AYIBOFANMSOCIÉTÉ

Lighting the Path

17

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[I] saw a movie once. Then I heard a song.
sang the song to myself while I observed the images of the movie in my life. Time passed, I read a book and knowledge reverberated throughout my life. I am hungry for knowledge and thirsty for insight and I thank those that brought it to me. They expressed their perception of the divine experience that is life and lit the way for me to come to see myself.
I awoke to myself in a world that was no longer familiar and as I reoriented my references, I realized that I did not know my counterpart, the African woman. Even though she gave birth to me and raised me in her many forms, I did not know her. Oh, but I did discover her. I found her in the soul of Erykah’s voice. She spoke to me through Nneka’s vibrant tones. She taught me in my conversations with Samaria, my dear friend.

I listened and searched.

You see, if I could not accept the other half of me, I could never accept myself. I thank my Mothers, the one who brought me into this world and the one who taught me. From you I came and to you I will one day return, when I pass from this realm to the deep currents of Ginen anba dlo.

Now, that I’ve entered, consciously, into the Stream of African Thought, I must determine how to stand, as a man. My father has always been the example for me. I learned not only from his achievements and his feats, but also from his mistakes and the manner in which he accepted all that he was. Outside of this man of great stature, literally and figuratively, there were many others.
From martial artists to musicians to powerful leaders. Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, dead prez, and Immortal Technique. FELA! They taught me to maintain my creative integrity and to speak truths others are afraid to. The discipline and philosophs of Lee Jun Fan (Bruce Lee) have always inspired me to overcome and defeat the enemy within. Mestre Bimba is one of the two most respected Mestres of capoeira and decades after his death, I experience the power of his influence and presence. He built men as a Mestre and as a Priest of African tradition. Axé!

Then there are the many scholars and warriors that fought for us as African people to stand and look upon the truth of our beauty. From Jean-Jaques Dessalines and Charlemagne Peralte to Marcus Garvey and Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Touré), Kwame Nkrumah and Patrice Lumumba, the great Minister Malcolm X and Thomas Sankara the Upright Man.
I do not mourn these men, instead I am thankful that their legacy has lived to reach me through the years and efforts to silence their voices. I stand taller when I think of them, as the weight of my responsibility settles. I do not worry, for they blazed the example for me to forge through in this world alongside the scholar-warriors of my tribe to solidify the foundation of our House.

Like Fela, I discovered Africa in California, for it was there that my quest for my identity and my history began. On her beaches I peered into the setting sun, oblivious that my future lay to my back, towards the rising sun. On my return to Miami, I rediscovered Ayiti and my soul sang to the Cosmos in joy. Erykah and Nneka had prepared me for the shock at the wonder of the beauty of the women of my tribe. Fanm kreyòl! I thank you for bringing me into this world. I thank you for loving me and showing me myself. I thank you for the grace in which you move through my life. I am struck speechless at the magic in the sway of this unique manifestation of African womanhood.

The songs and books and films are guides left to us by our Elders and they have led me on my path back to myself. Ayibobo!

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