africa and the diaspora

alluringbutterfly  asked:

Do you all know anything about the Gullah people?

Funny story, lol I 1st learned about the Gullah people after watching Gullah Gullah Island as a child (please tell me you remember otherwise i feel old). I didn’t fully understand the culture and motive behind the show until last fall in my African Retentions in American course in college.

So here goes:

The Gullah people are the descendants of the slaves who worked on the rice plantations in South Carolina and Georgia. They still live in rural communities in the coastal region and on the Sea islands of those two states, and they still retain many elements of African language and cultureMany traditions of the Gullah and Geechee culture were passed from one generation to the next through language, agriculture, and spirituality. The culture has been linked to specific West African ethnic groups who were enslaved on island plantations to grow rice, indigo, and cotton starting in 1750, when antislavery laws ended in the Georgia colony.

A Board of Trustees established Georgia in 1732 with the primary purposes of settling impoverished British citizens and creating a mercantile system that would supply England with needed agricultural products. The colony enacted a 1735 antislavery law, but the prohibition was lifted in 1750. West Africans, the argument went, were far more able to cope with the climatic conditions found in the South. And, as the growing wealth of South Carolina’s rice economy demonstrated, slaves were far more profitable than any other form of labor available to the colonists.

Rice plantations fostered Georgia’s successful economic competition with other slave-based rice economies along the eastern seaboard. Coastal plantations invested primarily in rice, and plantation owners sought out Africans from the Windward Coast of West Africa (Senegambia [later Senegal and the Gambia], Sierra Leone, and Liberia), where rice, indigo, and cotton were indigenous to the region. Over the ensuing centuries, the isolation of the rice-growing ethnic groups, who re-created their native cultures and traditions on the coastal Sea Islands, led to the formation of an identity recognized as Geechee/Gullah. There is no single West African contribution to Geechee/Gullah culture, although dominant cultural patterns often correspond to various agricultural investments. For example, Africa’s Windward Coast was later commonly referred to as the Rice Coast in recognition of the large numbers of Africans enslaved from that area who worked on rice plantations in America.

Documentation of the developing culture on the Georgia islands dates to the nineteenth century. By the late twentieth century, researchers and scholars had confirmed a distinctive group and identified specific commonalities with locations in West Africa. The rice growers’ cultural retention has been studied through language, cultural habits, and spirituality. The research of Mary A. Twining and Keith E. Baird in Sea Island Roots: African Presence in the Carolinas and Georgia (1991) investigates the common links of islanders to specific West African ethnicities.

Enslaved rice growers from West Africa brought with them knowledge of how to make tools needed for rice harvesting, including fanner baskets for winnowing rice. The sweetgrass baskets found on thecoastal islands were made in the same styles as baskets found in the rice culture of West Africa. Sweetgrass baskets also were used for carrying laundry and storing food or firewood. Few present-day members of the Geechee/Gullah culture remember how to select palmetto, sweetgrass, and pine straw to create baskets, and the remaining weavers now make baskets as decorative art, primarily for tourists.

Aspects of West African heritage have survived at each stage of the circle of migration, with rice, language, and spirituality persisting as cultural threads into the twentieth century. The Geechee/Gullah culture on the Sea Islandsof Georgia has retained a heritage that spans two continents. Sapelo Island Cultural DayAt the end of the Civil War, lands on the coastal islands were sold to the newly freed Africans during the Port Royal Experiment, part of the U.S. government's Reconstruction plan for the recovery of the South after the war.

During the 1900s, land on some of the islands—Cumberland, Jekyll,Ossabaw, Sapelo, and St. Simons —became resort locations and reserves for natural resources. The modern-day conflict over resort development on the islands presents yet another survival test for the Geechee/Gullah culture, the most intact West African culture in the United States. Efforts to educate the public by surviving members of the Geechee/Gullah community, including Cornelia Bailey of Sapelo Island and the Georgia Sea Island Singers, help to maintain and protect the culture’s unique heritage in the face of such challenges.

