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Ismael den Boer Ismael den Boer

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Iso den Boer grabs cups with toes and speaks Japanese? Read about this Melanin Wonder!

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Who is Iso?

My name is Ismaël den Boer, but most people call me Iso, I was born in Rotterdam on 24 June 1990 and this is my story..  *cue sentimental music.* 

 

I am my parents only child, my father was born in Suriname and came to Rotterdam when he was six years old, my mother was adopted into a Dutch family and was also raised in the city of Rotterdam.

Iso with his father

Iso with his father

After 20 years of living their lives they found each other and made the decision to create new life hence I was born.

My parents separated when I was 5 years old. This made me be alone a lot while my mother was out working.

“Do unto others as you would have them do to you”

This taught me to be independent at a young age. I used to climb the counter to reach the microwave to heat up my dinner. I put myself to bed and left for school while my mother would return from work in the morning.

Iso as a little baby and parents

Iso as a little baby and parents

Throughout  my younger years we kind of lived a nomad lifestyle. We were moving from place to place and living in different countries. This allowed me to meet  a lot of different people and have friends that I am still in contact with today.

Can you tell us a little bit more of how you grew up? 

I was a quiet introverted kid (a character trait from my dad) with a lot of humor (a character trait from my mom).

 

Adorable Iso with his mother

Adorable Iso with his mother

Even though my mother an I went through tough times. From having no place to sleep, to my dad suddenly passing away when he was 34. Even when my mom got sick and passed away at 43, our humor remained the same. It kept us going.  As a character in a famous Dutch kid show always used to say: “No matter what happens, always keep smiling’’ is something we lived by and I still do.

 

Iso and his editing skills

Iso and his editing skills to brighten up your day

 

What is your favorite quote and why?

“Do unto others as you would have them do to you” .  It was the Golden rule that my mother always used to repeat to me when I was little.

I used to find it super annoying, because she would say this every time I got caught doing something bad. As I got older I started understanding it more and actually started living by it.

I am sure I will annoy my own children with the same quote on day.

 

What is your favorite movie and why?

Lion King is my favorite movie (and musical), because It had a impact on me when I was young.

As weird as it sounds I always sympathized with Scar because he got bullied, rejected and was unwanted. Even though killing Mufasa was a d*ck move (and I always skipped it.), he might not be innately evil.  This was a big eye opener for me as a kid.

The African feel of the musical I enjoy because of the nostalgia. Seeing Simba going away and then  returning to his place of origin is something I can relate to.

 

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Lion King

 

You are known as the MEME master. Your memes are very artistic how do you come up with them?

I am a person that likes comedy and I love making people laugh. Creating funny images stems from that. I picture a funny situation and with the magic of Photoshop I can make these funny or interesting images.

 

 

 

Iso edit of @aflanis in Black Panther chiar

An Iso edit of @aflanis in Black Panther chair dropped in the Facebook group Afrovibes 18+

Stephanie and Janet the Founders of Melanin Wonder are in there. Can you spot them?

Stephanie and Janet the Founders of Melanin Wonder are in there. Can you spot them?

Have u ever been insecure about yourself?

I have been insecure in the past about physical traits like my big ears or my awful clothes. We did not have a lot of money so my mom got me clothes I could grow into..

I had jeans that where rolled op 6 fold, jackets win which the sleeves would have been rolled up 6 times and to top that of my mom gave me sandals. This made me look like a miniature Moses..   it sounds funny but during that time I would have rather wanted the sneakers with air that we all believed would give you the ability to jump higher like the rest of the kids.

 

iso den boer

iso den boer

Becoming the best version of myself

 

I have also have been insecure about life. I grew up religious, but growing up and feeling  that we were created just because by some higher power wanted to be worshipped was not a meaningful life in my eyes.

Also knowing that life came to be with essentially no real purpose was depressing to me and felt meaningless. I got over this ‘eventually’ by seeing the beauty in the complexity of life and the different people in it. I want to see everything there is to see. Experience all the things that this life offers me.  Life itself may not have a purpose. But we are still able to live a purposeful life.

Even though killing Mufasa was a d*ck move

 

Iso den Boer and his friend Gerson

Iso den Boer and his friend Gerson

 

Do you have other hobbies or crazy habits?

My hobbies are playing videogames on the ps4, fitness and MMA.
A crazy habit of mine is that I am curious. I can go on the internet to find information about a topic, what leads me to another topic and another.. and before I know it I’m learning Nordic languages at 4:00 AM in the morning and reading about the Annunaki..

 

What are some of the most important things in your life?

Becoming the best version of myself; meaning to keep on learning and experiencing new things and training this vessel that carries me around.

