Ntale #9: Southern RootsPosted on Mar 4, 2011 by Jason Minnis |
Southern roots run deep within the African American community. For most of America’s history, African Americans lived as sharecroppers on farms and plantations in the rural south. Slavery and racial discrimination kept these sharecroppers separated from mainstream America . This isolation forced African American culture to develop separately from the rest of American culture. In the early 1900′s, African Americans began leaving the south for factory jobs in northern cities. This mass exodus was called the Great Migration. When African Americans moved north they brought their music and southern culture with them. Eventually, this music would go on to lay the foundation for many forms of modern western music (blues, jazz, funk, country, rock, soul, hip hop and electronic music).
Pictures by Black History Album
Although 70 years have passed since the start of the Great Migration, you can still see southern influences in African American culture. Large cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia ,LA ,Detroit and New York have large populations of African Americans who’s grandparents were born in the south. Their cultural legacy can still be seen in the language,food ,music and religion of their grandchildren. If you visit any African American barber shop, restaurant or family gathering you can see these influences first hand.
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I am proud of my Southern roots and like most African Americans, I can trace my family tree to rural sharecroppers. This weeks Ntale song “Wake Up” pays homage to those sharecroppers who migrated north for a better life.
Ntale’s story #9: The Lost Tribe of Ntale’s groove by the Former Freedom Fighters of the Dark Continent by Bayo Awesu
I mourned for you. It is important to me that you know that…But now I am glad that you are gone. How quickly you forget, how easy it is for you to you to walk as they did. You are a victim only in your own head. You lived not in a kingdom, but amongst snakes feasting on their own tales. Brothers selling brothers into exodus. You and your new masters, co conspirators in tyranny. You, the riders of the Trojan horse inside our kingdom. Selling your own kin into incarceration. You watched as they raped me time and time again. But still I mourned for you, as you knew not would befall you. I watched you grow in a land that was not your own and gritted my teeth from the pain of each whip that cracked upon your back. My torso arched and my spine shattered from the weight of barrels you carried from desolate field to desolate field. My fingers bloodied from the cotton thorns that you picked. I mourned for you. I, the widow of your dignity. I dressed in black as your bodies were beaten, your children’s self-worth decimated. Their pain self inflicted. I felt the burn from the lye weaving through their hair follicles as they mimicked their masters and slowly forgot my name. I mourned but I was still proud when you tore through your shackles…your renaissance of emancipation. I wanted to reach out and touch you, but I was so fearful as to how much you had changed. You were strong, yet filled with so much rage. I saw the pride in your dark brown eyes, but I was fearful of the black panther you had become. The blood of your overseers ran throughout your veins…and it suffocated you. You had found what you had searched for, an audience to your tribal cry of angst. Your reclaimed admiration for me was beautiful, yet it was not me that you held in such acclaim. My memory had become that of bare necessities, to Simba’s pride to the proverbs that hung above your bathroom walls. I am a Chimera in your mind. I had once sustained you and now I am your burden. A haven for your pity. A place of war and poverty. I fear you do not know me at all. The bones of your ancestors are solidified in my essence but I cannot welcome you as mine. I still fear the unpredictability of your spirit. You were always a restless soul, however you now at least have a home to lay your head. I am not how you think you remember. I was no utopia, men like yourselves raped me with the same gusto as your oppressors. In return I would extend them the same barbarism that led you to embark on your Diaspora. I mourned for you. I still feel the friction from the noose around your neck and my fingers break as I pull at it in vain. I will never understand your pain, nor will I attempt to. I celebrated with you as you dreamt of freedom and reconciled with your centricity. I marvelled with the rest of the world at your artistry and found myself prone to mimic your interpretations. My glorious step-child. I reluctantly yearn to be as you are. I yearn for a silhouette as recognisable as yours. My rebellion will never be as beautifully constructed as your own. But I still mourn. I still mourn at your performance, still enslaved to the culture that pillaged your dignity. I see less of myself in you the more affluent you become. I am glad you are gone because of the jealousy in me you spawn. You are such a small component of my life history, yet you remain the paradoxical protagonist. The life and soul of the party you crashed.