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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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Term of the Week: Obeah

Author: Tafari, Tuesday, May 29th, 2007 at 6:43 AM Mindspill After a long as weekend of vending Quench Essentials at the Detroit Black Expo I decided to wind down today while seeing a movie. Of course I went to see “Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End”! I am a big fan of the series so I had big hopes for this heavily anticipated release. "At Worlds End" was very diverse in that it had Asian, African, & Arab Pirates. I thought this was a good touch; especially the African Pirates because you do not hear much about them although they did exist. In the first 2 Pirates installments the “Tia Dalma” aKa Calypso (Hyper Sexual Magical Negro (played by Naomie Harris) role was pretty small so up to the end of “Dead Man’s Chest” I questioned her real character value to the story line. Well in “At Worlds End” her significance was made very clear because the movie surrounded her mystery as the Sea Goddess Calypso not to mention that she set off the fierce pirate ship show down. I will not give any details about the movie because I think this is a must see & if you haven’t seen the 1st 2 movies, check them out this week especially if you need an escape from real world drama like me. One thing I will say is I am surprised no Black Bloggers are discussing the hypersexual portrayal of “Tia Dalma” who has been all over the white men in the films. Maybe this is a minor issue & I am being sensitive. Not! Anyway during the course of the movie 1 of the pirates referred to “Tia Dalma” as an “Obeah Woman.” When I heard that reference, it made me think of the Nina Simone song by the same name. Although I sung the song many times, I never stopped to listen to what I was saying so I could not wait to get home to Google Obeah Woman to get the real meaning. So now it is 10pm & I am Googling and I find the words to the Nina Simone’s “Obeah Woman” & I trip out because it tied to the movie by way of loose interpretation. I find it funny how I tie most things that I encounter to a Nina Simone song; I guess that makes me the ultimate fan.
Obeah woman Yes, I'm the Obeah woman Do you know what one is? Ha do you know what an Obeah woman is? I'm the Obeah woman from beneath the sea To get to satan you gotta pass through me 'Cause I know the angels name by name I can eat thunder and drink the rain Been through enough Yeah they call me Nita and Pices too There ain't nothing that I can't do If I choose to, if you let me Ha I'm the Obeah woman, above pain I can eat thunder and drink the rain I kiss the moon and hug the sun And call the spirits and make 'em run You hear me? You hear me? 'Cause I ain't praying, never was Just waiting for my time Waiting for to die Hackle and patience Hackle and patience oh yeah Obeah Woman ~ Nina Simone: It Is Finished 1974
----------------------------------------------------------- Back-story of the Obeah MindspillA set or system of secret beliefs in the use of supernatural forces to attain or defend against evil ends. It is African in origin but on its arrival in the Caribbean certain aspects of Christian ceremonials and sacraments were integrated into its activities. It varies greatly in kind, requirements, and practice, ranging from the simple, such as the use of items like oils, herbs, bones, grave-dirt, blessed communion wafers and fresh animal blood to more extreme ingredients. Obeah men or Obeah women are names given to its practitioners. The term Pyai, from the Carib for shaman is also used in Dominica relating to the casting of spells. Origins for the word Obeah come from the Twi: o-bayo-fo (witchcraft man). From the Nembe: obi (sickness, disease), and Igbo: obi (a mind or will to do something) and the Ibibo: abia (practitioner, herbalist). Obeah is not a religion in the classical sense. That is to say, there are no meeting places such as a Churches, Mosques, Synagogue or any underlying infrastructure replicating such a system. Nor is there any sort of congregation or parishioners, although there are what may be called followers, albeit scattered. (Source) Obeah, as practiced in Jamaica and the Caribbean, takes the use of and knowledge of ancient occult powers originally handed down over the centuries by word of mouth from the remnants of a once very powerful and celebrated secret religious Order emanating from a remote age that has long since been lost in the mist of time. Over the centuries most of the original tenets became watered down, with the less powerful versions of Obeah incorporating various modifications of occult spellcraft as once practiced mostly by tribal people who spoke Ashanti from West Africa. However, the most secretive, powerful and dreaded purveyors of present day Obeah comes undiluted from the old Order. Practitioners of same will sometimes use the less volatile aspects of their brethren, but usually operate well beyond the confines of any traditional witchcraft, sorcery, shamanism, voodoo (voudon), or tribal magic. It is a dying breed shrouded in secrecy, with the most powerful versions known and practiced only by a select few. Even fewer ever truly enter the ranks of Obeah and able to successfully wield its will and awesome scope unscathed. An Obeahman can use any system and fuel it with the power of Obeah without the danger of disrespect for the gods, but, depending on circumstances, not necessarily without repercussions from the gods… (Source) ----------------------------------------------------------- Obeah, Jamaica & Slavery By 1760 we have early evidence for obeah in English. That year the Jamaican assembly enacted a bill "to remedy the evils arising from irregular assemblies of slaves...and for preventing the practice of Obeah." The bill stated "any Negro or other Slave who shall pretend to any Supernatural Power and be detected in making use of any materials relating to the practice of Obeah or Witchcraft in order to delude or impose upon the Minds of others shall upon Conviction thereof before two Magistrates and three Freeholders suffer Death or Transportation.” It was in vain; even after the introduction of Christianity to the slaves of Jamaica later in the eighteenth century, Obeah maintained its presence, as it still does today, long after the abolition of slavery. The religious practice known as Revivalism incorporates both Christianity and Obeah, and there are still Obeah men and women in Jamaica and elsewhere in the Caribbean. (Source) ----------------------------------------------------------- Back to me If you are from the West Indies/Caribbean or West African do you have any experience or knowledge of the Obeah.