Every night before bed I ask myself “what did I do today to improve myself?” it can be just learning  one new word that day. Even that is an improvement.

Freedom is also something that I find important; freedom to explore the world, meet different people, experiencing different cultures and use that to grow.

In the long term I would like to pass on this wisdom (makes me sound like a 300 year old wizard), to my children and leave the world a little better then when I entered it.

 

What does Melanin mean to you? 

Melanin is what determines your skin- , hair and eye color.  It protects you from UV radiation from sun we all share. Because of this the word ‘melanin’ gives me a sense of solidarity with the rest of my fellow homo sapiens. Even though people have variable amounts of melanin it is something we all have in common. No matter where you are from, we all have melanin.

At the same time it does give a sense of ethnicity and can be linked to where your closest roots are.

I am a ‘mixed’ black male. So part of my roots are in Africa ( 48,3% Yoruba, 5,1% east Africa), Europe( 43,5%) and Asia( 8,1%). This gives me sense of identity  and pride to know and learn more  about the language, culture and society of people that are the closest to me on not just a genetic level, but also in appearance.

Ismael den Boer

Ismael den Boer

Do you think a Melanin Wonder Platform is necessary?

I believe it can have a positive impact. Throughout history we have been indoctrinated to think less of people with more melanin.

A big part of this is colonization, slavery, the notion that  races can be ranked from inferior to superior.

Even though much of this is in the ‘not-so-distant’  past, there are still lasting affects through later generations. You can see this in black people that bleach their skin to look lighter and studies that have shown that it even reaches children from a very young age to have a negative bias towards darker skin. We are still living in a society where dark things are devalued and white things are valued.

Seeing positive images of black people like in the recent movie Black Panther and platforms like Melanin Wonder  that celebrates the melanin shows that people can be proud of their color. Seeing people of color achieve things like becoming a model, a movie star, a doctor, the president of a country etc will show them that they can achieve what they want and that their color is beautiful even thought maybe their present environment may tell them otherwise.

 

We heard you speak fluent Japanese, how come?

まだペラペラじゃないよ笑

I started to learn Japanese because I was bored at school. After getting my marketing degree  I thought why not build upon that! so I started International business Asia with a focus on Japan. Fast-forward a few years and I’m studying business and Japanese in a private university (Sophia University) in Tokyo.

This was where I picked up and learned most of my Japanese.
Studying, working and living in Japan improved my Japanese. It even made me forget Dutch words.

Now that I am back I actually have the opposite. I tend to forget some Japanese.

Throughout history we have been indoctrinated to think less of people with more melanin.

What person do you look up to in this world?

I don’t really have a role model per se. But I pick specific talents or traits of people that I admire and aspire to have.  I do this because a role-model can make a wrong decision or fail. Separating the person from the traits that you admire make their bad lifestyle decisions less important.

A short list of people that have skills that I admire are:

Lious Farrakhan – Besides to trying to teach black people about economic independence. This man’s  ability to debate, stay calm in a hostile environments and still keep a  smile on his face is admirable.

 

Farrakhan

Farrakhan

Neil degrasse Tyson – I  am a big fan of science especially astronomy.  I find it fascinating and humbling to see how much is out there. Neil is a black astrophysicist who explains astronomy and the research behind it to the public.

His way of explaining complicated subjects into easily understandable language in an exciting way is something I admire too.

 

Neil degrasse Tyson

Neil degrasse Tyson

 

Elon Musk – This South African entrepreneur/inventor is the CEO of billion dollar companies like Tesla and SpaceX.  As mentioned before I love astronomy, so a company with the goal to colonization Mars and functions as a private space transport business is something that really sparks my interest.

To pursue such an out of the box ‘ ideas shows willingness to pursue your passion and a high risk tolerance. These are some traits I love about him.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

 

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I have a really strong grip with my toes and can use it to pick things up like a cup of tea.

ISO: 

“I sound super serious throughout this interview, but I promise I also have a funny side!  So check out my comedy channel

@WeIsoFunny on Instagram so I can prove it or just follow me normally on IG, Snapchat, Facebook and all that good stuff on

‘@Iso5314’ (end of shameless plug)”

 

Culture

Angel Rich the Melanin Wonder named to be “The next Steve Jobs” by Forbes!!

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Angel Rich “The Next Steve Jobs”

 

Angel Rich, from Washington, DC, has developed a very innovative app called Credit Stacker that teaches students about personal finance, credit management skills, and entrepreneurship in a fun and engaging way. The app is so popular that 200,000 people (and growing) downloaded it to their smartphones and tablets within just two weeks of its launch.

