Profiting off of Agbogbloshie, Ghana’s Slum Safari

*Please forgive the delivery and language in this post. The reality of what’s going on on the ground deserves more eloquence than I possess. What I have discovered is truly disgusting, and it’s a new low…even for a country with dubious scruples like Ghana.

I have been doing so reading about Agbobgloshie lately to find out how the residents there have been faring since the government wiped out their homes and businesses with bulldozers flanked by armed personnel earlier this year. For those who do not know, Agbobgloshie is the second largest and most toxic e-waste dump on the planet. Not just in Africa…on the entire globe.

Most of the waste is illegally shipped in from Europe and America.

Agbobgloshie goes by many names. Some refer to it as Old Fadama. It has also been nicknamed Sodom and Gomorrah – everyone agrees it is hell on earth. Children who have spent every moment since birth breathing in the toxic fumes that burn round the clock routinely die of cancer in that area. Every step you take on the oozing, sludgy ground is perilous. The earth is pocked with broken glass from busted up television sets, exposed industrial wiring and sharp edges of the remains of freezers, vehicles, discarded things that the West no longer wanted. Once a wetland with crystal blue waters that you could see straight through to the sandy bottom, this now poisonous environment is home to thousands of people – some 40,000 by some estimates. They come from all over the country in search of employment in the capital city. Employment opportunities are already scarce for educated residents with roots in the capital that go back at least two generations. Nepotism is the order of the day and class-ism ensures that big breaks that lead to real opportunities remain in the ranks of a particular few.

It is in this hostile environment that economic migrants/refugees find themselves once they move with the hope of supporting themselves and their families outside of the Greater Accra region. Where the government is concerned -whether NDC or the opposition –  they are the recipients of very little beyond failed policies, broken promises and political rip offs. Still, these residents of Earth’s second most toxic dump nestled firmly in the seventh filthiest country on the planet are resourceful and have managed to eke out a living for themselves. And as if the insult of all that they have endured thus far has not been enough, they have been and are being taken advantage of in the most degrading way. Their poverty and suffering is being exploited as fodder for voyeurs who view their suffering as nothing more than a curiosity  or “a destination for travelers looking to experience another walk of life.

Ad selling tours to the slum

Ad selling tours to the slum

Just moments ago, I stumbled upon which bills itself as a TripAdvisor (R) company. Thinking that I had found what must surely be a hoax site, I called the toll-free number to speak with a customer service rep to get further information. The unidentified rep gave me as much information as she could (which means be read from the posted information from the website) and asked me if I would like to book through their company for a slum tour. It would only cost me a mere $34. Tours required a minimum of 12 participants for a 3 hour trek through the slum that would begin at 9 am. Quick math informed me that the amount generated for this tour would amount to a little over $400. According to, the average Ghanaian makes $154 a month. Viator is a broker for the local company who organizes the tours. The rep would not tell me who that was until I booked and confirmed a trip. However, she assured me that this person or entity would ensure my safety and even offer translation services, should I need it when “interacting with the resourceful locals who have managed to make a new life for themselves in such harsh conditions”.

I find it difficult to conjure the vocabulary needed to express how disgusting this venture is.

You may recall the Emoya Luxury Hotel and Spa near Bloemfontein, South Africa which offers a shanty town experience for those who want to “experience poverty” without the inconvenience of actually experiencing poverty. Imaginatively named Shanty Town, the rooms replicate the experience of living in one room corrugated metal and wood homes, similar to those that many impoverished South Africans call home. The difference is, these campsites come with hot water, electricity and wifi. The venture shocked much of the civilized world for its insensitivity. Nevertheless, it thrives. Why? Because something about Black suffering is only strong enough to illicit shock, but never enough indignation to demand cessation of the offense …particularly if there is a profit to be made off of it.


The idea that there are Ghanaians involved in a scheme to show off the injury, suffering and distress of fellow Ghanaians for their portion of $34 a head is reprehensible. How much of that money makes its way back into the community? If the slum tours that take place in South Africa and the Caribbean are anything to judge by, it’s very little. The least these unscrupulous operators could do is re-invest in the community to help meet some of it’s needs, or as an old lady whom I recently had the pleasure of dining with said recently: “If you’re going to f*ck me over, at least kiss me first.”

