Tag Archives: Black

#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!

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Top 5 Benefits of the Big Chop!

Hello my beautiful sistasss, I’ve missed you all so much! I first want to start off with apologizing for my absence on the site. So to start things off, I’ll be sharing with you the benefits of the Big Chop. If you haven’t heard the term, “big chopping” before, let me explain what it is for you guys. The big chop is the act of taking your natural hair journey from transitioning to officially natural. The term “big chop” is the act of cutting off all of your relaxed hair, leaving only your wonderful new growth, which is natural hair.

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This is the quickest way to go natural. It’s not only effects you in the physical approach, but it’s also effects you mentally. To “big chop” you have to emotionally detach yourself from your hair’s length and understand that you are taking a huge step in your natural hair journey. There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to a women’s hair length. For those of you who decide to take the plunge and big chop here are some benefits of the Big Chop.

  1. Immediate Satisfaction

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As you know, we now live in a world where people want immediate results. We don’t want to wait for our hair to grow but rather install weave to have immediate length. If this sounds like you then the big chop is definitely for you. When you big chop, your natural hair journey starts instantly. Big chopping is like starting on a new foot, which gives you the chance to do whatever you want with your hair; grow it out, cut it some more, or even dye it. You have so many options with your new found hair journey, you will absolutely love it.

  1. Celebrity Status

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            Have you ever wanted to feel like a celebrity? If so, you should definitely big chop. Everyone who knows you will want to discuss your new hairstyle. People you know will be amazed at your new cut and will probably view it as a badge of courage. People who don’t even know you will come up to you asking all types of questions, and even ask to take a picture of your hair. You will feel unstoppable with your new cut, TRUST ME!

  1. Products

One of the biggest benefits of big chopping is that you only have to deal with the texture of your natural hair. It’s very difficult to cater to both relaxed hair and natural hair textures. With only natural hair on your head, you will have a better understanding of how products actually work for you and your hair. The amount of product you use will also decrease because you have less hair on your head. That also saves you some money as well, so it is a win-win at the end of the day.

  1. Get up and Go!

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Accessories Accessories Accessories!!! You can dress it up with; head bands, slinky earrings, eye catching lip gloss and cute eye shadow. Big chops allow women to highlight their natural beauty which can often be covered up by our hair at times.

  1. Confidence

A big chop is like a fresh breath of new found confidence for a woman. When you big chop you need to own that hair style and wake up like every day is New York fashion week. Need I say more?

So, women. If you were asking around and questioning what your next move should be, give the big chop a go! we are all rooting for you!!!

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The Music & Metaphysics of Sun Ra

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Sun Ra, the “godfather” of Afrofuturism in music and pioneer of the genre “free jazz,” is in a league of his own. His large body of creative work and personal style speaks directly to the souls of Black folks everywhere, seeking to use art as a platform for Black liberation. With the help of his Intergalactic Myth-Science Solar “Arkestra” (see: band), Sun Ra used free jazz, old Egyptian symbols, and “far out” ideologies concerning the state of Black identity in his 1974 film “Space Is The Place,” which is a total embodiment of what Afrofuturism is all about. Through his eccentric costumes, Afrocentric radical thought, and almost incompressible “transmolecular” sounds, Sun Ra takes his followers on a journey of “imagining possible futures through a Black cultural lens.” (Ytasha Womack)

In the film “Space Is The Place,” what first catches the eye of viewers is Sun Ra’s stand-out appearance. This alone speaks volumes for the energy this man brings through his artistry. By looking at him dressed as the Ancient Egyptian god Ra, you’re immediately taken back to a time when Black ruled the world. Sun Ra’s alternate universal appearance brings the past and possible futures to the present in an attempt to spark both memory and possibilities into the mind of Blacks here on Earth. The film begins with Sun Ra descending from space in spaceship which unifies with the yellow cape and Sun crown worn atop his head. At first glance this is both shocking and exciting for the viewer. His style, in my own words, can be best described as ancient Egyptian Pharaoh meets futuristic space alien. He is clearly not of this planet, as he won’t let us forget throughout the remainder of the film.

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            Sun Ra totally rejects Earth as his home. In an attempt to escape the rigidness of racist white supremacist societies and the many stereotypes forced upon him and his people, he takes the form of an intergalactic god. Bound by no definition or ideology that isn’t his own, he returns to Earth to square off with his arch nemesis “the overseer,” who is an amalgamation of Black archetypes, specifically the Black man as “pimp,” which were commonplace in most Blaxploitation films during the movie’s release. Sun Ra’s god portrayal was an alternative challenge to this archetype. He rejected racist white lens of his Black being and defined himself as “the altered destiny; the presence of the living myth.”

