• The Big O

The only ones keeping us from us is us

Last week when I was asked to be a speaker on a panel that discussed building unity between the African American community and the African Diaspora, I literally jumped at the opportunity because anyone that knows me, knows that building bridges has been a mission of mine for going on two decades. I wont bore you all here with a long thesis or hypothesis or diatribe about why our two communities are not closer, the causes, and effects. I will leave that for others. What I will tell you is this, the only people keeping us from us is us.

Black Americans, like me, at this point we have no excuse to believe what the "media" says about Africa. At no other time in human history has so much information been available to you literally at your fingertips and all free for the most part. You can no longer blame the media showing you only images of starving children and mud huts for you not taking it upon yourself to really see what is going on across the continent of Africa. You also have to remember that the "media" has never ever accurately consistently portrayed anything positive about Black Americans let alone Africa and Africans. Why do you think Black people had to start their own newspapers, magazines, and radio stations? So why in the world would you trust what the "media" has to say about Africa? Go see for yourself and I promise you that your life will be changed forever.

My African brothers and sisters, you have to let go of the stereotypes that have equally been ingrained in you not only by the media but also by the images that Black Americans portray of ourselves to the world (The Chappelle Show did Black Americans no favors in regards to reinforcing stereotypes). I encourage you to take in totality the African American experience and seek to be a part of the community as opposed to being apart from it.

At the end of the day the barriers that separate us are all in our minds. There is no real reason for there not to be more unity between Black Americans and the African diaspora. Personally, as someone that has worked in the African music and entertainment business for over a decade, I think that the unifying moment between both cultures will come through music and the arts. That is currently the biggest area of collective collaboration with countless Black artists collaborating with African stars and creating great music.

The only ones keeping us from us is us.

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