Thursday, April 21, 2011

Salsa is Caribbean

When one says Caribbean, at least in anglo circles, the first thing that comes to mind is reggae music, steel pan, calypso, the anglo culture. This is far from the truth. Four broad Caribbean cultures exist: the spanish latin, the franco or french circular culture, the english circular, and the dutch circular culture.

But actually, the largest Caribbean culture, is the Latino/Spanish culture. Spanish is the most spoken language in the Caribbean. Salsa is more Caribbean than reggae. Salsa was incubated, from cultural elements in the Caribbean as Merengue. Three islands speak spanish, three of the largest, most populous.

The franco or french circular culture is larger than the anglo culture. Haiti alone has a population that can accommodate Jamaica, Trinidad, all the Leeward Anglo/Windward population. This is not including Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin-combined together constitute a million plus people. They listen to Zouk and Kompa.

Those who say Haiti is latino. Haitians listen to more zouk than salsa and are more tuned to the cultures of Martinique and Guadeloupe than to Cuba or the Dominican Republic, right next door.

The dutch circular is the smallest of the cultures, but the most cosmopolitan. I think I would enjoy their parties more, probably get a piece of all the other circular Caribbean cultures.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Nigeria's Election

Democracy at work, a success. This north/south divide needs to be fixed before it gets out hand. Hopefully, Goodluck Jonathan can be a uniter not a divider. This religious divide will be Nigeria's achilles heal, the Christian south vs. the Muslim north. Nigeria can look to Ghana for such a solution, Kwame Nkrumah's policies solidified his nation. This could be one solution.

'Many' killed in Nigeria unrest over Goodluck Jonathan's poll win

Ethiopian Music

Aster Aweke was my first introduction to Ethiopian pop in the latter part of the 80s. I am told that she is still going strong in the Ethiopian community. Amharic is the language she is singing in,language of one of the large ethnics.

New generation:Helen Berhe singing in Amharic

New Generation Ethiopian pop:

Below, she is singing in the Gurage language, one of the smaller ethnics in Ethiopia. Their music is the funkiest in Ethiopia, my opinion. I rarily, bump into them in the USA, lots of Amharas and Oromos

Singing in Welaita, another of the smaller ethnics in Ethiopia. I have met only 3 in the USA.

Singing in Oromo, the largest ethnic in Ethiopia. It is a spiritual song.

I know Eritrea is not Ethiopia. Every Eritrean household lost a family member in the civil war and earned the right to say I to say "I am Eritrean." They paid the price in blood, but the cultural historical boundaries between Ethiopia and Eritrea are pretty thin.

Love this song the spatial, sonic rhythmic pattern of this song. Sang in Tigrinya, one of the 9 ethnics in Eritrea. Like Amharic in Ethiopia, Tigrinya is widely spoken in Eritrea. Chances are if you meet someone from Eritrea in the USA, he or she is probably Tigrinya.

Birthplace of Human Language

Africa is the birthplace of human language. According to this theory, the more phonemes(basic sound) you have in the area the closer to origins of human language.

Africa said to be mother to all human language

Friday, April 15, 2011

Nigeria's Election

Nigeria's election this weekend, will make or break the continent. If Nigeria fails, Africa fails. Lets pray for a well held, peaceful election. is not the only entity that feels this way:

Nigerian vote must succeed for Africa: Ghana ex-president

Black In Latin America

Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. series Black in Latin America is out. Check out the PBS site previews.

Haiti and the Dominican Republic: An Island Divided

Buy the DVD to support informative programming.

Black In Latin America


Tuesdays, April 19-May 10, 2011, 8-9 p.m. ET

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Don't believe the Wikipedian social marketers or ambassadors (there are lots of black ones) who say that benign Wikipedia is a good starting point for research, it is ladden with and spread distortion on the afro-descendant, mainly any bigot or racist can edit it, sad the racism is internal. It is not just systemic bias. Start your research with and donate your funds to this organization.

When I write articles for, I also use as a reference. To students, you don't have to worry about it being rejected by your professor as un-academic. It is written by academics.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

African Spirituality

One of the commonest notions, I keep running into is the term African Spirituality, Africa's spiritual notion religion, her world view, metaphysics, values, etc. In the West the term that is given is animism, for all african religions and spirituality.

