Words speak loud, but actions tell the truth.

I haven’t really written in this thing in ages. Not like I used to, back in the day. I just had so much to say and I felt it was never said. Back then, it wasn’t. I remember I played a show at this racist White hipster venue in Williamsburg (that really narrows it down, doesn’t it. lol) I was on stage and someone yelled out something in between songs. I jokingly called them a racist and the audience literally gasped. Like audible, White, pearl clutching gasps of horror. This was maybe…2008? And you just didn’t talk about racism, then. Not in art, not in music, not anywhere. White people were not having it. I would have people give me “advice” all the time to not talk about race in my art because “you’re talented, why hold yourself back.” It literally made me want to spit in their faces. So you know racism is real and horrific and you know that despite my immense musical talent, if I challenge White people, they will be spiteful enough to block me from “success”, so you feel I should keep my mouth shut like a good little n***** and for what? Like, I’m not supposed to fight it? I’m not weak and I don’t take shit. That’s why White people have all the power in this world. No one challenges them. Most people who are not White would rather collude with a system that was designed to exploit them until death and destroy them if they refuse to comply, than just stand up and say, “No.”

The point I’m getting at is that all the people who gave me that “advice” in 2008 and beyond are now these “Woke Baes” on social media. People who were defending their family or friends who use the N word in 2014 are now dropping buzz terms like White Privilege in every post to get “Woke” points. Even the term woke… another thing that has been appropriated from Black people and run into the ground. EVERYONE uses it. Constantly. It has become the 2019 equivalent of “RAISING THE ROOF”. It’s all performative. I mean, I just saw an interview where ZAC EFRON spoke about white privilege. Like, do you think Zac Efron cares about White Privilege? I don’t think Zac Efron cares about White Privilege.

I feel some typa way about it because when you are really ’bout that life, you are shut out of these mainstream spaces. Like, you’re a Black celebrity who talks about White racism, but if you really stood up against it, you literally would not be on NBC or HBO or in that fashion magazine. The very fact that you are given a mouthpiece in this White mainstream space is evidence that the racist White people who control this space don’t view you as a threat. If you are pro-Black within an anti-Black system like Hollywood or major label record companies, YOU ARE A THREAT TO THAT WHITE SUPREMACIST SYSTEM. So my question is, how are you there? Either the system isn’t really racist, or you are not really challenging that system, because the people who run that system view you as safe. And as an African woman artist, I’ve learned that is what the majority of people need from you. They will not come near a Black woman if they do not feel like they can control you and exploit your talents for their own gain. I mean, didn’t it come out that “slavery is a choice” Kanye literally CAN’T RETIRE because of the shit record contract he signed. Like, if White media is pushing you, it is because THEY are gaining something. Not you. They not tryna amplify some “Let my people go” shit, lol.

I was reading something that said Chadwick Boseman was cast on a soap opera back in the day. He was to play a stereotypical “ganbanger Black youth” and he was displeased, so brought it up with producers and offered ways to improve the character and make it less racist. Do you know they fired his ass and hired Michael B Jordan, then used some of Boseman’s suggestions in reshaping the character for this new actor? That’s how petty most White people are towards Black people who challenge them. You think they are less petty now? Every Black person reading this knows they are not.

I like that people are currently challenging White Supremacy and misogyny openly- that’s what I want. That is why I started this band. But I hate the commodification of the trauma of people who are not White males fighting to be seen as Human Beings. It’s not a trend. It’s the lives of billions of people. And to see Michael B Jordan in a Black Panther themed photo shoot for GQ magazine… I- like WHAT? We’re selling Black liberation now? It is now branded and fashionable? When the actual Black Panthers are all murdered or imprisoned by their own government and still seen as “villains” on par with the KKK to the very White editors and consumers who will thumb through those magazine pages and go “Hm, cool beret.” and then keep it moving? And he agreed to that shit with his whole damn chesS? What’s next, a Freedom Riders themed photo shoot for ELLE? A 4 Little Girls themed photo shoot for Vogue, replete with burning Black children? THIS IS TOXIC AND ANTI-BLACK BEHAVIOUR.

