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MAY THE REAL AFRICAN PLEASE STAND UP?! – Danitzahs view

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Danitzah Jacobs

Here we go,  my first blog for Melanin Wonder. Let me do a quick introduction:

#blackwoman #entrepeneur #motherofthree #foodie #islandgyal #afrocarribean #afrolatina #twentyplusyearwoke #feminist #womanist #purporsedriven #africaismyreligion

Until my early twenties I would take being called African as an insult. I used to be the standard brainwashed Caribbean girl, who was proud of her ‘mixedness’  a.k.a. light-skinned girl. I really did not want to be associated with Africa or African people at all.

Now hold up Millenials! Before you start judging me. Please realise that I had this mindset way before natural hair became the norm. Even before the term  “woke” was a (cool) thing. Furthermore, the internet/social media was not what it is today.

Danitzah in Ghana Africa

 

As I joined various organisations with a black conscious agendas, everything I knew changed…..for the better. The change started with getting of the hair crack [hair relaxer]. I remember thinking: “Why  do I have the  need to tame my amazing, strong and wild curls?”.  Self development, growth and knowledge of self gradually helped me stop relaxing my natural hair.

The more I found out about Ancient Kemet, African empires and spirituality the more I got intrigued….. All these natural resources Africa possesses! I was mind blown. This is when I knew my image of Africa was a calculated distortion made by “others” to keep me from embracing my heritage, legacy and TRUE identity.

THE CHANGE

This realisation was life changing to me. All of a sudden I was not just a product of captured slaves. My herstory didn’t start in ‘boats’ being beaten, raped or tortured. I come from  a mighty continent. I am a the daughter of Mama Africa, therefor I am African.

“I am not African because I was born in Africa but because Africa was born in me.”

For the record: I don’t need anyone to acknowledge my “African-ness”. My ancestors being kidnapped from the mother continent and me being born in the Caribbean makes me an African in the diaspora does not diminish my identity. The same goes for all the Black/Melanin rich people who are still in denial of who they are……the denial of your “African-ness” doesn’t make you less African either. It just makes you a confused one.

Image taken by Emmanuel Bobbie [BOB PIXEL PHOTOGRAPHY]

The same thing goes for the Continental Africans who are born on the continent as well. I have seen discussions of Continentals accusing Diaspora Africans of cultural appropriation.

For instance the critical comments about Beyoncé for mimicking Orishas such as Oshun. They accused her of appropriating ancient African spirituality.  How can we appropriate something that is our birth right? It’s our heritage as well, isn’t it?

I want to state that I acknowledge the necessity to have this discussion. To raise these questions and have meaningful dialogues with each other about these topics is very necessary. Truth is we don’t know each other and end up approaching each other from a colonized perspective. So we need to decolonize how we view ourselves and each other.

That being said, let me go back to African spirituality. I grew up with my grandmother, she practised Santeria. Santería is also known as Regla de Ocha, Regla Lucumí, or Lucumí, it is known as an African diasporic religion that developed in Cuba between the 16th and 19th centuries.

It came through a process of syncretism between the traditional Yoruba religion of West Africa and the Roman Catholic form of Christianity. Deities as Oshun, Oya, Shango, Yemaya, Obatala, Ogun etc are very much a part of our culture. We are proud that despite the oppression and severe ramification our ancestors resisted, also on a spiritual level. 

Hallease

African in de Caribbean diaspora created under duress from the African Drums  the Caribbean Tambú. From Fufu came Funchi. Growing up I thought the tales of Anansi the Spider were Curaçao folklore, just to find out that these stores originated in West Africa and are told everywhere in the Afrikan Diaspora.

Danitzah with Braids rolled into Bantu Knots and African inspired attire

Continental & Diaspora Africa have always been connected. Kwame Nkrumah incorporated a black star on Ghana’s national flag, inspired by the Black Star Line. The Black Star Line (1919−1922)[1] was a shipping line incorporated by Marcus Garvey,  key part of Garvey’s contribution to the Back-to-Africa movement. Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican.

 

So who is the real African? As Kwame Nkrumah said: “I am not African because I was born in Africa but because Africa was born in me.”

A huge part of Africa that is born in us….. is our African certificate in a way it is all that MELANIN WONDER embodies. So who are The Real Africans? It’s the melanin that is connecting us all for me. What is your view?


About the writer

Danitzah Jacobs (@danitzahjacobs) is a mother of three beautiful children. Besides being a womanist and a feminist she is also an entrepreneur. Over the years she has accumulated loads of knowledge on various topics such as Afro Caribbean & Latin cultures, African spirituality & Money Confidence. She is currently developing a ready meals foodline for her company Danitzah’s Afro Caribbean Kitchen but is also ready to launch a new fashion concept from Ghana.