 

Melanin Wonder Angel was raised in Washington, DC, and graduated from Hampton University. She also studied at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China. Way to represent her Melanin self!

She briefly worked as a global market research analyst for Prudential, where she conducted over 70 financial behavior modification studies.

She says that during her time there, she helped the company generate more than $6 billion in revenue. She resigned, however in 2013, to start her own company, The Wealth Factory.

Remarkably, the app has been named the “best financial literacy product in the country” by the Office of Michelle Obama, the “best learning game in the country” by the Department of Education, and the “best solution in the world for reducing poverty” by JP Morgan Chase. It has won first place in several business competitions including the Industrial Bank Small Business Regional Competition and the Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition. Angel has won more than $50,000 in business grants with her efforts.

Her company’s Credit Stacker app is available in four languages and in 40 countries and is rapidly approaching 1 million downloads.

Although the app is free for users to download, the revenue model is to generate money on the back-end from advertisers in addition to existing contracts. She also has a partnership with the D.C. Dept of Insurance, Securities, and Banking.

In time, other major financial companies like NASDAQ, J.P. Morgan & Chase, Wells Fargo, and more will likely want to get on board as well

 

Download the Credit Stacker app from the iTunes App store here, visit:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/creditstacker/id1130346776

Download the Credit Stacker app from the Google Play app store now, visit:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.capital.creditstacker

Follow Melanin Wonder Angel Rich on Facebook and visit www.facebook.com/wealthylifers

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Culture

Culture vs Religion

Danitzah Jacobs

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Normally I don’t get into religious topics. I´ve experienced intelligent people with common sense, reach for infantile like arguments in the name of the Supreme being they serve aka God/Allah/Yehovah. Such arguments can end up very messy. But to be fair, as African/Black people these are conversations we need to have.

 

Disclaimer: I was baptized in the catholic church and later took the holy communion. Until my early twenties, I was a devoted catholic that prayed to white Jesus for salvation & forgiveness. All of that changed when I first visit the Elmina Castle in Ghana. Right above the dungeons,  where they kept my ancestors enslaved, they had a church to worship every Sunday. Also worth mentioning is that my children are Muslim. This blog is in no way meant to attack or offend anybody’s religion.  

Before the colonizers came we had all these riches. A sovereign Africa with social, economic political and spiritual systems in place. After the invasions we were evangelized but powerless. They told us our own African spirituality was evil and that our cultures were primitive and savage. All while doing the evilest things to us as a people. The irony of it all…

As Mahatma Gandhi said:

“Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.”

Another great wisdom comes from Marimba Ani:

`Your culture is your immune system’.

 

Decolonizing our minds

Without knowing who we are we can not free ourselves politically, mentally or spiritually. Any religion that demands you to denounce who you are can not be in the best interest of you or your people.

Black people are the most religious people I know, yet we find ourselves at the bottom of the social & economic ladder everywhere we are. We pray to messiahs or prophets in languages that are not our mother tongues. There must come a moment that we should look at our believes in a critical way.

The truth of the matter, Christianity and Islam has been enforced upon us and is such a huge part of our political and social systems. On the continent and in the diaspora,  it would be naive to expect this to change any time soon.

The good news is that as we continue decolonizing our minds,  we are also decolonizing our faith. We are replacing images of white Jesus with black ones. Africanizing Christianity to suit our cultural needs.

Last but not least, each day more of us are exploring and re-connecting with African spirituality.

At the end of the day, the way we connect to the higher source should bring about empowerment and justice. On a personal and collective level.

Lighting a candle in memory of my ancestors

I embrace African spirituality in my own unique way because it feeds my soul. As an example, every Monday I light a white candle and put a glass of water for my ancestors. I grew up seeing my great grandmother, grandmother, mother, and all my aunties doing this. This is part of my family culture. It reminds me that I am connected to a lineage of great women & men who came before me. They sacrificed for me to be here. It empowers me. It humbles me and helps me align with my purpose. As I walk on this earth making my own sacrifices I hope and pray that when I’m not around my children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren will light a candle next to a glass of water in my memory.  Because every step I’m taking is in gratitude of the ones that came before me and for the love of the ones who are coming after me.

 

Culture is like Vitamin D

I often compare culture with vitamin D. As black people we are people of the sun. So when we find ourselves in Europe we need to take vitamin D as a replacement for the lack of sun we get in this part of the world. That spiritual Vitamin D for me comes in the form of another family tradition, my spiritual baths on New Year’s Eve. I take some of what I saw my grandmother doing and add some of what my own ‘yeye’  (soul) whispers me to do. As I give these baths to my children while we pray or think positive thoughts my heart runneth over with love. The smells of the perfumes bring me back to my own childhood when my grandmom gave us these New Years spiritual baths. The instructions she gave us about incense. But also the importance of reading your bible. The only bible I own was given to me by my late grandmom. 

