Being Me!

This is a little something I wrote back as an undergrad on a particularly fantabulous day...

I just reread it and it soooo applies today too! So here you go...Being Me...

I'm learning to follow my own advice,

Learning to just be me.

I'm not doing what everyone says,

I just wanna be free!

Today, I feel so fabulous,

Having a wonderful day,

The sun is shining and birds are chirping,

Feeling good in every possible way!

Yesterday I had an epiphany,

The Lord opened my eyes.

I learnt not to be so obsessed

With the who's, what's, where's and why's.

Just let everything flow,

What's meant to be will be.

Never suppress that inner glow,

It'll all go right, you'll see!


Be happy people,

Nsoromma...Child of The Heavens

"Fanta Face, Coca-Cola Body"

So I haven't written a blog post in a while and I was complaining to Afrocentric that I felt like I had nothing to say lately. Then, for some reason, I realised "hold up"! I'm always complaining (or "passionate" as some people call it) about something. I realised there have been two things that have repeatedly put my back up in the last few years and this is one of them. Yes people, I'm talking about skin bleaching. Interestingly enough, just as I was formulating this post, I noticed that the BBC website had just posted a story on this very problem and it had rocketed to the top of their "most sent" article column . Clearly this is an issue by which many of us are concerned.

Growing up, I was never really conscious of skin colour until I progressed further and further up the educational ladder. When my sister, who is eleven years younger than me, was born I remember a great hoopla being made over her beauty. Now don't get me wrong, Sankofa Jr. is gorgeous but I noticed certain terminology was always used to describe her. "Oh Sankofa Jr. is so pretty and fair!" "Sankofa Jr. has such lovely and bright skin". You see where I'm going with this right? However, the older Sankofa Jr. got the darker in tone she became and a move to the ATL only expedited the issue. I remember showing a recent picture of her to a certain family friend who exclaimed "Oh no! She has gotten sooooo dark! Have you not been keeping her out of the sun?" She had to get a big

Since when did black Africans become so obsessed with skin colour? If I had a pound for every time I, or a friend, has been slyly given skin "brightening" creams or been told that we're pretty even though we're dark skinned.... Let's just say that I'd be making an appearance in Forbes. I am well aware that there is a difference in attempting to even complexion and straight up "Casper-ification" but some people need a big fat SIT DOWN! Hey, fine with me if you want to destroy the protective melanin God gave us. Or if you wish to expose your skin to hydroquinone (C6H602 for all you science buffs) of which the long term effects include premature ageing, blotchy, collagen- damaged skin, and skin cancer (yes black people can get skin cancer). Skin bleaching creams also contain mercury and trust me it's in a far more potent form than the type in a thermometer. Mercury, as pregnant women will know, can lead to kidney and liver failure in addition to leaving blue pigmentation in the folds of the skin, not to mention that these products are illegal in the United Kingdom. Now let me ask you, when you think of a beautiful woman do these images come to mind? Don't even get it twisted, it's not an exclusively African disease. Skin bleaching creams are prevalent in Caribbean countries and Asian countries also. In my opinion, the world is going mad. You've got white people going mad with the tanning and black people embracing the Casper effect hard. Sorry to be insufferably cheesy but whatever happened to loving ourselves? God gave me my skin colour for a reason and for that reason alone I'm gonna love it till the day I die.

Also, if you're so determined to bleach, why attempt to hide it? You ain't slick. I am sure all of you have encountered the phenomenon I named this post after. The "fanta face, coca-cola body" woman. Don't come and tell me you don't bleach when your knuckles and feet look like you've been grazing in charcoal but your face is more orange than the "You know when you've been tangoed" man. Come on!

Truthfully speaking, thinking about this issue made me think about the other side of the coin. Remember when we were in school and the light-skinned boy and girl were automatically the most popular people in your class? (St. James' holla! lol) Yeah just admit we were all on light-skinned boys until Moris Chestnut, Tyrese, and the ilk came along and put them out of fashion. I've happily said that light-skinned men are not my cup of tea as I've grown up. However, I have seen men straight up ROASTED for preferring light-skinned black women over their more melanin- endowed counterparts. Now where's the difference? Yes from today, I am really trying to stop that foolishness. It's a free country, just as I have my preferences, why should I lambast somebody for also having their preferences? But preferences are just that- preferences. If a man I like prefers lighter-skinned women does that mean I need to chemically alter my skin to better fit his preferences? Hell no! Come on people, if this does not apply to you, urge your mums, your aunties, (hell, your uncles too) to put the bleaching creams down. Our skin is beautiful in the myriad shades it comes in. Let's celebrate this.

