In 1974, 12 years after Trinidad and Tobago received independence, while the island still suffered severely from colonialist ideas, and the smoke from the black power revolution was still dissipating, a Trinidadian journalist/playwright, an African-American film director and a married production duo got together to create a movie, to be shot on location on Trinidad and Tobago’s own shores, which would reflect both the richness of the island’s culture and the underlying struggles that were yet to be addressed.
Raoul Pantin, Hugh A. Robertson, Harbance Kurmar and Suzanne Robertson created Bim; the story of a young man of East Indian descent struggling to come to terms with being ostracized, victimized and alienated by the very society of which he was a product.
When I first started my journey with Soulreflectionz.com, I mentioned the website and its content to an acquaintance of mine. This acquaintance happened to be Trinidadian, like yours truly. I remember him asking me, in regard to my contributions to Soulreflectionz.com, “How can you write about African American culture when you are not African American?” I was busy that day, and did not stop to reply to his question, but I did pause long enough to think of how narrow-minded he came off to me after asking such a question. Recently, I was reminded of this question when I overheard a conversation between a young man from Ghana and a young woman from New York. The young man was scoffing at the idea that black Americans could in any way relate to blacks born and raised in the continent of Africa itself. In response to his scoffing, the young lady from New York fiercely attempted to assert her right to be and feel connected to Africa and African culture. The pettiness of the conversation greatly disturbed me.
Ohio’s own Chatiela Underwood has emerged from many hardships to become the multi-talented, ultra-successful woman she is today. Taking time out of her busy schedule on a Sunday afternoon, the writer spoke openly about her life and her life’s work with Soulreflectionz.com.
Following her historic win of Best Actress in a drama series at the 2015 Prime Time Emmy Awards, the beautiful black powerhouse that is Viola Davis delivered what is now one of the most memorable and haunting speeches made by any award recipient. The above photo carries a snippet of that speech.
As I watched her, tears came to my eyes. Because I saw in her, standing there proudly grasping the Emmy she’d worked so hard to win, every hardworking black woman in every field, of every shade who has finally received long-deserved respect from not just the black community, but the world, for what they do. I saw in her proud stance the image of Lupita Nyong’o, Halle Berry, Beyonce Knowles, Zendaya Coleman, and Kerry Washington; as well as those that fought the good fight to pave the way for the rest of us, like Dorothy Dandridge, Mae West, Maya Angelou, Lorraine Hansberry, and Mahalia Jackson. The black female actresses, writers, singers, and all-around entertainers then and now who fought the good fight; they all shined through the glittering eyes of Viola Davis as she uttered words that few dare to utter. It was truly a proud moment for black women, and black people, everywhere.
Following her fall out with former E! correspondent Guiliana Rancic over the dreadlocked hairstyle she sported at the 2015 Oscars, stunning 18-year-old triple threat Zendaya Coleman (she sings, acts and dances her ass off) has shown that negative comments don’t phase her, as she has continued to exhibit the outspokenness she is fast becoming known for.
The “Kandake” or “Kentake,” dated back to biblical times, was a title given to a Queen Regent (I.e. a Queen who reigns in her own right). An example of such a queen was Empress Candace of Ethiopia; a beautiful, powerful and God-fearing black woman. Historically speaking, black women are not just descended from slaves; we are descended from queens. To be queens, then, is our birthright, and royalty is embedded in our DNA. Some have misconceptions as to what the characteristics of a queen should be, and what a queen should look and act like. The aim of this post is to educate the masses on what defines a true black queen.
My queenliness is not determined by the way I choose to wear my hair; your natural hair does not make you organic, and my relaxed hair does not make me GMO. A black queen can wear a weave that flows like the Nile River or an afro as big as Diane Ross’s hair; as long as she is woke, does not have a processed mind, and exercises the ability to think and make decisions for herself.