african blogs

Only Boys Cry

In Ethiopia, the Hamar tribe’s coming of age ceremony for boys involves livestock, potential ridicule and lifelong consequences. The things we do in the modern western world to “be a man” are much more universal and similar than one might think. 

When a boy feels he his ready to be a man he will begin preparations for the ceremonial ritual of jumping across the back of six bulls naked. Hundreds of tribes people gather from villages far away to attend, sing, chant and dance (and get drunk)

If successful he will be eligible to marry and begin the life of man, but if he falls the onlookers will ridicule him leaving him to wonder what it’s going to take to be a real man in his modern world.

From a travellers perspective the tribes seemingly live primitive lives, but men all over the world can agree on one thing. There’s no room for self pity as only boys cry. - Omo Valley, Ethiopia

About the cornrows thing...

It really was never about the hair.

Originally posted by mtv

The core of Amandla’s discussion about cultural appropriation had barely settled on America’s consciousness, much less our subconsciousness before this happened…..

and then swiftly this happened.

This “conversation” between 16 year old Stenberg and the now 18 year old Jenner caused a huge uproar. Immediately Amandla not only was accused of being a race baiter and of being the stereotypical “angry black girl” she also became Andy Cohen’s “jackhole of the day” for her counter of Kylie’s cornrows. Many people were astounded that this situation was all about hair. Anyone should be allowed to wear their hair in any fashion they want. Even the styles that have been traditionally worn by black women and girls for decades. The styles that have been worn traditionally by black women and girls for decades, primarily for function, secondarily for fashion. The styles didn’t seem to be on anyones radar or worthy of praise until Miley,or Iggy, Kendall Jenner started wearing them.

 When Amandla Stenberg called out Kylie Jenner’s cultural appropriation many came to her defense. Cries of: shes young (she had allegedly been in a relationship with a now 25 year old man since she was 16), “shes just trying to figure it out” the words of Justin Bieber, and that shes can do whatever she wants flooded the interwebs as the dispute between the girls became the highest trending hashtag.

I agree everyone should be allowed to wear their hair the way they want. A London boy in 2011 shouldn’t have been sent home because his cornrows were believed to be too closely associated with London’s gang culture. White children were also prevented from shaving their heads for fear of its association to skinheads.  

7 year old Tiana Parker should not have had to leave school because of her hair in 2013. She had attended her school for a year before her dreadlocks caused an issue.12 year old Vanessa VanDyke should not have been threatened with expulsion for wearing her hair in the natural form that grew out of her head. 

A Native American boy, 5 years old, was sent home on his first day of kindergarten because his traditional braids did not meet the required dress code for little boys. 

Okay…clearly the issue also lies in the school dress code policies. Policies that seem to make it very difficult for children of color or of other cultures to wear their hair in anyway that is different from their straight haired counterparts.  So no, Amandla’s comment was not a jab at Kylie but instead were the actions of a young woman trying to inform a privileged, young, soon to be adult celebrity with a massive fan base of impresionable individuals, to not be so careless and ignorant to the value that has historically been placed on hair and hairstyles by other cultures. It is possible to appreciate that culture without appropriating it.

  After these events I imagine that amandla would have had one last question:

What would America be like if we, as a society, defended the freedom of children of any and all color to be who they are the same way we defend  young girls/women, like Kylie Jenner, to do what they want? 

UPDATE

Vanessa was featured on the real 11/13/2015 and her Afro still looks amazing.

Great Pyramids of Giza - Egypt

The pyramids of Giza are some of the most recognisable archaeological sites in the world. The pyramid is estimated to be made from around 2,300,000 stone blocks, that weigh anywhere from 2 to 50 tonnes each. All built around 2580 and 2510 BCE,  the Pyramids here amazingly all line up precisely, with the Constellation of Orion. 

Despite the extreme heat that Egypt experiences, the temperature inside the Pyramid of Khufu (the largest of the three pyramids) remains a constant 20°C.