Action not Words: A Journey through History to Freedom and Unity 

Growing up as a child back home in Lagos, Nigeria, I remember vividly when after another power outage by the electricity company notoriously known as NEPA at the time, children and adults would gather outside for some cool breeze. Children would sit on their mats, gathered round the adults to listen to folktales, mostly stories about a cunning and evil tortoise and I would wonder why tortoise was always portrayed as the evil and cunning one. However, sometimes I would take my mat, lay down alone and stare at the open sky with all its bright shining stars. I would gradually drift into imagination land where I imagined a big tree with gigantic root with different branches growing in different directions, all reaching high up into the night skies and somehow all connected to the different stars with shinning stars on the tips of its branches. I called it the Tree of life. The branches represented humans of all races branching out in different directions, but all rooted in one life source.

The branches were all human siblings and I wondered why we did not get along and why some think they were superior due to their race. At the time my knowledge of racial inequality was limited to Apartheid in South Africa. Charities visited our schools; they told us what was happening in South Africa and asked us to donate to the Apartheid fighting fund. I donated my pocket money to the funds hoping it helped. My dream was to see all those branches come together united under the tree and have a big family feast.

As I grew older and travelled far and wide, I began to understand better why making that journey back to the start of our life source would be difficult for us all. Also, more difficult, traumatic, and uncomfortable to different degrees for some more than others. It is the journey through History and history is not always a wonderful place to revisit.

Black history month is that time we journey through the lens of Black people to understand the forgotten contributions of black heroes. This Black History month theme is ‘Time for change: Action not Words’. Maybe the action to take is to commit to taking that journey through history in a bid to connect to the tree of life, the very source of it all with the hope that the journey, even though difficult and traumatic sometimes, would eventually make us a better person, with better understanding and better equipped emotionally to connect with ‘siblings’ all over the world.

Understanding history is important. The way I am perceived, the way I perceive others, the way I am treated, the way I treat others, and the way we all see things have been influenced by the culture we grew up in and the culture was impacted heavily upon by history. Therefore, whether we like it or not, we are all by-product of history and its legacies.

History is why a black child would pick a white doll over a black doll when asked to pick the doll they think is beautiful.

History is the reason when black girls were shown the trailer of a Black Ariel with red Locs, they cried with happiness and screamed “She looks just like me!”.

History is also why some white adults, who felt offended by a black girl playing Ariel, the mermaid, have created the hashtag #NotMyAriel on social media, to vociferously complain about the casting.

History is the reason when I was a teenager with wild imagination, I drafted short novels on notebooks which my mates would queue up to read. One thing that I later realised was that the characters in all my stories were white and the settings British, even though I was a black girl living in a black country, who never saw a white person. Yet, somehow, I had been socialised to think and dream ‘white’.

History is why in high school; we were forbidden to speak in our mother tongue. History is why many of us who grew up in that environment hardly speak or write fluently in any language, be it English or our native language. We have a love-hate relationship with our mother tongue.

History is why as a black woman I have a love hate relationship with my hair. It is also why we say to our White colleagues. “Don’t touch my hair”. When you know the story of Sarah Baartman, you will understand why we don’t want to be touched or treated like exotic exhibits.

History is why when I visited the British Museum for the first time with a white friend who was eager to show me the African artefacts, she could not understand why I was angry and sad looking at the work of arts from my motherland displayed in British museum. When I expressed that these artefacts should be where they belonged, her response was that more people are able to see it in British museums and Britain have preserved the arts since it could have been destroyed in there country of origin. Her pride at having these artefacts in the British museum was a result of the version of history she was fed and socialised to believe. She saw these artefacts and felt Pride, I saw these artefacts, felt helpless, and traumatised. Our perception although rooted in history, was different because we had different version of the same history.

When I did a short course at Michigan State university, Michigan, I used the opportunity to visit the slave trade museum in Detroit. There I saw the epitome of man’s inhumanity to man. I saw the boats, chains and the instrument of torture that were like something out of a hammer house of horror, only that this was reality, these atrocities happened. I was traumatised, I wept for days. I was angry, I was sad, I was baffled. I could not comprehend it; I still cannot comprehend it. I knew there was no way I would let my then young son visit such a place. However, history is not something we can or should hide from.

History is why when I first came to the UK as a Postgraduate student, the white male doctor at the University surgery refused to honour my medical prescription because it was from a Nigerian University Teaching Hospital and because of his racism, I almost died.

History is why George Floyd took his last breath begging for his life with the words “I can’t Breathe” while a white police officer kept his knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds until George Floyd breathed his last breath. History is why killings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin happened.

History is why we are where we are today. History is part of the reasons our society treat people differently.

Black history month is not just about Black people understanding their history, it is about everyone understanding History. Not just the part that appear in school curriculum but the part that, to various degrees, we have all been shielded from.

