Babatunde A. Ogunnaike, dean of the University of Delaware’s College of Engineering, is among 170 distinguished innovators who have been named 2014 fellows by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

In addition to his duties as dean, Ogunnaike is the William L. Friend Chair of Chemical Engineering and a professor in the Center for Systems Biology at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute

He leads research in control and systems theory and in systems biology, considering the development of effective control techniques with application to complex industrial processes and also working to understand biological control systems.

The latter is the means by which mammalian organisms maintain stable, efficient and “near optimal” performance in the face of external and internal perturbations.

One of the recent inventions is technology for a next generation “regulatory controller” that Ogunnaike developed with his graduate student, Kapil Mukati. They were granted a patent in April 2007.

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This outfit was inspired by the Balmain Fall 2014 Ready-To-Wear Collection (x)

wearing: f21 croptop, vince camuto shoes, natasha necklace

makeup: smashbox photo ready illuminating primer, mac studio fluid fix nc42, buxom illuminator, nyx eyeshadow natural palette, nyx matte cream lipstain in copenhagen, anastasia beverly hills eyebrow pomade in dark brown, nyx matte bronzer, nars blush in liberte

photographed by gaby v.

Children of the diaspora:

You are here.
You exist.
You matter.

Even if your family can’t speak your mother tongue, even if the language you grew up with tastes like nails and exile.

Even if you long for a homeland you’ve never set foot on.

Even if others outside of your community attempt to render your experiences, feelings, and struggles invalid.

You are here.

You exist.

You matter.

I wanted to dedicate a post to a bit about the mpungo of Palo Mayombe/Monte and similar Congolese influenced Diasporic belief systems. There’s a lot of info online on the main spirits/raw energies of other African influenced belief systems throughout the Diaspora such as Lucumi/Santeria, but little on the mpungo. Today we’ll learn about Lucero, or Nkuyu Nfinda. 

[Kimpungulu are the primary deities of the native Congo religion and its diaspora in the Americas. The singular form of kimpungulu is mpungo or mpungu, and in the Americas, where few devotees speak proper kikongo, and plurals are usually designated by the addition of a final letter “s”, a novel back-formation of the plural has been coined, so these gods and goddesses are more familiarly known as the mpungos. The kimpungulus or mpungos are natural spirit entities who were brought into being by the creator god/energy Nzambi (also called Nsambi, Sambi, or Nsambi Mpungo) in order to rule the forces of nature, tend to the spirits of the dead, and look after humanity’s needs.

The mpungos are worshipped in several religions, each of which can be traced back to its origins in the Kikongo-speaking tribes of modern day Congo and Angola. The first waves of slaves who were brought to the Americas came from these tribes. They brought their magical and religious ways to Cuba, Brazil, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. Thus were born diasporic traditions such as Las Reglas de Congo (also known as Palo Monte), Kumina (Jamaica), Umbanda, and Quimbanda (Brazil). There is also a shared magical Congolese ancestry in Obeah and Hoodoo (rootwork), in both of which the magical practices of Congo tribes are employed without reference to the African liturgical religious aspects.]

Lucero (Nkuyu Nfinda) by Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold from Palo Mayombe: In The Garden of Blood and Bones:

"Lucero is a critical nkisi to Palo Mayombe. Some think that is due to his name light-bringer, that he is an invention. But this is not so, rather, his Cuban name precisely reveals his original function, as the spirit who sparks communication between the veils of the worlds. In the name Lucero is also revealed an African and European belief that sparks of light in the night represent, or truly, spirits crossing the earth and air. The phenomenon of lights sparking around the treetops and descending on the crown of the tree is especially connected to pine trees and bamboo. These sparks of light are Nkuyu and the legion of dead ones following him. Nkuyu is an errant spirit who resides in the forest; it is the wilderness and the treetops that are his domain. This is the principle behind Nkuyu Nfinda, denoting the sparkling arrival of spirit upon earth, the break between the invisible and visible world. Nkuyu carries a variety of meanings, depending on context and can signify the soul of a diseased one, a shadow, a specter and a ghost.

The proper Kongo name for Lucero would then be Mpungo Luufu Nkuyu meaning power of the errant spirit or Nkuyu Nfinda, the ghost/ancestors that live in the wild forest. Nkuyu can also mean ancestor in a great variety of ways, so we might say that Lucero is the power that carries the force to break down the veil between the visible and invisible world. Nkuyu is said to live in the woods, preferably in the treetops and of them, bamboo is his favorite dwelling place.

It is not uncommon to see the errant spirit conflated with myths such as those of the Lucumi/Santeria Eshu/Eleggua, but this is at best an approximation and one that does not convey the rightful autonomy needed in understanding Lucero and his nature. Some ramas see in him St. Peter and others St. Norbert, but the most accurate correspondence in terms of saints would be Anima Sola del Purgatorio, Anima Sola or Anima Solas, the lonely souls in purgatory. These correspond to Nkuyu or more correctly, Kikuyu by being a legion of errant souls which are in between. The purging flames of purgatory speak of the fiery nature of Lucero and harmonize with Nkuyu as an errant spirit who manifests in the sparks of spirit light around the treetops. Being of this errant nature he traverses every path and any road. Understanding Lucero on the basis of his saintly mirror give an interesting spiritual essence that makes The Divine Comedy of Dante a sort of testament to the world of Nkuyu.

