Talib Kweli ft Jean Grae – Black Girl Pain

My mama said life would be so hard
Growing up days as a Black girl scarred
In every way, still; you’ve come so far
They just know the name they don’t know the pain
So please hold your heads up high
Don’t be ashamed of yourself know I
Will carry it forth til the day I die
They just know the name they don’t know the pain, Black girl

I do it for the people, I do it for the love
I do it for the poet, I do it for the thug
This is for victory, and this is for the slaughter
I do it for my mother, I do it for my daughter
Promise I’ll always love ya, I love to kiss and hug ya
You and your brother should be looking out for one another
I’m so blessed, man, y’all the reason I got up
Somebody put his hands on you I’m getting locked up
I’m not playing, that’s the prayer I’m saying for Diani
And if I die then she’ll be protected by Amani
That’s her bigger brother and I love the way he love her
She a girly-girl, she love to imitate her mother
But she a Gemini, so stay on her friendly side
She’ll put that look on you, it’s like somebody friend just died
My pretty Black princess smell sweet like that incense
That you buy at the bookstore supporting Black business
Teach her what black is; the fact is her parents are thorough
She four reading Cornrows by Camille Yarborough
I keep her hair braided, bought her a black Barbie
I keep her mind free; she ain’t no black zombie
This is for Aisha, this is for Kashera
This is for Khadijah, scared to look up in the mirror
I see the picture clearer through the stain on the frame
She got a Black girl name, she living Black girl pain
This is for Makeba, and for my Mamacita
What’s really good Ma, I’ll be your promise-keeper
I see the picture clearer through the stain on the frame
She got a black girl name, she live in black girl pain

This is for Beatrice Bertha Benjamin who gave birth to Tsidi Azeeda
For Lavender Hill, for Khayelitsha
Athlone Mitchell’s Plain, Swazi girls I’m repping for thee
Manenberg, Gugulethu; where you’d just be blessed to get through
For beauty shining through like the sun at the highest noon
From the top of the cable car at Table Mountain; I am you
Girls with the skyest blue of eyes and the darkest skin
For Cape Coloured for realizing we’re African
For all my cousins back home, the strength of Mommy’s backbone
The length of which she went for raising, sacrificing her own
The pain of not reflecting the range of our complexions
For rubber pellet scars on Auntie Elna’s back, I march
Fist raised, caramel shining, in all our glory
For Mauritius, St. Helena; my blood is a million stories
Winnie for Joan and for Eadie, for Norma, Leslie, Ndidi
For Auntie Betty, for Melanie; all the same family
Fiona, Jo Burg, complex of mixed girls
For surviving through every lie they put into us now
This worlds yours’, and I swear I will stand focused
Black girls, raise up your hands; the world should clap for us

Talib Kweli – Black Girl Pain Lyrics

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mind the gap – exploring the cape coloured passion gap

Featured

By Fran Blandy – Telegraph UK.

Dental modification is a teenage rite of passage for some in Cape Town – one that has been around for 60 years.

The laughing young man has a perfect set of teeth, his golden incisors glinting in the sunlight.

Suddenly he pops out a pair of dentures, revealing a gap-toothed smile, the four upper front teeth missing, a common sight among mixed-race Capetonians that has spawned outrageous myths and stereotypes.

A group of youngsters clad in baggy sweaters, caps drawn low over shiny sunglasses, mill around curiously before they start to pop out their own dentures, showing off gummy smiles and striking gangster poses.

“It is fashion, everyone has it,” said 21-year-old Yazeed Adams, who insists he had to take out his healthy incisors because they were “huge”.

One of the most enduring images of mixed-race South Africans known as coloureds is the frequent absence of their front teeth, a mystery to many but popularly believed to facilitate oral sex.

This sexual myth – not borne out by research – has seen the trend referred to as the “Passion Gap” or the “Cape Flats smile”, after a populous neighbourhood.

Jacqui Friedling of the University of Cape Town’s human biology department studied the phenomenon in 2003 and found fashion and peer pressure the main reasons for removing teeth, followed by gangsterism and medical reasons.

“It is the ‘in’ thing to do. It went through a wave, it was fashionable in my parents’ time,” she said of the practice which has been around for at least 60 years.

Dental modification in Africa is historically found only in tribal people, including filing of teeth and ornamentation, but in modern Cape Town the practice abounds, often as a rite of passage for teenagers – almost exclusively from poorer families.

