Did you ever want to see that collab between Prince & MJ?! YouTuber Raphael Tavares delivers this mix of Pince’s “Shut This Down”  as a soundtrack to MJ’s provocative moves in “Black or White” . Besides this mix being reminiscent of the “Bad” [’87] collab that didn’t happen between the two for reasons Prince gives in his 1997 Chris Rock interview with a wink-&-nod, Tavares’ posthumous rendering conveys a prophetic reading of the black panther‘s Africa-centered totemic symbolism & role …a whole nutha-level cultural narrative that’s resonant with current events, alongside Sopdet‘s journey in her zodiac today.
Posted in honor of African-American Music Appreciation Month – observed in the United States during the month of June since 1979 under the presidency of Jimmy Carter. The first and last years of Barack Obama’s presidency saw the transitioning of the two African-American musical giants: Michael Joseph Jackson [6/25/09] & Prince Rogers Nelson [4/21/16]. RIP… Don’t get lost in the forest…
❤ ❤ ❤
AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSIC APPRECIATION MONTH, 2016
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A vital part of our Nation’s proud heritage, African-American music exemplifies the creative spirit at the heart of American identity and is among the most innovative and powerful art the world has ever known. It accompanies us in our daily lives, and it has rung out at turning points in our history and demonstrated how our achievements as a culture go hand-in-hand with our progress as a Nation. During African-American Music Appreciation Month, we honor the artists who, through this music, bring us together, show us a true reflection of ourselves, and inspire us to reach for the harmony that lies beyond our toughest struggles.
Songs by African-American musicians span the breadth of the human experience and resonate in every corner of our Nation — animating our bodies, stimulating our imaginations, and nourishing our souls. In the ways they transform real stories about real people into art, these artists speak to universal human emotion and the restlessness that stirs within us all. African-American music helps us imagine a better world, and it offers hope that we will get there together.
This month, we celebrate the music that reminds us that our growth as a Nation and as people is reflected in our capacity to create great works of art. Let us recognize the performers behind this incredible music, which has compelled us to stand up — to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country’s enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2016 as African-American Music Appreciation Month. I call upon public officials, educators, and all the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate activities and programs that raise awareness and foster appreciation of music that is composed, arranged, or performed by African Americans.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
April 21st marks the anniversary of a day, four years ago, when Majesty and Divinity fell uncharacteristically silent. I learned about this after hearing their voices on a hauntingly beautiful music track that I’ve only recently discovered. I’d been drawn by the title of the track as I waxed nostalgic about the teenage version of me who’d walk several miles between my family home in Spring Valley to Kenya High during holidays just to play one of my school’s pianos for an hour or so. Granted that was less time than it had taken me to get there on foot, but I had the return trip to consider. Along the way, I’d pass by the Chiromo campus of the University of Nairobi where I’d always feel rejuvenated by the lush greens and natural habitation of the adjacent arboretum…
Arboretum, the moving piano piece in question that Prince recorded in his atrium at Paisley Park, is the 10th and final track on his 25th studio album entitled One Nite Alone… Released by NPG Records on May 14th 2002, Prince thoughtfully noted, “Ambient singing: the doves – Divinity and Majesty” in his Album Credits. Prince’s beloved pets are heard and warmly felt, presumably from their cage on the balcony overlooking Paisley Park’s sky-lit atrium as the artist performed & recorded his composition. At the end of Arboretum, the sound of heeled footsteps on an uncarpeted floor come through, painting an image on my mental screen of the artist walking away from his piano, perhaps retreating to a more personal recess of his creative complex that has now become a museum in suburban Minneapolis…
Chanhassen (said Minneapolis suburb) is a First Nation name in the Sioux language of the Dakota, meaning the tree with sweet sap – or sugar maple tree. Arboretum (trans: ‘botanical garden devoted to trees’), may well have been Prince’s musical alignment with & nod to the Minnesota city of his residence. Inspired by this thought, my memories meander between Nairobi Arboretum & western Kenya’s Kakamega Forest where I wasn’t an unfamiliar presence. I remember rhythmic singing suddenly breaking out from the perches of Red-eyed Doves (Columba semitorquata), which made me want to celebrate in dance each time. [Ref. Dove #2 in Lynette Rudman’s video below: #1: Tambourine Dove; #2: Red-eyed Dove; #3: Ring-necked Dove; #4: Mourning collared Dove; #5: Laughing Dove; #6: Emerald-spotted Wood Dove; #7: Namaqua Dove].
