About Shila Iris

I am full of love and aggression... as I delve into the study of the tantric arts, I am pleased.

Adinkra Symbols

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Originally posted on by Shila Iris :

A dinkra symbols  are of African origin and reflect a system of human values that are universal: family, integrity, tolerance, harmony, determination, & protection among many others. ..

Find a symbol that represents you.

I am Shila Iris and I come to you in the spirit of the African Adinkra symbol, duafe which represents beauty, cleanliness, & desirable feminine qualities. Embrace.

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National Poetry Month- Erykah Badu the Poet

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For National Poetry Month, I would like to honor Queen Erykah Badu who has been my favorite artist since the first time I saw her in 1998, running across the TV screen singing “On and On.” In the video she portrayed a maid which was based on the movie adaptation of The Color Purple written by Alice Walker. I found her to be mesmerizing then, and I still do. Here is a poem she performed on Def Poetry Jam:

Pure hotness!

In addition to her wonderful poetry, earth-moving lyrics, and gracefully eclectic style, Erykah possesses a great deal of wisdom on life, making many people feel rewarded by her presence. She is on the May 2014 cover of Essence Magazine along with Ledisi and Solange. I can’t wait to read the article. Check out these beauties. Eseence Magazine 1Listen to her words on HAVING THE COURAGE TO BE BEAUTIFUL AND TO BE YOURSELF

This is what I am listening to today:

She also has one of the best albums of all time for me: Mama’s Gun

Check out the good reads:

Badusim

Queen shila iris for african essence

 

Gray, Black & White

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Last week I was massaging coconut oil into my scalp and noticed my first white hair! I was sort of surprised, but shortly after I began to embrace that one little white hair that although dead, seemed full of life. I wanted to do a public service announcement email to my friends, letting them know that Queen Shila Iris had gotten her first white hair. My computer started malfunctioning so I couldn’t send the email. However, I realized that I love gray and white hair! I actually love lots of gray, black, and white things. Pictures, pets, hair, clothes, shoes- together, these colors are hot! I like that salt and pepper look. To me it is distinguished and attractive. Check it out.

1Gray, black, and white videography…

Check out the good reads…

Love, life with wisdom,

Shila Iris 

Anytime, anyplace… the journey

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Love can feel so good when it is in season… and not forced.

1. This is how it starts..

“I want to dance tonight, I want to toast tonight, I’ll spend my money tonight, I want to get freaky tonight…” lol.

THE POINT IS: SOMETIMES WE NEED TO BE WILD!

2. After a few conversations…

“I needed sunshine in my day, something to wash away the pain. I saw a very gentle side of him, that took my heart and made it sane. I wish he’d run away and hide with me, love meant so much more than it seems, there is one thing I didn’t show, I love him and he doesn’t know…”

MY POINT: FINDING THE NERVE AND THE BOLDNESS TO LOVE SOMEONE AGAINST THE ODDS…

3. After the date…

“There’s a quiet storm, and I never felt like this before. There’s a quiet storm, that is you. There’s a quiet storm, and I never felt this hot before…”

THE POINT: IT IS GOOD TO EXPERIENCE PURE FEELINGS OF ADORATION.

4. …and you’ll want to say, “yes.” But you really need to carefully evaluate if you are ready to say it.

“There is only one for me. You have made that possibility. We can take that step to see. If this is really going to be, all you gotta do is say yes… don’t deny what you feel, let me undress you baby, open up your mind and just rest. I’m about to let you know, you make me so, so so so so so so so so…”

THE POINT IS: SOMETIMES, IT’S OK TO JUST SAY YES. SOMETIMES. DON’T LET EXPERIENCES OF A LIFETIME JUST PASS YOU BY.

5. Perhaps this may happen…

“…skirt around my waist, wall against my face, I can feel your lips… I don’t want to stop just because, people walking by watching us, I don’t give a damn what they think, I want you now…all I want to say is, any time, any place…”

THE POINT IS, LOVE IS REBELLIOUS!

This is Queen Shila for African Essence

Love, life, with wisdom!

