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Friday, June 11, 2010

Building Bridges

A few weeks ago I met these wonderful ladies from Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire who braid hair. They were so happy to learn that I am originally from Cote d’Ivoire and that I am so open to learning and sharing information about Africa. I was a bit disappointed and sad to learn from them that their exchanges with African-American women as their hair braiding customers had been very limited, despite the fact they spend many hours together. I would like to help, even in a small way, to bridge this gap between these incredibly amazing groups of women.

Today I am featuring the work of one of my favorite photographers- Angele Etoundi Essamba who is originally from Cameroon, but grew up in France and the Netherlands. Along with her work, also enjoy my all-time-favorite poem by Nikki Giovanni called Ego Tripping. I think both women so complement the other. To learn more about Essamba , here is her link

Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why)
By Nikki Giovanni

I was born in the congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built
the sphinx
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star
that only glows every one hundred years falls
into the center giving divine perfect light
I am bad

I sat on the throne
drinking nectar with allah
I got hot and sent an ice age to europe
to cool my thirst
My oldest daughter is nefertiti
the tears from my birth pains
created the nile
I am a beautiful woman

I gazed on the forest and burned
out the sahara desert
with a packet of goat's meat
and a change of clothes
I crossed it in two hours
I am a gazelle so swift
so swift you can't catch me

For a birthday present when he was three
I gave my son hannibal an elephant
He gave me rome for mother's day
My strength flows ever on

My son noah built new/ark and
I stood proudly at the helm
as we sailed on a soft summer day
I turned myself into myself and was
men intone my loving name
All praises All praises
I am the one who would save

I sowed diamonds in my back yard
My bowels deliver uranium
the filings from my fingernails are
semi-precious jewels
On a trip north
I caught a cold and blew
My nose giving oil to the arab world
I am so hip even my errors are correct
I sailed west to reach east and had to round off
the earth as I went
The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid
across three continents

I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
I cannot be comprehended except by my permission

I mean...I...can fly
like a bird in the sky...

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