The Gullah/Geechee have arguable preserved the heritage of their African ancestors better than any group in the United States.


Cornelia Bailey, with Christena Bledsoe, God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man: A Saltwater Geechee Talks about Life on Sapelo Island (New York: Doubleday, 2000).

Margaret Washington Creel, A Peculiar People: Slave Religion and Community-Culture among the Gullahs (New York: New York University Press, 1988).

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Vanichi Magazine partners with The Africa Channel to present “What If Movie Icons Wore African Fashion?” (#WIMIWAF).

This creative fashion editorial imagines an alternate reality where iconic Hollywood film characters dress in modern, handcrafted fashion from designers of Africa and the African Diaspora. 

Designers include Senegal-based brand SARAYAA, TEGAA, a Gambia-based jewelry line, Egyptian designer AMMANII, M ANDREWS sartorial luxury based in San Antonio, Texas, Nigerian brand OBIOMA, eyewear designer BURKINABAE, menswear designer KENNETH NICHOLSON, Ghana + NYC brand STUDIO ONE EIGHTY NINE (co-founded by Rosario Dawson), Sierra Leone + USA brand BADARA and Lagos-based luxury brand MINKU.

PHOTO: Juhn Kwon.
HAIR + MAKEUP: Karen Bates-Ashey.
STYLIST: Jordan Swain.
ASSISTANT STYLIST: Drea MJ.
BlCREATIVE DIRECTORS: Joy Donnell + Jordan Swain.

MODELS:

Elle Drane 

Sara Ishag

Tia Hurley

Chanelle Renee

Celisse Graves

Jonathan Stanton

Isaiah Lucas

Jaway

Elijah-Allan Blitz

Jordan Swain

allure.com
Instagram Has Been Waiting For This Very Palette For a Year Plus
By Devon Abelman

Founded by West African Chichi Eburu, Juvia’s Place creates eye shadow palettes inspired by Africa.

Their The Nubian and The Nubian 2 palettes, in particular, pay homage to the OG queen of beauty, Nefertiti, with her image on the cover and a combo of lush metallic and matte shades.

Beauty vloggers like Jackie Aina, Stephanie Nicole, and Bretman Rock have raved about the shadows’s creamy, butter-like texture that doesn’t leave any crumbly fall out under the eyes. Also, the color payoff is insane.

They are so intensely pigmented and opaque that they look pretty much the same on all skin-tones.

i’m the daughter of an immigrant who assimilated too much. he’s so angry at his mother, so ashamed of his mother, that he married a white woman, and then another one. he rejected his parents’ history, culture, religion and traditions.

i’m the daughter of a man who tried so hard to be white, who tried so hard to be French. so many times France was ungrateful and rejected him, made him feel he would never be French enough, white enough. but in the end France finally embraced him and took him in. what an achievement. fully assimilated, integrated, and disintegrated. fully colonized. he erased all traces of his family, all traces of his childhood, all traces of his country. all chewed up and regurgitated : clean.

my relationship with my father is strained, so i tried to reach to the previous generation, to my grandma. unfortunately it feels like it’s too late. she is 91 and losing her memory, all her sisters are gone, my grandfather also gone, almost none of us North African Jews are left in Tunisia and Algeria, they all came to France. she doesn’t like to speak about it anyway, she doesn’t like to think about it. i’m trying to dig into whatever i can find but it feels like a lost fight, because my people’s culture has been stolen, destroyed by colonization and exile. sometimes i say my homeland is exile.

Keep reading

The Forms of Spirits Defined


Is the shape of a nature spirit given form over time by a culture and its linguistic perception of that spirit or is it formed in a more immediate way through the prism of cultural perception in the individual having the experience, defined by that culture’s language?

When we look at the cultures of the world, both classic and contemporary, we see a spectrum of belief in “spirits” that is prevalent in all cultures continuously throughout history. In some form or another the concept of spirits is as wide ranging as language itself. An instrumental part of the development of all socities, the nature of these spirits takes on a wide variety of roles depending on the culture in which they have blossomed.

