iamthenublack: Ann D of Afrolicious

afrolicious_thenublackintroduce yourself

I go by many names online: simplyann, Ann D!, afrolicious being a few.  But most people call me Ann.  I live and work in Los Angeles, and thanks to the web I’ve been able to work with and know people from all over the world.  Currently, I work in a computer lab based in a South Los Angeles community.  However, you can find traces of my side hustle on various websites.

fav lyric from a song

Currently, my music obsession is Nneka, so I’ll share lyrics from her song “Mind vs. Heart”

What is the mind without the heart

What am I without my shadow

What is life without knowing that death comes

What is a song without a melody

I think the magic comes from hearing her sing the lyrics.  Even about love, she is fiercely political, and I respect her for that.  She challenges me to go deeper to be more conscious- in everything – knowing that death comes.

who and what inspires you?

Music, words and images inspire me.  Together, I believe these three things have the ability to change the way humans relate with each other.  Music, because it’s the sweetest taboo.  It’s a universal language that crosses borders of nation, tongue, skin.  Words because they created the world and they create worlds.  One of my favorite women of color bloggers – brownfemipower – wrote about her love of words.  The post is long archived now, but during Obama’s campaign she wrote about the power of words to sway human thinking, especially when it comes to talking heads like Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck.  But still, brownfemipower has a way with words herself, and so do many of the people and poets I know offline and online.

And lastly, images.  I have a theory that one of the ways to heal broken brown communities (heck, all communities) is to reinforce their culture with positive, accurate and relevant images that reflect their worth.  How many girls are taught nearly from birth to change the way they look, walk, talk, just to fit into standards we have constructed out of systematic ignorance?  How many histories are whitewashed in order to make way for a dominant lie?  The truth is we will never know how many.  If we want to change the way we are viewed in society, in business, in the world in general, we have to flood the channels of media with images we create that represent us in the way we’ve chosen to be represented.

icons past & present

My mother is an icon to me.  She represents so much loudness and silence in my life that it’s hard to think without her voice somewhere inside me.

Other icons in the past were found in literature.  Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth were women I recited poetry about in the 5th grade.  Also Langston Hughes.  His poem, Mother To Son, was the first English poem I recited.  I carried the memories through to college when I took my first African American literature course and discovered Sterling Brown, another poet of the Harlem Renaissance.

I also discovered Zora Neale Hurston and Octavia Butler.  I read “Kindred” somewhere between high school and college and  spent most of my free time in college reading her entire canon.  I had been a sci-fi fan for a while but Octavia Butler’s stories were the first to truly connect to my imagination.

the nublack philosophy/mantra according to Ann D

It’s true the histories of brown skin were and are being systematically erased from the collective human memory.  This is why it’s important for each of us to seek education, not just in the books and formulas of tradition, but also in the stories we each have to tell.  Whether through music, words, images, or a combination of these, we each have a story to tell.  Be heard.

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