeled me “ghetto booty”, don’t you people have shame sometimes? So I beg you to remember that the next time you criminalize my loudness, or anything for that matter. Oh, I’m going to be loud, hopefully you hear me, and when you label me ghetto just remember that I’m not ashamed of being black. Did I grow up in the ghetto? It doesn’t matter because I’m not ashamed of being lumped in with Black behaviors. You see them as bad, I see them as culture, carry on.