Dear Young Girl

I’m sorry that you are at a stage in your life in which you question who you are and why this had to happen to you. 

I’m sorry that the media has placed too much emphasis on this unfortunate turn of events and cast your accuser as somewhat a victim.

 I’m sorry that you are not receiving the protection you believe you would get, as society is too caught up on protecting the image of a man who seems to make sleeping with girls a skill than that of a pastor.

I’m sorry that you are another statistic; another young woman who will develop trust issues unless she received counselling for what happened to her and justice is served in the end.

What I can say to you is to be happy, why? You have opened a door to a dark place which people thought would always be closed. People have wanted to burn, shoot and damage that door. The same door that was opened for you. 

Pay attention at this time as secrets will now be stories and positions will be revoked to fix the problem of elderly men believing it is their right to sleep with younger women.

I don’t know what your mother or father was thinking but at no point should you be the victim of such a crime. A matter of indulgence for an older dried up Fart. 

I hope you gain strength from this experience. One in which if you were to this said man you would smile and move along. As he did not break you but made you stronger. 

Use this new voice that you will develop to encourage other women and young girls out there to speak up and rid this nation of men who believe that they have a right to take from the cradle. 

Love Potions for the Skin

Growing up, I always felt that I was “too black”. Among that I never used to feel beautiful, I felt unloved, unnecessary and worthless, just because I was black. I got teased a lot in primary school, it would happen quite often too. My skin color was the first thing someone would use to refer to me instead of my name and it was never in a positive way. I was either called “ugly black gal” during a confrontation or just naturally, or I’d have someone tell me I’m simply “too black”. This made me cry myself to sleep several times feeling unimportant in such an environment, at school. The other hurtful part was that it came from the same girls who would call me their friend, smile with me once I brought food to school or once they saw me with my parents.

All this eventually took a toll on me. I grew up not liking the act of taking pictures unless it was on my own, that way I could set the camera at the perfect angle to look pretty. I could scan my environment and get my own lighting. I could finally feel beautiful. I could love my skin for once.

However, as I grew up I realized that my whole past about being black negatively was stupid. I am beautiful, whether or not anyone else thinks so. It’s as if I just gained confidence overnight after doing some mirror talk routines. I slowly learned to love my distinct black features. My discolored, imperfect, yet beautiful skin. My nose, my naturally puckered lips and big forehead. To help myself, I used to take long stares into my mirror to realize how beautiful I was. To look in the mirror and simply smile. I gave myself pep talks, had empowering conversations with myself. I taught myself how to acknowledge and accept my flaws day by day. In the end, I grew into a girl who completely loves herself and appreciates every aspect of my being despite what the world has to say.

My advice to anyone feeling “too black” or ugly due to being black… is that you’re uniquely beautiful. Love your features, but most of all, love your skin. And yes, not all black girls have perfect even-toned skin as the ones on the internet do. It’s okay to have an uneven skin tone as a black person. You’re still beautiful.

~Nykefah Nairne

The Voice Within

I’ve been silent for too long and want to use this as an opportunity to empower and let other women know that they are not alone…..

 

My incident began when I was in Grade 10 with my boyfriend who I knew from Grade 9. My downfall in the relationship was that I never took the time out to know him; who he was, his  background and who his family was. Many times we don’t know the most important details.

I was stifled and beaten. After being beaten, I was brought before the mirror and further degraded by being told that I was ugly. It got so bad to the point in which I was extorted for money- my own boyfriend demanding money from me…..

There was one incident where I was beaten to the point in which my face was swollen. Few persons knew what had happened and others wanted to know what had happened to my face. I went to school and when I got there, some of the girls were jeering me. When I walked pass, one of them said:

“some a dem man a beat dem”.

My self esteem was depleted, I had to make up lies at times to not let people know what was going on with me when the signs were there- I was being abused. It got bad to the point where the police had to intervene and a restraining order was issued for him to leave me alone.

After the relationship I realized that his Dad was beating his mother.

 

A time to heal is not overnight…

 

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do but I want to make peace with myself. Confidential people are always hard to find. In my experience, persons would be all concerned wanting to know what was happening between me and him and as soon as they get the details; go right back to him and tell him everything.

I must say THANK YOU to my friends Fiona Grant and Andrea Irvine for being there for me in such a tough time. They offered their support and also got me to see the guidance counselor.

No one wants to get involved in domestic violence unless it is public. We see this happening many times even when law enforcement is involved. We should be using social media to lobby against violence against women rather than promote it. The social construct we are conditioned to believe is the perception of men and women. Ladies must be seen and not heard; they must be submissive if not, they are battered. Men want to express themselves but are looked down upon as weak.

It is OK to say that you are NOT OK. Be honest with yourself, if you are not able to you will have problems with others and the situations you’re facing. Empowerment becomes evident when we talk about the things we’ve been hiding- our experiences and what we’ve learnt from them. I chose LIFE over everything. I could have died in the process of being that man’s girlfriend.

