Category Archives: Arts

Wha gwan, ras’ mouse!

On my way home from work today, caught a BBC news blurb on the controversy their Rastamouse series is causing. First I’d heard of the show and just the thought tickled me. Apparently, parents are concerned about their children picking up poor English – Jamaican Patois is Ras’ mouse’s verbage of choice – and about racist overtones. I looked up some episodes, but haven’t seen enough to tell about the racist bit. My instincts tell me, though, that we can all be a bit oversensitive sometimes,  leading to detrimental silencing of cultural and ethnic differences in our bid to avoid inadvertent offense. Whatever. All Ras’ mouse tryin tuh do anyhow is tuh “mek a bad ting good”!


In America we are celebrating African American history during the month of February. I encourage you all to CONTINUE the search for knowledge about our heritage and ancestors lest we forget their our struggles.

“Once we rid ourselves of traditional thinking we can get on with creating the future.” 

— James Bertrand

This brother Kevin Miller is way beyond traditional thinking as he uses his creativity to inspire, teach and motivate.

Martin Luther King Jr.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

this young minister

showed that dreaming was okay
and racism, wrong
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Rosa Parks
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

smart secretary
knew that sitting was standing
up for equal rights
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Francois Dominique Toussaint Louverture
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

revolt against France
not just for Haiti, but to
set all islands FREE
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


L.O.V.E.
Kevin A. Miller
www.poetkevinmiller.com


Window Seat.

“You’re so demanding. Tell me what you want from me…I just want a ticket outta town.”

I tried to think of a more creative, poetic title. I considered writing this post deep from my belly, aiming to reach deep into yours. But the artist speaks for herself.

From today’s Dallas Morning News, by Hunter Hauk. Full interview here

” …It was filmed Saturday (March 13) before St. Patrick’s Day. It was a pretty spontaneous thing. The song “Window Seat” is about liberating yourself from layers and layers of skin or demons that are a hindrance to your growth or freedom, or evolution. I wanted to do something that said just that, so I started to think about shedding, nudity, taking things off in a very artful way. I am from the theater, and this is just a part of expression to us, a part of art. And I saw a video by a group called Matt and Kim, and it was filmed in Times Square. And I thought it was the bravest, most liberating thing I’ve ever seen two people do. And I wanted to dedicate this contagious act of liberation and freedom to them. I hoped it would become something contagious that people would want to do in some way or another.

…I tied it in a way that compared that assassination to the character assassination one would go through after showing his or her self completely. That’s exactly the action that I wanted to display.

…Yes. I was petrified, period. The whole thing was frightening. The whole idea was frightening. Not being in love with my body, not being secure about being vulnerable, the police coming to take me to jail. I’m breastfeeding right now. Anything I could think of, I did. But those little things diminished as I thought about the big picture. And, as I started to walk, I confronted a lot of fears, and I hoped that it would encourage others to do the same thing in their own way.

…It’s human nature for a person to be afraid to express his or her self in fear of being ostracized by the group or general consensus. A lot of times people are judged unfairly because of that. I think about the Salem witch trials; I think about the assassination of Christ, I think about the character assassination of artists and celebrities on blog sites. I think about all of these things as groupthink. And when I fall to the ground in the video, the word groupthink spills out of my head, because I was assassinated by groupthink. ”


Citizens of Earth: Toni Thorne & Martha’s Smile ~*~*~*~*~

marthassmileIf we stop complaining long enough to take stock of all we have to be grateful for…and then if we stop looking at ourselves long enough to notice that in our privileges, gross inequalities are made manifest, we’ll notice that we have something to offer. Not out of guilt, not out of pity – out of brotherhood. The journey could take a lifetime, but Toni Thorne is definitely on step 3. She is the CEO of BoUiK, a “creative lifestyle” company based in Barbados. Many may know BoUiK as a refreshing clothing line, but this company does not lend itself to being boxed in! They are the creators of the Martha’s Smile Initiative. Martha’s Home in Jamaica houses children directly affected by HIV/AIDS. This initiative gives them the gift of creative opportunity through the funding of the children’s instruction in music and dance. Generous Caribbean designers donated all-white garments which the children themselves hand-painted, and are available for purchase. Creative humanity at its best.

Be sure to search the Martha’s Smile Initiative on Facebook, and while you’re at it, check out another of BoUiK’s projects, ‘Wear The Issue’. Stay tuned here @ Allegiance for a blast on that coming up soon.



