Archive | March, 2013

Top 10 Myths About Africa! Did You Really Just Say That? Listen to Yourself!

27 Mar

Top 10 Myths About Africa! Did You Really Just Say That? Listen to Yourself!.

27 Mar

One of my favorite things about this blog is the pictures the author finds to post that speak a thousand words about black women ūüôā

Aafroscandic; Beauty, Culture & Life

My Black is Beautiful
Gladys Kyotungire


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10 Things I Want To Say To A Black Woman by Joshua Bennett

27 Mar

This poem, spoken word, is BEAUTIFUL. It is more than just a poem because you can feel the emotion as he speaks, you can feel the pain as he feels it, and in 4 minute this poet breaks down the good, the bad, and the ugly of being a black woman. From the heartache of being a fatherless child to the joy of having women from generation to generation teaching you how to be strong, and how to live life to the fullest!

He talks about the beauty of a black woman’s voice. To know what it is he speaks of is to have known a black woman, and I mean really know her; not just gone to bed with her, mistreated her, said hello to her in passing. When you really have gotten to know a black woman, her voice no longer is just sound echoing out of her mouth it becomes stories between her words that you hear. you can hear the struggle, the hurt, the strength, the hope, the love in her voice as well. God did a wonderful thing when he created black women you see, and to be able to capture that is a powerful thing.

Bennett reminds us in case we ever forget that a woman’s place is not in the kitchen, but everywhere and anywhere she wants to be. He reminds us that to be truly happy, to find love, cooking is not a necesity, but rather that¬†the ability to love and hope are vital. Bennett embraces wiht his words the infinite and natural beauty of black women. He doesn’t even mention long hair, short hair, real hair, fake hair, makeup, fresh faced because those things are not who we are as people, as women, as women of color — people often forget that.

The power women of color possess, the power black women are born with is something incomparable and uneasy to grasp. Bennett reminds us we are more than our hips and waistlines, though every aspect of who we are is just as important as the next and theone before it. I could talk about this poet and his words forever, but I’d rather you watch the video and tell me what you think.

An Example…

27 Mar

It was solely coincidence that one week ago I wrote a list called, “The Top 5 Questions Women of Color get Asked out of Ignorance and Disrespect”. I created the list based on personal experience and the collaborated stories and experiences of women of color. Many of the¬†experiences I wrote about were very personal, while others I have yet to endure. The first one, however, is a comment I am very familiar with; The loaded question: “Is that your real hair?”

Good Times!

Good Times!

I went to the mall Saturday evening with my aunt from¬†visiting from Trinidad and with my mom,¬†who also has locks. Oftentimes, as she likes it best, she wears¬†her hair in¬†a ponytail, as she did this past¬†Saturday. While we were walking, my mother¬†was asked by a group of guys walking in the opposite direction, “Is that all yours?” From behind,¬†perhaps they thought she was yonger, possibly my age. But when she turned around they immediately noticed she was older, and¬†tried to laugh¬†it off¬†saying, “Just kidding!”¬† My mom though, bold as she is, smiled her confident smile and said,”No, you weren’t, but it’s okay.” She conintued, “This is all my real hair.” The boys then, feeling¬†embarrassed¬†and awkward stood there as she proceeded to¬†point¬†me out next her with my hair loose and¬†hanging down reaching past my back and asked, “Do you¬†believe that is all hers?” They said yes because “mine was down and they could tell”, however something tells me¬†that they had their doubts about the authenticity of my hair as well as my mothers. Something tells me their answer changed¬†upon her correction of their incorrect assumption. At¬†least we know they were taught some sort of good manners.

So there I stood dumbfounded almost because once again, I was conflicted with how it could be so hard for another to fathom that a black woman could have natural, lengthy hair. What makes this issue even more difficult is that it is not necessarily a black and white thing. The group of young men who asked my mother this question were all black! One of them, had dreads himself.

Whether one realizes it or not, often times when a women of color gets asked this question the underlying and often unconscious thought behind their inquiry is that it is uncommon or even impossible for women of color to have long, flowing, natural hair of their own. Thus, the problem. Among that central question, I have sort of archived a list of other very stereotypical questions that I personally get asked on a daily basis having dreadlocks:

Are you Jamaican?

