DOWN GOES LEOPOLD!

I’m sure some of you have been aware about various statues of racist devils being taken down recently due to the protests. You have the Edward Colston statue getting “swimming lessons” in Bristol, England and you have Confederate statues taken down across the South. I wondered if Belgium was going to step up to get rid of one of the biggest genocidal maniacs you weren’t taught about in school.

Special thanks to Petrel41 for telling me about this!

I’ve mentioned King Leopold II in a few past articles, but this information bears repeating. For those of you that don’t know, he was the king of Belgium since the late 19th century. Him and other European heads of state participated in the Scramble for Africa starting with the Berlin Conference. His piece of the colonization pie was getting a part of the Kingdom of Kongo in a landmass that would become the Belgian Congo or by it’s modern name of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Even after the annexation, that country is still far larger than Belgium from both a landmass and population standpoint. When Leopold got control of that part of Africa, he turned the entire country into his personal slave plantation since it’s still a resource-rich nation even to this day. The biggest things were oil, rubber, and gold to name a few. Leopold and his brutal regime forced the Congolese to take these insane quotas for the resources and if they didn’t meet said quotas, they would get their hands chopped off. You know those chocolate hands they sell in Belgium? That’s where the inspiration came from. Cannibalistic implications much, Leopold? He did wicked things like shooting the Congolese on site and starved them out away from their communities AKA The Elephant Graveyard Treatment much like what the 2nd Reich did to the Namibians in the 1900s or the Native Americans dealing with the Trail of Tears after being abused by the colonizers. This had a result of killing over 15 million Congolese people during his reign! At that time over a century ago, this was HALF the country’s population. To give you more context, that’s over the same amount of people living in the nation’s capital of Kinshasa (also the 3rd most populated city in Africa, by the way) and Chicago COMBINED! Most people know about Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, and Joseph Stalin which people should still be taught about for their atrocities, but Leopold always slips through the cracks of history classes. I didn’t even know who he was until after I graduated college which is sad. Even more angering in hindsight to me is that I have Congolese heritage…Leopold could’ve abused and/or killed MY ancestors that I may not have known about! His punishment for what he did was relinquishing control of the Congo. Oh, cry me a river.

Hopefully that brief history lesson should suffice to my readers. Leopold makes Colston look like an alter boy by comparison. I’m so happy that they took the statues down that glorify racist demons like that tyrant. Major props to the Congolese-Belgians who were hardcore protesting about that situation. I also hope this leads to Belgium paying up those reparations for that genocide against that Central African nation. It’s been a long time coming.

Leopold azali zabolo! Nzambe yaka Osunga Kongo! Mosembo na boboto ekolonga!

Ospreyshire Origins: T. Jennings: Cleaning Up the Patent Competition

Lyrics:

America, you needed to be cleaned up in so many ways
I was only one man, but I had to make things right on a twofold account
I started with your laundry
There would be a new kind of care for your clothes and I did it in a dry fashion like you’ve never seen before
Millions of businesses would be created because of me

Next came real freedom fighters
The bread I got from my invention
Went towards those who wanted every man, woman, and child
To be free and equal
Its more than what a piece of paper could say
I hope they keep on fighting

How does it feel seeing a man like me being the first of his community to own a patent?


Dry cleaning isn’t the most exciting thing to talk about which we can all agree on. What did get fascinating was who invented that form of laundry maintenance and how the funds were used afterwards. This is Thomas Jennings. He was a freeman who mainly worked as a tailor. He created a method called dry scouring which is the archetype for dry cleaning. He actually used the money to buy the freedom of other slaves in America which I massively respect on so many levels. Imagine how many businesses were and still are created today. Also, Thomas Jennings is the first African-American to receive a patent which is even more important in hindsight because he did this before it became illegal for black people to get patents (we’ll talk about that in other posts) before it was reinstated that anyone can make a patent regardless of ethnic stock.

Think about these things the next time you have to get your fancy suits or dresses to the dry cleaning shop.

The image of Thomas Jennings is from Post News Group.

