Is·lam·o·pho·bi·a izˌläməˈfōbēə,iˌsläməˈfōbēə/ n 1. dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.
On Sunday August 27th, I attended the one and only Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn NY. For those that do not know about Afropunk fest, it is an annual arts festival that celebrates and brings about unity within the music, film, and the art community. Its originators define it as “culture by the collective creative actions of an individual and/or group. It is a safe place, a blank space to freak out in, to construct a new reality, to live your life as you see fit, while making sense of the world around you.”
May I just say as soon as I walked into the park, I entered into what society would call “the land of the misfits” or an “obscene” playground. In my eyes I was nowhere else but home. I felt like for once I belonged and that I was surrounded by nothing but brothers and sisters that loved me dearly. Every year I attend it gets better and better. I am able to meet up with long distance friends that I love deeply and make new ones from across the globe. Let’s just say it’s one big ass reunion for the art community!
Photographer: Mark Elzey
I am so thankful that I was able to come in contact with everyone I wanted to meet in the art community. For example, I ran into sex educator, writer, and performer Ericka Hart. As well as her partner in crime “The infamous Ebony”! Ericka is one of my role models and has such a large impact in our community. I definitely look forward to running into her again and collaborating with her in the near future.
Last but not least, I want to give recognition to all of the wonderful performances at the festival. Not only do I attend for the association and nostalgia, but I love the talent brought to the stage. From Solange to Serpent with feet, the talent is impeccable, and like no other. The diversity brought to each stage is groundbreaking. I want to thank Afropunk for considering everyone and going outside of what is considered “mainstream” music.
Photographer: Mel D Cole
The artist that I was looking forward to seeing the most, was the one and only Kaytranada. I have been a fan for such a long time and to watch this man perform was such an amazing experience. Not only did he create such a miraculous vibe, but he gave me my life back. You can feel through his music how in love he is with what he does, the amount of love he has for his fans, and how much time and energy he puts into each masterpiece. On the aux his music sounds wonderful, but on stage it’s Phenomenal. From the stage presentation down to the surprise appearances, it all comes together as one grand fulfillment.
Photographer: Erin Patrice Obrien
Thank you again Afropunk Brooklyn. I love you dearly, peace until next time!
How Has Black Culture Made Its Mark?
For the past couple of days I have been binging a CNN original show. The show displays events that took place in the 60s, 70s, 80s, & 90s. They delve into pop culture, technology, music, and politics that have laid the foundation for what we currently have in place today.
I am enjoying soaking up all the information presented in front of me because it makes me feel like I have the chance to travel back in time. You learn something new everyday and I never pass up opportunity expand my horizon and exercise my noggin.
I will say that while watching this special I began to feel slightly offended. When they touched on black culture they barely spent any time on it. It made me feel like they threw it in there just to say that they at least showed us some form of recognition. I know many say that black people are never satisfied, but this is exactly why we have to find our own ways to celebrate our culture. We have to delve deep into our impact on society because no one else will do it for us.
For example, the 70s special began talking about how much television during that time was consistently evolving and advancing. They discussed many different shows that were pushing the envelope. They even began to discuss “Good times” and how it was a major success in the black community.
Next, they make mention of the fact that the Black Panther Movement was highly upset at the writers of the show for keeping the family in a poor setting vs displaying wealth for the black family. Then… they moved on to “Happy Days”. What about the success on the show? The impact it had on television? Or the impact it has on television till this day? That's all I'm saying! You spend so much time talking about “Happy days” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”.
What about us? Mind you the 60s just ended and nothing but unfortunate took place, therefore us making our mark on television and pop culture is huge. I appreciate knowledge but everyone deserves to be recognized equally.
Recently, Dr. Umar Johnson featured on The Breakfast Club to discuss a couple topics and one topic that stuck out to me was on Interracial marriage. Apparently, I'm not the only one because the points he made struck discussions on social media. He says that "Love is a function of your value and your priorities" and "You can not separate love from politics! Love is the most political thing".
