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  • Saturday, August 23, 2014 4:28 PM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)

    Elders' Corner #3
    by: Nana Joe Benton

    “My enemy said, “love your enemy”, and I obeyed him and loved myself.”  - Kahlil Gibran

    In my travels and many conversations I hear people lamenting over the youth of today and the propensity for violence committed by them. Yet, since records on violent crime has been kept, the truth is that the last 30 years has seen a drop in violent crime. There is something incongruent with an overall decrease in violent crime and a rise in the perception of increases. Truth based upon knowledge will dispel rumors and gossip.

    What has also happened in my travels has been a time to have meaningful conversations with and to listen to, our youth. I am appalled by the misinformation fed to them, how much they devalue themselves and given their preference they would love to fade into the vast abyss of assimilation. They have given up the struggle for self-determination before they have had a chance to determine who they are. Which gets back to the perception, by many adults, that youths are violent, I guess in comparison, with how they were when they were young.

    The truth is each preceding generation was more violent than the succeeding generation. The most violent time in the lives of Black folks occurred from 1865 until 1964. In the 1920’s with lynching, chain gangs, gangsters, bootleg liquor and lawlessness being the norm for the land, I challenge grandparents and great grandparents to tell me of time more violent except for the Red Summers of 1917-20. They generally get silent. We forget as adults what it was like when we were children.

    Our youth, of today, are destroying themselves from within. The enemy has done a great job, exhorting our youth to love the enemy and we adults have supported that notion. We know where the nonsense comes from, so I will not elaborate but Kahlil Gibran (a North African, more Coptic than Christian or Islamic) offers a positive solution that has been pushed, for years, in our Rites of Passage program and training workshops.

    You cannot love others, until you truly love and honor yourself and those in your family and who look like you. True love, can then be given, first and last to those who love you. For do a people, who do not love you, really want your love?

  • Thursday, August 14, 2014 11:38 PM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)

    The Importance of African Universal Spiritual Community
    by: Dr. Winmilawe
    (www.winmilawe.com)

    “Never did I judge between two contenders in such a way that it deprived a child of his or her parents’ legacy” The Husia, p. 95

    Africans religions have had spiritually accepting philosophies for…well, ever! For instance, ancient Kemet (Egypt) was so spectacular because Africans from all over migrated into the Nile Valley. The West African Yoruba faith has
    400
    +1 divinities because there is always room for one more. Universal churches also have come into existence in the last centuries. Even a slice of general America embraces universal spiritual community, as exemplified by the Unity Church.

    KRST Universal Temple is good for the 21rst century. It is one of a small number of places in the U.S. that creates a space for AFRICAN oriented universal spiritual community. This temple provides a forum for African descended people of multiple faiths and non-faiths to unite in the name of Africa AND in the name of spirit. It’s communal worship with a selection of spiritual practices. This is important. But, why?

    It’s common for African centered people to believe politics alone (whether activism, nationalism, or intellectualism) will save us. But history reminds us that politics has never been enough to save us. Politics is man’s law; and man’s power is too limited to create heaven on earth, a.k.a. ideal societies. That is why Africans for more than 20,000 years have maintained or regained freedom with a spiritual rootundefinedspirituality is god’s law, which is an unlimited power source! Until European colonization, most African societies maintained theocracies (spiritually guided governments). In looking at a few of the freedom winning African Americans, i.e. Nat Turner, Fredrick Douglass, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, they were all devout spiritual leaders as well.

    KRST Universal Temple (and organizations like it) serve two critical elements for African American communities. They provide:

    1. A gateway for those who want to embrace African-centered spirituality. People need transitional space to move into religions that DO honor their own ancestors and fulfill them spiritually, not just emotionally.

    2. A community for all African centered people, including those of us who already have a spiritual system. Those of us with religion (I’m of the Yoruba/Orisa faith,) still need to be part of wider African universal spiritual communities because there is strength in numbers.

    Let me state, I advocate religion! The majority of human beings need a system that provides deep spiritual substance. Believing that universal spiritual communities are a substitute for religion is a mistake. Baba Derrick, the leader of KRST Universal Temple is progressive because he knows this. He and the elders of the Temple honor the fact that we should rely on the thousands of years of experience, that Africans have had in communing with God and the divine forces and not make up our own way.

    To advocate that “religion is bad”, is quite anti-African. Religion, when spiritual, gives us a solid way for relating to the invisible world and sustains people through crises in life. On the other hand, universal spiritual communities allow people the chance to find their spiritual path (religion). Also, universal spiritual communities promote tolerance, understanding and accepting that people have different paths. Most indigenous African religions note that people have different paths to the Gods.

