Bound: Africans vs African Americans

Pantyhose Cams


Bound: Africans vs African Americans

Narrator: A LONG TIME AGO,
IN THE LAND OF WARM WATERS,
THERE LIVED TWO BROTHERS
BORN OF THE SAME MOTHER.
THEY GREW UP INSEPARABLE
UNTIL ONE DAY,
ONE OF THE BROTHERS DISAPPEARED.
AND NO MATTER HOW HARD
THE VILLAGERS SEARCHED,
HE COULD NOT BE FOUND.
HIS MOTHER SPENT HER DAYS
AT THE WATER’S EDGE WAITING.
AND BEFORE SHE WENT OFF
TO WALK AMONG THE ANCESTORS,
SHE CHARGED THE REMAINING
BROTHER WITH ONE TASK —
[ SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE ]
AND AS THE YEARS PASSED,
THE BROTHER MARRIED,
HAD A FAMILY,
BUT HE WOULD ALWAYS LOOK OUT
TO THE HORIZON,
WAITING FOR HIS BROTHER
TO RETURN.
AND WHEN IT WAS HIS TIME
TO WALK AMONG THE ANCESTORS,
HE CHARGED HIS SON
WITH THE SAME TASK —
“LOOK, WAIT, AND WELCOME HIM
WHEN HE COMES HOME,
FOR I KNOW
HE WILL RETURN TO ME.”
AND SO IT WENT ON
FOR GENERATIONS.
AND THEN ONE DAY, IN A DISTANT
LAND OF COLD WINTERS,
THE DAUGHTER OF ONE BROTHER
WALKED TOWARDS THE DAUGHTER
OF THE OTHER.
WITH EVERY STEP,
THEY DREW CLOSER
UNTIL FINALLY,
THEY WALKED PAST EACH OTHER,
LIKE MASKED STRANGERS,
ONE NEVER NOTICING THE OTHER.
Washington: MANY AFRICANS
HAVE SAT IN A CLASS
NEXT TO AN AFRICAN AMERICAN
AND NOT SAID ONE WORD,
NOT ONE WORD
FOR THE WHOLE CLASS.
I’VE SEEN IT,
AND IT’S THE MOST ODD THING
I’VE EVER SEEN [CHUCKLES]
IN MY LIFE.
THERE MAY BE TWO PEOPLE OF COLOR
IN THAT CLASS,
ONE AFRICAN
AND ONE AFRICAN AMERICAN,
AND THEY WILL NOT LOOK
AT EACH OTHER
FOR FEAR OF WHAT?
Bamba: I CAME TO THIS COUNTRY
WHEN I WAS 10 YEARS OLD
FROM CôTE D’IVOIRE,
IVORY COAST,
AND I WAS DROPPED IN HARLEM
IN THE EARLY ’90s.
THIS IS THE PEAK OF THUG LIFE.
NEXT THING I KNOW, I’M BEING
BULLIED FOR BEING AFRICAN.
AND I DON’T KNOW WHERE THEY GOT
“AFRICAN BOOTY SCRATCHER” FROM.
Luchembe: I REMEMBER HAVING A
CONVERSATION WITH AN AFRICAN MAN
WHO ASKED ME
WHY DO AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN
WEAR HEAD WRAPS
WHEN WE’RE NOT AFRICAN.
Owino:
I HAD AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN FRIEND
WHO CALLED ME [CLEARS THROAT]
“SPEER CHUCKER.”
Septuri: SOME OF THE AFRICANS
IN SIERRA LEONE
WERE CALLING ME POMOE.
YOU KNOW WHAT POMOE MEANS
IN THEIR LANGUAGE?
“WHITE MAN.”
Luchembe: YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE
AFRICAN AMERICANS ALSO
WHEN THEY ARE IN AFRICA
ON AFRICAN SOIL
BEHAVING TO AFRICANS
IN A WAY THAT
THEY FEEL THEMSELVES SEPARATE.
AND THEY ARE ACCEPTING
THE STEREOTYPES OF WHITE PEOPLE
THE WAY THEY LOOK AT AFRICANS.
Gerard:
THERE’S THIS WORD
I’VE HEARD
SOME WEST AFRICANS USE
IN REFERENCE
TO AFRICAN AMERICANS — AKATA.
YOU KNOW, AND I LOOKED IT UP,
AND IT’S A YORUBA WORD.
IT REFERS
TO SOME TYPE OF WILD ANIMAL.
NOW, THEY’VE NEVER SAID IT
TO MY FACE,
BUT I’VE HEARD THEM.
Elijah: BEFORE COMING
TO AMERICA, I WAS TOLD,
“OH, STAY AWAY
FROM AFRICAN AMERICANS.
THEY’RE SO VIOLENT.
THEY’RE SO DANGEROUS.”
SO I HAD THAT PRENOTION
THAT I SHOULD NOT KEEP MYSELF
INVOLVED WITH THEM
BECAUSE THEY WILL TAKE ME
DOWN WITH THEM
OR I JUST END UP BEING TROUBLE
THAT’S SHIPPED BACK TO AFRICA.
Celi:
WHEN I’M WITH AFRICANS,
THEY FREELY TELL ME
THAT THEY FEEL
THAT AFRICAN AMERICANS
DON’T TAKE ADVANTAGE
OF THE OPPORTUNITY THEY HAVE
HERE IN THIS COUNTRY.
THEY FEEL THAT SOME OF THEM
ARE LAZY, THEY’RE NOT SERIOUS.
AND WHEN I’M AROUND
AFRICAN AMERICANS,
THEY EXPRESS THAT THEY FEEL
AFRICANS HAVE THIS EGO
AND THIS SENSE OF PRIDE
AND ACT LIKE
THEY’RE BETTER THAN THEM.
Man: SO I’M FROM
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA,
AND I DIDN’T REALLY HEAR
TOO MUCH
ABOUT THIS BLACK vs. AFRICAN
THING
UNTIL I GOT
TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
BECAUSE IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA,
EVERYBODY IDENTIFIES THEMSELVES
AS BLACK.
BUT PAUL MOONEY SAID IT
THE BEST —
“EVERYBODY WANT TO BE A…
BUT DON’T NOBODY WANT
TO BE A…”
BECAUSE YOU DRESS LIKE ME,
YOU ACT LIKE ME,
YOU LISTEN TO THE SAME MUSIC
AS ME,
BUT YOU DON’T WANT
TO BE CALLED BLACK,
AS IF BLACK IS A NEGATIVE THING.
Narrator: AND THERE,
OUR STORY LINGERED
IN THE MARK ON THE MIND,
THE VAGUE WHISPERS OF MASKED MEN
WHO HAD LONG FORGOTTEN
THEIR TRUE FACES.
AND THEN ONE DAY,
SOMETHING UNEXPECTED HAPPENED
TO ONE OF THE DAUGHTERS
OF THE LAND OF WARM WATERS.
Owino:
SO, MY NAME IS PERES OWINO,
AND I’M FROM KENYA,
WHICH YOU KNOW IS IN AFRICA.
AND WHEN I CAME TO AMERICA,
MY GREATEST DESIRE
WAS TO SHARE AFRICA —
YOU KNOW, A LITTLE BIT
OF DRUMMING HERE AND THERE —
WITH EVERY AFRICAN AMERICAN
I MET.
AND THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN
I MET SAID TO ME,
“I AM NOT AFRICAN.
“I’M FROM
CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA,
AND YOU PEOPLE SOLD US.”
AND HE WAS ACTUALLY
QUITE SERIOUS.
SO, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU
EXPERIENCE THINGS LIKE THIS,
YOU BEGIN TO WONDER,
“IS THIS AN ANOMALY
OR ARE OTHER AFRICANS
EXPERIENCING THIS?”
Bamba: I WAS CALLED
AFRICAN BOOTY SCRATCHER
I DON’T KNOW HOW MANY TIMES.
Gerard: I’M NOT EVEN SURE WHAT
AN AFRICAN BOOTY SCRATCHER IS.
I DON’T KNOW IF IT’S A STICK
YOU SCRATCH YOUR BACK WITH.
I HAVE NO IDEA, BUT IT’S A TERM
WE’VE BEEN CALLING EACH OTHER
SINCE WE’VE BEEN CHILDREN.
TYPICALLY, THE DARKER YOU ARE,
YOU TEND TO BE CALLED THAT TERM.
LOOK, I HAD ONE EXPERIENCE
WHERE THEY WERE ASKING ME
ALL THESE STUPID QUESTIONS.
“WELL, DO YOU GUYS WEAR CLOTHES
IN AFRICA?”
I WAS LIKE YES OR NO,
I DIDN’T REALLY UNDERSTAND.
SO THEY ASKED ME
IF I WAS WEARING UNDERWEARS,
AND I SAID “NO,”
NOT KNOWING WHAT UNDERWEARS WAS.
SO, BY RECESS,
I WAS BEING CHASED
AROUND THE ENTIRE SCHOOL
BY ALL THE KIDS,
TRYING TO PULL MY PANTS DOWN
TO FIND OUT
IF I HAD UNDERWEARS ON.
Gerard:
THIS, I’M A LITTLE ASHAMED OF,
BUT I’VE TALKED
TO MANY AFRICANS,
I HAVE A LOT OF AFRICAN FRIENDS,
AND I’VE HEARD HORRIBLE
EXPERIENCES AS CHILDREN
OR ADULTS WHO JUST CAME
BEING CALLED ALL KIND OF NAMES,
BEING APPROACHED, BEING CALLED
AFRICAN BOOTY SCRATCHER.
BUT WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT,
IT WOULD MAKE SENSE THAT THEY
WOULDN’T COME AND CALL US NAMES
BECAUSE WE GREW UP IN A COUNTRY
WHERE WE’D BEEN CALLED NAMES
SINCE THE BEGINNING.
SO, UNFORTUNATELY,
IT’S IN OUR CULTURE
TO WALK UP TO SOMEONE
WE THINK IS LESS THAN US
AND LET THEM KNOW
HOW WE FEEL ABOUT THEM.
Bamba: I HAD THIS THING WHERE
I DIDN’T WANT TO BE IDENTIFIED
WITH BEING AFRICAN.
BEING AFRICAN WASN’T COOL,
YOU’S GET JUMPED
FOR BEING AFRICAN,
SO I DIDN’T SPEAK
WITH ANY KIND OF AN ACCENT,
I WAS DOWN WITH HIP-HOP,
I WAS DOING ANYTHING POSSIBLE
SO NO ONE WOULD REALIZE
THAT I’M FROM AFRICA.
THEY ASK ME WHERE I’M FROM,
I SAY B.X. OR BROOKLYN
OR WHEREVER,
BUT AS LONG AS IT’S NOT AFRICAN.
SO EVENTUALLY, SOME FRIENDS WERE
LIKE, “WHAT’S UP WITH YOU, MAN?
“WE KNOW YOU AFRICAN,
SO WHY YOU HIDING IT?
WHY DON’T YOU EVER REPRESENT
WHERE YOU FROM?”
AND THAT WAS, LIKE,
A BIG QUESTION FOR ME.
I MEAN…I WAS ASHAMED
OF BEING AFRICAN.
Brown: THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE
PROBLEMS WITH EACH OTHER
ARE AFRICANS WHO DO NOT INTERACT
WITH AFRICAN AMERICANS.
AND THE AFRICAN AMERICANS WHO
HAVE PROBLEMS WITH AFRICANS
ARE THE AFRICAN AMERICANS
WHO REALLY DON’T INTERACT
WITH AFRICANS.
Owino: SO, HOW MANY
AFRICAN AMERICANS DO YOU KNOW?
Benjamin: I KNOW PRETTY MUCH
A LOT OF THEM.
Owino: BROKEN BREAD WITH THEM?
-Benjamin: YES.
-Owino: BEEN TO THEIR HOMES?
Benjamin:
MM, I WOULDN’T SAY THAT.
Owino: SO YOU KNOW A LOT
OF AFRICAN AMERICANS,
YOU’VE NEVER BEEN
TO THEIR HOMES?
Benjamin: MOST OF THEM
MIGHT BE MY EMPLOYEES,
SO I WOULDN’T SAY
I’VE BEEN TO THEIR HOMES.
Owino:
SO, YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THEM
IS MORE LIKE ACQUAINTANCES OR
EMPLOYEES, BUT NOT LIKE FRIENDS.
Benjamin: YES.
Owino: OKAY. HOW LONG
HAVE YOU BEEN IN AMERICA?
-Benjamin: 25 YEARS.
-Owino: HEY!
NO AFRICAN-AMERICAN FRIENDS?
Benjamin: UH…
Owino: SORRY TO PUT YOU
ON THE SPOT.
Benjamin: NO, ACTUALLY, I DO,
BUT RIGHT OFF THE TOP
OF MY HEAD,
I DON’T HAVE A LOT OF THEM.
Owino:
BUT YOU’VE NEVER BEEN
TO, LIKE,
AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN GATHERING,
POTLUCK, OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.
Benjamin:
NO, NEVER. I’M SORRY.
I SWEAR.
Owino: [ CHUCKLES ] OKAY.
I’M NOT JUDGING.
Benjamin:
I THINK HARD ON THAT.
Owino:
I KNOW. I’M NOT JUDGING.
Benjamin: IS THERE A REASON?
I DON’T KNOW.
Owino:
YEAH, PROBABLY THERE IS,
‘CAUSE I DON’T THINK
IN 25 YEARS…
Narrator:
HUNDREDS OF YEARS LATER,
THE DESCENDANTS OF THESE
TWO BROTHERS NOW STOOD ISOLATED,
THE GULF BETWEEN THEM
ALMOST INSURMOUNTABLE.
Owino: SO NOW, YOU HAVE AFRICANS
ON ONE CORNER,
CALLING AFRICAN AMERICANS AKATA,
WHICH IS SOME KIND OF
WILD ANIMAL, APPARENTLY.
YOU HAVE AFRICAN AMERICANS
CALLING AFRICANS
BOOTY SCRATCHER.
I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT IS.
AND YOU BEGIN TO REALIZE THAT,
“YOU KNOW WHAT?
“LET’S JUST GET ALL THESE PEOPLE
INTO ONE ROOM,
THOSE WHO ARE AT LEAST BOLD
ENOUGH TO PULL DOWN THOSE MASKS,
AND ADDRESS EACH OTHER HEAD-ON.
I MEAN, WHAT’S THE WORST
THAT CAN HAPPEN?
Narrator:
IN THE SPAN OF THREE YEARS,
SHE WOULD GATHER THE DESCENDANTS
OF THESE TWO BROTHERS
AND HAVE THEM SIT FACE-TO-FACE
AND TALK.
THESE GATHERINGS PICKED UP
MOMENTUM,
LIKE A CLOCK RUNNING TO CATCH UP
WITH TIME.
Owino: ONE OF THE ISSUES,
AT LEAST WITH THE AFRICANS
THAT I’VE MET,
THAT HAVE THE ISSUE WITH THE
WHOLE AFRICAN-AMERICAN LABEL,
IS BECAUSE THEY TEND TO SAY
THAT EVERY, SINGLE TIME THEY
ENCOUNTER AN AFRICAN AMERICAN,
THERE SEEMS TO BE
THAT KIND OF —
I WANT TO USE
THE WORD “IGNORANCE”
FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD —
OF THE CONTINENT
OR THE CONTINENT’S HISTORY.
AND THERE JUST SEEMS TO BE
THIS SHAME THAT COMES OFF
WITH REGARDS TO AFRICANS.
SO THEY’RE LIKE,
“WE DON’T UNDERSTAND
“WHY THEY’LL CALL
THEMSELVES THAT
WHEN THEY DON’T SEEM
TO LIKE AFRICA.”
Tim: AMERICANS DON’T UNDERSTAND
THE AFRICAN CULTURES
BECAUSE WE WAS NEVER TAUGHT IT.
Owino: YES.
Tim: THE THINGS WE WERE TAUGHT
IS SLAVERY
AND THAT WE’RE SLAVES.
THAT’S THE ONLY THING
WE’VE EVER BEEN TAUGHT
ABOUT THE AMERICAN CUL–
I MEAN, ABOUT THE AFRICAN
CULTURE.
UNLESS YOU DO YOUR HISTORY,
YOUR RESEARCH YOURSELF.
‘CAUSE IN SCHOOLS,
WE LEARNED HISTORY,
WHICH IS THE EUROPEAN STORY.
WE DON’T LEARN OUR STORY.
