On Bad Fathers, Body Shaming and Eminem’s New Song Featuring Beyoncé

Hey hey!   So this is coming a bit late in the day but it is here!  How was your week? We hope it was as full and fun as ours was? ‘What did we do?’ you ask. A lot…even if we say so our self. We reviewed Eminem’s new song featuring Beyoncé (Yes! Beyoncé!) It is called ‘Walk on Water’ and the video just dropped today, November 20, 2017. So we got in quick, right? And we know you might be wondering why we were doing a review of Eminem’s song since Shades of Us is about Africa, Africans and people of African descent – black and brown people basically – but Eminem is an honorary black person! He is one of us y’all! Any hoo, we also reviewed Ride Along starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart on The Review. It was lit!  And from the blog, we shared posts about dealing with body shaming, fatherhood(or the lack of it) and the fourth installment of our Here Comes the Bride series. We really should finish that! We promised to conclude the Long Distance series and put up a new video but…life happened. We feel ashamed but our hands were really tied. They will come up this week. We promise! So here is everything we shared last week. From the blog;         Why Athletes Need Formal Education;          Here Comes the Bride 4;          The Foreign Certificate Syndrome;         Dealing with Body Shaming;         Why We Support the Eradication of Poverty;         The World’s Worst Fathers On The Review;          That’s What I Like By Bruno Mars;          Barbershop: The Next Cut;          The Birth of a Nation;          Ride Along;          For Colored Girls;          Walk on Water by Eminem featuring Beyoncé; And from the YouTube channel;          The Launch;          The Un-Invited Wedding Guest;          My body, Your Problem; We also celebrated the Nigerian Bobsled team that qualified for the Winter Olympics happening in Russian in 2018. They are officially the first team in African to qualify for the Winter Olympics and they did it all by themselves. What an inspiration! This week! We already promised that Long Distance will come up but we can go further to say that you can read the final edition on Tuesday at 10am on the blog! Excited? We sure are! As usual, there will be two episodes of The Review this week and tentatively, a new video. Ei! We can see your skepticism! We will try! Ha! So much pressure. Any hoo…that was a summary of last week and a preview of what this week would look like. What topic do you want us to discuss? Share your ideas in the comment section and we will get to it! So…have yourself a great week! Thank you. Always Excited, Ramatu Ada Ochekliye, Founder, Shades of Us

