Much Respek for Luke Cage’s Anansi (Sahr Ngaujah)

12 08 2018

Hetepu (Peace & Blessings) Family.

Ok. I just finished watching Luke Cage Season 2, and I am not going to spoil it for those who have not seen it, but I thought it was descent.  The best character and the most profound scene was by Sahr Ngaujah who plays the character Anansi. His performance and monologue was so profound that I found it interesting that no one in the “woke” community caught it.

But, before I go into it, this season 2 has several antagonists. First, there is Mariah “Black Mariah” Dillard (Cornell’s “Cottonmouth” Stoke’s cousin) and Hernan “Shades” Alvarez returns from last season, but there is a villain named John “Bushmaster” McIver.

Bushmaster (Luke Cage 2)

Now, Bushmaster is portrayed as a crazed Jamaican who is obsessed with killing Mariah and any other Stokes that is alive. When he first encounters the protagonist Luke Cage, Bushmaster gives him a serious beatdown because he uses a Maroon fighting style known as Bangaran, which is similar to Capoeira minus the “jinga” dancing step. Sidebar: Denzel Washington and Robert Townsend did a form of bangaran in the classic film The Mighty Quinn. Anyway, you find out later that reason Bushmaster is out to kill Mariah is because the Stokes murdered his family and stole his inheritance.

Bushmaster fight Luke Cage

So, like I said, I am not going through the whole season. I am just going to say that the best, the coldest, the most relevant to our situation and the most profound scene that explains most of our situation occurs between in episode 24 “The Creator.”

In the scene, Shades and Mariah kidnaps Bushmaster’s Uncle Paul “Anansi” McIntosh. (Sidebar: Anansi is the name of the Akan Ellegua or trickster spirit who manifests himself as a spider, who became Aunt Nancy in the United States. The name Anansi is also featured in the show American Gods 2 as Mr. Nancy shown above.)

Anansi (Sahr Ngaujah) in Luke Cage 2.

Anyway, they are discussing how her grandfather “Buggy Stokes” stole Bushmaster’s father (Quincy McIver) distillery.

Mariah tells Anansi that afterwards, “The Italian gangsters took the liquor. The Irish cop’s protection but we (Stokes) kept the real-estate.”

Anansi responds saying “Yuh grandfather was a slave.”

Mariah retaliates, “Buggy Stokes was freer than you will ever be.”

Anansi, “That’s the problem with you, Yankee. Yuh nuh have the strength to fight yuh masters dem. Yuh lazy. Yuh content with the scraps. Yuh happy to sing and dance for dem.“

Mariah responds saying, “Oh, please. Every Jamaican talks that Marron bullshit.”

What, y;all didn’t get your freedom–What? 1962. And then you got enslaved by the World Bank.  All you’re known for is Marley, marijuana and murder.

Anansi tells Mariah, “Quincy McIver wanted to fight the Italians and di Irish. Him thought Buggy would’ve had him back.”

Mariah finishes saying, “Buggy could only fight for one family. And he chose the right one.”

And, it is here we see the entire psychological and social issue that most of us suffer from without even noticing. It interesting that none of the “woke” community has even spoke about it.  First, if you ever watched the first season of Luke Cage you know that Mariah has serious self-identity and self-love issues. She rose to power (spoiler alert for those who have not watched  season 1) because her cousin teased her by repeating a horrible nickname “Black Mariah,” which led to his death.  In the beginning of season 2, Mariah is persuaded to make a deal by another Black American gangster who discourages her from working with (paraphrase) “Cigar Smoking Blacks, Caribbean Blacks, Rum Drinking Blacks” (derogatory shots to Blacks in the Caribbean) and encourage her to work only with Mississippi Blacks (American Blacks).

Anansi’s statement to Mariah that, “That’s the problem with you, Yankee. Yuh nuh have the strength to fight yuh masters dem.  Yuh lazy. Yuh content with the scraps. Yuh happy to sing and dance for dem.“

She totally missed what Anansi was saying because like most people she did not know her history. The Maroon’s is a generic and derogatory term from the Spanish word cimarrón, that was corrupted in English to maroon to mean “wild, unruly and runaway slave.”

Family. The Maroons were not a single or separate race of people. They were Africans forcefully brought to the Americans and forced to be slaves, who had had enough and fled into the wild to make their own life. Many of the “Maroons” banded with the indigenous people of the land and built numerous communities all throughout the Americas and they warred with the Europeans to defend their land.  This is reflected in Bushmaster who has hazel colored eyes, was blessed by his grandmother who was an Obeah woman, etc.

