In the Service of our Ancestors and African Love,
Listen Seeker, I come in peace,
“The seed includes all the possibilities of the tree.
The seed will develop these possibilities, however, only if it receives corresponding energies from the sky.” — African Proverb
Oftentimes, the African Blood Siblings Empowerment Meetings in Brooklyn meet in a concreted area and though we participate in African Deep Thought, the architecture can have a disconnecting feel as we are surrounded by their Destruction rather than our Creativity. In an attempt to remedy this, I scoured a local park for inspiration and at once I saw a winding, twisting tree which reminded me of the hair on my head. Thus was born this Allegory and an even deeper understanding of who we are as African people. Please share, comment and donate.
The Allegory of the Earth’s Locs
By Onitaset Kumat
A mother, father and their three children were the park’s portrait of beauty, sitting on the richly green grass and lounging in the Sun and open air. The infant boy was suckling on his mother, while the two daughters sat patiently facing out on the road ahead. Around them were a collection of other families, couples, and teenagers, sitting on bedsheets, walking on beaten paths, and jogging on the pavement. The styles were numerous, especially hair styles. Though many people were melanated, their hair ranged from Afros to Bantu Knots; to Braids and Locs; to shaved heads and bald heads; to European and Asian imitations; and the eldest daughter looked at her family to see the uniformed style: freeforming locs. Everyone’s hair was clumpy, thick and distinguished on their heads. The daughter could not help but wonder.
Seeing her mother busy nursing her thirsty brother, the daughter looked toward her father and said in Swahili, “Baba, why is our hair like this?”
The mother and father looked toward one another with a smile, then the father repeated, “It’s time we tell you, ‘the Allegory of the Earth’s Locs.'”
He continued, “Look at that boy over there.” Passing was another family where the boy had a very short cut, his head decorated with little peas of hair. The boy ignored the onlooking family, himself being captivated by a little critter while his mother harshly scold him to pay attention to her. “I have never seen that Mother at the Boko,” whispered the father to his wife, then looking back at his daughter he continued, “from his hair grows locs, from those seeds grow big plush locs like your own.”
The father then grabbed a pine cone from the ground. “Feel this” he offered. His daughters gentle with the seed examined and touched it, until returning it to their father he exchanged the seed for his son as his wife put the cone in a more fertile and less populated place. “From this seed grows trees.” Still holding his son but urging his children to stand, mother, father and their daughters walked to a nearby tree where the father continued the allegory, “Look closely at the shape of this tree. Notice how it twists, notice its roots, notice how it branches out, notice its melanin. Now look at our hair.”
Barring the green chlorophyl-filled leaves, the basic shape of the surrounding trees and the family’s varying locs were kin. Both had roots that converged into a thick mass until branching out they went in divers directions. Their hair did not have leaves and the trees did not have a fuzzy overlay; however the observant daughters marveled that indeed the Earth had locs or their heads had trees. The girls smiled in amazement.
“Watato,” continued the storyteller, “our heads carry a variety of hair and much more than hair. Like the earth,” now pointing around, “carries more than trees, like grass, squirrels, concrete, kwk.” The family sat down again as the father returned his son to be nursed. “There are things your head produces, like minerals and oils, that will assist in your hair’s maintenance and growth and they thrive in your hair’s environment, keeping it melanated, durable, and long.” The girls gripped and tugged at their bountiful locs. “However, there are also things that can come onto your head, like lice or dandruff, which will resist your hair’s growth or destroy it.” The girls cautiously looked around causing their parents to smile at one another.
“The latter,” said the father, “will, undefeated during cleanings, fortify themselves and eventually spread around your head or even to another head. Then, even your head will be ineffective in facillitating your hair growth. All your head can do is fortify and spread its produce in a literal war for your head otherwise those invaders will rule over your head and either you’ll lose your locs or even all of your hair; you’ll be bald!” The two girls shrieked as onlookers passingly considered something was a matter. The father shouted to a man rushing over “The Allegory of the Earth’s Locs” wherein the man nodded understandingly and rushed back to his family.
The mother and father shared knowledge on the potential aide, his family, his business–which they regularly patronize–and his heart, knowing him from the Boko, then the father continued the story. “You know, oftentimes, what will damage your hair has little pigment; and what damages the Earth’s hair also has little pigment, no locs and are early to be bald head.”
“Yurugu” said the oldest daughter as the family nodded.
“See, your hair creates ‘agents’ to facilitate hair growth and crown your head. Perhaps long ago, some of these ‘agents’ mutated then fortifying, invaded other heads destroying instead of growing hair. Well, the Earth created Africans to thrive and crown it. But some mutated and no longer servicing the Earth, these Europeans, Yurugu, destroy the Earth, fortifying and invading all parts of it, until unabated the Earth will be no more.
“Our hair is this way because we are the offspring of the Earth. Our features are hers. We wear our hair this way to remind ourselves that we are in service of the Earth in deference to the Creator’s will. While others serve to destroy the Earth, personifying Isfet, Europeans and Asians, we serve to service the Earth, personifying Maat, Africans. We freeform as the Earth freeforms. Watato, this is why our hair is this way.”
The father and daughters then looked to the nursing Wise Queen-Mother. She finished the allegory, “Watoto, we are the energy of the Earth to assure her crown is magnificent. In turn, the Earth gave us a crown like hers to remind us what she wants–what is most Beautiful.”
“Ase” responded all, the infant included.