#consciousculturefriday is a weekly series here at United Black America that highlights Black conscious media, spirituality, fashion, and the Black men and women behind it all. This weeks feature is another insightful article from Pan-Africanist writer Dr. Saka. Show the brotha some love in the comments section.
Our `most cherished values` begin to end, the moment we become silent over the things that matter. –Martin Luther King Jr.
By Honourable Saka
Africa Is Unique
Africa is a continent that is very rich, not only in natural resources but also in cultural diversities. Africans are arguably the most diverse people on earth. Most people on the continent are quite diverse from country to country and from region to region. Thus, the Francophone African countries are slightly unique when compared with the Commonwealth African countries.
More than 3,000 unique ethnic groups are recognized in Africa. African traditions, customs, languages, and culture are unique and also vary from country to country. In spite of the diversities, the ultimate African identity as portrayed by the color of their skin is what makes Africans all over the world, one one people, with a common destiny.
In the light of this, Peter Tosh, an African reggae legend from Jamaica, said this to Africans all over the world:
“…Don’t care where you come from; as long as you’re black, you’re an African. It doesn’t matter whether you were born in Cuba, Portland, France, Brooklyn, Brixton, Canada, Germany, Russia; you’ve got the identity of an African. Don’t mind your nationality. Never mind your religious denomination because it is only a tool for segregation. Whether you’re a Methodist, a Catholic, a Muslim; whether you go to the Church of God or whatever your religion; there is no rejection. Even if your complexion is high or low, you’re still an African. Be proud of your African identity…”
By this, one can clearly understand that the African identity goes far beyond mere nationalities, place of birth and religious denominations. As far as the African identity is concerned, there cannot be and should never be expressions like: African-American, British-African, Afro-Latino, Franco Africana, etc. The African is and will always be an African regardless of where he/she was born.
The Cost of Africa’s Inferiority Complex
What About The Young Men?
The problem of indecent exposure, is not only limited to the ladies. A very common practice with boys of today is ‘sagging’. It first became known in Ghanaian parlance, as “Otto Pfister”.
‘Otto Pfister’ is a kind of dressing in which the youth, especially boys, deliberately pull their trousers/shorts down below the waistline to the extent of almost dropping off and exposing part of their buttocks or their boxer shorts.
In West Africa, “Otto Pfister” became popular in 1991 after the Black Starlets, Ghana’s Under-17 soccer team, won that year’s trophy in Italy. The then German Coach, Otto Pfister, who led the team to success, was fond of dressing that way.
It is believed that “sagging” actually originated from prisons in theUnited States, as a way to display homosexuality. Therefore the male inmates had little or no difficulty in identifying the homosexuals in their midst ‘if the need be’.
The practice is very common with hip-hop artistes on stage performance as well. Africa’s young men of today have allowed their minds to be poisoned by hip-hop stars and gangster movies. This is a dangerous development.
The Role of The Entertainment Industry
Western style music such as R&B, Rap, Hip Hop, and others are gradually having negative influence on African youth. Of course the music and the movie industries have offered opportunities to many Africans. It has created jobs for many and in some cases projected African countries on the positive spotlights. South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, the Congo are a few examples.
However, the danger is that most of the artistes involved are blindly promoting the indecent lifestyle in a manner that sharply contradicts the African norms and values. The entertainment industry in Africa therefore has a huge responsibility to promote African values, especially the dress code which showcases the pride of the African beauty. The movie and the music industry must join forces together to fight the moral decadence in the youth of today. For instance, fighting corruption cannot be a mere political exercise. The movie industry could showcase scenarios in movies where a few responsible politicians are able to stand firm and resist acts of corruption and demonstrate their obedience to the law as well as promoting acts of patriotism.
There is no doubt that many public officials are corrupt in Africa. However, there are also many others who have been able to stand up for what is right and resisted all forms of corruption. The music industry should also check and ensure that their video clips are not dominated by acts of violence and unnecessary sexual scenes. Such platforms should rather serve as opportunity for the artistes to promote African values. We cannot allow the scenes on our screens to be dominated by acts of violence, corruption and unnecessary indecent exposure. Something seriously needs to be done about this before African beauty disappears from the system in the near future.
Appeal To The Youth
Dear sisters and women of Africa. Most of you have collectively already spent so much trillions of dollars to keep the business environment in Asia, Europe and Latin America alive. At the same time, the African industries that produce the fashion that suits our culture are gradually collapsing. I believe such money could do a good job here in Africa and create job opportunities if only you could cherish your African beauty and patronize African fashion. Your African beauty, if well nurtured could attract women from all other backgrounds to celebrate you and make you proud someday.
Black is beautiful
Martin Luther King Jr. one of the most respected personalities in history has demonstrated
the pride of black beauty by calling on Africans around the world to cherish their identity.
Therefore the “Black is beautiful” cultural movement aimed to dispel the notion that black people‘s natural features such as skin colour, facial features and hair are inherently ugly. The movement is responsible for the popularity of the “Afro” hair style. It gave a generation of Africans born in America, the courage to feel good about who they are and how they look.
African women please cherish your African pride. You only need a change of mind-set and the world will celebrate your beauty and accord you the pride that is rightfully yours. Do not expose yourselves unnecessarily. You are unique and your natural beauty is beyond what you can imagine. Never allow superficial musicians to brainwash you.
For all you know, they probably have no idea what it means to be an African!
Finally, to the guys I say be disciplined. Show some dignity for African values in your dressing. Let us cherish our values because that is the only pride we have as a people.
Long live Africa,
Long live the African diaspora.
About Honourable SAKA
The author is a regular writer and a political analyst on African affairs, and a well-known social commentator in Africa. He is the editor of “The Doctor’s Report”, your most reliable source of critical analysis on African affairs. He is a strong Pan-Africanist, a youth activist and the founder of the “Leaders of Tomorrow”, a transformational and inspirational group of possible future leaders. Please visit his blog at:www.honourablesaka.