middle pssage


middle pssage

(Source: awakenenlighten)



Black Culture will never be dead

Hip-Hop will never be dead

I really hate how people minimize black culture to a point that they can actually believe it will ever die. Despite Tyler Perry horrendous work, or “horrible” music by Lil B, Trinidad James etc. they can NEVER kill black culture/hip-hop. If you think that because what is popular defines the cuture as a whole

you never loved it in the first place


breaking down the stereotype of the Angry Black Woman?


we know of it, we’ve seen it, I’ve been called it. I know what fuels my anger, being judged, to be treated seemingly lesser than another being because of my gender, the thought that we’re not capable of certain things, and that the black male struggle is always more important than the black female struggle-when realistically it’s one Huge struggle…but hey we always gotta break it down into something lesser.

So yeah, I’m angry, but I don’t want to eradicate the male race, I don’t want to fight. I just want to be able to live without 

The angry black woman stereotype fires me up enough to almost want to turn into an angry black woman myself. It’s been around since mammy and Jezebel and judging from the eye-rolling and neck-swiveling antics on certain reality TV shows doesn’t appear to be anywhere any time soon.

But a local novelist, Karen E. Quinones Miller, embraces the moniker and even has named her semi-autobiographical memoir which is published today, “An Angry Ass Black Woman.” In tomorrow’s Daily News, the former news reporter will get her say as to why she doesn’t think it’s such a bad stereotype. She points out that Harriet Tubman, a runaway slave and conductor on the Underground Railroad, was an angry black woman as was Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her bus seat helped galvanize the Civil Rights Movement.

What do you think? Do you agree with me that the angry black woman stereotype is destructive and also demeaning to African American females or do you agree with Quinones that it’s not so awful since anger can be the thing that propells you to accomplish great things?

So what is an angry black woman? The kind that throws drinks like what you see in Basketball Wives? Like that character from Why Did I Get Married who was always drinking and tryna fight someone? Who is this raging woman? And is she her are we her? Do we really know her?

 For centuries, the angry black female has been a pervasive stereotype in the United States. Sadly, this overly simplified opinion may be just as inescapable today as it was during the slave era. A new book by Tulane professor Melissa Harris-Perry, for instance, suggests that anger is still one of the most ubiquitous stereotypes faced by black women in modern society. Pepsi was criticized for further perpetuating this negative perception by depicting a black woman kicking, shoving and punishing her husband for cheating on his diet in a Super Bowl commercial. Even America’s first lady must address the stereotype: In a recent television interview on CBS, Michelle Obama denied the “angry black woman” depiction of herself that emerged in some coverage following the release of The Obamas , a book by Jodi Kantor.

But while this longstanding and unfair stereotype is typically seen as a negative one, standing in for abrasive, brash and even ill-tempered, it’s also consistent with qualities we often associate with leadership, such as being decisive, aggressive and resolute. Preconceived ideas of black women as dominant and assertive may hurt when it comes to her romantic relationships or her access to coveted movie roles in Hollywood, and may even be exploited on reality television shows such as Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta”or VH-1’s “Love and Hip Hop.” But when it comes to leadership roles, this stereotype may actually help.

I’ll admit it may seem odd that being labeled “angry” could serve any black person well. Let’s face it, leaders of the Civil Rights movement likely adopted a non-violent stance for both moral and practical reasons.

But in a recent study I conducted with Robert Livingston and Ella Washington of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, we found that black women leaders who displayed dominant behavior when interacting with subordinates got more favorable reviews than their white female or black male counterparts who behaved the same way. In fact, black women were evaluated comparably to white male leaders who displayed similarly dominant and assertive behavior. 

Existing studies have shown that professional white men have been granted greater status and power when they’ve expressed anger rather than sadness. Our findings suggest that black women may benefit from such expressions, too. In other words, because assertiveness and dominance are stereotypical characteristics for black women, they may not provoke the same backlash as they would for white women and black men.

(Source: awakenenlighten)


ha Pagan Holiday-


ha Pagan Holiday-

(Source: awakenenlighten)



BoonDocks Season A Huey Freeman Christmas

(Source: awakenenlighten)


in celebrating Kwanzaa



The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, the family gathers and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara (candleholder), then one of the seven principles is discussed. The principles, called the Nguzo Saba (seven principles in Swahili) are values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing community among African-Americans. Kwanzaa also has seven basic symbols which represent values and concepts reflective of African culture.  An African feast, called a Karamu, is held on December 31.

The candle-lighting ceremony each evening provides the opportunity to gather and discuss the meaning of Kwanzaa. The first night, the black candle in the center is lit (and the principle of umoja/unity is discussed). One candle is lit each evening and the appropriate principle is discussed.

Seven Principles

The seven principles, or Nguzo Saba are a set of ideals created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle.

Unity: Umoja (oo–MO–jah)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

Self-determination: Kujichagulia (koo–gee–cha–goo–LEE–yah)
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

Collective Work and Responsibility: Ujima (oo–GEE–mah)
To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.

Cooperative Economics: Ujamaa (oo–JAH–mah)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Purpose: Nia (nee–YAH)
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Creativity: Kuumba (koo–OOM–bah)
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Faith: Imani (ee–MAH–nee)
To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Seven Symbols

The seven principles, or Nguzo Saba are a set of ideals created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle.

Mazao, the crops (fruits, nuts, and vegetables) 
Symbolizes work and the basis of the holiday. It represents the historical foundation for Kwanzaa, the gathering of the people that is patterned after African harvest festivals in which joy, sharing, unity, and thanksgiving are the fruits of collective planning and work. Since the family is the basic social and economic center of every civilization, the celebration bonded family members, reaffirming their commitment and responsibility to each other. In Africa the family may have included several generations of two or more nuclear families, as well as distant relatives. Ancient Africans didn’t care how large the family was, but there was only one leader - the oldest male of the strongest group. For this reason, an entire village may have been composed of one family. The family was a limb of a tribe that shared common customs, cultural traditions, and political unity and were supposedly descended from common ancestors. The tribe lived by traditions that provided continuity and identity. Tribal laws often determined the value system, laws, and customs encompassing birth, adolescence, marriage, parenthood, maturity, and death. Through personal sacrifice and hard work, the farmers sowed seeds that brought forth new plant life to feed the people and other animals of the earth. To demonstrate their mazao, celebrants of Kwanzaa place nuts, fruit, and vegetables, representing work, on the mkeka.

Mkeka: Place Mat
The mkeka, made from straw or cloth, comes directly from Africa and expresses history, culture, and tradition. It symbolizes the historical and traditional foundation for us to stand on and build our lives because today stands on our yesterdays, just as the other symbols stand on the mkeka. In 1965, James Baldwin wrote: “For history is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the facts that we carry it within us, are consciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do. It could scarcely be otherwise, since it is to history that we owe our frames of reference, our identities, and our aspirations.” During Kwanzaa, we study, recall, and reflect on our history and the role we are to play as a legacy to the future. Ancient societies made mats from straw, the dried seams of grains, sowed and reaped collectively. The weavers took the stalks and created household baskets and mats. Today, we buy mkeka that are made from Kente cloth, African mud cloth, and other textiles from various areas of the African continent. The mishumaa saba, the vibunzi, the mazao, the zawadi, the kikombe cha umoja, and the kinara are placed directly on the mkeka.

Vibunzi: Ear of Corn
The stalk of corn represents fertility and symbolizes that through the reproduction of children, the future hopes of the family are brought to life. One ear is called vibunzi, and two or more ears are called mihindi. Each ear symbolizes a child in the family, and thus one ear is placed on the mkeka for each child in the family. If there are no children in the home, two ears are still set on the mkeka because each person is responsible for the children of the community. During Kwanzaa, we take the love and nurturance that was heaped on us as children and selflessly return it to all children, especially the helpless, homeless, loveless ones in our community. Thus, the Nigerian proverb “It takes a whole village to raise a child” is realized in this symbol (vibunzi), since raising a child in Africa was a community affair, involving the tribal village, as well as the family. Good habits of respect for self and others, discipline, positive thinking, expectations, compassion, empathy, charity, and self-direction are learned in childhood from parents, from peers, and from experiences. Children are essential to Kwanzaa, for they are the future, the seed bearers that will carry cultural values and practices into the next generation. For this reason, children were cared for communally and individually within a tribal village. The biological family was ultimately responsible for raising its own children, but every person in the village was responsible for the safety and welfare of all the children.

