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  • Thursday, September 15, 2016 12:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    An Open Letter From the Pastor: The Gospel According To Ancient Kemet: The Ma'atian Way

    Today, in my conversation with the Temple I want to discuss "The Importance of Ma'at." Ma'at is the persistent, unyielding, and unrelenting evidence that history does have meaning. Therefore each of us has importance, weight, and magnitude precisely insofar as we are part of a story, an extraordinary and impeccable story of a people dedicated to certain ideas and ideals. We are not free-floating atoms in infinite space. We are letters and figures on the papyrus scroll our sacred language is written on.

    We have been on a journey that begun in the distant past and has continued by every successive generation. This journey began with the first man and woman who stood up at the foothills of the mountains of the moon known as Kilimanjaro. A journey that was conceived and conceptualized in the heart of the Creator of the universe. The essence of our relationship with the Creator of Heaven and Earth is Ma'at which means truth, justice, and righteousness. We must become dedicated and be convicted by our narrative in order to honor our past generations and leave a legacy to our yet unborn.

    We must come to love the wisdom and teachings of our Ancestors found in the Husia our sacred text. It is in this sacred text we find the origins of our relationship with the Creator. We should stand when it passes as if it was the Pharaoh him/herself. We should dance with it as if we are newlyweds. If it is defiled or destroyed, we must bury it as if it were a relative or friend. We should study it endlessly as if in it were hidden all the treasures of our being.

    The Husia is our portable homeland for those who live in the Diaspora. We must find our heart and soul in the wisdom texts of our most ancient ancestors.

    "We must see our life as though it were a letter of the alphabet. A letter on its own has no meaning, yet when letters are joined to others letters they make a word, words combine with other words to make a sentence, sentences connect to other sentences to make a paragraph, and paragraphs join to other paragraphs to tell a story, our story."

    Ma'at represents our identity not as fact but as a value, not as the story of a distant past but as a duty to the future. We must control our narrative by controlling the conversation around who are we.

    Our narrative must answer 4 questions:

    • How does where I come from tell me who am I called to become?
    • Who are my ancestors?
    • What is my purpose? (Incarnate Objective - My reason for Being)
    • What is my Destiny? (Direction)

    Any religious groups, spiritual groups, or organizations we belong to must define themselves based on answering these 4 questions. We must have the narrative tell our story the story of the Afrikan Family. We must state clearly and precisely that this is what we value in our family and embrace it as valuable. Let no one speak about what's wrong with Afrikan men, women, or children. We must carry the narrative, "What's right with the Afrikan Family."

    Our ancestors are waiting on us to pick up the mantle and move forward with that which they have left us. We can no longer afford to wait until others catch up to what we are saying and doing.

    I leave you with this question: Now that you know, what are you going to do? History and Heaven are waiting on our answer. Ase!!!

  • Wednesday, June 08, 2016 11:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by: Baba Derrick Jackson

    "Be always mindful of what you are doing and thinking. So that you may put the insight of your immortality on every passing incident in your daily life."

    Sufi Mysticism

    THE CRABS IN A BARREL EXPERIENCE: Another Perspective

    Many of us have heard the expression that some people of Afrikan ancestry act like crabs in a barrel? I would like to bring a different perspective to this expression. I decided to critique this expression when I heard “Sir Charles,” (Charles Barkley) as he is known in the world of entertainment, use that expression. Whenever there is a need for a more thoughtful critique or analysis of an event or situation that occurs in a community made up of people of Afrikan ancestry the media often interview's one of our entertainers, which insinuates that they are the experts on issues affecting our community. But that discussion is for another day.

    What I want to focus on was “Sir Charles’” use of this expression known as "crabs in a barrel". In that den of iniquity known as Wikipedia this is how the expression is defined: "Crab mentality, sometimes referred to as crabs in the bucket, is a way of thinking best described by the phrase, "if I can't have it, neither can you." The metaphor refers to a bucket or barrel of crabs. Individually, the crabs could easily escape from the bucket, but instead they grab at each other in a useless "king of the hill" competition which prevents any from escaping and ensures their collective demise. The analogy in human behavior is claimed to be that members of a group will attempt to negate or diminish the importance of any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of envy, spite, conspiracy, or competitive feelings, to halt their progress." If we were to take this interpretation on face value it would seem to be a plausible explanation that this metaphor refers to human beings acting like crabs in a barrel.