LaCora:
YOU BETTER SAY THAT, TIM.
Tim: SO THAT TAKES AWAY…
[ LAUGHTER ]
THAT TAKES AWAY FROM US LEARNING
WHO WE ACTUALLY ARE
FROM THE BEGINNING.
Maryann: THAT’S THE BLAME GAME
THAT I FEEL THAT —
-LaCora: OH, NO.
-Maryann: WELL, LET ME FINISH.
LaCora: I’M A LET YOU FINISH.
Maryann: THAT’S THE BLAME GAME
THAT I FEEL LIKE
AFRICAN AMERICANS ARE GOING TO.
BECAUSE IT’S ALWAYS
SOMEBODY ELSE’S FAULT
THAT WE DIDN’T LEARN THIS
OR THAT.
I NEVER BLAME NOBODY
FOR MY OWN MISTAKES.
I COULD UNDERSTAND A TEENAGER,
BUT A GROWN MAN, A GROWN WOMAN?
IT’S UPON THEM TO LEARN
ABOUT THEIR HISTORY
AND KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED
AND THEREFORE NOT BLAMING
SOMEONE ELSE,
BUT KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.
AND SO THAT’S WHAT I’M SAYING.
Tim: OKAY,
NOW THIS IS ANOTHER QUESTION.
IF I’VE NEVER SHOWED YOU THE WAY
TO GO ABOUT FINDING
YOUR HISTORY,
HOW WOULD YOU FIND IT?
Maryann: WELL…
Tim: WHAT I’M SAYING IS,
MEANING IF,
IF I’D NEVER FEED YOU,
YOU’RE GONNA STAY HUNGRY,
CORRECT?
EVENTUALLY, YOU’RE GONNA DIE
IF YOU DON’T EAT.
Maryann: NO,
BUT IF YOU ARE HUNGRY —
IF YOU ARE HUNGRY,
AND YOU ARE REALLY HUNGRY,
YOUR STOMACH IS ASKING YOU
TO EAT,
YOU WILL GO AND FIND A WAY
TO GET SOMETHING TO EAT
TO SATISFY THAT HUNGER.
Tim:
BUT NOT IF YOU DON’T KNOW.
Maryann: YOU DON’T KNOW
THAT YOU’RE HUNGRY?
Tim: I MEAN,
YOU KNOW THAT YOU’RE HUNGRY,
BUT YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE TO GO
GET THAT FOOD FROM.
Maryann: THAT’S THE MENTALITY
OF SURVIVAL.
LaCora: AS TIM SAID,
THE ONLY THING THAT I’VE HEARD
ABOUT MY PAST
IS THAT I AM A NIGGER,
THAT I AM A SLAVE,
THAT I AM NOTHING.
SO ABSOLUTELY THEY FEEL ASHAMED
ABOUT IT,
BUT I FEEL — HOLD ON —
BUT I FEEL, AS AN EDUCATOR,
AS ADULTS, WE NEED TO TAKE
THAT STEP, TEACH OUR CHILDREN
BECAUSE AS HE SAID, YOU’RE NOT
GONNA DO IT IN A CLASSROOM,
YOU’RE NOT GONNA KNOW ABOUT IT.
IT’S ONLY MANDATED
IN FIVE STATES,
SO IF MOM DOESN’T DO IT,
DAD DOESN’T DO IT,
AUNTIE DOESN’T DO IT,
WHO’S GONNA DO IT?
Nworgu: IF YOU DON’T TALK
TO AFRICAN AMERICANS,
IF YOU NEVER GO TO THEIR HOUSE,
THEY NEVER COME TO YOUR HOUSE,
HOW DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THEM?
IT’S ON TV.
Narrator: AS SHE PEERED CLOSELY
AT THE RELATIONSHIP
BETWEEN THIS BOX AND AFRICANS
AND AFRICAN AMERICANS,
AN INTERESTING PATTERN EMERGED.
THROUGHOUT CELLULOID HISTORY,
BOTH AFRICANS
AND AFRICAN AMERICANS
HAVE BEEN DEPICTED
AS UNCIVILIZED CHILDREN —
“GODS MUST BE CRAZY,”
“AMOS ‘N’ ANDY.”
THEN THEY DEVELOP INTO MEN
HUNGRY FOR VIOLENCE —
“TEARS OF THE SUN,”
“MENACE TO SOCIETY.”
AND FINALLY,
A SAVIOR WOULD EMERGE —
“MACHINE GUN PREACHER,”
“DANGEROUS MINDS.”
Mosese: WHEN I SPENT TIME
IN SOUTH AFRICA,
YOU KNOW,
PEOPLE KEPT SAYING TO ME,
“OH, SO YOU’RE A NEGRO, RIGHT?”
I’M LIKE,
“NO, I’M NOT A NEGRO,” YOU KNOW?
“I’M BLACK OR
I’M AFRICAN AMERICAN,” YOU KNOW?
BECAUSE THEIR UNDERSTANDING
IS THAT AFRICAN AMERICANS
OR BLACK AMERICANS
ARE CALLED NEGROES, RIGHT?
NOT JUST THAT,
BUT THAT WHEN THEY SHOW
AFRICAN AMERICANS TODAY,
THEY ONLY SHOW THE ONES
FROM THE HOOD, RIGHT,
THE NEGATIVE — THE ONE LIKE,
“HA, WHAT YOU AT?”
THAT’S ALL THEY SHOW.
SO NOW, THE REASON WHY
EVEN AFRICANS THEMSELVES
HAVE A DISLIKE OR DISTASTE
FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS
IS BECAUSE ALL THEY SEE
IS THE DUMB [BLEEP]
I’M SORRY,
BUT THAT’S WHAT THEY SEE.
Owino: I’VE HAD MY OWN —
LOOKIT. LET ME BE HONEST, HERE.
THERE WAS ONE TIME —
I THINK I’D BEEN IN AMERICA
MAYBE A YEAR
OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
AND I WALKED INTO AN ELEVATOR,
AND I WAS THE ONLY PERSON
IN THE ELEVATOR.
AND THEN AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN MAN
WALKED IN,
AND I HELD MY PURSE.
THAT ONE ACTION FOR ME
WAS MY,
KIND OF THE STEPPING STONE
FOR ME TO BEGIN TO REALIZE
THAT SOMETHING WAS WRONG HERE.
Brown:
THE MEDIA FEEDS THE STEREOTYPES
OF AFRICANS
TO AFRICAN AMERICANS,
AND THEY FEED THE STEREOTYPE OF
AFRICAN AMERICANS TO AFRICANS.
Owino: AND YOU DON’T REALIZE
AS AN AFRICAN
UNTIL YOU COME
TO THE UNITED STATES
THAT THEY’RE SHOWING THEM
CRAZY THINGS ABOUT YOU, TOO.
THEY’RE SHOWING THAT AFRICA
IS NOTHING BUT POVERTY.
WE’RE ALL JUST DYING OF
ILLNESSES, RAPE, AND VIOLENCE.
AND SOMEHOW, AIDS ORIGINATED
WITH AFRICANS SLEEPING
WITH GORILLAS.
PEOPLE,
GORILLAS ARE VERY SCARY ANIMALS.
YOU CAN’T GET CLOSE ENOUGH TO IT
TO TOUCH IT,
LET ALONE HAVE SEX WITH IT.
Septuri: S-H-A-M-E.
AND IT RESONATED
BECAUSE WHAT SHAME REPRESENTS
FOR A LOT OF AFRICAN AMERICANS
IS GOING BACK TO AFRICA.
THEY DON’T WANT TO BE CONNECTED
WITH THE POVERTY THAT THEY THINK
IS OVER THERE
OR, IN SOME CASES, THEY KNOW IS
OVER THERE BECAUSE OF THE MEDIA
AND WHAT IT’S SHOWN US
ABOUT AFRICA.
THEY DON’T WANT TO BE ASSOCIATED
WITH WHATEVER
THAT “TRIBALISM” THING IS.
WHATEVER PRECONCEPTIONS
AND STEREOTYPES
THEY’VE HAD ABOUT AFRICA,
THEY WANT TO DISTANCE
THEMSELVES.
Narrator: THOUGH THIS BOX
HAD PLAYED ITS PART
IN THE CREATION OF FALSEHOODS,
WAS IT SOLELY TO BLAME?
Oturu:
WHY BLAME THE MEDIA?
WE HAVE TO GO BACK
TO THE CORE OF THE PROBLEM,
AND THAT GOES BACK TO SLAVERY.
AND THAT TRAUMA IS HAUNTING US
FOR THE LAST 500 YEARS,
AND IT CONTINUES TO HAUNT US
UNTIL WE ACTUALLY DEAL WITH IT.
Owino: I MEAN,
IF A CONVERSATION ABOUT SLAVERY
SHOULD BEGIN ANYWHERE,
SHOULDN’T IT BEGIN IN AFRICA
WHERE THE ACTUAL
SLAVE FORTRESSES STILL STAND?
I MEAN, WHERE ELSE WOULD
THE CONVERSATION START?
Narrator: AND THE TRUTH BEGAN
TO UNRAVEL,
TAKING HER BACK
TO THE BEGINNING,
BACK TO THE LAND OF WARM WATERS
AND A SECRET SELDOM
TALKED ABOUT, BUT EVER PRESENT,
LIKE 500 YEARS
OF EARSPLITTING SILENCE.
Oturu: A FRIEND OF MINE
EXPLAINED IT,
AND SHE CHALLENGED ME
IN A SENSE.
AND SAID, “YOU ALWAYS WANT US
TO KNOW ABOUT AFRICA,
“TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT AFRICA.
BUT DO YOU UNDERSTAND
OUR STORY?”
Owino: I’VE DONE IT,
AND I KNOW A WHOLE BUNCH
OF AFRICANS WHO HAVE DONE IT
WHEN WE INDICT AFRICAN AMERICANS
FOR NOT KNOWING
AFRICAN HISTORY OR WHATEVER.
BUT I CAN TELL YOU THIS —
I DON’T KNOW THAT MANY AFRICANS
WHO ACTUALLY KNOW
AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY.
Narrator:
SCATTERED ON THE WATER’S EDGE
ACROSS THIS LAND OF WARM WATERS
ARE HAUNTINGLY
BEAUTIFUL FORTRESSES.
THOUGH SOME ARE MERE REMNANTS
OF THEIR BRUTAL PAST,
OTHERS STILL HAVE THEIR CANNONS
STANDING GUARD
AT THE DOOR OF NO RETURN.
WITHIN THESE FORTRESSES
ARE DUNGEONS,
AND IN THESE DUNGEONS
IS THE DARKNESS THAT LINKS
THE CHILDREN OF ONE BROTHER
TO THOSE OF THE OTHER.
AND THEY HAVE BEEN LOST IN IT
FOR OVER FIVE CENTURIES.
Dr. Karenga: IF YOU GO INTO
A STORE, YOU PUT DOWN MONEY,
AND YOU TAKE UP A PRODUCT
AND SAY “HAVE A GOOD DAY,”
THAT’S TRADE.
YOU GO IN THERE, KILL THE MAN,
RAPE HIS WIFE,
KILL HER,
AND KIDNAP THE CHILDREN,
YOU CAN’T GO TO COURT AND SAY,
“I WAS TRADING.”
Owino:
AS AN AFRICAN, PERSONALLY,
IT IS VERY DIFFICULT
TALKING ABOUT SLAVERY.
IT IS.
AND I’M SURE
IT’S DIFFICULT FOR EVERYBODY
BECAUSE IT’S A VERY SENSITIVE
ISSUE FOR THE WHOLE WORLD.
BUT FOR ME, ONE THING
THAT I ALWAYS HAVE TO REMEMBER
IS THAT THERE ARE BONES
OF AFRICANS
SCATTERED ACROSS
THE OCEAN FLOORS,
AND THESE PEOPLE DESERVE
TO BE REMEMBERED.
THEY DESERVE TO BE CLAIMED.
Narrator: DIGGING THROUGH
THE DUSTY RUGS OF HISTORY,
SHE DISCOVERED THAT
THE MASS SELLING OF AFRICANS
DID NOT BEGIN WITH THE EUROPEANS
ON THE WESTERN COAST, NO.
IT BEGAN WITH THE ARAB TRADERS
WHO TOOK
THE CHILDREN OF WARM WATERS
FROM THE EASTERN COAST
ACROSS THE INDIAN OCEAN,
THE RED SEA,
AND THE SAHARA DESERT.
Obeng: A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE
SHIPPED INTO SLAVERY BY ARABS,
ESPECIALLY YOUNG WOMEN
WHO WERE PRICELESS.
THEY WERE MOLESTED,
THEY WERE KILLED.
YOUNG BOYS WERE CAPTURED
AND CASTRATED
FOR THE SOLE REASON THAT
THEY DIDN’T WANT THEM
TO HAVE SEX WITH ARAB WOMEN.
Owino: IT WAS, WHAT,
LIKE TWO YEARS AGO
BEFORE I EVEN DISCOVERED
THAT THERE’S A COMMUNITY
OF AFRICANS CALLED THE SIDI
IN THE JUNGLES OF GUJARAT
SOMEWHERE IN WESTERN INDIA.
AND THESE PEOPLE DID NOT GET
THERE BECAUSE THEY WERE LIKE,
“OH, THINGS ARE NOT WORKING OUT
ON THE EASTERN COAST.
LET’S MOVE ON.”
THESE ARE NOT PEOPLE
WHO ARE IMMIGRANTS.
THESE ARE DESCENDANTS
OF ENSLAVED AFRICANS
FROM THE EAST COAST.
Obeng:
THE TRUE STORY, TRUE PICTURE
IS REALLY NOT EVEN KNOWN
TO CONTINENTAL AFRICANS
BECAUSE IT TOOK A LONG PERIOD
OF TIME, OVER 400 YEARS.
AT THE BEGINNING
OF THE SLAVE TRADE,
THERE WERE OLDER BROTHERS
AND SISTERS
AND OUR ELDERS, OLDER MEN
WHO KNEW OUR STORY.
THEY WERE CAPTURED
AND SHIPPED OUT.
THE NEXT GENERATION CAME UP,
THEY GREW UP,
THEY’RE 14 AND 15,
THEY ARE CAPTURED AND SOLD OUT.
SO AFTER A WHILE,
WE LOSE OUR HISTORY.
Narrator: 600 YEARS LATER,
THE EUROPEANS WOULD JOIN IN.
THE PORTUGUESE INITIALLY
SUPPLIED ENSLAVED PEOPLE
TO AFRICAN PURCHASERS,
TRADING ALMOST 12,000 SOULS
TO THE AKAN PEOPLE
BETWEEN 1500 AND 1535.
A PORTUGUESE SLAVE TRADER
REPORTED THAT AT BENIN, THEY…
Man: [ European accent ]
PURCHASED A GREAT
NUMBER OF SLAVES,
WHO WERE BARTERED
VERY PROFITABLY AT ELMINA.
Narrator: AND THERE IT WAS.
THE EARSPLITTING SILENCE NESTLED
IN ONE QUESTION —
WHO SOLD WHOM?
Maryann: MOST OF THE TIME,
THERE IS THE PERCEPTION
THAT AFRICAN AMERICANS HAVE
THAT, BECAUSE OF US,
YOU GUYS WERE BROUGHT HERE
BECAUSE OF OUR ANCESTORS
THAT SOLD YOU TO THE WHITE GUYS.
Tene: YES, IT WAS TRUE.
THE KIDNAPPINGS HAPPENED.
BUT YES, THE SELLING DID HAPPEN.
I KNOW FRIENDS
WHO WENT TO NIGERIA
AND MET THE DESCENDANT
OF THE CHIEF
WHO RENAMED HIMSELF
AFTER A BRAZILIAN TRADER.
AND YES, THEY HAD THE STAFF,
THEY HAD THE UMBRELLA WHICH
200 YORUBA PEOPLE WERE SOLD FOR.
LaCora: YOU’RE TELLING ME
THAT MY PEOPLE
HAVE SOLD MY OWN PEOPLE,
AND I’M GONNA ACCEPT THAT?
ABSOLUTELY NOT,
I’M NOT GONNA ACCEPT IT
BECAUSE YOU WERE THE SAME PERSON
TO TAKE MY PEOPLE,
RAPE MY PEOPLE, KILL MY PEOPLE,
HANG MY PEOPLE.
I’M NOT GONNA ACCEPT IT, AND
I KNOW YOU GUYS SAY IT’S TRUE,
BUT I’M JUST TALKING
ABOUT WHAT LaCORA BELIEVES.