There is so much wrong with Ghanaian society. We’ve absolutely failed this generation, and quite possibly four more generations to come with the sort of depravity we’ve permitted. From corruption, to protecting perpetrators of child rape, to confining the mentally incapacitated to prison without trial or representation, the veritable erasure of what it means to be a Ghanaian and the pride that calling yourself by this name once held…the list is endless and frankly, exhausting.

I know for a fact that this Old Fadama tour will not only continue after today, but thrive. There is not enough outrage left in the country to spare for the invisible poor. People have to worry about the shocks and spasms of the cedi and whether or not there will be petrol for the generator and A/C this evening. So what if a few white people want to gawk and the beggarly, Black proletariat like apes in their natural habitat?


I wish it wasn’t that way. It hurts me that it is.

How Did Young Africans Express Affection in Pr-colonial Times?

One of my Twirra faves asked this question today:

This is a topic and a question that has interested me for a long time  as well, and I swore to Selasie that I had written about it back in 1998. But a quick run through the archives shows this to be false! I was so fascinated with the topic that I would ask Africans on my job, in public establishments and in churches where I might find myself a guest about information on ancient African Romance. It seems my fascination never translated into written words, so at Selasie’s behest, I am here to right that wrong and post the stories I gathered so many years ago.

Of course, “African romance” differs from everybody else’s concept of romance. Africans are magical and superhuman. There are certain activities and behaviors we can’t take part in – as an entire continent – because they are deemed to be “unAfrican”. Homosexuality, obeying the rules of traffic and eating food without hot pepper are chief among these.

The concept of romance is often associated with 17th century western ideals and mores. We think of electrifying kisses, bouquets of red roses, chilled bottles of red wine and candle lit rooms. All of the visual and olfactory delights are generally manufactured by horny men with the singular goal of getting the object of their erection’s desire into bed for the evening (maybe even for a month if things go well that night). In those days, when bees wax was scarce and candlelight was an indicator that one was well-to-do,well having a room lit FULL of candles was extravagant indeed! In modern Africa, a room full of candles merely signals that you are poor, since you don’t have access to a generator.

In asking about how young lovers in the per-colonial era expressed love and/or an interest in one another, I discovered some pretty interesting behaviors that frankly, I wouldn’t mind partaking in myself. All of us come from a village. The average African urban dweller has one generation or less that separates them from their ancestral homeland. And thank God that village people change so little in their ways! They are the keepers of our culture and it will be a sad day when our version of “civilization” overtakes and corrupts the villager. How would we get wind of this gem, for example?:

“When I was very young and I liked a young man, I would bend over discretely to show him my waist beads. (Waist beads are considered intimate apparel in Ghana and Nigeria.) We would arrange to meet each other in the evening by signaling each other with a whistle. I would tell my parents I had to go and ease myself in the bush and I would be back shortly. I would then eat roasted corn to make sure I had fresh breath before meeting my young man.” – my great aunt, aged 87.

source: panafrica.tumblr

source: panafrica.tumblr

“We lived in a village before we lived in Monrovia. I used to go with my wife (before she was my wife) to a small lake near our village with some big rocks on the shore. I would take some ripe fruits and put them in a basket for us to nibble on. Then I would sit close to her with our feet dipped in the water and cut the fruit and watch her eat it.” – Joseph, security desk manager from Liberia


“I remember my parents had nicknames for each other – which they used less and less as their children grew up! My maternal grandparents were perhaps more demonstrative in their love for each other. I remember them going to sit on the patio as soon as my grandfather came home! (I used to spend my long vacations with them till I was 9). Their house was the former District Commissioner’s house in Sekondi. It was high on a hill, and there were spectacular views from the patio to the ocean, where you could also see the yachts of the European expatriates moored in the bay. No one was allowed there when the two of them got on that patio, no babies, grandchildren, children, servants, even the President! My grandmother even took the drinks in herself! I don’t know what my grandfather did for her that was romantic, but the fact that they stuck to this arrangement religiously, obviously showed their devotion to each other. They had 9 children and were married for 65 years!” – A memory shared by Nana
Here is a slightly more modern story of the conquests of the romantic African male

“Well, as a veteran of 42 years of married life I think I can offer a comment! My husband used to be VERY romantic but the weird thing is that he does not want to be reminded of it, almost as if he’s ashamed of it—perhaps African men don’t think romance is “manly” or something.. Of course my definition of romantic may not be every ones but here are some examples–he bought me my very first car, a tiny Fiat 600 and tied a giant bow around it for my Christmas present; he took me on a month long honeymoon cruising in a French boat along the coast to Dakar, Abidjan etc; he polished the floors for me when we were in the States because it was “too hard”: for me; he never bought me flowers or candy but is quite comfortable holding my hand in public, even now; he takes me out to dinner even though he’d prefer to be at home; he cooks when I’m tired; he always notices what I’m wearing , and in any gathering, however large, he’s always aware of where I am and what I’m doing.” -Anonymous
And the piece de resistance!