Ospreyshire Origins: Lifeblood: Monologue

Lyrics:

A World War and racial segregation
Wasn’t going to stop me from saving lives
Soldiers were dying
I knew how to innovate in times like these
And even my enemies at home had to bank on it

Every type was given to me to save lives
I chilled the sources and stored them for emergencies
Next, came the samples as cargo on the go
To hospitals and beyond
15,000 in the UK alone
Better thank my inventions for saving their lives

Too bad my employer threw racist pseudoscience
As to who got transfusions or not
I would be cut off from this world
But my method of saving lives continues


Isn’t it a shame when people who literally save lives never get credit for their heroism? It’s no wonder why I have superhero fatigue since more people know who Iron Man, Superman, and Captain America are than this doctor. Like most of the people Dear Innovare focuses on, I didn’t know who Dr. Charles R. Drew was until long after I graduated from school (high school AND at the university level). Charles R. Drew invented the blood bank which continues to save lives through the process of blood transfusions. He came up with this concept during WWII and saved a ton of soldiers lives. Not only that, but he created the bloodmobile, so blood can be refrigerated and stored on the go to various hospitals or clinics. Unfortunately, there were racist idiots who denied the blood from black people even if it could save lives and Dr. Drew was disillusioned by this bigotry (he’s an African-American man, by the way). He died in a car crash at the age of 45 which is very tragic and not many people know his name. Don’t worry, Dr. Drew. I’ll make sure more people know who you are.

Side note: The title of the song is a reference to the Canadian band Lifestory: Monologue.

The image of Charles R. Drew is from Ferris State University.

Ospreyshire Origins: Lebombo

Lyrics:

[Zulu]
Sisungule ithuluzi elisha
Leli thambo lizosiza abantu ukutui bafunde izinombolo
Singabaqambi bethuluzi elisha

In ancient times at the continent’s Southern points in the mountain range
We told time, counted the days, and tracked the moon
All it took was a baboon fibula tally by tally
We taught our people from the highest to lowest veldts
At least 44,000 years ago
This wasn’t decoration
This was for education as the Originator blessed us and those up north for our tools


I have to show South Africa some love here especially since this won’t be the only time I’ll mention things from that country when it comes to the content of this album. The Congo wasn’t the only nation to produce a calculator in ancient times. In the Lebombo mountains in what would eventually be South Africa and Eswatini (the country formally known as Swaziland), the natives created their own tally stick also using a baboon bone. That was certainly innovative and this needs to be better known because I literally can’t think of any history class I took in school that mentioned ancient African civilizations with the exception of a whitewashed Egypt or maybe a casual mention of Hannibal of Carthage (now modern-day Tunisia). See, there were important math elements in Africa among many other things. Major props to Dr. Y. for informing me about this lesser-known history!

The Lebombo Bone image is from Afrolegends.

Ospreyshire Origins: Ishango

Lyrics:

[Lingala]
Tosalaki eloko ya sika
(Eloko ya sika)
Mokuwa oyo ekosunga bato pona koyekola mitango
(Koyekola mitango)
Tozali basali ya eloko ya sika
(Eloko ya sika)

Over 20,000 years ago, we crafted something still being taught to future generations. We made a calculator and calendar from a baboon’s bone. What a prime way for instructions from a primate. We solved problems and tallied up solutions. Nzambe bless our methods. Counting lunar cycles, adding, subtracting, dividing, multiplying notch by notch. We made generations smarter and efficient. We know other civilizations wouldn’t be born in millennia. Our technology shall not be fractured, only modernized in future ages.

Ishango=Innovation (repeat)


I would like to thank Dr. Y. and Deogratias from Lingala Academy for this song. The former has an article about this aforementioned ancient calculator and the latter helped me with the Lingala part of the song.

This was a good kickoff song besides the intro by covering this overlooked invention. I didn’t realize one of the first calculators was made from a baboon bone from what’s now the DRC. Anyone who says Africa had no civilization or inventions need to get educated. This bone was used as tallies and as a tool for multiple kinds of math problems. Okay, I wasn’t the best at math, but the fact that some of my maternal ancestors could’ve invented this does fill me with joy and some self-esteem.