I’d like to imagine that my late father, a zoologist who specialized in the study of bats, would indulge my efforts to do due diligence to scientific inquiry [*ahem!]… albeit in service to these belated musings on the environs of Paisley Park and its mysterious, dove-loving nester. Speaking of which, in his first hit from Purple Rain – the 6th studio album that was released on June 25th, 1984 – Prince may creatively have been going for the ambience of Zenaida macroura [*cough!] – aka Mourning Doves. Now every time I hear the haunting and sad cooing sound for which this ubiquitous species is named, I think When Doves Cry…
Majesty and Divinity simply “stopped talking” after Prince crossed over, according to his sister Tyka in a 2016 Today show interview. Upon realizing this, Tyka instructed the Paisley Park staff to “play some Prince music” for his pet doves in order to help bring them out of their mournful silence. Just wow! Mother Nature’s collective consciousness is a font of endless fascination, particularly for me as a somewhat quirky expression from humanity’s African source. From his space in the diaspora, Prince was tapped into this same source on levels I’m only now beginning to appreciate. Beyond his music, there’s coded mystery in the architectural choices of the artist’s Paisley Park nesting and creative space that awaken my own epic memory. There are the pyramid skylights on the main building… the separate yet connected ‘Egg building’… and even the address itself…
…7801 Audubon Road is Paisley Park‘s street address which for me recalls renowned ornithologist John James Audubon. Born in Haiti in 1785, Audubon was noted for his paintings of birds, over 1,000 of which were documented in his book, Birds of America. The National Audubon Society was founded in his memory in 1886 to focus on the preservation and study of birds.
But beyond their zoological details, birds are profoundly symbolic as winged messengers who navigate the skies and/or heavenly realms. Doves in particular symbolize love, hope, peace, gentleness, inner initiation, the Holy Spirit, eternal life… In the biblical Song of Songs there are several dove references in the communication between the Shulamite and her Beloved’s conjoined Spirit. One of the references that I visit time and again is: “His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk and fitly set” [SoS 5:12]. In the pre-biblical Auset-Ausar-Heru mythology of Kemet, Goddess Hathor – “Lady of the Southern Sycamore” – used milk from Her sacred tree to restore sight to Heru after one of his epic battles against Set (usurper of Ausar’s heaven-on-earth throne). Heru – a precursor savior-figure and defender of his father Ausar’s throne (depicted as Auset’s crown) – is himself portrayed as a falcon-headed god. *******
“ARBORETUM”… The messages that a gently-played piano and a well-placed mic cause my quirky African ears to hear in 5D+… The ambient coo-ing of Majesty and Divinity, who raise homing frequencies into realms that cloak ascended masters from far too many robotic eyes & ears… “Don’t get lost in the forest,” Mother Tree entreats, long after his retreating footsteps have become silent… He ventures forth with the sweet sap of other trees which cause 3rd-eyes to open & soulful consciousness to reign like Purple… “Yo Twenny/Twenny, W’sup!? DJs R droppin’ beats like mad Grand Mixers @ homie’s joint. We jumpin’ time-lines… 2012 Party Override!”
