All Articles Tagged "african"
Let me be clear in saying, I’m talking Louisiana Creole descent. Sorry if you clicked and were looking for one of the many other kinds. But where was I?
Frenchcreole.com identifies Creole people as a broad cultural group of people of all races who share a French or Spanish background. No matter how you come to the conclusion that one is Creole (and please, let’s not get into the colorstruck aspects of it all), there are many people who identify as such, and they speak a wide variety of languages. In our random travels through the Internet (or da Intanetz as we like to call it), we were surprised to find a number of celebrities who are of the Louisiana Creole heritage. If you’re nosey like us, you probably want to know who. Check it out.
Sheila Escovedo is hands down one of the coolest people to ever pick up a set of drumsticks and go to town on the drums, and if you didn’t know, she’s also of Mexican and Louisiana Creole heritage. Her father, famous drummer Pete Escovedo, is Mexican-American, while her mother, Juanita Escovedo (formerly Gardere), is French and black. I’ve been a fan since homegirl showed up in Krush Groove and dropped The Glamorous Life, but I can say that I didn’t know she was Creole…
This is news to me. For most of my life… let me be real… up until today, I just knew that Cleopatra was Egyptian… African… black.
Well call me ignorant because Cleopatra came from a Greek family. (Finally some clarity as to why they cast Elizabeth Taylor to play her in that 1963 film, “Cleopatra”)
But maybe the lessons I’d learned about Cleopatra weren’t so wrong after all, in 2009 the BBC reported that scientists were suprised to learn that Cleopatra’s blood sister, Arsinoe, had an African mother.
Queen Cleopatra was a descendant of Ptolemy, the Macedonian general who ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great.
But remains of the queen’s sister Princess Arsinoe, found in Ephesus, Turkey, indicate that her mother had an “African” skeleton.
Experts have described the results as “a real sensation.”
A real sensation huh? What is with people, white people specifically, trying to pretend that Egypt is not in Africa? Sure, it’s super close to Saudi Arabia, which is considered the “Middle East” but Egypt is an African nation. This is fact. So why is it so surprising that Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, would be African?
We’ll get to that later.
Today scientists are stating that Arsinoe and Cleopatra, who were at least half sisters, probably shared the same mother. And this mother was, at least in part, African. And not just African, they believe she was sub-Saharan African. In case you didn’t know, that’s code for black ya’ll.
Interesting indeed. So if Cleopatra’s mom was black that means this woman, Cleopatra, regarded for her beauty, queen…no Pharaoh of one of the most powerful nations in the world at the time, was a black woman. That’s why I think scientists and historians are so surprised by these findings. The lore and legend and even the truth of Cleopatra is so grand that maybe it’s just a little shocking to believe that she was black.
For years Hollywood has used white actresses to play the role of the Egyptian queen, with few exceptions; maybe now that we know better, we’ll do better.
More on Madame Noire!
Professor and author Kwasi Konadu discusses identity politics and what it means to be African
One hundred years from now what weight will race and/or ethnicity have on our understanding of identity? Are we moving towards a society where race will become so ambiguous that notions tied into race will become a thing of the past? The concept of a post-racial society seemed to gain further traction during the election of President Barack Obama, but as author Dr. Kwasi Konadu notes, there hasn’t been much of a post-racial anything in the years since President Obama’s election. Dr. Konadu recently shared his thoughts on identity, post-racialism, and what it means to be African.
Ezinne Adibe: How has your identity shaped your work?
Dr. Kwasi Konadu: My work been very personal in that a lot of my research has been shaped by my ancestry. For instance, it was after a number of years of doing my family history through family elders that a dream about my great-great-grandmother led me back to Ghana to find out more. That led to my dissertation in Ghana, which led to a decade of research and partnership in Ghana, another home of mine in the African world. So, indeed, identity shaped by ancestry has been critical to how I choose what I am interested in, how I approach those matters with a kind of passion, and always the quest for getting the story right.
Ezinne Adibe: I come across many conversations about identity, especially with regards to national identity. There are some that feel national identity is more important than racial or ethnic affiliation. What are your thoughts?
