Sunday, December 20, 2015

Out of Darkness: by Amadeuz Christ Ơ

In this short video clip I speak with Amadeuz Christ, C.E.O Vigilance Records LLC., recording artist, producer, engineer, video director and newbie film director of the groundbreaking documentary Out of Darkness.  Out of Darkness is a three act documentary starred by some of the most genius sociopolitical, minds of the 21st century.   The framework is a visually stunning, intelligently introspective, archaeologically-sound masterpiece.  Act I, A War on History, vividly illustrates why so called African Americans (Pan Africans) continue to suffer daily injuries in every sphere of life.  I give you the architect: Brother Amadeuz Christ. 
Act I: African Civilization: A War on History – Why?
Professor Kaba Hiawatha Kamene:
“As we begin to look at who we are as a people and as we begin to look at the role Africa has played in the shaping of our intellectual world (our achievements historically) you will begin to understand why there is a war on history.  For a people to oppress another people there are three things you must take from them: their history, language and psychological factor.  The psychological factors are the values, interests and principles (VIPs).  Take their VIPs from them and then, superimpose your history, language and VIPs and no matter what conclusions they come to in the challenges they face they will always act in the interest of the oppressor who took their history, language and VIPs.  So when we wonder why the choices we make never serve our best interest, we have to change the paradigm. We have to study our history, our language and our values, interests and principles.”

Prof. Umar Johnson:
“Without question there is a war on African history.  The war on Black history is only a larger symptom of a much larger war against the opportunity for African people to resurrect themselves.  Knowledge of self is not the goal but, a means to become an independent self-sufficient people.”

James Smalls:
“The War against African people is about rulership of the world; it’s about rulership of the planet and access to raw materials and resources in the continent of Africa and parts of the world where African people live in Central and South America and, the Pacific islands.” 

In a November 20th 2014 post titled: The Rise of Puerto Rico's Nationalist Labor Movement: The Politics of Resilience I wrote in honor of Puerto Rican Nationalist & Freedom Fighter Oscar Lopez Rivera.  Here I lucidly illustrate Professor James Small’s indictment of US Imperialism on African & Pan African people. 

“The North American ‘Fair’ Trade Act which (currently), installs corporate factory farms and insular governments in Mexico to protect US corporate interest while consequently, driving small farmers out of their own lands and forcing them to immigrate to the United States in search of work (where they are then criminalized, imprisoned via the private industrial prison complex or, forced to work in the “Black” market without labor rights) parallels the Jones-Costigan Act of 1930.

The Jones-Costigan Act imposed a quota on production and exports of sugar to the US causing 15, 000 laborers to lose their jobs and join 150,000 unemployed laborers in Puerto Rico. Small and medium growers were penalized by mills whom refused to grind sugar and by US banks who denied financing of their crops. As a result of the quota, sugar growers faced the possibility of losing their crops and land.   According to an article published by Emilio Pantojas-Garcia titled: Puerto Rican Popularism Revisited: The PPD During the 1940's "Throughout a five year period (1931 – 36) a total of 207 laborer and small/medium farmer strikes occurred; 91 happened in less than one year from July 1933 – June 1934." 

Puerto Rico’s radical politics has never been a part of (U.S) elementary, middle and high school text books.  I vividly remember illustrations of benevolent Europeans generously giving indigenous Native Americans corn, turkey and squash; child-like depictions of brown men and womyn docile, defenseless and dependent.  These depictions insidiously coded our consent to inferiority.  Why would my elders leave what they referred to as “La Isla del Encanto” (the island of enchantment) for inner city slums and humiliating welfare rations?  I never knew my people struggled against US imperialism consequently, I inherited shame.  I did not want to be associated with being Puerto Rican.  I refused to speak Spanish.  It wasn’t until my late teens when I began interacting with dark skin Dominicans (from the Dominican Republic) that I began speaking a little Spanish. 