If I could be the Red-eyed Dove’s lyricist during these roller-coaster times, my words to its rhythmic song would be: “I. Am! B’Cuz? …We. Rrrr!” Nothing fancy. Just a cultural mantra that takes me back to Mother Nature’s embrace & the free-quency of the great “I AM.” Throw some dance-floor swag up in that Song of Songs, like back in the day 😉 Old-School-style...UbuNtu, the guiding narrative of our 5D+ uni-verse: “I Am because We are!” In order to move forward on our S/Hero Journey, Sankofa adds that: we must first recover & reclaim that which was forgotten, lost or stolen. ❤ ❤ ❤ So Keep Your Vibrations High, Dearly Beloved ❤ Don’t let ‘the elevator bring us down’ ❤ Know that U R Majestic and Divine ❤ Let no one take Thy Crown [Rev. 3:11] ❤ ❤ ❤
Of the countless artifacts stolen from Africa, France takes special pride in displaying the Dendera Zodiac at the Louvre Museum in Paris – a legacy of the Napoleon Bonaparte era. Using gunpowder and explosives, engineer Jean Lelorrain dislodged the zodiac from the ceiling of Goddess Hathor’s temple on the west bank of the Nile River at Dendera. He took it to France in 1821 where the country’s best scientists, astronomers and mathematicians struggled to decipher the dates of the celestial events within the constellations depicted on the artifact. Many began to believe the Dendera Zodiac to be thousands of years older than the biblical Creation date, which troubled the church until Jean-François Champollion (France’s famous Egyptologist) reassured them otherwise.
The Dendera Zodiac – representing the heavens from its ceiling location – was the only circular portrayal of ancient Egyptian astronomy available. Its circular frame depicts Divine Feminine space while simultaneously reflecting the curvilinear path of the sun’s orbit. Employing a metric that western astrologers continue to use to this day, the zodiac depicts the Egyptian year [360 days +] divided evenly between 12 signs or constellations which are arranged within the circle. [Days beyond 360 were regarded as a 13th month on the ancestral annual timeline.] Each constellation was as unique as the particular deity which ruled that calendrical season. In the later western zodiac, ancient Egypt’s ram-headed deity Amun became the sign of Aries; Ausar – ‘the Bull of Eternity’ – became Taurus; Khnum… Capricorn; Atum… Leo; Auset… Virgo; scales of Ma’at… Libra; Khepra… Cancer; etc.
Concerning the grand scheme of ancient Egypt, god Djehuti proclaimed: “Art thou not aware that Egypt is the image of heaven, or rather, that it is the projection below of the order of things above? If the truth must be told, this land is indeed the temple of the world…” The ancient Nile Valley is where monomyths and the god/dess archetypes embedded within our collective psyche took their original form. They’ve since journeyed through life’s theater, or the ‘WOMB OF TIME’ – as Goddess Hathor’s Dendera Temple was known. Her stolen artifact in France’s Louvre Museum depicts the movement of Sopdet – Hathor’s Nile Star whose rising presaged the sacred river’s annual inundation which began each New Year in ancient Egypt. When the ‘Milky Way’ on earth poured forth her annual bounty of gifts into Egypt’s desert lands, it became a celebratory period of reunion and renewal between the heavens, nature, and humanity within the Temple of the World. In our modern-day ‘matrix’-oppressed psyche – ruled in Egyptian mythology by Set – the organic Nile Valley heaven-on-earth relationship remains a distant dream some call the ‘Age of Aquarius’…