Term of the Week: Chitlins(+)

Author: Tafari, Thursday, May 10th, 2007 at 3:15 AM

While on the way home from work Tuesday I got call from Suite Suzy who was home cooking dinner. Tuesday's dinner menu was Cuban black beans over jasmine rice served with sautéed lemon garlic chicken & a wonderful avocado & onion salad. Sounds good right?

Well the reason why Suite Suzy called me was because she was out of fresh green peppers & needed me to stop @ the store. Because I was looking forward to dinner like a mutha I took my ass to the store to get the necessary ingredients.

Side note: I hate going to the grocery store with a passion.

So I make it to the store, get the peppers & wind up getting a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos (my favorite chips) & a Snickers bar. While making my way to the check-out I passed the meat area & saw a freezer full of 10lbs buckets of chitlins. I mean they had so many chitlin buckets I thought is was like some chitlin festival scheduled for Mother’s day. Mindspill

Seeing chitlin buckets brings all sorta flash backs to me:I remember smelling the foul odor during holiday seasons when I lived with my mother.,I recall being hit in the face with a raw chitlin because I pissed my mom off while she was cleaning them the night before Thanksgiving 1987, and lastly, I think about how I had to sit at the dinner table & watch/listen my mom, brother & sister splurp on hot sauce soaked chitlins with shit juice dripping off of their chitlin starved faces (I really do love my family).

So I guess by now you have realized that I do not eat piggy dookie shoots (as Suite Suzy calls them)!

One thing that really discusses me during the holidays is when I call my mom usually the night before & she picks up the phone while she is elbow deep cleaning 20lbs of chitlins.

Anyway the bottom line is my little chitlin sighting the other day inspired the term(s) of the week; 1) Chitlins & 2) The Chitlin Circuit cuz you can’t have one without the other.
History of Chitlins:

Let us consider what chitlins are - they are hog intestines or guts. Some people turn up their noses at the mention of chitlins; other leave the house while they are cooking, driven away by their odor. However, the volume sold for New Year's dinners, with Christmas and Thanksgiving not far behind, attests to chitlins popularity in the United States. Chitterlings is the more formal name, but most people call them chitlins. They are usually part of a larger meal that includes collard greens, fried chicken, and other traditional Southern foods. Chitlins are not for the faint of palate or smell, which is why traditionally they were cooked outdoors at backyard hog killings in winter. They are a food that you either love or hate!

Chitlins take a lot of time and effort to clean. They are partially cleaned when they are sold, but require additional hand cleaning before they are ready to eat. The secret to good and safe chitlins is in the cleaning, not in the cooking. They are available in supermarkets in African-American neighborhoods, especially during the holiday season. they can also be ordered from a butcher, but be prepared to buy 10 pounds of chitlins to get 5 pounds to cook.

