Tag Archives: love

“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)

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Love: An Essential Nutrient.


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Messages in mass media today give love a bad name. Switching on the radio, you’ll hear songs of either bitterness in regards to love or of heartbreak, which give off the impression that love is a scarring experience as opposed to an essential component for survival, sanity, and growth. Common sentiments about not needing love, primarily in this age, have turned us away from the free-spirited lovers of the 60’s flower child era singing The Beatles’ hit song “All You Need Is Love” (1967) to the jaded individuals who choose success, independence, and capital over love. Could this new impression of love be a reaction to ignorance of the idea’s actual definition? What is love, anyway?

American psychiatrist and notable author, M. Scott Peck, defines love in his 1978 novel The Road Less Traveled, as “The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth”. In this sense, love is a selfless act. In her novel Paradise (1997), literary laureate Toni Morrison proclaims, “Love is not a gift. It is a diploma,” asserting that love is something to be earned, a benefit reaped as a result of hard work and dedication. These are two interpretations of love we rarely hear about anymore. Instead, love is commonly associated with acts of possessiveness, jealousy, obsession, and straight up emotional instability. Misconceptions of loves true meaning have led to the current demonization of this concept. In ignorance, lovelessness has become normalized in our day-to-day interactions with one another.

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Believe it or not, we need love. Without care/nurturance, one of the several components that make love, we can die, whether in a metaphorical, spiritual sense, or a very literal, physical death. According to PsychologyToday.com researchers have discovered infant mortality rates are 30%-40% higher among babies in orphanages who lack nurturance during infancy. Those who don’t perish grow into persons who struggle with empathy, fearing physical touch and having trouble establishing connections with other people.. As a species who is dependent on one another to navigate through the world, this is a prime example of how necessary it is to have love at one’s foundation. Also, love is literally in the mind. Recent studies haves mapped out about 12 areas of the brain that function to convey our expression of love. Some of these areas release various chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, commonly known as “the love hormone,” proving, for the skeptics, that love is not a myth.

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Earlier I mentioned care as one aspect of love. Amongst care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect, and trust are all components that function to create love, according to bell hooks in her radical book All About Love: New Visions (1999). We typically think of love as being just one of the aforementioned, when love is the work of using all in conjunction in order to add to your own and/or another’s growth & development. By these different definitions it’s safe to see love as enrichment, a safe space for us as humans to freely develop into the empathetic, sentient beings we were meant to be. Put simply, love is a tool of freedom not an excuse to seek ownership over another person. Being controlling hinders growth, which is in the way of love’s goal.

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In conclusion, we could all use a little more love in our lives, especially now with the many crises occurring globally. As these innovative author’s and psychiatrist have clearly stated, love is an act of selflessness, extending parts of you for the benefit another person and in turn, becoming, also, a benefactor. We are losing fellow beings, brothers, sisters, and friends, whether literally by physical death, or spiritually via a diminishment of sanity and feelings of loneliness in a fully occupied world because of love’s lack. I propose a rerouting of the newly popular lovelessness through a mass reteaching of love’s true meaning in a world that seems to have forgotten the benefits of what it means to bathe in the richness of love.

Case Study, part one: Beautiful People.

beautiful people,
    lining up streets
    taking out shrapnel 970143_267108810101875_850091147_n
    and dancing off beat
beautiful people,
    clothed with their scars
    building their bridges 
    with old prison bars
beautiful people,
    singing off key,
    ‘down with your monopoly
    on our standards of beauty!’
beautiful people,  
     opening doors, 
     walking through fires
     and coming out in four
beautiful people,
     some sages, 
     some babies,
     some meek old ladies
     
     some Martin’s
     some martyrs
     some 300 missing daughters

284357_4073283304831_726547536_n beautiful people,
     who grew amongst weeds,
     who yielded true courage
    the fruit of imperishable seeds 

-Naomie Jean Pierre 

Do Not Mistake the Television for a Looking Glass.

I went to an event tonight that was focused on the empowerment of the Black Woman, and I must admit as much as I thought I knew about Women in general, I had no idea how much baggage they carried in the curve of  their smiles, with the excess spilling out of their pockets books. For that, I apologize. I have often mistaken the sass of Women, for outright disdain when it simply, could have been fatigue from walking around carrying the weight of not only her thoughts but the constant judgement the Black Woman bares the instant she exits her threshold. I will no longer fall victim to the insensitivity many of my Brothers have falling victim to, trying to tailor the Woman that wears her heart on her sleeve. 

