week 3|2017

blackwomanmirror

You are beautiful, but is that all to you? What does your heart look like? How do you treat people? What lies within your soul? You are beautiful, but aren’t we all? What is there to you besides your beauty? –Karen Owusu

photo ©Aea Baba

 

YOU go get a perm, Dick.

I met a young lady a few weeks ago who broke my heart. A little. Since my arms were full, she – let’s call her Angel – greeted me with a warm half hug and a loving cheek squish followed up with a shower of compliments to my freshly chopped low fade. Angel went on to say she’d been natural before, but her husband (let’s call him Dick) told her to “go back.”

*sings whatcha say to me??! in my Sampha voice*

Smoothing her gelled nape, she claimed to be a lil rebel who let it get a little nappy before scheduling a retouch. Somehow I maintained an engaged, non-wtf expression as my stomach sunk a bit. We ended the segment with Angel saying she’d again return natural… one day.

Now I am no relationship expert but I know enough to know that when you love and when you’re in love, looks do not matter as much as they might when you’re an outsider looking in. But I also understand that you don’t want to lose who you were initially attracted to, especially if it entails sacrificing your lover’s health, right Dick?! Like gaining an unhealthy amount of weight or going in for elective surgeries, suctions and injections. I’ve seen men watch their wives wither away from cancer and chemo treatments, holding on even after her last heartbeat. So I know for a fact, through the eyes of a good person, character (and love) trumps appearance E V E R Y time.

But a relaxer? Dammit Dick! C’mon! I’m not judging (I’m judging) because Angel let you take the undeserved W, but really, you both lost. And what if you have a son? OMG what if you two have a daughter?! Or twin girls?? What will your choices + ideals teach them? Angel and I didn’t get that deep, but I’m guessing your views hurt her enough to open up to a stranger about her husband’s negative opinion. It’s fair to say I met a real life Unhappy Wife.

crwnd

I think we, Black people in the year 2017, know that CHEMICALLY relaxing + perming, especially for a long period of time, has great risks. We have to. If you don’t, please come out from under that huge rock, step into the 21st century + educate yourself. Look at the photos of the sometimes irreversible damage to our hair, scalp and psyche. I’d be all #teamhubby if you’d met and fell for an all natural Angel and she was now sporting a relaxer. But that’s not the case. Even if she’s a natural mess (which is tragic, but workwithable), Dick, you as her friend and life partner should have been tirelessly hunting down the nearest natural hair stylist and/or helping Angel find a formula to ease her hair struggles! You know, putting good use to some of those vows you took. I promise you it’s not that difficult with Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, FaceBook, Google, Bing, yahoo! answers, the girl with the fro in the drugstore, phonebooks, aunties, nieces, mamas, neighbors, cousins, co-workers, working thumbs and a voice.

Instead, what Dick’s telling Angel is that he cares more about her looks than her health. And happiness. Those vows, Dick! Those vows! Dick is telling Angel that her positive life changes don’t matter. Dick rests easy knowing that his spouse’s scalp is continuously burned by a cocktail of chemicals that will flatten and strip all life + uniqueness from otherwise strong, thick kinks and coils. What kind of man …?

Dick, if you’re reading, please know that I do not appreciate you or your kind shutting down the permanent wave that is natural hair. Sure it is just hair, but you’re an African in America and you know that collectively, hair is much much more than just hair to us. Our manes and minds have been pillaged for centuries by e v e r y o n e, including us! And here you are, perpetuating our enslavement and stifling our new growth (pun intended). Dick, you should be applauding the Black woman who chooses the natural route; although it may appear so, thanks to you/society/slavery/lack of support/Black codes/non-African hair promotion + fetishization/whitewashing/hair care aisles/self-loathing negroes/lack of resources/european beauty standards, it’s not always easy to let our natural selves be.

You chose one of the brave ones as a wife, you lucky Dick! You are so fortunate to have a smart, loving Black woman at your side who actually prefers to embrace her natural beauty in a world that condemns + mocks her entire being. Our crowns are a beautiful spectrum of curl patterns and textures and expressions that no other people can claim and we should be celebrating that, Dick. I know how divisive some pro-natural naturalistas can be and that’s not why I’m here. We’re all at different stages with different ideals and I can only pray that all African men and women see the power, strength + beauty in our natural selves. It’s a struggle to dismiss what we’ve been indoctrinated to define as beautiful. No fault of ours, but if we see someone trying to make that shift, let’s just back them for being courageous.

natblack

P.S. Shout out to Josie who rocked her natural out for the first time! Whoop! That’s a small step to giant! Keep inspiring 😉

photo © rachelstewartjewelry.com

How money & the White Gaze make you forget your Blackness, and how to resist. — RaceBaitR

token

By Said Shaiye Nearly every culture in the world today is centered around the premise that white is more valuable than black; that white skin carries with it an inherent infallibility and black skin is merely a foregone conclusion of criminality. Whiteness is universally understood to signify innocence, while blackness is intrinsically associated with guilt.…

via How money & the White Gaze make you forget your Blackness, and how to resist. — RaceBaitR

week 2|2017

Whatever you give focused and intense energy or emotion to is what you will tend to experience more of. This is true whether that energy/emotion is positive or negative. Emotions like love, fear, gratitude and anger are all highly energized states and have potent creative power.

