The Fleur-De-Who?

Gold-Iron-Fleur-de-Lis
gambinos.com

We customarily see them plastered in neighborhoods, on television, and more specifically throughout the south. Though much isn’t said, many thoughts are provoked when the fleur-de-lis captures attention. The English translation of fleur-de-lis (sometimes spelled “fleur-de-lys”) is “flower of the lily.” It is symbolized as a sign of French royalty and has been described by some as depicting a stylized lily or lotus flower, but many historians attribute its origin to a species of the wild iris, Iris pseudacorus.

The flower is used in association to divinity and royalty, also relating to purity. Traditionally, it has signified perfection, light, and life [1] while it is historically linked to Louisiana, Ancient Egypt, and the Roman Empire.

Rome

Observing French culture, you may easily spot the lily representing the history or pride of an establishment. Military units including divisions of the United States Army have used the symbol resembling a spearhead to identify martial power and heraldry — but before the lily was embraced by Christianity, Nero was Emperor as the Roman Empire held a range of Hellenic practices and beliefs including Mithraism. [2] The land encompassing the Mediterranean was the stage for the beginning of the Common Era.

As the life of Christ generated an increase of Christians, the culture of the Roman Empire began to shift. Therefore in 313 CE, Emperor Constantine declared the Edict of Milan to cease persecution of all Christians. Following in 380 CE, the Edict of Thessalonica declared Christianity the state religion throughout the Roman Empire, giving rise to Nicene Christianity and Catholicism. Fifteen years later, Emperor Theodosius mandated the empire be split into the Western and Eastern Roman Empire for his heirs. [3] Germanic Goth, Odoacer, marked the beginning of the downfall for the Western Roman Empire as he became King of Italy after deposing the appointed Romulus Augustus. Over a century later in 509, the Merovingian dynasty emerged after Frankish tribes united throughout Gallic territory. [4]

fdlrome

In due course, Clovis I was the first Merovingian king of the Salian Franks to ascend to the throne of Francia and is acclaimed for spreading Christianity throughout Europe. The pagan warriors were known as both allies and enemies of the Roman Empire. Throughout this time, many Germanic tribes were pagan or converted from paganism to Arian Christianity. [5] Though his wife, Clotilde, had been a devout Catholic, Clovis converted to Catholicism in the 4th century. Legend remains that he converted after the Lord brought health to his son and willed the Franks to victory. [6]  The legend continues that Clovis embraced the fleur-de-lis after an angel presented him with a golden lily (or iris) as a symbol of his purification upon baptism. The fleur-de-lis then became a staple and has been present throughout French monarchy.

franciak2c copy
— The Saylor Academy

Due to its three “petals,” the fleur-de-lis has also been used to represent the Holy Trinity and ascribed by the Roman Catholic Church as the special emblem of the Virgin Mary before Charlemagne would reach the throne. [7]

The Holy Land

Around the 6th century, the Moors of Berber reached the height of their reign in the Mediterranean by improving the infrastructure of Iberia and all surrounding land. [8] The Moors had been renowned for their supreme architecture, culture, education, merchants, and more. In 732, Charles Martel, the father of Charlemagne the King defeated the Moors at the Battle of Tours resulting in a revolution and retreat of Berbers several years later. Approaching the 9th century, Charlemagne ascended to the throne of the Franks and becomes Emperor of the only standing Roman Empire.

Fourteen years after becoming Emperor and splitting Francia, Charlemagne died from pleurisy and the Gallic territories later began a new conquest for what initially started as war with the Islamic Empire in the Crusades to the Holy Land in 1095.[9] The Holy Land of Egypt and Jerusalem had once been a monotheistic land, however had been disunited with Babylonian and Hellenic practice. Pope Urban II promised everyone who participated in the crusade a guaranteed ticket to heaven. [10] King Louis IX led the seventh crusade in 1248, and the eighth in 1270 but did not make the trip back to Rome. He was canonized as an Anglican saint in 1297.

 

 

French Influence in America

Today, the fleur-de-lis is influential in Louisiana and the Midwest, which are most noteworthy in the discovery by France during the european conquest of the New World. Evidently, the emblem has been celebrated prior to the 16th century.

Joan of Arc paraded a white banner that displayed the French royal emblem when she led French troops to victory over the English in support of the Dauphin, Charles VII, in the quest for the French throne in 1429. [11] Hernando Cortes of Spain is also conspired with the fleur-de-lis during his conquest of New Spain on his helmet and flag, where he killed over 100,000 indigenous people. [12]

Fugitive slaves who have been on the run for one month shall have his ears cut off and be branded with a fleur-de-lys on one shoulder. If he commits the same infraction for another month, his hamstring shall be cut and he shall be branded on the other shoulder. The third infraction shall bring death.

