Singing the Blues or having a green thumb are commonly heard idioms with much deeper meanings beyond the colors mentioned. In the new book, “Blue - A History of a Color as Wide as the Sky and as Deep as the Ocean,” Nana Brew-Hammond tells a long storied history of the mining and commercialization of just one of the most widely used colors describing emotions, and a musical genre created by people of African ancestry.
BOOKS ABOUT WHAT COLORS MEAN IN AFRICAN CULTURE
WHAT DOES THE COLOR BLUE MEAN IN AFRICAN CULTURE
In our recent online "Blue" book launch event, Brew-Hammond shared the difficulties in extracting the color in ancient times. The beautifully illustrated children’s book depicts and discusses how the harvesting of a snail (murex trunculus) would secrete only a few drops of the color for example. This “foul smelling” work or the “back breaking” mining required to make the color widely available made it a precious commodity.
And the meaning behind the color blue also has spiritual ties according to a recently shared Tiktok video, @geecheerich843 displays the "ways. African spirituality was retains in Gullah-Geechee Culture Pt. 4." The Tiktoker lists "Haint blue" use to keep "bad spirits" away.
What do colors mean in African Culture
In Dr. Afrika’s book, “African Holistic Health,” colors can have a healing 6-books-with-health-tips-to-survive-a-pandemic-black-lives-matter-edition.htmleffect on the body and its organs. For example yellow lemons can be used to cleanse the liver. Check out our blog article on "6 BOOKS WITH HEALTH TIPS TO SURVIVE A PANDEMIC - BLACK LIVES MATTER EDITION" that discussed how just a few drops added to a glass of water can work wonders. He also indicated that colors as expressions of light radiate highest on certain days. In his table, “Optimum Days” Orange is optimal on Sunday, blue is optimal on Monday, and red on Tuesday. In his “African Wholistic Zodiac Chart,” orange, blue and red can have a healing effect on specific body parts as follows:
Orange - heart, thymus, spleen
Blue - knees, teeth, bones
Red - pituitary, eyes, cerebrum, nose
Afrika stated that colors in Africa were functional. Colors applied to the skin were not merely to accent materials worn, they were selected on the basis of optimal energy, or healing capacity they embodied. I highly recommend this book to uncover many other uses of color for healing. This book is a classic for wholistic health and wellness.
It is clear from the diverse use of color in literature that there is more to it than meets the eye. In “Black is a Rainbow Color,” author Angela Joy says,
Black is the color of ink staining page
Black is the mask that shelters rage
Black are the birds in cages that sing.
Black is a color.
Black is culture.
Black is much more than mainstream media would lead us to understand. Some of the terms popularly used are “Black sheep” “Black market” which are thought of with negative connotations. The reasons behind this are mostly linked to racism’s need to justify the demonization of those that are being subjugated.
Years ago, I was inspired to create a new definition of the word, “Black” after looking it up in the dictionary. I remember being angered by the implications surrounding the definitions with death and evil, and bad news surrounding it all. Black is, “a midnight moon just eclipsed.” That was taken from one of many poems I wrote on the topic.
In the book, “Sacred Woman a Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit” author Queen Afua has mapped out a color visualization for each of her ten gateways that make up her seven-day transformative work. Each gateway has many aspects which include a specific color visualization. For example Royal Blue is for inner peace and is visualized as part of her Sacred Union Gateway #8. While her gateways also involve prayers, foods, words and relationships as well, she made a point to include a color theme for clothing, crystals, and physical surroundings.
The earliest book on the topic of color therapy is by Reuben Amber written in 1983. Though it is a backlist title, it was a trailblazer in revealing how colors can be used to diagnose the health of bodily organs. For example if the color of urine is light yellow, this is normal, if dark color can indicate poisons, decay or other toxins.
Want to Learn More?
As always, I appreciate that you have read through this blog post. I hope that you’ve become curious to find out more about how colors have been used in history as it pertains to Black people around the world. We ask that you consider purchasing your books from our Black owned business, Afriware Books, Co. If there is a title you’d like to purchase that is not mentioned here, or could not be found on the website, feel free to email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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