Otta Benga, Formerly Enslaved
The Epitome of a Nubian Knight

Otta Benga, Formerly Enslaved<br>The Epitome of a Nubian Knight

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"Whenever I use BLACK it relates to some history of Africans in that particular place. It’s the idea of the color BLACK as a metaphor, or as a representation of African-Americans. It’s the notion of BLACK- BLACKNESS - and all its other meanings in relation to the history of race..."

- Fred Wilson

"Most of my fortitude to continue doing the work comes from the moral outrage I feel about the injustices that Black people endure disproportionately daily."

- N. Abdul-Wakil

"In the end, what matters is not skin shade but pan-African consciousness. Loving your complexion, your nose, lips, hair length and texture, no matter what the politics or trends decide, and simply be. That's the problem with us (African folks). We're still learning how to love ourselves. So used to glorifying others and putting others first..."

- Dredlocks Tree

The REEL Black Same Gender Loving Filmography Resource (A 24/7 ONLINE FILM DATABASE)

The REEL Black Same Gender Loving Filmography Resource (A 24/7 ONLINE FILM DATABASE)
Click The Pic To Access The Film Library Database! (166 Films)
LAST UPDATE: Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Dano Youth Cultural Festival, First Edition
Dano, Burkina Faso (West AFRICA)

Welcome To The Compound

Letter From Malidoma

A Dream Comes True

The Dano Youth Cultural Festival, First Edition, was a milestone in the effort to rally young people age eighteen and under throughout the Province of Ioba in the Southwest region of Burkina Faso around the theme of culture and tradition. Begun as an initiative based on the ancestors, their culture and the determination to make it palatable to youth it raised a plethora of issues including language, culture and identity while allowing the youth to enjoy a festive atmosphere within a spirit of competition and exploration. Throughout, it was clear that this festival of culture was raising not just problems faced by youth only but also addressing the deep seated challenges of the Province and perhaps the country of Burkina Faso as a whole.

Carrying Wood

Under the leadership of the Provincial High Commissioner, and the entire body of government workers in the Provincial capital, DANO, the festival entitled "la semaine de l'expression et de la pratique artistique et culturelle (SEPAC)" --The week of Artistic and Cultural expression-- was wrapped around numerous competitions and events including dance, music, handicraft, archery, indigenous fashion show, gold sifting, poetry and drama all of which were captivating to the large audience of youth under the supervision of their teachers and leaders. It was also the occasion for a number of debates on subjects pertinent to youth development such as native language, education in French and the changing face of school. But the most prevalent of all was the Soccer Competition, the sport of choice of the country. We only went to the finals on the last day of the festival. It was presided over by the Governor of the Southwest who was surrounded by other dignitaries from his office and was the occasion for various televised speeches, interviews, acknowledgments and praises for the week-long festival.

Cashew Tree

The High commissioner stressed in his speech the beauty of a life dedicated to the future of the young ones and urged everyone to follow our lead in showing the youth that we care. This was in response to an embarrassing statement made by a young woman a few days earlier who said that young people's alienation from the values of their culture is not their fault, but the fault of the grownups because they do not show any motivating interest. Young ones can only follow what they see. He acknowledged that the current state of alienation from ancestral culture was due to sustained prior disinterest that was being passed on to subsequent generations.

Children of Dano

The governor's speech was brief and supportive, mostly centered around what he called a notable act of citizenry on my part and thanked the dignitaries for their presence which he thought spoke for itself. He was then about to kick off the soccer game when the High Commissioner whispered to him whether he thought it was a good idea to let me say something. The Governor agreed.

Dagara Traditional Music-
Young Men Playing The Balafon---The Traditional Way!

Caught up in the moment, I told everyone present that I was not the one to be lauded for the beauty of what was going on, but my American friends who took to heart the welfare of our youth by contributing funds and, for some, by coming all the way here to show their love and support. I called everyone to the fact that the youth are our future and the future of our identity as a people, the Dagara. I appealed on people's common sense to make the fate of these youth their fate. I had to stop when I realized I was getting a little emotional. The moderator remarked that if I had continued on this vein for another two minutes too many people would be tearing up.


I was touched by the overall beauty of the afternoon. The festive atmosphere stirred by the game continued into the evening with the display of tremendous energy of joy and celebration by the youth. The cultural evening that followed the ceremony at the soccer finals took place at the Provincial Conference Center. It was delightful to say the least. Packed with at least a thousand youth, we watched them deploy their prowess in dance, music, fashion show, songs, etc.

Day Care at the Gold Mine

I was touched by the dedication of the High Commissioner who labored hard to ensure that everything went well. Of course nothing really worked according to schedule which itself was constantly being refashioned. There was a lot of stress throughout, and I complained a couple of times about the rising cost of the event. I was stressed because I could see how stressed the High Commissioner was in his deliberate move to please the American delegation. He never missed the opportunity to ask me if my friends were doing ok, if they were pleased and what was their impression of the various events. I tried to be as reassuring to him as I could amid my own stress and 110 degrees heat.

Girls Playing the Balafon
It Is Rare To See Girls Playing The Balafon Among The Dagara
---It Is Usually Reserved For Boys.

I have to admit that I have never had so much government exposure in my country. I've never been part of an official escort complete with flashing lights and siren. I have never sat with senior government agents. Needless to say, my comfort zone was on trial. Being the center of interest from government is a mixed blessing. There are always expectations and a price to pay.


I deplored the fact that there were no indigenous elders among the speakers and noticed that they were not present at the closing ceremonies either. I understood later on that due to the fact that the language of the proceedings of the festival was French, it was a logistical challenge the organizing committee couldn't resolve. Elders do not speak French and not all the youth spoke Dagara. In sharing my impressions with the High commissioner later on, we both agreed that this youth festival is a work in progress. He said that this was the very reason he called it the "First Edition."