    Let us take a look at this metaphor through a different set of lenses by first raising some questions that are not normally thought of when hearing this phrase. I would like to offer a series of question that will hopefully focus our attention in a different direction:

    • Is the barrel a natural environment for the crab?
    • And do crabs in their natural surroundings act the same as they do in a barrel/bucket?
    • Who put the crabs in the bucket or barrel in the first place
    • And last but not least what were their intentions in taking the crabs out of their natural environment and placing them in an unnatural environment i.e. bucket or barrel?

    By focusing and asking some different kinds of questions, we can see that the bucket or barrel is not the natural environment for the crab. Research shows crabs in their natural environment get along very well together. In fact they get along through mutual cooperation and acts of common unity (community). This is why it is so easy for one to catch crabs when casting a net because they like being around each other, they display collective group behavior. What we may be witnessing when we see crabs hanging on to each other in a barrel are crabs yearning to be free and hanging on each other for support as they attempt their escape.

    When a person puts crabs in a barrel, are there intentions to free them or eat them? When placed in an unnatural environment where we sense danger do we sit quietly or do we do everything we can to move to safety. Using a different set of lenses in order to bring a new perspective to the expression "crabs in a barrel" is to see that people of Afrikan ancestry were taken out of their natural environment and placed in the hulls of a slave ships. They were then placed on plantations, and later moved to places in towns and cities were they could only live in certain parts of that town or city. This became our bucket or barrel and the behavior one see's is the behavior of those of us yearning to be free. Acting like crabs in a barrel becomes a normative state when placed in an unnatural environment. Our attention should be focused on the intentions of those who took us out of our natural environment and put us in barrel type communities. Only then can we come to terms with what happened to us and begin to develop principles, strategies, and techniques to free the minds and hearts of our people.

    This means “Sir Charles” might have been right in his use of the metaphor that some of us may act like crabs in a barrel. From another perspective we need to ask who put us in a barrel and what their intentions in putting us there were. We would be wise to do what is suggested in our sacred wisdom literature the Husia and adhere to the words found in the Book of Ankhsheshonqi "Examine every matter that you may understand it. Do not say I am learned but rather set yourself to become wise".

    Ase!!!

    Billingsley, Andrew (1968) Black families in white America Englewood Cliffs, N.J Published by Prentice-Hall

    Dubose, W.E.B. (1903) The Souls of Black Folks Chicago, ILL: A.C. McClurg & CO.

    Diop, Cheika Anta (1990) The Cultural Unity of Black Africa. Chicago, ILL.: Third World Press

    Frazier, Franklin E. (1939) The Negro Family in the United States. Chicago, ILL: University of Chicago Press

    Mbiti, John S. (1970). African Religions and Philosophies. Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday.

    Woodson, Carter Godwin (1990). The Mis-education of the Negro. Trenton, N.J: Africa World Press.

  • Thursday, October 01, 2015 3:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Way of Ma'at and The Pristine Pathway
    by: Baba Derrick Jackson

    Every once in a while it does the soul good to take time out and reflect on what has happen to us as people of Afrikan Ancestry. Since 1619 with the landing of the first Afrikans to the American continent we have suffered 396 years of Bio-psycho-social-spiritual trauma with no clinical treatment. No group of people in the history of the world has suffered for as long and as much as we have. Yet, still been able to contribute to the world, become heads of state, build, and construct societies and other structures. 

    In order to deal with the present conditions we find ourselves in, we have to research and identify a time in our history when we were healthy and learn what were we doing and saying at that time.  As a people we have lost our way and we need to once again find our social and moral compass in order to be lead back to the path we once walked.

    We once lived in a time when the way of Ma’at was the pathway we took.  It was our moral and social compass guiding us in the direction of reaching heaven (Amenta) through desiring to be right in the sight of God. The way of Ma’at and the Pristine Pathway are one in the same.  Pristine is a clear and clean pathway, a way of life and the way of God.  This pathway stresses balance, impartiality and a commitment to correct governance as a way of life. 

