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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Chicken Little: Haunted Blood (An Urban Story) Vol. 1, Part 2

Chicken Little: Haunted Blood (An Urban Story) Vol. 1; Part 2

copyright K. Omodele 2016

The minute Glass' gun popped out, I realized - we got set up, plain and simple. How they, and them alone, get guns up in The Turntable?
Then, soon as Mongrel grabbed the tool from out coward-rass Glass' hand, Bull got low and dashed for the bar. That man dove head-first like some Olympic diver, clear over the counter. And the same time Bull moved right, me, Doc, English and them girls took off to the left. Which exposed Shortman with that half-built spliff in his hand.
He looked up but it was too late. With his back against the wall, all he could do was duck as Mongrel and Boo aimed at him.
Then the shots thundered. BADAP! BADAP! BADAP! BRAP! BRAP!
Over and over, booming over the music, 'til even the music stopped dead.
Then, all you could hear was shots. BLAM! BLAM! BRAM!

People scrambled for the door. No screaming, just silent, frantic like ants. I turned sideways, squeezing myself behind a skinny post that couldn't be no more than six-inch wide. Buddy-bye and Mammal ducked behind two tables. Doc and English and the rest of them? I didn't even see where they'd run and gone.
Shortman was taking shots. He tried to run, but the shots penetrated, twisted and turned his body, like he doing the Rocking Dolly. Then he dropped, his navy-blue Sergio Techini sweat suit turning black with blood.
Then, all of a sudden, the shots stopped. Them dutty niggas backed up a couple steps, looked around like they snap out a daze. Boo turned and dumped two shots into the bar before all of them ran to the door, guns held high. Before they exited, Mongrel swerved his tool around, threatening.
Then they were gone.
Two, maybe three minutes; that's how quick the whole bangarang played out - from the time Bull pointed them out to the moment they hauled rass out the door. Later, Shortman said that the first time he noticed something wrong was the instant Bull started yapping with Glass. Everything after that was a blur to him.
Looking back, it seemed longer; but that's because I remember every little thing. I don't panic, even in the middle of chaos. It don't matter if it feels like you stewing in a pressure cooker, you can't allow your emotions to swallow you up.
With them fools gone, the remnants re-surfaced from various crevices and corners. A set of girls ran out babbling, down from the DJ booth. My ears were buzzing and my eyes and nose were runny from all the lingering gun smoke.
I instructed myself: settle down! Find the crew! Don't rush outside into another ambush like some lamb to a slaughter! I looked around the dancehall carefully.
English, Doc, Mammal and Buddy-bye gathered round and I saw adrenalin pumping through their temples and flaring open their nostrils. Bull stomped over from behind the bar and we began searching for Shortman, but couldn't find him on the floor.
The Women's bathroom door was wide open so, slowly, we peered in.
The dingy-white and black tiles had a path of smeared blood leading to a stall. Three girls squeezed together by a sink, flinching when they saw us. One of them hollered out.
"He crawled in deh. He in there!" Pointed at the stall.
Shortman was curled up, hugging the toilet like salvation. His head propped awkward on the side of the bowl, his torso tensed. He was dry-heaving and his sweatshirt  was soggy wet. His footballer's legs lay sprawled like some pick-up stix. When Bull pried his arms from the toilet and pulled him out the stall, Shortman had tears streaming down his face but he wasn't crying; his eyes just shifted looking around the bathroom.
I knew exactly what he was thinking - we got set up.
I nodded.
Bull grinded his teeth hard like he was chewing wire.
Shortman gurgled. "Water. Thirsty." He struggled to breathe. "Gimmie some water." His teeth pink with blood and slobber.
Suddenly, sirens wailed and someone yelled.
"The Beast."
Everybody with us turned to exit, except Shortman, of course. Half of we had warrants, the other half, illegal; so, none of us wanted to take a check. As we filed out the bathroom, fire fighters streamed through Turntable's front door, followed by a gang of police and EMS.
I pulled my Kangol brim low over my brows and walked out, calm and natural, right past them. I kept thinking, don't freeze up. Don't look away but at the same time, don't stare at nobody! That ole crow see fear, it will take set and prey on you; might make this a longer, colder, sitting-behind-bars night.
At the door I turned and saw them people lift Shortman out the restroom and lay him on the floor in front Bob Marley, smiling with his guitar. I wondered what Bob might've been singing - Woman hold her head and cry??
The EMS converged on Shortman like a pack of wild dogs and cut his pants off him.
I stepped into the night and the air slapped me in the face. A news camera's light blinded me. I looked down, brim down; said nothing, just kissed my teeth and sidestepped the bag of excitement. I darted down the alley to where I'd parked round behind the nightclub. Bull had done cranked up his whip and had pulled beside my beamer, waiting. D.C. was bout to run red. Board box under ground by time we done.
The Harshness had stolen our night.