 

 

Danitzah Jacobs (@danitzahjacobs) is a mother of three beautiful children. Besides being a womanist and a feminist she is also an entrepreneur. Over the years she has accumulated loads of knowledge on various topics such as Afro Caribbean & Latin cultures, Afrikan spirituality & Money Confidence. She is currently developing a ready meals foodline for her company Danitzah's Afro Caribbean Kitchen but is also ready to launch a new fashion concept from Ghana.

Lifestyle

These Amsterdam Based Spaces are the Place to Be! LOLA BAE Collective

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The Events in Creative Culture returns

The Open day Organised by BAE in collaboration with quarter manager of Paasheuvelweg 8, Yves Saïdi (EFE) was a great succes. BAE manages buildings for temporary use. The building on the Paasheuvelweg 6 is managed by quarter makers Sharon Amritpersad and Alex Benton(the New Amsterdam). As creative and affordable spaces in Amsterdam, the creative events are back!

After a tumultuous time we are gradually getting back to ‘normal’. On the 4th of September LOLA BAE re-opened the space at the Paasheuvelweg 6 and 8 to show us that they have been working (in silence). The spaces found in these two buildings are suitable for everything and everyone from: social-cultural events, small business owners, office space, photo/video shoots and so much more. Anything you can imagine is possible at this location.

Photo by Jonny Clow

LOLA BAE vacancy management collective

The abbreviation LOLA stands for “Leegstand Oplossers Amsterdam”. LOLA focuses on vacancy management of several sites and locations in Amsterdam and Utrecht area. BAE manages work-spaces on a temporary basis. Mostly for starters, social-cultural organisations, artists, creatives and spirits who just have an idea and want to act on it. They now manage about 3 buildings and spaces that they loan out to starting businesses, artists and other creative talents. Way to go BAE! We love the concept, we had a sneak peak into the world of BAE on the smashing opening event at Paasheuvelweg 6 and 8, in Amsterdam South East.

 

Creative Crowd

For a secluded eventspace in a Bustling Amsterdam neighbourhood BAE is the place to be! Remember EFE VENUE? They were one of the organising parties of this re-opening event and they did a great job. The vibe was mellow and had a Atlanta Parking Lot block party energy to it.

People of all ages, races, different branches and divers scenes and cultures came together to christen the building and work out on the dancefloor! Did we mention Q’s Kitchen and the amazing BBQ grill from Millie’s BBQ that served us the most succulent and juicy ribs and chicken we’ve tasted so far! <3 

The day was packed with a marketplace (all market stands are users of the building), an urban fashionshow by the likes of Plain Amsterdam and BodiebyCinnArtists and open air performances. Artists such as Pearl Ramos and DJ Gwnjurr graced the outdoor stage. This season kickoff was a night to remember, loads of food, music, DJ’s and an open stage. This creative walhalla is the place to be for everyone and you are welcome to visit or rent your space at any given time. Everyone can feel welcome in this non-judgemental and free spirited space!

 

Keep an eye on BAE! Join their creative community to see who is behind this amazing concept of an rentable/borrowable open space for events and mostly local business owners. These spaces are the place to be in Amsterdam! 

 

WANT TO KNW ABOUT THE VIBE CHECK OUT LOLA BAE’S LAST OPENING
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Lifestyle

Roos Lizardo knows what to get for your MUM!

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Who is Roos Lizardo?

Let me introduce myself; my name is Roos, I am 31 and I reside in Amsterdam. I have created my own skin-oil as a way to boost a healthy skin. The skinbooster contains natural oils. 

Rglam is a Skinbooster

My sister has been my biggest motivator. She really helped me out and assisted me in the proces of creating the perfect skin care product for all skintypes. My sister actually suffers from eczema and she uses different products to keep her skin healthy.

Use the skinbooster before you put on your make up and be surprised by how good your make-up stays on the whole day!”

A little Cutivate creme mixed with Vaseline and two drops of my Skinbooster did wonders for her skin. She repeats this skincare routine on a daily. At night you would only need a few drops as well. After testing this, it resulted into healthy, smooth and glowing skin! We were excited, this formula could also help out others!

 

The Major Benefits of the Skinbooster are:

Antioxidant Rich

Anti oxidants make sure that your skin stays supple and hydrated. Also does it protect your skin from harmful sun rays.

Skinbooster Rglam calms your skin
Most plant based oils have a soothing and calming effect. Also do these oils have loads of benefits including an inconsistent and inflamated skin.

 

 

Free of Bacteria
Bacteria and funghi do like to live in plant based oils. This is why Skinbooster does not contain artificial elements. It’s a win win if you ask Roos with her new wonder product Rglam Skinbooster.

Our products have nuts and nut elements in them. It is recommended to test out a little but on the skin of your hand to make sure it does not give you any rash. The skinbooster is not suited for people with a nut allergy.  

