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Time, African Time, and just… Time #TeachMeTuesday

concentrated young black businesswoman having coffee break in cafeteria

Hello All! Time, we all have it, we all know it, and to an extent, we all see it; but what lens are we seeing it through?

Let me backtrack, so, did you know that in Ethiopia right now it’s technically 2013? This is true; when I lived in Washington, DC; I met a lot of Ethiopians, and I served Ethiopians as clients who would teach me a lot. The one thing I learned was, Ethiopian New Year is in September! It is celebrated on September 11th. You see, like many African nations, Ethiopia has their own calendar that precedes the Gregorian calendar. Even Igbos, of present day Nigeria, had a calendar based on 4 market days, the 4th day being the Sabbath (prior to Hebrew concept), with 7 weeks in one month – if we can even call it months – as these are all western interpretations of Africa’s superior time system.

The Ethiopian calendar is 13 months, and did I mention that Ethiopia was never colonized? I always find that interesting, that where we can find traditions not tainted by western civilization, is in a place that was never colonized. Also, when I was in Namibia, the Himba people specifically who were not colonized, lived life outside of time. They did not use clocks, or even western interpretations of age. My students told me that their grandmother would say “she was born in the year of lots of rain”, and they were named after events. I watched the Himba people live a sophisticated, simple life; and they were wealthy because they shared their resources amongst Himba people, despite the narrative of them being “poor” due to their non-western systems, and their traditional attire of less clothing.

Himba People of Namibia, picture taken by me – Ndidi Love

Back to Ethiopians, I was using my knowledge of other non-colonial African systems to make my point on why the Ethiopian time system is important, because it represents what would have been if we were able to keep the systems that are inherent to us as Global African People; that includes, every person of African descent. We hear things like “black don’t crack” and “colored people’s time (CPT)” or “African Time”, or “Caribbean time”, you know! You see where I’m going? We have always separated our idea of time from what is mainstream, even if it is a joke, we still somehow know that our concept of time is different.

We live outside of time, inherently, things of importance came first. When I was earning my Master of Arts in Africana studies, one of the first things Dr. Sutherland taught us was that, in African worldview, if you are on the way somewhere and you see a person, you take time with them, you greet them, you don’t rush to go somewhere else, what is in front of you is important; everyone will meet up at the appointed time. I tried that for a week, after I came back from Namibia, and it worked! I remember saying, “I’m not going to use my phone for a week, and I want to see what it’s like”. I kid you not, every person I thought about that I needed to see, I met up with, randomly (well, not random but you get it). If I thought about them, the next thing, they were walking past me, and we got to talk about things of importance! I remember the culmination of the week being, meeting with everyone I needed to see at once, we all met up, naturally, no prior conversation, and we chatted for like an hour. We stood in the middle of campus, it was like 10 of us, and that had never happened before. All that was important to me happened that week without a phone.

When things are not aligning, we naturally won’t vibe with it, it is good not to force things. When we force things, especially if it does not feel right or natural, I feel like we hold up time. Once we begin to break free and allow things to happen naturally, I believe that is when time is on our side, and things begin to flow naturally. I believe this concept applies to the Global Black Diaspora as well, our concept of time was replaced with something else, and I believe we are breaking free of it and rejecting it. I am seeing it in the moves we are making, the reclaiming of African identities that we are not even realizing are African, and other concepts that are African, we just don’t have the proper name for it. We are literally getting back to a place of peace for us; one of alignment, one of purpose, and rejecting systems that have been traumatic to us. It is my observation, as the universe realigns, and I feel that we as a people are gaining back our youth, especially for all we’ve been through as a people, our youth was robbed form us as many of us understood and felt the realities of white supremacy (which I now will refer to as an inferior system) from a young age, despite income or status.

I started off talking about Ethiopian time, and tying it into other concepts of time amongst the African diaspora. I then moved into why it is important to maintain aspects of our concept of time the best way we can. I then talked about the revolution and reclaiming of African concepts of time. I think that we should deeply interrogate ourselves, and get down to what brings us peace, living outside of constructed time the best way we can as a solution. When we open up to our true selves and true systems, we allow life to flow naturally. I think we should investigate concepts of African time, and give it a try! This will truly help us become free and begin to unite with those aligned with our designed purpose, just as it did the week I had no use of my phone. Be blessed, Melanated Gems!

~Ndidi Love~

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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!

