Saturday, January 9, 2010

"Most Young Kings Get Their [sic] Head Cut Off"

......Fame, symbolized by the crown, is offered as the only possible path to subjectivity for the black male artist. To be un-famous is to be rendered invisible. Therefore, one is without choice. You either enter the phallocentric battlefield of representation and play the game or you are doomed to exist outside history. Basquiat wanted a place in history, and he played the game. In trying to make a place for himself--for blackness--in the established art world, he assumed the role of explorer/colonizer. Wanting to make an intervention with his life and work, he inverted the image of the white colonizer.

Basquiat journeyed into the heart of whiteness. White territory he named as a savage and brutal place. The journey is embarked upon with no certainty of return. Nor is there any way to know what you will find or who you will be at journey's end. Braithwaite declares: "The unfortunate thing was, once one did figure out how to get into the art world, it was like, Well, shit, where am I? You've pulled off this amazing feat, you've waltzed your way right into the thick of it, and probably faster than anybody in history, but once you got in you were standing around wondering where you were. And then, Who's here with me?"[11] Recognizing art-world fame to be a male game, one that he could play, working the stereotypical darky image, playing the trickster, Basquiat understood that he was risking his life--that this journey was all about sacrifice.

In September 2006, I wrote the following in my livejournal:

Niggers be holding them dicks too....white people go, "why you guys hold your things?" say "you done took everythign else, motherfucker" ---Richard Pryor

As painted by Ligon, the raw language and syntax of the joke contribute to a broader sense of impropriety. For starters, the joke was meant to be heard rather than read, listened to rather than looked at. Its humor flows in part from the cadence and logic of Pryor's delivery. Reconstituted as a text painting, the joke is distanced, though not entirely dissociated, from Pryor's voice. It is now the viewer who must mouth these words, whether silently or aloud, and thereby speak the rage barely veiled beneath their humor. The visual form of Cocaine (Pimps)—the tiny flecks of orange paint jumping off the letters, the force of the work's (off-)color—changes and recharges its language. A raunchy joke from an old Pryor album becomes, in Ligon's hands, an intricately painted surface of stencils, strokes, and smudges, a microworld of colored incident and inscription. The picture pays its respects to the beauty of Pryor's obscenity. (article by Richard Meyer for Artforum International, May 2006)

and, after reading it just sat there for a minute or more, frozen, taking in all of what it meant to me and the consequences of it that affect me as a Woman, a Black Woman, and a member of the Black community (all of these being different, having different meanings, but still part of the same...if that made sense anywhere outside my head)

...and i thought about my boys as in "my boys", brothers, you know, when we sit around playing spades, listening to Black Star or The Roots, quoting Malcolm X, mourning Assatta and Lil Bobby Hutton, renaming ourselves countless times like the day(s) when i was known as Amina Mercuric and it wasn't Shawn Jenkins but Naim Muhammed and we had a new identity, were validated in our recognition of each other by these secret names-- like how i read once how certain African and Native American tribes implemented the use of secret names....they'd have some random name like "Little Bird' or something but then a secret name their personal god only knew that they couldn't reveal or, apparently, would die. And it was the same for us. We couldn't let the world take our secret names, the names only we knew each other by and nodded, smiling...couldn't let them know those names because we knew we would die-- that new person we'd made would die because the world wouldn 't let us be that strong, that bright, that brilliant, shining like Ligon's "negro sunshine",
not on the inside at least, though we shine on the outside, greased up, put on display, to be sold to the greedy masses based on their admitted acknowledgement of outer strength-- we can have that as long as they can manipulate it, that outer strength, as long as there's nothing inside, long as everything in there is broken and weak and dull and shitt...... like when it's asked, "why are we always so greasy? why are we always shining?" (and yall know it's true...we stay greasy...and note to [name omitted to protect]-- liek we were talking about yesterday, i think that's why they film those african/south american films [i.e. City of God, Blood Diamond, Amistad, etc.] like that cuz the grease and sweat gotta light up the screen)

...ANYWAY as i was boys, my "homies", boys and my son...and my unborn sons i'll protect and fill with all the strength i've ever had, naming them after gods-- gods liek they are and always were....

and i was thinking about Nat Turner and how i'd read somewhere that they'd cut off his penis as they lynched him and, the myth goes, to this very day, some crusty white man has it preserved in his home, passed down to him or bought some other way. and i'm like "damn, they took that too..."