Animal innards have long been treasured foods around the world. Scotland's national dish is haggis (sheep's stomach stuffed with the animal's minced heart, liver, and lungs). Throughout Europe, tripe (cow or ox stomach) is popular, and French chefs in upscale restaurants serve dishes based on cow's brains and kidneys.

In 1996, the town of Salley, South Carolina, inaugurated the annual Chitlin' Strut. The first festival attracted about a hundred people. Today the festival draws about 70,000 people. It is estimated that more than 128,000 pounds of chitlins have been eaten during the festival's history.

Eating chitlins in the rural South is not as common as it once was. In colonial times, hogs were slaughtered in December, and how maws or ears, pigs feet, and neck bones were given to the slaves. Until emancipation, African-American food choices were restricted by the dictates of their owners, and slave owners often fed their slaves little more than the scraps of animal meat that the owners deemed unacceptable for themselves. Because of the West African tradition of cooking all edible parts of plants and animals, these foods helped the slaves survive in the United States. (Read More | Source | What’s Cooking in America)

It came in 10-pound container from the meat section
next to the hog jaws and hog maws and cow’s tongue and scrapple.

Mom used to clean them mid-day when I wasn't home
and when I was, I tried to get out. The acrid mustardy smell
of intestines boiling coated the house. I wondered
if our neighbors thought we were re-enacting a tribal ritual
with animal sacrifices, maybe we were.

Dad just liked the fleshy taste and mom was indifferent.
It was something they did out of habit rather than tradition.

I watched her from the front yard as she’d take
a hunk like rope and scrape the fat, let the froth
simmer to the top of the pot like wet paper.

She’d boil a pan of water with vanilla flavoring
next to the chitlins to fool us but who was she kidding?
Nothing covered the stench of that pork mush.

I imagined that this smell was evil, like boiled human entrails,
and I’d get sick from my own thoughts;
thoughts conjured from a time before me,
of never having enough but using every part what remained.

Pasty as wet paper, I thought this is what it came down to:
choice—my father eating the viscera,
and my mother poised to offer me a bowl,
the off-ramp of a swine’s innards,
knowing that this was all a part of me.

Chitlins ~ January O'Neil aKa Poet Mom

What is the Chitlin Circuit?

A circuit of nightclubs and theaters that feature African-American performers and cater especially to African-American audiences.

When Jim Crow and segregation were even more prominent in the United States, the Negro race, freed through emancipation, did not have equal access to public “White Only” places. The Chitlin’ Circuit - a connected string of music venues, diners, juke joints, and theaters throughout the eastern and southern United States that catered primarily to African American audiences was created.

The Chitlin’ Circit was the only option for touring Black entertainers such as Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Etta James, Billie Holiday, Ike and Tina Turner, B. B. King, Bobby “Blue” Bland, T.D. Bell and the Blues Specialists, Roosevelt "Gray Ghost" Williams, Eubie Blake, Robert Shaw, Big Joe Williams and many others begin touring in an effort to “eek” out a living when Jim Crow and segregation was even more prominent in the United States.

Historically, Baltimore was the first city on the Chitlin' Circuit. The Chitlin’ Circuit stretched through the South, bending westward throughout Texas, extending Eastward on through Chicago, offering continuous opportunities for black entertainers.

Many clubs were opened specifically for the Chitlin' Circuit, such as the Historic Victory Grill in Austin, Texas. Opened in 1945, The Victory Grill’s history is an integral component to the prospering of the legendary “Chitlin' Circuit”. A juke joint offering food, beer, jazz and rhythm and blues music and dancing, the club soon became a hot spot for locals to listen to touring Black entertainers. The Historic Victory Grill is alive and well presenting blues and jazz entertainment. (Source | Urban Dictionary)
Back to Me:

Do you eat chitlins and or do you have any interesting chitlin stories. Also have you seen any notable acts on the Chitlin Circuit.

I have seen a few Chitlin Circuit plays; most notably, Mama I Want to Sing. My dad took me to see it one summer during my visit with him in Birmingham, AL in the late 80's. I remember having fun with him.

Shit! I better stop because I am getting teary-eyed thinking about the good times with my dad.

Term of Last Week: Négritude:

Author: Tafari, Sunday, April 29th, 2007 at 9:48 PM
So I try to post my term of the week every Wednesday but dropped the ball last week cuz I was busy as hell & fighting this cold. Shit I have been down for the last few days & my glands are still swollen but I have more energy at least. After I am done here, I will be popping some pills & talking a nap!

