Rap x Trap = New Message

Entertainment and art are two very important spheres that can transcend and define a movement. Right now, our generation needs positive vibes and we need positive, uplifting music. The new tracks I’m hearing in 2016 are a lot more mellow, sensitive and open-minded than the tracks that were out say in 1998 or 2000, like Ruff Ryder’s Anthem or 50 Cent’s What Up Gangsta, or a number of any other gun-slinging, hoe-slapping “hits”. These are truly hits, hits to the Black morale, to the Black collective, to Black unity–they were hitting us like bombs–because it’s not the message we needed back then and definitely not what we need now.

Instead, I’m hearing more about the beauty of the Black female and more bars discussing the tragedy of police brutality against our brothers and sisters. Future, Drake, Kanye West are showing that healthy relationships are not only attainable but desirable, even though we still hear the “H” word and “B” word. What I want to see is a call from these artists, both locally and internationally, to unite and uplift the people. We need messages of hope, cohesion and encouragement. Not encouragement to stay in the traphouse and grind, but to work on that degree, get married to a brother or sister and focus on what is truly important which is not chains, trips around the world or cars with heavy artillery.

I still don’t think I’m at a point where I’d allow my son to listen to rap music. I feel the overlying message is still very destructive to a young psyche. But at the same time, the face of rap has changed. It’s not about pimps and macho guys in bullet-proof vests. As we evolve and reach a certain collective consciousness about our reality and what obstacles we face, I hope our music can reflect that and offer a portal of entertainment but also a sense of empowerment and exclusivity. We need music by us, for us, that is relateable. The struggle is always relatable, but it’s time to take the conversation to what happens when we are ready for a new Black identity and how to fabricate that into our music. That needs to be our new message.




Fragile Like China


The dating game is tough when you’re single. I know it. Throw in being a single parent, or just arriving from another country, or emerging as a broke graduate–there’s always another aspect to make it difficult. But one thing that is worth it is the outcome: Black love. If you aren’t on the Black love train yet, get on it. It’s worth the ride and destination. It’s going to lead you towards a new consciousness, a new awareness of the collective Black people, unity and power. If you are striving for a Caucasian partner as the highest prize, then you are not striving high enough, my friend.

I am in a new relationship (early dating phase) with my young king. That new Black love is not just new because he’s someone I’m getting to know, but it’s new because there is a stratum of significance that is occurring as two Black people meet and fall in love. I am treating this relationship, guarding this newfound love like delicate china. I am peeling back the layers of lies, of distrust and inferiority that Western culture has placed on the Black man to reveal the beauty, the truth and the power of the Black man. And indeed, he is all these things and more.

We as queens have to have our king’s backs, and have them pick us up and regard us as nothing less than royalty. We need to hold our heads up high and regard each other in the highest calibre. When we decide that we want nothing less than a Black queen or king, when we begin to emanate that respect and admiration for our own people then that love will soon follow. And if the brother you are with, or sister now isn’t on the same wavelengths as you; there is someone out there waiting for you who will love you and bring out the queen or king in you. Don’t settle for anything less!



Winter Health Care


   If you, like me, live in Northern regions, winter can get really cold and depressing. It’s important as African people to take care of our health, especially in alien regions that do not mean the unique needs of our bodies. This is the time to be eating a lot of root vegetables, clear soups and teas. Among my favourite teas for winter are: St John’s wort (this helps with the depression due to lack of sun and light); chamomile tea (a lovely immune-booster); ginseng tea (another immune-booster!) and of course peppermint! Read below for vitamins you should stockpile for the dreary season ahead.

Cod Liver Oil

Yes, the oil we had been force-fed as a child makes me cringe, too. It tastes awful but this is some really powerful stuff for many reasons. For one thing, it has a high level of Vitamin D and for people with melanin this is a great, easy way to inject this vitamin into the body during low sun months. Vitamin D deficiencies can lead to serious health problems.

Also, cod liver oil has a high level of Omega-3s which is why our parents probably told us taking cod liver oil would help us be “the head, and not the tail of the class”. It certainly helps with cognitive function and helps boost the immune from disease and inflammation. Along with St John’s wort, cod liver oil is another natural way to fight the winter blues. If you find you are depressed in the winter, take some cod liver oil! Other benefits are: preventing heart disease, osteoporosis; lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure, protects eye sight, preventing kidney disease and healing skin wounds and fractures.

Vitamin C

Don’t forget your Vitamin C this winter too to help ward off illness, and speed up cell reproduction. Ascorbic acid is not the entire vitamin C though and it is best to reap the full benefits of vitamin C by eating orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. This is the time to make the curried butternut squash soups and make those papaya smoothies. As well as fighting those colds and flus, vitamin C is important for brain function as well. Other foods naturally rich in vitamin C include: all citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwifruit, bell peppers, guava (who doesn’t like guava juice??), dark leafy greens like spinach and kale (who else is thinking calaloo?), broccoli, cauliflower and melons. If you puree cauliflower with garlic and make cauliflower soup–you have a super cold and flu fighter!

Exercise + Fresh Air

I’m an all-season cyclist, and I take my 2 year old son out in the snow on the bike trailer every day. Being outside regularly, even in the frigid cold, actually really helps you feel great. If we have been cooped up too long in the house, even a 20 minute walk around the neighbourhood climbing snow piles is refreshing.

