Art Identity Politic me.

I almost scrapped this post but Tigray wouldn’t let me…

As a disclaimer this is NOT part 3 of the “Never Needed Permission” Series. Part 3 is in the tuck because this is truly much more pressing. If you are curious as to what would make me temporarily pause on a series that essentially revitalized my love for writing on this raggedy website than please, by all means, keep reading.

This pandemic is a never ending loop of FaceTime calls, Zoom chats, WhatsApp messages, etc. I promise I’m not “complaining” but gahhh damn.

In one of those calls I caught up with a friend of a friend who I’d been meaning to talk to for awhile now and of course Ethiopia came up. (I’m slowly turning into my dad it’s amazing.) I told her I wanted to write about what was happening back home and her knee-jerk reaction/advice was to not throw myself into the fire. So here I am, doing it anyway, throwing myself into the pit because ya girl will risk it all for a crumb of identity talk *shrugs*

For those who are reading this and not aware of the humanitarian crisis taking place in Ethiopia please see article here. Let the ramble begin.

“Her personal experience was completely analogous with the restlessness and confusion of her beloved homeland.”

I came across this quote while reading an art history critique on Frida Kahlo. (Fancy right?! Lmao I know. I have to be honest, though, I was on ASOS looking at matching joggers and somehow ended up ten tabs deep into Frida’s life. So this whole post was partly inspired by my undiagnosed ADD and online shopping habit.) If you’re not familiar with Frida, the bad ass, then I definitely recommend doing your googles or watching Salma Hayek’s rendition of “Frida.” For the purposes of this post you just need to know that she was Mestiza (of mixed race), her father was German and her mother was an indigenous Mexican. (She was what Americans like to call a melting pot or salad, or whatever the hell the saying is…)

Anyway, back to the critique – the critic was critiquing Frida’s very public identity crisis and how her 1940’s pieces were strongly tied to a post-revolutionary Mexico. The author walked readers through Frida’s attempt to reconcile her “Mexican self with her European self.” Frida’s early portraits showed a balance between her two worlds. She understood how both “parts of herself” contributed to her wholeness but over time she went from being balanced, to a die-hard patriot, I’m talking complete nationalistic association, tat that shit on my forearm, cue the national anthem- to a clear and distinct “I don’t fuck with youuu.”

You’re probably like ok girl, Frida was clearly having a mid-life crisis what’s your point? Well my point is, right now, many of my/your friends, my/your loved ones and hell even myself are having that exact same breakdown. We are trying to put into words how the bloodshed, the displacement and quite frankly the sheer lack of compassion towards ALL Ethiopians, and I do mean ALL, is impacting our psyche and identity.

I personally have struggled to vocalize my thoughts/feelings/etc. as the conflict is extremely personal. The only way I can even begin to describe my feelings is to say I am restless and at times I am confused – oh and numb.

It does not matter where you stand on the current events of the country because a Diaspora's life, much like Frida's life, is tied to the restlessness of his or her "home." It is tied to the restlessness/confusion that some argue may or may not exist (I'm not about to get into that), the restlessness/confusion prompting ethnic groups to disassociate completely from the greater nation and the restlessness/confusion that is chipping away at the core concepts of what it means to identify as an Ethiopian.  

It is a lot. That’s the price of having two homes…right?

I mean between the race wars in the US, the many factions back home, the pandemic and then you add on the fact that we are on a floating rock paying taxes – it is just a lot. It is a lot. With all of that said I am not here to push some kind of kumbaya agenda. HELL I’m not even sure I know where I am going with this particular article anymore but I do want to make it abundantly clear that I am speaking to the kids of the Diaspora. I am speaking to the kids of the Diaspora who are trying to show up everyday but watching their mothers and fathers get calls in the middle of the night letting them know the status of our grandmothers. I am speaking to the kids of the Diaspora who are stuck in the middle of living their best lives here in America but are also having this looming paralyzing feeling over them that their privilege is too real, to the kids who are hitting the streets raising awareness but feeling unheard and lastly to the kids of the Diaspora who come from mixed ethnic group homes where you are constantly trying to find your footing. I see you. I feel you and I’m here for you. (I’m on a flight to LA right now and typing like that one cat that has so much to say, so please disregard my long ass run-on sentences.)

Now I don’t want to end this all sad, helpless and shit so here are three things you can do to support your friends and/or efforts on the ground in Ethiopia:

  1. Donate. This can be tricky people are literally profiting of the pain of others so do your homework when selecting an organization to donate too. I recommend this particular fund.
  2. Advocate/spread awareness in whatever way you feel comfortable…full stop.
  3. Lastly, “listen to listen” rather than “listen to respond.” Look…people are fighting silent battles and if they do end up opening up on how they feel just listen – this is not the time or place to offer up some twitter recap of a clubhouse discussion where your cousin who graduated from some political science program is spitting out his/her personal political views. It ain’t…it just ain’t so please just listen and if you can listen with empathy.

Fin. That is it. This Delta flight attendant just handed me my coke and I’m running out of wifi minutes – I’m out y’all. Oh and for anyone who wanted to know I did not end up purchasing that jogger set it was sold out :/. Le sigh another one bites the dust.

Article is written in dedication to my Eno Hago Mulu.

Stay Down,


Advice Entrepreneur Events Human Character Inspiration Politic me.


