Tag Archives: women

Guest Submission: Women’s Disciplines.

Author and scholar, Alice Walker, shed light on a discipline that made Black women feel at the center. There are two disciplines, which are broken into two parts, feminism and womanism. Womanism was first coined by Walker in a narrative essay entitled “Womanism: Coming Apart.” In 1983, Walker went into depth further when she explained just exactly who the womanist is.

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Each of the disciplines can be problematic for some. For an example, feminism falls into two categories [white] feminism and Black feminism. Womanism is also broken down into womanism, coined by Walker and Africana womanism, which was coined by Clenora Hudson-Weems. Each of the disciplines have stated the problem, as most disciplines do. Feminism is problematic on so many different levels because although there were Black women who were the first feminists, the construct like many others faced a “manifest destiny.” This meaning that the ideology was removed and stripped by white supremacist though or the social construct of whiteness. 

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When white feminists first began their movement, many of them were abolitionists. Even then, the white abolitionists within the slave period had no understanding that slavery was not the overall issue. Our history has taught us that. Humanity was an even larger issue. Once enslaved Africans were freed they were exposed to another world of problems thanks to what whiteness represented.  Black women were not included into the [white] feminist conversation. Why? Black women, the African woman had agency over herself before slavery, during slavery and after slavery. Enslaved Africans viewed their slaveowner’s wives as defenseless creatures. Even in enslavement, the African woman, knew and recognized her role and how important that would be for her people. Slavery, never allowed for her to lose sight of that. Feminism appeared to be more about working, something that African women were already breaking their backs to do, identity, something that African women were consciously aware of because of the extreme trauma that they faced, and being in the white man’s shoes, which was not a desire of the AFRICAN woman. Therefore, in so many ways many both men and women of African descent view feminists who not only identifies the man as the enemy within our patriarchal society, but within the same breath actually desires to wear his shoes. 

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Alice Walker states in “Womanist” (1983) that the womanist is “committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female.” The question must be asked does feminism do the same thing in both white and Black disciplines? Walker also states that a  womanist is “wanting to know more and in greater depth than considered “good” for one.” This means, that the Black woman is concerned about Black people and not just Black women. She values and loves the Black woman “sexually and/or nonsexually,” but also has this same feeling for the Black man. A womanist has an understanding that we have faced so much together as a people, that it would make no sense within a white supremacist society to identify one another as the enemy. Who is the enemy? What white men and white WOMEN represent is the enemy to the discipline of womanism. Whiteness is the enemy. Walker when she coined womanism did have every intention on the attempt to support Black feminists, because they are our sisters. Hudson-Weems felt as though womanism was still too much similar to the discipline of feminism. Africana womanism, chooses to identify the homeplace, which is Africa. Not only is Africana womanism about agency as women, it is about the agency of being African. Womanism and Africana womanism has many differences, but they both target “whiteness” as the ultimate issue, because of the collective social injustices that we face in this world.

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-Melanie “CoCo” McCoy

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Audre Lorde: Use of Anger; Sister Outsider.

Allow this excerpt to be the foundation of language that is presented in this post:

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The stereotypical thought of Black women always being angry, as shown in the text, is not to scare or send people away, but an outlet from the sense of rage that we deal with on a daily basis. The intersectionality of both race and gender and realizing that while idea of White supremacy is dawning on people, the patriarchal views of men ESPECIALLY Black men can be a daunting factor to Black women. Lorde’s statement, “My anger has meant pain to me but it has also meant survival, and before I give it up I’m going to be sure that there is something at least as powerful to replace it on the road to clarity.”, shows how anger is a coping mechanism to the oppression that is faced.

As a Black women, this text was very relatable to my past experiences. Encountering racism on a daily basis and birthing rage from feeling oppressed only allows me to turn rage into anger and find ways to get through the dark tunnel of oppression.

Audre Lorde’s work, here, shows that it is ok to be mad or angry about the situations you are in. This anger, if used correctly, is consciously making choice to not lash out on the things that bother you. Lorde shows Black women that we are all in this together and are feelings are noticed and have meaning to it.  What do you think about the text? Let us know! 

#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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Revitalize Yo’ Hair!

We’ve all had those couple of days, weeks…. and if you’re me, months when you completely let go off your hair routine. 

You just say “fahget about it” and let your hair’s health sit on the back burner. 
Perhaps you’re busy with school, work, or just having a lazy weekend. When you come back to the real world your hair is dry, you’re suffering from single strand knots, breakage and a slew of other hair issues.
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Where do you go from here? Deep conditioning? Protein treatment? Oil Rinse? One of those may work, but if you’ve neglected your hair for an extended period of time you will need more than that. 