What is african spirituality? African spirituality is rooted in her value system and world view and there have been four broad value systems, that have survived into modern times, around ethno-linguistic groups: the Afro-Asiatic, the Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo, and the Khoisan. There is overlap among the groups or hybrids.

The different family was constructed based on the root words they have in common, which can reveal technology and values. In the Afro-Asiatic family, evil is caused by evil spirits. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism(Abrahamic religion) is rooted in this world view.

This book goes into details. All of the Afro-Asiatic groups are in Africa except Semitic which includes Arabic, Hebrew. Ancient Egyptian, Berber, Amhara, Tigrinya, Oromo, Somali, Hausa belong to this family. The Horn of Africa has the greatest diversity of the family.

Among the Nilo-Saharan, evil is caused by Divine retribution or judgement. The Nubian Language belong to this family and world view. The ancient Egyptian religion fused the Afro-Asiatic with the Nilo-Saharan or Sudanic, the practice of burying the servants and possesions of the pharoah at death is Nilo-Saharan.

Among the Niger-Congo, evil is caused by ignoring the ancestor spirits, honoring your ancestor is critical, if you want good fortune. The Mandinka, Soninke, Asante, Yoruba, Fulani, Baluba, and Zulus all belong to this group. The importance of ancestors in vodun, condomble, santeria, and some of the Christian groups in southern Africa attest to this.

Among the khoisan, what causes evil is uncertain. They don't have gods, but believe in a spiritual force, that is behind reality.

In the Western world, African spirituality and religion is discarded as animism, which is the simple belief that objects have souls. African spirituality/religion is far from that. The Abrahamic religion(Islam, Christianity, and Judaism) is one form of African spirituality.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Making Ethanol

Energy is a problem of the afro-descendant. Many are in developing countries, but energy deficiency, in my mind, is not a problem. is focus on providing information about methods of energy generation for the afro-descendant. Take ethanol for example, it is nothing but creating alcohol--moonshine. It can be used for cooking and running a generator, consumed like alcohol. It is easy to make.

Step 1. Mix the mash, which is cornmeal,sugar, yeast, and water---the following site shows you how to make the mash

Step 2. Put mash in a warm place for 3 to 4 days to ferment, producing the ethanol,

Step 3. Distill the mash, by boiling in a sealed pot, with copper tubing at the top. The gaseous ethanol rises through the copper tubing running through a bucket of cool water that cools the ethanol gas turning it into a liquid, ethanol.

Ethanol can be used for cooking. A simple stove can be made from soda cans.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Latin, Anglophone, Lusaphone, Francophone, Dutch circle?

One of the commonest question I keep coming across is whether Brazilians, Haitians, Martinicans, Cape Verdeans are latinos, being that they speak a latin derived or related language. One must understand that there is 5 spheres of linguistic cluster when you deal with people of afro-descent anglophone(english), francophone(french), lusaphone(portuguese), spanish sphere(latino), and dutch sphere.

From my experience and observation, those who speak a common language tend to have greater connection and interaction with one another. Being from the Caribbean, I see this first hand. Someone from Martinique has greater interaction with someone from Senegal, Mali, and Congo, than with someone from Jamaica, same with Haitians, because of the French language.

Same with Brazil, which might be more connected to lusaphone africa-- Cape Verde, Angola, Mozambique than other spanish speaking South American countries. Brazilians understand spanish, most spanish speakers don't understand Brazilian Portuguese. This could be more spanish speaking countries border Brazil than the other way round.

The Dutch might be the exception, because the culture is a polyglot culture. People who speak Dutch could easily blend among the spanish culture, english, and possible lusaphone culture because their creole papiamento, is predominantly Portuguese and have great commonality with Cape Verdean and African criolos.

Even so, they interact more with each other Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, and Suriname, greater interaction, than say with Trinidad or Cuba. They might be able to understand Afrikaaner in South Africa, which they might consider, bad Dutch, like bad English, ethnocentrism. Actually, one of my lady friends referred to it as such.

From my observation, I consider Brazilians more lusaphone than latin or Haitians more francophone than latin.