afrofoto day 3 | my hat is not a snapback, but have i snapped back?

Yesterday was day 10 and that’s what I committed to AND I owe you guys 3 other posts so let me render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.

The afrofoto is not of the nearly snapped back African mother’s body…no. It’s of the floppy sunhat I have loved for years my mom got me in Ghana. There’s nothing particular spectacular about the hat, but it’s strikingly unique in a simple way. The brim isn’t too large or stiff and the print, though colorful, isn’t loud. I’ve worn this hat so many times and always take it with me when traveling because it folds and it versatile and the brim holds up after being scrunched up between waaaayy more clothes than I need in suitcases on 13+ hour long flights.

This past Sunday was so much hotter than the rest of the previous weeks have been so when headed out I knew to lather the sunscreen on and wear a hat to protect my face. I wish I had some hats like this for baby (I’ll let my mom know) because I know they’d be a comfortable wear.

Since I mentioned the nearly snapped back African mother’s body, I might as well indulge you guys.

To be completely honest, it hasn’t been easy getting back in shape (the literal shape I was in pre-preggo) because someone told me starting to work out for a breastfeeding mom would reduce supply. I looked it up of course and like anything many humans experience there are strong opinions on that and the complete opposite. I decided not to take my chances since I’d committed myself to breastfeeding exclusively. My supply’s been good and baby is now starting on foods so I decided TODAY to get on my “fitness journey” (the ” ” are especially true). I did my first crunches probably in a year – 30 of them! Whoohoo and I know I’m going to suffer if/when I laugh tomorrow, but no pain no gain. I’ll do it again tomorrow and take it small small, un peu un peu, mbijana mbijana, poco a poco…we will get back to the 4 pack. I’ve been eating healthy before, during and after delivery so we’re good on the food front. I might show you guys some progress pictures in a few months.

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*@afropolitaine*

Beyonce Africanized ::: #graphAfrica

 

The biggest artist of our times is Beyonce. Hands down. Hi five to the entire Bey-hive – all gazillion of you! It’s almost safe to say that she’s dominated the entire second decade of the 21st century. Why am I writing about her when I’m supposed to be focusing on Africa? you ask. Well, there are connections to be made and possible appropriation to be concluded because her originality can and needs to be challenged.

 

It’s actually quite interesting how, in her crafting and curating herself, she has sprinkled or rather doused who she presents herself to the world with the magic of *whispers loudly and raspily* “Africa”. Admittedly, I see African influences in every freaking thing and as someone who is an animated and trained dancer with an ear for music from all over the world WITH a BLOG..!! I’ll just run through a few of them as seen through a particular/single song and performance and bring it all together at the end:

 

Beyonce performs Grown Woman at Bercy in Paris as part of the Mrs. Carter tour:

  • acacia trees in the savanna themed background
  • high stand up ponytail a la Coming to America
  • handwoven hand fan used either to fan oneself or reignite the dying embers on a fire
  • Bey dances the popular Congolese dance known as malembe (literally means gently or slowly in Lingala) that can pretty much be considered sweepingly “African” dance
  • her dancers come out rocking some fly rompers by renowned Ghanaian designer Christie Brown (fanning themselves with the hand fans)
  • Bey and her lineup of dancers proceed to do a tame version of the popular [rather graphic and suggestive] Ivorian dance called the “mapouka reculer” (couldn’t find a video appropriate enough to link – Google it)
  • Les Twins come on and sample a South African gumboot dance sans the gumboots
  • the screens in the background are flashing zebras on the gentle prowl – we all know they’re indigenous to the continent
  • melodic bellows from the Guinean crooner Ismael Kouyate and Beyonce avec Les Twins proceed to do a safe mapouka or what some in the US only know recently as the twerk

 

The song continues on it’s jammingness, but the part where she really gets down on her Grown Woman-ness is when the drums are the heaviest and the song sounds the most African. Beyonce’s so original *insert dramatic eye roll*, but all these things are not for nothing. They are part of a continuum in her life and involvements between she and her husband. Who knows when it will end. Will she keep ripping dance moves, will Boko Haram release the Chibok girls to only her, ….

To not risk coming off as a Beyonce hater I will say what her greatness comes from is the fact that she does not let her left hand know what her left hand is doing. To me, many people know Beyonce only from her albums, world tours, cute Lil’ Miss Lady Blue Ivy and somewhat mysteriousness – the right hand. They do not know much of what she does in, for and about Africa. I am fascinated by what I discovered her left hand is up to.

I’m ok with what OkayAfrica referred to as the “Africanization of Beyonce” as long as we don’t see Beyoncification of Africa. Like the song says, Africa is a Grown Woman and she can do whatever she wants.

 

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*@afropolitaine*

#graphAfrica

Bright Ideas like Bright’s (GH) ::: #graphAfrica

Picking a theme to go with and challenging oneself to write on it every single day for a month is…challenging! What with said writing needing to happen between a demanding day job and the body and mind’s demand for rest.

I decided to start #graphAfrica on July 1st and today on the 9th, this is my 6th post :/ …. I really struggled on the long 4th of July weekend as I was hardly home. I’ll make up for it though. One simply does not call oneself a writer/blogger if they do not do it now do they?

In quick review look up the “afropolitaine” and “graphAfrica” and enjoy yourself. Thank you for reading and I’ll keep them coming. I haven’t been feeling well for the last 3 days and am basically functional because of an unrecommendable amount of Advil which brings me to what I’d like to briefly spotlight today.

