Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kwanzaa at a Glance

Kwanzaa, created by Dr. Maulana Karenga and celebrated from December 26 through January 1, reflects an ancient tradition of first harvest celebrations, and is a time for "ingathering, reverence, commemoration, recommitment and celebration." The celebration was created in part to serve as a regular communal celebration to reaffirm and reinforce the bonds between us as a people. It was designed to be an ingathering to strengthen community and reaffirm common identity, purpose and direction as a people and a world community. Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, not a religious one so it is available to and practiced by Africans of all religious faiths.

Kwanzaa promotes the seven following principles:

1) Umoja (unity)

2) Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)

3) Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)

4) Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)

5) Nia (Purpose)

6) Kuumba (Creativity)

7) Imani (Faith)

This stress on the Nguzo Saba is an emphasis on the importance of African communitarian values in general, which stress family, community and culture and speak to the best of what it means to be African in the fullest sense. They are a foundational value system for building family, community and maintaining culture.

5 Easy Ways to Celebrate Kwanzaa

1. Griots and djembes:

Invite Afrakan storytellers, musicians, and artists to your gathering to inspire your guests as they eat aperitifs and mingle.

2. Take Kwanzaa on the road:

On each day of Kwanzaa get together with your friends, coworkers or gather up the little ones to demonstrate that particular principle for the benefit of others. For example, on the day of Ujima promote a clothing & canned food drive door to door in your neighborhood to benefit underprivileged youth or the elderly of your community. Remember to wear traditional African garb, and say "asante sana" after they load up your baskets.

3. Our ancestors - the first ones to reap any harvest:

There would be no harvest for us without the hard work of those who nourished our parents, grandparents and so on in order for our families to continue. Honor the efforts and challenges of our forbearers by fasting on only fruit and water from noon to sunset each day. On the final day, walk in silence with your family to a body of water and offer fruit as you all call out the names of cherished loved ones who came before.

4. Wisdom of the old ways:

In many African traditions, a child's purpose and challenges are determined while it is still in it's mother's womb. This way the family can prepare to give that child what it needs to succeed and fulfill it's mission. It is never too late to realign with one's purpose. On the day of Nia, consider having a qualified priest/ess perform a reading for each of your family's members and for you all as one family whole. Take heed of and take pride in the wisdom you gain.

5. A feast fit for royally:

On the final day, have a grand feast featuring traditional African foods and preparations. After dinner, watch an African-centerd film like Quilombo or a Warm December. Listen to the music of Fela Kuti or Miriam Makeba. Enjoy each other as you light the final candle and committ to another year of cultural, familial and community-wide adherence to the Nguzo Saba.

Sherekea limbuka!

Enjoy the fruits of your celebration!

Remember to set up your Kwanzaa alter. Click here for the procedure: Lighting the Kinara and more

Referenced from Dr. Maulana Karenga and the

Monday, November 15, 2010

Umoja Karamu: Giving Thanks for Afrakan Culture

The cultural creativity of Afrakan people is ever redemptive. Afrakans in America continue in the ways of their continental ancestors in conceiving ongoing methods of institutionalizing our unique heritage. This is the time of the holiday tradition of Umoja Karamu. This celebration was initiated in 1971 by Brother Edward Simms, Jr. of Philadelphia, Pa. Umoja Karamu is a Swahili term that translates as “unity feast.” As practiced in The Temple of the Black Messiah, Umoja Karamu is held on the fourth Sunday in November.

Its purpose is to instill a sense of unity and appreciation of Afrakan heritage into Afrakan families. This is done through prayers to the traditional deities of Afraka, libations to honor our Afrakan ancestors, historical Afrakan centered readings and Afrakan centered films all of which culminates in a healthy, nutritious feast. In his own words Brother Edward Simms, Jr. states "[Umoja Karamu] injects new meaning and solidarity into the Black Family through ceremony and symbol. It is unique in that it bridges the gap between diverse religious persuasions through a ritual which is easily understood and appreciated by all the participants. Moreover, it draws on the collective Black experience with which most Black Folks are familiar."

The Umoja Karamu celebration is based on five major epochs in the lives of Afrakans in America and each represented by a distinct color. The feast should include foods representing the color of each epoch.The prayers, libations, historical readings and films should also center around these events:

1st Epoch - Afrakans prior to the invasions and influence of Europeans and Arabs. The color Black, is used to delineate the unity of the Afrakan people.

2nd Epoch - Captivity of Afrakans during which the Maafa occurs. The color white symbolizes the adversary and their role in the attempted destruction of Afrakan culture.

3rd Epoch - Self Emancipation. The fight against forced labor and captivity in the United States of America through revolts, Civil Rights and the Black Power movements. The color red is used to represent those who lived and died in service of freeing captive Afrakans.