Next, Dj Envy proceeded to ask him if our children want to date outside of our race should we encourage them not to do so? Dr.Johnson responded " you have to be the person to teach your son to be loyal to his community... we are the only people that feel anxious and ambivalent about telling our black boys that you need to marry a black woman". Then he proceeded to speak on how church has instilled it in us to be color blind and feels as though that is why African Americans are dead last.
The biggest belief I have is in peace and in unity. If we stop separating ourselves and placing each other's political views on one another we could all live peacefully and as one. We are terribly blinded. This is exactly the mentality those that have laid down the soil for our oppression want us to have.
The whole purpose of fighting for our rights and standing up for justice is so that we are seen as humans and not as objects and/or animals. Yet we try to make our own people conform into believing that it is only right to stay within our own race. Not only does that assist in creating even more of a divide but it also takes two steps back from unifying and having peace within our society.
I want everyone to be happy and freely be with anyone that they please. It does not matter if you are; straight, gay, black, white, lavender, etc. Yes I am a black woman, I am thankful for being a black woman, and I have much pride in being a black woman. But, I will not stand by encouraging our kids to separate themselves from all other races. You know why? Because that keeps the problem alive and I refuse to aid in assisting the struggle any further.
Not every black man or woman on this earth that falls in love with a woman or man outside of their race is seeking for opportunity. Sadly, we do have our own people out there that feel as though love is political and that the only way to get out of the struggle is to get involved with someone White, Asian, Jewish, etc. But, that is where our jobs as parents come in. To be more of an influence on them then society. Yes, we are living in the day and age of the god of social media but we do not have to fall prey and it is our job to instill that in our children as well! We need to teach our child that yes love is blind and that no matter the race or gender if you truly love an individual and care about someone none of the "politics" are relevant.
What I will continue to do is stand up and stand by what is right when it comes to my people and the injustices going on in our communities. Also, I will continue to promote peace & unity within our society because my brothers and sisters love always wins.
Baltimore Pride 2017
Pride is not just about dating someone of the same sex. Pride is about loving and appreciating yourself and ones around you no matter their characteristics. If you truly love somebody and have deep feelings for an individual you should not allow a label to dictate your sexuality. You are not gay, bi sexual, lesbian, etc . You are a person and what makes you special is that you are a beautiful individual who embraces that love always wins in a world full of hate.
I celebrate pride every year because I feel at home. There is no judgement because in society's eyes we are considered misfits. I have pride although I am in a relationship with a man because I do not allow my sexuality to define me and I love celebrating that with others. Luckily, I have a man in my life who doesn't judge a soul, promotes positivity, and supports me & my views. I feel like as a people we run ourselves around in circles because were trying complicate what love really looks like. Every year I get a chance to gather with those that have a open mind and are just here for unity and I'm happy he got to experience that with me this year.
Love is appreciating and admiring an individual no matter the characteristic. Whether your African American, White, Asian, Gay, Transexual, etc. The love you have for an individual trumps all of the above. I end this message by saying I love you all and to please continue promoting unity, radiance, and solicitude.
Uzi Vs The Black Community
I honestly can not stand the flack that this young man is getting because of this picture. In the end music is an art form and the beauty of art is that it evolves.
Music is also about self expression and you can not tell someone the way that they are expressing themselves is wrong. As a people we consistently dissect change and individuality. How about we stop building prejudice around art?
Also, @iamkiraj made an excellent point about how as black people we shame our men for expressing themselves due to extreme homophobia. There is a precedent set on how a black man is supposed to act, look, and sound like. My question is, why is it 2017 and black people are still following these unwritten rules in black culture?
We tear each other down instead of uplifting one another all because of someone's personality and self expression. We do not support each other, instead we ridicule one another, and place maltreatment our brothers. In the end this does nothing but create perturbation.
How about we dead the childish behavior, stop placing such a negative connotation on homosexuality as if it's a punishment, and labeling our brothers as such just because of self expression.
Yatchy Vs An "Old Head"
This Thing Called "Change"
The points made by Pharrell and Flying Lotus in this video were so valid. Music is always in constant motion, that is the beauty of the art.