Dr. Joy DeGruy, a renowned researcher, educator, presenter and author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome explains not understanding your history causes the psyche to experience cognitive dissonance: “Black Americans who are trying to distance themselves from anything having to do with Africa do so because they’ve bought into the false notion that African culture is not worthy.  Yet, it is not understanding your history that leads to the trauma we see which results in [“I just need to escape from this”…] becoming afraid of what you don’t understand.  When you understand it; you can navigate it.”

Fear blocks memory.  It’s hard to remember life before six or five yet some moments cut into your being like shard glass scarring the spirit.  “Esta jodia negra!” Nola growled.  Valeria wet the bed, again.  Shrinking with fear, the six year old braced herself for the blow hoping it would not find her face although, unlike the echoing “I regret the day you were born,” the sting eventually wore away.   Valeria had caramel skin, a broad nose, full lips and soft wooly hair; a lighter skinned version of her Afro-Taino mahogany-hued father, Joaquin.   Nola, an almond toned, curvaceous, curly mopped and petite statured island beauty said memories of Joaquin commenced and ended with the opening and shutting of an eye – literally.   One day, Joaquin came home from his factory job to an empty apartment; his family was gone. 

It was winter when Nola arrived to the new place with Magdalena her first born five year old, Valeria her three year old and Clara, her one year old.  Even though Joaquin did not know where they were, the fear and violence followed them.  “Why did you have to come out with hair like your father’s family!” slamming the handle of the bone-dense hair brush against the skull sent Valeria into a spastic squirm.  “Stop crying!” Nola threatened the six year old.  Self hatred dried her tears and swallowed her cry.  In the bathroom Valeria climbed on the toilet seat and pinched the flesh of her nostrils pulling the rounded tip of her nose upward.  “I hate you,” she said to the mirror. 

Winter released its grip and Nola no longer needed to warm their clothes in the oven.   The summer sun beat down on the concrete pavement outside. No trees on their street to shade them from the heat.  When the hot humidity became unbearable somebody would go outside and pry open the fire hydrant in front of the five story tenement building; the only edifice on the street.  One of the guys would place the hollowed shaft of a large can at the mouth of the fire hydrant funneling the water to ‘pump’ out fiercely in an upwards arch.  “The pump is open!” someone would yell.  Anyone, who came outside, a kid, a teenager (and depending on your relationship with the adult) and parent was game for being soaked; it forced us to laugh at and with each other.  Everyone jumped in and out of the water arch; gasping for air and chasing each other around. 

One summer day, Nola walked into the living room with a six foot two, larger than life dark skinned man in a police uniform.  “Pol,” Nola said in a heavy Puertorican accent “esta es, Valeria.” [This one, is Valeria.]  Arms crossed in front of her, Valeria refused to give him eye contact.  “Esta, hmm, tiene un jenio!” [This one, she has a temper,”] Nola warned.  Paul bent over and with his index finger playfully poked the six year old in the ribs.  “Stop!” she grudgingly giggled trying to stay hard-faced.  But, Paul picked her up, swung her around high in the air and dropped her back down onto the sofa chair, with a thud.  Before she could stop herself, Valeria laughed hard. Somehow that small act of pursuing her laughter let her know he cared.  

Paul, was the first man to earn the most precious gift she could ever offer - trust.  Months later, he carried a large musical instrument up five flights of stairs to our apartment; it was as tall as Valeria.  The long, oval shaped, wooden body made different sounds when he tapped the top with his palm or fingers.  Paul called it a Conga and when he left that night, the Conga stayed as if promising his return.  Nola changed when he was around; she smiled, laughed and played music while she cooked.  One evening, Valeria began to dance to Paul’s drumming; her timely movements soulfully synched trial and triumph, joy and sorrow.  “Oh, my God, look! This one, she’s African,” Nola pointed in shock.  Her arms, legs, head and torso flowed to his rhythm, like a river in its bed.  Valeria beamed with pride when Nola and her comadres said “Asta se parese a el…puede ser su hija.”