Set (ancient Egypt’s notorious antagonist) and Yurugu (the Pale Fox in Dogon mythology) both represent adversarial forces against the sacred and sovereign Divine Womb and Milky Way – of which Africa’s Goddess Hathor was the quintessential archetype. Yurugu violated Goddess Amma’s sacred womb in his impatience to be born, thereafter sealing his fate to always be alone, incomplete, eternally in revolt, ever wandering the earth as the Pale Fox in search of his female soul. Set – god of chaos, violence, the desert, perversion and foreign oppression – violated the communal womb out of jealousy when he usurped heaven-on-earth’s throne after murdering and mutilating his brother Ausar, King of ancient Egypt. Furthermore, the historical rape of Mother Africa’s womb and misappropriation of Her spiritual, cultural, natural, and human resources towards western imperialist ventures has led most of humanity into a profound sense of isolation, alienation, disconnection, and disorientation…
HATHOR ~ DIVINE WOMB
Hwt-hr – the Kemetic version of Hathor – means ‘Mansion [Womb] of Heru.‘ The goddess is the fertility aspect of Auset, whose posthumous conception of Heru via the mummified remains of her husband Ausar was translated into biblical text as the ‘immaculate conception’ of Christ. Hathor was worshipped at Dendera (her sacred site for over 10,000 years) as goddess of music, dance, beauty, fertility, children, birth, women and foreign lands who personifies feminine love, joy, and sensuality in Her conjoined roles as consort, mother, and lover. Facing the direction of the Nile-Star Sopdet’s rising, Dendera Temple itself was a nourishing space for healing, learning, and birthing. It housed a sanatorium with magic bathing waters and a sacred well; labs where ceremonial perfumes were concocted; a papyrus library; a birthing place; and chapels devoted to the mythologies of Auset/Ausar/Heru…
Hathor’s priestesses and priests were musicians and dancers whose rituals of worship were entrancing and entertaining as they filled the sanctuary with the sounds of song, drumming, and various other instruments such as lyres, pan-pipes and sistrums – rattles that reportedly sounded like “the cackling of geese or the rustle of papyrus flowers.” Sacred to Hathor as ‘Lady of the House of Jubilation’ and ‘The One Who Fills the Sanctuary with Joy,’ the sistrum’s rattle helped create a sonic shield of protection against wrathful deities.
Music is recognized as a profound oral-aesthetic phenomenon in the symbols at Hathor’s Dendera Temple. Sound/Word/Nommo, in Africa’s oral traditions, is understood to fundamentally act as the Divine Masculine seed. Rising from the earth/floor and holding aloft the heavens/ceiling, Hathor’s temple pillars represent the shaft of Her sistrum. At the top of each pillar is Hathor’s face, portrayed symbolically as the womb/uterus – co-creative organ of the Divine Feminine – its fallopian tubes depicted as elongated ears through which she receives sound… word… nommo. Heru – goddess Hathor‘s Divine Masculine consort who helps frame & uphold the heavens [see Dendera Zodiac above] – likely plays the role of master-musician in some of the deeper Mysteries of Goddess Hathor’s Temple. Though Heru’s temple is in Edfu, as Divine Twin deities [‘Gemini’] they are highly attuned to each other’s oral-aesthetic freequency, resurrection modalities, and co-manifestation of humanity’s current grand progression as the Age of Pisces transitions into Aquarius… the Golden Age […UbuNtu]
As ‘Madonna and Child,’ Hathor was often depicted as the heavenly cow; her belly filled with stars of the Milky Way which on earth is represented by the Nile River aka Maziwa Mkuu (meaning ‘The Great Milk’ in Kiswahili)… the true Ma’atrix – or ‘Temple of the World,’ according to Djehuti. Alternatively, Hathor was portrayed as the goose that laid the golden egg with a lotus plant wrapped around Her neck. The lotus plant symbolizes the sacred Nile’s southern source or womb – located in the sentient heart of Africa – whose gifts, transported on the sacred river’s northward flow, facilitated the flowering of ancient Egypt and its Mysteries that were taught in the temples. Located on 3 stones of the interior walls of Hathor’s temple, the Dendera Light artifact’s depiction of one of these sacred Mysteries has given rise to a few controversial interpretations…