Moving along & getting back on topic, while I was putting together my last “Term of the week” Coon(ing), I was going to use the word Negrotude to describe one of the people that I mentioned but before I did, I decided to Google it & winded up misspelling it so I clicked Négritude because Google as if this was the word that I meant.

So after clicking it to get a new set of search results, I figured that I had a whole new thing & a learning opportunity for myself so I want to share this in case there are others out there who were not up on the Négritude movement from the 1930’s.
History of Négritude:

Négritude is a literary and political movement developed in the 1930s by a group that included the future Senegalese President Léopold Sédar Senghor, Martinican poet Aimé Césaire, and the Guianan Léon Damas. The Négritude writers found solidarity in a common black identity as a rejection of French colonial racism. They believed that the shared black heritage of members of the African diaspora was the best tool in fighting against French political and intellectual hegemony and domination.

The movement was influenced by the Harlem Renaissance, and particularly the works of African-American writers Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, whose works address the themes of "blackness" and racism. Further inspiration came from Haiti, where there had similarly been a flourishing of black culture in the early 20th Century, and which historically holds particular pride of place in the African diaspora world due to the slave revolution led by Toussaint L'Ouverture in the 1790's. Césaire speaks, thus, of Haiti as being "where négritude stood up for the first time." On the European side, there was also influence and support from from the Surrealism movement. Mindspill

During the 1920s and 1930s, a small group of black students and scholars from France's colonies and territories assembled in Paris where they were introduced to the writers of the Harlem Renaissance by Paulette Nardal and her sister Jane. Paulette Nardal and the Haitian Dr. Leo Sajou founded La revue du Monde Noir (1931-32), a literary journal published in English and French, which attempted to be a mouthpiece for the growing movement of African and Caribbean intellectuals in Paris. This Harlem connection was also shared by the closely parallel development of negrismo in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and it is likely that there were many influences between the movements, which differed in language but were in many ways united in purpose. At the same time, "Murderous Humanitarianism" (1932) was signed by prominent Surrealists including the Martiniquan surrealists Pierre Yoyotte and J.M. Monnerot and the relationship developed especially with Aimé Césaire. (read more here)

The word Négritude was coined by Aimé Césaire, from the French word nègre, which was equivalent to "black" or "Negro" in France but "nigger" in Martinique. Césaire deliberately and proudly incorporated this derogatory word into the name of his ideological movement.
Négritude Founders:

Léopold Sédar Senghor - Senegalese poet and statesman, founder of the Senegalese Democratic Bloc. Senghor was elected president of Senegal in the 1960s. He retired from office in 1980. Senghor was one of the originators of the concept of Négritude, defined as the literary and artistic expression of the black African experience. In historical context the term has been seen as an ideological reaction against French colonialism and a defense of African culture. It has deeply influenced the strengthening of African identity in the French-speaking black world.

Aimé Césaire - Martinican poet, playwright, and politician, one of the most influential authors from the French-speaking Caribbean. Césaire's thoughts about restoring the cultural identity of black Africans were first fully expressed in Cahier d'un retour au pays natal (Return to My Native Land), a mixture of poetry and poetic prose. The work celebrated the ancestral homelands of Africa and the Caribbean. It was completed in 1939 but not published in full form until 1947.

my negritude is not a stone
nor a deafness flung against the clamor of the day
my negritude is not a white speck of dead water
on the dead eye of the earth
my negritude is neither tower nor cathedral

it plunges into the red flesh of the soil
it plunges into the blaxing flesh of the sky
my negritude riddles with holes
the dense affliction of its worthy patience.

Léon Damas - Leon-Gontran Damas was born in Cayenne, French Guyana in 1912 to a middle-class family. His father was mulatto of partly European origin and there was Amerindian and African ancestry on his mother's side of the family. Young Damas received his primary education in Cayenne, but he later moved to Martinique and attended Lycée Schoelcher there. At this lycée (French secondary school financed by the government) he shared philosophy classes with young Aime Cesaire and the two started what would become a lifelong friendship.