Jay-Z, in 2006, did a "freestyle" on Hot 97 which was actually five verses-- three of which were part of an unreleased song called "Most Kings", a tribute to Basquiat. The last two verses were supposed to have been on some mixtape. The second verse of this Hot 97 Freestyle ended up being the verse he did for Coldplay's song "Lost"...Interesting that the song/freestyle/whatever alluded to Michael Jackson's murder 3 years before it occurred. It is a prophecy because he speaks of MJ in the same lines as other dead/murdered/"suicided" artists who were ritually taken out. Since MJ was still alive when the freestyle was spit, by putting him in the context of other posthumous artists could only be a retrospectively poignant and/or creepy glimpse of MJ's future-- and his own, as he allegedly considers himself the King of Pop now, as "husband" to Beyonce, Queen of Pop.

Read his verse below:
Inspired by Basquiat, my chariots of fire
Everybody took shots, hit my body up, I'm tired
Build me up break me down to build me up again
They like "Hov we need you back so we can kill ya ass again"
Hov got flow, though he's no Big and Pac, but he's close
How I'm 'posed to win? They got me fighting ghosts...

Same sword the knight you they gon' "good night" [read: execute] you with
Shit, Thats only half if they like you
That aint even the half [of] what they might do
Dont believe me ask Michael
See Martin, see Malcolm
You See Biggie, see Pac, see success and its outcome
See Jesus, see Judas, see Caesar, see Brutus
See success is like suicide
Suicide is a suicide
If you succeed, prepare to be crucified
Media meddles, niggas sue you, you settle
Every step you take, they remind you, you ghetto
So its tough being Bobby Brown
To be Bobby then, you gotta be Bobby now
Now the question is, "Is to have had and lost
Better than not having at all?"

Everybody wanna be the King then shots ring
You layin on your balcony with holes in your dream
Or you Malcolm X'd out, get distracted by screams
Everybody get your hand off my jeans!
**[an allusion to the infamous cry that interrupted Malcolm X's last speech and immediately preceeded his murder: "Get ya hand outta my pocket, nigga!"]
Everybody look at you strange say you changed
Uhh! Like you work that hard to stay the same
Uhh! Game stays the same the name changes
So its best for those to not overdose on being famous
Most kings get driven so insane
That they try to hit the same vein that Kurt Cobain did
??No dangers, so shameless??
Invited to the intersanctum of yo chambers
??Low chained em as the enemies approach??
So raise ya draw bridge and drown em in the moat
And the Spirit I'm evokin

Odu for 2010

From the Destee forums...thank God someone finally translated this.


Ifá Predictions for the year 2010
For Cuba and the World Homepage

To the priests of Ifá, our brothers and sisters--the oriatés, babaloshas, iyaloshas, and iworos-- and to the religious public in general. Following a tradition of 24 years, the Commission Organized for the Reading of the Year gathered on the 31st of December, 2009 at the Casa-Templo, located on 10th of October Avenue, between Josefina and Gertrudis Streets, Vibora, Municipality 10 of October, Havana City, Cuba.
This ceremony was presided over by the Ifá priest Guillermo Diago Ogbe Weñe, with the support of Ifá priests of all of Cuba’s families and their descendents throughout the world.The youngest priest took out the sign.

Reigning Sign: BABA EYIOBE (Double Salvation).

Prophetic Orientation: Iré Arikú Oyale Tesi Lese Olofin (Benefit of Health or long life—which is solid and certain—granted to us by Olofin).

Ónishe: Rogation with saraekó and its corresponding candles.

Onishá ará: Take baths with Verbena.

Ónishe Ilé: Paraldo.

Reigning Divinity: Obatalá (The orisha charged with the creation of human beings, the head of the 201 divinities of the Yoruba Pantheon, representative of Olofin on Earth, King of the Ancient Igbo people [sic], born in Iranye and worshipped in Ifon, both being regions of Nigeria.

