Category Archives: Madness

There is only one person who brings drama and madness into my life, and that is my douche bag baby daddy from a previous relationship, whom I am tasked to deal with, courtesy of the Georgia Judicial system. I hope he DOESN’T get hit by a bus this week…

Theory: Why The 66% Bent Over To Give Trump A Better Angle From Which to Grab ‘Em By The Pussy

Up until 3 weeks before the election, I was 80% certain that Donald Trump was going to win the presidency. I had voiced this repeatedly on Facebook, to the horror of my Democrat leaning/voting friends. As far as race and justice are concerned, I haven’t had faith in America in a long time – not since I’ve grown up past the pleasures of Saturday morning cartoons and birthday parties at Showbiz. I know it to be a country founded and built on genocide, man stealing, rape and broken treaties. Donald Trump’s peculiar brand of horribleness resonated with the soul of the nation. I could feel it.

I’ve worked in retail for the last 7 years, so I’ve seen how angry white people – white men, particularly – have been. Working in any service industry allows you to see people either at their best or their absolute worst. And because my job necessitated me working with the general public, I got to see and serve ‘real Americans’, unfiltered, for 8-24 hours a week, depending on my schedule.

What I saw wasn’t pretty.

Nevertheless, I allowed a friend of mine convince me that a Trump presidency was highly unlikely. She sent me this breakdown from the NY Times and I permitted myself to be lulled by the predictions of pollsters who had the benefit of access to resources that would allow them make (somewhat) scientific conclusions based on data gathered in real time. For what is intuition and lived experience compared to data? Surely I was wrong.

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Well, as we all know, the polls were trash, as were the predictions, and I was right. There is a proboscis monkey and his caterwauling troop headed the White House come January. But how did it happen? Hours after the results came in, everyone was still stunned, wondering how he did it. Fingers were pointed everywhere: at minority voters who might have not turned up in force to support Hillary, or the thousands of Americans who wrote in “Harambe” on their ballots, or even those who siphoned votes from HRC to Gary Johnson in protest. Who, who I say, could be responsible for this folly?!

Once the raw data came in, it was clear who gave Trump his victory: White women.

But hadn’t Trump offended them too? Wasn’t he an alleged sexual predator who not only imposed his carnal desires on women – admitting himself that he ‘just starts kissing them’ without waiting for permission – a man who said you could do anything to a woman if you were “a star”? And since we know his appetites don’t swing toward swirl, we could only conclude that the targets of perverse urges would be white women. He wasn’t talking about kissing me. So how did white women – of all economic backgrounds, in possession of several degrees or none – bring themselves to put a man who has pretty much admitted that he has no impulse control when his fist is in close proximity to any warm vagina, potentially their own?

I have my own theory based on lived experience, and since my intuition has proven more accurate than scientific polls, I’ll share it with you.

It all boils down to white female survival at the expense of all else… or what we refer to in Ghana as stomach politics.

White women have been listening to their husbands, boyfriends and blessers bellyache about a Black man in the White House for the past 8 years. President Obama successfully won two terms, in part because of the support of the white female voter. 56% of white female college educated voters gave Obama their mandate in 2008. Mitt Romney was able to siphon off some of those numbers, reducing President Obama’s support from this group to just 42% – this despite Romney’s “binders full of women” gaffe. Nevertheless, President Obama prevailed and will complete his second term come January.😦

From binding bodies to clamping pussies

I don’t know if white female voters enjoy being denigrated by their potential elected officials. It’s a possibility, since they were able to overlook the utterances of a man who has called women ‘fat’, ‘ugly’, ‘pigs’ and bragged about grabbing them by the genitals. Maybe Trump saw Romney’s post-binder surge and figured it was the code to connecting with this group of women. I don’t know. I DO know that those women who were fresh faced and right out of college went on to work, started families (most of them with white men) and watched real life come at them fast. There was no picket fence and dutiful, unseen colored gardener at the other end of “I do” in 2009. Everyone had to tighten their belts and pull up their socks in this new economy, and even though President Obama came into office during the worst recession America had seen since the Great Depression – somehow, according to conservatives – it was his entire fault that the event happened in the first place.

President Obama has been blamed for everything from crop failure to the creation of ISIS. It’s strange, but white men have been able to look at the world’s suffering – the poverty, the war, the genocide – and imagine that they are somehow suffering those precise fates. They look at the gains that people of other races and circumstances have made under the Obama administration (gay marriage, the fight for income equality, etc.) and imagine that this somehow robs them of prosperity. With this new imaginary reality firmly implanted in their consciousness, the persona of the Angry Endangered White Male emerges, and it is his mandate to take America back and make it great, safe (and white) again. The white man’s existence as an endangered being is all a phantasm, of course. The raw truth is that median incomes for white males have historically outpaced those of their male counterparts of color, and even saw a slight increase under the Obama administration in 2014-2015.