Don’t MAKE Me Take It There!

How come some people just don't know when to quit?

There are people in my life who I could swear were created for the sole purpose of aggravating and upsetting me. It's a conceited, the-whole-world-revolves-around-me view but really, at times like this I'm certain I am right! Let me throw out a word of warning to the wise. I told you so is the single most f********ing annoying thing you can say to me!!!!!!!! Because by the time you've said it I'd have already apologised, therefore, I'm only ever gonna think you are deliberately trying to piss me off. Or else why do it?

Also, how come some people can totally block out what you say to them and expect you to listen to all the minute details of their drear and frankly miserable life? Talking to some people is literally like talking to a brick wall. They repeat the same nonsense they said 20 seconds earlier with no hint or suggestion that they even heard what you had said to them. That's not a conversation; it's a frigging soliloquy so if you want just repeat your nonsense over and over DO NOT expect me to want to listen. What you should expect is that it will over a period of time start to really annoy me and I'll either block YOU out or tell you to shut the f***** up!

Also, I'm of a somewhat, erhm, fiery temperament. If you shout at me chances are 9 ¾ times out of 10 I will bloody shout back. So don't shout, thanks. Muchos Gracias. So if you have known me for a number of years, you will know that I WILL shout back so if you shout at me you are looking for it. If I then give it to you WHY THE HELL ARE YOU COMPLAINING?!?!?!

Look, I'm well aware that it's a whole 'Ghanaian respect' thing that says that you should stand like a bloody mute and take abuse from your 'seniors'. I'm still at a loss as to why the fact that your parents got freaky before mine can make someone think I'll roll over and take the bullshit. But I try, I really do then the South-London-Black-Bitch in me kicks in, let's say 10 minutes. I think I do well. TEN BLOODY MINUTES. After that I think I'm well within my rights to tell you to stick it where the sun don't shine.

Rant, over....

Thanx guys, it's been real


Nsoromma...Child of the Heavens

N.B. Reading this back has been kind of therapeutic. I feel calmer and I'm actually laughing at what I wrote. I even feel like apologising, but then the problem with apologising that I've always had (as in seriously from childhood), is that when you apologise the other person half the time still doesn't see the wrong they have done. They feel vindicated and oh-so-right, which means that they are still gonna make me scream...grrr, perhaps Nsoromma need to take a chill pill!

Food for Thought: Music

I recently decided (as in a few seconds ago...literally) to do a regular(ish) post on various things that cross my mind. Ok...let me rephrase, on the things that give me cause to pause and think a little bit (such a rare occurrence in the aftermath of the mental exam mush that has currently replaced my brain). So here's the first of many of my 'food for thought's: music.

Music is such a therapeutic thing for is writing sometimes. The music I listen to can set my mood, help heal my wounds, make them worse or piss me off. At times I've been really surprised, shocked even at my personal reaction to music and that of other people to the same medium. For those who you who have never heard of it or never watched it you should check out The Truth Behind Hip-Hop, something I first watched at a youth retreat with my church when I was about 18. It had a real impact on me and it's something I have never forgotten. I threw away ALL of my 300-odd ORIGINAL CD's (...this was pre-mp3 downloads, lols...) and though I felt spiritually cleansed, IT HURT. A lot. I'm such a Nas and 2Pac fan...and Outkast...and Busta...and DMX...damn that HURT! But I felt it was all for the greater good, I mean it's not just the influence of Hip Hop, it's also the belief's that inspire many Neo-Soul musicians, the explicitness of Ragga and the longing and lustfulness often in R&B...even love songs. I was not a new Christian when I watched the DVDs but I would be a liar if I did not acknowledge that they opened my eyes.

Now what human being is not moved by music? NO ONE (as far as I'm concerned, but feel free to comment and challenge me at the end of my post). However as a hip hop head I noticed discrepancies and falsehoods in some of the preacher's (G Craige Lewis of EX ministries) claims and the student of politics and school debating champion that I was, these things for me just undermine some of the evident truths in his words. A grand debate wages as to whether G Craige Lewis is of God, or exploiting a Godly message for personal gain to the detriment of the Christian community. I believe the later. COMMON SENSE can tell you that much of the music is not good for our very souls and encourages and supports behaviour in us that contradicts much of our base belief's and I think that is true whichever faith you (do or do not) follow. I applaud the Preacher for perhaps reminding me of the importance of music in inducing emotions but I'll take much else of what he says with a MASSIVE chunk (not a grain-o, chunk) of salt. I believe he was sent to give me a message and my bible and the holy spirit in me exists to cross check what I hear, WHEREVER I hear it.