Maryann: MM-HMM.
Owino: WHO CAPTURED THE AFRICANS
THAT WERE SOLD IN THE TRADE?
Obeng: WELL, EUROPEANS REALLY
COULDN’T GO INTO THE COUNTRYSIDE
TO CAPTURE SLAVES.
AFRICANS WERE INDUCED
TO CAPTURE EACH OTHER.
BUT WHAT POSSIBLY
COULD HAVE HAPPENED ALSO
WAS THAT
THERE MAY HAVE BEEN TRIBES
THAT WERE ENGAGED IN THE TRADE,
CAPTURING OTHERS
AND SELLING THEM.
THEY COULD ALSO HAVE BEEN
CAPTURED BY OTHERS
AND SOLD INTO SLAVERY.
SO TO REALLY PINPOINT A
PARTICULAR GROUP IS DIFFICULT.
BUT WE KNOW THERE ARE
CERTAIN CHIEFS IN WEST AFRICA —
AGAIN, THE ASHANTI TRIBE.
AND IN BENIN, THERE WERE CHIEFS
WHO WERE VERY HEAVILY INTO IT
AND THE SAME THING IN NIGERIA.
I MEAN,
THEY MADE IT THEIR BUSINESS
BECAUSE THEY FELT
THEY WERE POWERFUL
AND THEY COULD DO ANYTHING
THEY WANTED WITH IMPUNITY.
AND THEY ACTUALLY WENT OUT,
FIGHTING WARS
AGAINST OTHER PEACEFUL TRIBES,
CAPTURING THEM AND SELLING THEM.
SO YES, THERE WERE
AFRICAN TRIBES AND CHIEFS
WHO WERE INVOLVED IN THE TRADE,
AND WE HAVE TO ADMIT IT.
Dr. Karenga:
WE’VE GOT TO MAKE A DISTINCTION
BETWEEN PERPETRATORS,
COLLABORATORS, AND VICTIMS.
AND USUALLY,
PEOPLE COLLAPSE ALL OF THEM.
THAT’S WHY
THEY INDICT THE VICTIM
WHEN THEY SAY THE AFRICANS SOLD.
THEY’RE INDICTING THE VICTIM
AS IF THE AFRICANS
ON THE CONTINENT
DIDN’T LOSE,
WEREN’T TRAUMATIZED,
WEREN’T KILLED
IN THE SAME PROCESS.
WHERE ELSE DID THIS HAPPEN
IF NOT IN AFRICA?
Furusa:
WE MUST NOT JUST TRUNCATE
AND TAKE ONE PART OF THAT STORY
AND MAKE IT A UNIVERSAL STORY.
WE MUST LOOK FOR ALL THE STORIES
THAT WERE PART OF SLAVERY
AND AFRICAN PEOPLE’S INVOLVEMENT
IN THAT SLAVERY.
TRUE ENOUGH, THERE WERE PEOPLE
WHO SOLD OUT —
JUST LIKE ANY STRUGGLE,
ANY SITUATION,
THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE
WHO SELL OUT.
BUT THERE WERE THOSE
WHO DIED FIGHTING
TO PROTECT THEIR CHILDREN
AND PROTECT THEIR COMMUNITIES.
YOU DON’T HEAR THAT.
Nworgu: WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE
THAT THOSE FAMILIES
THAT LOST THEIR LOVED ONE
THROUGH THE SLAVERY
CRIED AND SUFFERED AS EQUALLY
AS THE LOVED ONE
WHO WAS ACTUALLY IN SLAVERY
BECAUSE WHEN YOU LOSE
A FAMILY MEMBER
THROUGH SLAVERY EXPERIENCE
OR THEY WENT TO MARKET
OR THEY WENT TO THE FARM,
THEY NEVER MADE IT BACK
BECAUSE THEY GOT CAUGHT
OR THEY WENT TO WAR,
THEY GOT CAUGHT,
AND THEY NEVER MADE IT BACK.
THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY SUFFERS.
THERE IS A PAIN
ACROSS THE BOARD,
BOTH THE ONES LEFT BEHIND
AND THE ONE THAT IS THE VICTIM.
Dr. Karenga: DON’T EVER
LET ANYBODY COME AND TELL YOU
THAT CONTINENTAL AFRICANS SOLD
AFRICAN AMERICANS
OR THE OTHER PEOPLE — JAMAICANS
OR THE PEOPLE IN THE DIASPORA.
THE REALITY IS
THAT THE PERPETRATOR
PUT THE SYSTEM TOGETHER.
HE ALWAYS CAN FIND
SOME COLLABORATORS.
BUT THE MAJORITY
OF AFRICAN PEOPLE,
OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF
AFRICAN PEOPLE, ARE VICTIMS.
Narrator: 10.7 MILLION CHILDREN
FROM THIS LAND OF WARM WATERS
LIVED TO CROSS THE ATLANTIC.
95 PERCENT OF THEM ENDED UP
IN PRESENT-DAY LATIN AMERICA
AND THE CARIBBEAN.
THE REMAINING 5 PERCENT DOCKED
IN PRESENT-DAY AMERICA.
WHAT FATE AWAITED THESE CHILDREN
IN THIS LAND OF COLD WINTERS?
Oturu: SO EVEN US
WHO COME FROM AFRICA,
WE DON’T ACKNOWLEDGE THE PAIN
THAT THE AFRICAN AMERICANS
HAVE GONE THROUGH.
Narrator: SO THE CHILDREN
OF THE BROTHER WHO REMAINED
SAT AT THE FEET
OF THE DESCENDANTS
OF THE BROTHER WHO DISAPPEARED
AND TOOK IN HIS STORY,
HOPING TO UNDERSTAND HOW THIS
BRAVE, NEW WORLD TRANSFORMED
A BOY FROM THE LAND
OF WARM WATERS
INTO A MAN IN THIS LAND
OF COLD WINTERS.
Dr. Karenga: THERE’S A CATECHISM
IN THE HOLOCAUST OF ENSLAVEMENT
IN WHICH THE ENSLAVER TEACHES
THE ENSLAVED AFRICAN OBEDIENCE
BY GIVING THEM
THIS CATECHISM OF ENSLAVEMENT.
THE QUESTIONS ARE THESE —
WHAT IS MY DUTY TO GOD?
IT IS MY DUTY TO MY MASTER.
HOW DO I SERVE GOD?
ANSWER —
IT IS BY SERVING MY MASTER.
WHY AM I IN THIS TERRIBLE STATE?
BECAUSE I AM AN EVIL PERSON.
SO YOU TEACH THAT
AGAIN AND AGAIN,
TEACH THAT YOU ARE UGLY,
AND YOU GET GOD
TO UNDERWRITE IT.
YOU GOT A STRONG THING HERE,
OKAY?
Narrator: WHEN THE BROTHER
DISEMBARKED FROM THE SHIP,
HE FOUND HIMSELF ALONE,
WITHOUT HIS NAME,
HIS LANGUAGE, HIS MUSIC,
OR HIS GOD.
IF HE GREW UP TO BE STRONG,
HE WAS USED AS BREEDER,
SIRING STRONG CHILDREN.
AND HE SAT QUIETLY
WHILE HIS WIFE NURSED
WHITE BABIES
AND HIS DAUGHTER WAS SUBJECTED
TO THE SEXUAL WHIMS
OF WHITE MALES.
WHAT WHIPPINGS DID TO HIS BODY
THE SELLING OFF OF WIVES
AND CHILDREN DID TO HIS SOUL.
HE WAS EXPECTED TO TOIL
FROM SUN UP TO SUN DOWN
FOR NO WAGES,
NEVER READ, OR IMPROVE HIMSELF
AND PRAY TO A GOD
WHO JUSTIFIED HIS ENSLAVEMENT.
LaCora: YOU HAVE TO KNOW
THE PILLARS OF SLAVERY
TO UNDERSTAND
WHAT AFRICAN AMERICANS
ARE STRUGGLING WITH
IN THEIR DNA.
LETS TAKE A LOOK
AT THE WILLIE LYNCH LETTER.
THESE ARE A COUPLE OF EXCERPTS.
“YOU MUST PITCH
THE OLD, BLACK MALE
“VERSUS THE YOUNG BLACK
“AND THE YOUNG BLACK MALE
AGAINST THE OLD BLACK MALE.
“YOU MUST USE
THE DARK-SKINNED SLAVE
“VERSUS THE LIGHT-SKINNED SLAVES
“AND THE LIGHT-SKINNED SLAVE
“VERSUS
THE DARK-SKINNED SLAVES.
“YOU MUST USE
THE FEMALE VERSUS THE MALE
“AND THE MALE VERSUS THE FEMALE.
“YOU MUST ALSO HAVE YOUR
WHITE SERVANTS AND OVERSEERS
“DISTRUST ALL BLACKS.
“BUT IT IS NECESSARY
THAT YOUR SLAVES
“TRUST AND DEPEND ON US.
THEY MUST LOVE AND RESPECT
AND TRUST ONLY US.”
Dr. Degruy:
YOU KNOW ANY FORM OF HEALING
THAT DOES NOT LOOK AT HISTORY?
I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU DO.
GO TO THE DOCTOR.
WHATEVER THE PROBLEM IS,
WHATEVER IT IS,
“OKAY. HAVE THE CLIPBOARD.”
[ Chuckling ] THEY GIVE YOU
A LITTLE CLIPBOARD.
“HERE’S INSURANCE.”
LET’S MAKE SURE WE GET THAT
OUT OF THE WAY.
BUT THEN THEY ASK
FOR YOUR HISTORY.
NOT JUST YOURS.
THEY WANT TO KNOW
YOUR MOTHER’S HISTORY,
THEY WANT TO KNOW
YOUR FATHER’S HISTORY —
AS MUCH OF YOUR HISTORY
AS THEY CAN LEARN
TO AFFECT A HEALING.
Elijah: “TAKE THE MEANEST
AND MOST RESTFUL NIGGER,
“STRIP HIM OF HIS CLOTHES
“IN FRONT OF THE REMAINING
MALE NIGGERS,
“THE FEMALE,
AND THE NIGGER INFANT.
“TAR AND FEATHER HIM.
“TIE EACH LEG TO A DIFFERENT
HORSE IN OPPOSITE DIRECTION.
“SET HIM AFIRE
“AND BEAT BOTH HORSES
TO PULL HIM APART
“IN FRONT OF THE REMAINING
NIGGERS.
“THE NEXT STEP
IS TO TAKE A BULLWHIP
“AND BEAT THE REMAINING NIGGER
MALE TO THE POINT OF DEATH
“IN FRONT OF THE FEMALE
AND THE INFANT.
“DON’T KILL HIM,
BUT PUT THE FEAR OF GOD IN HIM,
FOR HE CAN BE USEFUL
FOR FUTURE BREEDING.”
“PUT THE FEAR OF GOD IN HIM”?
WOW.
Dr. Degruy:
AS AN AFRICAN, ENSLAVED PERSON
HERE IN THE AMERICAS,
YOU WERE CONSIDERED
A NATURAL SLAVE,
SUBHUMAN, LESS THAN HUMAN.
SO THEREFORE, YOU NEVER RISE
TO THE LEVEL OF HUMANITY.
Celi:
“CROSS-BREEDING NIGGERS MEANS
“TAKING AS MANY DROPS
OF GOOD, WHITE BLOOD
“AND PUTTING THEM INTO AS MANY
NIGGER WOMEN AS POSSIBLE,
“VARYING THE DROPS BY VARIOUS
TONES THAT YOU WANT
“AND THEN LETTING THEM BREED
WITH EACH OTHER
UNTIL CIRCLE OF COLORS APPEAR
AS YOU DESIRE.”
Dr. Degruy: ACCORDING
TO THE MID-1800s CENSUS,
THERE WERE 600,000
MIXED-RACE BABIES BORN…
THAT THEY COUNTED IN THE U.S.
THE NUMBERS, IF YOU JUST LOOK
AT SHEER NUMBERS,
IT’S BLACK WOMEN
WHO HAD BEEN RAPED,
FOR CENTURIES, RAPED,
AND THEN TOLD THAT
WE ACTUALLY COULDN’T BE RAPED
BECAUSE WE WERE, BY NATURE,
PROMISCUOUS,
WHICH MEANS THAT I DIDN’T
REALLY RAPE YOU.
YOU REALLY DESERVED IT
BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO WAY
OF REALLY HAVING
A NORMAL SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP
WHEN YOU WERE SCIENTIFICALLY,
MEDICALLY, GENETICALLY,
BASICALLY BIOLOGICALLY
PROMISCUOUS,
LUSTFUL, ALL OF THOSE THINGS.
THAT’S WHAT SCIENCE SAID
ABOUT US, RIGHT?
Tiana: “CONTINUALLY, THOUGH,
“THE BREAKING OF UNCIVILIZED,
SAVAGE NIGGERS
“BY THROWING
THE NIGGER FEMALE SAVAGE
“INTO A FROZEN, PSYCHOLOGICAL
STATE OF INDEPENDENCY
“BY KILLING
THE PROTECTIVE MALE IMAGE,
“BY CREATING A SUBMISSIVE,
DEPENDENT MIND
“OF THE NIGGER MALE SAVAGE,
“WE HAVE CREATED
AN ORBITING CYCLE
“THAT TURNS IN ITS OWN AXIS
FOREVER
“UNLESS A PHENOMENON OCCURS
“AND RESHIFTS THE POSITIONS
OF THE FEMALE SAVAGES.
“SHE, BEING FROZEN WITH A
SUBCONSCIOUS FEAR FOR HIS LIFE,
“WILL RAISE HIM TO BE
MENTALLY DEPENDENT AND WEAK,
“BUT PHYSICALLY STRONG.
IN OTHER WORDS, BODY OVER MIND.”
[ SIGHS ]
AGAIN, THIS PLAYS OUT CURRENTLY.
YOU SAID WITH BLACK WOMEN
RAISING THEIR MALE SONS,
THEY REALLY SPOIL THEM.
THEY’RE AFRAID FOR THEM
TO VENTURE INTO THE WORLD,
AND SO THEY MENTALLY
INCAPACITATE THEM.
SHE LIVES IN A CONSTANT
STATE OF FEAR
THAT HER SON,
SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN TO HIM.
[ SIGHS ]
LaCora: “WHAT HAVE YOU GOT?
“YOU GOT THE NIGGER WOMAN
OUT FRONT
“AND THE MEN BEHIND AND SCARED.
“THIS — THIS
IS A PERFECT SITUATION
FOR SOUND SLEEP AND ECONOMICS.”
Woman: WOW. THAT’S HEAVY.
Cirru: YOU DON’T JUST INHERIT
THE LOOKS.
YOU INHERIT EMOTIONS, FEELINGS.
YOU ARE DEALING WITH THAT
FROM 400 YEARS AGO
FROM PEOPLE WHO WERE HURT.
IT HAS TO GO —
IT’S NOT GONNA HAPPEN OVERNIGHT.
IT HAS TO HEAL.
Benjamin: NEVER UNDERSTANDING
THE AFRICAN AMERICAN, I WILL SAY
“COME ON, IT’S BEEN 400 YEARS.
I THINK IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON,”
UNTIL SHE GAVE ME
THAT LYNCH THING,
WHATEVER HIS NAME IS.
AND I READ THAT,
AND I WAS LIKE, “WOW.
THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED?”
[ GROUP MURMURS ]
SO THEN, BUT STILL,
I’M STILL THAT GUY WHO’S SAYING,
“OKAY.
“THAT HAPPENED.
IT’S A BAD THING.
BUT WE CAN HOLD ON TO THIS.”
BECAUSE IF WE HOLD ON
TO THIS SAYING
THAT WE ARE LIKE THIS
BECAUSE THIS HAPPENED TO US,
WE’RE STILL ENSLAVING OURSELVES.
SO I THINK WE NEED
TO GET OUT OF THAT,
TRY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
TO GET OUT OF IT.
THAT’S ALL.
BUT I UNDERSTOOD —
I’M FROM KENYA.
FINALLY, I UNDERSTOOD.
WOW. THAT WAS JUST PROV–
Dr. Degruy: SO WHEN YOU SEE
THESE YOUNG PEOPLE
TALKING ABOUT,
“WHAT YOU YOU LOOKING AT?
