Born only two years after slavery’s official end, Madam C.J. Walker surmounted great adversity to become one of America’s first female self-made millionaires. By 1920, she had trained over 23,000 sales agents and workers to sell her pioneering black hair-care products. But she did more than teach us the importance of enterprise. She taught us how to celebrate ourselves.
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.
In the beginning, the music of African American music instilled hope and unity in the black community and operated as a part of our culture that separated us from them. It was a disguise for our escape and keeping our will high. Today, with social media and the power of technology, messages can be dispersed at a rapid pace. It can spark a movement that can last for some time, and a good song is always remembered. It has the potential to be just as powerful as it was in the times of slavery.
White supremacy is as American as baseball, apple pie, and Nascar. It is undeniably a deep root that stems to the creation of this metropolis that sits atop the world. Dr. Cartwright may, or may not have been cognizant of the reality that white supremacy was being used to justify the obstruction of black bodies in this country, but his findings did nothing less than to fuel the rage and fury placed upon the Negro skin.
Despite Black Lives Matter’s call for solidarity that transcends borders, there is no mention of solidarity with the millions of Black Cubans who are battling with racial discrimination that the Cuban government refuses to directly address. How has this undying loyalty to the “anti-racist” legacy of Fidel Castro abroad led to the erasure of the repression of Black Cubans at home?
The strength of a unified people is strong. Toussaint Louverture (1743-1803) was the leader of the Haitian Revolution and aided in securing something many African-Americans have lost. I believe we have lost our identity, and though we try to create a new one whether it is through music, fashion, art, or business, we miss the part that tells us we are connected to this world.
This offends, it offends a lot. It offends because it stereotypes, falsifies and makes fun of our image. We are real people, we are not fantasy characters that can’t be found in the streets of Alcoy and the rest of Spain. We can’t allude the past to avoid changes. We are here and it hurts to see ourselves being represented as fools without personality, without depth, without humanity.