Inspired to Inspire

As the new year approaches self-reflection is natural and setting goals is an almost mandatory practice. It’s usually the first thing people ask after wishing you a ‘Happy New Year’. Some view a new year’s resolution with a certain derisive scepticism but I find it a popular yet important tradition to continue to strive to be better and improve every year. Despite the fact that New Year’s Resolutions may not always make it through the year, and that we inevitably begin to doubt ourselves or take on the doubts of others, we can find strength and inspiration if we just remember the past.
Some really remarkable things happened in 2018 affecting the african diaspora but let’s start off by addressing possibly the highest profile source of representation inspiring the african diaspora globally.

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Black Panther was awe-inspiring, beautifully written, intentionally intersectional, an almost all-black cast, a visionary black director and A MOVEMENT. The film did not only inspire and affect the film industry but addressed xenophobic, anti-black and sexist sentiments that became more prominent due to the socio-political climate in 2018. The cast on their promotional run went on to initiate important conversations about representation, the effects of colonialism, xenophobia and pan-africanism.
In sports, LaBron James opened the I Promise School, his vision is to house 240 underprivileged kids in his hometown Akron, Ohio. When he was growing up James missed 83 days of school in fourth grade because his family did not have a car several families offered their support and the following year he started playing basketball. He wants to create a family environment and hopes the school will help kids who are falling behind in education and struggling at home.

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There were some amazing pro-black literary advancements in 2018 such as: Becoming by Michelle Obama, Brit-ish by Afua Hirsh and Rise Up: The #Merky Story so far by Stormzy. As a collective, all three books are inspirational and clear evidence that it is possible to follow your passion and succeed.
Becoming was a necessary read and a prime example of just how far education can take us. Michelle Obama’s beautiful and frank account of all the sacrifices it takes to succeed and all the setbacks and pitfalls that as a woman, especially a black woman you will have to, unfortunately, be willing to face in order to push through.

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Brit-ish was an illuminating read and Afua Hirsch didn’t pull any punches or shy away from the questions that many find difficult and sometimes even awkward to address though necessary if we ever want to achieve a truly equal society. Brit-ish teaches us that when it comes to race, ignoring the truths that are sometimes glaringly obvious won’t solve it.
Rise Up, by Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr (or as we all know him ‘Stormzy’) as the title suggest the book was an account of his rise to fame, his story and his message is so important for our generation to know and understand. Stormzy has been very vocal when it comes to the misrepresentation of black youths in London, his opinions about the government and his dedication to levelling the playing field. He has not only launched a Cambridge scholarship for black students, but also a new publishing programme: #Merky Books an imprint of Penguin publishers. His commitment to helping others in the black community is a perfect representation of a good role model.
So as we continue in the New Year, it’s important to remember that we are capable of so much and that we have achieved so many things and will can overcome whatever is placed in our way. This year, you can be your own source of inspiration and when you need it; look to others for it. I implore you to remember this inspiration, the way it made you feel, what it made you believe in, how it led you to act and what it changed about you. In 2018 I will always remember how I felt, the things started to believe in and how that led to set-up a platform for gamers of colour and spread awareness about the lack of diversity in the gaming industry. I set up Melanin Gamers in late October to champion this cause and bring together a community which I hope to grow into a wider community.

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Article for Legacy events

Hello and Happy New Year everyone.

I will be posting much more and as a testament to this please pop over to legacy events who kindly asked me to write an article for them about inspirational pro-black role-models.

https://legacyeventsuk.co.uk/hope-for-2019/

 

Sickle-cell September: What is Sickle-cell?

What is Sickle-Cell Disease? 

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited condition that affects the red blood cells and various organs in the body. SCD affects the production of a protein called haemoglobin that carries oxygen throughout the body.

Each person inherits two haemoglobin genes, one from each parent. A normal gene will make normal haemoglobin (Hb). Sickle cell genes produce abnormal haemoglobin (HbS) which causes the red blood cells to change from a soft doughnut shape to a hard, sticky and sickle shape [like a banana].

Sickle cells can get stuck in small blood vessels and block the flow of blood and oxygen to organs within the body. These blockages can cause many problems.

The most common types of sickle cell disease are haemoglobin SS, haemoglobin SC, and sickle beta thalassemia.

Potential Health Problems of people with sickle cell disease

Infections

The spleen helps the body fight infections. Sickle cells may get caught in the spleen, preventing it from working as well as it should. As a result, people with sickle cell disease are more likely to get infections. Children are put on antibiotics until their immune system matures.

Anaemia

Sickle cells do not live as long as normal red blood cells. This causes anaemia (a low blood count). Anaemia can cause weakness and fatigue.