Most people have only vaguely heard of the Jamaican Maroon community and think that the term Maroon only refers to escaped Africans there.  But, there were Maroons they escaped and settled with the Taino in Haiti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. The Maroons in the United States were the infamous Seminoles in Florida, that no one wants to really talk about. Not to mention the Africans who joined forces with the indigenous in Louisiana and Mississippi.  In fact, any African American who has an affinity with the Native American spirit Black Hawk will be surprised to find that it has nothing to do with how many are portraying him. It is drawing back to this Maroon spiritual connection, which means you may have some African ancestry who were Maroons.

Maroon culture promoted in Jamaica courtesy of http://etn.travel/jamaicas-tourism-promote-maroon-festival-9112/

There were Maroon cultures in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, and their descendants are the Garifuna.  There were Maroon cultures in Panama, Columbia, Ecuador and in Brazil, the most famous Maroon culture was called Palmares home of the legendary leader Zumbi dos Palmares, rumored to be the birthplace of the contemporary Capoeira.

There were also Maroons in Mexico where the most famous Angolan Maroon leader, Yanga Gaspar, was said to have beat the Spanish so bad that it led to a peace treaty, which eventually led to Mexico winning its independence. Yanga Gaspar is honored today in Veracruz, Mexico with a statue There were even Maroon communities in Canada.

In Jamaica the “Maroons” had two pivotal wars against the British that eventually led to the British signing a peace treaty with them. Jamaica’s independence had nothing to do with the Maroons but they tried to tie the two together to make “selling out” looking appeasing and make our indigenous culture look primitive, backwards and unimportant.

Killmonger of Black Panther

Again, it was another tip of the Marvel hat to put down indigenous African culture and African mindsets as they had done with the Killmonger character in Black Panther.

It makes you ask the question that if our indigenous mindset (culture and spirituality) is so primitive, backwards and unimportant, why don’t let us be?

It is because they know that it is not. The Maroon culture is the only culture within the Americas that has flipped the system because they know that they are the only ones who are mentally and spiritually free. Understand, Maroon culture focuses on going within. In fact, all throughout the series Anansi keeps reminding Bushmaster that true power comes from within.

The Maroons all over the Afro-Diaspora are the ones who understood that anyone you allow to give you your freedom is your slave master, and this is what Mariah missed as she was applauding her grandfather who murdered his own just to settle for scraps from the Italians and Irish mobs.

Family. I hope that this has inspired you to take a deeper look at Maroon culture so that you can understand what it really means to be mentally and spiritually free.  A lot of effort is being made so that we do not return to our original spiritual mindset. This world has nothing to offer us because our genius is within.

Don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise.

Hetepu.

Advertisements




Honoring the Spirit of Resistance!

19 11 2012

Hetepu (Peace) Family

The 20th of November marks the official death of Zumbi dos Palmares (1655-1695), the ex-slave and last leader of the Quilombo dos Palmares, who fought the Portuguese on behalf of the Maroon society in Brazil. Many people I have talked to about Zumbi asked “Why should we celebrate this event? It happened in Brazil.”

Well, I use to think the same way. I changed my thinking because the 20th of November is celebrated in Brazil as Black Awareness Day and is used as a time to reflect upon the contributions made by people of African descent, as well as erase the vicious stereotypes that have been created about blacks.  In the beginning, I found this to be a little odd because throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, there are a lot of stereotypical images that are held dear to people of African descent like the Mammy figure. I remember, the first time I met Mammy it was at my padrino’s (my spiritual godfather’s) house. She stood next to his Ellegua and he told me that she was his Ellegua’s wife according to his spiritual practice. Being an African American I was a little offended by the image until I began to really learn the cultural connection.

Mammy also called La Madama in Cuba

You see, when the Africans were brought to the Americas. Many of them finding themselves in a foreign land, living as prisoners under the yoke of a racist slave owner, tried to recreate the life they knew in their homeland.  But they were unable to do so because the same social system did not exist. So, the Africans had to create a new cultural model in order to survive slavery, racial discrimination and most importantly resist the propaganda directed at them that they were inferior to whites.  So, having no kings and queens to turn to, the Africans turned to the wisest amongst them, which was their elders.