Mishumaa Saba: The Seven Candles
Candles are ceremonial objects with two primary purposes: to re-create symbolically the sun’s power and to provide light. The celebration of fire through candle burning is not limited to one particular group or country; it occurs everywhere. Mishumaa saba are the seven candles: three red, three green, and one black. The back candle symbolizes Umoja (unity), the basis of success, and is lit on December 26. The three green candles, representing Nia, Ujima, and Imani, are placed to the right of the Umoja candle, while the three red candles, representing Kujichagulia, Ujamaa, and Kuumba, are placed to the left of it. During Kwanzaa, on candle, representing one principle, is lit each day. Then the other candles are relit to give off more light and vision. The number of candles burning also indicate the principle that is being celebrated. The illuminating fire of the candles is a basic element of the universe, and every celebration and festival includes fire in some form. Fire’s mystique, like the sun, is irresistible and can destroy or create with its mesmerizing, frightening, mystifying power.

Mishumaa saba’s symbolic colors are from the red, black, and green flag (bendara) created by Marcus Garvey. The colors also represent African gods. Red is the color of Shango, the Yoruba god of fire, thunder, and lightning, who lives in the clouds and sends down his thunderbolt whenever he is angry or offended. It also represents the struggle for self-determination and freedom by people of color. Black is the people, the earth, the source of life, representing hope, creativity, and faith and denoting messages and the opening and closing of doors. Green represents the earth that sustains our lives and provides hope, divination, employment, and the fruits of the harvest.

Kinara: The Candleholder
The kinara is the center of the Kwanzaa setting and represents the original stalk from which we came: our ancestry. The kinara can be shape - straight lines, semicircles, or spirals - as long as the seven candles are separate and distinct, like a candelabra. Kinaras are made from all kinds of materials, and many celebrants create their own from fallen branches, wood, or other natural materials. The kinara symbolizes the ancestors, who were once earth bound; understand the problems of human life; and are willing to protect their progeny from danger, evil, and mistakes. In African festivals the ancestors are remembered and honored. The mishumaa saba are placed in the kinara.

Kikombe Cha Umoja: The Unity Cup
The kikombe cha umoja is a special cup that is used to perform the libation (tambiko) ritual during the Karamu feast on the sixth day of Kwanzaa. In many African societies libation are poured for the living dead whose souls stay with the earth they tilled. The Ibo of Nigeria believe that to drink the last portion of a libation is to invite the wrath of the spirits and the ancestors; consequently, the last part of the libation belongs to the ancestors. During the Karamu feast, the kikombe cha umoja is passed to family member and guests, who drink from it to promote unity. Then, the eldest person present pours the libation (tambiko), usually water, juice, or wine, in the direction of the four winds - north, south, east, and west - to honor the ancestors. The eldest asks the gods and ancestors to share in the festivities and, in return, to bless all the people who are not at the gathering. After asking for this blessing, the elder pours the libation on the ground and the group says “Amen.” Large Kwanzaa gatherings may operate just as communion services in most churches, for which it is common for celebrants to have individual cups and to drink the libation together as a sign of unity. Several families may have a cup that is specifically for the ancestors, and everyone else has his or her own. The last few ounces of the libation are poured into the cup of the host or hostess, who sips it and then hands it to the oldest person in the group, who asks for the blessing.

Zawadi: Gifts
When we celebrate Imani on the seventh day of Kwanzaa, we give meaningful zawadi (gifts) to encourage growth, self-determination, achievement, and success. We exchange the gifts with members of our immediate family, especially the children, to promote or reward accomplishments and commitments kept, as well as with our guests. Handmade gifts are encouraged to promote self-determination, purpose, and creativity and to avoid the chaos of shopping and conspicuous consumption during the December holiday season. A family may spend the year making kinaras or may create cards, dolls, or mkekas to give to their guests. Accepting a gift implies a moral obligation to fulfill the promise of the gift; it obliges the recipient to follow the training of the host. The gift cements social relationships, allowing the receiver to share the duties and the rights of a family member. Accepting a gift makes the receiver part of the family and promotes Umoja.

Excerpted from the book: The Complete Kwanzaa Celebrating Our Cultural Harvest. Copyright 1995 by Dorothy Winbush Riley. Reprinted with permission from HarperPerennial, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

(Source: awakenenlighten)


Another good gift for Christmas! The epic story of the African American’s great migration, need to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.


Another good gift for Christmas! The epic story of the African American’s great migration, need to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.




chillin at my grandparents house <3

I’ve got an Obama poster I need to frame & hang. 

If I’m gonna be a proper Old Black Woman, I’d better get my shit together.

Hilarious to me and so familiar. I wonder if one day I’ll finally grow up and stop thinking those little statuettes are scary as hell. 