I have been working on this formula for about 7 months, this natural oil combination has been tested by all my friends. They helped me out by trying it on their own skin as well. The verdict was: ‘The Glow is Real!’

Dry acne? We have the solution. The oil hydrates the skin and makes sure your skin does not become too oily. Oily skin produces more pimples and overall acne. This oil is loaded with natural ingredients and gives everyone that uses this a natual glow. My product is 100% Vegan and also good for sensitive skin.

Tip: Use the skinbooster before you put on your make up and be surprised by how good your make-up stays on the whole day!”

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Entrepreneurship

Aaron West, extremely passionate about inspiring change in others

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Can you introduce yourself?

So, my full name is Aaron West, I am 31, Black and proud and I was born and mostly raised in Shreveport, Louisiana by my mom and grandparents. My mom moved my twin brother, little sister and I from Shreveport to Houston when I was 15 after she graduated from college and I’ve been here ever since. I would say I had a pseudo-rural upbringing in Shreveport because it was a slower city compared to Houston.

I say this not to imply we lived on a farm and milked cows but basically Shreveport as a city was far behind what Houston was in terms of modern black culture like fashion, music etc. Upon arriving to Houston I really started to think I was living on BET because everything and everyone was so cool and fashion forward lol. My brother, sister and I played most sports growing up to stay busy and I think that is probably where I grew to love Fitness.

What are you passionate about?

I am extremely, extremely, extremely, passionate about inspiring change in others. I would say I simply love to see people change their bodies or achieve their fitness goals, because I’m a personal trainer, but it’s so much deeper than that. For me it’s all about helping others understand what can be done with a little effort. Nothing and no one can make me feel as I do in the moment that someone who I talked to previously about where I see them going with their body remembers that conversation while presently living in that body we talked about in the past.

I own a personal training studio where I conduct one-on-one sessions with clients and sure we talk about fitness but it is not uncommon for us to also talk about other life goals, in-fact we probably talk about more life coaching type things than anything else, I really just enjoy helping people reach their full potential in every facet of life.

 

Aaron ripped in front of a grafitti wall

Aaron ripped in front of a grafitti wall

 

What is your profession?

My profession is complex but if I had to label it I would say I am an entrepreneur because I create things. Currently I am operating as personal trainer in my personal training studio but I have goals of becoming a motivational speaker and I also plan to start a few non-profits and other business outside of fitness.

How long have you owned ur fitness business?

By the grace of God my business has been open for almost 3 years. I started Almost PerFit Fitness after graduating from University of Houston and having a hard time finding what I considered a “real job”. I was still working for a local gym as a personal trainer and as a very broke post-college grad I figured that there was no better time to start a business than at the bottom, that way me and Almost PerFit Fitness( the business) literally would grow together.

With no real business plan I simply started training clients on the side in parks for less than what they would pay at the gym but was able to pocket more than what the gym was paying me. As business grew I decided to rent a space add some fitness equipment “wollah” i was in business on your own.

 

Aaron at the beach rocking his sunglasses

Aaron at the beach rocking his sunglasses

 

How do make sure your clients eat healthy?

I usually cannot really control how my clients eat so once I design the meal plan best tailored to their needs I focus on making sure they understand how eating wrong can impact their fitness goals. I’ve found that the more they understand the better their food decisions would be. I weigh my clients in weekly to track progress towards or away from their goal and then make adjustments.

Why start your own business?

I would now presently answer this question with “why not?” but honestly I never considered working for myself until I realized that I was worth more than what someone was willing to pay me to do a job I could create on my own. It is actually something I heard “Master P” of No Limit records say about his decision to start independent. I don’t think entrepreneurship is for everyone but it is definitely worth a shot if you are passionate about adding value to someone’s life with a service or product.

 

Aaron rocking his Powerful Beard

Aaron rocking his Powerful Beard

 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

In five years I see myself in the fitness industry. I actually plan to remain in the industry for the rest of my life but as a trainer to trainers as opposed to simply a trainer. I would like to have a larger platform to help more people in various ways.

Do you have other hobbies or crazy habits?

Aside from working out I really enjoy photography. I actually do most of my own photography for promotional flyers, social media marketing etc with a Nikon D330. I’m a self professed student to the craft and I’m also actively learning more about editing software. Me and my girlfriend are learning a few actually to help with our couples YouTube channel.

I have one habit that I think is pretty crazy, I am constantly stretching my body trying to get comfortable from multiple weekly workouts. I’ll be in bed literally popping and stretching until I finally fall asleep. It’s actually pretty common in the bodybuilding world and I wouldn’t say it’s painful but at every opportunity I feel the need to stretch my muscles/joints out I am probably going to stop everything I’m doing and do it, it’s weird but it feels so necessary. Other than that I’m just a guy .*lol*

Check out his Instagram for more about his business and some stunning pictures!

 

Aaron West entrepreneur and health coach

Aaron West entrepreneur and health coach

 

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