Dr. Konadu: If we make the matter of identity an either or question, whether it is the clan or the nation, in terms of how we define nations and nationalism, or it is some other kind of affiliation, I think we miss a very subtle but important point about how Africans, and other humans, have historically identified themselves. Humans tend to have concentric circles of a composite identity. So, at the same time I can be a father, a husband, a professor, a brother to my own biological kin or a brother in a communal sense. And there can be no conflict with either of those circles, because these identities are not in conflict but are expressions of a composite, whole identity. I think they become conflictual because of the historical experiences that brought Africans to whatever side of whatever ocean/sea they now find themselves. Whatever means by which Africans were exported from their homelands, they have endured a certain kind of transformation where blackness became the demonic inverse, that is, it became the opposite of Judeo-Christian whiteness, and blackness also became a synonym for Africaness. And so, it’s not surprising to find that many of our peoples worldwide, but certainly in North America, are offended if called African, because African, in their mind, is shorthand for this package of barbarism, backwardness, idol worshippers, lacking beauty and intelligence. All this is packaged into being African. So, who wants to be African?
Ezinne Adibe: Yes, some take being referred to as African as an affront.
Dr. Konadu: To the heart of your question, the crux of the issue is realizing that where you are and who you are don’t have to be in conflict. That is, I can be an American citizen as a political status, but culturally defined by my ancestry. You can be both African as a cultural identity and still remain a political citizen in whatever nation-state you reside. For instance, in Ghana, you can be Asante, and at the same time you can be a citizen of the Republic of Ghana. You can also be of the Oyoko or Agona or Bretuo clan. And similar familial systems exist among the Yoruba, the Hausa, or the Igbo and so this idea of concentric affiliations and therefore identities is not exclusively a Ghanaian matter. For those Africans in whatever diaspora they find themselves, they can be political citizens of Brazil, Cuba, North America and the like and still culturally self-identify as African. And the cumulative weight of one’s African ancestry, underlying our mannerisms, the way we use language, the ways in which we greet, the subtleness of culture is a critical frame of reference in determining cultural identity.
There’s a game that’s played with the term African, especially in the media and in our school curricular or textbooks. At one point, the term African is homogenized, that is, “you are all Africans.” So, for example, if there is corruption of whatever sort in Zimbabwe or in Nigeria, then it is an “African” problem, where the behavior of specific people becomes homogenized and the integrity and humanity of all Africans come into question. A more common example of homogenization is that “Africans sold other Africans during slavery.” The story is not that simple, nor should it be. All or most Africans were not slavers nor did they engineer the transatlantic slave system. Their humanity should not be undermined by such sound bites that –after a while—becomes an unquestionable truth. The term “African” also fluctuates between its homogenized form and its opposite. Thus, if Africans in the diaspora self-identify as culturally African via their ancestry, claiming, “Well, we too are Africans,” the media or school curricular response is “No, you’re not. You have nothing to do with them.” So, when it suits certain purposes, we get situational and contradictory responses, such as “you’re all the same” and “you’re not same.”
(Washington Examiner) — Officials inside the District of Columbia’s labor relations board said they expect that D.C. Public Schools will be told to rehire the 75 teachers who were fired from D.C. Public Schools in 2008 when the panel reviews the schools’ appeal on Wednesday. The Public Employee Relations Board is likely to review on Wednesday an appeal from D.C. Public Schools that it should not have to reinstate and pay $7.5 million in back wages to probationary teachers fired in 2008, as required by an arbitrator. ”It’s pretty rare — only 10 percent of the time do they approve these requests,” said an official within the labor relations office who was not authorized to speak on the record. “For instance, maybe if there was a change in the law while the arbitrator was making his decision.”
Business in Africa has been booming and the movement is being led by a new league of African businessmen. These men are building pan-African companies with regional and global presences. They are considered some of Africa’s most esteemed voices in the business and political spheres. Ultimately, they are helping to shape the economic future of the continent. Here are 10 of those bold and fearless leaders according to a recent list compiled by Forbes:
Chairman, Shanduka Group, MTN
Ramaphosa is considered one of South Africa’s most respected business and political figures. He is the founder and executive chairman of the Shanduka Group, a black owned and managed investment group with investments in resources, financial services, property, energy and beverages. Recently, his company acquired the South African operations of McDonalds.
Ramaphosa is committed to South Africa’s development in the areas of education and enterprise development. The Shanduka Foundation focuses on these areas through the initiatives of the Adopt a School program and the Shanduka Black Umbrellas.
