Friday, December 26, 2008

the legendary Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt

this cabaret and film legend passed away from complications due to colon cancer on Christmas Day 2008.

"My recipe for life is not being afraid of myself, afraid of what I think or of my opinions."

Rest in Peace, Ms. Kitt

Currently listening :
The Collection
By Eartha Kitt
Release date: 2006-12-11


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

confessions 2: electric boogaloo

in the immortal words of TheBlackSnob, 'this is going to be the most awkwardly sexy four-to-eight years, ever.'

feel free to continue the inappropriate ogling, here.

Currently listening :
These Songs for You, Live!
By Donny Hathaway
Release date: 2004-06-08


Monday, December 22, 2008

in balance there is might.

the freejohnforte website has been replaced by:

after being granted a sentence commutation on november 25th 2008, john forté is free from prison, today. he has served 7 years out of a 14 year sentence--the mandatory minimum sentence of a conviction of 'posession with intent to distribute'-- and a relatively harsh sentence for a first-time, non-violent offender. mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses tend to unfairly target people of color in the US, leading to disproportionate sentences.

sadly, forté's myspace page has also been disabled, taking it with it the brilliant, insightful entries he would post on his blog (via a friend), while incarcerated. these are the words that affected met the most:

While falling may be inevitable, it does not have to be crippling; so when I get up, it is so I might master my balance. In balance there is might.

--john forté

Currently listening :
Atlantis: Hymns for Disco
By K Os
Release date: 2007-02-20


Thursday, December 18, 2008



my thus far undocumented, inappropriate crush on Barack Obama has officially become even MORE inappropriate.

for more, check out Time magazine's 'Obama: The College Years.'


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

soul food: the afropolitan Grammy edition

there's nothing i love more than the discovery of a new artist who brings with them a much needed cleansing breath of fresh air. and in the face of the epidemic that is the re-birth of the vocoder (somewhere Roger Troutum is like, 'um, HELLO? REMEMBER ME???), fresh air is exactly what is required. ok, wait. i lied. there is something i love more, and that is the discovery of a new [or new to me] afropolitan artist.

when the Grammy nominations were announced last week, not one, but TWO Afropolitans were nominated in the category of Best Urban/Alternative Performance: Ethiopian-born artists, Kenna and Wayna.

i've been waxing poetic about Kenna since i first heard his 2003 album 'The Sacred Cow', which floored me with it's totally and completely blatant non-categorizationability. his very N.E.R.D infused sound was the definition of thinking outside the box and i began singing his praises far and wide to any and all that would listen.

with his next album, 'Make Sure They See My Face' (2007), he finally started to get the recognition he deserved. the tracks i cannot get enough of are 'Hell Bent', 'Free Time', and 'Say Goodbye to Love'.

and for about two weeks now, i have been captivated by the pure light that is singer/songwriter Wayna. Her rendition of Minnie Ripperton's 'Loving You' is captivating and the comparison to all the soul queens--both past and present--is inevitable.

i personally find her sound too unique to start comparing her to anyone. she's a storyteller who effortlessly combines classic soul, jazz, funk, blues, and hip hop and the result is incomparable. here are three of my favorite tracks from Higher Ground:


Mr. Duracell

My Love


Monday, December 8, 2008


ooh, this right here is just what i needed this monday morning.
much love to vivrant thang for this, which i have blatantly ganked from her soul-full space.

check out theartist... just a-tappin his foot and getting into the grooveness.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

soul food: jazmine '5 grammy noms' sullivan "bust your windows"

disclaimer: while negrita lurves her some jazmine (5 grammy nominations, BRRRRAAAP!), she does not condone busting windows or any other act of vengeful violence. nor does she condone beyonce's bionic glove, but that's a story for another time. end disclaimer.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

soul food: india.arie 'complicated melody'

"i almost cannot sing it on key. but he means the me."


Monday, December 1, 2008

World AIDS Day 2008

today marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, and this year's theme is:


find out what you can do to educate and inform yourselves and others in order to consciously adopt a pro-active approach to eliminating the stigma and spread of this disease and to learning how we can all live with it and support those infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS.


Friday, November 21, 2008

funked up friday

i was going to go for a flashback-friday-type-thang today, but then i was alerted about this particular slice of awesomeness:

*looks around silent office full of closed doors*
maybe i can get an internship at Atlantic...?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

the justice myth ctd...

this has been such a violation from day one...we all knew that eventually things would start to unravel and the truth would come out. provisional liberty is far from enough.

this never should've happened in the first place.

this was and remains a flagrant abuse and misuse of the international judicial system and we should remain defiant until that is recognized.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

the justice myth

International Justice a Myth
The New Times (Kigali)
18 November 2008
Posted to the web 18 November 2008 Kigali

It's now over a week since the Director of State Protocol, Rose Kabuye was arrested and detained in Germany. And in all this time, just a handful of countries have condemned this terrible act and abuse of Rwandans.

