Black love – She matches my blackness


Black love to me is truly a revolutionary act, there’s nothing more rebellious in this world, than a strong black couple, very much in love, the energy that it creates is so astounding, that people can’t help but stare. Black love over everything.

Photo of Samadhi Joan and Mario Robinson.

Omar Epps Documentary Aims To Crush The Deadbeat Dad Stereotype Of Disadvantaged Fathers


Omar Epps has had enough and he recently made a new documentary to sound off about it; Fatherlessness that is.

The award-winning actor recently produced a documentary that shines a bright light on an issue that he believes is responsible for increased child poverty and high incarceration rates: fatherless children.

Epps puts on his Executive Producer cap for the riveting docu-film,DADDY DON’T GO which follows the lives of four disadvantaged fathers (Alex, Omar, Roy and Nelson) and their pilgrimage through Fatherhood. Epps teamed up with acclaimed filmmaker Emily Abt who filmed this heartfelt project over a two year span, documenting the struggle and consequential perseverance these fathers had to face.
The film, perfectly set in NYC, where 50% of African American children and more than 40% of Latino children grow up fatherless.

“Being the product of a fatherless household, Daddy Don’t Go, delves into an issue that’s close to my heart…The media inundates us with the notion that men from impoverished areas are absent fathers but meanwhile there are millions of fathers who are fighting to be active in their children’s lives,” Epps says on the film’s website.


Jesús Colón -Little things are big

This a short story by a writer called Jesús Colón (1901–1974) An Afro-puertorican writer known as the father of Nuyorican Movement.

I’ve been thinking; you know, sometimes one thing happens to change your life, how you look at things, how you look at yourself. I remember one particular event. It was when? 1955 or ’56…a long time ago. Anyway, I had been working at night. I wrote for the newspaper and, you know, we had deadlines. It was late after midnight on the night before Memorial Day. I had to catch the train back to Brooklyn; the West side IRT. This lady got on to the subway at 34th and Penn Station, a nice looking white lady in her early twenties. Somehow she managed to push herself in with a baby on her right arm and a big suitcase in her left hand. Two children, a boy and a girl about three and five years old trailed after her.

Anyway, at Nevins Street I saw her preparing to get off at the next station, Atlantic Avenue. That’s where I was getting off too. It was going to be a problem for her to get off; two small children, a baby in her arm, and a suitcase in her hand. And there I was also preparing to get off at Atlantic Avenue. I couldn’t help but imagine the steep, long concrete stairs going down to the Long Island Railroad and up to the street. Should I offer my help? Should I take care of the girl and the boy, take them by their hands until they reach the end of that steep long concrete stairs?

Courtesy is important to us Puerto Ricans. And here I was, hours past midnight, and the white lady with the baby in her arm, a suitcase and two white children badly needing someone to help her. 

I remember thinking; I’m a *Negro and a Puerto Rican. Suppose I approach this white lady in this deserted subway station late at night? What would she say? What would be the first reaction of this white American woman? Would she say: ‘Yes, of course you may help me,’ or would she think I was trying to get too familiar or would she think worse? What do I do if she screamed when I went to offer my help? I hesitated. And then I pushed by her like I saw nothing as if I were insensitive to her needs. I was like a rude animal walking on two legs just moving on, half running along the long the subway platform, leaving the children and the suitcase and the woman with the baby in her arms. I ran up the steps of that long concrete stairs in twos and when I reached the street, the cold air slapped my warm face.

Perhaps the lady was not prejudiced after all. If you were not that prejudiced, I failed you, dear lady. If you were not that prejudiced I failed you; I failed you too, children. I failed myself. I buried my courtesy early on Memorial Day morning. 

So, here is the promise I made to myself back then: if I am ever faced with an occasion like that again, I am going to offer my help regardless of how the offer is going to be received. Then I will have my courtesy with me again.”


Antonio “The Bronze Titan” Maceo


Antonio Maceo to me, is simply the father of Cuba and one of the greatest men the Americas has ever produced,  sounds like a wild statement right?  Well after reading this I’m sure you’ll be convinced.

Antonio Maceo was a legendary black general who earned the name “Bronze Titan” because of his heroism, unshakable willpower that guided his actions in life, and his daring military campaigns, it also made reference to his natural skin colour, dark like the skin of other glorious heroes of equally humble backgrounds, like Guillermo Moncada and Quintin Banderas (and others that are less renowned).

In the second half of the 19th century, Cuba and Puerto Rico were the last Spanish colonies in America, and Cuba was the largest sugar producer in the world. All of the sugar production was based on slave labour.

On October 10, 1868, the Cubans declared “enough was enough” and started a rebellion in Yara Town, which sparked the 10-Year War. Two weeks after the uprising, Mariana Grajales Cuello, Antonio Maceo’s mother, brought together her husband and 13 children and asked them to kneel in front of the image of Jesus Christ and swear to struggle until Cuba was independent or to die trying.

Maceo’s mother, Mariana Grajales Cuello, came out of the maroon tradition anchored in the Guantánamo region of the island.

