Peaceful parenting: Disciplining our children

Let me be clear.  Violence isn’t the answer. Never has been. Get this: violence is learned.  Many of us just do what’s been done to us without questioning it. On the other hand, peaceful parenting requires a necessary shift. When that occurs spanking and other forms of abuse (think: emotional, psychological, physical…) are out.  A book about why beatings are so prevalent in our community, the damaging effects of hitting & more. Yes, she discusses alternatives that foster self-discipline. Author speaks about the book. Author and others discuss the book. Effective alternatives to spanking, gentle parenting techniques & more. Raising up a child: Changing attitudes in the Caribbean Part 2 of above

There is a difference between punishment and discipline. Real talk.

Traditional weddings! Let’s go back!

Oooh oooh ooooh! Have you ever been to a traditional wedding? Omg!!!! I’ve had the privilege of attending one. Oooooooh! It was an Ausar Auset wedding. My gosh, my gosh!!!! Let me tell you. It was absolutely wonderful!!! Engagement ceremony in Ghana. Not sure which spiritual tradition.    A taste of West African engagement ceremonies & weddings    Yoruba engagement/wedding celebration Yoruba wedding Li’l piece of Oromo wedding Important traditions you may want to include

Now you don’t have to get married in Africa to have such things. There are officiants all over the world who can assist you in having the engagement/wedding ceremony of your dreams.  If there are contemporary traditions (from the West) that you’d like to incorporate feel free to do so. It makes absolute sense for those of us from the Diaspora. Do it up!!




Planning your wedding?

As we all know our commitment ceremonies take many forms. Nevertheless do exactly what speaks to you and your partner(s). Will some of our family and friends be out of their comfort zones? You better believe it! We must be true to ourselves though. Build your ceremony from the ground up and find an officiant who will work with you.    Sharon & Mike’s wedding, Pt.1   ”    ”    “, Pt.2    ”    ”    “, Pt.3  Wedding in Central Park, NY  Ma’at Wedding Moments Another Afrikan-centred wedding  Pt.2 of above  Pt.3 ” ” Pt.4 ” ”  Afrikan-centred (kinda sorta), feminist (kinda sorta) wedding Article on various weddings     Tips for frugal wedding    Tanzanian/Jamaican wedding   Yoruba-inspired wedding in NYC      Ancient & contemporary traditions          Ancient wedding traditions


Thinking about starting a preschool?

Starting an Afrikan-centred preschool? Don’t know where  to start? These Afrikan-centred schools can help: Kamali Academy in (New Orleans, LA.) Natural Genius Homeschool Advantage (” “)  Kuumba Learning Center (Washington, DC) Little Sun People Day Care Center (Brooklyn, NY) Ile Omode School (Oakland, CA) New Concept Preschool (Chicago, IL)

The following is a great resource too: Afrikan-centred/Global Education Curriculum in Early Childhood Education



So you’re getting married?

Planning your commitment ceremony (aka wedding)? Sweeeeet! There are lots of great resources out there.  is one. Check out what this couple did.

With the Afrobella Bride series, I’m going to feature businesses that cater to your special day, ideas for your special day, and photos FROM your special day. So bellas, please give a warm welcome to my first ever Afrobella bride!

Kiwana is a jewelry designer and soap maker, among many other things! Check out her wares at, and she’s also on Twitter!

On their wedding day, Kiwana and her husband chose to blend African with African-American traditions.

afrobella bride, afrocentric bride, black bride, black woman marriage wedding

Kiwana on her wedding day!

My husband and I were born and raised here in Mississippi. Most folk who have seen our pictures do assume that one or both of us are directly from the Continent. We chose African attire because we felt it reflected how we feel as a couple of African descent.

When we first talked about what we wanted in a wedding, we both decided we wouldn’t want a “traditional” wedding that most people are used to seeing. Our wedding was really a hybrid of African and African-American traditions. Our families and friends were happy to comply with our wishes for making our day truly ours, including wearing African garb.

afrobella bride, afrocentric wedding

We had African dancers and drummers who participated early in the ceremony. Our neighbor who happens to be a Yoruba priestess performed our libation and prayer. Our officiant performed a Kemetic (African-Centered) ceremony. We had a “tasting of the elements” ritual, which was adapted from Yoruba tradition. We had a lighting of the Mishumaa Saba (seven candles) of Kwanzaa representing the same principles of the holiday we want to be represented in our marriage. And at the end we jumped the broom.

We used adinkra symbols throughout the wedding including our invitations and programs, our wedding rings, and our wedding cakes.

The headdress is called a Gele. I worked a few weeks to get it right and I still thought it wasn’t big enough! My attire including the headdress was purchased from Dupsie’s. They were absolutely wonderful! I wore my hair in comb coils underneath the Gele. i’ve been natural for 13 years.

wedding, bride, groom, marriage, afrobella brides

We were married in Jackson, MS at a private home. My husband’s cousins were gracious enough to let us have the wedding & reception at their home. We wanted it small and intimate. We had about a total of 75 guests. Their backyard was the perfect venue for us and the weather cooperated beautifully.

The first thing we decided was the budget. We kept it small and inexpensive, not spending over $4000 total.

Having everything in a private home helped to save us on our budget. In choosing details, we did decide like most people what colors we wanted. Things fell into place from there.

I decided what flowers I wanted and chose to buy those online to save floral costs. Sam’s has beautiful flowers and it wasn’t difficult at all to prep them before doing the arrangements. I had a family friend and another family member who have experience doing arrangements help me with the flowers. This included the bridal bouquet, family flowers and floral arrangements for the tables.

afrobella bride, african wedding, african american wedding

Sam’s also makes delicious cakes. My husband decorated them himself. He also decided to make a black cake after I told him about one at a friend’s wedding.

