Tag Archives: unity

Am I My Brothers Keeper?

I was recently at an event at my University about use of the N-Word, when a question was raised: Why do we greet each other with ‘Whats up Nigga?”, when it used to be “Whats up BROTHER?”. The host responded saying that it was just a change in the times. I respectfully disagree. There is no way that time has changed the word Brother to Nigga. The times are the same it is our mentality that changed. Personally I still refer to many of my peers as Brother, so am i behind on the times? I think not.
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As a people we have somehow fallen into a mindset that we are no longer apart of a large family fighting the same battles. We now see each other as competition, incapable of compassion for this pseudo-enemy that we have fabricated in our minds. There was a time where everyone was referred to as your Sister or Brother, now if you say it, you are looked at as eccentric. As if just the thought of you being equal with another person of color is this obscure concept to be shut down. There is nothing wrong with climbing a ladder and reaching down to help someone that slipped.
Unknown-28“Nigga” displays a sense of inequality no matter how you spin in. When we get out of the ‘crabs in a barrel’ mindset as a people we will then be able to thrive. Someone somewhere instilled the thought that if you do not make it on your own then it does not count, however that is not now nor has it ever been the case. Most of us do not have trust fund or any huge bounty awaiting us to come of age, all we truly have is each other. If you look at the news they do not care, where you are from or what you have as far as they are concerned we are all the same. It is not just the hoodlums that are being murdered by those sworn to protect, it is the student, the teacher, the lawyer, whoever unfortunate enough to adorn the influx of melanin that was bestowed upon us in the womb.
If we do not see each other as equal then why the hell should those in power? Last time I check there was no identifier that makes you better than another, so if you are on a pedestal, I pray it is so you can kneel upon it to gain the leverage needed to pull up another. The shines of your success will never, dim that of another’s but if you cross the path of another who has yet to find their light, then by all means use your light to illuminate their path so that they too can become a lighthouse to the many lost ships out there. So in short, Yes, I am my Brother’s keeper. And my Sister’s as well.
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As Always I Love You, God Loves You, LOVE Yourself,
Man of Madu

Who’s next??

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Martin, Malcolm, Medgar, Jessie, Rev. Al, Andrew, Huey, and Nelson. Who’s next in line? All of these great men made impact’s on society. Who can we say have stepped into their footsteps and made a new path? There are several reasons (will only name 3) why we do not have leaders like the ones I’ve named. 

1. Lack of Transition  

In order to build great leaders we must reach back and mentor individuals who we can see has potential to continue the fight. Many times individuals whom we keep around us because we see great things in them are only able to watch what the leader does and never received teaching on how it is done. Hence, leaving the next generation of leaders trying to figure out how things are done without the background knowledge. 

For example, in math class teachers would annoy us by wanting to see how we derived to our answers. Sometimes our methods were wrong even though we still received the same answers. Similar to becoming a great leader, at times people know how to look at a problem and solve it by creating a movement of change. Yet without knowing how to properly organize, ignite, and motivate the people the movement will only become a moment and die out quickly. 

When the Trayvon Martin case happened it sparked a momentum amongst black people to unite and stand for justice. However, hundreds of black males wrongfully die daily but we do not fight for every man. Just like in the 1950-1960s,  blacks were lynched daily. Sure Negros at the time could have become desensitized but they decided to address the issue head on and make strides to fight against lynching. Today, we must ban together and fight against wrongful killings amongst our black man via blacks against other races, blacks on blacks, and blacks being put into the system to kill off their dreams. 

 

2. Lack of Support 

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 Where is the U-N-I-T-Y? What happened to everyone under the African diaspora uniting for greater causes? If a Hitler type arose in American wanting to kill blacks he would not separate the African Americans from the Caribbean Americans from the Africans? Guess what…we would all die because of the pigment of our skin which unites us back to the same continent. 

Too many times blacks have developed this “Look out for yourself” mentality. When did that develop? When did the black community stop looking out for one another? The biggest problem with blacks uniting is lack of support from other blacks. There was a time when blacks knew if they stood up for a cause that they could at least depend on their brothers and sisters to support them. Now, blacks will throw one another under the bus and not think twice about it. 