I have much of my old music back. I even have more than I had before. BUT...I thank God for the spirit of discernment, I feel that now I veer away from the tracks I feel can be emotionally damaging to me and do not feel bad listening to empowering tracks made by 'secular' artists. I implore you all...BE AWARE OF WHAT IT IS YOU LISTEN it Hip-hop, Hip-life, Ragga, Highlife, R&B, Neo-Soul, whatever, how it rests with your soul is a good indicator of how it may benefit you. The preacher is correct when he says you don't know what influences some of these artists, we really don't but neither does he. It is up to GOD to judge the hearts of men (and the subsequent heart they used to compose the music), I don't presume to label someone a believer or a non-believer because they wear their jeans low or listen to rock music or go raving, how is that my business? that's between them and their God. So I'll take the music as it comes, when I'm sad and I just need to revel in it, embrace it and move on I will listen to some Mary J.! When I feel militant, 2Pac still does the trick and when that foolish boy is acting up I agree with Erykah that he'd better Call Tyrone! But I just need to be aware that when I need to move on from my misery I should switch from Roses to Just Fine. Or that after being thoroughly pissed-off I should perhaps not listen to They Don't Give A Fuck About Us or When We Ride On Our Enemies and focus on Keep Ya Head Up. When I'm confused what's wrong with Lord Give Me A Sign? Me and D both need a sign, we all struggle!

Here are some excerpts from 2Pac – Better Days:

'Time to question our lifestyle, look how we live
Smokin weed like it ain't no thang, so even kids
wanna try now, they lie down and get ran through
Nobody watched 'em clockin the evil man do'

'I'd love to see the block in peace
With no more dealers and crooked cops, the only way to stop the beast
And only we can change
It's up to us to clean up the streets, it ain't the same
Too many murders, too many funerals and too many tears
Just seen another brother buried plus I'd known him for years
Passed by his family, but what could I say?
Keep yo' head up and try to keep the faith
And pray for better days'

No matter what he believed, what sins he committed, I don't know but no one can convince me that that can ever be at odds with my God!

Peace xXx

Nsoromma...Child of the Heavens

I'll leave you with DMX's Lord Give Me A Sign:

'No weapon formed against me shall prosper

For this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
In the name of Jesus
Lord give me a sign

Drama, Wahala, Asem...

I can empathise with Mary J. When she cried for No More Drama...and yet I can't quite make it work in my life. Consider...

I split from my very nice boyfriend of several months (around 6 I think...) because I was on this whole no more drama hype. As lovely as he was he had some fundamental 'flaws' that we could never get past:

  1. He's inkremoni (tr. Muslim) and I am not, and I've met too many people whose lives have been messed up because of the differences in their parents' religions. Sorry, I know it may work for some people but I'm not interested in that wahala (tr. Drama) in my life.
  2. He's dodgy. Like D-O-D-G-Y, as far as I'm concerned there are enough opportunities in this country for someone raised in the system to do something with their lives. He's a fast approaching 30, graduate who takes great pride in having never had a job. He's not on benefits and is living it up! No! C'mon I feel like I should be past that kind of dodginess in my life, as I've iterated before I feel like I am on the cusp of starting a wonderful life where my looooooong education is finally going to pay dividends. Look, I've done the ride-or-die chick thing before; at 23 I'm not interested in having your back if the police catch you. I'm older now and I'd probably be more inclined to think 'Good! You deserve to be caught! What are you thinking? GROW THE HELL UP!'That's drama man.
  3. He's alatani (tr. Nigerian) and before you people start on the racist hype. Listen. I've been with my fair share of Naija guys before and I just cannot abide the whole 'I'm Nigerian, we're the best' thing, how about 'I'm Ghanaian, I love being Ghanaian and I don't want to contend with the part of you that secretly believes your people are superior to mine!' Neither is it fair on him that I have inbred bad feelings about Naija dudes (OK that's not strictly fair or true, I think Ghanaian guys can be high wastage too!). But I would be a big fat liar if I did not acknowledge his very alata-ness was a problem. ASEM! (tr. Trouble)
  4. He's a lovely guy but really, I can't have a relationship with a man who can go for weeks, yes! WEEKS without feeling the need to see me when we live in the same 'regions' of London (Southside, that's where I'm coming from!)

Aww, bless him though he's nice, just not for me.

So I moved on with the help of an old, er, flame. Grrr, he is sooo the epitome of Ghanaian male wastage! Consider...

