Spoken Word Intro

I don’t sing. I don’t dance. I don’t shuck. And I don’t jive.

I’m not here to give you a six for a nine.

If I happen to rhyme don’t mistake me for an artist,

Because I let words flow, simple and sublime.

If my rhythm sounds like poetry, ignore this and focus on my words.

If my motion keeps your attention, it’s just so you won’t fall asleep.

 

So why am I speaking to you? Why do I implore you to listen? I have requested an audience because if there is one thing we should do in this life is that we should think. Just as we are all connected by the beautiful order and simplicity of the Creator, when we create thoughts we should share them so that our thoughts may survive to shape humanity.

 

I said share. Not force, not cajole, not subject, not impose. You see your thoughts are never hidden from God as we are all part of God. And so anyone of us, being sufficiently connected with Jah, may perceive your thoughts. Problem is, everyone is not sufficiently connected with Allah at all times; this is why we are mortal. So we must use language to share those thoughts. But just because I don’t harmonize, I don’t shout, and I don’t rhyme (well), does not mean I do not have any thoughts worthy to share. And this doesn’t mean it is not memorable.

 

Yes, I’m not here to entertain. I can’t even memorize what I’m speaking. I’m simply here to influence.

Influence you, not to follow me or do what I want … but simply influence you to follow your spiritual path so that humankind may move collectively closer to our full expressions as a part of the mind of the Creator.

 

I’m not trying to convert you … you will convert yourself … if you are in need of conversion. I want you to think and by any means necessary share those thoughts in an effort to uplift humanity.

 

Ashe!

Kawaida Seer-Sekou – Nov. 26, 2001

Up In Arms

Up In Arms, Uhuru J. Aama

I’m weary of asking myself the same questions.
Why why why why why!
Why, are we oppressed by the very perception of our color.
Why, do we oppress ourselves by the very impression of our character?
Why do they conveniently redefine
the freedom, the justice and the equality
so that they may indulge in the successes of our suffering?

Why are we functionally excluded from
the delivery of
liberty, equality, and equity
from an afrocentric perspective?

Why do we seek respect and approval from they that oppress us?
Why does opportunity escape us and hardship embrace us?
Why is there a conspiracy to ignore our problems?
and Why do we suffer when it becomes their problem?

Why do we, from generation to generation ask ourselves the same questions?

It’s because, they tell us, we are not one,
It is because, We tell us, we are not one.
Don’t perpetrate and propagate this lie.

We are one, we are one, we are one,
one African.

Let there be no doubt
Let us show that we are one
It’s time to take up arms.

Let there be no doubt.
Take your brothers’ arms, take your sisters’ arms
Let’s weave a strong thread,
stratified by our diversity
fortified by our adversity
unified by our similiarity

Let’s weave a strong thread with a common goal.
Let’s weave a strong thread
to be woven
into the global fabric of humanity,
to strengthen humanity,
to invigorate humanity.

Let’s build a strong thread
consisting of many fibers.
Each fiber
consisting of many peoples, brothers and sisters joining arms,
Each fiber supported and guided by others
Each fiber necessary for our intrinsic strength
Each fiber beginning with you.

‘Nuff talk, ’nuff talk.

Don’t stay back, take a stand, build a strand
Let’s make that rope
its our only hope

No more questions
No more self oppression
Let’s weave a stronger procession

I’m outta here, ujaama.

Ashe!

Say, What’s up Barack and Joe?

It was on my left foot. My big toe went first. I know exactly when it happened; my big toe was frozen. It had no feeling and there was no sensation when I thought about moving it. My friend had just told me the parade finally started because they assessed Teddy Kennedy’s condition as ok. I foolishly stopped dancing to the repetitive but excellent music of “tell me something good,” coming from the nearby PA system, in order to perch on top of a chair provided by the Inauguration Committee that only a lucky twenty or thirty of us were able to snag. By the way, If we are spending millions on a parade to usher in a new president, surely they could provide heated tents for us mere citizens or at least done away with a few port-a-potties in favor of a few heat lamps. Nonetheless, port-a-potties served as a refuge from the biting cold for many of us troopers lining the parade route.
My friend from New York City didn’t make it. Since four in the morning we stood in line at the checkpoint on 14th and F street to make sure we got a prime position where the presidential motorcade would leave and enter the White House. Of slight frame and barely 100 pounds, she didn’t have a chance. She couldn’t generate enough heat to save her life. In her boots she put those hand-warmers that just give off enough heat to give you the illusion you’re warm only to be shattered by the realization your nose is frozen. She tried following my example of dancing to whatever they played on the PA and she tried the port-a-pottie but returned to declare, “I’m done. I’m not going to make it. I’m out.” I’m from Los Angeles, where it was 80 degrees when I left four days earlier and you see mi, mi a wonder if Obama him eva gewn understand di sacrifice wi mek fa him today, January 20th 2009. I was reverting to my Jamaican roots with patois to wonder if Barack would ever understand the sacrifice we were making for him today, as the cold weather was sucking the life out of me and those around me. Close to death, I reached for my roots.
My doctor friends from Madagascar standing behind me surely understood. They heard that the parade had started at the Capitol but trying not to look wimpish after stuffing hand-warmers in their socks and huddling for the last nine hours to stay warm, after whispering indiscernible French among themselves, they told us they had to meet a friend in Maryland so they had to go. Yeah right. Bounce just when the cold was biting through that final layer of clothes. The gripping cold was clearly affecting the cognitive abilities of these everyday smarty-pants who had travelled to the USA to share medical knowledge with my friend but who insisted on being a part of this “historic” day. For a moment I turned to see the police officers who lined the parade route. They were shivering. They were dancing. They were doing whatever they could to stay warm without abandoning their post. Then I looked back. The doctors had vanished; another casualty of unfulfilled expectations today which by all accounts is now “historically” the coldest Inauguration … ever.

