Tag Archives: African American

#BookClubMadu November 2016

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For the month of November, we will be reading Marc Lamont Hill’s, Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond. From your feedback, we noticed how necessary it was to continue the conversation about the state of our Black bodies. Antoine and I were so encouraged and inspired from all of the love notes and great things you all said last time. So, let’s continue the discussion.

Hill’s book has been the topic of discussion in the book world for months and we want to give you the chance to get some opinions in for yourself!

Here is November’s reading schedule:

 

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So we hope that you will enjoy this one. Cause we definitely will. Happy reading!

#BookClubMadu August 2016

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We are so excited to share with you this month’s book!

Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing has been the latest rave in the world of literature and we thought it would be super awesome to have our readers right in!

IN ADDITION TO OUR AUGUST BOOK RELEASE, AfroMadu has teamed up with Urban One Radio to host a #BookClubMadu BI-WEEKLY PODCAST!!!!! Yes, a podcast to talk about books, culture, and everything in between. How cool is that?!?!?

Here’s how this month’s book will work:

-Discussions will be held on afromadu.com and on twitter, @afromadu.Throughout the week, we will be posting questions and quotes from Homegoing. 

-On August 14th, we will host our very first show, highlighting the first portion of the book. Readers are able to email us thoughts and questions about the book. Submission emails must be in before Thursday, August 11th.

We are so happy to be back with all of this exciting news. Are you? Happy reading! #BookClubMadu

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Homegoing’s schedule is as follows:

August 1st-14th: Part One (pages 1-153)

August 15th-31st: Part Two (pages 154-300)

Tweet us, email us, or find us on our social media sites using the hashtag, #BookClubMadu!

Financial Planning; Short Term Plans, Long Term Actions.

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Financial illiteracy has plagued and largely impacted the African-American community for many generations. Most of us are lacking when it comes to the understanding of how money works and how to efficiently manage and build wealth. Our impoverished communities continue to rest in this state because there is no transfer of wealth. Wealth continues to be held and dominated outside of our communities because of our low receptivity to financial literacy. Though the tides are beginning to turn on this matter as awareness grows, we as a people still have quite a ways to go. How do we regain prosperity? How do we bring it back to our communities and families? How do we protect it and keep it? How do we go from “new money” to “old money?”

Every great accomplishment begins with careful and strategic planning. While planning may be the answer, it may NOT be the solution. Integrated financial planning as the answer only becomes the solution when it is followed through. You need a plan, it begins with a plan! Wealth building is an ongoing process of structured forced, systematic, efficient and consistent saving habits.

While having a generous income does help, it is not entirely about how much money you make or the lack there of. It is about having the discipline to start today with a meaningful amount that you can commit to monthly or annually regardless of your economic status. Truth is there will always be a reason or rather an excuse NOT to save or invest. You have to conquer that need of immediate gratification by giving up the things you want now, to invest in what you will need in the future. Don’t put it off any longer because there is a huge cost in waiting. Time is our most valuable asset as well as our biggest liability. Due to compound interest of returns over time, essentially the more time you have or the sooner you begin to save, the less it will cost you to achieve your financial goals.

Find a trusted and competent advisor to help you with your financial planning. Google makes it very easy to self-educate, so I am sure that most of us are well capable of doing our own planning. One of the biggest reasons that I recommend you leave it to a professional is that we all have emotional attachments to our money, believe it or not. When it comes to money most of our decisions are made based on emotions and feelings, rather than logic. I have found it to be very helpful to have a fellow colleague as my advisor even though I am in the profession as well. It gives you someone to hold you accountable and to help take out the emotions to make sound financial decisions.

This is my last bit of advice and what I believe will catapult your finances to new unseen levels; pay God first. First and foremost, even before you save or spend, pay God what is due to him. As a devout Christian, I believe that being a faithful tithe payer is imperative to our financial success. With EVERY increase the bible says to give10% to the house of the Lord. In fact it is one of the few areas in our lives that God says “TEST ME!” (Malachi 3:10).

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Questions & Inquiries

Laud K. Anderson

Website: Laudanderson.nm.com

Email: Laud.anderson@nm.com

Phone: 732-310-6697

Pray, Plan, Persist

Orisha On The Horizon

The year is 1619. On a voyage across the Atlantic ocean towards Jamestown, Virginia, captured African slaves carried with them a disabling sense of loss and a nagging uncertainty about their forthcoming destinies on their journey to the new world. Among the pain these resilient people also held onto various spiritual traditions and ways of relating themselves to the world from their perspective homelands which helped them sustain some sense of sanity within the hellish conditions they were forced to endure.