    “Never did I judge between two contenders in such a way that it deprived a child of his or her parents’ legacy.” I interpret this Husia quote to mean that while people may look like enemies (contenders), do not judge them if they are on the path that their ancestors gave them (parents’ legacy).

    Dr. Iya Winmilawe
    (www.winmilawe.com)

  • Friday, August 08, 2014 5:45 PM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)
    Using Hip-Hop to Stimulate African Consciousness
    By: Ahmad R. Washington

    In his talk with the Temple on Sunday (7/27), Baba Derrick Jackson discussed how African American self-hatred is a predictable byproduct of our not having received any therapeutic interventions after hundreds of years of unrelenting terror that began when European invaders kidnapped our ancestors from the shores of Africa. Today, one could argue that nothing exemplifies this self-hatred more than the fact that much of the anti-African content produced by elite Euro-American corporations is consumed as “entertainment” by our people, including corporate-sponsored hip-hop culture and rap music. By corporate-sponsored I mean the large media corporations that literally run hip-hop culture and rap music (Love, 2013; Rose, 2008).

    Because a disproportionate amount of this corporate-sponsored rap music and related programming (see Love and Hip Hop) recycles old racist narratives that presume the pathology of Blackness and Black people (Love, 2013; Rose, 2008), we must engage the youth in conversation about the relationship between corporate-sponsorship in rap music, the aforementioned racist narratives and self-hatred.

    In doing so, we must not ‘throw out the baby with the bathwater’ by dismissing hip-hop culture altogether because this makes it difficult to connect with the young people we seek to attract. Instead, we must recognize that hip-hop has not always been this way, and that alternative messages within the culture exist. Lastly, we must reveal how corporate-sponsorship in rap marginalizes socially-conscious rap music* to assist in Racism/White Supremacy/Domination (Fuller, Jr., 1984).

    Consider the fact that despite achieving varying degrees of commercial success, it is highly unlikely that you will ever see or hear artists like Yasiin Bey, Dead Prez, Common, Narubi Selah, Dee-1, Jasiri X, and Gods’Illa on television or radio. Young people have to understand that this is by design. Elite Euro-American corporations, as defenders of the system of Racism/White Supremacy/Domination (Fuller, Jr, 1984), cannot afford for these artists’ words to reach the masses. Thus, it should come as no surprise that corporate sponsors choose to distribute blatantly racist and sexist material rather than highlight the work of Talib Kweli because to introduce young African minds to Kweli means exposing them to his work:

    Yo I was sold to a sick European by a rich African battlin'

    Middle Passages, I can't go back again…

    Battle in the wilderness of North America

    Ran by the river, only stoppin' to pray

    Chased by predators

    Terrorists with etiquette who vote and kill their president

    Their capacity for evil so evident and prevalent…

    Fastforward to 2003, ni@@as beef

    The psychology of children of slaves run deep”undefinedTalib Kweli What’s Beef


    While critics of rap music often disagree with the graphic language some artists useundefinedwhich is legitimateundefinedit must not be forgotten that socially-conscious artists like Kweli and others (i.e., The Last Poets) use such this language to describe what stands alone in human history as the most treacherous, the most vile, and most inhumane set of circumstances one group of people has ever committed against another (notice the similarities between Kweli’s reference to the Middle Passage and Ani’s (1994) description of the Maafa).

    Since so many young people in our community gravitate towards hip-hop culture, we must incorporate the affirming messages from hip-hop and rap music to stimulate African Consciousness. For those who are unfamiliar with these artists, there are resources that can assist. Take, for instance, Rap Rehab (http://raprehab.com/). On this site you can find commentary on corporate-sponsorship in rap music. Rap Rehab has published articles on how corporate promotion of certain artists reflects disdain for Black people (http://raprehab.com/the-music-industry-hates-black-people/) and how these decisions operate as part of a New Willie Lynch (http://raprehab.com/the-new-willie-lynch-how-to-make-a-rap-slave/) system.

    If we are to help in the healing of our people as Baba suggested, we must use interventions that speak to the trauma that precipitated our current condition. These interventions must be culturally relevant and authentic, and affirm our humanity as Africans first. I believe this can be done using the work of the artists I listed above and others like them. Peace.

    *By socially-conscious rap music I mean music that explores how the legacy of historical events like enslavement have a very real, but profoundly different, impact on people belonging to different racial and socioeconomic categories.