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(Source U.S. Bureau of the Census)

But you can’t tell an irrational white male that, and it’s certainly not his longsuffering wife’s position to do so either. His enemy becomes her enemy, and if her beloved is feeling less inclined to fork out cash for trips to Destin because ‘times are lean’ under that n*gger in charge, then her duty is to make sure she does all she can to get that obstacle out of the way… which in this case could be solved with a simple vote. This is why Hillary could not have possibly been a suitable replacement for Obama. As he said clearly in one impassioned stump speech rallying support for Clinton:

“My name may not be on the ballet, but my policies are on the ballot!”

What? This is just too much.

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Malaka, how do you know this? This is just conjecture!”

I know this because of Bones. And because I people watch.

Before the dot com bubble burst, people were coming out of university demanding $40-50K salaries, with no experience, and getting them. The economy was booming because people were spending an obscene amount of money on luxury goods. But then the bubble DID burst, and everything went to hell. While some people were forced to take a reduction in salary to keep their jobs, others just lost their livelihoods altogether. It was a hard time and people were really concerned; concerned about things that really matter.

“Does that mean we’re not going to be able to go to Bones every Friday?” a painted 50-something woman dripping in costume baubles squawked to her husband.

People were wondering how their rents were going to be paid, and here she was concerned about whether she’d be able to schmooze and booze it up at a local high-end steak house.

Stomach politics.

Not convinced? Perhaps you might recall the Trumpettes, whose explanation for why Donald Trump would make such a great leader is if he could do such a fantastic job with his club – where there are options for 75 different desserts – he could certainly replicate that sort of excellence as president.

Madam! We are not making cheesecake in the Oval Office! What…?

Again, stomach politics.

You think I’m lying. Google it.

I’m not surprised white women sold us out. I’m surprised people consider white womanhood an enduring ally. From Harriet to this week, we’ve seen them do this before. Oh, they are more than happy to take those small business loans set aside for monitories, but outside of that, this is not a group of women who identifies with the disenfranchised. This only comes as a shock to those who are unfamiliar with Susan B. Anthony’s racist quirks that served as the hallmark for the Suffragette Movement and then formed the basis of modern day white feminism. 66% of white women voted for Trump because it was good for white men, and because they are still dependent on the rewards of a white male patriarchal society. Their fortunes are inextricably linked. So it doesn’t matter if Trump unleashes a newly formed police force (Gestapo) to separate immigrant parents from their American-born kids, or if he orders Giuliani to implement Stop & Frisk in Black and brown communities, or even if Trump himself shows up at the Toddlers and Tiaras pageant and starts snatching 13 year old girls by the crotch. As long as that 401K is protected, the rest of us can go hang.

But, but, Malaka. What about all the anti-Trump protests breaking out all over the country? Look at all the young white women taking to the streets!

Hush. Those chicks aren’t out there protesting for ME. They’re out there protesting for access to birth control. How many of these same women turned for Black Lives Matter rallies?

Selah. I’ll wait.

 

I Need My Finances To Find The Hem Of Jesus’ Garment…Quickly

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My phone rang deep in the night as I was settling my head into my pillow. It was a dear friend calling from the US.

“Girl, I know it’s late where you are…but we haven’t spoken in a while so I don’t care.”

I laughed at her candor and told her I didn’t mind. I wasn’t going to be able to go right to sleep anyway. I had too much on my mind.

“What’s going on with you?” she asked.

“Girl,” I sighed.

“Girl!” she exhaled in response.

Now that the universal code for struggle-recognizes-struggle-but-yet-still-holding-on had been uttered, we set about the business of laying out the particulars of said struggle which always are (in no particular order): husbands, children, crazy folk en masse and in general, and finances. Finances were foremost on my mind. I told her as much when she asked:

“Did I miss something on the blog? It’s been quiet.”

“No,” I cackled. “You ain’t missed a thing. I wrote one piece last week, and that’s it. I might not even post this week. I need to figure some things out before I worry about writing…”

And it’s true.

Okay guys: This is me just talking here; just keeping it really real mmmkay? I’m feeling really vulnerable right now. I just need to talk things through. I need a miracle, and more importantly, my finances need a touch from the healing hand of the Lord Jesus Christ…or whatever His Hebrew name was before it was colonized by the Romans. Come to think of it, it’s probably why Jesus don’t really be answering prayer as quickly as we would like. “Jesus” is the Son of God’s field name…like Toby. Remember when the white people stole Kunta’s name in Roots? We done Toby-ed Jesus.

That’s not the point of this post.

Whatever the case may be, my account is hemorrhaging; It’s experiencing a proverbial issue of blood, and it needs just one Benny Hinn TOUCH! of anointing to set it straight.

Benny Hinn at Maple Leaf Gardens on Sept. 28, 1992 photos by Tony Bock/Toronto Star and handout photo.

