Image

Panafrikan dances

Panafrikan dances when and where they please.

Harlem-shakes in the courtyards of Harare

Isicathulo deep in the metro stations of Montreal.

Capoiera on rooftops in Grenada

Slow whine in front of cracked mirrors of high-school washrooms in Belize

Panafrikan can sway, lunge, lift, slide, whine-up, twerk, twist and shout across borders, checkpoints and coat check lines. Nuh mind dem.

Panafrikan rubs shea butter on their hard thighs.

Cassamance mango juice lick dry forearms as fruit flesh and skin fuse in the clenched black palms of dancer.

Sovereign and untaxed.

Panafrikan is not exotic. Not an anomaly to be praised, or shunned, or studied.

They are not the exception

Dancing since a time before their watches and their watches

Chuh.

Panafrikan, like Panafrikan, sings in sun and sense

Improvises on patterns of leaves and stories

Strikes decisive chords of Discipline Sharp

And chops a clean development

How yuh mean? Our Panafrikan!

Watch ah dance so sweet!

They must get it from they gran-gran so.

Feel ah whine so sure

they must get it for they gran-chile  so.

How yuh mean? We Panafrikan!

Briefcase hail mop and

Rake teach diploma.

Panafrikan dances where and when they please.

If you please. Panafrikan.

Image

…Who Got the Flyest Chain

These cats drink champagne and toast death and pain like slaves on a ship talking about who go the flyest chain.

Talib Kweli &DJ Hi-Tek, African Dream from Reflection Eternal: Train of Thought.

pawel05

One of the hauntingly breath-taking pieces from Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski.  Click here to see more of this amazing series.

 

 

Image

275-5: Sister, Brother and Peter

maliWhen caught in the middle of a heated debate between two fervent Rastas, my suggestion is to commit to a continual nodding of the head.  This nod should not favour any particular argument, and should stay clear from showing signs of adoration  or disgust.  This was my strategy during a debate that occurred in a Rasta settlement outside of Bamako, Mali.

It was raining when I stepped into the taxi with Sister.  I remember the blur of busy street lights as the taxi meandered through muddy avenues. We stopped before exiting the city.  Sister steps out, and comes back in with a greasy paper bag full of grilled goat. “Eat” Sister says.  I oblige.

We reach the settlement and are greeted by three Rastamen.  Brother asks me to sit down with him as he prepares dinner; cassava mixed with canned vegetables.

“Are you hungry?” Brother asks.

“No, we ate.”

Brother looks at me and Sister, then smirks. “Grilled goat, eh?”

Judgement.

Sister retorts. “I know the man who raised, killed and prepared this goat.  I went to school with his daughters.  You know the man who put those beans in that can? Is he Koné? Coulibaly? Diallo?”  She kisses her teeth and looks the other way.

“Rasta don’t eat meat.” Brother mumbles, scooping up a portion of his I-tal stew before pressing the rewind button on the tape-recorder.  He presses play.  Peter Tosh sings. I am that I am.   The whole time, I have been nodding, not taking sides, just listening and pondering. Brother and Sister catch a glance of one another and smile.  The rain beats heavy against our tent as Peter speaks truth.

Image

275-4: Black Gold, Black Power

Composting is the managed biological process that optimizes the conditions for microbes to break down organic waste in the presence of oxygen, transforming the organic waste into a versatile soil amendment primarily used to improve soil quality.

Composting, a stream of organics recycling, is location-specific, which physically ties the process to a limited circumference.  This differs from other recycling processes, where materials are shipped across oceans to be used or discarded.  The enforced circumference of organics recycling has people at its center and calls for greater stewardship and communal responsibility over the management of food waste.

The result of this process is compost also known as Black Gold. As communities of colour work towards self-determination, I believe that Compost can be a useful aid in reclaiming agency over oppressive living situations. The discipline of composting and the product that it yields can serve as a testament for communities to acknowledge their potential involvement in the food cycle.  Labelled as consumers, black communities if they so choose can identify themselves as producers, as agriculturalists  and in so doing, access more decision-making power  as to how their neighbourhoods flourish.

However, there is much work to be done to insure that organics recycling brings power to the people, and not get co-opted and green-washed by removed, capitalist interests.  This is hard.  Large-scale compost facilities tend to be built in struggling neighbourhoods often without consent from residents therein.  Traffic increases, pollution skyrockets all at the expense of the peoples’ health.

I do believe that organics recycling can be an integral step towards Afrikan Self-determination, symbiotically balancing black gold and black power all while resisting climate change and environmental degradation.