    References

    Ani, M. (1994). Yurugu: An Afrikan-centered critique of European cultural thought and behavior. Washington, DC: NKONIMFO PUBLICATIONS.

    Fuller, Jr., N. (1984). The united independent compensatory code/system/concept: A textbook/workbook for thought, speech and/or action for victims of racism (White supremacy).

    Love, B. (2013). ‘Oh, they’re sending a bad message’: Black males resisting & challenging Eurocentric notions of Blackness within hip-hop & the mass media through critical pedagogy. International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 4, 24-39.

    Rose, T. (2008). The hip-hop wars: What we talk about when we talk about hip-hop-and why it matters. New York, NY: Basic Books.

  • Friday, August 08, 2014 5:39 PM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)
    Elders' Corner
    “He who drinks in the house of merchants; will be made to pay for it” Ancient Kemet
    By: Nana Joe Benton

    Though written over six thousand years ago, our ancestors must have been prescient. The notion of horse traders, capitalist or economic systems that exploit the weak, not pay fair wages and not care about the wealth or well being of the people was unknown to our ancestors. For that reason alone, the use of the Husia becomes of prime importance to constantly remind us of how our ancestors felt about us and all people and the manner in which they treated their fellow brothers and sisters.

    America is truly the house of the merchants. Everything from our news, to our socialization and the very culture is built around the notion of developing merchants. In addition to finding “news”, sports, weather, a business section and even horoscopes in newspapers, you never find a section on labor, which is the category for most of us. In our case, as African people we were kidnapped and brought here not as people, but as merchandize. When emancipation came, the formerly enslaved African had a choice, remain merchandize and tied to the merchant (Massa) or turn his back on the plantation, seek freedom and no longer drink in the house of the merchant. To this day, that critical decision has either plagued or elevated our people.

    After over two hundred years of enslavement, is it not strange that many of our people became legislators, teachers, preachers, doctors, nurses, land owners, college professors, business owners, land owners, farmers and administrators, while the merchants pointed to the less fortunate brothers and sisters who continued to drink their troughs, as unworthy beast who must be guided to work continually for the merchant class. You see, no merchant has servants and serfs in their homes except as servants and slaves.

    The Husia reminds us of what we must do, how we must behave toward each other and how we deal with the merchant classes, who may not act or look like us. We once built so great a civilization, that it has never been matched at any time in world history. It is our job and duty at KRST Temple to resurrect Maat, the Cardinal Virtues and look backward to understand how we move forward. It is our destiny to again to be great and to drink at the well of our ancestors to resurrect our culture.

    Humanity demands the resurrection of us, for we are the Creator’s greatest hope for humanity and in reality it is the Creator who created drink for all of us, not just merchants.

  • Saturday, July 26, 2014 12:35 PM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)

    “The grasshopper that sleeps forgetfully wakes up in the mouth of a lizard” Igbo
    By: Joe Benton

    Many times as I ponder the object lessons of our ancient ancestors, I often go back and read the words of wisdom that comes from them. Too often we have played the role of the forgetful grasshopper in this society. We have slept, forgotten; Maat and our Cardinal Principles of righteous behavior and the lizards continue to devour us.

    KRST Temple, if nothing else, should be that place where the foolishness of common philosophy, the teachings of the ridiculous and beliefs systems which have lulled us to sleep, should be vanquished from the thinking and doing of our members. What right thinking person, who lives in the “Bible Belt and Buckle”, the south and Midwest for those who did not know, could adhere to a belief system that does not provide a means for us to rise from the bottom, yet dooms us to the tyranny of violence, both inside and outside of our community.

    Where is the “Prince of Peace” when we need him? Our lizards, believe that we are beast and only worthy of being devoured or if left to our own devices will devour ourselves. If it were not so, it would not be happening.

    What then will wake us up? The continual dialog of the Truth is our wake up call. Our people must know, that we are loveable and loving people. That is part of the Truth that KRST Temple must continually press. Based upon our history and culture, we should be the people that others copy. They should copy us for our fairness, righteousness and reciprocal living. We should exude love of ourselves; for a loving people do not kill himself or herself or others. They do not rob from others and especially those who look like self. No right thinking, loving people would want to do more than share their love and kindness and especially with those who truly love them in return.