While Barack Obama was making history as the first African American President, the Europeans were thinking of a petty version of their own; arresting a government official entitled to full diplomatic immunity.

Probably, a first in history, too.

One might be tempted to forgive France, given its terrible history as far as foreign relations, especially with African states, are concerned. However, it's harder to fathom Germany, which has a holocaust in its history and the rest of the so called Developed countries that are just watching as such grave injustice takes place.

Renowned scholar and historian, Professor Ali Mazrui, once said of France, as always attempting to create other 'Frances' in the countries it occupies.
That the French will have no problem with anyone or any country as long as French mannerisms are adopted. A deviation in these mannerisms is faced with unimaginable brutality.

Algeria and Rwanda have once suffered France's brutality. The French attempted to totally destroy their 'little France' in Algeria as they fled the country in its fight for independence.

The 1994 Tutsi Genocide is another horrible testimony of the lengths France will go to to mete its revenge. It's actually very brave of Djibouti to consider taking up English as another of its official languages. France must be seething.

All this time, the developed nations and 'super powers' kept at arms' length; preferring not to meddle in France's affairs. One then is forced to wonder about this reality of International Justice and like President Paul Kagame, one believe it's a myth.

The only way this myth will be undone is by all nations that believe in International Justice speaking and acting strongly against what Germany and France have done; arresting a diplomat, liberator, mother and innocent woman, Rose Kabuye.

Copyright © 2008 The New Times. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

soul food: k'naan ABC's

i have yet to re-master the art of multitasking. this is evident in the fact that i've seriously been slackin' on my bloggin'. in attempt to grow re-accustomed to posting on the regular, i am going to try to put up a 'soul food' and/or 'food for thought' post at least once a day. and sometimes it's just going to be a random Song o' the Day (SOTD): whatever is stuck on heavy rotation in my dome.
today is a double feature: nourishment for both mind and soul:

artist: the genius K'naan
album: Troubador (January 2009)


Thursday, November 13, 2008

negrita *hearts*...

i *heart* the concept and the fire behind this project. africa from a different perspective.

Pop'Africana is a bi-annual magazine.

It is printed in a medium format and highly visually driven.

A new visually captivating project that has just been launched by a few creatives. Founded and visually directed by Oroma Elewa, Pop'Africana is a collaborative effort which aims to re-introduce and re-define all aspects of "Art Africano" . Not only will the magazine aim to re-educate the globe on African ideas of style and individualism it also aims to serve as a robust, visual guide for understanding the "Africano pshyce" from an all inclusive perspective. Pop'Africana sets the standard for iconic style and individualism.



open letter to france

dear france
cc: germany, europe

two years ago, you made it quite clear that you regard our sovereignty as trivial.
this past week, you've once again affirmed how you continue to view us.
and, um...we're not putting up with it anymore.

in the immortal words of bob marley:

if you are the big tree,
we have a small axe
ready to cut you down, (well sharp)
sharpened to cut you down.

co-signed: africa

i'm counting completely on this case setting the precedent of international law actually prevailing over petty politics.


Monday, November 10, 2008

mama africa

it was reported today that Miriam Makeba--jazz legend, activist, political exile, voice of multiple generations--passed away yesterday. she was still on tour, still performing, still spreading love and heart and soul and message. and it's beautiful that she passed doing what she loved and continuing to inspire so many.

you will be truly missed, Mama Africa.


Monday, October 27, 2008

positive reinforcement's always nice to start the week with some good news....

Women Run the Show In a Recovering Rwanda (By Stephanie McCrummen - Washington Post)

Friday, October 10, 2008

friday shuffle: takin' you back

today's friday shuffle is brought to you by, 'awwww, that's my JAAAAAAAAM!' (c)

here is part of the playlist that will keep that looming friday deadline from throwing me into a fit of panic-induced hysteria:

'back to life'--soul ii soul

'real love'--mary j blige

'i ain't too proud to beg'-TLC

'don't walk away'--jade

'if i ruled the world'-nas (feat lauryn hill)

'cowboys'-fugees feat. outsidaz

'one more chance (remix)--notorious b.i.g

'cold rocks a party'--mc lyte

'healin''-beenie man and lady saw

woo hoooooo!!
ok, time to write.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

we're [potentially] screwed

some think it ridiculous to live half a world away and be so invested in the outcome of an election in which we have no say. but one cannot ignore the fact that whatever happens in november will have a massive impact on the rest of us. and i live in fear of what may happen if Barack Obama does not become the next President.