An important aspect of the historical significance of the son of Marcos Maceo and Mariana Grajales – and of his particular charisma – is, however, his background. Antonio was the member of a black family that lived in Cuba’s eastern region. We shouldn’t forget that the first war of independence was begun and led, for the most part, by people of certain social standing – estate owners, lawyers and others who were mostly white. Their sacrifice is doubtless worthy of respect, even in the case of those who took up arms without first freeing their slaves. It is also undeniable, however, that a man like Maceo had to be truly exceptional to stand out in this context.”

Rogelio Manuel Diaz Moreno

There were few blacks and mulattoes who became generals in the 10-year War, yet Maceo rose quickly in the ranks of the Mambi Army (the name is of Congo origin) from Colonel to Brigadier General and by 1877 he had become Major General, and the most successful of Cuba’s generals, feared by the Spaniards and beloved by the Cubans.

In 1878 the revolution began to decline rapidly throughout the island, due to the regional divisions among Cubans, the concern of the white conservative sector of the revolution with the growing influence of black and mulatto officers, the inability to bring the war westward to the largest sugar plantation areas and also because of the astute policy of Spanish Captain, General Martinez Campos.

The Cuban Provisional Government in Arms agreed to stop the war and signed the Zanjon Peace Treaty, which gave amnesty to the rebel fighters and freedom to the slaves who were fighting on both sides.

Antonio Maceo with his brothers and a group of officers agreed to meet with Martinez Campos in Mangos de Baragua but refused to stop the war without independence and the abolition of slavery. They called it a peace without honour. This meeting was later called The Baragua Protest.

Maceo and his army continued the war, but soon it became apparent that they were outnumbered. To save Maceo’s life, the Provisional Government sent him to Jamaica, where he lived with his mother, his family and some of the officers that had joined him in the protest.

In 1879-1880, the Cubans tried to resume the war;  but it gained the name ‘The Small War’, because it lasted only a few months. The project failed. One of the reasons for the failure was due to the Spanish Government’s move to label it a racial war, reminiscent of the Haitian Revolution which gives a small indication of the amount of blacks and mulattoes were fighting. Once the organisers heard this, fearing that the black and mulato soliders would turn on them removed General Antonio Maceo from the expedition and left him in exile in Jamaica, the patriots that were waiting for their leader soon lost confidence.

Antonio Maceo stayed in Jamaica where he had the only son that survived him, in a passionate romance with the beautiful and mysterious Amelia Marriat, but after attempts by the Spanish government to kill him on several occasions he also lived in Costa Rica, Panama and The Dominican Republic, among other territories.

Whilst in exile, together with the great Cuban patriot and intellectual Jose Marti, General Maximo Gomez and other Cubans he organised the plan for the new rebellion. Maceo proposed and it was agreed that Maximo Gomez was to be the Chief of the Cuban Independence Army, and Maceo was appointed second in command.The Spanish Government fearing Maceo’s strong influence exerted pressure on different Governments in the regions to prevent his return to Cuba’s shores.

On April 1895 Maceo finally landed in Cuba. Within one month of his arrival, thousands of men had joined him and the War of Independence (1895-1898) was resumed. Gomez and Marti landed in May 1895 and Marti sadly died in combat almost three weeks after.

Maceo and Gomez then executed one of the greatest feats in military history. The invasion from East to West, 1776 kilometres in 78 days, leading around 3,000 Cuban patriots against an army of 200,000 men with the latest weaponry and more than 42 Spanish generals. Most of the freedom fighters were from the East and had never been in the West, this was not guerrilla warfare, this was military tactics, strategy and courage.

After going to the most western point and raising the Cuban flag, Maceo fought during months with little more than 1,000 men against 70,000 Spanish soldiers in Pinar del Rio, the narrowest province of Cuba. Maceo’s army demonstrated exemplary behavior to fighters and nonfighters alike, but this was especially so in dealing with women and children in towns, villages and hamlets.

The following quotes underscore the magnitude of who Maceo was. He told Anselmo Valdés on July 6, 1884: “When Cuba is free and has a constitutional government, I shall request that we fight for the independence of Puerto Rico also. I would not care to put up my sword, leaving that portion of America in slavery.”

Rogelio Manuel Diaz Moreno

Sadly Maceo died on Dec 7th 1896 when two bullets struck him; these were his 25th and 26th wounds in combat,  after what some records estimate 500 to 600 battles, he was on his way to meet General Gomez on his request, to deal with a political crisis in the leadership of the movement. He travelled with only his personal escort in order to avoid the Spaniards, he was at the time still recovering from wounds he had received in combat and was 53 years old.

Upon learning of Antonio’s death on the battlefield Mariana Grajales urged her youngest son “to hurry up and grow up quickly, because Cuba needs you.

Antonio Maceo, remains a true icon for Cuban people, and no doubt inspired the likes of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. Cuban writer Rogelio Manuel Diaz Moreno when writing for “The Havana Times” summed it up perfectly when he said.

The countless heroic examples — generously offered by Maceo — have not only helped to inspire the success of the Revolution against both Spanish and Yankee imperialism, but have also allowed Cuba to play such a central role in the liberation of Angola, Namibia and South Africa, leading to the freeing of Nelson Mandela in 1990″

Toyin Ashiru—the-greatest-Cuban-war-general_13271565