Malcom X – 19/05/1925.

Today on Journey with Jasmine – we, in our own small way, would like to celebrate the Great Leader, Malcom X on what would have been his 92nd Birthday. As I write this, I feel a sense of unworthiness – how do I put words together in such a manner that will adequately honour such a GIANT?! (wipes sweat from forehead). 21shabazzWEB-master1050When I was young, I was blessed enough to have an older brother who whilst only in his teens, was highly conscious. Looking back at how highly developed he was at sixteen; is – upon reflection, amazing to me, and I have to give our mum praise for instilling in us a deep spirituality. We were raised as Christian, but my brother developed an interest in Islam. Hip hop music was and still is a big part of our lives, and at that time (early 90’s) I remember Public Enemy had a song called ‘Bring the Noize’, and in this song was the line: ‘Farrakhan’s a prophet that I think you ought to listen to’. That was my first introduction to the Nation of Islam.

During school holidays I would go and spend days on end with my older brother in his council flat in Shepherd’s Bush. He would literally sit me down on a chair for hours and preach the Qur’an to me. If he wasn’t preaching the Qur’an to me, we would sit down for hours and watch Farrakhan speeches on VHS. Back then, it felt like torture – I just wanted to be a child and play video games or go outside and play, but I’m forever indebted to him for instilling a knowledge of self in me at such a young age.

I had always seen the iconic picture of Malcolm X standing by his window with a machine gun, and I had heard the phrase ‘by any means necessary’, imagebut at that time I didn’t know much else. That was until Spike Lee made the movie Malcolm X starring Denzil Washington. Man, you couldn’t tell me and my brothers nothing about that movie! We couldn’t wait to go and see that film! We sat in the cinema ENGROSSED by the story of a man who started out as Malcolm Little, a hustler, a criminal. I’ll never forget the scene where, Denzil playing Malcolm, has texturiser in his hair. If you’ve ever used texturiser you know it starts to burn around that 5 minute mark! He calmly tells Shorty (Spike Lee) that it’s starting to burn. So they go over to a sink to wash it out but there’s no water and he ends up having to wash his head in the toilet! To this day, that scene literally has me in hysterics because I used to use texturiser religiously and could totally relate!

I remember the film being really long, maybe 3 hours or so and there being an interval, so people could take a break I guess. I didn’t need a break.

I watched and saw how Malcolm Little went from being a petty criminal, running gambling spots, to going to prison and after being introduced to the teachings of Elijah Muhamad, transforming into Malcolm X. A most intelligent and fearless black leader. Watching that movie then and later as an adult, looking back at old footage of this Great in interviews, was and still is SO beyond inspiring!

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He has taught me to be a proud black man, to walk with my head high. Through his teachings I learnt an alternative black history that didn’t revolve around slavery. Fifty-two years after his passing on he still lives in me and through many others. Words couldn’t express my gratitude…
‘A Man who stands for Nothing will fall for Anything’.

 

Where the Greats lead, We Follow.
JayCee & Jasmine Reinah

If you were to walk a mile in my shoes…

I’ve been asked a lot about what it’s like having a brother with autism. To be honest, I still don’t really know how to answer this question, it is one of such deep complexity that it is really difficult to know where it starts. In a nutshell, every single day is different, it has well and truly been a constant emotional and physical rollercoaster – from fighting for his diagnosis years ago, to now, where making sure he gets the support he needs at school is a constant battle.

Beyond anything, I know that my brother is my biggest blessing; everything I do is for him. He inspires me every single day and has taught me so much about the essence of life. He’s allowed me to lose all of the preconceived perceptions and judgements we, as human, have of people without even realising. I wrote this piece through his eyes; it is a reflection of things that he has said or experiences that he’s had.

Of course, it is infuriating to know that people can be so hurtful with their words and to see someone you care about going through a pain, which they don’t actually really understand themselves is heart-breaking. You feel helpless. I wanted to raise awareness of these judgements that we have of people as a society and deconstruct the stereotypes that we have subconsciously built. It is so important for me that people understand how hurtful and damaging ‘words’ can be, we collectively need to practise mindfulness in what we are saying, how we are communicating and the message this delivers to future generations.

I really didn’t want to post this video at all – the thought of it, literally terrified me! But after sitting on it for almost a year and having my mum ask me every single day to post it and telling me ‘playing small does not serve the world, there is nothing enlightened about shrinking’, I’ve accepted that, if this can change even one person’s perception of mental health than it far outweighs my fear of putting it out there.

I need the world to know that my brother cannot be defined by any of the labels that society has placed on him – he is a being of light with the purest heart of anyone I have ever known. He is so intelligent and has a deep love for life like nothing I have ever seen before. He will forever be my biggest motivation – this is for you Jeevan…

Carnivore to Herbivore

A big part of my life involves me spending numerous hours in the gym! I’ve been training for 21 years and for 20 of those years I used to have a saying: “no meat NO MEAL!” The theory was simple: train hard, eat right.

Eating right in most bodybuilding programmes involves eating protein, protein and more PROTEIN! Chicken, turkey, steak, in which ever way I could get it. I would devour a plate in the blink of an eye, the theory being “I have a 1 hour window to consume protein to get maximum benefits”. I had long ago given up eating pork, but the idea of not eating chicken – I mean… that was just INSANE!