DON’T BE LOOKING AT ME,” AND
ALL OF THAT KIND CRAZY STUFF,
YOU KNOW, WHICH COMES
STRAIGHT OUT OF SLAVERY.
“DON’T YOU EYEBALL ME.”
HENCE, BLACK FOLKS LOOKING TO
THE GROUND AND NOT LOOKING UP.
NOW WE’RE DOING THAT
TO EACH OTHER.
AND IF YOU DO LOOK AT ME,
I INTERPRET THE GAZE
AS AN OFFENSE.
[ CHUCKLES ] I MEAN,
WHAT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU
THAT A GAZE OFFENDS YOU,
YOU SEE?
YOU HAVE TO DO THE MATH THERE,
AND THAT IS
THAT CONSTRUCT OF THE SELF.
THAT’S WHAT I CALL
“VACANT ESTEEM.”
VACANT — NOT LOW.
VACANT. NOT THERE, YOU KNOW?
THE FUNDAMENTAL CONSTRUCT
OF THE SELF.
Septuri: CAN YOU IMAGINE
WHAT WE WOULD HAVE BEEN,
WHO WE COULD HAVE BECOME
IF NOT FOR THE INTERRUPTION
OF SLAVERY?
IT REALLY ARRESTED
OUR DEVELOPMENT
AND JUST ALTERED
OUR WHOLE TRAJECTORY
AS A PEOPLE.
Dr. Degruy:
THEN YOU GOT FREED.
AND THEN RIGHT AFTER SLAVERY,
YOU HAD WHAT WAS KNOWN
AS PEONAGE,
WHICH WAS THE UNLAWFUL SELLING
OF PEOPLE BACK INTO SLAVERY.
NOBODY JUST STOPPED
‘CAUSE THEY SAID, “STOP,”
YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?
THEY CONTINUED TO DO IT.
“YOU MIGHT BE FREE,
BUT YOU BETTER NOT COME HERE.”
SO YOU HAVE THE JIM CROW THING
THAT HAPPENED.
SO YOU HAD THIS WHOLE IDEA
OF BEING FREE,
BUT THEN YOU HAD SUNDOWN TOWNS
AND EXCLUSIONARY ACTS.
OREGON HAD AN EXCLUSIONARY ACT
THAT SAID
IF YOU DIDN’T LEAVE,
WE’LL BEAT YOU.
THERE WAS A CERTAIN NUMBER
OF LASHES
THAT A MALE OR FEMALE WOULD GET
IF THEY DIDN’T LEAVE.
“SO WE’LL BEAT YOU
IF YOU DIDN’T LEAVE
‘CAUSE THIS IS NORTH.”
“WEREN’T WE SUPPOSED
TO GO FREE?
“WASN’T NORTH FREE?
THAT’S WHAT THEY TOLD US,
RIGHT?”
BUT SEE, THAT’S THE MYTH.
THE MYTH WAS WHEN YOU GOT FREED
AND THE PLAYING FIELD GOT LEVEL,
REALLY,
THAT’S WHEN THE KLAN ERUPTED.
[ CHUCKLES ] OKAY?
THAT’S WHEN
THE LYNCHINGS OCCURRED,
THOUSANDS OF THEM.
Narrator: LYNCHINGS —
WHEN ROPES REPLACED CHAINS
AND AFRICANS
OF EVERY AGE AND SEX
DANCED LIFELESS IN THE WIND.
AND SHE WONDER,
WHAT IF THAT BROTHER
HAD MET HIS END
AT THE EDGE OF A NOOSE
LIKE JESSE WASHINGTON,
A MENTALLY DISABLED 17-YEAR-OLD
WHO WAS BEATEN, CASTRATED,
AND FINALLY BURNED ALIVE.
THE INSCRIPTION ON THE BACK
OF THIS POSTCARD READS…
Man: [ Southern accent ] THIS IS
THE BARBECUE WE HAD LAST NIGHT.
“MY PICTURE’S TO THE LEFT
WITH A CROSS OVER IT.
YOUR SON, JOE.”
Man: “THE NEGRO PRAYED
AND SHRIEKED IN AGONY
“AS THE FLAMES
REACHED HIS FLESH.
“BUT HIS CRIES WERE DROWNED OUT
“BY THE YELLS AND JEERS
OF THE MOB.
“AS SIMMONS BEGAN
TO LOSE CONSCIOUSNESS,
“THE MOB FIRED AT THE BODY,
CUTTING IT TO PIECES.
“THE MOBSTERS MADE NO ATTEMPT
TO CONCEAL THEIR IDENTITY,
BUT THERE WERE NO PROSECUTIONS.”
Narrator: THE RUGS OF HISTORY
ALSO SPEAK OF THOSE
WHO CREATED
COMMUNITIES THAT THRIVED.
THE MOST NOTABLE
WAS THE WEALTHY AFRICAN AMERICAN
NEIGHBORHOOD IN TULSA, OKLAHOMA,
KNOWN AS “BLACK WALL STREET”.
MOST OF THESE COMMUNITIES
WERE DESTROYED
DURING THE RED SUMMER RIOTS
OF 1919.
BLACK WALL STREET WAS DESTROYED
IN 1921
WHEN A RACE RIOT
BURNED IT TO THE GROUND.
Dr. Degruy: AS YOU MOVE ON,
THERE IS THIS ILLUSION
OF INCLUSION
THAT NEVER OCCURRED.
SO NOW WE ASK THE QUESTION —
IS THERE STILL SEGREGATION?
DON’T YOU KNOW THERE’S SOMETHING
CALLED “THE HOOD,” RIGHT?
SO YOU GO INTO ANY CITY,
YOU GO,
“WHERE ARE THE BLACK PEOPLE?”
THEY ARE IN THE HOOD.
EVERYBODY KNOWS
WHERE THE HOOD IS.
STILL, THERE ARE NO SIGNS
THAT SAY, “NEXT RIGHT — HOOD.”
Narrator: THE WOUND,
THE TEAR IN THE SOUL
OF THE CHILDREN OF THIS BROTHER
BECAME VISIBLE.
Dr. Degruy: WHAT DID SEVERAL
HUNDRED YEARS OF TRAUMA PRODUCE?
WE ALL ARE FAMILIAR WITH
POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER.
YOU KNOW POST-TRAUMATIC
STRESS DISORDER
IS A DISORDER THAT OCCURS
AS A RESULT
OF EXPERIENCING DIRECTLY
OR INDIRECTLY A TRAUMA,
A SINGLE TRAUMA.
THAT’S ONE.
IMAGINE A LIFETIME OF TRAUMA.
AND IMAGINE NOT ONLY
YOUR WHOLE LIFETIME
OF EXPERIENCING TRAUMA,
BUT SEVERAL HUNDRED YEARS OF IT.
BUT WE’RE NOT TALKING
ABOUT A SINGLE TRAUMA.
ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME?
WE’RE TALKING ABOUT MULTIPLE
TRAUMAS FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS.
NOT ONLY
ARE YOU TRAUMATIZED DIRECTLY,
YOU’VE SEEN YOUR FRIENDS,
YOUR COUSINS,
AND EVERYONE IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT
TRAUMATIZED.
IS IT PLAUSIBLE
THAT THOSE PEOPLE ESCAPED
STRESS-RELATED ILLNESS?
NOT PLAUSIBLE.
SO LET’S SAY…
LET’S SAY EVEN A QUARTER OF THEM
EXPERIENCED
STRESS-RELATED ILLNESS.
EXAGGERATED STARTLE RESPONSE,
OUTBURSTS OF ANGER,
DIFFICULTLY FALLING
OR STAYING ASLEEP,
A FEELING OF FORESHORTENED
FUTURE, RIGHT?
THIS KIND
OF EMOTIONAL VOLATILITY
THAT GOES ON PHYSICALLY,
MENTALLY, EMOTIONALLY.
NOW,THAT’S A PERSON
THAT WASN’T ABLE TO ESCAPE IT
WITH YOUR RESILIENCE.
BUT THEY ARE RAISING CHILDREN.
CHILDREN DON’T KNOW
THAT MOMMY OR DADDY OR BIG MAMA
OR WHOEVER IT IS IS BROKEN.
THEY DON’T KNOW THAT.
THEY’RE JUST — IT’S
THE BEHAVIOR THAT’S MODELED.
“WHAT?”
YOU KNOW, THE HYPERVIGILANCE,
ALL OF THOSE BEHAVIORS,
THOSE ARE BEING MODELED NOW.
AND THEN, AFTER AWHILE,
IT JUST GETS WOVEN
INTO THE FABRIC OF THINGS,
ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME?
AND GUESS WHAT WE CALL IT NOW?
CULTURE.
DO YOU SEE?
SO NOW, WE’RE SAYING,
“THAT’S CULTURAL.”
REALLY? REALLY.
[ CHUCKLES ]
THAT’S ADAPTIVE.
SO THERE’S POISON
IN THE COOKIES.
WE CAN’T JUST SWALLOW IT WHOLE
AS CULTURAL.
Narrator: BUT WHAT OF THOSE
WHO FOUGHT BACK
WHO CHAMPIONED THE CELEBRATION
OF BLACK LIBERATION?
WHY DID THEIR LEGACY DWINDLE
INTO A CELEBRATION OF THUG LIFE
THAT SEEMS TO HAVE
AN ETERNAL GRIP
ON THE BLACK COMMUNITY,
SINKING IT DEEPER
INTO THE ABYSS?
Ducket: WHAT HAPPENED
AFTER THE CIVIL RIGHTS
WAS “SUPER FLY,” COCAINE,
AND CRACK.
I GREW UP WITH 16 HEALTHY,
GOOD-LOOKING,
WELL-STYLED BLACK MEN
AND BLACK WOMEN,
AND I AM THE ONLY ONE ALIVE.
WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU?
Dr. Degruy:
EVERYONE’S TRYING TO COPE,
AND WE HAVE LESS RESOURCES
AND LESS TOOLS
IN ORDER TO DO THAT.
SO IT BECOMES
THAT MUCH MORE DESPERATE,
THAT MUCH MORE DIFFICULT.
Ducket: USED TO BE
WHEN WE GREW UP,
AND WE HAD A FIGHT,
WE USED OUR FISTS.
BUT NOW WITH THE CRACK COCAINE,
IT WAS LIKE,
“I WILL KILL YOU.”
SO YOU’VE GOT THREE THINGS
HAPPENING —
YOU’RE INHALING
THE CRACK COCAINE,
YOU ARE KILLING YOURSELF
PHYSICALLY,
BUT ALSO PHYSICALLY,
YOU’RE ALSO CAUSING DAMAGE
TO EVERYBODY THAT’S AROUND YOU.
Dr. Degruy: SO ONCE YOU HAVE HAD
THE DOOR LOCKED FOR SO LONG
AND YOU’VE ABUSED PEOPLE SO LONG
FOR TRYING TO REACH THAT DOOR,
AFTER A WHILE,
THEY DON’T EVEN TRY ANYMORE.
THE DOOR ISN’T EVEN LOCKED.
[ CHUCKLES ]
IT’S LEARNED HELPLESSNESS.
YOU KNOW, BUT YOU DON’T
GET TO TALK ABOUT THAT
BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE TOO BUSY
BLAMING YOU.
TOO BUSY BEATING YOU UP,
BREAKING YOUR LEG,
AND THEN COMPLAINING
THAT YOU LIMP.
AND SO IT’S NOT CONFUSING TO ME
THAT THAT ISSUE OF IDENTITY
AND SELF-WORTH AND IMAGE
AND ALL OF THOSE THINGS
HAVE BEEN COMPROMISED.
Narrator: THE CHAINS THAT BOUND
THE BROTHER TO SLAVERY
BECAME THE ROPES
THAT LYNCHED HIS DAUGHTERS
AND THE CUFFS THAT NOW IMPRISON
HIS SONS.
Aissatou: SHOULD AFRICANS
APOLOGIZE FOR SLAVERY?
[ SIGHS ]
NO MORE THAN, NECESSARILY,
WHITE PEOPLE NEED TO APOLOGIZE
FOR SLAVERY.
IF YOU ARE AN AFRICAN AND YOU
MEET AN AFRICAN AMERICAN,
AND YOU GUYS ARE IN DIALOGUE,
I THINK THAT THE BEST THING TO
DO IS JUST TO MAYBE SIT, LISTEN,
AND TO TRY AND EMPATHIZE
AND UNDERSTAND WHERE THAT
OTHER PERSON’S COMING FROM.
I DON’T KNOW THAT
I NECESSARILY NEED AN APOLOGY,
BUT THAT’S ME.
I’M SURE THERE ARE PLENTY
OF AFRICAN AMERICANS
WHO KIND OF FEEL LIKE,
“YOU KNOW WHAT?
“WHAT HAPPENED REQUIRES
NOT JUST ACKNOWLEDGMENT,
BUT A GESTURE.”
AND WHAT THAT GESTURE SHOULD BE,
I DON’T KNOW.
Obeng:
IN ONE OF MY TALKS RECENTLY,
I APOLOGIZED
ON BEHALF OF ALL AFRICANS
FOR WHAT OUR ANCESTORS DID —
THEIR PARTICIPATION,
THEIR CULPABILITY
IN THE SLAVE TRADE.
WE’D HAVE TO ADMIT THAT.
Narrator: ALSO SCATTERED
ACROSS THE WATER’S EDGE
ON THIS LAND OF WARM WATERS
ARE PAINFULLY BEAUTIFUL
MONUMENTS,
REMEMBRANCES OF THOSE
WHO WERE SWEPT
BY THE WAVE OF ENSLAVEMENT,
REMINDERS OF THOSE WHO STOOD
WAITING AT THE WATER’S EDGE.
500 YEARS LATER,
THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
HAD MASKED THIS CHILD
FROM THE LAND OF WARM WATERS,
CREATING THE AFRICAN AMERICAN,
A LABEL THAT SOMETIMES MEETS
WITH STRONG OPPOSITION.
Maryann:
I THINK THAT IN THE BLACK
OR AFRICAN AMERICAN’S COMMUNITY,
THERE IS SOME PEOPLE THAT WE
SHOULD CALL BLACK PEOPLE
BECAUSE THEY DON’T RELATE
TO AFRICA AT ALL.
THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE THAT
WE GONNA CALL AFRICAN AMERICANS
BECAUSE THEY RELATE THEMSELVES
TO AFRICA.
AND THERE’S SOME PEOPLE THAT
WE’LL CALL AMERICAN AFRICANS
BECAUSE THEY THINK
THAT THEY ARE, FIRST, AMERICAN,
AND THEN THEY HAVE SOMEWHAT,
SOME WAY, SOMEHOW,
SOME CONNECTIONS WITH AFRICA.
AND SO I THINK THAT THOSE
ARE THE THREE DEFINITIONS
BECAUSE IT’S VERY COMPLEX.
WE CANNOT JUST CALL THEM ALL
AFRICAN AMERICANS.
Owino:
ARE AFRICAN AMERICANS AFRICANS?
WHEN WE WERE KIDS
BACK IN AFRICA —
NOW, I’M SURE THERE ARE
A LOT OF KIDS WHO DID THIS —
WHEN WE WATCHED THE NBA GAMES,
WE WOULD SIT
AND PICK EACH PLAYER
AND TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHICH
COUNTRY FROM AFRICA HE WAS FROM.
I DON’T THINK YOU WOULD DO THAT
WITH SOMEBODY WHO
YOU DIDN’T THINK WAS AFRICAN.
Narrator:
AND LIKE THE WISE ONES SAY,
AN HONEST GAZE LOOKS
BOTH OUTWARD AND INWARD.
AND THIS DAUGHTER
FROM THE LAND OF WARM WATERS
WOULD BE FORCED TO LOOK INWARD
WHEN THE AFRICAN AMERICANS
CALLED THEM TO TASK.
LaCora: ONE OF MY GIRLFRIENDS
IS AN ACTRESS,
AND SHE WAS BOOKED
TO GO ALL THE WAY TO AFRICA
TO SHOOT A FILM.
BEAUTIFUL. WONDERFUL, RIGHT?
AND WHEN SHE GETS THERE,
SHE REALIZES
THAT HER SISTERS, HER BROTHERS,
THEY TREAT THESE CAUCASIAN,
WHITE PEOPLE
MUCH, MUCH BETTER THAN HER.
THEY DO NOT CATER TO HER,
THEY DO NOT SAY HELLO TO HER,
THEY DO NOT SMILE AT HER.
