"She removes her wig, her eyelashes, her makeup, never breaking eye contact with the reflection of her natural self. It’s an intimate, powerful moment television doesn’t often show: A black woman removing all the elements white supremacy tells her she has to wear to be beautiful, successful, powerful." (x)

Damn. That’s some shit right there. Things we endure to measure up to false perceptions. But fake eyelashes won’t kill u like UV rays of tanning bed it just depletes your African spirit.

Reblogged from Lady Basquiat


Love my Afro Brazilians

Of the African slaves transported to the Americas, males outnumbered females by a ratio of 2:1.
Most enslaved African males were between the ages of 15 and 35.
Male children less than 15 years of age made up around 15-20% of the Africans transported to the Americas.
Very few elderly Africans were transported across the Atlantic.
Although it is estimated that between 9 and 12 million Africans were transported to Americas, there are no accurate figures for the myriad number smuggled across the Atlantic to avoid tax, duty and regulations.
It has been estimated that over a million Africans died between the times they were captured and forced onto ships.
Around 40% of African slaves were transported to Brazil. Around 40% were shipped to the Caribbean. The remainder were shipped to the USA and the Spanish speaking territories.
Prior to using Africans, Europeans enslaved indigenous peoples in the Americas. On the larger Caribbean islands of Cuba, Hispaniola and Jamaica, Arawak and Carib ‘Indians’ were enslaved by Europeans to work in mines and enclosures. However, overwork, disease and general brutality led to the rapid depletion of their population within several generations.

European indentured labour (a fixed time of service) was also used in the USA and islands such as Barbados.
Bristol, like Liverpool, became legally involved in the slave trade after the London controlled Royal Africa Company lost its charter in 1698. It is estimated that between 1698 and 1807, nearly 2,100 slave-related ships set out from the port.
The voyage from Britain to Africa could take anything from four weeks to over two months depending on the weather, size of the ship and route taken.
In the 18th century slavers from Bristol ranged from 27 tons to 420 tons.
The triangular trip could take a year to complete. Many of the ship’s crew were paid in advance for the initial voyage to Africa. (Most used this money to pay off debts, buy provisions or give to their families.)
As well as Liverpool, London and Bristol other British slave trading ports included Lancaster, Whitehaven, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Glasgow and Exeter.

Santería, also known as Regla de Ocha, Regla de Ifa, or La Regla Lucumí, is a syncretic religion of West African and Caribbean origin influenced by and syncretized with Roman Catholicism. Its liturgical language, a dialect of Yorùbá, is also known as Lucumí.

Santería is a system of beliefs that merges the Yorùbá religion (brought to the New World by Yorùbá slaves) with Christianity, and may include Native American traditions.These slaves carried with them various religious customs, including a trance and divination system for communicating with their ancestors and deities, animal sacrifice, and sacred drumming and dance.The proto-Yorùbá who were of mixed Hamitic and Semitic stock and originally spoke a Hamito-Semitic language retained their traditional religious beliefs but lost their native language, either due to isolation or mixing with surrounding Niger–Congo languages in an effort to build and expand their kingdoms and empires. In one patakí, it is stated that the original ancestors of the Yorùbá were from an area much further from contemporary Yorùbáland, being originally from the “Northeast”, which either refers to Egypt, Ethiopia, Arabia, or even Assyria. One patakí states that the ancestors of the Yorùbá differentiated themselves from the Bantu peoples when they reached West Africa through Nubia. It has also been noted that there are numerous similarities between the Yorùbá religion and the ancient Mesopotamian religion, Egyptian religion, Berber religion, Arabian religion, Semitic religion, and Indo-Iranian religion, due to their shared Afro-Asiatic roots. Some scholars have suggested that the ruling Yoruba dynasties are descendants of the aristocracy of ancient Assyria.

Upon its arrival in Cuba, this religious tradition evolved into what we now recognize as Santería.

