An Accidental Journey

Some journeys happen by accident.

I thought I was moving to Salvador. Like moving moving. I packed art to hang in my new place. Bought an inventory of vintage clothes to sell (because that would be my second hustle). Packed ALL the hair supplies. This time around I was going to really establish myself in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Teach english and sell clothes and continue to freelance. Pay my rent on my freelancing. Date a lot and travel and live my dreams. Make more videos! I even got a new credit card. It was a glorious 6 months in a place that is really a second home, but I came to find that the common expression about comfort and growth not being friends is true. As much I love Salvador, I found myself stagnate there. Unfocused. Barely getting my artistic endeavors done. Chasing the wrong people. Having too much fun. And so when the opportunity to go the Ecuadorian Amazon and help Bani Amor shoot some B roll travel footage for their documentary arose, I took it.

It came at a really interesting moment in my life too. I had recently gotten a reading done by my good friend Jasmine Cain, and some repressed sexual trauma came up. It put me in a bad place. A place that I’m still processing and will probably spend most of the year trying to writing about. Suddenly, a trip to Ecuador looked like an escape. For a long time traveling has been my primary method of self medicating. If I was feeling anxious or bored or even uncomfortable, I’d start planning a trip somewhere. A change of scenery always did the trick, until it didn’t. I spent most of January alone in my apartment, crying non stop and feeling worthless. Friends took care of me and helped wean of the small suicidal thoughts but I saw a trip to Ecuador as a potential life saver. In it’s own way it turned out to be just that. I drank ayahuasca in the Ecuadorian amazon with Teresa an indigenous healer and environmental activist who also dealt with sexual trauma in her own life. My decision to leave yet again, seemed like a step in the right direction.

From Ecuador I decided to go Colombia, as I heard of it’s high percentage of African descendant people. I was very close geographically to the country so I felt I had to see it. Cali, Colombia turned out to be harder for me. It’s really developed so I couldn’t rely on “magical” architecture to make feel like I was some place “foreign”. A lot of the Spanish I had before living in Brazil became Portuguese, so I was anxious about talking. On top of that I knew no one. In the past, I’d see it as a challenge to reinvent myself and dive fully into a new place. But I was and still am mentally exhausted. The trauma I’m holding is no longer suppressed. It’s actually on the tip of my tongue at all times. The deep realization that I can’t travel my trauma away emerged and cemented itself in Colombia.

Today, I’m getting on a bus that will take me to Quito, Ecuador and from there I’ll get on a plane and land in San Francisco, California by Wednesday afternoon. I’m in the last leg of my accidental journey. After a month on the West Coast dealing with the same problems that have followed me across continents I’ll make my way back to where they all started; home. And then the real adventure will begin.

 

 

 

Salvador Meu Amor

If you’re reading this, I’m probably in transit to Ecuador.

Yup, I’m leaving Salvador. Not for forever, maybe not even for long but certainly for now.

I accomplished a few things that I really wanted to while here, like the first episode for my series about the black community throughout Southern America.

Glowinpain.com Travel Series Trailer Episode 1 from nia hampton on Vimeo.

Episode 1 is all about the day of Yemanja in Salvador with my favorite photographer and friend Hele Mozao. I hope you take a look, love it and share it with your friends.

Secondly, I finished my ebook of poetry, entitled “What to do with all this Freedom?”. Click the link to get your copy.

Lastly, I’m starting a monthly newsletter, where I’ll be a little more personal and share adventures as this site will soon be holding only my travel series videos. Comment if you want me to add your email address.

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Thank you so much for reading this blog and sticking with me for 3 years! Big changes are ahead, and I’m nervous (as always) but I’ll feel the fear and do it anyway.

Glowingpain.com is 3 Years Old!

“There are black people everywhere. No place you can go in the world that ain’t got no black people, we was the first on this planet.” –Juan, “Moonlight” (2016)

Yesterday completed three years of  this blog, GlowingPain.com. It’s been one of my proudest achievements to date. It’s really helped me take myself more seriously as a journalist, producer and traveler. Originally I planned to monetize this blog and devote myself to publishing here at least once a week. But due to the amount of outside opportunities I’ve been given to be paid to write, I’ve fell off significantly. But I don’t feel bad about it. I feel it’s a natural part of the evolution of a blog. A lot has changed for me since 2015. I’ve left and came back to Brazil and will be moving to Ecuador on the 20th of this month. I’m working on transitioning into video content and producing a 6 episode docu-series about black culture in South America. And since I will no longer be living in Salvador, the focus of the blog will broaden. Hence, the logo change.  Of course, I’ll always come back to Salvador when I can, because this is really a second home for me. And I still feel it’s a black mecca, especially for other black folks who were bought to the New World as slaves. But for now, excuse the dust or what seems to be a lack of activity on the site. I’m just transitioning is all. Thank you for the support so far, and stay tuned.

Goodbye Obama…

In honor of the end of an era, I compiled a playlist to help mourn the end of having a black president. I wrote about my complex emotions in depth, at AllthePrettyBirds.com. I’m still dealing with my own shame around being sad at the loss of the Obama’s in the White House. I’m not supposed to be emotionally attached to the government. I’m supposed to know better. But fuck it, I’m sad. He was a good president. I had free healthcare. Even more people will get deported and the World will suffer greatly under El Cheeto. And so goes on the legacy of the United States of America.