Rob Barry from the dentistry faculty at the University of the Western Cape said the practice has increased, even though dentists are ethically barred from removing healthy teeth.

“Almost every week I get some or other teenager in here wanting teeth out,” he said.

He said he has made thousands of partial dentures for people who need to look acceptable at work or for special occasions.

Friedling said the dentures themselves have become a fashion statement, some decorated with gold or bits of precious stone or various designs.

She noted that the Cape Town trend preceded the hip-hop culture fad of wearing ornate gold or diamond “grills” on teeth that swept the United States in the last decade, in which people opted for removable gold or ornamented caps rather than extracting the actual teeth.

“Here, it was a case of them elevating themselves above the rest of their peers, (it was) not to do with hip hop culture. The minute they can afford different sets of dentures then (the idea is) ‘I am a bit better than you’,” Friedling said.

“That’s what makes it here in South Africa so unique,” she said.

Kevin Brown, 33, sits in his “office”, a crate on the corner of Long Street, the city’s nightlife hub, where he hands out cards for an upstairs brothel, popping out his teeth at passers by – often tourists – and laughing at their reactions.

“I am the pimp,” he smiles, displaying four gold incisors. “It is a fashionable thing.”

Ronald de Villiers, 45, lost all his teeth after he initially put in gold dentures which infected the rest of his mouth, a common occurrence.

He said his 11 year-old and 14 year-old had already had theirs out “to look a bit prettier” and says it is easy to find a dentist to pay a bit extra to remove the healthy teeth.

“I think it was initially a form of identity. If you look at the coloured people they are a hodge podge of everyone that came in, they couldn’t claim any of those ancestries of their own,” said Friedling.

To her surprise, she also discovered the practice among a few whites, blacks and even one or two Chinese living alongside poor coloured areas.

In interviews with 2,167 people, 41 per cent had modified their teeth of which 44.8 percent were male, in the only study of its kind.

Peer pressure was cited by 42 per cent while 10 per cent removed their teeth due to gangsterism practices – a huge problem on the Cape Flats – a mainly coloured area on the outskirts of Cape Town.

“They said when they have gang fights they take the people’s teeth away, it is taking a bit of their wealth away,” said Friedling, adding that different gangs would also have different implants.

Not everyone is pleased with their decision.

Ebrahim Jardin, 33, is not wearing his silver, gold or plain pair of dentures today. A cigarette is clenched between his gums.

“I should have kept my front teeth. Most of the younger people do it, but I don’t think it’s cool anymore. It is people expressing their stupidity.”

____________________________________

“Cape Malay’s ex-slaves have been pulling out their front teeth in back alleys for a few centuries now. The absence of teeth originally served as a visual “fuck you” to their former Dutch and British masters, who would usually determine a slave’s worth by their dental health, and as a symbolic way of taking back control over their own bodies. Since then, the Passion Gap has mutated into a weird Cape fashion, leaving the rest of South Africa puzzled and bemused at the scores of people who are willing to risk the collapse of their entire dental line just to get rid of their front teeth.

Most dentists now refuse to perform the Passion Gap procedure, but it hasn’t diminished the number of young kids who can pop out their fakes and give you the toothless salute. From Cape Flats gangsters and Hout Bay fishermen to premier league goalkeepers, Passion smiles continue to flash all across the city, either tributes to ancestral traditions or bizarre takes on beauty. Welcome to Cape Town’s own cultural enigma”

(via vice.com)

For more with pictures click the link below:

http://m.vice.com/read/mind-the-gap-jou-naaier

http://m.vice.com/read/smile-and-say-passion-gap

__________________________________

While I consider myself a proud South African (first) coloured woman, and it is no secret that this toothless wonder phenomenon is undeniably part of every Coloured person’s heritage, I will say that the generation who predominantly practised this is the one before us.

The new generation of Cape coloureds are smart, creative, free thinking, hard working, ambitious, curious, eloquent, proud of our unique, beautiful and colourful culture, not afraid to speak our mind, achieving great things and have formed identities of our own. An identity that will not and cannot be defined by what previous generations have done with their dental work.

Awe mother’s child.

mj

hugo boss’ contemporary line turns 20

HUGO BOSS’ contemporary line, Hugo, is hosting an exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery this summer to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The brand has selected 20 urban creatives from around the world to contribute works that encapsulate the spirit of the label – from video installations and interactive light projections to huge, colourful murals. Red Never Follows will open to the public for free from July 31 until September 1.