Benny Hinn at Maple Leaf Gardens on Sept. 28, 1992 photos by Tony Bock/Toronto Star and handout photo.

It’s not like I’m not trying to inject some juice into this dried out fiscal turkey. It’s not like I’m sitting around waiting for someone to just hand me some money. I mean, I’m selling EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. That’s what Oprah and them said to do, right? Provide value for value? Whatchu need? Chances are, I’ve got it.

You need organic deodorant and essential oils? I gotchu.

You need books? Done.

You looking to buy a house? I’m selling one of those too!

Chicka chikow for some chicka chi-change!

Chicka chikow for some chicka chi-change!

The only things I haven’t done yet is tap dance on Vaudeville for a few coins, and in if the price is right, I’ll do that too! Just for that TOUCH!

I don’t have the words today, MOM Squad and Random Readers, which is why I’ve prepared this short video to convey my concern. I don’t cuss (often) and I try to treat my fellow man right (when they aren’t being insufferable douche bags), so why these fiscal trials and tribulations? Doesn’t the universe know that Christmas is coming? Don’t the ancients of days know that there is nothing more cliche than a child in Africa with no access to the delights of commercialized western Christmas? Next thing you know, the dudes from Wham(!) will be on my stoop talkin’ about some Feed the World, and I’ll be forced to listen to their condescension all because my finances couldn’t grab a hold of the heavenly hem!  Not for my children’s first Christmas in Africa. I reject it in Jesus’ name!

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All I have is this one desire…for the linen of the Son of the Lamb to brush up against my Suntrust account and do its thing.

 

Do you need Jesus to brush up on your dollar bills too? Let’s join our faith with one another, right here in the comments section. Yessss…wind of God, blow. Whooosh!

 

 

Would A Cheeto in Chief Actually Be That Bad?

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There are only 11 days to go before the US election is upon us. Depending on who comes out the victor, half of the country will be in mourning for the next four years while the other half will move forward with muted optimism. No matter what side of the divide you’re on, we (excluding voters at the fringes) have all pretty much agreed that the choices for this election suck pretty hard. It’s a horrible decision; like having to choose between under-cooked chicken and rancid groundnut soup. Either dish has the potential to kill you, but NOT eating (i.e. in this case, voting) would be considered an affront to those who’ve fought so hard in years past to give us access to poultry and groundnut soup. That’s good eatin’! However, I think former sharecroppers and Suffragettes alike could appreciate the dilemma their contemporaries – you and I – face today.

Back when it seemed impossible that Donald Trump could become the front-runner, let alone the candidate for the Republican Party, I asked a particularly snarky relative of mine how bad could it be if he actually did succeed in his bid to become president. This woman snorted with contempt before answering, “It won’t mean a damn thing to Black folk who wins or loses in this election. Never has.”

I knew that to be fundamentally untrue. I mean, the Obamas have given us a lifetime of lovely pictures to look fondly back on. Nothing in the way of policy that has affected positive change for our most vulnerable citizens, but we have truckloads of internet memes and Essence magazine covers praising the couple for leading the nation with “style and grace”. When I said as much to the aforementioned relative, she nearly choked on her own condescension…which I understood well.

The grim reality is that people of color in America have been, and will probably always be, on their own where politics and development are concerned. Sure, politicians hang around churches, barber shops and urban radio stations when they’re pandering for votes, but outside of developing policies meant to punish and contain super predators who populate inner cities, or keep people dependent on the public dole – and then scorning them for their engineered condition – the political elite have never considered communities of color a valuable resource worth investing in. And despite having our most prosperous communities razed to rubble, a school to prison pipeline in full swing, and pervasive hostility that manifests in ways both micro and overt, we keep holding on and fighting back. This is why when calamity strikes mainstream America, we don’t participate in the freak out. Do you remember when the Great Recession first hit and affluent white men were killing themselves and/or their whole families because they lost their 401Ks? The potential for living a life making the sort of wages Black women have had to get by on for decades was more than they could fathom. Being broke is no walk in the park, but it certainly doesn’t warrant a murder/suicide! Even when things are bad, they are only temporary…as would be a Trump presidency.

Since that conversation with my family member, a lot has happened. We’ve had three debates and Trump is no longer tied with or leading Hillary in the polls. In fact, exit polls at early voting have her at 93% chance of winning the election. But if Trump DID manage to eek out a win, I don’t foresee how it would be that bad for Black Americans. No! Just hear me out.

 

We’d be safer. Old Crazy Joe Walsh has already begun rallying the Second Amendment riff raff with a clarion call for all to gather their muskets in revolt the event of a Trump loss. As history has shown us, from cross burnings on lawns, to mass school shootings to Pumpkin Festival riots in New Hampshire, white men mean what they say when they threaten to execute violence. We have long lived to pacify and work around white male fragility, and I know it’s anti-revolutionary for me to suggest that we continue to do so, but until we as a people get real socio-economic and political power, we have to continue to do so. If we work on doing THAT, maybe we can get a better breed of presidential candidate in the future.

