Connect with us

Black History

The Geechee Experience Entertains and Educates in Endeavor to Preserve Geechee Culture

CHARLESTON CHRONICLE — Akua Page and Chris Cato have taken the Lowcountry by storm with their creation, The Geechee Experience. A cultural movement that fuses education with entertainment, The Geechee Experience “is a cultural platform that was created by Geechee millennials on a mission to preserve their culture and language,” the group maintains.

Published

on

By Damion Smalls

Akua Page and Chris Cato have taken the Lowcountry by storm with their creation, The Geechee Experience. A cultural movement that fuses education with entertainment, The Geechee Experience “is a cultural platform that was created by Geechee millennials on a mission to preserve their culture and language,” the group maintains.

The Geechee Experience works to dispel longstanding notions that Geechee is not a language or is a “broken” language. Those misinformed opinions have led to Geechee’s endangered importance in Black culture and an outright pursuit of erasure by the descendants of the same colonizing European Americans that enslaved Africans for centuries and now consist of the majority of the U.S. population.

“We were thinking of ways to preserve the culture and language,” Page recalls. After months of brainstorming, Page and Cato combined their efforts by launching The Geechee Experience in late 2018. Using the knowledge of Black excellence that was purposely left out of U.S. school history books and an determination to steer the undertold African-American narrative towards empowerment, Page and Cato are already well on their way to becoming catalysts of the next generation of the Lowcountry’s Black youth with their innovative venture.

“Geechee is a variation of the Gullah language. Gullah is an English based creole language that developed by enslaved Africans living in coastal regions of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida,” the group explains.

In modern times, whites have attempted to culturally appropriate Geechee through various means, like adding the historical Geechee plant sweetgrass to the names of businesses that do nothing for or have nothing to do with the Black community, opening restaurants clearly influenced by Geechee cuisine without attributing credit or respect, redefining what Geechee actually means, or selling products that incorporate the culture while remaining ignorant of the history behind it. The Geechee Experience is trying to help more Black people embrace the culture and combat the dehumanization efforts that have derailed Geechee’s mainstream acceptance in the past.

The boomtown-like presence of Geechee Experience’s social media pages has led to its inspiring popularity in a relatively short period of time. With over 20,000 Facebook+Instagram followers and over a half-million video views reached within six months of its initial launch, it’s safe to say that an audience has been waiting in the wings for a movement such The Geechee Experience. The brand can also be found on YouTube (@Geechee X) and Twitter (@GeecheeExperie1). Exclusive brand merchandise may be purchased on geecheeexperience.com.

“Some of our people are ashamed of their culture, but the United States is Geechee,” declares Cato. In their videos and social posts, the movement discusses topics such as the difference between Gullah and Geechee, the Geechee language, Black health, literature, community building, and Black farming. They often use humor and anecdotal revelations to relate to a growing audience that has accepted their down-to-earth personalities and candor. The use of Geechee words and phrases are a common aspect of their engaging posts. Locals are seeing how their vocabularies and vernacular are closely related to Geechee culture without previously realizing it. And the people who do realize the connections are getting on board with this spirited salute to Geechee.

“Gullah is mainly spoken on the islands by elders and is on the verge of extinction. Geechee is more commonly spoken by Geechee/Gullah people across generations,” the duo defines. By spreading awareness and information for the powerful history of Geechee, the millennial pair aspire to champion their cause to instill pride and optimism within the people.

Page and Cato are sharing their culture with the world with the hope that they can prevent the Geechee language from dying. In their attempts to do so, The Geechee Experience is requesting the assistance of the local Black community. As young Blacks that respect for the contributions of Charleston’s Black leaders of the past, The Geechee Experience is looking for ways to evolve, learn everyday from history, and bridge the gap between millennials and Baby Boomers. “We are open to suggestions from the elders,” the group notes.

You can catch the Geechee Experience live in person in North Charleston Saturday, April 27 at the second annual Charleston Sol-Food Veg Fest. Taking place at the Jenkins Institute (3923 Azalea Drive) from 11am to 5pm, the event aims to connect with Black businesses, create a platform for vegans, promote healthy habits, and bring more Black people towards a plant-based lifestyle. The Geechee Experience will take part of the Sol-Food Veg Fest as a featured vendor. Visit csfvegfest.com to purchase tickets.

This article originally appeared in the Charleston Chronicle

Activism

COMMENTARY: The Power of the Vote

Voting has not always been a given, in fact, just the opposite has been the practice in society for the marginalized. In the midst of so much media coverage that shows how some national lawmakers want to suppress the voting strengths of Blacks, Latinos and the formerly incarcerated, we must seize this moment to exercise our citizen right to vote.

