Tag Archives: lifestyle

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. 

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Nation Building

Today, after a morning in town, where I received scornful glances for wearing a Nigerian cloth headscarf, I dreamt of moving to Africa and being surrounded by dark, African people. I daydreamed about blending in with my sisters at the market, of dancing to the drumbeat and watching my son play soccer with the boys–children who looked just like him. 

  But, repatriation is not that simple for many Africans in the Diaspora. Especially, as a single mom in Canada, I’d be trading one oppression for another! I live in a town that is 95% White, which keeps me very aware of the unyielding white supremacist attitudes towards Black people on a daily, constant basis. But this awareness is not a negative thing. If you do not like where you are living, then make it great! 

   Canada has great potential for nation-building and connecting with the Motherland without making a dramatic decision like repatriation. I have visited the West Indies, US, England and France and I do like living in Canada. I am afraid of ladybugs, I don’t think I’d do well with flying cockroaches and geckoes. 

   But as a Canadian who is aware and empowered of my link to the Motherland and the connection to other Africans in the Diaspora, I know that we have a unique advantage in Canada to nation build, unite and conquer. We do not face civil unrest and economic struggles like in Africa, or violent racism South of our border in america. Black Canadians have education, opportunity and the added benefit of having the most diverse city in the world (Toronto). 

  I am trying my best to funnel my money towards African owned businesses, and Black businesses that are interested in solutions towards Black liberation by starting funds or charities, by creating art  or literature, etc. Some Canadians are way ahead of me

  But, on a smaller scale, we can be the change we wish to see in our community. In my predominantly white community, I have created a reputation for myself as an unapologetically African wombman. I may not be particularly liked or welcomed, but the community sees me and I particularly go out of my way to connect with the small Black community. If a small, white town can emphasize African unification; so can the main cities like Ottawa, Vancouver and Montreal. We nation build by uniting, despite our differences, so we may come out of bondage and start a new era where across the whole world, the African people can be empowered and be free from oppression. 

Fighting Goliath

  Today I heard famed evangelist Nathan Morris preach about Moses and slavery, about David and Goliath, and this fine, handsome young man might have been sparking revival for the church I was visiting but I was thinking about taking my people out of bondage, of slaying the mighty Goliath which are our oppressors–a capitalist, White supremacist world-dominating behemoth. And us, the Darker Races of the world, with our humble yet fierce hope for liberation.

   Around the conscious Black community, it is often argued that Christianity was brought to Africa by these evil white devils from Europe who sought to steal our bodies and land, and control our minds with their pure White Messiah. But regardless of whether you want to now shun Christianity and praise African gods and goddesses, the Bible holds many stories that can give us hope in fighting our enemy. Because I am not going to sit back and be subservient to White domination and expect that of my children and grandchildren. Like Moses said unto Pharoah: Let. My. People. Go. If we were to fight, us oppressed people against our oppressors, like David fought Goliath and his four brothers… wouldn’t this all-seeing God, the Alpha and Omega, not help his people? Wouldn’t he allow that giant to fall?

   What is the destiny of the Afrikan race, God? It must be freedom. And if there is no God, and this world is a godless, heathen place then either way karma points in one direction. It must be freedom.

Black Support

   It is one thing to see the call for social justice rung on social media, but another to experience Black unity in my own city, my own community. I have never in my life experienced that here in Toronto and I want to share with you my experiences of Black unity.

   Yesterday evening, casually sitting on a bench at Dufferin and Bloor Street in the dying sun, I notice a throng of beautiful, Black women around me. Slim, natural Afro hair in simple but stately styles, and bronzed skin gleaming. Today, a spritely Black woman shakes my head and introduces herself and continues along her way. A few feet away, two young Black men stop to talk, both business owners and with obvious respect to one another. I watched all this with an incredulous smile, watched as a Black mother nursed her baby openly at the park and as a West Indian father chased his daughters with their adorable braided pigtails.

    I have to go buy injeera on Dufferin and King St, and as I do, my friend tells me to go support Plentea, a hip tea bar up the street that just opened and owned by two, strapping young Black men. We have coffee at Jal Gua Organic Cafe, owned by South Sudanese philanthropist Emmanuel Jal on Queen Street East. I try the delicious sorghum soup. I take a picture with Jal.

   I pass a homeless Black man lying filthy under the bridge that divides poorer Parkdale from trendy Queen West. I give him a silent prayer. Our people are coming together, we are uniting and supporting each other and in doing so strengthening ourselves collectively and powerfully. We are lifting each other up, opening shops, salons, working on Master  degrees and ditching the perm. We will not forget our brothers in the prisons, our unconscious brothers still in the slums, our sisters stuck in the cycle. Right now it is quality over quantity, but soon it will be the masses. Montreal may have been the Black Power movement of the 1960s, but Toronto is pushing, pulling and fighting it’s way to Black liberation through the support of our own people. This light, this is the light we must hold on to.

BLM Pride Toronto 2016

   This post is a response to the unbelievably biased, hate-mongering articles written to paint Black people and their fight out of oppression in bad light. I happened across an article in the Toronto Star and read another one in the Globe and Mail just for good measure. These middle-aged Caucasian women who feel they have a right to cast an opinion on the Black struggle, whilst pretending to sympathize with the LGBTQI community have tried to discredit,  shame and destroy the movement, as is par for the course when dealing with the White Opinion.