Pain

Sickle cells that get caught in the small blood vessels of the body cause the interruption of oxygen and blood flow; these ‘sickling’ crises can be very painful. This includes pain and swelling of the hands and feet.

Acute Chest Syndrome

Blockage of the flow of blood to the lungs can cause acute chest syndrome (ACS). ACS is similar to pneumonia; symptoms include: chest pain, coughing, difficulty breathing, and fever. It can be life threatening and should be treated in a hospital.

Stroke

Sickle cells can clog blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke. A stroke can result in lifelong disabilities and learning problems. Children under 16 are at the highest risk for stroke.

Living with Sickle-cell

Pursue a Healthy Lifestyle

Like all people, you should strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes:

» A nourishing diet

» Enough sleep

» Regular physical activity

» People with SCD often tire easily, strenuous activities should be avoided.

 

Prevent and Control Complications

Avoid situations that may set off a crisis. Extreme heat or cold, as well as abrupt changes in temperature, are often triggers.

Avoid overexertion and dehydration. Take time out to rest and drink plenty of fluids.

Support from family, friends and professionals

Like any other chronic illness sickle cell is difficult to live with. It is important to ask for help and talk to your family and friends. Receiving help and advice, sharing experiences and meeting with others with sickle cell disorder can be beneficial to you.

What is Sickle-cell trait?

Sickle Cell Trait (SCT) is an inherited blood disorder.

It is important to know if you have sickle cell trait.

Sickle cell trait is inherited from your parents, like hair or eye colour. If one parent has sickle cell trait, there is a 50% (1 in 2) chance with each pregnancy of having a child with sickle cell trait. Sickle cell trait rarely causes any health problems. [Not enough is known about SCT to definitively state that it doesn’t cause health problems]

Potential Health Problems of people with sickle cell disease

Jaundice

This is a yellowing of the eyes and skin. It is painless and occurs because of rapid breakdown and death of sickled red blood cells.

Mental Health

Living with a lifelong chronic disease can cause a multitude of social, economic and personal problems.

Complications during pregnancy

A woman with sickle cell disease can have a healthy baby. However, risks are involved; both she and the baby should be closely monitored by a healthcare provider. Prenatal care is very important!

Other problems include:

» Chest pain and trouble breathing

» Organ damage

» Gallstones

» Painful erections in men

» Blood in the urine

» Eye disease

» Leg ulcers

The inadequacy of change.

There is a recurring problem that ‘fans’ create by failing to grasp the very simple notion:

If an actor from any race/creed or colour is able to embody the traits and characteristics of a character in a book or a comic, then that actor should, in fact, be able to play that character even if the original character is not from the same race/creed or colour.

Yet it seems that ‘fans’ particularly those of nerd culture have been levelling hateful speech and racist slurs all in the guise of apparently staying true to the original version of the text.

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Starfire / Anna Diop

African-American actress Anna Diop who is playing Starfire in the up-and-coming live action Teen Titans had to disable her comments on social media after ‘fans’ launched a racist and derogative tirade on her appearance. To clarify she is portraying an orange-skinned radioactive alien who can shoot energy from her hands, any actress playing her surely would have faced backlash for not looking like Starfire unless of course DC had the budget to first discover alien life then hire a real-life alien for the role. Alas, this isn’t why the ‘fans’ are angry as with the hate Kelly Marie Tran received, racism and more often than not sexism reared its ugly head again.

Kelly Marie Tran

Kelly Marie Tran

These vile attacks by these bigots can only be stopped by an increase in diversity. Some could say that these ‘fans’ can’t be blamed for reacting in anger and confusion over the inclusion of people of colour playing roles predominantly portrayed by white actors. They are not accustomed to seeing a person of colour playing a superhero, they are confused and surprised that people of colour can be nerds.

Change will always breed discontent especially from small-minded people who have always enjoyed seeing themselves reflected in the heroes they love. Nevertheless, the change that is taking place which has these ‘fans’ in uproar with the inclusion of not only actors of colour portraying superheroes but those from the LGBT community is inadequate, we need to see more representation, more writers, actors and illustrators who are people of colour and or from the LGBT community so that we can show these ‘fans’ that we are not here to destroy their childhood dreams we are merely here to add more.

 

Creativelyanzy

Good evening all,

I have created an actual website! It is similar and different to this, one of my many passions besides of course writing is in fact gaming. I will be blogging about writing and gaming on this website. Please check it out @ http://www.creativelyanzy.com

Also want to thank this amazing youtube video (OHKLYN – How to make your own website 2018 / Divi WordPress tutorial) for helping me build the website from scratch it still needs fine tuning though!

https://creativelyanzy.com/

https://www.twitch.tv/creativelyanzy

Testing again! Gamer girl