As a child, I was taught in school that Mungo Park discovered River Niger, but even then, I asked, but were people not living, bathing, and washing their clothes on the bank of River Niger before Mungo Park was born?

BHM- People Not SlavesThe history of Africa is not the history of slaves or all about slavery. Slaves were not taken from Africa, people were taken from Africa and made slaves in foreign lands.

Slave trade interrupted the History of Africa, but the history of Africa did not stop there. Africa had a rich history before slave trade, a rich history during slave trade, and a rich history after slave trade.

Black history month is about everybody, regardless of race, making the conscious decision and putting in the effort to learn.

History conferred advantages on some and wherever there are people with advantages, there will be those who are disadvantaged by the advantages of others. When we begin to understand where we still benefit from the history of our ancestors, we begin to understand and empathise with these who are the victims of some atrocious actions in history. Then, we can stand together and not feel like we are from two different worlds, just like I felt with my white friend at the British museum.

We have come to a place now where LGBT+ Pride events are attended and celebrated not just by LGBT people but allies as well. This is what we should be doing during Black History month. It is not just a month for Black people to learn about their history, it is a time for white people to learn about their part in the history, no matter how uncomfortable it is. When you do this, you can begin to unpack how growing up in a racially unequal society has impacted on how you view the world and the privileges it confers on you as a white person.

Aftermath of George Floyd murder, many white people started learning about race and racism. Many bought books such as ‘Why I am no longer talking to White people about Race’ and ‘White Fragility’. Many attended protests rally. Did we just buy those books and let them gather dust without reading them? Did we stop attending these rallies because it was no longer trending on social media? Were we just performative allies?

We should never stop learning. It is also not too late to read these books we bought. Being an ally is a lifelong commitment. This Black history month, ask yourself, are you still an Ally?

Now, back to my fantasy of the three of life. I now understand why making the journey from the branches back to the root would be difficult. For many, the path is filled with tears, sweat and blood. Branches aren’t equally strong. Some tree branches have been made strong from feeding off the other branches or cutting off light and water supply to other branches.

However, how are we ever going to heal and unite to have that feast at the root as siblings if we don’t make the journey back to our root?

Now, as an adult, when I fantasise about the tree of life, I imagine that the starry lights at the tips of the branches are lights we emit within us. The light is not from the stars but from within us. I want to connect to the light within another human, regardless of race, sexuality, disability, or gender.

If we are ever cornered in a cave and suddenly a ray of light appears through a hole, we would gravitate towards it and attempt to break down the barriers to let in more light. The more barriers we breakdown, the brighter it becomes. When we make that journey down to the root, our lights shine brighter with every step we take. And when the lights in me join forces with the light in you, we create a circle of light that shines bright not just on us but light up our surroundings too. And this will be our new stars that light up the stormy nights, not in faraway galaxies but right here with us.I hope we will see this Black history month as a Time for change. A time to start a conversation, to read more and keep the important conversations going. A time to act, to light the path, not just for us, but for others and start building a better history that is not filled with tears and blood but filled with healing and love for the generations after us. Happy Black History Month.

Black History Month – Proud To Be.

It’s Black History Month and the theme this year is Proud To Be. I am Proud of everything that makes me Black.

I am proud of my Black Heritage.

I am Proud to be African.

I am proud to be an African Woman.

I am proud of the hospitality of my people.

I am proud of the creativity, the arts, rich culture and music that we have generously given the world which unfortunately are often appropriated without acknowledgement of the Black origin.

I am proud of the contributions of my people to Science and Technology.

I am proud of the exuberant nature of my people and the way we express ourselves with all our body gestures.

I am Proud of the renowned hospitality and welcoming nature of my ancestors.

I am Proud to be a Black African woman.

Africa is the cradle of life, it is the continuent that keeps giving even though they keep exploiting its human and natural resources, my people are resilient and continue to radiate hope.

They say Black is bad and not good enough, yet they refuse to return the beautiful Artefacts they stole from us that today still grace their museums.

They say Black is ugly yet they go under the knife to look like us to copy the very physical attributes they called ugly.

Still we rise because we know, and we know that they know, Black excellence is real, Black is beautiful. in and out.

To forget our history is to assimilate the lies of the colonisers and exploiters.

I know my history and this is why I Am Proud To Be. #HappyBlackHistoryMonth

As part of my celebration of Black History Month 2021 and in keeping with its ‘Theme ‘Proud To Be’ , I recited the poem ‘Africa my Africa’ by David Diop and shared with my work colleagues as a BHM video compililation project. Enjoy!

