Tuesday, December 20, 2016


A FB friend posted this question regarding “Looms:”

Peace, Baba Wekesa, Hope all is well! I wanted to ask your opinion on these online susus that are occurring rapidly?

My response:

They are not “Susus.”

Esusus, Tontines, Susu (various names) are based on community, relationships, and trust. These “Looms” are based on blind faith, not relationship-building faith. In esusus there is an agreed upon obligation and benefit. Everyone contributes a set amount per month, week, or other agreed upon interval. Each month the total pot is given to one member, then the pot rotates each week or month until everyone in the Esusu has received it. The Esusu is an agreement. The loom is a gamble.

In an Esusu, collective money is rotated - not multiplied. TRUST in each other is multiplied. In a loom, money is multiplied.” Maybe your personal trust “in “abundance” and “universal flow of the universe is multiplied. Still, where does the money multiplication come from? What seven people will lose their $100 for you to get $800? It doesn’t matter because we don’t know them, right? Hardly collective trust-building.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't risk it. I take risks. We all do. I am saying that it should not be called a “susu” or confused with one. The current presentation of looms as “gifting looms” or “Blessing looms” trade on our Afrikan spiritual value that if you help others - bless others - you will be blessed. I believe that's true, just not in a so predictable 8-fold way.

My mother – Maggie Wright – gave to the community and our people. Her giving still yields blessings for me and my sisters, even though she's passed to the other side. The blessings I’ve received are many more that 8-fold.

Can the “Blessing Loom," "Infinity Loom," "Susu Loom" – whatever the current name - work for you to turn your $100 into $800? Maybe, if you're getting in at the "right" time or in the "right" loom circle. Of course, you have no control and little influence over that - do you?

It's a gamble cloaked in the warm spiritual blanket of “karma” or community trust-building blanket of an esusu.

I come from a poker-playing family. If you want to risk it, hell, do it. Work it - win, lose or draw, and don't look back! I hope you win. I know some others who have. I also know some who have not.

My dad, Chisulu, said to me, "Son, scared money can't win." So, risk what you can - if you're so inclined.

Just please don't do it out of "love for Black people" or to pay some "spiritual debt," or trigger some "spiritual blessing." There are better ways to invoke that power - with or without cash money. You probably know many ways to do that already. There is need all around. Quiet as it's kept, there are blessings all around, too.

Esusu's biggest benefit that NO loom can bestow is the trust that grows in yourself and that grows between you and other Afrikan people who choose to support each other financially. Dr. Amos N. Wilson reminded us in Blueprint For Black Power that “money follows trust.”

Oppression induces us to distrust ourselves and each other. A properly run esusu counters this injected oppression by healing the distrust while imparting confidence and skill to use our ancient wealth- building strategy. On that expanded trust, we can build other economic, social and even military ventures.

That’s where I’m putting my $100.00

Some people have taken exception to my view. One directed me to read more these looms here: http://www.produce4yourself.com/blogs/news/the-gift-that-keeps-on-giving-the-real-behind-the-gifting-loom

Here's my response:

Q.J.L., I read this perspective. Thanks for sharing.

My take: it's still gambling wrapped in "Karma" and/or "the way and flow of nature, energy, spirit." If that is your way of tapping into your spiritual side, go for it.

Problem: while it may make me (or any participant) more "one with the universal, spiritual flow," it doesn't heal wounds born of oppression and instead fosters a kind of "individual spirituality" in the name of the natural and universal flow.

I prefer a spirituality that's shared with my chosen people - one that engenders trust in each other, not just trust in the universe, God, nature.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Wounds From Battles We Chose Not To Fight

My friend, Chike Akua, posted this video about skin bleaching in Jamaica.

Here's my response:
If we want to stop the bleaching we need to actively show our power by opposing the oppression. 

There's a reason AYA Educational Institute starts with "Warrior-Healer-Builder" instead of "Healer-Builder-Warrior." 

Power converts! 

Whoever shows power garners converts - be it religious, body type, temperament, or phenotype. When the Afro was a symbol of power and purpose, people wanted it. Blacker skin is not only perceived as "ugly," it's associated with powerlessness. 

This is just one more reason that being intelligent is not enough. Healing is not enough. Some healing will only come as we actively oppose oppression. It's not enough to build wealth. Wealth born of capitulation only lauds the power of the oppressor, and with that surrender intact, "Black is Beautiful" and "We were kings and Queens" will not stem the psychic and ancestral blood-letting that is represented by "bleaching." Only as we snatch our freedom from the tyrant's mouth - even if by the inches - will we stem the tide of surrender.

Let's allow the pain of this video to remind us to ask ourselves - "how and in what areas have I been trying to "bleach" the Afrika out? Then stop it, just as we wish they would stop it.

Let it remind us to actively oppose oppression - people, policies, and practices. Start where you are. Join others who are fighting.

You can choose your weapons. You can choose your comrades. Sometimes, you can choose your battles. You CAN NOT avoid the war. It is being visited upon us daily.

Bleaching only reveals the wounds of battles that we CHOSE NOT TO FIGHT.

Like Rev. Vernon Johns one said: "If you see a good fight, get in it."
I add: "If you don't see a good fight, start one."
I add: "Fighting is winning."

Worried that the healer and builder in you will get lost, or that you will become just like them?

On the contrary, the warrior will inform the builder who will know to build a house, a family, a business that will withstand the winds of oppression. The warrior will inform the healer so that the healing medicine and modalities will heal the psychic and cultural wounds born of this protracted battle to make us better warriors and builders.

Support AYA Educational Institute

AYA's Melanin Mastery Cohorts Forming

AYA Parents, I sent this out last Saturday. The response has been overwhelming. Here are some of the responses: Monica Utsey   I am ONE...