    As a Black female who has marched in the Pride Parades in Toronto, and spent many weekend nights on Church St, I would like you to listen to what I have to say. Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail is trying to say be thankful, Black citizens of Toronto, that you live here and not Ferguson or the Phillipines. Because she deeply understands our  plight and all, living I imagine in Parkdale? Weston Road and Eglinton? No, she does not live there, I assume, probably in a lighter part of town, Yonge and Eglinton? The suburbs North of Steeles?

   And even if you lived in Parkdale, Wente, did you know that McCormick Park and Sorauren Park is lily white and dominated by Caucasian homeowners? While the little plastic playground outside the dilapidated apartment buildings filled with bedbugs and mice on West Lodge Ave is where the Black children play, no green space and right beside the parking lot.

    What about the prison system in Canada? You say Toronto is not like Ferguson, but it’s ironic our prison system mirrors the American prison industry dealing in Black bodies, with prisons in rural parts of Ontario to help provide jobs to the poor white man. You say racism is basically a non issue, while barely unable to keep your own white privilege and prejudice in check. “Noisy” and “belligerent” is what you describe Black protestors, “passionate” and “determined” could have been used to describe a people who are fed up with living in a city full of racial disparity, in a city that benefits from white supremacy as much as our beleaguered cities in the States.

   Furthermore, the only point I agree with these privileged White women who like Black people exactly where they are (far from them), is that the BLM doesn’t belong in Pride. Pride is a White event. You have homosexual people of all races, and traditionally Black people are relegated to Blockarama. Even at the clubs, there are only two Black transgendered performers. At Family Pride, where I take my son, we were one of only 3 Black families amidst a sea of white faces. The Black community and the LGBTQI community need to come together to fight white supremacy which is heteronormative,  sexist, and racist. But don’t preach to the White masses. They are bent on misunderstanding us.

  Instead, take your time and determination to preach that Black Lives Matter to those who need to hear it most, like Jesse Williams did. We have an unconscious city that needs awakening and organizing. We cannot go to these White events and victimize ourselves. We must go to our brothers and organize But Black rallies, and organize to put Ourstory in our schools (not just European history and the twisted worldviews they possess). We must not convince them to hire us. We must create jobs ourselves and our communities.
  
   Wente and these other journalists who are enjoying the fruits of white domination will never sing our praises. And, that’s unimportant. What’s important is that the Black community in Toronto keeps fighting and works together to dismantle the racial hierarchy and domination that makes us more American than we think. When we had a Black Power Movement in the 1960s, white anxiety and hatred led to a Canadian version of COINTELPRO called PROFUNC that successfully dismantled a rising Black nation via the RCMP and police. Nothing has changed since then. Don’t let these slithery, prejudiced journalists fool you. We have much work to do.

Black Love Action

   When you become awoken, you will be in a state of anger most of the time. And anger can be very beneficial, it can be the fuel to keep you going; but it can also be tormenting to be in a negative state of mind. It can leave you feeling defeated, miserable and dismal. We may even avoid facing consciousness because it attracts such strong emotions.

   If you feel overwhelmed by the injustices and wickedness done to the Afrikan people around the world, then attack it from a different perspective. Attack it with positivity.

   Growing my son’s locs is something I’m doing as Black Love action. I wear a headwrap as a Black Love action. I smile and seek out Black people as a Black Love action. I buy from Black businesses and individuals as Black Love action. I read Afro-centric books as Black Love action. I celebrate Jankanu and Kwanzaa as a Black Love action. Black Love actions are more powerful than any rhetoric, any theory, any meme, any lip service paid to Black liberation.

    So, the next time you feel you are personally fighting a losing battle, do what you are doing out of positivity instead of anger or vengeance or defiance, or indignation. That culture is wicked, they feed on our Black suffering and oppression sadistically, they can feel it and they salivate victoriously. Do them a big one. Use that anger constructively. Build upon the knowledge, the unity and the growing self-love you are creating and make all your actions one of Black Love.

Kraka Kraka

    

African champions must break the chain that links African ideas to European ones, and listen to the voice of the ancestors without European interpreters. 
                                                 -John Carruthers
                                                   “Mdw Ntr”

  I have put the Akan language Bambara aside for now in favour of Asante Twi, which is far easier to learn and more fun. I don’t know why my heart wasn’t into Bambara, but when I began learning Twi, I felt alive. I felt as if my ancestors were telling me this is right, this is for you to learn. I honestly felt a spiritual connection to the Asante Twi language, despite the fact it is unlikely my ancestors were Akan. Only 3% of the Akan tribe arrived in my Caribbean island via the slave trade. 67% arrived from Southeast Nigeria (Igbo) and Cameroon. So I should probably be learning Yoruba. But Twi is so fun and I love Ghanian culture and music!

    It is super easy for me to teach my son. His favourite Twi word is “kraka kraka” meaning “small small” or “a little”. We watch @goldcoastdebuty on YouTube, Gloria is amazing and vibrant. We also use the Junior Twi app for Android, and I have created an Asante Twi notebook with phrases, words, song lyrics and the national anthem, which you should listen to because it’s in your face awesome.

   Our ancestors want us to continue where they left off before those European slave ships arrived. We are indoctrinated with European ideas but Africa is inside of us, we just have to listen to the voice of our ancestors. It doesn’t hurt to learn their language. A’se, sisters and brothers. Mendase!

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