    There are three components that define the Way of Ma’at or the Pristine Pathway:

    1. Speaking truth

    2. Doing Justice

    3. Walking in the way of Righteousness

    This leads us to engage in the works of compassion, caring, concern, altruism, unselfishness, devotion, veneration, reverence, and spirituality.  The practice of these works allows us to leave a blueprint for future generations. This means that one's conduct comes from the heart and mind in the spirit of Ma’at, not out of conformity with some societal law.  In other words, not because you may get locked up or sent to prison if you don’t abide by the rules of societal law. 

    In order to live a full and meaningful life according to Frantz Fanon three fundamental questions must be asked and answered.  

    1. Who am I – This is a question of Identity. On a deeper level it is asking who am I- in-Community? I know myself in relation to the community I come from, not in isolation.  I am a place-holder in a definite community and tradition and from this context and the relations those contain, "I know myself". John M’biti informs us that “I am because we are; and since we are, therefore I am”.  We have a communitarian concept of self. A person is not identified through their capacity to think as espoused by Descartes “I think therefore I am" but by a person’s relatedness to others.  In Ma’atian tradition one always speaks of himself/herself in relationship and service.

    2. Am I really Who I am – This is a question of Authenticity.  On a deep level this question is asking “How real are my moral and social claims as measured by my practices?”  In other words does my self-definition coincide with my practices and my community’s evaluation of me? 

    3. Am I All I ought to be? – This is a question of realizing one’s full social and moral potential.  Given who I am, based on my rootedness in family and community and given the standard of ma’at by which I and others measure me, am I doing all that is worthy and required of me? Am I responsive and responsible to others?  I am compelled by the way of Ma’at/ the Pristine pathway to be morally empathic to others. 

    The way of Ma’at or the Pristine Pathway is the path of life, the path of God.    We must heal the wounds caused by over 350 years of pain and suffering because of untreated trauma. The Pristine pathway is our moral compass that will lead us back to the wisdom of our Ancestors and to the God we once knew at the foothills of the mountains of the moon.  Ase!!!

    References and Bibliography

    Karenga, Maulana (1984). Selections From THE HUSIA Sacred Wisdom of Ancient Egypt. Los Angeles, CA: The University of Sankore Press.

    Karenga, Maulana (1989). The Book of Coming Forth By Day: The Ethics of the Declarations of Innocence. Los Angeles, CA: The University of Sankore Press.

    Hilliard, Asa G. III; Williams, Larry Obadele and Damali, Nia (1987). The Teachings of Ptahotep: The Oldest Book in the World. Atlanta: Blackwood Press.

    Hilliard, Asa G. III (1998). Sba: The Reawakening of the African Mind. Gainesville, Florida: Makare Publishers.

    Mbiti, John S. (1969) African Religions and Philosophy. New York: Praeger.

    Carruthers, Jacob H. (1984). Essays In ANCIENT EGYPTIAN STUDIES. Los Angeles, CA: The University of Sankore Press

    Burns, William E. (2001). The scientific revolution: an encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 84.

  • Saturday, July 11, 2015 11:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Art of War: Contemplating The Meaning of The Confederate Battle Flag
    by: Notai Washington

    Although, the flag has finally come down in South Carolina less than thirty minutes ago, please remember that this act does not reflect a change in the racial consciousness for the masses of white residents in this state. The removal of the flag does not dismantle racism white supremacy nor has this gesture disrupted the racial ideologies the confederate battle flag represents. For example, South Carolina and Alabama's removal of the confederate flag from the grounds of its state capital is equivalent to Ku Klux Klan members trading in their regalia for business suits, judge robes, and law enforcement uniforms covertly carrying out the aim and ideas of its organization.  

    flag

    In what follows, is a Facebook post about my reflections on the meaning of the presence of the confederate battle flag. Despite, its recent removal it is important for us to remain cognizant that although the "battle" over the flag in South Carolina is over the war to perpetuate racism white supremacy continues. 

    Facebook Post: June 29, 2015

    Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the confederate flags which has led me to think about two important questions. If the first photo shown below is the official confederate flag and the second flag is the confederate battle flag, then what message(s) are states that currently fly the battle flag (I am going to include Alabama here) sending to its Black Amended Americans (as it remains the constitution does not recognize us as citizens of this country)? What ideologies are advanced through the far too pervasive symbol of the confederate battle flag? 

