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Your Words Shape Your Destiny

family preparing food in the kitchen

Only you can tell you who you are. You are free, not colonized, you are a solution, not a problem, you are your ancestor’s accomplishment, not a failure. Speak it and don’t accept anything less my beloved Africana people.

I think the oppressors whose narratives have shaped this country are very aware of how words can shape reality. When they put out statistics on populations, they speak in the future, the unknown, and people use those words to determine their destinies. “By 2021, 25% of Black men will be imprisoned”, well, how do they know? Is it their plan? Is it their way of distracting? I just know that I hear Black people say, especially when discussing their goals or their children’s goals “I don’t want to be that statistic” or “I’m not raising him to be a statistic” – they live to do everything to avoid that statistic, instead of just living their calling. The one thing I hate is when parents say, “I’m just glad he has a job, not in jail”, is jail the benchmark? Why are we bringing jail into this? Is he a great debater who can be a successful lawyer? Is he great at building things and can be a great engineer? Is he a great artist that can be a designer? I believe living in the affirmative can help people achieve their goals way more, instead of avoiding things – the benchmark should be your goals. My dad spoke in the affirmative to me, he always told me what I’m good at and what I could be based on what I’m good at. You want to know why I’m so confident? Because my dad let me explore all my talents and made sure I knew my goals were valid. He said, “you want to be a teacher? just own the school”. I wasn’t raised to not be something; I was raised to be something.

I know that no matter what, racism is there, and that no matter what I achieve, racists will be racists in a country built on racism. I am not saying that achieving your goals will eliminate racism. I am saying that keeping ourselves and our goals as the focus, not damaging narratives from a people that has historically misrepresented us, will put us in better positions to make change amongst ourselves and our communities. I am not successful to avoid jail because an oppressive statistic said my people end up in jail. I am successful because I achieve the ideas in my head and don’t worry about any other narratives. I took statistics in undergrad and grad, trust me, I don’t believe in statistics the way that others do, I know they are used to shape narratives and instill fear in many cases. In my career, statistics have been used to damage the esteem of students that I have worked with and had to defend. Example: I had a job teaching literacy to students, the corporation had a goal, and benchmarks. When the goal of students enrolled wasn’t achieved, they changed the rules. I had students that were past their grade level, but we were told that they should stay in the program anyway because “they can use help anyway” based on the population they were in that is “low-income” Black community. However, the program was for students who were struggling, and all the students knew that. When a student entered that room, it meant they couldn’t read pretty much, and other students would laugh at that. I fought it and eventually chose my morals over damaging a student’s esteem to help a company achieve a goal. Manipulating a child to make them believe they have an issue when they don’t just wasn’t on my list of things to do. I had students that would enter the program, surpass all benchmarks and still were told they needed the program. Then the company put out statistics to say they helped all these low-income students achieve their goals when in reality, a fraction of those students actually needed help. You see how the numbers game works? It’s all tied to money. “If I can make these low-income people believe that they have a problem, I can make money by solving the problem”, is essentially the model of these “statistics” that they put out.

The power of words is critical. Define yourself, lessen the noise. Challenge every teacher that tries to label your child. I was the only Black student in my kindergarten class where they tried to label me, and my dad fought it – and won. In my career I have watched parents be taken advantage of, knowing well their kids had no problem, and the parents who fight, win. I don’t care what your teacher or your family told you, those ideas in you are valid. If you have an idea it came to you for a reason. Plan out the execution of that, tell yourself you are going to do it, and be part of the statistic that says “you will achieve your goals”. It really is that easy friends.

Amen.

Join me for the Dear Black People series where I teach people strategies to achieve this very thing. You receive years’ worth of research, references, personal follow up, and password access to zoom course upon completion, you don’t want to miss it! Check out details and register here, or below.