It will finally remove the illusion that we can depend on the government to protect us. By “protect”, I mean from policing, to provision of safe utilities, to healthcare. Barack Obama’s presidency did a lot to change the ‘tone’ of politics in America, but it did not improve the execution of policies that keep communities of color safe. Not much of this is President Obama’s fault, as he is limited in what he can do from the Oval Office with a Republican House and Senate opposing him at every opportunity. I think his presidency caused us to become complacent, in a way. With a Cheeto in Chief, there will be no such complacency. We will always be on our guard. We will operate on the offensive, rather than being reactionary to social events. We will keep our eyes peeled for shenanigans of any sort and be more difficult to dupe, as we will be far less trusting. As the great philosopher Frankie Agyemang said: “Trump’s face is like a reversible coat: I don’t know which side to trust!”

As Cheeto in Chief, Trump will drive us to prayer. Yes, Lawd, we gon’ pray. This is always a good position to be in. You know why the Old Mothers lived to be old mothers? Because they were always in a position of prayer. With Trump as president, the name of Jesus will never rest. The Holy Ghost will always be in our midst. We will begin to see ministering angels because. We. Will. Always. Be. In. Prayer.

We will draw closer to each other. There’s nothing like a common enemy to cause people to circle the wagons and close ranks. With a Barack Obama presidency, there was the assumption that everything was good…or at least everything was going to work out. But with President Squirrel Wig (as Luvvie calls him) so close to the nuclear codes, we will be more likely to check on each other. Like, “You okay, Curtis? Just checking on you. I just wanted to make sure the Fuhrer didn’t steal your children in the night or poison your water supply…” We lost some of that sense of community cohesiveness with 8 years under President Obama. It hasn’t helped us!

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EVERYONE would get a passport. Just in case something pops off, it’s always good to have that blue passbook to the world at the ready. You never know. Tavis said that they could re-institute race based slavery in America, and you don’t want to be caught with no way or paperwork to get on the exit boat. The duration of a Trump presidency would be a really good time to go see the world.

 

A Trump presidency is more detrimental to white American citizenry than it is to Black. The former group is more susceptible to deception. We at least know where we stand. He’s already concluded we’re illiterates who live under a hail of gunfire in the inner cities, where we alone, dwell exclusively. The man has no idea how to bring back the manufacturing jobs that Middle America lost to NAFTA, and frankly couldn’t care to. That’s his biggest carrot. He doesn’t even furnish his hotels with made in America goods. This bid for presidency is meant to serve two people only: Donald Trump and his Ego, an unpleasant persona so vast it’s measured in Parsecs.

Trump supporters would be in for the shock of their lives about his ineffectiveness if he won…but he (probably) isn’t going to. As for the ones he refers to as “The Blacks”, we’re going to do with what we’ve always done to survive America; turn sludge into sunshine.

Whichever way the election goes, the results are going to be historic: We’ll either have the first woman woman or the first bipedal crunchy snack running the country.

Her Dress Is Not the Problem… Your Mind Is

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Last week we saw #TeacherBae briefly captivate our online attention. #TeacherBae is the hashtag that became Patrice Brown’s – an Atlanta public school paraprofessional – digital appendage after pictures that she posted of herself at work and/or at play on Instagram went viral. She’s a beautiful woman with a full, curvy body. Black Twitter did not disappoint with the jocular commentary that we’ve come to expect during such occasions. A fair number of men jested that they might have paid attention in class if she was their instructor. Most of the comments I saw from women were positive, expressing their admiration for Ms. Brown’s fitness and confidence. Naturally, there was a fair amount of shade, but that’s to be expected. This was a (Black) woman’s body that was being dissected in public by the public. And then Ms. Brown’s images went mainstream all hell has broken loose. It would not surprise me if we were to hear in the coming weeks that Patrice Brown has vacated her post as a teacher – a position she has performed with such distinction that she been reportedly recognized and received awards for – either voluntarily or under duress. APS does not have the strongest track record for supporting its teachers, and have reportedly already coached and reprimanded her for “violating” the employee dress code.

*Sigh*

This is not the first nor will it be the last time this week that a Black woman’s features will be deemed “inappropriate”. Let’s not feign confusion about this matter. It’s not the dress that is “inappropriate”… it’s Patrice Brown’s body IN the dress that so many people have taken umbrage with. It’s is a quintessential Black woman’s body. We have the lowest waist to hip ratio of all ethnic groups. We are (in general) naturally built as close to an hourglass as you can humanly get. Just like melanin affords us the gift of slowed aging, genetics means we have big hips, small waists and a full bosom on top. If you had put an average Asian woman of the same height and weight in the same attire as Patrice Brown (or Peace Hyde or Beyoncé) had worn, the visual results would be drastically different and probably more tolerable to the general public. So it’s not the dress that her detractors are dissenting to…it’s her body. This is an argument that Preston Mitchum lays out brilliantly in an article he wrote for The Root.

