Random Thoughts

#9. Do #BlackLivesMatter?

Philando Castile could have been any of my male cousins, my brothers-in-law or my nephews based in America. I can easily put any one of them in that space – and this is why when I read and hear these stories, I feel an anger so pervasive it makes me shake.

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I live in Accra, Ghana as far away as possible from such scenes that occur in America with frightening regularity, but because I  have family there it hits too close to home. I watched Daily Show’s Trevor Noah share how the recently released video ‘broke him’ and I almost started weeping….my mind couldn’t wrap itself around the fact that the man was doing what the police officer asked him to do and he still got shot four times in front of his girlfriend and her four year old daughter.

Shot down in cold blood on a day they had planned to go out and buy ice cream.

Jesus Christ, what cold-blooded brutality is this?

And from watching the videos, the cop wasn’t justified. He had no reason to shoot, Mr. Castile was calmly following orders and the cop was losing his shit for no good goddamn reason.

And then the jury said the cop was innocent of wrongdoing.

I read the articles around the case and feel a toxic swirl of rage and helplessness and fear about the incident.

And not just for Philando Castile…..but for every black person assaulted and or dead at the hands of the police service that swears to ‘protect and serve.’

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Dear People of Colour in America, the systems that you swear by and trust to protect you have screwed you for over 400 years, what’s your next plan of action? You have #BlackLivesMatter and some insensitive SOB’s ran around saying #AllLivesMatter like people gatecrashing a funeral and crying about every person who has died within the past week.

Dear People of Colour In America, in the words of Barack Obama, hope is not a plan. People are dying like flies and the justice system is doing a piss poor job of ensuring justice is served.

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Too many of you are dying and breaking hearts across the globe…….we have to do something. We – I mean Africans across the diaspora – have to join forces with you and force the institutions to work in your favour and give you the justice you deserve.

The same way America has bullied countries into behaving like fascimile democracies, is the same way that we have to bully America into doing the right thing for its people of colour.

These killings must stop.

These murders by police officers must stop.

The institutionalized racism has to be phased out and stamped out for good. (no more Band-Aid solutions).

 

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America has always been so proud of its reputation for championing human rights. Dear America – start from home.

For God’s sake, start from home.

 

P.S : I intentionally omitted the name of the police officer who gunned down Philando Catile like an animal. He’s a monster who deprived his step-child and hundreds of children at the elementary school Castile worked at on the flimsiest of excuses.

Random Thoughts

#8. Introducing….Ohemaa

She’s thick, coily and kinky as hell; her name is Ohemaa and that’s the name I’ve secretly given to my afro who – as her nickname says – is the Queen who has zero chill and basically does what the heck she wants when she wants to.

A little bit like the woman who carries her from place to place 😉

 

I remember when I first decided to go natural; my thick permed hair was breaking and the ends were splitting. I cut it twice before I realised it was not going to grow back and decided it was time to go the natural route.

In hindsight I should have extended my research a step further beyond “my hair isn’t growing anymore so I’m going to do what my sister is doing so that my hair will grow to my bra strap”; and actually researched into different hair types, available products and protective styling.

But I didn’t so there was a period of trial and error before I checked in with the sister-in-law-turned-bestie-turned-sister, Vesta Fosu. She soothed my panicky soul with tips and products and told me to follow her blog for more advice. She’s been blogging on natural hair and beauty products for almost five years (www.chocolatencurves.com – check it out when you have a minute; you won’t regret it) and it’s become my online Bible for hair tips.

During our three years together this is what I’ve noticed she likes:

  • She loves getting washed, she loves the rain, she loves the liquid part of LOC…everything about water thrills her. And she retains it like a pro.
  • Shampoo, deep conditioning and hot oil treatment – because who doesn’t like being pampered?
  • A protective style that doesn’t feel like her roots are being ripped out.

On the other hand, she dislikes:

  • Tight braids, especially around the edges (aint nobody got time to be looking like an old woman around here)
  • Cornrows (she will grow out of them in five days and look at you like ‘okay, what’s next?’)
  • People pulling at her (she’s sensitive and needs to be treated as such, but some people are just animals. Yanking away as if she’s a bell. When that happens, she yells at me in pain and I yell at the person causing the pain).
  • Hairdryers (we’ve given up on those; the process hurts and the end result is more weak or damaged ends and neither of us has the time for another round of weak ass ends or split ends)

 

But the thing with Ohemaa , when her coils are either packed away in a braid or tied up in an up do, she is determined to slay the hair game all day every day.

