Other Places to Follow


Other Places to Follow


Friday, November 27, 2009

Cultural Heritage Preservation: A Cure for NBI Shame

I am a firm believer that the shame (and that's a nice way of putting it) of our natural selves stems from not knowing about our rich cultural heritage as black people. Like any people, our cultural heritage involves periods of greatness and sorrow. Hands that once built great civilizations were bound by shackles. Bodies that once danced ceremoniously, adorned in cowrie shells, gold, and beads were broken under the lancing sun. Tongues that spoke of a people's history, and passed down tradition that spanned milleniums, were silenced by foreign words.

Who where we?

During slavery:
What were we becoming?

What are we now?


That's what we are.

Our cultural legacy did NOT begin with slavery, nor did it END in slavery. Chattel slavery was a chapter in ourstory that must be told. However, there are other chapters that predate slavery and other chapters that have yet to be written.

Ourstory is an ancient and ongoing one. We must stop recycling the same chapters or tossing new chapters in the slush pile because we don't want to talk about them. We must remember the good, the bad, and downright nasty.

So if our story is all of that, how do we tell it?

Your way. Toni Morrison uses powerful words to tell it. Erykah Badu uses her hypnotic voice to tell it. India Arie uses her guitar to tell it. Alek Wek uses her runway walk to tell it. Food Network Star Gina Neeley (with her husband) uses cooking to tell it.

It does not matter how you tell ourstory as long as IT IS TOLD! If it is not told, we will stop remembering; humankind as a whole will forget. Our natural body image (NBI) is a manifestation of ourstory. If you know who you are, it shows.