In 1453, the last of the Roman Empire dissolves after fall of Constantinople, swaying in a new era of Europe. The reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV, began in 1643 and was more than revered to have a new world named after him in Louisiana by 1682. Three years after founding the new land, King Louis XIV would issue a decree called le Code Noir (The Black Code) for all the French territories. [13] Said to have been revised, the general purpose of le Code Noir was to establish the construction of slavery and settlement in French colonies. Because of the additions and various publishing, it is advised that the publishing by Chez LF Prault is the most accurate.

The edict would contain articles stating:

Code_noir_-_Nantes_museum
Nantes History Museum
  • Article 1 – All Jews be expelled from the French lands
    after imposing a threat to the longevity of Catholicism 
    [14]
  • Article 2 – All slaves should be baptized by Roman Catholic, and Apostolic faith and inform the Governor of newly purchased slaves
  • Article 3 – Any religion other than the listed above was forbidden as offenders were to be punished
  • Article 4 – No slaves can be owned by those who practice any other religion
  • Article 6 and 7 – Everyone including slaves should use Sundays and holidays away from work or trade
  • Article 8 – Those who were not of Roman Catholic, and Apostolic faith were deemed “incapable” of contracting a valid marriage, and all children of such should be considered bastards
  • Article 12 and 13 – Children were submitted to slavery if their mother was a slave
  • Article 38 – Fugitive slaves who have been on the run for one month shall have his ears cut off and be branded with a fleur-de-lys on one shoulder. If he commits the same infraction for another month, his hamstring shall be cut and he shall be branded on the other shoulder. The third infraction shall bring death.
  • Article 47 – Slaves could not be separated
  • Article 55 – Masters as young as 20 could free their slaves

Meanwhile in the New World, Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville established settlement for the French at Fort Maurepas in present day Ocean Springs, MS in 1699. Shortly after, chattel slavery was introduced to Louisiana with the indigenous Chitimacha [15] and it was not until 1719 when the French began to haul Africans and occupy them as slaves to the newly established territory. [16] In 1764, the settlement of St. Louis had later been named after the crusader, Louis IX ,[17] as le Code Noir remained the slavery policy until the year of the French Revolution.

During the reign of Sun King Louis XIV, le Grand Dauphin died from smallpox just four years before his father’s own exit. Shortly after the heir-to-be was the death of le Petit Dauphin along with his wife and eldest son due to measles, leaving the Sun King’s apparent heir to the throne in great-grandson Louis XV. [18] After King Louis XV too fell from smallpox, Louis XVI ascended to the throne during a critical time. In 1789, France erupted in a state of outrage due to the socioeconomic issues of the low-class Third Estate. They had felt they had been treated unjust by the minority of the Estates General, consisting of the nobles and clergymen. The First and Second Estates had not been paying taxes and ignored implementation, while the Third Estate had been considered rubbish while paying the taxes of the land. Thus, the economy was at a drastic low and facing famine and crisis of bankruptcy. This social inequality of the Estates General also resulted in the bourgeoisie. [19] The bourgeoisie had stormed out of a summoned Estates-General meeting and formed the National Assembly. After being silenced and ignored, they set flame to Paris. This outcry was the beginning of the French Revolution. [20]

Before being seized and decapitated, Louis XVI was known for his unconventional views and ending persecution of all Jews. He was a scholar of religion, morality, and English. [21] Since France became a republic, they have had less than a handful of emperors as all other rulers have been presidents. The fleur-de-lis happened to make it out alive and across the Atlantic.

Summary

  • Christians and Jews faced persecution in the East since the beginning of the Common Era
  • The Edict of Milan and Thessalonica greatly influenced the presence of Christians
  • Splitting the Roman Empire weakened and shaped it’s longevity
  • Clovis converted to Catholicism after ascension to the throne, thus honoring the fleur-de-lis and receiving support of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Seljuk Turks moved west into heavily Greek-populated Holy Land, provoking the Crusades
  • King Louis XIV issued the decree stating fugitive slaves in French territory be branded with fleur-de-lis
  • The French Revolution of 1789 ceased French monarchy

To this day, Louisiana and the Midwest embrace the fleur-de-lis in culture, Saints apparel, and a multitude of establishments. Essentially, the flower stems from a period of continental warfare and religious imperialism. Although the emblem may represent the supremacy or suppression of a sovereign kingdom, many Americans across the nation choose to rejoice in the peace and solidarity the fleur-del-lis may reflect in a battered community.