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I have written in previous post about my love for the Black Woman, I see them all as personified art, with each curve and each follicle being a stroke of the creators paint brush, each somewhat similar but unapologetically unique at the same time. So this hits very close to home. Raised in a house with two older sisters, my Mother and Grandmother, I would never think that the pain they self imposed, whether it be a perm, or eyebrow waxing or what have you, would be so that they could go outside and be seen as an actual member of society. The mind set is so absurd, that one must  jump through hoops to look “desirable” on the outside for people to want to know the beauty that resides within. This world is tainted and I want to take the time out and use my medium to let every Woman that is reading this that if no one ever told you, you were beautiful, I am saying it right now! You Are Gorgeous! I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Do not hang your head for any reason because you were made in God’s image, so walk as if you are trying to talk to him face to face and thank him for your many blessing. DO NOT EVER apologize, for your complexion, your curves or the coarseness of your hair because you are so much more than any of those things. 

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The media has started this facade that all Women must be a default, no one varying from the next. Ladies this is a lie and you should not stand for it. If The Almighty wanted every Woman to look the same then he would have made you that way. Embrace your insecurities, sharpen them until they transform from a shield you hide behind to a sword that you fight with. The media is not real, what you see every morning is. Focus on the “Im every Woman”s and not the “Girl You Look Good Wont You Back That Thang Up”, even though I know that one genre heavily out weighs the other. The power of Man, in a general since of all human beings, comes from inside of you so for every compliment you do not get, you give yourself one and then give one to the girl who also may not have gotten one. Kindness has always been contagious, be the stone that causes miles of ripples in the Sea.

I hate when Men say that they apologize on behalf of all Men, that is asinine. I do apologize however for the times, however few, that I made any Woman feel as if you was not the Queen that she is. I make a promise to all Women that when my kingdom begins and my Queen and I welcome our Prince into the world, from day one he will be taught respect, humility and admiration for the beauty that lies within and outside of a women. My Princess will no that Daddy thinks she is gorgeous, and the television is a make believe place and the magazines tend to pretend that, the Women that call their pages home are perfect, and at this point I will point her to a mirror so she can see first hand want perfection really is.

As Always, I Love You, God Loves You, Love Yourself,

Man of Madu

What’s Love Got to do With It?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 

As young people we are very easily influenced by the environment around us, which is not always a bad thing but we need to realized that every example is not to be duplicated. This is especially true when it comes to matters of the heart.

Ever since I was little, I loved, love. I loved how there was no limit to it. I could run out of food, water, friends and family but two thing I would always have was air in my lungs and love in my heart. So I take it personally when people misuse the term to justify, irrational actions.

It is not only our Queens suffering from this, but it is very prominent. Ladies you must set a line that once crossed you put your feeling to the side in exchange for your happiness. Happiness is the most important thing to society and it is ALWAYS worth fighting for. Know that you are a Queen and deserve to be treated as such. There a roughly about 3 Billion men on this planet, statically for you to stay with an “Aint-Shit” guy is madness.

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But only you know your limits. I have seen many women wait too long and others wait until its too late. I pray for the eradication of the latter.

Love does not make someone stay in an unhealthy relationship, fears does. And God has not put fear in us, Man has done that. Notice I said Man and not Males, theres a difference.

I love my house to death but if it were to catch fire I would leave it in ahot second! Some of you need to get out of your burning houses.

Easiest way to know if your relationship is healthy is communication, if he/she if telling you they dont want you BELIEVE THEM! You deserve the best and dont settle for anything less!

You wouldnt trade a diamond for a stone, so why would you give your heart to someone so undeserving?

As Always; I love you, God loves you, Love yourself,

Man of Madu

“I Too Am America”: Post-Racial Reality by Upendo

So I’ve named this post after Langston Hughes poem “I Too, Sing America” for many reasons, the most significant reason being that America still has yet to formally/properly recognize its “darker brother”. I mean yes our President is Black and yes he has paid homage to our ancestors, but after today I pose the question “Why isn’t there a Slavery Remembrance Day?” After a brief conversation with one of my young sisters at Seton Hall University about today’s 36th Annual Interfaith Holocaust Remembrance Service I wonder have we become complacent? As a child who has been “ghettoized” in the inner-city life I see little if any progress for our people. The system still has the same oppressive capitalist agenda that enslaved our ancestors over 400 years ago and yet we all, (Black, White, Latino, Asian, etc,) are caste in it. We are still slaves selling our labor for as little as 25 dollars an hour as a server or 7.25 at McDonalds. Don’t get me wrong get your money, (we all have to survive), but what do we own? What capital have we built other than human capital?  What about the condition of the Motherland? We are worth much more than that and have the resources to do much more. Instead, we are feed into the illusion of the celebrity life and media of all facets to pacify this burning rage to  to escape this Matrix. .