“A friend of mine had a Tanzanian boyfriend who was lucky enough to have undergone one of the ‘initiation ceremonies’ that his ethnic group had for boys. Apparently, they were taught foreplay with a real ‘learn by doing’ assignment – they had to make love to a vegetable which had the consistency of a soft-boiled egg, without puncturing it! You failed when it got punctured! You apparently had to have several ‘revisions’ till you got it right – ie. ejaculating without puncturing the vegetable. My friend claims she has never had a man like him ever since. He was courteous, self-confident and the best lover she ever had. Unfortunately, he returned to his country after they finished college and the relationship did not survive the many miles between them.” – A Nigerian woman



Have you heard any stories about the amorous adventures of your people prior to colonization? Drop a note in the comments section! Sharing is caring oooo. Sharing is caring.




Slattern in a Red Hat

It is no secret that I love Gyedu Blay-Ambolley. I’ve written consistently about my adoration for the Simigwahene over the years. In fact, meeting him was on the list of things for my ChaleWote Envoy to day this past weekend.

That is why I don’t understand why one Ayawuku would do what she did to me.

She stalked my man. She invaded his closet so that they could play Twinsies dress up. Then she took a picture and SENT IT TO ME on Twirra, just to taunt me. Oh, but she’s not alone! Poetra Asantewa was also en force, dressed up in yellow like a dandelion trying to attract the Ambolley bee. There is no evidence that it worked, so I’ve left the spoken word titan alone for now.


Squealing indeed.


But this Ayawuku? I haven’t spared her for breaking my heart. Where is the solidarity amongst sisters? How could she taunt me in this way? I needed an outlet for my pain and rage. That is why I have penned this sonnet/poem/spoken word thingy and sent it into the ether.

Slattern in a Red Hat: Succubus…this one is for YOU!


The Night I was Assaulted – by Christabel Steel-Dadzie

Every day, Ghanaian women and men suffer the indignities of physical assault and verbal abuse by those who feel empowered and at liberty to do so. And while these follies are not uniquely Ghanaian in nature, they must be addressed head-on because they affect us as Ghanaians.  We only compound our inability to better ourselves and our society when we ignore the ills taking place in our midst – or worse – point to the ills of other societies for vindication, hoping to absolve ourselves from wrongdoing.

No one is immune from the rot that festers in the bowels and minds of the power hungry civil “servant”, security guard, mayor or police officer. The sludge they discharge with every mean act threatens to drown us all. I am grateful that Christabel Steel-Dadzie has had the courage to speak up about her assault. Please read her story till the end and share. It’s past time we begin to hold those who continue to abuse their posts accountable.


I have so many emotions as I write about this incident – first because I had such an amazing Saturday celebrating my country – it’s beauty, it’s wealth, heritage, pride, etc…. but like most things in life, not long after your golden moments, you are starkly reminded of the reality of a broken system, a broken country…

My cousin asked me to help her run an errand, as family does, I hopped into the car, picked her and up and we were on for a fun 1-hour+ ride – we spent the whole journey reminiscing about the good old days, family members we had lost and were memorializing…

We arrived at our destination around 7:20pm and the following unfolded:

I got to the gate of a gated community I had been to several times. Surprisingly they opened the gate for me (later on lied that they didn’t open the gate but that they had let a taxi in prior to our getting there and I followed; somehow that taxi vanished…) Because I know how the system works and I have been brought up generally to obey ‘the law’, I stopped of my own volition. The (female) security guard was taken aback and it took her a few seconds before I think she realized she didn’t know me, so asked who I was looking for… I mentioned the name of the person I was going to see, but knowing she (my hostess) wasn’t the house owner, and they have been confused by that before, I begun to dial her number…

Security guard asks, as I dial – do you know the house number, I am talking on the phone and at the same time say, I am not sure, but she’s calling you. We hear the phone ringing in the security office… The security guard (female) says that I am blocking the entrance and therefore if a car is coming behind me they won’t be able to enter. I look in the rear view mirror, no car… The phone has stopped ringing so I know they have talked to my hostess… so I say again, she has responded, so can I simply go? I will move away if a car shows up…

