Earth Wind & Fire (EWF) is undoubtedly one of the greatest bands of all time, as their claim to three of the four natural elements suggest they should be! Hits like In the Stone provide EWF fans an Afrofuturistic portal through which to access and interpret some of the Mysteries of ancient Egypt, the “gift of the Nile.” Djehuti – god of communication/writing, magic and wisdom – recognized Africa as god’s chosen land where the northward flow of the Nile gave rise to sacred Mysteries, mythologies and the architectures that arose along its river-banks. He referred to this psycho-geographic mirror of heaven-on-earth (known locally as Maziwa Mkuu – “the Great Milk” or Milky Way) as the Temple of the World. At Uaset on the river’s east bank, Ipet Resyt – the “southern sanctuary” of god/dess consorts Amun-Mut – was constructed to resemble the human form. It was at such temples where ancient Mysteries were housed as sacred knowledge for chosen initiates. Inscribed within the stone walls of this temple’s ‘throat area’ is the pre-Christian Annunciation [1350BCE] from Amun to his beloved about the divine child and savior-figure she would bear.
Well-versed in such ancient Theogony, some of which he himself is said to have authored, Djehuti understood EWF as base elements that separately defined each of humanity’s precursors to the current Age of the Bearer of Water – the 4th element which is swayed by the moon and, like Earth is organically associated with the Divine Feminine [Mut]. The current Age of Aquarius is defined by this being the constellation the sun moved into on the spring equinox in its 26,000-year journey through all 12 zodiac houses. Each successive grand age (approximately 2 millennia per sign) is heavily influenced by the sign’s element:
EARTH is the element which defined the Age of Taurus between c4400-2200 BCE, a time period traversing the Bronze Age which followed the previous Age of Gemini and supported the evolution of material culture around the world. Characterized by some as humanity’s Age of Growth, this was the grand age when the Sun was in the fixed sign of Taurus [Ausar – The Bull of Eternity]. Ancient Egypt’s Early Dynastic Period [c3150-2613 BCE] began with the Unification of Upper (south) & Lower (north) Egypt under Pharaoh Menes aka Narmer in 3100BCE. Called Sema Tawy, this unification was symbolized as a human trachea rising from the lungs entwined with the papyrus (north) & lotus (south). Narmer‘s was the first of 30 successive dynasties which ruled and maintained civil order through a centralized government from the capital of Memphis. Ptah – god of craftsmen and sculptors who was venerated during this period – was heralded by Apis, the sacred bull-deity of ancient Egypt who was also the symbol of the Pharaohs of these times. By 2400BCE the basic formulation of the myth regarding Ausar-Auset, and their posthumously-conceived son Heru’s further contendings against Set (murderous throne-usurping god of foreigners, plague and chaos) was in place – a universal archetypal narrative which has survived from the Pyramid Texts to this day in derivative religious forms and “good-versus-evil” scripts and schemes that have been executed for better or worse around the world. Technological advances during this Age of Growth included the invention of hieroglyphs [Djehuti] & manufacturing of papyrus/paper which helped facilitate record-keeping, communication, etc. Furthermore, the Old Kingdom Period [c2613-2181BCE] saw two of the greatest architectural Wonders and Mysteries ever erected – the Giza Pyramids and the Great Sphinx which connect earth organically to heavenly powers. Seen another way, EARTH is the English language anagram for HEART… an ages-old Mystery mapped out from humanity’s womb and written in African stone… which “Set” violated.
FIRE is the element which defined the years that led from c2200 BCE [following a chaotic transition between Egypt’s Old & Middle Kingdoms] to the beginning of the Common Era. This was the period when the Sun relocated from Taurus in its ongoing precession to arise in Aries [Amun The Ram] – leader of the Zodiac, and the cardinal sign which begins the Spring season in the northern hemisphere. Uaset [Thebes/Luxor] had superseded Memphis as the ancient Egyptian capital by 2240BCE. Amun, now the venerated deity, was worshipped in two main temples where the Gemini bonds formalized during the Age of Taurus continued to be upheld and ritualized at Amun-Mut‘s Ipet Isut [northern sanctuary – Karnak] and Ipet Resyt [southern sanctuary – Luxor]. Ipet-Resyt is where eternal truths (including those held in the ‘throat area’) are written in the stone, such as The Kingdom of Heaven is within you… Know Thy Self. The Age of Aries is thus characterized by some as the Age of Law because this is when humanity’s first codes of justice and moral instruction were recorded. Notable also were the Negative Confessions upon which Judeo-Christianity’s Ten Commandments were later formulated from the Papyrus of Ani source, recorded c1275-1250BCE during the prosperous New Kingdom era. Also known as the Declarations of Innocence, this recitation in the Halls of Judgment of 42 uncommitted sins facilitated the transition of the soul between their earthly incarnation and the afterlife. The soul was weighed in the scales against the feather of Ma’at, goddess of Truth, Balance, Divine Order, Reciprocity & Justice [Libra]. The Age of Aries additionally saw the rise of Akhenaten, whose reputation became that of ‘the heretic king’ after his unwelcome cultural reforms, including the self-centered monotheistic cult of Aten-worship he instituted & oversaw from Amarna [1353-1336BCE]. Aten’s successor, his son who renamed himself from Tut’Ankh’Aten (‘living image of Aten’) to Tut’Ankh’Amun (‘living image of Amun’) restored ancient Egypt’s cultural traditions around Amun & returned its worship center to Uaset before his death at age 19 in 1324BCE.