From the ancient jinn of the east, to the nagas of Asia, the fae and sidhe of the Celts, the ancestor spirits of Africa and her diaspora in the new world, the German goblins, Norse trolls, the Vodoun lwa, the saints and demons of Judeo-Christian pantheons, the world over is full of the belief in beings whose form is transitory yet whose power is recorded as often enormous in scale. Who exist at the edge of temporality and are supplicated with offerings, orisons and rituals.

Yet while the concept of spirits is one that is universal, little contemporary thought has been given to the nature of these beings and their origins on a practical level. Relying heavily on pre enlightenment ideas of corporeality the contemporary magician is often working under conditions that have proven to be obscure at best, fraudulent at worst.

What then is the nature of these beings with whom all magicians the world over interact? How are we to express in terms scientific and yet openminded, those entities with whom our craft is indebted? Where are we to find the headwaters of these beliefs and their origins in human culture?

To say that nature is the source of all life is axiomatic, for nature is itself all life, the very mathematic formula that drives evolution on all its scales. While the boundaries of what makes up life may be little understood its form, as we perceive it, tends toward that which is measurably obvious to the viewer. As mankind has developed intellectually over the past few centuries our understanding of the complexities and subtleties of living beings has grown immeasurably. From the first understanding of the nature of germs to CRISPR gene editing in under two centuries mankind is just now beginning to scientifically understand the fields of energy that surround us that have long been overlooked.

The electromagnetic fields of all living things stretch far beyond the boundaries of their physical masses. The electromagnetic field of the earth itself functioning like an engine driving our planetary variables, steering tectonic plates, controlling weather systems. The interplay of these electromagnetic forces, coupled with energies we are barely able to understand that exist in quantum interactions and dimensional concepts too complex for a blog post, are just now being looked at, let alone fully grasped at this stage in our intellectual enlightenment.

It is in this realm, of complex energies, vibratory frequencies, and misunderstood quantum mechanics, that we find the root of those beings who can be grouped into the categories of “spirits”. From Grecian daemons to Galician mouros, lwa to kitsune, wight to ghost, the patterns of energy that make up these beings are all drawn from that stream of energies which is invisible to mankind, though slowly being revealed under the lens of contemporary technology.


“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” ― Nikola Tesla

While this river of energies may be just now coming into focus through accepted scientific practice the craft finds its very roots at the base of this tree of knowledge. The varieties of dealing with these spirits are as complex as the cultures that bore them. The negotiations of these relationships across the world playing similar tunes, yet varied in their composition to reflect the variables and practicalities at hand.

Yet we must wonder at the nature of these manifestations against the cultures in which they are perceived. What causes such a diverse narrative and a motley assortment of creatures that have long interacted with mankind? How are we to know wight from lwa? What defines the differences and commonalities of these beings? How can a river of energies so universal manifest so differently among disparate cultures, while retaining distinct core similarities in their nature?

I propose that these manifestations are given form via the specific language a practitioners understands and communicates in. That the culture whose folk narrative has given form to these spirits is manifesting the boundaries of said beings through the use of language itself.

We are linguistic beings by nature. Our entire world perception is defined through the language we speak, and not all words in all languages easily translate across linguistic boundaries. We may speak in one language of emotions and concepts that are entirely alien to the thoughts of a native speaker in another language. The sounds of one culture’s joy may be the sound of aggression in another culture and its linguistic palette.

Thus as a culture has become defined throughout time, like the polishing of the facets of a jewel, mankind’s perception of these entities that exist at the boundaries of our perception have come to reflect the inherent peculiarities of a given culture. Our fears as a people, our inhibitions and immoralities, our taboos and desires projected onto these entities we encounter in the natural world.

Thus the differences that have grown between cultures are the differences in mankind’s pantheon of spirits the world over. Some are to be feared, as that culture is one of fearfulness, others to be befriended, as that culture is one of openness and sharing.