In addition to a bold, eccentric, style and an autonomous definition of self, Sun Ra’s main goal while on Earth was to free those “ghetto” Blacks who couldn’t escape the many labels they were caged by. He teleported into a recreational room filled with “good time” Black youth in an attempt to reach them by countering their accusations of him as “unreal” by confirming:

I am not real, just like you in this society. You don’t exist. If you did your people wouldn’t be seeing equal rights…You’re not real. If you were you would have some status among the nations of the world. So we’re both myth’s…I came from a dream that the Black man dreamed long ago. I’m actually a present sent to you by your ancestors.

In this message to his people, Sun Ra forces the youth to think critically about their place in society. He challenges their ease in the identities bestowed upon them by the white man and urges them to be the natural creators they were born to be. In a sense he is saying “you don’t matter here, on this planet, anyway, so why not be whatever you want to be.” This stream of afrofuturist thought is one of the most standout scenes in the film, for it is the crux of Sun Ra’s “job” there on Earth.

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            Sun Ra’s music, much like the language he uses throughout this film, is seemingly nonsensical. He continues the traditional use of coded language Blacks have used for centuries as a tool of communication and survival in order to confuse the listening ears of slavers and government agents looking to infiltrate any plans of liberation. One could describe the sounds of his free jazz genre as purely improvisation. He seems to make up notes and sounds and compilation of the two as he goes along to make the statement that as a free Black, not bound by Earth, he can do as he pleases and present himself in his own choice. Likening himself to the wind, viewers can better grasp the radical essence of Sun Ra’s artistry when he makes the powerful statement of “I, the wind, come and go as I choose, and none can stop me.”

With such powerful messages from both past and the future, one begs the question of where an artist like Sun Ra emerges from. From my viewpoint, he is afrofuturism in the flesh, in that he lives and breathes this “kingdom of darkness and Blackness [where] none can enter except those of the Black spirit.” A kingdom where “nothingness” and boundless sound waves reign supreme in a land, similar to Kemet, where Black is free to just be.

Watch the Brilliant film below to get a better understanding of the “other world” in which Sun Ra dwells:

“All About Love: New Visions” (bell hooks) Final Discussion

Hello everyone! Thank you soooo much for participating in our previous discussions on bell hooks’,  All About Love! This space is solely created to get in depth with the final portion of the text. On twitter, we usually send out a series of tweets tell you how we feel about the book, but we never really get to know what’s going on in your head too much. So, we want to try something a little different. We are going to pose a few questions about the book to start the discussion off, but we want all book club participants to get the discussion rolling and connect with each other! Answer a question, comment on an opinion, create your own question, do it all!
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Questions to ponder:
Chapter 9: The Heart Of Love
-Hooks discusses the idea of “privilege of power” through the patriarchal system. In what ways does patriarchal thinking affect both men and women in relationships? Have their ever been a time when you felt that a relationship was hindered because of a reflection over power or control?
“To know love we must surrender our attachment to sexist thinking in whatever form it takes in our lives.”
Chapter 10: Sweet Love
“Sexual pleasure enhances the bonds of love, but they can exist and satisfy when sexual desire is absent.”
How do you feel about hook’s strong statement? How can this be applied to the normalcy of casual intercourse?
Chapter 11: Loving into Life and Death
“All the worship of death we see on our television screens, all the death we witness daily, does not prepare us in any way to face dying with awareness, clarity, or peace of mind. “
We never really talk about love and how it correlates to death. So how did this chapter show realization to your personal lost loved ones and the fetish that our society has over death?
Chapter 12: Redemptive Love
Probably our favorite chapter, learning how to heal a broken, misused heart to love again.
“No matter what has happened in our past, when we open our hearts love we can live as if born again, not forgetting the past but seeing it in a new way, letting it live inside us in a new way.”
What stuck out in this chapter for you? What have you learned about redeeming your own past for your own hearts sake?
Chapter 13: When Angels Speak of Love
Love and spirituality: How can those factors relate to each other? And more importantly, why is love the central commonality in all spiritual intents and religions?

Feel free to answers the questions or post final thoughts on the book in the comments section below or tweet them to us on twitter! (@AfroMadu)

Three Benefits of Boycotting Black Friday.

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A lot of attention has been set on boycotting stores and corporations this Friday, having a split decision on folks who will and will not do it. Some believe that the boycott does not have a direct correlation of the indictment decision, while others will not spend a dime AND protest these stores. But how beneficial can this boycott really be for an individual? AfroMadu is here to break down how effective boycotting can be in regards to our Black dollar.