From a musical standpoint, I listened to a ton of traditional Congolese drum music, so I wanted to do something very percussive, but still lively despite the lack of instrumental melodies. Using Lingala again has been great. It’s a very musical language and has a certain beauty to it.

What are your thoughts on the Ishango Bone or this song? Don’t forget that Dear Innovare is $7 on Bandcamp!

The Ishango Bone image is from MAA.

Dear Innovare Bio and Release Date Confirmed

Ospreyshire has been on a roll recording things in 2019 so far. Besides some compilation exclusives and a couple of singles made, and another EP, there was one thing missing in this discography…a full-length album. A long player was lacking and the solution involved poems and songs for a whole new concept album. The final results involved forty-one of them.

Dear Innovare…The Souls of Ignored Pioneers Shall Be Renowned is the first full-length album from Ospreyshire and it is nothing like any previous EPs or singles. While his trademark acousmatics, avant-garde leanings, and spoken word vocals do return, there are more great additions. There are more organic instruments used this time around and there are songs that incorporate some programmed elements. It’s also a genre roulette of sorts as elements of electronic, acoustic, blues, post-rock, digital hardcore, shoegaze, acapella, folk, and even rap show up in some forms. The production is all lo-fi and DIY, but the result only strengthens the truthful narrative in these stories.

This is a concept album much like previous EPs. Verses Vs. Anhedonia was an autobiography dealing with elements of depression. Pathos Formula Wave: One Score of Rage was a compilation of angry letters to those who hurt in him the past. Dear Innovare is a collage of stories and narratives about numerous creators. These stories involve inventors, doctors, engineers, musicians, animators, filmmakers, business owners, and many more. Many of them have been overlooked for several reasons and some of those people were ripped off by those more famous than them. These tracks are homages to those who were forgotten and some of them simultaneously bash the rip-offs in question. Dear Innovare incorporates smaller song or poem cycles that are part of the larger concept. There’s the About A Benjamin trilogy which is about African-American inventors all named Benjamin who have contributed to innovations still used to this day even though the history classes have been neglectful in talking about them. The Art Theft trilogy is about three specific African nations who’ve had their art and artifacts looted while being placed in European museums. Those nations (Benin, Senegal, and Nigeria) are trying to get what’s rightfully theirs. Larceny By Dirigible is a five-part acoustic rock cycle which excoriates a certain classic rock band who made a career on plagiarizing various blues, folk, and other rock artists. In hindsight, they’re a glorified cover band at best. Pugnam Contra Fures Leonis is a interconnected trilogy which covers one of the most controversial film plagiarism scandals in history as a certain franchise is responsible for a legacy of theft, cultural appropriation (while grossly misrepresenting said cultures), and even an attempt to block something original from getting exposure. At the same time, it honors two different musicians and an animated series that were stolen.

Dear Innovare…The Souls of Ignored Pioneers Shall Be Renowned is an ambitious album and certainly the most creative one Ospreyshire has created thus far. Feel free to to be enlightened by these poems and songs while also immersed in his experimental forms of audio art.

Oh, and by the way…12/27/19. Pre-orders will happen soon. You’re welcome!

The recording process…

Some of you know I’m working on a full-length album. It’s been a couple of months of writing, recording, and mixing so far even though I have a few songs left to complete the project.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll tell you a few things about this particular album. This will be the first full-length Ospreyshire album. Not an EP or some singles, I mean this is going to have way more songs in it. Much like my previous EPs Verses Vs. Anhedonia or Pathos Formula Wave, this will be a concept project. While I’m not trying to make the next Tommy, The Wall, or anything Coheed & Cambria has done, this will have an overarching theme.

That theme involves innovators and creators…some of whom were ripped off.

The tracks here involve various inventors and artists who have been ignored whether they made live-saving inventions, buildings, or stories that either get overlooked, undermined, or in some cases having their works stolen by undeserving people. This album is an homage to them and most of the time uses the perspective of the original inventors and creators. I really hope to get this fully recorded before the end of the year, Nzambe willing.

