The Adinkra are visual symbols, originally created by the Ashanti of Ghana and the Gyaman of Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa, that represent concepts or aphorisms. Adinkra are used extensively in fabrics, pottery, logos and advertising. They are incorporated into walls and other architectural features.
The symbols have a decorative function but also represent objects that encapsulate evocative messages that convey traditional wisdom, aspects of life or the environment. There are many different symbols with distinct meanings, often linked with proverbs. They were one of the means for the transmission of a complex and nuanced body of practice and belief.
> Adinkra symbols
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I think the most painful realisation comes when you find that you cannot speak your mother tongue as well as you do the language of the land where you grew up. My English is evidence of this. When something as simple as a colour, or the name of an animal in your mother tongue leaves you dumb. Yesterday I could not find the word for ‘turtle’ in Somali, only after my mother reminded me, did I recall knowing it.
We betray our mother tongues, for the languages of nations who will never fully accept us. We let the strangeness infest our mouths until we forget how to accommodate our original tongues.
"melanin is memory.
is the blue weight of the ocean. sewn into the red dusk of sky. living in the soil of your body.
it is alive.
leaping and sweeping you. against. into the sun.
your skin was the first astronaut. the first in space.
you touch. and talk. are intimate with the sun. everyday. and do not perish.
is the world. before this world.
before the word. slave.
during the word. slave.
after the word. slave.
it is the books. written into yourself.
wild math in the pads of your feet.
soft science in your hair.
language down your back. invention in your mouth.
melanin is why you are still alive after. the torching.
it is a second lung. the next heart. and the next heart. and the next.
a never ending. regenerative. breathing thing.
a ceremony of life. while you are asleep.
a cosmos. in conversation.
melanin is a wisdom that knew.
hate would be the anti-light come to devour. defile.
a wisdom that did not flinch.
a wisdom that is not bothered by such things.
melanin is memory.
nayyirah waheed (via @nayyirahwaheed)
photo by: me
I’m still feeling the fire about the way history can take these sacred moments of struggle and sell them back to us by the pound. I feel the fire about the way my heroes Malcom X and Paul Robeson have become postage stamps. I feel the fire that Dr. King is a commemorative cup at McDonald’s. I’m angry that all our political teeth have been subjected to a pop culture root canal.
And they don’t even think about it. Don’t talk too loud, don’t make too many requests, don’t complain too forcefully about shitty service, put up with weird ass slightly racial compliments. And sometimes we joke about it like “lol! Better not do (normal human thing) cuz then people might think we’re uncivilized niggers” but it’s a painful constricting way to live. And not a type of way of living that non-Black people will understand
Christopher Hart/ Lulu Simmons