Published

on

We as a people constantly need to work in unison to erect positivity that increases the day-to-day living challenges for the betterment of all; not just for a few.
We as a people constantly need to work in unison to erect positivity that increases the day-to-day living challenges for the betterment of all; not just for a few.

By Richard Johnson

The Formally Incarcerated Giving Back (FIGB) org. is launching a voter drive to protect and encourage democratic participation while seeking educational, economic as well as social opportunities to reunite families.

Our goal is to focus on potential voters who have been overlooked in the voting process as a class due to ultra-restrictive policy measures meant to discourage voter turnout.

Recently laws that allow those with criminal records to actively participate in the voting process on all levels have changed. This would give those underserved citizens a voice in what happens in their communities.

Voting has not always been a given, in fact, just the opposite has been the practice in society for the marginalized. In the midst of so much media coverage that shows how some national lawmakers want to suppress the voting strengths of Blacks, Latinos and the formerly incarcerated, we must seize this moment to exercise our citizen right to vote.

We can help ourselves and make changes by voting with our full strength.

We of the Formally Incarcerated Giving Back (FIGB) will be canvassing throughout our communities to register this obscure neglected class of prison returnees and their families. We will also join with other organizations, churches and the Post News Group, along with other media to spread the message of our mission. FIGB will also help contact and sign all other unregistered voters to impact change at the polls. We will collaborate with other groups, voting blocks, and entities to increase awareness while raising the turnout at the polls. We are asking all churches, institutions, and social clubs to join this endeavor by engaging with FIGB.

During the next two months we will regularly publish the results of our coordinated efforts to put boots on the ground in this column.

Change is an inevitable phenomenon; however, the right changes are not. We as a people constantly need to work in unison to erect positivity that increases the day-to-day living challenges for the betterment of all; not just for a few. Let’s be clear, nothing should be taken for granted. Just as one is seated, so can one be unseated. Let the voices of the underserved be heard loud and clear. The policy of exclusion must be replaced with inclusion.

Continue Reading

Activism

Amos C. Brown Fellowship to Ghana Begins

The students come from colleges and universities throughout the United States. Leaders from the NAACP and the Church of Jesus Christ are traveling with the students. NAACP leaders include President Derrick Johnson and the fellowship’s namesake, the renowned civil rights leader and NAACP board member the Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown of Third Baptist Church of San Francisco. From the Church of Latter Day Saints are Elders Jack N. Gerard and Matthew S. Holland of the Seventy, along with their wives, as well as the Africa West Area Presidency.

Published

on

Students with the Amos C. Brown Fellowship to Ghana visit the Jubilee House in Accra on Aug. 2, 2022.
Students with the Amos C. Brown Fellowship to Ghana visit the Jubilee House in Accra on Aug. 2, 2022.

This trip is a collaboration between the NAACP and the Mormon Church

Forty-three students are in Ghana for 10 days to experience Ghanaian culture, learn about their ancestral heritage and become ambassadors of racial harmony.

This group — part of the first Amos C. Brown Fellowship to Ghana — is the fruit of a collaboration between the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In June 2021, Church President Russell M. Nelson pledged $250,000 for this fellowship. This and other initiatives the two organizations are engaged in, President Nelson said, “represent an ongoing desire of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to teach and live the two great commandments — to love God and neighbor.”

The students come from colleges and universities throughout the United States. Leaders from the NAACP and the Church of Jesus Christ are traveling with the students. NAACP leaders include President Derrick Johnson and the fellowship’s namesake, the renowned civil rights leader and NAACP board member the Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown of Third Baptist Church of San Francisco. From the Church of Latter Day Saints are Elders Jack N. Gerard and Matthew S. Holland of the Seventy, along with their wives, as well as the Africa West Area Presidency.

“Welcome to Ghana. We’re so grateful that you are here,” said the Church’s new Africa West Area President Elder S. Gifford Nielsen on Monday night during a welcome dinner. “I was listening very closely to the opening prayer. And there was a plea for light. And the way that you find light is to connect hearts. And so, in the next 10 days, to all of our fellowship students, and to our leaders and anybody else who has any part of this, as we connect hearts, get out of our comfort zone just a little bit, we’re going to have an even more amazing experience.”

The Rev. Dr. Brown said, “Words fall far too short for me to define and convey to you the significance of what we are doing.” He added that “this momentous occasion is not about one man. This embodies what a dream team has brought to pass.”

