The demonstrations were a call to action on migration rights, health care reforms, global warming, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, and religious freedom. The largely peaceful protests were directed at President Trump who ran his election campaign with a message of division, misogyny, and racial intolerance.
Estimates put the numbers of women and men who took to the streets of New York, Chicago, Seattle Los Angeles and of course Washington D.C at between 3.3 million and 4.6 million. Los Angeles, alone witnessed as many as 750,000 women taking to the streets. Similar marches took place in cities outside the United States, such as London, Cape Town, Toronto, and as far away as Baghdad and Iraq.
We take a quick look at well-known Africans who supported what may very well be the largest protest in United States’ history.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Internationally acclaimed Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was one of the many thousands of women who, fearing their rights and freedom under threat from a Trump Administration, took to the streets to proclaim there was no room for a dictator in American politics.
In the wake of Trump’s victory at the polls, Adichie described him in an article in the New Yorker as “an unstable, stubbornly uninformed, authoritarian demagogue,” adding, “that here are people living in visceral fear, people anxiously trying to discern policy from bluster, and people kowtowing as though to a new king.”
Kenyan-born Oscar-winning actress and women activist Lupita Nyong’o also took to her Instagram page ahead of the march to declare her support and participation in the anti-Trump protest. Nyong’o posted a picture of Gloria Steinem and Maya Angelou and quoted the late-author who said, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
Nyong’o ended her post with the hastag #WhyIMarch: “Because I have decided not to be reduced by any events, social or political, that aim to rob me of my dignity.”
Boris Kodjoe of Ghanaian and German descent lent his support to the Women’s March, when he posted a photo on Instagram of himself and his son with their fingernails painted in red in solidarity with the millions of women who feel their lives are threatened by Trump’s gender insensitivity.
“To all the Fathers out there. Today we have an opportunity to teach our sons how to be real men. To be the solution rather than part of the problem. To love, respect, and support those who gave life to us, nurtured, and raised us. Today is an opportunity to teach our sons that being a feminist fortifies and confirms your identity as a man and your integrity as a human being.” Kodjoe wrote.
Fifty-six-year-old, three-time Grammy Award winning singer Angelique Kidjo did not only attend the women’s march, she was one of the organizers and headliners at the Jan. 21 event. The Benin-born Kidjo was dressed for the winter occasion in a colorful African-print material head wrap beloved by African women, a brown winter coat, and a traditional Masai shawl.
The activist and Amnesty International Ambassador performed the song “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke to a crowd of more than 500,000:
She also joined other artists present in singing “Ella’s Song,” Her verse in the song included the powerful lines, “I’m a woman who speaks in a voice and I must be heard/At times I can be quite difficult, I’ll bow to no man’s word.”