Other ways to get in some daily exercise is skating, skiing, snowboarding, snow-shoeing, cycling, going to an indoor swimming pool and sledding down a nearby hill. Just playing some Tag with the children in the snow, making snowmen and having a plain old snow-fight still counts as exercise too. Grabbing a cup of tea and going for a walk with your special person or friends, admiring the holiday lighting or an outside performance will keep those winter blues at bay. Plus, if you have some  yummy immune-boosting soup waiting for you at home, there’s plenty of reasons to smile and be healthy this cold season! winternaturalhairwoman





The Darker The Berry

PC: @beybe_baby IG

  To be a pure African is to not have the undiluted blood that some of us in the Diaspora have due to intermingling with colonizers and slaveowners, due to rape and due to the free choice of choosing a marriage partner of a different origin. Our skin is important. If we keep lightening and lightening it, Black is really going to be yellow and golds. I want my own children to be pure African, much darker than my brown skin tone because I have diluted African blood. 

    To not want to be dark chocolate, richly hued black in skin tone is to believe that black is not beautiful, not divine, not worthy. And Black, very black, is beautiful, divine, worthy and pure. This is about colorism. We all know there is a large fixation with beautiful biracial people. But what about upholding the belief that very dark Africans are also as beautiful and worthy? 

   In order to look in the mirror and see our ancestors, and look at our children and see Mother Africa, we cannot create the image of the European. We have to create the image of the African. The African’s image is not flawed, it is not defected, and it is not inferior. Our features are beautiful and unique, they rightfully belong to us and we should think long and hard before we decide to let them disappear in the name of a looser curl and a lighter eye. 

   Our Black girls are as beautiful and unique as their biracial counterparts. It is up to us, the Black community, to let them know they are   admired and accepted as the standard of African beauty–they are the pinnacle of Black beauty. All Blackness is derived from them. We have to teach our Black boys they don’t need to look like white boys. They are handsome and strong and worthy. Our goal as a Black community is to intermingle with each other and make our babies African again. 

Peace and love!

Change the Community

Instead of leaving the ghetto, we are supposed to transform the ghetto. I like in a small, redneck rural town and my first response was: this racism is too much, I’m leaving. But instead of leaving, I want to be part of what makes my small town great for Black people.

 Despite being very white, at 90% of the population, my town does have a mix of Africans straight from the Motherland and a handful of non-white people who are in town for work or to attend the prestigious university from major cities across Canada. My goal is to always greet and meet any Black person I come across, and I extend that courtesy to other non-white people. It is difficult getting a job here if you are not white, and it is important to unite, network and support one another in the Black community.

   There are only 4 Black students at my college, 3 girls (including myself) and one boy. I have already established a social connection introducing one to the other, switching social media and phone numbers and meeting outside of school. One student is from Liberia, the other is a local and the boy is shy so I don’t know. But the more we connect and create a space in such a racially hostile territory, then the easier it is for other Black newcomers to the city to feel a sense of belonging and safety. 

Charlotte Uprising

Usually when I hear a story of another Black brother shot in the States, I immediately feel anger and frustration. But when I heard about what the organized, militant protest in Charlotte, I felt hope. As a Canadian, I often feel helpless but today I scrutinized a few ways Canadians and others in the Diaspora can help our American comrades fighting with their lives for liberation.

 First, we must be with them on a conscious level. We must offer our positive vibes, we must pray for them to our ancestors. We have to separate ourselves from the notion that White Is Right. White, no matter how innocent it may appear, will not and has not suffered for liberation. We must separate ourselves from white ideology and think African unification.

   Secondly, we need to raise funds for our comrades whether it’s just $5 or $10, or $20. Each comrade protesting is taking time from work to fight for their right to live. They may not have a job when they return. They may have dependents. They may need supplies during the protests. It is our responsibility as Black Canadians who are fighting for freedom in North America to aid our comrades who are literally fighting. Freedom for one, is freedom for all. We are one.

   We must spread awareness through social media, alerting other people to their plight and effort. We must show the world we are in solidarity and we must show we are paying attention to the injustices in our neighbouring country.

   Lastly, if some of us are able to do so, we must go to the States and lend manpower and show that the killing of Black people is affecting us internationally. If there is a protest in nearby New York or Chicago you can attend, drive or bus it and attend. We cannot sit like cowards in Canada, afraid to fight and afraid to lend a voice. It is time we turn anger into action.

reAfricanization – Attire

I recently went out on Etsy and purchased some African traditional attire for my 2 year old son and I. It is one thing to believe in Pan-African values, but it is another to actually make it a daily part of your life, or rather integrate it into your life to the point that Western culture has very little effect on you. By dressing in African attire, it serves as a conscious reminder that we are Africans with a culture and heritage living in the Diaspora, to ourselves and those we encounter. 

    Just as we may acknowledge an Indian in a kurta, or a Tibetan Buddhist with prayer beads, we can be proud in the fact we have a heritage and culture as well. When I am wearing a crown, or a Kente print dress, I feel a great deal of pride in my African ethnicity and culture. I am not here to compete with people who created their own Western ideal, I am here to experience the culture that was created for me by my people, this is my birthright.

   Should Africans dress like Africans even though we may live in New Jersey, or Vancouver or Amsterdam? It’s really up to you, there are Africans from the Motherland who wear African attire for special occasions and some who wear African attire 24/7. It’s really up to the individual. As a Canadian-born African, the desire to wear African attire is completely motivated by my love of my people and culture and a desire to unite with other Africans. It is also motivated by a need to rediscover what an African identity looks like for someone who has been removed from the Motherland for so many generations. I cherish everything I can get my hands on to piece together that identity whether it’s a story of my great-grandmother or an African headscarf.