Accompanying Divinity: Oyá, divinity of storms and gentle winds. Identified with the spirit of the ancestors. She is the goddess of the River Niger (Odó Oyá), which was named for this deity. It is believed that she is the first and preferred wife of the orisha Shangó. The tradition tells us that the river was formed originally by the copious tears she spilled the day her husband died.

Flag of the Year: White with purple borders (wine color).

Ebó: 1 chicken, a stick of your height, mixed grains [incl. beans], 16 pieces of bread, 16 peony seeds, smoked nutria and smoked fish, toasted corn, and the rest of the ingredients. The distribution of this document is without charge and the Commission is not responsable for its sale by unscrupulous people animated by greed. Illnesses to Watch Out For Vascular Brain Disorders (Embolisms, Hemmorages, etc.). Serious respiratory Problems (Acute Tubeculosis). Eye Disorders. Bone Marrow Disorders. Occurrences of Social Significance. Great changes in the social order. Increase in the struggle for power (religious and political). Imbalances, differences, and contradictions within the family. High increase in deaths of public figures (political, intellectual, religious). Decline in paternal authority over children. Coup d’etat or sudden changes in political systems. Betrayal and appropriation of authority at the highest levels of government. Serious problems of enviromental contamination.

Freak astrological occurrences related to the sun [king of the heavenly bodies], which could have implications inexplicable to science and, additionally, great disorders in the ecosystem. Rise in sea levels, marine catastrophes, periods of intense drought or abundant rains. Decrease in commercial relations both in importation and exportation. Breaches in treaties. Changes in agricultture and in livestock (goats and cows), vaccines. Continued danger in war and military intervention. Marital breakup. This is a sign that warns of scarcities owed to flawed organization in the distribution of goods.

Recommendations Respect the decisions of elders and the opinions of juniors. Improve organization in general Go search for new reforms in the economic, political, and social order—based on the experience of what has since existed--and as a point of departure work on applying means, methods, and strategies that bring forth a betterment in the life and well-being of the communities of the world. Protection of the enviroment and cleanliness of cities to avoid the outbreak of contagious diseases. There should be sincere dialogues to solve all conflict. Proverbs of the Sign Dead King, Crowned King. I have everything; I have nothing. The head rules the body and only one king governs a town. The young palms grow taller and more leafy than the older ones. It is an error not to learn from errors committed. Contradictions bring light to your hiding place. Wisdom, Comprehension, and Thinking are the forces that move the world.

NOTE: Take positive and negative examples from the years 1995, 1998, and 2004 where this sign reigned. Our Commission remains grateful to the great organs of communication, which make it possible that these predictions reach the far corners of the world. The Miguel Febles Padrón Commission Organized for the Reading of the Year wishes you a happy and prosperous 2010 year.

Translator’s note: the original document in Spanish, emailed to me by Lázaro Cuesta Iwori Bofún, was translated by David H. Brown Eguín Koladé. Please bring to my attention any mistranslations, typos, or ways to improve the document by emailing

the devil you see and the one you don't

I'll be trying my best to do some more posting in this new year. Even if they are just quick links or videos I find interesting. It's full time to take care of a new baby and as much as I see new things every day and want to write about them, by the time I get a second to do so, I give up and hope someone else will pick up on it for me. But I will stop giving up and try to get what's on my mind and the things I see out more often.

I shall proceed:


Yeshua, this reminds me of your post.