WHAT THEY DO INSTEAD IS GO
DIRECTLY TO BECKY AND JOHN
AND SAY,
“HEY, HOW MAY I HELP YOU?
“ARE YOU OKAY?
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
DO YOU NEED ANYTHING?”
AND THEN WITH HER, THEY LOOK
AT HER WITH A SIDE EYE.
THEY LOOK AT HER WITH DISDAIN,
DISGRACE, WITH JUST ANGER.
AND THIS IS HER EXPERIENCE
THAT SHE WAS SO EXCITED ABOUT.
Narrator: IN HER STORY,
LEIANAN ASKED QUESTION —
WHY DID THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS
OF THE BROTHER WHO REMAINED
FORGET THEIR TASK?
AND THEN, ANOTHER QUESTION —
Tene: THEY ALL LIVE IN THE
BIGGEST CONTINENT IN THE WORLD,
MOST WEALTHY CONTINENT
IN THE WORLD,
AND LET ME
JUST ASK THIS QUESTION
THAT MANY AFRICAN AMERICANS
WONDER —
WHY SO BROKE? WHY SO POOR?
HOW COME YOU DON’T OWN
YOUR LAND?
Narrator:
TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION,
SHE LOOKED BACK
INTO THE EYES OF HER ANCESTORS
AND THEIR TALE SELDOM TOLD.
FOR IN THAT TALE LAY THE REASON
WHY THE CHILDREN
OF THE LAND OF WARM WATERS
FORGOT THEIR TASK.
YOU SEE, WHILE ONE BROTHER
WAS ROPED INTO THE SLAVE TRADE,
THE OTHER WAS DEALING WITH
A DIFFERENT KIND OF ENSLAVEMENT.
FROM CASABLANCA TO THE CAPE,
THE LAND OF WARM WATERS
WAS SLOWLY BECOMING
A TAPESTRY OF ARAB INVASION
AND EUROPEAN COLONIALISM.
WHILE THE ARABS WERE TRADING,
THEY WERE ALSO INTERMARRYING
AND BREEDING WITH AFRICAN WOMEN.
ALL THE CHILDREN
BORN OF THESE UNIONS
WERE NO LONGER CONSIDERED
THE CHILDREN
OF THE LAND OF WARM WATERS.
THEY WERE NOW ARABS.
Obeng: SO TODAY,
YOU SEE ALL OF NORTH AFRICA
CONTROLLED BY ARABS.
THEY STARTED THE DESTRUCTION
OF THE AFRICAN PERSONALITY.
AND THE WOMEN THEY MARRIED
AND HAD CHILDREN WITH —
WELL, THEY WERE FORCED
TO BECOME MUSLIMS.
THEIR CHILDREN AUTOMATICALLY
BECOME MUSLIMS AND ARABS.
Narrator: AND THE CHILDREN
OF THE BROTHER WHO REMAINED,
DECIMATED
BY THE ARABIC SLAVE TRADE,
WERE REDUCED TO POVERTY,
WILLINGLY OFFERING THEMSELVES
AS SLAVES TO ARAB MERCHANTS,
OFTEN SUBMITTING THEMSELVES
TO SELF FLAGELLATION
TO SHOW WHO WAS STRONGEST.
[ DRUMS BEATING RHYTHMICALLY ]
[ WHIP CRACKING ]
Obeng: WHAT IS GOING ON
IN DARFUR TODAY
IS EXACTLY WHAT WENT ON.
THE DARK-SKINNED BLACK ARABS
OR BLACK AFRICANS
CHILDREN OF ARABS,
FIELD THE ARABS
AND HAVE NO RESPECT
FOR THE ORIGINAL AFRICANS
OR INDIGENOUS AFRICANS.
Narrator:
IN LESS THAN 100 YEARS,
THE NORTHERN PART
OF THIS LAND OF WARM WATERS
WAS UNDER THE CONTROL
OF THE ARAB CALIPHATE —
A PIECE OF THIS LAND
LOST FOREVER.
Septuri: WHEN I GOT TO AFRICA,
EGYPT, IN 2000,
WAS NOTHING BUT ARABS IN EGYPT.
SO I HAD TO REMIND MYSELF
THAT EGYPT IS LIKE AMERICA
RIGHT NOW —
YOU CAN GO
ALL THROUGH AMERICA RIGHT NOW
AND NEVER FIND
A NATIVE AMERICAN.
Narrator:
THEN CAME EUROPEAN COLONIALISM
WITH ITS THREE-PRONG AGENDA
TO COMMERCIALIZE, CIVILIZE,
AND CHRISTIANIZE
THIS LAND OF WARM WATERS.
ON NOVEMBER 14, 1884,
PORTUGAL, BELGIUM, FRANCE,
GREAT BRITAIN,
GERMANY, ITALY, AND A HOST
OF OTHER EUROPEAN NATIONS
MET IN BERLIN
TO NEGOTIATE THE PARTITIONING
AND CONTROL OF THIS LAND
OF WARM WATERS.
NONE OF HER CHILDREN
WERE INVITED.
EACH TOOK A PIECE OF HER,
AND THIS BECAME HER NEW FACE.
NEW LANGUAGES WERE IMPOSED,
LANDMARKS WERE RENAMED.
IN HER HOME COUNTRY, NAM LOLWE
WAS RENAMED LAKE VICTORIA.
AND IN ZIMBABWE, MOSIOA TUNYA,
THE SMOKE THAT THUNDERS,
WAS RENAMED VICTORIA FALLS.
Furusa: THE FIRST THING THEY DID
WAS TO RESTRUCTURE
THE GEOGRAPHICAL SITUATION
IN ZIMBABWE.
IT WAS SORT OF A REMAPPING
THAT TOOK PLACE IN ZIMBABWE.
THEY REDREW THE PHYSICAL
STRUCTURE OF ZIMBABWE
IN WAYS THAT ALLOWED THEM
TO TAKE DOMINANCE,
AND THEY RENAMED IT.
SO THEY BROUGHT NAMES
FROM EUROPE, FROM BRITAIN,
AND STARTED RECREATING BRITAIN
IN ZIMBABWE.
Owino: FRENCH IS THE LANGUAGE
OF FRANCE,
ENGLISH FOR ENGLAND,
GERMAN FOR GERMANY.
SWEDISH PEOPLE SPEAK SWEDISH.
BUT WHAT HOLDS KENYA TOGETHER
IS ENGLISH.
ANGOLA — PORTUGUESE.
SENEGAL — FRENCH.
AND THESE ARE NOT EVEN
INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES
OF THESE COUNTRIES.
HMM.
Furusa: AND TO MAKE SURE
THAT WE WERE SUBSERVIENT
TO OUR OPPRESSORS
FOR A VERY LONG TIME,
THEY GAVE US THE NAMES OF OUR
OPPRESSORS, OF OUR ENSLAVERS.
WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR NAME
AND YOUR LANGUAGE,
PARTLY, YOU LOSE THE CULTURE.
THAT COMES WITH THOSE NAMES AND
THOSE LANGUAGES
BECAUSE LANGUAGES
ARE THE DATABASE
OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE.
SO THERE IS SOMETHING
THAT IS LOST THERE.
Narrator: ANCESTRAL LANDS
WERE THEN SEIZED
TO MAKE WAY
FOR THE EUROPEAN SETTLER
WHO WOULD TRANSFORM THIS LAND
OF WARM WATERS INTO PLANTATIONS,
GROWING COFFEE, TEA, COTTON,
AND SUGARCANE.
THE DESCENDANTS
WHO WERE LEFT BEHIND
HAD TO WORK FOR THE SETTLERS
IN EXPLOITIVE SITUATIONS
THAT DIFFERED VERY LITTLE
FROM SLAVERY
AND PAY A HUT TAX TO LIVE
ON THEIR OWN LANDS.
THOSE WHO FOUGHT BACK
WERE MASSACRED
OR, AS THE BRITISH
POLITELY PUT IT, “PACIFIED.”
NOW THESE DESCENDANTS
OF TWO BROTHERS
WERE WALKING THE SAME PATH.
RAILROADS WERE THEN BUILT
TO CARRY THESE RAW MATERIALS
TO THE SHIPS WAITING TO CARRY
THEM TO THE MOTHER COUNTRY.
THERE,
THEY WOULD BE TURNED INTO GOODS
THAT WOULD THEN BE SOLD
BACK TO THESE CHILDREN
ON THE LAND OF WARM WATERS
AT PRICES
THEY COULD BARELY AFFORD.
THE CYCLE OF COMMERCIAL
DEPENDENCY WAS COMPLETE
AND WOULD BE MAINTAINED
AT ALL COST.
Mosese:
THERE’S A LOT OF COUP D’éTATS
THAT HAPPEN IN AFRICA, RIGHT,
WHICH KEEPS US BEHIND.
IT KEEPS US FROM PROGRESSING
AS QUICKLY AS WE SHOULD.
EVERY TIME WE PROGRESS,
SOMEBODY FROM OUTSIDE COMES IN,
AND THEY JUST MESS EVERYTHING UP
FOR US.
SO IT SLOWS DOWN OUR PROGRESS.
SO, PLEASE,
WE’RE ALSO STRUGGLING.
WE’RE STRUGGLING TO MAINTAIN,
WE’RE STRUGGLING TO GROW,
BUT WE’RE CONSTANTLY
BEING INTERFERED WITH
BECAUSE, FOR SOME REASON,
OUR RESOURCES ARE IMPORTANT
TO THE WORLD.
Narrator: COMMERCIALIZING
THE LAND OF WARM WATERS
WOULD DIVIDE THE BROTHER
FROM HIS LAND,
ANOTHER PIECE LOST.
MISSIONARY SCHOOLS SPRUNG UP
ALL OVER THIS LAND.
AND THE CHILDREN
OF HER BROTHER WHO REMAINED
SAT AT THE FEET OF STRANGERS
AND FED FROM THE PLATE
OF FOREIGN HISTORIES.
Furusa: THE FIRST BOOK THAT
RECEIVED ME INTO THE CLASSROOM
WAS A PICTURE BOOK
CALLED “BERNIE AND BERTIE.”
THIS WAS A BOOK OF A WHITE
YOUNG MAN AND WHITE YOUNG WOMAN,
SO THAT BECAME THE STORY THAT
RECEIVED ME INTO THE CLASSROOM.
THAT STORY CONTINUED
UNTIL I WENT TO UNIVERSITY.
I STUDIED EVERYTHING
ABOUT EUROPE, ABOUT AMERICA,
ABOUT CANADA, ABOUT RUSSIA,
AND VERY LITTLE ABOUT MYSELF.
SO I WAS DISCONNECTED
FROM THE REALITY
OF LIFE I WAS LIVING
ON THE GROUND.
Owino:
YOU CAN LIVE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE
NEVER KNOWING ANYTHING
ABOUT AFRICA
BEYOND WHAT YOU SEE
IN NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.
YOU MIGHT LIVE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE
NOT EVEN KNOWING
THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THERE
AND BE VERY SUCCESSFUL.
BUT NO ONE
ON THE CONTINENT OF AFRICA
CAN EVER BE SUCCESSFUL
WITHOUT KNOWING ANYTHING
ABOUT THE WESTERN WORLD.
NOW, THAT’S DEEP.
IN ORDER TO BE AN ACTOR,
I CANNOT GO ON TO ANY STAGE
WITHOUT KNOWING
WHO SHAKESPEARE IS.
BUT ASK WESTERN ACTORS
WHO WOLE SOYINKA IS,
CHINUA ACHEBE.
Narrator: CIVILIZING
THE LAND OF WARM WATERS
WOULD DIVIDE
BROTHER FROM BROTHER —
ANOTHER PIECE LOST.
BUT IT WAS NOT ENOUGH
TO CLOTHE THESE CHILDREN
IN THE LAND OF WARM WATERS, NO.
THEIR SOULS HAD TO BE DELIVERED
TO JESUS IN THE PROCESS.
EVERY BLACK SOUL THAT HAD NOT
BEEN THOROUGHLY CORRUPTED
BY ISLAM
WOULD BE WRANGLED FOR CHRIST
AT ALL COST.
CHURCHES WERE ERECTED
FROM AXUM TO THE CAPE,
MADAGASCAR TO DAHOMEY,
AND THE WEB OF EVANGELISM WAS
CAST OVER THE DARK CONTINENT.
Furusa: THEY UNDERVALUED
AND DISRESPECTED
OUR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.
THEY DEGRADED AND DEHUMANIZED
AND INSULTED OUR TRADITIONS.
EVERYTHING THAT WE HAD KNOWN
WAS DESCRIBED AS PRIMITIVE.
I REMEMBER WE WOULD SING,
“OH, REDEEMER, REDEEMER,
WASH ME WHITER THAN SNOW.”
WE WERE TALKING OF “SNOW WHITE,”
WE WERE TALKING
OF ALL THESE THINGS.
TAKEN OUT OF THAT PLACE
IN THAT CONTEXT,
THEY BEGAN TO PARTICIPATE
IN THE WAY
OF DISCONNECTING US FROM OURSELF
AND RECONNECTING US
TO THE EUROPEAN SELF.
SO THAT IN ITSELF
CHALLENGES US IN OUR IDENTITY.
I REMEMBER SEEING,
GROWING UP IN THE ’60s,
SEEING AFRICAN WOMEN BLEACHING
THEIR SKINS, THEIR FACES,
TO LOOK LIGHT, TO LOOK WHITE.
Narrator: CHRISTIANIZING
THE LAND OF WARM WATERS
WOULD DIVIDE THE BROTHER
FROM HIMSELF —
ANOTHER PIECE LOST.
Furusa:
SO WE WERE NOW DISCONNECTED
FROM OUR OWN FAMILIES.
WE WERE NOW DISCONNECTED
FROM THE VISIONS
OF OUR OWN COMMUNITIES.
WE WERE NOW DISCONNECTED
FROM THE RESOURCES
OF OUR ENVIRONMENT
AND YET LIVING
IN THAT ENVIRONMENT.
SO THAT DISCONNECT CREATES
ITS OWN NEUROSIS.
HERE, YOU SEE YOURSELF
ASPIRING TO BE SOMETHING
THAT YOU WILL NEVER BE…
AND HATING
EVERYTHING ABOUT YOURSELF —
YOUR COLOR, YOUR BELIEF SYSTEMS,
YOUR TRADITIONS AND EVERYTHING.
Narrator: AND ONE QUESTION
STARED BACK AT HER —
WHEN AN AFRICAN SAYS
AN AFRICAN AMERICAN
IS NOT AFRICAN ENOUGH,
IS THE AFRICAN EVEN AFRICAN
ANYMORE?
Furusa: THAT’S WHY AMA ATA AIDOO
FROM GHANA SAID
THAT WHAT WE OFFER,
IN WHOLE, OUR CULTURE,
ARE REMNANTS OF VICTORIAN VALUES
THAT WERE BROUGHT
THROUGH COLONIALISM.
Mosese: THE ORIGINAL NAME OF
AFRICA ACTUALLY ISN’T AFRICA.
ITS KEMET, AS YOU KNOW.
NOW, WE HAVE BEEN
CALLING OURSELVES
WHAT GREEKS HAVE BEEN CALLING US
FOR MANY, MANY CENTURIES,
YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?
SO IT GOES BACK
TO THE IDENTITY THING —
WHO ARE WE, REALLY?
EVEN WE OURSELVES
AREN’T VERY CLEAR ABOUT THAT.
Narrator: AFRICAN NATIONS WOULD
FIGHT AND GAIN INDEPENDENCE.
BUT SHE NOTICED
THAT 50 YEARS LATER,
EVERYTHING SEEMS
TO BE AT A STANDSTILL.
HOW DID SUCH PROMISE AT
INDEPENDENCE BECOME THIS?
Owino: COLONIALISM COMES
AND GOES, AND WE THINK, “YAY!
‘”WE ARE FREE, RIGHT? HELLO.”
WHAT YOU DON’T REALIZE IS
THOUGH THE EUROPEAN HAS LEFT,
HE HAS LEFT
HIS METHOD OF CURRENCY,
HIS METHOD OF TRADE.
THE BOUNDARIES ARE STILL THERE.
THEY STILL KNOW WHERE BRITAIN’S
COLONIES BEGIN AND END.
AND THEN NOW,
IN ORDER FOR YOU TO ENTERTAIN
AND PERFORM IN THIS NEW THING
CALLED CAPITALISM,
HERE COME IN THE IMF
AND THE WORLD BANK
‘CAUSE NOW YOU NEED CURRENCY,
RIGHT?
