Rising with Ma’at

Peace peace fam! I  typically do not post more than once a week but I am having a sudden burst of creative energy lol. I have tons of time on my hands since I am no longer employed full time. Today marks my 10th day being down south taking care of my mother. She is doing awesome (though she doesn’t feel like she is) and I am finally beginning to feel more balanced. I wore my white feather in my hair all day yesterday. Ma’at greeted me with open arms this morning. And although my mother is Christian, she has seen my altar and has yet to question me about it. I prepared my offering with love last night and woke this morning feeling much better.

We have had some visitors over as well. My mom was very pleased to see one of her old friends as well. I have had people come up to me since I have been here and tell me they are happy that I am back in the town. Their kind words mean a lot. My presence is felt here and all things happen for a reason. I have huge plans and wonderful intentions for the people in this town and surrounding areas. I am also very happy to be able to help my mother at this delicate time in her life. No man knows the hour. I just want to be sure to be present for her now that she really needs me.

I have come to realize that the experiences, the trials, the triumphs, the day to day, the meeting of new people, the connections—they are all tied together. We should look to each day as an opportunity to grow, progress, and to bring light into this world. I am an artist, a writer, a poet, a revolutionary. I am a mother, sister, soon to be wife, a daughter. Let us all be who we were born to be—the very best US we can possibly be. I am well on my way—-finally.

 

Peace, Love, & Light,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali

New Chapter

Peace fam. I hope you are all well. I am absolutely exhausted and somewhat uneasy about what the future holds for me and my family. I have had to walk away from my full-time job and my life in Charlotte to go south and tend to my mother. She is doing much better than she was but finding a place of peace for myself, tending to her needs and the needs of my children, is very stressful. I am still seeking my peaceful spot and also my balance in this new chapter of my life. I wonder at times can I handle it all. I am sometimes very sure of myself and other times, I just want to cry but the alternative would have been to allow her to remain in an unsafe situation, which I could not do. It has taken us the last 9 days to get her house (which had been mostly unoccupied, besides thieves and drug addicts who had broken into the home) to get the place to feel somewhat like home.

Watching my mother feel down because she needs help is tough. She expresses to me the feeling of not being useful. I have to remind her that she is the elder in our family and my children (The Tribe Called Quest as I call them) very much need her in their lives as a positive influence. I remind her of the stories she has to tell, the memories to share, and the wisdom that she can bestow upon them.

In my heart of hearts, I know this decision was the best and most appropriate for my family and with time, I will find my stride. But, for now, I feel like I am lost at sea—the lighthouse is within my sight but I cannot quite get my sails to go forth against the storm in order to reach safety. This new week brings a new set of challenges—I have to get the Tribe off to school, get my mother to her appointments, and continue to work on this house. I also have just had an opportunity to set up my altar space in this house so offerings and prayers are on the top of the list. I am sure that this new chapter will bring blessings and opportunities in my life that I had not even imagined. I just have to allow the universe to deliver……

 

 

Hetepu,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali

(The Tru Lioness)

The Love of My Life

Peace, love, and light fam! I hope this post finds you well. I just ran across an old article of mine that I wrote a few years ago for Levitate Magazine and I wanted to share it. Feel free to like, comment, share, and subscribe to my blog! I really appreciate all of my readers.

Nostalgia and Disappointment—My Lifelong Love of Hip Hop

 

What is hip hop? To me it is the essence of the beats, rhymes, and rhythms (thanks Tribe) of the people. It is the verbal expression of story set to music. It is life—it represents my life. However, the hip hop of the 80’s and of my youth is not the hip hop of today. Somewhere along the way, the realness has dissipated and become an economical machine with no message. The rawness and flavor of “Fight the Power” has been replaced with the syrupy sweet, pop influenced rhyme, like a watered down drink for an alcoholic. The double edged sword of linguistics been replaced with almost nursery rhyme simplicity with no depth, shallow in its essence-great hook but no catch. And to those who desire to stay true to the roots, they are fighting to get airplay, to gain widespread fans, to remain real. They are fighting against the machine, going underground and straining every muscle to preserve the art of hip hop.

