Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Nguzo Saba: Kwanzaa Principles

Celebrate Kwanzaa! December 26 - January 1 

Kwanzaa is an African-American and Pan-African cultural holiday that is centered around seven principles (called Nguzo Saba in Swahili). They are:
  • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves -- stand up.
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Back to the Beat: It's Yours

The XM Satellite radio in the rental car was a pleasant surprise bonus that we enjoyed on our trip back to Charlotte from Delaware (I didn't even realize we had it on the drive up). Backspin, XM's homage to old school hip hop, offered some fun tunes, although I didn't realize so many of the songs aren't kid friendly :-(

But one song that I really appreciated was T La Rock's "It's Yours" -- very creative lyrics, along with a funky beat.

Commentating, illustrating Description giving, adjective expert Analyzer, surmiser, musical mix Giving people of the universe this It's yours

We had some good New York Style Pizza at Giovanni's Place.

Next time I'll have to check out some of that Peace Tea they had at the pizza spot.

And here was another joyous surprise. New Castle County has put stone markers at the entrances of many of the communities, including this one, which sits in front of my old neighborhood -- Rosegate. Sweet!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Poem: Ungenocide (Like Jesus)

Editor's note: This poem was originally published on Cappuccino Soul on April 5, 2007. Ungenocide (Like Jesus)

by Alicia Benjamin

Let’s dream
About a man
In Northern Uganda,
Or somewhere in Iraq, who might
Stretch out his body and
Take the shots to
The heart.

Friday, December 16, 2011

No More Drama: Mary J. Blige

It’s rare to find a performer giving it up the way Mary J. Blige is giving it up here at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards in 2002. This is an example of a performer telling a story with strong intention and deep emotion. Her performance is hard to watch at a certain point – she looks as if she’s about to jump off the stage and hurt somebody. But she brings it back down at the end – giving us a full and spiritual interpretation of “No More Drama,” like only Mary can do it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Afro Latin Jazz Orchesta: 40 Acres and a Burro

The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra has been nominated for a Grammy award in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album category for their recording, "40 Acres and a Burro." (Ha!)

Philadelphia's On Canvas, a radio show produced by WHYY (a public television station), featured an engaging piece about the ALJO and its Artistic Director, Arturo O'Farrill in 2009. On Canvas is a music and performance program recorded live on location at local venues in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. Listen to the band and O'Farrill's lesson on the international phenomenon of Afro Latin Jazz. I was really happy to hear when he gave props to my man, Dizzy Gillespie, for his leadership in the Afro Latin Jazz community:

Friday, December 09, 2011

Every Day a Friday

“I’ve found that most of the time we have what we need to be happy. We just don’t have the right perspective. For instance, you may not be happy with the job you have right now. But if you lost that job and went months without any income, you probably would be very happy to win it back.

You see? You had what you needed to be happy. You just didn’t realize it.”

--  Joel Osteen, “Every Day a Friday.”

Alright Sonny

I knew I was tired when I called my daughter, "Sonny." Although that was one of the names I had in mind for her, if she were a boy.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

You Crack Me Up

Seems like I’ve been laughing a lot more lately. I think that’s a good thing and makes me remember those friends along the way who have allowed and encouraged me to act like my silly self, and who have made me laugh hysterically from time to time.

Here are (in no particular order) those folks who have, at one time or another, served as my laughing partners. Ladies, please forgive me for using your maiden names, but that’s how I remember you :-)

Robin Ellis
Latania Jones
Leon (Baker) Saunders (my brother)
Crystal (Sissy) Saunders (R.I.P., my dear sister)
Wendy Jenkins (my cuz)
Cheryl Noel (my sister)
Tina Traynum
Lynda Jones
Martin (Marty) Lucas (where you at, bruh?)
Annette A. (my sister)
Norma White (R.I.P.)
Shun Lai (Tulips) Yang
Sheryl Dillard
Ejikeme Obineme
Maxine Haskins (my sister)

Thank you all for giving me such joy. And if I haven’t heard from you in a while – PLEASE contact me so that we can laugh it up.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Protecting the Purity of Olive Oil

When you buy “extra-virgin” olive oil, you might think you’re purchasing a concentrated pure form of the ambrosia, but what you’re probably getting, most of the time, is a tainted substitute that could be mixed with anything from canola to peanut oil. How much of the health-enhancing pure “extra-virgin” olive oil are you actually getting when you buy a bottle of the stuff? It seems that not many people, even the sellers of these products, ever really know.

Tom Ashton of NPR’s radio show On Point, last week discussed the modern scandal surrounding the selling of olive oil with Tom Mueller, a writer for The New Yorker and author of “Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil.” On the show, Mueller and Ashton talked about how manufacturers are diluting “extra-virgin” olive oil to make a substance that’s a much lower quality than the straight oil. Of course the weakened olive oil offers far less health benefits than the purest form of the succulent nectar. What’s the reason for spoiling the extra virginity of fine olive oil? You guessed it – to rake in more profit.

To find out more about this scandal and to learn how you might be able to tell the true “extra-virgin” olive oil from the fake stuff, listen to Tom Ashton’s interview with Mueller and click here to find one company in the U.S. that sells the potent, high-quality olive oil that you remember from the good old days.

What a shame that so many olive oil makers are watering down the quality of the oil, since many health studies have shown the health benefits of consuming the pure juice. Researchers have said that olive oil can help to:

-- reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
-- prevent constipation and help to maintain good digestive health
-- reduce blood pressure
-- prevent diabetes
-- prevent colon cancer
-- moisturize the skin and slow the aging process

“Lately the olive oil industry has been struggling with a wrenching crisis brought on by mass-market price wars and a flood of low quality olive oil — a lot of it falsely labelled extra virgin.” -- Olive Oil Times