Africa my Africa – David Diop

Africa my Africa
Africa of proud warriors in ancestral Savannahs
Africa of whom my grandmother sings
On the banks of the distant river
I have never known you
But your blood flows in my veins
Your beautiful black blood that irrigates the fields
The blood of your sweat
The sweat of your work
The work of your slavery
Africa, tell me Africa
Is this your back that is unbent
This back that never breaks under the weight of humiliation
This back trembling with red scars
And saying no to the whip under the midday sun?
But a grave voice answers me
Impetuous child that tree, young and strong
That tree over there
Splendidly alone amidst white and faded flowers
That is your Africa springing up anew
springing up patiently, obstinately
Whose fruit bit by bit acquires
The bitter taste of liberty.

It’s My 46th Birthday!

It’s my 46th year on planet earth today! I still remember the day I was born, okay, maybe I exaggerated a bit. The years I do remember makes me feel like I’ve lived three livetimes already because I have truly lived.

I’ve experienced life’s twin fountains of pleasures and pains, love and loss, happiness and sadness, good health and bad health but I knew they were all part of the deal called Life.

I am very grateful for where I am today and for the people that have been part of my journey through different stages in my life. Those that passed through it and those that are still part of it. You all contributed whether positively or negatively to my experience in life so far and those experiences, good or bad, have contributed to my emotional and mental growth.

Life is a beautiful story as long as we keep writing our pages and chapters in our own words, on our own terms and live it unapologetically.

I raise a glass today and toast everything that makes me the extraordinarily fierce, passionate, mentally and emotionally intelligent, discerning, sexy, strong, independent, beautiful black woman I am today. To many more years of living life with a passion.

My birthday is not complete without my annual birthday dance. This year I celebrated with the beats from motherland and danced to the music of the legendary King of juju music, King Sunny Ade. What better tune to shake my original land cruiser to than the beats of KSA.
Emi o ba won wa, emi o ni ba won lo…

Happy Birthday to me.

 

 

Christmas, Covid19 and Fatphobia.

Christmas 2020 was all about self-love and selfcare for me. It was a much needed body appreciation day.

With Covid19, working from home, closure of gyms, etc it is tiring to listen to people complain constantly about getting fat. Most often than not, the language used is very fatphobic. “Fat” is used as a dirty word as if getting fat is the worst thing ever!

People never stop to consider the effect of Fatphobia on the mental health of the majority of women and men who do not fit the stereotypes of beauty standards. It was time for me to switch off that societal judgemental voice confronting me from every angle especially since about 5 years ago, I lost almost half my body weight at the gym but gained it all back within the last year.

For me, I know I’m beautiful at whatever size or shape because beauty is in the eye of the beholder and, gawd, how I behold myself! As the saying goes, the woman who does not require the validation of anyone is the most feared individual on the planet.

In this fatphobic society, it is important to practice radical self-love. Love yourself so unconditionally and unapologetically that unsolicited opinions on your body does not matter or count. Your mental health will thank you for it.

Feeling festive and very thankfull for inner peace, contentment and the strenght to love myself unconditionally in a very judgmental society.

it has been a particularly tough year for many, but I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. Spending Xmas alone is not unusual for me. For me, the key is to find these things that make me happy and be self-indulgent. Dressing up just to take pics and dancing are two things that instantly lift mood. Find your happiness withing yourself; the hero lies in you.

Not everyone can have a happy holiday; it has been an especially sad year for some, with many lives lost as the holidays approached. So many grieving mothers, grieving fathers, grieving children, grieving lovers, it is sad.

If you are grieving, I wish you the fortitude to bear the loss and a very splendid support system with people that will not judge you, will hold your hands, listen to you moan and offer you tissues to wipe your tears.

We all cannot be merry this holiday period, please do not feel forced to join in the hilarity if you do not feel up to it. Be strong, for this too shall pass and you shall be happy again.

Pain and pleasures are life’s twin fountains, with our pains; we appreciate more our pleasures when it comes, as it surely will. Happy Holidays to everyone who is up to it and do not forget to put a smile on someone’s face today!

This Xmas, I finally made the best Xmas Turkey ever! My Xmas turkey was so moist, succulent and so full of flavour, I almost cried with joy! It was the first time i got it so right with no but. It was Masterchef perfect! I will be making Turkey stew, Equisi/ Vegetable soup with it and of course reserve some to eat with soaked garri!

My Christmas isn’t complete without my annual Xmas dance. Enjoy!

Ho Ho Ho…Happy Secular Holiday!

Not everyone can have a happy holiday.

It has been an especially sad year for some, with many young lives lost as the holidays approached. So many grieving mothers, grieving fathers, grieving children, grieving lovers, it is sad.

If you are grieving, I wish you the fortitude to bear the loss and a very splendid support system with people that won’t judge you, will hold your hands, listen to you moan and offer you tissues to wipe your tears.

We all cannot be merry this Xmas, please do not feel forced to join in the hilarity if you do not feel up to it. Be strong, for this too shall pass and you shall be happy again.

Pain and pleasures are life’s twin fountains, with our pains; we appreciate more our pleasures when it comes, as it surely will.

Happy Holidays to everyone who is up to it and don’t forget to put a smile on someone’s face today!

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Neil deGrasse Tyson, the allegations and the women stars that never got to shine

Neil deGrasse Tyson and the sexual misconduct allegations is a sad reminder of why I hardly have heroes, especially men as heroes. Even when I have men who I would otherwise classify as heroes, it is difficult not to wonder how they have treated women, especially vulnerable women in their lives, and how they are treating the women, especially vulnerable women in their lives.

I have worked and interacted too long in male dominated workplaces with powerful men who are revered and idolised by the society, but who leave me wanting to puke with the way they talk about women or the way they treat women in their personal and professional lives, for me to have any illusions left about men in power. Male privilege and male toxicity are very real, these did not just come about when we started using terms like male privileges, or male toxicity or when hashtags like #METOO started trending.

Sexual abuse, sexual harassment and sexual discrimination have been happening before we found the names to define them, they are still happening long after we put a name on them, and they will continue to happen as long as male privilege exists. These dastardly acts will exist as long as we continue to hero-worship blindly and think just like the way we created Gods, our earth idols can do no wrong. However, we can start putting a stop to this normalised abnormality when we start believing the victims of these sexual predators. We will make progress when we stop blaming women for men behaving badly.

As a woman, a black woman, a bisexual woman, I refused to be held responsible for the state of anyone’s arousal or the state of any man’s dick. It is not my duty to quench your lust or thirst for my body or give you hugs that you intend for your sexual satisfaction. Women’s careers and lives should never have to be defined by what we allow or not allow a sexual predator to do to us, unfortunately in many cases, this is the case. Our lives, our stories our #MeToos are all defined by what men wanted from us and what men took from us and how we are still healing from the traumas of what was taken from us without our consent.

We try to come to terms with what was taken from us because we understood the unwritten code that if we do not give it, we would be out of a much-sought career that we are qualified for and have given our best to. We understand that the unwritten codes say that even if we are the best qualified, we still must meet the qualification, i.e. the willingness to give our body unquestionably to the boss who holds the power and knows powerful people who could ruin our careers just with a snap of their fingers if we do not cooperate. For many, this could mean not just a repercussion for themselves alone, but also for the people they care for and about, it means homelessness, not able to feed their loved ones or their children getting kicked out of schools.

When you sit on your judgemental throne and asked, “but why didn’t she just say No and go look for another job?”, just remember, the person who wears the shoes knows where it pinches, and one size does not fit all. Do not put the blame on the victim, for once, stop with the ‘but’, and lay the blame squarely where it belongs, with the abuser.

When I first read about the sexual misconduct allegations against Neil deGrasse Tyson, I felt so saddened because I really admired him. This is not surprising as he is one of the very few visible black astrophysicists in the world. I loved his Cosmos documentaries and I held him in very high esteem. A part of me seriously wished the accusations were not true but as a woman, I know from experience that such allegations should never be taken lightly. Men in power do things to women under their control that just should not be excused, the higher they grow in their career, the more entitled they feel to every woman’s body. They childishly reason like a spoilt brat that they have the power, the money and in some very few cases, the looks too, so why the heck can’t they have any woman they want?

When I stumbled on this article from TheAtlantic on a friend’s FB page, I felt ashamed because somehow since I first read about these allegations, I had managed to subconsciously push it out of my mind while at the same time avoiding anything to do with Neil deGrasse Tyson. I did not talk about it, I did not discuss it, it was as if I was afraid to acknowledge it. This article managed to kick me out of my numbness because of the way it focused on the impact of sexual harassment on women’s careers. As a career woman, it reminded me that silence is never the answer. I might not have the answer but at least I will not be numbed into silence and be complicit in further normalising sexual abuse just because well, it happens a lot and we are used to it. No, I do not wish to be used to this normal abnormality!

If you are not familiar with this developing story, below are some quotes from different articles on the story so far-

From TheAtlantic- Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Careers That Weren’t

What the summaries can miss-and what many of the write-ups of the matter, far beyond the blunt demands of the headline, can miss as well-is the fact that the claims in question are not, actually, just about sexual misconduct. The women who have come forward to share stories about Neil deGrasse Tyson have also been talking about a related, but different, indignity: the harm that the alleged misconduct has done to their careers. They are talking, in that, about something Americans haven’t been terribly good at talking about, even in the age of #MeToo: the radiating damage that sexual abuse can inflict on women’s professional lives. The smothered ambitions. The seeded self-doubts. The notion that careers can experience trauma, too.

Today, Amet talks about the ongoing effects the alleged rape has had on her body, on her mind, on her capacity to maintain relationships with other people. But her accusation extends beyond that: Amet also alleges that Tyson’s behavior led her to leave the graduate program she had worked so hard to be admitted to, and thus to stop nurturing aspirations of becoming an astrophysicist, and thus to give up her dream of becoming the first black woman astronaut. This is how Amet, addressing Tyson from the distance of diverged paths, put it in a blog post in 2014: “How does it feel to know that YOU are the reason there is one less black female galactic astronomer on this planet? Yes, YOU.”

Backlash, as well, is Katelyn Allers, who has also come forward with allegations against Tyson-admiring her tattoo of the solar system at a professional gathering, she says, he traced its path up her shoulder and under her dress-deciding not to attend more professional events where Tyson might appear. Backlash is the woman taking herself out of the equation. Backlash is the notion that the world is organized by frail little planets that orbit, inevitably, around a singular sun.

It’s another cliche: The man misbehaves, the woman gets blamed for it. Her reputation is compromised; her career is stymied; she is branded as difficult; he is simply a man being a man. This bind-the sexual offenses becoming professional ones-is a stubborn element of #MeToo. One of the women who accused the former TV host Charlie Rose of misconduct summed things up like this: “I was hunting for a job, and he was hunting for me.”

The stories of those who have lived in Tyson’s orbit have served as reminders that, here on Earth, we remain biased toward the stars.

Vox – The sexual misconduct allegations against Neil deGrasse Tyson, explained

When they were in graduate school together in the 1980s, Tchiya Amet says she looked up to Neil deGrasse Tyson.

They were both black students in the majority-white astronomy department at the University of Texas Austin at the time, and Tyson was “like a big brother” to Amet, she told Vox. “We were comrades.”
That changed, she said, when she was over at his apartment one afternoon in 1984. She said he offered her a drink of water in a cup made of a coconut shell. The next thing she knew, she said, she was naked on his bed, and he was performing oral sex on her. When he saw that she had awoken, she said, he got on top of her and began penetrating her. Then, she said, she passed out again.

Tyson has said in a public Facebook post that the two dated briefly, but that the encounter she describes didn’t happen. Tyson has not responded to multiple requests for comment by Vox. For her part, Amet denies that she and Tyson dated – she says they were just friends.

The next time Amet saw Tyson in the halls of the astronomy department, she says she asked him, “How did this happen? Why did this happen?”

“He said, “Because we’re in this alone, and we’re in this together,”” Amet said, “and then he walked off.”

“I didn’t know what he meant,” she said. Soon after, Amet dropped out of school.

Amet has been speaking publicly about her experience with Tyson, now an astrophysicist, TV host, and the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, since 2010. She confronted him at a public appearance in San Francisco, she told David G. McAfee at the religion website Patheos. She posted her story on her personal blog in 2014 and on Twitter in 2016, and McAfee wrote about it at Patheos in 2017 and published an interview with Amet in November 2018.

From Patheos – Two More Women Accuse Neil deGrasse Tyson of Sexual Misconduct

Watson says she had been working directly under Tyson, who called out Trump in 2016 by saying he would grab him by the crotch when they met, and that they got along well. That all changed, however, when he invited his underling to his apartment at around 10:30 P.M. to “share a bottle of wine” and “unwind for a couple of hours.”

Watson, who said she felt pressured to impress her superstar boss, told me she agreed to come in for a glass of wine instead. Upon entering his apartment, Tyson allegedly took off his shoes and shirt, remaining in a tank top undershirt. Unfortunately, the night only got more awkward as Tyson, who is married, reportedly put on romantic music and replayed the most graphic parts.

She says Tyson soon brought out a cutting board and a knife to cut blocks of cheese that he decided they would share. But before slicing the snack, he allegedly gestured toward her with the knife and made a comment about stabbing.

Watson says she took the comment as a bad joke, but it’s important to note that this type of “joke” is exactly what people in power need to keep in mind when dealing with subordinates. And it set the stage for a night filled with subtle intimidation and sexual advances.

“It was definitely a very weird power move,” she said.

Inappropriate Approach
Watson says Tyson started talking about how every human being needs certain “releases” in life, including physical releases. He reportedly mentioned how difficult it had been for him to be away from home for several months.

Watson says Tyson asked her if she needed any releases, and she responded with a story about sexual harassment she endured in the past. It was a smart way to diffuse a tense situation, but she says he was unfazed.
“It was like talking to a wall,” Watson said.

She was getting up to leave when Neil allegedly stopped her, saying he wanted to show her a “Native American handshake” he knew. That involved holding hands tightly, making eye contact, and feeling for each other’s pulse, Watson told me.

When she broke off the awkward and incredibly intimate handshake, which he allegedly said represented a “spirit connection,” she attempted to just get up and leave.