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History of Jamaican Jerk Chicken: #Throwback Black History Month Post

Hello All! How are you loving these Black History Month posts?! I bet you love them, learning so much, right! I like to give more than just basic knowledge, I like to connect it to something meaningful, and today, I am telling you that Jerk Chicken yes, Jerk Chicken was a means of survival for Africans who were enslaved in Jamaica, actually the Maroon Jamaicans who escaped from British rule. Can you imagine? We as Black people have literally survived more than any group of people, if it wasn’t already part of our culture, we created a new culture out of a means for survival, and what was once survival is enjoyment today. How many times have I eaten Jerk chicken?, especially with all the Jamaican people I knew back in the day. What people don’t know is that Jerk chicken was not always spicy, the form in which it was cooked was over a hot fire similar to how we barbeque. Makes me wonder, and I’m just going to go ahead and say it, Black people invented barbeque too! At this point we just claim it. Enjoy!


CULTURE WEDNESDAYS

History of Jerk Chicken.

I love how all the finest foods, customs, and traditions were derived from oppression, that we turned around and made victory. As Africans dispersed all over the world, we truly always had a means of survival. The history of Jerk chicken is no different, created by the Maroons of Jamaica, the slaves who escaped the British during a 1655 invasion.

The term “jerk” comes from the poking of the meat with a sharp utensil to allow the seasoning to go deep down into the meat. Traditionally, jerk was used for pork, and slow cooked over open fire pits; but now can be cooked on BBQ grills and even in the oven with a variety of meats!

The main ingredients in jerk seasoning are scotch bonnet pepper, pimento berries (allspice), and thyme. These spices are combined with scallion, onion, garlic, and other seasonings to make a marinade.

Click the video link above to watch how to make Jerk Chicken!

Enjoy Loves! ❤️

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Garifuna People of St. Vincent: #Throwback Black History Month Post

Hello All! I am looking for unique Caribbean voices focused on Black liberation or pan Africanism to contribute to this blog. I notice people from Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica, and other parts of the Caribbean read this blog daily, so if that is you, I’d love your authentic story! Check out this Throwback Black History Month post focused on the Garifuna People of St. Vincent. It is said that they settled before Columbus, read below for more! Then sign up for the last 2 classes of this go round of the Dear Black People™ Webinar Series, here!

The Garifuna people are people that reside in the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean. The Garifunas are also known as the “Black Caribs”. The Caribs preferred living near the sea because
they relied mainly on fishing, also, living on the coast meant they could see
oncoming attackers. The Caribs life was heavily influenced by war, and they
made success in battle a key part for manhood, initiation, and respect.

Research indicates that Africans came even before Columbus
and settled in St. Vincent. The Caribs of St. Vincent were joined by Caribs
from other islands that were fleeing European attack. Through intermarriage, a
new group of African and Carib heritage developed and became known as the
“Black Caribs” or “Garifuna”.  The word “Garifuna” means
“cassava eating people.”
Eventually the Garifuna outnumbered the original inhabitants, called,
the “Yellow Caribs”, and the “Yellow Caribs” negotiated to try and shift
power from the Garifuna.

Garifuna culture closely identifies with music and
dance.  Garifuna music styles are known for being percussion heavy and their
distinctive drumming patterns, which combines the beats of primero (tenor) and
segunda (bass) drums.  Garifuna drums are
generally made from hollowed-out hardwoods such as mahogany or
mayflower.

All decisions for running the community were made by men,
therefore only men held ruling positions. The Ubutu, or War Leader, was always
a male whose position was not hereditary (or passed down); he was chosen by the
elders of his village. He had to be a good warrior, prove that he was
physically strong, brave, and highly skilled in battle. When he was chosen, he
had to carry out a raid, if the raid was successful his positioned was
permanent.

Men and women had different roles in society. Men were the
warriors, priests, leaders, builders of houses and boats, craftsmen and hunters.
The women cultivated the land, collected firewood, bartered produce, made
hammocks, participated in weaving, did household chores, and brought up the
children.

Over the years, Garifuna people migrated and established
fishing  villages in Belize, Guatemala,
Honduras and Nicaragua. Many Garifunas have migrated to the U.S.  Members of the Garifuna diaspora in the U.S.
can be found in major cities, including: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami,
New Orleans and New York. In New York City alone, there are approximately
100,000 Garifunas residing there!