High Commissioner Draws His Bow
The High Commissioner Shoots His Bow
As Robert, Malidoma's Uncle, & Malidoma And Others Look On!

I want to thank everyone whose contribution has made this possible. From those who reached into their pocket to those who decided to come and see for themselves, I pray that the ancestors of both lands deliver a lasting thank you for a gesture that has brought two worlds closer, raised hope where there was little, and allowed young ones to feel alive once again.



Into The Gold Mine

Malidoma (In White Shirt & Black Hat) Gives Lessons

Mango Tree

Marching in Step in the Parade
The Parade Before The Soccer Game!

Marching in the Parade

More Dagara Traditional Song

More Traditional Dance

Panning For Gold

Smiling Faces

Soccer Awards Ceremony
Award Presented By Malidoma And The Governor of Ioba Provincey

Soccer Mania
Celebration On The Soccer Field After Scoring!

Teaching at the Bi-lingual School
A Teacher Searches The Sea Of Raised Hands
To Call A Student Up To The Board.

Student Reading Dagara
At this bi-lingual school in Dano, children are taught solely in their native Dagara language for the first 4 years before integrating the French language.

The Dagara Language

The Archers
Competitors In The Dagara Traditional Archery Contest

The Dignitaries
Malidoma, The High Commissioner, The Govenor of Ioba
And The Other Dignitaries Enjoy The Soccer Games

The Eldest Elder in Dano
She Joked She Was Nearly 200 Years Old!

The Warrior Dance
The Young Men Show Off Their Skills In Traditional Dance!

Traditional Dagara Dance
Girls Tell A Story Though Dance!

Traditional Song
Young Women Lift Their Harmonizing Voices In Dagara Traditional Song!

Two Baobob Trees with Nests
The Nests Belong To Vultures!

Water Tree

Weaver At Work

Whistle Blower

Women & Water

Youth Fashion Show
A Young Girl Struts Down The Catwalk!

A Retrospective Historical Compilation
Of The Same Gender Loving Experience
From The African Diaspora

Looking For Langston (1989)
Available For Purchase At

Hey Black Family,

A few links to historical articles regarding the same gender loving (SGL) experience of the African Diaspora has come my way over the course of the last week and in some cases over the last few years.

I wanted to share a historical compilation of those SGL experiences via a few blog entries from other Black SGL bloggers. As usual, if we're not vigilant and don't tell our own stories then nobody will, or revisionists will come in and re-write shit (aka stealing our African thunder from contributions such as Stonewall in the Village in New York City) to minimize our experiences.

Also, if bruthaz and sistahs know of more links around the Internet then please send me an email and I'll do more research and build this compilation further.


Publicy Still From The Film
Brother To Brother (2004)

Directed by Rodney Evans
Available For Purchase At

New Exhibit:
"Harlem Renaissance: As Gay as It was Black"
(@ Florida Atlantic University)

Excerpt From Rod 2.0 Beta Online:

In the 1920s and 1930s, New York City's Harlem was the focal point of the so-called New Negro Movement, which sparked the Jazz Age and an incredible revolution in art, fashion, literature and music. According to the preeminent African-American historian Henry Louis Gates, the Harlem Renaissance, as it was later known, was “surely as gay as it was black, not that it was exclusively either of these.”

Fascinating Virtual Archive of
Black SGL Folks on Chicago's South Side

Excerpt From Rod 2.0 Beta Online:

If there is one thing that you read today make sure that it's "Queer Bronzeville", a brilliant virtual history of Black gays, lesbians and transgenders on Chicago’s South Side.
The online exhibit focuses on the Chicago's original black community on the South Side and was created by Tristan Cabello, a doctoral candidate at Northwestern University. The wiki is a collection of more than 100 historical documents—including photographs, videos, maps, interviews and articles. Cabello shows "the visibility of queers on Chicago’s South Side, and their relative acceptance" from the turn of the century to the early 1980s. That was the beginning of the AIDS crisis, when homophobia and anti-gay attitudes toward gays began creeping across society. Cabello writes from the 1920s to 1940s ...


Excerpt From Corey @ I'll Keep You Posted:

ARE HOMOSEXUALS BECOMING RESPECTABLE? (Jet Magazine April 15, 1954) One of the best kept secrets on the campus of a southern Negro college was that a noted genius was overly fond of young boys and to protect the scientists reputation he was never left alone with tender youths. Likewise, a mid-western colored high school football coach is known for his winning teams - and his homosexual tendencies. Behind the scenes, some of America's most celebrated males have tripped the gay fantastic. This fact, further amplified by the recent discovery of some 1,100 homosexuals in the U.S. State Department has prompted the public to wonder if - by its own sanction - homosexuals are becoming acceptable.


Excerpt From Outhistory.org:

PART 1: The Emergence of Queer Networks in Bronzeville (1900-1940)

In 1920s Bronzeville, Chicago’s African American neighborhood, a visible and well-accepted queer subculture emerged. From State Street to Cottage Grove Avenue, along 43rd and 47th Street, Bronzeville’s commercialized and jazz-influenced urban culture offered African American gays and lesbians several venues where homosexuals and heterosexuals interacted across the color line (the Plantation Café, the Pleasure Inn, the Cabin Inn, Club DeLisa and Joe’s Deluxe), yearly popular Halloween “Drag Balls” popularized by Black gay hustler Alfred Finnie, semi-safe locations (the Wabash YMCA, The First Church of Deliverance, Washington Park, Jackson Park), and a “vice district” which facilitated prostitution.

Homosexuality was quietly accommodated.
(Text by Tristan Cabello. Copyright (©) by Tristan Cabello, 2008)