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Amidst European Christian and Spanish Catholic indoctrination, enslaved West Africans who were transported to various parts of the Americas had enough dignity and audacity to secretly practice various indigenous African spiritual belief systems against the will of their captors. Most prominent of these indigenous beliefs was the worship of Orishas, a Yoruba practice known as Ifa, with origin in present-day Nigeria and surrounding areas. Ifa is a potent method for displaced Africans to rediscover their true identities, claim access to birth-right cultural memories, and empower the world with a religion rooted in humanism, ancestor reverence, and the preservation of Earth. Ifa evolved over time into several distinct spiritual systems known today as Regla De Ocha (also known as “Santeria”) in Cuba, Candomble in Brazil, and Haitian Vodou.

Ifa stands out from the reigning religions of the day, some of which encourage separatism, because of its humanistic aspect. Practitioners of Ifa place all power into the people. While the Orishas are worshipped, it is clear that they are not merely outside entities, but symbols of nature and representations of ancestors. Here is where the value lies, because unlike most European religions where energy is invested into mere ideas, Ifa seeks to empower the individual, the community, and the world at large.

The rediscovery of our true spiritual traditions, rooted in West Africa, begins with the resurrection and globalization of the Black gods known as Orishas, who were almost successfully wiped clean from the communal memory banks of enslaved African peoples by colonizers. Profoundly described by Wole Soyinka as “paradigms of existence,” the following mythical symbols are, in my opinion, the most beneficial to know: Osanyin, Oya, Oshun, and Yemaya. Each of these Orishas teaches a valuable lesson through their various stories and what they represent which can prove to be useful in the evolution of oppressed Black peoples across the globe.

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During these times of critical health crisis’s and medical apartheid within the global Black community, a proper knowledge and respect for the healing powers of nature is necessary. Osanyin, known to be the god who has dominion over wild plant life, especially herbs, serves as a bridge into ancestral medicinal wisdom. Consider him Father Nature who rules all flora and fauna. The spirit of Osanyin can be found at the core of Blacks like famous botanist George Washington Carver, urban gardener and food activist Ron Finley, and the many other “healers” around the globe. Osanyin’s ashe, or life force, peaks Black interest in the field of medicine in addition to the cultivation and nurturance of plants and herbs. All of which are needed today with the spread of HIV/AIDS, Ebola, mental health disorders, and preventable diseases like diabetes that plague the Black community.

Yemaya and Oshun are two goddesses embody the power of motherhood, protection, and hold the memories of our fallen ancestors. In the Yoruba tradition where spiritual baths and cleansings are commonplace, water, like herbs, is a constant necessity. Though both embodiments of water, each Orisha has a distinct purpose when called upon. While Yemaya reigns over the oceans, full of purifying salt water, Oshun is the essence of rivers and fresh waters.

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It is widely known that Black women are among the most oppressed and disrespected individuals in the world. “Misogynoir,” a term coined by Myo Bailey, is used to describe how racism coupled with misogyny specifically affects Black women. Faced against powerful forces such as racism and misogynoir, the goddess image can be extremely empowering for Black women of the Diaspora. Yemaya and Oshun are not passive mothers. They can be gentle, but are fierce protectors of women and children. These goddesses, as well as Oya, divinity that guards the cemetery, are warrior spirits who not only give birth to nations, but are just as powerful as their male counterparts. Having female warrior goddesses to turn to in moments of strife and hopelessness, for Black women, can prove to be affirming and earn them proper respect from all others.

Ifa is a beautiful religion rich in ritual and adornment, but what’s most important is the devotee’s connection to spirit, the earth, and a respect for the past. Ifa forces its followers to open up to the worldwide community, being a religion of undoubted acceptance and care of fellow man, regardless of sex, gender, religious affiliation, or race. At the core of worship, Ifa would be most rewarding as a dominant force in the world because of its promotion of healing, loving, and respect, for self and others. As a people so stricken with pain, these Yoruba religious practices maintained and taught by those dragged unwillingly across the Atlantic ocean, provide for Black people a home in foreign lands.

Change is spreading across the Diaspora like germinated seeds blowing in wind produced by Oya, searching for fertile ground in which to settle. My ancestors and I share a common surety about the rising of the Orishas, who, like the Costus Spectabilis, are destined to flower in the minds and spirits of reawakening oppressed peoples.

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Sustaining the Black Community with Holistic Health

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“Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process, heal our own.” -Wangari Maathai

The Black body has endured more than the growth-halting grip of former enslavement. We have suffered trauma to the African trinity of health (mental, physical, and spiritual), which greatly affects how we interact in the world, “post enslavement.” With media messages telling us to eat this sugary saturated fat to feel good, and drink that 80-proof poison to be as cool as our favorite rappers, the abuse to our bodies and overall well beings live on. Faced with limited access to life-sustaining foods due to socioeconomic status, the burden of low self-esteem from living in a racist society, and a general lack of knowledge about “living well,” a comprehensive timeline comes to mind about exactly how we have landed in the reality we are in today. Best believe this exclusion is systematic and purposely enacted. Though unfair, it is no one’s responsibility but ours to undo the mass confusion around health in the Black community and begin the journey towards healing from post-traumatic slave syndrome.

pirkle_jones_black_panther_free_breakfast At the best moments of the Black freedom struggle we recognized that we did not just need to change laws, we also needed to change our living patterns. Organizations like the Black Panthers not only told us to change our diets, they also imposed breakfast programs and other sort of community-oriented food programs so that people would have healthy living options and they understood the relationship between healthy living and a community, they understood the relation to building a Black nation and having healthy diets. – Marc Lamont Hill

Taking control of our lifestyles is not a new concept in the Black community. As Marc Lamont Hill suggested in the above quote from 2012 documentary “Soul Food Junkies,” we have always stressed the importance of proper nutrition and lifestyle in our movements in the past and can do so once again. The same fervor Black Panthers displayed in picking up guns to protect themselves from the quick bullet of the racist can also be used to pick up plant foods, herbs, and spices to aid in the body’s defense against diseases.

black-man-and-child-hospital-bed1With the rise of genetically modified foods, mineral-depleted soils, and processed foods being more affordable and available, many of the traditional foods we are eating today in our soul food dishes look like what our ancestors ate growing up, but chemically are not the same. Altered genetic makeup of foods and the addition of sugars, salts, and harmful preservatives aid in the development of chronic diseases Blacks are dying from in droves today. Food-related diseases which plague the community like heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes hold us back from being the fully functional beings were born to be. These many health issues act as blockades to our struggles towards freedom. Instead of actively working to defeat white supremacist oppression and earn back our rights as human beings, we’re fighting against our sickly bodies, and worrying heavily for our lives. This will change. It has to.

By embracing an attitude of  “self-care as healthcare” (Queen Afua), we can operate on an optimal level. Centering the importance of clean eating with whole foods, healing herbs, and antioxidant-rich spices, we can refocus our energies to where they need to be. By feeding ourselves well, we can expect a boost in self-esteem and a fulfilling sense of purpose, two things we, as a whole, lack for various reasons. Hope is not yet lost when we trust in our own capabilities and utilize the resources here on this planet to fuel us on our unique journey.

slide-03I propose purifying oneself through proper nutrition and a lifestyle that caters specifically to the Black body, promoting sound mental health, and welcoming a more freeing approach to spiritualism that pays homage to ancestors. As acts of self care as means of liberation and fortification to be pushed to the forefront of the many movements towards Black freedom.

Restoring Your Chilly Season!

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I always find that the colder seasons allow me to reconnect with my purpose in life. I mean, I’m not able to sit on the beach or be outside as much, so I am now reluctant to be faced with, well, me. And it is clear that everyone can relate.
During this reflective time, following a  few guidelines in making sure that my hibernation season is effective as possible. Here are some tips:

 