At the end of the tunnel…

“Each day, each day is a battle down here in Babylon…Long is the road to Mount Zion, strong are the arms that carry me there…” (‘Surrender’, Christafari)

I’ma just make a quick post here and let my thoughts out briefly on this question of Rihanna being a devil-worshipper, and the darkness of her latest single ‘Russian Roulette‘. [See ‘Hi Haters’]

pain-2I think this constant mystification of the spiritual is often silly and ultimately detrimental. Maybe Rihanna kills chickens and sticks needles in dolls. Maybe she doesn’t. In the unlikely even that she does, I’m not down with that. There’s a whole lotta things I’m equally not down with – anything that will eventually or immediately tear me or anyone else down should not get my energy. But if you really want to find a devil-worshipper, you probably don’t have to look very far. While I do believe in the autonomy and agency of a being known as the Devil, I also think ‘Devil’ is a concept which embodies any and everything that is contrary to our spiritual edification. Nothing we do is neutral – it either will ultimately contribute to our strengthening, or our weakening, our victory or failure. And how many times have I – have you, have we – allowed something in our lives which stole our joy, our peace, our safety, our love? How many times have we not exercised power over the things which do us more harm than good? Who gets glorified then? …God? Hm.

The good news for those of us who have ever felt like pulling a trigger – whether it was a loaded gun, or just releasing ourselves to our demons in helpless despair – is that while Rihanna’s song ends with a bullet, darkness doesn’t have to be the end of any story. We are made in His image – glorify the God in you. The God of this expansive universe lends us His power to overcome. And while this is often difficult to fathom, don’t waste time mystifying it anymore than we mystify the notion of ‘the Devil’. Only Believe.


HI HATERS!!! take a damn seat!!

Most of the time when people bring up Rihanna, I have to insert an “eye roll” because the questions that follow have very little variation. “Did you know her?” “Barbados is small so you guys went to the same school right?” ( yes because barbados sends 20,000 school children to one location… stuupse) As you can see the variation in the questions is non existent. People will possibly tell you that I can also sometimes walk a fine line on the brink of being so critical of Rihanna sometimes that I come across as either a bonafide hater or Rihanna basher… which is far from the truth. I am soooo proud of her! Rihanna has truly evolved into an artist. Of course when she started things were a little rocky – she had a little trouble with voice control, she couldn’t move too much and sing… you know, standard stuff that practice corrects and then makes perfect. As a lil island girl I am ecstatic that people know now that Barbados is not a parish in Jamaica, and that Caribbean people are deeper, dynamic and more mutidimensional than the ads that come on late at night  between infomercialss. I will even argue that before RhiRhi no artist besides Bob Marley has accomplished the universal appeal that she has managed. I mean have you seen her lately??? Of course you have because she has more paparazzi on her ass than there is sand on the beach!

Haute!!

Haute!!

So it was with great disturbance to my soul that I encountered THIS IGNORANCE. With the leak release of RihRih’s new single, Russian Roulette (which by the way gets 5 stars for real talk) from her highly anticipated album Rated R, the haters have emerged! Now these ignorant folk are claiming that rihanna 1) worships the devil 2) will incite a suicide spree across America.

SMH.

Ho, Sit down!

Girl, Bye!

**blank stare**

oh… you guys are serious

Yes, of course! Because the devil worship is very apparent in these lyrics. Maybe if we play it backward as well.....

Yes, of course! Because the devil worship is very apparent in these lyrics. Maybe if we play it backward as well.....

Lyrics go something like:

“If you play you play for keeps, take the gun and count to three . . . As my life flashes before my eyes I’m wondering will I ever see another the sunrise . . . but it’s too late to see the value in my life . . . I’m terrified but I’m not leaving, I know that I must pass this test so just pull the trigger.”

Until she speaks on the inspiration of the song we can only speculate but it should not alarm anyone that her music has gotten somewhat darker and more intense. Anyone with at least an inkling of common sense, will take into account (even if rih rih did not write this song) that this girl has been through alot in the past year.  If you have been through any unhealthy relationship whether with a person, drugs, alcohol, mental illness, addiction, money, then you may be able to relate to the lyrics in the song. If you haven’t been through any of those desolate, self depreciating situations then maybe you can or can’t relate but maybe it will be easier for you to tell me where the devil resides in this song.