Hope you’re doing well.

Speaking of which, do you know about various inventors people should know about? Do you know about inventions we take for granted? How about inventions and patents that were stolen? Do you know any form of art or media that were plagiarized? Which creators deserved better? Share your knowledge in the comments section!

Music Spotlight: “The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)” by Joe Tex

Recently, I’ve been having a kick of listening to classic R&B, soul, and blues. There were so many artists that I have ignored after listening to so much music that was released when I was alive. After researching music plagiarism and how so many forms of Black music were stolen and appropriated without credit (contrary to semi-popular belief, I’m not just talking about “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” or the documentary The Lion’s Share). I underestimated how bad it was in America, but that’s a story for another time.

This is a ballad from the singer Joe Tex which dates back to 1966 called “The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)”. I had never heard of Joe Tex or his music until just a few weeks ago, and this was the first song I heard from him. I stumbled across it when I researched how rock, blues, soul, and R&B were stolen en masse and this song was mentioned. This sound is haunting with the waltz time, orchestration, and Tex’s mournful vocals. The part of the song that really hit me hard was the second verse. Here are the lyrics that stood out to me:

“I’ve been pushed around
I’ve been lost and found
I’ve been given til sundown
To get out of town
I’ve been taken outside
And I’ve been brutalized
And I’ve had to always be the one to smile and apologize”

WOW! Those are tremendous words and it shows how so many musicians in multiple genres are such sheltered cowards while also being extremely relatable even though this came out decades before I was born. The sundown line is brutal since he’s clearly talking about sundown towns. Those were towns where Black people had to leave before night lest they be slaughtered by the white population during the Jim Crow era. The line that really hit me in the feels was the last one in that quote. I have a bad habit of apologizing too much and there were times where I was coerced to do so even when I didn’t do anything wrong. I HATE being treated like the bad guy when others are exalted for worse things! A song like that could ONLY be written by someone like him, but even I could relate to those lyrics even if it’s not entirely for the exact same reasons. How did I not know about Joe Tex or his music until now?

I hope you enjoy the song.

Perhaps I’m mysterious in a good way? I got the Mystery Blogger Award!

mystery-blogger

Here’s an award I have never been nominated for. It’s the Mystery Blogger Award! I was nominated by Xena at We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident. She’s an incredible blogger and I’m thankful for this nomination. Thanks, Xena! This award was created by Okoto, by the way.

Here are their words about this award:

WHY DID I CREATE THE AWARD?
I created the award because there are a lot of amazing blogs out there that haven’t been discovered, yet. And, most of these blogs deserve recognition. For that reason, I decided to create my own award; and nominate people who can also nominate others; and so on. This is one of the best ways to create a friendly community and build a link between bloggers in the blogosphere; as everyone gets nominated and they too can spread the fun by nominating more people for the award.

I decided to call the award “Mystery Blogger Award.” Why? Because the meaning of my name, “Enigma” is “mystery.” So basically, it’s named after myself; the creator. Plus, I think it’s cool because there are so many blogs that are still a mystery to us; and when we get to know them, it’s divine! And we find friends where we least expect.

WHAT IS MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD?
Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.
– Okoto Enigma

Rules:
Put the award logo/image on your blog.
List the rules.
Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Answer the questions from the blogger who nominated you.
Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
Share a link to your best post(s)

Okay, here we go.

3 things about me:

1. I have been training myself as a multi instrumentalist for over twelve years. I’m no virtuoso by any means, but I do have some proficiency in multiple instruments.

2. I write fiction, but I read mostly nonfiction especially history books.

3. While I’ve been teaching myself Lingala, I have interest in learning other languages from multiple countries.

Answering Questions:

Xena didn’t put any questions in the post, so I’m going to answer the same ones she got when she was nominated by Ilene.

1. Write a haiku about being nominated for a blogger award and title the haiku with the cartoon character with whom you most relate.

Yugo Beppu

Solving mysteries
With the most global mind now
Freeing hostages

2. What’s your superpower and how do you use it for good not evil?

The ability to manipulate time would be great. I can prevent disasters and change the past or future for the better.

