The Orijin Store – Amazing African Accessories

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Look closely at this bag.  Now scream!  This is absolutely beautiful.  For a person like me, who loves African and African-inspired fashion, I feel like I hit a gold mine.  Sistas and brothas, you must indulge in this greatness.

Today is Friday, and perhaps you have some extra cash, or disposable income left, and want to reward yourself for a goal that you accomplished.  Well, this is the way to do it! Check out the Orijin Store!  I am all about African fashion and this company hit the nail on the head with this line of amazing accessories.

Ori j i nal Design, Culturally Inspired.  Visit Orijins website to see the full collection of bags, glasses, and signature clothing.  Given my beliefs in living the Nguzo Saba 365, this is a purchase I can be proud of because it’s for us, by us.  You can share in this greatness too, if you’re ready.  Sure, break the rules!  🙂

I will be getting one of these amazing bags.  Based on my experiences with leather, the price is really good – $169.  I think you should go for it.  I love, love, love it.  No pressure, though, you don’t have to love it.  Just give it some time.  I’m sure you will.

Shot out to Orijin for supporting my art on Instagram.  Much love.  Peace.

You can find them on IG @orijinculture and I am @kushqueendom

I’m sending signals to your mental, so we can connect… see you soon, 

Shila Iris 

My Introduction to the Wu-Tang Clan

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black-history_feb-17_copyright-shila-iris-2017The year was 1997, and online music was no where to be found. Most of the world experienced solid, art-based hip-hop through Rap City, Video Vibrations or through either the Vibe, Source, Right On! or Word Up! magazines. My older brother was a hip-hop nut! He introduced our family to this raunchy, fun, yet highly political style of beat-based poetry. When I saw my first Wu-Tang video, Triumph, I was so intoxicated that I wanted to be a rapper. The intensity of the lyrics made my heart percolate! The fast-paced imagery tugged at my youth, urging me to be free. The 10 men I saw on the screen were raw and oddly intellectual.

They seemed to be well-read, open, and real. They were from another world, far away from where I was from. The beats were right up my alley. I was intrigued. The music of Wu-Tang has taught me that we can’t sanitize Black life, making it appear to be easy, and we cannot not alter our stories to please others. Life is what it is. Give it to them raw. I feel blessed to have seen them perform live. It was a fun experience. I also saw the solo performances of Ghostface Killah, and last year I saw GZA perform in Akron, Ohio. RZA had a book talk at the public library, where he shared parts of his personal life story, talked about the business side of Wu-Tang and explained his book, The Tao of Wu. These men are such heart throbs! Their ability to be honest makes them all the more attractive. Whenever Wu-Tang is in town, I will be there, no doubt. The Clan is an ultimate example of the Nguzo Saba aka 7 Principles of Kwanzaa. If you ever see me in the gym, nearly falling off the elliptical, it’s because I’m listening to Triumph, and I have gotten so lifted, that I’m in another world! Be careful when you listen to the Wu. Peace.

Thank you for reading,

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ShiLA IRiS

My Introduction to Kara Walker

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Back in 2011, I spent a lot more time than I am willing to admit, in an ongoing conversation with a dear friend of mine. We were consistently conversing, texting, emailing, Skyping, and meeting up to share our worlds with one another. One day, this wonderful companion of mine sent me an email with a link to Kara Walker’s website. I took a look. It was pretty amazing. Her style of storytelling is appealing to the eye in its simplicity, and culturally relevant, urging humanity to reach inside themselves and find out who they really are. With that same friend who I spent most of 2011 talking with, I was honored, this past Fall, to see the Kara Walker exhibit: “The Ecstasy of St. Kara,” which reflects upon the complex history of Christianity and the myths surrounding slavery- worldwide and in the lives of Black people. Kara’s work supports mental growth and spiritual evolution. It makes me think about where I was, where I am, and where I want to be. I am grateful to have experienced Kara’s ecstasy.

… a little behind, celebrated my birthday on February 13, and been under the weather, but now I’m on top! Peace and love! Gonna continue to celebrate the African Diaspora. You should too.

Peace and blessings manifest with every lesson learned.

Thank you for reading,

2015

Love,

Shila

My Introduction to “Knowledge of Self”

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black-history_feb-13_copyright-shila-iris-2017Becoming conscious of my own existence, my mind began to transform. I shedded my ego and my eyes opened to reveal my heart. Gaining clairvoyance through observation, I realized that the now was here. I had a chance, so I took it. The urgency of my evolution allowed me to see the matrix, the numbers, the chemistry, the hieroglyphs, the cyphers- the rotation was magnificent. As I matriculate, I stay true. I have seen with my own two eyes the truth. My accountability, my sacrifice, my love is here. I wrote myself back into the story, and started to really love this girl. This level of maturity, this level of security, my restoration is my assignment. Obstacles are moving, resistance is under my elephant feet, I defeat, every time. Better Me. I wanted her so bad, I had to get her. I saw Shila, and I pursued her, until she was strong and her colors shined through. I planted my flag, my culture, my God. I came for her. Osiris Rising.

Thank you for visiting,

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Shila Iris

My Introduction to Nikki Giovanni

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black-history_feb-12_copyright-shila-iris-2017Storytelling has been an African tradition for a very long time. Our ancestors used stories to record history and to communicate important messages through generations. Poetry is the method I use to tell stories, and this is the woman who made me believe that it could be done. Poetry can change minds, change hearts, lead to soul revivals; it has a place on the streets, in politics, in music, up high, down low, poetry is a tool we use to transcend. Back in 2005, I heard Nikki speak in the wonderful Jubilee Hall on the campus of her and my Alma Mater, Fisk University. She was amazing, with her candid interpretations of life, or should I say, thug life! Check out the tattoo on her left forearm. I can’t believe that Nikki Giovanni is 73 years old. Her name sounds like she is fashion designer, but she is indeed a game changer who has tried to help us recover from having our culture stolen. With her pages of accolades, she has been a fighter and a major voice. With her words of wisdom and ability to communicate with people from all walks of life, she has helped us fight against the deeply-rooted injustices targeted at people of African descent. She is more than a writer, she uplifted the Black Experience and taught it to many generations of young minds. My favorite piece from her is an essay named Gemini, in a book also named Gemini. She speaks about her first 25 years as a Black poet, and in this particular essay, she talks about the relationship between Black men and women. Looking back on it, I can see things a bit clearer. I am grateful. Prophetic poetry is a part of our Black history. Thanks Nikki, for paving a way. Peace.

I really adore you,

Shila Iris

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My Introduction to Spike Lee

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black-history_feb-11_copyright-shila-iris-2017“The cultural relevance of his films puts him ahead of the pack.”

I’ve never understood why critics compare Spike Lee’s work to other directors. There is no one like him. His artistic vision is exclusive and recognizable worldwide. As a child, I was happy when the family flick of the week was a Spike Lee Joint. Crooklyn and When the Levees Broke have become my favorites. The provocative issues that Spike addresses in his films, appeal to me. I value realistic art with powerful and transformational stories- not unnecessary, mind-numbing drama. I’d rather learn how to solve a problem, then how to create one. That’s what Spike brings to the table. I will watch mostly anything that he writes and directs just because he has a wonderfully cultivated mind and because his art direction has brought many Black actors to life including: Denzel, Samuel L. Jackson, and Wesley Snipes. He has also brought Black History and the Black Experience to the stage like no other. The words, a “Spike Lee Joint” are a part our vernacular and his creations are a part of our history. I am on his team! Go Spike!

Thank you for visiting African Essence by Shila Iris

2015

My Introduction to Shirley Chisholm

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black-history_feb-10_copyright-shila-iris-2017To be the person to act against the odds with no precedent is honorable. It means you are a builder, helping to establish a blueprint towards positive change. Every lucrative society needs architects. On the road to freedom, we have had many great minds that fought, tooth and nail, to help people of African descent living in America breakthrough the pain that would impact every aspect of their lives for generations. There were leaders, who wanted Black people to become active members of the society that they in fact built. The innovative Shirley Chisholm, was a woman to admire. My mother talked a lot about her and Fannie Lou Hamer. These were women that she grew up watching in action, and they are two women that I uphold. I know what discrimination feels like- to walk into a room, store, or an organization seeking employment, and have people look at you, like you’re out of place. I’ve heard those derogatory names and comments used to describe me. I’ve done all the hard work and watched other people receive the benefits. It changes you, so, we must go against the odds! The disillusioned will become afraid of you, claiming that you are combative. When you seek your humanity, resistance will knock at the door with guns. You must remember that you are a fighter, and you have to keep pushing, because like Chisholm said, “racism is so universal in this country, so widespread and deep-seated, that it is invisible because it is so normal.” Be unbought, and stay unbossed. Be happy, embrace the all, and never be complacent.

Thank you,

Shila Iris