In a few African traditions, the griot held the story of many locals – the village, family or family. The griot pulled jointly the strands of the story which represented the various people who had taken part in it. Stored these strands and kept them safe. Savored them, treasured them. Wove them together to form a cloth, a complete that merged the assorted colors and shadings into a routine which told the account of the people. coupon
Those then heard their history. Their tongues sang it. Their feet danced it. Their hips swayed it. Their hands drummed it. Their fingers carved it. The stories of their ancestors, treasured, remembered, distributed, and preserved for future generations.
I was very fortunate in this my Black American mother taught myself from an early era to be proud of my heritage. When the lady told me about the experience of enslavement, the lady told it from the perspective of those who had resisted and made it through that enslavement. So We were encouraged to consider captivity and resistance together and the same – a person who was captive resisted that enslavement as an issue of course. She explained stories of Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth that still motivate and inform me, practically 40 years later.
In Afrika, under colonization, people were also often lower off from other heritage and even required to speak European languages. Under an education system which still left them unable to identify their house villages, and unable to talk to people of their own households, they could not connect their experience to their own communities. And so they were educated to believe these were superior to the ‘backwards’ people today belonging to the rural villages, and prompted to adopt European spiritual practices, modes of habit and so on. However, they often have a better sense of their heritage than we, in the diaspora, may have.
During the time of enslavement, African people were not allowed to share with our own stories. We all were prohibited to speak our own languages, or even to name our own children. Our testimonies were stolen from all of us, and rewritten in unbalanced forms. These distortions were then used to determine and control us.
Nevertheless still, African people advised their stories. They whispered them. They lovingly made their babies’ names into their blankets. They advised the stories of their homes, although much has been forgotten. Their fingertips remembered. They baked them into breads and muffins, stirred them into soups and stews and hemp. Plaited them into their children’s hair. And selected and planted them in their backyards.
They made-up their own words and the own languages. Creole. Patois. Gullah. They made new artwork forms, new musical varieties – jazz, blues, reggae, rhythm and blues, gospel. Although much was ignored, stolen, lost, rewritten or distorted, still much continued to be.
In the African diaspora, we have been brainwashed for centuries to assume that we are inferior to other races. During and after enslavement, our forebears were told that these were fit only for working as well as for serving their white masters, who were more powerful, more intelligent and more able than we were holding.
Today, we see these stereotypes being perpetuated, in a little bit altered but still evidently recognizable forms. In display screen roles, including TV and film as well as adverts, we often see Black men portrayed as criminals or gangsters – tough, hard and thrashing. We rarely see Dark men and women being portrayed as loving partners and wives, and parents, in stable homes and relationships, or doing careers such as bankers, instructors or other figures of authority.