There is a certain level of disdain for/fear of/envy that is specifically accorded Black women’s bodies that is frankly, really bewildering for us. We are human; and are there some of us who crave attention? As humans, absolutely. But just like the vast majority of white women do not get up in the morning eagerly anticipating having our sartorial choices dissected, ridiculed or sexualized, neither do we. We’re not looking forward to the catcalls, the “Ei guhl, you lookin’ good in dem jeans!”, or the unsolicited comments or groping that thousands of women have to endure each day. The task of dressing “modestly” is not one that easy for women who are built any way other than waiflike and elfin is not only mind-blowingly difficult – it’s expensive. Women who are top heavy have it even worse. (I got you, Tia!)

I know from personal experience the pain and disappointment of buying clothes off the rack. I am 5’5” and at my fittest, my proportions were 36-24-38. After having 4 kids and failing to snap back, I’ve gained a considerable amount of weight, but my ratios have remained the same. Only curvy women know what it’s like to have pants fit you in the hips only to have to suffer that intolerable gap in the waist. Only curvy women know what it’s like to scour racks for hours in search of jeans cut in such a way that the denim will not cut off circulation in your crotch. Materials with stretch have been (and will continue to be) our salvation. These blends are literally the only thing we can wear comfortably and still have a sense of feeling fashionable. You know why? Because the fashion industry ain’t checkin’ for US. Tim Gunn said as much in his op/ed for the Washington Post. 

The fashion industry denizen says:

“In addition to the fact that most designers max out at size 12, the selection of plus-size items on offer at many retailers is paltry compared with what’s available for a size 2 woman. According to a Bloomberg analysis, only 8.5 percent of dresses on Nordstrom.com in May were plus-size. At J.C. Penney’s website, it was 16 percent; Nike.com had a mere five items — total.”

Brotha Tim: WE know this and we thank you for making it plain. It is for these reasons among others that some of us have had to take matters into our own hands… literally. Such was my sister’s frustration with shopping off the rack that she has taken it upon herself to learn how to sew her own clothes. Between buying material, a fit mannequin, two sewing machines and the man-hours involved in making the garment, this is a costly pursuit. But if a curvy/plus sized woman wants to wear something flattering and modern, she’s going to have to:

  1. Make it herself
  2. Pay someone else to sew for her
  3. Find garments with stretch that move with and hug her hips

The latter-most option is the one the majority of us opt for – which incidentally is what a certain mulish section of society finds offensive. You can all kick rocks. You have no idea about this struggle. Your opinions are nonsense, invalid and unwelcome. Did we not all watch Leslie Jones’ struggle to find a designer to dress her full-figured body for her red carpet premier? Even the so-called elite among us is not spared this humiliation.

Much has already been written and discussed about the policing of women’s bodies, but it seems everyone wants to be and has appointed themselves as the Black Woman’s constable; not just in America. It might both sadden and comfort Ms. Brown to know that she is not the only teacher to come under fire for “indecently” attiring her assets. These two teachers in Zimbabwe were reprimanded and publicly shamed for being too “sexy” in the classroom.

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This teacher was rebuked and sanctioned for dressing too sexy for work.

Where you gonna find a skirt to "appropriately" fit THAT??

Where you gonna find a skirt to “appropriately” fit THAT??

Critics say that their clothing is a distraction for children. I say you see what you want to see.

 

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.

                                                                                    – Titus 1:15

There is an image – an optical illusion that made the rounds after a study was conducted exploring the links between perception and experience a few years ago. It always comes to mind in moments like these. What do you see when you look at this?

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Like those who participated in the study, most adults will see two people caught in an erotic embrace. They will struggle to find the dolphins. The children who participated in the study, however, saw dolphins first. They had no sexual memories of point of reference to immediately recognize a lovers’ embrace.

America has dubbed Patrice Brown ‘the sexiest teacher alive’. You all imputed that standard on her. You’re the problem; her dress is not.

 

*Have you ever been made to go home and change your clothes? Have you ever been denied entry into a club because you weren’t in heels? Have you ever been admonished by your boss to cover up because ‘your nipples are showing’, meanwhile, the office A/C is on full blast? (That last one was my personal experience. I wanted to kick my manager that day.)

Evidence of a Dark Heart

Friends, Diaspora, Innanets Fam:

Lend me your ears.

But first, lend me your pupils. Look at this! No… Don’t turn away. See this abomination for what it is!

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This is a demonic manifestation. A Satanic offering. The wages of Lucifer’s war against the Almighty.

What in God’s holy name is this and why would someone do this to plantain? What has plantain ever done to anybody to deserve this? Chesu!

