Pop Culture, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

Yeah, I Was Just In Africa On Tuesday!

Apparently this is where Nas and T-Boz went in Belly. To some trees. Africa.

Black history month is almost over so let’s talk about Africa.

Something’s been on my mind for quite some time. And it’s bigger than me and you, your mama and your cousin too. It’s a phenomenon that was brought to my attention while reading the book Authenically Black by John McWhorter about this whole notion of Mother Africa and the ability of us black folks to claim any and everything as being inherently African.

And you know what, I agree with him…that’s pure and utter bullsh*t.

Now I’m not a fan of Mr. McWhorter at all. In fact, I believe that he’s exactly what’s wrong with some black folks in America. And it isn’t that he doesn’t have good ideas because truthfully he does. It’s more in his execution. For instance, as opposed to saying that Amadou Diallo was unjustly murdered for pulling out a wallet, McWhorter took the side of police officers in pointing out that they are working under stressful conditions and that they feared for their lives. Now I don’t find anything wrong with that statement except for the fact that THEY SHOT THIS DUDE 41 TIMES AND HIS BACK WAS TURNED TO THEM. Forty one mother fuckin’ times???

Look, I know this is old, so I skip that since most of us have forgotten about it, but sometimes you do have to say f*ck the police.

And like usual, I’ve digressed.

Aha…Africa. Have you seen Belly?? Of course you have. I’ve seen it a good million times. Even bought the special edition. I love that movie. You’re probably wondering how I could love that movie. See, I don’t view it as a movie, more as an extra long form music video. If you watch it like that, it makes complete sense and flows smoothly. And yes, T-Boz and Taral Hicks both need Oscars for their interpretations of hood chicks that can’t act. Shout outs to Octavia Spencer.

[***Sidenote: Speaking of T-Boz, wasn't her performance the absolute worst you've ever seen on screen? Go ahead, you can admit it. I wonder how many times Hype Williams wanted to shoot her, and I don't mean that in the directorial way either. It's hard to believe that her scenes were the best takes they got on her. If they were, then she is living proof that you cannot do anything you set your mind too. See that kiddes, failure is real. Sometimes there are things you just CAN'T do. Sheesh!***]

At the end of Belly, Nas’ character Sincere and wifey Tionne, decide to move to Africa. Where at in Africa??? You’re guess is as good as mine. They showed some damn trees and the sky and the assumption was that you were somewhere in the motherland, as opposed to say, I don’t know, ANYWHERE ELSE THAT HAS SOME DAMN TREES AND THE SKY!!! The voiceover was very clear as Nas says, “Africa…it was so beautiful.”

Hmmm.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem. Now I know that we cannot trace our ancestors back very far. We just know that they came over on some party boats and were promised some bubbly and some new digs, and well, we were lied too. But what we do know is that a majority of our ancestors came over from the Western Coast of Africa. Not exactly South Africa or Madagascar. Not Zimbabwe or the Congo. Not Kenya nor Ethiopia.

So why in the sh*t is it that every time we do something we trace it back to Africa??? As a whole?? Now I understand the whole cultural identity thing and the fact that we, as a people, were removed from the original homeland and over time lost our ties to whichever country we originated from and its customs and heritage. Due to this, our history is lacking. We don’t have much of one outside of being Americans, nowadays, and even that’s shady at best.

But that whole notion gets lost on me when we start referring to everything we do as being of African descent. Every dance cannot be traced back to some tribal dance. And I swear, if another dude tells me he got his aim from his ancestors, which is why he’s so accurate with a .45, I just might scream.

Further, I wonder if most people even know any actual Africans. I wonder this because every person I know from Africa refers to their country as their home. They don’t just say Africa when asked where they are from. They say Nigeria or Ghana (or wherever they’re from). When we go overseas and somebody asks where we’re from, we often say America (or some country in the Caribbean if we’re in hostile territory), or the U.S. Kicko, that’s a country…not a continent.

So where do we get off appropriating everything to a damn continent?? Dashikis!! Africa. Kwanzaa!!! Africa. Honestly, none of my friends from Africa celebrate Kwanzaa. Nor have I seen any of them in that overly colorful sh*t you can buy from the African stores in AnyMajorCity, USA. If you ask me, it seems like somebody is pimping Africa. Making money off of the perception of Africa.

