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Jidenna may come across as calm, cool and collected on his single, “Classic Man” but Janelle Monae’s protégé recently revealed that his appearance made him keep his guard up in his family’s homeland of Nigeria.

“Our family was light. When you’re light-skinned you’re a heavier target for being kidnapped. Because you’re seen as more valuable. You’re seen as white. You have more money. We were robbed. Our family has been assaulted. It’s different. For us, we’ve always been a target. When you come to America, it’s different.”

He recently spoke to VLAD TV about the challenges of skin color in Nigeria. He recalls how his family brought weapons and military-style protection when attending his father’s funeral in an Igbo village.

“The fact that you have African blood in you is gonna make it hard. When you’re light-skinned, you’re a heavier target for being kidnapped because you’re seen as more valuable. We were robbed – our family’s been assaulted. We’ve had a lot of issues.”

The Classic Man’s views resulted in a lot of backlash from social media with commenters saying his thoughts are “ignorant” and that they paint a negative light on Nigerian people:

“The one time they ask Jidenna about Nigeria he gives it a negative light… Odiegwu.”

But can you really say someone’s own memories and feelings about something they’ve actually experienced are wrong?

Check out the interview below:

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