I was born in 1981 during the time of the hip hop explosion. I remember vividly dragging my mother’s large stereo system onto the porch and playing music LOUDLY! LL Cool J, MC Lyte, Run DMC, Funky Four + One, Eric B and Rakim, EPMD, The Real Roxanne, Salt-n-Pepa—these artists and many more became the soundtrack of my life as a young girl. I heard stories that mirrored my own life in the ghetto. It provided me an outlet from my situation and a way to say what I wanted to artistically.  Someone knew how it felt to “pluck roaches out the cereal box” in the words of Ghostface Killah. I remember the block parties of the summers and also being the smallest one there. But, nothing stopped me from doing the Roger Rabbit, the Wop, the Running Man, and the first move I ever learned-the Snake! Hip hop was socially conscious, it was fun, it was young, it was the essence of black America. Then, we entered into the illustrious 90’s where so-called “Gangsta Rap” took over. Snoop Doggy Dogg(as he was called back then) had us “laid back” , Wu-Tang Clan guided us through the 36 chambers, as Tupac gave us California Love. We rocked Patra braids, wore Major Damage and Cross Colours, and listened to headphones. We began to mature but in our maturity, we began to lose our way. East vs. West—what a disaster! We lost legends (RIP Big L, Notorious, Tupac, Eazy- E and others). The more we began to be more accepted, the more difficult it became to maintain the purity. As a result, commercialization began to ravish the airways and the good feelings and the beats that once caught our attention began to disintegrate. Women were beginning to truly be looked upon as sexual objects used for the enjoyment of the men in their lives, social consciousness was given a deaf ear, and I began to lose hope that hip hop could survive. Sadly, the dollar signs took precedence over the message.  I believe it was during this period of time that I began to really seek music independently and build my own collection. Radio wasn’t playing what I wanted to hear. It had let me down. Where were the stories? Where was the substance? The stories of our youth were being drowned out by over sexualized, degrading, but catchy tunes of the 2000’s. I found aggravation and confusion on the radio. The stories I heard were unfamiliar, the beats were remnants of a glorious past; the music that had grown up with me as a brother, now as distant as a long lost cousin. But, never fear—there are still some artists who have maintained through the change. Nas, Talib Kweli, Common, Mos Def, among others have not underwent many changes in their overall flow, even though they have evolved. Hip hop still remains near and dear to my heart but, I still feel a sense of nostalgia, remembering the speakerboxx (Outkast) like a first schoolyard crush and the first rhyme I ever heard “to the bang Bang the Boogie to the Boogie, oh you all know the rest all to the disco beat of “Good Times”. Oh, how I long for the days of recording the melodies onto cassette tapes and labeling them, for all the block parties and dance contests in the hood, the freestyle sessions I happened upon when my uncle David and the crew would get it in, watching Yo!MTV raps and Rap City before the basement, and most of all, the good feeling I would get when I would hear the beat drop and know that on the other side of the beat was a cold ass lyric.

 

 

Photo credit: http://www.imgmob.net

Why Are Our Sistars Dying?

Peace and blessings everyone.  Each day, I take time to scroll through social media sites, read news stories, and listen to the local news as I prepare to go to my job. At times I become exhausted by news stories of police abuses, cold hearted murders of my people, and as of lately, political progress as candidates struggle to be the “chosen one”. I do feel it is necessary though for me to remain abreast of current events.

Presently, my eyes are watching for stories that are not making mainstream news. One story in particular that has disturbed me is the story of Wakiesha Wilson. She died in a LA detention center over the Easter holiday weekend from an alleged suicide by hanging. I am disturbed by the number of Afrikan women who have died in jails in the US over the last year. Sandra Bland is the most known but there are others: Raynetta Turner, Kindra Chapman, Joyce Curnell, and Ralkina Jones, just to name a few. What is happening to our sistars who are detained and why is there no action being taken regarding their deaths?

I am not inclined to believe that all of these women are committing suicide. If so,why? What is happening after they are booked? Where is the surveillance video showing what is happening once they are placed into holding cells? I want proof of suicide, not rulings by Coroners of another complexion telling me they offed themselves. I have so many questions and frustrations about their deaths. We are all so enthralled by presidential elections, ISIS, Belgium, and other things that we are not paying attention to what is going on right here under our noses. Someone needs to be held accountable. We cannot allow their deaths to be in vain.

The criminal justice system in the United States of Amerikkka is one of the most atrocious in regards to the treatment of Afrikan people. We are the victims of severe punishment, abuses, and mistreatment. We live in a society that is structured in such a way as to place in imminent danger of death or incarceration, sometimes both, simply by being. We have been unfairly tried and convicted numerous times for as innocent people. Now, I believe they are taking their genocidal efforts to a new level—murdering our women while in custody. I am no conspiracy theorist but there is more to these womens’ deaths than meets the eye. I went to the ACLU website to see if there were any efforts on their behalf regarding investigating the deaths of these women while incarcerated. There are none noted. And of course none of the officials, mayors, governors, etc are saying a word about the deaths.

In my heart of hearts , I cannot and will not be silent about what I view as an attack on Afrikan life. Afrikan women are the original woman. We birthed nations, we led armies, we nursed royalty. We took care of those who in turn abused us. These women (Sandra, Raynetta, Kindra, Joyce, Ralkina) deserve justice. We deserve the truth. It is frightening to think that this could happen to me. But, be advised, if I die in police custody—I did not commit suicide.

 

Hetepu,

Askaki Ali Kenyatta

The Tru Lioness

 

 

Photo Credit: abc7.com