Now that I think about it, I also get slightly miffed when folks send out those emails where you list everything about yourself and send it to 30 of your friends or you’ll die a horrible death by papercut, lemon, and telephone cord. One of the questions is always: Have you been to Africa? I can only assume this is the African-American version. I wonder if the white version says, “ever been to Russia?” People always respond to that question with, no, but I’m planning too. So my question is…WHERE in Africa?? Hell does it matter? Does stepping one foot on the continent equate to soul cleansing because of the journey, trials, and tribulation of our ancestors. And if that’s so, does it matter if our ancestors didn’t actually COME from the part of Africa you step foot on??

You see, people, my people, especially black Americans, are quick to point out that Africa is a continent full of beautiful black people all over. Continents have countries and everybody in Africa isn’t the same. Until we come up with something like Kwanzaa or some other random sh*t that cannot be factually tied to any particular country, and just say it’s from…AFRICA!!! I have no real beef with Kwanzaa until people start espousing that cultural tie to Africa thing because then my question becomes…WHERE IN AFRICA??? It’s good in theory but dammit, Africa isn’t a big a** country. Everybody in Africa doesn’t speak the same language or follow the same traditions.

Hell, everybody in America doesn’t speak the same language or follow the same traditions. So how can we be so close-minded as to just determine that anything we do black comes from Africa. Like that makes sense?? Can we determine a country of origin dammit?? Does it make any difference that people in Egypt and people in Sierra Leone do completely different sh*t?? Or is that just inconsequential when we are trying to establish that black people were responsible for civilization??

I’m all for determining our origins. But I really hate that black folks just so quickly make some false tie to Africa for any and everything that we do. Newsflash muchacha: Everything ain’t African. Ebonics??? Questionable tie AT BEST. Kwanzaa…umm…right! Kinte clothe??? Named after Kunte?? I don’t know the answer to that but until I see REAL people from Africa wearing it, I’ll pass.

And until somebody can prove to me that Nas was really in Africa, I’m assuming his a** was in South Carolina somewhere looking at some trees.

Unless somebody can prove he was in Kenya or some sh*t.

To be clear, I do understand the ultimate longing for connection and connectivity, and maybe that supersedes everything I’ve just stated. However, I do think that there is a supreme leeway being taken when it comes to what we state comes from Africa.

But what do you think? Am I reading too much into it or am I selling Blackness short? Talk to me.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka MR. EASTSIDE SOUTH COMPTON aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

DC Folks: This Saturday, March 3, 2012, is another edition of REMINISCE, the party dedicated to all 90s everything. Folks can tell you by now how dope a party it is. And this edition is all about Brooklyn! FREE before 11pm W/RSVP (reminiscedc.eventbrite.com) ($10 after), OPEN BAR from 930-1030pm and NO DRESS CODE. Come party with VSB!!! Peep the Facebook event reminder: http://www.facebook.com/events/109004725890162/

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Damon Young

Panama Jackson is a co-founder of VSB and co-author of Your Degrees Won't Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating, and Fighting Crime. He believes the children are our future and is waiting to find out if he is the 2nd most interesting man in the world.

  • http://twitter.com/tylerg_thomas tgtaggie

    The other Sunday at my church was black history Sunday. I was laughing at all those ninjas wearing kente cloth and not having no idea what it meant. lol….which leads me to my other point

    I’m still loling at the fact of TP’s character in Good Deeds was leaving his company to go to Africa to dig wells while riding his motorcycle w/ the homeless chick and her kid

    • Latonya

      How was Good Deeds ? On a scale of 5 what would you give it? Think about gone to see it?

      • http://twitter.com/tylerg_thomas tgtaggie

        I thought it was ok…and pretty predictable (I just went to see Gabby and Thandie). Dude has really worked on his craft. It’s not a Christopher Nolan, James Cameron flim where everything flows great. He still needs to work on character development. But nonetheless its probably his best film to date.

        I also discovered how big Medea’s head and face really is. Everyone around him were like dwarfs. lol.

        • A Woman’s Eyes

          ” I also discovered how big Medea’s head and face really is. Everyone around him were like dwarfs. lol. ”

          LOL Tyler Perry is built like one of my exes. Big ole head, tall as hell. Just big.

    • A Woman’s Eyes

      Thank you for giving away the movie.

      *face plaints to keyboard*

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      lol. i plan on seeing Good Deeds. mostly so I can be apart of the convo on it. but you can’t be tossing out plot points. i’m not even sure if it is. granted, its a TP movie and most folks here claim to hate him…but they’ll be with me at the movie theater.