Though as much as there are differences, more striking still are the commonalities between cultural perceptions of nature spirits. That their roles remain often identical in light of their polarized appearances, that they are more common among the untouched places of the natural world, that they can be bound, threatened, supplicated, bribed.

When in the course of the practice of the craft a magician of any ilk encounters a spirit, through accident or intention, it’s best to be aware of the shape that they manifest in relation to our perceptions and expectations. That their form is one that easily fills the container of our language and its inherent biases and preconceptions about the nature of reality. We give to these spirits as much of their form and power as they themselves, much the way we give to our rulers the power over us that we must yield in order for them to rule.

While much research in this field has yet to be done the current of this form of spirit anthropology is just now awakening. Considerable historic documentation exists to outline the ever evolving relationship between mankind and that other. Yet a fuller look at the extent of human participation in spirit interaction may be a decade or more in the making. 

It would do well for the practitioner to keep in mind that the nature of the spirit catalogues of antiquity are that of slow evolution, where names shift over time via generations of misspelling and misappropriation. Recent research has been done in tracking these changes, yet the full scope of how the spirit is given specific form by the language, and thus the perception of reality that the practitioner holds, has yet to be done.

To they whom traffic in the boundaries of the landscape, know that your expectations place you in a precarious position. Those beings with whom you court and barter, supplicate and invoke, are more than your perception of them. They are merely being given form by your expectation of their presence. When the magician commands the demon to appear in a “comely form” it is to oneself the words are spoken. For the eyes only deceive us in our dealings with that world, no truth can be had in the illusion that is sight. The lies our eyes tell us have names made of the words we have been raised with, a set of linguistic boundaries on which perception is given form by that great deceiver that is culture.

Efi  in the Overwatch as Family headcanon that isn’t GROSS

How about instead of saying 11-year-old-still-eligible-for-a-goddamn-happy-meal Efi is Lucio’s WIFE (what the fuck), we take into account that Brazil is home to the largest black population outside of Africa (this includes slave era and recent diasporas) and therefore we can get away with:

Efi is Lucio’s smartass little cousin who shows up at the function with Lucio’s rich auntie and uncle from Nigeria who , honestly, Lucio has no idea how he’s related to them but what Big Mama says goes. She’s like the only other one under 40 and over 2 at the function and so Lucio (26) has to “Show your little cousin around while the adults are talking you can go take her to go see your little friends!!”

And Lucio, being a sweet ray of sunshine doesn’t even roll his eyes at being voluntold to babysit this kid so they dance to his music and she tinkers with his skates and he helps her tighten up her dreads and they are Good Cousins ™

//this is pretty american but forgive me//

Also like, Efi has explicitly mentioned her parents and referenced what is a pretty sweet and loving home life so let’s not have this old white American guy adopt her, yea? Looking at you Jack stans

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Dark skin model of the week

Model Flaviana Matata 

Born June 9th, 1988 in Tanzania 

  • In 2007 she won the Miss Universe Tanzania pageant 
  • Represented Tanzania in the Miss Universe competition in 2007 where she ranked 6th place 
  • She was the first ever contestant in the Miss Universe pageant to participate with a shaven head 
  • Has modeled for designers like Alexander McQueen, Tory Burch, and Vivienne Astwood among others 
  • Appeared in magazines like Dazed & Confused, Glass Magazine, L'Officiel and i-D Magazine
  • In 2011 she won model of the year in the Arise Fashion Magazine Awards
  • In 2012 she won outstanding model award at the Nigeria Next Super Model Awards as well as the face of Africa in the African Diaspora Awards 
  • The face and CEO of Lavy Prodcuts, which is a cruelty, and toxic free beauty product company based in Africa 
  • She won Humanitarian of the year in 2013 at the Swahili Awards 
  • Established the Flaviana Matata Foundation, an organization that helps empower young orphaned girls in Tanzania among doing other things to help improve the education of Tanzanian children 
  • Her goal is to encourage children to pursue an education and for young women to work hard and support one another 
  • Currently lives in the US with her husband Doe Massawe