Global African Diaspora Summit

Posted on March 1, 2012

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I had a great time last night at performing with my good friends Sahel, Christylez Bacon and Evelyn Kingada-Njuko at Busboys & Poets for the Global African Diaspora Summit.  This event, sponsored by the South African Embassy, was a great fusion of artistic expression from throughout the diaspora and inspirational words from the ambassador of South Africa, Ebrahim Rasool.  I wrote an original poem for the event, and started off the evening by reciting it.  Check it out below.  I’m looking forward to the next event, and I need to start saving pennies so I can go to the diaspora summit in South Africa this Spring!

A Portrait of Africa

I asked them to paint me a story

they turn up their noses
as if the pictures
where scrawled
in excrement
while passing a folded
scrap of cardboard

crude markings
primitive cave wall etchings
stick figure men
on safari
while their children
with distended bellies
fight civil wars
against mosquitoes
armed with AK-47’s
painted life like
and full scale
firing uncircumcised
bullets laced
with H.I.V.

i stared at this eulogy by the illiterate
on a poor man’s tombstone
as they told me
“this is a country called africa”

so
now
we are determined to paint
more than a mere sketch
but a grand
life sized portrait
of the African Continent
a glowing masterpiece
on this canvas of earth
rich in color and history

We will sketch
Tripoli
in calligraphy
detailed in cobalt and bauxite
by the pen of Fanon,
in the color of Makeba’s alto

we will brush
Kampala
in hieroglyphics
scumbled in gold and diamonds
by the tongue of Garvey,
in the hue of Fela’s rhythm

we will draft
Mogadishu
in Adinkra
gilded in cobalt
by the pen of Du Bois,
in the dye of Tosh’s lyrics

We will coat
Yamoussoukro
in Graffiti
varnished in zirconium and platinum
by Nkrumah orations
in the complexion strokes from Blakey

we will stamp
Pretoria
as an oil painting
a mural of blended copper
by the hands of Toure,
in the shade of KRS-1 rhymes

the luminous color
spills off of the borders
splashing onto
the patchwork quilt
stitched together
after blanched hands
sloppily scissored
cultural threads
leaving us puzzled

so we will paint
the Atlantic ocean
Billie Holiday shade
of water color
and draw white specks
for the vessels
sliding like maggots
where great white sharks
feasted on the blood
of a great many aunts and uncles

but still managed to drop
more than smatterings of color
smudged finger prints
in the  hints
of hips
hair
lips
on Rio De Janeiro
Santo Domingo
Port a Prince
Kingston
Washington DC

those splattering
sprinkle color on western tapestry
we design tomorrow’s history
let us paint her as a flag
as a shield
a coat of arms
a standard
for Africa’s illustrious diaspora