This brings me to the issue of discrimination for persons based on their age. The common misconception of adults towards  young adults and children is that we  no have nuttin fi worry bout. Preconceived notions like that have caused for some children and even young adults to believe this. Some persons are going through real issues, some are able to find help while some are not fortunate enough to get it. So many thoughts and emotions are bottled up for many persons out there.  The society we live in has taught us to pretend. Too many of us are pretending that things are OK when our world is falling apart.

We live in a world of pretense (patch work), where we fix some things to an extent so that we can ‘show face’. However there is a whole lot of unfinished business behind the facade.

 

I can Share, I can Inspire

In the same way that the mirror was used to damage I am using it to rebuild myself. Crying is not a sign of weakness but a sign of release. Life is like the seasons, and in order to gain a rebirth we have to loose some things. Just like a tree looses its leaves in autumn.

 

Tina Renier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RE: The Negro

To Whom It May Concern,

I, a young black woman do understand that there are moments in which we Negroes have embarrassed our race and segregated ourselves. Please accept this as an apology for our actions as we do have moments in which me way slip up. 

However, there are concerns that have been expressed openly that we are trying to force the view of black consciousness and trying to claim for things that are not possible for us, simple minded people to claim for ourselves. 

These things I will not agree on as we only want to educate the masses on our achievements over the many years. One can recall the work of black groups such as the Black Panthers, Marcus Garvey and Nelson Mandela, who taught us that there is more to us based on our history and our work. Which I know that you have seen for yourself. 

I must say that though we have been scarred in more ways than one, as it relates to the treatment our ancestors and what we in this year 2016 continue to face due to the colour of our skin. We continue to show that we are indeed a mighty race. From the classroom to government, we have consistently shown that we are capable just as any race to produce and achieve greatness. 

It is with these experiences that I say, we will not apologize for:

  1. the colour of our skin; where we were told that you can’t expect anything from someone of our colour. The same skin that is less likely to get skin cancer and protect us from the sun’s rays. The skin that glistens in the sun while we toil through the hours to make life better for ourselves. Unfortunately based on the treatment we’ve received from you, it has caused some of us to bleach to be accepted in this society.
  2.  being disruptive as we question the rules of society and  the policies and changes that affect our race.
  3. celebrating our history by sharing the sources on the great things we’ve invented, the discoveries we’ve made, the initiatives we were apart of in history. Not to mention the work we continue to do in present time and for years to come. 

We understand that our actions may make you uncomfortable, but do not blame us and incite violence on our wish to simply live like you or even want to achieve more in this society; as it is in our nature. 

We pray that you continue to grow from strength to strength in your endeavors, that allows for us to work together to make this world a better place.

 

Yours sincerely,

A Proud Black Woman

 

 

Bob Marley: The Lyrical Advocate

Many of us while living our lives feel strongly about particular issues and raise awareness, whether it be through the arts, forums or the media. Unfortunately, in our plight to let these issues be known, we at times become violent and cloud the idea we envisioned. The results of this shows that, people already know, didn’t know or did not know how to start and in the end feel encouraged to support the cause. Throughout this venture to raise awareness about the issue, we learn that not all persons will agree with our reasoning.

Robert Nesta Marley who was inspired by Rastafari, stood for social change and with his words stirred the pockets of a deeper consciousness with lyrics such as

Open your eyes and look within: Are you satisfied (with the life you’re living)?  -Exodus

How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?- Redemption Song

Words such as these made ‘The Gong’ held in high esteem today. Even years after, his legacy lives on; whether it be through his music, his quotes, his images and let’s not forget his children who are taking the name to higher levels.

The One Love Peace concert, was one such event that made people reconsider their actions due to the political unrest that took place between the two parties People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the seventies. During the concert he called the then Prime Minister Michael Manley; leader of the PNP and Opposition leader Edward Seaga for the JLP to the stage for them to shake hands. Later that year he was presented with the United Nations Peace Medal of the Third World. It was there in his speech that he said

“Them gonna follow the example we set. When we come together the whole world gonna look and seh ‘It can be done.”

Jamaica has been fortunate to have other lyrical advocates such as Buju Banton, Peter Tosh and I’ll even add Vybz Kartel. For the latter, he mentioned during his interview in 2011 on the popular Jamaican show  On Stage that “the people have the power”…. now if he was able to notice that and use it to his advantage, why shouldn’t we for all the right reasons?

“If you believe you can make a difference, not just in politics, in public service, in advocacy around all these important issues, then you have to be prepared to accept that you are not going to get 100 percent approval”- Hilary Clinton

Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Teresa, Bree Newsome, Bram Fischer, Michael J Fox and Nelson Mandela are all people that decided to make a change in their society because they were not comfortable with the situations present at the time. These people were not perfect, but they received help from others who also shared these views to create the change they wanted to see.

We all have the charge to make things better for ourselves and for those in our society. Don’t feel intimidated by the work that is out there, with confidence, optimism and and open mind you can achieve what you want. Express yourself in whatever way you can, Bob Marley did it through song and it reached millions.

Even if it is a tweet; DO IT. You’ll be surprised at who is paying attention.

 

 

Sources: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/hillarycli676717.html#DrZPUCyAcFsZh8cc.99

http://www.bobmarley.com/general-news/4-concerts-that-made-bob-marley-a-legend/