 

The Almighty source

The stories in the Bible or Quaran may or may not be all true. Again I’m not coming for anyone’s faith, I’m just saying I wasn’t there and there are all these different theories out there. What I know for sure is that I am here because there is a GOD almighty that love me so much that blessed me to be part of a lineage of amazing Power Queens & Kings. 

What I also know for sure is:

I was raised by my late great grandmother Gani. A woman who was a young widow and managed, as an entrepreneur to raise five daughters on her own.

I was raised by my late grandfather, Papai, that cooked the most delicious fish, bean salad and breakfasts ever and always had my back.

I was raised by my late grandmother Ethel, that made sure I inherited a rich syncretized spirituality called Santeria. This is the navigation system I use to find my own spiritual path.

I was raised by aunties and uncles that made sacrifices every day. They rose above the circumstances they were born in, to provide the next generations with more opportunities, more freedom. I am honoured to call them my ancestors.

My culture is how I honor my ancestors

Religion/Spirituality is how I connect to that almighty Source. My culture is how I honour my ancestors. My heritage as an African/Black woman that is part of an ethnic group aka African/Black/Melanin rich people that is the cradle of the creation of God called humanity.

The source of evil

Recently somebody asked me what I think is the source of evil. My response: Ignorance. Because only ignorance would allow human beings, with their limitations to think they have the monopoly on the path to God. Ignorance and cult-egoism would put conditions on a love our brains are not even capable to comprehend.

Religion is religion. Culture is culture. We need both.

Love yourself enough to have Agaciro. “Agaciro” is a Kinyarwanda word that means dignity. This is exactly what we need as we continue to decolonize our mind, body, and spirit.

For me personally…..Africa is my religion.

     Ashe

 

 

 

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Culture

Black is King Movie – A review

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Black is King


I have been binge watching The Resident for a couple of weeks. I have particularly been enthralled by the character of Dr. Mina Okafor played by Shaunette Renee Wilson.

THE RESIDENT: Shaunette Renée Wilson as Dr. Mina Okafor in Season Three of THE RESIDENT Fox Media LLC. Cr: Miranda Penn Turin/FOX

She is portrayed as an enigmatic , eccentric and radically brilliant surgeon who pivots between an extremely anti-social mien and a morally divided persona. However, her brilliance is unparalleled. She represents what the true Nigerian spirit is; brilliant, innovative, independent and blaise. This is a welcome departure from the stereotypes of fraud, avarice and corruption that trail us everywhere we go. I would have preferred an actor of Nigerian origin playing the role though but…I digress. It made me reflect deeply on the ‘Black is King’ movie.

“She represents what the true Nigerian spirit is; brilliant, innovative, independent and blaise”

 

Beyonce’s visual album

The visual album released by Beyonce Knowles is quite intriguing. It is bright, colorful and very entertaining. The costumes and choreography were well-placed and the video and musical quality was top-notch. I have been playing ‘water’ back to back for the past two weeks and I simply love the rhythm. There have been loads of questions raised though. The East Africans are having an axe to grind because they were not represented in any aspect of the video. Naysayers are also saying the rustic and homespun quality that typifies Africa was missing. Hogwash! Must Africa be portrayed as being servile and backward?

My take is, that it is a good start. It is just baffling that an African American who literally is living her best life out of Africa is the one carrying the torch for the continent to be seen for the treasure that it is. Our homegrown talent are all about acquiring fake American accents and passing themselves off as foreign while ignoring the very essence of the culture that stands them out. Even the music being turned out is at best rhythmic noise laced with sonorous beats. There is simply no substance nowadays.

Like the character of Mina Okafor, we need to stand and be counted. Let us project and exude confidence, panache and class. Never again should it be said that we are backward and not ready to be called first world.
I guess it’s the African-Americans, African-European and all other blacks of African origin that will make us wake up and project the continent in its proper light. Beyonce has started, let others follow suit.


About the writer
Oluwaseun Omomowo

Oluwaseun Omomowo

Oluwaseun Omomowo (@oluwaseunomomowo) is a writer and a Pan-Africanist who has spent the greater part of his life advocating for the socio-political advancement of the African continent . He has a degree in English language and literature , a masters degree in view in the field of Philosophy, Politics and Economics and will in the near future be awarded a PhD in the field of African Development and Public policy . He has worked in over 46 countries and has extensive experience in immigration policy and protocols .

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