We have history and the whole idea was that now we have no separate dramas in our lives we should give it a real go. THEN he announces the drama of all dramas that no girl wants to hear...there's some chick expecting his child. WTF? ASEM! So, after his pleas and various (annoyingly childish) 'tests' of my loyalty and thinking long, deep and hard, I decided it is pretty unfair to judge a guy on the basis of one mistake, even if that 'mistake' results in a new life.

Nice, aren't I?

Well, I think so! I mean for many people that's an automatic no-no and I thought I'd try the mature route...fat lot of good it did me! He is as childish as when I first started seeing him a couple years back. Despite all his talk he's still essentially a child. I mean 'tests', really?!?!?! That nonsense always ends badly. It's sad though because I really, really, REALLY like him but I think he's incapable of being in an adult relationship. W-A-H-A-L-A, I'm sorry but it's not about babysitting grown as men!

Then there's the friend, who I believe is absolutely amazing! I (not-so-secretly) adore him. He's mature and straight-forward, God fearing and about something. I can tell him anything and everything. We can jam for hours and sometimes it is that nice kind of jamming, where neither of you say much of anything but you just enjoy each other's company. BUT, there's this underlying sexual chemistry that's growing...Which really isn't a problem...until you factor in the knowledge that he does not want a relationship. He generally treats me so well that, heck, I'm only human! I fantasise about being with him and sometimes when I look at him I know it's written on my in this boy is not stupid and he has categorically informed me that he knows how bad I want him by the way I look at him. Before my flustered, embarrassed ass can reply he also told me that I shouldn't feel bad in the slightest because extremely explicit thoughts cross his mind whenever he's around me. Now, it's out there it's like walking a tightrope...I don't want to lose my friend! But DAMN! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh ASEM!

I really can empathise with Mary J. but someone needs to show me how to achieve this ideal of no more drama. I mean without getting bored. Because when I get bored I always get into some other trouble and it begins again. Oh DRAMA, WAHALA, ASEM!

Getting Up Close and Biblical

They say church men are the worst men. Do you agree? Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against a man who will get out of his warm bed on a Sunday morning to pay his respects to God. Is that not something all of us christian sisters want?

However there are strange occurences that happen in God's house that lead me to believe that everyone is in church for their own agenda. And trust me, it is not always about worship.

I remember, around three years ago, my church held a single's night. (And before you start jumping to conclusions, let me make it clear: it was NOT about desperate singles scouting for the perfect partner). It was a seminar, followed by a discussion and refreshments. During the discussion, I was amused to find that a great deal of people find themselves in God's house on a Sunday morning to check the gyals dem (or the man dem). And I'm not talking about horny teenagers, these people are grown folk!!

Here are the top five methods these not-so-sly hopefuls will use:

1. The line. Everyone who goes to church knows the line. It goes like this , "sister, the Lord has directed me to you, and the Holy Spirit is telling me, you're the woman for me". If you ever fall victim to this manoeuver, your response should go like this "Really? Well, I haven't heard anything from God, so while I wait for Him to speak to me, could you keep your distance? Thanks".

2. Watch out for those who plant themselves in certain departments you know they have no business in joining. If Mr. Hopeful decides to join the choir as soon as you join, and you know he can't hit a single note, that is cause for concern. You may laugh, but a young man, the other day, confessed to me that he joined the welcoming team after catching sight of one of the new comers. He knew he had no interest in this department, and once he had caught this girl in his net, he left the welcoming team as quickly as he had joined.

3. Next, be weary of the young men who are so eager for you to join their department. "Sister, I have been studying you for some time now, and I can see you will be perfect in the announcements team". Need I say more? Once the two of you are working side by side...

4. Also watch out for those who insist on sitting next to you sunday after sunday, all the while hoping for Pastor to say, "give your neighbour a holy embrace". You know exactly what I'm talking about. They make a bee line for you regardless of where the usher has placed them, and wait for the right opportunity to make their move.

5. Lastly, there are those who invite you to theirs after the service "for sunday lunch". *wink wink*. If you fall for that one, you deserve a good beat down.

I'm not just picking on the men. Women try to pull these moves too. lol!! Anyway, I will finish by saying there is nothing wrong in using an opportunity to get something you want. But people make the whole "dating agency" thing their primary goal on a Sunday morning. And when you're on the receiving end of their "advances", it can all get a bit tiring. By the time the last "amen" has been said, you're ready to breeze out of church!

So Annoying!