Personally I have also found him to have a great affinity with the form and essence of St. Thomas and St. Anthony de Padua, even though St. Anthony is also known by another name, Cuye Lumbembe. Cuye Lumbembe is considered to be the spirit who discovered Nkuyu Nfinda in the form of the dead of the four winds, but rather than the sparks of light he is the light within the lightning and became considered a form of St. Cyprian.

By looking into the saintly mirrors and what they in essence represent I find that a more truthful perception of the mpungo and nkisi reveals itself. This might be rooted in the fact that the saints were understood to be nkisi by the Kongolese, and as nkisi a ‘heathen’ perspective on the saints was likely to be retained. A saint was manifesting a given divine quality with its lessons and qualities – just like an nkisi. Thus the words became synonymous.

For Lucero, the sparks from the blacksmith’s forge are sacred, as are the dragonflies and the fireflies. Everything phosphorus that ignites life in his, the sulfur is his. He is lucifera, the pure experience of sensual matter, and therefore he is not exactl he, but she – and here enters the mercurial element that made the syncretism with Eleggua and Eshu such a viable, though erroneous, conclusion.

Lucero is the sulfur that opens the mouth and releases oracles. It is the sulphurous fumes in the mountains of Delphi that give augury and images to nature. It is the legions of errant spirits that walk the treetops and bring herds of spirits following after his tail. This is Lucero, a spirit of the wind which brings the beings from the other side to speak and manifest.

Lucero is also known as: Tata Nkuyu, Tata Nfinda, Quicio Puerta, Maruga, Prima, Quatro Ventos, Vento Mundo, Orumbo, Numbe Nganga El Igualito, Mañunga, Lubaniba.”

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Test Shots by Rog Walker.

Test Shots is an ongoing series of portraits taken in the studio with photography couple Rog and Bee Walker. Each photograph, taken mostly of their close friends and fellow creatives, is as striking as it is simple.

Opting for a sombre and dark background, coupled with poised and pensive subjects, Walker’s shots manage to maximize on the simplicity of the traditional portrait style by making use of a medium format camera that provides an image quality which, despite the powerful stillness of each individual, vividly brings the details of each photograph to life. This brings out both a sense of strength and vulnerability in each picture, alluding to the intimate two-way dialog between subject and photographer.

"This is the most organic method of communication I have. Photography is the way I speak…It doesn’t get more personal than another human, and that’s what I’m looking to capture, that connection between humanity." - Rog Walker

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"Love is contraband in Hell,


cause love is a acid 
that eats away bars.

But you, me, and tomorrow


hold hands and make vows
that struggle will multiply

The hacksaw has two blades.

The shotgun has two barrels.

We are pregnant with freedom.

We are a conspiracy”

- assata shakur

youtube

Africans in India

I would argue that Africans in the Diaspora are taught 24/7, from cradle to grave, to be anti-African. It is done right here on Facebook. We are taught that Africa is primitive, that Europeans named Africa, that we are not African, that Africans sold us, that African features are unattractive, that Africans don’t like us and don’t think of us as Africans, that is it better to be anything other than an African. And many of us believe this. We are programmed to believe this. And all of the while Europeans and Asians gobble up Africa—the very thing that we are taught to reject. Who is being fooled here?
—  Credit to Runoko Rashidi

Meet Marva Allen, owner of Hue-man Online Bookstore. After closing the physical location in Harlem, NY in 2012, Marva created the online bookstore to continue providing a wide variety of books & e-books with a focus on the Diaspora market. So before you head to Barnes & Noble please go to www.huemanbookstore.com! #BlackOwnedBusiness

A Brief History of Cumbia and its African Roots.

Like many dance and music styles that have emerged and have been popularized throughout Latin America, and in Latin American diaspora communities, Cumbia has its backbone and roots in the culture, traditions and practices of the enslaved Africans brought to this region of the world.

Although there are many forms of cumbia ranging from cumbia Peruana and cumbia Argentina, to cumbia Chilena and cumbia Mexicana (named after the respective countries they emerged from), the heart and origins of traditional cumbian music and culture lie mostly in Colombia’s Afro-Colombian community. Many musicians, dancers, and historians say that cumbia’s percussion represents the African influence, its melodies and use of the gaita or caña de millo (cane flute) represents the Native Colombian influence, and the dress represents the Spanish influence.

Birthed from a cultural style of music known as Folclor Colombiano (Colombian folklore music played by Afro-Colombian musicians), Cumbia has developed to become an amalgamation of musical and cultural blends that reflect the mixed cultural heritage of Colombia. The very word ‘cumbia’ is said to have come from the word "cumbé" which was (and continues to be) a dance form Guinea. In 17th century Colombia, enslaved Africans (mostly from West Africa) would carry out a type of courtship dance that, altered by various influences throughout the years, began being referred to as ‘cumbia’ in the 1800s.

Where it began using mostly West African percussion and vocal styles, Amerindian and Spanish instruments, clothing and other cultural traits, as it progressed began to become a more widepsread practice, new adapations of the original form of cumbia were birthed. Cumbia has since become reinvented in both style and sound, leading it become the backbone for various other Latin American music styles. 

(continue reading at Global Conversation, Discover Colombia, Grupo Fantasia)

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If We Must Die by Claude McKay 

If we must die, let it not be like hogs

Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,

While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,

Making their mock at our accursèd lot.

If we must die, O let us nobly die,

So that our precious blood may not be shed

In vain; then even the monsters we defy

Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!

O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!

Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,

And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!

What though before us lies the open grave?

Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,

Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!