By Ezinne Adibe
The relationship that the African continent has had with the Western world has been one governed by an asymmetrical power dynamic for at least 200 years now. Africa and its descendents, particularly those considered black, often receive the short end of the stick. Not only have there been problems with people from other countries entering the continent with the intent to colonize, but there have also been problems concerning internal conflict that is based on European ideas.
When one thinks of colonialism, one usually thinks of the forceful subjugation of people through violence. The idea that the collection of human genetic material, specifically from continental Africans, as well as their descendants in South, Central and North America, could be considered an extension of a colonial history and practice is something that many human rights and African-centered groups have yet to explore extensively.
According to physician and biological anthropologist Dr. Shomarka Keita, who is affiliated with Howard University and the Smithsonian Institute, “the control of people’s bodies, their minds and ideas was a part of the whole colonization process,” he said. “We should not forget that some Africans were put on display in museums, as in New York. People were treated as specimens.”
Keita went on to explain that Asians and Native Americans criticized the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) in the early 1990s. These groups were against the collection of their DNA on the grounds that they were disappearing. One of the points of contention was that if these scientists were truly ethical and concerned, they would help them survive and worry about collecting their DNA later. “These people were basically saying that they didn’t want to be memorialized in a laboratory,” said Keita.
Even so, African nations, scientific bodies and individuals do not seem to have resisted having their DNA used for “diversity studies,” as evidenced by the scientific literature. Interestingly, there are almost never any African names on these papers.
The Ethics of Curiosity & Informed Consent
The extraction of DNA information from Africa is often done without truly informed consent, according to Keita. “People are not taking into account that it was Western science that was also responsible for many of the negative stereotypes and exploitation of African people,” he said. “When consent is obtained, people are not reminded of this exploitation.”
(African Business Review) — Number 1- Mohammed Al Amoudi Ethiopia’s richest man as well as the richest black person in the world Mohammed Al Amoudi is worth $10 billion. His broad portfolio of businesses include oil, mining, agriculture, hotels, hospitals, finance, operations and maintenance. He also owns Swedish refinery Preem and Svenska Petroleum, which made big plays in Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and Angola in 2008. Al Amoudi has invested more than $1 billion in Ethiopia. He controls his vast business conglomerate through two holding and operating companies, Corral Petroleum Holdings and MIDROC. He employs over 40,000 people through these companies. Al Amoudi holds an honorary doctorate in Philosophy from Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa University.
In my idealistic younger years, I held fast to the belief that there was a common blood shared between the American-born blacks and those from across the Diaspora, including Africa, which would ensure an instant kinship under the moniker of the Red, the Black and The Green.
But nowadays, as I have become more attuned to the intra-racial struggles, I’m not so sure that there is or will ever be a unification of our people.
My most recent disenchantment centers on an NPR piece about how many African-Americans no longer feel a connection to the continent and therefore have opted to drop the hyphenated “African” from African-American.
I have known personally of some deep-rooted, and often unspoken, prejudices against Africans within the African American community. Likewise, I have known of flat-out disassociation, and in rare instances loathing, from native-born Africans, who too relay a lack of kinship to the black community. In each instance, the collective “we” often reduces each other to ill-conceived stereotypes and caricatures, which are often played out in ridicule, separation and in some rare instances, violence.
Much in the same vein of the whole light-skinned, dark-skinned issue, the African vs. African American issue is a complex matter; just because we might share the same pigmentation does not guarantee a shared solidarity.
So are we, as blacks in America, too far removed from the Motherland to feel a connection with native-born Africans?
Most American Blacks are descended from Africans, who were brought here hundreds of years ago through no will of their own. Having their cultural identities stripped away, the descendants of these Africans have vague – if any- social and historical perceptive.
Without first-hand knowledge of their roots, many American Blacks can only shape their views of Africa based upon what has been said and written in both the media and distorted history books, which tells us of a continent full of war-torn countries, starving people and corrupt leaders, who continue to profit from the betrayal of its people.
(Black Enterprise) — By now, nearly every American investor knows about the potential opportunities in the emerging markets of BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and Latin America. What’s driving the growth potential, economists argue, is that countries with large populations and abundant natural resources are generating economic growth and nurturing consumer advancement toward the middle class. That movement, in turn, feeds outsized economic expansion.