COMING SOON: Haunted Blood - Volume 2 (Chicken Little Sagas Continue)

Read the preceding episodes:

Chicken Little and The Carrion Crow (the Introduction)

*(this is a work of fiction. Any similarities to actual persons or situations are coincidental and unintended)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Abeng Interviews Garvey's Ghost Author Geoffrey Philp

Garvey’s Ghost, written by Jamaican author Geoffrey Philp, was launched on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, accompanying the birthday celebration of Jamaica's first national hero, the Right and Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey.

Garvey’s Ghost follows the ordeal of a single Jamaican woman, Kathryn Bailey, living in Miami, Florida, whose teenaged daughter suddenly disappears. Kathryn’s search leads her to her daughter’s Black History professor who is not only a Jamaican, but also a devoted Garveyite. Although having little in common, the two join forces to find her daughter before it is too late. The teachings of Marcus Garvey serve as the dismantling of barriers between the two, and a bridge leading to new understandings and unexpected love.

So, Geoffrey, Marcus Garvey as a literary muse is such an intriguing and revolutionary concept. What did you hope to achieve by intertwining Garvey's principles in your story theme and plot?

I grew up listening to the lyrics of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Culture, Steel Pulse, Fred Locks, and Burning Spear, who used the life and work of Marcus Garvey as an inspiration for their
songs. I would also like to think that I am following in the tradition of writers such as Claude McKay, Zora Neale Hurston, and Ralph Ellison, whose poems, novels, and short stories were influenced by Garvey's message.

What do you think it is about Garvey that continues to captivate us 130 years after his birth?

Garvey's work continues to captivate us because of his message of redemption. Even a cursory reading of The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey will reveal the genius of
Garvey and his message of hope.

How was the writing process different for this book?

Revisions and revisions and revisions. It took me twenty years and one million rewrites before Garvey's Ghost was finally published. I've never had to go through such a long wait for any of my books to be published.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of writing and publishing Garvey's Ghost?

During the launch in Jamaica, it was good to see the reactions of friends that I've known since primary school, and new readers of my work. Marcus Garvey opened those doors for me and
I give thanks.

What has been the general response to your book?
The response has been tremendous--better than I had expected because I thought that only Garveyites I would be interested in the novel.
I was wrong.
Because the plot revolves around
a mother’s search for her missing daughter and is told primarily form her point of view, I think I have gained a few more female readers of my work. The audience at the launch confirmed that for me.

Any parting words?
I have been getting hints from the publisher that they are trying to get Garvey’s Ghost into the schools in Jamaica. I hope they will be successful because Garvey's message of hope and
his strategies for our “emancipation from mental slavery,” are needed now more than ever.

 Born in Jamaica, Geoffrey Philp is the author of the novel, Garvey’s Ghost and the children’s book, Marcus and the Amazons. His work has been published in the Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories and the Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse. A graduate of the University of Miami, Geoffrey teaches English and creative writing at Miami Dade College.

Garvey’s Ghost is the first book under Carlong’s newest imprint, Expressions, that responds to the need for quality reading material written by Caribbean authors for teens and young adults.
Additionally, this year is the 130th anniversary of the birth of Marcus Garvey and, to mark this milestone, Liberty Hall: The Legacy of Marcus Garvey and the Jamaica Music Museum (JaMM), departments of the Institute of Jamaica, collaborated to host a series of events under the theme, “Garvey as Literary Muse”.

The Expressions series was conceptualized with the aim of capturing the interest and imagination of youths (ages 14-20 years) across the
Caribbean. It is Carlong’s response to the need for more wholesome reading material that is written by Caribbean authors and focuses on Caribbean life, morals, values and attitudes, as well as other themes.
Carlong Publishers publishes, markets and distributes textbooks that support Caribbean curricula at the early childhood, primary, secondary and post-secondary levels.