4th Epoch - National Liberation. The fight for decolonization of Afrakan countries the formation of the Organization for Afrakan Unity and the diasporac Afrakan liberation movements. The chosen color is green, symbolic of land and all that comes from it.

5th Epoch – The Future of Afraka and Afrakans. The Afrakan Union, The African Socialist International, The Sankofa Movement. Afrakan centered perspectives for the future. The color gold is chosen for the future is a most valuable asset.

Kwanzaa, Umoja Karamu, Odunde. Afrakans in America – earnestly engaged in the reclamation of their culture and its institutionalization.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Take A Trip...with the African Socialist International

How often does a conscience, cultural cruise to the birthplace of one of the most influential leaders of the Afrakan diaspora occur? Not often. Where does one get the chance to meet other politically astute Afrakns while enjoying all the amenities of a cruise ship while en route to the Caribbean? Where else but onThe Marcus Garvey Legacy Cruise sponsored by The African People's Socialist Party. To learn more visit the link below.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Spiritual Disciplines for Self-Mastery

In my last post we dealt a bit with the concept of self-mastery, as illustrated in the epic tale of Ausar, Auset and Heru. This concept is, to me, the whole point of the teachings. Sure, ultimately one could achieve "enlightenment" by studying the wisdom teachings, commune with the divine and gain entry into Pet (heaven) having resolved all of one's meskhenet (karma). But that is a lofty goal to say the least. Let's say we'll work our way up to that place of ideal spirituality. Even if that is your goal, you have to start somewhere.

For me, the starting point is self-mastery. It is a goal I can gauge, plot and eventually attain. I can tell when I'm succeeding based on how I react to others (especially when they really tick me off). It's like, the more I focus on my own self-control, or as I like to call it, my own sense of "self-awareness," everything else becomes muted and I can see myself as a causal force in the center of events.

If you want to kind of play around with this idea of self-awareness, here is an exercise I do often. It is based on a simple combination of fasting and meditation, as taught by ancient Afrakan priests and other teachers of spiritual discipline.

1st Guideline:

Eat only fruit in the morning and then for at least 7 hours eat nothing, drink only water. After the 7 hours, you may eat fruit again.

2nd Guideline:

Ignore your TV, phone, friends etc and sequester yourself in a quiet and private place where you won't be disturbed. For the 7 hours you may read wisdom texts and meditate on their meanings.

3rd Guideline:

To strengthen your self-mastery, recite hekau (mantras) to focus your mind while you breathe to a specific rhythm. I use "pot belly breathing" also known as pranayama...

-Sekayi Khita Hetep

Click here to read more

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Afrakan Philosophy

I love wisdom teachings, whether they be proverbs, stories or mythologies, because of their ability to convey deep thought in a way that truly penetrates the mind. Being told that you should control your emotions is rather flat, compared to hearing an epic story of a hero or heroine who, while traveling along through much adventure, faces colorful characters who challenge him/ her and prove that the only way to defeat them is to shine a pure light of energy from the heart… a light that our heroine learned how to wield along her journey… now that really drives the point home and even entertains in the process. My favorite wisdom teachings originate in Afraka, and are full of drama, logic, and consequences that enrich.

One of the oldest and most retold stories is that of the Ausarian Resurrection. In ancient Kemet (known today as Egypt) the gods ruled the land with wisdom and evenhandedness. The land was fertile and the people prospered. Presiding over Kemet, were Ausar and Auset, who's love was a thing to behold. As their love and national prosperity grew, they aroused the jealousy of Ausar's brother Set who conspired in the shadows to overthrow his brother and take the throne for himself. Through trickery Set manages to kill Ausar by trapping him in a coffin and throwing that coffin into the sea. Auset, queen and devoted wife, searches near and far for her husband's body, eventually finding it had grown into a tree in a far away kingdom. She is able to retrieve it and returns home with it to Kemet. Once Set learns of Auset's efforts he promptly arrives to put an end to her plans to revive him. Set chops Ausar's body up into 13 pieces and spreads these remains across the distant reaches of the world.

Auset collects all of the pieces save one, his phallus and returns home once again to Kemet. There, with the help of her sister Nebethet, she performs sacred ritual over his remains and calls forth Ausar's spirit.

Through their spiritual union a child is conceived...

To read more click here

Friday, April 16, 2010

Epitomizing the Black Panther

Before I go into my topic I want to weigh in on the animated series. After viewing the first four episodes I want to say job more than well done. Everything about it feels right. The theme music is excellent, the casting is superb and to my surprise the animation works as it uniquely stylizes the Panther. Reggie your dialogue works better in the cartoon than in the comic. The characterizations and guest appearances were well chosen (especially replacing the Rhino with Juggernaut). A final note, the politics you have seamlessly interwoven into the story gives the Panther a depth that no other cartoon or film has yet to achieve. Congratulations!!

