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I’m 83% African, 16% European and 1% West Asian

Thanks to Ancestry DNA I now know my full ethnic background. It’s very fascinating, humbling and empowering to learn where my ancestors come from.

I can’t wait to further explore all the places that make me who I am by conducting research, trying local recipes, meeting new family members and hopefully one day visiting each place in person.

I was surprised to find that I have no Native American heritage since like many other African Americans, I have been told that we have “Indian” in our family.

However, learning exactly where I come from in Africa combined with my European and West Asian ancestry; I could not be more happy and proud.

Take a little peek into the places that make up the majority of my ethnicity below:

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Cameroon/Congo

Primarily located in: Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Republic of Congo

Also found in: Angola, Chad

Because they lie near or on the equator, these nations typically include tropical rainforest and humid savanna. While the Congo takes its name from the old African kingdom of Kongo, Cameroon gets its name from the first Europeans to arrive in the area in 1472. Portuguese sailors found crayfish in the Wouri River and started calling the land the Rio dos Camarões, or River of Shrimp. Eventually, the word Camarões became Cameroon.

africa

Europe West

Primarily located in: Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein

Also found in: England, Denmark, Italy, Slovenia, Czech Republic

The Europe West region is a broad expanse stretching from Amsterdam’s sea-level metropolis to the majestic peaks of the Alps. Geographically dominated by France in the west and Germany in the east, it includes several nations with distinct cultural identities. From the boisterous beer gardens of Munich to the sun-soaked vineyards of Bordeaux and the alpine dairy farms of Switzerland, it is a region of charming cultural diversity.

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Caucasus

Primarily located in: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey

Also found in: Bulgaria, Jordan, Greece, Italy, Kuwait, Palestine, Romania, Turkmenistan

The Greater Caucasus Range, running northwest to southeast between the Black and Caspian Seas, is the traditional line of demarcation between the continents of Europe and Asia. It was here, according to Greek mythology, that Zeus bound Prometheus for giving fire to humans. Linguistically, culturally, and even ecologically diverse, the Caucasus area is home to more than 50 ethnic groups and is one of 34 “biodiversity hotspots” (areas with significant, threatened biodiversity) in the world.

Check out this scene from the film, Congo. It tickles me. Enjoy!

If You’re An Asshole And You Know It Read This Blog!

FreeBlogging: The Internet Is A Breeding Ground For Assholes, Including Me!

I wrote this weeks ago as I was going off on a tangent. I’ve debated publishing it because I don’t think it’s written very well. Then I said, fuck it, I’m a free writing asshole!

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The internet is a breeding ground for assholes! They’re more commonly called trolls and I also call them internet gangstas. Everyone has an opinion (including me) about everything under the sun and I think we have a right to express it without being dogged unless we’re clearly asking for it. If I don’t agree with what you’re saying I take a moment to decide whether or not I want to get involved in the discussion or the drama that may occur. When I do express my opinion I try my best to do it respectively and without pissing anyone off…on purpose. But, there is bound to be one person that feels the need to put me in my place by responding with a superior tone.

I also make it a point to try to see things from perspectives that are different from mine and I try to share my perspective to induce understanding. The major issue with online and oftentimes offline communication is that many of us aren’t open to understanding other people’s perspective or ways of life. We need to be more tolerant and acceptable of how other people see the world and chose to live in it. It doesn’t mean we have to like it or agree with it, but we need to come away with a better understanding of why people are the way they are and respect them for it. For example, if the way they live their live doesn’t negatively or directly affect you, live and let live.

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It doesn’t mean there is something deeply wrong with me if I think it’s OK to smoke weed and you don’t, or I think abortion is a woman’s rightful choice and you don’t, if I think homosexuality is normal and you don’t, if I’m Agnostic and you are Christian. We’re all conditioned from babies to act and think one way or another and we are all raised different culturally from household to household, so what makes us so sure that our way is the only way or the right way? What works for you may not work for me and vice versa. There’s more than one road to any destination.

