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Raise High The Red, Black, and Green (and/or Gold)

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Global Coherence Care Focus-HAITI Jan. 13th, 2010 @ 10:42 pm
I've been part of the Global Coherence Project for almost two years, and participated in the global heart focus for areas in trouble. Well now, my country of origin's in trouble, and focused care (along with material emergency assistance) is immediately required. And so...

Care Focus: Haiti Earthquake
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Current Location: home sweet home, of sorts
How im feeling: touchedtouched

My 90-year-old blind African American grandma republishes her memoir Aug. 2nd, 2007 @ 12:27 pm

My grandma, Eva Rutland www.evarutland.com, has just republished her memoir "When We Were Colored, a Mother's Story." Originally published in 1964, it is a snapshot of what life was like for black people living before the Civil Rights Movement. It tells the story of a woman who was raised in Atlanta, GA before the Second World War. The beloved only girl of a school teacher and a pharmacist, Ms. Rutland was sheltered from many of the harsh racial realities of life in the South. She graduated from Spelman College, a black women's college in Atlanta, GA, in 1937. After World War II, she and her family moved West, where she raised her children during the early days of integration. She originally wrote the book because she worried about the newly integrated world that her children were entering. She wrote this book with white mothers in mind. She wanted them to realize that her children were just as precious and just as fragile as their children and to be nice to them.

Almost 50 years later, this book still has resonance today. It is not the story of lynchings and sit-ins. It's the story of being the first black man in a prominent position in a previously all white workplace, the first black family in a previously all-white neighborhood or the first black child in an all-white classro0m. It is a story that any mother or person whose had a mother can relate to and I strongly encourage you all to read it. 

Eva Rutland is now 90-years-old, blind but continues to write. She has published over 20 novels and is currently working on a sequel tentatively entitled "Tales of a Negro Grandma."

Please pick up "When We Were Colored" and comment on it. My grandma loves to hear from her fans and I will read every comment to her.

Madagascar Apr. 25th, 2007 @ 04:00 pm
It is amazing how so many African countries are so well known and how so many more are not known at all. But what amazes me the most is how a country's name can become a household word without anyone knowing anything about the country itself. No, I am not talking about Kazaktstan, I am talking about Madagascar.

I also would like to note that it would seem that this community might be dead, or dormant, I maligrant say hello to those who are no longer there.
Current Location: absolutely no where
How im feeling: blahblah

hi there :-) Dec. 1st, 2006 @ 08:30 pm
My name is Katia. I am a 26 year old AfroGerman woman who is currently pursuing graduate studies at Villanova University (modern European History and the African Diaspora). I will be starting my PhD in the Fall of 2008.  I was born and raised in Germany. My other is white German and my father is Haitian/Martinican-American. I have never met him. He "disappeared" when I was less than a year old. I know very little about his culture and my heritage (well at least this one half). I know every little about him (actually, all I know I just told you). I am just trying to figure out how to navitate this world as a woman of color. Ok - I have probably said far too much. So...Tschuess for now :-)

Jul. 6th, 2006 @ 04:42 pm
Black people, what is wrong with this??????

Sony Running Racist Ads?

Sony is catching flak over an advertisement that people feel is racist. Sony talked to GamesIndustry.Biz and assured them that the ad has no other meaning than a white PSP is coming. Sony does seem a bit dismissive about the fact that it offends some people and has refused to remove the ad but says they have no plans on running it outside of Holland.
Other entries
» Mauritius
You forgot to put one country in your list of African diaspora
countries!{Well three Mauritius, Seychelles, Réunion(French dependency)}
Geographically it is in Africa but culturally and racially it's fairly far away from it.
My people represent a mix of the slave descendants, europeans and various other nationalities(The Creoles) have a few African cultural attributes. Our music and dance(Sega)represents a mix of Afro-Malagasy with a few European attributes as well.
Like other groups from the African diaspora we have been redefined by slavery and European colonisation. I, myself, have seen mauritians of mainly african descent living in poverty
and it is not a nice sight! I do not totally wish for reparations but only those who are suffering through the poverty to which they have been kept due to their status or their ancestors slavery. Anyways, back to talking about culture, I have the belief that many of my people still shun their African heritage and there's not much culturally that we can look to for pride and knowledge of the ancestors culture and stigmatisation of Africans by many of our group in the past and even today has not helped. I was wondering whether any of you afro-latinos, carribeans etc. felt the same about your own culture like you don't see the African part enough and it's hiding inside and needs to find an outlet. I'm not talking about religion i.e. Rastafarianism; but just the cultural aspects.
» The Scramble for Angola

The Portuguese generally take a lot of pride in the fact that Brazil, a country they discovered, has become one of the most vibrant and varied countries on earth and a true cultural superpower. That diversity, of course, came into being largely because of the slave trade. But slavery is a word seldom mentioned in discussions of Portugal’s glorious age of expansion and empire.

