You are African?
If it's not Bono, it's George Clooney, or it's Angelina and her man all doing whatever they can for Africa in Africa-- adopting children, having babies, feeding families, building wells, and slowly becoming synonymous with Africa and it's albeit small step toward revitalization. It's crazy on a number of levels because although I am delighted by their charitable work in DarFur, Namibia, Ethiopia, Capetown, et. al., (where the hell is Beyonce and Jay-Z when there is a politico-cultural crisis in the Motherland?), I am seeing a strange trend whereas these charitable efforts are slowly becoming trendy, like Hermes bags trendy and I can't help but wonder how long will it be before these celebrities end up replacing the (Black) face of African strife with one of White happiness and fulfillment. Well, I didn't have to wait that long. Have you seen the Gwyneth ad for AIDS awareness in Africa? Beads and violet and aqua tribal markings and all! You gotta love the spoof someone did of the ad featuring an African woman that says:
Help us stop the shameless fame whores from using the suffering of those dying from AIDS in Africa to bolster their pathetic careers now that they are no longer dating Brad Pitt and no one gives a sh*t about them. Just kiss my Black a$s to help.No doubt there is something a simmering over in Africa. Even today's NY Times is highlighting the buzzworthiness of African humanitarianism. I'm just wondering where's the hiphop cognescenti? Puff, Mary, Jay (yeah I know he's busy banning Cristal within all bling ciphers), Kanye and the rest of them cats. It's so ill to me when all I see is Clef and Oprah volunteering their time and money for global (read Afrian) causes. It seems as if my generation of folk are too busy chilling in St. Tropez or Capri (or too busy dreaming about vacationing there) to give a goat's tail about the crisis of AIDS in South Africa. And it's not just them.
Last month I was having dinner at Aquavit with a friend who was born in Mozambique, but currently lives in Johannesburg and also with some of his friends who live here. When they spoke of their travels and adventures in Africa thay talked about how wonderful the beaches were in Namibia and how amazing the dunes are in S. Africa. I haven't been to Africa yet so I listened as my homey from Joburg took everyone's love for the African high-life and raised them one by declaring how he was going to build a resort... in Zimbabwe, I believe. We all toasted him with glasses of Vergelegen--aka "V" (the wine was off the chain, I can't lie, but I thought it was a tad ironic that De Beers, the scandalized diamond corporation, owned the winery that produced it). Anyway there was no talk of crisis, genocide or famine. Especially not while we munched on Marcus Samuelsson's Foie Gras Ganache and Yellowtail Tartar. I must admit, it was every bit as nauseating and self-absorbed.
I don't care how corny, cliche or naive I may sound, but when I go to Africa I'm going for the culture and for the people. I want to go to the shanty towns and hear some music and eat homecooked food. I want to go fishing and hang with young women my age and talk about politics, art, entrepreneurship and relationships. I wanna get drrrty while there and not play Hollywood or PG County to be more to the point. Yes I want to see the beaches, go on a safari and sip some V, but I also want to experience the grime and chaos. I'm a Black Grrrl from the BX. I can't help but keep it real African. That's just who I am.