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I had the honor, (along with a fellow brother and sister),  of introducing 16 Holocaust survivors, veterans, and liberators who each lit a candle in remembrance of all those murdered during the Holocaust. Over 15 million people. Each person had a story to tell from there experience as a survivor, not a victim. It dawned on me after the ceremony that we too should have a remembrance service as children of survivors,(if not survivors ourselves), veterans, and liberators. We are constantly victimized by Eurocentric history where stories of rebels like Martin Delany, Nat Turner, and the Haiti Slave rebellion have been lost. Have we too soon forgotten those lives stolen and those that have died during the Middle Passage? Or even brothers and sisters like Harriet Tubman, Fanny Lou Hamer, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X?

I’m still singing our song of redemption and dreaming for the day that Africa will write her own history of dignity. As Nas said our diaspora IS the final chapter; it is time we WAKE UP from the American Dream. It was never meant for everybody. Do we as a people even still have a dream or have so forgotten that “[We] are the Hope and Dream of the Slave”? (Maya Angelou) Our ancestors are probably turning in their graves; it is no wonder that the world has literally been shooken up with natural disasters. The ancestors are calling, but are we listening or is Soulja Boy too loud? We may be living in a time that is more tolerant of the so called “other” but prejudice and discrimination are still very much a reality. But, people don’t seem to respect or have concern for the history of slavery and racism. They seem to have become topics “That are not up for discussion” just as much as rape or repressed as if it never happened. Holocaust, Genocide, Slavery of any kind against any people is wrong. I empathize with all who have gone through any of these experiences and I honor every survivor of any wrongdoing because all who have survived are Strong Beautiful and Inspiring beings.

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I found Hope today for our people in a Polish woman named Luna who encouraged me to be Brave and to step out on Faith. Lord knows I have been struggling with so many fears and anxieties about the future and what it has to hold for the children. But, she believed in me today more than I believed myself to simply be who I am and to speak as I am. I didn’t have to say a word, she knew by looking at me the burden that is weighing heavy on my back. The burden to set our people free and to continue to push forward. She opened her heart and shared her story of Hope and said  to me “You have to believe you will be free no matter how hard it gets, that is key.” So right now I believe and I believe that we should remember who we are and stop hiding behind what the media sells us. We are much more than Beyonce, Jay-Z, Obama, Al Sharpton. We each are creators, musicians, fighters, and lovers rich with culture, knowledge, and wisdom. Each of us holds the POWER to redeem and emancipate ourselves. SO LET’S DO IT! Educate yourself become well versed in politics know the name of the game and observe so you can play to win and winner takes all. Someone grab a Black girl and tell her that she is Beautiful ask her to sing her song of Joy and Strength. Tell a young Black boy that he is a Warrior, a Protector, and a Lion fierce with ambition and pride for his people.

Today was a liberating experience to see people come together to host such an uplifting event of remembrance that gave Hope back to the community. We are all brothers and sisters, all one flesh and blood and we all can live in harmony together if we recognize, embrace, and accept every piece of who we are. My Beautiful Black people remember who we are as a people because if we don’t no one else will fight for us. No one is going to stand up and demand respect and dignity for every person of African decent expect ourselves. As one of three African American students in the entire auditorium and it baffled me to so few. We have to acknowledge slavery and the Native American genocide as a moment in history like the Holocaust and stop sweeping it under the rug.

We still live in genocidal conditions today and are being eradicated, yet ,we continue to buy Jordans and follow the system like Black Zombies. I’m not saying that we should all dwell on Slavery, what I am saying is that it is time we stand up and say “I Too, Sing America” because I Too Am America. We are a part of American history and it is troubling to see how programs such as Black Studies are somehow becoming extinct as if the fight for A Black Identity never existed at all. Or maybe it’s just not in style to be Afrocentric anymore. But whatever the case, if we do not demand our own dignity and pride in our heritage, is else going to? Has our ancestral past become so obsolete that we are willing to assimilate and condemn our souls to the Shadow hell of Eurocentricty? I mean hello, everything in the Political Arena has become a strategic move on the Chess board and Our Queen, (Africa), is in trouble. Yet, it seems the concept of Black politics has been whitewashed just as much as Beyonce, (no offense Bey I feel you but I dont hear you). We so solemnly question the motives of celebrities and the media and what it is being programed into our minds for us to believe. Newsflash: THE REVOLUTION IS NOT TELEVISED.

THE MESSIAH IS IN YOU. WE are MOSES.

Being that I am a fourth generation out of slavery and a first generation college student I have bore witness to the struggle of a revolutionary. I am no reactionary woman that is for sure. And for my brothers as Assata Shakur once said, “A Revolutionary woman can’t have no a Reactionary man”. So I implore you to WAKE UP! STAND UP FOR YOU RIGHT! Support one another and love one another! Stop fighting each other and UNITE! Remember who we were, who we are and who we will be after today. Because Hope is alive, but I question are we?

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Peace and Respect,

UPENDO