1. SAVING MONEY: Statistics prove that our generation has a hard time saving money. With college debt sky rocketing and the price of living increasing, it is nearly impossible for millennials to work, pay off their bills, and live the “American dream” (I’m referring to the buying a house with a white picket fence and dog idea). We also have hard time saving money and investing because of these factors. We fail to gain net worth because we can’t afford to. In saying all of this, can this boycott allow us to potentially begin the habit of saving our money when big consumer sales occur? If we gain enough willpower to actually stay home and not shop will forces say otherwise, how much money can we keep in our pockets? Save your money today! Boycotting will keep that extra hundred dollars in your pockets and really make you question why you “need” that 50″ flat screen in the first place. 

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2. EDUCATING OURSELVES: Statistics also show that the Black dollar, compared to other communities, are the quickest spent, having the money in our pockets in average of 6 hours before buying and spending as opposed to months and days in the Jewish and Asian communities. This is beyond disturbing. Information as such needs to be shared, especially if we are knowledgeable of how we spend our money. Understanding the value of a dollar is super important and if we are ignorant to how to spend the money we work so hard for, we can seriously be in trouble with our finances. Find a few articles or a couple books about managing finances and money and see how much you can learn with gaining the information.

3. HELP WANTED: This boycott also advertises the desire for potential buying during Black Friday. Instead of buying from corporations, invest in Black-Owned businesses. The problem here lies in the realization of actually finding necessities in the hands of Black-owned businesses. While preparing and researching for the boycott, I began to research places that I might be able to buy things that I would have to buy if all else fails. Some things would not be able to be bought because they are not Black owned. With learning all of this, it was pretty clear that more industries that provide necessities are not Black-owned, and thats a problem. At this rate, we are not able to function without White businesses and corporations. This boycott should allow future Black business owners to realize that we need capital in many different industries like agriculture, banking, and much more if we plan to devalue power in corporations. Let’s start creating these stores and own competitive markets. If you are a future Black entrepreneur, help is definitely wanted by creating trade in these areas. This boycott is allowing us to see the disconnect. 

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In the end, this amazing movement will allow us to serve two purposes: showing the world how much we matter, and showing ourselves our dominion over our finances and business. 

Guest Submission: “Slipped Too Deep”

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This poem was inspired by the choreopoem “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf” by Ntozake Shange. Like Shange’s, this poem expresses one of the many struggles and obstacles that African-American women may face throughout their lives.

 

Slipped Too Deep

I moaned for it.

Gripped your skin, and let you push it in-to me

Raw.

My hands shook when you gave it to me.

An orgasm tried to reverse the present but you shoved it back in with two fingers

I loved every bit of it.

And at the time I didn’t know the gift was from your ex,

She picked it up, gave it to you, and then went to the next.

You claimed she was the best.

And I strived to be better, strived to get wetter.

To do things to you she didn’t know existed, but that girl was gifted.

Talented at keeping secrets and giving diseases-

My heart was begging and pleading,

And neither of us could hear it.

Your eyes whispered I’m cheating on you while you were on top

And I encouraged the deceit, screaming don’t stop!

The subliminal message behind every “I love you” was,

“but I say that to all of y’all”

One confession made me feel so small. All of this anger inside of me is building a wall,

That I refuse to climb.

I just knew you were all mine.

My selfish ass never shared nothing,

But all this time you was fronting.

Smiled in my face

And let another bitch take my place.

It’s not right

Stabbed my heart, kissed my cheek, and then cleaned off the knife.

You fucked up my life!

And I cant forgive you.

Still cant believe all of the things you confessed to.

Images create themselves in my mind of what you did to her,

Got to get rid of ya’

Deleted text messages read “sorry I gave you Chlamydia

 

Stephanie Williams 

Kwanzaa: Ujamaa, The Power of the Dollar.

“To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.”

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During the segregation period, It has been said by many African American scholars that the independence of wealth in the Black community was the best time to keep Black money within Black people. Because many grocery shops and hardware stores were for Whites only, many Black people opened stores that gave African-Americans the same privilege of buying meat and other supplies. During this time, these stores were not only build to help give materialistic items to the community, but it instilled a sense of wholeness in Black people. 

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Since segregation has ended and businesses have integrated, the Black community has lost the Cooperative economics that was once built in the 50’s. Ujamaa, the fourth principle of Kwanzaa is to reflect upon the money that is needed to be kept in the community. 

There are many Black owned businesses and shops that are struggling to continue to maintain revenue and keep their businesses. These businesses not only help keep Black entrepreneurs in competition with the rest of the world, but ultimately allows the Black community to profit from them as well. Not only shops and stores, but websites and online boutiques as well. The idea of making money has been progressed through technology and online money. 

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Today, AfroMadu not only challenges you to continue supporting those Black owned businesses and shops, but to tap into your very own entrepreneurial skills and find something you are good at to profit from. Without the desire to care about the Black community, for example, AfroMadu would not continue to function. We taped into our skills, so should you! 

Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics.