What kind of relationship do you have with the Ancestors?

Thursday, February 8, 2018

"Black Panther" - Because Just Short of Vibranium, Africa Just About Had All The Rest of That Covered

Long-awaited Marvel Studios film, "Black Panther", comes out of the gate (equine metaphor, spiritual portal or otherwise) on February 16th in the USAmerica.  In a world where Africa and Africans have fought colonialism, racism, misogynoir, economic exploitation and cultural genocide, relevant, supportive and inspirational cultural media representation can take on mythic dynamics. Especially when something like "Black Panther" comes along in an age of powerful cinematic, visual, sound and effects ascendancy, the possibilities for even small, but profound shifts and awakenings become very, very real. 


Though the storyline is fictitious, its scaffolding follows many historical and political benchmarks of the African experience.  The World Ancestor Concert Team wanted to present a few resources to help people ground themselves in that historical context, to look more deeply at the Ancestral gifts that are rich and ubiquitous in Africa, far beyond the abyss of predominant negativity and devastation that the mainstream and colonial media would have you, African or not, believe and respond to.

Black Panther, womenwaterpeace, African women, womanism
image from imdb.com

The first resource, an article by The Root, is an extremely helpful and timely look at the connection of what looks like it will be an amazing film to the realities of African history.  We at WAC and moja mediaworks invite you to look more deeply into the historical beauty and genius that is Africa, along with its struggles.  We look forward to conversations with you about this film and Africa, the gifts of the Ancestors and more.

  1. Black Panther: An Allegory of the World Wanting Blackness but Not Black People, Carolyn Hinds, The Root 
    "But like the Portuguese, Ross and Klaue will learn that black people—particularly black women—will fight tooth and nail to protect what’s theirs. In Wakanda, there is a resisting force of warriors known as the Dora Milaje, and like Queen Nzinga of Ndongo (now known as Angola) and the legendary female Dahomean army, the Dora Milaje, led by their general, Okoye, and aided by Shuri’s technology, will do what they must to protect their king and kingdom against all invaders because they have no other choice."
  2. "Introduction to African Civilizations", John G. Jackson
  3. "The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality" - Cheikh Anta Diop
  4. "Let The Circle Be Unbroken: The Implications of African Spirituality in the Diaspora" - Marimba Ani
  5. "Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D.", Chancellor Williams
  6. "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa" - Walter Rodney
    "This year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Every now and then in history a scholarly enterprise emerges that breaks new ground and provokes an impact that exceeds the confines of narrow academia. Walter Rodney’s seminal work in combination with his other projects performed precisely this function for Africa and beyond. Its publication and reception exemplified the strains and fissures in the scholarship focused on the continent at the time. It would go on to become one of the most influential books in the ‘Third World’.

    When it emerged in 1972 the book was hailed in Dar-es-Salaam as ‘probably the greatest book event in Africa since Frantz Fanon’. Wole Soyinka, the African novelist went further. He suggested that Rodney was one of the first ‘solidly ideologically situated intellectuals ever to look colonialism and exploitation in the eye and where necessary, spit in it’." - Forty Years of 'How Europe Underdeveloped Africa' - Pambazuka News, 2012, Nigel Westmaas
  7.  Dr. John Henrik Clarke - Africa: Empires of Ghana & Mali - YouTube

Please take some time to look into any or all of the above resources on African history and culture.  Any and all of these will enrich your experience of "Black Panther" whether you get to them before you see it or soon (!) after. We look forward to hearing from you around these important issues of culture, tradition and, of course, the Ancestors.


Enjoy the film!

#culture #tradition #Africa #Ancestors #worldancestorconcert #womenwaterpeace


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"Even If...: Las Vegas to Lost Humanity" - Ukumbwa Sauti, WAC Team

Even if a rich, privileged European man hadn't walked unscathed into a posh Las Vegas hotel overlooking a music festival with 23 heavy firearms, shot and killed 59 people and injured over 500 people from a 32nd floor room window by premeditated, calculated violent ideation and action, the discussion and engagement of the fatal, emotional, psychic, anti-spiritual, anti-earth, anti-woman, anti-life, physical and political violence inherent in the modern and historical conception of masculinity and manhood, particularly also that in European masculinity and manhood, is a dynamic in immediate and emergent need of attention, interrogation and resolution.


Designed by Freepik

Even without the direct and deleterious actions of Stephen Paddock or Dylan Roofe or Timothy McVeigh or Andrew Jackson or Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson or Colonel Chivington or General Custer or Stephen Collins or Jared Fogle or Brock Turner or Bill O'Reilly or Cardinal Bernard Law or Jayson Newlun or Pope Benedict XVI or Pope Alexander VI or Fr. John Geoghan or Pope Nicholas V or King Alfonso V or Criminal Columbus or Fr. Junipero Serra or Bishop Thomas O'Brien or Rev. F. David Broussard or Most Rev. Harry Flynn or Archbishop John Nienstedt or Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piché or Fr. Andrew White or US Army Officer Richard Henry Pratt or Augusto Pinochet or King Leopold or Cecil Rhodes or Daniel Francois Malan or F.W. DeKlerk or P.W. Botha or Ronald Reagan or Lyndon B. Johnson or Charles Manson or Cardinal Bernard Law or the Steubenville rapists or the gangs of European men who terrorized Africans  in Tulsa, Oklahoma or Rosewood or Charlottesville or who terrorized and murdered and raped Africans and indigenous women, people in every southern, northern, western or northern State of the United States of America or stolen country of Africa, South America, Asia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the Spanish Inquisitors or the perpetrators of the European Burning Times, we would probably still need to address, discuss, engage and resolve the violent thread of masculinity that has become the hallmark of modern manhood and how it is expressed, embodied, enculturated and projected into our present and future.

Designed by Freepik

Even without the constant rehashing, reforming, revalidating, retrenching of the faux-sacred and anti-culturally protected status of violence and misogyny and heterosexism and toxic masculinity inherent and lauded in video games and video gamers, in Return of Kings and Men's Rights Activist and pornographic and white supremacist websites, in christian biblical references, in the sermons from pulpits the world over, the sideshow exhortations of predatory christian televangelists, in 50 Shades of Grey, in World Wrestling Entertainment, in "That 70's Show", in every Elvis Presley and Frankie Avalon movie, in "The Godfather" series and just about every mob, gang, Goodfellas and Scarface film ever made, in every Pulp Fiction twisted teenage European man white-boy director got-no-chains-on-me-cuz-I'm-more-street-than-KRS-One-in-Harlem Django Unchained white privilege, total appropriation fantasy, in just about every single Hollywood and elsewhere western movie, tv show or cartoon that disrespected and distorted indigenous life and culture, erased Africanity and constantly diminished and degraded womanhood, men would be duty bound to interrogate our own presence in the world, dismantling male privilege in our families, in our jobs, our colonial and anti-colonial political parties, in our colonial organizations and structures, in our liberation movements, our cathedrals, mosques, synagogues, temples and urban and suburban and rural street corner and store-front Stockholm-syndrome-gospel churches, to consider and compassionately deal with how far and globally wide manspreading actually goes, to relearn the importance of the divine feminine inside all bodies and the earth Herself and if we are going to kill anything, we should cease being the "tyranny of evil men" and be killing patriarchy.


Designed by Freepik

Even and especially now, men have to find out, inquire and learn about what men are about.  this is and will be no small personal, local, regional, national and/or global task.  It is the one we must move forward into. Our lives and the quality of our lives and loves depend on it.

Postscript: If you are a man that is pretty completely ensconced in your toxic masculinity and male privilege, you will take this offering as a threat to you.  That is not completely true.  It is an attack, or better, a reconnaissance on the twisted part of us men (repeat - part of us) that festers in spite of all our claims of being good men.  Little of what I have written above is debatable, but it is definitely up for discussion and it is my distinct hope that men can stop being afraid...of becoming and being better men.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"Special" - Sherrilene Collymore

"What makes Me feel special?
I'm only a little kid
Who am I to walk this life
Feeling good about what I did?"
There's all these people around
Clearly bigger, prominent, authoritarian,
They're confident, seeming to know their place,
I'm tiny... only have this Vision!

A blur in the background,
Best not making noise,
Really to keep the home comfy,
Not required to have a voice.
Those traits that come to you so natural,
Well, that's what you're here for!!
Why would you think You special?
What's there for one to adore?

Well, my dear love although unseen,
You're seen by who you must.
Your character and determination
Are not without remark by some you can trust!
Some, who also have experienced,
Have lived in the shadow, in dark.
Some who despite doing the right thing
Might as well have been out in the park.

Hey, God provides all the human needs
And is rarely thought of specially.
What really is the human mind thinking?
You slip through the cracks naturally.
But indeed there are always others.
Eyes open, scanners awake!
Seeking the good, the helpful, the honest,
In the mind that the good road we'll take.

Don't doubt that you're indeed special,
That your special self isn't well made.
Keep close the belief there are no mistakes.
No, with Creation, no big game played.
You're special because a very conscious
Creation ordered for You!
Keep that clear vision in Motion
Show our world who's special too!


photo by Ukumbwa Sauti, flora c/o SB...oh, and the Creator 

~~~~~~

Sherrilene Collymore is a Facilitator in Business; the owner/operator of HQ2 - the Human Quality Headquarters. She is multilingual and well traveled to Scandinavia, Europe, Cuba, Kenya and the Caribbean region. Sherrilene loves dancing, writing, children, research and hiking.
She aspires to contribute to the refinement of education and enterprise (business) in the region and the diaspora. Sherrilene was trained in Barbados, France, Holland, Spain and Sweden in Management, International Business, research, languages and the sciences generally.
She has an interest in sustainable development and Education, Leadership and Excellence.

"In Peace" - Sherrilene Collymore

In Peace we feel the silence that is Our Nurturer
In Peace we feel the healing that is Our Love
In Peace we carry the Way that is Our Future and ends Our Past
In Peace we hold the Will of a Loving World

As we move to Peace and embrace its Richness and Fullness
We embrace all that is possible in our Human Race
A Race composed of looking upon One Another
As Self, as Hope, as Connection to what One would Be

May Peace be Our Only Wish, in fulfillment of Eternal Love


Image courtesy of Stockvault

~~~~~~

Sherrilene Collymore is a Facilitator in Business; the owner/operator of HQ2 - the Human Quality Headquarters. She is multilingual and well traveled to Scandinavia, Europe, Cuba, Kenya and the Caribbean region. Sherrilene loves dancing, writing, children, research and hiking.
She aspires to contribute to the refinement of education and enterprise (business) in the region and the diaspora. Sherrilene was trained in Barbados, France, Holland, Spain and Sweden in Management, International Business, research, languages and the sciences generally.
She has an interest in sustainable development and Education, Leadership and Excellence. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

"Where Beauty Rests..." - Sherrilene Collymore

Where Beauty rests, life lives, Beauty homed in the harbour of Love that gives.

Evidence of Nature's Grace, Purity has power to flush away hardship’s dregs from Beauty's face.

Witness it bursting, from children delightfully untamed, Purity unplanned, unchecked, unnamed.

In the wayward thought of the social renegade, daring to breach the expectancy of the game played.

Advancing into the unknown, the All channeling, inspired in hope, love and awe; with solutions returning.

Where Beauty is homed and nurtured is Pure. Accept the Love gifted of Grace, it’s the Cure.



Image courtesy of Stockvault 

~~~~~~

Sherrilene Collymore is a Facilitator in Business; the owner/operator of HQ2 - the Human Quality Headquarters. She is multilingual and well traveled to Scandinavia, Europe, Cuba, Kenya and the Caribbean region. Sherrilene loves dancing, writing, children, research and hiking.
She aspires to contribute to the refinement of education and enterprise (business) in the region and the diaspora. Sherrilene was trained in Barbados, France, Holland, Spain and Sweden in Management, International Business, research, languages and the sciences generally.
She has an interest in sustainable development and Education, Leadership and Excellence.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

In the River of Sound: Nature, Music and Children - Julia Priest

"This drive to connect with nature, especially animals, appears to be universal in families around the world, from city to suburb to desert to seashore."

Our modern world, with all its bells and whistles, with all its mercenary calls to "connection" and its distractionary (I made up that word) disconnections, often lays like a confusing template over our Ancestral integration with the world wide web of life.  Forever....animals have lived and flourished in our mythologies, our cosmologies, our stories and our songs.  They have guided, informed, instructed, fed and sustained us on many levels.  Julia Priest brings us a watery reflection of the deep wisdom of our young ones as they enter the physical world seemingly so aware of our relationship with the animal world, with a world inspired by sound, movement and meaning.  Our children are a lesson in wisdom for us and we can benefit from their learning as we support and guide them. - Ukumbwa Sauti


 

"Leaping and dancing, the fish are in the river;
Leaping and dancing, to see a baby born.
Leaping and dancing, the fish are in the water;
Leaping and dancing, now that spring is here
Brincan y bailan los peces en el rio;
Brincan y bailan de ver nacido un nino.
Brincan y bailan los peces en el agua;
Brincan y bailan de ver la primavera."



I’ve been teaching this song to parents and preschoolers for fifteen years, yet I don’t always feel confident that I’ve helped them to love the song as much as I do.


I teach early childhood music in a Boston suburb. This means classrooms full of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, with their parents or teachers. Many of our students are so young that they haven’t even visited a petting zoo yet in their lives. Strikingly, they all adore pictures of pigs and chickens, songs about roosters and ducklings. Children seem to be born with a passion for nature, especially animals. Parents almost universally feel driven to quiz their toddlers: “What does the cow say? The cow says moo. . . What does the sheep say?” Even Ylvis asked, “What does the fox say!”



This drive to connect with nature, especially animals, appears to be universal in families around the world, from city to suburb to desert to seashore. Even in a world where we are increasingly out of touch with the people and places that provide us with our food—whether omnivorous, vegetarian, or vegan--parents sing and read about animals to their children!

The powerful fascination with animals is seemingly as universal as the drive to learn language or the drive to adorn ourselves.  Could it be coded into our genes? It almost seems like an attenuating echo of the necessity for non-industrial traditional peoples to pass large, complex bodies of herbal, culinary, medicinal, and animal-husbandry knowledge down through the generations.


As a music teacher, I savor the special affinity which children feel for animals. By imitating the extreme high sounds of a meow or the low sounds of a moo, the lip trill of a horse nickering, the uninhibited hooting laughter of monkeys and apes, we warm up and challenge all the extremes of our larynx, our voicebox. I delight in children’s early forays into imaginary play when they take the role of an animal and imitate how it both sounds and moves. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a roomful of four-year-olds swim on the floor like polliwogs and then hop across the room like frogs. Messiaen imitated bird song; Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals includes an Aquarium. . . there is a natural tie between music and animals too.



Despite all this, I felt slightly blocked for many years about how to make the Spanish-language text of Brincan y Bailan immediate and real for Anglophone parents and children. The song was at an even further remove from its original context because, due to some arcane music-theoretical aspects of our curriculum’s internal logic, I need to introduce Brincan at springtime even though the original is a Christmas carol! The concept of “rebirth” was, I feared, a bit too abstract for little ones who have seen winter give way to spring once or maybe twice, and maybe haven’t even experienced the arrival yet of a baby sibling of their very own!


I guess that what I needed was a concrete experience in my own life to bring it all together for me. This April, entirely for fun and without a thought that it might relate to my song curriculum, I hopped in a friend’s car, off to the Nemasket River in Middleborough, Massachusetts. There, alewife herring have been swimming upstream to spawn every spring for millennia. Indigenous people built weirs to nurture as well as harvest fish here. Many townships in the area built dams in recent centuries which have inadvertently doomed alewife to near extinction, but the Middleborough community wisely built fish ladders and therefore is still rich in herring. And so I saw with my own eyes, for the very first time, how fish fight the current and jump up over barriers to reach their first home, to make babies. Although the exertion is great, the drive will not be denied.



In comparison with human mating, fish insemination might seem rather remote and not at all sexy. Fish parenting may not seem very cuddly from our human, mammalian perspective. Yet to a fish, the urge is ineluctable. I can’t help projecting human-centered feelings onto these creatures, imagining that when they finally they leap into their childhood beds, paired in matrimony, they sigh with watery, bubbly contentment.


Bringing this story, this information, and these images back to my classes made the song an easy sell. The children could easily imagine the joy with which fish head homeward. Now my students might, I think, start to love the song as much as I do. This outing into nature brought renewal to me as a teacher. Perhaps it will also inspire somebody to get out into nature and enjoy a body of water. Maybe that somebody will be you!



Thank you, Julia, for the great modeling!


On Science, Nature, Children and a Culture of Life - Lisa Lambert

"I want the soon-to-be-adults of the future to know that it is entirely possible to create health and harmony and that all the new inventions and fancy technology can support this if technology is used as a tool and not as a means to replace or change nature (as if nature would ever let humans win at this anyway. Ha!)"

Western "civilization" bears upon it a particular daunting responsibility to develop an ability to look within, critique and transform...even compost...itself in the interest of joining many in the rest of the world who seek to illuminate and empower traditions of social harmony, political clarity and the interconnection of humanity (again) with the profundity of nature and the nurturance of Mother Earth.  There are people working tirelessly within this daunting and frustrating context of colonialism, corporate hegemony and the heartless destruction and exploitation of nature. We can find some of these amazing people in the embattled classrooms, labs and burgeoning gardens of what many call a miseducational system. Lisa Lambert is just one of these teachers, bringing her personal experiences, her wisdoms, her grounded scholarship, her warrior heart as gift to all the children that pass, luckily, through her classrooms. She calls us to think and feel and do more deeply as we preside over the lives, learnings and growth of children and that of our own vital presence in our communities and on this earth. - Ukumbwa Sauti

People say children don’t know anything. I’m not so sure this is true. I believe they know a lot, more than most adults.

When I was a child I was always drawn to the outdoors. There was a vibration out there that I could never access when I was indoors. Of course, at the time I didn’t know what it was, I just knew that I felt ‘right’ being outside. That space held me and comforted me, taught me and delighted me. Whenever anything wasn’t ok, nature was my church. Whenever I had a question, if I was quiet enough and I paid attention, it would tell me the answer.

The connection felt stronger near places like oceans, ponds and in the rain. I noticed that water was the thing that connected all of it, it’s constant flow touched and fed all of us. I had so many questions about the world outside. I never knew any adults that could answer them, at least not in the way that I wanted. I most certainly never met any adults that liked being outside as much as I did. I was generally shushed or shamed and allowed to be seen and but not heard, I was ‘only a girl’ after all, why would my thoughts be important?




So I stayed quiet and I studied the absolute to make sense of the relative. I investigated everything. I read anything I could get my hands on. I dug in the dirt. I nursed wild animals. I examined how water made puddles and how the wind moved the trees. Nature led me to science and science became my teacher and gave me a voice, but nature was and will always be, my mentor. I was happy to find a source to offer me concrete answers to my seeking, a world of prescribed solutions, all gleaned from wild places.

By studying biomimicry, I expanded my interest in biology, then to medicine, then specialized to botany, ecology, engineering, geology and then outward to astronomy, the universe and beyond. There I found myself led to philosophy and religion, and the natural extension of the spiritual, here I discovered ethereal ancestors and from there I was led back to nature, always nature.

I’m a science educator now. I feel like I know two languages. One is the logical human made one with essays, formulas and lists and the other is the enigmatic ever flowing reverberation of energy that cannot be created or destroyed, but only channeled. I have the honor of spending my days serving families and children as a public school teacher and I still deeply believe that children intuitively come to class knowing everything they need to know. Do they have the schmantzy words or ‘theory’ to explain it in the way that our conditioned old dead white guy science model wants? No, that type of colonial language is not present. But children have a  heart intelligence, a curiosity, a enthusiasm for exploring. They come to me with a creativity and ingenuity in figuring things out, an openness to new and different things and an inner knowing that the cycles and flow of ALL of it are important. I help them articulate their knowing.



A very young child can easily see the importance and safety of interconnectedness.  Somewhere between infancy and adulthood we humans have forgotten how to access this expansive beauty of reverence and ease. All the answers to all the worlds problems are held in this simple collaborative connected space, if only adults could have the wisdom of that child. If only education didn’t mean extinguishing this inner knowing. Is it possible to teach children these two languages, the standardized one and the real one?  Is it possible to keep them engaged and caring as they age out of our school systems? Is it possible that we all can soften and flex and discover, the way kids are born to do?


I’m not sure if growing up today is any harder than it was decades ago. It’s always been hard to be a little kid in a grownup selfish world. 

Nowadays, kids are getting diverted away from the natural world sooner in life and are more likely to grow up not even understanding the very ground they stand on. Things like weather, animals and even their own biology become problems to oppress instead of the inherent beauty that they are. This is a BIG conceptual missed opportunity. This attitude coupled with ages old ‘norms’ further keeps children inside by playing out the false story of nature as gross and uncomfortable or dangerous . Ignorance, fear and hatred of the unknown migrates pervasively into kids daily lives and as a consequence the natural world and so many who live in it are suffering. We see it in the news every day. 

The connection between humans and nature is clear. The solution to the major human and global issues in the world is not to divorce ourselves from the outdoors, sequester ourselves inside and only interact in air-conditioned rooms with electric screens. The solution is to jump in the mud and mix both these worlds in a spectacular primordial futuristic fusion that supports sustenance, equality and responsible stewardship of our planet. 



I want the soon-to-be-adults of the future to know that it is entirely possible to create health and harmony and that all the new inventions and fancy technology can support this if technology is used as a tool and not as a means to replace or change nature (As if nature would ever let humans win at this anyway. Ha!). With steady kind attention, our climate will be remedied, water will be clean and freely available, racism and patriarchy will be smashed, healthcare will be replaced by caring AND health for the body and the mind, there will be abundant affordable healthy food, cultures and religions will be celebrated, unfair wealth structures will be leveled, there will be clarity of intersectionality on every level and, yes, new sustainable accessible technologies will be invented to solve energy demands. 

This isn’t the future, it’s happening now, these little rumbles. Classroom by classroom, garden by garden, neighborhood by neighborhood and with every kid who looks into a flower or at a bug and asks, “I wonder why...?”.