Recent Posts

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Spirit of Worship

I have dedicated many a post on this blog about many aspects of my life but of most importance would be my spiritual walk with God. It's something so personal to me and I seldom discuss much of it because I am still growing and learning, and tripping on the path along the way. But in light of this Easter season, I wanted to talk about worship.

If you are a typical Ghanaian kid, you know about church and I would hope, God. The two seem synonymous up until your early twenties when you realize you know everything about church itself but this relationship with God is new, hard, frustrating, and enticing. You come to a point where you realized that you needed Him more but didn't know where to start. You were probably frustrated because after all those years in the church, you realized you knew very little about the Word and for the life of you, couldn't figure how that happened. How did that happen?

If that's not you, it's me. I rededicated my life to Christ at 19 with full determination to do it His way. I did not know what I was getting myself into. A life where God is always on my mind, a life where I desperately seek to stop messing up and get my life like His, a life where I can have full dependency on a greater power and love that equates no other. I owe my life to Christ and as long as I live I will press on to what He has called me to do. It's a strange relationship, this thing I got with God. But man, it's best thing that has ever happened to me and I wouldn't trade it for anything else.

My path to Christ began with worship. Just making up songs in the morning when I woke up. Illegally downloading numerous songs by Israel Houghton, Tye, Kirk, Hillsong, the populars:) Learning new music in place of bible study if I didn't know where to turn in my bible. My secret passion is singing in Twi. For those who know me, I am not fluent in my mother tongue. But what marvels the same people is that I can SANG in Twi. I mean, I know all the inflections, pauses, tunes, and hummms... And strangely, I know what I am singing. Can't speak it for 5 minutes but can sing it along with any other worship leader. Singing in Twi is special to me because I find myself best able to worship that way.

Worship is not about the song but about the heart. How your spirit connects with the Holy Spirit. This can manifest in prayers, praise, meditation, tongues-speaking, and music. In all this form, worship in the form of music moves me to another spiritual level with to God.
I met my friend Yaw Osei-Owusu at a concert in 2009 I believe, the True Worshippers Concert with Sonnie Badu. Actually Kwaku Gyasi was supposed to be there (I reallllllly wanted to see him!) but Sonnie came through instead and it was larger than life. A simple concert with a spiritual bang. My life changed. It was amazing to see so many young people come together to celebrate God and this was all constructed through the vision of Yaw and his friends. I became an active member of TW from that point on but kinda fell off.... I'm still trying to get my life together since returning from Ghana:( But all the same, I pray for TW, I pray for our board, I pray for Yaw because he has opened his heart to allow God to do some amazing things in his life.

Take this concert I went to last November..... WHAT? It was the most beautiful, riveting, spirit-filled gospel concert I have ever attended (given it was my first real one). Yaw has finally taken his awesome vocals to the studio to produce amazing tracks to glorify God. I can't explain it. I was in the way back of the auditorium and was losing my mind, tears streaming down my face, my heart bursting with passion for God. Yaw took us to another level in the spirit. Yaw brought us to worship God. You had to be there.
If you weren't, you can pretend you were. He's completed his DVD production of the concert and it goes on sale Easter day. If you want a copy, I won't lend you mine. Get your own. He's on fb, find out how to get your in-home concert. Be blessed and support our Ghanaian youth. You will not regret being taken there. It might get you back on your path with God again.

Try not to drool at Yaw, he's a cutie but he ain't thinking 'bout you. :)

Congratulations Yaw, God bless you and thank you for doing His work.

Bonus: You'll have this on repeat like....

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ghana, must go

I'm reading a new novel by Taiye Selasi, Ghana Must Go. How you read the title is up to you however. Ghana, must go. Ghana must go. Ghana.... must.... go.... ?

She wrote a meaningful piece on how she arrived at self-awareness by her travels in western Africa.

Folks ask me, how was Ghana? Do you ever see yourself living there? 

Yes, I do.

Like Selasi put in her article, being in Ghana allowed me to create an experience of my own. Not the experiences of my parents but one embarked by me, learned by myself. Living, working, being in Ghana allowed me to have my own version of home which came so naturally, quite immediate upon my arrival there. I believe, because, I already decided that I was going to take myself along on that trip. I was going  to be the quirky, corny, passionate, loving Mabel I was in the States; who I am in VA was going to be the same person in Ghana, just with a change of scenery. I made up in my mind that I was going to treat the trip as if I was truly going home. Not a visit, not a excursion, home.

What I think is hard for most American bred Africans is facing the question of who am I? when embarking on such a journey. Who are we when we return home? How much of our selves are we taking back? Are we selective in how we portray ourselves on African soil? Do we return as the prodigal daughter, the visitor, the criticizer, the outsider? 

