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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Abeng Op Ed: Systematic Racism In America (Part 1)

Systematic Racism In America
written by Le'Bert A. Gordon; edited by @TheAbeng

Introduction
The term Systematic Racism, developed by Sociologist Joe Feagin, is both a theoretical and reality-based concept which has become a po­pular way of explaining the significance of race, both historically and socially, within today's social sciences and humanities. The de­velopment of this theory was influenced by other scholars of race, such as, Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. DuBois, Oliver Cox, Anna Julia Cooper, Kwame Ture, Frantz Fanon, and Patricia Hill Collins, among others. Systematic Racism is rooted in a foundation composed of in­tersecting, overlapping, and co-dependent racist institutions, po­licies, practices, ideas, and behaviors. 

Feagin used historical evidence and demographic statistics to create a theory which asserted that the United States was founded in racism. His theory noted that the Constitution classified black people as the property of whites, and that this legal recognition of slavery is a cornerstone of a racist social system - a system in which resources and rights are given to white people and unjustly denied to people of color. However, while Feagin developed his theory based on the history and reality of anti-black racism in the United States, it is now use­fully being applied to understanding how racism functions generally, both within the United States and around the world.














Friday, August 24, 2018

Wanted: Abeng Guest Bloggers, Writers and Contributors

Greetings, all Writers, photographers and content creators!

The Abeng and My Conscious Pen is seeking short stories, news reports, articles, profiles and essays from the Black (African) Diaspora. Pieces/work must shed light on the black experience, its struggles and triumphs. Content must be informative, enlightening, inspirational and engaging; writers must express and reveal the human condition. Please keep in mind that an Abeng is a symbol of freedom and Conscious Pen refers to the writer's inward awareness (spiritual, conscientious, psychological) of the outward/worldly object or experience about which he/she is writing.
Sound di Abeng
We are looking for global voices from writers and/or bloggers who wish to utilize our platform so their voices can be heard. Please send submissions to Editor

Tell a friend!

*The Abeng and My Conscious Pen does not currently purchase content; if chosen, your work can serve as a published article for your personal portfolio and each writer WILL retain ALL copyrights. Full credit will be given for your writing.



You can also query Editor about being a regular contributor. Regular contributing writers will be given a profile on our page. 




Friday, August 17, 2018

Reading is The Right and Honorable Thing, Quotes by Marcus Mosiah Garvey


Marcus Garvey's father had an extensive library in his home and as a boy, Marcus spent countless hours reading every book he could dig his nose into. Garvey's ideas were definitely BIG, grand, outside the box, imaginative. His Pan-African  thinking was so far advanced for his time. For example, he imagined an African Union before there was such a thing and dreamed of the motherland being developed by Africans, at home and abroad. 
Moral of the story: Read! And start a library for your youth.




"Read!" Marcus Garvey instructed.
"Use every spare minute you have in reading. If you are going on a journey that would take you an hour carry something with you to read for that hour until you have reached the place. If you are sitting down waiting for somebody, have something in your pocket to read until the person comes. Don't waste time. Any time you think you have to waste put it in reading something. Carry with you a small pocket dictionary and study words whilst waiting or travelling, or a small pocket volume on some particular subject. Read through at least one book every week separate and distinct from your newspapers and journals. "

"Never forget that intelligence rules the world and ignorance carries the burden."

"The greatest men and women in the world burn the midnight lamp. That is to say, when their neighbours and household are gone to bed, they are reading, studying and thinking. When they rise in the morning they are always ahead of their neighbours and their household in the thing that they were studying[,] reading and thinking of. A daily repetition of that will carry them daily ahead and above their neighbours and household. Practise this rule. It is wise to study a couple of subjects at a time. As for instance a little geography, a little psychology, a little ethics, a little theology, a little philosophy, a little mathematics, a little science on which a sound academic education is built."

"One must never stop reading. Read every thing that you can that is of standard knowledge. Don't waste time reading trashy literature... The idea is that personal experience is not enough for a human to get all the useful knowledge of life, because the individual life is too short, so we must feed on the experience of others."

"Read history incessantly until you master it, This means your own national history, the history of the world - social history industrial history and the history of the different sciences; but primarily the history of man. If you do not know what went on before you came here and what is happening at the time you live, but away from you, you will not know the world and will be ignorant of the world and mankind."

"A reading man or woman is a ready man or woman; but a writing man or woman is exact."







Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Dutty Boukman in Bwa Kayiman (Bois Caiman)

Dutty Boukman in Bwa Kayiman (Bois Caïman) 

It is told that on the steamy, Caribbean night of August 14th, back in 1791 a slave named Boukman  ignited the Haitian Revolution during a secret vodou ceremony in Bwa Kayiman (Kreyol meaning literally, Alligator or Caiman Woods: Bois Caiman in French) in Morne Rouge, which is in northern Haiti. Boukman was a hougan (priest) and along with mambo (female priest) Cecil Fatiman, officiated the meeting where they planned the insurrection and held religious, vodou ritual, in preparation for what would become the most successful revolt and the greatest, far-reaching event in Caribbean history - The Haitian Revolution.

Dutty Boukman

Boukman is said to have been a big, strapping, fierce man, and like many of the early leaders of the Haitian Revolution, he held a position of power on his plantation (he was a slave driver and eventual coachman). Many of the 200-300 attendees at the Bwa Kayiman ceremony held such positions, or were chosen leaders of their specific plantations. The meeting held both political and religious significance - it culminated months of insurrectionist planning and strategizing; and, it served as spiritual, inspirational rally for the impending revolution. At Bwa Kayiman, the beginning of the Haitian Revolution was set for one week later.

Much of the information about Boukman and Bwa Kayiman was written many years after the event, so it's difficult to separate fact from myth. Many say that he was a literate Jamaican slave, Bookman, who taught other slaves in Jamaica to read and so was sold to a plantation in Saint Domingue. Some staunch Haitian historians insist that he was pure Haitian, and suspect that foreign people of African descent are trying to high jack Haitian history to support their own agendas. Since the 1990's, there has been a mostly African-American movement (but which included former Haitian president Aristide) to "Islamasize" Bwa Kayiman and Boukman, claiming Bookman was a "man of the Book" (Koran) and that Bwa Kayiman was in fact Bwa Kay Iman ( the woods by the Iman's house).

To be continued








Boukman's Prayer in Kreyol

"Bon Dje ki fè la tè. Ki fè soley ki klere nou enro. Bon Dje ki soulve lanmè. Ki fè gronde loray. Bon Dje nou ki gen zorey pou tande. Ou ki kache nan niaj. Kap gade nou kote ou ye la. Ou we tout sa blan fè nou sibi. Dje blan yo mande krim. Bon Dje ki nan nou an vle byen fè. Bon Dje nou an ki si bon, ki si jis, li ordone vanjans. Se li kap kondui branou pou nou ranpote la viktwa. Se li kap ba nou asistans. Nou tout fet pou nou jete potre dje Blan yo ki swaf dlo lan zye. Koute vwa la libète kap chante lan kè nou."


Boukman's Prayers as translated by C.L.R. James 

"The god who created the sun which gives us light, who rouses the waves and rules the storm, though hidden in the clouds, he watches us. He sees all that the white man does. The god of the white man inspires him with the crime, but our god calls upon us to do good works. Our god who is good to us orders us to revenge our wrongs. He will direct our arms and aid us. Throw away the symbol of the god of the whites who has so often caused us to weep, and listen to the voice of liberty, which speaks in the hearts of us all." 

Boukman's Prayer as translated by IBW21.org

"Good Lord who hath made the sun that shines above us, that riseth from the sea, who maketh the storm to roar; and governteth the thunders. The Lord is hidden in the heavens, and there He watcheth over us. The Lord seeth what the blanc (whites) have done. Their god commandeth crimes, ours givethe the blessings upon us. The Good Lord (Bondye) hath ordained vengeance. He will give strength to our arms and courage to our hearts. He shall sustain us. Cast down the image of the god of the blanc, because he maketh the tears to flow from our eye. Hearken unto Liberty that speaketh now in all your hearts."



Boukman's Prayer Translation by thelovertureproject.org

"The god who created the earth; who created the sun that gives us light.The god who holds up the ocean; who makes the thunder roar. Our God who has ears to hear. You who are hidden in the clouds; who watch us from where you are. You see all that the white has made us suffer. The white man's god asks him to commit crimes. But the god within us wants to do good. Our god, who is so good, so just, He orders us to revenge our wrongs. It's He who will direct our arms and bring us the victory. It's He who will assist us. We all should throw away the image of the white men's god who is so pitiless. Listen to the voice for liberty that sings in all our hearts."


Cecile Fatiman

Monday, July 30, 2018

Abeng Op-Ed: Trevor Noah Wasn't Wrong About Africans Born in France

After France won the 2018 FIFA World Cup earlier this month, South African comedian Trevor Noah cracked a joke about the fact that France's victory was also an African accomplishment, since so many players on the French national team are of African descent. I and many people of African descent around the world hold similar views. As a matter of fact, many of us posted our comments and expressed our sentiments all over social media. Personally, I supported Senegal and Nigeria (the two Sub-Saharan African countries in the tournament), then I cheered for other teams with players of African descent as well. From my pan-African eyes, I love to see all people in the African diaspora excel. But is this, my perspective, racist?