I was (pleasantly) surprised to note the mention of The Morrigan (and, yeshua, your mention of the mother/maiden/crone concept-- the original "holy trinity" of pagan goddess worship) in this video, as a few years ago when I was beginning my alternate spiritual journey and exploring various pagan paths, I was very drawn to The Morrigan and inspired by what she represented. Moving on from her, I found strength and inspiration in the Kali goddess/archetype which was similar...moving on further, I finally found Oya, who at the time was deemed to have been my head orisha. [UPDATE: 2/17/11 it is officially not Oya, by the way]

...but back to Gaga. I was discussing with a friend of mine the meaning of the Baphomet/Horned God hand sign and he INSISTED the hand sign was tribute to the Texas Longhorns football team. We seriously debated this for an hour or so and came to the agreement that people project what they want into symbols and it is the intent behind them that matters. So if I throw up the Horned God hand sign intending to pay homage to the Longhorns, that's what it is for me. If i throw it up to acknowledge Satan, that's what it is for me. If I draw a heart with squiggly lines and say it's a valentine (or Janet Jackson's velvet Rope Tour symbol), that's it. If I say it is a veve for Erzulie Freda, that's it as well. If I draw a cross and invoke the name of Jesus, that's the power that it will have. If I draw a cross and proclaim it as a mark of the union of two worlds-- the spiritual and material planes, that's the power.

Symbols are funny things. I find that symbols mean what we see them as. Just like art. Our experiences paint our perceptions. BUT just because one does not know an alternate meaning for the same symbol, does NOT make that alternate symbolic meaning invalid. Just because yopu don't know something, doesn't make it true. This is what I keep trying to tell people. Just because you don't know certain elite worship Lucifer and manipulate symbols in the media and use rituals and psychic energy to charge these symbols with negativity, doesn't mean it's not true. Just because, for example, you know Jesus as your personal Messiah and Savior, doesn't mean it's not JUST AS TRUE for someone else that he is a Prophet.

Truth IS. It is everything we can ever conceive of. I feel that there is no fiction or fantasy in the world-- everything we have ever imagined HAS AND DOES EXIST. Down to unicorns and jinn, demons and aliens...I believe God or whatever Universal Sustaining Self-Creating and Infinitite Force you name, has given us all that is. Whatever our mind can imagine is true because why would we be able to even conceive of anything if it wasn't possible? So...back to something Toure greatly helped me realize (more than he may be aware of), Beyonce can be a dirty Mk Ultra sex slave, she can be a hypocritical "Christian" poppin her coochie for Jesus, or she can be a Divine vessel for the orisha Oshun or help us all realize our Sacred Sexuality. They are all EQUALLY TRUE because someone has made it so. Everything is multi-faceted, even our concepts of "good and evil"...

which reminds me...who is "The Devil" when we say "The Devil is a liar!!"...who is the Devil at the Crossroads those bluesmen sold their souls to to play their guitars? Is this the "Devil" Jay-Z an' dem sold their souls to? Eshu-Elegbara? Papa Legba? The Divine Trickster? Pan? Hermes? Mercury?

So how does this relate to the idea of the Divine Enforcer? You can only move so far away from this idea before Nature itself, and human beings who are in the process of becoming conscious, create counter - balancing forces to guide you back to center. Esu has the function of Divine Enforcer. You can all say, "What about this tragedy, and what about that tragedy?" That is a difficult question to come to terms with objectively. But as an aspect of faith, in Ifá there is the belief that within the bigger picture, Divine Justice is at work. This is based on the belief that it is possible to get along, that it is possible to relate.

The symbolic analogy that Ifá uses is "Ifá Olokun o saro dayo," meaning "The
Spirit of the Ocean always provides for those who live in the sea." Every fish that lives in the ocean has a home and food to eat. So they have it figured out in the ocean, we just haven't figured it out yet on land. That's probably because they've had more time in the ocean to work on it. The idea of Esu as the Divine Enforcer is that the ground rules for figuring it out are in place. When we get too far away from that, things occur that bring the truth back to us.

This is all related to Chaos theory. Western science has a discipline called Chaos theory which postulates the idea that things which seem to be symmetrical in the universe have a range of variation when viewed at a distance. Things which appear random have a degree of symmetry when viewed at a distance. So the issues of justice and randomness are issues of perspective. If you get the big picture, the pieces start to fall in place. So Esu as the Divine Enforcer is what we invoke to get the big picture. You can do things on the short term that feel effective, righteous and ethical that can have long term negative effects.

You can do things that seem negative in the moment and end up having positive results. It is Esu that we invoke to get a clue where we are in that polarity.

****(speaking of crossroads)