Tag Archives: diaspora

FYI: “Black” doesn’t mean “African-American”

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By Guest Contributor T. F. Charlton; originally published as Grace is Human

A couple nights ago I made an offhand comment on Twitter about the conflation of “Black” with “African American” – the two aren’t synonymous – in response to a tweet referring to Nelson Mandela, y’know, the XhosaSouth African Nelson Mandela, as “African American.” It touched off a long and really interesting conversation about race, ethnicity, and identity, which is Storified and shared below.

A conversation on blackness, ethnicity, nationality, and identity. Not in strict chronological order – somewhat rearranged so the conversation flows more logically.

http://storify.com/graceishuman/thoughts-on-blackness-ethnicity-and-nationality

Image Credit:  MastaBaba creative commons

HAPPENING: The World Festival of Black Arts & Culture

by Guest Contributor Rob Fields, originally published at Bold as Love

World Festival of Black Arts and Culture Promo v. 2 from BKFN.org on Vimeo.

#WishIWasThereNow

Okay, I’m a little bummed that the family and I aren’t spending the holidays in Dakar, Senegal. I mean, how hot would that be? And then to be able to attend this festival, only the third of its kind? Wow. I just learned about this from our friends over at Society HAE, who have a correspondent there. So, we’ll all have to live vicariously through Raquel Wilson’s dispatches, which I will post here as they’re available.

It’s a multidisciplinary event that features a broad range of art, including architecture, dance, theater, literature, visual arts, etc. The music program features artists such as Manu Dibango, Archie Shepp, Youssou Ndour, Angelique Kidjo, Somi, The Refugee All Stars, Akon, and a ton more from across the diaspora.

In the meantime, here’s some background on the festival:

In 2010, the focus of the world will be Africa. At the heart of sporting news with the recent Football World Cup, the continent is also celebrating fifty years of independence of French-speaking Africa. It is in this context that we present the third World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures, an international event which has been entrusted by the African Union to his Excellency Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal.

Initiated by President Léopold Sédar Senghor, the first edition of the World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures was held in Dakar in 1966. The first Festival brought together people from all generations and disciplines in order to make the rest of the world aware of the struggle and persistence of Black peoples in the face of colonization. In 1977, Nigeria hosted the second edition.

The 2010 Festival conveys a new vision of Africa as free, proud, creative and optimistic. With Brazil as the guest of honour, which is a country rich with artistic cross-pollination and cultural diversity, the Festival will emphasize dialogue between peoples and cultures.

Access to the Festival will be free in order to encourage people from all over to participate, and many of the educational activities will be focused on engaging children.

We all have a duty as sons, daughters and friends of Africa to do everything we can to make this unique event a resounding success, an experience that will ignite the African Renaissance.

Love the part about it being “an experience that will ignite the African Renaissance.” That’s a win in any book!

b-activists: Filmmaker shows what it’s like to be black in Israel

by Guest Contributor Akshay, originally published at b-listed

Shmuel Beru arrived in Israel at age 8 with the first wave of Ethiopian immigrants in 1984. Classmates, who’d never seen a black person before, rubbed his skin to see if the color would come off. Growing up, they called him the “chocolate boy” and worse.

Today the actor-writer has turned his childhood struggle for acceptance into the first Ethiopian-made feature film exploring what it’s like to grow up black in Israel. Drawing inspiration from filmmaker Spike Lee’s stories about racial conflict in the United States, Beru examines sometimes-racist Israeli society. In a nation with so many competing well-documented narratives — Jewish, Palestinian, Christian — Beru’s “Zrubavel,” which premiered in June, and has already garnered international praise, offers yet another perspective.

“Zrubavel” is a classic immigrant saga, showing a younger generation fighting for acceptance and an older generation striving to keep its children rooted in the traditions of home. The film follows the hard-working grandfather, a former Ethiopian army colonel reduced to sweeping streets in his new life; the son-in-law whose embrace of ultra-Orthodox Judaism alienates his family; the pony-tailed college dropout, trapped between his father’s dream that he become Israel’s first black fighter pilot and a society pushing him toward more “suitable” work as a restaurant cook.

Since the 1980s, more than 80,000 Ethiopians have immigrated to Israel, many escaping famine and poverty in the Horn of Africa nation. According to Beru, “The most disturbing thing is that even after 30 years, if you ask me if we’ve turned the corner for the second and third generations of Ethiopians, I can’t say we have with any real confidence,” he said. He also says he hopes his film would counter negative stereotypes about Ethiopian immigrants.

The film hasn’t premiered in the US yet, but you can already find and order it from any major retailer. Be sure to check it out…It really shows us how immigration and racism are problems even in societies we tend to ignore in such discussions.

(Image Credit: LATimes.com)