Lovin Oprah These Days… She Can Rock an Afro!

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This is Oprah on the cover of the September 2013 issue of The Oprah Magazine. I am really digging her boldness these days. She is fun, open, and risky! That is a great way for a woman of her age to be- ageless at heart! The point of it all: Tressed to Impress, all about the hair.  I really just think that she is visually showing what it feels like to experiment with and to explore hair. I love the textured fro. Beyonce’s stylist allowed her to borrow it and it weighs in at 3.5 lbs. Wow! It is reminiscent of Chaka Khan, Diana Ross, and Ms. Badu:

Oprah says that she wish this wig were her own hair. I love it! She talks about hair because she wants to know why it has such a hold on women. I agree. Oddly, I asked my friend yesterday what he thought about my hair over the phone. I dyed my hair and the roots had begun to show and I wanted to know what he thought about that. He said to me: you are focusing too much on it! You have good taste and it’s beautiful any way you wear it. I believed him. He isn’t shallow at all (but he cannot stand weave!). I could come out any way that I pleased and he would not care. Gotta love a good friend! This is the biggest my hair has been. I only wore it like this for a photo shoot. I couldn’t handle it the next day day. The Afro pics were of me in Vegas at an NBA party! It was so much fun!

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Well, I believe that the hair/head is a crown and it should be cared for with love, but, if it becomes consuming then think about a cut! For me, hair is most beautiful in its natural texture. Not chemically processed or dyed. What you were born with is what you must love. Everything else is just temporary decoration. Colors and weaves should not define a woman. We must show our own hair and love it. I love my bush. Do you?

The Kush Queen aka Queen Duafe aka Shila Iris aka ishilai aka The Fifth Element for African Essence Blog

Queendom- Understanding When it is Time to Take the Throne

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SOMETIMES QUEENS NEED SPACE to plant seeds…

I woke up this morning from a dream that was disturbing, yet liberating! Different people in my life that had once held me back, were drowning in a gigantic cesspool of chaos. I had the ability to save them, but I let them drown. I am excited about this message because I don’t often understand my dreams and I end up ignoring them. However, this dream said to me that it is time to save myself. I have been trying to save others, meantime losing sight of my own purpose. I am here for me right now and I am not afraid to find the space that I need to survive.

This past summer, I got a lot of complaints from my family and some friends about my presence in their lives. After hearing these complaints, I spent a lot of time trying to work out what they needed from me in my mind. I could not stand that they were crying about my absence, never stopping to ask me if I was doing OK! Instead they selfishly complained and tried to place the blame in my lap, saying and actually believing that I must have a problem with them. That was such BS. For years I was the person in my family and in my friends lives that would pick up and travel to see them. That is the only way that we saw each other. Not once did I complain about them not coming to see me. I gladly went to meet them where they were rather it be Atlanta, Baltimore or the other side of the city, I was the one “showing up!” Now that I need space to clarify my life, all of sudden I am a villain. Please!

The gist of the disagreements was that I don’t come around anymore. My response: deal with it! I am going through some things and that does not mean that you should not call or keep me in the loop. It just means that I am not going to be the initiator all the time! If you want me somewhere, put in that same effort that I put in when I was coming to see you. Damn! Get off my back! Understand that I used to be a princess, but now I am a Queen and you must let me take the throne in the only way I know how. Let me grow at my own pace.

Peace and love,

The Kush Queen for African Essence

P.S. “You are a first lady worthy of a king” they say. Well let me make my life better, let me find what it is I need to survive. I am not in a place where I have a lot of time & $ to play. However, when you want to hang out, just call. I have to plant the seeds if I want to harvest the fruit. All I want is peace.

The Music of Laura Mvula

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Laura Mvula

As an antidote for my perpetual need to hear music that has meaning, I’ve been cruising Amazon in hopes of finding music that has the same effect on me as Baduizm or the Mis-education of Lauryn Hill. I have found a few great artists whose albums I love like Nneka, Lianne La Havas and Quadron. I am still searching. I have come across some really good music from women all over the world.

Living in the present, my featured artist of the day is the lovely Ms. Laura Mvula from the Selly Park suburbs of Birmingham, England. That makes her a British soul-singer. She dropped her debut album earlier this year and it has gotten great reviews. I like her album and I like the artistry in her videos. Check it out and let me know what you think.

These videos are very creative. I appreciate the art.

Love, life, and wisdom,

Queen for African Essence

P.S. Want to see another artistic video? Check out Afrodance by Les Nubians.

The Music of Ntjam Rosie

There are so many beautiful women singing beautiful music! I love it. I am so high on this song. A friend of mine suggested this and I am so glad that he did! This song reminds of a time in my life when I was truly alone, but not lonely. I needed to be alone.  I was a young (er) woman, growing and learning and in need of solitude. Thank you Ntjam for the great vibes.

I used to hear music like this in my mind when I lived in DC. I would ride the Metro around the entire city until I got tired.

NtjamRosie_Videoshoot_site

Queen for African Essence

P.S. Looking for a book to read? I came across this book on Toure’s website. I really want to check it out. The story sounds so interesting: Soul City by Toure.

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The Story Must Be Told- Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey & Forest Whitaker

THE BUTLER movie in theaters August 16

I wish I didn’t feel it, but I do. I wish I didn’t see it, but I see. I wish I wasn’t a victim of racism, but I am! You have no idea how many tears have fallen from my eyes. I am human. -Queen

I am in great anticipation of the new film from Director Lee Daniels, The Butler. It has quite a few great actors and actresses, among them, Oprah and Forest Whitaker. I read the recent article in Parade magazine which features commentary from the director and star characters. They discuss what the movie means to them and why the story needs to be told.

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I love this pic of the two of them! photo by Michael Edwards.

In the interview, Oprah had so many hard-hitting points on racism and history and I commend her for using such powerful words. We need to hear people speak up because somehow, we are hiding from the past and allowing it to fade away. Meantime, we still experience racism every single day. In America, it is deeply embedded into our laws and codes of conduct, education system, entertainment and athletic industry, and I see and feel it all the time. No, it’s not paranoia. I experience it from looks, to blatant disrespect from people who refuse to accept African Americans no matter what. They scream diversity and multiculturalism, all the while referring to brown people in a derogatory manner and thinking very stereotypical and hateful thoughts about them as well.

We are told to “get over it” and to “move on”, all the while, being denied decency because America has yet to get over it! We are belittled and accused of pulling the “race card” whenever we choose to speak up about unfair treatment. If there was no card, we would not have one to pull. Whose deck are we playing with? Yes, racist America’s. So just as soon as America stops dealing these race cards, the sooner we’ll stop pulling them! We are told how we should feel by people who do not have our best interests in mind. We suffer from mis-education and from poverty which makes it hard for even the “educated” to survive.

We are encouraged to hate ourselves by giving in to lightened images that depict someone other than us. We are manipulated into spiritual, physical, and financial debt from thousands of years of scars from America’s antagonism of what we really are. Brown people have been bamboozled and we remain weak because every time that we have been strong enough to rise, we have been murdered- lynched, shot, and stabbed. Communities burned down, bombed, and torn apart. We are told not to blame anyone but ourselves for our transgressions. However,I have played the game by their standards, and by my own, and have received the same treatment. It is hard being what I am. I am statistically defined before I come out of the starter block, but yet like Maya, I still rise!

The good thing is, I still have love to give and freedom to fight for. I get stronger.

*** I really love how Oprah comes so hard and real in this interview! First of all, Oprah said she received the offer to do the movie while standing on “her” mountain in Maui. I thought this was a play on words, but she actually has a mountain! I don’t often keep up with the material possessions of Hollywood, but that is pretty deep. Alrighty then!

She talks about the use of the word NIGGA which I absolutely loved. Her words:

“You cannot be my friend and use that word around me. It shows my age, but I feel strongly about it.”

Personally, I don’t get why people are so adamant in using this stupid word! I have had many a debate about it and it ends ridiculously. Some of my favorite artists use the word and it makes me skip the track on days when I just can’t handle it. It is not a friendly word for me. Oprah goes on to say:

“I am a student of history. I grew up knowing where I’ve come from. When you fully get that, it’s hard to be loose-lipped with that word.”

Forest Whitaker:

“I don’t use the word, never did.”

Oprah has challenged Jay-Z on the use of the word and she proudly defends her stance. Yes! I get it.

Director Lee Daniels shared the film with his family in July and his 30-year-old nephew said to him:

“Did some of this stuff really happen?” Daniels admitted that he was very upset. Oprah says that young people today don’t know diddly-squat about the civil rights movement (history). I agree. I work around young people every day who KNOW NOTHING! I find that amazing. A 30-year-old not knowing… that’s horrible! I will be turning 30 soon and I know all about history from the obvious to the hidden. Hmmm. I grew up in Cleveland if that helps? I went to Fisk...? As far back as I can remember existed inside of me a yearning to want to know the truth about who and what I am. However, his nephew does not surprise me. So many people my age know nothing about THEMSELVES. We have become this “other man” who is complacent with the lies we are taught. Honestly, I am not political, pushy, or disrespectful- just proud of my heritage. However, I have noticed that because of the way I speak, with confidence and knowledge, some dubb me negatively. I only try to share what I know as the truth in the most constructive manner possible, and if there is no desire to know from the other party, I walk. I walk a lot. People are comfortable in the Matrix.

Whitaker shares his experiences:

“I’ve had many incidents in my life of racism. I’ve been thrown on the ground. I’ve been frisked. I’ve been arrested so many times I couldn’t tell you. I have no need to talk about it… The movie deals with valuation of life, too. Like whose life is valuable? Is it ok to take life?”

He is speaking about people like Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin. He goes on to make an excellent point:

“If you can’t accept that these things are going on, you’re living an illusion. So the question at this point is more of, how can we move the needle forward? Can we speak up? I think this film helps that in some way… and it’s not just the Black culture; we have to look at ourselves as global citizens and what’s happening to people all over the world.”

Oprah:

“Are more people judged by the content of their character than by the color of their skin? Yes. Is everybody judged by the content of their character? Absolutely not.”

I was very pleased with the article by Katherine Heintzelman. Sometimes I feel completely exhausted with having to fight fight fight. I feel like fighting for my rights has taken time away from many other things in life that I could have been successful with. I wish I had time and expenses to travel and speak many languages and be connected with nature without having to live in such a toxic world. I wish I did not have to spend so much time mentally preparing so that when I am around certain people and groups I don’t have to get angry or lose it when they make bottomless racist remarks! Oh how I wish I had the freedom to just be me and to never have to worry about how people are going to look at me. I wish I hadn’t had to cry all those nights because a man or woman from a different race disrespected me or looked at me a certain way often times with hate and jealousy.  I wish I didn’t feel it, but I do. I wish I didn’t see it, but I see. I wish I wasn’t a victim of racism, but I am! You have no idea how many tears have fallen from my eyes, wind knocked right out of me with ill remarks. All the while, all I can think is: I am a human creation of God. Why?

Queen Duafe for African Essence

P.S. I cried right when I finished this. But like always, I have to pick myself up. I am going to listen to Gaelle’s Fade Away because I can relate. Make sure you listen to the lyrics. Then I’ll probably listen to E. Badu’s Drama and Lauryn Hill’s I Get Out because I stay grounded in this music. Father, free from this bondage, knowing my condition, is the reason I must change!