There are 4 other men standing around, some in uniform, others not… Security guard tells me to go and park… I say, she has called, so can I go? Within a matter of seconds, 4 men are yelling at me to park, so I say in a very calm voice – “I am not sure why you are yelling at me, I haven’t done anything wrong and I don’t think you should treat humans this way.” Another man (not in uniform) shows up and pokes his fingers literally in my eyes and bellows “PARK! PARK! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? PARK!” At this point, I get upset and I say again, “you cannot talk to me that way, you need to calm down!”…. Dude then does what is done by most people in power “SHOWS ME WHERE POWER LIES!”… Yells his head off at us and stands in front of our vehicle… “You will not enter this community” “You will have to run over me first!”…. To be very honest with you, for a quick second, I almost moved forward just to prove a point – but thank God for the Cross and home training, I backed off and put off my engine.

My cousin at this point is livid; she says, “Ewuradjoa, since we are decent people and won’t run him over, let’s lock up and walk.” We get out of the car, and within seconds the so called security guard (not in uniform by the way), shoves me hard! I was shocked! Stood still for a quick second – What just happened? Did he just hit me? I wondered?… Found myself saying the words out loud “No, you didn’t just hit me!”… Oh apparently that was uncalled for; how dare me small girl driving (my father, or is it sugar daddy’s) four-wheel drive and I think I know everything – how can I question whether he’s hit me?

Oh then round two – He hits my arm again!

A woman who was entering the complex and saw him hit me – literally in the act (she was in her car with some kids) starts yelling – did you just hit a woman? You should never hit a woman, no matter what! And said a few more things that I didn’t hear and then drove off…

EWURADE! At this point, my cousin went ballistic! “How dare you touch her?” She pulls out her camera to document the issue, and dude-no-uniform-security-guard throws his arm at her – a punch that would have landed straight in her face, had she not moved swiftly backwards…

At this point, I am in so much shock that I go back and sit in the car – so

  1. He hit me!
  2. He hit me again because I questioned him and told him not to touch me

Then to top it all off

3. He attempts to hit my cousin (bo ne ni su style – sorry! I can’t find the English translation for this)

A number of people start gathering at the scene. I hear someone calling the head of security… I call my hostess… The ‘head of security’

(I put in inverted commas because I have no idea who anyone is, coz no one wears ID)… comes with another man to ask me what happened… I narrate the story; head of security walks away; comes back about 10 minutes later and says “He really hit you didn’t he?” I say “he sure did”… dude on the side goes “REALLY???” At this point, I get emotional! Did I not just narrate the entire story to this man a few minutes ago and tell him I was assaulted? Why should he question that I would make that up? Unfortunately, on paper, I can’t quite express this moment – I looked around – all men! I felt dirty; incomplete, I don’t even know what else… Why should I lie about such a thing?

So I said to the man, once I was able to catch a breath in between crying, “I am educated enough to know that it is a grievous issue to accuse a man of hitting me,… so I would never make that up!” Apparently this man only heard the word “educated” so started yelling at me and schooling me about how I didn’t know who he was or how educated he is!… At this point, I just give up!

I call my cousin and hostess; I announce to them – I am going to the police and I would love to see this man go to jail just to set an example of him to many! Of course, they all scoff… and apparently rightfully so, because I didn’t know what was just about to happen…

Fortunately, there is a police station around the corner (we find out later that the apartment complex built the station)… We get there – “Good evening (there were 2 officers I could see) I would like to file a complaint. I have just been assaulted.”… Out of nowhere I hear a male voice yelling “what did you do to him before he touched you?”… I almost fainted! WOW!!! (I later realize that there is another officer behind the counter lying on a bench as he yells at me)…

source: GhanatoGhana

source: GhanatoGhana

At this point, I give up! I can’t even find the words… So my cousin narrates the story… One of the cops writes my name and contact information on a tattered piece of paper … My cousin asks, “we would like to file a complaint; can we get the form?”… The officer responds in a very stand-offish voice, “there is no form… you have to go to a government hospital and get a doctor to endorse that you were assaulted, then you come back and then we will document the issue further and then find an investigator to go with you to find the person…” My cousin says, you realize we are way outside Accra and more than likely can’t get to a government hospital tonight? She retorts “that’s the system and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Oh and by the way, this is the only police station that I can continue the case with… so pretty much would have to go sit at a government hospital for say 5 hours; after a 2 hour drive, then do another 1-2 hour drive back to tell them that the doctor says they can’t physically see any bruises so it’s cool! Just WOWWWW!!!