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Your Confidence is Deeper, STAND UP for it…

woman holding man s hat

Melanated Gem, everyday when I wake up I ask God to present me to the world the way I was designed. As an Africana woman, our confidence often offends, and that’s a good thing. I’ll tell you why, the design of white inferiority systems was to create loyalty to whiteness, and be able to assimilate into their worlds. That’s why the narratives of what is good and acceptable has all been in proximity to whiteness. They don’t want us to trust our confidence, intellect, talents, information, and cultures. That’s why as of 2020, when I still entered and office, I had to make an example out of a coworker who told me “Black women have bad hair”, or the whole of 2019 when I had to constantly correct white men who commented on my hair, and forced my boss to have a staff wide meeting about it. I was even asked by someone “why are you so confident?”, I responded “I don’t have a right not to be”. Either way, our appearance and confidence is always on trial because white people feel they are the norm, and they find it offensive that we are able to embrace ourselves, go against their norms, and even challenge them when they say something that requires challenging. For example, I remember another Black queen telling me, “wow, you’re confident around white people”, that was in 2018, because I was educating and correcting a white man who stated the wrong thing about an African culture. I find it odd that my confidence is often challenged when it is displayed around white people. It is necessary to be confident, and correct anyone who misrepresents your culture. For example, a white guy tried to lecture me about Nigeria and the main languages, when I’m the Nigerian; he said “there’s only one language in Nigeria, Igbo and Yoruba are just dialects”, I said NO, I am Igbo, it is a complete separate language, culture, and tradition from Yoruba people. Or when I was teaching students about my experience in Namibia, and a white teacher who had never been to Africa tried to tell me, in front of the students, that what I was saying was not my experience, weirdo behavior. People always tell Black people to “let it go”, but honestly, white people need to “let it go”, stop trying to control every narrative around you. To challenge someone’s intellect in every instance because you think their information is inferior, is racism. Trust me, I have the energy to correct them each and every time, I believe confidence is also displayed in not backing down when your intellect is threatened.

Anyway, you know I don’t like to give life to too many narratives of white inferiority systems. Unfortunately, to make some points clear about how to raise our confidence, I have to address the behaviors and let you all know that it is not ok. For hundreds of years, our narratives have been falsely interpreted, we have been told that our hair is not professional, or to “not act black”; and even many of us, have told me, that they don’t eat certain foods around white people, IMAGINE! It’s all a bunch of bull to be honest. I always say, you make them your God when you’re always concerned about what they will say about you, and, it is disrespectful to God to care more about what a white person thinks about you, than just being yourself. I know what I am talking about, I can’t have a conversation about this with many Black people without them saying what white people will think. In fact, til’ this day, I haven’t been to a Black gathering in my life where people don’t mention what white people will think, mini plantations. I’m like wow, I don’t even consider their opinions, because they are not relevant as it pertains to my beautiful life. Even if my life wasn’t beautiful, what a white person thinks of me can’t be anywhere on my list. Now the systems that they’ve created, and the lies that have been told to oppress Black people, are of top concern for me to dismantle, that’s macro – their opinions are micro, and non-existent in my world. I’m from the suburbs and some of them have said I am from the ghetto, I am not offended by that at all because, if I was from the ghetto, I’m still one of the greatest of all time, so what are you really saying here? So just me being affirmative, loving myself, correcting wrong comments, knowing what I want, holding my head high, has offended many white people. That is why, when I pray to God in the morning, I ask God to present me to the world as myself, even if it offends, and let it offend, so long as it’s authentic. I am glad to offend you, because you know that you don’t own me. I walk away from your offers, low-balling offers at that, I escape your ideologies, I hurt your ego, I don’t protect you, because I have to do what protects me, and honestly dismantling a system can start from these micro interactions that happen daily.

Your confidence is your mark in this world. Once you live life by design, you activate a uniqueness in you that cannot be taken away. Even if someone’s purpose is similar to yours, it is designed to do something different. Therefore, no need to compete, just be. I have this blog, and many other things, and I love and hype up everything I do, why? because I am certain it belongs here. I know everybody won’t like it, but because I live by design, I know that when God gave me a gift, I was given an audience. That is exclusive of what white people think of me. I have to laugh because that is the one thing I want to eradicate my people of, is thinking that a white persons thoughts will hinder them. Once we all walk in our designs, we dismantle a system while building up ourselves, because we are each actively living in confidence and not fear. I tell you, confidence for Black people will do much more than you think it will do, and it will be a key to unity. When I say confidence, I mean holding yourself to a standard as well, not only acing on what you believe in, but making sure it builds up Africana people.

My Africana people, you are great. Don’t listen to people who tell you to humble yourself in this system, and wait your turn. In this world, my definition of humble is – don’t get to big to the point of disrespecting people and tearing people down to think I am better than them. Let’s be clear, you have every right to get what’s yours, and talk about it. You have no choice but to love your hair, skin, intellect, style, and cultures. It’s not ghetto, it’s creative, and does not have to mimic what whites have done to be relevant. It’s not primitive, it’s not barbaric. Are you going to listen to the people who celebrate their ancestors killing indigenous people to get their way? Of course not. Are you going to trust the people that had to lie about Black history to make theirs relevant? Never! Speak your truth, walk your walk, talk your talk, Mealanated Gem. By the way, have you purchased any Melanated Gem items yet? You should! This body jewelry empowers you and reminds you of who you are with quality beads and designs to represent the colorfulness of the Global Africana Diaspora. Check out these reviews from customers! Also, get your book of poems, I wrote those to inspire you too! You are love, gem.

~Ndidi Love~

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#FeatureFriday Check out these #Throwback interviews!

Hello All! I wanted to feature 14 interviews I’ve done over the years with 2 series I have called “How Has Your Culture Shaped You?”, and “Diasporans Making A Difference”. I have done many more interviews that are featured on my website, but not on video. You can check them out as well by typing either title in the search box at the bottom of the page. In the meantime, check out this YouTube playlist of these interviews, and let me know what you think! These interviews feature Black millennials who are making a difference, and educating me about their cultures. I wanted to feature people I actually know or have proximity to, everyone who’s making a difference is not on TV, or an “influencer”! Let me know if you’d like to be featured as well, and be sure to subscribe! Have fun!

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Do It the Black Way!

young black men with dreadlocks standing near building entrance

I try to tell people, you don’t have to do anything as it pertains to changing who you are for society; you don’t have to code switch, straighten your hair, be careful what you say, or anything. Consistent resistance in small and large forms is how you take power away. People underestimate what small resistance does. I watch as people comply to society’s white standards without even being told, because they assume the opposite will result in chastisement. Let me be clear, it can result in a negative reaction from whites, but I found that even in that, our resistance is protected by the ancestors, something higher than us. Yes, I’ve had negative reactions to my actions, for doing it the black way and not conforming, but greater opportunities have come out of it each time, and I was always protected. It’s literally the most innocent act to be yourself and act out your culture in various ways, that’s what makes earth spicy. When we do something with the right spirit, it is always rewarded, always!

I see so many people concerned about the most minuscule things: eating chicken, eating watermelon, eating African food – all in front of white people. I say, “are you serious?”, so food, that nourishes our body, just like every human in the entire world eats, is somehow a threat to whiteness? I kid you not people, I’ve had this conversation more times in my life than I’d like to admit. A lot of times, it was other black people criticizing me for eating something African, or not appealing to whiteness in the presence of whites, or, people telling me they don’t eat certain foods at work in front of whites. What kind of plantation behavior is this? Just eat your food! Why is every little thing evaluated in the eyes of whiteness? And people will literally try to convince you that there is a certain way to be around white people. I’m like, “wow”. I have no words. To live in fear over the thoughts of white people is madness. Imagine, I’ve gone even farther than eating chicken, to actually stand up to injustice, the black way. That means that those who choose alfredo over chicken in the face of whiteness wouldn’t dare stand up tp injustice that affects a whole nation.

You’ve got to rewire your minds. These people, came to earth and their encounter with everyone on earth has been to steal, kill, and destroy; stop giving them power to judge your every move. If you want to wear your hair a certain creative way, wear traditional clothes, eat Nigerian food, or use Ebonics, do it! I had a training at a job where the white people were using black vernacular to emphasize certain points. Non-white cultures are only valued by whites when they feel they can appropriate it, don’t be mad when they appropriate our styles that you chose to downplay to appeal to them. Abeg, don’t fall into the 400 year trap, be yo self!