I celebrate Kwanzaa because I believe in the power of traditions. Kwanza is a Kiswahili word meaning "First" and the holiday is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st. Similar to the Yams festival in Ghana and Nigeria "First Fruits" is the theme to celebrate with family and community. The seven principals are Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility),Ujamaa(Cooperative Economics), Kumbaa (Creativity), Imani (Faith). The symbols of Kwanzaa includes crops (mzao) which represents the historical roots of African-Americans in agriculture and also the reward for collective labor. The mat (mkeka) lays the foundation for self- actualization. The candle holder (kinara) reminds believers in the ancestral origins in one of 55 African countries. Corn/maize (muhindi) signifies children and the hope associated in the younger generation. Gifts (Zawadi) represent commitments of the parents for the children. The unity cup (Kkimbe cha Umoja) is used to pour libations to the ancestors. Finally, the seven candles (mishumaa Saba) remind participants of the several principles and the colors in flags of African liberation movements -- 3 red, 1 black, and 3 green.
Gifts are exchanged. December 31, participants celebrate with a banquet of food often cuisine from various African countries. Gifts are sentiments of love so check out my Hip Hop Gift Guide if you love the Hip Hop Culture and celebrate Kwanzaa! One Love!
Contact High A Visual History of Hip Hop: By Vikki Tobak
Love is not just a verb, it's you looking in the mirror-Kendrick Lamar .
The present is really a present and nothing is more sacred than appreciating time. When we honor seconds of pleasure and make it a habit, then we are practicing "the art of being present". Anxiety arises because people are trying to go somewhere in their mind before its time. Why? Why? are we always in a rush? Why are phones replacing real human interactions, and where are we going and doing that's so urgent? Nothing, absolute, nothing! We must remember time is a gift. Recently, my great aunt reminded me of this of the art form.
Below are 5 things I learned:
Control of breath is vital. Over the summer I suffered from a concussion, while in recovery my aunt reminded me about deep breathing to ease the pain and stay calm. Truthfully, doctors and hospitals aren't’ my thing but I had a serious injury that needed medical attention. My fear and anxiety could have taken over if I didn’t control my breathing with affirmations. As you know when your heart pumps blood it’s filled with oxygen that helps with concentration and circulation. So lately, I’ve been practicing deep belly breathing to release emotions while inhaling positive affirmations. I learned if I’m more aware of my breathing technique then my body and mind will reap the benefits. So try it!
It's mind altering.
A wise man always told me that what you focus on expands rather its positive or negative, so be very conscious and aware. Law two from the ancient Hermetic law is the law of correspondence. Correspondence is another word for reciprocity; "what you give is what you get". The universe is really a giant mirror that reflects everything that vibrates.
Also, a huge reflector of our intentions and true desires.
The law of attraction correlates to these universal truths because everything is mental and whatever we truly want, then we already have. There is no secret, you attract what you are becoming. The idea is to become everything without attachments. Bruce lee became notorious for this philosophy:
“ You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash.
So, become like water my friend.
Long walks for me is a form of meditation. My mind becomes one with my limbs and serenity enters me when I focus on breathing and nature. Observing nature is a natural aesthetic so whenever I'm walking I’m truly taking it in all in with ease, it's really pleasurable. Early morning and evening are normally the times that work best for me. Mama Moon hip on to the art form “walking meditation” monks, and shrinks do this a lot especially in their nurseries. Go with the flow and put your walking shoes on! Get physical.
Self-talk is a special language that can take you places wings can’t. This became my love language when I started reciting song lyrics and poetry, instantly I felt empowered as affirmations became my word, sound, power instruments. The human voice carries vibrations that permeates throughout the universe with deep emotions; now that's a powerful prayer!
Sitting in silence makes you appreciate solitude and great music makes you appreciate harmony. Disharmony is a disruption in rhythm that breaks up the monotony of a certain pattern. When we’re aligned with our purpose then we’re in harmony and vice versa. If we’re existing in harmony then we attract harmonious beings and wealth. Hoarding emotions similar to waste causes blockage and excess weight that not only limits your potential but fruitful aspirations.
Don't be a bag lady, Let Go.
To conclude Anita Baker told us; when we lose our balance then we need to stop and find our way, because life is rhythm and love is rhythm.
Stop. Smell the roses and be present.
Yours Truly, Aza Njeri
-With Love & Gratitude.