WATER is the element which has defined the Common Era (Gregorian calendar) years to date during which the Sun transitioned to arise in Aries’ neighboring constellation of Pisces, and usher in what some have defined as the Age of Faith. The evolution of transportation empowered the global reach and agendas of major patriarchal religions: Judeo-Christianity, Islam, Buddhism… Though core tenets of their holy books were in agreement with each other – often representing derivative text from ancient Egyptian sources – several interfaith and intra-faith wars broke out during this period, due in part to extremist cult elements that developed. Africa’s experience during the Piscean Age of Faith – which began with the Greco-Roman construction of a Gregorian timeline around the life of Jesus (savior-figure of Judeo-Christianity) – has been a major revelation of the enduring myth written in ancient Egypt during the Age of Taurus. Ausar-Auset-Heru were the original holy trinity whose very being was tested by Set – god of foreign invaders, plague and chaos. Jealous of their Heaven-on-Earth glory in ancient Egypt, Set murdered King Ausar, and scattered his 14 mutilated body parts into a wilderness where Queen Auset was forced to conduct her search-and-recovery mission as Set illegitimately assumed the Egyptian throne. The “wilderness” is allegorical to Africa’s experience of chattel slavery [1619-]; the colonial rape and reconstruction of Africa [1884-]; apartheid [1948-] etc. All at the hands of foreign invaders [“Set”] who justified such acts and their accompanying atrocities in the name of the god(s) of their “faith.” In the ancient mythology, Auset mummified the 13 pieces she was able to recover of her husband, and relied on divine intervention to posthumously conceive their son Heru, despite Ausar’s missing 14th piece, symbolized as the tkhn. Christianity translated this episode into its account of the “Immaculate Conception,” replacing Heru with “Jesus” as the avenging son and savior (crucifixion notwithstanding) who restores Heaven-on-Earth’s rightful rule. “White Man’s Burden… Manifest Destiny… American Exceptionalism… Trumpism…” – samples of the Age of Faith’s cult-like justifications and controlling narratives that continue to be extolled by certain factions.
AIR is the element which will define the next 2,000+ years as humanity decides what the narrative and legacy of this new Age of Aquarius should be(come) during the sun’s rising and sojourn prior to travelling from the Aquarius constellation to the next – presumably Capricorn. What’s fascinating to me is that the sun’s own path of enlightenment is a reverse journey through the western zodiac which is sequenced as Aries ruling the 1st house… Taurus the 2nd, Gemini the 3rd etc. through to the 12th and final house of Pisces. As Sankofa from the ancient African wisdom of the Akan suggests, perhaps there was something forgotten, lost, or stolen from a previous era which is absolutely necessary for humanity’s holistic forward movement? 2019 – Africa’s “Year of Return” – marked the end of 400 prophetic “wilderness” years [via Set] in the northern hemisphere. One might view this as an initiation period in which the south-north bonds [UbuNtu] that were avowed in ancient Egypt during the aforementioned Ages of Ausar [Taurus] & Amun [Aries] following Egypt’s pre-Dynastic Age of Gemini are once again affirmed. Some have referred to 2019 as the “Year of the Divine Feminine” and 2020 as the “Year of the Divine Masculine,” while envisioning 2021 as the reunification “Year of Divine Twins” [Gemini]. Aquarius, the fixed air sign in western astrology, is symbolized as the water-bearer of the zodiac. Divine Twins who’ve spent lifetimes journeying towards reunification through self-reflection now offer their enriched cups to each other & say to the emotional water element within, “Be still, and know that I ❤ AM GOD” [Psalm 46]. Air, the element Gemini & Aquarius both represent, is the communicative energy which reveals itself in Kemet’s south-north/lotus-papyrus unification symbol as well as the annunciation in the ‘throat area’ of Ipet Resyt [southern sanctuary – Luxor]. Perhaps this Age of Aqua/New Earth will be a revelation of the ancient Mystery of True.Love.Written.In.The.Stone [EWF] Blessed Be ❤ ❤ ❤
‘Nakumbuka‘ means ‘I remember’ in Kiswahili. November 11th has been recognized as ‘Nakumbuka Day’ by the Pan-African Associations of America since 1994 when the first ceremony was held at San Diego State University in California. It was set aside as a day to remember the African victims of the European enslavers, colonizers and agents of genocide whose horrendous acts created a bloody trail of devastation and left families on the continent unable to lay their grief to rest after several hundred years. It has been estimated that the Middle Passage claimed upwards of 60 million African lives, not counting the huge losses on plantations in Europe, the Caribbean, North-, Central-, and South-America. In seeking free labor to build its empires, European and