As we approach the Fourth of July, don’t forget to explore the meaning of Juneteenth.
Kush Queen for African Essence
COME CHECK out the band, Intercourse the Collective, this FRIDAY, JUNE 13 AT LIL’ AFRICA AKA THE KITCHEN located at 6816 Superior Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44103.
This show will feature myself and my wonderful playmates- vocalist: RaShimba WildBloom, Drummer: Ali Boyd, Keyboard Player: Egan Ammerman, and the Digital Griot: jAfterDark. We will be doing a special tribute to the late Rayshawn Armstrong who was a well-known Cleveland poet and community driven activist. Thank you to poet, Bianca Michelle and artist, Latoya Kent for their participation in this show. Peace and love! See you there.
shila iris aka Queen
Are you having trouble coming up with style combinations? Try these looks. Depending upon the weather, you may or may not need to add a jacket or more layers to keep warm.
Shila Iris for African Essence
Need something to read?
1. Otis Redding: Try a Little Tenderness
“WHEN SHE GETS WEARY, TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS, I KNOW SHE’S WAITING, JUST ANTICIPATING, FOR THINGS THAT SHE WILL NEVER POSSESS. BUT WHILE SHE’S THERE WAITING, TRY JUST A LITTLE BIT OF TENDERNESS. THAT’S ALL YOU GOT TO DO. NOW IT MIGHT BE A LITTLE BIT SENTIMENTAL, NO, NO, NO, BUT SHE HAS HER GRIEVES AND CARES. BUT THE SOFT WORDS, THEY ARE SPOKE SO GENTLE AND IT MAKES IT EASIER TO BEAR,,, YOUNG GIRLS, THEY DON’T FORGET IT.”
2. Max Roach Quartet featuring Abbey Lincoln: Freedom Day
RIGHT AT 2:34 MY HEART SCREAMED FOR THE STRINGS! I FOUND MY FREEDOM IN THIS WONDERFUL MELODY. “SLAVE NO LONGER, THIS IS FREEDOM DAY!”
3. Abbey Lincoln: Brother Where Are You?
AND BECAUSE ABBEY IS SUCH A GREAT STORYTELLER AND GRIOT, I JUST HAD TO HEAR ONE MORE BEFORE I WENT INTO MY SLUMBER. “IT SEEMS THERE ARE VERY FEW, WHO WILL ANSWER OUR BROTHER’S CALL. BROTHER WHERE ARE YOU, THEY TOLD ME THAT YOU CAME THIS WAY.”
4. Isley Brothers: Prelude to Harvest for the World
GROWING UP, MY MOTHER PLAYED THIS RECORD MANY MANY NIGHTS. SHE HAD A BEAUTIFUL AND SOULFUL VOICE. WHEN SHE SANG IT, I FELT EVERY WORD. TONIGHT I WAS THINKING OF HER, AND I HEARD HER SINGING THIS IN MY HEAD. “GATHER EVERY MAN. GATHER EVERY WOMAN. CELEBRATE, CELEBRATE YOUR LIVES! GIVE THANKS FOR YOUR CHILDREN. WHEN WILL THERE BE, A HARVEST FOR THE PEOPLE? WHEN WILL THERE BE, A HARVEST FOR THE WORLD?”
5. Sade: Feel No Pain (She is a beautiful woman and I love her music)
SO, I WAS THINKING OF MY FATHER AND BROTHERS AS WELL, AND THIS REMINDED OF THEM. “HELP THEM TO STRIVE, HELP THEM TO MOVE ON. HELP THEM TO HAVE SOME FUTURE, HELP THEM TO LIVE LONG. HELP THEM TO LIVE LIFE. HELP THEM TO SMILE. DON’T LET THEM STAY HOME AND LISTEN TO THE BLUES… DON’T LET THEM LOSE, WE GOTTA GIVE THEM A CHANCE. IT’S GONNA COME BACK ON EVERY ONE, IF YOU DON’T MAKE THEM DANCE. DON’T LET THEM STAY HOME AND LISTEN TO THE BLUES… ONE DAY, WE’RE GOING TO WAKE UP.WITH GHETTOS ALL AROUND. ALL OVER, MY FRIEND. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MAN BREAK DOWN?”
6. Michael Jackson: In the Closet
I WAS HAVING MIXED EMOTIONS, SO I HAD TO LEAVE OFF WITH THIS. THE UP AND DOWN ROLLER COASTER RIDE I N THIS SONG, RELAXES ME. THE SOFT FEMININE SPEAKING AND THEN THE SMOOTH RAUNCHINESS OF MICHAEL, I LOVE IT! CAUSE… “THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT YOU, BABY, THAT MAKES ME WANT TO GIVE IT TO YOU. JUST PROMISE ME THAT WHATEVER WE SAY OR DO TO ONE ANOTHER, FOR NOW, WE’LL MAKE A VOW TO, KEEP IT IN THE CLOSET!”
TOUCH ME THERE, MAKE THE MOVES, CAST THE SPELL.
Peace and Love,
Kush Queendom and Shila Iris, Saturday, May 17, 1:49 a.m.
I wrote this poem weeks ago, but I just got the opportunity to share it.
“Busy as a bee, I be, in constant rotation. Smiling out loud to the people in my face, I race, I learn to win. I keep going and going, drifting in the wind. Feeling the breeze as the branches on my trees, shake. Leaves fall to the ground. Children race to collect to the gifts from my pinata, my arms open wide. I embrace. I cry today, for the poet inside of them that wants to be free…”
Click the image of the poem to enlarge.
Peace 4 Love,
Queen Duafe aka Shila Iris aka Kush Queen
Originally posted on by Shila Iris :
Adinkra symbols are of African origin and reflect a system of human values that are universal: family, integrity, tolerance, harmony, determination, & protection among many others...
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.
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:
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. Listen 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:
Queen shila iris for african essence
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.
Check out the good reads…
Love, life with wisdom,
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
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
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