Black Panther Theme Song

Black Panther Trailer

Now my topic. In order to achieve the subject heading, "Epitomizing the Black Panther," the writers of Black Panther must be able to fictionalize Afrakan culture. This means detail must be given to the defining aspects of an Afrakan people who have never been conquered. It means creating a neo Afrakan centeredness. This can be extremely challenging for many Afrakan writers as we are taught to view ourselves as slaves, criminals and helpless victims. This too speaks to non Afrakan writers. (I use the word Afrakan instead of black, colored or negro etc.). Here are some specific examples of what I mean.

The Wakandans are a sovereign and unconquered people. No writer stated this more emphatically than Reggie. He along with team Hudlin gave BP readers an Afrakan conurbation in Wakanda. They showed us the Wakandan Space Program, which to my knowledge is the only fictitious Afrakan nation in Marvel maybe even in comics to have such. Team Hudlin is also responsible for advancing the aesthetics of Afrakan women. Shuri and the Dora Milaje are excellent examples of diversifying the beauty of Afrakan women. Priest's contribution during his tenure produced something extremely important to successfully fictionalizing Afrakan culture. He gave the Wakandans their own language. These are a few but exemplary examples of what must be done in earnest. Fictionalization of Afrakan culture should be imaginative in its Afrakan centeredness, creative in its countenance and responsible to the icons and images of the culture it represents.

Watch Interview w/ Reginald Hudlin

Other factors to be addressed in "Epitomizing the Black Panther," are consistency, continuity and rationale. For this I examine the following.

Wakanda has often been depicted as a village or group of villages as opposed to a country of numerous diverse regions and multiple cities. I site JA vol. 1#8,1973; Marvel Atlas #2,2008 for proof of the latter. Its political structure implies an all too easy vulnerability to coup de tats and one man take overs. Could one conceive of such events occurring in the US? These take over stories are more appropriate to WDG, an international corporation, than to the country of Wakanda. This would have worked well for the arcs "Deadliest of the Species" and "Power." Since there was already a "queen," Shuri being made CEO of WDG and confronting a hostile take over would have been a great way to introduce her as a novice Panther with aspirations to the throne. Thus the sidelining of Storm and T'challa could have been greatly reduced.

The political structure should have a council, regional representatives and city administrators in addition to a king and queen. Elaborations on the sophisticated fail safes in case of death or take over of the king or other royals. No more of the Achebes or Rosses being enthroned.This will render a greater sense of community and nationhood. Showcase Wakanda's antiquity as it compares to Kemit, Atlantis, Sparta and Subterrania to name a few. Embellish Wakandan explorations into the oceans, deep space and alternate dimensions. The Wakandans should have been exploring space perhaps a century before the US and Russia. They should have moon bases from Earth to Saturn. Colonies and defense satellites through the solar system. One could tell the tales of Khanata (BP vol. 1#13,1978) a great Wakandan adventurer and his crew traveling in an N'yami cruiser. Their trek through the stars in search of the source of the vibranium meteor leads to chance encounters with the Shi'ar, the Kree, The Skrulls and the Brood. The exploits of these Wakandans are sung even in the hallowed halls of the Klingon empire.

Visually depicting the military power of a nation bred for war was something Priest, Valutto and Almond excelled at. A cursory examination would yield N'yami battle cruisers and Prowlers. It would be advantageous to highlight its special forces like the Hatut Zeraze and the Dora Milaje. I think the Hatut Zeraze should answer to the king and the Dora Milaje to the queen. The separation of the two could give rise to the rites of passage that separates males and females in Afrakan culture. The most exceptional two Dora Milaje being candidates for queendom and the rest the most desirable and sought after women in the nation.The same could hold true for the Hatut Zeraze. Both would be second only to the scion of the Bashanga clan. One of the best things Reggie and John did was to give the Dora Milaje a distinct cultural appearance. Storm as queen should reflect this. Storm should have cut her head bald and defeated the best Dora Milaje in combat as part of the marriage ritual. She then could have grown her mohawk back to show some solidarity and to distinguish herself.