Damas's work is significantly influenced by the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance, the ideas of French surrealism, and the rhythms and tunes of African American blues and jazz. Damas himself has also commented that in his poems one can "find rhythm", that his poems "can be danced and they can be sung".
Négritude Time Line:

  • 1517 - France begins enslaving black Africans
  • 1636 - Martinique colonized by Louis XIII - the first black slaves arrive
  • 1665 - Le Code noir, by Jean-Baptiste Colbert (French chief financial minister) - Rulebook for the treatment of slaves
  • 1789 - French Revolution - Major themes include the rights of man, the issue of slavery.
  • 1804 - Haiti is the first French colony to gain independence
  • 1823 - Ourika, by Mme de Duras (wife of Louis XVIII's chamberlain) - The first French-language novel to address the effects of racism on black people.
  • 1848 - Victor Schoelscher (French under-secretary) abolishes slavery in the colonies
  • 1919 - Harlem Renaissance (US) - Césaire and Damas were greatly inspired by this valuation of the culture, literature, art, and music of the black world, notably:
    • W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk
    • Langston Hughes, The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes
    • Alain Leroy Locke, The New Negro
    • Claude McKay, Banjo, Home to Harlem
  • 1921 - Negrismo (Cuba) - Celebration of black-Cuban music, rhythm, folklore, literature, poetry, and art
  • 1927 - Journal: La Revue Indigène, by Jacques Roumain - Attempt to rediscover a black African authenticity in the Antilles
  • 1930 - Book of poetry: Pigments, by Damas - Sometimes referred to as the manifesto of Négritude. General theme of demystification: we need to cure the ills of Western society. Some highlights:
    • Ils sont venus ce soir The night white man arrived and kidnapped Africans for slavery, many people were killed - we don't even know how many.
    • Un Clochard m'a demandé 10 sous Damas once had to beg for money, but pride helped him to grow strong enough to earn it instead.
    • Solde Whites are pretentious and ridiculous, never mind cruel, yet Blacks have to be their accomplices.
    • S.O.S. Why and how on earth did Whites decide to steal Blacks and to commit such Hitleresque acts?
    • Blanchi Whites try to bleach us, but we want only to be black.
  • 1931 - The trois pères meet in Paris and begin discussing and dreaming about Négritude.
  • Journal: La Revue du monde noir (The Journal of the Black World), by Paulette Nardal and Dr. Sajoux. In addition to disseminating ideas via the journal, this collaboration led to a kind of club where black writers could meet to discuss related issues.
  • 1932 - Journal: Légitime défense - A single issue of a Marxist, revolutionary, surrealist journal published by a group of Martinican students and immediately suppressed.
  • 1934 - Journal: L'Étudiant noir (The Black Student), by the three fathers - Break down nationalistic barriers among black people; recognize, approach, and unify black people in Africa, France, and the Antilles. This was the first and most important political and cultural journal of la Négritude.
  • 1935 - Birth of la Négritude - Seek out richness and originality, rehabilitate that which had been marginalized. Already independent, Haiti isn't interested in participating.
  • 1938 - Journal: Les Griots, by François Duvalier - Contributions of black African civilization
  • 1939 - Poem: Cahier d'un retour au pays natal (Notebook of a Return to My Native Land), by Césaire - The word Négritude appears for the first time in this poem about being black and living in the Antilles.

(Continuation of Timeline)
Back to Me:

To end, this post is a good damn reason why I love Google. I typed something wrong & got a corrective suggestion that became the term of the week.

Have you heard or studied the Négritude movement & do you think that movements like Négritude & the Harlem Renaissance will ever appear again bringing us into a renewed self-consciousness?

Term of The Week: Coon(ing)

Author: Tafari, Thursday, April 19th, 2007 at 4:54 PM MindspillSo last night, I was on YouTube watching Oprah's "Now What" special, which is dealing with Black life & respect within & outside our community post Imus. The program had a very specific focus on who we talk to each other & how rap & hip-hop music plagues us & creates a double standard within & outside of the color line.

While watching part 2 which is the portion in which she had Russell Simmons, Common & to other Brothers that pissed me off during the whole hour special.

The bottom line is that they basically defended the stat of Rap & hip-hop music while admitting that there is a problem & that things need to change. The panelist did a lot of talking about needed change but they mentioned very little if anything about steps to make the change happen. From what I picked up, they are willing to talk to defend the music but not willing to speak out directly to make things happen.