She looked Puerto Rican and her police badge identified her with her colleagues from Savannah Georgia; the same place I remember a movie many years ago declaring as “Africa” hot. She didn’t have a baclava but why would police in “Africa” hot territory know how to handle the cold? And being from the Caribbean as I am, I’m sure she didn’t know what to expect under twelve or fourteen hours of sub-freezing duress. She didn’t have a chance. She was shaking her hand-warmer and rubbing it against her face. I looked into her eyes and knew she wanted to cry but she couldn’t; she obviously had a rep for being tough. I couldn’t take it. I had two hand warmers left, so I gave her one. Her colleague next to her faired no better. I’m sure he was crying. He told me he had been there since 2 AM! The lady beside me gave him her hand-warmer. His eyes glistened with joy.

And so was the spirit this day; one of sharing and of good people allowing themselves to be good. As I head back to Los Angeles via Dallas I overheard a lady exclaiming that with the 350,000 plus people they let in to watch the parade, and the two million plus people in the Mall, there were no incidents. Maybe Barack has inspired something here; bringing out the good so we can play our part in this our shared human development. Lofty rhetoric aside, it was clear everyone was here for a common purpose but it was our perseverance battling the cold that did really bind us. Who can bother to fight with your neighbor when both your big toes are frozen? And by the way why is it always the big toe to go first?

I saw Barack coming in the distance in the “Beast”. That’s when I noticed my other big toe was frozen but I didn’t care. Today’s mission was about to be accomplished. I would survive to get my very own video of Barack and Joe; not that the shots on CSPAN or CNN would not have sufficed but these would be my shots that I could post on FaceBook! Earlier we heard from our unadventurous friends watching TV that Barack did indeed get out and walk, twice so far in the parade; good for you Barack. However, as he passed us in the “Beast” and the crowd in my section shouted “O-BA-MA, O-BA-MA,” I caught on tape his genuine smile behind the tinted glass. Then it was Joe’s turn. He and his wife were on foot! My friends and I where the only ones chanting “Joe, Joe, Joe.” He waved and passed us. We kept shouting, “Joe, Joe, Joe”. He actually turned around to wave and bow at us again flashing an infectious smile. Yes, they were completely oblivious but I knew my big toes would thaw.

In the freezing cold that united more than five million people in Washington DC on January 20, 2009 and
I’m sure to the hundreds of millions around the world who must have watched this, Barack and Joe might have seemed like two very likable regular guys. Regular guys who have inspired so much hope for a country and for humanity. Barack and Joe, two regular guys, who have been given a tremendous task of changing the course of the United States of America and undoubtedly humanity. As I hum, “Moving up” one of the phrases in a song they kept playing over and over, I see Barack and Joe are two regular guys who I know care deeply but who will never know that my two big toes froze solid as they made their first trip to the White House.

I Have A New Dream

Prologue
“What is to be done is already complete.” – Kawaida Seer-Sekou
“Most Praise To The Most High.” – Uhuru J. Amaa
“Ra Staf Ar I” – Shining Mosley
Harambee, Kwanza, Hotep!
Umoja, Ujamaa, Ujima.African this, New Age that.
Pontificate here, postulate there.

This will save you?
Got to get to our roots.

We were kings and queens; you better know your history. This will save you?

Recycle those dollars. Make your brother, make your sister rich. This will save you?

We are living in the belly of the beast; so aspire to be like them. This will save you?

Vote; let me represent you. I’ll look out for your interest. This will save you?

I’m probably from Missouri. Show me.