BUY #GarveysGhost, NEW suspense novel by Jamaican author Geoffrey Philp
📍 Sangster's Book Store (Jamaica)
📍 Kingston Bookshop (Jamaica)
📍 Online -

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Culture and Tradition are Key to Agricultural Development

Culture and Tradition are Key to Agricultural Development

Copyright 2017 Kentake Malopenza

"You measure a people's potential for liberation based on how different their culture is from their oppressors." 
~Amilcar Cabral

The root cause of trauma and sickness comes from ones commitment to defending a culture that is not their OWN. Living a foreign and alien culture while you despise and condemn your own is simply MENTACIDE (mental insanity). We have been running away from the truth for so long that many of us now think the lies we have been telling ourselves are actually true. But any philosophy that teaches a nation of people to reject their own ancestors and heritage in favor of those who oppress them is a mindset that will surely destroy them and their future generations. We can look at our global Afurakan nations today, all over the world, from the Continent to the Caribbean as well as South and Central America, and we will see that we share a similar lifestyle, culture and value system. We are also facing the same challenges, conflicts and issues regardless of where we may be in the world, or what language we speak in the country of our residence. This tells us that melanated people are truly one divine family and it is our ignorance of that fact that leaves us as easy targets for others to be able to manipulate and control, both us and our resources.

The greatest wealth we have is our indigenous land and it is interesting as well that the term agriculture, which speaks directly to the cultivation and care for ones' land, has the term culture within it. Agriculture is properly defined as:
The practice of tending and caring for the land is slowly becoming an abandoned way of life because we are on the road to fully embracing westernization and capitalism; we are chasing an unrealistic dream that we ourselves know is not real. Our ancestors passed down many ancient spiritual and social values and principles to us that provide rules and regulations of how we must tend and care for our land, but if we don't have any awareness of what those values are then how can we enforce them? 

Many of these codes of morality and social values of communal responsibility are considered law and order within the traditions of our ancestors. But many of us look down upon our indigenous traditions with disgust and shame, as if those ways of life are useless and un-necessary to us now because we feel we have 'arrived' and we have 'moved up' the ladder of success in the mainstream european world. 

Sounding The Abeng
Many of us accept this and end up unknowingly studying information that has been written by Europeans on our traditions, not even realizing that the information is not authentic. In fact, it is these same people who run to the four corners of the Earth to learn at the feet of our elders while we reject learning from one another because we have ego issues.

Then these same yurugu come back to the west and write books on our culture and traditions with the help and assistance of the elders they learned from and we buy those books not knowing that we are financing our own oppression.

As much as we condemn Europeans for their systematic cultural appropriation, we have to look at our own reflection in the mirror and come to terms with the ways in which we assist and encourage our own oppression, by standing idly as others steal our culture and laugh in our face as they are doing it. All the while we are downgrading ourselves calling our heritage and tradition "archaic", "primitive", "evil", "wicked", "outdated" and "backwards". 

Meanwhile they are running all over the Continent, especially Nigeria and Benin as well as the Caribbean and South America learning and studying everything that we were taught to reject and they are paying millions of dollars for it too.

But yet many of YOU will say that our traditions are archaic and have no value in a modern world. Please also remember that our collective honorable ancestors utilized the power within our "outdated" and "backwards" traditions in order to free us from the bondage of slavery and colonization. Please also don't forget that next time you decide to condemn your ancestors for fighting for you to be free from mental and physical bondage. We must all keep in mind: that which we don't claim as our OWN can easily be stolen from us and given a new name and identity. Then, our children will have been robbed of their heritage, which is happening right now in many parts of the world.

Will we only value our traditions when they are open and welcoming to all other races?  Or after they have been stolen and recreated to suit another image and identity?? And if so what does that say about what we really think of ourselves? There is no greater enemy to us than the sickness of self hatred. We must always remember that. Ase ooo.

"the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products."

Prosperity and wealth have always been tied to land ownership, agriculture and the passing down of ancestral tradition and family heritage for generations. This is the true meaning of success:  people must know how to maintain economic and state power. No one with common sense would willingly abandon the traditions of their own ancestors, knowing that these are tied to their future success and prosperity. So why do Afurakan people do that? Do we lack common sense?

We must remember that the aspects of our cultural heritage that many of us reject and disdain are those parts of our reality that europeans love to study, research, write books and thesis papers on; then, they turn around and claim that they are experts in our culture and sell our own knowledge back to us.
But interestingly enough, the european doesn't think so at all. They desperately want to claim and take full ownership of the parts of our culture, tradition and heritage that they know we are ashamed of because they taught us to reject it and now we follow their orders centuries later with no need for it to be reinforced.

Sista Kentake Malopenza is an Afurakan centered 
advocate, mother, writer and entrepreneur who enjoys doing in depth study and research on ancient Afurakan cosmology, precolonial Caribbean culture, Maroon history. Afro-Caribbean spiritual traditions and ancestral philosophies from around the global melanated world. She has travelled extensively from West Afuraka to the Caribbean, in order to reconnect with her heritage and extended family. She is also the founder and director of Akoma Ntoaso Tours which is a grassroots tours incentive that educates people about the Jamaica's indigenous culture and ancestral heritage.
You can contact Akoma Tours at
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