So when you let your fear be your dominating emotion about something, you are also simultaneously bringing it to life and making it more real. The same thing happens when you let gratitude be your dominating emotion about something.

If you don’t want something in your life, focus on the opposite of it. Focus on the solution. Resist the temptation to only focus on the problem. Acknowledge the issue, but put most of your energy into creating the reality you prefer.

Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate. Talk about your blessings more than your burdens. Focus on what you would like to experience more of and you will draw more things like it into your life. 

-Ruben Chavez, creator of Think Grow Prosper™

Appetite For Change

Believe it or not, the youth is listening. This gives me hope! And it jams!

Appetite For Change | Breaking Bread Foods

 

 

Locals Grow Smart

lgs

photo cred
We grow food from the city for the city. 

Where some see abandoned building, we see farms capable of feeding hundreds of thousands. We want our customers and communities to be empowered, engaged, and enriched. We are obsessed with the quality of produce and the many ways we can use technology to maximize productivity and minimize waste. We set out to transform the way we grow and distribute food globally. We are here to grow the highest quality and most sustainable produce, while doing our part to improve food security, mitigate climate change, and reverse urban blight. source

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a repost from foodtank

For Nadia Robinson of D.C.-based Locals Grow Smart, erasing food deserts means transforming the community that raised her. Growing up in Washington, D.C.’s Northeast side, Robinson spent hours in the kitchen and garden with her mother and grandmother, who grew up on a farm. While fresh meals were readily available at her home, she noticed her neighbors struggled with nutrition education and access to fresh produce, often settling for highly processed options. District-level food justice efforts commissioned by First Lady Michelle Obama target the neighborhood, but Robinson sensed a void—her community needed a multi-functional pillar to address more than nutrition. With its 3,000 square foot (914.4 square meters) greenhouse, Locals tackles four problems—food insecurity, job training, feedback loops between climate change and traditional farming, and vacant buildings in city centers.

Three years ago, while a college student in Syracuse, Robinson built a small garden out of reclaimed construction materials in the basement of her apartment building. After graduating as a bioengineering and entrepreneurship major, Robinson returned to the Northeast side to transform a vacant building into the first of what she hopes will be many vertical urban farms in D.C. She found that growing a small business, especially at twenty-two, required a relentlessly positive attitude. “If I failed, at least somebody else could learn from my failures and move forward,” she told Food Tank. “Urban farming is fundamentally non-traditional and requires thinking outside the box.” She remains adamantly committed to her mission of creating a community “pillar” by offering mentorships to public school students and recent graduates in need of job skills. By renovating empty urban spaces, Locals boosts the area’s economic stability. The proprietary aquaponics design yields eighty-percent more produce per unit of area than traditional field farming, while using no soil and ninety-percent less land and water. The farm partners with local grocers to expand access and further reduce climate impact by reducing grocers’ reliance on produce transported long distances. On average, Locals yields 3,458 pounds (1,568.5 kilograms) per month, composed primarily of micro greens, edible flowers, and herbs in addition to a small scale research and development project work shopping mini vegetables and organic feed crops. Locals is looking to deepen its impact by incorporating more area nonprofits and educational centers.

Due to D.C.’s unique district status, Locals works with neighboring Maryland’s farm agencies for funding, mentorship, and zoning regulations. Regarding the latter, Robinson notes that indoor gardening operations register as small businesses, so are not vulnerable to the same strict zoning policies. Because of this, her operation has faced few policy hurdles. Policymakers are starting to catch up with the urban agriculture movement, but for the time being, small urban farms rely on one another for support and trade, two aspects Robinson hopes to see thriving in the near future. “When you’re growing specific crops, like micro greens, it’s hard to market,” she told Food Tank. Robinson notes the benefit for all parties when local producers trade expertise and goods and plans to foster those connections in coming years. For eager green thumbs, Robinson suggests to “cultivate your passion and patience…things won’t always go your way.” Locals welcomes volunteers as they open their second farming location in D.C.

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