Sister’s Uptown Bookstore & Cultural Center: the last black owned bookstore in Harlem

 

I met with Janifer P. Wilson Owner and Visionary of Sister’s Uptown Bookstore and Cultural Center, Inc. Janifer was a health care professional for over 30 years as a physician at Bronx Lebanon Hospital in the department of surgery, and recently retired. After retiring from health care Janifer had a calling and opened up Sister’s Uptown Bookstore in 2000, which specializes in Afro American Authors, and added the Cultural Center in March of 2007.  Janifer grew up in Georgia in the south, and felt that she was invisible due to the lack of black young woman or men for that matter being depicted in schoolbooks, which led her to question “Who I’m I?” As it would happen, circumstances enabled Janifer to move to New York where she “contemplated opening a business”.

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Janifer searched uptown Harlem at the age of 17 and looked for bookstores that represented black culture and our black history, and found the “Tree of Life” Bookstore on 125th street on Lenox Ave, “Black Books Plus” on 94th Broadway, “Liberation” Bookstore on 134th and Lenox Ave. Janifer would always find herself at the “Tree of Life” bookstore on 125th street because “that’s where all the elders in the community would gather, and talk current events and trying to make changes to better the plight of African Americans. “There was a kind of energy back then, and the elders would tell stories about how things were as they were growing up”. This “oral tradition” that these elders passed on in the late 70’s to the younger generations was of a vital importance.

Janifer feels that her mission is to be a “beacon of light”, because when she first opened the bookstore in 2000 the area in “Sugar Hill” was a dark and drug infested place, and while the few professional that lived there moved out of the neighborhood to New Jersey or elsewhere, she vowed to stay and educate, to pass on the importance and vibrant history of African Americans.

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After speaking with this Highly intelligent and Spiritual woman I realized that now she has become one of the elders of Harlem that she would visit and listen to so often as a young woman. Janifer’s aura and reassuring nurturing  voice not only inspired me, but raised in me a sense of pride about my heritage in a way that I was unable to achieve before, simply by being in this woman’s presence.  I listened carefully to her words as she told me about the parts she played in the civil rights movement which is why her family sent her to New York, because they thought she would be killed in the south, and how she emulates the feel and vibration of the “Tree of Life” bookstore of her youth.

 

Janifer has a keen allegiance with independent Artist, Authors, and Jewelry makers. She sells jewelry that is one of kind, and made by local merchants. Partners with self published authors; allowing them to have book signings free of charge, so that authors can make some money from their literary works. Aside from selling books on black history and culture, but there is also a café, that boosts vegan cakes, herbal tea, fruit smoothies, sugarless soft drinks, which rounds out the whole Holistic feel of the place that is of course very Afro Centric.

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I highly recommend local Harlem residents to visit this hidden gem in the mists of Sugar Hill, even if it’s to have a cup of coffee or herbal tea, and have a chat with the wonderful erudite woman who is so full of knowledge and warmth.  Or attend one of their events at the cultural center; they have Gong meditation on the last Tuesday of every month with chimes and sound. Jazz on the 3rd Tuesday of every month; a Sisterhood mediation which meets on the first and third Wednesday of the month.

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Sister’s Uptown Bookstore & Cultural Center is located at 1942 Amsterdam Avenue, 156th Street, New York, NY 10032. Or check out their website@ http://www.SistersUptownBookstore.com

 

“Knowledge of Self is the Key!”

 

 

WhenLoveWorks Over 30 Single Mingle Party.

On July 15th 2016 I was invited by Cullen and Elitia Mattox the owners and relationship coaches of When Love Works Coaching to their first  Over 30 single mingle event in Harlem. The purpose of the event is to make meaningful matches between Harlem men and woman over 30 utilizing interactive games in a safe social environment, which just so happens to be a local Harlem brownstone.

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The decor and setting was very classy and the hosts were not only very professional but also very hands on in guiding their guests to mingle and to engage each other such as their interactive game “Connect Four”, where you walk around the room and try to match four qualities with four other people, which was quite fun and nontraditional as far as “mingling games” go.  Refreshments in the form of food and drink was included with the ticket price of $35.00 as well as admission to the after party which was held at Little Bamboo Restaurant.  I’m very interested in what they planning for their next event. Stay tuned!

If you are having a trouble with your relationship or looking to find the right partner, you could do a lot worse than to consult Cullen and Elitia. Find them on Facebook and check out their website @: http://www.whenloveworks.com

You just might find that love that works for you…….

 

Shaving as an Art Form: The Masculine Ritual of Shaving

Men have been shaving hair from their faces and bodies for as far back before recorded history.

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It is just impossible to know when men first started shaving, but having been doing it for centuries it has developed into an art form, with many different rules and techniques for various skin and hair types.

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In ancient Egypt, shaving was very important to men, not only for religious reasons, but also for personal hygiene, to prevent lice and disease.

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“Egyptians are given credit for introducing shaving as part of a daily hygienic routine.” The Egyptian priests in the 6th century BCE would shave their entire bodies every other day as part of a ritual cleansing.

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Around 300 B.C some say that Alexander the Great introduced shaving to the Greeks. The rational was that if you shaved off your beard, in battle your enemy had nothing to grab onto while engaging in hand to hand combat.

Whether this story is true or not, around that time Greek men did indeed wear their hair short and short cropped beards, or were clean shaven.

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“The Ancient Romans were clean-shaven. A young man’s first shave was an important event in his life and was ritualized in an elaborate religious ceremony. Young men would keep growing their peach fuzz until they reached the age of majority. On their birthday, they would shave while family and friends watched. The whiskers would then be placed in a special box and consecrated to a Roman God”

It is said that some “etymologists think that the term “barbarian” actually comes from “barba”, meaning “beard”.  Hence, barbarians were simply all those who were “unbarbered” or didn’t shave.”

The key to a close and comfortable shave is in the preparation:  It is best to soften the skin and beard by showering before you shave, you may also achieve this by using pre-shave oil.

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Now for the technique: Lather your face with shaving cream or shaving soap using your hands or a shaving brush. Start shaving using short strokes in the direction that your hair grows, on your face and neck shaving against the grain.

 

Aftercare:  Rinse your face using hot or cold water (some prefer hot rather than cold water depending on your skin type) and follow up with an astringent such as witch hazel rather than an alcohol based aftershave.

Practice and Perfect your daily art form.