For the longest time I felt disconnected from my African origins. Like I mentioned in my previous post: Self Love – My Journey to Embrace Myself, it took real effort and intention for me to start seeking out new role models that I could relate to across the full-spectrum of the creative industry. I basically had to work on myself to rethink the sort of books I was reading, the music I was listening to and the shows I chose to engage with so that I didn’t always consume content through the lens of the same narrator.
By doing this, I realised that most of the media I consumed everyday had one common denominator – the majority of the protagonists were white. Not that it was an issue in itself but equally it made me realise that as a young girl growing up in a predominately white neighborhood with only access to content produced by people that didn’t look like me (I didn't have cable at the time), I was bound to feel frustrated by the beauty and normalcy standards promoted at the time that seemed so out of reach for me.
Fast forward to present time, I am glad I started this journey as it’s allowing me to broaden my horizons and feel better about myself knowing that a lot of people like me are out there representing and championing black culture. I’ve listed below some of the people that have made an impact in my life in recent months, and played a part in positively influencing my perception of black culture.
Who? Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic.
What? Africa’s Tarnished Name talks about the various factors that have contributed to today’s negative perception of Africa.
Why? Because it addresses so many important topics and answers so many questions that are so close to home for many Africans – or me at least – such as why didn’t I never feel proud of where I come from? Why did I always assume that Europe was better than Africa? In Chinua Achebe’s opinion, this is a product of “deliberate invention devised to facilitate two gigantic historical events: the Altlantic slave trade and the colonization of Africa.” In many ways, reading this book allowed me to start making peace with myself and better understand some of the complexities behind the current portrayal of Africa.
Quote: “He needed to hear Africa speak for itself after a lifetime of hearing Africa spoke about by others”
What? KOD, J.Cole’s latest album
Why? I have always been a big J. Cole’s fan and have always admired his ability to tell compiling stories through music. KOD did not disappoint in that manner. It confronts so many issues that are often swept under the carpet such as: police brutality, drug abuse within the black community, cultural appropriation, dumbing down of hip-hop music, the excess of capitalism and so and so forth. I just love the way he’s made a real effort to address these issues head on and offer his own take on how the current political and social landscape in America is affecting black people’s lives.
Quote: “Choose wisely”
Who? Issa Rae is an American actress, writer, director, producer, and web series creator.
What? Insecure is a comedy-drama series based on Issa Rae's web series Awkward Black Girl.
Why? Believe or not, because it feels great to finally see another black woman navigating through life. I feel like I finally have a version of “Friends” I can relate to, it’s as simple as that.
Quote: “I needed to see more from my movies than the extremely tragic black woman, or the magic helpless negro, or the many black men in dresses.”