A lot like the woman who carries her around from place to place.

 

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Random Thoughts

#7. What every single Ghanaian 30-something year old  woman needs

Remember that  list that was so popular a few years ago? About a woman needing enough money to rent out her own place, owning a Black and Decker screw driver and a lacy set of underwear etc etc. It’s a pretty useful list actually; but as a Ghanaian woman who happens to be single and in her early 30’s I know there’s at least two other things a single woman needs.

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Firstly, she needs a mother who is not obsessed about getting her daughter married at all costs. Like my mother; my mom wants me happy, healthy and whole and to be in a healthy relationship with a man who loves, adores and respects me. And if he’s taking a while to show up, no need to panic. God still makes everything beautiful in His good time. Not to say she’s not itchy for grandbabies (that is a constant refrain) but she’s not stressing me out about not being married. And this is a huge relief because in Ghanaian society, if you’re single at 30 it’s looked on as a curse.

How can a young beautiful woman not be engaged? Wait – you don’t have a boyfriend? Not even someone in the wings? Buei.

So the fact that I have a mother who doesn’t stress out about it makes it much easier for me to block out the snide comments.

The second thing a single woman needs is a gang of married girlfriends who tell her that having a husband is not a walk in the park – it has its own set of rules, ups and downs, challenges and laughter and a dollop of stress.

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A friend shared a story with me a year ago that still makes me laugh; she and her hubby are Ghanaians and they were heading home for a visit. She arrived in Accra a week before he did. She says (and his mum swears it is true), a few days after she arrived he rang her and asked where he had left his belt.

He was in London, she was in Accra and he was calling to find out from her where he left his belt. And she told him. And he found it.

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Their advice to me is always this – marriage is beautiful but its hard work; hubby is and can be a 5 year old in big boy trousers about a lot of things; you will pick up, you will cook, you will clean and you will spend as much time organizing his life as you will your own.

Not to say their husbands are completely useless (none of them has confessed to me that they want to divorce because they’re fed up); but they want  me to understand when I’m feeling broody and worried that marriage is not the dreamy, froth-filled fantasy of movies. Plus, if you’re Catholic (as all my friends are) it’s a forever deal.

So relax and enjoy your singlehood as long as you can because when it’s gone its never coming back.

I’ve always wanted to marry my best friend and raise a horde of children and that dream hasn’t diminished over the years. And I’m so grateful that I have a mother and sisters and married girlfriends who  remind me to appreciate where I am now, on the journey to where I want to be.

Random Thoughts

#6. Miss Jaye gets her nails done…..and she likes it

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Let me get this out of the way, I love my cousin Chief. He is soft-spoken, sarcastic and quick on the uptake. He also tied the knot recently and his only clause to me was to pack my natural hair away before showing up.

And for him, I wore a silky weave and threw in acrylic nails to boot.

See how much I love him?

Well, it’s been two weeks since I went to Salon Services to have them hook me up with acrylic nails and its time for me to assess my performance with them. Wait – did I mention this is the first time I’ve ever worn acrylic nails? In my long-legged life?

Deep breath in and out……

I thought they would be a pain but they weren’t.

PROS:

  • My hands look prettier and more feminine J
  • The nails make a lovely noise when tapping on desks, car doors and kitchen counters.
  • They look great with whatever outfit I wear.
  • I can handwash my clothes without fuss.
  • I can prepare my favourite meal with them
  • I can wash dishes without hassle.

 

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CONS:

  • I can’t eat fufu and soup, banku and stew, waakye…..hell, I can’t eat any of my favourite meals that I can normally eat with my hands. Bummer.
  • Its hard to type with acrylics; they hurt when you press the nails, it’s uncomfortable when you use your fingerpads. It’s not been an easy ride this past week :/
  • I can’t open a can of Coke easily.
  • I can’t close shirt buttons.
  • I struggle with earring bolts.
  • I have to be careful how I use my fingers because the nails are tough but are surprisingly sensitive to pressure and can break and rip off my real nails.
  • Erm….that’s it, I guess.

So, will I do it again? Most definitely….I’ll just have to figure out how to alter some aspects of my life to accommodate them. Or, I can fix them every three or four months.

Or I can just enjoy them until I get sick of them.

Either way, good times 🙂