I feel, to make the most out of your experience, you need to bring all of your self when you go back home. Don't be partial. As you laugh, listen, work, visit, learn in the States, be that when you return home. I notice people complain about going back to Ghana because they couldn't wear their natural hair without getting the stares, couldn't stand the sun, couldn't take pictures they way they wanted to, their family wouldn't let them explore the way they desired. Was scared of the water, mosquitoes, family curses. Couldn't handle the traffic, the backwards way of thinking, the slowness. 

Shut up.

And just be. Go home and enjoy being home. Stop looking from the outside, as a creator of your experiences. Try being the creation of your surroundings and enjoy it. It will be home to you as well.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hair Deeds

This was a draft in my vault that I decided to finally post after reading the responses from a recent post on BGLH. I originally wrote this post in May 2012.


It's taking A LOT for me to write this.... Long post for those who care!

I have been natural for approximately 6 years. As a child and eventually an adolescent, I always had problems with my hair and used braids as a coverup for something I didn't know how to handle. The summer before college, I decided to give up the perm and keep my hair braided which became my unknown transition to becoming natural. That didn't solve my hair issues, not that I expected it to. I just didn't want to deal with it. Once my perm grew out and I amassed a head full of kinky coils, I started to look into how to maintain natural hair. And since I love to research anyway, I gained a lot of knowledge. As a result, I spent countless dollars on hair products and had more errors than trials but I've stuck it out. I'm still natural, but after all this time... I've got little to show for it.

My hair is fine, wispy, and very fragile and needs much tender care to see results. However, my hair is still unique and lovely to me. I love it because I have it. After all the trauma I've put it through, it's still there! Funny thing is, I'm the natural hair queen! I have converted many a friend to the natural side. I have aided in the upkeep and advice of natural hair to many people. I know EVERYTHING to know about natural hair and I promote it on the regular.

Upon coming to Ghana, I had a plan. I thought it was really great because I had 10 months to really promote a change. I had an abundance of time and the warm weather was supposed to be conducive to the health of my hair. But yeah, I never kept up with my planned regimen of deep conditioner treatments and moisturizing. I protected my hair under my usual braids  because it's hard to resist the cheap hair braiding here:) The first day I met my principal, I wore my hair in it's natural form. It was in a cute puff and I liked it! But he kept staring at it as if it were to be a problem. You know that look, the "what are you going to do with it?" look.Then when I went to visit family in Kumasi, they kept saying that an araba like me should keep my hair neat as I am a foreigner and I should look like one. Let's not forget my mom calling me from the States from time to time to ask me, "have you done your hair? Please don't embarass me ooo... You know Kumasifuo..."  I think it puzzles people that a "fine girl" like me wants to wear my hair "like that". "You have money, don't you?" (these are true comments!). When I was leaving Nigeria, during my departure process the customs officer looked over my passport then looked at me and asked, "What were you doing in Nigeria?" I answered that I there to visit my boyfriend and family. He then glanced at my (bit old but still!) kinky twists and asked, "So your boyfriend couldn't pay for you to do your hair?"

The thing is that, adult women with natural hair is very common here, especially in Accra (where things are more modern anyway). I see young women in my age group proudly wearing their natural hair at whatever length and style. I see adult women with their hair in natural twists all the time. Granted, most of these adult women are market sellers; I only note women my age with natural to be from the local university. I assume many people here consider natural hair to be for those who cannot afford to do their hair or just want to be "rasta". It's usually school girls that are subjected to wear their hair short and unpermed. You can tell who is about to finish high school because their natural hair is a little fuller, as if getting ready to be permed or braided upon graduating. I've chatted with so many young girls who are itching to grow their hair out, perm it, weave, braid it, what have you.

I just hope I can get to the point where I can let go of my dependency on braids and really learn how to treat my natural curls. I just feel that being an American and having natural hair makes me stand out all the more. I don't know how I feel about the attention. And I am afraid that I am more concerned of what they think as beautiful and therefore, I'm giving in to their standards by covering up what I think I am supposed to be proud of. My hair.

Shit just got real.

I never finished the post but I guess to summarize and to interject my perspective about it all, now that I am back in the States and was recently reminded of these events through Chizzy's post. Frankly, as Ghanaians, we have a long way to go when it comes to acceptance. I have a long way to go as well. We have a long way to go when it comes to self-acceptance, awareness, and overall, education. I do hope that Africans in the Diaspora will work to demystify the myth that beauty resides in long flowing Brazilians, oversized shoppers, and long, painted talons--- especially when they visit home. A lot of this miseducation comes from the mainstream beauty and possibly, colonial influence. So natural Ghana girls, when you're going home, be prepared for the backlash, whether aggressive or private concern. But if you're going to rock the fro, rock it proudly, boldly, and with confidence. Their concern is probably marvel at your audacity to truly being yourself.