I don’t know what the answer is, but since we know the American media is a tool of White Supremacist Patriarchy, I think we should investigate and deeply evaluate ANY supposedly “Woke” voice being presented to us by the same people who control and operate said tool. YOUR OPPRESSORS WILL NOT BE YOUR LIBERATORS. And if you are working freely and being rewarded within a White supremacist system, it is because you are not an obstruction within that system. You are somehow aiding its operation.

If you are a Black person and you say or do anything that threatens White Supremacist and patriarchal ideals, you will be attacked and people will try to silence you. Unless you are simultaneously making White people a shit-ton of money, or they are gaining something else from you. I’ve had White males join my anti- racist band because they thought they’d get a chance to sleep with me. In the minds of most people on Earth, Black women exist solely to be used and exploited. And when they are done, you’re done. So don’t talk to me about White Privilege on twitter when you don’t cast dark skinned Black women in lead roles and you yell at and harass women on set. If any of this were real, we’d see changes. But underneath the me too and hashtags and rhetoric, nothing has changed. The system is still rigged and is running full speed ahead. I think people should be more impressed when these personalities’ actions match their words. I mean, Jordan Peele is mixed and has a White wife, but fully Black male directors were not casting Lupita Nyong’o in lead roles. They were all casting light and mixed women and sending out racist casting calls like the one for Straight Outta Compton. So who is challenging a system and who is perpetuating it?

I was just watching this gangster movie this weekend and the main guy was always getting betrayed. I’m paraphrasing but he said that he learned to not believe people’s words, but to believe the situation. It’s good advice. If you wish to enter a structure, but the doorway is too narrow for you to enter, existing within that structure requires 2 things: either you modify the structure to accommodate you, or you alter or contort yourself in order to fit into the structure. So if these systems are still racist, but you are somehow chillin’ on the inside, you have obviously altered yourself from who you were when you were on the outside in order to fit. And lord only knows what that entails.

Y’all stay “woke” now…

Black Americans, Stop Being White About Africa.

I wrote this based on a response I wrote to my sister, when she sent me this article: “Can Black Americans Appropriate African Cultures?” After reading some of the dismissive, disgusting comment section, I had to say something because all I’ve seen is Black Americans attacking and Africans backing down and being silenced.

In 2015, Black Americans don’t have any connection to African cultures. Their closest connection is 500 years ago. They have FIVE CENTURIES of their own history, traditions and cultures that they created for themselves in the western world to draw from. Yes, this created culture has African origin, but the VAST MAJORITY of things on this earth have African origin. Including humanity. That doesn’t give everyone on planet earth who is a human the right to claim an African identity. I’ve seen Black Americans argue “I’m an African. It’s in my DNA.” Well, it’s not only in your DNA. Everyone on the planet has DNA that will eventually link them back to Africa. What makes me an African is not a collection of protein sequences. That is a shallow oversimplification that is offensive in and of itself. My upbringing, the food I eat, the music I listen to, the clothes I grew up wearing and had Black Americans mock me for wearing, my name (which was also mocked) the way I see the world, the way I define my Blackness, the languages I grew up hearing all around me. My values. The hilarious way Africans tell stories. The way my grandmother used to hug me and say “Oshyah” (phonetic) until I stopped crying when I fell down or hurt myself. My experiences as a 1st Generation American who has to deal with Anti-Blackness from everyone as well as Anti-African-ness from Western Black people. These things are part of my identity as an African. And there are many other things that I can’t even necessarily articulate. You do not have these experiences. Everything you know about Africa comes from what White people have told you. You don’t know who I am. Honestly, you don’t even know who you are. So how do you think you not only have the right to define what African-ness is but also put it on as if it were a costume? That is offensive. That is disrespectful. And that is exactly what White people do to you. (You know, those other people with African DNA?)