AND THEN, WHAT DO YOU GET NEXT?
DEBT.
SO WHOSE VISION
ARE WE REALLY LIVING OUT, HERE?
Mosese: BECAUSE WE HAVE
OUR INDEPENDENCE,
WE CAN’T JUST, LIKE,
START GRABBING LAND
AND START TAKING STUFF BACK.
‘CAUSE WHAT HAPPENS IS
THAT IF WE DO THAT,
WE ARE MESSING
WITH PEOPLE’S POCKETS
IF WE MESS
IN PEOPLE’S POCKETS, RIGHT,
BECAUSE THEY’RE MAKING MONEY
OFF OF US, RIGHT?
IF WE START MESSING WITH THAT,
WE GET ATTACKED.
Oturu:
WE JUST SAW INDEPENDENCE.
THEN WHAT?
SO THEN WHEN YOU’RE CONFRONTED
BY THESE OTHER FORCES,
YOU REALLY CAN’T DO ANYTHING
BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T DEFINE
YOUR OWN AGENDA.
Narrator: NO COUNTRY EXEMPLIFIES
THE ABYSS OF COLONIALISM
BETTER THAN THE CONGO.
THIS HEART OF AFRICA
WAS THE PRIVATE PROPERTY
OF KING LEOPOLD II OF BELGIUM
FOR 23 YEARS.
15 MILLION CONGOLESE WOULD DIE
TRYING TO SATIATE HIS QUEST
TO DOMINATE THE RUBBER INDUSTRY.
THE CUTTING OFF OF HANDS
WHEN THE AFRICANS DID NOT MEET
THEIR RUBBER QUOTA
WAS COMMONPLACE.
FAMILIES WOULD BE HELD CAPTIVE
IN EXCHANGE FOR LAND RIGHTS
AND RESOURCES.
AND ALL THE WEALTH GENERATED
BY THE RUBBER PRODUCTION
WENT TO BUILD BELGIUM,
NOT CONGO.
AND EVEN AFTER INDEPENDENCE,
BELGIUM KEPT ITS GRIP
ON THE CONGO
SANCTIONING THE ASSASSINATION
OF THE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED
PRESIDENT PATRICE LUMUMBA.
CONGO WAS LEFT EXPOSED,
RIPE FOR PILLAGING
BY THE WESTERN-BACKED DICTATOR
MOBUTU SESE SEKO.
SHE IS YET TO RECOVER.
TODAY, BELGIUM IS NUMBER 19
ON THE WORLD’S
BEST PLACES TO LIVE.
CONGO DOES NOT MAKE THAT LIST.
Owino: PEOPLE,
YOU CAN’T HAVE A BlackBerry,
YOU CAN’T HAVE A LAPTOP
WITHOUT THE CONGO.
BUT I KID YOU NOT,
THERE ARE PROBABLY
MORE WOMEN RAPED IN THE CONGO
THAN OWN COMPUTERS.
Narrator:
THESE CHILDREN OF TWO BROTHERS,
THOUGH OF DIFFERENT CULTURES,
SHARE THE SAME RACE.
AND THIS ONE SIMILARITY HAS MADE
THEIR HISTORICAL EXPERIENCE
WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD
ALMOST MIRROR IMAGES
OF EACH OTHER.
Mosese:
IN SOUTH AFRICA WHERE I’M FROM,
WHEN THEY BUILT HOUSES FOR
BLACK PEOPLE DURING APARTHEID —
YOU KNOW,
THAT MEANS SEGREGATION.
SO WHEN THEY BUILT HOUSES
FOR BLACK PEOPLE,
WHAT THEY DID, THEY MADE SURE
THEY KEPT THE ENTRANCE
OF THE DOORWAYS LOW.
SO EVERY TIME A BLACK MAN
ENTERS, HE BOWS HIS HEAD.
YOU UNDERSTAND?
SO THIS HAS BEEN
A GLOBAL PHENOMENON.
LaCora: YEAH, EVEN
IN THE PROJECTS IN NEW YORK,
HOW THEY STACKED THEM UP.
THEY DID EXPERIMENTS WITH RATS
TO SEE IF THEY FIGHT, THEY KILL.
Maryann: PUT A PARALLEL
BETWEEN US AFRICANS,
WHAT WE’RE DEALING
RIGHT NOW WITH
AND AFRICAN AMERICANS,
WHAT THEY’RE DEALING HERE.
BECAUSE IN THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN
COMMUNITY,
WHEN I FIRST GOT HERE,
I THOUGHT THAT EVERYBODY
WAS THUGS AND HOES
AND ALL THAT STUFF.
BUT I CAME TO REALIZE —
I’M SORRY, BUT THAT’S TRUE.
BUT I CAME TO THE REALIZATION
THAT THERE IS A LOT
OF BRILLIANT AFRICAN AMERICANS
THAT WENT TO THE EXTREME,
LIKE, VERY INTELLIGENT.
BUT YET, YOU’RE STILL GETTING
OPPRESSED.
YET, YOU’RE STILL FEELING
THAT URGE TO JUST EMERGE.
YOU’RE STILL NOT GETTING
THAT RESPECT.
EVEN IF YOU HAVE
THE BLACK PRESIDENT HERE,
YOU’RE STILL GETTING —
THAT’S THE SAME THING
WITH AFRICA.
Narrator: COULD IT THEN BE
THAT UNDERNEATH ALL THIS STRIFE,
THESE DESCENDANTS
OF TWO BROTHERS
ARE SIMPLY WRESTLING
WITH THE SAME PAIN?
THIS BLACK EXPERIENCE BIRTHED
SOME NEGATIVE PROPAGANDA
LIKE AFRICANS ARE POOR,
AFRICAN AMERICANS ARE LAZY,
WE HAVE NO HISTORY,
AND BEING DARK-SKINNED IS UGLY.
BUT THE GREATEST DAMAGE
IS THAT SOME OF US BELIEVE IT.
Cirru: THIS HAPPENED
THREE TO FOUR WEEKS AGO.
AND I’M HANGING OUT
WITH MY FRIEND,
AND THIS GORGEOUS BLACK GUY…
Owino:
‘CAUSE THEY’RE GORGEOUS.
Cirru:
WHOO! YEAH — GORGEOUS.
GORGEOUS, BIG, MASCULINE
BLACK GUY COMES OVER
AND INTRODUCES HIMSELF,
AND I INTRODUCED MYSELF.
HE WAS LIKE, “OKAY,
I DON’T DATE BLACK WOMEN,
“BUT YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL.
I’D LIKE TO TAKE YOU OUT.”
OKAY, HE PUT ME DOWN,
THEN HE PUT ME BACK UP.
OKAY.
HE WAS LIKE, “WAIT A MINUTE.
I DETECT AN ACCENT.”
I WAS LIKE, “I’M FROM KENYA.”
HE’S LIKE, “WHAT?
ARE YOU SURE?”
I WAS LIKE, “YEAH.”
SAID, “OH. I…”
Owino: WAIT FOR IT.
GO ON.
Cirru: [ LAUGHS ]
THE REASON HE ASKED IF I WAS
SURE IS BECAUSE HE SAID,
“I DIDN’T THINK
AFRICAN WOMEN ARE BEAUTIFUL.
“I DON’T THINK
AFRICAN WOMEN ARE BEAUTIFUL.
Keith: WE WILL GO OUT WITH YOU.
WE WILL LOVE YOU.
YOU HAVE TO GIVE US A CHANCE.
BECAUSE THE GUY YOU MET, THE
FIRST THING HE SAID TO YOU WAS,
“I DON’T DATE BLACK WOMEN.”
YOU SHOULD HAVE RAN THEN.
[ LAUGHTER ]
WHY STAY?
BECAUSE YOU ARE CONSIDERED
A BLACK WOMAN IN HIS EYES,
SO IT WAS GONNA BE ALL BAD
FROM THE JUMP.
AND THAT WAS JUST ONE GUY.
SO HE SHOWED YOU
HIS CHARACTER —
-Woman: AND YOU STAYED.
-Keith: RIGHT. THANK YOU.
YOU STAYED, YOU ENTERTAINED HIM,
INSTEAD OF SAYING,
“OKAY, IF YOU DON’T WANT
TO DEAL WITH ME ON —
‘CAUSE YOU DON’T KNOW ME.”
BECAUSE, SEE, HE’S ALREADY
A WARPED, CONFUSED BROTHER
ALREADY FROM THE JUMP.
SEE WHAT I’M SAYING?
HE’S BEEN ALREADY PROGRAMMED
THAT BLACK IS NOT GOOD,
AND HE’S BLACK.
SO HOW CAN BLACK NOT BE GOOD
OF WHAT HIS MAMA IS?
Cirru: ALL RIGHT,
THANK YOU FOR SAYING THAT.
YOU, PLEASE,
SPEAK FOR YOURSELVES.
ONE — WE WERE IN A CLUB.
WE HAD A CONVERSATION.
I DON’T HAVE TO
TAKE OUT ALL THE ISSUES
AND TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL.
WE DON’T HAVE TO GET POLITICAL
ABOUT IT.
DID I CALL HIM BACK? NO.
NO, WE DIDN’T GO OUT.
WE MET,
WE HAD A GREAT CONVERSATION,
AND THAT WAS IT, OKAY?
TWO — IT’S HIS LOSS.
IT’S YOUR LOSS.
I WAS BROUGHT UP
AS AN AFRICAN QUEEN,
TREATED IN THE BEST OF WAYS.
YOUR LOSS.
AND THREE —
LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING.
IF ALL YOU BLACK MEN HAVE ISSUES
THAT YOU DON’T WANT
TO GO THROUGH,
THAT YOU DON’T WANT TO DEAL WITH
FROM 400 YEARS DOWN THE LINE,
WHY THE HELL
DO I HAVE TO DEAL WITH YOU?
I WOULD RATHER GO
TO AN AFRICAN MAN
OR A CAUCASIAN OR SOMEONE ELSE.
Keith:
BUT AS I WAS SAYING —
LET ME FINISH.
I’M SAYING I’M NOT THAT PERSON.
ALL OF US IS NOT THAT PERSON.
-THAT’S WHAT I WAS SAYING.
-Cirru: AND I GET THAT.
I UNDERSTAND THAT,
BUT YOU CANNOT —
Keith: LET ME FINISH.
YOU KIND OF GOT HYPE.
WHAT I’M SAYING IS THIS.
THIS IS WHAT I’M SAYING.
ALL OF US — WE’RE NOT GONNA
CURSE OUT OUR WOMEN.
LaCora:
WE WERE NOT ATTACKING YOU,
BUT AS A WOMAN, I WANT ANY WOMAN
TO UNDERSTAND THIS.
IF A MAN COMES TO YOU AND SAYS
“USUALLY, I DON’T DATE
A BLACK WOMAN”
OR “USUALLY, I DON’T DATE
A DARK-SKINNED WOMAN” —
BECAUSE I’VE BEEN TOLD THIS
BEFORE —
THAT BROTHER
IS NOT WORTH MY TIME.
WHY WOULD I STAND THERE
AND ENTERTAIN HIM?
THAT’S ALL WE WERE SAYING.
BECAUSE YOU JUST SAID YOU
GREW UP AS A BEAUTIFUL QUEEN,
SO AS A BEAUTIFUL QUEEN,
WHY WOULD YOU SIT
AND ENTERTAIN A [BLEEP]
THAT’S ALL I’M SAYING.
Cirru: IT’S NOT MY JOB
TO EDUCATE HIM.
Keith: NO,
THAT’S NOT WHAT WE’RE SAYING.
LaCora:
THAT’S NOT WHAT I’M SAYING.
Cirru: I’M NOT GONNA WALK AWAY
FROM THE GROUP
JUST BECAUSE
SOMEONE OFFENDED ME.
Man: OKAY. OKAY.
BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?
HOLD ON.
-Cirru: OKAY —
-Man: HOLD ON, HOLD ON.
Tim: WHAT WE SEE AS AFRICAN
WOMEN THAT WE KNOW ON TV,
BALD-HEADED,
SKINNY AS ALL GET OUT,
NAKED, RUNNING AROUND.
YOU KNOW.
CHEST IS DOWN TO HERE.
THAT’S NOT BEAUTY TO US.
THAT’S CLEARLY NOT BEAUTY TO US.
SO WHEN HEAR SOMEBODY SAY
THAT THEY’RE OF AFRICAN DESCENT,
NOW WE’RE LOOKING AT THEM LIKE,
“OKAY. HOLD ON.
“ARE YOU FOR REAL?
YOU REALLY ARE?
‘CAUSE THIS IS NOT THE
PERCEPTION THAT WE GET OF YOU.”
YOU DON’T SEE
A BEAUTIFUL AFRICAN WOMAN ON TV.
ALL YOU SEE IS DARK, BALD HEAD.
Maryann: OH, HOLD ON.
NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO,
NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.
I GOT TO TALK.
OH, NO, NO.
LaCora:
BECAUSE THIS BROTHER —
TIM, TIM, I WAS LIKING YOU.
I WAS LIKING YOU FROM DUMPING —
TIM, YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION.
BECAUSE YOU JUST SAID,
“WE DON’T GET BEAUTY.”
ALL WE SEE IS DARK.
HOW D–
BROTHER, I HEARD —
-DID YOU GUYS HEAR “DARK”?
-Maryann: YEAH, HE SAID IT.
LaCora: SO DON’T, OKAY?
YEAH, YOU DID.
OKAY, YOU GOT THAT?
Tim: I SAID “DARK.”
I SAID “DARK AND SKINNY.”
LaCora:
SO, WHAT’S WRONG WITH —
AND THIS IS
WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.
YOU JUST TALKED ABOUT THE MEDIA,
HOW THEY SENSATIONALIZE THINGS,
AND HERE YOU ARE, BROTHER,
WITH YOUR ENLIGHTENED —
HOLD UP, TIM!
TIM, TIM, TIM!
…WITH YOUR ENLIGHTENED SELF,
TALKING ABOUT,
“WE DON’T SEE THAT AS BEAUTY
ALL I SEE
IS DARK SKIN, BALD HEAD.”
WE GOT A BEAUTIFUL
SHORT-HAIRED WOMAN RIGHT HERE,
A BEAUTIFUL DARK-SKINNED SISTER
RIGHT HERE,
SHORT HAIR, DARK SKIN.
AND THE NERVE, THE GALL,
THE TEMERITY FOR YOU TO SIT HERE
AND SAY THAT DARK
IS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH BEAUTY?
ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Narrator: COULD THIS IDEA
OF DARK SKIN BEING UGLY
PLAY A PART
IN A COMMON ACCUSATION
LAID AT THE FEET
OF AFRICAN WOMEN?
Owino: ALWAYS CONSTANTLY
BEING ACCOSTED, AFRICAN WOMEN,
“YOU’RE ALWAYS DATING WHITE MEN.
YOU’RE ALWAYS DATING WHITE MEN.”
AT THE END OF THE DAY,
YOU GO WITH WHOEVER SEES
THE BEAUTY IN YOU.
AND IF BRAD DOES, HEY.
Narrator: AND THIS PROBLEM
IS NOT LIMITED TO DATING.
IT SEEMS TO SHOW UP
AT EVERY INTERSECTION.
Owino: DOING A MOVIE
IN WHICH THEY CAST
AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHILD —
I THINK SHE WAS ABOUT 10 —
TO PLAY THE YOUNGER VERSION
OF ME.
SINCE I AM A 100% AFRICAN COCOA,
THEY HAD TO DARKEN HER SKIN
SO SHE COULD LOOK LIKE ME.
AND THIS GIRL WAS CRYING
THE WHOLE TIME,
AND SHE WAS SCREAMING
AND SAYING, “STOP IT.
YOU’RE MAKING ME UGLY.
STOP IT. STOP IT.
YOU’RE MAKING ME UGLY.”
AND SO NOW…
YOU KNOW, AS AN AFRICAN
AND A DARK-SKINNED WOMAN
IN THIS COUNTRY,
WHEN YOU HEAR A CHILD
SCREAMING THAT…
IT’S A LITTLE UNSETTLING.
Assumpta:
A LOT WAS DONE TO OUR PSYCHE.
THE QUESTION IS,
DO WE EVEN LOVE OURSELVES?
Marilyn: BUT AS A KID,
GROWING UP, I WAS INSECURE,
BECAUSE I WAS DARK.