At this point, I am confused, still shocked by what just happened, and I find myself walking back to the car… I am simply speechless! We drive back to the complex to drop off my hostess who has been apologizing the entire time for this embarrassing and uncalled for event… We get to the gate and the ‘head of security’ comes to me to tell me that since his CCTV camera is not working, there is nothing he can do about the situation; moreover all the other staff who witnessed the event have just told him that the guy never touched me… He continues to say that it is my prerogative to pursue the police case, but on his end, it’s pretty much a done deal… I respond “Sir, wait until he kills someone before you do something about it! Since that’s the order of the day in our country.”

We drive off…

Am I physically hurt? – my arm hurts only slightly, but I am absolutely fine… I contemplated the entire night if I wanted to pursue the case… but I realized the sad truth – we have a broken system, and it’s as simple as that! A system that frustrates the ‘victim’ to the point that more often than not, you’ll just let the matter go… which is where I am. For the first time ever, I really wish I knew some commandoes who would go and ‘rough’ them up! I swear, that’s my innate feeling! But again, Thank God for the Cross, so I know what is right and won’t advocate for that – but I can really relate to instant justice within our system…

Ok… Let’s just say I was completely wrong; even then, he had absolutely no right to hit me – TWICE! And then no one would believe it; then those who saw it just blatantly lied! Then I go to the cops and they yell at me with an accusing tone of being responsible for why I was hit??!!! And I bet you my last cedi that I will meet them all at church on Sunday, or at the mosque on Friday… There’s so much wrong with all of this right here!…

I am writing this, not because I have been hospitalized, but because I want to tell my story, even if you think it’s not substantial enough, an assault is an assault, and should simply not be allowed! I am still meditating and trying to figure out why this happened to me, as I am a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason”… I think maybe God allowed me to go through this to help me relate to someone else who is going through the same thing and – possibly doesn’t know her right; or believes that she should let it go”… People, assault is not about physical bruises but more about the emotional and psychological implications of the assault…. And we should all stand up to our broken system, in any little way shape or form, to make changes…  



Consequences for the African Child After Allowing Him/Herself to be Kidnapped

Kidnapping is real. It’s scary. It’s the reason I stopped watching Law & Order:SVU once I began bearing children. The very idea that a stranger could muster the unmitigated gall to not only initiate conversation with MY child, let alone approach him/her with the intention of stealing them away from our home causes ice to form around my heart. It drains the blood from my veins. It causes me to think irrational thoughts.

This is why I was baffled by the conclusion of this video.

There is a PSA that’s been floating around of social media for a little over two weeks. I’ve taken my time watching it, because in all honesty, I didn’t want to know HOW easy it was to kidnap your run of the mill American child with access to technology. If you haven’t seen it yet, please take a few minutes to watch it so that we can discuss this in proper detail. Perhaps you will share my befuddlement at its end as well.

Seen it? Good.

I admit, if my husband and I had more resources (read: if we weren’t so cheap) our eldest two children would have access to a cell phone. We live in the age of technology, and despite my husband’s protests, I have gotten each of the kids a laptop. The compromise is that he has put stringent parental restrictions on them. They can only go on 4-5 websites, none of which has a social media feature. BUT, if it were not for my husband’s insistence, I’d probably allow them unfettered access to the world wide web and all its banes. And again, if not for my miserliness, they would have text and telephone capabilities just like all their little funky friends who wave their Apple and Samsung products in my girls’ faces simultaneously singing a rousing chorus of “nah nah boo boo”.

The kids in each of these videos had the trust of their parents. They had an “open relationship”. One of the moms screeched with incredulity at her daughter – who at just age 14 – had the impudence to leave her parents’ house at night to go and meet a boy.

“We’ve watched movies together…we’ve read stories about kids who get taken away together! These are real life situations…”

Herh! What does she mean? Do you know there are 36 year old women who are not permitted to leave their parents’ house after 6pm as we speak? Nonsense! African parents don’t trust their kids. That is why the 36 year old woman is sitting in her house right now, since she didn’t have the sense to find a husband at 23.

Then her father reached around and demanded that she give him her phone. Do you know this little American girl refused to hand over the device? Her father, the one who has gone out to work every day to provide for her, who cuts the grass so she can play in it, who provides at least half of the payment of her cell phone bill HAD TO FIGHT HIS KID to get the device out of his daughter’s hands.

