I graduated with determination and resilience, two critical characteristics that surfaced out of my experience in our current society and my Africana study courses. As I looked at the workforce for guidance I knew that my focus would be working with a community that represents me. In reality that was not the case. I was seeking jobs in environments that disconnected me from my experiences at home and my community. Although the pay was greatly livable, it was not nourishing my spirit.
In the rising rift between Trap and conscious rap, the black community is seemingly right in middle of it and made to choose a side, while the whites watch. Inevitably, both styles are going to reflect on the black community even if the rappers themselves are not black. However, I don’t believe this means we have to trade authenticity in for respectability. In a world where the music industry is owned mostly by white moguls that could care less about black bodies, and where division and beef among Blacks is highly profitable…
We, Ethiopians, stereotypically perceive ourselves as a different sect altogether. It is true that we are a longstanding sovereign country, who do not hail colonization in our history, and our great-grand and grandparents have given their lives to make it remain so. But that does not give us an exemption from our Blackness.
It is possible to build an Africa that resembles Wakanda and those of us in the diaspora who felt a great deal of pride after watching the Black Panther movie do have a very important role to play in making this a reality. In order to do so we not only have to become more engaged with Africa, but we also have to directly assist in the struggle to liberate Africa from neo-colonialism. Killmonger may be the antagonist of the film, but his vision for the collective liberation of all African people is a vision that we should be striving to turn into a reality.
If we were to get rid of rap and hip-hop music, would the greater black community be better off, and placed on equal footing with our Caucasian counterparts, who, as a group, head the socioeconomic totem pole? Obviously not. Thus, largely invalidating Rivera’s thesis. However, would eliminating violent lyrics from the music consumed by so many black youth, some of whom are at a high risk of joining gangs due to their location and socioeconomic status, benefit the black community? Perhaps. However, only perhaps.
The war against Black people is global and as Dr. King once said, “None of us are free until all of us are free.” Let’s make sure our sister Marielle Franco’s life and death isn’t in vain. Let’s make sure the voice and the strength of our diaspora is felt beyond Black Panther’s box office numbers. Share her story. Demand justice. End the war on black people everywhere. Say Her Name!
At some point in my life, I experienced a…shift. There was an undercurrent. Perhaps that’s the best way to describe it. There was a shift in my behavior and ideology that was so slight, so gradual that it was able to fly under my radar. I found myself feeling a lot more self-conscious in certain situations. I felt more insecure around certain groups of people. It felt like a loss of control.
To combat this hegemonic colonial narrative, Black women must see their intersectional identity as the epitome of humanness. We must detangle ourselves from negative narratives and images, in order to reclaim our humanity and learn how to resist. I am pushing for Black women to have a continuous reimaging of oneself to unlearn heteronormative ideologies.