IN SUMMERTIME,
IT WOULD BE SO HOT OUTSIDE,
AND I USED TO BE LIKE,
“OH, MY GOD. IT IS SO HOT.
I DON’T WANT TO GET IN THE SUN.”
SO I USED TO ALWAYS WEAR
A SUN VISOR OR A HAT
SO I WOULDN’T GET NO DARKER,
‘CAUSE I DIDN’T WANT TO BE
REAL DARK.
OR, YOU KNOW, THE KIDS
CALL YOU “BLACKY” AT SCHOOL.
Dr. Degruy: WHENEVER
SOMEONE WANTED TO INSULT YOU,
NO MATTER WHAT IT WAS,
THEY STARTED WITH “BLACK.”
“YOU BLACK…” ADD THE REST.
BUT “BLACK” ALWAYS WAS
THE FIRST THING THEY SAID
TO INSULT YOU AS A BLACK PERSON.
“YOU BLACK” THIS.
AND THAT’S AN INTERESTING THING,
BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE
DON’T DO THAT.
“YOU WHITE,” YOU KNOW…
“YOU ASIAN,” YOU KNOW,
WHATEVER IT IS.
BUT WE ASSAULTED EACH OTHER
WITH OUR BLACKNESS.
Marilyn:
MY MOTHER USED TO TELL ME,
“MAKE SURE YOU MARRY
A LIGHT-SKINNED GUY
SO YOUR KIDS
WILL COME OUT PRETTY.”
AND WHAT DID I DO?
I MARRIED A LIGHT-SKINNED MAN.
Dr. Degruy:
IF YOU’RE TAUGHT
THAT EVERYTHING THAT IS BLACK
IS TO BE DESPISED,
THEN I REALLY HATE
THE REFLECTION —
NOT IN WHITE PEOPLE,
BUT IN BLACK PEOPLE.
BECAUSE YOU REMIND ME
OF MY NOTHINGNESS.
REMEMBER, WE ARRIVE
AT OUR SELF-CONCEPT BASED
ON THE APPRAISALS OF SIGNIFICANT
OTHERS IN OUR ENVIRONMENT.
SO I AM NOT WHO I THINK I AM,
AND I’M NOT WHO YOU THINK I AM.
I AM WHO I THINK
YOU
THINK THAT I AM.
Owino: MM.
Dr. Degruy: SO, WHAT DO I THINK
YOU THINK THAT I AM?
AND THAT’S WHAT I RESPOND TO.
AND IF I’VE BEEN TAUGHT
TO DESPISE EVERYTHING BLACK,
THEN MY ASSUMPTION
IS THAT YOU DESPISE ME.
AND I HATE YOU FOR THAT.
Mosese: SLAVERY, YOU KNOW,
COLONIALISM CREATES FEAR.
AND WHAT WE DON’T WANT TO ADMIT,
EVEN TO THIS DAY,
IS THAT WE ARE STILL AFRAID.
WE’RE STILL AFRAID OF THE PEOPLE
WHO ACTUALLY ENSLAVED US,
WE’RE AFRAID OF THE PEOPLE
WHO ACTUALLY COLONIZED US.
WE’RE AFRAID TO ADDRESS IT,
SO WE TAKE IT OUT ON EACH OTHER.
JUST LIKE IF I GO TO WORK IN A
FACTORY AND IT’S A TERRIBLE JOB,
WHAT DO I DO WHEN I GET HOME?
I TAKE IT OUT
ON MY WIFE AND MY KIDS.
I NEVER TAKE IT OUT
ON THE BOSS. NEVER.
‘CAUSE I KNOW IF I DO,
THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES.
YOU UNDERSTAND?
EXACTLY. EXACTLY.
SO, I THINK SOMETIMES
WE OURSELVES AS BLACK PEOPLE,
IN GENERAL, NEED TO UNDERSTAND
THAT THERE IS
A DEEP-EMBEDDED FEAR
WE STILL ARE HOLDING WITHIN US.
SO WE TAKE IT OUT ON EACH OTHER.
Dr. Degruy:
SO, IF YOU ARE IN AN ENVIRONMENT
OF BROKEN PEOPLE,
THEY CAN ONLY PRODUCE
MORE BROKEN PEOPLE.
Dr. Karenga:
ALL OPPRESSED PEOPLE
WHO ARE NOT STRONG ENOUGH
TO RESIST IT,
THEY GO THROUGH
THREE — FOUR PHASES.
FIRST, THEY DOUBT THEMSELVES,
SECOND, THEY DENY THEMSELVES,
THIRD, THEY CONDEMN THEMSELVES,
AND FOURTH,
THEY MUTILATE THEMSELVES,
BOTH PSYCHICALLY
AND PHYSICALLY.
Dr. Degruy:
WE KNOW THAT REGARDLESS
OF ALL OF THE RISK FACTORS
OR THE STRESSORS
OR THE NEGATIVE INFLUENCES,
TRAUMA, OR EVEN ABUSE,
ONE CARING PERSON
CAN TURN ALL THAT AROUND.
ONE.
Narrator: AND, LIKE EVERY STORY,
THIS IS BUT ONE SIDE.
ON THE OTHER SIDE IS AN ENDLESS
STREAM OF MEN AND WOMEN
WHO REMEMBERED THE TASK
AND PUT UP BRIDGES
THAT RAISED THESE CHILDREN
OF WARM WATERS OUT OF MADNESS.
BROWSING THROUGH
THE RAGS OF HISTORY,
SHE FOUND IN THEIR PAGES
THE NAMES OF DEEDS
OF MEN AND WOMEN
WHO BOUND TOGETHER
IN A STRUGGLE FOR LIBERATION —
NAMES LIKE W.E.B. DuBOIS,
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.,
JULIUS NYERERE, TOM MBOYA —
AND THE ROLES THEY PLAYED
IN EACH OTHER’S STRUGGLE.
AND A CLEAR GRASP
OF THIS CONNECTION
CAN BE FOUND
IN A SINGLE YEAR — 1964,
WHEN COLONIALISM WAS FALLING
ALL OVER AFRICA
AND JIM CROW WAS
MEETING ITS DEMISE IN AMERICA.
HARDLY A COINCIDENCE.
Babu: IN THE MIDDLE OF DR. KING
BEING IN JAIL,
KENNEDY CALLS HIM AND SAYS,
“YOU’RE EMBARRASSING ME,
“BECAUSE THE GHANAIANS,
THE CHINESE, AND RUSSIANS
“ALL STOOD UP IN THE UNITED
NATIONS AND CONDEMNED US,
“SO YOU CAN’T TALK ABOUT
CAPITALISM AND DEMOCRACY,
“AND LOOK WHAT YOU’RE DOING
TO THE AFRICANS
IN MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA
AND GEORGIA.”
SO THEY HAD TO CHANGE
THEIR POLICY TOWARDS US
BECAUSE OF THE RISE OF AFRICA.
Narrator: AND THEN SHE STUMBLED
UPON A LINK
THAT BINDS AFRICANS
TO AFRICAN-AMERICANS
IN THE MOST SPECTACULAR WAY.
IN 1959,
KENYAN NATIONALIST TOM MBOYA
AND AMERICANS HARRY BELAFONTE,
SIDNEY POITIER,
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.,
AND WILLIAM SCHEINMAN
INSTITUTED THE KENNEDY
AFRICAN STUDENT AIRLIFT,
A PROGRAM
THAT BROUGHT A YOUNG MAN
FROM KENYA TO THE UNITED STATES.
THIS MAN WAS BARACK OBAMA SR.,
THE FATHER OF THE 44th PRESIDENT
OF THE UNITED STATES.
IT IS EVIDENT
THAT WHEN THESE DESCENDANTS
OF TWO LOVING BROTHERS
WORK TOGETHER,
THEY CHANGE THE FUTURE.
BUT THESE CARING PEOPLE
ARE NOT RELEGATED TO HISTORY.
ISAIAH WASHINGTON TRACED HIS DNA
ALL THE WAY BACK
TO THE MENDE AND TEMNE PEOPLE
OF SIERRA LEONE,
BECOMING THE FIRST PERSON
TO EVER RECEIVE CITIZENSHIP
BASED ON ANCESTRAL DNA.
Washington:
I DON’T KNOW WHO I AM.
I DON’T KNOW WHERE I’M FROM.
THAT…
UH…
WHEW.
YOU KNOW,
THAT’S A HORRIBLE FEELING.
YOU KNOW?
I EMPATHIZE
WITH THE FOSTER-CARE PROGRAMS,
THOSE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN
CAST ASIDE FOR WHATEVER REASONS,
AND THEY KNOW THEY HAVE
A MOTHER AND A FATHER OUT THERE,
BUT THEY WILL NEVER KNOW
WHO THEY ARE.
YOU KNOW.
AND THAT’S HOW I USE
METAPHORICALLY
FOR AFRICAN-AMERICANS,
IS WE’RE ALWAYS PRETENDING
TO BE SOMETHING WE’RE NOT
BECAUSE WE JUST DON’T KNOW
WHO WE ARE.
YOU KNOW.
SO, THE FEELING THAT I HAVE NOW,
THROUGH THE SCIENCE,
THROUGH THIS DNA TECHNOLOGY,
THAT’S ALL I’M TRYING TO DO,
IS FOR AFRICAN-AMERICANS
WHO ARE INTERESTED.
Narrator:
AFTER READING ISAIAH’S BOOK,
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER AISSATOU
SOUGHT TO FIND OUT
WHERE HER MOTHER’S PEOPLE
CAME FROM.
Aissatou: …WHO THEY ARE,
AND MAYBE YOU FIND OUT CERTAIN
THINGS ABOUT TEMPERAMENTS
THAT SORT OF EXPLAIN THIS
CERTAIN SIDE OF YOUR FAMILY.
Washington:
NOBODY CAN TAKE WHAT YOU KNOW.
NO ONE.
THEY CAN TAKE YOUR MONEY,
THEY CAN TAKE YOUR LIFE,
BUT THEY CAN’T TAKE YOU
FROM YOU.
ONLY YOU CAN GIVE AWAY YOU.
AND THE ONLY REASON
WE’RE GIVING OURSELVES AWAY
IS BECAUSE WE DON’T KNOW
WHO WE ARE.
YOU KNOW, WE DON’T KNOW
WHAT WE ARE AND WHY WE ARE.
AND ONCE WE KNOW THAT,
THEN THAT’S THE BATTLE
THAT YOU’RE GONNA LIVE TO SEE.
Aissatou:
OH, THIS MUST BE THE SWAB.
THIS IS THE SWAB.
WOW. IT’S THAT EASY.
THIS IS THE SWAB ENVELOPE.
“FILL OUT THE SPECIMEN FORM.
INITIAL YOUR CONSENT.
“RINSE YOUR MOUTH TWICE
WITH WATER.
“DO NOT USE MOUTHWASH
OR TOOTHPASTE, DRINK CAFFEINE.”
-MNH.
-Owino: WHAT?
Aissatou: [ GROANS ]
Owino:
YOU JUST HAD COFFEE.
Aissatou: [ GROANS ]
NO!
Owino:
YOU JUST HAD COFFEE.
Aissatou:
I JUST HAD COFFEE.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Washington: EVERY ONE-CELLED
BODY IN MY GENETIC MAKEUP
HAD AN OPPORTUNITY
TO BE AT PEACE.
YOU KNOW?
AND I CAN FEEL IT.
Aissatou:
NOW WE’RE GETTING TO DO THIS,
‘CAUSE I HAD COFFEE MOUTH.
Owino:
BOTH SIDES OF YOUR MOUTH?
Aissatou: MM-HMM.
Owino: 20 TIMES?
ARE YOU COUNTING?
Aissatou: [ Muffled ]
IN MY HEAD.
Owino: [ LAUGHS ]
Aissatou:
OKAY. THAT’S ONE.
Owino: AND THEN YOU PUT THEM
IN THE ENVELOPE?
Aissatou: THEN I PUT IT
IN THE ENVELOPE.
WE HAVE TWO MORE TO GO.
AND THEN…OFF.
OFF TO THE POST OFFICE WE GO.
Washington: ONCE YOU’RE MADE
AWARE OF SOMETHING, YOU KNOW,
YOU HAVE TO BE RESPONSIBLE
FOR IT — THAT INFORMATION.
OR YOU’RE IRRESPONSIBLE.
SO NOW THAT I’M AWARE
OF SOMETHING,
I’M NOT BUILT
TO JUST COME BACK TO L.A.,
GO GOLFING, SMOKE A CIGAR,
AND GO, “WOW. THAT WAS
A GREAT AFRICAN EXPERIENCE,”
AND THEN DO NOTHING ABOUT IT.
Aissatou: I GET TO LEARN
A LITTLE SOMETHING ABOUT HER.
SHE PASSED AWAY IN 2010.
AND SO, UM…
Owino: SO, YOU’RE SEEING IT
FOR THE FIRST TIME?
Aissatou: I’M SEEING THIS
FOR THE FIRST TIME.
Man: DRUM ROLL, PLEASE.
[ LAUGHTER ]
[ PEOPLE IMITATING DRUM ROLL ]
Aissatou:
A WHOLE BUNCH OF STUFF.
CAN YOU HOLD THIS FOR ME,
PLEASE?
OKAY. HERE WE GO.
MM.
Owino: OH, WHAT DOES IT SAY?
WHAT DOES IT SAY?
Aissatou: SOME STUFF,
I CAN’T READ, BUT…
“DEAR MS. DIALLO,
“IT IS WITH GREAT PLEASURE
THAT I REPORT
“OUR MATRICLAN ANALYSIS
SUCCESSFULLY IDENTIFIED
“YOUR MATERNAL GENETIC ANCESTRY.
“BY ANALYZING YOUR MITOCHONDRIAL
DNA — MTDNA SEQUENCE —
“WE HAVE DETERMINED THAT YOU
SHARE MATERNAL GENETIC ANCESTRY
WITH THE AKAN PEOPLE
OF GHANA TODAY.”
Maryann: WHOO! WOW!
Owino: HOW —
‘CAUSE WE DON’T KNOW.
WE’RE BORN IN IT.
Aissatou: IT MEANS A LOT.
IT’S ABOUT — I DON’T KNOW —
MY MOM, SO…
THAT’S JUST — IT’S A NICE THING
TO KNOW THAT, UM…
I CAN’T WAIT
TO CALL UP MY RELATIVES
AND TELL THEM SOME GOOD NEWS.
[ APPLAUSE ]
YEAH.
Washington: I MEAN, ‘CAUSE NOW
IS THE TIME IN THE 21st CENTURY,
GUYS AND GIRLS, THAT WE HAVE
AN EXTRAORDINARY OPPORTUNITY
WITH THE I.T. TECHNOLOGY,
WITH OUR INNOVATION
TO FINALLY —
LEGITIMATELY AND HOLISTICALLY —
GET OUR PROVERBIAL [BLEEP]
TOGETHER.
LITERALLY.
WE’LL BUILD IT.
WE’LL BUILD IT.
YOU KNOW?
THROUGH WHATEVER.
HOWEVER YOU WANT TO DO IT.
[ LAUGHS ]
IT’S HOWEVER YOU WANT
TO LOOK AT IT.
THE TIME IS NOW,
AND THAT IS WHAT I’M SAYING.
THE TIME IS NOW,
AND IF WE DON’T,
WELL, I’M GONNA KEEP DOING
WHAT I’M DOING,
AND I JUST HOPE THAT I’M JOINED.
IT’S NOT VIOLENT,
IT’S NOT A REVOLUTION.
IT’S NOT A MOVEMENT.
IT’S HAVING AFRICA’S BACK
IS WHAT I’M SAYING.
Narrator: THERE IS AN CORD
THAT BINDS THESE CHILDREN
FROM THE LAND OF OUR MOTHERS.
AND THOUGH SOME ARE STRUGGLING
TO FORGET,
WE MOST NOT OVERLOOK
THOSE FIGHTING TO REMEMBER.
Degruy:
I THINK AFRICAN AMERICANS, AT
LEAST IT’S BEEN MY EXPERIENCE,
GENERALLY SPEAKING, HAVE WANTED
TO BE EMBRACED BY AFRICANS.
THEY REALLY HAVE WANTED
TO FEEL CONNECTED TO AFRICA.
THAT’S WHY WE GO.
THAT’S WHY
WE HAVE CEREMONY HERE.
WHAT WE’RE DOING IS WE’RE
REACHING FOR EACH OTHER
IN THE BEST WAY WE KNOW HOW.