      • http://twitter.com/tylerg_thomas tgtaggie

        Sorry about that…..should’ve used spoilers. lol. I thought TP was well hated around these parts.

        • A Woman’s Eyes

          I’m a lover not a hater.

  • Rogman

    I dont give the police any breaks for working under stressful conditions.

    They royally fucked up in that situation and should be raked over the coals. In fact they should be doused in gasoline and rat piss and lit with a butane torch

    They are given extraordinary powers which they regularly abuse and then take the blue wall of silence. Fuck them.

    There was a case recently when a cop was found guilty of planting drugs on suspects in multiple situations. When he went to court he begged for leniency. And you know what, the judge let him off with probation.

    Trusting cops is for fools

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      so tell ‘em how you really feel.

    • nillalatte

      See now, I get where you are coming from on the cops, but I have conflicting emotions. Sometimes I want to slap the shit out of some and at other times I realize they are people – particularly the black cops I know. I put it like this, I don’t give a damn what your occupation, you’re still a man. SHOTS FIRED. LOL

  • http://moacn.wordpress.com Sir Fariku

    This ish right here is the truth, Before I came to America I always thought of myself as Nigerian not African. I m still Nigerian but I don’t get offended when someone says African. One is a subset of the other. I get amazed when I meet afrocentric people and hear their thoughts. Its interesting but understandable. I think people just need something to cling on to even if it is an idea that is not entirely real. Africa is very diverse. Its a shame that if I tell someone I m from Nigeria, they tell me about their friend who is from Kenya. Sorry boo, It will take me 6 months swinging on vines to get to Kenya from Nigeria.

    • blknchina

      bwahahaha..that made me choke a little..good stuff..

    • http://Www.theudegroup.com Ms. Johnson

      I almost spit my coffee out! Too early in the morning! It’s just too early!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      LOL. hilarious.

      i think you’re right. folks do need something to cling on to. everybody wants to be somebody, sometimes.

    • http://stemartaen.com L

      “Africa is very diverse. Its a shame that if I tell someone I m from Nigeria, they tell me about their friend who is from Kenya. Sorry boo, It will take me 6 months swinging on vines to get to Kenya from Nigeria.”

      It’s gems like this that keep me coming back. ROTFL

    • Nell

      “Its a shame that if I tell someone I m from Nigeria, they tell me about their friend who is from Kenya. Sorry boo, It will take me 6 months swinging on vines to get to Kenya from Nigeria.”

      HAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

      I always wondered if that really bothered folks who are actually from Africa, the generalization of a continent of several countries with different cultures and traditions. As if the whole continent of Africa wear the same garb and celebrate the same things at the same time of the year. Do you find yourself rolling your eyes repeatedly?

      Over here I’ve encountered folks who want to learn more and want to share more about their – or our – roots, but as was mentioned in today’s post, their execution was p*ss poor.

      • http://moacn.wordpress.com Sir Fariku

        It does offend most people from Africa but not me really. I can be a politically incorrect backside most of the time. So if you make jokes about huts and mufasa, I have jokes about chicken, watermelon and (insert appropriate stereotype here). I know people speak from a place of ignorance. I think getting offended is the wrong approach. Laugh at yourself then educate the sucka.

        • Justmetheguy

          ” I know people speak from a place of ignorance. I think getting offended is the wrong approach. Laugh at yourself then educate the sucka.”

          You sir, should run for president lol

    • qozmic

      I did a genuine spit-take when I read that… I mean…LITERALLY spit my drink out laughin… Good job!

  • superwoman

    Hi guys! Hola Panamaaa!!

    Loooong time! (I descended into lurker-dom)

    Good points. Kente cloth (note spelling) is Ghanaian in origin, but comes in a much larger variety of colours beyond that yellow….

    Let’s all hold hands and say it togeda….AFRICA IS A CONTINENT!! 56 hugely different and diverse countries – Africans can look like Gwyneth Paltrow AND Ocho Cinco….and everything in between.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      I know I misspelled that. And even intended to fix it. And still didn’t.

      But note this is the first time i’ve gone through a post and didn’t capitalize the “b” in Black when talking about ninjas. i was just in a different space. Drake will do that to you.