I often forget that when people see me they only see a woman, and not only that, a Black woman who lives in the Flint, Michigan area AKA The Murder Capital, so I already have these boxes that people think I should fit in and some people are hell-bent on keeping me boxed. Plus, my pen-name is Dangerous Lee…and because of that some people initially think I’m a man! Or that I will cause harm. Do I have an identity crisis or what?!

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My mother raised me to be a free-spirited, strong, independent person but I was also raised under certain religious beliefs. As I grew up and experienced and learned certain realities of life some of the things I was taught to believe in didn’t vibe with my spirit.  I realized that the way I felt and thought about things was okay and actually very normal and not a sin or something to be ridiculed. Many people I love are religious, and although I am not, I have been positively  affected by certain religious beliefs because of how I was raised. I don’t subscribe to religion because I am a free-thinker. I also have the mentality that allows me not to care if you don’t like or agree with my beliefs or how I live my life. It’s my life. Not yours. Worry about your own  salvation. As Jill Scott says; I know what I know.

I speak from a place of learning. I’ve always considered myself non judgmental, and for the most part I am, but I have a few areas I need to work on. I sometimes judge people negatively that think differently than I do on certain topics, but to my credit I also base my judgments on their overall word combined with their actions. We’re human, we judge, but I don’t have hatred for anyone who can’t understand my perspective. I do have hope that people’s minds will open further to understand where I am coming from, but I won’t hold my breath.

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Not generally speaking, but White people get on my damn nerves. A White male friend of mine contacted me recently and stated that he agrees with Charles Barkley’s thoughts on the George Zimmerman case. I think Charles’s ignorant ass statements only help to hurt race relations and give certain White people something to latch on to validate their misguided opinions on race. I simply told my friend that based on our different life experiences and perspectives I understood why he thinks that way. White people will NEVER understand issues related to race or racism, so I don’t even know why they think their opinion is valid or needed on the topic. The saying, “It’s a Black thing you wouldn’t understand”, applies here. It would be great for White people to get a better understanding of racism, but it’s natural that they don’t fully get it. Having said that, White people need to stop thinking they are the authority on racism and that they can dictate how we feel or how we should feel, but White privilege is a bitch. That’s it! White People Homework: Research White Privilege.

As a Black woman I understand the injustice in the not guilty verdict because of this country’s issue with racism and classism. Zimmerman had no right to approach Trayvon in the first place. Had he not done so, Trayvon would be alive. However, I’d like to think that if I were a White woman, like Alexandra Allred, I would also understand the injustice based on the public facts.

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I am beyond sick of discussions concerning Zimmerman and Paula Deen. Both conversations suffer from people not being fully informed on the facts of each case, but people have very strong opinions towards anyone who dares not support these two people. I had a White woman (who claimed she knew all the facts) actually tell me that I have hate in my heart and that I need God along with a few other choice words on Pinterest because of this article I wrote about Paula Deen. I told her to fuck off and that she needed God more than I did along with some common sense. Granted telling her to fuck off was harsh, but her comments, which she has since deleted, were also harsh. I’ll never understand the phenomena of speaking your mind and deleting the comments once you have been challenged. I believe in giving as good as I get. If you can’t handle the backlash keep your damn opinions to yourself. If you decide to share you opinions try not to be an asshole about it because then the Asshole Calvary is open for business!

Sometimes I know if I leave a comment expressing my opinion on someone’s personal post that it will only agitate the situation, but I don’t get off on conflict, so I avoid leaving my thoughts most times. There’s nothing wrong with a good debate, but arguments piss me off so I often skip the opportunity to discuss certain topics unless I feel like the statement being made attacks me or my personal beliefs. There are lots of controversial things I’d like to discuss, but I don’t because I don’t feel like dealing with the people who don’t get it, don’t want to get it, and just want to be…assholes. Internet assholes are only interested in their feelings, opinions and beliefs. Social media has also made sharing our opinions a way of life. Everyone’s opinion counts online, but it’s all in the delivery. Research: Nicety.

