Africans vs. African Americans: A Battle Against Black Love
Dashikis, afro puffs, shea butter, and melanin- being afro-centric is definitely in. “Being woke” is now the goal, a transcendence away from colorism and ignorance. Some of the biggest stars, including Beyonce and Drake have made anything “afro” the new cool.
However, an interesting tension still carefully lingers. In recent media news, Samuel L Jackson blasted Hollywood’s trend of British actors, and oh by the way 1st generation African Immigrant actors, for being casted in American films over other African-American counter parts. This is certainly not Jackson’s first time expressing this type of dissent. Not sure if this was an intellectual concealment of jealousy, or if there is really substance to his paradoxical claims.
To top it off after the release of Drake’s new album “More Life” blacks took twitter trending the topic “Africans vs. African Americans”. The debate sparked after Drake’s alleged appropriation of African and Caribbean beats on multiple tracks featured in his new work. Get a taste of the debate from some of the tweets below. Apparently, there is an underlying tone that we must now all prove blackness, definitely a complex undertaking with a myriad of perspectives.
Take my story for instance. As a little girl, I vividly remember the echoes of “African booty scratcher”. I never wanted to bring leftovers to lunch, or wear the Ankara fabrics that my grandmother bought me. I didn’t want to tell people my real name. I had mini panic attacks with every roll call at the beginning of class. But I also grew up in Prince Georges County, Maryland- widely known as one of the meccas of African-American upper middle class. I also proudly claim the African American narrative because of this, even though my parents flew on a plane here from their original home in Nigeria.
Back then, my parents would complain about African-Americans they would encounter in the professional arena. Exposing their arrogance, laziness, and disregard for culture- often calling them names. I was literally caught in the middle, wrought with confusion on where I stood in the conflux of black culture. It wasn’t until early in my adulthood that I began to ponder the root causes of this eerie and resentfully packed form of self-hatred.
Stains of slavery and imperialism continue to artfully stain the black community. This separation is dangerous to the progression of black people throughout the diaspora. Why is it that we have to prove blackness? It seems that so much time is wasted not being united instead. The reality is that the majority sees us all the same, whether your Trayvon Martin or Amadou Diallo. The reality is that we have one big narrative no matter which side of the Atlantic you’re on. Drake artfully demonstrates this concept in his new album, More Life. Whether you’re directly from Africa, the Caribbean, or America, black love is always the first step.