Bright Simons is a Ghanaian (based there) social innovator who developed an sms based program/app called mpedigree to detect counterfeit drugs in circulation around the continent at the point of purchase. Many of you may have heard of him already as I have, but I’m finally getting to write about him. His invention/innovation was addressing the problem of fake/expired medication in circulation and the resulting drug resistance that strains of several conditions/diseases, especially malaria, were developing. In essence some of these pills, even according to conservative estimates, were killing 1000s of people.

From being a western educated astrophysicist who left that to study and work with refugees, at some point Simons decided to return home to do something PRACTICAL.

“I realized I needed to become an entrepreneur. And I had no money. So I needed to find an area where I could make an impact without a lot of money. And that is where technology came in.”

What I like and find highly motivating here is that money was not the motivation and the absence of it did not stop his practical and useful idea from coming to fruition. By sending a simple text message containing the code on medication/pills, one can find out if it’s real or not. In turn, manufactures protect themselves and their product by being able to determine if a shipment has been compromised.

His idea was adopted the first from the continent to demonstrate south south knowledge exchange. Not only is it used in 6 African countries (east and west), but also in India and Bangladesh. It’s so simple and easily transferable and requires very little to operate and be successful. You don’t even need a smart phone (don’t get me started on how smart phones are anything but) and it can be applied to so many other unregulated industries. In the absence of visible and active government agencies like FDA (US Food and Drug Administration), perhaps more low capital and cutting edge ideas like mpedigree can fill that gap.

Come to think of it, mpedigree would be a great idea even here in the US to simplify or completely replace antiquated institutions and the bureaucracy therein when it comes to authentication/classification/verification of goods and even services. That would be too easy now wouldn’t it?! This is a country that prefers inches and feet to centimeters and meters, calls football soccer and sells “real” orange juice with no pulp.

I digress.
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*@afropolitaine*
#graphAfrica

afrofoto *day 23: Bukom!

BUKOM!!!

Tucked away in the heart of the heart of DC that is Adam’s Morgan you will find Bukom Cafe! It is a landmark of the city and going there is part of experiencing chill/alive/cultural/musical DC. It isn’t the monuments nor is it the white house, it isn’t the museums nor is it the interesting government buildings. It’s it’s own experience and satisfies so many feelings you may or may not actively be in pursuit of when you go out. One thing that is for SURE (put $$$ on it) is that it will always be a right decision to go there. I also heard it was featured in landmarks of DC somewhere. The food is amazing and although, when busy, it might take a little while, the live reggae band interesting mix of patrons of all races, ages, religions etc will keep you going AND the food is always #FRESH. The worst that has happened to me is the food took a little longer than i’d like, but I was in great company and had walked in there FAMISHED.
I had seen people order this on previous visits and was determined to have it one day so it finally happened. It’s a whole grilled Tilapia garnished with spices and veggies :p
(after)
The address is 
2442 18th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
You should definitely check it out!! It’s Ghanaian and Nigerian owned (a married couple who are always there <3)
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*@afropolitaine*

afrofoto *day 18

Image

Yes! i know you’ve been waiting with baited breath for this update!! Well here it is right here. The 2 bracelets I have on are made of a combination of recycled glass and/or [[wax]] clay I think and they are dyed in different patterns and colors as well. The size of each individual bead is about a peny wide. My darling of a friend Kofi (@NakPhilly) who i’ve known ever since middle school in Abidjan brought them FINALLY after he’d gone to Ghana for the umpteenth time and he kept somehow “forgetting” <_< …It wasn’t until i threatened him with real life unfriending that my one bracelet showed up! 🙂 …Machiavelli did say it’s better to be feared than to be loved – what he forgot to add was that it would get you the beads you want your friends to bring back for you from Ghana 🙂

The second one i got when I went to visit him in Philly for Memorial Day weekend. Can you imagine it was lying around on the table?! After how long it took for me to get the one he has them just lying haphazardly around his place. Trust me to pick it up and put it on…..and then later show it to him and let him know that it’s mine 🙂 – a go getter I am!

(you can ask me about that scar on my arm too – interesting story i tell you)

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*afropolitaine*

afrofoto day 3: African “Flash” Dance

Who knew that this challenge would have some inbuilt double whammies?! I thought I would just be taking pictures of clothing items, jewelry or food that are African in their origins, and yes yesterday i did have something from Ghana on, but I also saw this performance and recorded it on my Nokia N8!

I didn’t want to post both and it’s just as well that I didn’t because I can do so today 🙂

I did leave the house for brunch today, but there was nothing African about my outfit or the food I ate. Does the blood in my veins count?!

Sad news though, there was the plane crash yesterday of the Nigerian cargo plane in Ghana and then the plane crash in Lagos :/ ….tried calling my aunt who is currently there with no luck just to check on her. Fingers crossed XX. I hope my friends there are fine too ❤

afrofoto day 2

Had a very slow start to the day today and then once i got showered and dressed the pace picked up and it has so far been a glorious day! So far so good with my photo-a-day challenge to keep me blogging.

ghana necklace

My aunt who currently lives in Nigeria took a trip to Ghana and brought this necklace for me. It’s a fun piece made of some glassy stone that was dyed over…sometimes stains my skin and tops so i try not to wear it too long at a time :). Not exactly sure what tribe or region in Ghana I could attribute it to lest i embellish or make something up. So i shant ^_^

I went to Silver Spring and as I was walking down the closed off street where there was a street concert going on, i came across a large crowd of people gathered around an opening where nothing was happening. My cousin and I decided to linger and let our curiosity have it’s way….BOY am i glad we did!!! I have a great video lined up for you all!!!