    Certainly, the confederate battle flag as a symbol is set to convey the idea that the “battle” for the continued enslavement of people of African descent has not and will not end. Moreover, Amended Americans of African descent who reside in the states flying this flag on state grounds or those residing in states whereby the confederate flag is in part incorporated into the state flag should make no mistake in recognizing that the state government is beholden to the ideals and principals that perpetuate the fanciful belief in the supremacy of whiteness. As such, the state government is an entity with many faces charged with carrying out the sadisms woven in the fabric of the confederate battle flag. The nefarious aims of the State take shape in the economic, political, educational, and environmental oppression of Black people (e.g. Strategically threatening the closing of South Carolina State University a HBCU). These aims emit the foul stench of slain black bodies in quest for racial domination each time the flag is waved or someone passes by with a t-shirt or bumper sticker and the like venerating this symbol.

    SYMBOLS ARE POWERFUL! Cultures throughout time have used them to convey their beliefs, their humanity (or lack thereof), and proof of existence since the beginning. Our African Ancestors understood that symbols operate within our conscience and subconscious mind. Cultural Critic Stuart Hall, advanced the concept of a racial signifier and here we can use the same concept as a way of viewing the confederate battle flag critically. The racial signifier “hails” a person (Hey! Over here!) into discourse/narratives/stories in a particular way. Basically, the flag as a racial signifier, stands in as a symbol of the enslavement of African people, the so-called inferiority of Black people, and all violence’s carried out against black folk since the first of us came to America as enslaved Africans. Thus, the flag hails Black people into the horrors of American History like “Hey, over here remember this?” 

    Parading this symbol in the faces of black folk each day is a violence of the State! It is the piercing dull rusty blade of American racism. This symbol has both conscious and subconscious psychological repercussions. This flag represents a system that has made many black people believe that they are indeed “wretched” and thus, the wretched of the earth (see the Doll Study 
    https://youtu.be/tkpUyB2xgTM ). "Wretched" has even become a colloquial term used by some black people to describe each other due to centuries of programming (through symbols/propaganda) to believe this of themselves. 

    Let us educate ourselves about the real “battle” we are in and in the interim, let us continue to take the flag down and confront systemic and institutionalized racism. #FreeBree #RIPRevSlave

    FYI: Reverend Slave was a brother who dressed in a Santa Clause suit who would frequently climb the state house dome to take the flag down. I just wanted to remember him too. He died a few years ago and is now our Ancestor living through sister Bree Newsome. 

    bree newsome

  • Sunday, June 28, 2015 8:03 AM | Anonymous member (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.

  • Tuesday, May 05, 2015 6:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What is our Theology?

    In order to answer this question one must define what we mean when we use the term theology. For the purpose of this paper we are defining theology as a discourse or conversation a people has had with their God and about their God.  When we look at the discourse or conversation a people has about and with their God it is as a result of their collective identity and experiences. 

    The essential element in any peoples’ conversation or theology about their God is the question of how did man and woman come into existence. Once one has revealed their ideas and ideals about how they came into existence they are going to create their social, political, economic, educational, value and behavioral systems based on the conversation they have had with their God and the conversations they have had about their God.

    We find in the Christian Bible, western man's attempt to write the conversation they have had with their God and about their God. Paramount in this conversation about God, we find that there are two different creation stories of how man and woman came into existence.  In the first conversation, in Genesis Chapter One, we find that man and woman was created in the image of God.  We find that man was given dominion over everything God created. Then in Chapter Two we find man, Adam, was created first and then woman, Eve, was created out of his loneliness.

    Let us for a moment reflect on what the writers of the Genesis story are saying to us;  man must dominate over everything God has created.  Man's job or duty is not to live in harmony with what God has created, but to dominate or have power and control over what God has created.  Then in Chapter Two, God did not know Adam would be lonely so there was no need for him to have a companion at the time of creation.  This is indeed interesting when one considers that all the animals had mates, yet God did not think man needed a mate.  We find in this story that God does not create Eve in the same way Adam was created, he (and I do mean "he") takes one of Adam’s ribs and creates woman, however not as his equal but as his help mate.