If you’re crafty, you can do lots of projects yourself. My husband, who is an artist and musician, created our invitations and programs. We assembled them ourselves. I made my own jumping broom myself from a pine branch from our backyard, natural straw i purchased, cowrie shells, flowers and ribbon.

bride, african american bride, jumping the broom

Since I create my own jewelry, I created pieces for myself and my family in the wedding.

[In planning the wedding] I visited The Knot quite a bit. I used two books, Jumping the Broom and The Nubian Wedding Book. Dupsies for clothing, From Cairo with Love for our wedding rings. I basically did plenty of internet research for decor ideas and flower arrangement ideas.

Kiwana’s best advice for surviving the big day was both practical and loving.

Remember the day is about you and your soon to be husband. I think plenty of men are left out of the day (maybe by choice, maybe by the bride to be). Sitting down and incorporating your mate into your decision making can be fun. Heck he might even bake you a cake!

Ask for help! You don’t have to do everything yourself, even if you are on a budget. More than likely friends and family are willing to contribute work to make your day happen.

Planning a wedding doesn’t have to take forever. We planned our wedding in 8 weeks. We picked a day and went full steam ahead.

Having a “Day of Coordinator” comes in handy, even if you don’t use a wedding planner. Your DOC directs the ceremony and takes care of the issues you shouldn’t have to worry about.

Now that Kiwana has been married a while, I had to ask for her best marriage advice.

This make sound boring, but keep the lines of communication open. You have to be able to talk to each other. And don’t forget just because he’s your husband, doesn’t mean you can’t date him. Have a date night!

Thanks to Brice Media for photos and videos.

Thanks for sharing your special day, Kiwana!!


Presidents’ Day in the U.S.

Well I don’t know about you all but Presidents’ Day doesn’t resonate with me. Not by a long shot. Go ‘head and use the day for something positive mind you. For eg. it may be a good time to host a family gathering. Just some good old-fashioned chill out time with our relatives. Have a yummy potluck at someone’s house. Nothing fancy. The small people (aka our children) will love it!

P.S.- It’s Family Day in Canada.

The Church: Lessons to be Learned

Let’s take a closer look at Christianity, specifically the Black church. Truth is, many of us fail to understand why it’s so powerful. It’s known that it gives people a sense of community. True! That’s HUGE. Think about it. There are rituals/ceremonies, music/books/tv & radio shows. Don’t forget about Sabbath/Sunday school, youth groups and singles’ clubs, couples’ retreats and seniors’ groups, camps, choirs, Bible study, conferences. Not to mention soup kitchens, clothing giveaways and more. Simply put, the black church has programmes for everyone. Talk about consistent. Omg! Instead of knockin ’em how about giving ’em some props? How can we learn from them?

There is no Afrikan-centred oganization (except for Ankobea) that I am aware of that has solid programming for all ages. Think about it.  We tend to have our share of events. That’s all well and good. We’re very weak when it comes to programming though. Let’s work to change this folks!

Black church turns its historical activism toward youth

by Chika S. Oduah
Oct 21, 2009

It was birthed from the experiences of slaves, and handed to their sons and daughters. When thousands of blacks migrated north at the turn of the 20th century, they brought their church with them, and it developed a deeply rooted tradition of activism.

Over the decades, black churches have helped change history in Chicago and in the country. Chicago’s oldest African-American church, Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal, played an integral role in the abolition movement. In subsequent years, black churches were at the forefront of civil rights, education, housing and health reform.

Today, the black church is addressing youth violence.

“African-American churches are still relevant,” said David Byrd, the youth director at Apostolic Church of God in Woodlawn.

While at the black church’s center has always been a message of spiritual restoration, it has also had a multifunctional role in the community. Many churches conduct clothing drives, provide food to the hungry and offer financial counseling to their members. Today churches are working to channel young people’s energies in productive activities, providing supervision and adult role models.

Byrd says his church offers more than 40 activities including after-school sports, music, and tutoring programs to 3,500 youth. “The doors of the church never close,” he said.

Quinn Chapel A.M.E., founded in 1847, tries to help at-risk youth in a variety of ways, said the Rev. Merilyn Brown, youth pastor at Quinn. For example, the South Loop church provides shelter, legal assistance and counseling for runaways.

“Every child can go bad,” she said. “We don’t wait until they get in trouble.”

Some churches have reacted in immediate and visible ways. Members of Trinity United Church of Christ at 95th and South Eggleston Ave. marched, singing and carrying signs along 95th Street after last month’s beating death of Derrion Albert.

“I think that the march was to signify to all the people who are watching and to those who want to continue making war on the community that this is intolerable and justice will be served,” said Linda Thomas, a member of Trinity and professor of theology at the Lutheran School of Chicago.

“Knowing that city hall has not called any type of blue ribbon committee, it is the role of the church to step up,” said Thomas.

Despite all the black church is doing, many say they can’t – and shouldn’t have to – do it alone.

Omar McRoberts, a sociology professor at the University of Chicago, sees the necessity of employing a more holistic approach to curbing violence. He said the break down of institutions has contributed to the spike in murdered youths.

“As a society, we’ve failed these young people,” he said.

McRoberts said greater collaboration between churches and secular institutions is necessary.

“It is shameful that we have reached such a low morality that every time someone has a disagreement, they have to reach for a gun,” Apostolic Church of God’s Byrd said.