For years I used to say that one day I would like to become a vegetarian but I didn’t think I would ACTUALLY do it! That was until one evening whilst surfing the web, I came across a video by a man named Dr Sebi. That video and consequent videos would change my whole perspective on eating meat. I had seen the many videos on how badly the animals we consume are treated, how they are pumped with antibiotics and God knows what else. You know, we all have that one friend who turned vegetarian or vegan and they just feel the need to send you the most awful footage with the hope it would put you off meat!? Yeh, not me! I was still happy eating my chicken wings in Shepherd’s Bush after a night out in central! That was until Sebi.

I won’t lie, I didn’t turn vegetarian because I really cared for animals or the environment. I turned vegetarian because of the link that Dr Sebi made between what you consume and your intelligence. I’ve heard him say (RIP), that if he sees an individual eating rubbish, he wouldn’t even speak to them, because he knew they would be lacking in intelligence! (Paraphrasing).

The idea that what you consume could alter your intelligence had me! Through studying nutrition I was clearly aware of the link between eating junk food, saturated fats, refined sugars etc and intelligence, mood, but I’d never considered the idea that eating meat could also have a negative impact in this area, and how by eating certain herbs, you could improve memory, cognition and all round mental health.

A change was coming…

JayCee

The Best Raw Brownies you will EVER eat!

Hey loves, 

Okay, so two fun facts about me:

  1. I genuinely have the biggest sweet tooth in the entire world.
  2. I’m in a committed relationship with the gym.

But every relationship has its issues right? The BIG ONE for us is of course chocolate, closely followed by cashews and peanut butter! 

This has meant I’ve really had to get creative in the kitchen to create some goodies to keep my cravings at bay and not completely ruin all of my progress.

My absolute weakness in life, are soft and gooey brownies. So it was only right that I make a clean version that are equally as delicious. I kid you not, these are the best raw brownies I have ever eaten; they are gorgeously velvety and fudgey and definitely give my naughty brownies a run for their money. This recipe is completely vegan, gluten free and ridiculously easy to make!

What you’ll need (these are estimations as I didn’t measure anything and I couldn’t help but have a cheeky nibble!):

  • 230g unsweetened dates
  • 200g ground pistachios, 200g ground cashews, 200g ground almonds
  • 100-150g chopped walnuts
  • 250-300g unsweetened cocoa powder (I use green and blacks)
  • Chocolate protein powder (if you fancy it)
  • 80g cocoa nibs
  • Dash of cinnamon, Splash of unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, 2 tablespoon of peanut butter

Here’s what to do: 

  1. In a food processor, grind up all of the nuts. I like to leave mine a little chunky for the added texture and crunch!
  2. Add in the dates, a little at a time until it’s all mixed together.
  3. Add in the cocoa powder, cinnamon and protein powder (if you’re using it) and mix again.
  4. Pop it into a bowl and then stir in the coconut oil, cocoa nibs, peanut butter and almond milk.
  5. Pour the mixture into a brownie pan and leave to set in the fridge.

I usually top mine off with a tasty chocolate frosting; by melting some sugar free dark chocolate with almond milk. You don’t have to do this but honestly, it takes them to a whole different level – absolutely heavenly!

Once they’re all set, slice them up into bars and have them on hand whenever you get that super sweet craving!

Squats and Chocolate,
Jasmine Reinah xo

“Feminism” – You can keep your label.

So far, 2017 has been a wonderful year of rediscovery for me – but it’s not been without its challenges; it’s meant, that I’ve personally had to question so many of my own thought processes and belief systems. Of course, this is always an amazing thing because it allows for that all important self-growth!

As of recent, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of ‘feminism’. If you know me, then you’ll know that I talk THE MOST when it comes to preaching about black feminism and the double oppression that women of colour face every day. From the age of eleven, when my momma put Maya Angelou’s biography in my hands – I proudly (and loudly) identified as a feminist. As I grew as a woman, I began to see the cracks in the movement, I saw the unspoken racism of ‘feminism’ and the way in which women of colour are accused of being divisive for discussing it. I was ANGRY. With no place to channel the fire and explosiveness in my chest, I read – I read everything from Audre Lorde, Anita Desai to Alice Walker and the Womanist movement that followed.

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These thought leaders, poets and revolutionaries shaped the way I identified as a woman, viewed my place within black feminism and subsequently how I wrote and spoke. For years, I identified as a feminist, but there was something missing, I tried to ignore it for so long but it was clawing at my soul. For true black feminism is demonised; we are told that we are devaluing and dividing the movement because we speak on white supremacy/privilege and the oppressive systematic racism that is SO very real. Our daily struggles are overlooked, marginalised and ignored. We, women of colour are constantly labelled as ‘ANGRY’ our voices are not valued, they are silenced.

It goes without saying that equality and women’s rights are still at the forefront of the way I live my life every day, but I can no longer identify as a ‘feminist’. My passion, tenacity, spirituality and the warrior within me, cannot be tamed by a movement which dictates its degrees of acceptability – I am unapologetically so much more than that. The true essence of my Womanity is found, not in the glittery label of being a ‘feminist’ but by simply BEINGa Woman: a Woman standing alone in all her glory.

Love yourselves, always.
Jasmine Reinah xo