“Shut This Down” ~ [P ft MJ]

Did you ever want to see that collab between Prince & MJ?! YouTuber Raphael Tavares delivers this mix of Pince’s “Shut This Down” [2015] as a soundtrack to MJ’s provocative moves in “Black or White” [1991]. 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…
Presidential Proclamation — African-American Music Appreciation Month, 2016

AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSIC APPRECIATION MONTH, 2016 

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 

A PROCLAMATION 

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. 

BARACK OBAMA 

“She Gave Her Angels” ~ Prince

And now I’d like to turn your heart to a tale of sheer delight
A song of adulation, love and fear
No one loved him better, no one better sacrificed
She gave her angels that summer night
❤ ❤ ❤
Fate as she designed it took her from her man
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)
❤ ❤ ❤
She gave her angels to a man because her man had none
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)
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When Doves Sing… Musings

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] ❤ ❤

“Nakumbuka” ~ The MA’ATrix Re-membered

kidnapping

“The Middle Passage” ~ Tom Feelings

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.Middle Passage MonumentHistorically, 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, Lest-We-Forget-Remembrance-Day-Facebook-Cover-Picturealthough 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.”november-11

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 [1957], 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-] maat

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…” luxor

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 symbolPer-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.” aquariusResembling 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 waterhave not spoken scornfully; I have not behaved with arrogance…”  [Papyrus of Ani – c.1250BCE]prince symbol 

“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… ❤

“Woyaya” ~ Osibisa & Elephant Art

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 [1973]. 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

Congo Square ~ UbuNtu & the Unbroken Circle

“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

UbuNtu ~ On Owning Your Masters

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 Symbolof 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

Water Bearers & New Age Libations

“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

Nyabingi ~ Oracle of the Drum & Warrior Queen

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

❤ Power

Tears of the Big Waters [a story]

The California sycamore in the meadow of the Topanga canyon hilltop rustled as if it had just spoken. Nya Okatsa’s back remained molded against the wizened tree trunk as the sudden jerk from Malik’s head in the cradle of her crossed legs belied the nonchalant sprawl of the rest of his six-foot frame on their picnic blanket. He squinted upwards, his eyes sorting through the noonday sun and shadow as the overhead canopy settled from the agitated mid-July gust that had just blown. Seeing the coy arch of Nya’s brows within her silhouette, Malik broke into a broad grin – unfazed by her confession that she’d been a tree-whisperer from birth. Read More