How were movements, such as the Civil Rights Movement and the fight to get African American studies in schools, able to occur without the support of blacks fighting for a cause. We must learn how to unite behind the new leaders that blossom out of our society. Everyone did not trust Martin, Malcolm or Medgar at first. However, they respected their positions and respected the way they carried themselves. In addition, they held them up when they were weak and encouraged them when they felt the pressure of the world on their shoulders. We can’t tear them down the first time they make a mistake or not do things the way we would do them if we had the courage enough to stand in their place. 

 

3. Hegemony 

The media decides what we listen to, what news we are given, and who we notice in society. This is called hegemony (taking whatever society gives us and never questioning it). If you want knowledge-you must search for it yourself. For example, out of the many slave narratives televised each year in February, why is it that we had to wait until 2013 to hear a slave narrative from an educated black man who was kidnapped and wrote a book about his experience  in 1853. Makes us question, how many other books have been written by educated blacks which have not been televised? 

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I am certain there are individuals from the African diaspora who are doing positive things in the community. Yet the media does not televise them as they should. However, the news will have a 2 minute segment on Sharkeisha. Or better yet, they will manipulate a television show which educated blacks for 30 minutes Monday-Thursday to once a week for an hour. Where is that BET show now? None existent on television like our new leaders. 

I am not stating there are not individuals who are doing their best to make changes in society. However, how long will it take the media to recognize those individuals and crown them the new Martin, Malcolm or Medgar? We need to acknowledge that the leaders of the last century are getting older and tired. Now is the time for new blood, new energy, and new ideas with the right foundation. So I repeat my first  question again….Who’s Next???

Kwanzaa: Ujima and the Accountability of the Community.

To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.

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The principle that is similar to Umoja, Ujima shows the second step in executing unity effectively. Not only making sure we are together and on the same page, but being responsible and accountable for the entire community. This principle not only shows the means to stick together when the roads are rough, but to walk hand in hand and fight the powers of struggle together. 

Ujima is very important because it shows that the fight for African freedom, in all parts of the world, is necessary all the time. No unjust should be silenced. In order to fight, we must accept the responsibility of serving for our community and fighting the powers that stand in the way.  

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Public service workers, workers in the non profit sector, community organizers and activist are thanked for their plight of  Ujima everyday. Taking their jobs and civic duties to help the people is very much appreciated in taking responsibility for the community. Implementing programs for the youth, decreasing cost for government programs, enforcing assistance, and creating a space to bring the community together is very much the accountability that is needed. 

AfroMadu challenges you to become responsible for your brothers and sisters. Unite because your life depends on it. And when the rough gets tough and the forces are against us? Fight like you can’t fight anymore.

Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility.  

Kwanzaa: Umoja: U.N.I.T.Y

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December 26th marks the first day of Kwanzaa reflecting on the principle of unity. Unity is such an overrated concept that everyone takes for granted, but are we really all really unified?

This year definitely threw loop holes and fireballs at the Black community. Not saying that any other year hasn’t, but with police brutality, innocent killings, unemployment rising, and a heck of social disparities, the Black community is looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. We have had enough with the inequalities and unfairness in the world….But it has to start from us. The power is with the people. The control is within the self.

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We try to find ways out of this mess by working and studying hard to make a decent living, but we forget this main principle every time. Many of us will move of our neighborhoods and forget where we even came from. The idea of unifying and ensuring that not only that one person can get the help they need, but for the best of all is a value that is needed to instill. To the “successful” people in powerful positions: what are the ideas and tips to helping the rest build their personal capital? To the people with knowledge: How are you helping others acquire the same? To the people who have great skills: What are you doing to help others learn your skill? The power is within the people. Thus, unity is so vital in the Black community.

On this day, lets remember that we will always need help in this world in order to continue growing. You cannot do everything by yourself. Unifying things like your family, the youth, your community can help build the greatest empire.

Umoja: Unity.

#SupremeBlackout

Hip Hop is a large piece of African American culture. In a time where drugs and poverty were ruining the black family, hip hop was a way for young blacks to let out their frustrations in a positive manner. Hip Hop saved a lot of lives by young Men and Women choosing to put down a gun and picking up a mic.

The AfroMadu team was blessed with opportunity to be apart of an amazing experience. We were able to witness how Hip-Hop has evolved, and see first hand how, the more things change, the more they stay the same. We were serenaded by songstresses and enlightened by MCs. As a Hip Hop enthusiast I was shocked and relieved that there was still so much talent playing in front of my eyes.