Tyson then allegedly put his hands on her shoulders, and said he wanted to hug her, but if he did, he’d “just want more.”

I sincerely hope these cases get investigated, due process followed and everyone concerned get the justice they deserve.

Do Not Trigger Me With Your Invasive Christian Evangelism!

What is it with these nincompoop Christians and their invasive, entitled, ignorant evangelism? I came home from a nice weekend away, opened my door and found this evangelical card stapled to a pack of Haribo sweets on my floor. It was slipped into my home through my mailbox. The creepy message reads “IT’S OK! There is no need to be scared! (If you have Jesus on your side), while the other side quoted a bible verse.

As an atheist, are you saying I should I start freaking out as I do not have your imaginary Jesus by my side?

What if I were a practising Muslim and believe I have Mohammed by my side, should I be scared cos’ according to you, I should be scared if I don’t have Jesus?

What if I have Zeus, or the Gods and Goddesses of my ancestors, Ogun, Obatala, Oshun, Oya or Sango by my side? Ah, of course, you already called my Ancestral Gods blind, dumb and deaf in your bible. Same Bible you gave my ancestors while you stole their land and cart them off to a lifetime of slavery in foreign lands.

What would be your reaction if as a Christian you came home, opened your door and found same card you sent to my home with the same message, this time just insert Mohammed where you have put Jesus? Bet you would classify it as a terrorist message, convince yourself that it’s a plot to wipe out people who don’t believe in Mohammed. Your entitled, bigoted, Islamophobic arse would probably call the cops and the bomb disposal unit!

Yeah, this is the thing with Christian privilege, you get away with a lot of crap and harassment in the name of evangelism.

As an atheist, I do not come to your home to harass you about your religious beliefs.

I do not knock on your door to tell you about my lack of belief in your God, religion or whatever Skydaddy you worship.

I do not invade your place of worship to tell you to be afraid because your religious beliefs are silly, even though they are.

I do not come to your door to tell you that you are worshipping the wrong God as the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the one and only true God.

Was this supposed to be your spooky Halloween treat?

Do not harass me in my own home, you religious freaks! You already took a lot from me with your colonising Bible; I do not need you to trigger me in my own home.

I wish I could sue this Holy Trinity church, Springfield for harassment and for causing me stress in my home.

Btw, the card and the Haribo treat are headed for the trash can. I still remember what happened to my forefathers when they welcomed you into their homes, embraced your bible and accepted your treats!

It’s My Birthday; Time to Shake What My Mama Gave Me!

It’s my birthday and it’s not complete without my annual birthday dance. Every year I do a birthday dance on my birthday, and I enjoy comparing the dance videos to see how far I have come, interesting memories.

It has been a particularly difficult and emotionally tasking year with the sudden loss of my mum. I had to process different emotions in my personal life and confront prevalent social ills in my professional life, especially made difficult as the only black person in an all-white work environment where the words ‘Inclusivity and diversity’ are alien language.

However, despite it all, as I turn 43 today, I feel like a hot pie and the only girl in the world.

This is my first birthday as an orphan and I especially miss my beautiful mum because she would have woken me up with a birthday song and try to sneak in some unsolicited prayers! I miss her so much today. I dedicate this birthday dance to my departed beloved parents. You were my vehicles to this world, and I appreciate it.

Thanks to everyone who touched my life in one way or another and left positive impacts. To these who left only negative memories, may our parts never cross again. Positive vibes only.

Thanks, lovely people for all the birthday greetings and lovely wishes, much appreciated.

Happy Birthday to me…it’s time to shake what my mama gave me!

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Farewell, Mum. Love, Always.

I finally got to bury my beloved mother On April 2017, after going through the most horrible experience in the hands of the Coroner’s office just to get her death certificate to facilitate release of her body from the hospital to family members for burial. Her sudden death at work caused so much pain, which was made even worse by the high-handed and insensitive manner the Office of the Coroner handled the situation.

Time, they say is a healer, but the pain never fully goes away. We grow and learn to manage the pain left behind by the sudden, avoidable death of a loved one. Sometimes we fill the void left by the death of a loved one with unhealthy habits to mask the pain. However, there comes a time when we must accept our loss and move on to live our lives fully again, while honouring the memories of our beloved ones.

Laying my mum to rest and giving her a befitting burial meant I got the opportunity to say goodbye and seek closure. I finally let go of all the ‘could have beens’ and ‘what ifs’, instead, I chose to celebrate the beautiful memories we made together and the full life she lived.

Thank you, mum, for all your love and care. You live on in my Heart and all of your children and grandchildren.

Love you, mum. RIP.