To Africans in Countries That Don’t Want Them

African man being attacked in South Africa.Image: Reuters It started in South Africa. Well…it didn’t really. It was however one of the first times I had seen something so disturbing. So for me, it started in South Africa. It was sometime in 2015. The news was flooded with gruesome images (and videos) of angry mobs chasing a man, capturing him and beating him to death. The mob was made of men, women and children who seemed eager – too eager – to kill this man. There was no justification for the scene that played out but I needed to know why these foaming-at-the-mouth people decided to take a man’s life in such a deliberately wicked manner. I found out his crime; he was an immigrant. Just that. But for many South Africans, that was enough. That incident wasn’t an isolated case. It was however my introduction into the word categorized as xenophobia. I wondered how people could be so brutal and decidedly evil. There were nights when I couldn’t sleep because of the images and videos I had watched. I tried to understand the rationale behind killing immigrants. Some South Africans said these immigrants were the dregs of society and brought with them a life of crime and criminality. If that was the case, why then did they only seem to attack affluent or middle class people who were doing well for themselves, who had their own shops or businesses or who were students? Another rhetoric was that these immigrants were taking jobs away from citizens. Again, that rhetoric was flawed because in many cases, immigrants worked the dirtiest, most degrading jobs that citizens didn’t want. So if you didn’t want to do them, how could they have been ‘taken away’ from you? As I mulled over these problems, even more disturbing stories began to come out. From America, Europe, South East Asia, Northern Africa and even our neighbors in other parts of Africa, there seemed to be a whole lot of hate for African immigrants; especially if they are from Nigeria. Recently, I watched another really disturbing video showing how policemen from a Northern African country – I cannot remember which – treat black Africans in their prisons. This police man in particular beat an African prisoner so bad that he could not cry again. He just grunted every time a blow or a kick landed on his already bruised and broken body. Not satisfied with what he had done, the policeman pulled out a pocket knife and repeatedly stabbed the victim’s back with quick jabs of pain. The victim cried out again but the sound was lost in his throat. Only the agonized expression on his face explained what he had been trying to do. I was sick to my bone at the images I had seen. I am very visual so I really guard my eyes from these kinds of images but I stumbled on these two and was glued to my screen; a testament of how horrifying they were. My question then is, why do Africans go to other countries when they are obviously not wanted there? Why risk mob action, police brutality, racial or xenophobic discrimination, robbery and even death? And worse, why do they still stay in such countries after witnessing the hateful way with which their kin are treated? The answer, though glaringly obvious, still hurts. Our countries are not working! It is 2019 and many African countries are still dealing with poor infrastructure, communally entrenched corruption, sub-par education, poverty, religious and tribal discrimination, firmly rooted patriarchy, a myriad of preventable and curable diseases, unnecessary wars of power and supposed superiority etc. We are still lagging far behind! The rest of the world is championing new fronts in all spheres of life. We can’t even access basic necessities if we are not among the wealthy or middle class in our countries. Affluence divides the line of people in all countries, and it is a problem in Africa because many of the affluent are where they are because they shortchanged the rest of the population. So I want to tell my brothers and sisters to come back home and away from those horrible countries but… what are they coming back to? To failed systems that lets them down all the time? To governments that do not even care for them? Or to a no-dream country? Because you see, people would rather risk everything they have, even unto death, if it means a chance at a better life. That is why many Africans still try to cross the Mediterranean even though people are dying DAILY at sea. That is why we have immigrants doing the most disgusting jobs to survive. That is why our brothers and sisters return to communities where a brother was killed, hoping the sharp looks of hatred are just that; knowing that one day, they may transcend into something much worse. This is the reality of the continent we call home. And this why we have to, collectively, rewrite the entirety of our lives as Africans. We need to make our countries work! When each of our countries works, our continent will work! Europe is probably the most stable continent in the world because they have created systems that improve the lives of their people. Even Tunisia, which is a bedlam most of the time, works. Why can’t we have effective systems for ourselves? Why do we seem so keen on imploding first before finding ourselves? When will we catch up to the rest of the world? We need to take a cue from Nehemiah’s wall; a system where everyone worked to fix their own wall as they added to the grand wall of Jerusalem. We don’t have to wait for our nobles and leaders to start causing the desired change that we want. We can start from ourselves and our immediate environment. Educate ourselves and our children, love our neighbors as we do ourselves, work hard, clean our environment, refuse to be corrupt or

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know Were Invented by Black People

Credit: All Events Black people are awesome and many times, we don’t get the credit we deserve. All through history, we have always created or contributed to the creation of ingenious inventions for the advancement of human kind. In this podcast, we look at 5 things you probably didn’t know were invented by black people. Find out more in the clip below and share with us other inventions you know were invented by black people. If we don’t celebrate ourselves, who will? If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element