-- I'm waving that rude boy at you boi! Kanye West G.O.O.D Music label just unapologetically set the standard and tone with Pusha T new album "DAYTONA". The 85,000 dollar album cover along has an epic story, because it's the late great Whitney Houston drug filled bathroom. The coin was flipped because some people thought it was thought-provoking, while others stated it was disrespectful to the family and distasteful. We would never know the artist logic of Kanye but you have to respect his craft.
-Put some Respect on it'
2015 was Pusha last debut album titled "King Push-Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude", which I think was personally slept on and under critically acclaimed. However, three years later he served us with pure base, the wait was worth it. Check out the track list:
Sonically, Ye production is superior with Push sharp rhyme patterns that echoes a late 80's Drug Lord movie score. Kanye hands down bodied this album! especially with the track Santeria ft. 070Shake. I have to agree with Charlemagne Da God, this is Adult Contemporary trap music that's luxurious to the ear. This summer is going to being a cruel one, simply because we don't know what to expect from the rest of the G.O.O.D music camp?
Seven tracks for each record all produced by the multi-genius. I guess my question is;
Is this Yezzy way of making America great again? Or perhaps Good music is ushering back real Hip Hop with space age production and lyricism to counter act "mumble rap".
Send your best first, it was beyond clever to choose Pusha to throw the first rock and strike the match. Flip the coin, Drake release "Duppy" less than 24 hours and broke the internet. The bread and butter of Hip Hop is surfacing back to real skills versus popularity. Don't @ me about another Drake song its G.O.O.D music season. - Santeria!
Black Queens are born in the ghetto. Yea, my mother participated in illegal acts to provide. She sold dope, probably weed, dreams and anything else you could buy—she was a pusher and a single mother who provided by any means. While I can't provide you with the logistics, my mind won't let me forget the time a base head came to our backdoor after midnight tweaking for it. She checked him, then served him.
"Fuck is you doing banging on my door at three in the morning! You must be out your rabid ass mind, this where me and my kids lay our heads!" My mother said hemming him up.
This little man had to be thin as wind and hanging onto life as he pleaded with his eyes, “Look, I didn't know it was this late, I just need it.”
She gave “it” to him and warned him. Then turned around and made eye contact with me as if she knew my eyes had seen something they shouldn't. Behind me was her live-in boyfriend at the time. He had a pistol and was infuriated at the fact a crackhead knew where she lived and had access to her. He wasn't the most handsome guy, but he stayed dressed to the nines and carried himself like a gentleman. Something rare in our neck of the woods.
"Denice, that’s a motherfucking shame, crackheads coming to your damn house where your kids lay at. I was liable to pop his ass.” He said tightening his jawbone pacing back and forth.
She knew he was right and shame appeared on her face. Nevertheless, she understood the good and ugly of the game.
Number 5: Never sell no crack where you rest at.
I don’t care if they want an ounce, tell ‘em “bounce!”
~B.I.G. 10 Crack Commandments
1980's during the Ronald Reagan / Crack epidemic my mother got the short end of the stick whereas my father became "The Man" becoming a multi-millionaire, secretly a Frank Lucas of St. Louis. Truth is even though she hustle, the fast money and high became an addiction-she got high off her own supply. I slowly watched "Sexy D" AKA moms deteriorate by loosing her teeth, hair, getting cirrhosis of the liver and suffer silently with mental illness. However, despite her vices she always exuded a love supreme with grace and style. This is my redemption song similar to Afeni Shakur son because there were more good days than bad days.
And even as a crack fiend, Mama
You always was a black queen, Mama
I finally understand
For a woman it ain't easy tryin' to raise a man
You always was committed
A poor single mother on welfare, tell me how you did it
There's no way I can pay you back, but the plan
Is to show you that I understand: you are appreciated
~Tupac Shakur Dear Mama
That's right her addiction and illness didn't define her divine essence. I reflect with admiration of her coca butter kisses, heart to heart talks, and undeniable grace. Happy days were on Ashland when she would skate in the middle of the street with padded blouses in her own world, as a crowd of people would watch in a trance "because to be that beautiful and free is like spotting "a unicorn," truly magical. I honor my late mother with every breath of life, by spreading love like her Anita Baker Lullabies, and most importantly I take pride in being a great mother. I know she is with me, and proud of the woman I've become for Malik and Mark Junior.
Every mother leaves her footprints- African Proverb