Maya Angelou once said that “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” I believe this person to be a worker of the dark arts. This is a joyless soul. This is someone who has never known, given, nor received love. If someone can char plantain like this, plate it on such a brightly colored platter, serve it and then take a picture of it? My friend, you had better run. This person is capable of anything. This person is capable of unspeakable acts. Look at what they’ve done to plantain. What do you think they can do to YOU?

The individual responsible for this loathsome act should not be trusted with children. They should never be given control of finances. This person must be barred from participating in public events…like carnivals and spring festivals. Why? Because this minion is clearly a loose canon. They are careless and thoughtless. To leave plantain – precious, delicate, wholesome plantain – in scorching oil for this length of time, a duration long enough to produce this caliber of blackening? It means that there is an equally sooty space in their spirit.

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There isn’t a person on the planet who doesn’t love and care for plantain. Early depictions of the encounter Eve had with the serpent in the Garden of Eden show her eating fruit from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That fruit is depicted as an apple. In my heart of hearts, I know this to be a false illustration. There isn’t an apple in the world – not a Granny Smith, not a Golden Delicious, not a Honeycrisp – that is strong enough to tempt you to defy the word of the Lord. Now, ripe plantain on the other hand? Ahaaaaa. Now we’re talking. I believe Eve plucked a sweet, yellow plantain from the tree of knowledge, bit into it and said “Chineke God! No wonder Yaweh didn’t want us to consume this fruit. Hei! It’s sweet ooo!”

And the serpent said, “But what if you fried it?”

So Eve did. She fried it and called Adamu. “Shei! Adamu! Come and taste dis sweet ting oooo! You won’t believe it!”

And her husband did. He had never tasted anything so magical in all his life. His mind was riddled by the euphoria he was experiencing. Adamu was tripping! And that’s why when God asked him, “Chale, Adam? Where you dey?”

Adam replied, “I am naked.”

Plantain had stripped him on his senses. Plantain was – and still is – the original temptation. Even you today sitting here reading this, if they offer you plantain will you say you won’t take? You are lying! You will take!

…Unless it looks like this.What sort of witchcraft is this?

Not all black is beautiful.

Not all black is beautiful.

My friend Dara Mathis (you’ll know her from her blog www.trulytafakari.com) was introduced to plantain over the summer of 2016. So impacting was that one encounter that she was inspired to create a t-shirt to commemorate the instant affection and connection she had made with plantain.

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And then you go and do this to her beloved? To the beloved of billions of people across the globe? I’m telling you, this person can kill your child without remorse. It’s like this person used plantain as a tool to exact their revenge for some grievous, personal offense but took the retaliation too far. Say someone slaps you, and in response you burn this plantain and feed it to them. Are you not godless? Such a person is wicked, and a danger to society.

People of all walks of life and cultures know what I’m saying is true. Right now there are Australians looking at this image, recoiling in horror. There is an Englishman who has just thrown his baked beans across the kitchen table in anger. Your abuelita has just dropped to her knees, reciting the rosary to pray for the forgiveness of this sin. Ghanaians, Nigerians and Jamaicans are cursing the name of this faceless coward. In this one cause, we are united: to protect the sanctity of plantain.

Please. We beg you. If you were thinking of desecrating plantain in this gruesome manner, don’t do it. Have some humanity! Why should you be numbered among the transgressors? Why should you be responsible for this level of sorrow?

Don’t.

That is all.

 

*Describe how this plantain made you feel.

What I Smelled When I Saw Pictures of Usain Bolt in Bed with that Brazilian Student

As I’ve mentioned on many a previous post, I grew up in a suburb of Accra called Labone. It’s hard to believe looking at the area now, but there was once a time when rents were reasonable and a lower middle class family such as mine could afford to live there. The house I lived in was demolished and is now home to a branch of Zenith Bank.

Any-freaking-way, there was a dude that used to live in the boy’s quarters of the house across the street from us called Dada. Dada’s exact function in service to the white man (the manager of an Accra based Swiss company) was unknown to me, but he was my dad’s jesting partner and errand boy. If one needed the other, they would simply whistle a specific tune and wait for a response, which was usually almost immediate. It was an audible Bat signal, if you will.

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Being on such congenial terms with my father naturally made Dada feel chummy with my siblings and me, and he chose to express his familiarity by playing ‘area boy’ games with my brother and making lewd comments about the development of my and my sister’s bodies. The first time I heard the words “natural bobbi stannap” (where bobbi = breast and stannap = stand up, a nod to the perkiness of unspoiled, teen mammary glands) were from Dada’s lips. On more than one occasion, he assured me that it was alright for me to come and visit him in his room one day, instead of him coming over to our house all the time.

