Ngoma, a poem by Henry Dumas

Just wanted to share this amazing poem by the late Henry Dumas, who was called an “absolute genius” by Toni Morrison.

Ngoma-Dumas

Additional Resources:

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On the Ngoma Vol. 2 – Umojah Nation at Jilly’s

So, after a small hiatus (it seems), Umojah Nation hit the stage this past weekend at Jilly’s  in Akron and we had an amazing time.  I have so much fun with my band mates, we are such a family, and in many ways this has helped sustain my inner being.  I have had periods of severe creative droughts, usually due to drastic changes in my environment, like when I moved to Cleveland from the mid-south.

Admittedly so, I was lost for a while and wasn’t creating much of anything.  This went on for a while until I began working at the Solon Branch of Cuyahoga Public Library.   There I worked side by side with my supervisor who played guitar and allowed me to bring in small hand drums to play for children at various programs.  From there, I was introduced to a couple of playwrights and got involved in a stage play called These People out in Chagrin Falls, OH.  After that, I began to get that hunger back.  And now, the creativity flows daily and I am so excited to be alive and in these moments, surrounded by wonderful people who nurture me in the arts and also allow me to be myself.

With Umojah Nation, I feel the reggae music from a deep spiritual place.  The heartbeat that drives the music automatically puts me in a place of connection with the ancestors, with the struggle and hope of the Diaspora, as well as that of humanity.  I am blessed, and I am thankful.

 

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Do you see any niggers? No. You know why? Because there aren’t any.

I had to reblog this one. We need a daily dose this message.

Keyamsha

Richard Pryor from live on the Sunset strip describing why he stopped using the word nigga.

“It’s nice to have pride about your shit. I went home to the motherland. And everybody should go home to Africa. Everybody. Especially, Black people.

Really man, there is so much to see there for the eye and the heart of the Black people. Cause white people you’ll go there and you’ll get ideas: “Well that’s where the Black people of America should be walking around with sticks.” You’ll get the wrong idea.

But man you’ll go, I went to motherfucking land of my roots. 700 million Black people not one of them motherfuckers [unintelligible]. I looked in every phone book in Africa. I didn’t find one god damn Pryor. I found one familiar name, “Jabo Walker.” I called that up, they said he was in Arizona.

One thing I got out of it…was…

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Navigating the Arts Vol. 7 – An intro to Afrobeat

I’ve been slowly creeping into the Afrobeat world lately (at least in Cleveland).  It all started when I went to the Femi Kuti concert at Beachland Balllroom a couple of years back.  We were straight up blown away by the sights and sounds.  It was colorful and loud, but that was okay because there were about 20 people on stage, from the rhythm section to the singers and dancers to the horn players to the auxiliary.  I felt like I was on the mother continent; it was hot and the music was pumping!

So, since then I went to see the Fela Broadway musical and man, what an evening.  Fela was off the chart good.  I must admit, I was rushing because I got off work late and couldn’t pick out the right Afro garb – it was a special event you know?!?  Of course someone was mad because I was late.   After rushing in the theatre, we quickly found or seats and for the next two hours took a journey into the musical, political, spiritual world of Afrobeat and its origins.  I just found out most recently that my cousin Eddie once spent quite a bit of time with Fela Kuti in Nigeria.  I was like, you have got to be kidding me!!!

Well, just so happens that now I have performed in the genre twice (to date) with Fiscal Spliff out of Cleveland.  What an amazing time we’ve had, with more to come!  We played at Take 5 in downtown Cleveland last evening, and got some wonderful reviews form the audience.  It was simply exhilarating, so much fun.  I played percussion:  congas, bongos, etc.  We actually have another performance in the next weeks.  I can’t wait!

The Blessing in Blackness: Thoughts on Melanin

A Divine Spark

I’ve been doing a lot of research on the Pineal gland, Melatonin, & Melanin and I just wanted to express my thoughts and findings thus far. I’m not an expert in the field or subject matter (nor do I claim to be). This is just a ‘brain dump’ of all the things I’ve collected to this point on the matter. Hopefully this is helpful to someone else doing the same research. More posts on this will come and I encounter more information. Enjoy…

When discussing Melanin we can not go fully in-depth without discussing the Pineal gland & Melatonin. The Pineal gland is an organ that is found at the center of the brain. This gland, also referred to as the Inner or 3rd eye, is approximately the size of a single kernel of corn.

Ancestrally it was well known that the Pineal gland, or 3rd eye, was the ‘seat…

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From Ankh to Akofena – Finding strength in symbols

There is such a deeper side to life that very few ever encounter.  What makes it even worse is that many who actually encounter this deeper side don’t know how to use it to guide them, or to express their gift to the world, or simply enjoy the world in a fulfilling way.  I have found that the power behind symbols brings a rich focus to my day-to-day journey.  As I look at them, I remember to remember as with the Sankofa Bird, I see the beauty in our queens, as with the Duafe, and on the flip side, I see the symbols that have brought on a sense of hatred and inhumane ideals as with the Nazi use of the swastika and the confederate flag being proudly waved all across the southern states.

The symbols that have represented my stance for some time now are the ever present Ankh, of Kemet, and Akofena, an Adinkra symbol of the Akan people signifying the swords of war, standing for courage, valor and heroism.  These symbols will always be at the forefront of my journey because their meanings have been such a stronghold in my mental make-up over the past couple of decades.

My introduction and understanding of the Ankh pre-dates the Erykah Badu explanation.  Until she defined it on her Live album as the female-male principles, I always saw it as a protective talisman, a source and bearer of energy.  So, combining the two brought about a grand meaning, an ultimate partner for me in life.  And I have been with it ever since.  Akofena on the other hand was a more recent understanding for me.  A symbol realized in the light of rhythmic and poetic artistry a.k.a. the Griot Project out of Cleveland.  The realization deepened when this particular artistic journey showed me how long the struggle for the Afrikan Diapsora would be and how the enemy of Afrikan unity and progress was a relentless beast.  Thus, the swords of war.

ankhgold_1     akofena      Akofena      ankh-cross

Furthermore, the experience of the Afrikan in America calls for an understanding of symbolism above most disciplines and aspects of culture.  Why symbolism?  Because the meanings and visual stimulation that resonates stand firm over centuries, and they are proven commodities.

I choose to live in this moment with these symbols at my side because it is a necessary move!  I encourage you all to find that deeper meaning of life.  Don’t bandwagon jump, don’t piggyback, search and find something that speaks to you, guides your actions and manifests your greatness from within.  Use these symbols (and others) to take your mind to another level, to reach our youth, to bond with others, to learn the history of a great civilization, or perhaps to create a family crest.

There is no limit… simply enjoy and be empowered.

Here are a few resources to check out a number of symbols:

Sites:

http://adinkra.org/

Books (that can found at your local library):

adinkra3          adinkracover41nhE-reGRL__SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ankh

Adinkra chart