"No Matter Where You Come From" / "I Know No National Boundary"
I grew up in an era when blacks in the African diaspora were reclaiming our roots. Omodele is a name my mother chose, Tesfa and Feyishola and Shango and Imani and Sudi are some of my cousins; Shaka and Dingane and Olatunji are some of my childhood, family friends. My mother and her sisters and brothers celebrated everything African. She was the younger sister and close friend to true life revolutionaries. Black culture was exalted; Fela, Miles, Hugh, Satchmo, Marvin, and them were Kings. "No Matter Where You Come From" by Peter Tosh was the national anthem. And Madiba was a living martyr. (When I was just fifteen, my cousin and I marched in a Free Nelson Mandela rally in Central Park) So, I know no national boundary where black people are concerned, the whole world is my province...

So, like many blacks in the Diaspora, I was turnt up that France's winning World Cup squad was comprised of so many players of African descent. When a French ambassador chastised Trevor Noah for bigging up the African-ness of Les Bleus (The Blues), pointing out that the black French players were French nationals, French-born, and trained in France, I understood this ambassador's view - that no matter these players were sons of immigrants, they were French, regardless of race or religion. And I admit that's seems a commendable and noble view coming from the French diplomat. My biggest question, is this a case of "You're not like those others."?

A couple years ago, I interviewed the Quai54 Streetball creator Bah-Pna Dahane, a French national of Chad origin, who stated in that interview:
"France's racism is different than the United States'; France's racism is more subtle...like a gas you can't smell but will kill you slowly from the inside."
And, I've read lately about racism rearing its head during the selection process of this said French national team. So, although the ambassador has good intentions, maybe, we won't pretend that brothers and sisters living in France don't feel marginalized, at the very least.
I'd love to hear from our French bredren.







Sunday, April 8, 2018

Atlanta - Area Bookstores Carrying Cries of Redemption

As an independently published author, it can be a challenge getting your book placed in a bookstore, especially chain bookstores like Barnes & Noble, etc. But then you find Brothers and Sisters who are willing to give a first-time author a place on their bookshelves, in their small businesses, their bookstores and Afrikan culture shops. This is truly the spirit of Marcus Garvey in us, pan-Africanism in its purest, socio-economic form. 
Black Dot Cultural Center & Bookstore

Now to tell you de truth, is not like they just take the book and throw it up on their shelf, ehn-ehn. Each one of them reviewed the book, in some way, time or form. (And I still have five more stores reviewing Cries of Redemption right now) So my writing pass over their test-bar; and when they read it and loved it, we (me and me book) get right up in these stores. I'm giving thanks for taking a chance on a Brother. If you find yourself in the Atlanta area, drop in and support them, nuh. Hand wash hand and the two together wash face clean. 
And ask your bookstores for Cries of Redemption by  Kaya Omodele.
Bless up.

Nubian Bookstore
1540 Southlake Pkwy, Ste 7A
Morrow, GA 30260
Phone: 678-422-6120

Black Dot Cultural Center & Bookstore  
6984 Main St,
Lithonia, GA 30058
Phone: (404) 519-8107
http://blackdotcc.com/

Axum Culture
1065 Ralph D Abernathy Blvd
Atlanta, GA
Phone: 470-225-7235
http://www.axumculture.com


Saturday, April 7, 2018

#AllBlackWithADoek Salutes Mama Winnie Mandela

Amandla!
#allblackwithadoek Twitter Salutes Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela


zikhona @igqiyazana "Doing it for intomb' endala! This is for you mama."
















Thursday, March 15, 2018

Now on Smashwords

Greetings, Jah World. I know everybody don't have Amazon and Kindle, so now you can get Cries of Redemption as an ebook (ePub) through Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, et al. Click the Link to go through Smashwords and find out more. And, I give thanks for all the love and support I have been getting. Blessed Love, Kaya @TheAbeng http://KayaOmodele.com

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Abeng Interviews Clairmont Mali Chung from Roots and Culture Media (Part 2):The Cuffy Project


A documentary on slave revolutionary leader Cuffy is Roots and Culture Media's next project


Kaya @TheAbeng: So Clairmont, what new projects you got going on?