Look at the Khoisan. That’s where East Asian people get their looks from. And East Asian cultures are actually MORE similar to African cultures than Black American cultures are. Can Asians start walking around in dashikis and kente cloth and whatever mish-mash pick-and-choose- gumbo of African cultures they want to claim as their own and start saying they are African? NO THEY CANNOT. (Not like they ever would say that because the thirst for Whiteness over here in Asia is REAL.) Anyway, they are around 50,000 years removed from Africa. Might as well be 500. Either/or, the majority of both groups have NO clue about  the cultures and identities they are emulating and that is a fact. I was raised in the US. I don’t recall ANY Black Americans being respectful and knowledgeable about my background growing up. Or maybe they just didn’t have time to be, between slurs of “darky”, “nappy”, or “African Bootyscratcher” and mocking me about having AIDS or Ebola. The Western Black people who would say “You’re too pretty to be African, what are you mixed with?” Or assume that my long hair was a weave, or would ask me if I ate tigers or lived in a hut (tigers aren’t fucking from Africa dumbass. And huts? Really?) The people who when I say my mother is from Sierra Leone they respond with, “What’s that?”… These are the people who want to call themselves Africans? Why?

What was seen at that “festival that dare not speak its name” and elsewhere by Western Black people IS appropriation. When WE walk down Fulton St. or 125th St. or through any Black American neighborhood in traditional clothing, we get looks and snickers and comments but when they wear it, it’s fashionable. When our music is played in its natural form it is mocked. When it is played in the form of reggae or hip-hop or blues, it’s cool. By the way, most instruments and scales (pentatonic, anyone?) seen as western are African inventions. Without those things, Western music wouldn’t exist PERIOD. History goes one way. Africans making rap is not appropriation because Black Americans did not create rap independent of African influence. It CAME FROM US. You just adapted it into something that reflected your experience and circumstances. That is not a problem. But how can you tell people who invented communication through talking drums that we can’t rap? That is the cultural ignorance that I am talking about. And I am SURE that all the Western Black people who made those comments have never heard of a talking drum in their life. Or the people who are on the step team yet know nothing about South African Gumboot dancing. You take from our cultures, do not give credit or are completely ignorant of the fact that credit is due, and only view our cultures as “cool” when they are filtered through YOU. That’s wrong and it is EXACTLY what White people do to you. If you do not respect me, why do you want to take my name? When Marlon Wayans hosted the MTV Africa Music awards (I’m sure he hosted it out of “pride” and not a paycheck) , he spent the whole night making Anti-African jokes. Nowadays, there are all these rappers taking African tracks and ripping them off without paying royalties, Black American run clothing lines using African prints/materials and not a damn African makes a penny from it … Many African artists even boycotted the BET awards because they were treated horribly. They had Tiwa Savage dancing around in a back lot in an un-aired performance. Tiwa Savage is one of Nigeria’s biggest stars! There was even an African band at this years “festival that dare not speak its name” that was HORRIBLY mistreated and I know that for a fact … Black Americans collecting money on other people’s culture yet mistreating and disrespecting the actual people doesn’t qualify as exploitation?

Some more Black people acting White about Africa are the people who attacked the African woman who wrote the article like her feelings are invalid as an African because you as Black Americans don’t agree. Well great but, uh, you ain’t African and you have no clue what it feels like so who are you to shut her down when she says she feels uncomfortable when she sees people who couldn’t even name 5 African countries (or didn’t even know that Africa isn’t a country) adopting her culture, most times incorrectly, and being rude and standoffish when corrected? My mother could tell you how many times she’s seen Black women trying to tie their baby to them with a lapa and they do it wrong and get mad when she tries to show them how to do it right so their baby doesn’t die of shaken baby syndrome by the time they walk home.

I’ve also seen Black Americans ask, “Who are you to say we can’t wear these things?” Who are we? We are Africans. That’s not enough? Who do we have to be to tell someone when they do things that make us feel offended or uncomfortable? Black Americans have a horrible history but so do we as Africans. We just didn’t get our cultures stripped from us. And we can sympathise with you without letting you run over us. If your cousin got their wallet stolen, can they demand access to your bank account and get huffy when you say no and be all, “I’m your cousin we have a connection I can take what I want from you we have the same blood!”