References

1 “Fleur De Lis.” Ancient Symbols, 2019, http://www.ancient-symbols.com/symbols-directory/fleur-de-lis.html.
2  Park, Hyeongsu. “Mithraism in the Roman Empire.” Zentrale Fur Unterrichtsmedien, ZUM, 2006, http://www.zum.de/whkmla/sp/0607/hyeongsu/hyeongsu.html.
3 Mark, Joshua J. “Western Roman Empire.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 20 Feb. 2020, http://www.ancient.eu/Western_Roman_Empire/.
4 Hanson, Victor Davis. “Landed Infantry.” Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power, Doubleday, 2001, p. 144.
5 Koch, Carl. “Growth in a Crumbling Empire.” A Popular History of the Catholic Church, Saint Mary’s Press, 1997, pp. 96–97.
6 “The Grand Dauphin.” Palace of Versailles, 21 Jan. 2020, http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/history/great-characters/grand-dauphin.
7 Dürer, Albrecht. “Ancient Symbol Fleur-De-Lis: It’s Meaning And History Explained.” Ancient Pages, 1 July 2019, http://www.ancientpages.com/2016/10/10/ancient-symbol-fleur-de-lis-its-meaning-and-history-explained/.
8 Krauskopf, Joseph. “The Arab-Moors.” Jews and Moors in Spain, Hardpress Publishing, 2012, pp. 46–57.
9 “The Crusades (1095-1291).” Metmuseum.org, 2020, http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/crus/hd_crus.htm.
10 Thatcher, Oliver Joseph, and Edgar Holmes McNeal. A Source Book for Mediæval History: Selected Documents Illustrating the History of Europe in the Middle Age. S.n., 2015.
11 “Joan of Arc.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 27 Feb. 2020, http://www.biography.com/military-figure/joan-of-arc.
12 Hernandez, Bernat. “Hernán Cortés: Brutal Conquest of the Aztec Empire.” Hernán Cortés Conquers the Aztec Empire, 18 Dec. 2018, http://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/magazine/2016/05-06/cortes-tenochtitlan/.
13 Colbert, Jean-Baptiste, and Marquis De Seignelay. Le Code Noir, Ou, Recueil Des réglemens Rendus Jusqu’à présent Concernant Le Gouvernement, L’administration De La Justice, La Police, La Discipline & Le Commerce Des négres Dans Les Colonies françoises, Et Les Conseils & Compagnies établis a. Chez L.F. Prault, 1742.
14 Szajkowski, Zosa. “The Jewish Quarterly Review.” Jews and the French Revolutions of 1789, 1830 and 1848, Ktav Pub. House, 1970, pp. 320–323.
15 Carmon, Alana A. “Chitimacha.” Center for Louisiana Studies, 4 Nov. 2016, http://cls.louisiana.edu/programming-special-projects/louisiana-101/peoples-places/native-americans/chitimacha.
16 Rodrigue, John C. “Slavery in French Colonial Louisiana.” 64 Parishes, 2018, http://64parishes.org/entry/slavery-in-french-colonial-louisiana.
17 “St. Louis: The Early Years (1764-1850).” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 10 Apr. 2015, http://www.nps.gov/jeff/planyourvisit/the-early-years.htm.
18 Prahl, Amanda. “Biography of Louis XV, Beloved King of France.” ThoughtCo, ThoughtCo, 7 Aug. 2019, http://www.thoughtco.com/louis-xv-biography-4692227.
19 Llewellyn, Jennifer, and Steve Thompson. “The Estates General.” French Revolution, Alpha History, 20 Sept. 2019, http://alphahistory.com/frenchrevolution/estates-general/.
20 Painter, Steve. “Rise of the Working Class.” Marxists Internet Archive, Labor College, Nov. 1986, http://www.marxists.org/history/australia/1986/rwc2.htm.
21 “Louis XVI.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 16 Jan. 2020, http://www.biography.com/royalty/louis-xvi.
“The Frankish Empire.” Saylor Academy, The Saylor Foundation, 2020, http://resources.saylor.org/wwwresources/archived/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/HIST201-1.1.1-FrankishEmpire-FINAL1.pdf.

Blooming Sensation

 

“What do you want to be remembered by?”
I believe that when you meet people and when you’re in people’s presence, it’s important to make people feel good about themselves and feel loved in your presence. That’s that persons job! I don’t do this all the time. I have bad times but that’s what I would hope to be remembered as.” – LaVoyce

LaVoyce
Instagram @lavoyce

She had been assured to make an exploitation out of the sound booth. Her father, a musical producer, had been accompanied by fellow artist and soon-to-be mother into a recording studio in Dallas, Texas. Instinctively in the middle of the session, the seed within the womb began to sprout. The masses of the studio began to stream out the door for the delivery room. On September 5, 1995, a flower had surfaced unto the world. Demi LaVoyce.