I think I was most disappointed with Common because he is a very positive Brother & lifts up Black woman & shit the community. So when he said that he felt that changes needed to happen but he was not willing to go against his hip-hop family to do so (I’m paraphrasing loosely).

To summarize, by the time everything was said & done with, it was 2am, I was sleepy & pissed off by watching these grown ass men make excuses for 20 years of cooning to an ass shaking beat, misogyny & homophobia.

I got in the bed & bitched at Suite Suzy about my thoughts; she then told me to shut the hell up & got o damn sleep. So I did & while I was drifting off the one word flashing in my head was coon.

With this said: Coon is the term of the week & I dedicate it to anyone who gets paid to put their people down. People who spit venomous words that ingrain hate amongst brothers while degrading our women & children.
According to the Urban Dictionary:

Cooning is a verb derived from the word coon. A coon was/is a person of African decent whose sole purpose was/is to entertain white people. These 'coons' started out as wearing black face, characterized by having big eyes and painting big red lips on their face. These people would tap dance, play instruments and sing.

Modern day coons are blacks who play stereotypical roles and black entertainers that promote ignorance. (Source).
History of the Coon:

The coon caricature was born during American slavery. Slave masters and overseers often described slaves as "slow," "lazy," "wants pushing," "an eye servant," and "trifling."2 The master and the slave operated with different motives: the master desired to obtain from the slave the greatest labor, by any means; the slave desired to do the least labor while avoiding punishment. The slave registered his protest against slavery by running away, and, when that was not possible, by slowing work, doing shoddy work, destroying work tools, and faking illness. Slave masters attributed the slaves' poor work performance to shiftlessness, stupidity, desire for freedom, and genetic deficiencies.

The coon caricature was one of the stock characters among minstrel performers. Minstrel show audiences laughed at the slow-talking fool who avoided work and all adult responsibilities. This transformed the coon into a comic figure, a source of bitter and vulgar comic relief. He was sometimes renamed "Zip Coon" or "Urban Coon." If the minstrel skit had an ante-bellum setting, the coon was portrayed as a free Black; if the skit's setting postdated slavery, he was portrayed as an urban Black. He remained lazy and good-for-little, but the minstrel shows depicted him as a gaudy dressed "Dandy" who "put on airs." Unlike Mammy and Sambo, Coon did not know his place. He thought he was as smart as White people; however, his frequent malapropisms and distorted logic suggested that his attempt to compete intellectually with Whites was pathetic. His use of bastardized English delighted White audiences and reaffirmed the then commonly held beliefs that Blacks were inherently less intelligent. The minstrel coon's goal was leisure, and his leisure was spent strutting, styling, fighting, avoiding real work, eating watermelons, and making a fool of himself. If he was married, his wife dominated him. If he was single, he sought to please the flesh without entanglements. (Source | Dr. David Pilgrim - Ferris State)
Back to me:

While doing my coon surf, I stumbled across this "Yall Should Get Lynched" video on by NYOIL on Myspace & it is very fiery & on point! It's calling out rap & hip-hop artists big time for their misogynistic, negative & bullshit lyrics.

Apparently, the video was too hot for YouTube and was pulled off within 48 hours of posting. While I totally agree with the message, I was struggling because NYOIL was using some of the same lyrics that he is mad about. On the other hand, I see the message from a final straw POV & maybe NYOIL is just at the point to make him over the top pissed off.

Watermelon Award:

If you could give a Watermelon Award to any Rapper for his/her conning ways, who would you nominate?

I would give nominations to Nelly, Snoop (even though I love his music), Lil’ Jon & his entire BME Clique, Remy Ma & Puff Daddy aka Diddy or whatever he is going by nowadays.

BTW: There is a woman in Detroit named Agnes Hitchcock who does give out Watermelon Awards to “leaders” in the Detroit/Highland Park, MI area on her public access program, which is where this I go the idea. She refers to her award as a “Sambo Ward”.