Honestly speaking, Black Americans are like distant cousins that ain’t nobody seen for 500 years and when we do see you 9 times out of 10 you act like an asshole and mock us, resent our successes, put us down and stereotype us. And though you got your own house, your landlord’s a violent, abusive ass so you just show up to our place like “Hey, we’re related I’m moving in” and bust into our closet and wear our clothes and eat up all our food and get your name legally changed to ours and STILL don’t even respect us in our own house. Then when we say that we’re not comfortable with you barging in and doing these things, you try to say we have no right to protest because “we’re blood” and you get defensive that we even brought up your presence or behaviour. Isn’t that…um, completely insane?

If Black Americans would say “I want to be closer to African cultures because I don’t know where I’m from and it makes me feel lost and empty somehow. Embracing African cultures makes me feel more grounded as a Black person and gives me something to connect to, therefore I would like to learn. What are your traditions? What do your clothes mean and how do you make them? What do you wear on this occasion or eat on that occasion? What are your religions? I’d really like to learn your language. What is it called? Can you teach me? I’d like to see where/how you live. Can I visit? I think if I do, it would really feel like home to me.”

Do you think if Black Americans approached Africans like that, we would have ANY problem with it? Africans are the most sharing-ass people on the planet even when it is to our own detriment. No one would have a problem with teaching or sharing. The problem is, Black Americans are too arrogant and ethnocentric to want to learn. They think they are above trying to learn from Africans and are entitled to our cultures and identities and can just take what they want and do as they please no matter what we say or how we feel. Sound familiar?

When Black Americans learn to respect Africans as rich cultures and people that exist independently of them in the present and no longer view us solely as “primitive” relics of their past that they can just trade and horde at will, I will have no problem with them learning about Africa and becoming a part of a somewhat shared identity. Until that time comes, however, stay the hell out of my closet. And stop changing your name to Shawakalakabaka that is not African you can’t just make things up omg.

KONY 2012 is a load of self righteous, racist, misinformed crap.

http://boingboing.net/2012/03/08/african-voices-respond-to-hype.html

This is a GREAT page. And everyone who has spread that “KONY 2012” video and doesn’t spread this with the same urgency is a hypocrite. I am SO TIRED of the western world using the supposedly “sub-human, war torn, famine and AIDS ridden hellhole called Africa” myth to line their own pocketbooks. It is racist tripe and and only helps fuel the collective Oblivious White Western Ego. “Oh look at us! We’re SAVING them. Aren’t we GRAND!” But it never addresses the issue of actually HOW and WHY many of these countries are in the position they are in in the first place. Here’s a hint, it ain’t Kony. Here is one of my favorite quotes from Teju Cole: “From Sachs to Kristof to Invisible Children to TED, the fastest growth industry in the US is the White Savior Industrial Complex,” Cole writes. “The white savior supports brutal policies in the morning, founds charities in the afternoon, and receives awards in the evening.” Until the west finally admits to it’s own hand in the brutality that has taken place on that continent and decide to rectify THAT, they have nothing to say to me or any other African about anything.

How quickly did everyone forget about Bono and the ONE foundation/ Project RED campaign and how it came out that they made about 9.6 million pounds a year and BARELY 1 PERCENT of it went to actual charity. And when questioned they pulled the same Invisible Children “It’s not a charity, it’s just to raise awareness”. Since when do you need millions of dollars to make a viral video? Who knew that 7th grader in Iowa who made a youtube lip sync vid to Katy Perry that got 600,000 views had that big of a budget to work with…

Here is a link to many videos, tweets and blogs from *gasp* ACTUAL AFRICANS (many Ugandan) and the actual truth about the matter that should actually be the focus of this entire propaganda firestorm because…um…the video is actually about an African conflict? So it would make sense to um…maybe talk to some Africans?