last year, the Bush administration came up with the brilliant idea to launch Africom, about which i have already expressed trepidation, albeit in a rather perfunctory manner. the establishment of this military command was decided upon despite Africa's general outright resistance to the notion of consolidating American military presence on our territory--whatever 'good intentions' said command may claim to have. essentially, this is the image that comes to mind when i think of the recently fully operationalized Africom, which apparently "represents part of a new US strategy to engage with Africa":

i simply cannot help but conjure up images of the scramble for a continent, especially as part of America's strategy is to ward off Chinese influence in Africa.

the role played by and the impact of Africom will very much depend on the US administration and it's approach to foreign policy. and, um...if this [below] is an indication of what may be in store for us...we're screwed:

*blinks rapidly*
i'm just saying.
the next four years cannot be dominated by this kind of jackassery.

Friday, September 26, 2008

capturing the madness

so, i haven't written at ALL about the rollercoaster craziness that has been the campaigns leading up to the american elections. the silence on this blog totally belies my complete and utter obsession with the whole thing, really.

but then, i came across this today.

dear New Yorker,

now this is satire:

ew satire cover


thanks to The Snob for the inspiration.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

small steps

it was hard to fathom, fifteen years ago, how we would ever begin to address the issue of justice in this country of mine.

but justice is, indeed, a process. and even though it is taking years, there are some small steps that make a massive impact. people are being held accountable. no one is immune.

small steps.

Friday, September 19, 2008

the friday shuffle

*returns from sulk*

or! i'll just blantantly copy Qué? and do my very own top ten!

but with a twist: not so much a top ten...more like The First Ten Songs Negrita's Ipod Plays When She Hits 'Shuffle' Right...NOW:

  1. Let's Get Lifted Again--John Legend
  2. I Decided--Solange
  3. Hot Thing (Remix feat. Jean Grae and Luther Vandross)--Talib Kweli
  4. Sumthin Sumthin (Mellosmoothe Cut)--Maxwell
  5. Heaven Sent--Keyshia Cole
  6. Til You Do Me Right (feat. Babyface)--After 7
  7. Out of Love (Part II)--Shad
  8. Tell Me What You Want Me To Do--Tevin Campbell
  9. Fool That I Am--Etta James
  10. Cold Rock a Party--MC Lyte

Bonus Track: Coconut Juice--Tyga

*dances out of office*


plaintive wail...

hell. nooooooooo.
entire entry just disappeared.
am off to sulk.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

collablog repost: the lauryn hill composite

were for some reason, this post--originally posted on Sept. 11th--was deleted randomly and mysteriously. THEN, the links were all messed up. i think blogger and i are having serious communication issues. trying again:

Kobina: What do you mean it's been ten years since Miseducation?.. I am old.

negrita: *sigh* me too...

The First Time

Kobina: I'd just finished my fifth year at Mfantsipim and joined my father to holiday in Malawi, where he was working. My younger brother flew in from London bearing a couple of albums that he'd bought from a record store. Hip-hop was so rich back then that, randomly picking up albums that bore 'Parental Advisory' stickers, he walked away with gems that included Midnight Marauders, A Bizarre Ride to the Pharcyde, 93 til Infinity, Enter the 36 Chambers, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z... & The Fugee's Blunted on Reality.

While Award Tour was the soundtrack to that holiday, I remember looking with lust in my heart at Lauryn's sullen lips on Blunted's cover before being blown completely away by her talent: that voice (both rapping and singing). The complexity of her lyrics. Her poetry. Then I turned on the telly one day that same holiday and Sister Act 2 came on.

Hook. Line. Sinker... Game. Set. Match... I was in all kinds of love.

negrita: it was the summer of '94, i was in Grade 11 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. having grown up as the only black kids in each of our classes for years, my sisters and i jumped on every opportunity to watch ANY black movie that EVER came out (well...the ones my mother would let us watch, anyway). so you can imagine our excitement when we came across Sister Act 2. the scene in which Lauryn Hill sang "His Eye is on the Sparrow" with Tanya Blount literally moved me to tears. i could not believe the sheer power of her voice and the emotion it evoked. i knew immediately she was a force to be reckoned with. that role catapulted her to new levels of fame, and one day that same summer, she was subsequently featured in a brief story on an entertainment news magazine. they were introducing her not only as an actress and singer, but also as an emcee who made up one third of a group called the Tranzlator Crew (Refugees). they played a 30 second clip of her performing live and i was completely blown away. the lyricism, the skills, the flow. she made me sit up and listen. i had never seen such incredible, diverse talent in someone so young. and the fact that she was a proud, nappy headed, dark skinned black woman--someone on my screen with whom my little teenage self could finally identify. i was in awe. Blunted on Reality was but a minute blip on the radar of the popular music scene in Canada at the time, but the impact of my brief introduction to the Fugees, and to Ms. Hill in particular, was immeasurable.

The Score

Kobina: I was in British sixth form the year The Score came out. I bought it after hearing Fugee-La on Westwood. Hip-hop rarely went to number one back then and so I ran and commanded everybody in the boarding house downstairs to the TV room as soon as I heard Lauryn sing "Strumming my pain with his fingers..." and realized that no, this was not a joke: the Fugees were Top of the Pops... and they were singing live!

negrita: first year of university. this is the year i started to fall in love with hip-hop. my first love had always been soul music and it was only later in my young life that i truly started to listen to hip hop. at the risk of lapsing into hyperbole, i would have to say that this was a legendary year for hip hop: Nas' It Was Written; Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt; The Roots' Illadelph Halflife; De la Soul's Stakes is High; Tupac's All Eyez on Me; Outkast's ATLiens; and of course the Fugees' The Score. i cannot forget the first time i saw and heard Fugee-La. i came home to my sisters raving about this song that i just had!to!hear (not to mention the fly video that accompanied it). two years after Blunted..., hip hop videos were finally being showcased a little more in Canada and we finally had an 'urban music' (heh) section in the bigger record stores. . the way the group worked together, both on the album and live, was inspired. and from the minute i heard Lauryn's verse on 'How Many Mics?', ["My mind makes incisions in your anatomy/And I'll back this with Deuteronomy/Or Leviticus, God made this word/You can't get with this/Sweet like licorice, Dangerous like syphillis, yeah."] i was awed, once again.

The Miseducation

Kobina: It wasn't just the album (which I was actually a little disappointed by at the time because I felt it showcased her singing at the expense of the rhymes of the greatest female rapper of all time). Lauryn - an intelligent, classy, dark-skinned girl - was on the covers of magazines that she just wasn't supposed to be on the covers of. We forget it now but the world was really at Lauryn's feet back then.

negrita:yes it was. and if this isn't proof of the sensation she became at that time, i know not what is:

this album, and all the [well-deserved] hype it generated, as well as its highly critical success was, indeed, Ms. Hill's "thesis--well written words broken down into pieces." it reads like an anthology of poems and short stories, and is an exploration of love--in its many manifestations. it chronicles a journey of self-discovery and of emancipation that is rife with pain, grief, joy, celebration, love, birth and rebirth. it is life's lessons learned, without being preachy. it is "this mixture, where hip hop meets scripture/develop a negative into a positive picture." and unlike some other female emcees who came out around the same time, she did not use overt sexuality and general nekkidness (*cough*lil kim*cough*foxy brown*cough*) to reach the masses. i, for one, think she still came hard with the emceeing, despite the fact that there was more singing on this album. she had always had the instrument, but this effort felt like she had mastered it. like she had found her own voice, emerging out of the fugee-la and exploding onto the scene as an artist in her own right. and the impact of this emergence was massive.

and it wasn't just about the music. she was not only an artist, but she became a style icon. to this day, it remains evident how much i personally was influenced by lauryn's style during this time period. for so many of us who did fit the standard mould, the fact that a dark-skinned rapper with locs had now [albeit grudgingly] become an international trendsetting cover girl was revolutionary.

The Composite

This joint post came about because my musical twin, negrita & I were chatting recently about Lauryn's musical absence and artists she influenced who each possess various aspects of what Ms. Hill represented back when she was at the apex of the fame she would later come to detest.

We don't think any of these artists is trying to be Lauryn, just as Lauryn wasn't trying to be, say, Aretha or Mary J. - there can only be one. Nevertheless, here are some of the artists who came up in our conversation:

Rapper/Singer: Estelle

Kobina: Although Ms. Dynamite-ee-ee was the first rapper after Ms. Hill who I saw metamorphose into a socially-aware singer, Estelle really got her Lauryn on this year. The comparisons were especially inevitable given Wyclef's production on 'So Much Out the Way' and 'No Substitute Love'. Thankfully, Estelle found the comparisons flattering but went on to make her own name.

negrita: yeah...i fully gave Wyclef and Jerry Wonder the *side-eye* when i heard those two tracks. she does a remarkable job on them but you cannot help but immediately conjure up Ms. Hill upon first listen. Estelle's 'Shine' certainly does have a whif of Miseducationism to it...especially due to the fine balance between rapping and singing. she is a refreshing change from a lot of what's floating out there right now and it's lovely to see her finally break into the American market after paying her dues for so long. i think the aspect of Ms. Hill that Estelle has cornered is being able to balance the emceeing with the singing, while remaining truly original both in terms of style and content.

Genius/Madness: Amy Winehouse

negrita: lawdamercy. well, in this case, Amy Winehouse represents the parts of Lauryn Hill of which we are in awe and which we cannot even attempt to understand, respectively. they both burst onto the scene with voices unlike no other. there is only one of them. their innate skill is indisputable, their possibilities endless. they're both like vessels through which their voices come...pure, soul-full genius. also, 'Back to Black' should've been Ms. H Hill's sophomore album. pre-Unplugged. their drastic physical transformations from the artists with whom we fell in love could be due to any number of things. i believe that, quite simply, when you are this kind of talent, everyone wants a piece of you. i think a natural reaction to that, to everyone wanting to take and take from you, is to make yourself repellent. it's a case of escaping from perception, of self preservation. recent images of Ms. Hill performing, though, illustrate that she seems be back on track. we can only pray that Amy Winehouse puts down the damn crackpipe and stops trying to destroy herself.

Kobina: Apparently ?uestlove of the Roots said of Amy's Back to Black that it was the album that he had been trying to persuade Lauryn to make. I cannot help but think how dope it would have been if L-Boogie had taken his advice. I've been a fan of Amy's since her first album, Frank. The girl has crazy skills and I try to focus on only those, but with all the drama (and she/the media making her some new Abu-Hamza-meets-Wacko-Jacko-esque-pantomime-baddie-hybrid) it's been hard... really hard.

Talent/Complexity: Janelle Monàe

negrita: Janelle Monàe represents the new Ms. Hill, with whom we are just getting familiar. she pointedly refuses to fit into any mold and to be categorized. she joins this growing wave of genre-free Black artists who are so obviously influenced by an eclectic mix of artists and who now have a bit more freedom to make music they love, without necessarily catering to a target demographic.

Kobina: Couldn't have put it better myself, Negrita...

The Voice: Jazmine Sullivan

Kobina: I've been waiting for Jazmine's album since Missy & Giles P started hyping her a few years back and I'm so glad it's coming out and she's already proving commercially viable. That first line she sings on Need U Bad is so reminiscent of Lauryn that the phonelines lit up the first time I played it on my radio show like 'is this the Second Coming?' That said, Jazmine sounds about as much like Lauryn as Bilal does D'Angelo i.e. not so much... both great voices and both distinct.

negrita: i just feel terrible for poor Jazmine who cannot release a first single without being pronounced 'the next Lauryn'. that's a hell of a lot of pressure. that being said, one cannot help but notice the rich texture and power of a voice so similar to that of a young Lauryn Hill. like Ms. Hill, she is an old soul with a beautiful world-weary voice that betrays wisdom and/or experience far beyond her years.

The Rhymes: Jean Grae

negrita: there is absolutely no reason in the world as to why Jean Grae is not bigger right now. in a world so devoid of proper female emcees who do not just spit about sex, money, money, and sex (*side-eye at Trina*) or who are not too busy acting/endorsing to come back to the music world (*shakes tambourine at Eve*), Jean Grae is a breath of fresh air. her lyrics are tight, her freestyles are crazy, and it's just effortless.

Kobina: I cannot think of a better female MC than Jean Grae since Lauryn. Hell, I reckon she could even give L-Boogie a run for her money. She's that tight... humourous with it too. I hope the rumours of her early retirement prove to be just that: rumours. Jeanius was genius.

Cover Girl: Beyonce Knowles

Kobina: Not sure if there's been another beauty as dark-skinned as Lauryn to have so many seminal magazine covers under her belt. Nevertheless, B' is the only black female artist to come even close.

negrita: with her million and one (*not exact figure) fashion magazine covers and spreads, her jazillion (*again, not exact) endorsement deals, and her generally ridiculously constant presence on entertainment blogs/television/magazines, Beyoncé is the consumate 'It Girl'/stye icon (although, ok, i beg to differ there for a myriad of reasons including, but not limited to, the ENTIRE 'House of Déreon' line debacle). she represents the Lauryn that set trends just by waking up in the morning.

... and so, Ms. Hill, these are the makings of you. this composite only proves that it takes a breadth of artists - incredibly talented in their own right - to come close to the inspired brilliance that is Lauryn Hill.

Kobina: Those of you who miss her music as much as we do might want to check out a mixtape a friend of mine put up or the excellent Re-education of Lauryn Hill.

negrita: Re-education... gives me hope that Ms. Hill will return with a serious vengeance. apart from touring, which she's been doing for the past couple of years, she keeps re-emerging, albeit quietly. and as serendipity would have it, while writing this entry, a new Lauryn Hill track was leaked. you can hear her latest offering here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

in her very own immortal words, "what kind of f*#kery is this?"


apparently, amy winehouse is exhibiting signs of emphysema.
she's only 24 and this is just so very sad and needless.

tha vocab

i'm always on the look-out for fabulous new words to incorporate into my ever-growing and, admittedly increasingly nonsensical, lexicon. and thanks to the always entertaining mr. west, i will now--and for quite possibly the next few months AT LEAST--be referring to any and all dimwits as SQUID BRAINS.

thanks, kanye!

listening to: Jody Watley: Greatest Hits
reading: What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day--Pearl Cleage

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


i've been meaning to write about the predictable, yet nevertheless unbelievably shocking situation in Zimbabwe, but words have failed me. i never thought i'd see the day that a country that paved the road to liberation of this continent would be drowning in the very oppression they fought so hard against. yes, we saw this coming, really. Mugabe lost his damn mind years ago and the warning signs were everywhere. but i never thought it would get to this point.

i suppose, like Bob Marley said so long ago, we eventually find out who the true revolutionaries are. the oppressors have different faces, but the situation is essentially, for all intents and purposes, the same.

Every man gotta right to decide his own destiny,
And in this judgement there is no partiality.
So arm in arms, with arms, we'll fight this little struggle,
'Cause that's the only way we can overcome our little trouble.

Brother, you're right, you're right,
You're right, you're right, you're so right!
We gon' fight (we gon' fight), we'll have to fight (we gon' fight),
We gonna fight (we gon' fight), fight for our rights!

Natty Dread it in-a (Zimbabwe);
Set it up in (Zimbabwe);
Mash it up-a in-a Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe);
Africans a-liberate (Zimbabwe), yeah.

No more internal power struggle;
We come together to overcome the little trouble.
Soon we'll find out who is the real revolutionary,
'Cause I don't want my people to be contrary.

And, brother, you're right, you're right,
You're right, you're right, you're so right!
We'll 'ave to fight (we gon' fight), we gonna fight (we gon' fight)
We'll 'ave to fight (we gon' fight), fighting for our rights!

Mash it up in-a (Zimbabwe);
Natty trash it in-a (Zimbabwe);
Africans a-liberate Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe);
I'n'I a-liberate Zimbabwe.

(Brother, you're right,) you're right,
You're right, you're right, you're so right!
We gon' fight (we gon' fight), we'll 'ave to fight (we gon' fight),
We gonna fight (we gon' fight), fighting for our rights!

To divide and rule could only tear us apart;
In everyman chest, mm - there beats a heart.
So soon we'll find out who is the real revolutionaries;
And I don't want my people to be tricked by mercenaries.

Brother, you're right, you're right,
You're right, you're right, you're so right!
We'll 'ave to fight (we gon' fight), we gonna fight (we gon' fight),
We'll 'ave to fight (we gon' fight), fighting for our rights!

Natty trash it in-a Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe);
Mash it up in-a Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe);
Set it up in-a Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe);
Africans a-liberate Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe);
Africans a-liberate Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe);
Natty dub it in-a Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).

Set it up in-a Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe);
Africans a-liberate Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe);
Every man got a right to decide his own destiny.


Sunday, June 22, 2008


new naomi

Vogue Italia's "Black Issue", July 2008

revised vogue cover

it's a shame that it's taken this long, really, and who knows whether or not this will set any type of precedent in the oh-so-fickle world of fashion. but it's something!

full story here....

Monday, June 2, 2008

brother (watching)...comments

so, over on the original chronicles, i've gotten a couple of comments regarding the video i posted yesterday. i thought i'd post them here because it's something i truly feel strongly about.

Richard A:
Sorry Negrita but I see this video as more of the same thing,"Look what you have done to me whitey. This is wrong. Look into the world history books and you will see the Jews were persecuted and still are because they are Jews. The Irish back in the early part of the last century when they migrated to the US in Boston were treated like dirt, skum. Yes there has been unfair treatment of Blacks through the world by whites, it has only been a handful of greedy paranoid suppressive individuals, but also take a look in your own back yard and what happened 13 years ago in Rwanda. NO, it is not the rich Jew or the Whitey who is doing anything to the Black man. Take a look at my country, USA, a black man is running for the presidency of the US, and is being supported by millions of whiteys, and I am proud to say I am one of them. No, by supporting this fool Chad and perpetuating the insanity of division of race all you are doing is keeping it alive and putting money in his pocket. I am not a racist nor do I support any type of division of race, I wasn`t RAISED that way. All behavior is learned, you are not born into this life hating another because they look differant. I married a woman from the African continent and have a beautiful daughter and am so proud of her and myself for having the guts to say no to the bigots of this world who would say I am wrong to mix race. I am honored to say I have a friend in Kigali, a different race, and skin color, but I feel the honor and privilege is mine.


thanks for your comment, Richard, but--with all due respect--your reaction is slightly knee-jerk. i take offense to you referring to this artist as a 'fool', but i attribute your reaction to the fact that you have misunderstood the message. whether you've chosen willfully to misunderstand, i don't know. perhaps it was the words 'White man' that made you think this song has anything to do with blaming anyone for...anything. but you're not listening. you've just taken the images before you and decided that you automatically know what this man is talking about.'re not listening. as with any music, you have to, before reaching a conclusion. and i'm afraid you've jumped to swiftly to a conclusion that does not at all reflect the message behind this video.

Shad mentions 'White man' only in the context of saying how he knows what it is like to grow up as an 'other' and to constantly compare oneself to the majority and attempt to emulate a life that is not actually your own. racism exists in numerous forms, sometimes incredibly subtle ones that nevertheless have a profound impact on anyone growing up as an 'other'. prejudice is not an evil that is solely perpetuated by, as you said 'a handful of greedy paranoid suppressive individuals'. it is everywhere. indeed, in our own backyards, as you noted. it is crucial that you recognize all of this as a truth, even though you were blessed to be raised in an atmosphere that condemned divisive thoughts and actions. the words of this song are words of caution to young Black people warning them not to fall into stereotypical perceptions of what they're SUPPOSED to be and encouraging us to reach as high and as far as we can. this is not about the White man holding us down. this is about the dangers of holding ourselves and each other back. this is about taking responsibility and NOT playing the blame game. the reason i tuned into this song and identified with it so much is because, like myself, Shadrach Kabango is an African--a Rwandan and Kenyan--who grew up in Canada, and therefore witnessed firsthand what it is like for young Black people to attempt to construct an identity for themselves that does not fall into what is generally expected...that does not follow a pre-conceived notion of what being Black is. i cannot make any assumptions about your personal situation--i know not how you grew up and how you were raised. but i do know what it's like to live this and how much young people--especially young Black people--need words such as these to give them the impetus to chose their own direction and to make their way in this world that is rife with obstacles. this is a song that recognizes these obstacles and weaknesses and that promotes taking action. this is a song calling on his fellow brothers and sisters to emancipate themselves from mental slavery; to fight against being pigeonholed.

as you said, i--of all people--know all too well the horrific impact of divisive propaganda and politics. and therefore, i would never post or support anything that played into that. ergo, i ask only that you listen without prejudice to hear what this song is truly about. as a Caucasian male raising a biracial daughter, this is a struggle you should recognize as being all too real. the reality is that we do still live in a world where race/ethnicity/religion do matter. this song is just part of my story, and the story of many others. and we all need to listen to each other's stories. please listen to this story, again. i hope you hear it for what it truly is.

Brother (Watching)--by Shadrach Kabango

I try to hold some hope in my heart
For these African youths
Coming up where i'm from
Many traps to elude.
Surrounded by
Mostly white and affluent dudes
And somehow, you expected to have
Mastered this smooth
Swagger and move
With the right walk, the right talk
Fashion and crews
Souls subtly attacked and abused
And what's funny's being black wasn't cool
Where i'm from til suddenly
you started hearing rap in the school
Admist this madness I grew
With knack for amusing through this little skill
For rappin at dudes
An' we all like to laugh at the truth
But when you young and same facts
Pertain to who you rappin em to
Well, I opted not to bring
That to the booth
But after a while, it sort of starts naggin at you
The crazed infatuation with blackness
That trash that gets viewed
And the fact that the tube only showed blacks
Actin the fool.
And I was watching...

(saturated with negative images and a limited range of
Possibilities is strange...)

And its sad cuz that naturally do
Sort of condition your mind and over time
That's whats attractive to you
So young blacks don't see themselves in
Scholastic pursuits
Or the more practical routes
Its makin tracks or its hoops
Or God-forbid movin packs for the loot
Even with this music we so limited - its rap or produce
And that narrow conception of whats black isn't true
Of course, still we feel forced to adapt to this view
Like theres something that youre havin to prove
Now add that to the slew
Of justification the capitalists use
For the new blaxploitation
Many actions excused
In the name of getting cash
That's adversely impactin our youth
With mental slavery, the shackles is loose
And its hard to cut chains when they attached at the roots
So what the new black activists do
For our freedom is just being them
Do what you're passionate to
Not confined by a sense that you have to disprove
Any stereotypes, so-called facts to refute
Or match any image of blackness
They've established as true
Perhaps we'll break thru the glass ceilings
Shatter the roof and emerge
From these boxes that they have us in cooped
And grow to smash the mould that they casted of you
I'll keep watching...


well i know i for one could have used this growing up.... i wouldn't have been such damaged goods!!! the yout (h) don't realize what strength and security they have in their numbers, and globalization/digitization, do they?

two kudos is hardly even enough..

does that make us African Homesteaders?.....hahahahaha.....

annie, go on in tha house and git ma gun, now......

now what'd you say yer name was, feller?......(hic)

Richard A:

Well put Negrita, after reading your comment and his lyrics all the way through it is I who am the fool. I was hasty in my conclusion as I had only listened to the first ten lines. And yes when i heard the words white I automatically assumed something, very shallow on my part, not ok. I pride myself on being a good listener, I guess I have a lot to learn. I do now apologize to you for my abrupt foolishness, and to Mr Chad for my lack of affinity for an artist. I have listened to and read the words and have now a new understanding of just what this man is trying to convey to young Blacks coming up and trying to find their own road. Thank you.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

brother (watching)

the truth.

"brother (watching)" by Shad.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

still struggling

today, we're having a memorial service for some of our family members who were killed in 1994. we're having a service in a church in kigali within which hundreds of people were massacred. in which hundreds of women were brutally subjected to sexual torture. these people ran to these churches seeking sanctuary. they truly believed that within those walls, no harm could come to them. but the person they ran to for help...the person they trusted the most--the parish priest--is the very one who led them to their brutal end. it is for this very reason that i stopped going to church in the first place...that i struggled for a long while to hang on to some semblance of faith in the aftermath of what was essentially hell on earth.

i am going today, not only to pay my respects, but to offer support to those family members who survived and who--for a reason i will never understand--continue to attend this church regularly and faithfully. but i still struggle with the whole notion. i have more anger in me than those who witnessed and survived. how is that possible? how can they draw strength from the very same church? how can they still believe after what happened to them, to their husbands, fathers, sisters, mothers, wives...?

on days like this, it's hard not to ask these questions...hard not to get gripped with fear for our future.there is so much i cannot understand. all i do know that we have so much to do to overcome....

the struggle continues.

Monday, April 7, 2008

on this day...

...14 years later...we remember the past and pray for the future.we honour those we lost by
the generations that will give us the hope upon which our tommorrows will be built.
the story:
...never again...


Thursday, March 13, 2008

i have so much things to say right now, but words escape me.
in this time of transition, i dwell mainly in my head listing, sorting, questioning, seeking...and i often think that maybe if i could get it out of my head and onto a black and white, the answers will come. but then i sit...and tap my fingers in time with the blinking cursor because...words escape me, right now.

*20 minutes of screen-staring later…*

but that's ok. i am in the process of removing the clutter from my life. it's just identifying the clutter that's the problem. especially when it comes to the people in my world….

*? minutes of screen-staring later…*

Open Letter to AnOldFriend*:

dear you,
you, of all people, know that once one is in my sphere, and has my love, it's very hard for me to decide they are no longer worthy of it. of my time. of my energy. of me. because there was a time when they once were, so...i could not have been that wrong about them, could i...? you know this about me because so many times you have told me to cut people let them go because they are not worthy...because they constantly hurt me. and i listened to you, somewhat, never quite being able to cut anyone off. i just distanced myself for a time, and--inevitably--let them back in because they needed me, and i considered myself a terrible person for not being there when they needed someone, and had no one else. you would claim that i was far too nice, far too forgiving, and was letting people walk all over me. and it was true, in a sense. but i justified it by claiming that while i was there for them, i no longer needed them in my life, so they could never hurt me again.
just the other day, i once again found myself wondering why i had someone in my life whose presence is, simply, toxic. someone who cannot see beyond themselves and therefore can never see how much pain they cause. someone who accepts love, but clearly does not know what it means to give it. someone for whom reciprocity, courtesy, and consideration are the most foreign of concepts. someone whom i love fiercely, but find myself wondering if there is anything to like about them, anymore. or...if there ever was. and it breaks my heart to admit that that someone is you. and so, i have to take the advice you gave me long ago, and let you go. you probably won’t notice it for a long while, and i admit it is rather cowardly of me to write this in a space where i know you’ll never read it. but i knew if i sent this to you…if i said any of this to you, you would not hear me. you would never understand. and i’m okay with that, now. but i had to get it down to clear the clutter in my head and heart…and, in the process, to find my words again..
love always.

*note: AnOldFriend represents a composite of characters, not an individual.
ok. i feel much lighter now that i’ve sent that out into the universe.

moving on...