 

Related Link- For My Mum: You Will Always Have A Home In My Heart

For My Mum: You Will Always Have A Home In My Heart

I lost my wonderful, loving and amazing mother to the cold hand of death on the evening of 16 November, 2017. When I got that phone call that my mother had suffered a heart failure while at work, had been rushed to a hospital in London, and I was told to prepare for the worst while I made the journey from Chelmsford to London to be with her, that minute I knew life would never be the same again. It was a sudden death; I never got to say goodbye.

Seeing my beautiful mother lifeless on the hospital bed cuts like a sword through my heart. However, I took solace in the fact that she looked so peaceful. As I held her still warm hands and kissed her goodbye, I uttered the words I wish I had said to her as many times as possible when she was alive…Mummy, I Love You.

Words can’t express the pain I felt and still feel.

My Mum was a super woman, WonderWoman, hard-working to a fault, fiercely independent and super generous.

I remember filming this video in my mum’s home in London during one of these spells where I had been rendered homeless once again in London. My mum had opened up her home to me to crash while I sort out my house and job situation. By so doing, she saved me from even considering the conditional offers from predators who I thought were my friends or comrades but who instead saw a vulnerable woman in need and decided it was a good time for them to confess their affection for me while offering me their sofa, bed or a spare room in exchange for sex or relationship with them (and to think some of them wonder why i never want to speak with them again).

I always had the luxury of having the choice not to take up these predators on their offer of a sofa, bed, room, relationship even marriage proposal in exchange for a roof over my head because I had a mum who was there for me. Their appalling requests and conditional offer of help showed me their true colour and the part of human nature you don’t get to see if you are never put in a vulnerable position.

It is one of my favourite videos even though it was filmed at one of the most difficult times in my life. My Mum made these times bearable for me and always told me everything will be alright again.

My mother was a very caring mum who despite her meagre means was always ready to put everything on hold to make me feel comfortable and provide a roof over my head in difficult periods, shared her bed with me when i had none, and always looked out for me even though we disagreed on almost everything, especially Religion. Even though I was a moody daughter who never seemed to open up to her like her other daughters, she was still there for me.

From my mum, I learnt early never to depend on a man or anyone, for my wants or needs. She was a fiercely independent woman who singlehandedly provided for her children and grandchildren without ever asking much back in return.

It’s almost four months since you were untimely and unfortunately taken away from your children by the sudden cold hand of death. I miss you everyday my precious mum. and I wish i had been more affectionate towards you, let you know in ways that left no doubt in your mind that I love and appreciate you.

On this Mother’s Day, I celebrate you dear mother, and all the good and bad times we had together. You are at peace now Mum as you no longer need to toil in this cruel world. However, the love you showered on your children and grandchildren and your generosity of heart continue to live on in the hearts of these who knew you. I am glad to have been your daughter and I will always love you.

Thank you mummy for your unconditional love. Your children appreciate all you did for us, SuperMum.

R.I.P my precious mother, you will always have a home in my heart.

 

 

Happy Birthday To This Wonder Woman

 

I am very grateful to be hale and hearty on this occasion of my 42nd Birthday. The past has been glorious with some pains along the way. I am learning to embrace my present with gratitude and optimism, and I can say I am all geared up to make the future the best of them all.

I appreciate that life is full of surprises, some good, some not so good, and we cannot plan for all exigencies. I embrace life surprises with an open mind and a sense of adventure. I am just grateful to be alive to feel and experience all that life throws my way (and it has been throwing some lemons my way for some time now, there is only so much lemonade one can make with life’s lemons before screaming enough with the cliche).

This year, my birthday resolution is to leave in the past everything that does not grow me. Life is too precious to waste on those who do not deserve to be in my life. I am choosing to surround myself with people who look more like my future than my past.

It is time for me to learn the art of letting go, both in my professional and personal life. There is no point wishing to relive the past when there are still so many adventures to be had, memories to be made, places to explore, and many more ways to live and survive beyond the conventional or familiar.

I must learn to say out loud without shame that I am tired, fed up and done with a system and people that take so much from me and give so little back. It is OK to move away from it all without guilt or a sense of failure.

It is time for me to embrace the unfamiliar and let go of the familiar, its comforts and promises which no longer fulfil or nourish me.

Happy Birthday to me as I step up once again to be the Wonder Woman that I know I am.

Below are some pictures I took on my special day, and a video of my annual Birthday dance. Enjoy! 

Life isn’t always black and white, but on those occasions that it is, everything becomes much clearer and simply beautiful.

Just chilling;after all it’s my 42nd year on planet earth today. Happy with my past, contented with my present and embracing my future with gratitude. Don’t forget baby, leave everything that does not grow you in the past.

Below is a video of my annual birthday dance, which has become a sort of ritual now. Every birthday, I dance to a song of my choice and share with friends. This year, I chose to dance to another old school favourite of mine- ‘Baby boy’ by Beyonce featuring Sean Paul. Enjoy the video.