People keep dissecting change and trying to put breaks on what's already in motion. Stop calling an art form dead and gone because the face of it changes, just because it changes form does not mean it's gone.
For example, Isaiah Rashad, Kendrick Lamar, Thunder Cat, Sampha, James Blake, etc. All of these artist consistently twist popular sound because they are not caught up in this systematic way of thinking.
Music is a life form, it alters, it grows, it shrinks. Creativity is not made for those to conform, therefore stop putting it in a box.
I debated on speaking about this subject because I wasn't sure if it would be taken out of context. But, this topic has been on my mind heavily for a long period of time.
There are more opportunities for women and their child to get a jumpstart than there are for men.
For example, WIC shelters, food stamps, public housing, etc. I understand that a man is supposed to provide and work hard to get it on his own. But, how are they going to reach that point if they are not given the resources to do so.
You put these babies in the worst neighborhoods and allow them to be a subject of their own environment. They are thrown into prison but you provided them drugs and weapons. Then set their bail at an astronomical number just to punish them because they are poor. Once you decide to release them they have no sense of reality because you drove them into psychosis. This is in humane.
How is any man is going to be able to provide for anyone under those circumstances? There are so many men out here dealing with mental and physical illnesses but because of their environment they have no hope.
Where there is help they are not welcomed. Where they are welcomed they are tortured. The system is so backwards. Man or woman we are all human and no human being can fully function and take care of responsibility under those circumstances. A person can only push through but so much. Please let's all consider this.
Thank you so much to all the organizations that are assisting men, women, and children. We all need to continue being a helping hand to one another in order to stop this vicious cycle.
I love you all,
In loving memory of Kalief & Venida Browder.
The more I dig deeper into this tragedy the more emotional I become.
For those that are not aware of this calamity, Kalief Browder was arrested at the age of 16 for suspicion of stealing a backpack.
He spent 3 years at Rikers Island and within those 3 years he spent 14 months in solitary confinement.
Kalief was never convicted or given a trial.
Towards the end of his sentence the judge offered him a plea deal, but to protect his innocence he did not take it.
Kalief was only released when the case was dismissed. On June 6 2015, Kalief Browder committed suicide.
Our poor brothers child hood, innocence, and sanity was snatched away from him at a very young age. The abuse and torture at Rikers Island caused the development of Kalief's mental dehydration.
This poor man was still mentally trapped, although he was physically released. Therefore, he decided to put himself out of his own misery once and for all.
This is sickening. As a nation we still undergo slavery, we are given the illusion that we are free, but we most definitely are not. Our brothers and sisters are undergoing trial and tribulation each and everyday.
There are thousands of Kalief Browder's out there, we need to do all we can do to put a stop to this greedy propaganda.
Let's all wake up and remember that prison is not just a building full of outcast but a business.
Just like any business, if that business is not making any money then the boss man is going to do everything in his power to pull as many strings as possible!
No man should be subject to injustice because someone's pockets aren't as chunky as they want them to be.
There is this preconceived notion on what a gay black man is supposed to look like.
If he doesn't have on booty shorts and a pink thong then it's not recognizable and no where near accepted.
Someone could be going through this struggle of finding them self and feeling like their feelings toward the same sex makes them the definition of a black sheep.
You could be shaking this persons hand everyday and little do you know this person feels misplaced in society all because of the institutionalized mindset that is placed on homosexuality.
Lift each other up vs ripping each other apart.
Love you all, K.MAD 🌹
I feel like culture appropriation is a never ending vicious cycle.
We get stereotyped because of appearance -> preach about how white people don't understand -> then proceed to perm our hair and spend a stack on bundles.
Basically, you are allowing them to get away with cultural appropriation, by feeding into the tactics of fighting to look like a European woman.
Then get upset when a white woman occasionally wears her hair in braids?
Don't get me wrong I'm not encouraging all the white women that call themselves starting a "trend" by wearing a hair style that has been going on for centuries, wanting darker skin, or even bigger lips.
Trust me, I'm sick of black culture or any minorities culture for that matter being treated like a fashion statement.