Term of The Week: Drapetomania

Author: Tafari, Thursday, April 12th, 2007 at 1:12 AM Mindspill I got the idea for this week’s term while watching "CSA" (Confederate States of America). CSA is a mockumentary that examines American history post Emancipation Proclamation if the confederate army won. If you have not seen or heard about it, I suggest you check it out. It's pretty funny & actually makes you think about some things. I hate to spoil but one of my favorite parts in the movie is when the historian tells the story of Harriet Tubman rescuing Abraham Lincoln & puts him in Black Face. He then questions her about it & she, look we both Niggas now, so come on and let's roll! Drapetomania - A Mental Disease, which gives slaves the urge to want to run away from their sweet & loving slave master. Etymology - (drapetes - a runaway (in this case a negro slave)) (mania – madness or frenzy) MindspillDrapetomania was manufactured by Samuel A. Cartwright, a Louisiana physician. The diagnosis appeared in a paper published in the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, where Dr. Cartwright argued that the tendency of slaves to run away from their captors was in fact a treatable medical disorder. His feeling was that with "proper medical advice, strictly followed, this troublesome practice that many Negroes have of running away can be almost entirely prevented. "Cartwright suggested that the only way to cure a slave from this infliction was to beat the shit out of him. Cartwright also said that if treated kindly, well fed and clothed, with fuel enough to keep a small fire burning all night - separated into families, each family having its own house - not permitted to run about at night to visit their neighbors, to receive visits or use intoxicating liquors, and not overworked or exposed too much to the weather, they are very easily governed - more so than any other people in the world. ----------------------------------------------------------- Drapetomania Today: My POV: Sometimes I apply this term to our Black men, who seem to be affected by this disease. Why do I say this? Well, I think about all of those babies with no daddies. I think about all of the Black women out they with a man who will not marry them because "they are not ready". Bottom line is I see a lot of Black men running away from responsibility & this eats me up as a Black man holding it down in my home & community. I will end here because I am on the verge of a rant. Related Post ~Slave Economics (SECO 101)

Term of The Week: Yemaya (+)

Author: Tafari, Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 at 4:31 AM Mindspill

Angeliqué Kidjo (one of my favorite Diasporic singers) has a wonderful tribute song to “Iemanja”, which is a very calming but powerful song.

Because I do not speak or understand Portuguese, I really have no clue what the Angeliqué is saying but I always sing along blindly. Thanks to the internet, I now know that “Iemanja” is about the goddess of the sea (Iemanja), asking her to join her African children in Brazil for a party & also asking her to bring wisdom, love & peace.

Again thanks to the internet, I was able to find out that Iemanja was a riverine Orixá in Africa, but became associated with the Sea after the "Middle Passage". Iemanja is also the ultimate mother figure and the "national" Orixa of Brazil.

According to the legends, Iemanja is the mother of most of the Orixá. Her best known son is Xango, The King, and there are many stories about how the children came to be, and Xango's relationship with his father, Aganju (The Old King).

Bring this home: Last year at a conference I had the chance to hear Dr. Joyce E. King speak (she is a HOT speaker; catch her if you can). Doing her address, she talked of Yemaya who through the years from Africa to America became Jemima.

She told us that Jemima is not just a name, it’s a title & slaves looked to Jemima with respect as she was somewhat of a community leader & a go to person.

Before Dr. Kings Address, I had never heard of this Diva Yemaya & I only thought about Jemima when it was time to eat pancakes (a little ghetto, yes I know). Mindspill

So today while surfing Wikipedia, I discovered that Yamaya & Iemanja are one in the same. According to Wikipedia – Yemaya (Yemoja) is a mother goddess; patron deity of women, especially pregnant women; and the Ogun river (the waters of which are said to cure infertility).

Her parents are Oduduwa and Obatala. She had one son, Orungan, who raped her successfully one time and attempted a second time; she exploded instead, and fifteen Orishas came forth from her. They include Ogun, Olokun, Shopona and Shango.
Diaspora Tales:

When the Yorubans were transported on slave ships to the Americas from West Africa, they first encountered the great expanse of the unfathomable ocean. Away from their homeland rivers, lakes, lagoons and beaches where they called upon their Mother Yemanja, the Yoruban slaves recognised the ocean as their Mother as far as the eye could see. With the prospect of a life of slavery and with no chance to ever escape back to their homeland again, many of the Yorubans chose to throw themselves overboard to surrender to their Mothers' embrace. One of Yemanja's many aspects is Afodo who rescues slaves.

