Sunni Ali was the hereditary ruler of early Songhai who laid the foundation for what became a massive empire. Assuming leadership in 1464, he launched a strategic campaign of conquest to unite varied ethnic groups into a strong, consolidated Songhai. To accomplish this goal, Ali built and commanded an army with an expansive infantry, a well-armed cavalry, and a navy that numbered more than 400 ships. He wisely ruled Songhai through a governance structure that shared power with regional leaders and upheld indigenous cultural practices.
Despite Sunni Ali’s irrefutable achievements, he is routinely characterized in Islamic chronicles as a tyrant and infidel largely because he refused to institute Islam as Songhai’s religious and cultural standard. While Ali accommodated many aspects of Islamic culture, he held on to the traditional beliefs and practices of his indigenous ancestors. In fact, Sunni Ali developed a reputation for using traditional African spirituality to advance his reign and nation-building efforts.
To learn more about Sunni Ali, and why he is memorialized in Songhai oral traditions as a wise and powerful magician, click below.
The recent assassination of President Jovenel Moïse has prompted more discussions about Haiti’s founding history. The country was established in 1804 after enslaved Africans successfully waged a 13-year war for freedom. Haiti became the first Black republic in the western hemisphere. As Haitians today face mounting challenges, remembering how they once triumphed against all odds may help inform how to succeed again. Remembering the successful strategies of past leaders, like Dutty Boukman who led the first campaign for Haitian freedom, may be a valuable area of study from which lessons from the past can be inform present-day progress.
Boukman was an enslaved African, reportedly stolen from a literate west African society. Able to read and apparently knowledgable of indigenous spiritual practices, Boukman brought valuable skills to organizing the first wave of freedom fighting that began in 1791. He was one in a sequence of Haitian liberators who provided heroic leadership that produced Haiti’s victory.
To learn more about the skills and strategies Boukman used to initiate Haiti’s successful fight for freedom, click below.
The means by which African products are exported to foreign countries is well established. Yet, operational processes for inter-African trading are slower and overall, less effective. As a result, African exporters are discouraged from trading with other African nations and have developed dependencies on foreign markets. Intending to make it easier for cargo to cross country boarders, Miishe Addy and Solomon Torgbor launched Jetstream, a business digital technology that allows traders to track and manage cross-border shipments on-line, every step of the way.
Jetstream’s digital platform could be a notable contribution to increasing African continental self-sufficiency, by helping to grow the number of markets controlled by Africans. Click below to learn more about how a digital platform could powerfully advance inter-dependent African trading.
For the first time ever, a woman graduated the U. S. Marine’s elite Scout Swimmer Course. Her name is Alyssa Tripplet, and she’s a Sister.Triplett successfully completed a specialized amphibious underwater training in swimmer reconnaissance that readies soldiers to execute boat raids.
Apparently, maintaining the right mental focus was key to Tripplet finishing the course. Recalling how she managed to meet one training challenge after the other, Tripplet said, “I really think it’s just a mental thing … if something starts to hurt, you kind of just have to readjust what you’re doing and just don’t give up … I just didn’t give up . . . “
Tripplet’s incredible accomplishment provides yet another example of the extraordinary that can happen when Black people just don’t give up.
Click below to learn more about the incredible woman breaking barriers in the Marines–and in the minds of people unaware that Black people DO swim exceptionally well.
2021 July Newsletter, Present Day Achievements
More than 10 years ago, when his adolescent son began showing interest in film making, Jason A. Farmer had the audacity to imagine owning a film production studio. Fast forward to the Memphis Land Use Control Board’s recent approval for Farmer to develop 85-acres into Black Lens Production (BLP) Studios, and there is reason to believe a Black man’s long-held dream is on its way to becoming a reality.
As the senior James Farmer’s development plans unfold, James Farmer Jr. is focused on completing his studies in film production at Morehouse College. Together, they are preparing for a BLP film studio that includes 12 sound stages, a recording studio, a hotel, an executive office building, and much more. Once completed, BLP studios would become the second Black-owned film studio in the United States, following the 2019 grand opening of Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia.
To learn more about the father and son building a legacy that honors Black ownership, click below.
Understanding the inextricable relationship between physical well-being and bettering Black lives, T’Nisha Symone founded BLAQUE, a luxury fitness and wellness app for Black people. To help reduce the disproportional rate at which preventable diseases like high-blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks and strokes affect people of African descent, BLAQUE features culturally affirming nutrition and self-care coaching, morning meditations, a community chat platform, and much more.
BLAQUE was born of Symone’s desire to “shed light on the integral role of fitness and wellness in the pursuit of Black liberation . . . ” That’s why she has connected the BLAQUE product launch to the current social justice movement. Her impressive marketing campaign reminds us that we can only fight, climb, and achieve our best when we are strong, vibrant, and feel our best.
To learn more about the BLAQUE fitness app and how it can help improve the health of Black folks, click below.
UNLIT® is an all-natural, nutrient-dense line of beverages created by an astute Black business woman, Lia Lee. The drinks are formulated to help people bounce-back from the debilitating effects of alcohol consumption. This unique line of beverages include electrolytes, detoxifiers and other ingredients to promote “rapid nutrient replenishment and rehydration.”
UNLIT® was recently a finalist in an investor-sponsored pitch competition between businesses with billion dollar earning potential. It is not surprising that Coca-Cola representatives are eyeing UNLIT®, given the reported increase in social drinking among millennials, and how “getting lit” is now a popular phrase that describes alcohol consumption.
Click below to learn more about the Black woman creating quite a stir in the beverage industry, who is poised to build a billion dollar enterprise.