Preto Velhos of Brazil

Contrary to popular belief, the elders in the slave community were the most beloved because they were not seen as a physical threat to the slave owners.  As a result, the slave owners were more inclined to trust them versus younger slaves. But, the elders were also the most knowledgeable about the old ways of Africa. As a result, the spirit of resistance (from my research) in the slave community began with the brave men and women that worked in the slave owner’s home. Afterwards, these same men and women would return to their community and teach what they had learned to help their people. The elders of slave community basically played a dual role and they taught everyone they knew how to do the same thing until conditions were more favorable for them to institute the desired change.  It was from the elders religious syncretism was born, along with the whole idea of masking ones true intentions.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Now, when some whites got wind of how the slaves were living.  They tried to sympathize with their plight as Harriet Beecher Stowe had done in her antislavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. What Stowe was trying to show in her book was how contradictory it was for them as Christians to enslave other Christians based upon the color of their skin.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was made into a play, which was performed all over the country and even the world.

What ended up happening was that millions of her books were sold and a number of Uncle Tom’s Cabin plays were performed around the United States and the world. It was from this book that a lot of whites got the idea that slavery was not the Christian thing to do.  But, the book also laid the stereotypical foundation of what the African way of life was all about. This gave rise to numerous stereotypical images and icons, that blacks were either pleased being meek, happy-go-lucky, submissive, singing servants or were brute, unruly, sex-craved animals.  This stereotypical imagery of people of African descent dominated the Western world. Although, many of these images that were embraced by people who never even read Stowe’s book or saw the cinematic viewing of the story, simply perpetuated the racist belief that blacks were inferior and meant to live in servitude.

Mexican black cartoon character known as Memin Pinguin

Todays although many of these stereotypical images have been removed from the public’s eye. They continue to rear their ugly heads in the entertainment industry and other areas because of people refusing to embrace their ancestral heritage.

A Big Italian Newspaper Published A Shockingly Racist Cartoon Of Soccer Star Mario Balotelli As A Monkey

African Americans were the most damaged culturally by these stereotypical images I learned because we were outnumbered by the whites in the United States, but in places like Cuba and Brazil. Where the African descendants managed to preserve the truth about who these individuals were prior to the creation of this stereotypical attack. The images did not do much to destroy their cultural psyche because they knew that this was just a war on their cultural way of life. A war that they were determined to fight to win.

El Negro Jose

This is why an analysis of all of these ancestral archetypes will reveal the same thing, which is that these individuals were very knowledgeable slaves with high virtues and integrity. Many of which became or were the leaders of the slave community.  The darkness of their skin, as was in Kamit, symbolized that they were the original Africans of one’s lineage.  They all had white hair, indicating that they were wise.

Francisco, Francisca and La Madama on a Espirista shrine.

In Brazil the so-called Uncle Tom and Mammy figures of the United States were commemorated, honored and respectfully known as the Pretos Velhos (the old black slaves’).  In Cuba, they are sometimes known as Francisco and Francisca, or Jose Negro and La Madama.  In Puerto Rico they are known as El Congo (the Congo) and La Negra (the Black Lady). Their respectful names in Southern African American culture are Uncle Joe or Ole’ Black Joe and Auntie or Big Mamma.

A Black reader reading tea leaves for a young white patron, painted by American Artist Harry Roseland.

By the way, the real Big Mamma was usually a cook or house servant, but she was known throughout the slave community as a midwife, herbalist and a fortune teller, that was sometimes called a Black reader or Black Gypsy. Notice the similarity with the reader below.

Card reader reading cards for a client in Cuba

 As you can see, the stereotypical images was a ruse by the oppressors to ridicule our cultural way of life. In these contemporary times it is not the oppressor that ridicules our culture, but our own out of disgrace, ignorance and shame of who and where we come from. 

The new image of Big Momma

e now, but our selves out of disgrace and ignorance of our own culture.

The new image of Uncle Joe

So you see, this is why Zumbi should be important to people throughout the Americas (and others like him such as Gaspar Yanga), because he is the epitome of what our ancestors did in order for us to live today.

Zumbi dos Palmares the celebrated hero of Capoeira

By celebrating the life of Zumbi and others that resisted in their own way. We not only honor them but erase negative imagery created to ridicule our cultural way of life and show the true power of why our culture is so beautiful.

La Madama in all her beauty

Celebrate the Day of Resistance by watching the movie Quilombo and Sankofa.

Hope that helps,

Hetep

Derric “Rau Khu” Moore

 

* P.S. Please note that I am not against Martin Lawrence, Tyler Perry or any entertainer that makes films. It is just important for people to realize the impact that negative images such as these has upon the rest of the people in the diaspora.