Jesse Jackson playing bball.


Jesse Jackson playing bball.

(Source: awakenenlighten, via fearfullymade-locs)



the media’s making people of color look bad? No! No! I don’t believe it!

Joking: no really, does anyone else feel uncomfortable that the Treyvon Martin issue was blown out of the water in an Emmit Till fashion? I mean kudos to that issue being brought to light but…you have to wonder why. The recent breakout story about the woman who was attacked by the KKK and set ablaze-there are now reports that this might have been fabricated.

And he’s right, what famous names do we have right now, let’s go through the list just at the top of my head: Beyonce, Rihanna, Oprah, Al Sharpton (even he’s lost some of his recognition), Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou, Obama (of course), umumum…ohwait what about inventors, activists, artists, playwrites, successful CEOs who haven’t “sold out to the man.” Right…we don’t hear about them…coincidence? Neverrrrr.

I’d hate to become one of those Al Sharpton types, the type who believes he is a freedom fighter for the black cause and who wrangles about the most trivial of altercations among African Americans and other groups. 

But sometimes, it seems like I might be heading down this path.

On Oct 21, Louisiana native Sharmeka Moffit, 20, called police claiming she had been set ablaze by three men wearing hooded attire at a park in Winnsborro, La. She said the men also sprayed her car with the letters “KKK” and a racial slur.

On Tuesday, however, Franklinton Police reported the incident may have been fabricated by Moffit, stating her fingerprints were linked to the cigarette lighter and lighter fluid was found at the scene of the incident.

The media went wild. People from around the state and country, including media personalities, blasted Moffit. They called her names ranging from liar to deranged to foolish.

Some older people I spoke with, though, thought the facts of this story were a bit sketchy. Maybe Moffit was crazy or maybe this was a cover-up to protect white supremacist men in a rural town about 60 miles from Jena, the scene of another racially charged conflict back in 2006 and 2007.

Though much information is still desired, this story is a classic example of the distrust between older African Americans, the media and law enforcement.

The media refers to mass communication in its entirety, including newspapers, magazines, television, radio and social websites such as Twitter and Facebook. According to Umar Bey, author of “We are The Washitaw,” this influential and inescapable entity maintains negative stereotypes attributed to African Americans.

“The media has been destroying the image of people of color, particularly black people, since it came into existence. Look at the first 11 minutes of the nightly news,” Bey said, referring to the usual crime segment at the beginning of the program.

Bey added that the media is a complex propaganda distributor fed to the masses.

Though I disagree with some of Bey’s views, the media does distort African American images.

We rarely hear of the contributions of black inventors and intellects to American society. The popularity of black entertainers and athletes trumps that of scientists, astronauts, professors and other intellectual people of color. We see more of Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Lebron James, rather than the likes of President Obama, Cornel West, and Saundra McGuire.

We idolize the ones with the gold chains, but sometimes these entertainers sport the other types of chains –as witnessed by the recent arrests of former LSU football players.

The distrust between African Americans and law enforcement in this country goes back to the time of segregation when police helped white supremacists maintain Jim Crow Laws. In the South, many of the law enforcers themselves were part of these white supremacist groups who tortured black communities.

In some instances, such as in Bogalusa, African Americans had to take up arms to defend their communities — a role that should have been played by law enforcement.

Even still, cases such as Emmett Till and Rodney King remind the community of the one-sided hand of justice in this country.  This may be the reason why black parents go to lengths to sternly discipline their children so they would stay out of the legal system.

I can vividly remember my frequent whoopings from my mother. She said “I do this because I love you,” and then went on to punish me. Child abuse? Maybe. Successful implementation of discipline? Yes.

Today, people of color have more of a presence in media than ever before. Personalities such as Oprah Winfrey and Nelson Mandela are adored across racial lines. The trust in the African American community for the media is better than it has been in the past.

But in the case of law enforcement, I see no love gained. It is not a white and black issue, but an issue of prosperity.

As long as there are have and have not’s, with many of the have not’s being blacks, law enforcement will continue to be an enemy to the black community.

In capitalist America, we are to love and pursue money. If your education is mediocre and you lack the discipline to work 9 to 5, then get-rich-quick schemes become more appealing. Too often, members of the black community fall victim to this quest.

As the saying goes, “Never bite the hand that feeds you.” 

But sometimes, it is necessary to examine the hand and ask where the food comes from.

(Source: awakenenlighten)

Creative Commons License
Knowledge Equals Black Power by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.