The showcase coincides with the launch of a unique anniversary collection, which features 20 key pieces that epitomise Hugo’s ethos in creating understated, but unconventional, clothes. For men, there are leather jackets, scarves and tailoring, while for women, expect a scarlet two-piece suit, a minimal shift dress in white and pale pink and patent ankle boots.

“The Saatchi Gallery has been a special projects partner with Hugo Boss UK for some time and we are thrilled to be working with them and the contemporary creatives involved to create this unique Hugo: Red Never Follows exhibition,” said the brand’s managing director, Bernd Hake. “It’s the perfect cultural reflection of the Hugo 20th anniversary capsule collection which will debut in stores from early July. The Saatchi Gallery is a wonderful platform for these talented contributors to showcase their unique pieces and we look forward to seeing how guests visiting the exhibition react to their works.”

(Vogue U.K)

Read the history of Hugo Boss here:

http://www.mademan.com/mm/history-hugo-boss.html

mj

daughter of the district

She saw the iron dragons come.

Plunder and rape the sweat of founding fathers;

Where once she skipped on toffee apple smiles;

They trod, they broke, fire face reptiles;

Her people’s blood, wildly scattered on foundations of love;

She cried, she screamed, for all she dreamed would change that day the iron dragons came.

_______________________________

Written in honour of my grandparents and all of my people who were residents of the District as children and were part of the generation who were displaced due to the group areas act.

Our place has gone, but our people remain.

MJ

(images by District Six Museum and UCT District Six archives)

xo

mj

19 years on: never, never again – nelson mandela’s inaugural speech.

Today, on this 10th day of May 2013, we celebrate 19 years since the inauguration of South Africa’s first black president the incomparable Nelson Mandela.

Let’s strive to honour his vision.

xo

“Your Majesties,
Your Highnesses,
Distinguished Guests,
Comrades and Friends.

Today, all of us do, by our presence here, and by our celebrations in other parts of our country and the world, confer glory and hope to newborn liberty.

Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.

Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity`s belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.

All this we owe both to ourselves and to the peoples of the world who are so well represented here today.

To my compatriots, I have no hesitation in saying that each one of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld.

Each time one of us touches the soil of this land, we feel a sense of personal renewal. The national mood changes as the seasons change.

We are moved by a sense of joy and exhilaration when the grass turns green and the flowers bloom.

That spiritual and physical oneness we all share with this common homeland explains the depth of the pain we all carried in our hearts as we saw our country tear itself apart in a terrible conflict, and as we saw it spurned, outlawed and isolated by the peoples of the world, precisely because it has become the universal base of the pernicious ideology and practice of racism and racial oppression.

We, the people of South Africa, feel fulfilled that humanity has taken us back into its bosom, that we, who were outlaws not so long ago, have today been given the rare privilege to be host to the nations of the world on our own soil.

We thank all our distinguished international guests for having come to take possession with the people of our country of what is, after all, a common victory for justice, for peace, for human dignity.

We trust that you will continue to stand by us as we tackle the challenges of building peace, prosperity, non-sexism, non-racialism and democracy.

We deeply appreciate the role that the masses of our people and their political mass democratic, religious, women, youth, business, traditional and other leaders have played to bring about this conclusion. Not least among them is my Second Deputy President, the Honourable F.W. de Klerk.

We would also like to pay tribute to our security forces, in all their ranks, for the distinguished role they have played in securing our first democratic elections and the transition to democracy, from blood-thirsty forces which still refuse to see the light.

The time for the healing of the wounds has come.

The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.

The time to build is upon us.

We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.

We succeeded to take our last steps to freedom in conditions of relative peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just and lasting peace.

We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.

As a token of its commitment to the renewal of our country, the new Interim Government of National Unity will, as a matter of urgency, address the issue of amnesty for various categories of our people who are currently serving terms of imprisonment.

We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and the rest of the world who sacrificed in many ways and surrendered their lives so that we could be free.

Their dreams have become reality. Freedom is their reward.

We are both humbled and elevated by the honour and privilege that you, the people of South Africa, have bestowed on us, as the first President of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist government.

We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom

We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.

We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.

Let there be justice for all.
Let there be peace for all.
Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.
Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.

Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.

Let freedom reign.
The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!
God bless Africa!

Thank you.”

mj

the cultural glass ceiling

district-six

 

Firstly, let me add the disclaimer that what I have written here is simply an observation on my behalf and in no way intended to offend, demoralize or degrade any group.