The Wakandans should be the physical and mental pinnacle of humanity. The average Wakandan should be far superior to the average person. T'challa and his family are the pinnacle of the Wakandan people. Nuff said. T'challa should be bald as are all the great warriors of Wakanda exemplified by the Dora Milaje and Hatut Zeraze. Storm being the notable exception gets a pass due to her foreign birth and exceptional power.
Wakandans are not xenophobic as much as they are "Wakandan-centric." They are long lived averaging about 150 yrs of age due to their environment and diet. Focus can be on their highly developed healing arts, medication and healthcare to all its citizens. Mental and physical disciplines based in the evolved traditions of Afraka. There shouldn't be a need to kill or domesticate animals due to their advanced agriculture and robotics. No combustible engines and fuel exhaust from tail pipes or engines. Let us delve deep in the spirituality of a people whose religious practices have not been imposed upon by Christianity or Islam. The BP animated series (episodes 1-3) is canon for this. Lets go to school with the children of Wakanda without the need to superimpose American values and failings such as teen pregnancy, drug use, graffiti or gang violence. Illustrate an education system that graduates student into the community as functional members never having to leave and prostitute themselves outside of it. Show us examples of what we could be if we reached our potential and if need be create new and original challenges for these children. Give us a new sense of commerce, business and trade. Show us what a debtless society looks like. Wakandans should be immune to the shifting patterns of global economics yet still be able to greatly influence it if they chose to. Let's not look at contemporary Afrakan societies that are failing but focus on the Afrakan societies that are succeeding. Meld the triumphs of the Afrakan diaspora into a myth of epic proportions.

The rogues gallery… How about reinterpretations of Killmonger? Imagine him more along the lines of having the business acumen and political savvy of a Lex Luthor, Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne. He could be founder and governor of the N'Jadaka region and some mayoral like title for N'Jadaka city, building on BP vol. 2#16,2000. I would have Killmonger take control of the Desturi, his answer to the Hatut Zeraze. Combine this with Luke Cage level strength and durability and you may have the ideal antagonist for T'challa. Solomon Prey, a eurocentric aristocrat and drug lord who transforms into a gargoyle like creature, is an expatriate who operates out of Paris (cue the Goth). Achebe, no brainer. An Afrakan version of the late great Heath Ledger's Joker. Man-Ape,(who I think was vastly improved under the aegis of Priest) could have a new name i.e. Silverback and a new costume without the gorilla head. The Jabari tribe from which he hails should be Hulk-like in size and stature as they live in one of the harshest environs in Wakanda, the Crystal forrest, home of the white gorilla from which their ancestors based their religion. Another reinterpretation would be that of Sombre (JA vol. 1 #13, 1974) as he or she is the charismatic religious leader of a cult (think classic Brother Blood from Teen Titans) that worships at Resurrection Altar delivering salvation to adherents through exposure to those "hellish rays." The Supremacist (BP mini series #2,1988) evolves into a Hydra/A.I.M. like organization with advance technology and super human agents. Their particular brand of centuries old eugenics creates a new kind of mutant who sees their antithesis in the Wakandans.

Finally we come to T'challa himself. Synthesizing his physical and martial prowess, intellectual acumen, technological propensity, spiritual evolution and psychological cognizance with challenging and innovative quandaries is the foundation upon which everything rests.

Special attention should be paid to his personal habit and weapons. He should always wear the morphing vibranium microweave costume (BP vol. 2 #1,1998). It can resemble any of the styles Black Panther is known for and makes him bullet proof (BP vol. 2 #7,1999), impact resistant (BP vol. 2 #40,2002), immune to magnetism (BP vol. 2 #48,2002) and vibration (BP vol. 2 #49,2002). His cowl should be equipped for underwater respiration (Defenders vol. 1#84,1980). T'challa cowl should also include special lenses (BP vol. 2#4,1999) and chemical gates as filters to prevent inhalation of toxic gases and other substances (BP vol. 2#16,2000). Further adding to an already impressive personal defense we now move to offense. His gloves have the anti-metal vibranium claws (BP vol. 2#14,2000) which arguably could cut or damage adamantium or even Cap's shield. His footwear comes with special "vibranium powered active phase resonator" soled boots (BP vol. 2#14,2000).These allow the Panther to scale walls and leap from great heights. They also rob projectiles of their momentum (BP vol. 2#15,2000) and allow T'challa to stand or run on the surface of a body of water (BP vol. 2#29,2001). Let us not forget a retractable cape (BP vol. 2#16,2000).

Last but far from least is the light armor that transitions out of the above mentioned costume (BP vol. 3#19,2006). This would be extremely useful against more powerful opponents, say the Hulk for example. He may not be able to beat him physically but it's infinitely superior to spandex, thus giving T'challa the necessary time to strategize and out think the Hulk. The armor would be useful in hostile environments say the moon for example. While visiting the Inhumans he morphs it off indoors and it instantaneously comes on outside the comfort of the blue area. Since T'challa was kind enough to give the gift of flight to the Falcon, it would be ignorant for him not to have it. Thus this armor would also include glider wings like those used by Shuri (BP vol. 4#11,2010). This would be helpful if T'challa is thrown out a plane (Black Axe vol. 1#6,1992) or falling from a rocket (BP mini series #3,1988).Throw in an energy dagger and Kimoyo card for good measure and you have well outfitted, ready for anything Black Panther. To be a prep master you gotta be a prep master. For transportation and operations outside of Wakanda he has a specialized T'chaka heavy cruiser. Think N'yami battle cruiser only bigger and deffer. It comes complete with all the standard amenities plus limos and sky cycles.