Jesus. Come and take me now.

I understand what was happening in the minds of each of these children. They have been sheltered. They think the horror of being kidnapped and/or sex trafficked could never happen to them. They live in safe neighborhoods and only interact with “good people”. For that, I blame their parents. Jaren Fogle and Josh Duggar have proven once again that the Boogey Man wears khakis, not a hoodie. What I don’t understand is how each scenario did not end in exile.

Yes ooo. For the child of African immigrants, even if they are hybrids or second generation like myself, there are only three possible ways that putting yourself in a situation like this can end:

  1. Deportation back to Africa
  2. A beating
  3. Deportation and a beating

Take the girl who left her house at night. (I’m really stuck on that one.) How was her mother able to sit in the back seat of that white van for such a long time? As soon as I saw the door to my house open, the sliding door to the van would also be opening in sync.

“Hei! Hei! Hei! Akua! Where do you think you are going!?!?”

You think Usain Bolt himself could catch me in that moment? Think again! That is when the beating commence.

And after the nice white investigative reporter/prankster has had the chance to calm me and my husband down so we can have a “heart-to-heart” with our child, we would politely ask him to leave. We have the situation under control, we’d say. Your services are no longer required. Thank you for showing us the way.

Behold! Your return to Africa starter kit!

Behold! Your return to Africa starter kit!

“Ehh…Akua. Please go and pack your bags tonight. You have a flight in the morning.”

“Wait. What? Are we going on vacation, Dad?”

“Oh. You could say that. You will arrive at Kotoka by dawn. By noon, you will be in Kyekyebiase.”

Akua (who has hitherto gone by the name “Kelli”) is in shock. She cannot believe the speed with which things have escalated. She’s heard the stories her father used to tell about his ancestral homeland. Her heartbeat becomes irregular.

“No, Dad. Please. I don’t wanna go! I promise I’ll never do it again!”

The African Father acknowledges her repentance with a shrug, saying, “Oh yes. I know you won’t. The networks are very bad in Kyekyebiase. You’ll be lucky if you get one bar on your phone sef!”

“But how did you get a ticket so fast, Daddy?!”

Bemused, African Father lets out a soft chuckle. “Every African family has a special ticket on standby for wayward children. Based on the B’s and C’s you’ve been bringing into this house, we knew this day would come…although we hoped it wouldn’t. Oya! Why are you standing here? I say go and pack your bags quick-quick!”

Kelli is looking around for help from her mother, but the mercurial woman has busied herself by praying in tongues and pouring anointing oil all over the furniture, the door posts, the walls. And true to their word, Akua is on thing smoking, on her way “back” to Africa.

This is why Diasporans never completely lose touch with their connections back home. We never know when we will need the community to stand in where we’ve failed! You think I’m exaggerating? Turn to your Nigerian co-worker (and yes, you DO have a Nigerian co-worker. Everyone does) right now and ask him/her how many “American” kids were in their boarding school growing up. Those people went on to become exemplary human beings, didn’t they? They went on to take over the world.

You know why? There is nothing that can scare an American child straighter than an old village woman/a house master/school director with a mandate from your parents and their motivation to honor the ancestors by turning your leaf anew.

I pray my children never try me. Larteh Kubease is no one’s Disneyland. Someone needs to re-shoot this entire sequence of events and cast the Agbedu family so that children of African heritage understand what is in store for them should they every try this trumpery.


Are you the child of an immigrant? Would you ever send your kids back to India, China or Mexico to straighten them up, or is this only something only Africans do? Do tell!


Who Wants to be my Envoy for #ChaleWote2015?

Keep in mind, I can’t pay you ooooo. If I could pay you, I’d be there myself.


Man. I prayed. I prayed and asked God and the Universe to allow me to go to ChaleWote2015. I even asked some of you to send vibrations to the Universe. Did you vibrate, or did you forget me? I didn’t even ask you to pray! Prayer is difficult. I know. You think you have to find a closet somewhere, creak to your knees and mutter “Ha! I wanna Hyndai!” repeatedly to get results. That’s why I didn’t request prayer…just mere vibrations. Even that kraa, you couldn’t do for me. It’s okay. Darris gawd.