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I am who I am and you are who you are because of all that we have seen and experienced in life. This includes things that have happened to us unwillingly and choices that we have made. I’ve met all kinds of people along the way in my 38 years who have similar experiences to mine and those who’ve lived lives vastly different from mine and the one thing we all have in common is that we are all flawed.

The next time you want to leave a smart-ass comment at this website or elsewhere on the web, understand that not everyone sees the world as you do, has lived the life you have, or has been conditioned to think the way you do. Choose your words wisely because you’re not the only asshole with an opinion.

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Cashel

Black History Month Spotlight: Cashel Sapphire Campbell – Actor & Burlesque Performer

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Name and Occupation: 

Cashel Sapphire Campbell, Actor/Belly Dance and Burlesque Performer & Instructor/Dance Therapy Student.

What do you love most about being a Black woman?

I love the color of my skin. I love the legacy of my ancestors that live within my bones. I love inner strength that is implanted in my DNA. I love the passion for life, love and desire that exudes out of my being and the beauty that I possess internally.

Who or what inspires you most?
I am inspired by creativity, in all it’s forms. I am inspired by God/Goddess, The Universe and it’s expansive qualities of righteousness and divinity. My father inspires me; the qualities he possesses propel me to strive forward toward being my best self. I am inspired by the notion of lack and being devoid of substance, there is so much power and strength in resolving that energy into something bigger and better in life. I am inspired by truth and the workings of love…I am inspired by LIFE!

Advice for Black men and women?

Hate your flaws enough to want to love them…learn the power of forgiveness, first within yourself, so that that same peace can be expressed throughout the world. Share more, take less. Black men and women have a reservoir of untapped yet useful and life changing energy, it is worth the time to reflect inward to cultivate that spring of total existence. I long for Black men to love and respect themselves so they can love and respect their women. I long for Black women to love and respect themselves so they can love and respect each other and their men.  I look forward to Black men and women unifying through a healthy spiritual union and a positive self image; learn that it’s less about religion and more about the God/Goddess within that connects us all to each other.

What are you working on that we need to check out?

I am currently working with The Punany Poets (as seen on HBO). We will be at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe on 2/15. I am also teaching Belly Dance Classes in Merrick Long Island next month and am in active of pursuit of creating my first DVD for beginner Belly Dancers.


Where can we find you online?

Check me out at www.CashelCampbell.com and www.facebook.com/CashelSapphireCampbell.

Tanisha Ward Songtress photographs-3

Black History Month Spotlight: Tanisha Ward – Classical Singer & Realtor

Tanisha Ward Songtress photographs-3

Name and Occupation:

Tanisha Ward, Classical Singer & Realtor

What do you love most about being a Black woman?

I LOVE how strong we are,  our spirits are not “easily broken,” we’re very independent and we have depth and soulfulness about us.  Last, but not least…WE ARE BEAUTIFUL AND “WE ROCK!”

Who or what inspires you most?  

My mother inspires me most.  She was always my biggest supporter and she loved education and music and she never really got to learn and enjoy these things as she wanted because of life.  She was the oldest of her siblings and she had to help raise them, her own children and even a few grand-children.  I’m doing what I know she wanted me to do for the both of us.

Advice for Black men and women? 

Black men and women need to respect each other more.  What do I mean by that?  Somewhere along the line Black men have lost respect for Black women.  I believe a lot of it has to do with our music (lyrics about black women), our sex-crazed society and lack of education.  Men, not just black, respect a woman more if she can think for herself and will NOT let him run over her and treat her any kind of way.  She commands respect and if she feels she’s not getting that, she can walk away without hesitation.  I’m not saying education is the “cure-all” for our problems in the Black community, but it is a confidence booster and let’s her know “Yes, you are smart enough to do whatever you want!”

What are you working on that we need to check out?  

