Celebrating Kwanzaa 2019

Afrikan People It’s Kwanzaa Time! YEBO. Yebo!

In the 1970s, Detroit continued the gains that came with the Civil Rights Movement work. Detroit’s “Black Bottom” known for its rich soil and flyass people was where we lived. Mommi picked our house, 1100 Stafford Place, off of the blueprint in 1966, before I was born. So by the 70s, Voting Rights Act was secure and progress came in the shape of Black elected officials, African centered education written by Black educators and Black people overall were being great stewards of our collective “Movin’ On Up” prospectus.

By the time I was in high school in the mid 80s, industrialization was a cancer struggling to survive. Never one for “watching the asphalt grow” Detroit slowly crept current in music, poetry, partying (vibrant House Nation), art, real estate, gardening and small batch craft sales or independent start ups. We had to. The underbelly of achievement in Black Detroit had burst with too many drowning in the fecal matter of subversive politics. It was becoming a new day. And an advancing into a technological world. The factory workers who followed Mayor Coleman Young’s leadership built upon Henry Ford’s legacy that grandfathered us in were losing their homesteads but not yet broken. My parents were of that time. Born during the great depression, my elders we’re not scared even if life caught them unprepared. Peers who legit sent all of their children to good public schools and reasonable universities. They made college graduates on factory hourly wages. We were proud. We were all that Black Bottom meant. And none of it limited us to low class or phat ass.

But the times could not support us all. Transitioning away from a broken economy and black flight to the burbs with white flight from the city proper, Detroit we knew was indeed dying.

In steps a few revolutionary minds, who said, “this city needs Kwanzaa”. So in 1981, I think I got my first piece of Afrikan garb. And fell more in love with myself, my Afrikan cultural heritage (albeit vague geographically), and my downtown Detroit community. We still had that Black Bottom mentality… fertile.capable.unafraid of the storms.beautiful.foundation.

I want to thank my Detroit community for giving me a love I never can or will lose. For grounding race men and race women into their hearts and heritage. I LOVE Detroit for the People. Heart and soul People. We alllllllways knew BLACKLIVESMATTER. And it didn’t stop us from being civil to our neighbors, regardless of color, religion or sexuality.

I thank Detroit for Black institutions like the Charles H. Wright Museum, the Shrine of the Black Madonna, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Heritage Youth Camps and an assortment of Afrikan centered schools like Nsoroma, Aisha Shule, Malcolm X Academy.

But mostly I love Kwanzaa time as it is a rebirth, a recommitment like any other ordained experience. I love Kwanzaa time whether I’m expressing parts or all of myself, I am constantly aware and humbled. Not only are we the “first fruits of the harvest” but our Nguzo Saba principled living gives us the right, sans the arrogance to also know we are “our Ancestors’ wildest dreams.”

Harambee! We Pull Together!

Live a long life that honors yourself, your heritage and your community…

good words...

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