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The event, The Supreme Blackout, which took place at Nicholas in Brooklyn, was truly a gracious experience. In addition to amazing music there were also massages, assorted hand crafted jewelry, and organic libations. Nicholas’ themselves, are a cool shop full of clothing, incense, and a lot of Afro-Parafinalia.

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The vibe was so smooth, you could spread it with a butter knife. Our hosts for the evening were the Bi-Lingual, Duo, Negros Americanos, hailing from the hometown of AfroMadu’s founder, Plainfield, NJ. MC Elijah Black and DeShawn Supreme were the first two performers and each brought that raw Hip Hop deep rooted in personal experience.

image-12Dread Blaq is a dope songstress who rapped a little, sang a little and finished up by playing Nat King Cole on a Violin……A VIOLIN!!!! Blak Orfan are a girl duo who have that old school swagger, reminiscent of Queen Latifah and other Old School FemCees.

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Danielle Watson came heavy with that reggae vibe that just made you want to better yourself and those around you. Her cohort played harmony on guitar and had a smooth West Indian voice, that complimented Danielle in a way that you just had to close your eyes and bop to them. The show closed out with our host taking over the stage and performing songs in both English and Spanish which was incredible! Even though I do not speak a lick of Spanish the beats backing them was enough for me to musically not skip a beat.

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I left the event feeling as if I just left a church service! Feeling revived and ready for the next event just like this one! If any of our future events are half as good as this one, you do not want to miss it!!

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Ball, You Aint Never Lied!!

AfroMadu is using our voice to attempt to put an end to obesity in the youth as well as the African-American community. So I am going to try to preach on some Basketball Court Etiquette. With these steps you will not only be ballin but also make some good friends. Now I LOVE Basketball it is like poetry in motion to me, and I take it very seriously, as do those you will be playing with. A lot of these rules apply to any interactions with large groups so pay attention.

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1. Bring Your Own Ball: If you go to a court there is a high possibility that there will already be a game in progress. Now is the time to silently plead your case for “Next”. While on the sidelines, dribble constantly, if you know some fancy stuff, show off! Now this is not a try out for an And 1 mixtape so leave all the ‘under the shirt wrap around’ nonsense at home. You look like a clown, this is serious. Personally I, just do some simple stationary crossover moves maybe a behind the back and leave it at that. Nothing is worse than trying to show off and having the ball roll into the middle of their game, you will be the wrong kind of attention.

In a business setting, you do not want to show up to a board meeting without your own pen and pad, but at the same time you do not want to show up with ALL of your gadgets because it makes you look like a douche.

2. Be Patient: The average game is played to the low teens, 11, 13, 15, but on occasion there is a game to 21 so be patient. My biggest pet peeve is someone asking me every basket what score is, while I’m trying to play D or set screens…etc. Also the rule of the ghetto is you have to win by 2, so keep that in mind while you are waiting. Make use of this time introduce yourself to everyone else waiting to hit the court because they are most likely apart of your community and who knows they might be your teammate in 10 minutes. If they are playing half court use the other half to warm up, jumpers, layups all that fun stuff.

In the real world you NEVER know who you are talking to so it is always imperative to show yourself in a positive light. At that internship anyone could be anyone. In an elevator you could be next to the window washer or the head of HR so you can not be shy.

3.Be Confident: Make it known that you got NEXT! Do not be overlooked as a spectator. You have to be sure of yourself! If they ask if you nice, you immediately answer in the affirmative. No one wants to play with someone who does not know whether or not they have talent.

If you were the Head of a company would you hire someone who was unsure of themselves, I wouldn’t.

4.No Your Limits: You have to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. I am 5’11, so I am not going to ask for no alley oops! Also Im a somewhat big guy, so if I get the ball in the open floor, Im not going to try and cross nobody, I will pass or pull up! Also I know I’m a defender so that what I try to display the most. You have to know where you shine, so that next time you hit the court, they tell you that you have next, you don’t have to ask!

Every interviewer will ask you your strengths and weaknesses, you have NO weaknesses! You rephrase your strengths to answer the question. If you are ambitious, then your weakness is you often push yourself to your limits in order to complete multiple assignments to a level that is above average.

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Use these tips to get healthy and hired!!

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

Man of Madu