A Norwegian electrical engineer was the first to interpret the depiction as an electrical lamp, encasing as it does a snake-shaped filament with a cable at the end. The lamp is held upwards by a priest and a few smaller figures. Peter Krassa and Rainer Habeck published a book entitled Lights of the Pharaohs based on their similar interpretation of the relief. Later, a working model of the Dendera Light was constructed by Zeichnung Garn-Birne [click for video]. These interpretations may be oddly prophetic of Ethiopia’s hydro-electric dam on the Blue Nile outflow from Lake Tana which, given Africa’s scrambled post-colonial landscape, has generated concern in Egypt – the Nile’s most ecologically-vulnerable African country, yet ‘Temple of the World‘…
Mythologically interpreted, the Dendera Light artifact depicts the Hermopolis theology of creation via the Ogdoad (8 primordial male-female twin deities) and the Cosmic Egg from/into which all life is born. Pictured around Hathor-as-goose’s neck and again at the base of the Dendera Light in her temple, the lotus flower from the primordial sea of Nun (Nile womb) gave birth to the sun god, Atum-Ra in a stage known as the first occasion. The encasing bulb of the Dendera light relief represents the field of the universe or Cosmic “Golden Egg” within which the grand progression of creation… birth… enlightenment… resurrection occur; and – like the symbolic journey of the Nile’s climax in Egypt – kundalini awakens and Mysteries become known. Hence ‘Temple of the World‘…
This mythological interpretation reinforces the significance of Hathor and Her temple as HwtHr – ‘Mansion [Womb] of Heru – and as the Seven Hathors [Pleiades in later Greek myth] who purportedly appear at a child’s birth to announce its destiny. Representing several aspects in the Ausar-Auset story, Heru – as Hathor’s Divine Masculine consort – is the quintessential protagonist embedded within humanity’s collective psyche of our destined S/Hero’s Journey. He largely champions the warrior archetype of the Divine Masculine. As “Lady of the Southern Sycamore,” Hathor used the milk from Her tree to restore sight to Heru after one of his bruising battles against antagonist Set (usurper of Ausar’s heaven-on-earth throne). “His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk and fitly set.” [Song of Songs 5:12]… The 7 Hathors are said to question and assist the soul’s journey which, in death, is accompanied by the sky-bull [Ausar/Taurus] who has joined the Hathors in their cow form. Hathor, “Lady of the West” (where the sun sets/’dies’), appears on sarcophagi as their Protector.
Heru also represents spiritual revelation – the light of the 3rd-eye which opens during the True Seeker’s journey through time… “The kingdom of Heaven is already within you; if you understand yourself you will find it” [proverb:- Ipet-Resyt]. ❤ Amun ❤ àṣẹ ❤ Let ❤ There ❤ Be ❤ Light ❤
2019 marks a historic realignment and opens the door to healing in Africa’s collective soul and consciousness. Slavery’s cruel time-portal, symbolized by the “door of no return” on the western shores of the continent, has in 2019 become an entryway for reconciliation and ascension in this Year of Return after several centuries of forced separation and exploitation. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana has been a powerful champion of formalizing this return, exemplifying ancestral wisdom through hindsight, foresight and example.
Sankofa ~ an Akan word which contends that: “In order to move forward, you must return to reclaim that which may have been lost, forgotten, or stolen” ~ is symbolized alternatively in two adinkra…
Africa’s children are star-seeds within a time-space continuum that has been lost, forgotten, stolen, hijacked through slavery, colonialism, and the subsequent self-entitled narratives of her antagonists. Indeed “2019” is a Gregorian year, based on Vatican manipulations (via Pope Gregory XIII in 1582) of time, space and human consciousness. Sophisticated understandings of time, and linkages with nature, the divine feminine, and the cosmos existed in ancient Egypt prior to the Greco-Roman worlds re-ordering of it.