Needless to say, I am NOT attending this year’s street art festival in Accra though my heart and soul are in Jamestown. I am gashing in Atlanta. As rumor and Twirra tell it, the festival got off to a great start with Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women’s very on Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah participating in a juicy panel discussion alongside Akosua Hanson and my cyber-sister-friend Nana Ama Agyemang. I should have been there to watch…but it’s okay! The Universe and its smaller brother, Jesus Christ had other plans for me.


That is why I am in search of an envoy…someone to do and see all the things that my present position has made impossible. Envoys are an important part of the social fabric, you know? They represent royalty and governments. Wouldn’t it be nice to walk up to a stall or exhibit at ChaleWote and declare that you are sampling their fares as an envoy?

“Oh! On envoy for who! Who do you represent? Japan?”

“Errr…no. I’m an envoy for Malaka.”

“Who is Malaka?”

You might scratch your head before you sheepishly admit, “Some chick on the innanets gabbing on about vibrations and cupcakes.”

The purveyor of fine Ghana made good may then have pity on you and offer a sample for free. After all, you must be equally mad to walk up to a stranger and announce with pride that you have chosen to represent an online enigma for free. Speaking of cupcakes, here is a list of tasks I’d like my envoy to complete in the next two days:

  1. Visit Totally Baked and pick up a red velvet cupcake. Then sniff it. Then take a picture of you sniffing it. Then tag me. You might have to buy it after all that nostril contact…but you’re good for the money. The Almighty will reward you in the end.
  2. Find Wanlov the Kubolor and give him the biggest hug ever. Then sniff him. Report how he smells immediately. I bet he smells like garden gnome essence and magic.wanlov
  3. There’s a guy that makes jewelry out of copper. Copper makes me itch, so you don’t have to actually try on his stuff. Just get a selfie with him.
  4. Yo. There’s gonna be a street parade…And. It’s. ALWAYS. Dope. Though you’re probably not dressed for it, hop into the procession and dance agbadza. It doesn’t matter if the drums are playing adowa or borborbor. Agbadza and agbadza alone is the official dance of Malaka’s Envoy.agbadza
  5. There’s this new tiger nut drink out now. Feel free to sip on that. Sip on that ALL DAY if you want to. You know what they say about performance and tiger nuts. Heh heh heh…. What’s that? You don’t know what they say? Humph. You’ll find out by the end of the night.
  6. Oh my Gawd. If you see Ambolley, lick his face. Whisper something unintelligible in his ear. And then run.Ambolley
  7. Oh yeah! Get a picture of you and Yaa Traps Death in a Basket! It will be at the street fest with @AmaTuffet. Tweet at her ’til you find her. That’ll annoy the crap out of her, but part of your job as Malaka’s Envoy is to be a bit obnoxious. People expect that.Yaa Traps Death Cover
  8. Someone is bound to be selling chale wote at the Chale Wote street festival. Camp next to them and take quick shots of all the feet that slide into them. We’ll need those for later.
  9. Don’t forget to eat kenkey.
  10. Have fun, eh? Dance. Dance with total strangers. Laugh like a rich woman. Show ridiculous enthusiasm for everything. Like “Oh my gosh, is that ice water in a kalabash? I LOVE ice water…especially in a kalabash. Do you mind if I try some?” Then drink the ice water like it’s the first time H2O has ever entered your mouth.

Okay Madam or Mister Envoy! I’m waiting for your report. Number 6 is of paramount importance. That’s our coup de gras. No one will EVER believe we pulled that off. Muahahaa!!! Twipic or it never happened!

A Little Something about Birth Certificates, Choices and Shaun King

Before I begin, I must implore Black people not to allow ourselves to get distracted. We must not be driven by sheep or led by the nose-ringed bull at an agricultural fair by its handler. Make no mistake: when we allow our focus to be lost to petty diversions – of any sort – we are being handled. For whose benefit is only revealed in time, but at the present, we know it is not for our own. In other words, please stay woke.



The most vocal voices of the Black Lives Matter group have found themselves under attack in recent days. The timing couldn’t be more conspicuous, if you ask me. In the wake of the terse encounters with Bernie Sanders and the placing of BLM representatives in “overflow rooms” (read, the Colored Section) at Hilary Clinton’s stops, it would appear that forces and will behind BLM have some folk rattled. There are no clear leaders for the Black Lives Matter movement. As far as I know, no one is on any sort of payroll or has been appointed head. That vacuum is occupied by a cadre of activists who speak with regularity and clarity on the ills of white supremacy and the need for Black liberation. Shaun King is one of those voices.

Shaun King may or may not be white.

