— Russian Proverb (via tat-art)
Last year I was in my AP Lit class, and we were having a “break day” (no learning, just a relaxing day) and my teacher decided we’d play a game, the game went like this: someone would sit in the middle of the room with a card attached to their forehead with an identity, (examples: Kate Middleton, Thug, Baker, Teacher, Kanye West, etc) and the person in the middle would ask questions and based on our responses would try to guess who or what they were.
A simple game, and for the first few people it worked well and it was funny. It wasn’t until this white bitch, who has talked shit about black women before, and claimed all the while not to be racist, went up into the center of the room and got “wanna be gangsta.”
The longer she was up there, the more racist and stereotypical her questions got, such as:
"Am I An Illegal Immigrant?"
"Am I Black?"
"Do I Drugs?"
"Am I Ghetto?"
"Did I Drop Out Of High School?"
Each time she said something like this me and the only black man in the room would just gasp and share disgusted looks with each other. Each time i tried to contradict her and call her on her shit, the other students, all white, would shut me up and say she was right, you never see a white gangster.
And all the while the teacher stood back and allowed this racism to be blatantly spoken.
this was my life in high school… back in 2003-2007
clearly things haven’t changed.
and it would also be english class that the racist shit would go down.
They need a photoshoot together
ah all so cute.
Asked by Anonymous
time. in time your first love will be more a lesson and a memory than a painful reality.
i absolutely love this song and video…
some see the video as overly sexual/sensual but i view it as miley letting us see her intimacy with her husband.
Let us talk about the fashion at “An African City”
if Royal Jelly does not put this set up for sale… i will save this picture and get it made in the motherland
My Thoughts on “An African City”, Accra’s “Sex and the City”
When I first discovered the web series, I became extremely excited. For anyone who knows me, I am a major Africa enthusiast - both within my personal and professional life. I love everything about and in Africa - the food, fabric, fashion, music, and men. Despite my non-African heritage (I’m Caribbean), I would love relocate there permanently (Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi, Accra are all possible metropolises of interest).
So here is my list of conclusions & recommendations for “An African City”.
1. DIVERSITY WITHIN THE CHARACTER CAST
A lot of viewers take that this show doesn’t represent the “average” Ghanian women. In a press release about the web series, the screenwriter, Nicole Amarteifio, aims to “dismantling stereotypes” of Africans (and African women in particular) as backwards and poor. I completely understand that but the five characters, all African born but American/UK educated and established, are trapped within a sheltered bubble of elite superiority.
I couldn’t help but reflect to the chapter within “Americanah” where Ifemelu returns to Nigeria after fifteen long years and is invited to a meet-up of Western educated Nigerians who decided to return to their home countries and re-establish themselves. The meet-up is restricted ONLY to Nigerians who had been living overseas for a considerable amount of them and who were, most importantly, established outside of Africa (i.e. African established vs American/UK established are two entirely different things, despite the total education or net worth - Occidental education is never seen as equivalent to a Northern degree, also confirmed in my beloved “Americanah”.
I can understand how this is a show about “returning home” but I am utterly shocked that there is not ONE African raised and educated. As an outsider looking in, I automatically assume all wealthy Ghanians have to be educated abroad in order to be successful in Accra, which is far from true. Are these girls not friends with any Accra-bred socialites who didn’t sugar-daddy their way up the chain? Is their only interaction with Accra-bred individuals is in a position where they are been served to?
Even with the men, there is special attention brought to those who are Harvard or Oxford educated, as it raises their sexual desirability. It’s clear that in order to roll with these five - you have to be on their level and have that degree to show for it. So even if diploma hails from Ibadan, Makerere, Dar, or Bots (all top-ranked African institutions of higher learning), you are out of the running!
2. HYPER-SEXUALIZATION OF AFRICAN MEN
Now this… I take some offense to. There is not one man that is more hyper-sexualized than the black man - and the one that is the greatest perpetuator is the African man. There are plenty of good African men - single, non-adulterous, and marriageable that are AFRICAN EDUCATED TOO! With the past episode “#TeamSade #TeamNgozi”, I couldn’t help to view the scene between Makena and the African-American lawyer as “transactional” (the lawyer offers to help her with employment in Accra and immediately after agreeing to assist her, the topic shifts to some sexual play to “close the deal” - I know it wasn’t supposed to be like that but come on… let’s separate the sex for ONCE).
3. CASUAL SEX AND DISCUSSIONS REVOLTING AROUND HIV
Now, don’t get me wrong - I love Sade’s character. She is the realest one out of the bunch and seems to have realistic expectations of the men she deals with but nonetheless, makes the best out of it. Now, excluding her and Ngozi (I’ll touch on her in a minute), it seems like there is a new guy or two each episode. I feel like that is all fine and dandy with Sade’s character but come on, really? As well as the topics regarding STDs and HIV/AIDS are only touched briefly as it is an “African-based” show but shouldn’t they go into the topics a little bit deeper? The most recent episode (April 20th) discussed three of the characters at dinner with business partners and they were described by their male counterparts as appearing to be “clean” (free of HIV). It was important to touch on this concept of “cleanliness” in the African context but it is much deeper than something to take offense. As a viewer, assume that I am “uninformed” about Africa but nonetheless, informed about HIV/AIDS… I would think that the comment made at the dinner date was foolish but at the same time, you cannot help but agree with the men… that the young women do in-fact “look clean” as they are all 1) Western educated, 2) wealthy from influential families, 3) attractive. It’s problematic to introduce this concept without further explantation.
3. NGOZI’S CHRISTIAN CHARACTER
Now Ngozi is supposedly the character that is the innocent one. So if that were the case, would a character like her hang out with those four girls who don’t share the same convictions as her? Or is Ngozi, just like the others, in need of finding a comfort zone within her bubble of Westernized superiority? Hmm… food for thought.
4. CARS, CASH, AND CONDOS
Where are these girls getting their monies from? How is it to work in Accra? Is there a good male-to-female ratio in the office? Do women intimidate men at work? Are there any answers to these questions?!
I think I’m gonna stop here for now. Nonetheless, I think the show is cute but incredibly shallow and I would not date a shallow person for long… So, I’ll keep on watching and hopefully with enough critiques, the writers will make a change - from the comments on YT, I’m not the only one.
An African City has a LOT of potential and great opportunities for growth… just hurry up before we all get bored.
Brief Reflection on An African City
1. We barely see Accra, only areas in Accra that cater to the needs of the upper class - which explains the lack of interest I have as I come from the lower class and understand that these women’s realities do not reflect the experiences and realities of all women in Accra.
2. There are little to no interactions between the characters and Ghanaians born and raised in Ghana, except when Ghanaians (those born and raised in Ghana) are servers in restaurants, customs workers, etc.
3. The portrayal of men makes me very uneasy. Ghanaian men, African men are not jokes. Are we to think that Ghanaian men are so difficult to be with and live with? If relationship and communication issues between Ghanaian men and women are to be discussed, they should be done in a better matter.
4. Serious matters such as corruption, water shortages and rationing, electrical outages, the use of contraceptives (condoms in particular), extramarital affairs, etc. are touched on briefly but lack insight and depth. [ I will say that I liked how self image issues are presented in one of the episode. They did a good job of briefly discussing issues of skin bleaching and the lack of love for natural hair.]
I do applaud the idea behind creating a show that touches on the issues faced by women who repatriate to African countries. I hope the show gets better because I’m not the biggest fan.
i share some of the same sentiments that i will express in a later post.
If a woman is sexually overt is she still feminist? It’s a question that…obviously for me, the answer is yes. But also in a larger sense, I’m not interested in policing feminism either. I have such a problem with the idea of people saying things like, ‘Oh she’s not feminist because of blah blah blah.’
Whoever says they’re feminist is bloody feminist. And I just feel like we live in a world where more people need to be saying it and we shouldn’t be looking to pull people out of the feminist party. And I think the reason I find myself reacting so strongly to questions of female sexuality is…there’s something very disturbing to me about the idea that a woman’s sexuality somehow is not hers. So when certain feminists who will say, it’s about the male gaze, it’s for the man, there a kind of a self-censoring about that that’s similar to what they’re fighting.
So as long as women have the choice…why shouldn’t women own their sexuality? Why shouldn’t a woman who does whatever with her sexuality identify as feminist?
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Quote is from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Defends Beyoncé: ‘Whoever Says They’re Feminist is Bloody Feminist’ on Clutch Magazine, referring to Chimamanda’s defense of Beyoncé and feminism itself, especially for Black women.
Some White women are using racism and unfortunately some fellow Black women are using the politics of respectability (which connects to performing acceptability for the White Gaze anyway) to determine who is feminist or not, where more than anything, sexuality is the rubric. Feminism is not a club where some women get to approve the membership of others, especially when this approval is based on the very same type of oppression that a feminist should seek to dismantle. This doesn’t make Beyoncé’s or even Chimamanda’s feminism perfect. But this right off the bat "X is not a feminist because they are Black or because they are not "respectable" thing is utter crap. Even Black female artists deemed “respectable” like Janelle Monáe reject the politics of respectability altogether and have womanist messages in their music.
Owning sexuality means that presentation, experience, desire, and sexual orientation (including asexual as a sexual orientation) is acceptable to that person and expressed or not expressed however they choose. It is not one-sided where whatever is deemed “respectable” is “feminist” or whatever is overtly sexual only in response to what is deemed “respectable” is “feminist.” It is rejecting reacting to binaries and a clear anti-oppressive stance on sexuality.
Now, I know the quote itself appears ”generic" so many Whites will be eager to erase my commentary so that Chimamanda’s words can center White women since "women" is always read as "White." Of course doing so will once again prove my point about racism and feminism. Such is the irony. Race cannot be erased from intersectionality.