  • http://herdiamondback.blogspot.com/2012/02/time-ispeople-power.html Rubi

    Yes it is true, they have been pimping the idea of Africa since they realized we weren’t going to leave. I have been to Ghana (study abroad in ’08) and it was beautiful -I felt comfortable and at peace, but if you asked any Ghanaian they would call me a tourist and try to scam me for $50 on a $15 necklace. I say this to point out that we, as Black Americans, are far removed from the “motherland.” It is important to recognize and not be ashamed of African ancestry, but we have to just pick up where regular ol’ Black folks left off and realize that “red” Kool-Aid does not tie back to any rituals.

    Oh but we can’t forget the iconic 80′s Africa medallion :)

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      you saying Africans don’t drink Red kool-aid?

      • Miss Shi

        No we don’t

    • qozmic

      Actually, the MOST egregious aspect of “Afrocentricity” is the DISrespect it places on our AMERICAN-ness.

      By that, i mean… My ancestors (and I’m assuming yours), worked their asses off to be build THIS nation… Everybody I love lives here….America could not be what it is without the African American Experience, and the contributions of our ancestors. I find it profoundly disrespectful… and frankly, niggerish…ie, short sighted and easily distracted from the big picture by some shiny, seemingly valuable, but mostly worthless bullsh*t…. to NOT recognize and appreciate…and then celebrate OUR history. African American history. It is unique, and while related to African history…it is NOT African history.

      Till we get Zen with that…we will continue to be on some Kente cloth wearing, Kwanzaa – celebratin, “I get my good aim from my ancestors”, nonsense….

  • E-v-e

    Thank you!!! Growing up, usually being the only Ghanaian, let alone African, in elementary school, I got all those ridiculous questions and assumptions. My point always was, “African is not a country; it’s a continent”. So thank you for this post lOl. To answer your and @tgtaggie questions, kente cloth is originally from Ghana, handmade in a specific region (I forget the name). It’s usually worn on special occasions; in the old days, only certain people (e.g. royalty) could wear certain colors or combination of colors. Lastly, different colors mean different things – representative of our culture, history, etc. Sorry for this mini-lesson lOl…hope this helps :)

    • E-v-e

      “Africa* is not a country”

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        SPELLING NAZI ALERT!

  • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

    I agree with Amiri Baraka as far as Africans and Negroes are concerned. I personally don’t have any longing to go there. And let’s be perfectly honest, there aren’t any groups in any part of Africa pining for us to come back. My interest in certain African countries is the same as my interest in a lot of countries, there are some cultures I find more interesting than others. The fact that there isn’t a lot written in categories that I’m interested just furthers my intrigue.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      i feel like if you tell a bunch of reading ninjas htat you have no desire or longing to Africa..anywhere in Africa, somebody might try to call the drop squad.

      • A Woman’s Eyes

        or accuse you of not wanting to be related to Africans of any country.

      • http://wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

        Is that a bougie thing?

        • A Woman’s Eyes

          I dont know…because I’ve witnessed that accusation being made by folks who are very afro-centric but ignorant of all things African, and by folks who are comfortable being related to Africans, by folks who live suburban lives and folks who live ghetto lives.

          Maybe its pro-Black to take umbrage to another Black person saying they’re not from Africa or not related to Africa in a world where White people take pride in their European roots.

    • qozmic

      Malik…I’m with you on this one.

      I feel the same way about Africans as I do Gay People… I ain’t got nothin against em, but frankly, I’ve not much in common with that aspect of who they are. But I’m on their side, and will fight anybody who tries to marginalize them….Because I’m inclusively inclined.

      …That sounds kinda jacked up. But hopefully you know where I’m comin from and won’t judge me wrong on that.

  • Mena

    “For instance, as opposed to saying that Amadou Diallo was unjustly murdered for pulling out a wallet, McWhorter took the side of police officers in pointing out that they are working under stressful conditions and that they feared for their lives.”
    Bc I really like McWhorter and feel that he backs up his points with evidence (especially with education), I had to go to my bookshelf, skim the index, and find where he talks about the Diallo case. He actually states that Diallo was an innocent man who was gunned down to the floor. He then stresses the point of what happened when Diallo was shot by untrained impulsive cops. His next few pages discuss racial profiling, how it is needed if it is shown that statistically one racial group commits certain crimes (with the DC sniper case, no one suspected a black man bc white people go on rampages and are usually serial killers) and how through this profiling, a group that says they are treated unfairly are actually correct. It’s a double edged sword.

    I agree that his delivery can sometimes be off but the clear content is always there.