Now, why is this important? For the thinking man/woman who has the capacity for foresight, Shaun King’s ethnicity is a nonissue. There is an old adage that says “not all your skin folk is your kin folk.” Indeed, many of the most famous rebellions and great escapes never to have taken place have been thwarted by Black people more beholden to white supremacy than their own freedom. The issue is in the long run, who is our ally? And the fact is, white people have always been an integral part in the struggle for equality and liberation in America. The homes of white Quakers served as stops on the Underground Railroad. White people marched, bled and died during the Civil Rights era. The enemy of Black liberation isn’t whiteness: It’s White Supremacy. This is what gets so many people tripped up when media outlets like publish…well, anything. This week, the site just happened to post that Shaun King has deceived Black America and the world by living an impostor’s life as a Black man when he is “in fact” white.

Andrew Breibart. I bet that dude holds morning meetings in full Grand Dragon Klan regalia and lights his cigarettes with a burning cross. Ugh.

Breibart’s report casts suspicion on Shaun King’s credibility by asserting that his birth certificate has the name of a white man listed as his father, therefore not be Black (or bi-racial as he has intimated in the past), therefore he is a fraud and a liar and Black Lives Matter is based – in part – on fraudulent lies! Let me tell you a little something about birth certificates and lies and the American family.

Readers of this blog know that my husband is not my eldest daughter’s biological father. I’ve written extensively about the biological contributions her Douche Bag donor made to her existence while eschewing his fiscal obligations. Douche Bag is and always has been a Black man of the lowest quality…but at one point, I laid down with him and I conceived with him. Two days after my daughter was born, my head still foggy from the near stroke I had suffered, I had a decision to make: Should I put Marshall’s name on the birth certificate or Douche Bag’s?

Douche Bag actually robbed me of that choice (something else I’ve written about) when he slunk into my room after I had been on medication – barely able to make use of my limbs – and refused to leave until I had signed paperwork listing him as the father. He would proudly go on to call it a “pimp move”. When I told Marshall about it later on, he looked crestfallen.

“I thought you were going to put me down as the father,” he said quietly. He implied that it was not too late to ‘fix’ it.

I looked at this man who had just been ordained a deacon in our church, who had lived an upright life for as long as I had known him and yes –had protected and nurtured me during my pregnancy when I most vulnerable. Though I desperately wanted to put his name down as “father” of this child he had helped bring safely into the world, I couldn’t make a liar out of him. The ‘sin’ of having a child out of wedlock was mine to bear and mine alone. And even though I knew it would mean 18+ years of grief, inconvenience and ineptitude, I didn’t alter the document. That’s the only reason Douche Bag’s name is on my daughter’s birth certificate. It would have made life easier to strike him from the paperwork and put the more suitable man’s name on the document, but I decided not to.

Shaun King’s mother did not make that decision. He wrote about his mother’s past and her choices quite eloquently here. Whatever her reasons were, perhaps to save face, perhaps financial, and certainly none of our business, she listed a man who had not sired her son as the father on his birth certificate.

Shaun King’s story is not unique by any stretch of the imagination. There are hundreds of thousands of Americans who do not “belong” to their family in one shape or another. I just recently discovered that one of my most beloved cousins was not related to me at all. Her mother was my great uncle’s step child. When I was 15, it was revealed to me in hushed tones that my older cousin Steven* (on the Ghana side) was a foundling but he didn’t know. His paperwork listed my aunt and uncle as his parents, however. I was instructed not to say anything. I did my best to forget.

And that’s the problem with everyone who takes umbrage with Shaun King’s alleged deceit. There are too many people who are prone to forgetting that the average American family has been infiltrated and happily blended with the presence of people who do not share the same DNA, that every Black funeral features a revelation that the man you just put in the ground wasn’t your daddy after all; that if there were birth certificates issued in his day Thomas Jefferson would not have been listed as the father of Sally Hemings’ six children.


Shaun King is fighting to preserve and improve Black life. That he may have some ambivalence about his genetic make-up is not the pressing question at hand. We have already put too much stock in his mother’s sexual choices and the morality attached to it, which is ironic given the liberties this generation regularly takes with copulation and sexual exhibitionism. Is he using his voice to ensure that fewer Black people are killed in the street and that more get justice from a system built to stand against them? If the answer is yes, kindly shun the Trump shenanigans and worry less about the birth certificate and more ending the hunt and gradual extermination of our people. Stop giving white supremacy a hand. We’re smarter than this.