Confident singer and humble songwriter, LaVoyce delivers peace, positivity, and power through her music to unshackle her listeners of baggage and ailing energy. This liberation is pushed for self-submergence unto the presence of love, and encouragement toward individuals and their own accepted endeavors. Soft-spoken and ground-driven, the reticent entrepreneur somehow is able to maintain her humility and reach that which makes her blossom.

The full-time artist quotes:

[Work] Stressful, but things are working in my favor.

With ten tracks on her newly-released album titled “Bloom,” LaVoyce managed to produce all ten, co-producing only two.

“What is the purpose of your music?”

“To convey feelings,” she admits with no hesitation and a slight grin. Following a moment of stillness, she drops her head and her smirk as she continues to ease into a nod. “Feeling understood.” 

The divine extract of two musicians had been preordained to grow a fond attachment of music. By the age of seven, she had already discovered her purpose and career dreams in becoming a recording artist. Spending countless nights in the studio with her father, the young phenom was incognizant of the habits she was learning in the moment while watching. She had never been deliberately taught to work the boards.

As it appeared, Demi seemed to have it all together while attending Booker T. Washington, High School for the Performing & Visual Arts. There, she spent a bit of time crafting her art in choir along with piano seminars. During this time, the influence behind her initiatory album crept into her life. The talented scholar had invested into a long time relationship, out-dating graduation of six years.

“I never consciously started on the album. I just started making music which was inspired from the breakup.
Pain is the most inspiring and influential. “

The intro to her musical collection, “Invisible,” expresses her discontentment with tampered emotions and yearning for less distractions. Frequent favorite and hit single follows. “Time.” This painting portrays the post-breakup, resurgence of her former relationship, and willingness to see forgiveness while “tired, but hopeful.”

Not only does the LP provide imagery for heartache, but also supplies a rage of upbeat self-love. LaVoyce amps up the moods with sounds illustrating her self-evaluation after completely washing her hands away of her high school sweetheart.

“What makes you happy?”

“Possibility.
Things don’t make me happy, anymore. They can make me joyful in the moment but they don’t make me happy.
People don’t even make me happy, cause people change a lot. So possibility of my dreams and goals actually playing out, that makes me happy.”

“Even if it’s a slim possibility?”

“Doesn’t matter. To me, there is no slim possibility. If that’s what I wanna do — that’s what I’m focused on, things are opening up in that space for me to do it, then cool.”

“Anyone you’d love to co-produce or collaborate with?”

“Frank Ocean. Pharrell. Smino!”

“Favorite artist?”

“I really love Frank Ocean, and Beyoncé! Beyoncé is my everything in life. I want the very best for her. I hope she’s having a good day.
She’s excellent, she pays attention to everything…. and she’s a virgo!”

“What about favorite song?”

“I’m torn between ‘Me, Myself, and I’ and ‘Resentment.'”

“What makes you different from other artists?”

“I’m me! Personality. People can duplicate sound but you can’t duplicate personality.”

This upcoming artist treasures creativity and an empathetic heart, with strapping vocals. Standing at 5’2″, she fears nothing other than living selfishly.

“I could have everything in the world and it’s just me. That sucks, I don’t want that. I don’t wanna die alone.”

“What about anything you could change, what do you feel are your biggest issues?”

“Self doubt, overthinking.”

“Bloom would not have been a success without?”

“Experience. In music and in life. This is probably the best stuff I’ve ever made, just because it’s the most honest stuff I’ve ever made.”

“What do you want to be remembered by?”

“I believe that when you meet people and when you’re in people’s presence, it’s important to make people feel good about themselves and feel loved in your presence. That’s that persons job! I don’t do this all the time. I have bad times but that’s what I would hope to be remembered as.”

In due time, LaVoyce will be discovered as a renowned recording artist. She has learned to trust the process, and is grateful for the space she’s in to move forward. Because of her present dedication and humility, her faith and transparency may reap her the blessings in store. “Bloom” is available everywhere.

Apple MusicSpotify

The Marathon Continues

Today, I spoke with my father about the whole Nipsey ordeal and he mentioned how heartbroken and discouraged he was. Discouraged for the fact that a loss of hope exuded throughout the whole city of Los Angeles. Hopeless, with concerns pertaining to leaders in the community such as “If you won’t allow someone namely as Nip Hussle The Great to help us, there’s no telling who you’ll allow to thrive.”