I neglected to mention that the Black Panther can cloak…think about it.

The Panther has had the fortune of the creatively intrepid vision of Lee and Kirby, the mature lyrical prose and composed raconteur of McGregor. The politically evolved continuity based and definitive T'challa from Priest. The holistic cultural and conscious expansion coupled with an unprecedented marketing campaign culminating in an animated series from Hudlin. As we await to see the affect Mayberry will have, I leave you with this.

The great writer who does Black Panther faces insurmountable odds with a confidence and demeanor that beguiles his detractors. He inspires admiration and devotion from his team. Why? Because the great writer knows that the Black Panther may simply be the most complex, diverse character in comics. The great writer knows it is their honor and privilege to present him well.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Acting Out at the Academy Awards

Images and their conveyances are two very significant tools used in the production of motion pictures. They are the conduits through which a story flows, the incubators of sentiment, they are the very perceptions that adhere to the mind itself. What is conveyed through them is long lasting, especially when reinforced through repetition.

Their ability to influence is well documented. In European/American culture what is referred to as play acting, drama, or theatrics are essentially spiritual apparati in Afrakan culture, used as a science to program the inner self. The discipline and self mastery needed to participate in these rituals necessitated that "priest" be the primary participants as such "acting" is considered sacred.

Why? Because the participants were invoking the masks of god. Method acting approximates a quantum of this spiritual science.

Let us examine the images the Academy chose to honor as they relate to Afrakan people in this first decade of the new millennium.

The new millennium's vision of Afrakans as recognized by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences starts with its 72nd annual awards show also known as Oscar 2000. Michael Clarke Duncan wins Best Supporting Actor for The Green Mile and Denzel Washington earns a Best Actor nomination for The Hurricane. The image of innocent Afrakan men being incarcerated resonates as this years theme.

A horrifying visage of Afraka in the film Black Hawk Down is the Academy's choice for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing of 2001.

In its 74th awards ceremony in 2002 the Academy had two historic moments. The first was Denzel Washington winning Best Actor for his role as a corrupt police officer in Training Day. This was the second time that an Afrakan male won the Best Actor category. Halle Berry winning Best Actress, a first for this category, was the other historic moment. She won for her role in Monster's Ball in which she portrayed an impoverished mother, whose husband is on death row. To make matters worst, she has an affair with a white "racist" who just happens to be her husband's executioner. Will Smith was nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of "The Greatest" in Ali. This biopic, while a more positive representation, failed to net any awards. The images that yield the Academy's highest accolade are the ones that should garnish little approbation.

Halle's character being saved by the compassion of a hate monger and the depths of depravity that Denzel's character displays are images of poor self esteem and egomania.

In 2003 the German produced Nowhere in Africa was recognized by the Academy as Best Foreign Language film. The film is about a European jewish family who move to Kenya to avoid Nazi persecution. The image here is one of Afraka as being a possible sanctuary.

The 77th awards of 2005 gave recognition for the flawless performances by Jamie Fox (who won Best Actor) for Ray, Don Cheadle (nominee for Best Actor) and Sophie Okonedo (nominee for Best Actress) for Hotel Rwanda. The Academy also recognized Morgan Freeman (Best Supporting Actor) for Million Dollar Baby. It would seem that both Jamie and Don were engaging in a bit of "ritual" for their respective biopics. Each personifying the method acting technique. The latter channeled the emotional essence of Paul Rusesabagina while the former seemed to possess the very soul of Ray Charles.

In 2006 Terrence Howard received best actor nominee for Hustle & Flow. The film won an Oscar for best original song It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp. Best foreign language film went to Tsotsi, a film that depicts in distressing detail what impoverishment and loss of cultural cohesion has done to Afraka.

The 79th Academy Awards ceremony of 2007 yielded Best Actor to Forest Whitaker for Last King of Scotland and Best Supporting Actress to Jenifer Hudson for Dreamgirls. Djimon Hounsou and Eddie Murphy both received nominations for Best Supporting Actor for Blood Diamond and Dreamgirls respectively. The films Last King of Scotland, Blood Diamond and Catch a Fire with Derek Luke and Tim Robbins (a film the academy did not recognize) all depict an Afraka that is rife with poverty, hostility and gross atrocities.

