Tuesday, June 21, 2016
African Diaspora 101: Black History
by K. Omodele .@TheAbeng
"It's not all that glitters is gold/and half the story has never been told..."
~ Bob Marley; Peter Tosh
They gave the whole, entire month of February in recognition of Black History? Wow; Imagine! One problem with the whole dolly house, though; feels like somebody hand-picked history and white-washed the story with a set of sanitized plots. Now it's like viewing a cropped, air-brushed photo through a borrowed, out-of-focus lens. Our story needs narratives from our perspectives. Since, history hasn't delivered our Truth, we must demand our writers and djeles do so. (Calling all Diops, Fanons, Jan Carews and Rodneys)
You see, people's perceptions are based on our experiences and affect how we relate with each other and the world in general. As independent thinkers, our views shouldn't be founded on the mainstream; status quo views should not define our experiences for us. We must examine and discern from our experiences then propagate our own perspectives. And we don't need nobody else to validate our views.
Photo-cropped Heroes and Sanitized Plots: Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro
Take Nelson Mandela's visit with Fidel Castro, for instance. Soon after he was freed from prison in 1990, Mandela went to Cuba to meet the Cuban leader. Tata Madiba's face was beaming with reverence as he shook Castro's hand and asked why the Comrade had not come to Africa as yet. Right then, BRADAP, a whole slew of politicians, media and Cuban exiles started ranting and railing, bawling 'bout how Mandela friending-up this "evil dictator" so. Some of us who didn't know the fullness of our story, black history, might have scratched our heads wondering the same thing.
But see! Look how history done blurred up the lens and fogged up we views. In reality, Fidel Castro supported the African fight for liberation from colonialism way back in the 1960's when Che Guevara set up camp in the then, so-called Belgian Congo; then, Mr. Castro supported Africans again in the Seventies and Eighties by sending tens of thousands of Cuban troops to Angola to fight alongside the MPLA* against the Portuguese and an invading South African army.
Now for those of us who can't remember, in them days, Britain and the U.S. backed the racist, apartheid South African government and opposed Mandela and the A.N.C.**, branding them terrorists, subversive elements, etc. Back then, Madiba was vilified by many in the West, let's not forget. To many, he was on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, the left side of the Cold War. It didn't matter to them that he was fighting for black people's human rights, fighting against racist oppression and colonialism. And so was the MPLA.
In its December 20, 2013 edition, THE WEEK magazine reported Peter Beinert stating on TheDailyBeast.com that "America isn't always a force for freedom," and pointed out how Reagan and other conservatives viewed the plight of Black South Africans "through a Cold War lens," when they politically supported the murderous apartheid regime.
So see? People need to learn what's going on for ourselves and stop relying on the mainstream media to shape our views. I am not necessarily endorsing Castro nor condemning Reagan; I'm just making the point that the status quo and popular opinion are subject to change. Mandela, like Muhammad Ali, was reviled by many in the mainstream at one time. Slavery was legal in most countries at one time. Black history is our story and we must not rely on someone else to relay our stories. If we do, then expect that our perspectives might be distorted. To paraphrase The Right and Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey, we need to see the world through our own spectacles. In other words, through our own lens, in our own voice. "None but ourselves can free our minds."
*Movimento Popular de Libertacao de Angola
**African National Congress
Sunday, June 19, 2016
by K. Omodele .@TheAbeng
I got three bredren who have a total of eleven different baby mothers - that's three point six, six... baby mothers a piece. And each one of these bredren have drama with at least one of their baby mothers, and personal conflict with at least one of their youth. Because, when a man chooses to settle down with one out of multiple baby mothers, then somebody down the line will feel left behind, left out, left alone, which is only natural.
See what happened is, these bredren were just in their teens when they began making babies. And none of us at that age was really prepared for parenthood-not the bredren nor the young baby mothers. And none of us were yet mature enough to commit weself to a relationship; after all, flinging and planting seed is how we validated our manhood. So we bouncing over here, bouncing over there, we bouncing all over the place, not committing to no one-somebody. Which turned out detrimental to the social development of some of these children.
I don't have any youth of my own, but I got enough nephews and nieces and god children to see clearly that children need social stability and structure. Most children I know who are well-nurtured in family units with two loving, mature and committed parents, generally turn out more comfortable with their space in the world. They tend to get along better in social groups. When a child grows up seeing his or her parents respecting one another, that child stands a better chance navigating his or her own relationships. They have better examples from which to draw.
But on the next hand, the children whose parents, one, aren't together; and, two, stay quarrelling and fussing and fighting, some of these children grow angry and distrusting and disconnected. To me, the greatest gift a father can give his child is love the child's mother. Simple. Love the woman who brought your child into the world.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Letter To The Indomitable, Muhammad Ali
by K. Omodele .@TheAbeng
As Salaam Alaikum, Ahkee Muhammad,
Been taking in hours of documentaries, interviews, sound bytes and clips of your remarkable life, Champ. Nothing much new, seen most of them before. Seems like your spirit has been with me since I was a child. My Grandfather (Jah Bless) lionized you, my father idolized you; Mommy, Aunties, Uncles, they chanted your name, relayed your stories, with reverence like djeles. Sometimes people chatter gleefully about your rapid-fire hands and gazelle-like feet; but it's your unconquerable, indomitable spirit that my tribe exalts most.
Which is why I was baffled when, in your 60 Minutes interview with Ed Bradley, you retreated off camera stating that you didn't want people feeling sorry for you, that no one should pity you.
Brother, Dada, Baba, Bredren, don't you know...?
One has to have been defeated or shorted in some form or fashion in order to be pitied. Ali, you showed us how to beat back formidable foes like you pummeled Parkinson; you stood toe to toe with Sonny, blow for blow with Smokin' Joe; you rumbled in that jungle and small axed that giant mahogany George. Though you were strapped to the post and whipped like Kunta Kinte by Uncle Sam, you held firm in defiance. "No Viet Cong ever called me nigger." Your head held high, back cocked straight, standing square on principle.
You held your ground knowing your stance was unpopular, unorthodox, many hated you for jabbing from your hip at the war, throwing left hooks weighed with jarring truths and straight rights loaded with human rights.
Haters spat. "How dare he bite the hand that feeds!"
But we, the poor and oppressed of the world, saw David (Dawoud) cock his sling at Goliath; we heard you, we felt you, we cheered as you floated above all rings, like Mandela and Mohandas transcended all courtrooms, like Malcolm and Martin transcended pulpits, like Marley transcended sound stages and booths, until the whole world thawed in that light that is Muhammad Ali, The Indomitable.
Peace and love be unto you, Honorable.
Never Gone! Never Forgotten!
CARIBBEAN POETRY: Catharsis II: The Lost Writers' Colony copyright 2014 K. Omodele ...
Today, August the seventeenth, is a blessed day in my Journey. On this day a man was born in 1887 who would affect the way I perceive my S...
As an independently published author, it can be a challenge getting your book placed in a bookstore, especially chain bookstores like Barn...
In Africa , oral tradition was the primary means of teaching a people's history and culture. Griots were adept storytellers, teacher...
Drawing property rights to The Abeng.../ YardCore Int'l, Publishing Copyright 2010 K. Omodele ...
Lemon-grass and Ginger Tea Sleepily, I waddled on wobbly knees to the kitchen. Grated piece of ginger, crushed up two lemon grass s...