Can I touch it?

Does it hurt if I touch it?

How do you sleep on that?

The ever playful,unintelligent, ignorant, sarcastic, yet equally insulting, “Can you give me dreads”?

Were you born with them?

Does everyone in your family have them?

Do you wash it? How?

Are they clean? Does it smell?

You must have nappy hair huh?

Did your parents force you to get them?

…Some of these may surprise you, some of these may sound very familiar because you yourself¬†have thought them or asked them out loud. All of these questions I get asked on a day to day¬†basis, as if my hair was some sort of anomaly all its own. Its funny, when¬†I¬†think of these things, or when¬†I¬†get asked any one of these questions because I shake my head and at that very moment, inside, I feel so out of place.¬†You see,¬†in my community, back home in Trinidad, dreadlocks are normal. They are a part of our culture as a people, and we take pride in having locks down to our backsides r as short as the nape of our necks. Men and women alike¬†with thick hair, wavy hair, thin and straight hair all th same have locks.¬†No one walks up to me and asks, “Is it real?”¬†or, “Can¬†I¬†touch it?” I feel like¬†I¬†belong.

Caracas Beach in Trinidad and Tobago, 2008

Caracas Beach in Trinidad and Tobago, 2008

Little sis and Cuz,Caracas Beach, Trinidad, 2008

Little sis and Cuz,Caracas Beach, Trinidad, 2008

Care free and hair free...The place where I am most happy is the  place where I can be myself.

Care free and hair free…The place where I am most happy is the place where I can be myself.

Bother and cousins enjoying the beach, 2008

Brother and cousins enjoying the beach, 2008

Having grown up, and now being almost used to the questions and assumptions that are imposed upon me, being  a woman of color, and having long dreadlocks, these things , the questions and comments are not so much of a surprise to me anymore. Just because  am not surprised any longer, does not mean that they do not bother me so much anymore. What bothers me is when I think of the young brown girls who are growing up experiencing these same things, recreating the cycle.

I know, that much of these questions and assumptions that follow black women in particular and long hair stem from the way that media portrays them. Most famous black women do have hair extensions. Many black women in general do use chemical¬†straigtheners¬†or texturizers¬†in their hair. The key word though, is “most”, not all! If you are reading this post and are asking yourself, well, what am¬†I¬†supposed to do, or what can¬†I¬†do you should, we all should take on the motto used so often in our judicial¬†system that says, “innocent¬†until¬†proven guilty”. Assume that when you see a women of color walking past you on campus and she has long hair, that it is her natural¬†hair. Give her the benefit of the doubt. Don’t allow the media,¬†our stereotypical society decide for you how you will view the world. Create your own judgements.¬†Refrain from treating¬†a part of her that is so precious and valuable as if it is some strange and¬†foreign thing on top of her head to be examined, and touched, pulled at.¬†¬†Stop the cycle.

I have been battling with these thoughts for a while now. I wondered to myself where do we draw the line between exoticism and pure curiosity? When should I be offended and when am I just being overly sensitive? I have come to this simple conclusion: When I am treated like some sort of exotic thing, a rare animal, something never seen before, when I am treated that way, like a lab experiment, that is exoticism. Pure and simple. All of those questions I listed above are examples of exoticism, no way around it, and it is NOT all right. However, when I am treated as a human being rather than an object, and that includes everything belonging to me, every body part of mine, everything that is me, that creates me and who I am, hair and hips included, and some one has a questions or is interested to know more and approaches me as such, that is pure and honest curiosity, and I have no problem satisfying that.

Mix it UP!

27 Mar

Black is BEAUTIFUL because of the variety ūüėČ

Multicultural Student Association’s “Multicultural Showcase”

25 Mar

All BEAUTIFUL women of color modeling designs based from Ghana. No one can do it quite like we can.. ūüėČ

Top 5 Question Women of Color Get asked out of Ignorance and Disrepect

20 Mar

1. Is that your real hair? Is that all yours?

Is-That-Your-Real-Hair¬†YES!YES!YES! The idea that a woman of color, a black woman in particular could have natural, untouched by chemicals hair is outside of the norm for many people, but I am here to tell you YES! It is my real hair, her real hair, our real hair. Furthermore, rather than doubting whether or not “it’s really¬†theirs”¬†whenever you see a black woman with long hair, assume it’s hers first. Innocent until proven guilty!

sim hair2.Why areyour hips so big?/ How is your butt so big?