The 82nd Academy Awards show of 2010 nominated The Blind Side, District 9 and Precious for best picture. Further nominations included Best Director Lee Daniels for Precious, Best Actor Morgan Freeman for Invictus, Best Actress Gabourey Sidibe for Precious and Best Adapted Screenplay Neil Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell for District 9.

The winners were Mo'Nique as Best Supporting Actress in Precious, Geoffrey Fletcher Best Adapted Screenplay for Precious. The consistent images of poverty, neglect and abuse resound. Redemption or salvation achieved only through the compunction or resignation of those of European decent.

In conclusion the motion picture images of Afraka and its people at home and abroad as recognized by the Academy over the past near decade is one void of the intrinsic culture, its inherent diversity and a breadth of complexity that permeates Afrakan people the world over.

The images and subtexts of motion pictures have a lasting impact on the audience, especially youth who have less ability to discriminate between accurate and inaccurate portrayals, or to think critically about the aspect of reality being portrayed. For an ethnic group, Afrakans in particular, with a history of misrepresentation and even overt racist stereotyping, cinema reflects back messages of identity as well as their place within the larger social environment. The films chosen for consideration by the MPAA, typify a predominantly somber depiction of Afraka and her people. Afrakan centered racial pride, so necessary for self-esteem and thus success, are not fostered by this offering of film representations.We tend to look to media to both confirm and to educate our understandings of ourselves as an ethnic group. This suggests the importance of a group controlling and creating media forms to represent themselves accurately.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Afrakans in the United States of America History Month... A Cyber Libation 2

This is our second cyber libation honoring those who have made transition during the past decade. We felt it appropriate to give honorable mention to these beloved ancestors who have lived a life dedicated to the realization of Afrakalture. We give praise to Carter G. Woodson for deeming it necessary to have a time period set aside to do such.

Asa Hilliard made transition August 12, 2007. He was a professor with a comprehensive understanding of Afrakan Centered educational psychology. Dr. Hilliard was a founding member of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations and served as vice president. He served as an expert witness in court testimony on several federal cases regarding test validity and bias, and was the co-developer of an educational television series, Free Your Mind, Return to the Source: African Origins.

In the forward to his book SBA: The Reawakening of the African Mind, Wade Nobles had this to say. “It is a roadmap. It is a call to destiny. With SBA: The Reawakening of the African Mind, Dr. Hilliard helps us to comprehend why education is so critical to African liberation and advancement. Within his opening thoughts, Asa inextricably links the mind (spirit), with culture and education. He notes that to reawaken the African mind, one must ensure that the goal of education, and the socialization process must be to understand and live up to African cultural principles, values and virtues.”

April 6, 2007 we had the pleasure of the company of Dr. Hilliard. We did again in June. His personality was warm and affable with an engaging and humorus personality. It was our honor to be able share in the wisdom of this esteemed Afrakan.

Baba Kwame Ishangi was one who communed with the ancestors. He reunited with them in the Gambia, West Afraka on October 22,2003. I remember the first time I saw him. I remember the first words I heard him speak. It was at a West Philadelphia YMCA decades ago. My aunt deferred her time to speak so that Baba could.

He stood majestically in full Afrakan regalia. He had presence, a strength that permeated each person in attendance. He asked the audience, "Do you know what this is? He was holding high above his head a sacred drum. Baba told us what culture meant that night. He concluded by saying "We are the oldest people on earth, it's time we act our age." Baba Ishangi like my uncle before him taught me something about the righteous indignation of being Afrakan and of being an Afrakan man. Reclaim your ancestral heritage. Use the wisdom of the past to ensure a better future were the words Baba Ishangi lived by.

For a comprehensive history of Baba Kwame Ishangi visit the following site.

Ishakumusa Barashango departed from us to another sphere on January 14 , 2004 in Philadelphia. He apparently succumbed to a heart attack during his morning walk. Barashango, who was elevated to a grand master scholar in 2000 while in Kemet and co-founder and creative director of the Fourth Dynasty Publishing Company in Silver Spring, Maryland, would have been 66 in April.

"I've known Dr. Barashango for more than a quarter of a century," said Dr. Jack Felder. "In fact, we talked for about two hours, two days before he made his transition. One thing he always stressed and that most impressed me was that we can never free our minds as long as we view God as a white man or as long as we keep worshiping white people's Holy-days (Holidays). He was a pillar of our community."