A current exhibition in the museum in Lagos makes a laudable attempt to promote Portugal’s own multicultural heritage, talking at length about how successive migrations of humanity have culturally enriched European societies and made them much more ethnically diverse, but fails to mention how forced migrations of people created economic riches, or even the remarkable fact that Lagos itself would give its name to the capital of Africa’s most populous nation, as many of the slaves traded in the Algarve originated in that part of Africa.

Portugal first arrived in what would become its largest African colony, Angola, in 1483, and they would stay there for almost 500 years. Like any colonial relationship it was one of brutality and forced obedience:

Until the late 1900's Portugal used the area as a "slave pool" for its far more lucrative colony in Brazil and to benefit from the occasional discovery of precious gemstones and metals. Angola suffered from one of the most backward forms of colonialist rule. (from www.africanet.com)

According to an article by Helena Matos in Público, it always held a special significance for the Portuguese:

(There is a) word which, in Portugal, throughout the entire twentieth century was murmured in times of crisis and in the inevitable periods of euphoria that followed. That word is Angola.Read more...Collapse )
» In this months Issue of Latina magazine

Image hosted by Latina.com

African By Legacy, Mexican By Birth

Photographer Ayana Vellissia Jackson and poet/writer Marco Villalobos met in New York City in 2002; soon after, during one of their early conversations, both realized they shared a strong interest in the African-rooted communities in Latin America. Jackson's curiosity developed while she studied in Atlanta, GA and traveled to the Dominican Republic and Argentina; Villalobos grew up in Woodland, California, immersed in his Chicano culture but, like most of us, was very much aware of the range of shades in his community. This mutual interest led them to travel together for three weeks in 2003 and again in 2005 to three Mexican states with a strong African presence—Oaxaca, Guerrero and Vera Cruz, where a self-liberated ex-slave by the name of Gaspar Yanga established the first free township in Mexico (today known as Yanga). They took photographs, shot film, and interviewed people and entire families in each location; back in Brooklyn, Marco transported himself to the late 1500s and composed a series of letters from Gaspar Yanga to an anonymous African-American woman living in current times. They called their collaboration African By Legacy, Mexican By Birth, and Latina.com recently spoke with them about their work.
Your project was originally called El Negro Mas Chulo: African by Legacy, Mexican by Birth. Where did that name come from, and why did you drop the first part?

Marco Villalobos: The original name comes from an afternoon hanging out with children in El Ciruelo, Oaxaca. Many times while we're researching in Mexico we stay in peoples' houses, mostly because the towns are so small that there are no hotels so people take on lodgers. The woman who took us in this time had children, the youngest named Lupita. She was eight and while conducting a mock interview with her, I asked if she knew any songs or poems. She began to recite a poem that begins, "Yo soy el negro mas chulo que ha parido esta region/ Soy guapo como ninguno/ Yo soy gente de razón." The poem, which her brother Raul later recited in perfect form—he had learned it in school— is called "El Negro Chulo," and was written by a poet from Oaxaca named Abel E. Baños Delgado. It struck us as a gift that the poem was thrown at us by an 8-year-old, and it made perfect sense to use the poem's language as a title somehow. The poem uses the region's vernacular in affirming black pride in no uncertain terms. It's exactly the type of cultural signifier we could relate to and it remains the title to some segments of the project, mostly the short film component.

Meanwhile, the project as a whole has taken on the name African By Legacy, Mexican By Birth, a title that a lot of Spanish speakers are more comfortable with, since in certain regions the word "chulo" can mean "pimp." We've found that the very politically correct Hispanics—I don't even think they refer to themselves as Latinos—they can't bear the weight of any association between "chulo" and "negro" without a few days of ardent discussion. They're like the Tipper Gores of the Latino cultural realm.
Ayana, was it difficult to gain the trust of the people in the community in order to photograph them? Most of your shots feel so intimate.

