food of the month: persimmons

February 21, 2008 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Black Folks, Culture, flavor of the month, nutrition | 3 Comments

“you are the huckleberry beyond my persimmon…”
early african american courtship ritual saying

i gave love to this “fruit of the people” a couple years back in a b’earth day post. and even though its season well on its way out, persimmons get a big up for feb 2008 in honor of black history month, the persistence of black love, and just straight up healthy living. overshadowed by the more commercialized cousins of the fruit group, persimmons have grown to have a special place in both the historical & culinary lore of black folks. during the time of chattel slavery in the u.s., marriage for love between african descendants was not only counter to the “breeding” objectives plantation owners, but it was also illegal. african folks developed creative ways to ritualize their love – like ‘jumping the broom’. however, lesser known is the saying in the above epigraph shared between two lovers back in the day. “the persimmon with its [sweetness] was symbolic of how a lover felt about the other”. persimmons found their way into american texts from tales of breer rabbit –the seminal trickster to richard wright- one of america’s most prolific writers. in black boy, richard wright remarked Continue Reading food of the month: persimmons…


get your weight up, batman!

February 20, 2008 at 3:47 am | Posted in Black Athletes, Black Folks, Health & Healing, Hip-Hop | 8 Comments
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g.i.a.n.t. thinking is healthy thinking and healthy thinking is balanced thinking, so how you thinking. where’s your knowledge and where’s your wisdom… bartendaz mantra

ok, so the bar has officially been raised–pun intended. the bartendaz go hard on the workouts, seriously. when they are not in the park doing calisthenic “gymnasty” gymnastics, they’re visiting public schools near you. in addition to inspiring a folks to get off the couch and empowering youth through the joys of physical fitness, they are also committed to building community and are in the process of starting a new york charter school. well, april 1st brings in a new multi-sport season, which leaves a little over a month to get it in. lastly, i once saw a clip of a fitness beast on video entitled “if batman were real he’d train like this which for the most part is quite impressive for strength, overall body mechanics and control; but, i think wolverine would do it like this: Continue Reading get your weight up, batman!…

saudades – missing brazil

August 11, 2007 at 6:36 am | Posted in Black Folks, Culture, Hip-Hop, spirit | Leave a comment

yup1 it’s been 41 days and i’m still missing it all…

rusty angoleiro in bahia

July 14, 2007 at 7:22 pm | Posted in Active, Black Folks, capoiera, Culture, Martial Arts | 3 Comments

it was a rare honor to play in brazil and i drew some fiery coals of inspiration from mestre valmir and his f.i.c.a.bahia students which will stoke my angoliero fire for years to come. in general, being me & mestre valmirso close to the source of capoeira; witnessing the pride and seeing how vital this living warrior art STILL is to folks in bahia led me to a reappraisal of my training in the art. while capoiera in brazil can run the gamit from commercial tourist attractions to humble students and mestre committed to cultural preservation, i was most moved by the use of capoiera as a core part of the curriculum at a teacher/community directed independent school named escola aberta do calabar and at a quilombo to honor their ancestors who used the art for defense. the calabar school, the 2nd independent school in bahia, run exclusively by the teachers who live in the neighborhood. the community projects such as the independent school and other youth programs are components of the neighborhood’s legacy of self-determination; a community named for their nigerian ancestors -the calabari – who were displaced here during slavery and later making this place a quilombo. quilombo são francisco do paraguaçu is a haven plush with nature’s best deeply me & roquelualain within bahia’s reconcavo region. the difficulty in reaching there is a characteristic that allowed the ancestors of the citizens here to be protected them from portugues oppressors. the citizens there today are the proud decendants of self-liberated enslaved africans and are trustees of the land who struggle to maintain their identity and rights to the land from a vicious media conglomerate and murderous farmers intent on taking this land. it was good to see and play outside of the u.s. playing capoeira is definitely a conversation and i enjoyed the dialogue with this angoleiro. as rusty as i am, i needed to say the “angoleiros prayer”. even though roquelua got me in this game, i put out a few tricks of my own…mad love meu primo – enjoy the clips!

habari gani?

January 1, 2007 at 5:02 pm | Posted in Culture, Vegan | 1 Comment

imani! spent the new year’s with good friends and family –playing scattergories, electronic catch phrase, half-watching the honeymooners marathon and sipping on a mix of organic sparkling apple cider + sorrel. slammin’!

speaking of sorrel, i made my special holiday fruit brew (i learned from my grandfather) for the worthy occassion of “ujamaa” a few days a go. in the spirit of cooperative economics, folks shared resources (thanks for the brown sugar, sala!) and shared some vegan soul-full food to compliment a youth-driven, casein-free kwanzaa celebration. let’s see the menu went something like this: potatoes au-gratin, macaroni & cheese, salad, “hmm-hmm” sweet potatoe pie w/ homemade crust, cranberry fudge brownies…sorry no pictures – it all went too fast. but trust me it all looked and tasted good.

the transition to ’07 is rolling with good news and inspiration: a friend just became married — i will (not wish or hope) you good love, continued growth and bonding with your partner — and a good friend just gave birth (at home) to a brand new baby – i will you limitless “kuumba”, ancestral wisdom, keen judgement, self-healing power, patience and joy in the rearing of this new life. ase!

much love to all the new and down-to-earth folks i’ve met on my infant life in the blogosphere: fruitarian one, pst. everyone who visit(s) and has not visited this site. you may never see this post (even if i take it down you know google keeps a record of it), much love to you and yours. i see this year as the abundance of buring passion, vision, inspiration, ancient wisdom, empowering relationships, insightfulness, informed works! get your share and make it work.