American Capitalism’s emergence crippled a continent and its descendants socially, culturally and economically during the timelines of African slavery, colonialism, and now neo-colonialism.Historically, 11/11 marks the end of 20th-century hostilities during World War 1 between two main Western blocks: the Central Powers [Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey…] vs. the Allied Powers [Britain, France, Russia, Italy, the United States…]. Their truce, an Armistice with Germany, formally went into effect on 11/11/11: the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 [100+ years ago]. In 1954, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in the US, although 11/11 is observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states as Remembrance Day – aka Poppy Day – honoring veterans who died [8 million+] in this so-called War to End All Wars. WW2 followed in 1939 after “Germany, angry over war reparations imposed by rivals and eager for revenge, eventually turned to Adolf Hitler.”
Symbolically, the number 11 holds the dual vibration of Twins [Gemini], whose relationship acts as a barometer on the scales of Truth, Justice, & Balance [Libra] within this New Age we are said to have entered of Aquarius – the 11th House of the Zodiac. Helena Blavatsky and her disciple, Alice Bailey are credited with founding the so-called ‘New World Religion’ which, since its unofficial start on 11/11/11, has gained many New Age adherents. In The Externalisation of the Hierarchy , Bailey prefaced her New Age spiritual advocacy with an extensive critique of the [Europatriarchal] World Wars: “Intense nationalism… [a] separative outlook… [and] selfish interests have controlled the reasons for which every nation has entered this war…” [p. 373-]
Spiritually, 11/11 allows a sacred moment for grief over the harsh realities of war… lives lost which are formally given global remembrance from western stages. We ritually observe these post-war programs …our hearts made gentle through words, tears, bouquets, wreaths and lapel poppies, many worn in solidarity by non-European officials. Lest we forget, 40,000 African American troops of the 92nd and 93rd divisions saw battle during WW1 under French command. This distinction tends to be under-acknowledged in the self-indulgent discourse-of-power and narrative of a human community made ‘global’ through Europe’s wars, takeovers, and controlling narratives. Hopes for equal recognition in combat are marginalized alongside cries from slavery’s descendants for Reparations from the neo-colonial ‘matrix,’ as the intensely Eurocentric Poppy-Day program runs its annual sequel. Meanwhile, the spiritual free-quency of MA’AT-consciousness – Truth, Divine Order, Harmony, Balance, Justice, Reciprocity, UbuNtu… – will only be detained for so long as another casualty of war. At some point Africa’s cultural immune system has to recover from the induced state of sleep paralysis to reclaim its own narrative and sovereignty…
“MA’AT, who links universal to terrestrial, the divine with the human is incomprehensible to the cerebral intelligence… Peace is the fruit of activity, not of sleep… The key to all problems is the problem of consciousness… If you search for the laws of harmony, you will find knowledge… The best and shortest road toward knowledge of truth is nature… If the Master teaches what is error, the disciple’s submission is slavery. If he teaches truth, this submission is ennoblement… The kingdom of Heaven is already within you; if you understand yourself you will find it… The body is the house of the God/dess. That is why it is said, ‘Wo/Man know thyself’… By knowing one reaches belief. By doing one gains conviction. When you know, dare… You will free yourself when you learn to be neutral and follow the instructions of your heart without letting things perturb you. This is the way of MA’AT…”
This selection of proverbs are from God/dess Amun/Mut’s Luxor Temple [pictured right], located on the east bank of Africa’s Nile River in Uaset. It is known as Ipet-Resyt, meaning “The Southern Sanctuary” which is connected via an Avenue of Sphinxes to the Ipet-Sut – “The Most Selected of Places” in Karnak, both dedicated to the worship of Amun-Re and His Godhood with Divine Feminine Consort, Mut. Per-ankh – “Houses of Life” were designated as spaces for education in such Khemetic temples because knowledge was considered sacred… a divine mystery of the balance between masculine and feminine co-creatives/Twins. Bound to nature and the cosmos for all time, these proverbial teachings are written in the stone [EWF] of Luxor Temple’s walls. “People need images. Lacking them they invent idols. Better then to found the images on realities that lead the true seeker to the source.” Resembling the human form in repose, the Luxor Temple’s unique design itself appears symbolically dedicated to resurrection and reparation of the sovereignty of truth, life & unity-consciousness… an architectural ‘body’ on Mother Africa’s Earth, poised as if to awaken and rise to Her Heavenly Twin.