And TMS Ruge: “We, Africans, are sandwiched between our historically factual imperfections and well-intentioned, road-to-hell-building-do-gooders. It is a suffocating state of existence. To be properly heard, we must ride the coattails of the self-righteous idiocy train. Even then, we have to fight for our voices to be respected.”

And our voices are not respected. Never have been and certainly aren’t now. So if you want to change something that’s actually within your control, maybe you should start with that.

omgwtf

Gwyneth Paltrow has joined The Village People

"Liek omg, I'm, like, totally African see my totally, like African beads and stuff and how like, I totally painted stripes on my face? Like, totally help AIDS, you guys, k? Cheerio!"- G-Po

After flying into a bilious rage I finally squelched my fury long enough to effectively operate a keyboard. This misguided high and mighty Western shit has really GOT TO STOP. I seriously cannot escape. How can I live in a society where that ad is ok? And I read that there are more ads with more people who should know better. David Bowie and Iman for a couple. I heard Seal and Heidi Klum did some too. And some completely random people who are ALL rich and ALL White. I fail to see the point. I fail to see how people can put these things together with a straight face. First Live 8, now this?

I’ve seen people say “how is that offensive?” Well, you should know that you are incredibly ignorant or just brainwashed. Why doesn’t she do an “I AM ITALIAN” ad with her hair slicked back while eating a bowl of spaghetti in order to put an end to gun violence and organized crime? Or maybe her English husband should do an “I AM IRISH” ad shitfaced drunk holding a potato to stop IRA bombings? I mean how many offensive, groundless images and stereotypes can you pack into one ad? And the person they chose…the WASP-iest American you could ever fathom. To say what? “Oh I know you didn’t care before about Africa what with it being a bunch of naked Blacks with their drums and big lips but lookit, what if it were ME? I mean yeah they wear beads and turquoise lines on their faces but srsly they’re like, totally like us.” Ooh, profound. Btw, can someone tell me what the hell “African” that is supposed to represent? I mean everyone knows most African countries’ eye stripes are a glittery magenta…If you have to imagine someone is rich pretty and white in order to give a shit about whether they live or die…well you are truly one fucked up individual. And one ad with a pretentious, sheltered starlet who is completely detached from reality isn’t going to change that.

And now, my open letter to G-Piddy:

Dear Gwynnie,

I just saw your horrific ad and I wanted to make some clear points to you that I’m sure you will treasure and take to heart.

1- Dressing up like a member of The Village People does not make you an African. Oh, and we do, sometimes, wear shirts.

2- AIDS DOES NOT EQUAL AFRICA. Last time I checked, the country with the most AIDS cases was India. But maybe you were still in hair and makeup and missed that little fact.

3-AFRICA DOES NOT EQUAL POOR. Gold. Oil. Sugar. Vanilla. Diamonds. Silver. Rubber. Basically every profitable natural resource utilized by the Western world comes out of that continent. Which explains why there is such a vested interest in it. If Africa was so poor, disease ridden and horrible, why are there so many white people slitting the throats of Black people to live there? And profit off of it? Money makes the world go ’round. Pharmaceutical companies make drugs. They need people to buy those drugs. When people buy those drugs, they make money. If nobody buys the drugs, some very rich evil people become quite perturbed. Maybe the caption should have just read, “There are not enough people to push all these drugs on in America so why don’t we just dump them on Africans. I mean, what are they gonna do about it? We get paid, they aid our research, we look like philanthropists, they drop dead.” Seems to be a familiar refrain. It’s basically a modern day Tuskegee. Way to do your research before you put your face on something! Whoo hoo!

4-Sheltered people who spend their entire lives in Hollywood living existences experienced by about .1 percent of the human population should quite often sit down and shut the fuck up.

And most importantly, 5- If you want to “help Africans”, start treating them like actual people and not just photo opps, ad campaigns and charity cases. If someone trips, you don’t call a camera crew before you help them up.

Hearts and Third World Kisses,
Iféoluwa

Oh and if any of you reading this want to help an African, I accept money orders and Paypal, kthx…