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Many of my post may be filled with typos, ignorant statements, untruths, bad English, & anything else that may make me appear to be uneducated. Please note: all of these things combined make my Blog the perfect one, because you know I have issues & I am not ashamed. With this said; enjoy, fuck mistakes & read between the lines!

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Archive for the 'Black History' Category

King Cotton

Author: Tafari, Monday, February 11th, 2013 at 9:27 PM

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"The number of [Black American] slaves increased from 700,000 in 1787 to over 4 million on the eve of the American Civil War; approximately 70 percent were involved in some way with cotton production." Gene Dattel - "Cotton and Race in the Making of America."

American Dreamer

Author: Tafari, Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 at 11:00 PM

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"Martin had a dream! Martin had a dream! Kendrick have a dream!"
I’m back after a wonderful whirlwind visit to Washington D.C. I copped tickets to the inauguration but guess what... I didn’t make it. We decided to stay in & stay warm after flashbacks of the frigid temps from 4 years ago. We were able to catch the Inaugural parade however and that was fun! Otherwise, the trip was relaxing & I enjoyed the time with my friends. After several games of dominoes, exotic libations, a boxed wine scandal, & partaking in a large fruit basket, it feels great being back home! Here are a few snapshots from my lovers stroll around the capital. Basic but sexy of course! You know how I do.

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Black Spirits: Daniel & Mary

Author: Tafari, Monday, August 20th, 2012 at 9:31 PM

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During my recent trip home, I “discovered” a super old & awesome photo of my grandparents, Daniel & Mary Lee Howard. Daniel and Mary were married in the 1940s and had 11 children, two more than my maternal grandparents Edward & Essie Mae Stevenson. I just can’t imagine having that many children but that was the way it was way back when. I don’t remember much of my grandfather but I can tell you that he is the person that got me hooked on salt and vinegar potato chips and he is the reason why I never wanted to get my ear pieced. I can still hear him talking about my cousin Red Bone's piercing. It wasn’t pretty. On the flip side, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. She was everything! When I think of her to this day I can hear her voice and how she would say my name. I still miss her fried chicken. Ain’t nobody on this planet that can fry a chicken like Mary Howard!

Trayvon Martin: Million Hoodie March

Author: Tafari, Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 at 9:09 PM

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The New York City Million Hoodie March in support of Trayvon Martin was held today & still going on as I type this post. If you're not familiar with Trayvon Martin, he was a 17 year old who was murdered by a rogue crazed and racial profiling community watch member named George Zimmerman. Zimmerman claims that he shot Martin in self defense but the evidence so far says otherwise. When police came to the scene, they found Martin armed only with a bag of Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea. Where does self defense make sense? Several weeks later: - Zimmerman has not been charged - The 911 tape has been released and it is a heartbreaker - The Dept of Justice and FBI are now involved - A Grand Jury is being sorted out - Several marches and rallies are planned around the country - Floridian officials are calling for the Sanford, FL police chief to step down - Black men and boys are simply not safe from racial profiling To support Trayvon Martin, I wore my hoodie. Yes, it was hot but a young man was murdered so my little discomfort meant nothing in the grand scheme of things. Check out Trayvon's mother talking to marchers today. This story just really makes me upset. Will things ever change?

Groove Is In The Heart

Author: Tafari, Sunday, February 5th, 2012 at 2:46 PM
This is one reason why I love NYC... I mean, where else in the world can you assemble a mass amount of people for the purpose of song, dance & soul??? And to be fair, Everbody knows..... that I came up with the idea for a Flash Mob last Wednesday:
"I'm calling for all of my fellow Americans to join in a flash mob Soul Train Line to celebrate Black History Month & the life of Don Cornelius... Meet me on MLK Blvd." ~ Tafari Stevenson-Howard

Activism. Leadership. History.

Author: Tafari, Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 at 12:58 AM

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This morning, I had the opportunity to witness Michele Norris of NPR’s "All Things Considered" give a keynote presentation at the University of Michigan’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium. I do not know Michele, did not know what she looked like until about 6 years ago but I have loved her for the last 12+ years.  It is that voice… The magic of radio. Her interesting since of humor. How she processes and conveys information to her audience. I love it all. When I learned that she was taking a break from "All Things Considered" during this election cycle, I was bummed…. Like really. So when I saw that she was going to be in my area, I KNEW that I would be there…. As usual, I was running late & got to the address just as it was starting. When Michele hit the stage, I actually closed my eyes for a while. It was like some kind of large live NPR episode. Kinda nerdy of me but you know how I do. Her talk centered around activism, leadership & history. She told several family stories about her father and grandmother that were penetrating. She shared with us how her grandmother used to dress as Aunt Jemima and travel throughout the Midwest doing pancake demonstrations. She told us how in 1946 her father was attacked and shot by the police before being jailed in Birmingham after coming back from war. And much more! The jarring thing about the stories is that she did not learn of much of her family history until her father and grandmother had passed. She linked this to “ The Grace of Silence.” Why be silent? Can silence breed a form of activism? Does this change the dynamic of family secrets? Forbidden information??? Additionally, throughout her talk, she dropped tons of historic knowledge tied to the civil rights era & before. She mentioned Isaac Woodard, Timothy Hood, The Boswell Amendment, Smith v. Allwright, Martin Luther King Jr.’s last meal of catfish & hush puppies... After the presentation, the audience was presented with "race cards" where we were encouraged to discuss race in six words or less. I was pretty excited about having some race cards that I could play at will. Michele’s presentation overall was a great way to kickoff my day. I mean, it was a very good day. Spent time with friends, had a good dinner & got a new graphic design project. This MLK Day, I stayed winning.

MLK: Made in China

Author: Tafari, Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 at 11:29 PM

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A few years ago when I learned about the Martin Luther King Jr. monument that was to be constructed in our nation’s capital, I got excited. When I learned that the artist assigned to produce the sculpture of perhaps the most notable Negro in American history was a Negro himself, I got even more excited. Not too long after hearing this news, I learned that the project leaders decided to go with another designer for the MLK monument. Not really a big deal because things often change on large initiatives, right? The project leaders flipped the script and decided to bring on Chinese stoneworker, Lei Yixin. Making the changes even more controversial was decision to use Chinese granite for the memorial. - Why not an American sculptor? - Why not with American materials? - Just why? Yes, I was one of those people opposed to the statue after those changes. I wasn’t angry but I was very turned off. Fast-forward to this summer when the MLK monument opened… I decided that I would not visit. Fast-forward to this past weekend when I actually visited the monument… I broke down in a moment of DC tourist weakness. The monument is HUGE. On grand scale. Attractive. And obviously missing the “Made in China” markings. Even after being impressed by the size & style, I’m like meh… Then you add the fact that the monument is directly across from the Jefferson Memorial. Jefferson was not only a slave owner but a rapist of his female slaves. OK, let me calm down. I’m starting to get a racial tension headache up in here. I wonder what MLK would think of his monument being constructed by people living under a communist regime that oppresses, jails and tortures citizens while restricting internet access… Wait, some of that happens in the US also. Your thoughts? Am I tripping? BTW, the photo above was taken with my iPhone 4, which was “assembled in China.” I’m just saying.

Coming to Detroit: Fela

Author: Tafari, Monday, September 5th, 2011 at 12:03 PM

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I LOVE Fela Kuti...... His music, his remaining influence on afro-rhythms and his legacy. -------------------------------- Fela (the musical) is coming to Detroit's Music Hall this winter and the promoters are grinding hard to get the word out with literature, commercials & art exhibits. I'm excited about seeing it again without the NYC price tag. It's a GREAT show...

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