Never mind everything happening for a reason. Some things are just not fair. These are my exact sentiments towards the nonsense Sankofa and I had to go through today. I mean, today started off well: breakfast at Whetherspoons in the morning, followed by church - and we still managed to make it sort of on time to church.
The f**keries began after the service though, when a "distinguished gentleman" decided to pay me a back handed compliment about my bag. Trust me, Sunday's EastEnders omnibus couldn't touch the drama that goes on in church.
Anyway, let's get to the point: aside from my phone taking a hard fall from my pocket and breaking into pieces while I was running for the bus 185, the afternoon simply couldn't get worse.
We did make it on the 185 (thanks for asking), and got off at Lewisham. While still recovering from our conversation with the "distinguished gentleman", we decided to take a trip to Sainsbury's. We were both fed up and annoyed, not to mention the weather being temperamental today. So we got into Sainsbury's and the first thing Sankofa reached for was a drink to calm her nerves. We got carried away in the shop, trying to find popcorn, biscuits and drinks etc. etc. (Did I mention we were en route to the cinema?) Anyway, we finally got it together, paid and headed out of the shop.

What do you think happened next?

We walked out, and practically got jumped on by a fat bele security guard. "Did you pay for evritin?", he asked in his thick naija accent.

"yeah, you wanna check our bags?", you know that was us in our south london, bad gyal accents.

"you took this drink, drank it in our shop, and dumped the bottle without paying for it". Yes, you guessed it! The drink Sankofa so badly needed when we first arrived in the shop.

"would you like to follow me , girls".

He was so smug. Do you think he cared it was a mistake? Did he even want to listen to the simple explanation? Did he give a s**t that we were with my three younger sisters?

NO, NO, NO!!!

We were proved right in the end, and Sankofa paid for her drink afterwards, but it's still unfair. Big bele was clearly judging us by his own standards. Don't you just hate it when someone accuses you of something you never did and refuses to listen to what you have to say? Or when they know they are in the wrong but won't admit it because they are trying to save face? Grrrr!!! It's so annoying.

The Perfect Night Out?

Hi people. How have you all been? It has been a while, hasn't it? For those of you who have been doing exams, how did they go? If you have not yet finished, well good luck with the rest. But if like me, you have kissed good bye to the wonderful world of academia, you are probably findng ways to fill your time. I decided to fill some time on Friday night, by going to see the U.K. premier of the Ghanaian film, The Perfect Picture, at the Odeon Cinema in Surrey Quays. Me and my girls enjoyed the film - it was entertaining from beginning to end. The story line wasn't your cliché story of wicked step mothers, witch doctors and women who can't have babies.
Unfortunately, the film was not the highlight of the evening. Bad time keeping and organisation stole the spotlight. Firstly, the (very helpful) organisors of the film premier sent me a list on facebook two weeks before the screening of the the ticket outlets that would be selling the £10 tickets. I was enthused to find that there were two outlets down the road from me. You can imagine my dismay then when I went into one of the shops, three days before the screening, only for the shop owner to tell me, "sorry, I don't have any tickets. My shop is on the list but I don't know anything about this film premier". And as for the second shop - let's just say the shop owner up and left one day, and is still nowhere to be found, not even to sell me my tickets.
Anyway, by stroke of luck, divine intervention or just pure coinsidence, me and my girls got our tickets (which were apparently sold out - again, according to the helpful orgnisors) about four hours before the movie was due to start.
So, after a nine hour shift at work on Friday night I knew I had to sprint, or even better, fly accross the underground network, from Canary Wharf to Canada Square to make it for the film (which was to start at 9pm prompt - so said the lovely organisors).
After meeting up with the girls, we get to Surrey Quays cinema at 9.10pm (Oh my gosh, have we made it on time? Has the film started yet? What if they don't let us in?) Well, there was absoloutley nothing to worry about because the film did no start until 11!!! Yes, I kid you not. My people had actually outdone themselves with the whole lateness thing.
Let's not even forget that ONE cast member out of the whole crew that was promised us turned up, and oh yeah - the lovely, helpful organisors sold more tickets than there were seats, so we had people ready to kick ass in order to get a seat, people sitting on people's laps, people standing in the ailes and people even sitting on the extra chairs they decided to put out at the front. To put it this way, by the time the film actually started, people were fed up, pissed off and tired - but still very anxious to watch the film.
We were all relieved when it actually started, so can you imagine the total "pissedoffness" that filled the room when the M.C. decided to talk over the much anticipated "sex scene"? (And, yes, I am using the term "sex scene" very loosley.) I can't even front though, the film was really good, and I do recommend everybody to watch it.
Apart from the "minor" set backs, it was altogether an enjoyable evening, except for the fact that the film didn't finish until after 1 in the morning, leaving me and the girls (and our long faces) on the night bus back home.

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