Intimacy is very important to my process. [In order to achieve that here], I tried to communicate that [in photographing people from the community,] I was looking for the extended branches of my family tree. This helped establish a connection between all of us sitting in the room. In many cases, the photographs come a half hour or more after we sat down to talk. In other cases, I was shooting while Marco was conversing with the person. I enjoy the close-up (I don't use much of a zoom) images because I want the audience to feel like they are face to face with their cousin, nephew, aunt, uncle, or grandmother.
Marco, where did you draw inspiration from when you created Gaspar and his letters?

The work's emotion, at least the writing's, is something that was handed to us by the people who live the experience of being Afro Mexicans. There's a deep sense of patience and steadfastness that emanates from the people we interviewed and spent time with in Mexico. The writing reflects this in its deliberate and warm tone.

To bolster that, we sought out as much written material as we could find in the municipal and personal libraries of the people and communities we visited. These published works form the historical basis of the project and contextualize the individual stories we gathered through interviews.

[But] Gaspar Yanga was a real figure of American history whose success has been overlooked in many ways. All of the dates and places and names attached to him are factual; they're documented by the Spanish Court of the time, as well as by Franciscan friars and colonial officials in Mexico. As a New World liberator, his story is a large part of the inspiration.
Based on your personal experiences, do you think the people of Vera Cruz are strongly connected to their African traditions?

Ayana: In my experience, awareness of African heritage was scare outside of academic and cultural arts circles in Vera Cruz. The fact that African phenotype is much less common on the Gulf Coast than the Pacific Coast leaves many able to turn their blackness on or off when convenient. For many, considering onself an African descendant is more of a conscious choice than a day to day reality.

Marco: Over time, the connection to African traditions blurred with the connection to indigenous traditions. Those traditions merged to some degree, and at the same time, Europeans appropriated African traditions, in music and dance, for example, and these became known as Mexican traditions. Unfortunately, this overlooked the African root. I would say that people in Veracruz, specifically, are connected to African traditions as they've evolved into national traditions.
How do the people in the community identify themselves? Do they feel they've been ostracized in any way?

Marco: Self-identification varies from person to person, from community to community, from complexion to complexion. It's hard to find consistent self-identification in terms of Mexicans calling themselves black, or Afro Mexicano, or Afro Mestizo.

I met a 72 year-old man who identified as Afro Mestizo. His complexion wasn't much darker than other people around him, his hair wasn't as curly as others, but he knew where he came from and he claimed it. He called his a "black voice." However he also felt very much excluded from the national identity, although he argued—and rightly so—that his is the national identity.
Do either of you ever wonder what it would be like to switch roles? How do you think this project might have differed?

Ayana: Well, I'm long winded and don't like to edit...

Marco: Nope. Never wonder. Can you imagine? What would people read? Next question. Just kidding! I'd photograph every meal and every cook. Also, we'd have more photographs of drunks. For some reason, they always end up talking to me. But my eyesight is horrible so all of the pictures would come out blurry. You can see that in the film we've shot—most of the blurry stuff is mine.

As far as the writing, I'm really not sure how Ayana would handle that. I think it would be much more romantic. Not in the sense of a romance novel, but in a Daughters of the Dust sort of way. I might read it.

To see photographs from African By Legacy, Mexican By Birth, Click here.

African By Legacy, Mexican By Birth will be on exhibit through May 12 at the Caribbean Cultural Center in NYC, and will tour several other states later this year. To find out more, please visit www.maschulo.com.
» who are you?
Just by chance I thought I should ask someone from this group, does anyone know any good ways to trace your ancestory/geneology, specifically if you are black/afro-caribbean, anyone know any good ways to get slave records, family tree, stuff like that?
» A piece of Africa at Seattle!
Boyzie Cekwana, the great choreographer of South Africa, will present his show on Feb. 2-5 at the On the Boards performance center (www.ontheboards.org). He makes a impressive mixture of traditional dance with jazz and modern. His show is a meditation about post-apartheid male identity. AIDS, child abuse and violence.

Post-show talk with Boyzie Cekwana Thurs, Feb 2
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