Hope

I am compelled, as I was then, in 1963 to move forward. While Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his message of hope that summer, all that I had was hope. As four girls moved forward in Birmingham, all that I had was hope. I was born in September in Jamaica, many miles removed from Washington D.C., an African. Yet today, living in America, having grown up in Canada, having seen “the dream” embraced by all Black people then released and neglected, I cannot but sense a feeling of lost hope.

I refuse to believe however, that there is no hope for Africans. I refuse to believe that I was compelled to be born for any other reason than to bring glory to the Most High by helping to right the course of humanity. I refuse to believe that as the staff of God (Ra-staf-ar-I), I do not have the ability to make the rough places plain and the crooked places straight. With the power of Jah, I African shall move with a strength and vigor to let that which is self-evident be the reality of the land.

It is self-evident that what I dream, that which I put to words, that which I evoke, be it just and in harmony with the Creator, then so shall it be, Ashe. It is self-evident that the fabric of humanity is woven by all people and we Africans are responsible for our stitches, Ashe. It is self-evident that all people are inextricably linked, that all humanity and nature is inextricably linked and that all humanity regardless of practice or understanding is inextricably linked to Allah, Ashe.

Let me make my stitch. Not that this stitch is any better or worse, but it is my stitch that I make with all that has been given me by my Ancestors and despite all that has been taken away by my down-pressers. My dream is that despite the constant attempts to undermine, belittle, subvert, detract, malign, degrade, upend, contravene, postpone, misinterpret, and lie about our African culture, our children will be able to hold their heads high, knowing that without our greatness, the fabric of humanity has no shine.

What greatness? The hope of 1963 and subsequent Black power movement did not intend to wane in order to replace knowledge and reverence of our past greatness and ancestors with unrestraint desire for our down presser’s things. But wane we did as it seemed we could not answer the question, “What is so important about being African?” This is not a question for the academicians who respond that being the foundation of civilization, and the genesis of many cultures we should indeed claim greatness. No. This is a question for you, be you African or not. What is so important about being African?

In other words, what is the greatness? What is this inherent special-ness we Africans feel in our bones? When we interact with each other it’s hard to put to words; when we interact with others we find it wanting. And we know that it is obvious to everyone else. Why else would “they” spend millennia trying to overthrow us? If we are not so important why are “they” trying so hard to keep us down? Obviously we are very important.

I get the sense we are not very important when we stand alone; this is why “they” spend so much time trying to keep us apart. But, come to think of it, “they” try to fractionalize everyone even themselves! The truth of the scheme of things is that we are important, as are all cultures, because collectively we provide balance and beautifully order our world so that harmony may exist and in so doing glorify the perfect harmony that is the Creator. Alas, there is no harmony because in part we Africans have not distinguished ourselves or put into words, that which we dream; this dream being just and in harmony with the Creator.

So the elements that make us important, that which distinguishes us, are our differences with other cultures. Yes differentiation is the important thing. All those things that we do which are the same as others do not weigh in on the correcting side of the scale. Yes, our genetic and cultural predispositions make us different. Yes, our ability to endure hardship and survive makes us different. Yes, our compassion for others without concern for our own plight makes us different. Yes, our spiritual and secular harmony makes us different.

But in America and in an America controlled world our culture clashes with an ill-defined mainstream culture, so we have a constant conversion; people trying to be mainstream. We see Africans trying to be the same; trying so hard not to be different. We would rather take on other people’s identity and other people’s way of glorifying the Creator. Essentially we are losing the African differentiation. We are losing hope because we don’t understand that our difference is important.

I am compelled now to be a cultural architect. Understanding my importance, I refuse to let my difference subside; it’s not just for me or my fellow Africans, it’s for everyone even if they don’t know or understand. Simply put, I’m compelled, as I was then, to move forward.

I move forward in my pursuit of perfectibility in the Creator. All decisions flow from this relationship and context. This is a differentiating mark. I am a child of Maat. This is a differentiating mark. I measure myself against the Creator, I am no better or worse than anyone else. This is a differentiating mark. I strive to practice right thought and right behavior. This is a differentiating mark. I am dedicated to uplifting my community in order to uplift myself. This is a differentiating mark. My worldview is holistic and highlights Maat; truth, justice, righteousness, harmony, balance, order, compassion and reciprocity for all. This is a differentiating mark. I listen in order to practice African deep thought. This is a differentiating mark. I am committed to preserving my family and therefore my culture by setting a positive example for others to follow. This is a differentiating mark. I am dedicated to honoring and learning from my ancestors. This is a differentiating mark.

So, because I realize that my essence, that which makes me uniquely African, despite all the subliminal and overt attempts to co-opt my spirit, still exists and can never be extinguished I have new hope. Because I realize that humanity needs our African spirit to balance its course, I have new hope. Because I know my differentiating marks, I go forward, expressing my differences, uplifting my culture and move closer to the Creator’s perfection.

Ashe.
Kawaida Seer-Sekou