Let me first make it clear, having a background in psych, that a song cannot make someone do something (like suicide… no especially suicide) that he/she has not already planned to do. To get to the stage where you sit holding a loaded gun, pulling the trigger is not something that can be anymore encouraged by this song than a goat’s intelligence by reading it a book (unless of course you know something that I don’t know). Feel free to voice your disagreement, but I think that after hearing this song someone could say to themselves that “someone has finally expressed what this feels like, I’m not alone. If she can bounce back so can I. I can survive.”

The truth is AMERICANS got alot to be poppin shots over… Sh*t is hard in these streets.  Madoff, Iraq, Afghanistan, Columbine, Derrion Albert, Jena 6, virginia tech, 9/11  . . . and I could go on forever back to the civil war.

At the end of the day while any of this could be true… the truth is that Rih has to sell records! And all this hateration is helping… thank you very much. I am in no position to speak on whether or not she’s worshipping the devil… to believe in one you have to believe in the other so I ain’t worrying about that. I sincerely doubt that the girl is going to resurrect zombies from the dead. Go head Rih Rih… Bounce back like a penny off Gilles Marini’s behind!!!


Citizens of Earth: *Mudiwa*

MudiwaMudiwa

– – – –“I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard stories…”– – – –


For all its quirks and support of stalkers, Facebook is still my friend. It’s how I found out about Mudiwa Designs, the amazingly creative venture of Scheri-lyn Green, Bimshire-born Citizen of Earth. She pours her passion for humanity into the most beautifully hand-crafted handbags, then turns the physical profit over to make meaningful change in Zimbabwe. As a lover of fashion, I get excited when I come across a cute dress, hot shoes, plus I have a special thing for earrings. But these pieces from  Mudiwa? Every aspect, from conception to fashion, embodies true beauty.


With the little I’ve seen of Mudiwa Designs, it seems that ‘Scheri-lyn Green’ is driven, creative, with a mind and heart open to human need. But who would *you* say Scheri-lyn Green is?
I am all of the things you mentioned above – but more importantly I am a dreamer who has a passion for positive change. I cannot be touched and then lay dormant. I try to empower those around me to join me in making a difference. I am someone who respects the past but acknowledges that the future holds endless possibilities. All of these passions and elements merge to result in the everyday Scheri-lyn Green.

mudiwa3The pieces I’ve seen online are indeed fresh, and beautiful. Why handbags?

It all began with my frustration at not finding the accessories I needed to complete a look. I never liked cookie cutter accessories or fashion so sometimes getting what you envision has to come from your very own hands. Each purse is a one of a kind creation – if you see something you like – act quickly! The very first purse I made was in 2005…

You were
raised in Barbados, and are currently living in the US. Why focus your outreach on Zimbabwe?
Love makes you do extraordinary things! Some time ago I met an amazing young man from Zimbabwe. Now almost four years into our relationship his struggles and frustrations have become my own. As stated in one post of the website – “I’ve never been there – but I’ve heard stories..” I have heard stories of a once strong nation – ‘the bread basket of Africa’ that now lays crippled and in need of foreign aid. I have heard frustration in his mother’s voice when I ask her how they make it day to day in Zimbabwe. Coupled with the tone of frustration, she always has a sense of hope. This has inspired me to make the world pay attention to an oil-less and mineral-poor country with talent in its people that is more valuable than one can imagine.

WheMudiwa2re do you see Mudiwa Designs growing to in the next year? 5 years?

In the next year I plan to have Mudiwa Designs available in Barbados. In the future I plan to open a Flagship store in a major city as well as have Mudiwa available in local boutiques in various cities. I want to expand my craft to include other personalized items – ties and even clothing. Having driven and creative staff is essential to this – so Mudiwa Designs plans to hire in the next five years! I also plan to continue supporting the effort of Zimbabwe through education and health. Specifically, I would like to see partnerships between hospitals in the United States with hospitals in Zimbabwe. I will also continue to strengthen my partnership with The Brothers Trust Foundation and their efforts towards enhancing education in Zimbabwe via supporting teachers’ salaries and funding supplies.

And super importantly, where and when can I/anyone at large purchase a piece from Mudiwa Designs?!?!
Currently – order of items in stock can be placed via the contact link on
www.mudiwadesigns.com
. In the near future I will post paypal on my
website for direct orders and create a page on
www.etsy.com – another
online marketplace for handcrafted goods.