Dr. Barashango, affectionately known as Baba, received his bachelor of arts degree in religion from Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama. He studied for his master's degree at Northeastern Seminary in Takoma Park, Maryland. The New Afrikan University Network System of Washington, D.C. saluted him with an honorary Doctor of Philosophy Degree in 1979. Always a popular lecturer, Baba leaves behind a vast collection of taped speeches on such topics as "Ten Points on the Afrakan Centered Realities of Religious Thoughts and Practice," "The Role of Religion in Afrakan Historical Development," and "The Afrakan Origins of the Bible." "He was also a prolific author," said Minister Clemson Brown, who spoke at Dr. Barashango's funeral in Philadelphia on Saturday, Jan. 17. "I've known for some 20 years and he was completely dedicated to the physical, mental and spiritual liberation of our people. He dedicated his life to these causes."

Taken from an article written by RBG StreetScholar

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Afrakans in the United States of America History Month... A Cyber Libation

The name needed to be changed (this title maybe longer than most are use to however it is accurate) but Carter G. Woodson's vision need never come into question. There have been so many who made transition to the realm of the ancestors this past decade, I thought it most appropriate to give honorable mention to them, a cyber libation if you will.

Imari Abubakari Obadele, made transition Jan. 18, 2010. He was the president and founding member of the Republic of New Afraka and one of the head organizers for National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA). He was a college professor with a Ph.D. in political science and a writer who has published several books.

Imari Abubakari Obadele was quite simply a visionary. His contention to carve out an independent Afrakan republic by removing the states of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina from

the union was revolutionary. He and the Republic of New Afraka saw themselves fighting a war of national liberation. They had a government, a constitution and a uniformed militia, all that was missing was the land. He demanded American land as payback for the centuries of abuse Afrakans had suffered. He also demanded billions of dollars in reparations.

Imari Abubakari Obadele did not desire integration into white society. He argued that Afrakans should not have automatically been considered American citizens after their so called emancipation. His reason was simple, they were offered no choice in the matter. He posited a two very necessary queries. One what If they had chosen not to become the inferior members of a white society (the only possibility for them) or two chose to create their own country. In either case they would have to take land from the existing United States. His arguments are still helping Afrakans in America to redefine the concepts of nationality and citizenship.

Imari Abubakari Obadele was once asked about violence in the revolutionary underground, his response “We cannot tell somebody who is underground what to do,” he said. “If people feel that they must attack people who have been attacking and destroying and harming our people, then that is a decision they have to make.” Imari Abubakari Obadele's tireless efforts demonstrated an undying commitment to Afrakan empowerment.

Brother Calvin Robinson made his transition on October 24, 2009. He was a founding member of the Pan Afrakan Federation Organization and a life long member of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and Afrakan Communities League. He along with his brother Dr. Ed Robinson and Redman Battle co authored what Dr. Molefi Asante (father of Afrocentricity) called "a foundational book." The Journey of the Songhai People is the kind of work that gives cultural, historic and political context in a palatable reader friendly format. Bro Calvin was also a Philadelphia radio personality with his long running show The Elders Speak.

Calvin Robinson humble beginnings did not detour his ambitions. He was devoted and successful husband, father and grandfather. His 36 years of employment were with the Afrakan owned Provident Home Life Insurance Company, he has been a member of the Afrakan Methodist Episcopal church since birth, and held the office of president of the Pan Afrakan Federation Organization. Calvin Robinson a stalwart example of an Afrakan in America working and living in the best interest of Afrakan people.

Ivan Van Sertima made a peaceful transition on May 25, 2009. It was decided to use this well written article by someone who was not only a peer but knew Bro. Van Sertima personally.The following biography was written by the esteemed Runoko Rashidi.“We have come to reclaim the house of history. We are dedicated to the revision of the role of the African in the world's great civilizations, the contribution of Africa to the achievement of man in the arts and sciences. We shall emphasize what Africa has given to the world, not what it has lost." --Ivan Van Sertima With absolute certainty it can stated that, due to his consistent and unrelenting scholarship over the past twenty-five years in the rewriting of African history and the reconstruction of the African's place in world history, particularly in the field of the African presence in ancient America, Ivan Van Sertima has cemented his position as one of our greatest living scholars. Indeed, during this turbulent and exciting period, he has been in the vanguard of those scholars fighting to place African history in a new light. Simply put, Van Sertima's clarion call has been: "We shall follow the trail of the African in Europe, in Asia, and in every corner of the New World, seeking to set the record straight. This is no romantic exploration of antiquities. It is a search for roots.