The main western calendar is a reformation of the Julian calendar – after Julius Caesar, whose name remains on the Gregorian calendar as the month of “July”… followed by August, named after Roman Emperor Augustus. Weekdays of the western calendar similarly invoke Roman gods and their planetary associations: Sun day (Sunday); Moon day: Fr. Lundi / Sp. Lunes (Monday); Mars day: Fr. Mardi / Sp. Martes (Tuesday); Mercury day: Fr. Mercredi / Sp. Miércoles (Wednesday); Jupiter day: Fr. Jeudi / Sp. Jueves (Thursday); Venus day: Fr. Vendredi / Sp. Viernes (Friday); and Saturn day (Saturday).
In other words, humanity has been living in the colonized space-time frequency of elite western patriarchs. African life in particular has suffered under the shackles of this homosocial and false matrix. The Year of Return in 2019 has felt like the authentic beginnings of a dismantling of this Eurocentric order and the resurgence and ascension of a pan-African consciousness. This is conveyed through Nsoromma (“children / stars of the Heavens”) and Fawohodie (“freedom, independence, emancipation”), the adinkra chosen to symbolize spiritual consciousness during this momentous Year in Ghana. Translated as “what is lost in the sea is returned by the waves,” the symbolically-colored waves in the Year of Return logo additionally encompass Sankofa…
December 21st, 2012 – exactly seven years ago on the Gregorian calendar – was a date predicted by some to mark the dawning of the Age of the Water Bearer, called Aquarius and depicted in the west as a Euro-patriarchal harbinger of New Age consciousness. So… more of the same in terms of who colonizes and controls the human narrative [*sigh*]!?! In Africa, the Water Bearer has always been a divine feminine representation for various reasons connected organically to nature and divine order. An alternative depiction of the feminine dominion over the waters is Mami Wata, revered by several million spiritual followers from Ghana all the way to the Congo. Often depicted in the form of a mermaid, Mami Wata almost always holds a looking glass.
The looking glass is an intriguing puzzle piece when it comes to understanding African concepts of mirroring in the theater of oral-aesthetic or ancestral timelines. For example, December 21st, 2012 hasn’t yet occurred in the Horn of Africa, where today [December 22nd, 2019 on the Gregorian calendar] is April 12th, 2012 on the 13-month Ethiopian calendar which traces back to the ancient Egyptian calendar. There’s a seven/eight-year lag between the 12-month Gregorian and this African timeline, owing to alternate determinations of the date of the annunciation of the Messiah’s birth. (This lag would also push the “December 21st, 2012” Age of Aquaria launch to August 27th, 2020 Gregorian time. See Calendar Conversion link)
Upon the inner walls of Ipet Resyt – “the southern sanctuary” built for God/dess consorts Amun-Mut known today as the Luxor Temple in Egypt – lies the 1350 BCE blueprint of this “Annunciation.” According to John Anthony West (click picture for video: link @ 1:17:20), surrounding transcriptions of the communication depicted taking place between Amun and his consort, goddess Mut indicate that, in this conversation, Amun is informing his beloved that she will give birth to a divine son/savior. Roman-Catholic appropriations of this depiction in biblical accounts are presented as the angel (“Gabriel”) announcing that a virgin (“Mary”) will conceive and become the mother of a divine savior (“Jesus”) who is the son of God. Furthermore, the propagandized image of the Vatican’s “Jesus” is said to be modeled on Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI. “Lacking images, men invent idols…. Better to found images on realities that lead the true seeker to the source” [proverb from Ipet Resyt].
Enkutatash (“gift of jewels”) – the Amharic word for the Ethiopian New Year – occurs on September 11th of the Gregorian calendar, except for leap years when it occurs on September 12th. The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church uses a calendar identical to the Ethiopian for its liturgical year. On the Eritrean Ge’ez calendar, New Year is called Ri’se Awde Amet (“Head Anniversary”). The Ethiopian Enkutatash tradition comes from a time when the Queen of the South was showered with gifts of jewels (enku) upon her return from Jerusalem where she’s said to have made her legendary visit with King Solomon. This visit began the Solomonic line from whence hails Emperor Haile Selassie [July 12th, 1892 – August 27th, 1975 Gregorian]… the Messianic Lion of the Tribe of Judah in Rastafari spiritual consciousness.
