Hear Me Ota Benga by Gracie Berry (Circa 1883-March 20, 1916)

Image“After learning of Ota Benga’s fate as an enslaved African captured post slavery, brought to the USA solely for the pleasure of whit spectators. He emerged as an exhibit at the Bronx Zoo in 1906. As if surviving the massacre of his wife, children, and entire village wasn’t enough trauma. I cried. I experienced anger, grief, and loss for a person I had never known. I thought to honor him. I thought to honor his story. His name origin is unclear. Some research say wealth, some say friend. Ota Benga a wealthy friend. I searched for hours. Read different accounts of Euro-centric rhetoric. Accounts that painted images of Ota as a soulless primate, with no inhibitions, no right to exist as a  man. I stumbled on one account that was tolerable from a man named Jerry Bergman.”  -Gracie Berry
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Biologist and blogger PZ Myers called him “a fairly typical creationist: a loon, and dishonest”, accusing him of totally misrepresenting Charles Darwin. When in fact Bergman accurately criticized Charles Darwins outdated views on the evolution of African human beings. Bergman revealed the racism of evolutionary theory and the extent that the theory gripped the hearts and minds of scientists and journalists in the late 1800s. The article objectively looks back at the horrors that evolutionary theory like Darwins brought to society. Bergman rectified Ota’s dignity and respect. He shared meaningful accounts of how he lived as a human being while bound in racist America. One story in particular touched my heart-after he moved to Lewisburg VA black families entrusted their young to him. They felt their boys were secure with him. He taught them to hunt, fish, gather wild honey. The children felt safe when they were in the woods with him. If anything, they found him overprotective, except in regard to gathering wild honey – there was no such thing as too much protection when it came to raiding hives. A bee sting can feel catastrophic to a child, but Ota couldn’t help himself, he thought bee stings were hilarious. Ota Benga committed suicide this day March 20, 1916 after shooting himself in the heart. “Ota … removed the caps from his teeth. When his small companions asked him to lead them into the woods again, he turned them away. Once they were safely out of sight, he shot himself in the heart.”

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Below is my rant of honoring: An Ode to Ota Benga by Gracie Berry

“Ota Benga African. Ota Benga flesh-brown. Ota Benga friend. Ota Benga hunter. Ota Benga husband. Ota Benga father. Ota Benga Ayurvedic. Ota Benga son. Ota Benga deep in mind. Ota Benga superior-hunter. Ota Benga clever. Ota Benga playful. Ota Benga smiled. Ota Benga talented. Ota Benga expert at mimicry. Ota Benga physically agile. Ota Benga wise. Ota Benga stood short. Ota Benga bigger than his body. Ota Benga quick. Ota Benga nimble. Ota Benga magician. Ota Benga ancestor. Ota Benga Mbuti pygmy. Ota Benga Congolese. Ota Benga tribesman. Ota Benga expressive. Ota Intellegent. Ota Benga curious. Ota Benga brave. Ota Benga revolutionary. Ota Benga loving. Ota Benga boundless. Ota Benga entrusted to care for black children. Ota Benga teacher. Ota Benga taught them to hunt, fish, gather wild honey. Ota Benga safe-keeper. Ota Benga overprotective of maple brown children. Ota Benga dignified. Ota Benga gatherer of wild honey. Ota leader. Ota Benga protector. Ota Benga laughed at bee stings.

https://girlrillavintage.me/2014/03/21/hear-me-ota-benga-sleepy/

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Ota Benga disillusioned. Ota Benga tricked. Ota Benga beautiful. Ota Benga courageous. Ota Benga laughed. Ota Benga cried. Ota Benga sad. Ota Benga hurt. Ota Benga enslaved. Ota Benga sold for salt and cloth. Ota Benga ostracized. Ota Benga exploited. Ota Benga depleted. Ota Benga tortured. Ota Benga stripped. Ota Benga prodded. Ota Benga caged. Otta Benga despondent. Ota Benga homesick. Ota Benga emptied, depressed, despaired. Ota Benga sad. Ota Benga left binds that bonded him to savage people. Ota Benga broken. Ota Benga resourceful. Ota Benga powerful. Ota Benga saved himself. Ota Benga bullet to chest. Ota Benga left his body heart first. Ota Benga fly away. Ota Benga breathless. Ota Benga transitioned. Ota Benga spirit. Ota Benga relieved. Ota Benga brings no trouble. Ota Benga strengthens black life on earth. Ota Benga life force. Ota Benga never truly dead until there is no one left among the living to remember him. Ota Benga home. Ota Benga   peace. Ota Benga comfort. Ota Bengo love. Ota Benga rest in power.”

Click link below to read an informative and dignified account of Ota Benga by Jerry Bergman, American creationist and biologist: https://www.creationresearch.org/crsq/articles/30/otabenga.html

When You Tamper With Your Pigment Your Mind Is Sick With ‘Ignant’: The Ultimate Dishonoring of Ancestry

According to the 2005 Ghana Health service report, approximately 30% of Ghanaian women and 5% of Ghanaian men were actively bleaching. This statistic has shot-up, and currently 50%- 60% of adult Ghanaian women are currently or have at one time or the other actively used bleaching agents.

