african greats

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New art project I’m calling “Cuteness and Vexation”

These will be available as prints soon! And maybe T-shirts if I can get the design right. More are in the works, including non-birbs, so feel free to make requests! I can’t guarantee they’ll get done, but they will go on my list!

The Evolution of box braids

Box braids didn’t become popular until the early 80′s when the GOAT Patrice Rushen took to the R&B and jazz scene

But at the time, they weren’t really called “box braids.” They were individual braids inspired by North African cultural aesthetics, especially Egyptian. However, box braids have their roots in our home region, West Africa as well.

Early on, you saw a peep of these beautiful, intricate hairstyle in the late 70′s from the female singers in Oddysey and S.O.S. Band

I believe both singers from these bands appeared with these hairstyles in the year 1977. So box braids have been here in African-American culture for a LONG time. It just didn’t really become a fad until the early 90′s because before then, these hairstyles were looked at as “trippy” Afrocentric hairstyles that artists would wear to get in touch with their African roots. The 80′s was a time where a lot of African-American artists’ fashion were inspired by West and North African roots.

 At the turn of the decade, you began to see box braids become more mainstream with Janet Jackson, Naomi Campbell’s ethereal ass, rapper Yo-Yo, and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Then in the mid 90′s, Stacey Dash makes braids en vogue by sporting the famous look in Clueless.

All the middle to upper-class girl caught on to box braids because of this but who should really get credit is the incomparable, Brandy Norwood!

Ask for “Moesha” at the hair salon, and it was say no more.

Mariah’s white-passing ass tried them on for size in her Thank God I Found You remix video and they looked dope!

And then here comes sexy stemme Alicia Keys bringing back our great-great-great North African ancestry in 2001

She made cornrows cool for all the black girls in grade school!

And I almost forgot! Beyonce really made kinky twists hot in the early ‘00s as well

Always looking like somebody’s cool redbone cousin rollin’ up at the family cookout 

Then Christina Aguilera tried to join in on the fun, but we said, “Nah, sweetie. You Latinx but you not afro honey. But you look cute sis”

*fast forward to several years later*

Unfortunately, box braids were no longer as popular as they were in the early ‘00s. Bad, synthetic weaves dyed a tacky brown were in from 2004-2008.

But in early 2013, box braids had a revival!

Thank you, Keri Hilson! You may not be shit, but you did that thing! I always said you was my hair-fashion icon tho. I can’t stunt on you.

We had Zoe Kravitz make braids cool for the edgy, sarcastic and loner black girls like me!

Soon, we saw so many pictures of black girls modeling box braids on Tumblr and Instagram!

Solange soon rocks these braids because she’s hip and poppin’

Then Christina Milan being Afro-Latina, she had to get in on this

Even Tia or Tamera

Soon, these 90′s R&B girls came back for a reunion with their beautiful, braided locs!

We all saw Ayesha Curry try to butter up to the black female community by taking an adorable selfie with her mama 

Now we got Instagram models and actresses making braids en vogue!

(Babyhairs aren’t mandatory and I recommend women with type 4 hair to get these styles. If you are under, I wouldn’t keep these in for very long)

So now box braids are everywhere, and they are the go-to for a black girl’s protective style, especially if they have my hair type! But anyone who is black and of African descent can wear them. You don’t have to have tightly-coiled hair to wear these, but they are what the styles are intended for since the hair is apt for them. 

 And notice something else; none of these styles were coined or invented by white or non-black women. They were all made and adorned by black women. And Patrice Rushen is the Godmother of protective styles. Don’t whitewash these!

William B. Gould and his sons, 1917. In 1862 Gould escaped from slavery by rowing a boat 52 kilometers down the Cape Fear River and into the Atlantic, where he was picked up by, and subsequently joined, the Union navy. He kept an eloquent diary of his experiences and travels during and after the war. A half-century later, his six sons joined the military to fight in the Spanish-American War and World War One.

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Blink while driving on Highway 34, east of Greeley, Colo., and you might miss the former town of Dearfield.

All that’s left of the once-thriving town on Colorado’s eastern plains are a rundown gas station, a partially collapsed lunch counter and a former lodge. They are the only indication that there was once a community here. The grass around these buildings is crispy and straw-colored, whipped back and forth by relentless winds. The snowcapped Rocky Mountains barely peek through the haze to the west.

Abandoned towns from the early 20th century are far from unique on this stretch of the Great Plains. Withered storefronts and collapsed homes are common. Boom and bust economics and harsh weather made it tough for turn of the century settlers to succeed long-term.

Few ghost towns, however, have all the elements that make Dearfield’s story so compelling: larger than life characters, struggles to live off the land, tales of racial integration at the height of the Jim Crow era.

A Forgotten Piece Of African-American History On The Great Plains

Photos: Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

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BAKAY DIABY shot by ENZO ADDI for DEDICATE MAGAZINE

styled by EDEM DOSSOU assiqted by HANS DJOUROU

hair by RIMI URA make up by AYA FUJITA

This story is inspired and dedicated to all great african-descendant men that had a positive economical, political and spiritual impact around them, like Nelson Mandela, like Aimé Césaire, like Thomas Sankara, like Abdourahmane Cissé.

T- Albino House Snake. Instead of having entirely red eyes tyrosinase negative albino house snakes have red pupils. Tyrosinase positive albino house snakes have black pupils.

August 8, 1917 - African-American Groups Protest Racism and Segregation in the US Military

Pictured - The American military was segregated in both World Wars. In World War One, African-Americans contributed dis-proportionally to the war effort, but were subjected to unending racism by military authorities and often assigned to menial tasks.

When the United States entered World War One in 1917, its military had 10,000 black soldiers. Black Americans had served in the military since the Civil War, and as “Buffalo soldiers” on the frontiers and against the Spanish, but they were relegated to their own units, usually staffed by white officers.

