(1) I was having a discussion with a white male student whom I absolutely love at Pepperdine (in undergrad: 2002- 2006) about the absence of a black princess in the proverbial Disney kingdom. His reply? "Well, there's Nala," the lion 'cubbess' from The Lion King. We laughed heartily about this but was he joking? Was I?
(2) I went to Ghana in May of 2012 and an African man greeted me with, "Black woman! Welcome home!" I was so flattered to be included, welcomed and recognized. Despite that, it was hot and hard to get around. The electricity was only mostly reliable. And the water was half reliable. "Coming home" was a challenge.
(3) I went to St. Louis in the fall of 2013 and the person I met there that I liked the most was Ciré Sy, the Senegalese doorman who was generously kind, warm and sweet to me. Like family.
And then, (4) the Black Graduate Student Association and the African Student Organization at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign hosted a night in which 'we' screened a documentary about "The New Afro Americans" in which the term "African American" was 'unpacked' and who is and who isn't ascribed to that group was discussed. Many of the prejudices, stereotypes and erroneous beliefs Africans have about African Americans (thugs, thieves, uneducated, unenterprising) and African Americans have about Africans (living in trees and/or alongside wild animals, haughty, superior) were highlighted.
(5) Then, my Los Angeles playwright friend Julie Taiwo Oni, of Nigerian descent, told me that she too had written a play, "Bunk," that addressed the same themes. Tonight I am privileged to see the dress rehearsal of her work.
Let me know what you think!