In interviews after the dinner, several students talked about why they wanted to go on this trip.

“[I thought this fellowship] would be a great opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone, to see outside the American lens, to see what it would be like to not be a minority for once,” said Lauren George, a student at San Francisco University. “I thought that would be a life-changing experience that is necessary for me, because in my field of work, I want to be able to be as innovative as possible.”

Carter Martindale of Utah said, “the purpose of the fellowship, of talking about how we can better address racial divides, how we can better love our neighbor as we love ourselves, is really important just in general in America.”

This report is from the newsroom of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Continue Reading

Activism

Oakland City Council Approves Funding for African American Healing Hubs

The economic, physical, and spiritual damage, coupled with the pandemic crisis, must be met with healing and love, said Dr. Wade Nobles, a co-founder of the Black Psychologists Association. “Black people must save ourselves, for no one is coming to our rescue. Therefore, we are working towards constructing an African American Healing Hub that embraces African-centric mental wellness modalities utilizing a holistic approach.”

Published

on

Dr. Wade Nobles says the healing hubs proposed by Oakland Front Line Healers will be a first in addressing specific traumas African Americans experience daily living in a racist environment.
Dr. Wade Nobles says the healing hubs proposed by Oakland Front Line Healers will be a first in addressing specific traumas African Americans experience daily living in a racist environment.

By Tanya Dennis

Last week, the Oakland City Council approved $250,000 to assist the East Bay Association of Black Psychologists (EBABP) and Oakland Frontline Healers (OFH) open two emergency mental health centers, one at True Vine Ministries and BOSS in East Oakland.

Oakland Frontline Healers, a collaborative of Black-led non-profits and medical doctors that joined together in April of 2020, to combat COVID-19 in the African American community by providing free PPE, testing, vaccines and support services.

Last October the collaborative, after assessing their successful frontline status in serving the African American community determined they must address other critical issues. They decided to address Black mental health.

Reaching out to the East Bay Association of Black Psychologists, Oakland Frontline Healers discovered that providing mental health services specifically to Black folks would be more detailed then simply securing a space and providing services.

Dr. Wade Nobles, a co-founder of the Black Psychologists Association, revealed that the European model had done a disservice to the African American community. In October 2021, the American Psychologists Association offered a public apology to the African American community with a commitment to “shed racist and colonial roots to embody the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion to become an actively antiracist discipline.”

With that knowledge, both EBABP and OFH committed to creating an African-centered mental wellness model.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has glaringly illuminated the disparities in America that compromises Black health daily,” Nobles said. “Unfortunately, incarceration or worse is presented as the only recourse as resources addressing Black trauma is extremely limited and for many non-existent.

The economic, physical, and spiritual damage, coupled with the pandemic crisis, must be met with healing and love, he continued. “Black people must save ourselves, for no one is coming to our rescue. Therefore, we are working towards constructing an African American Healing Hub that embraces African-centric mental wellness modalities utilizing a holistic approach.”

Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan spearheaded the City Council to approve $250,000 of City funds towards the training of “culturally congruent” behavioral specialists and frontline workers to support mental wellness in the African American community.

Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan spearheaded the City Council to approve $250,000 of City funds towards the training of “culturally congruent” behavioral specialists and frontline workers to support mental wellness in the African American community.

Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan agreed after attending the group’s town halls and submitted a proposal to award $250,000 to the project for culturally congruent training for behavioral specialists and frontline providers.

“The City Council’s vote of confidence and support is amazing! Their vote aligns with the African-centric tenet that it takes an entire community to ensure the wellness of the village,” said OFH facilitator Tanya Dennis.

The Association of Black Psychologists and Oakland Frontline Healers are currently working with Alameda County on the healing hubs and a healing center that has been in planning since 2015.

Dr. Lawford Goddard, an EBABP representative says, “We are committed to wellness, and treating the whole person and the whole community. Our project with the County, once complete, will also serve as a representative of our culture.”

They envision a space for meetings, conferences and banquets, a place where self-care like yoga, Reiki, urban gardening, massage, dance, drumming, healing circles and fun activities that promote wellness are offered.

“Unfortunately, our project with the County is three years or more in the future and we cannot wait,” Goddard said. “We must help our people now, by working with Oakland Frontline Healers and their emergency healing hubs enabling us to provide services within months.”

The County has committed $19 million toward the purchase of a site to establish a larger complex that will embody African American wellness as envisioned by EBASP.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending