BEING BLACK
(a broke girl’s diary)
Growing up in a continent where I “Phonsi” came before my skin color and having the experience of being black in the United States; I felt the burning need to tell my own broke girl’s black story. I remember just a few days after visiting the Whitney Plantations; which is a site where slaves were brought to work on the farm and cater to their masters. An experience that still breaks my heart and for the sake of this post; I will share a few photos of the walls in which the slave names are written with the first slave being from “Congo”, pictures of how heads hung on sticks, chains, torture kits and a book of the constitution on the “Law of Slavery”. A site I wish never to go back to and force myself not to think of anymore. I save my tears for happy moments. Then, the issue of race hit me hard, the reality of it in America came to life after I read more on Sandra Bland’s case. And let me tell you; that’s just 1 case in 10 or 15 that we across the globe hear of. There is 50 more Sandra Blands of all ages and you don’t want to hear about it. Just a few days after; we had a workshop and I cried my eyes out with pain piercing through my fragile heart saying; “I don’t wanna be black anymore; I am tired of being black; I just want to be “Phonsi” Again; I wanna go home” still makes me cringe with hurt as I think about it. At that moment; I forgot what being black meant. A few days later, the statement of “Acting black” arose. Often used as a derogatory statement. I asked: “I still don’t understand what acting black is; if it is being ghetto; uneducated; uninstructed and all; it still doesn’t answer it for me; to me that is not “being Black”. So I asked myself what is being black. What really is being black when in history blacks have long fought to achieve greatness and played major roles in history? It clicked; That is being black… but wait;
We then dig dip into history, we think of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther king, those black men were the drivers of historical changes in our world and again, blacks were so smart that they were oppressed into making use of their knowledge and share their knowledge in plantations during slavery. Again, most medical drugs derive from African Methods and Africa is where people go to research and come up with certain Traditional Medecines and more. The president of the United states of America is Black; Then what do you mean when you tell me; “I am acting black” How else am I supposed to be great if I don’t act black?
Chimamanda Ngozi a Novelist is a black woman who publicly advocates for equality and women empowerement. She is also known as “The feminist”. Desmond Tutu was a prominent figurehead in the campaign against apartheid. After the fall of apartheid, he took part in the truth and reconciliation process to heal the wounds of apartheid. Martha Wangari; Kenyan environmental and political activist, who led initiatives to plant trees and the green belt movement. Maya Angelou was a true visionary writer and performer who changed the landscape of the both the literary, political, and cultural world, whose legacy will forever resonate with people around the world from all nations. Spectra Speaks (Nigeria) is a queer afrofeminist writer and activist. Tolkien was born in Bloomfontein, South Africa before moving back to England, where he later wrote the best selling ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy.

To name some more; Rosa Parks; Michelle Obama The little Rock nine, Samuel eto’o, Larry Doby, Lupita Nyongo, Hariet Tubman, Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, Akon, Malcom x, Condoleeza rice, Koffi anan, Sadiya gueye, Angelique Kidjo, Adenike Ogunlesi… etc

Blacks to me represent something bigger than greatness; certain things only black people can do, certain beats only we can feel, experiences that only we can testify on, historical changes that happened despite the blackness of our skin and it is due to the blackness of our skin that “Blacks never stop striving for greatness”. Come on; tell me again I am “Acting black” and I will proudly wear the crown on my head made from bamboo sticks and my grandmother’s raffia made print, sprinkled in Masai beads.
There you have it; My broke girl’s black story. Funny right; I am broke and I am black! Well… Not really, I am great and gifted. That’s how it sounds in my ears.
Inspired from Mwende Katwiwa’s book “Becoming black” and my favorite poems from her called “Too black” and her other poem “Not black enough”. Also a blogger whom I had the privilege to meet here in New-Orleans.

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Pictures not in particular order. slave kids; slave quotes; masters home; slave homes; slave prison; torture kits; books; slave names engraved in walls. Spikes picture from google.

  
 

 

 

 

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