“OH MY GOD BECKY, LOOK AT HER BUTT!”…need I say more? If that phrase means nothing to you, plug it in on Youtube and I am sure you will understand very quickly. The problem with this song that quickly became so popular is that it asserts that having a large backside is a terrible, awful, no good thing. Some believe, women of color, black women in particular make their behinds large. People assume every black woman must have a large, round, plump¬†behind or something has gone terribly wrong! Some women black and non- black get injections to increase the size of their backsides. So as you can see, tackling this question sort has itself a wide range of issues and concepts going on. Often times when I was asked the question it was by a white person who for some reason couldn’t wrap their brains around the fact that having a big butt, a “fat ass”, a larger than most backside, whatever you want to call it was just natural. just born that way. All of a sudden i become the go to person for every non- black woman to consult with who needs to find a pair of jeans that can fit their wide hips because of course i must know.

Where I come from being thick, as we like to call it, is a good thing. And you can be thick with or without having a large behind, and also while being very healthy.

Brown, Thick, and she has long hair! Triple threat! ;p

Brown, Thick, and she has long hair! Triple threat! ;p

Thick and proud!

Thick and proud!

So before you ask a black woman, “why is your butt so big”? or “how did it get like that”? Consider the fact that they were just born that way, the same way you may have been born with blonde hair, blue eyes, a flat stomach, long legs, curly hair whatever!

The person who wrote this is an idiot and has no clue what it is they have written or are doing to perpetuate a negative cycle of stereotypes about black women:

3.Do you get sunburn?

The first time I was ever asked this question¬†I honestly did not know the answer. However, immediately after I was asked it, I felt a tad umm, how should I say, out-of-place! I remember looking down at my skin and back up to the white skinned person who asked me thinking, “wow, this is awkward“. Truth is, the sun, the same way it affects a person with fair skin, causing cancer, darkening their skin etc. is the same way the sun affects a black person. Whether you choose to call it a tan, or just getting a little darker, it can happen to us to. We do not have some built-in protector under our brownness that shields us from the sun. it may be harder for you to tell when we have gotten darker, but we, just like those with fair skin, are human beings; And the sun has certain effects on human beings. Black people are not excluded from that. The assumption or thought that we are only sheds light on the idea, subconscious or fully aware, that black people are some separate group from, oh, let’s say, humans!

4.Do you taste like chocolate?

Often times I have heard this as a pick up line, but let us not get anything confused: This question is RIDICULOUS! Whether asked as a joke, a pick up line, a sincere question out of curiosity. Dont ask it, don’t even think it.

5.Why do you talk so loud? Why do you have so much attitude?

I have had this conversation multiple times, and something I constantly come back to is this: black people, black women are not innately loud, assertive and outspoken. We are not some special breed of people who know not how to whisper and come out of the womb screaming, arguing, yelling, and LOUD. Black people, black women, like any other person on this planet, we are passionate, and when we speak about something we are passionate about, other perceive it as loud. Do not make the mistake of assuming that it is in our nature to be loud and obnoxious. It doesn’t matter HOW MANY encounters you have had with a black person, a person of color in general who is loud, rude, and obnoxious. DO NOT GENERALIZE. In the same way, ALL LATINOS DO NOT SPEAK SPANISH OR UNDERSTAND IT, ALL IMMIGRANTS ARE NOT FROM MEXICO AND/ OR ILLEGAL, ALL WHITE PEOPLE ARE NOT RICH AND SPOILED, ALL PEOPLES FROM THE MIDDLE EAST OR WITH TAN SKIN ARE NOT TERRORISTS, ALL GAY MEN DO NOT LIKE EVERY SINGLE MAN THEY CROSS PATHS WITH, ALL WOMEN CANNOT COOK AND DO NOT WANT TO COOK, ALL PEOPLES FROM AFRICA ARE NOT STARVING…phew! I could go on forever folks! STOP STEREOTYPING, ASSUMING, GENERALIZING. It’s insulting, and you sound like an idiot.