    If I love myself and give that love away to others; and they love me in return, that is the way of reciprocity and lives up to the natural order of Maat. Then I will remember and will keep a watchful eye for the lizards that go against that order or win them over to my ways. Hotep

  • Saturday, July 19, 2014 9:19 AM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)

    Arming Children for Academic Success
    By: Phila R. Robinson

    The last of the fireworks have come to an end and the temperatures are blazing hot but believe it or not summer vacation is coming quickly to a close. Teachers begin making preparations for the upcoming year and taking a look at how their school year will take shape. As parents we should be taking the same initiative. Waiting on someone else to prepare us for what’s to come is unacceptable. Our children deserve parents who take the time to prepare them for the school year. This preparation takes some thought and some doing. Even if you have not done this in the past, it is not too late to start.

    Arming our children to be successful this school year can begin with simply answering the question “Who am I?”. This question gives us the opportunity to talk with our children about our story. By answering this question we can tell them the “why” of Booker T. Washington and W.E. B. Dubois and a host of others. We can answer the question of why these men and many others were important. If our children begin to see how they fit into history through the achievements of our ancestors they will gain a deeper understanding in all of their academics.

    In addition, our children must be armed spiritually. When we teach our children that they are made in the image of God, we are empowering them. Realizing that God is a part of them and in every other living thing makes children look at the world differently. Now they see that harming a plant, an insect, or a fellow classmate is harming God. Imagine what a different world this would be if all children were taught to respect the God in each and every living thing. We would not experience school violence nor would we be afraid to send our children to school.

    Moreover, children that recognize the God in themselves and others have a different way of learning. As a young child, my grandparents would make us learn scriptures from the Bible. My grandmother always said to learn them “by heart”. I never really understood this until I was introduced to the creation story of my ancestors. In this particular reading God creates the world using his heart, mind, and tongue. Whatever we desire our children to learn we must first allow them to put it into their heart. Then that same thought is processed by the mind and finally the tongue speaks it into existence. I noticed that those children in the classroom who used this particular way of learning always out performed those who chose to do it some other way. This particular process is not foreign to us. In fact it is the way we were meant to learn. It is a natural way of doing things. Teaching our children to create as God did, arms them for success. Children who are taught this concept of creation tap into their creative side on a deeper level. They use the heart, mind, and tongue to observe the world around them.

    Because of the condition of the world around us, we cannot leave it up to chance when it comes to our children’s well being. If it means that we must turn off the TV and use that time to talk about our history I say do it. If it means that we must take a little time to go to the library to find meaningful books for our children to read I say do it. Even if we must encourage them to complete projects for the summer I say do it. Everything that we do must be focused on creating productive members of society. The only way to do this is to take the initiative. As a classroom teacher, I know how difficult it is to fulfill cultural, spiritual, and academic initiatives in a school year. Therefore, I will not leave that up to chance as a parent.  

  • Saturday, July 12, 2014 8:51 PM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)

    Thoughtsnack: About Racism
    by: Burnett Kwadwo Gallman

    Racism is a word that is often used but less often understood. Hence, this is a very brief attempt to offer an expanded view for those who may have not fully thought about it.

    First, the distinction between racism and prejudice should be considered. Prejudice is opinion while racism always has a power component, even if not always obvious. This power may be as small as making one feel badly about themselves and have “hurt feelings” or as large as life or death.

    Secondly, the systems of racism as they apply to people of Afrikan origin will be specifically discussed. It is recognized, however, that racism can and does adversely affect other races.

    There are many types, classifications and categories of racism. Most people think of overt, individual, in-your-face prejudice when they hear the word. Even though that type of racism is still common, it is important to understand the other, more insidiously subtle and potentially more destructive types of racism.

    Institutional racism is a little understood but highly destructive form of racism that is rarely recognized by its victims. It involves rules, customs, rights and even laws that give a disadvantage to Afrikan people by definition.

    Scientific racism is false science that tries to present racist ideology as scientific fact. It is always distorted and false. An example is using IQ tests to say that Afrikan people are not as intelligent as other races even though IQ tests are not just culturally biased but basically invalid.

    Unconscious racism is frequently well-meaning and ignores the distinctive history and experiences of Afrikan people. Saying things like, “I don’t see color” when even color-blind people see some colors.

    The type of racism that I feel is most damaging is Internalized racism. This is the (frequently unconscious) acceptance of one’s own group’s inferiority. Afrikan people affected by internalized racism are ashamed of their race and hate the things that make them Afrikan. They try to compensate in many ways. They may even become physically ill. Experimental Psychologist Dr. Na’im Akbar has described several mental disorders related to internalized racism:

    The Alien Self Disorder involves Afrikan people who reject their Afrikanity and blackness. These are the people who see their tightly curled hair as “kinky” and bad”. They see their lips and noses as objects of ridicule and their dark skin as a badge of shame. Depending on their financial status, they may get plastic surgery to sharpen their features so that they appear more “white”. They may bleach their skin. They may get light colored contact lenses just to lighten their eyes. Some may even get tattoos of symbols honoring other cultures rather than investing time and effort in exploring their own cultural symbols.