At America’s entry into World War One, many more African-Americans joined up. They came with various motives: many wanted to prove they could fight as well as any other, that they deserved to be treated equally or “as a man”, to escape racism and poverty at home, or maybe just because they were bored. Meanwhile 13% of draftees were black, despite blacks making up only 10& of the population. Yet for many the American military would only extend the racism they faced at home.

Many African-American units were sent to train in the Jim Crow south, where southern white drill instructors tormented them. Not all branches of the American military allowed black men to serve; the Marines refused black recruits. The National Guard tried to address the problem by prohibiting black soldiers from training in the south. This attempted solution dodged the root cause and sparked uproar with groups like the NAACP, the National Association for hte Advancement of Colored People, a civil rights group formed by W.E.B. DuBois.

These groups protested racism in the military in major American cities. “We protest against any order by the government based upon race discrimination,” the Chicago Tribune reported a spokesman saying.

“We demand the same treatment and training for all United States soldiers regardless of race or color. Let our government stand for one country, one flag, one duty for all citizens and for real democracy in our own country as well as for democracy in Europe.” 

Who built Great Zimbabwe?

Stretched across a tree-peppered expanse in southern Africa lies the magnificent ruins of Great Zimbabwe, a medieval stone city of astounding wealth and prestige. Located in the present-day country of Zimbabwe, it’s the sight of the largest known settlement ruins in Sub-Saharan Africa, second on the continent only to the pyramids of Egypt. But the history of this city is shrouded in controversy, defined by decades of dispute about who built it and why.

Its name comes from the Shona word madzimbabwe, meaning big house of stone for its unscalable stone walls that reach heights of nearly ten meters and run for a length of about 250 meters. For its grandeur and historical significance, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986. Back in the 14th and 15th centuries, it was a thriving city. 

Spread across nearly eight square-kilometers, Great Zimbabwe was defined by three main areas: the Hill Complex, where the king lived; the Great Enclosure, reserved for members of the royal family; and the Valley Complex, where regular citizens lived. Rulers were both powerful economic and religious leaders for the region. At its highest point, the city had a bustling urban population of 18,000 people and was one of the major African trade centers at the time. What enabled this growth was Great Zimbabwe’s influential role in an intercontinental trade network. Connected to several key city-states along the East African Swahili Coast, it was part of the larger Indian Ocean trade routes. The city generated its riches by controlling the sources and trade of the most prized items: gold, ivory, and copper. With this mercantile power, it was able to extend its sphere of influence across continents, fostering a strong Arab and Indian trader presence throughout its zenith. 

Archaeologists have since pieced together the details of this history through artifacts discovered on site. There were pottery shards and glassworks from Asia, as well as coins minted in the coastal trading city of Kilwa Kisiwani over 1,500 miles away. They also found soapstone bird figures, which are thought to represent each of the city’s rulers, and young calf bones, only unearthed near the royal residence, show how the diet of the elite differed from the general population. These clues have also led to theories about the city’s decline. 

By the mid-15th century, the buildings at Great Zimbabwe were almost all that remained. Archaeological evidence points to overcrowding and sanitation issues as the cause, compounded by soil depletion triggered by overuse. Eventually, as crops withered and conditions in the city worsened, the population of Great Zimbabwe is thought to have dispersed and formed the nearby Mutapa and Torwa states.

Centuries later, a new phase of Great Zimbabwe’s influence began to play out in the political realm as people debated who had built the famous city of stone. During the European colonization of Africa, racist colonial officials claimed the ruins couldn’t be of African origin. So, without a detailed written record on hand, they instead relied on myths to explain the magnificence of Great Zimbabwe. Some claimed it proved the Bible story of the Queen of Sheba who lived in a city of riches. Others argued it was built by the Ancient Greeks. Then, in the early 20th century after extensive excavation at the site, the archaeologist David Randall-MacIver presented clear evidence that Great Zimbabwe was built by indigenous peoples. Yet, at the time, the country’s white minority colonial government sought to discredit this theory because it challenged the legitimacy of their rule. In fact, the government actively encouraged historians to produce accounts that disputed the city’s African origins.

Over time, however, an overwhelming body of evidence mounted, identifying Great Zimbabwe as an African city built by Africans. During the 1960s and 70s, Great Zimbabwe became an important symbol for the African Nationalist movement that was spreading across the continent. Today, the ruins at Great Zimbabwe, alluded to on the Zimbabwean flag by a soapstone bird, still stand as a source of national pride and cultural value.

From the TED-Ed Lesson Who built Great Zimbabwe? And why? - Breeanna Elliott

Animation by JodyPrody

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[#FILM] Africa’s Great Civilizations 
Premieres on 9pm ET/8pm CT on PBS 
February 27, 2017

In his six-hour series, AFRICA’S GREAT CIVILIZATIONS, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. takes a look at the history of Africa, from the birth of humankind to the dawn of the 20th century. This is a breathtaking and personal journey through two hundred thousand years of history, from the origins, on the African continent, of art, writing and civilization itself, through the millennia in which Africa and Africans shaped not only their own rich civilizations, but also the wider world.

Major corporate support for Africa’s Great Civilizations is provided by Bank of America, Johnson & Johnson, and Ancestry. Major funding is also provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Gilder Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS.

An African-American soldier in a training camp, 1917. Most of the American army’s training sites were in the deep South, where armed black men threatened Jim Crow white supremacy.

The mayor of Spartanburg, South Carolina, protested in the New York times that black soldiers, “with their Northern ideas about race equality, they will probably expect to be treated like white men. I can say right here that they will not be treated as anything except negroes.” The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce also wrote in that “It is a great mistake to send Northern negroes down here, for they do not understand our attitude.”