    As for the rest of your post, I agree. I prefer to be called black American and cringe when I hear the term African American. I have friends that are African, have family in Africa, and who are African American. As much as it hurts me to say it, I am connected to the south. It kills me how backwards it is but let someone talk about SC too much and there may be a problem.

    • CoolShadow

      I also prefer Black American because African American is too vague. I would love to describe my heritage as “American with ancestral lineage from [insert African country]”; but alas, I can’t. We can describe ourselves as being from America, and can drill down to a region, state, county, township, city, neighborhood, subdivision and block. But when it comes to my African background, your guess is as good as mine. Somebody like Charlize Theron could justify describing herself as African American more than I can because of her background.

      • qozmic

        Why not just “American”….?

        Not everything HAS to be filtered through the sadly ignorant prism of “race”… Hope you understand I DID NOT just call you ignant right there…. I’m referring to the concept of “race” as ignant.

    • Geneva Girl

      Ditto to that. I’m black. When I say it defiantly it ticks a lot of my African American friends off.

      Living in Europe if you say that you’re African American they sort of expect you to be half African and half American. As far as they’re concerned I’m American. Period. Black is simply an adjective to describe me. (They laugh at white Americans who call themselves, for example, Italian American when they can’t speak a word of Italian beyond spaghetti.)

      • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

        I see where you’re coming from. Real talk though, unless you’re talking to a White people from the Upland South, Appalachia or certain parts of the Midwest, NO ONE identifies as just American, period. Nobody. Since people in the US have come from so many different areas, and America is thought of as an ideal more than a distinct ethnic group, few people are going to claim that word.

        • Mena

          We do act like our states are countries. You go overseas and someone asks where you are from, someone may say Montana, which assumes that the person knows all of the states in the US.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            I dont know. I grew up overseas. And when folks asked where I was from I’d say “the States”.

            maybe things are different now but the only time we talked about our specific homestates was when we were talking to other Americans.

            • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

              But you’re proving my point though. You grew up overseas. I’ve seen few people who grew up in the US speak that way.

              • Mena

                Agreed with Todd.

              • nillalatte

                I didn’t grow up overseas, but since I’ve traveled overseas I reply the same way Panama has. I don’t expect someone not from America to know the individual states. You know the funny thing is I was never identified as anything, but American. Folks said it was in my mannerisms that told the difference. I don’t know if that’s good or bad or, we, as Americans, have a different way of carrying ourselves. Me no know. All I know was wearing the hijab and abbya all covered I still heard people saying ‘hatha Amerikki” (that/this American).

                • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

                  Agreed, nilla. I’ve heard that from so many distinctive ethnic groups that have visited their homelands that I agree there’s something “American” in our mannerisms. That said, that’s what other people call you. That isn’t what you’d identify yourself as at first blush.

                  • nillalatte

                    I had to go back and think about what you were saying. You’re right. I’m southern. From the souf and proud of it. :) LOL Yet, I wouldn’t claim most southern white or black folks (or otherwise). I claim the cool peeps ’cause we know how to roll. :P

        • Justmetheguy

          Thank you Todd. It’s like the new negro thing to act like we’re the only Americans that get classified according to our previous continent of ancestry. African-American is correct in my eyes. Just like a Korean descendant who’s family has been here for 3 generations and who’s never been to Korea is still an Asian-American. He would look at you like a fool if you called him a yellow american (save that for ninjas like Drake and J.Cole). I think African-American is absolutely accurate. I’m black. That’s my race. I’m African-American (or Afro-American). That’s my ethnicity. If I could trace it back to a country I’d call that country out in particular. I have friends that are Nigerian-American, Ghanian-American, Cameroonian-American. Any first or second generation American (or any negro with roots in the states for that matter) b*tchin about me calling myself African-American is just looking for an argument and won’t get one from me. I’m African-American whether you like it or not.

          • Mena

            I don’t like it. I cringe when I hear it. But i understand your point and respect my friends who chose to use the term African-American when describing themselves. To each his own in my book. :-)

          • qozmic

            Not lookin for an argument, but….

            I would venture to guess that pretty much everybody you love and care about lives in America… Every significant memory you have happened in America… Everything that makes you who you actually are personality wise was forged in America….

            …And if you get right down to it, you have more in common with a so-called “white” American than you do with any African from whatever country you pick…

            Don’t believe me…?

            - Name me 10 holidays from ANY African culture without Googling it… I bet you (and most “white” Americans can do that easily about American holidays.