    The Anti-Self Disorder includes hostility towards anyone of Afrikan origin and frequently even themselves. This has been mentioned as a possible cause of the increased incidence of suicides among young people of Afrikan origin. People afflicted with this disorder identify with other races and cultures (whites, Asians, Arabs, etc). Good examples are found among some people who describe themselves as “black conservatives” and berate and belittle black people whenever they can. Another example is the Uncle Ruckus character from the cartoon Boondocks.

    It is imperative that Afrikan people be aware of these problems so that solutions can be found. We must be aware that there are occasionally uncomfortable explanations for what we do. Racism is prevalent in America and we should understand it.

  • Friday, July 04, 2014 12:43 PM | Urica Floyd (Administrator)
    From the Pastor's desk

    What does America's independence day mean to People of Afrikan Ancestry?
    By Baba Derrick Jackson

    This week all across the United States people will be celebrating America's independence from Great Britain. The question those of us of Afrikan Ancestry should be asking ourselves is "What does America's independence day mean to People of Afrikan Ancestry"?

    In 1852 Fredrick Douglas gave a speech entitled "What, To The Slave, Is The Fourth Of July". He admonished White Americans for desiring freedom for themeselves while at the same time having slavery as an American institution. He said, "New York has become as Virginia; and the power to hold, hunt and sell men, women and children as slaves remain no longer a mere state institution but is now an institution of the whole United States.".

    We as people of Afrikan Ancestry sometimes get so caught up in America's Independence that we forget that we were still enslaved when America obtained its Independence. For that reason alone the fourth of July cannot mean the same thing to us as it does for those who are the descendent of the people who once enslaved us. We must view this day through the eyes and lenses of our ancestors.

    It is important we begin to see that America's 4th of July celebration of freedom was not our day of freedom. This does not mean we should not celebrate the ideals and ideas of freedom, independence, and liberation. We should celebrate freedom from our own perspective and through the lenses of our historical experiences as oppose to someone else's.

    We must in our celebration come to know and understand the difference between Independence, freedom and liberty. Independence implies the ability to stand alone, without being sustained by anything else. Freedom implies an absence of restraints or compulsion. Liberty implies the power to choose among alternatives rather than merely being unrestrained.

    The fourth of July for us as people of Afrikan Ancestry should be a day to reflect on the freedom our Ancestors sought and gave their lives for. This should be a day of remembrance for those Ancestors who through their blood, sweat, and tears fought for our independence. This should be a time when we give thanks to those ancestors who understood that we must not only have freedom and independence, but we should also be liberated from the ideas and ideals of our enslavers and oppressors.

    To those of us who want to celebrate the 4th of July, let’s celebrate it in the name of our Ancestors. Celebrate it in the pouring of libation for those who fought for our freedom, independence, and liberation. Let our ancestors know that we have not forgotten them and their sacrifices.

    We must remember those who gave their life to our struggle and those who chose to live. If some of our ancestors had not chosen to live and to endure the incredible hardship of slavery and oppression none of us would be alive today.

    Our freedom began in 1865 with the end of the civil war. Our independence began with the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. Our liberation began in 1876 with the end of reconstruction when we as a people began to understand that we had to make different choices than the ones being offered by" Jim Crow".

    The question we must ask ourselves today is, are we any better off socio-economically than our enslaved ancestors? Yes, we have a President of Afrikan Ancestry, but are we any better off as a people. When we look at the socio-economic indicators showing where we were under the slaves codes we find we were at the bottom, and when we look at those same indicators today we still occupy that same position. The fact that we have not progressed is a testament to how far removed we are from the struggles of our Ancestors.

    To those of us who are still fighting for Afrikan liberation, God speed. To those of us who are still sucking on the breast milk of those who enslaved our ancestors it is time to wake-up and free yourself. Liberate yourself from the milk of dependence. Suck the breasts of freedom, and independence, and drink the milk of liberation from your Ancestors.

    Let us at this time reflect, remember and give thanks to our freedom fighters. Let us celebrate our heroes/sheroes for their sacrifices. Last but not least, let us have a conversation with our children about our struggles of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

    Aluta Continua

    Ase!!!

    Baba Derrick

    Douglas, Frederick (1852): What, to the Slave, is the fourth of July? found in the book Great Speeches By African Americans edited by James Daly (2006) Dover Publications, Inc.

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