Clairmont Mali Chung: The new work is, I'm working on a documentary on Cuffy. As I said before, you cannot understand that history, or it's of less value, if you are not able to put in into the present; not just the information, the story, but the feeling, the ethos of revolution should be taken from the past and be placed into  present context. This is my belief. And this is what I tried to do with W.A.R.. Stories, the documentary of Walter Rodney, and this is what I'm trying to do with Cuffy. Because you cannot understand Walter without understanding the history from which Walter came - the personality, the ideas.
The idea of self emancipation didn't begin with Walter Rodney, it started a long, long, long time ago. He contextualized it and made it present; but Cuffy, when he stood up and said, "I'll never be your slave again!" to the governor, the Dutch governor at the time of Berbice, that's what he was talking about- self emancipation.
And so, doing a documentary on Cuffy is an attempt to bring that ethos into the present, but also to introduce Cuffy, not just as a figure in Guyana, as Guyana's national hero, governor of Berbice as he declared himself, but to introduce him as a world figure, someone who understand the way the world was working and  he needed to revolt and to lead a revolt. Because often times these figures are just seen in the context of their time, and never, we never extrapolate their feelings and place it amongst the present.
And so it's important for me to show the world that Cuffy was not just an enslaved African fighting for freedom, it was much more than that. Secondly, when Europeans write about enslaved men that revolt, they often contextualize it as though it were some kind of revolt or complaint about the series and the kinds of punishment that were being meted out to them. For example, in the trials that followed the Berbice revolt, many of the enslaved who testified, testified to the violence of the punishment that they received and European writers wrote about this violence as though it was something the Africans were revolting against; when in fact, it wasn't the violence, but the system that they were against. And so when, it makes sense that when Cuffy says, "I will not be your slave!" he was not talking about treatment he was receiving, it wasn't as though he was saying, "OK. I'll be your slave, just don't beat me as much." It was a much larger view, a world view.
And when you see the documentary, I hope that is the sense I am able to convey, that this was a world figure, operating in a context thirty years before Toussaint L'Ouverture, before the French Revolution and before the American Revolution - those are important points.

Kaya +The Abeng World-wide: 1763. I would always refer the whole thing as more than a revolt...more classify it as a revolution...that it wasn't something so much reactionary, it was something revolutionary.
CMC: Well, without a doubt, in my mind and in my view, after reading his letters that he dictated and  reading the journals of the sailors who visited both with captive cargo and as part of the hierarchy, it is clear to me that Cuffy and his lieutenants were much larger figures and much more informed.
"...it was a revolution because the government, the local government, the Dutch representatives, were forced to flee their seat of government. Whenever that happens anywhere in the world that's called a revolution. Why wouldn't it be a revolution simply because it was Africans who had been captive?" ~ Clairmont Mali Chung
It was a revolution because...it was a revolution because the government, the local government, the Dutch representatives, were forced to flee their seat of government. Whenever that happens anywhere in the world that's called a revolution. Why wouldn't it be a revolution simply because it was Africans who had been captive? See if the government, if you're forced to flee the seat of government, you're no longer in control.You see.  If you were to remain in control and were able to quell the revolt then you can call it a rebellion. But this was not just a rebellion, this was for control of the government of Berbice because Berbice was a separate colony. It was not attached then to Demerara or Essequibo which now makes up the Guyana border. Berbice was a separate Dutch colony, separate administration. So when they fled the seat of government, politically and otherwise, this was a revolution. The fact that they were able to come back and recapture it years later, a year later, does not change what happened. I often compare it to a heavyweight boxing match: you can beat me next week but if  I beat you today, and you're the champion and I beat you, I am the champion. You may come back two days later or a week later and regain your crown. But for the time that I was, remained unbeaten, I was the champion and so I am the government, I am the King, I am the Governor of Berbice.
And this is what Cuffy said, that he is the Governor. And so yeah, you couldn't be the governor of Berbice unless you were successful in a revolt, in a revolution.

Kaya Omodele interviews Clairmont Chung from rootsculturemedia on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Mutabaruka Speaks on Black History on Cutting Edge 1-31-2018

I was listening to Mutabaruka's Cutting Edge radio show on January the 31st, previewing Black History Month which would begin the next day. The Bredren reasoned in depth about the brainwashing that plagues African people and how we get caught in European interpretations and philosophy. Basically, how as black people we just accept European culture, embrace it and defend it as we own. I think its because many of us are lost, especially when it comes to history and culture. Many of us accept European culture, religion and mannerisms without even understanding how these things developed and how they became ingrained in our day to day lives as black people. 