As a coloured girl, born and bred on the Cape Flats, I have always been taught to embrace, honour and be proud of my roots. This is one of the core values my parents, grandparents and teachers have instilled in me from a very young age and one which I take pretty seriously, one I look forward to passing on to my kids someday.

However, I have noticed a trend brewing, particularly amongst coloured folks , which concerns me. This is the tendency to not only withhold support for their OWN people, but begrudge members of their group who dare to go above and beyond convention.

Many of our people are doing phenomenal things in various spheres such as business, entertainment, sport, medicine, education, politics and more. Yet, to the rest of the nation, it seems that we are still stuck in the abyss of being ‘the middle man’ too black to be white, too light to be black, the eternal under achiever. We complain about this constantly too, a feat which I have been guilty of many a times, until it hit me, like a Sunday afternoon netball to the head: ‘’What are WE doing to support our OWN people?”

The answer, sadly it seems, is NOT MUCH. This is displayed daily in the workplace, on the sports field, within organizations and amongst the music & arts fraternity. It is hard to see our brother and sister progress, as we feel that we are entitled to the same, not because like them, we’ve earned it, but purely because we are afraid of being left behind. It forces us to question our own position, and challenge ourselves to break out of our all-too-cosy comfort zones. In truth, my brothers and sisters, it involuntarily turns us into what is commonly known in pop culture as “Haters”.

A very popular SA rapper, known as AKA, recently made a statement about these very “Haters” after being awarded with a prestigious music accolade, this musician, ironically, happens to be coloured too.

At first I thought “Pffft…Look at this guy saying this on national tv..” I found it arrogant and I wasn’t the only one. The furore on social networks, particularly Twitter, was insane. The guy, who obviously didn’t realize he would cause such a splash with his statement, was slandered, ridiculed and attacked by everyone who is anyone with access to BIS or a laptop.

Months later, he released what I can ONLY call a hit of note. People were and still are jamming to this in clubs and gigs around the country. Where are the haters now? What’s fascinating is that most of the people who were hyping his music, are NOT from the same race as him. I find this interesting. But not surprising. Looking back, I honestly do not blame him for making such a controversial statement, he has done, what people said he could not do, and to that we owe all due respect.

To personalize this for a moment, I was recently a part of a campaign whereby the readers of a popular women’s magazine had to vote for their favourite/most influential females on Twitter , I was

literally amongst royalty. Beautiful South African women, some well-known, others relatively unknown (me being part of the latter). The support I received from friends, readers and followers was amazing , crazy and humbling to say the least. However, what I did notice was the lack of support from my own people. Besides personal friends and acquaintances, the rest were significantly absent in their encouragement.

When the article was published, it took one of my colleagues to point out that I was, in fact, the only one in my race group which was represented. Again, I found this interesting, but I was not surprised.

Many comments are thrown around on social media and in day-today conversation, gems like: “Who do they think they are?” ‘big head’, ‘inflated ego’ or, my personal favourite, “Now they will forget about us and where they came from”.

This confuses me as these are labels and phrases which are forced upon those who go out and do what they aim to do, inept substitutes for a pat on the back, instead, you are issued with a proverbial slap on the wrist. Whether it’s something as small as appearing in a magazine article, or something huge like winning SA Idols, our people are never satisfied.

When did we adopt this ‘Vote Of No Confidence’ culture?

I feel that we, as a people, would be so much more powerful and commanding, if we recognized the potential in each other, supported one another and realized that a win for one is in fact, a win for all. Imagine what a force we would be then? Imagine the possibilities we would plant in the minds of our kids who are growing up in a country where their cultural identity is under scrutiny every single day. It would open up so many doors and better yet, a myriad of minds.

There are so many coloured men & women who are breaking ground in this country, many who were shunned, shirked and ridiculed by their own people. Legends in their own right like Patricia De Lille, Eusibius McKaizer, Marc Lottering, Denise Newman, Oliver Hermanus, Ferial Hafajee, David Isaacs, Mandy Roussouw, Clint Brink, Jonathan Butler, Sharleen Surtie-Richards, Jonathan Jansen, Trevor Manuel , Taliep Petersen and the late, great Prof Jakes Gerwel . To these people and many more who are not listed here, I want to say, kudos for pursuing your dreams despite various odds stacked against you. WE SALUTE YOU.

 

 

author: mj ( @melfunktion )

image credit: district six archives, UCT via ancestry24.com