“i believe” (the fiend’s anthem)

December 20, 2006 at 4:57 pm | Posted in Black Folks, Health & Healing, Hip-Hop | 4 Comments

i recently peeped the video “i believe” — a medicinal dart by off the dead prez and outlawz album: “can’t sell dope forever”. a little late, i admit, considering it dropped this past summer. now, there aren’t to many joints dead prez put out that i’m not “lickin’ shots for” but this video “righ’ chear”… i won’t spoil it for you. check it out and take a vote.


i believe
1) off the hook
2) its ok
3) not feeling it

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in general, i have an interest in how the aging hip-hop community (artists, fans, etc) deals with topics that most affect it, particulary those issues of health. in an arena where street crediblity is a marketing focus, speaking on health and disease presents an interesting challenge – how fly can you be spittin’ about healthy lifestyles? but at the same time folks are experiencing real health challenges and even death: foxxy brown with her hearing impairment, don’t foget big pun’s untimely death, havoc of mobb deep sickle cell anemia childhood diagnosis… the list goes on. so…

what would fela do-O!

December 6, 2006 at 4:28 pm | Posted in Activism, Black Folks, Culture, fela kuti, Health & Healing | 1 Comment

on sat., dec 2nd, nite*vision and i celebrated my b’earth day @ bam‘s sold out red hot + riot – the illest event featuring an allstar cast of diasporic & continental africans giving soulfull (and i mean soul-full) tribute to the life, music + spirit of fela anikulapo kuti (born olufela olusegun oludotun ransome-kuti).

red hot + riot is one of the many charitable collabos of the red hot organization‘s efforts to build proactive awarness to the pervasive pandemic, AIDS. (check out nite*vision’s post hi five: tribute to fela for a breakdown of the musical experience). the thing was a surprise, but also strange: why was the red hot + riot poppin’ off in bam, of all places in nyc? what’s so special about this weeked? wasn’t tryna be ungrateful, but soon enough all things were revealed. the day before was world a.i.d.s. day and…

as the hypnotic timbres -of shekere with electric bass, djembe with synthesizer – formed a bridge between entertainment and enlightenment, all who attended where ready for the images on the background displaying facts on how AIDS is (still) the clear and present danger realized from the last “media-raid” you may have encountered. statements like: “new york is the epicenter of the a.i.d.s. crisis in the u.s. brooklyn has the highest death rate of all boroughs flashed across the screen. what! brooklyn?…we’re in brooklyn right now, homie! cats wouldn’t even get up to dance to this music, what kind of reaction can we expect as a result of leaving the concert? once “water no get enemy” ceases to be the ringing melody in your head…what do you do? Continue Reading what would fela do-O!…

black vegans get no love?

December 6, 2006 at 3:00 am | Posted in Black Folks, Culture, Vegan | 17 Comments

the article below is almost 4 years old, but i found it (only recently) relevant. i’ve truncated it to highlight certain points, but you can read the whole article (and other cool ones) in this sister’s online column. enjoy! update: check out soulvegfolk – a social network for healthy & food conscious black folks. black vegans get love here.

The Soul of Holistic Health02.01.03 – by: Nicole D. Sconiers  

Black vegans get no love. We’re shunned at dinner parties, given mistrustful glances on buffet lines and never asked to contribute to the church potluck. I’ve been told more than a few times that my eating habits are “bourgeois,” as if the deletion of meat and dairy from my diet has somehow placed me in a culinary caste system.

… A good friend hipped me to the “Fit for Life” nutritional principles and I adapted a strict vegan regimen to lose fifty pounds. As soon as I took charge of my health, a state of wholeness–physically, spiritually and emotionally–set in.

Once I embarked on this journey into nutrition and wellness, I became hungrier for more knowledge. I went searching for kinship and community and I found both in Dr. Nathan Rabb, a naturopathic doctor and trailblazer in the holistic health field…He caught my attention because his theme song is the psychedelic Curtis Mayfield classic “Junkie Chaser” …But I would soon discover that junkie chaser is an apt description for the work Dr. Rabb is doing in his neighborhood–trying to rid it of the dietary monkeys riding the backs of many blacks. Continue Reading black vegans get no love?…

“spread (vegan) love, its the brooklyn way”

December 1, 2006 at 5:57 am | Posted in Black Folks, Culture, Hip-Hop, Vegan | 1 Comment

so this article is a little dated but i wanted to post it up anyway…and what?!. cool tidbit on vegan hip-hop entrepreneurs supporting health conscious entrepreneurs in the community…can someone say “ujaama“? i spruced it up with a video on stic from dead prez. mad love y’all. when i’m on the west coast, i just might slide throught to that sandwich shop. keep doing the thing!

ps. has anyone peep the DVD, “Holistic Wellness for the Hip-Hop Generation” by the brook-nam phenomenon – Supa Nova Slom?

Hip-hop artists spread word on vegetarian, vegan diets in black community

By Leslie Fulbright
Seattle Times Eastside bureau

There are some hip-hop artists who don’t drink Tanqueray and Alizé and want no part of the late-night trips to the BK. Take the socially conscious rap duo Dead Prez, whose song “Be Healthy” includes the lyrics: “I don’t eat meat, no dairy, no sweets — only ripe vegetables, fresh fruit and whole wheat.”

In recent years, hip-hop artists have started publicly denouncing the unhealthy diets some of their counterparts have long embraced. They are pushing the benefits of holistic health in the black community, where high blood pressure and cholesterol are common problems.

Singer Erykah Badu, an active promoter of the vegan lifestyle, has been known to stop by Seattle’s Hillside Quickies Vegan Sandwich Shop, where the Howell family serves up Tempehstrami Subs and Macaroni and Yease to the tune of hip-hop, dance hall and reggae.

Read the rest of the article at Seattle Times – “Hip hop artists spread word…”by Leslie Fulbright

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