Mutabaruka said:
"Issa mad thing. Is mad we get mad. All a we get caught in it; all a we, there's no exception to the
rule.... Valentine's day a come, most people get caught inna that. Easter a come, it bigger get caught inna because that is the most auspicious 

Mutabaruka
time of the Christian calendar. That nuh have nothing to do with Africa; that nuh have nothing to do with blackness. All when you hear a man talk bout him a read Bible and a try switch the characters in it to black, him thinking is white. Is not the color of the characters, is the mindset that drives the characters in the Bible. So you could a paint Moses black little more, and Jesus Christ black little more, it don't make no difference if what is there yet still wallow inna the same thinking that in the first place tell you they white. We need fi search fi a new understanding, 'cause Planno did say a new faculty of interpretation. Even Rasta get caught inna it. We get caught inna it to the point where now that we all Jews, heh-heh, and we love say it too, and 'we are Christian soldiers, onward Christian soldiers marching on.' Our reference is always in the context of European understanding. So we define and we use logic that is determined and decided by western thinkers, western philosophers, and we don't know how to decipher what is ours and what is not ours..."


Now I can guess that many readers are thinking, So what? Jamaica (or any other Caribbean country) is a Christian society. 
Yeah, but how did it get so? And, if we know that it was forced upon our forefathers, then why black people so quick and ready to defend it? And worse, if you tell some of we that Shango is we thing, is our culture, some of us going to get vex and tell you that you working obeah. 
Now, get this straight: I am not a follower or practitioner of any form of obeah or voodoo. But those things are our own African thing and I acknowledge them as such. I even embrace the knowledge, knowing full well that just because Europe says that these things are inequity and idolatry, doesn't make them less important or less-than anything for that matter. Black history and culture is our story, its rich and we need to learn to embrace our African selves.

Mutabaruka stated:
"African sensibility don't prevail inna the Jamaican society. We celebrate almost 360-odd days of white history and tomorrow is the first day of February, which is Black History Month. But most people will not, and I'll repeat, most people will not even think of commemorating Black History Month. As one, young politician say, 'Black History Month is irrelevant to Jamaica. It was started in America because of the need, and because of how white people was treating black people in America so that was the necessary in America but here it don't necessary.'
But it more necessary yahso. Because the slave master left all of him thinking here and it embedded and pinned down inna we. That all when him no deh yah (when he's not here) we are living out the slave masters ideas and philosophies. And we even implement it and institutionalize it inna we politics, inna we religion, inna we social order..."

Another point I thoroughly agree with. We uphold Christmas, which is a lie, and turn our noses at Kwanzaa? And give all kind of reasons why we won't support it; bout how that is an American thing.
But Ethiopian Orthodox (one of the oldest Christian churches) doesn't celebrate the 25th as Christ's birthday. You know who instituted the 25th as Christmas? Rome. So, in fact we following the Romans. So, we following Rome, but can't see the goodness in a Pan-African concept like Kwanzaa? Or, Black History Month?
Because these are American holidays that have nothing to do with us. But we celebrating Halloween!? Stop the madness.




Friday, February 16, 2018

The Cries of Redemption Meet and Greet Party

Cries of Redemption Meet and Greet Party at Blush Couture 

The Cries of Redemption Release Sunday, the 11th, grew into a beautiful day even though the skies were gray. Made some wonderful new sistren and some old bredren and family came through. The day began a lil hectic, and just true I strive for perfection, as 3 o'clock approached, I worried cause things were running late. 
But I must admit, Andrea and Theresa and Lia and her crew had everything under control; so, 'Baby don't worry about a thing 'cause every likkle thing is gonna be all right.'

So thanks to those who came out, all in thru clouds and thru rain. I really had a ball with you all.
Bless up. See you next time.
Kaya Omodele

              


 Purchase Cries of Redemption and support Kaya and The Abeng and My Conscious Pen, an independent author and publisher.


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Abeng Update: Kaya Omodele's Debut Cries of Redemption



Greetings Abeng and My Conscious Pen readers!
As you may done know already, Cries of Redemption is available in paper back on Amazon and ebook on Kindle. I have been getting great reviews but more importantly, readers genuinely love the positive vibes in this, my debut. As I stated before Cries of Redemption is wonderful combination of riveting short stories, heart-felt poetry, and informative and thought-provoking commentary. It is strapped with culture and history and positive reasoning, and rich in dialect and philosophy.


You can order or read a free preview here (Click Book Image)




Cries of Redemption will also soon be offered on other platforms like Smashwords and Book Baby.

Abeng Feature

#AllBlackWithADoek Salutes Mama Winnie Mandela

Amandla! #allblackwithadoek Twitter Salutes Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela zikhona @igqiyazana "Doing it for intomb' endala!...