In pop culture, this awakening is thematic to The Fifth Dimension’s 1969 ‘Age of Aquarius’ – prophetic anthem of a New Age which many believe dawned 42 years later, on November 11th, 2011 [11/11/11]. ‘42‘ is a number that is sacred to MA’AT, Goddess who serves to protect the world from chaos. [In today’s world this ‘chaos’ has occurred within the policed-state of an elite cabal’s Victorian/neo-colonial/false 3D matrix of control and mass-manipulation.] The Principles of Ma’at predate the ’10 Commandments’ as humanity’s oldest written sources of moral & spiritual instruction. Recorded in the Khemetic funerary Book of Going Forth by Day AKA Book of the Dead, these were based on 42 declarations made by Ani in the Hall of Judgment of his having lived in accordance with MA’AT’s principles, such as: “I have not done iniquity; I have not stolen; I have not made any to suffer pain; I have done no murder nor bid anyone to slay on my behalf; I have not spoken lies; I have not caused the shedding of tears; I have not dealt deceitfully; I have not lusted nor defiled the wife of any man; I have not caused terror; I have not done that which is abominable; I have not stopped my ears against the words of Right and Truth; I have not stirred up strife; I have not wronged the people; I have done no harm nor have I done evil; I have not worked treason; I have never fouled the water; I have not spoken scornfully; I have not behaved with arrogance…” [Papyrus of Ani – c.1250BCE]
“We’re in the feminine aspect now… That’s where society is… Men have gone as far as they can, right? …I learn from women a lot quicker than I do from men. …At a certain point, you’re supposed to know what it means to be a man, but now what do you know about what it means to be a woman? Do you know how to listen? Most men don’t know how to listen.” [Prince, 2014]
MA’AT‘s consort is DJEHUTI, the Magician archetype of the Divine masculine with whom the Goddess creates the Balance & Harmony needed to prevent the universe from falling into chaos and disorder. Symbolized by her hallmark feather, the Truth MA’AT has found in her aspect as AUSET [proverbial ‘True Seeker’ and wife of Khemet’s beloved King AUSAR who was mutilated when SET – god of chaos and disorder – usurped his throne] is key to humanity’s awakening and ascension to Heaven-on-Earth. During her seeking, AUSET hears the cries of the downtrodden, children, her beloved [now god of the afterlife]… and responds with compassion and wisdom as she awakens, ascends, dances, re-members… #11/11… #UbuNtu… #Auset/Ausar… #Hathor/Heru… #Ma’at/Djehuti… #Mut/Amun [#Uaset/Sah]… #Nakumbuka… ❤
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, Ayi Kwei Armah’s debut novel (published in 1968), owes its title to the misspelled inscription on a bus in Ghana where the story is set. It opens during the final months in 1965 of President Kwame Nkrumah’s rule as Ghana’s first post-colonial president, and closes with the coup that ousted him on February 24th, 1966. This period in Ghana’s history is filled with rampant poverty; overdependence on foreign capital and goods; corruption & bribery as the order of business; and other ills that have plagued Africa’s countries which followed Ghana into independence – all without the needed systemic changes that would mitigate the stagnation and disillusionment of Africans who’d only become inevitably ensnared in parasitic neo-colonial arrangements. Immersing his characters in putrid filth, rottenness, dirt, and scatological imagery as he airs out Ghana’s post-independence laundry through story, Armah leads the reader to the judgment on the novel’s final page – the misspelled bus inscription that becomes its title.
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born was widely praised but also criticized, most notably by Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, who writes: Armah is clearly an alienated writer complete with all the symptoms. Unfortunately, Ghana is not a modern existentialist country. It is just a Western African state struggling to become a nation. So there is enormous distance between Armah and Ghana.… A man is never more defeated than when he is running away from himself.