In the Yoruban tales, she is forever pleading with Ogun and Shango not to make slaves of the enemy in their war with neighbouring Dahomey. She also deals with the safe passage of ships and boats at sea. It could be that Yemanja Afodo was so dismayed at the miserable plight of her children aboard the slave ships that she claimed them back. It was natural that Yoruban slaves should want to surrender themselves to their Mother Yemanja by hurling themselves off the slave ships, as surrender is instinctive in all of her children. In this way they show her their trust in her, in the surety that their Mother will carry them to a safe harbour. (Source | Ted Diprose)

In Haitian Vodou She is worshipped as a Moon-goddess, and is believed to protect mothers and their children. She is associated with the mermaid-spirits of Lasirenn (Herself a form of Erzulie) who brings seduction and wealth, and Labalenn, Her sister the whale. (Source | Blue Roe Buck)

Who says there are no African tales?
Name Variations:

Imanja, Imanjá
Jemanja, Yemanja
Yemalla, Yemana
Yemaya, Yemayah, Iemanya
Yemoja, Ymoja
La Sirène, LaSiren (in Voodoo)
Mami Wata
Nana Buluku
Iemanja Nana Borocum, Iemanja Bomi, Iemanja Boci, Nanã

Term of The Week: Magic Negro

Author: Tafari, Monday, March 26th, 2007 at 6:33 AM Mindspill

Before reading my boy's blog (The Free Slave)post about "Black Snake Moan" (I will not be seeing this movie BTW) I had never heard the term Magic Negro. Well after I read it about it there 1st, I started reading other posts in the Blogosphere referring to Barack Obama as a "Magic Negro".

So of course I had to go to Wikipedia to see if there was an entry on the Magical Negro & without a doubt, they did not fail me & I now fully understand the term Magic Negro.

So now that I am enlightened to the term Magic Negro, I feel that I am a Magic Negro most of the time when on the plantation (If you are Negro, you know where I mean (if not read between the lines)).
According to Wikidepia:

The Magical Negro (sometimes called the Mystical Negro, Magic Negro, or our Magical African-American Friend) is a stock character who appears in fiction of a variety of media. The word "Negro", now considered archaic and offensive, is used intentionally to emphasize the belief that the archetype is a racist throwback, an update of the "Sambo" stereotype. The term, which may have been in use since at least the 1950s, was popularized by Spike Lee, who dismissed the archetype of the "super-duper Magical Negro" in 2001 while discussing films with students at Washington State University and at Yale University.


The Magical Negro is typically "in some way outwardly or inwardly disabled, either by discrimination, disability or social constraint," often a janitor or prisoner. He has no past; he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist. He is the black stereotype, "prone to criminality and laziness." To counterbalance this, he has some sort of magical power, "rather vaguely defined but not the sort of thing one typically encounters." They are patient and wise, often dispensing various words of wisdom, and are "closer to the earth."

The Magical Negro serves as a plot device to help the protagonist get out of trouble, typically through helping the white character recognize his own faults and overcome them. In this way, the Magical Negro is similar to the Deus ex machina; a simple way for the protagonist to overcome an obstacle almost entirely through outside help. Although he has magical powers, his "magic is ostensibly directed toward helping and enlightening a white male character." It is this feature of the Magical Negro that some people find most troubling. Although the character seems to be showing African-Americans in a positive light, he is still ultimately subordinate to whites. He is also regarded as an exception, allowing white America to "like individual black people but not black culture."

To save the white protagonist, however, he would do anything, including sacrificing himself, as Sidney Poitier did in The Defiant Ones, the prototypical Magical Negro movie.
Back to Me:

Wikidepia & other online sources listed movies with Magical Negro characters & I found myself laughing because amongst them were a few of my favorites, which include:

  • All Whoopi Goldberg movies with the exception of the “Color Purple”
    • Black Beauty
    • Jumping Jack Flash
    • Corrina, Corrina
    • Ghost
    • Etc…
  • The Green Mile (Michael Clarke Duncan)
  • Forrest Gump (Mykelti Williamson (Bubba))
  • The Matrix (Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) & The Oracle(Gloria Foster))
  • Bringing Down the House (Queen Latifah)
  • House Guest (Sinbad)
  • Far From Heaven (Dennis Haysbert)
Do you have any favorite movies with a Magical Negro & most importantly, have you ever felt like a Magical Negro at any given period in your life?

Oh & for the record; I do not think that Barack is magical; he’s just a Negro that has my vote! Mindspill