The incidence of skin bleaching – the intentional alteration of one’s natural skin color to one relatively, if not substantially, lighter in color, through the use of chemical skin lightening agents, either manufactured, homemade, or any combination of the two – has been well documented in Africa. In some parts of the continent, bleaching is nothing less than a way of life. An estimated:

  • Seventy five percent of traders in Lagos, Nigeria (2002)
  • 52% of the population in Dakar, Senegal, 35% in Pretoria, South Africa (2004)
  • 50% of the female population in Bamako, Mali (2000)
  • 8 out of 10 seemingly light-skinned women in Cote d’Ivoire (1998)
  • 60% of Zambian women ages 30 – 39 (2005)
  • 50 -60% of adult Ghanaian women

The World Health Organization defines bleaching as the intentional alteration of one’s natural skin colour to one relatively if not substantially, lighter in colour, through the use of chemical skin lighting agents, either manufactured, homemade, or the combination of the two.

There has been proliferation of wide array of bleaching products or creams on our Ghanaian market bearing names such as skin toners, carrot light, skin light, lightening shampoo and other steroid soaps with enticing advertisement featuring celebrities with the aim of attracting gullible Ghanaian women. Many Ghanaians patronize these creams oblivious of their harmful effects.

The greatest victim of skin bleaching was the late Pop star, Michael Jackson who met his premature and untimely death. Reports indicated that the Pop star had the upper layer of his skin peeled off, destroying his skin ability to produce menalin that protects the skin against ultra-violent rays and exposes the skin to blood cancer such as leukemia and cancer of the liver and kidney.

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Ghanaian boxer Percy Oblitei Commey also suffered the same fate when he lost his national super-featherweight belt to his challenger Smith Odoom in 2001. International report indicated the boxer suffered several punches on his face, opening deep cut on his right cheek, and his nostril bleeding with blood because his skin was too light due to excessive bleaching.

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Wema Sepetu is a Tanzanian beauty contestant who won the Miss Tanzania contest in 2006

It is not uncommon to see many Ghanaian women including some men who have lost their natural skin colour and have exposed their bodies to deformities such as burnt skin, wrinkles, skin blemishes, damaged skin and red spots on skin which is normally referred in our local parlance as ‘Nanso Obaa yi’.

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Nigerian and Cameroonian pop star Denicia of Whitenicious

The devastating effect of skin bleaching leaves a lot to be desired and ought to be abhorred rather than encouraged in our Ghanaian society.

http://www.modernghana.com/news/488197/1/skin-bleaching-the-silent-killer.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2554043/Whitenicious-abomination-African-pop-star-accused-selling-skin-bleach-controversial-pigment-altering-cream.html

BECOMING HUMAN: Words and images to end rape culture

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BECOMING HUMAN: Words and images to end rape culture

LAUNCH WEEKEND! 1st Friday Opening of all designs & writing submitted, World Premiere Performance of spoken word and monologues, Launch Party and related films:
FRIDAY 5-9: OPENING RECEPTION of all writing and design submission
BECOMING HUMAN performances:
SATURDAY: 2pm & 7pm (followed by launch party)
SUNDAY: 2pm, followed by panel discussion
FILMS: Titles and times TBA SOON!
TICKETS:
Performance: $15
Launch Party (live music, dj, food, spirits): $20
Performance & Launch Party: $25
BUY TICKETS AT: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/599851
more info:
http://www.zoetropolis.com

STOP BULLYING FEMININITY: MASCULINITY IS NOT GOING EXTINCT -Gracie Berry

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STOP BULLYING FEMININITY: MASCULINITY IS NOT GOING EXTINCT -Gracie Berry

Respectfully replacing the word whiteness with masculinity in a portion of Noel Ignatiev’s talk, “The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness” (it works well): Masculinity has nothing to do with culture and everything to do with social position. It is nothing but a reflection of privilege, and exists for no reason other than to defend it. Without the privileges attached to it, masculinity would not exist, and the masculine complex would have no more social significance than big feet. Masculinity is not a prerequisite to being African or male. I spoke with a black elder tonight. He expressed similar views against what he called pretty men, men spending more time in mirrors than women, men who were weak, men who were not real men. I kept pressing him to truly get to the root of what he felt. Finally he said, “What do they want us ‘real men’ to do-just go somewhere and die? These young boys today are pretty with no drive, no backbone. They don’t stand for nothing. Our generation is the last of the ‘real men’. We are becoming extinct and its scary.” Effeminate, in my opinion is the fear of being powerless. Fear of your power being extinct, killed off, forgotten at the expense of femininity. It’s looking at how we value or devalue feminine. Feminine is not weak.

I believe that masculinity does not lose itself to femininity, it only gains. Feminine does not equal homo, weak, pussy, docile. If people only understood that, accepted that. Just because these men are judged and frowned upon doesn’t mean they should be bullied into expressing differently. Ancient African culture never began as a power driven masculine culture. Europeans brought that. I realize that those men don’t need to wear heals or dresses to understand her thoughts, but what if by chance they want to? What if they desire to relate to a woman intimately, personally, purposely without fear? Women need to hold that space for men without judgment. I’ve known for quite sometime that we cannot live by the STANDARDS  of others. They are void to our ability to survive our relationships when learning how to relate and freely express our love.

And remember male and female slaves were raped (violently taken over). Those despicable acts were acts of violence at the hands of white privileged men at the expense of vulnerable people. We must never forget how those same masculine men-after being raped, cried on feminine shoulders, nursed back to health from bloodied, battered remnants of battle scars, pleading for his manhood in pain and shame. Black men I’ve talked to about emasculation seemed more afraid of being outcast, viewed as connecting too closely to feminine, or being labeled as gay; rather than holding space, acceptance, liberating their experience in sex, and love, and mind, and spirit, and body, self-expression, making contributions to the healing of a nation. STOP BULLYING FEMININITY! MASCULINITY IS NOT GOING EXTINCT!