For two months I let me hair do it’s own thing. I did everything half-way… I sorta washed it, I kinda moisturized it, I may have kept my ends protected. When I woke up and smelled the roses my hair was a mess. I was suffering from dry, flaky, bleeding scalp; my ends where serious damaged and my hair was shredding like no tomorrow. I took 6 hours out of my Friday night to revitalize my hair and it worked tremendously. Whether you let you hair slide for a couple day, months or just need something to give your hair some extra life – I suggest you try this…

 

1- Avocado + Egg Hair Mask – 2 hours 

IMG_20130913_210541Tools: 
1/2 a ripe avocado 
1 egg 
coconut oil 
castor oil 
hand mixer or whisk 
bowl

 

 

Step One: Add your avocado and egg into the bowl, mix with the hand mixer on high power 
Step Two: Heat up your oils (I just the bottles in the sink under running hot water) 
Step Three: Add Oils to the avocado and egg mixture, blend on high power until there are very little avocado chunks left.
Step Four: Wet your hair – you can use a spray bottle or run you hair under water 
Step Five: Divided you hair into four to six sections and work the mixture into your hair from root to ends  
Step Six: Cover your hair with a shower cap. (I tripled up on the shower caps and wrapped my head with a t-shirt to promote heat)

 

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Let it sit for an hour to an hour and half. 

2- Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse – 15 minutes  

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Apple Cider Vinegar 
an empty bottle of water

Step One: Mix 3 part water and 1 part ACV in the empty of water. 
Step Two: Wash your hair out with this ‘potion’ — working section by section 
*tip* be very careful not to get this mixture in your eyes, nose or mouth. 
Step Three: Thoroughly rinse your hair out 

– Your hair should feel much lighter with extreme bounce. Your curly pattern should also be very defined. 

Here’s a photo of my extremely defined hair strand:

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3- Deep Conditioner – 1 hour 

Tools: 
Your favorite deep conditioning product [ I used Creme Of Nature Intensive Conditioning Treatment pack] 

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Step One: work your conditioning treatment into your hair, root to tip 
Step Two: Put a plastic shower cap on your head and let it sit for an hour 
Step Three: Rinse it out thoroughly

After Care – You can follow this line – up by putting a protective style such like braids, twist or hair weave in OR you can style as usually. 
I followed this with a Bantu knot out and achieved great results . 

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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

Chapters 1-3: Realization

“Waiting for the world to be made.”

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Hurston’s beginning chapters started off with Janine current issue of her husband dying, and the flashback of how her life used to be. Janine thought of her bearing love to be a pear tree when she was younger, having the tree bloom with fruitful spirits and plenty of shade to secure her love and trust in a man. Her tree was then rot when she was forced to marry a man that she couldn’t find love in her heart to accept. Janine, still pitying herself for marrying a complete stranger because of the command of her Nanny wanted to love so much but couldn’t.

“You know honey, us colored folks is branches without roots and that makes things come round in queer ways.”

It is clear here that for centuries, Black women have been dealing with force and the baggage of doing things for others. In order for Janine to be on good terms with Nanny, the lady that practically raised her, she had to marry a man that she barely knew. Janine is still looking for her Pear tree love, that burning passion that she has for love, so bad until she is forcing herself to love a man that she doesn’t want to love.

How do you feel about the baggage and force that Janine has to deal with in these first chapters? 

Working out the New Trend?

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Obesity rates are rising and the government seems to be clueless as to why great amounts of Americans are becoming overweight and healthy. It is because they choose to become obese? Can people afford to be healthy?

Maintaining health in America today is another burden that citizens have to worry about. Between high priced health care in order to obtain daily checkups and proper treatments, to the high cost of organic and healthy food, the odds of living a healthful life is SUPER hard. People result in surviving off of the things that they can afford which means consuming fatty, processed food and sugary drinks that are in their price range rather than fresh fruits, vegetables and essentials to proper eating.

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..But there is hope. Trends of working out and staying fit has been the latest talk, especially during the summer, for people to work out on beach bodies and keeping fit for the summer. More gyms and weight rooms are making a come back in business and stores are  promoting and selling more workout clothes and paraphernalia. Is working out the new trend?

It is definitely time for us to wake up when it comes to our health. In the Black community ESPECIALLY we lack the desire to eat healthier and stay fit. Its time for a change. The constant excuse of being to busy or not having a budget for working out is probably the lamest one. We cannot continue to let our laziest control us!

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In the beautiful summer season, really think about your eating and fit habits. It doesn’t take a lot to develop healthy habits and stay fit. Here’s a few small tips for take control of your health!

Exercise: Running is one of the best ways to start your work out journey. Waking up 30 mins before work or school and running around the block every morning can make a huge difference in dominating cardio and beginning to get healthier. If running is too hard to start at first, walking can always be the beginning. Not only will you look better but feel better from the energy that was used.

Water: A free natural source that everyone has access to? WATER! Enough with the sugary drinks. All they do is give you more muffin to the top. Substitute water for every time you decide to drink a can of soda are a juice drink. It works in a million ways.

Educate Yourself: Nothing is better than learning more about your health and what you can do to improve it. Continue to read about tips, testimonies, workout plans, and other health and fitness stuff you can find. Knowing is Power!

It is clear that working out is becoming a trend so why not hop on this healthy bandwagon! This is could be the start of something life changing so start today!