So I’m pouring some liquor out for the Obamas, and drinking a bit myself.

The Best thing in Sao Paulo; Liberdade

I spent a week in Sao Paulo, the biggest city in South America, the financial capital of Latin America. It was okay. I’m realized being from the NorthEast of the States makes “big” cities kinda boring to me. It was cold and gray. A lot of the people were stand offish and wore all black. A lot of hipsters and hamburgers and food trucks. The best parts were hanging out with my friend Rico Dalasam and going to Liberdade.

Liberdade

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Home to the second largest group of Japanese descended people and the best sushi in Brazil, Liberdade is an especially unique treat for lovers of migration stories and culture.  Liberdade was once the burial sight for unruly slaves, but after slavery ended and Brazil needed workers to farm the land and influx of Japanese people came to make the neighborhood their own. Every Sunday there’s a massive event celebrating the culture. I got to see a young boy sing Micheal Jackson’s “Ben”. It was awesome.

The Food

I had a cold bowl of soup with vegetables and meat. It had ice cubes in it. It was good but I really had no idea what I was eating cause the menu was in Portuguese and Korean. I regret not getting Korean BBQ.  *sigh* There was also a long ass line to eat dumplings. I stepped out of line to see about a city tour and missed my chance to taste the dumpling. But it seemed really good. If/when I return to Sao Paulo, I’m really just gonna spend most of my time in Liberdade. Cause the other parts of Sao Paulo were kinda wack to me. It was like a fake ass New York stuck in 2008.

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Natural Hair will Save us All.

This past Sunday was the II Marcha do Empoderamento Crespo Salvador.  “Marcha do Empoderamento Crespo na luta pelo fim do exterminio de juventude negra” This march is against the extermination of the lives of young black women. Currently, femicide is rising in Brazil. Black women in the states going missing and are never found at an alarming rate. The beauty and necessity of the march is overwhelming in a lot of ways. Visually stunning because Salvador is a black country with beautiful natural light. So everything is lit to the gawds. ap3

example 1. I took this during the sunset, very little editing.

The sentiment of the march, empowering black women through aesthetic is simple yet controversial. Some people wonder how hair can empower? Even Black men have criticized the movement, writing it off as solely aesthetic, silly and non important. Black “conscience” men with dreadlocked hair have called it non important. What makes it non important to black liberation? Because it’s feminine? Since when is an aesthetic non important. Didn’t the Napoleon shoot the nose off the sphinx to manipulate the image and history of the Egyptian people? How and why did white people become the beauty standard for the entire world? If aesthetic weren’t important why would they work so hard to manipulate how we see ourselves?

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“secure women scare them”  a message and a meditation.

That’s why the II Marcha do Empoderamento Crespo de Salvador is so timely. There is power in controlling your aesthetic and your narrative. It’s empowering to walk and dance and march through the city with signs declaring your love of self as a black woman. We already know if we don’t, no one else will.

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And most importantly, we do it for our girl children. Who live in a world bent on destroying them. We make sure they know how beautiful and worthy they are.

We do it for our boys as well. Because they suffer from a lack of self love as well and our daughters have to deal with the insidious ways that will manifest.

This march was one of the best I’ve been to in Salvador, and there are a lot of marches. There was music, dancing and so many pictures. People showed up to be seen and accounted for, and I’m so here for it. Brazil and the States share a similar hatred of women and black people, so a march designed to celebrate and empower the exsistence of black women is quite literally one of the most audacious and revolutionary acts one could participate in. Especially as the world enters into a regime of racist right wing leadership. Porte Alegre, a state in Brazil, is even voting on overturning it’s Black Conscience day.  But if we as a people can continue to come together and march in celebration of the natural black women, we gon be alright.

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Checking In #001

This post was surprisingly hard to write. Maybe it’s because I’ve been lucky to find myself getting paid to write now. Maybe it’s cause I hit the ground running on this return to Salvador. Either way things are changing and I’m not sure what direction to take the blog. I’m also pondering an extended stay in Colombia, which would change the central theme of “Black Girl in Brazil”. I’ve also recently accepted a junior editor position with a really cool fashion blog, on top of the online teaching gig that helps maintain the nomad life I live.

The latest venture is dabbling in creative direction. I find myself falling in love with the different skills needed to pull off a scene or look. Writing is solitary. Assisting on a set is community oriented. My teenage dream was always to be a filmmaker since being an extra on the set of “The Wire”. Being on a set feels like home. This time around, I came back to Brazil with a trunk full of cute vintage clothes for my pop up thrift store. I hired the dopest photographer in Salvador and we had a cute photoshoot in Santo Antonio. A few things changed last minute but that’s what happens when your producing creative work!

Follow the blog’s instagram page to see some behind the scenes footage of the photoshoot that will be released in November.

@_glowingpain

que coisa linda! só 25 reis #glowingpain #brechó

A video posted by @_glowingpain on Oct 29, 2016 at 1:22pm PDT

 

vai tem calça jeans sim! #glowingpain #brechó #calça

A video posted by @_glowingpain on Oct 29, 2016 at 1:20pm PDT

 

algumas momentos de o ensaio de Glowing Pain Brechó #glowingpain #brechó

A video posted by @_glowingpain on Oct 29, 2016 at 1:19pm PM