Posted on Leave a comment

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!

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s Always Been You… #ForwardFridays

man in brown plaid button up shirt sitting beside woman in red sweater

Hello All! I always find it interesting in this society that people pigeon hold themselves to that one title, “I’m a model therefore I am____________” fill in the blank. The truth is, you make the title, the title doesn’t make you. We’ve all heard that, right? Well, I want to go a little further and tell you that everything you were created to be is already inside of you, no title needed. You see, especially when it comes to Africana people, the world has done it’s best to withhold certain titles, positions, and opportunities from us. We are plagued with useless statistics on what is “not” happening with us, or what a percentage of us “will or will not” experience according to someone’s useless statistics. These people know the power of words and the power of ruling by fear, if they can get you to believe that you can’t, then actively hide the resources, then they feel they’ve won their battle. That is not the case love, if it was designed to be in you, then it is active at all times.

When we look at the trajectory of or lives, we see who we were always meant to be. I believe in the power of prayer because once I ask God to actively show me something, it happens. No matter the situation, the pattern of you is always clear. Have you always stood up for people, have you always taken things apart, have you always gazed at the stars at night and wondered how it all happens, have you become extra angry when you see a disabled person get bullied, have you taken apart your cell phone in an effort to put it back together? What has always been you? then actively seek out the resources to make that happen. I truly believe that once we start a journey, doors start to open up; then we either create our own paths or are lead on the path to make our dreams a reality. The only thing between us, and beginning, is the action.

It may sound hard for people who actively have situations that seem unbearable, but I can guarantee, from experience that even in an unbearable situation there is always a way, even if it seems unnoticeable, we have to open our eyes to see. Especially as Africana people, we literally have had everything taken from us, and even today, no matter the status, have opportunities withheld from us, and we still manage to create something out of nothing. That’s not just Black Girl Magic, that’s Black People Magic. We manage to influence culture all over the world, and supposedly the people with the least. I’ll tell you what, even if we have the least resources, we have the most life.

So, Melanated Gem, we can’t look at the title the world gives us only, we have to title ourselves. Start telling people who we are, with confidence. Even if it’s a doctor you wish to be, begin to tell people you are a healer on the path to becoming a doctor, a writer on the path to becoming an author, a musician on the path to becoming a producer. These are the things we must begin to tell ourselves – with confidence, to create the paths, to transform the world. Once the words are out there, the actions will follow. I call you Melanated Gems because you are my gems, your presence feeds me. When I was teaching I called my students my babies, my kids, I loved them so much, and I was able to transform their minds by transforming those words. There’ nothing in the world anybody can tell me about a Black child, and their capabilities, I will prove them wrong everytime, why? Because I am a Black child, whatever you say about them, you are saying about me, you get?

Be sure to get your custom made Melanated Gem™ jewelry to empower you and an everyday reminder to remember who you are…

Posted on Leave a comment

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!

Posted on Leave a comment

We Didn’t Ask for This… #ForwardFridays

serious black man standing near streetlamp

Melanated Gem, I need to tell you something. Africans did not sell each other into “slavery”. I know you’re thinking,
“yes they did!”, but let me explain. As African people, we had a system based on common respect for our neighbors and UBUNTU. We traded, we did business, and yes, we went to war at times. As a result of these wars, and as punishment for crimes, captives would be “enslaved” for 7 years, with dignity; and after that 7 years be released to their families, in dignity. I originally put slavery in quotations because we have to remember the English language doesn’t always capture original meanings. We think of slavery and think of mistreatment, beating, stolen goods and resources. African “slavery” at the time we were enslaved did not reflect all of what we know today. Remember, colonizers interpretations of African systems have always been lies, and changed to fit the narrative of the colonizer. What happened when europeans tricked and stole from Africans (what some call colonialism), is they learned the systems already in place and used that to eventually deceive Africans. For example, the Portuguese and Spanish tried to conquer “Nigerians” with violence, “Nigerians” fought back. The British learned from the Spanish and Portuguese and understood that if they approached with violence, they would be met with violence. The British decided to have a “friendly” approach, and learned the ways of life of the people and resources they “needed”. By the time trust was built, the British made their moves on “Nigerian” leaders, to convince them into selling people as goods. What “Nigerian” leaders didn’t know is that it would result in this… hundreds of years later. Do you honestly think that Africans sent other Africans to America to face this? I beg to differ if you do. I don’t believe at all that if they knew what we’d still be facing in 2021, that selling us to thieves would have happened.

The amount of time we’ve spent apart from each other has us fighting each other in the name of colonizers. We still, to this day, allow white inferiority (what some call supremacy), to trick us into “selling’ each other, for a check. The amount of Africana leaders who have been infiltrated (Ex. Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), and I believe all of the great Africana leaders, shows just how much white inferiority will go to divide us. We have developed an “anything for a check” mentality, and that is the same trick that has always been used people. I don’t understand why people don’t get this. They will always find the Black person that is acceptable to them, to infiltrate a black person who is trying to liberate us. Every attempt we’ve had to free ourselves from this system has been met with violence, but they always try their “friendly” approach first. They also send someone who looks like us to be our “spokesperson”, and that person is really just an agent of white inferiority.

Why am I saying all this? Because we have to notice patterns to overcome them. History is important to now, because we learn from the past. Just because a corporation posted a Black Lives Matter statement, and started handing out all these loans and grants to black people, means nothing, nothing. That is not an attempt to rectify wrongs, it is an attempt to hush Black people, control Black people, deceive Black people, and make Black people maintain a loyalty to them. THAT is why many Black people who have been hired and promoted after the recent Black Lives Matter movement are still complaining that they are underpaid and mistreated. I am not easily deceived, although it’s tempting to apply for grants, and I sure have (from Black owned businesses), we have to remain dedicated to ridding ourselves of anything that doesn’t fully address 401 years.

I have said too much, but I originally wanted to dismantle this idea that African leaders really wanted us to suffer this way 401 years later. I agree that maybe we shouldn’t have been sold to strangers, but I will also say that they were deceived, so they couldn’t have known. I’m sure the ancestors and their intuition warned them, but they didn’t listen. African ancestors always gear us in the right direction, and our intuition is never wrong. We have an opportunity to undo what they did, and quit being deceived by colonizers 401 year tactics. I honestly for the first time in my life was naïve, I thought that 2020 opened up the eyes of Africana people globally, I thought we would finally get it, I thought there would be no more need for my brand and my message. I was wrong, we have a lot of work to do to move forward and not be deceived again and again and again. We didn’t ask for this, and we can’t willfully continue it. I love you my people.