The colonial period from the standpoint of African slaves may be defined as a time of perseverance. Their world quickly changed. Tribal kings and their families, politicians, business and community leaders all were enslaved and taken to a foreign region of the world. Religious leaders, their relatives and their followers were now slaves. Colonial laws criminalized their religion. They were forced to become baptized and worship a god their ancestors had not known who was surrounded by a pantheon of saints. The early concerns during this period seem to have necessitated a need for individual survival under harsh plantation conditions. A sense of hope was sustaining the internal essence of what today is called Santería, a misnomer (and former pejorative) for the indigenous religion of the Lukumi people of Nigeria. In the heart of their homeland, they had a complex political and social order. They were a sedentary hoe farming cultural group with specialized labor. Their religion, based on the worship of nature, was renamed and documented by their masters. Santería, a pejorative term that characterizes deviant Catholic forms of worshiping saints, has become a common name for the religion. The term santero(a) is used to describe a priest or priestess replacing the traditional term Olorisha as an extension of the deities. The orishas became known as the saints in image of the Catholic pantheon.

—Ernesto Pichardo, CLBA, Santería in Contemporary Cuba: The individual life and condition of the priesthood
In order to preserve their ancestral and traditional beliefs, the Lucumí people syncretized their Orichás with Roman Catholic Saints. Due to this history, in Cuba, the terms “saint” and “orichá” are sometimes used interchangeably.

This historical “veil” characterization of the relationship between Catholic saints and Orichás is made all the more complicated by the fact that the vast majority of santeros in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, are also Roman Catholics, have been baptized, and often require initiates to be baptized in Roman Catholicism as well.

In 1974, the Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye became the first Santería church in the United States to become officially incorporated.

Rituals and ceremonies

Santería does not use a central creed for its religious practices; though it is understood in terms of its rituals and ceremonies.These rituals and ceremonies take place in what is known as a house-temple or casa de santos (house of saints), also known as an ilé. Most ilés are in the homes of the initiated Priests and Priestesses. Ilé shrines are built, by the priests and priestess, to the different orichás which creates a space for worship, called an igbodu (altar). In an igbodu there is a display of three distinct thrones (draped with royal blue, white, and red satin) that represent the seats of the queens, kings, and the deified warriors.

Each ilé is composed of those who occasionally seek guidance from the orishas, as well as those who are in the process of becoming priests The many cabildos and casas that bridged the 19th and 20th centuries are fondly remembered by contemporary priests as the origins and strongholds of Cuban Lucumí culture and religion

To become a full-fledged Santero or Santera (Priest or Priestess of Santería), the initiator must go through an intensive week-long initiation process in which the teaching of the ritual skills and moral behavior occurs informally and nonverbally. To begin with, the initiator goes through what is called a cleansing ritual. The initiator’s Padrino (godfather) cleanses the head with special herbs and water. The Padrino rubs the herbs and water in a specific pattern of movements into the scalp of the head. However, if a person is entering Santería for the need of healing, they will undergo the rogación de la cabeza (blessing of the head), in which coconut water and cotton are applied on the head to feed it Once cleansed, there are four major initiation rituals that the initiator will have to undergo, which are: obtaining the elekes (beaded necklace), receiving Eleguá, receiving Los Guerreros (the Warriors), and making Ocha (Saint).

The first ritual is known as the acquisition of the beaded necklaces (known as elekes); according to De La Torre, “the colors and patterns of the beads on the elekes will be those of the orichá that serves as the iyawo’s (bride) ruling head and guardian angel and so the first thing that must be done is to determine who the orichá is. This must be done by a Babaaláwo (Father Who Knows the Secrets), in a divination ritual known as bajar Orula (bringing down Orula).” The elekes necklace is bathed in a mixture of herbs, sacrificial blood, and other potent substances and given to the initiated.The initiate most often receives the necklace of the five most powerful and popular oricha, as the multicolored beads of the elekes are each patterned for the primary Orichás (Eleguá, Obatalá, Yemayá, Changó, and Ochún), and they serve as a sacred point of contact with these Orichás. When the necklace is received, the initiated must bow over a bathtub and have his/her head washed by the olo orichá. The elekes serves as the sacred banners for the Orichás and act as a sign of the Orichá’s presence and protection; however, it must never be worn during a women’s menstruation period, nor during sex, nor when bathing.

The second important ritual is known as medio asiento, the creation of an image of the orichá Eleguá. The individual will go through a consultation with a Santero, where all the recipients’ life, past present and future, will be reviewed. During the consultation, the Santero determines which path of Eleguá the recipient will receive. Then, based on his findings, he chooses materials that will be used to construct the image of the Eleguá, a sculpture that is used to keep evil spirits away from the initiator’s home. This ritual is only prepared by men as the orichás take some of the Santero’s “manly” spirit in the process.

The third ritual, known as the “receiving of the warrior”, is a ritual where the initiated receives objects from their babaaláwo that represents the warriors; Iron tools to represent Ogún, Lord of Iron; an iron bow and arrow to represent Ochosi, the Divine Hunter; and an iron or silver chalice surmounted by a rooster to represent Osún, the messenger of Obatalá and Olofi, and who also works alongside Orula. This ritual begins a formal and lifelong relationship that the initiate will have with these Orichás, as the orichás devote their energies to protecting and providing for the initiate on their path.

The last ritual of the initiation process is known as Asiento (ascending the throne), and is the most important and the most secretive ritual in Santería, as it is the ceremony where the iyawo (bride of the oricha) becomes “born again” into the faith. This ritual is a culmination of the previous rituals, and cannot be made unless the others have been completed. Asiento is a process of purification and divination whereby the initiated becomes like a newborn baby and begins a new life of deeper growth within the faith.

Once the initiation is completed, depending on the individuals “house”, there is a year-long waiting period, known as iyaboraje, in which the newly appointed Priest and Priestess can not perform cleansings and other remedies.It is a time where the Iyawo or Bride of the Orichá must follow a strict regimen of wearing all white and must avoid physical contact with those who have not been initiated. Once the ebo del año has been completed there will be an end of year ceremony, which will enable the Priest or Priestess to consult clients, perform cleansings, provide remedies and perform initiations. And according to Gonzalez: “they are also regarded as royalty in the religion, as they are considered representatives of the Orichás and are vested with the power to work with the forces of those Orichás in full.”

With Santería rituals there are musical ceremonies and prayers which are referred to as bembé, toque de santo, or tambor. It is a celebration dedicated to an Orichá, where the batá drums (set of three drums known as the iya (the largest drum), itoltele, and okonkolo) are played in the Orichá’s honor. Through these sacred drums, messages of worshippers reach the orichás and the orichás respond to their devotees. These drums are used only by men and must always be treated with respect; for example, dancers must never turn their backs towards the drums while dancing, as it is considered disrespectful.

Priests are commonly known as olorichas or owner of Orichá. Once those priests have initiated other priests, they become known as babalorichás, “fathers of orichá” (for men), and as iyalorichás, “mothers of orichá” (for women). Priests can commonly be referred to as Santeros (male) and Santeras (female), and if they function as diviners (using cowrie-shell divination known as Diloggun) of the Orichás they can be considered Italeros, or if they go through training to become leaders of initiations, Obas or Oriates.

Considered to be highest in rank are priests of Ifá (pronounced: [iˈfa], ee-fah), which in Santería is an all-male group. Ifá Priests receive Orúnmila, who is the Oricha of Prophecy, Wisdom and Knowledge. Once this happens they are known by the title Babaaláwo (Father Who Knows the Secrets)

In recent years, a particular practice of the traditional Yorùbá Ifá priests (from Nigeria) has come to the diaspora of initiating women to be Iyanifá or “Mother of Destiny”, but Lucumí practitioners do not typically accept this practice due to their interpretation of the Odu Ifa Irete Untelu which states women cannot be in the presence of Olofi and so cannot be initiated as divining priestesses. This is a major difference between traditional Lucumí Ifá practitioners, and some traditional Yorùbá practitioners from Oshogbo and, since the 1980s, Ilé-Ifẹ̀. Instead, a woman in Lucumí is initiated as Apetebi Ifá, a “bride of Ifá”, and is considered senior in Ifá to all but a fully initiated Babaaláwo. There was little evidence of Iyanifá existing in West Africa until very recently, so the existence of the Iyanifá is likely to be of modern origin in Yorùbáland, and it is probably due to this reason that it does not appear in the Latin variant. The foremost Western academic authority on Ifá, William Bascom, traveled throughout Yorùbáland studying the Ifá cult in a series of visits in 1937–38, 1950–51, 1960 and 1965, and never encountered a single Iyanifá nor was he told of their existence by any of his informants. However, Maupoil, in his 1943 doctoral thesis, does mention he encountered a woman Ifá diviner in Dahomey.

Cuban traditional healing practices are rooted in the spiritual and ethnic religious influences of West Africa, East Africa, and North Africa. Having a strong spiritual component, Cuban traditional healing practices also use the pathways of the herbalist, psychologist, ethicist, and that of a respected spiritual medium interceding between God and human beings. Du Toit refers to Cuban traditional healing practices as ethnomedicine which taps on the biodynamic chemical properties of certain plants, from which some commercial drugs were derived, such as the cardiac medications, digitalis, quinine, and curare - chemicals causing neuromuscular paralysis.[15]:19 Du Toit categorizes Cuban ethnomedicine as having health specialists which are: el yerbero (the herbalist), el curandero (the curer), el santero (the religious healer), and el conocedor (the botanist). Du Toit continues, “Cuba is one of the regions in which a great deal of ethnographic and ethnobotanical research has been conducted

Du Toit cites the studies of Lydia Cabrera on the religious and healing role of indigenous medicinal plants, and Jose Gallo on the 900-page compilation of folk medicine, and also mentions that with the 31 herbs prescribed as bronchodilators, only Datura candida was effective, due to its contents of scopolamine and atropine in the leaves. Lemongrass or caña de limón is used for low blood pressure and anti-inflammatory effects. Thyme tea and castor oil are used to speed the delivery of babies and the broomweed (Corchorus siliquosus) induces the quick expulsion of the placenta. Herbs are also used to create a trance possession using the hallucinogenic properties of Datura metel and Datura stramonium (both have scopolamine and atropine, causing amnesia), the psychoactive ingredients from the cane toad (Bufo marinus).

Aside from being herbalist, Santería traditional healing practice has a spiritual aspect. Santería has a holistic approach, acknowledging the connection with heart, mind, and bod In Santería, the world flows with the primal life energy called the aché or growth, the force toward completeness and divinity. Aché is the current that Santería initiates channel so that it empowers them to fulfill their path in life, because aché is connected to all that has life or exhibits power; aché comprises blood, grace, and powWhen a person is sick, the healer thinks, interprets and reacts, considering the illness not just a physical dysfunction but also an interface with suffering and bad luck in life, believed to be brought on by the activity of spirits.

Prevalent in the African Caribbean cultures, espiritismo is a part of the Latin American traditional healing practice. Du Tout reveals that Santería has a “strong element of spiritism.McNeill also concurs that some Santeros have the power to communicate with spirits asking for guidance to improve the situation of a person consulting. However, in general, the Santeros of the Regla de Ocha and the other Cuban traditional healing practice, the Babaláwos of the Regla de Ifá primarily turn to religion as their practice to address personal challenges and identify means to improve a situation.Many people may go and see espirititas who don’t see a Santero. Also, espiritistas may work hand in hand with Santeros and Babaaláwos.

While psychotherapy uses allopathic principles, spiritism uses homeopathic principles which aim to reduce the anxiety, or permit the patient to acknowledge pent-up emotions, unexpressed guilt, or repressed behavior through catharsis meant to release emotions the patient may not even be aware of It is said that “healing can occur when the spirit medium assists the sufferer to come into harmony with the spirit world so as to change his or her physical condition, emotions, way of life, or destiny.”

The reputation of espiritistas was tinged with negativity, being accused of witchcraft because they deal with health through the unfamiliar paradigm of the spirit world, which was not understood by either the medical doctors or the Catholic priests. Consequently, espiritistas or traditional healers of Santería and other Latin American cultures working with healing through the spirit world are attacked as “works of the devil” from the pulpits of the Catholic Churches and labeled as “quackery” from the journals of the medical profession. This unique system of knowledge is appreciated as ethnopharmacology or ethnomedicine

Aligning and harmonizing with the forces of nature, practitioners of the Regla de Ocha / Ifá invoke on the guidance of Orichás. There are three foremost orichás that are predominantly concerned with folk-healing, however, other orichás may be invoked to help a person with a specific problem. These main orichás are: Osaín, the lord of the herbs, and Babaluye-Aye, the ruler of contagious and epidemic diseases, and Inle, the patron of physicians. Osaín is the patron of curanderos or traditional herbal healers, also called Osainistas. According to de la Torre, Osaín is believed to be embodied in the omiero which is a combination of “blood from sacrifices offered during the ceremony and juices extracted from herbs that are sacred to the Orichás with water (from rain, rivers, or seas) honey, aguardiente, powdered eggshell, corojo and cocoa butter.” The forest has everything that would maintain a robust health and keep a person away from malevolence, thus, Santería practitioners would agree that no spell will be able to work without the sanction of Osaín, the master herbalist commanding the healing secrets of plant life.Osaín is syncretized with Saint Joseph, Saint Benito, or Saint Jerome. Babaluye-Aye is revered by its victims and survivors like smallpox, leprosy and skin diseases. Babaluye-Aye has become the guardian of those with AIDS. He is syncretized with the poor beggar Lazarus in Jesus’s parable.Inle is the patron of physicians, known as a healer who favors scientific methods. Inle is ranked as one of the orichas that is approached for very specific health issues. Thus, Inle is also known as the protector of homosexuals.
People go to a consulta because of some physical ailment or personal problem affecting their health. Divination is a means that traditional healers utilize to inquire further on the details of a problem. Divination may articulate the origin/cause of the problem; in addition, it may include prescriptions for solutions/suggestions to certain difficulties.[8]:96 Divination establishes an interpretative frame for the situation a person finds himself in.[8]:97 Hence, the Santeros offer cowrie-shell divination or other appropriate traditional practices. Rituals, or the reading of patakís may be done to clarify a problem which sometimes the person consulting may not even be aware of. Passed orally from many generations, patakí are parables used by Lucumí diviners to guide or give insights or moral lessons to a people who come for consultation.[11] The patakí recited by the Santero corresponds to the number that the cowrie shell divination brings.

Aside from the use of herbs and divination, the Santería traditional healing is achieved through rituals that include animal sacrifice, offerings, altar building, music, dance, and possession trance.[18]:108 When the patient is a child, the Santero uses the curative system known as santiguo which means “to heal by blessing.” Perceiving some health problems, most Santeros in Cuba recommend that the client seeks a medical doctor for a check-up. Parallel to the medical treatment, the patient might be prescribed some herbal teas, cleansing baths, or a special diet from the traditional healing practice. Sometimes, a Santero might advise a client to receive omiero, whose efficacy, people unfamiliar with the paradigm of traditional healing practice, would be considered as “magical herbal elixir” and thus, conjectured as resulting to “miracle cures.”[15]:26 An omiero is a sacred mixture that is made up for very specific Santería ceremonies and is believed to embody the oricha ruler of herbs, Osaín.[6]:108 Most clients who see Santeros would never be told to drink it.[11]

The Santería of the Regla de Ocha and the Babaalawos of the Regla de Ifá are just two of the many traditional healing practices used in the Afro-Caribbean cultures. Being so attuned to the natural world, these traditional healers bring this sensitivity to assist in the holistic improvement of a patient. Owing to the unique form of Cuban transculturation, traditional healing practices are practized side by side with allopathic medicine through the progressive, universal Cuban healthcare system. Cuban healthcare integrates the biopsychosocial model which is geared towards preventive and community-oriented psychology, with the general health philosophy of the country Traditional healers recognize but do not compete with Western medicine. Western medicine may treat physical ailments, but the Cuban traditional healing systems deal with emotional, mental and spiritual issues





On June 11th 1963, Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, sat down in the middle of a busy intersection in Saigon, covered himself in gasoline and he then ignited a match, and set himself on fire. Đức burned to death in a matter of minutes, and he was immortalized in a famous photograph taken by a reporter who was in Vietnam in order to photograph the war. All those who saw this spectacle were taken by the fact that Duc did not make a sound while burning to death. Đức was protesting President Ngô Đình Diệm’s administration for oppressing the Buddhist religion.

holy shit. 

I was waiting for this to come up on my dash. You also can’t forget that his whole body burned, but his heart remained intact and did not burn.

Reblogged from


The Movies May Have Forgotten About Them, but Black Cowboys Are Thriving

American movies and media may have largely forgotten the role of black Americans in cowboy culture, but the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo certainly hasn’t. The all-black rodeo was created in 1984 by entertainment producer Lu Vason in order to “uncover the cultural past of the black cowboy.” It’s been traveling the country ever since. 

The event is named after Bill Pickett, the first black athlete to be inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame, and the inventor of “bulldogging,” a breathtaking rodeo move that involves a rider “riding alongside a steer, jumping onto its shoulders and horns, then digging his feet into the ground to bring the animal down.”

(Continue Reading)

Reblogged from CHILLmatic


The Essentials of Lettering: A Manual for Students and Designers by Thomas Ewing French.

This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.

See more details here: http://amzn.to/1ilsz2z

Reblogged from Good typography

Kick’ass. Tak’n names.




This horrific incident has been well documented, everywhere: from YouTube videos of survivor interviews to PBS Lesson Plans for school teachers. Please do your Google diligence:

  • From May 30 to June 1, 1921, white citizens of Tulsa bombed burned and shot up the “Little Africa” section of Tulsa FOR 18 HOURS STRAIGHT
  • Why would they do that? That same old lame excuse, a Black man supposedly did something to a white woman. But the real reason was ECONOMIC JEALOUSY. Whites may have called it Little Africa derisively, but there is a reason that Black Tulsa is known as Black Wall Street
  • In addition to the 300 Blacks killed, and over 1,000 residential homes burned to the ground, also destroyed were:
  • The Mt. Zion Baptist Church and five other churches; the Gurley Hotel, Red Wing Hotel, and Midway Hotel; the Tulsa Star and Oklahoma Sun newspaper offices; Dunbar Elementary School; Osborne Monroe’s Roller-Skating Rink; the East End Feed Store; the Y.M.C.A. Cleaners; the Dreamland Theater; a drug store, barbershop, banquet hall, several grocery stores, dentists, lawyers, doctors, and realtors offices; a U.S. Post Office Substation, as well the all-black Frissell Memorial Hospital. All told, marauding gangs of savage whites destroyed 40-square-blocks of Black economic and entrepreneurial prosperity!

64 years after the first bombing of an American city was committed against the Black residents of Tulsa… the second bombing of an American city took place in Philadelphia when the city bombed the black members of the MOVE organization. (see the blackourstory archive for details). 

Isn’t it a shame that 76 after the bombing of Tulsa, when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City, most historically illiterate Americans - including American “journalists” - responded as if it were the first time such a horror had been visited on Oklahoma. If only we knew.

While there are many lessons to be drawn from this, a few questions that stick out to me are these:

  • If the answer to Black second-class treatment from whites in America is supposedly to become the ultimate American capitalists…the ‘model minorities’… how do you explain Tulsa 1921?
  • For those Black folk who think that the sole answer to Black people’s problems is simply more Blacks becoming business owners and more Blacks spending money with other Blacks… how did that work out for our people in Tulsa in ‘21?
  • Considering not only Tulsa, but Rosewood, Florida, and many other thriving all-Black towns that you may know of that all met the same fate at the hands of murderous, envious, lazy crackers… WHEN ARE WE GOING TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND TAKE SERIOUSLY THE IDEA THAT BLACK WEALTH (ESPECIALLY ALL-BLACK WEALTH) WILL NEED TO BE PROTECTED WITH PHYSICAL FORCE?

There is a reason that Marcus Garvey AND Elijah Muhammad had armies of trained Black men as a huge part of their organizations. Many of us Black folk took those great men as jokes, yet NO BLACK LEADERS SINCE THOSE TWO have reached the same heights of economic and ideological success and unity of Black people. 

Not only do we need to LEARN THIS HISTORY, we need to start taking these events men and movements MORE SERIOUSLY, and doing some CRITICAL HISTORICAL ANALYSIS if we are ever to stop being on the bottom rung of every metric in American life. Not just some casual or accidental reading of history; some CRITICAL. HISTORICAL. ANALYSIS.

TULSA 1921 was real. PHILLY 1985 was real. Will it happen again?