P.S. Still searching for life in cracks… reading Seat of the Soul

The Warm Embrace of Mud Cloth…

Soon, the seasons will change to a warmer climate which may prevent us from wearing our beautiful mud cloths. Although created in a place where the weather is typically warm, it can be difficult to indulge in the beauty of this Malian textile once the sun starts blazing. So, you may want to start taking your heavier pieces out for their final spins. In many states, you should be able to get through the Spring wearing bogolanfini and if so, go for it! Here are some of my favorite styles…

The artistry and aesthetic sophistication of African textiles and dress has been admired and appreciated by foreign observers since the time of the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Navigators would travel to Zaire, Mali, the Kuba Kingdom, Kasai region, and the Kongo from overseas, returning home with cherished prizes of embroidered cloths and mud-dyed fabrics. Fast forward to 2014, what is the importance of these cloths today?

At the risk of greatly oversimplifying the extremely elaborate symbolism in African textiles, we have come to accept them as “ethnic” prints, sold to the masses strictly for profit. However, to the trained eye, a print is not good enough. I myself desire raffia cloths from Zaire. I dream of owning just a piece of a royal Ashanti kente cloth. I would travel far to acquire an aso oke, the ceremonial cloth of the Yoruba or any of the wax-printed cloths that adorned my ancestors. However, my most beloved choice of fabric is the bogolanfini, mud-dyed cloth of Mali; which translates from the Bamana as “mud cloth.”

I like the look of bogolanfini. I like its stiffness. I like how it compliments my tinted skin and I like its warm embrace. Mud cloth was originally decorated by women in the Bamana-speaking region of Mali, using a unique process that utilized dyes made from mud and leaves to produce light designs outlined with a dark background. In its local context, it remains to be a crucial garment worn to mark important lifecycle stages including birth, marriage, and death.

Today, numerous Malian’s as well as the Fulani and Dogon, have taken up the craft to produce simplified versions for tourists and the international market. But let us not forget, the genuine beauty and history of these fabrics. I am not an anthropologists or African art enthusiast looking to profit from this cultural artifact. I am simply a person who is aware of the greatness of my ancestors. I feel their royalty in everything that I do. I am empowered through them!

Read more about the bogolanfini, mud-dyed cloth of Mali…

The Kush Queen, 2/5/2014

I am Finally 30!

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It’s time to celebrate… meditate… dance… sing… create… love… eat… bathe… breathe… look within… read… shine my light on the world. You are welcome to bless me with your presence, your energy, your love from where you are. Send your positive vibrations.

Excited 2b 30

I am Shila Iris. I am a Queen. 2-13-1984

30 Birthday Performance in Cleveland

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I am turning 30 on February 13 and this is one of the celebrations I will be having! I am very excited and so happy to embark on this phase of my life.

Intercourse Shila 30 Birthday

Feel free to bring your positive energy! I will be performing just 4 songs so be on time. Thank you.

Peace,

Kush

There are people all around us, but all I can see is you…

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Just want to share some poetry with you...

Just want to share some poetry with you…

Enjoy!

Shila Iris aka Kush

What I am reading today: Goodbye, Sweetwater by Henry Dumas

Goodbye Sweetwater: New & Selected Stories

More poetry by Kush: Not Loving the Lies

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Beautiful Things

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These are some cool pictures that I came across and wanted to share with you.

Regardless of the medium used to facilitate it, portraiture is the pictorial representation of an individual and it can be challenging, interesting and historically significant- capable of embracing an era and the people who exist within it. -Gordon Parks

RELATED ARTICLES

Portraits of the Body

Tasteful Nudity

Seydou Keita Photos

Peace and love,

Kush aka Shila

P.S. Today I am reading poetry. Check out these great books.

Somewhere in advance of nowhere by Jayne Cortez

I am mourning Amiri Baraka, so I am reading his works and watching his lectures.

stay strong. peace.

I think I’m in love with a woman… wait, maybe several of them!

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Yes, I love the ladies! These sisters know how to bring the fire! Check em’ out.

DYNASTY, this lyrical beast, IS MY MAIN CHICK RIGHT NOW!

“Listen to the MC when he spittin’/ if he represent the elements, he’s furthering the mission.”

Dynasty

Dynasty

Not only is she super cute, but her lyrics are amazing. Definitely deep and dope! CLiCk here to hear. FORGIVE, Live at FUNKFEST, MAGNIFICENT, EPIC. WEBSITE

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SA-ROC, the rap genius, IS MY SIDE CHICK! She is intoxicating and most definitely untouchable. However, she is my “go to” and I would actually choose her over my main! How can I say no? Have you seen her? What’s so great about her is that her lyrics are not surface. You have to dig deeper and deeper and deeper. So be prepared to experience truth.

“My grind metaphysical/spiritual/hustler/I’m a wild seed like Octavia/Butler/they study my demeanor/ trynna get my lotus poles/drop a cool 16 with my poets prose/Like I’m Nikki/definitely not Minaj/Giovanni!”

Sa Roc

Sa-Roc

CliCK here to hear. BLACK GOD THEORY, QUEEN’S PHILOSOPHY, DEMON DESTROYER, THE SLEEPING DOGON GIANTS. WEBSITE

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AKUA NARU, rapper and poet, IS MY AROUND THE WAY CHICK! I will travel far to see her because her presence is water to my flowers and food for my soul. She is refreshingly sophisticated and mature. Above that, I admire her career because she has been successful with promoting her music around the world. I also love to hear her smooth voice. I think I need her. Smile.

Akua Naru

Akua Naru

CLIck here to hear. HOW DOES IT FEEL NOW?TALES OF (WO) MEN, THE FLIP. WEBSITE

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THE LES NUBIANS ARE the sultry WOMEN I LIKE TO WATCH. They are gorgeous, melodic, confident, and super eccentric in such a great way. I’m loyal to them- always. Oh my! Check out the way their bodies move! Pure hotness! They will forever have a place near my heart. Peace and love to them.

Les Nubians

Les Nubians- a bit blurry, but one of my favorite pics

CliCK here to listen. LIVE, MAKEDA LIVE, AFRODANCE. WEBSITE

Bonus! Check out Ms. Lauryn Hill. I really believe that we need to stop judging this sister here. I’ve noticed that people have been so quick to dog her out! Damn,  chill already! She just got out. Let her find her voice again. It can be hard to put up with the bullshit that comes with success. Let’s allow her to breathe. 

Thank you for stopping by! Remember to keep an open heart and an open mind. Have fun.

Reading: LET YOUR MOTTO BE RESISTANCE by Deborah Willis

Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits

Shila Iris aka Kush

The Hooded Dress

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I have this growing obsession with hooded dresses. Oddly, I do not own any… yet!

The book I’m reading:

822640

Oh my! This book is magnificent! Look at that dance move! Dare you to try it! Smile.

Thanks for visiting African Essence.

Kush Queendom

Got time to browse?  http://www.afropunk.com/     www.zmalfashion.com

My Love for Seydou Keita

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WHO IS HE?

SEYDOU K

Seydou Keita is the self-taught photographer who sparked my interest in portrait, fashion, and family photography; as well as photojournalism and macro/micro face picture-taking. He is best known for his works of art captured between 1940 and 1960, exhibited in hundreds of gallery’s nationwide. That is a great accomplishment for any photographer. He is also known for his books:

  1. Seydou Keita
  2. You Look Beautiful Like That
  3. Photographs, Bamako, Mali 1948-1963

I don’t want to go on a rant about how much I love him, but I will say that Seydou’s work continues to take my breath away. I am always discovering new elements in his photography that I may have missed the first time around. I often mention his name in conversations when I am asked about how I nurture my eccentricities. I honor the greatness in other people. Seydou’s work has challenged and inspired me to share my gifts with the world.

There are many people who are capable of taking exceptional photos but, if you are looking for a teacher, examining his work may help you to understand what photography is really about. With him, it was more than just a picture, it was history, culture, fashion, and reality.

Here are some of my favorite pictures that you can find on the internet. However, there are so many great photos in his books, so if you have a library card, check them out!

In Janet Jackson‘s video, Got Til It’s Gone featuring Q-Tip and Joni Mitchell, the images reminded me of Seydou’s work. Let me know what you think.

Other photographers whose work I appreciate.

Looking for reasons to become a photographer? Examining Seydou Keita’s work- you just may want to try it out!

I am Kush.

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Not Loving the Lies… a poetic experience

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Deep and Dope 1

Deep and Dope 2

Deep and Dope 3 Deep and Dope 4

Just wanted to share some poetry.

As I listen and listen to the stories of my acquaintances, I am realizing that people are saying the same things and telling the same lies. I am trying to express that here. I hear this so much: “I don’t want to hurt anyone.” Well, your choice to withhold information will lead to pain. That is the way that cookie crumbles. We have to start being wiser about the truth. You may think you have your lies under control, but guess what. Not really.

… but I don’t want to judge. Smiling.

Kush