But, must acknowledge the fact that we as black people do the same thing when it comes to appropriating ourselves for society.
The superior race continues to belittle a minority's tradition, yet decide to copy and try to turn it into a fashion statement.
Like I said, culture appropriation is a vicious cycle that continues to go on and on when it comes to any minority.
In order to mend the situation, we must take a stand instead of feeding into it.
Think about that and really ponder.
Save Our Women In Nepal
I was sent an article posted by CNN today on Nepals tradition for women while they go through menstruation.
ARTICLE SUMMARY: The women are sent away to menstruation huts that usually have little to no windows.
They are forbidden from being around people, animals, fruits, and vegetables.
"Some in the Far West still believe that a God or Goddess may be angered if the practice is violated, which could result in a shorter life, the death of livestock or destruction of crops," the report said.
Also, they are prohibited from drinking milk or eating milk products and access to water is limited.
In certain areas, restrictions can extend as far as not being able to read or write.
That is not all, Deaths are common as well. "Deaths are usually caused by smoke inhalation, snake bites (and) lack of basic health care during menstruation" according to Inspector Badri Prasad Dhakal.
Let me start off by saying that I am utterly disgusted. I know that certain things may be difficult to understand when it comes to different cultures, but this is in humane.
For a woman to be treated like she is a leaper during her menstrual cycle is wrong.
This is cruel treatment in anyone's bible.
These woman are dying due to inhalation fires and lack of necessities.
Most cycles last for a week, some for two and I could not imagine not having the option of being comfortable.
A woman's cycle is already detrimental, there is no need to add even more misery.
No one should have to go through isolation during the most emotional time of the month.
I am completely against this and we need to save our girls!
My boyfriend and I are currently watching VH1's "America's Next Top Model".
The topic of androgyny has on my mind for a minute now and this is the perfect time to spill.
There is a model by the name of "Kyle" on the show and she is the center of attention.
Her androgynous look has caught every single judges eye. As much as the world is afraid of androgyny, they yearn for it.
Androgyny is the foundation and the corner stone of the fashion industry.
From international superstars like; Jared Leto, Rihanna, Prince, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Justin Beiber, Pharrell, etc.
Just about "anybody who's anybody" has showcased this flamboyant way of gender bending.
Androgyny has nothing to do with the ideologies of femininity vs masculinity.
That's enough for now.
I'll give a full exposé on this topic at a later date.
Two years ago I made my "Colorism" project which was released on YouTube.
Two years ago I was in 12th grade and I was called "blackie" and "black ass" the entire school year.
Now all of a sudden I'm the most precious gem because of my complexion, but for years dark skin women have suffered prejudice and harsh judgement because of their complexion.
So I wanna know why now all of a sudden are dark skin women a social media frenzy?
Now I'm not saying that I'm against the #Melanin and #Darkskinsareus movement, but what I'm saying is why are we now a trend?
Why can't we just be beautiful and looked at as a human being instead of being immortalized? I
I'm happy that we are finally receiving recognition, but I want us to separate those that truly admire melanin from the band wagoners.
Another Historical Gem
On this day, in 1960, 6 year old "Ruby Bridges" was escorted by A group of U.S deputies, into William Frantz Elementary School. She was one of the first African American children to desegregate public schools.
This history fact is surfacing all of social media and Ms. Ruby Bridges made a guest appearance on the view today as well.
Thank you so much Ms.Bridges for for setting such an amazing example at such a young age.
Thanks to you and other young leaders in our community we have overcome great strife, struggle, and hardship.
This has taught us to stand together as a people and to be an example to one another and not a burden.
Continue to empower each other brothers and sisters, this is needed in order for us to continue to overcome hardship and achieve goals that we set individually and as a people.
A People's Journey
Yesterday was the grand opening of The National Museum Of African American culture.
This grand opening made me emotional considering the shoot I just did with my good friend Bria Sterling (check in gallery).
I am super excited to go visit and I know I will probably be the biggest baby while I explore each exhibit.
Thank you so much President Barack Obama and the many others that contributed to the making this a beautiful moment in history and another miraculous event for our people!
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