            - Name 10 African heads of state from ANY African country from the past decade,

            - Name 10 African celebrities…bet you can easily name 10 American ones.

            - Name 10 African sports stars currently playing… You and even the most racist “white” American would probably name at least 5 of the same American ones if they question were posed.

            - Can you name 10 African dishes…Can you cook ANY?… How many would you have a hard time eating?… You go to even the hardest core racist’s house for dinner, yal will probably be both eatin the same thing (even if it ain’t Thanksgiving)…although his fried chicken will probably need a little salt, and his collards would have real neckbones in em… Us so-called “Black” folks use turkey necks these days…. My point being: You both eat American food

            Face it, bruh… You’re American. For better or worse….

            • qozmic

              BTW… I didn’t arrive at this understanding of my essential “American-ness” until I’d lived overseas for an extended period of time. Married a non-American woman…and had the experience of being in a foreign city, and been downright relieved to finally see another American…who happened to a redneck from Mississippi…

              …go figure. Or better yet, go travel.\

              You’ll know that “African American” is one word too many….

      • erika

        Thank you! Living in Ireland, I am straight up an American. While traveling abroad with some Australians and Kiwi’s, I was the Yank. When I had finally reached the continent of Africa and went to Senegal, I was l’Americaine. In fact, it was after that trip, I realized how little “African” I was and dropped it all together.

        • Justmetheguy

          ” Thank you! Living in Ireland, I am straight up an American. While traveling abroad with some Australians and Kiwi’s, I was the Yank. When I had finally reached the continent of Africa and went to Senegal, I was l’Americaine. In fact, it was after that trip, I realized how little “African” I was and dropped it all together.”

          But that’s different. Think about how different Europe is from North America. How often do one of us even say North America? Europeans get lumped together a lot, because like Africa, there are soooo many different countries there that people are quite concerned with nationality (much moreso than ethnicity) first and foremost. Over here race and ethnicity are the focal points because this is the melting pot and “American” is too vague. Most of us have little in common in terms of culture (other than pop culture) and because there are no common features of an American the way there are certain physical and cultural characteristics that almost all Chinese, Korean, Kenyan, Ethiopian etc; have in common. You’re comparing apples to kool-aid (had to stick with the theme lol) by talking about how people self-identify in Europe versus how they self-identify here, and I don’t see why you don’t realize that….

      • qozmic

        …And they are correct to laugh. Ignorance is sometimes funny.

    • http://uphereoncloud9.wordpress.com Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

      “As much as it hurts me to say it, I am connected to the south. ”

      It never hurts for me to say that I’m connected to the south.

      “It kills me how backwards it is but let someone talk about SC too much and there may be a problem.”

      Yes to all of this Mena. Just yes.

      • Mena

        “As much as it hurts me to say it, I am connected to the south. ”

        Wu, you know it kills you when our state is in the news, yet again, for something stupid. How many times have you pulled up an article on CNN and been like, “please don’t be SC, please dont be…DAMN!!!” That’s the part that kills me. But somehow I have pride in my region and pride in my state. I will give a person TWICE to speak ill of SC, after that, i am going to either change the subject or start going in on where you are from.

        • http://uphereoncloud9.wordpress.com Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

          Sure I say “Please don’t be SC” but I image people from other states do the same. I always will have pride in my home. Who I am is so much apart of my regional upbringing. Like you said the bulk of my roots are here. As far as speaking ill of SC I’m quick to say “mind your mouth” to those who border on reckless speak.

          • Mena

            Word. I will start using “mind your mouth” with a hard side-eye.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        And I agree too. I’m a Southerner and I love it.

        • Justmetheguy

          Panama- You’re a Southerner? I thought you were from DC? (before that I thought you were also from Pittsburgh lol)

    • erika

      Mena! This Georgia gal here has deep roots in Carolina. Despite all the crazy news about SC, I have such a strong affinity for it. All my good memories occur on my great-great granny’s farm in SC–whether shelling some peas or sitting on the porch eating a ripe juicy peach. There is nothing like home, ignorance and all.

      • http://uphereoncloud9.wordpress.com Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

        Erika, where in SC was your great-granny’s farm?

        • erika

          In Aiken county.

          • http://uphereoncloud9.wordpress.com Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

            My mom’s people are from Aiken.

            • erika

              Who your people? (I never thought I’d EVER ask anyone that!).

              • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

                That’s a “small town” type of question, LOL.

              • http://uphereoncloud9.wordpress.com Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

                I’m related to a lot of Penn’s and Williams (I know when I typed Williams that did not narrow it down any.)

          • Mena

            She said “Aiken County”!! You know she is southern! :-)

            • http://uphereoncloud9.wordpress.com Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

              Hell yeah. When you take time to rep your county rather than your specific town then you are about that southern life. That also means that there probably is a dirt road somewhere in said county with your family’s surname.

              • Mena

                Mmhmm.
                Person 1: “Where do i turn?”
                Person 2: “Take a left at Jones Lane.”
                Person 1: “Who is Jones?”
                Person 2: “My granddaddy.”

                • http://uphereoncloud9.wordpress.com Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

                  Exactly!
                  “Why is called Young’s lane?”
                  “Because it was field owned by my granddaddy, that’s why.”

    • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

      “I prefer to be called black American and cringe when I hear the term African American. I have friends that are African, have family in Africa, and who are African American. As much as it hurts me to say it, I am connected to the south.”

      This is how I feel as well. Not to mention my origins, as far back as I’ve traced, are to Georgia. I’m not sure how we got there, but that’s where my grandparents ended up. I know at least one of the great-greats was Native American. I have unique last name that sounds like I came from somewhere exotic, people always ask but nope, as far as I know I’m American. I would like to do an ancestry search though to see what parts of Africa I can trace myself to. I once had an African guy tell me I looked like I was Ethiopian.
      /ramble

    • nillalatte

      Personally, I’m with you Mena. I cringe when people say African American because ay yo… yo’ arse is American who happens to be black. Yo’ arse is not from Africa. You were born here. Also, to me it shows a bit of short sightedness. Technically, if a white person, for instance, moves from South Africa and takes American citizenship, they, too, are now African American. Arabs from Morocco, Egypt, Libya, etc can also be called African American. If you really want to go down that road I should be referred to as European American and could get more specific by country, but really? It’s crazy. I’m American. Period. I have no loyalty to another country or continent. End of rant.

      • Ray

        I disagree.

        They will then be ‘labelled’ Moroccan-American, Egyptian-American etc, etc, not African-American.

        • nillalatte

          I disagree with your disagreement. Where is Morocco and Egypt? In Africa. I think Spike Lee and Joan London had this conversation years ago. LOL

          • Justmetheguy

            @Nillalette- Honestly they typically just say “I’m African” and keep it moving…agree to disagree lol

            • nillalatte

              Okay, but only for you. ;) lol

    • Corey

      Southerners FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • laralilly

    Hiya, long time reader first time commenting. I am Nigerian and this stuff urks me. Its a head scratch-er most westerners lump all the countries together into one called “Africa”. The worst offenders are the pseudo-intellectuals trying to impress you with their travel adventures. The ones that get the side-eye are the ones quick to tell you about their trip to Africa vs. the person that tells you about their experience in Senegal.

    • Leila

      Its a head scratch-er most westerners lump all the countries together into one called “Africa”

      Yeah I don’t get it. I’m Eritrean and meet a lot of people that get excited when they hear that I’m from the continent. But then ask me questions about Africa like it’s a country and assume we’re all the same or have false images of what it’s like. I wish people could experience the different cultures and find out how unique each country is. I relate to being Eritrean, but not exactly Africa as a whole because the cultures are so different.

      • http://wewereninjas.wordpress.com Jay

        I know a lot of Ethiopians and Eritreans and learned (the hard way) not to mistake those two, which were once a single nation, let alone lump together a whole continent.

        • Geneva Girl

          I made the mistake of asking an Eritrean cab driver in London where he was from. Big mistake. He went on the ENTIRE ride about the history of his country versus Ethiopia. I on the way to the airport in the back seat trying to get busy with my boyfriend whom I wouldn’t see for a couple of months and this cabbie is shouting about his country. Don’t EVER get them started.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            you talked to a cab driver? NEVER TALK TO THE CAB DRIVER!

            • A Woman’s Eyes

              LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!

            • Leila

              LOL

        • A Woman’s Eyes

          Oh no you don’t want to mix up the two. Oh no! In fact, my ex-boyfriend’s roommate liked me because I always said he was from Eritrean, and never got his country mixed up with Somalia or Ethiopia. I knew better!

  • laralilly

    Never heard of Kwanzaa until I entered elementary school.