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6 Artists on Black Identity

In video interviews, prominent Africans and African-Americans share their perspectives on what it means to be black today.

“Where am I in this story?” Watch artists such as Wangechi Mutu, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and Chimamanda Adichie discuss how black people are (mis-)represented in today’s society and culture.

Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (b. 1977) discusses the narrow perception of beauty in African culture, which is heavily influenced by Western ideals: “You’re internalizing society’s message to you that your hair, the way it is, something is wrong with it.”

Artist Wangechi Mutu (b.1972) argues that growing up in Nairobi in Kenya in the 70’s and 80’s, there was virtually no representation of urban middle-class African kids in the films available to them.


“You literally erase the memory of who they are,” says Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (b. 1938) about how colonizers tampered with the memories of the natives and instead planted their own memories.

To American artist Kerry James Marshall (b. 1955), showing the diversity of races in museums is essential to how we perceive the world: “We live in a material world, in which the things we see shape our expectations.”

“Africa is a European concept,” states Congolese artist and photographer Sammy Baloji (b. 1978).

Author Taiye Selasi (b. 1979) – who is born to a Nigerian mother and a Ghanaian father and raised in Boston, U.S. – talks about creating an alternative to having your identity labeled: the global, multi-local ‘Afropolitan.’

Watch Video: The huffington post


Written by How Africa

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