What Donald Trump’s Victory Should Mean for Africa

Donald Trump,President of The United States of America.Picture Credit: TIME As the world reels from the news that Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America, we need to take a look back at what the win, combined with the proposed British exit – Brexit – from the European Union means for Africa, Africans and black people in general. Like the push for Brexit, Donald Trump’s campaign was riddled with fear mongering, describing a world where minorities are supposedly overwhelming the (predominantly white) population of these countries. The purview of these two world powers hold is that by ‘letting’ more ‘minorities’ into their nation, the people indigenous to these countries are being pushed out; from leadership positions, jobs, opportunities and other benefits of being a citizen. To the majority of Americans and Brexit voters, these foreigners are making them less than they are supposed to be and they need to take their power back. In plain speak, keep the bloody foreigners out! While this is being touted as nationalistic for those who hold these views, we cannot help but see the underlying (in the case of Britain) and most times, glaringly obvious (Trump couldn’t be clearer) tones of racism, bigotry and hate. It is shocking to note that these two countries that pride themselves on being progressive and the most tolerant of the world powers have massively voted to stop acting like they consider all human life equal. George Orwell couldn’t have been more accurate. The United States of America and the United Kingdom have voted to stop pretending that there aren’t racist undertones in their country. They have also voted to stop pretending that they care about ALL human life. Why is this a historical time for Africa particularly? The answer lies in the fact that Africans and black people keep going to these countries for one reason or the other. Before I look at the Black people from these countries, I will discuss those of us from Africa. The data collated by NOI Polls and Pew Research Center show that rate of emigration of Africans to the US and UK has increased. This is especially explained by Monica Anderson in her article, ‘African Immigrant Population in U.S. Steadily Climbs’ posted on Fact Tank, Pew Research Center on November 2, 2015. Of particular interest to me are these paragraphs: “There were 1.8 million African immigrants living in the U.S. in 2013, up from 881,000 in 2000 and a substantial increase from 1970, when the U.S. was home to only 80,000 foreign-born Africans. They accounted for 4.4% of the immigrant population in 2013, up from 0.8% in 1970. The growth is evident among recently arrived immigrants. When compared with other major groups who arrived in the U.S. in the past five years, Africans had the fastest growth rate from 2000 to 2013, increasing by 41% during that period. (Africans are also a rapidly growing segment of the black immigrant population in the U.S., increasing by 137% from 2000 to 2013.) One factor behind this recent wave can be traced to the Refugee Act of 1980, which made it easier for those fleeing conflict-ridden areas, such as Somalia and Ethiopia, to resettle in the U.S. Back then, less than 1% of all refugee arrivals were from Africa, compared with 32% today, according to figures from the U.S. State Department’s Refugee Processing Center. Statistics from the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics confirm this point. Among refugee arrivals in 2013, five of the top 10 countries of nationality were in Africa: Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia.” But more than a desire to flee war-torn countries is an emigration for proper (and more advanced) health care, better education, more effectively working systems’, tourism or just having a go at ‘greener pastures’. Each of these by themselves is not too much of a problem but when put together, we see the problem as clearly as day; Africa is a failing continent. It breaks my heart to say this because of my optimism about Africa but it is imperative that we accept that we are failing; and woefully so! The rest of the world took pity on us for centuries and allowed some of our excesses. Of course they did this for their selfish gains but we are more to blame for this than they are. We cannot continue to funnel our resources, wealth, revenue or intellect towards improving these countries when ours, and hence our continent, continues to suffer and bleed out. We cannot continue to continue to perpetuate the ‘white savior’ complex and expect more developed countries to solve our problems. And now, even if we want to, these countries are not having it anymore! They are sick and tired of our neediness and constant dependence. They are done with us! So what can we do? 1.        First, we need to wake the hell up! These countries see us as nothing more than pests and leeches and what do you do to these? I will let you figure it out. Before that time comes, we need to borrow ourselves some sense and wake up; 2.      We need to stop believing in the ‘white savior’ ruse because guess what? They have not saved us from anything! In case you don’t know, South Sudanese people are still dying. So are Somalians. Many African countries are still dirt poor. Aid after aid after elaborate event to raise more aid and the problems we have are still very glaring. No country will save us as long as they need us to remain dependent. We have to save ourselves! The black race has to save herself! 3.          There is no better time to strengthen our institutions than at this very moment. We need to start investing – heavily – in our educational and health sectors, our military, government systems, infrastructure, landmarks, power, communications and best of all, our human capital and resources; 4.         The bloody brain drain has to stop! We cannot continue to take so much money

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