AUSAR [Osiris] ~ The ‘Beautyful’ One
In his preface to a new edition of the novel published by Per Ankh, Ayi Kwei Armah himself makes note of the criticism his novel received: “Much of it focused on [my] perceived artistry. There was a tendency …to contrast this supposed authorial virtuosity with the novel’s subject matter, rather inaccurately summed up as the pervasive negativity of the human condition in Africa. This bias didn’t surprise me, and I assumed it would take little time for some careful scholar to balance it by zooming in on the conceptual content of the title, which I think expresses the meaning of the text as accurately as any title can. It is a matter of some bafflement to me, therefore, that to date, as far as I know, no critical assessment has actually gone to that thematic core: the provenance of the concept and image of the beautyful ones. The phrase ‘The Beautiful One’ is ancient, at least 5,000 years old. To professional Egyptologists, it is a praise name for a central figure in Ancient Egyptian culture, the dismembered and remembered Osiris, a sorrowful reminder of our human vulnerability to division, fragmentation and degeneration, and at the same time a symbol of our equally human capacity for unity, cooperative action, and creative regeneration…
By the time I wrote the novel my impressions of Osiris, though still relatively disorganized, had evolved to the point where I was ready to recognize the image as a powerful artistic icon. Here, in mythic form, was the essence of active, innovative human intelligence acting as a prime motive force for social management. I have yet to come across an earlier, or more attractive image for the urge to positive social change.”
NEFERTITI ~ ‘The Beautiful Woman Has Come’
For conceptual context, Armah could well have used another renowned ancient Egyptian figure whose name means “the beautiful woman has come.” Queen Nefertiti, alongside her husband Pharaoh Akhenaten, established the monotheistic cult of Aten-worship – a ‘new world order’ in 14th century BCE which Akhenaten led from his worship center of Amarna. Egyptian artwork during Aten’s Amarna Period was also radically different from its predecessors. The imposed reforms of traditional culture and spirituality resulted in Aten’s legacy becoming that of Egypt’s despised ‘heretic king.’ Aten’s son and eventual successor, Tut’Ankh’Amun (formerly Tut’Ankh’Aten – meaning “the living image of Aten”) restored ancient Egypt’s cultural traditions around Amun and returned its worship center to Uaset (Gr. ‘Thebes’) during his reign. Hence his name change to Tut’Ankh’Amun.
The Nefertiti Bust – believed to have been crafted in 1345 BCE by Thutmose because it was found in his workshop in Amarna by German Ludwig Borchardt’s archaeological team in 1912 – has become one of the most copied works and iconic symbols of feminine beauty, which most associate with Egypt. Kept at various German locations since its “discovery,” the Nefertiti Bust is currently on display at the original pre-WW2 display site of Neues Museum in Berlin. Germany, like most former colonial powers which have profited greatly off their stolen African artefacts, continues to resist Egyptian demands (since 1924) for the repatriation of Egypt’s Mona Lisa, as it were – the bust of Egypt’s ‘beautiful woman…’ Nefertiti.
In relation to Armah’s musings on Osiris/Ausar‘s symbolic relevance to Africa-writ-large, in ancient Egypt a true Queen [Auset] was said to be “She who sees Set and Heru.” Set – god of foreign oppression, chaos, violence, perversion, illness… – who usurped Egypt’s Heaven-on-Earth throne through murdering and dismembering Ausar, and then scattering his pieces [African diaspora] is evident from the predatory Eurocentric divide-&-conquer playbook which creates the parasitic matrix systems humanity experiences as slavery, (neo)colonialism, apartheid… through misappropriation & predatory control of Africa’s sovereign resources. Heru – Ausar & Auset’s posthumously-conceived son who avenges his father by defeating Set & restoring Heaven-on-Earth – is apparent in the post-Amarna role of regeneration Tut’Ankh’Amun played out of his allegiance to Amun, not Aten… #Sankofa.