It was an offer I politely, firmly and frequently declined. I didn’t know what shenanigans Dada had plans in his room, but even at that tender age, I knew enough to know that NOTHING good would await me in that boy’s quarters room. I couldn’t put my finger on it then, but thanks to the Internet, I now understand what type of creature we were dealing with in Dada. In Twitter terms, he’s that niqqa who employs Hotep science to advance the idea that there exists a “natural attraction” between 25 year old men and 15 year old girls.

Selah.

So anyway, I’d avoided going to Dada’s room for months…maybe even years before it finally happened. My streak of luck had run out. One afternoon, my dad stood whistling on the veranda whistling for Dada in vain, getting no response.

My father grunted an irritated “Ah!” and placed his hands on his hips. He grimaced and furrowed his brow, the urgency for whatever required Dada’s unique attention becoming more apparent with every passing minute. I had only ever seen Dada return with waakye or several balls of kenkey – of which he happily partook at my father’s insistence, so I suppose Daddy was hungry that day.

Finally, he could bear it no longer.

“Malaka! Go across the street and tell Dada I’m looking for him!”

I looked up with my father with imploring eyes, but said nothing in response besides a dutiful “OK.”

The white man had ferocious dogs at his house. Dada had made several comments about my breasts, which were by this stage a solid B-cup. Somewhere in the city, a chicken was being slaughtered and in being put out of its misery, was in a better position emotionally than I was at that moment. Nevertheless, I soldiered on an ambled across the street under my father’s watchful, expectant eye from the veranda.

The dogs were sleeping, so I got by them easily enough. Boy’s quarters are always at the back of estate houses, so I found it quickly as well.

“Dada?” I called tentatively. “Dada?”

I whistled their unique tune and waited. Dada’s voice responded behind one of the two doors.

“Yes?”

I breathed a sigh of relief and pushed it open.

“Hey, Dada! My dad said…”

And then that’s when it hit me: A powerful, musty, musky scent that weakens the senses and causes the knees to buckle. I had no idea what it was, but seeing as Dada and the toffee seller were smiling sheepishly back at me from their shared position under the sheet of his bed, I could only assume they were responsible for its creation.

It smelled like fermented corn.

It smelled like anger.

It also smelled like triumph.

It smelled like wet booty and broken promises.

It smelled like something I wanted to forget.

Dada, the toffee seller and I stared at one another for what felt like the totality of human creation. I can’t recall who broke the silence first, but I informed Dada that my dad needed him and fled, the scent of the room still clinging to my nostrils, my clothing, my hair…

And THAT, dear Reader, is what I smelled when I saw the picture of Usain Bolt and the Brazilian Student when their pictures began circling around social media. Now that I have 4 kids and a long forgotten number of sexual encounters under my own belt, I know that what I smelled in that room so many years ago was the unique aroma of coitus. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that the quarters that Bolt and the Brazilian shared for the night was pungent with it.

Source: Facebook. And why do you have your romping pictures on Facebook? Foolish girl!

Source: Facebook. And why do you have your romping pictures on Facebook? Foolish girl!

Coitus and fried plantain.

Coitus and lies.

Coitus and the pharmaceutically smell of prophylactics.

Given that this is Usain Bolt we’re talking about here, the scent of coitus was likely accompanied with the thunderous sound of flesh clapping, slapping and striking flesh.

I don’t know, of course. I’ve never slept with the man. But I imagine that the experience is…electrifying. (Get it? Get it? Because bolts of lightening? I kill me!)

The mind is a powerful thing, dear Reader. It can form associations with things that seem so basic, so elemental to one person and elicit a violent response in another. Like cotton fields to white folk versus Black people. White people can ride past a cotton field and marvel at how pretty it is…how much it resembles snow. They just want to frolic in it! Black people drive past a cotton field and hear the crack of many whips. They feel the scorching sun. They marvel for a moment and are compelled to whisper thanks for freedom. The more passionate amongst us may drive past a cotton field and throw up a middle finger at it.

Associations, you understand.

Likewise, I see Usain Bolt and this duckfaced chile in bed and I smell bodily excretions and thrice-used Frytol.

Source: WestAfrica Cooks

Source: WestAfrica Cooks

 

PS: I’m sorry if you’ll never look at plantain the same way again. Like I said, the mind is a powerful thing…

Who is Worth Protecting: Vaginal Hierarchies in the Age of Oye Lithur

When well-meaning women beholden to archaic traditions lovingly perform barbaric acts like holding their daughters down and slice off their clitorises with rusty blades or yank them out of classrooms to sell them into marriage, women like Nana Oye Lithur spring into action. It’s not that the former group of women gave birth to bring intentional and perpetual misery to their female progeny; it’s just that these traditions represent the way things have always been done. Better to disfigure and maim your girl than to allow her to face the consequences of promiscuity. Better to trade her in marriage to a responsible (older) man who can look after her better than you ever could with so many other children of your own to consider. Better to take her out of school early – before she crafts lofty dreams and hopes that she will never realize because she is, after all, an African girl.