Dear readers,

Hello! It’s me Astu. I am writing you today to bring about attention to a topic that has not only confirmed that women are still second class citizens but that Africa has a long way to go. Over three weeks ago, 234 Nigerian school girls were kidnapped by the Islamist group Boko Haram. If you are still unsure of what is going on please read this article.

As much as I want to rant and throw shade at the Nigerian government, US government, the United Nations, and the UNwomen, I will not. Let’s remember nothing happens over night. This blog was launched in efforts to highlight what our generation is doing to bring about change, what we are doing with our start-up inventions, and how we are leaving a legacy behind with whatever we create. With that said, I want to encourage everyone to overcome this relatively new phenomenon of “lazy activism” and figure out a way you can solve an issue in your community or in your life.

And I can proudly say I will be taking my own advice, starting this afternoon. I am launching a photo campaign called the 234 project. With this project I will randomly stop people in the streets of DC and VA, on my campus, in the lady’s restroom and at Chipotle…literally where ever I am and ask to take a picture of them holding up a sign with one of the following phrases “this could be me” or “this could be my sister.” You may not think much of this but spreading awareness and starting a dialogue IS THE FIRST STEP to any major movement. Ha ha I’m not saying I will be taking over the streets of DC with a protest but everything big, starts small.

The question I pose to you, the reader, what will you do today to make a difference in your community, environment, or in your family? I really want to know, please leave comments below! I want to learn what matters to you and if it is the 234 girls that were abducted please tell me! Don’t be shy, and talk to you soon. Much love.



Astu Mengesha


Human Character Mindblowing Politic me.


Growing up with both of my parents – I am more than lucky to be blessed with all the essential elements that make me the, strong and confident, woman I like to think I am.  So, when I hear stories about children who are just looking to be genuinely loved, my mind can not thoroughly grasp how fortunate I am and all that is left for me to do is cry – uncontrollably. Now, before you pass judgement on what may seem like ignorance on my behalf please ask yourself when you realize how blessed or fortunate you are does it not leave you speechless or dumbfounded when you see someone who lacks what you have abundantly?

The reason for this post is to highlight one young man’s plea for a family and in his words :

“Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I’ll take anyone…”


15 years old and maturing by the second, Davion Only is making headlines with his church based plea for a family. I found his story while watching my favorite show, The View, he was well-spoken, calm, and collected as he explained to the crew his desire to have someone and something to call his own. Now he is getting thousands of request for adoptions and while this may be one success story let us look at the stats . . .

400,000 children in the foster care in 2012

60,000 of these kids have had their biological parents’ rights permanently terminated

 80 percent of all children in foster care have serious emotional problems 

For more numbers please check:

The young Only wants you to understand that “I just want people to know that it’s hard to be a foster kid,” Only said. “People sometimes don’t know how hard it is and how much we try to do good.”

Take a moment to be thankful and see how you can impact one else’s life – get involved change can happen with your hands.

For full story please research: #Davioneffect or click here:

Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up


Human Character Inspiration Me and Life. Mindblowing Politic me.

My people . . .


A quote that resonates every time I see media coverage of minorities “black culture is popular not black people” #ZimmermanTrial #PaulaDean #VotingRightsAct . . .

Are you informed?

Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up

Me and Life. Politic me.

compassion, please?

I was recently surfing the internet and looking for a current event article to use for my African Politics independent study course and I came across an old article (7 October 2010) on the women of Somalia. Somalia, as many may already know, is considered the original failed state – since the 1990’s it has not been able, for a lack of better a word, to get its’ shit together. Lack of government, rejection from the international community, increase in pirate activity, and the rampant influence of an islamic terrorist group it is not wonder why Somalia cannot get it together.

As I read through this article, it was nothing new nothing the international community hadn’t already heard or wasn’t already aware of, but it still grabbed my attention like no other – and the topic was the WOMEN of Somalia. It’s hard enough being a woman in the so-called “developed world” but being a woman in a country that the rest of the world believes there is no hope for is even worse. This article: “BBC: Fleeing Somali Women recount tales of Terror” tells the first hand experience of women who were able to escape to Yemen (and the stories of those who did not escape), who were forced into marriage or raped upon refusal – how they are separated from their spouses and forced to watch their children be killed…how can the international community sit and REPORT about this but yet not feel compelled to become involved is all I can wonder to myself??!?!

My teacher for my independent study actually started our lesson today with information on the Rwandan genocide – he talked about how the world and specifically the developed world knew of the genocide and did not address it and brushed it off as if it was not the proper term for the killings of 800,000 to million people. He also informed myself and the one other girl who takes the course with me that America and several other names had actually signed the “Genocide Act” – stating that if a genocide were to be in the makings the west (America) would become involved and take measures to stop what is occurring.” The fact that the United States and other developed nations allowed for the mass killings to continue is quite baffling and JUST PLAIN CRAZY! To turn your back and essentially allow it to happen – huh what kind of foolishness is that!?

But back to relating to the point of this article on the suffering of Somalia – it is the same thing the developed world is simply letting this occur in Somalia – many say they do not want a repeat of what happened in 1994 (the dragging of an American soldier through the streets of Mogadishu) but something must be done for the sake of Somalia and the sake of other African countries. If we really want to reach the proposed millennium goals – SOMETHING MUST BE DONE.

Here are some sources that I got my info from – so go out there and be an activist! CHANGE THE MOTHERFUDGING WORLD WHY DONT YA!

Astu Mengesha – stay down blaze up