art-drawing-songsofpraise1drawingBritannica Article


200px-praisesongforthewidowGoogle Book


Pretty funny, but certainly informative!

Linda, a 2006 Transformation Awardee, is a storyteller who uses the medium to inspire people to respond to inequity in the world and to share a vision for hope, freedom, healing, and justice. Linda’s stories are in the tradition of her African and African American ancestors, and tell of how people make choices and face power. Her repertoire is vast, with stories ranging from those passed down to her by family members, oral histories, folktales from the African American oral tradition, and original pieces. She is an agent for social change; her storytelling legitimizes and validates everyday stories, naming peoples’ experiences. Her art is built upon the transformative power of storytelling, empowering all people to acknowledge, know, and express their own stories, which she sees as a radical act in these repressive times. They also teach long-term African American community survival strategies, by telling stories that have helped generation of Black people endure and continue to struggle. After an experience in 1982 when she was one of two Black storytellers at a national storytellers gathering, Linda organized with other storytellers to create their own festival, In the Tradition: National Black Storytelling Festival, which, in 1984, gave birth to the National Association of Black Storytellers, established as a space to bring out stories from the community. That same year, Linda was named the Official Storyteller of Philadelphia by the Mayor. She has worked for over 30 years in the Philadelphia community, from circles for mothers to share stories of murdered children to circles for breast cancer survivors to documenting community stories in North Philadelphia with the Village of Art and Humanities “Bearing Witness: Invoking Spirit, Embracing Memory” Project.

Good Tar Baby Analysis

February 25, 2009

3392885Read Here…


Influence of African American Folklore on Hip-Hop Article 

Classic Examples of the Oral Tradition in Hip-hop

“Dead Presidents” Jay-Z

“Keep Ya Head Up” Tupac

“Roses” Outcast


Since we were talking about African-American vernacular, here’s some of the common Trinidadian terms and phrases I’m used to: 


  Never see come see – someone who is unaccustomed to certain things.”I dey” – I’m fine   

Same khaki pants – things never change

“He/she doh eat nice” – to say a person is arrogant or formidable

To take basket – to be manipulated into doing something

Basket doh hold water – all threats are idle

Take chain up – to be manipulated into doing something

“You can’t play sailor and ‘fraid powder” – you must face the consequences of your actions.

To get horrors – to become upset over something

Band your belly – to prepare for hard times

Playing dead to catch Corbeau alive – to act stealthily to achieve something

Fire de wuk – to quit a job

Moon does run until daylight catch up with him – people who do wrong will eventually meet justice

Cockroach have no right in fowl party – people should stay where they belong

To ‘throw ‘way’ child – to have an abortion

Stone fall in your garden – to be guilty about something

Monkey know what tree to climb – people who are up to no good know who to interfere with

Gopaul luck eh Seepaul luck – not everyone has the same luck or chances

Money ‘a pocket, back no ground – only when you get rewards must you have sex

“He/she ain’t right here” – to say a person is crazy

Forming the ass – to play the fool

All skin teeth eh laugh – do not be deceived by friendly appearances

Behind back is ‘Dog’, before face is “Mr Dog” – people will say bad things when your back is turned

Monkey say “cool breeze” – to act unaffected by something

Bam ba yuh go see am – wait and see

Corbeau can’t eat sponge cake – people with no class cannot appreciate certain things

“He/She does touch” – to say someone is a thief

“I Payap!”  – an exclamation of wonder or disbelief

to have “goat mouth” – when everything a person says comes true, especially bad things

Yuh fadder is ah glassmaker? – to tell someone they are blocking your view

Loll off – to relax when there is work to be done

Lick dong – to knock someone down


Trinidadian Folkloric Characters explained…




Charles Chestnutt

February 3, 2009


Good Bio  


The man himself. Uncle Julius.


February 1, 2009


180px-gustavedore1Info via Wikipedia


Several black American feminists have written about Hagar as though her story was comparable to that of slaves in American history. Wilma Bailey in an article entitled “Hagar: A Model for an Anabaptist Feminist”, refers to her as a “maidservant” and “slave”. She sees Hagar as a model of “power, skills, strength and drive.” In the article “A Mistress, A Maid, and No Mercy”, Renita Weems argues that the relationship between Sarah and Hagar exhibits “ethnic prejudice exacerbated by economic and social exploitation.”[16] According to Susanne Scholz,

Enslaved, raped [sic], but seen by God, Hagar has been a cherished biblical character in African-American communities. Womanist theologian Delores S. Williams explains:

The African-American community has taken Hagar’s story unto itself. Hagar has ‘spoken’ to generation after generation of black women because her story has been validated as true by suffering black people. She and Ishmael together, as family, model many black American families in which a lone woman/mother struggles to hold the family together in spite of the poverty to which ruling class economics consign it. Hagar, like many black women, goes into the wide world to make a living for herself and her child, with only God by her side.

