When three or more people manage to tie scarves around their heads, they come yapping about Black Culture.
“We are promoting black culture,” they say.
What is Black Culture? I wonder.
You can’t become a culture solely by the colour of your skin.
Culture has to do with tradition, habits and a way of life known to a group of people.
Igbo, Edo and Yoruba all have different cultures. Subsets of major ethnic groups have cultures that segregate even further.
When Itsekiris meet with the Ijebus, they present different customs and lifestyle. In essence, there’s no “Nigerian Culture”. It is why we have resigned to our (non-existent) hospitality as our collective “culture” in a country that isn’t sure what truly binds it.
And that’s just one African country with over 300 different cultures.
How then do we define the “African culture”? Is it defined or discovered whenever an African American singer mimes to a traditional song from Zimbabwe OR Rihanna wears “patewo” for 24 hours OR Hollywood decides to flatter us with some Wakanda wonder?
Not to dampen your Wakanda energy, but REAL kidnapping is still going in Nigeria.
Just after a week of naming your first unborn child “Wakanda”, Dapchi happened. No character from a movie… No super powers… No Vibranium can save them. We will have to wake up from fantasy world and FIX this damn continent.
I know you want Black Panther to be more, but it’s just a movie. It won’t heal African Americans stubborn insecurities, neither will it solve African’s wanton underdevelopment.
But I deviate…
Back to Black Culture as an illusion…
South Africans can’t stand Nigerians. Kenyans can’t stand some other parts of Africa. Our cultures are as far apart as Obasanjo is to beauty.
So when we speak of Black Culture, what does that mean?
It is obviously the term African Americans throw around to feel closer to “home”. Home they really do not want to live in or fully identify with because home is fucked up. They can’t even stand to have an African from any part of Africa around.
But in all of this, there’s some kind of African Culture that assures them there is a Wakanda somewhere in Africa…
Except, there is none. Just bad roads, no electricity, corruption and poverty so troubling you want to puke.
But hey, let’s keep talking about African Culture like it means something.
Europe is united. You can travel around Europe making cool connections from one country to the other. They even have currency that is fluid and accessible at different Europe stops.
It is ok to say you are “travelling to Europe”.
But try saying, “I am travelling to Africa”, and watch antelopes drown in a pond.
They say people who make that statement are ignorant. Perhaps.
But if Europe is inter-connected, and Africa is not… then which race is truly ignorant?
It will cost me more to travel to Zanzibar than to go to New York!
I’ll spend less heading to Houston from Nigeria than I will heading to Morrocco.
Heck, even a one week vacation in Nigeria, say to Obudu Ranch, will cost me just as much staying in a hotel in Manhattan.
I’ve done the maths before.
We are not United as a people, but we keep yapping about “African Culture/Black Culture.”
It’s all a fairy tale.
All our dreams as black people will always remain in the shadows of the race that can tell fiction from reality.
You can’t brag about a culture that is defined only by skin colour, kente or adire fabric, or shuku hairstyle.
White people have a culture. It is called Winning.