I’m presently working on an initiative for kids to celebrate and bring awareness to classical music.  I’m also working with some songwriters on some original pieces for an upcoming project to showcase my sound that I’ve coined as “operatic-soul,” a blend of traditional R&B with an operatic twist.

Where can we find you online?  

  • soundcloud.com/OperaticSoul
  • Facebook.com/SongstressTanishaWard (fan page),
  • myspace.com/operatic_soul
  • twitter.com/operaticsoul

 

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The Half Series Interviews: Lisa Chase Patterson

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What is the ethnic background of your parents?

My father is Black and Sicilian, my mom is Cherokee and Spanish

What type of colorism have you had to face and how did you deal with it?

Since I was very young I remember being called Oreo, mutt, half-breed, etc. Many times I would face opposition from both sides of the fence, Blacks would call me White, while Whites would call me Black. It became difficult for me to know where I fit in, so I would usually retreat into myself with reading and painting. As I got older, it became less of an issue with friends, but more of an issue with men who considered me ‘exotic’ or became stuck on light skin and long hair. Having moved to the south recently has brought up color issues in my life again, I’ve learned to move past all of that and be comfortable with myself. What others think of my nationality is no longer my concern.

What do you think of the terms mixed, biracial, or mulatto?

I think that those terms can be used by some to make themselves feel better about who they are as people. When someone needs to claim Spanish, White or Indian in their lineage because they don’t think being Black is good enough, it’s more of a crutch or status symbol. I think those terms can be used factually, but more often are used to make biracial people feel better or worse about themselves, depending on who’s using them.

What do you have to say to people that think if you look White that you are not Black?

Know yourself and know that you are far more than the color of your skin. Allowing other people to dictate who you are racially or as a human being is detrimental to your spiritual health. YOU make the decision about who you are and what you represent. It’s your life, your heritage and your decision to be true to who you are, all of your life. To be the best you, regardless of what color you represent or how others see you.

Where can we find you online?
FB – www.facebook.com/theycallmechase
Twitter – @darlingchase
Instagram – darlingchase

Read the series that sparked the interview: The Half Series – When Black People Look White

Billy Hyatt

Black Music Month Spotlight: Billy Hyatt

Name: 

Billy Hyatt

Why is celebrating Black music important to you?

Because Black Ppople have and continue to make such great contributions to music worldwide. Without the creative input that different Black culture’s brought to the game, music would be missing a lot of the flavor and ideas it now has.

What do you think of the current state of the music industry?

There are a lot of great artists backed by rich record companies that have the money to get their artists played in heavy rotation. But there are a lot of talented independent artists that should be heard. It would be cool to have sponsored radio stations that allow people to discover music from unsigned and independent artists and bands on the radio, not just the internet.

What is your favorite song currently?

Another Round by fat Joe & Chris Brown.

What do you love almost as much as music?

Peace, Love & Happiness

Who influences you most?

Everybody that works hard to achieve their goals and perfect their talents. It doesn’t matter what they do, just the fact of being dedicated to success and following through.

A world without music is…?

So very sad.

Website:

Black Music Month Spotlight: L.A. Jackson

Name:

L.A. Jackson

Why is celebrating Black music important to you?

Because Black music is the foundation for all music.  So much has spun off from this music that it’s important to remember  where the heartbeat of it all came from. Credit is given to all music  styles, but then again, every style on the planet has been affected by Black music, in one way or another. I explain my perceptions in the  upcoming Music book series, Musicology 2101.

What do you think of the current state of the music industry?

It stinks. The music has to go back to the  musicians, plain and simple. For example, the artists I am working with  ALWAYS have a LIVE element to them – http://www.reverbnation.com/label/peachcityrecordsllc

What is your favorite song currently?

Africa Must Wake Up, Damian Marley and Nas.

What do you love almost as much as music?

The random thoughts that come into my mind. They helped me write  my book Musicology 2101, and help me come up with musical ideas when I’m working with artists.

Who influences you most?