Brilliant BeatBoxer Beatboxing at London Pride, 2017!

This beatboxer got my hitherto dead ovaries coming alive and jumping for joy when I stumbled on his street performance at London Pride, 2017. He sure set the crowd on fire and he was a sheer pleasure to watch. Guy got moves, I sure loved his swag and accent.

After a bit of stalki… oops, sorry, digging for info, I finally learned he goes by the stage name MPFree.

Needless to say, I am now a fan of beatboxing. I’ve even started practising some beats at home. I should find out where he regularly gigs as it would be nice to take a few more notes from the expert. #LoveHappensHere.

Enjoy the video.

Serena Williams Nude Pregnancy Pictures and the Predictable Reactions.

Serena Williams pregnancy picture on the cover of Vanity Fair is the embodiment of beauty, strength and womanhood. The pics are breathtaking, the story of her courtship with her fiance was well written and quite moving. She is indeed WonderWoman.

I have always loved pregnancy pictures. I find them fascinating. Growing up in Nigeria, I was fascinated with wooden sculptures of pregnant women. They looked so earthy, majestic and divine. I wish I took some pregnancy pictures when I was pregnant with my son, 22 years ago. If mobile phones were a thing then, I sure would have taken pregnancy selfies.

I don’t have any plan to carry another pregnancy or nurse a screaming tot, however if I ever find myself pregnant again, I would document every single day of that pregnancy with a selfie. And yeah, I’d be sharing them on social media. People who are disgusted by naked pregnant women pictures will just have to scroll past my contents or choke on their own hate.

I stumbled on this comment left by my very good friend and fellow Nigerian on Serena’s post, and I must say, I totally understand how she feels.

Some people read the beautiful love story, saw the pregnancy pictures, and all they took away from the story was to feel offended by her beautiful pregnancy pics. When I read that some people used the word “disgusting” to describe Serena Williams’ nude pregnancy pics, I knew instinctively that some of them would be my country people, Nigerians, and yeah, I was right! Hear them-

What is disgusting about a woman’s nude body? This is a country where a woman wearing a bikini to its many beaches is still frowned upon. The people just aren’t comfortable with a woman showing as much skin as possible in a public space. Never mind that it is one of the most corrupt countries, a haven for rapists, and one of the highest consumer of porn, especially gay porn, funny as the legislators recently voted 14 years imprisonment against same sex relationships, and ten years jail term for anyone who advocates for LGBT rights. Hypocrites.

Haters are everywhere on the globe, here are some of them hating on Serena’s pregnancy pics-

The human’s body is a beautiful thing, especially a woman’s body. It is even more so when it is nurturing a human being inside it. I don’t get how that is not fascinating. Yes, some think it should be for the private eyes of the closest families and friends, but it is still the woman’s prerogative to share this wonder with the world if they so wish. You are not being forced to fix your disapproving gaze on these majestic pictures, you don’t have to comment on it to register your disgust, or displeasure at a woman sharing her pregnancy pics.

We get it that you are offended by another woman’s body, but really, it is her body, her choice and good for her if she made lots of money too by sharing those majestic pics. I know I would share mine just for the sheer pleasure of it, but if someone offered me good old cash to do it, I’d say let’s do it!

I am glad that so many people also left positive comments, applauded and thanked Serena Williams for sharing these amazing pregnancy pictures with us. Hear them-

Pregnancy selfies are great, if they are your cup of tea, please go for it with all gusto, don’t let these easily offended by the sight of a woman’s natural body discourage you. If it is not your cup of tea, good, enjoy your pregnancy, however do not go around dissing those who share their pregnancy selfies.

Serena Williams looked majestic in those pics taken by famous photographer, Annie Leibovitz. I am really glad she chose to share such beautiful, intimate pics of her pregnant self with her legion of fans. Here is wishing her safe delivery when the time comes for her baby to make a grand entrance into the world.

 

 

 

The First Time I Realised I was Black

I didn’t know I was black until I relocated to the UK in 2009 at the ripe old age of 34, before then, I thought I was just a human being.

Settling down in the UK, I quickly realised my skin colour mattered. It matters a lot.

I relocated to the UK in 2009 to study for my Post graduate degree in Law, specialising in Gender, Sexuality and Human rights.  Even though I had contemplated my gender, sexuality, globalisation and the catastrophic effects of unbridled capitalism, I had not given my skin colour much thought.

From the overt racism, which I encountered from the University Surgery GP, the subtle racism of some of my white lecturers (who ironically taught equality classes), the white co-workers who turned their noses up at my African accent, to the ‘behind the back’ racist stab by the white, female principal officer in my workplace, which cost me a much needed, very good job offer, I quickly realised that my skin colour mattered. [Read more…]