A Father’s Love Vol. 3: Pharoh and Clifford

Well, most of my closest people know that my partner, my Bean-town buddy, my boy! – Roh! (as we affectionately called him) has transitioned into another life.  (That means he died).  After nearly 14 years, 6 cities, 3 cars, 2 schools, and about 7 or 8 residences together, I am now without my dog, Pharoh Kareem.  He had been sick for quite a while now, but just kept bouncing back, ultimately giving me a false safety net that would eventually break.

As painful as it was to see him  go, I was equally relieved, because I know there wasn’t much that I could do for him anymore.  I had to carry him down the stairs to go outside; he would barely eat and had a terrible cough.

One of the most interesting things about his passing is, that Saturday eveing after work, I rushed home from Guitar Center to pack my drums for a show at the Myxx in Cleveland Heights.  I peaked in the door to see ‘Roh and he looked terrible.   He looked dazed and was breathing hard.  I reluctantly thought, “Oh no”.  So, I rushed to pack my drums so that I could check on him.  Within less than 10 minutes of loading time, I returned to find him dead on the kitchen floor.

THAT was some painful stuff.

Now let’s be real, I loved that pig (bad varsity Blues joke), but he would sometimes get on my last nerve!  But, maturity set in for both us and towards the end, ‘Roh and I would sort of look over at each other and make a calm gesture, whatever it might be at the time.

I really began to see something different when Kali really got know him over the past year.  She would come into the kitchen and just sit on the floor with him.  In retrospect, I think that I was missing the signs that the end was closer than I knew.  In fact, after he passed I went into a mode of hurt and devestation knowing that a) I saw the sign but didn’t jump and give him that last bath (a real bonding act for us), put the sweater on him that I had bought for him  few weeks prior, or the hardest part, to hear Kali ask about him.  That, above anything else, caused the tears to fall.

After A.R. (after ‘Roh) soon became the prime opportunity for a certain 4 year old to ask for a puppy.  Long story short?  We got 2 fish.  One for my place, one for her mom’s – Emily Elizabeth and Clifford (characters from Clifford the Big Red Dog.


What it means to be a Griot…

Sometimes you do things because it just feels right, or you may feel some type of pressure.  But sometimes, you have to admit when things are simply divine.

I am a Griot who speaks through rhythm, the Ngoma, the drum.  I am immensely proud to be a Griot.  It is a way of life, a means of growth and confidence.  Trust me when I say, becoming an activist and moving into a conscious mind-state will change everything!  There will be so many internal struggles and external tirades.  You will no longer settle for the BS.  You will ease into a comfort zone with your natural self.  You will seek, and find, those of like mind and ability; there is absolute strength in numbers.

To find yourself… it is, by far, the most liberating, expanding, enlightening experience that you can ever have in life.  Learning of my inherent duty as a Griot for the Diaspora, sent by God and reinforced by my ancestors to serve as a voice for the meek and one who uplifts humanity in its most pure form grounds me.  Please listen, open your hearts and minds.  “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”

Shout out to my fellow griots of the world!

…to the Warriors …to the Griot Project … to Umojah Nation …to my family and friends.


I come to you in the spirit of the Adinkra symbol Akofena, the swords of war

– representing courage, valor, and heroism.     Quick Adinkra reference here.