3. Do you believe in a spiritual world or some kind of afterlife? If yes describe, if not why do you believe this is all there (not just a one word “no” answer for the atheists nominees)?

I have theistic beliefs and I do believe in an afterlife. My reasons aren’t limited to any religious book and it’s become even more so given some of my beliefs being challenged as of recently (long story). I know not everyone will agree with me on this not am I begging for anyone to do so. There were situations where I should’ve died, but didn’t. There are aspects of history that make way to much sense as things cycle across the vast fabric of time. While science is important, it’s not the end all be all for everything and anything to be explained. However, I don’t judge if anyone is a theist or atheist though.

4. What’s the best place in the world you’ve ever been and why should anyone go there? Convince me. Plane tickets are a good way to convince me. (Joke. The last part.)

I’ve only been to two countries in my life so far. My favorite place I’ve been to would be the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. That was beautiful.

5. What are the top 10 songs that make you feel good when you’re down, or inspire you, or you just love to listen to anytime or all the time.

This is such a tough choice and will be in no particular order. I really have to think about it…

Got to Break It by Arka’n (Togolese metal in your face!)
Show Me the Way by Papa Wemba (That’s a fun song to practice Lingala with)
Through the Night by Masahiko Arimachi (You’re welcome, Outlaw Star fans)
Here I Stand by Dove Slimme
Drop It Again by Rophnan
Kala by Mbongwana Star (#CongoPride)
Hound by Swimteam
Hand Upon My Shoulder by Peter Kruse
Life Is Like a Boat by Rie Fu (I’m not a Bleach fan, but this song is great)
Oops Upside Your Head by The Gap Band (ORIGINAL UPTOWN FUNK!)

6: Share a link of your best post(s).

Three of my best posts so far in my opinion as of recently…

Defensive For What: This was a powerful poem that’s one of my recent favorites I wrote.

Do You (Or Should You) Separate the Artist From the Art?: This was one of the most commented on opinion posts I’ve written. I’m glad I was able to have civil discourse even though I had people who disagreed with me.

How I Learned to Utterly Despise that Expensive Ripoff, Overrated, and Bigoted Movie Called The Lion King (And the Existence of Kimba the White Lion Isn’t the Only Reason): Yes, it’s a rant post, but it was so cathartic getting out my frustrations as to why I have severe issues with The Lion King.

Here are my nominees for this award:

7mononoke
K at the Movies
Jill Dennison
Lumi
Cassonade Media
Brendan Birth
Rodrovich
Villagetalk Avant
Sir Charles the Poet
Moyatori

Here are my questions for my nominees:

1. What makes you an innovative blogger in your field?

2. What are issues that you’re passionate about?

3. Who are three famous people that you would want to have coffee with?

4. Why do you blog and what are your goals for your it?

5. Would you rather own a house that’s attached to an ice cream company or one that’s attached to a chocolate factory? Yes, that’s my required weird/funny question for this award. Haha!

 

Gas Masks and Yellow Lights (Garrett Morgan)

From Paris, Kentucky, I emerged into this world
At a young age, I was on the clock a ton as a handyman and working all the time fixing
Sewing machines
I had no time for school, so tutors and autodidactic endeavors happened
What I didn’t know back then is that I would save lives

It all started from a tunnel that was ablaze
The men in red couldn’t beat the smoke
I watched them struggle and die from the carbon monoxide
It was time to fix this with a hood and breathing apparatus
I tested the smoke myself, and I still breathed
First responders and WWI soldiers both benefited from my creation
Shame no one believed someone with melanin invented it

Next came witnessing car crash after car crash
Scrap metal and mangled bodies were all I could see
All the signs said were “stop” and “go” manually
Give me the yellow light, I know what to do
The green and red were illuminated, but that had to be an in-between
How come no one else thought of this cautionary sign?
I made traffic signals with three lights and electric
Making warnings and curbing accidents
Shame no one believed someone like me invented it

Much like other innovators, I was taken for granted long after I was laid to rest in Cleveland.

I hope others know who I am.