Gerard: I MET MY WIFE, WELL,
THE WOMAN THAT BECAME MY WIFE,
RIGHT AWAY, I DIDN’T KNOW
WHERE SHE WAS FROM,
BUT SHE WAS A BROWN-SKINNED,
DARK WOMAN, STRONG FEATURES,
AND I APPROACHED HER.
WHEN SHE SAID HELLO BACK,
I NOTICED SHE HAD AN ACCENT,
SO I SAID, “HEY,
THAT’S A PRETTY ACCENT.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?”
SHE SAID, “AFRICA,”
KIND OF NONCHALANTLY.
SO, I LOOKED AT HER,
SHOOK MY HEAD, AND SAID,
“NO, WHERE IN AFRICA
ARE YOU FROM?”
THAT’S WHEN SHE REALLY LOOKED UP
AT ME WITH A HALF SMILE,
AND SHE SAID, “LIBERIA.”
I GUESS THE TRUTH
OF THE MATTER IS
AS LONG AS SHE’S BEEN
IN THIS COUNTRY,
ALL SHE HAD TO SAY
WAS SHE WAS FROM AFRICA,
AND THAT WAS ENOUGH
FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS.
AND THE GREATEST THING SHE GAVE
ME WAS THE LIBERIAN COMMUNITY.
I MEAN, IN ALL HONESTY,
SHE’S MY PASSPORT.
Septuri: I BURIED MY FATHER
IN SIERRA LEONE,
AND THAT HAS SPECIAL
SIGNIFICANCE BECAUSE,
AGAIN THIS JOURNEY,
THIS LOVE AFFAIR WITH AFRICA,
JUST CONTINUES TO GROW.
I DIDN’T KNOW
THAT WAS GONNA HAPPEN,
BUT THEN WHEN
MY FATHER HAD DIED SUDDENLY,
IT JUST FELT LIKE
THE RIGHT THING TO DO,
SO WE TOOK THE ASHES OVER
TO SIERRA LEONE,
WE BURIED HIM IN THE VILLAGE.
IT WAS A BIG DEAL AT THE TIME,
AND THIS GOES TO THE QUESTION
OF YOUR DOCUMENTARY.
THE AFRICANS THERE ARE TRYING
TO REACH BACK TO US, TOO.
SOME OF THEM ARE TRYING
TO REACH BACK TO US.
SOME OF THEM DON’T KNOW HOW.
THEY DON’T HAVE THE RESOURCES,
THE MEANS, THE MONEY, YOU KNOW?
BUT SOME OF THEM ARE TRYING
TO REACH BACK TO US.
AND SO, WHEN
WE DID THE CEREMONY THERE,
AND I WAS IN THE VILLAGE
WITH THE CHIEFS,
THEY MADE IT A POINT TO TELL ME,
“THIS IS VERY SIGNIFICANT,
YOU BRINGING YOUR FATHER BACK
TO SIERRA LEONE, AFRICA.
IT’S SIGNIFICANT BECAUSE
IT CONNECTS WHO YOU ARE
AS AFRICAN AMERICANS
WITH WHO WE ARE AS AFRICANS.
Nworgu:
THE AFRICAN FAMILY FOUNDATION —
IT’S KNOWN
AS AFRICAN FAMILY FOUNDATION.
IT’S ACTUALLY
AFRICAN BIRTHRIGHT CELEBRATION.
SO, THIS IS A WAY OF PEOPLE
ON THE CONTINENT TO REACH OUT
TO THEIR BROTHERS WHO HAVE LOST
THEIR HERITAGE,
TO EMBRACE THEM
AND RECOGNIZE THEM
AS CELEBRATING AS PART OF
THAT CONTINENTAL AFRICAN FAMILY.
Woman: I WAS ADOPTED
BY A COMMUNITY IN GHANA.
IT’S PART OF AFRICAN FOCUS.
EVERY YEAR FOR THE PAST 10
YEARS, THEY’VE BEEN DOING THIS,
AND BEING A PART OF THIS
COMMUNITY FROM GHANA,
AND I’M ALSO A PART
OF A COMMUNITY IN NIGERIA,
IT’S SOMETHING
THAT BRIDGES THE CONNECTIONS.
I’M VERY PROUD
TO BE AFRICAN AMERICAN.
BUT THEN ALSO KNOWING I HAVE
PEOPLE AND I HAVE ROOTS THERE,
THERE’S NOTHING LIKE IT.
Nworgu: IF SOMEBODY’S SAYING
THAT AN AFRICAN AMERICAN
DON’T KNOW MORE
TO CLAIM THEIR ROOTS,
THEN THE QUESTION WOULD BE
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HELP THEM
TO KNOW THEIR ROOTS?”
Woman: AGAIN, BE AN EDUCATOR,
HOW TO —
A 10-YEAR-OLD BOY —
NOBODY LIKED HIM IN THE SCHOOL,
TO BE HONEST.
HE WAS GETTING READY TO GO TO
ANOTHER SCHOOL.
PERES CAME, BROUGHT THE SHIELD,
BROUGHT THE SPEAR.
THIS 10-YEAR-OLD BOY SAT
ON THE STAGE, AND WAS PROUD.
I’D NEVER SEEN SO MUCH
SELF-CONFIDENCE.
INSTANTLY,
HE KNEW HE WAS A WARRIOR.
WHEN YOU HAVE THAT,
IT’S SOMETHING
THAT SHIFTS AND CHANGES.
PERES GAVE THE HISTORY,
AND THAT BRIDGE WAS MADE.
Owino: THERE IS A PHRASE
THAT MY MOTHER SAYS,
AND IT EXISTS IN EVERY
AFRICAN NATION ON THIS PLANET,
I KID YOU NOT.
[ SPEAKS NATIVE LANGUAGE ]
WHICH MEANS “THE SWOLLEN FROG
AT THE EDGE OF THE LAKE
DOES NOT PREVENT THE COWS
FROM DRINKING.”
SO, IF SOMETHING HAPPENS
IN YOUR LIFE
THAT IS TERRIBLE AND MISERABLE,
AND IT GETS YOU ALL BLOATED
AND MISERABLE,
REMEMBER, LIFE IS STILL GOING ON
AROUND YOU.
THE ONLY PERSON WHO’S BEING
DAMAGED BY THIS IS YOU.
Narrator: SO, IT IS TIME
TO CHANGE THE RHETORIC.
Rodney:
THE AFRICAN ARTISTS ASSOCIATION,
OR AS WE AFFECTIONATELY
CALL OURSELVES, THE THREE “A’s,”
IS AN ORGANIZATION THAT
IS INSPIRED TO THE CREATION,
DISSEMINATION,
AND THE PROGRESSION OF IMAGES
AS WELL AS
CULTURAL REPRESENTATION
OF PEOPLE
FROM THE AFRICAN DIASPORA,
AND BY DEFINITION, AS WE KNOW,
THAT ESSENTIALLY MEANS
ALL PEOPLE,
THE UPLIFTING OF ALL PEOPLE,
ULTIMATELY.
Dr. Karenga: I CREATED KWANZAA
TO GIVE US A TIME
WHEN WE AS AFRICAN PEOPLE COULD
COME TOGETHER ALL OVER THE WORLD
AND REAFFIRM
THE BONDS BETWEEN US.
Degruy:
BUT THERE’S STILL SOME POISON,
AND THAT’S WHAT I ENDEAVOR
TO LOOK AT
SO WE CAN TEASE THAT OUT
AND BE WHOLE.
THAT’S WHAT “POST-TRAUMATIC”
IS ABOUT —
HEALING WHAT NOBODY WANTED
TO LOOK AT.
Septuri:
I STARTED AN ORGANIZATION, IT’S
CALLED THE FINAZA FOUNDATION,
AND SO WE DO A SOCCER TOURNAMENT
EVERY YEAR
FOR THE KIDS THERE
IN THE DIAMOND-MINING DISTRICT,
AND MOSTLY WE TAKE THE KIDS
OUT OF THE DIAMOND MINES,
WE PUT THEM ON THE SOCCER FIELD,
AND THEN
THROUGH THE SOCCER GAMES,
WE GENERATE MONEY,
AND WE PUT THEM IN SCHOOL.
WE GIVE THEM SCHOLARSHIPS
TO SCHOOL
Babu: WE WANT TO HAVE A
PAN-AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL
THAT LETS BLACK FOLKS
AROUND THE WORLD —
AFRICAN AMERICANS, THE KENYANS,
THE HAITIANS, THE DOMINICANS —
THAT THIS IS THEIR FESTIVAL.
Washington: OUR FOUNDATION
IS NOT A FOUNDATION.
WE HAD A FOUNDATION, PLUS
WE HAVE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.
IT’S NOT A FOUNDATION,
IT’S A MANIFESTO.
IT’S A “HOW TO DO IT.”
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE
A CELEBRITY,
BUT JUST BE ENGAGED
AND KNOW THAT IT’S BEING DONE.
Narrator: TO MY FELLOW AFRICANS.
IT IS NO SECRET THAT WE HAVE
MADE GREAT STRIDES
IN THE PAST 50 YEARS,
BUT WE ARE STILL PLAGUED
WITH DICTATORS
AND PUPPET PRESIDENTS
WHO’S MOUTHS ARE CONTROLLED
BY THE HANDS
UP THEIR BACK SIDE.
Owino: IN MY BOOK,
THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN DRUG DEALERS, DICTATORS,
AFRICAN PRESIDENT DICTATORS,
AND SLAVE TRADERS.
BECAUSE FOR ME,
ALL THESE ARE JUST PEOPLE
WHO ARE SELLING OUT BLACK FOLKS
FOR TRINKETS.
WE CAN BLAME THE EUROPEANS
ALL WE WANT,
BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY,
I’M LOOKING AT THAT PRESIDENT
WHO I ELECTED
WHO’S SITTING ON THAT CHAIR
WHO LOOKS JUST LIKE ME.
Narrator:
WE ARE A GREAT AND RESILIENT
PEOPLE WITH A LONG HISTORY,
AND THE BEST IS YET TO COME
IF WE TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
FOR AFRICA.
TO DO ANY LESS
WOULD BE TO FAIL OURSELVES
AND OUR CHILDREN
FOR GENERATIONS TO COME.
Washington: THERE’S GREEN
OPPORTUNITIES, GREEN JOBS,
JOB CREATION THAT WE CAN CREATE
WITH OUR INNOVATION
AND PUT IT OVER THERE.
THERE’S THINGS TO BE DONE,
THINGS THAT COULD BE BUILT,
AND IT’S JUST —
WE HAVE ENOUGH PhDs AND MBAs.
PEOPLE ARE GOING,
“WHERE’S THE MONEY?”
WELL, YOU GOT TO THINK IT.
SOMEBODY’S GOT TO KNOW SOMEBODY
THAT’S GONNA HAVE “NOT
BE SCARED” MONEY AND DO THIS.
IF ENOUGH PEOPLE ARE TALKING
ABOUT IT COHESIVELY,
AND NOT WAVERING, NOT BEING
PETTY OR HOLDING A GRUDGE
OR WANTING TO BE THE ONE THAT
LEADS IT ALL.
Narrator: AND TO MY FELLOW
AFRICAN AMERICANS,
THE SLAVE TRADE
WAS A HORRENDOUS AFFAIR,
BUT WE DO NOT HAVE A MONOPOLY
ON ENSLAVEMENT.
OTHERS HAVE WALKED THIS ROAD
IN SOME CAPACITY.
Washington:
THEY WERE TAKING BARK
AND MAKING POOR WHITES
LOOK BLACK TO SELL THEM.
DID YOU KNOW THIS?
IT WAS DEEP.
IT’S DEEP, YOU KNOW?
TAKING WALNUT BARK AND
PAINTING IT ALL OVER YOUR SKIN.
TAKING A HOT IRON
AND CUTTING YOUR HAIR OFF
AND SINGING IT
TO MAKE IT FEEL COARSE,
AND THEY’LL PUT YOU OUT THERE
ON THE AUCTION BLOCK
TO SELL YOU OFF AS A MULATTO.
THIS BUSINESS PLAN
CALLED SLAVERY
WAS JUST A BUSINESS PLAN.
THEY DIDN’T CARE.
Narrator:
IF WE LINGER IN THE BLAME GAME,
WE WILL NEVER SEE OURSELVES
AS BEING WORTH MORE
THAN THAT SINGLE EXPERIENCE,
AND IN THE END,
DENY OURSELVES
THE GREATNESS THAT CAME BEFORE
AND THE GREATNESS
THAT CONTINUES TO COME AFTER.
Degruy: AFRICAN AMERICANS
ARE PHENOMENAL.
LET ME BE VERY CLEAR ABOUT THAT.
AFRICAN AMERICANS
HAVE SET THE STAGE
AND CREATED THE BAR
FOR A BUNCH OF STUFF, YOU KNOW?
YOU GOT TO ADMIT,
THERE IS NOTHING —
MATTER OF FACT,
WHEN WE’RE EVER IN AFRICA,
THEY GO THEY CAN TELL BY THE WAY
WE WALK WE’RE AFRICAN AMERICAN.
Narrator: 500 YEARS HAD PASSED,
AND THE CHILDREN
OF THESE BROTHERS
FORGOT THE TASK BECAUSE
FOR A BRIEF MOMENT,
THEY FORGOT THEMSELVES.
Oturu: I REMEMBER ONCE A FRIEND
OF MINE SAID,
“I MET THIS AFRICAN AMERICAN,
AND THEY REACTED TO ME
IN A TERRIBLE WAY.”
AND I SAY WHAT YOU SHOULD’VE
DONE WAS TO SAY THAT,
“BROTHER OR SISTER,
I’M VERY SORRY.
I’VE COME BACK TO RECLAIM YOU.”
Septuri: AND WHEN WE SEE THEM,
“MAN, IT TOOK YOU A LONG TIME
TO COME VISIT ME, BROTHER.
“I’M SORRY
I COULDN’T GET OVER THERE,
“BUT I HAD ISSUES OVER HERE
WITH FLYING OVER,
“BUT WELCOME HERE.
YOU HERE, MAN.
“MAN, LOOK AROUND US.
“LOOK AT WHAT WE WERE ABLE TO DO
WITH THE DISRUPTION
AND ALL THAT.”
Narrator: AS WITH ANY MASK,
IF YOU TAKE IT OFF,
YOUR TRUE FACE
IS STILL UNDERNEATH,
AND WITH IT,
THE TRUTH OF WHO YOU ARE.
Narrator:
YOUR CONNECTION TO EACH OTHER
AND TO THE WORLD ENTIRE.
Nworgu: AN AFRICAN WHO KNOWS
THEY’RE AN AFRICAN
WHETHER IT’S
10 GENERATIONS REMOVED,
WHETHER IT’S 50 GENERATIONS
REMOVED, YOU KNOW.
YOU MAY NOT SAY IT.
SOMETHING INSIDE YOU TELLS YOU,
“NO MATTER WHAT,
YOU’RE AN AFRICAN.”
Brown: YOU DON’T HAVE TO TRY
TO BE AFRICAN.
IF YOU BE YOURSELF,
YOU’RE AUTOMATICALLY AFRICAN.
NOW, WHAT HAPPENS IN AMERICA,
A LOT OF US ARE NOT OURSELVES.
BUT IF WE REALLY
GET BACK TO OURSELVES,
WE AUTOMATICALLY
GET BACK TO AFRICA.
Owino: BEING AFRICAN’S
A MENTALITY THAT YOU HAVE,
AND THAT MENTALITY RANGES
FROM BLACK TO WHITE.
SO, BEING PRO-BLACK,
IN PERES’ BOOK,
THAT’S NOT EQUAL
BEING ANTI-WHITE.
Washington: YOU KNOW WHO I AM
BECAUSE I KNOW WHO I AM.
AND I KNOW WHO I CAME FROM.
AND I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING.
IT’S PERFECT, SINGLE-FILE.
Narrator: LOOK, WAIT, AND
WELCOME HIM WHEN HE COMES HOME.
FOR I KNOW HE WILL RETURN TO ME.
[ MUSIC IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE
PLAYING ]

These addons are Petite. This turns our gaze turns towards the African continent, the genesis of the slave experience, and charts a course from the slave castles on the coast of Africa to the plantations of America. As we start this journey, one question soon dominates the conversation between the Africans and Africans, ‘who sold the Africans into slavery?’ The complexity of this question is reflected in the different responses and the range of emotions it solicits.

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