Revolution of one


Unfortunately, I haven’t returned refreshed from a holiday in the Maldives. Life is still hectic but most importantly the desire to write has returned. Many thanks for bearing with me.

I have written about love before but usually I focus on relationships and romantic love. During my hiatus I have been dwelling on the power of self-love. Once we have peace within ourselves we increase the probability of finding contentment within various aspects of our lives be it a job, family or relationships. I do believe that having that approach to life is a revolutionary act because it is the only way that we are truly free. Only by placing our internal desires ahead of societal or familial pressures do we get to exert free will. That is the battle, the challenge for us all.

Every day, we are bombarded with images, which leave us with a sense of inadequacy. I don’t have the right car, house, lifestyle, body or job. The point of advertising is to create a need where there really isn’t one. If your car is still running, you don’t really need a new one. Our internal happiness is not related to our external appearance. Contrary to popular belief, finding true love is not dependent on being a size eight with a DD cup size. We follow this shallow nonsense because we desperately want to believe that there is a clear cut path to happiness. That we can somehow buy our way out of sorrow, doubt or pain. That we can pin all of our happiness onto one thing, I will be happy when I get that new job/partner/lose a dress size. Focusing on the superficial is the original avoidance technique. We can run as fast as we like but we cannot run away from ourselves.

Societal pressures forces us to conform not just to materialism but to prop up an existing pecking order. Race, gender and sexual orientation are all social constructs designed to uphold White patriarchy by spreading insecurity and fear to ensure conformity. If young Black men are continually told that they face unemployment and incarceration, the hope is that this information will take root in said young men and the majority will not fight against what they believe to be inevitable. If we tell young Black women that only light skinned Black women are attractive and that women of darker hue are of no value, the hope is that Black women will be locked in a battle to be ‘The fairest of them all’. This mentality pits Black women against each other, encouraging some to damage their bodies with lightening creams and pass this self hate to future generations. In short this is just a smoke screen to distract people from living happy, contented and most importantly authentic lives.

This is where self love comes in. Love is not just warm and fuzzy; it has a steely element to it. If you have love for yourself, you have the ability to exercise discernment. Not everyone will have your best interest at heart. It takes strength to know who to follow, to ignore, to let enter your life and who to walk away from. None of this is easy but it is all very necessary. I refuse to engage with or financially support Black male artists who promote negative beliefs or stereotypes about Black women. Likewise I will not support Black women who publicly bash all Black men as I was raised by a loving Black father. I will not allow people of other races who wish to be disrespectful about my colour or gender to affect me. That is to give the ignorant far too much power and control. They do not affect how I feel about myself, I do. Their agenda is to reduce me to a negative stereotype and to prevent me from having the courage to live and love freely. Trying to cajole or force another’s validation is a fool’s errand. Perhaps I am wrong but I find that intolerance is usually fuelled by insecurity. Rather than working on the aspects of their lives that need to be improved, they find someone who they can feel superior to. It is virtually impossible to be liked by someone who does not like themselves.

So why is love a revolutionary idea. Simply, it is the only way in which we are all free. If we truly believe that we are ‘Fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14) who do we have to prove anything to? I know that this is not an easy concept to execute. On a daily basis I flit from lioness mode to a quivering wreck but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try. If we live our lives with love and authenticity we don’t get lost in the crowd, we don’t ask the world to cherish the individual when it seeks to control the masses. We can only hope that if we all follow our own paths, that the generation to come will do the same. That is the true power of social change; it takes only one person to start a revolution.

Please let me know your thoughts


It’s only hair people!


I don’t understand why what Black women choose to do with their hair is such a major topic of conversation. I obviously did not receive the memo informing that me that a simple hair do would reveal so much about my pride in my race or femininity.

The hypocrisy of Black men regarding this topic is just breathtaking. I have read so many online conversations where Black men have stated that they hate weaves/relaxed hair and they wish that women would keep their hair natural. In cyber space these men are only too happy to flex their afro centric credentials. However, in reality these same men are only too happy to fall at the feet of the Beyonce and Rhianna’s of this world. Although equally wonderful, the likes of Erykah Badu, India Arie and Lauryn Hill do not adorn the same amount of men’s bedroom walls.

Not to be outdone, academics are also jumping on the hair bandwagon. Earlier this year a study came out linking agents in relaxers to causing uterine fibroids in Black women. Apparently, Black women are more likely to have fibroids and the majority of these women happened to have relaxed hair, it seemed logical to the researchers at Boston University to connect the two. This thinking is so flawed that I don’t understand how these academics were not embarrassed to utter such nonsense. Black women are probably also more likely to use cocoa butter on their skin. According to this faux science should we also point the guilty finger at the humble cocoa bean as the sole cause behind uterine fibroids? This research was extremely irresponsible, trying to incite panic using the flimsiest correlations as a base for its findings.

The Boston University research had such a condescending tone to it, implying that Black women are so vain and foolish that they are prepared to endanger their health just to change the natural state of their hair. It would be disingenuous not to admit that the relaxer kit was created to remove the natural kink in afro hair and assume a more European appearance. In 2012, the motivations behind Black women self expressions are extremely varied and diverse. I refute any attempt to lump us all together. For the last ten years I have relaxed my hair and currently sport a weave. Convenience and speed are the driving forces behind my choices. Just because I am not sporting an Afro it doesn’t mean that I am renouncing my natural Black beauty. With or without a weave, I doubt that I would ever have to clarify that I am a Black woman.

That said it does sadden me that in some quarters there is a rejection of natural hair. Some Black women claim that they believe that they cannot wear their hair naturally in the corporate environment. My sister and many of my friends happily wear their hair naturally in the workplace. Sadly we still hear phrases such as ‘nappy hair’ to describe natural hair, particularly by other Black people. Only those lacking in self worth would see their skin or their hair as being inferior. This toxic way of thinking needs to be curtailed. Every human being should be proud of who they are. Black women should have the confidence to express themselves without seeking permission. It is also important that we put our choices in context. Relaxing my hair is not the same as putting mercury on my skin in order to lighten it. All women use various methods to change their appearance from dying their hair, using weaves (White women use them too) to having radical haircuts. The line is crossed when you are prepared to damage your body in order to change your appearance permanently. For anyone who is affronted by my weave unless they are prepared to come to my house and braid my hair on a regular basis, I respectfully ask you to keep your disdain to yourself.

All women should embrace self expression. I resent any man trying to get involved in this discussion as it implies that they get a say on how we look and that somehow we should seek their approval. I like to look nice but I get to decide what I wear and how I wear my hair. Getting Black women and women in general to focus on their looks is the original smokescreen. It’s a feeble attempt to distract women from focusing on their empowerment. The modern woman has bigger fish to fry and at the end of the day, it’s only hair.

Please let me know your thoughts


The hatred within


Self hate are two words which have plagued and continue to plague the Black community. In the last forty years the world has witnessed a Black first family in the White House, the ‘Black is beautiful’ slogans of the 70’s and Black artists filmmakers, CEOs hold positions of prominence. For all of this progress, the greatest enemy within the Black community is the self loathing that we have for ourselves and for others who share a similar hue. Skin lightening products are a booming trade, where people are prepared to put mercury on their bare skin. On both sides of the Atlantic, young Black men killing each other at a higher rate than any other racial group. To add insult to injury there is a new wave of Black entertainers who believe that it is acceptable to make derogatory remarks about their race with impunity.

The lack of self love is the negative emotional legacy of slavery and colonialism. Dividing the Black community was a deliberate strategy to control and manipulate. It is hard to stomach that several hundreds of years later that we have Black celebrities who are only too happy to spread this toxic bile to their own people. I read reports where rapper Lil Wayne was bemoaning the fact that his eldest daughter was dark skinned (source Bougie Black and his protégé Niki Minaj referred to other Black women as ‘nappy headed hoes’. In the Britney Spears remix of ‘Till the World Ends’ she goes on to say:

Chimpanzee’s is hatin’ but I take it all in stride
Put her in a jungle with bananas on the side

I honestly cannot believe that a Black woman would say such a thing, let alone put it on a record. My worry is that artists of this ilk have the platform to spread these self defeating thoughts to young Black men and women worldwide, who readily absorb these messages. It is important to analyse the information we are being fed and who is providing that information. Lil Wayne public persona is that of a bumbling, incoherent, baby making fool. He is a walking talking stereotype of the black buffoon. His image encourages young black men to be ignorant and irresponsible. Then we have his protégé Ms Minaj, a woman so desperate to adopt a White version of beauty that her hero is a Barbie doll. Her message is clear, in order for Black women to be accepted we have to renounce any trace of authenticity and embrace the old nonsense Black beauty and women are less than their White counterparts.

We have a generation of young Black people who have turned their backs on the education system. It is undeniable that the system is riddled with institutional racism, which dampens the enthusiasm to learn however the biggest threat is an accepted anti intelligentsia within the Black community. I deeply resent the implication that being poor and uneducated is the natural condition for all Black people. I think that rappers such as Lil Wayne and co are extremely dangerous because they endorse this message. They promote stagnation at the expense of progression. I don’t believe for a second that Lil Wayne is an idiot. He runs a label, manages the careers of several other artists/staff and has to oversee the legal requirements of his business. An idiot, no matter how well advised cannot do all of this successfully. Therefore all I can deduce is that this shrewd businessman knows exactly what he is doing.

None of us are immune from the effects of White patriarchy, my parents occasionally remind me of the time when aged four how I cried that I didn’t have blue eyes and long hair. I doubt that my school friend with blue eyes cried that I had brown eyes. We may not all be immune but some within the Black community are active collaborators. Our society has norms some subtle, some overt which is understood by all. Every Black entertainer who acts the buffoon, who insults Black women, promotes lighter skin tone as the only acceptable form of beauty,glorifies poverty and illegality is upholding White patriarchy. They are selling a vision of Black mediocrity to those who want Black people to remain at the bottom of the economic ladder and to Black people who take twisted comfort in never attempting to progress. These people are not selling entertainment; they are draining the youth of their aspirations, convincing them that they will always be less than. These ‘entertainers’ are not promoting ‘Black Pride’ they are force feeding their community ‘Black Fatalism’.

In order to fund my creative ambitions I often have to dip my toe in the corporate world. I have met various captains of industry all from different backgrounds. The one thing that they all have in common is an unwavering sense of self belief. Self esteem is the foundation of personal advancement and happiness. It is what spurs you on when your teachers tell you that you won’t amount to anything, it provides the discernment to allow and remove certain people from your life, it gives you the courage to pursue your dreams and the wisdom to know when to quit. Without self esteem you lack the skills to navigate your life in a positive way.

I don’t think that it is coincidence that the Black community has the highest level of Black on Black violence on both sides of the Atlantic. In the US Blacks are only 13% of the population but 40% of murder victims (Source: American In 1998 Operation Trident was launched, a Metropolitan Police Unit dealing specifically with UK Black gun crime. No other race has a police unit charged with looking at crime in their own community in the United Kingdom. This is the most vicious form of self hate where scores of young Black men believe that their lives count for nothing, extend that sense of worthlessness to whoever shares their skin colour.

Institutional racism is a reality, a reality that we need to strengthen the next generation to fight against. if as a community we are not encouraged to adopt responsibility and fight for opportunities, stagnation is the inevitable outcome. We have political leaders who revel in Civil Rights past glories yet offer no direction with the self hate within the Black community. We rush out to financially support Black entertainers who mock their own people, peddling the idea that Black is synonymous with a lack of education and personal advancement. Make no mistake our so called leaders and entertainers know exactly what they are doing. Our continued victimhood keeps these leaders and entertainers very rich at our expense.

I honestly could not care less about these public figures that are only too happy to sell their communities down the river. I just recognise how important self esteem is to have a contented life. I want any future son that I may have to believe that the world his oyster and that he could be anything that he chooses. I would wish the same for any future daughter, and that she would know that she is beautiful, special and unique. It’s important that we protect our children from this self hating bile that often comes from other Black people. In order for the Black community to prosper and grow we must turn out backs and close our wallets to those who happily betray their own people for financial gain.

Please let me know your thoughts