My father grew up in San Pedro, California and steered away from the street life when he discovered I was on the way. During this time, he had been creating music out of “Dodge City” in order to stop drugs and violence throughout the disruptive area, while also enlightening the youth of history and knowledge. Actively engaging in the community, he impacted Pedro and became a heavy influence. Following a public speaking event against racism and police brutality, he had ostensibly been approached by a certain officer of LAPD to “watch your ass.” Later, he was informed by an ally from the Port Warden division “looks like they tryna get to you, is there somewhere you can lay low?” He then dropped the pursuit of reformation and decided to leave the county until my mother called about a job opportunity in Inglewood.

Upon my adolescence, we moved to the Jungles of LA. I had been caught up with my older brothers and neighbors doing shit I had no business doing at the age of ten. My parents had no mind of my wrongdoings because it was out of sight. Everyday after school, I’d dribble my ball up to Van Ness Park and be back before the streetlights cut on. One evening, the park was taped around the perimeter due to an on-site shooting. On the other side of this park was Crenshaw Boulevard.

Ten years were spent in the front yard of this duplex, until a fatal police chase ended with a sedan barging through our gate. The home was on the corner of 57th Street and Wilton Place. A two minute walk from Slauson Avenue, home to Nipsey Hussle’s clothing store — The Marathon.

Nipsey Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, had been brought into the same interminable world of chaos, near Slauson and Crenshaw Boulevard. The city — filled with resentment, and fueled by rhythm and rank. South Central Los Angeles was no place to sleep on, but the legend remained attentive and stood ten toes down for his surroundings. As a teenager, Asghedom held aspirations to become a recording artist, but grew frustrated due to the lack of resources available in the area. Following the dispirit of the musical pursuit, he then resorted to what he knew would keep him afloat. Nip joined the Rollin 60s Neighborhood Crips. Granted that his official lifestyle could alter his future, he managed to independently release his first mixtape, Slauson Boy, before signing with Epic Records. After deciding not to sign again with Epic in 2010, Nipsey constructed and founded his very own record label, All Money In.

In addition, the rapper released more mixtapes to follow and sold his last, Crenshaw, for $100 each. He reportedly grossed $100,000, including 100 purchases from Jay-Z. The entrepreneur continued to invest in his brand after purchasing the storefront on Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Blvd. He also built a co-working space in South Los Angeles for the underserved youth. Asghedom had desires to bridge the gap between the lacking body and the coveted attributes for growth and technology. He credits his business-savvy and altruistic mindset to an inspiring three month visit to his father’s country of Eritrea. Nonetheless, he managed to carry himself with poise and love to cease all the violence he may had been familiar with.

On March 31, 2019, Nipsey Hussle was fatally shot right in front  of the store he opened to serve his community — a day before he was scheduled to meet with the LAPD and Roc Nation to discuss matters and prevention of neighborhood violence. His legacy continues through his children, Emani, Kross, long time girlfriend, Lauren, and the millions he inspired to make a difference.

Instagram @nipseyhussle

Usually, when a renowned artist or preeminent figure ascends on, we acknowledge it in disbelief and continue to move on but this one hurt differently. Prior to now, I had been figuring out life with zero help but from those I owe to this day. Pop had lost his job and Moma was in no place to help. I resorted to Nipsey’s inspiring words and spent countless hours praying for clarity on my future. Sure enough, my dependence on the Almighty and music brought me through. God willed my hustle as Ermias motivated it.

I solely believe anything can be achieved with hard work, faith, and love. Stay true to those values and nothing but your opposition will be out of the way. I don’t use this time of mourning for opportunistic or promotional exploitation but to carry on the torch in this marathon. I know if The Great were here, he’d say some shit like “Go head young nigga, getcho dollars and make change.” To be black in today’s age, change is what I’ve searched for a long time coming. Plenty of times, I reminded myself that a manipulated life is not a life worth living. So if I lose mine in pursuit of actual freedom, just know I did everything to attain it.

My father has lived through the death of MLK, Pac, and now Nip. Twenty-six years following his initial relocation, I’ve chosen to honor such an inspiration to the city I come from while incoherently following his footsteps. He always said “Find something you love to do, then find a way to get paid to it.” For many of us, we know it is helping others. One thing the world knows not, is how many more legends were born through tragedy. Naybahood Nip has been an inspiration, far beyond the neighborhood of South Central.

Rest In Paradise, Ermias Asghedom 1985-2019