In hindsight and with some authentic insight, perhaps the Year of Return is calling all of us (rather than a single “savior”) to an ascended re-membering of and return to UbuNtu …our Africa-centered unity-consciousness that has always said “I am because we are…”
“The kingdom of Heaven is already within you; if you understand yourself you will find it…” [proverb from Ipet Resyt]. Hindsight, Insight, and/or Foresight… It’s my wish that 2020 [Gregorian] or 2012-13 [Ethiopian] will lead to greater self-clarity and humanity’s Higher Ascension… Happy Sankofa! ❤ ❤ ❤
Andreas Woods aka Kwaw Imana, the mathematics-major Morehouse class of 2000 Valedictorian who would go on to get a Ph.D. in Egyptology, used this moment in the Morehouse spotlight to explain why he rejected the Cecil Rhodes Scholarship for himself. Morehouse is an all-male HBCU. Rhodes’ legacy is that of an avowed white supremacist, reported pedophile, architect of apartheid, & agent of other colonial chaos in Afrika [i.e. ‘Set’ of Kemetic mythology]. Rhodes remains buried in Zimbabwe [colonial ‘Rhodesia’] since his death in 1902, while Britain unveiled a statue (an altar to honor Rhodes) at Oxford University in 1934! Reciting a poem by George Tait entitled I Am A Black Man, Kwaw Andreas Woods Imana – like Heru [‘Horus/Hero’] in Kemetic mythology – appears to align the mission of Afrika-descended manhood with the collective struggle against the evils of European self-idolatry and the complicity of its knowledge industry, which has more-often-than-not acted to codify and perpetuate systemic racism. #RhodesMustFall Read More
“Every strand of American music comes directly from Congo Square,” musician and trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis once said of this national treasure – the historic birthplace of jazz and Rhythm-‘n’-Blues. Situated in what is now the Louis Armstrong Park in Tremé, the oldest African-American neighborhood in the tricentennial city of New Orleans – at 2.35 acres, today Congo Square measures approximately half of what it was in its heralded 19th century years.
New Orleans, Louisiana [NOLA] is a major US port whose strategic location facilitates the trafficking of commercial goods between the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River system, which historically included trans-Atlantic cargoes of enslaved Africans. Congo Square was a gathering place Read More
“If you don’t own your masters, your masters own you.” On his B’Earth’Day [June 7th] in 1993, Prince changed his name to the unpronounceable ‘Love Symbol’ of his recently released 14th studio album following disagreements with Warner Brothers [WB], the label which originally signed him in 1977. It was a public act of rebellion against WB’s restrictions over him and his prolific creativity. Likening their contractual relationship to one of indentured servitude or slavery, Prince explained: Read More
Mazisi Kunene – freedom fighter, literary icon, Africa’s poet laureate, and South Africa’s first poet laureate – was born in Durban, in the modern-day province of KwaZulu-Natal on May 12th, 1930. Kunene championed African oral traditions, conveying their inherent value in his writings which were originally in Zulu before being translated into other languages. Read More
“Great, another broken white boy for us to fix!” One of several funny lines from Black Panther delivered by Shuri in reference to CIA Agent Everett Ross. “What the hail!” My line when I left the theater on President’s Day with mixed feelings about the movie, but mostly about the droplets of ice which had just begun falling from LA’s South Bay skies onto my African head-wrap. Was this a sign? Movie promos had gone hard with Gil Scott Heron’s classic The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, I mused while trying to extract pieces of the odd weather from my son’s fro for inspection. But why not build a strategic alliance between African cousins rather than having T’Challa, in true bourgeois liberal fashion, make a Wakanda charity-case out of Killmonger’s Oakland after the fact? Mom, it’s not your story… Huh?! Read More