1. Self Empow. 5Saving money: Although the holidays are quickly approaching, we want to remind ourselves that although we want to spend uncontrollably for our loved ones, they will still love us the same if we bought the 16GB IPhone instead of the 32GB. Becoming more knowledgeable about money and learning how to save more, invest more, and ultimately make more, is always a good skill to rely on. Besides, who wants to be broke anyway? Getting an upper hand on your green by learning some things during the fall and winter time. And stay tuned on our site, we might even help you reach your financial success!
2. Cleaning house: Yup, Exactly what I meant. Your space. It’s getting colder now, who wants aSelf Empow. 2 cluttered space? Take a weekend (or two) and begin organizing, disposing, and rearranging things in your home, room, car, office, etc. It pays off to have a clean space, especially when you feel that life is cloudy and cluttered with mental and even physical THINGS. Control what you can and CLEAN HOUSE! Trash things that you don’t need, organize things that you do need, and you will thank us later! De-clutter that mind and embrace your hibernation season with a little winter cleaning.
3. Self Empow. 3.Recovering connections: Even though it is cuffing season and everyone wants to call and remember the old friendships and old flings that was once started, it’s always best to reconnect with old, GENUINE, friends and family members that you missed during the summer nights with friends or loud music at concerts. Recovering connections can also allow you to get in conversation about things you would have never talked about through the basic text message or the small comments on Facebook and Instagram. Get creative with reconnecting! Have small get-together or coffee dates with the VIP’s in your life and reconnect! You will be amazed at the relationships and friendships you will make.
4. Self Empow. 4Becoming productive: With all this extra time on your hands, you can always do a little more with your productivity. Digging deep and finding that special hobby that you once loved will be great during this cold season. Whether it’s curling up with a good book, writing your life away, cooking up good eats, or even that blog site that you never get to, do it! It is never too late to catch your forgotten hobbies. Being productive with the things you like to do will only cross some things off your mega to-do list, but it will also bring you that inner happiness that is comparable to those warm, eventful summer days.

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5. Having Fun! There’s nothing like having a boring chilly season. Being bored AND cold is not too much fun. Just remember that although the warm season is months away, use this time to find your inner peace and happiness.

Black Film: Reclaiming Our Right As Storytellers

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Recent outrage from individuals in the Black community over the casting of several Hollywood produced films, including Nina Simone’s biopic and Exodus: Gods And Kings (2014), is not only ridiculous but also laughable. As usual, Hollywood casting directors decided it would be a fun idea to inaccurately cast Zoe Saldana, who is a mixed race Latina, as the legendary Nina Simone, who is visibly dark and a heavily African-featured woman, not a fair-skinned Latina like Zoe. Instead of choosing a Black actress who is just as, if not more talented than Zoe Saldana and also fits the physical requirements of the role, someone like Orange Is The New Black star Uzo Aduba, they went through the racist trouble of putting Zoe in blackface in an effort to chan- nel Nina. This move by hollywood directors is not only insulting but predictable. In addition, the movie Exodus: Gods And Kings, which tells a story of Ancient Egyptians, depicts the royal Egyptians as something other than the Black Africans they were, as white men. Of course the slaves in the film are cast as Black, we’re always allowed to be that. This reshaping and whitening/lightening up of our history is what happens when we allow our oppressors to tell the stories we should have been telling all along.

As a reaction to the absurdity of both films, Blacks have voiced opposition and drawn up petitions in an effort to get them shut down. Once again, we’ve found ourselves trapped in an en- gulfing hell of useless pleas and unnecessary explanations, fighting for inclusion and crying about the whitening up of a history we know so well. We’ve allowed ourselves to be reactions to whiteness as opposed to the doers. Instead of creating the stories of Nina Simone and Black Egyptian stories we want to see, we’re pleading for change upon the deaf, careless ears of white media. Let’s face it, Hollywood is a predominately white controlled media platform who always has and will continue to do what they please with such platform because they can. It is not their jobs to accurately tell our stories or to even tell them at all. This overvaluing of white media has to stop in order for us, Black people, to move forward on the rigorous path of healing and independent self-awareness.

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Coming from a legacy of Black filmmakers like Spike Lee, Haile Gerima, and the legendary Os- car Micheaux, who didn’t wait for white media platforms like Hollywood to produce the stories they wanted told, there’s no reason we can’t continue to act as the definers these individuals helped lay the foundation for us to be. It is time, way past time, for us a people to cease the up- holding of white opinions and perspectives over what we know as true. We know Nina Simone was not a fair-skinned Latina, we know Ancient Egyptian royalty were not a court of white men, therefore the emotional reactions to these careless insults by white media are useless. Instead of dredging up petitions or voicing cries of hurt and anger out in the street, combat the obvious lies with art. Ensure that other Black people know the truth about this war of accuracy in history by reclaiming your right as the storyteller and create what you want to see. Zora Neale Hurston once said “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” In this context, if you continue to allow your history to be told by your oppressor, they’ll continue to erase you and trap you in a prison of explaining instead of doing.

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