After two summers, an overshadowing sorrow darkened Nola's eyes and pursed her smile.  Valeria was awoken by Nola’s angry whispers.  Through foggy vision, Valeria saw Paul kneeling before Nola.  She faintly overheard Paul begging “por favor no me deje.”  “No, Pol! Ya son tres años que tengo esperando y tu no dejas esa mujer.”  Valeria drifted back to sleep.   Days and then, weeks went by without a visit from Paul.  With her head cocked to one side, now almost nine years old Valeria asked her mother “Mami, where is Paul?”   “Paul is not coming back,” she blurted without any explanation about the man she loved like a father.  Valeria’s heart took a free-fall leaving her numb and lost in bitter resentment.   

Magdalena, affectionately  called Maggie by family and friends was fair-skinned and had silky, curly, jet-black hair down to her waist; everyone said how beautiful she was and that she was the spitting image of Nola.  At 10 years of age Maggie was forced to get up early, make breakfast, dress and comb both Valeria and Clara’s hair.  Together the three girls walked about a half a mile or more through somewhat desolate streets, to school.  Nola’s migraines kept her in and out of a fog of pain.  When she was not in pain she was easily enraged.  If they woke her in the morning there was hell to pay.  She was Catholic but, never went to church.  Valerie didn’t have the language to explain church was never a welcoming or nurturing place.  Life size paintings of white angels shooting their arrows at brown and black demons caused her to feel suspected, accused and condemned to hell. 

In catechism class, one day, Valeria just couldn’t take it anymore.  She raised her hand and asked “why are all the angels White and all the demons brown?” The fair skinned teacher offered no response just a perplexed, indignant and disapproving look.  Just as she turned 10 years of age, Valerie completed her requirements for “communion”.  On graduation day she was fitted in an all white ensemble with a tiara, gloves and cape. After the ceremony Nola took Valeria to a photo studio and had professional photos taken.  Weeks later, Nola returned from the photo studio without the photos.  The owner of the shop told her he had been burglarized.  There were no photos to remind Valerie of her spiritual subjugation but the memory of God remained statically oppressive and estranged.  She never went back to Church and wanted nothing to do with “God”.      

The first time Valeria ever saw a Black saint was at Sarah’s house.  She shyly glanced at the altar of African figurines, with candles, beads, water, flowers and sage offerings.  Sarah’s honey colored skin was similar to Valeria's.  Her hands were pudgy and warm, loving to the touch.  Her laughter bounced off the wall and hugged you.  We lovingly called her Madrina Sara even though she was only Maggie's godmother.  Sarah would sing “Que viva Chango!....que viva Chango!” Valerie had no clue what it meant but, she loved the rhythm and transcendence in Sarah’s voice; she went somewhere when she sang that.  Valerie was so curious about this dually beautifully affirming yet, dark unspoken part of her culture and belief system.  She wondered why her elders, who prayed, received spiritual and cultural strength and guidance from these Black saints, songs and sagging practices also attributed negative or ugliness to being African or Black. 

During the late Spring, on weekends, Valerie would go up to the tar roof of the tenement where she watched the planes fly overhead; closing her eyes she imagined herself on them.  She didn’t just wonder; she (mind) traveled to distant places.  Twelve years later, while walking across campus Valerie was approached by her journalism professor.  He said his son was traveling to Cuba and that she should go too.  She didn’t know what made him tell her she should be going to Cuba.  His son never went.  Valerie did.  In 1998, Valerie traveled to Cuba to study Afro-Cuban culture.  In Santiago de Cuba, Chango the Yoruba Orisha, who opened the way for her when she only 9 years old became flesh and bone. 

Philippe Matthews author of SHOCK Meta physics writes: “We know that we must reclaim our original memory and become avid students, investigators, scientists, and researchers of our own history and not rely solely on society, educational systems and other races to teach us about our heritage and our contribution to all humanity.” 

I often asked myself: “what happens when we remember our past or envision (pretend) ourselves in the future? Are we time traveling?                                                     

Stay tuned for Act II of Out of Darkness: European Colonization by Ơ

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