Monday, June 30, 2008

The Invisible Black Family

In More Black Success Volume 5, Joan Gosier of HBCU Kidz asks, is the "two-parent happy African American family living a fulfilled life" invisible or nonexistent in mainstream media?

Click here to order your free copy today.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I want to give a shout out to my fellow AfroSpear member Dallas Progress, who recently join Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s Urban Policy Committee.

Part of Senator Obama's plan is to create a “White House Office of Urban Policy to develop a strategy for metropolitan America and to ensure that all Federal dollars targeted to urban areas are effectively spent on the highest-impact programs. The Director of Urban Policy will report directly to the President and coordinate all
Federal urban programs.”

This is Dallas Progress’s blog:

In addition, nine African American bloggers have been credentialed to join the Democratic National Convention (DNC), including AfroSpear member Adrianne George. I hope to interview Adrianne from the floor of the DNC.

This is her blog:

And last but not least, AfroSpear member Queen Esther recently won the Jazzmobile 2008 "Best of the Best" Jazz Vocalist Competition. This is her blog:

Congratulations, one and all!

Black in Vogue

I got an email from Dr. Lez Henry this morning, saying he had been rung up and asked to buy Vogue as the publishers were saying the current issue would be the worst-selling ever. It features exclusively models of African origin.

Now, this was interesting to me because I received the same phonecall, plus another one later on saying the issue was Italian Vogue.

I don't understand why we are supposed to buy Vogue to "show support" for sistas when the fashion and modelling industries are notorious for excluding Black models and requiring them to look as white as possible - pale skin, European features and fake long, straight hair.

Black models have fought for acceptance for many years and now Vogue, the world's leading fashion magazine, is saying their all-Black issue will not sell. This is a slap in the face - why should we support it? But if Vogue want to give me a free copy, I might read it.

Having said that, I do support the efforts of individual models of African heritage, including Naomi Campbell, who recently pled guilty to abusing police at the airport.

Now, if you have ever been through an airport, you know you might expect to be treated as if you have landed from outer space. I don't know what happened in Naomi's case, but I support her because I know how badly behaved airport security can sometimes be. It was meant to be about lost luggage - who doesn't want to kick off when their luggage goes missing? You don't know if you will ever see your personal and valued items again, or whose hands they have ended up in, or which country they are now residing in. British Airways is reported to have sent planes full of luggage to various destinations in order to unite items with their owners, such is the incompetence of these companies.

Not forgetting the fact that some years ago, Diana Ross accused airport security of touching her inappropriately. We will probably never know what really happened.

See also Black Haircare: From Korea to Your Neighbourhood

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More Nooses Found

My fellow AfroSpear member has been writing on the Jena 6 Blog about more nooses that have been found in different parts of the U.S., including in Tennessee.

This raises a question for me: were nooses being used to intimidate African Americans in recent times, before the Jena situation arose? Maybe this has been going on for years but has not hit the headlines. Maybe the noose problem never went away – it has just continued since the bad old days of mass lynchings.

I remember when the author Toni Cade Bambara came to London in the early 1980s. At that time, there had been a well-publicised spate of killings of African American youngsters in Atlanta, GA.

I recall Bambara stating that the killings had not been confined to youngsters or to Atlanta, that they were far more widespread than that. In fact, there was evidence to suggest that some of the violence had been organised and committed by international organisations including some based here in the UK. Part of the reason for her visit to London had been to alert us of these facts.

When stories are covered in the news, as most of us know, there is a whole other story going on which has not made it into the public sphere. In fact, there are usually a whole complex series of stories operating on many levels, and we only get fed the basic minimum information about “who, what, when, where and how”. We usually don’t even get to the “why” of a story before the major news providers move on to the next headline.

We, as African Americans, have a duty to ourselves to be more well-informed than this. We were talking about this last night on my “Success Strategies” radio show. Americans in general tend to be less well-informed that we need to be about world events. Thus the confusion after the 9/11 bombings about “Why do people hate us enough to do this?”.

As African people, we need to be aware that what is going on in Africa affects us. Not just the big stories such as Zimbabwe and Darfur. What has happened in Africa historically relates directly to our experience in the United States and other parts of the Diaspora.

See, for example, my blog about Kenya's Colonia Past.

I am wondering whether there is a lot more information yet to emerge about the recent trend in using nooses to intimidate us.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Obama and Mental Health

I saw this online the other day.

One effect of Senator Obama’s achievement the potential it has to impact positively on our mental health.

Positive role models give us a sense of what we are capable of achieving.

As people of African heritage, we have been force-fed negative images of ourselves for many generations.

We have internalised this negativity and we have passed it down, parent to child, over the course of many generations. This is part of what is known as “Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome”.

We are a very damaged people and we need to do a lot of healing, individually and collectively.

We don’t know if Senator Obama is going to win the Presidential election yet. Even if he does, we don’t know what kind of President he will be.

Sen. Obama’s nomination may well have positive reverberations for African people all over the world – and, in fact, for all people, regardless of racial or cultural background or heritage.

But someone does not have to win the Democratic Presidential nomination in order to be a positive role model.

And anytime a person of African heritage achieves a goal or accomplishes some success, that person becomes a positive role model. This is why I have collected Black Success Stories. This is why I publish More Black Success. And this is why I celebrate Black success on my "Success Strategies" radio show.

Since the dawn of time, human beings have shared stories as a way of communicating important lessons. People have used stories to teach important truths, and to learn those truths.

Stories of African achievement contribute to our sense of wellbeing and positive self-esteem.

We all need to see positive reflections of ourselves. As people of African heritage, still recovering from the effects of enslavement and colonization, we particularly need to be reflected positively. This is a crucial part of our healing process. It is down to each and every one of us to continue to foster, promote and support this healing process, from which we can all benefit.

We live in amazing times. These are times of great potential for transformation. Anything is possible. The sky’s the limit. The time is now.