The story of Hagar demonstrates that survival is possible even under harshest conditions

Hagar in Christian tradition

Christian commentary on Hagar begins with Paul the Apostle‘s Epistle to the Galatians, which asserts that the story of Hagar is a complex allegory:

For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. (Galatians 4:22-31)

Paul has been interpreted to be saying that Mount Sinai was also called “Agar”, and that it was named after Hagar.[12] He links the laws of the Torah, given on Mount Sinai, to the bondage of the Israelite people, implying that it was signified by Hagar’s condition as a bondswoman, while the “free” heavenly Jerusalem is signified by Sarah and her child.

Saint Augustine developed this view, by saying that Hagar symbolised the earthly “city”, or sinful condition of humanity: “In the earthly city (symbolised by Hagar)…we find two things, its own obvious presence and the symbolic presence of the heavenly city. New citizens are begotten to the earthly city by nature vitiated by sin but to the heavenly city by grace freeing nature from sin.” (City of God 15:2)[2] This view was developed by medieval theologians such as Thomas Aquinas and John Wycliffe. The latter compared the children of Sarah to the redeemed, and those of Hagar to the unredeemed, who are “carnal by nature and mere exiles”.[2]

Paul’s view was also used to link Hagar to Judaism, on the basis that the bondswoman Hagar represented bondage to the “old law”, which the Christian dispensation had supplanted. In this respect Jews were seen – spiritually speaking – as descendants of Hagar, not Sarah.[13] The equation of Jews with descendents of Hagar was also used to justify the subordination of Jews in medieval Christian kingdoms, and even their expulsion, on the model of the subjection and expulsion of Hagar.[13]


We’ve been talking a lot about how African-American culture differs from American culture lately. However, I’ve been feeling a little constricted in my objectives since I have never identified with African-American culture per say, really until I entered Spelman College. I will give my explanation a bit more formally in my WebCT post, but just to explain a little better here is what I identify with in American culture.

My mom and dad immigrated to America in 1968 and where did they land?

brooklynBrooklyn, of course! Just as Atlanta is often referred to as the “Black Mecca,” Brooklyn is hands down America’s “West Indian Mecca.” Despite the fact I was born and raised in New Jersey, Brooklyn still harbors most o my American situated family and has truly been my second hometown for most of my life. For me, Brooklyn represents the West Indian American’s narrative. This is THE SPOT immigrants from Jamaica, to Trinidad, to Guyana, to Belize and everywhere in between land upon entering the U.S. 

I found this interesting article on written by Janny Scott that attested to the spirit of West Indian women [reminds me of my mom as a single parent in Brooklyn in the 70’s]. It’s called ‘In Brooklyn Woman’s Path, A Story of Caribbean Striving.”  

Here’s a few passages from the article I found most striking and dead on! 

  • Women make up 57 percent of the city’s Caribbean population, an analysis of new data from the 2000 census shows. There is a much higher rate of female labor force participation among West Indians than in the city at large, and they are more likely to be working full time.
  • Though Caribbean New Yorkers have lower median earnings than African immigrants and African-Americans, they are less likely to be living in poverty, the data show. They are more likely to live in owner-occupied housing and in single-family homes. And the average value of the homes is relatively high.
  • The percentage of households headed by women is higher for West Indians than for Africans and is not far below that for African-Americans, but in those West Indian households there are more people working. Among those groups, West Indians have the highest percentage of families headed by women with two and three workers, and the lowest percentage with none.
  • Many New Yorkers, especially those who have spent time in a hospital or contemplated hiring a domestic worker, have probably sensed what the data illuminate in detail: In the successes of the city’s West Indian population and in the economic vitality of neighborhoods like Mrs. Reid’s, women play a pivotal role.
  • ”It gives us an insight into our society. It tells us about how a particular gender found ways to navigate the turbulent waters of New York City. Often people know these stories on a one-to-one basis or anecdotally, but they don’t understand it in toto.”
  • The society in which Mrs. Reid grew up was one in which women worked. Her grandmother, who raised her, was a cook who worked into her 80’s. ”Nothing comes easy, Patsy,” she would tell her granddaughter, using a pet name. ”You’ve got to work to get whatever you want.”
  • West Indian men are ”fairly patriarchal, quite frankly,” said Milton Vickerman, a sociologist at the University of Virginia who specializes in race and immigration. ”So you can see how that would lead to problems. Why would a woman, having been independent for a few years, want to go back to that?”

These passages introduce one aspect of how West Indian American culture differs from both African-American and American culture in regards to the matriarch vs patriarch roles.