Ivan Van Sertima was born in Kitty Village, Guyana, South America on January 26, 1935. He was educated at the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University where he graduated with honors. From 1957 to 1959, he served as a Press and Broadcasting Officer in the Guyana Information Services. During the decade of the 1960s, he broadcasted weekly from Britain to both Africa and the Caribbean. He came to the United States in 1970, where he completed his post graduate studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Dr. Van Sertima began his teaching career as an instructor at Rutgers in 1972, and he is now Professor of African studies in the Department of Africana Studies.Van Sertima is a literary critic, a linguist, and an anthropologist, and has made a name for himself in all three fields. As a linguist, he is the compiler of the Swahili Dictionary of Legal Terms, based on his field word in Tanzania, East Africa in 1967. As a literary critic, he is the author of Caribbean Writers, a collection of critical essays on the Caribbean novel. He is also the author of several major literary reviews published in Denmark, India, Britain, and the United States. He was recognized for his work in this field by being requested by the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy to nominate candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature from 1976 to 1980.The cornerstone of Dr. Van Sertima's legacy will probably be his authorship of They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America. According to Van Sertima:"The African presence in America before Columbus is of importance not only to African and American history, but to the history of world civilizations. The African presence is proven by stone heads, terra cottas, skeletons, artifacts, techniques and inscriptions, by oral traditions and documented history, by botanical, linguistic and cultural data."For more please visit the following link

Redman Battle, President General of the U.N.I.A.- A.C.L. died on the 30th day of December 2007. The following was taken from his eulogy.

Redman Battle was born in Sharpburg, North Carolina, February 25, 1920, the youngest of seven children born to James and Anne Battle. He was educated in Detroit, Michigan and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania public schools. Mr. Battle was also a strict vegetarian and herbalist who advised many on natural remedies and encouraged us to eat natural to maintain our health.

He worked tirelessly for the betterment of his people in several endeavors. Most notably Mr. Battle co-founded the Pan African Federation Organization (PAFO). He helped to develop and taught Black History classes. He co-wrote The Journey of the Songhai People which is used in classrooms today. He also developed the concept of the Profiles of African and African American History, which is a two-act play.

Mr. Battle joined the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) in 1982. On the local level he has served as President of Philadelphia’s Thomas W. Harvey Memorial Division 121. He was elected to the Parent Body as High Chancellor in 1992, and then as 2nd Assistant President General in 2000. He was elected President-General and Administrator in 2004 and served with distinction until his passing on December 30th.Mr. Battle served only 31⁄2 years as our leader, but his complete devotion to the UNIA -ACL was evident. He traveled extensively as our President-General, visiting Belize and Ghana. He also traveled to speaking engagements in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Durham, North Carolina. And he visited a Black-owned farm in Alabama, which was a model for Marcus Garvey’s program of African empowerment. And when he couldn’t travel he sent his Parent Body officers to visit our various divisions here in the USA and all over the world. He also sent his officers to Belize to secure the many acres of land generously willed to the UNIA’s African Redemption Fund by Sir Isaiah Morter.Mr. Battle will be sorely missed, he was great leader. He was wise and his counsel was sought by all of us at the UNIA-ACL.

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More Cyber Libation to come in the following weeks

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Haiti Tragedy

The earthquake that devastated Haiti like its predecessor the hurricane that decimated New Orleans is ironic in its sad commentary on the preparedness needed to reduce the tragic loss of life. Here is an article from the New York Times by way of the Hudlin Entertainment Forum. It gives an account of the history of Haiti as well as some insightful commentary.

"And yet there is nothing mystical in Haiti’s pain, no inescapable curse that haunts the land. From independence and before, Haiti’s harms have been caused by men, not demons. Act of nature that it was, the earthquake last week was able to kill so many because of the corruption and weakness of the Haitian state, a state built for predation and plunder.

Recovery can come only with vital, even heroic, outside help; but such help, no matter how inspiring the generosity it embodies, will do little to restore Haiti unless it addresses, as countless prior interventions built on transports of sympathy have not, the man-made causes that lie beneath the Haitian malady."

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Friday, January 01, 2010

Temporal Orientation

The age old adage "Happy New Year" is reverberating throughout the land. It is now the year 2010 (according to some). We have survived Y2K and hope to do the same for the end of days due some time in 2012. It is curious to note that the Gregorian and Chinese calendars still in use, date not only their origin but their very existence to the culture of the people who created them. Cultural perspectives lend themselves to and are inclusive of temporal orientation. Afrakan centeredness compels us to examine how we could view time. The Pya Kule recognize the year (renput) as 6253 A.U. The month (abed) is Rekh Ur. The day (heru) is Sefek.
This is necessary becuse Afrakan perspectives demand our attention and promotion. There is an Afrakan new year celebration in Philadelphia Pa. It is called Odunde and it is over three decades old. The Odunde Festival is for Oshun a goddess of the Orisha pantheon whose origins are to be found in the Yoruba of West Afraka. The festival occurs on the second Sunday of June. For more on this timely subject contact the PKDG asap.