In a world where black men seem to be hunted by the law and its own kind, Abasi Hanif better known to most as ‘Bossman’ has dedicated himself to not only uplift but to build in his community. His “Livin’ the Rhythm” drum circle has been a staple for years. Providing a place for spirits to become kindred and free themselves to the sounds of thunderous roars of djembes that would make the perfect storm jealous. He has become a leader amongst men, using his influence to show all there is nothing wrong with being unapologetically black and encouraging the people to gain a better understanding of their roots.
Just one of his latest ways is through the collective…The RBG’s of South Florida, of whom have set out in various way to make an impact. Whether it be creating opportunities to circulate the black the dollar through their Black Mini Market & Family Funday or their ongoing backpack initiative where they have items they distribute to the indigent and people society tends to ignore. “RBG Family Fun Day Is mobilizing community change and it's just getting started. We feed the homeless regularly also, we just don't advertise it. The Family Fun Day is free and open to the public. We offered free classes and workshops for people to experience and get educated on things that they can use in evolving lifestyle changes.” He continues “We raise pride in our peoples by putting on events like this in the community, involving people from the community and doing our best to make them run smoothly and remain positive. We do this so the people know it can be done and can view it with pride because it is done well by those who look and feel like them.”
Another way he is effective is through the before mentioned “Livin’ the Rhythm”. But what exactly is its purpose, well in his own words “The goal of Livin the Rhythm is to assist people in getting back in tune and in harmony with higher life vibrations. Drumming is just one part. Through Livin The Rhythm, I want to tap into numerous forms of media and tools (music/spoken word/video/visual and performance arts, cultural events, clothing, crafts, healthy diet, workshops, group meditation and rituals, etc) Everything vibrates and everything has a rhythm. We seek to be conscious of that in our living, maintain a higher vibration and staying on beat no matter what kind distractions or issues life throws at us.”
"What drew me to the djembe? I'd say the djembe was just the loudest and first when it came to calling me to African drumming. The power the drum itself possesses, what one can do with it through their own power, combining power with the drum intrigued me”. Abasi delving further on it's power of states " I've seen it affect people on multiple levels. I've seen people trance out in spiritual possession. I've seen how the rhythms sooth people and allow them to travel into their minds and hearts in a meditative state. I've seen them empower people to move and dance. To sing and chant. I've seen it make people scream and shout, smile and cry, Sometimes people hear me drumming, come sit by and listen, or standoff in the distance, listen for a while, tell me thank you and walk away. Them saying “thank you” tells me that I did them a favor just by drumming that is powerful to me."
Abasi is very hands on with the youth (no pun intended), using the djembe as a way to play an important part in their growth "The youth love to bang on things… they're ALL ABOUT THAT BASS...so drumming is perfect for them. It teaches discipline. It improves hearing and communication skills. It improves memory, short and long term. It gives them a chance to learn about World Cultures, experience it and open doors for them like it has for me."
As for how the self-proclaimed ‘ManBlack’ views himself with well deserved pride he exclaims “I am the descendant of Africans stolen from the areas where the Djembe originated. These same Africans went thru the enslavement process and were eventually not allowed to drum and practice their original customs. The off-springs of the people who stripped Africans of their customs including drumming, NOW are the so called; self-appointed leaders and authorities of indigenous percussion. Meanwhile the majority of the offspring of the enslaved Africans are turned off of African customs, including drumming. I'm here to help make it cool again. I'm one of those born here, helping to reintroduce it to us here abroad who may have forgot. I'm showing them we still can do this. This is still US. It's nothing to fear or look down on. I'm doing it in a way where it doesn't always sound like "traditional" African drumming...but like one who evolved through jazz, blues, rock and roll, reggae, and most importantly, Hip Hop. I'm of the hip hop generation, and I am conscious of my African roots, so therefore, I must represent both in a way only somebody like me or somebody who understands what made me would feel and appreciate. It is significant because without me knowing at first, drumming on the djembe, IS being true to myself and who I am"
So when the dust settles. What does Da Bossman want to be known about him?
“When it's all said and done...let it be known I was an instrument of positive change… a tool of inspiration to African peoples worldwide...really all peoples, but especially those of African descent in the motherland and scattered abroad. Let it be known, I cut my own path and opened it up for others to walk it too. I want to see the progression of what I've done and do reach up so it seems hard to do what I did, but it still inspires others to do more and better than even I accomplished in my life. I want to inspire other to be true to themselves... their TRUE selves and not who the world may try to make them be...but who they came here to be. “
I came for some causes
I came to worship the Goddess
I came to bow at her alter
I came to drink from her chalice
**This song is basically a love song on a woman I refer to as Goddess Love...but it is also a play on the quote "God is Love" **
I came with some offerings
I even made a sacrifice
I beseech you here and now
Cuz I aint waiting on no afterlife
I heard that God is Love
I wanted to see if God is Love..
Said I heard bout Goddess/Godis Love
Had to see bout Godis Love
**So basically I'm telling her straight up what I'm here for. Worship = "Make Love" the rest is just metaphors to articulate it. I let her know I ain't coming empty handed, and I did what I felt was necessary to get a woman of her caliber...and now I'm coming for her so what's up?)**
So Goddess what you like
Cuz I'm willing to work HARD
All day and all night
Prove to you that I'm God
That aint for OOOHS AND AWWWS
That ain’t for a round of applause
That there is a higher rhythm
That is a conscious decision
Goddess saw me working
Saw me putting in the effort
So Goddess Came and Blessed Me
Godis made me better
She said God go and shine
For we must shine together.
This Love one of a kind Godis and God shine forever…
**so here I'm saying why I want to worship her, because she came and blessed me and made me better because of it. So now I feel I should honor her...she lets me know that it's really the worship, but go and shine, cuz when I'm shine, so does she… and vice versa. So we must hold each other on mutual pedestals as we are reflections of each other. After that is a break down and I repeat the whole song in a way where it's reversed with her talking to me and me responding with blessing her and making her better. Completing the cypher**
Livin The Rhytmn Higher Vibration Cypher is held every Thursday at Harold's Coffee Lounge from 7pm-10.
Its free of charge and a must for your soul.
509 Northwood Rd
WPB, FL 33407