FATHIA HALIM RITZK NKRUMAH ~ A ‘Beautyful’ First Lady of Ghana
The links between Egypt and Ghana go further than a background concept in Ayi Kwei Armah’s mythologically-based authorial imaginings. Fathia Halim Ritzk – a Coptic Egyptian who’d taught French prior to taking a job at a bank in Cairo – became First Lady of a newly independent Ghana when she married Kwame Nkrumah on New Year’s Eve 1957-58. According to published reports, Nkrumah – who succeeded Queen Elizabeth II on March 7, 1957 as ruler of Ghana – had set out to find himself a Christian wife from Egypt through his friend, Alhaji Saleh Said Sinare – one of the first Ghanaians to study in Egypt. Fathia was chosen out of five finalists. Despite her mother’s refusal to bless their union, Fathia’s marriage to Nkrumah took place at Christianborg Castle upon her arrival in Accra, Ghana. Unmoved by Nkrumah’s pan-African vision & bona-fides, Fathia’s mother – whose son had left Egypt with an English wife – had been reluctant to see another of her five children marrying a foreigner and leaving the country. Fathia returned to Cairo with their 3 children after the military coup d’état that ousted Nkrumah on February 24, 1966. Nkrumah died in 1972 in Bucharest, Romania. Fathia died in Cairo in 2007. Both husband and wife lie buried side by side at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park in Ghana.
BRANFORD MARSALIS ~ ‘The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born’
Titled after Ayi Kwei Armah’s book, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born is also a 1991 jazz album by Branford Marsalis (tenor and soprano sax player) who leads a trio with Jeff “Tain” Watts and Robert Hurst. The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born is the 2nd track on the album which peaked at #3 on the Top Jazz Albums chart. Wynton Marsalis, Branford’s trumpet-playing brother, makes a guest appearance on the album’s 4th track, Cain and Abel. Hailing from New Orleans Louisiana, the Marsalis brothers are world-renowned members of their multi-generational ‘First Family of Jazz.’ Wynton is often quoted as saying: “The bloodlines of all important modern American music can be traced to Congo Square.”
Congo Square in New Orleans is a cultural and spiritual intersection which, like nearby Angola… was named after countries of origin of Louisiana’s predominant enslaved African population. Custodians of BaNtu oral-aesthetic traditions navigated this foreign space in ways that generated musical conversations (jazz, rhythm-&-blues, etc.). Guided by UbuNtu – the unity-conscious cultural philosophy which says “I am, because we are…” – African oral-aesthetic traditions became one of the greatest civilizing forces in America. BaNtu aesthetic quality or beauty – called KuNtu – is judged by how well cultural expression meets its art-for-life’s-sake cultural mandate towards the collective. In contrast to Manifest Destiny &/or American Exceptionalism which were used to justify the enterprises of slavery, colonialism, apartheid, etc. – the so-called “white man’s burden” – UbuNtu has endured as a counteractive Africa-centered guiding & humanizing force.
PRINCE ~ ‘The Beautiful Ones’
In a scene from his 1984 movie, Purple Rain, Prince delivered an unforgettable performance of a song titled The Beautiful Ones. Apparently the artist had already settled on the same as a title for his biography which he’d begun working on with writer and lifelong fan, Dan Piepenbring. Through the telling of Prince’s story, it seems the greater vision was for the co-written project to inspire and help cultivate a society of beautiful ones… be a “handbook for the brilliant community”… a how-to guide for black -musicians, -creatives, -collective ownership, -freedom… an authentic voice against racism, elitism, etc. & for positive social reform. An ancient proverb from Ipet-Sut (the “southern sanctuary” and temple of Amun~Mut) says: “When the governing class isn’t chosen for quality it is chosen for material wealth: this always means decadence, the lowest stage a society can reach.“ A fragmented version of Prince’s The Beautiful Ones was posthumously published and released exactly a year ago – on October 29th, 2019. So much has evolved on the community’s global streets since then…
Perhaps, as Ayi Kwei Armah suggests, a resurrected Ausar is rising out of the Babylonian ashes of a false ‘elite’ matrix through the collective ascension of a previously fragmented/degenerated human consciousness – and, like the proverbial phoenix of old… The Beautyful Ones Are Now Being Reborn… #Sankofa ❤ #UbuNtu
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. [+++ Check out P covering MJ/J5 below… Yaasss 2 the Sista-power!!! ❤]
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.
A song of adulation, love and fear
No one loved him better, no one better sacrificed
She gave her angels that summer night
Destiny and love don’t always go hand in hand (Hand in hand)
As the world lay waiting like an embryo in a womb
She gave her angels that night in June (She gave her angels)
To watch over him till she returned – her man, her lover, her son
Her father for all these things he meant to her, she felt it right
She gave her angels that summer night [Repeat: 2X]
- Songwriter/Artist: Prince Rogers Nelson (as )
- First Released: 29 January 1998 – Crystal Ball album
- Fan Music Video by VDJ Vivacity …“This is a beautiful Prince song and definitely deserved a full music video beyond the snippet performed on Muppets Tonight.“ (LINK added by me 🙂 …SEE ‘She Gave Her Angels’ Muppets footage @ 17:42)
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] ❤ ❤ ❤
Woyaya – the catchy title song of the second album by Osibisa, a London-based Ghanaian and Caribbean Afro-pop band led by Teddy Osei – was released in 1971 and would frequently be heard in various settings throughout 1970-80’s Africa. By the time it was reissued in 2004 along with the self-titled first album [Osibisa], the song had been covered by musicians such as The 5th Dimension & Art Garfunkel . Wiyaala [click pics for music] provides a 2020 version of the classic in which, for Osibisa fans the uplifting expression “woyaya” has since come to literally mean “we are going…” 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:
“When the moon is in the 7th House… And Jupiter aligns with Mars… Then peace will guide the planets… And love will steer the stars… This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius…” [Lyrics from “Age of Aquarius” by the 5th Dimension, 1969].
Humanity is said to be currently moving to its new astrological Age – an event which happens roughly every 2,000-plus years. We’re living through a transitional period Read More
Queen Nyabingi is one of several likely inspirational fonts for Marvel’s comic book renderings of Wakanda’s Dora Milaje, an elite group of female bodyguards who will soon be slaying on the silver screen [2/16/18] in Ryan Coogler’s directorial rendition of Black Panther – the movie. Though fictional, Marvel’s African kingdom of Wakanda is geographically situated around the source of humanity’s genesis, which happens to be where the legendary Nyabingi greatly impacted history as well as our pathways to a pan-African consciousness. A real-life fusion of warrior-queen archetypes that arose in the ancestral Nile River mythologies of Khemet, Goddess Nyabingi’s spirit also lives in the diffusion of beats and flows that birthed hip-hop in today’s diaspora.
Best known for fiercely championing her spiritual, cultural, and political spheres of power through liberation struggles against the Euro-patriarchal rape of her region – rubberstamped at the 1884 Berlin Conference and euphemistically referred to in history books as the “scramble for Africa” – Nyabingi fought hard against her colonial adversaries. In Khemet, this collective adversary was known as Seth (god of the wilderness, storms, chaos, violence, famine, illness and foreign oppressors) who was so jealous of Ausar’s richly-endowed kingdom and popular reign that he murdered, mutilated and then scattered pieces of the king’s body [diaspora of enslavement] in order to ascend the throne and sow his dehumanizing brand of chaos in the name of progress…
Against this quintessential enemy of Africa and usurper of her resources, Nyabingi also becomes a force of reparations whose shamanic powers are transmitted through oracular healer-priestesses, traditionally called bagirwa. In this role, she is reminiscent of the Khemetic goddess Hathor whose fervent warrior aspect is identified in the leonine goddess Sekhmet. Nyabingi’s shamanic powers also mysteriously link her to Seshat, a Khemetic goddess whose characteristic dress is made of panther skin. Historically, spiritually-endowed women have stood out as leaders of liberation movements throughout the African continent – in part because, like rape, imposed rule has infringed upon the domains of the divine African feminine. Ideological descendants of parasitic shadow-queens such as Victoria [“grand-mother of Europe” 1837-1876] and/or the neo-colonial sychophants who uphold their standing in Africa’s sacred geographies and imagination, are complicit in the continuing rape of humanity’s Mother[land].
Goddess Nyabingi’s legend begins in Mpororo (Uganda’s southern region) where Queen Kitami’s rule was disrupted with the theft of her sacred drum by a man named Kamurari. Though Kamurari used the sacred drum to found a dynasty, it was the formidable ancestral presence of Queen Kitami upon whom the reverent title of ‘Nyabingi’ was bestowed by successive generations. Nyabingi’s compelling presence was deeply acknowledged as she spoke paranormally with and through her chosen female prophets and priestesses from behind the bark-cloth veils they wore.
By the time of Welsh-American journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley’s search for the source of the Nile River in the late 1800s on the heels of British explorer David Livingstone’s efforts, Goddess Nyabingi had earned a reputation in the colonial imagination as a “great sorceress.” Her priestesses exercised considerable political power in the Uganda/Rwanda [‘Wakanda’?] borderlands through such acts as collecting tributes from local chiefs. British and German colonials waged war against African women by making alliances with corruptible men, including these same local chiefs. One such example was the alliance they made with Mwame Musinga which led to his treacherous usurping of the throne that the widowed Rwandan queen-mother’s son – like Heru of Khemet through queen-mother Auset – was heir to.
In 1911, a rebel priestess named Muhumusa formed a spiritually-based military resistance against the wazungu (Europeans) in the name of Nyabingi. So effective was this resistance that the British fought back by passing the 1912 “Witchcraft Act” which threatened to burn the accused at the stake. Muhumusa’s eventual capture in 1913 led to her detention for life which ended with her death in 1945. However, other popular Nyabingi-inspired revolts such as the 1928 Rebellion arose from what a wazungu colonial described as “armed witchcraft dances,” resulting in the killing of colonial-puppet chiefs. “These fanatical women are a curse to the country!” a colonial commissioner was led to declare as the resistance leaders successfully fought and evaded capture.
These warrior-queen-led uprisings were gradually suppressed through a collaborative colonial team effort involving coercive missionaries who would impose Christian baptism onto Africans under threat of punishment as political subversives of the Nyabingi resistance. Eventually, the reparations or healing aspects of the bagirwa’s cultural role regained precedence over the political-warrior dimension of the black freedom struggle.
By the 1930s the Nyabingi resistance had been effectively subdued in East Africa. However, it had caught fire in the Jamaican Rastafari movement which began with Europe’s colonization of Africa – AKA ‘Ethiopia’ and/or ‘Zion’ to believers – though the forced exile of enslaved Africans scattered throughout ‘Babylon’ dated back to centuries prior. The Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr.’s 1920s prophecy – “Look to Africa where a black king shall be crowned; he shall be your Redeemer” – set the stage for how Jamaicans would come to regard the 1930 coronation of Haile Selassie as Emperor of Ethiopia (a neighboring East African country which had itself successfully resisted European colonization attempts). A member of the Solomonic Dynasty, Selassie was born Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael – hence the Ras-Tafari designation and belief in him as the prophesied messiah, Jah Rastafari or alternatively Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Though His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie, was welcomed with great enthusiasm during his 1966 visit to Jamaica, he was eventually dethroned [9/12/74] back in Ethiopia for reasons which began with the famine his country suffered in 1973.
The oldest of the Rastafarian subgroups is Nyabingi – a name which the Jamaican group believe to mean ‘Death to all Oppressors’ – connecting their faith with the African warrior-queen’s powerful spirit of liberation from tyranny. The Rastafari chant ‘bingi’ through prayer, music, dance, and biblical reasonings, calling on nature and the universe of her mystical powers to destroy the wicked reign of ‘Babylon’ – as they believe Jah alone has the right to do – and establish their New Jerusalem or Zion in Africa. In Jamaica, Nyabingi’s rhythmic heartbeat is played by men on a trinity of drums: Thunder (a bass drum also referred to as the “Pope Smasher” or “Vatican Basher”); Funde (the middle drum which maintains the dominant heartbeat and has the least improvisational role); and Akete or Repeater (the smallest, highest pitched drum that plays the most improvisational role as carrier of spirit).
Parallels between Nyabingi‘s prototype sacred drum, and its usage in East Africa can thus be interpreted and understood in the purpose and symbolism of Rastafari expression in the Caribbean. The natural and spiritual forces which connect Nyabingi in the pan-African consciousness also pulse and flow through her waterways: the northbound Nile River from its Great Lakes’ cradle to its ancient flowering in Khemet (known as the Gift of the Nile); and the waterways which map the Atlantic slavery routes with each hurricane that forms off of the West African coast, wreaking destruction at what some consider to be Babylon’s doorstep… “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it…” [SoS 8:7 KJV]
Seminal to the music of Rastafarians, Nyabingi drumming is the same powerful heartbeat pulsing in the reggae stylings of such renowned artists as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Black Uhuru, Steel Pulse, Burning Spear, and many others who came up through the faith – rocking locs like the warriors in Kenya’s struggle for uhuru (freedom) against Britain’s colonial rule. Indeed, reggae’s popularity in the 1960s and 70s brought Rasta consciousness to the global masses, which worried those who did not want their liberational cultural faith (mis)appropriated and/or corrupted.
Such reckonings came out of lessons learned from Babylon’s predatory and parasitic dealings against its African host(ess), including: spiritual resources from Khemet having been re-scripted and weaponized through the work of missionaries in their colonial rape or ‘scramble’ for Africa’s natural resources; the twin-enterprise of slavery through which Africa’s human resources had been stolen and displaced in the so-called New World; as well as the appropriation of her cultural resources. In the Caribbean-Bronx [NY] alchemy which created hip-hop’s seminal heartbeat [through DJs such as Kool Herc], one feels Nyabingi’s continuing struggle to drive that final, fatal stake through the vampire’s collective… heart [???]. Nyabingi reminds us to not be complicit in the rape against the dominion of the divine African feminine, the spoils upon which ‘Babylon’ has built its arrogant and twisted sense of superiority and entitlement. #UbuNtu… #ReparationsNow