God, the Marley family and my fifth grade teacher, Bernard Percy.

A world without music is…?

Fire and brimstone. Unthinkable.

Website and contact info:

Paris Jackson

Top Story: The Half Series – When Black People Look White (3 of 3)

The Finale

Here are the final guesses on Katie Burrell’s ethnic background as of Sunday, June 13th, 2010:

  • White/Black 31.3%
  • Hispanic/Black 11.1%
  • Arabic/Black 10.1%
  • Asian/Black 8.1%
  • None of the Above 18.2%
  • I Don’t Know 21.2%

Katie and her father!

– Katie Burrell in Her Own Words –

Estimated reading time: 3  minutes, 7 seconds. Contains 624 words

I’m half Arab and half Black. I live in the desert southwest so it’s predominately Latino/Hispanic. When people find out I’m not Mexican but Black and Arab, they treat me differently instantly because they said I lied to them. Honestly, it’s whatever.

When you’re not accepted by the Black community because your hair isn’t apparently ‘nappy’ enough (my own grandmother says I got Puerto Rican hair) and the Arab community says you’re not full Arab, it’s like you’re in between. It’s hard to mix my life and friends because they are so different.

When I’m with my family I feel normal. I feel more at home with Black folks rather than White or Arab, just because I do. People say I act like I’m Black then when I tell them I am, um…they’re shocked to say the least.

I’d say it’s about finding your own identity. We cannot define ourselves by the stereotypes in our culture, that gets us nowhere. No one can act or talk Black or White or Green or Yellow, it’s just how we perceive it. Like half of my family thinks I’m being White because I have an education and an honest job. All that means is that they have set the bar low for themselves and they think success means they’ll lose who they are. It’s actually the opposite, success defines the path in which you’ll go and so does failure.

– Get The Half Series ebook on Amazon

There you have it! Katie’s ethnic background is Black and Arabic. I would have never guessed correctly myself if I didn’t already know the answer. It just goes to show you that you definitely should not judge a book by its cover.

Black people are not literally black. I know a Black woman with blue eyes, I recently saw an image of a Haitian child with blonde hair, and actor Harold Perrineau (who is married to a White woman) has two daughters and the youngest looks more like him and the oldest looks a lot like the mom. I can also recall a time when many people had no idea that Mariah Carey was Black (Afro-Venezuelan) or that Halle Berry has a White mother! I also just learned that Tom Sizemore’s mother is Black; something that he kept hidden for many many years! Wow!!!

It’s a crap shoot people, and that’s the beauty of it. You never know what you’re gonna get, but you can rest assured that whatever you get it will be part of the human race.

Dangerous Lee and her daughter, Senia.

The Half Series – Part 1

The Half Series – Part 2

Update – December 15, 2011

On this day, Paris Jackson appeared on the Ellen show as a guest to promote a book and film project that she will be appearing in titled, “Lundon’s Bridge: and The Three Keys”. She as well as her brothers are in the spotlight more than ever and tongues are also wagging more than ever about whether or not they are Michael Jackson’s biological children.

Look at these two images:

Still don’t think Michael fathered Paris and her siblings? That’s your problem, but here’s something else; Paris is an avid tweeter on Twitter and when someone tried to call her out as being White she promptly came back stating that she’s “mixed”. So, there ya have it folks, Paris and I’m sure Prince as well as Blanket are very aware of what they are and who their biological father is.

!!!CASE CLOSED!!!

Prince, Paris, and "Blanket"

Top Story: The Half Series – When Black People Look White (2 of 3)

PART TWO

Katie Burrell with her son:

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 35 seconds. Contains 919 words

Most of you are guessing that Katie’s ethnic background is Black and White. Keep on guessing. The truth will be revealed in the third and final installment of this series along with an exclusive interview with Katie.


As I stated in the beginning, I am the mother of a “biracial” or “mixed” child. I use quotation marks for these words because I do not think they are appropriate or correct, but because these are the words used to describe my child and others like her, I will go with the flow so that you can understand where I am coming from. I think bi or multi-ethnic would be more appropriate.