These are just a handful of examples of the harsh realities that many women – particularly the poor – face in Ghana day in and out; scenarios that women like Nana Oye Lithur, Ghana’s current Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, have dedicated their lives and talent to changing. It is the type of work that wins you international recognition, kudos and accolades. Working to abolish harmful traditions and as well as the laws that give these customs fertile ground to flourish is a noble pursuit. It is also one that makes sense, given that the ideas about female ability and worth – rooted in opinion and nothing more – have morphed over time yielding more favorable results for women.

Nevertheless, in countries like Ghana, these notions about the inherent inferiority of women’s worth doggedly persist. A woman’s body and sexual past are fair play – or more accurately, a war zone – on which to lob attacks to score political points. Chauvinists like Ken Agyapong unabashedly assert that prominent women such as Charlotte Osei earned their positions by trading in sex. Misogynists like Dela Coffie say that champions for social equality like Lydia Forson are voices from a brothel. Jokes about raping women, violently taking their virginity, stripping them naked in public and/or beating them in the process abound, from the mouths of those who carry the title ‘honorable’ and the frustrated street sweeper alike. Mouths and minds who see women as enemies and not partners equally tasked with bettering the nation. And still through it all, women like Nana Oye Lithur have been on the forefront of this cultural fight, shutting down those who so casually desecrate the bodies of young girls and women with both the pen and the penitentiary.

She has advocated for harsher punishment for rapists.

She is a human rights lawyer and a child advocate.

She has just signed a petition asking the incumbent president to release three NDC propaganda mouthpieces who threatened to harm, murder and rape the Supreme Court judges with harm, rape and death over their handling of the case on the credibility of the current voters register.

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Policy analyst Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby has called Oye Lithur’s action “incongruous”, given her background. I should say so! There are certain women who have signed this petition for whom it does not register shock. Akua Donkor is among those. Madam Donkor is the type of woman who represents the outreach field that Oye Lithur ought to be converting and bringing to the light, not following into the slimy muck. Akua Donkor is a political opportunist who uses gimmickry to give herself relevance. She is not the type of person one looks to reflect thoughtful analysis or understanding of the law. She is a tool used by the majority party to harvest votes from a large swathe of the population that has been undereducated, underserved, and underrepresented in governance. Her views about women’s rights are not nearly progressive enough. So while it is disappointing that she would sign a petition to call for the immediate release of three reprehensible, irresponsible rogues who called for the rape of Justice Georgina Wood and the murder of her colleagues, it’s not entirely surprising given the base she panders to.

But for the Minister of Social Protection to do so? It beggars belief.

Nana Oye Lithur is not an unintelligent woman, which means that there is some carrot waiting for her on the other end of this disgraceful action. Unfortunately, as does just about everything in Ghana, the general consensus is that it boils down to partisan politics, which has allowed so many women of strong repute have allowed themselves to be aligned with such a disgusting action. Among those named are Hannah Tetteh, Valerie Sawyerr and Prof. Naana Opoku Agyeman – all NDC stalwarts. The answer to your unasked question is “Yes”. Georgina Wood was appointed by the rival NPP government. Apparently, Justice Wood’s party affiliation is a scarlet letter, a stain repugnant enough to preclude her from protection under the law according to this cabal of classist women over 50.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Now we have to ask ourselves some serious questions about when, how and why we protect women’s bodies in Ghana. The village girl in remote outposts garners immediate sympathy. It’s her face, after all, that is plastered all over glossy Oxfam and Save the Children posters. Her face and her plight are a commodity that feeds and funds NGOs and line ministerial pockets. It is to the benefit of the classed gender activist to be seen supporting this caliber of victim. But how about women whose shared political values do not match your own, who draws her living from a wallet funded by the might of the elephant rather than the shadiness of an umbrella, or vice versa? Of what value and are the attacks against her? Do they illicit the same sort of horror and indignation? It would appear not. Such a woman is no ‘mere woman’ at all…she is political opponent foremost, and therefore worthy of destruction.

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This is the hierarchy to determine which sort of woman deserves sympathy, protection or support in Ghana when confronted with the threat of assault, and it’s one that gets converted and altered depending on the audience. Until we can come to the conclusion that ALL women deserve equal protection under the law, we will continue to hurtle down this dangerous and divisive path that harms every woman – the vulnerable and powerful alike in the end. It is merely a refining of the vicious notions we have lived under and striven against for so long.

For the top brass in the NDC – a political party whose early leadership has on its record a responsibility for the killings of the Supreme Court Justices Cecilia Koranteng Addo, Frederick Sarkodie, and Kwadjo Agyei Agyepong – to now call on the president to pardon three media personalities who have called for a repeat of those atrocities betrays a level of disrespect that defies all reason. It is vile, cruel and beneath the dignity – and humanity – of these once-respected leaders.