    Upon further reflection, we find that God at the time of creation has set-up a hierarchy. Man is at the top and woman is just an afterthought of God.  Man becomes the most important being that God created with woman having secondary status. 

    Western man's conversation about their God does not stop there, it goes on to say that there are two trees in the Garden of Creation. One tree is called the tree of life which man is allowed to eat the fruit it bears,  then there is the tree of knowledge of which man is not allowed to eat its fruit.  What we also find out in this story is God has this conversation with Adam, but not Eve.  So, Adam is told not to eat the forbidden fruit; there is no commentary as to whether Eve ever knew that the fruit from the tree of knowledge was forbidden to eat.

    Let us once again reflect on what this might mean.  Man, God’s greatest gift to the world is only allowed to eat the fruit from the tree of life but should not eat from the tree of knowledge.  So, I can have life without knowledge of how that life should be lived.  This would mean then that man can only “believe” and can never “know.”  This then leaves it up to man to determine what can be known and what should be known.

    As this discourse moves on, we find that Eve eats of the forbidden fruit and then persuades Adam to do the same.  God then comes to Adam, asks him about eating the forbidden fruit and Adam blames Eve.  God goes to Eve and she blames the snake/serpent.  

    Let us once again reflect on what this might mean, we see at the time of creation when man and woman are confronted about taking responsibility for their actions, they play the shift-the-blame game.

    Finally, when a group of people write about their conversation with and about their God they are revealing something they believe about themselves.  When we see that a hierarchy is created at the time of creation and man sits at the top and woman as an afterthought of God, then that people’s political, social, economic, educational, value and behavioral systems will reflect that kind of theology.  

    When a people's theology or conversation with and about their God tells them to have dominion over everything then their political, social, economic, educational, value and behavioral systems will reflect the power over and control of these systems and the people that use them.  

    When a people's conversation with and about their God includes a theology that says they can only believe and not know, then their political, social, economic, educational, value and behavioral systems will be based on what those who are in control want you to believe rather than know.

    When a people's conversation with and about their God includes a theology that says do not take responsibility for your own actions, even when their Creator asked what happened, then their political, social, economic, educational, value and behavioral systems will have people who take no responsibility for their actions.  

    When a people's conversation with and about their God says, sin, man's fall from grace was created by woman then the political, social, economic, educational, value and behavioral systems will blame woman for what is wrong with society and will dominate her through having power over her and trying to control her.   

    Welcome to the western world and America, where the political, social, economic, educational, value and behavioral systems reflect the theology, the conversation of those who founded this country.  We as a people of Afrikan ancestry have become enslaved by that conversation.  What is truly sad, is that we don't even want to change the conversation.   

    Shem Hotep!!!

    Baba Derrick

  • Saturday, November 08, 2014 6:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Elders' Corner
    “Not to know is bad, not to wish to know is worse.” Wolof

    More powerful than Ebola that has killed less than 5, 000 by the writing of this article or Flu that has killed over 50, 000 people worldwide this year, is our desire not to know.  

    This is especially troubling when it comes to the acquisition of wealth, in our Afrikan communities.  Each of us can rise higher than the position of poverty, near poverty, nearly broke or whatever term we want to describe our financial condition.  We must know, understand and learn to use whatever economic system prevails and acquire wealth to rebuild our institutions.  The present economic system favors owners, distributors, and producers while only minimally protecting workers and consumers.  Though all money is worked for in our community, the truly wealthy make their money work for them.  These are two distinct different concepts.  While Warren Buffet goes to work daily, he makes little or no money working.  However, while he is working, his money is working for him and he is the second or third wealthiest man in the United States, if not the world.

    He works 35 to 40 hours per week and makes millions of dollars per hour and most of us work the same amount of time for millions less. What makes him worth more and how does he do it?  What is his and the other top 100 billionaires secret, how can we use their knowledge of wealth and wealth acquisition for our personal benefit and that of our family and community.  For the next few weeks, the Elders Corner will be looking at the issues of wealth, wealth acquisition and making suggestions that will improve our and our communities’ financial position in the world.  

  • Saturday, August 23, 2014 4:28 PM | Anonymous member (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 | Anonymous member (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 | Anonymous member (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.

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