Why don’t I believe in these terms? Race is a made up social construct. We are all once race. We have different ethnic backgrounds but “race” is not real. We are all mixed in one way or another. The whole White and Black thing was made up for oppressive purposes that are still alive and well today. If it wasn’t I would not be writing this blog. We’re all 99.9% alike in every way.

Let’s move on to Michael Jackson‘s babies; I believe they are his biological children. Why? Because he admitted in an interview to using his sperm for their creation. I can also see Michael in their features and mannerisms. You can see a lot of Debbie Rowe in the two oldest children as well, but aren’t children supposed to look like their mama too?

And uh, people act like Michel was dark as hell before vitiligo took over his skin, not that that would make much difference in what his children would look like. You must also realize that the Jackson clan have mixed ancestry just like every other Black family in the United States. Genes do what the hell they want when they collide. We don’t control them. They control us! Two dark skinned people can produce a light skinned child.

I know many of you think that Michael had an issue being Black and that he bleached his skin and other such nonsense, so in turn he wanted White children, but you need to let that theory go.

Michael suffered from a skin disorder called, vitiligo. Vitiligo is a skin condition in which there is a loss of brown color (pigment) from areas of skin, resulting in irregular white patches that feel like normal skin.

Vitiligo is hereditary and it has been assumed that Prince also has vitiligo because he has patches of white skin near his underarm.

– Get The Half Series ebook on Amazon

Debbie Rowe and Michael Jackson

Prince, Paris, and “Blanket”

Apparently the youngest, known as Blanket, is Black and Spanish/Italian. From what I understand, Michael used an anonymous surrogate for him and many people seem to only believe that Blanket is his biological child. Why only Blanket? Because he looks more ethnic?

If Blanket is indeed Black and Spanish/Italian he is naturally going to look more ethnic than his older brother and sister because they are half Black, half Debbie Rowe (Debbie is a White woman, but I don’t know her ethnicity). Duh!

Paris and Prince

Having a very light skin tone does not make a person any less Black than someone who is black as tar. Being Black is not literally about having dark skin, it’s about your heritage and about what you identify as. Really it’s about the ethnic background of your parents.

I was watching an old episode of America’s Next Top Model from back in 2005 when Detroit native, Naima won. Naima is Black, Mexican, and Irish. Another cast mate, Keenyah, a Black woman (background unknown), stated that she didn’t think Naima was Black because  she doesn’t see that in her!

Who the hell is she to define what Black is for someone else and what the hell is she looking for that will make her say , “Ah ha, she is Black!” ?  Being a brown skinned Black person does not mean you can define Blackness for someone else with lighter skin, and being dark also does not mean you can’t be of mixed heritage.

You can be as chocolate as I am and not be of African descent and you can be as light as Michael’s children and have a Black parent. Why is this so hard to understand or accept?

Naima – Winner of America’s Next Top Model 2005

Keenya – America’s Next Top Model Contestant 2005

Back in my modeling days I constantly heard, “You’re so pretty, are you mixed?” Of course I took offense to this because the implication is that if you’re a pretty Black woman that you MUST be mixed with something else. You can’t just be Black. Give me a damn break!

I recently attended an Undoing Racism Workshop and let me tell you I was blown away by what I learned. Everyone needs to take part in this workshop if it hits your area. I promise, you will be enlightened and a lot less ignorant about race and color issues.

Black people will need to be open to the truth about terms such as, Colorism and Internalized Racism and White people will have to face the fact that they have what is called, Internalized Racial Superiority. I can’t find anything concrete online to directly explain this term, but the truth is out there. Read. There are tons of books that get into these topics.

Start with Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

In the final installment of The Half Series, I will reveal Katie Burrell’s ethnic background and I’m sure  you will be shocked. I was!

In the meantime, stop trippin’ about color and love one another.

Click here for the finale of The Half Series.

 

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