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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

People In The African Diaspora Embracing Their African Identity

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post documents thirty-eight selected YouTube comments from or about people in the African Diaspora embracing their African identity. These comments were published in a discussion thread for Iyanya's (Nigerian) 2012 Afrobeat record "Kukere".

The African Diaspora bloggers who identified their nationalities in these selected are from the United States, the Caribbean (Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, and Dominica), and from South America (Venezuela), which is also considered part of the Caribbean. A comment from a blogger who identified himself or herself as Nigerian is also included in this discussion sampling.

I onsider these comments significant because I remember a time when many, if not most, African Americans rejected any connection to Africa. From my reading of this comments and otherwise, that disinclination to embrace Black African roots appears also to have been the stance of a number of other people of the African Diaspora.

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/09/iyanya-nigerian-afrobeat-song-kukere.html for a pancocojams post about Iyanya's record "Kukere".

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Special thanks to Iyanya for the "Kukere" record. Thanks also to the producer of this video, all those who are featured in this video, and the publisher of this video on YouTube. In addition, thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

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SHOWCASE VIDEO: Iyanya - Kukere [Official Video]



Officialiyanya Published on May 14, 2012

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SELECTED COMMENTS FROM VIDEO'S DISCUSSION
In this particular post I'm interested in documenting a portion of the comments about African identity that people from the African Diaspora and people from Africa posted to the discussion thread of Iyanya's "Kukere" music video.

The use of the referents "brother" and "sister" as referents to other Black people regardless of where they're from is one way that I've notice this African/African Diaspora connection being mentioned. I've seen those referents used in that particular YouTube discussion thread and in some other YouTube discussion threads of contemporary African music. I don't know if this use is new or not, but I've noticed it this year in a number of those discussion threads. This may be because once I noted it, I've been consciously looking for those referents now.

This is only one sub-section of this discussion thread. Other categories of comments include those that praised the song, and/or the dance and congratulated the singer and those that document the global reach of Afrobeat music throughout the African continent and elsewhere by citing the nation that they are from and their experiences with that music. Also, some commenters expressed their pride in being African, and/or their pride in their nation and/or their ethnic group. And, as is the case with many YouTube discussion threads of contemporary African music, some comments reflected rivalries between certain African nations/ethnic groups, and/or back and forth claims about where that particular music and dance originated.

As of September 16, 2015 at7:27 PM Iyanya - Kukere [Official Video] had 12,983,007 viewer hits and 2,745 total comments.

The thirty-eight selected comments that are presented in this pancocojams post are given in relative chronological order based on their posting dates, except for replies.

I've assigned numbers to these comments for referencing purposes only.

From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YvzTizFakk

1. blaqbuddafli, 2014
"African music...the true base of all Caribbean music. Know your history and origin. Different place...same face"

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2. Reply ·
16Mind, 2014
"EXACTLY!. people forget our ancestors came from Africa. you can see it in our dance, in our music, in our vibes"

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3. Kira Melvin, 2014
"I just love this song and this dance. I'm not even African but I'm proud of my African ancestry and what the culture represents. I just love it so much"

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4. Alyon Isreal, 2014
"Big ups frm USA. Looks like my African Brother. I'm proud to be an African in America. I love Azonto. Rappers here just kill brothers and degrade our Queens. Nice music Iyanya!"
-snip-
Bug ups = "Lots of praise"; "congratulations"

"Queens" = women

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5. GQDADON1000, 2014
"lol Its weird but being Jamaican, I hear some Africans speak and for some reason i feel i understand it maybe being that Jamaicans or any Caribbean island still have ties to our African ancestors"

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Reply ·
6. oprah7, 2014
"being that jamaican culture is heavily influenced by our nigerian and ghanian ancestors.....I would think so..."

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Reply
7. sweet2def, 2014
"+oprah7 Not many Caribbean's believe that though. Most of the time they're ready to get into a fist fight over it. I have the best of both worlds but I don't mess with the St Lucian side of my family. They're quite westernised and some of the nonsense that comes out of their mouths when the conversation turns to culture just annoys me. I just agree to disagree and try to enjoy the music lol"

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8. KarloMagnum Entrepreneur, 2014
"wow!! I like !! Yeah.

Well, now I know where the hip movements of people in Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil come. These rhythms are part of our roots. Clearly."

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9. Kira Melvin, 2014
"I just love this song and this dance. I'm not even African but I'm proud of my African ancestry and what the culture represents. I just love it so much"

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10.oriolori89, 2015
"America doesn't understand cultural identity in the way we understand it as Africans , so blacks tend to paint us all with one brush based on their "one drop"rule and their perpetually moribund race war politics , they will dismiss our own identities because these identities have no resonance in American culture at all. There simply is no link . South America is a bit different there the west African cultures the slaves brought to that continent are very much in evidence but they have also evolved and absorbed and interacted with the Spanish and Portugal cultures that these areas are also rooted in . There is no comparison between north and south America as regards culture and the link to the west and central African territories that the original Africans came from. This is the core root of the real problem for blacks, they have no roots whereas in south America across the diaspora its a different story entirely."

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11. oriolori89, 2015
"The blacks in north America have access to money, material gain , but have no roots no identity outside white cultural markers and need their validation from these markers , the blacks in south America have no money no material gain but have a very marked and deep rooted cultural identity that goes right back to the core ancestral baselines that their ancestry comes from and this is simply because the Portugal slave traders and owners simply did not have the manpower to systematically wipe out all trace of the identity of the original slaves so the languages the cultures and traditions survived in various forms and some in their pure forms to this day. To this day I can travel to parts of Brazil and speak in Yoruba which is my own language and the language and culture of many of the original slaves who ended up in north and south America , but that language died out in north America as did many others , but it still thrives in brazil this is unique because it couldn't be wiped out . So to many other west African languages still have their core root in south American cultures, and because they have roots they are not crazy obsessed by race hate and race inferiority complexes you find in their southern counterparts .. there is more flux and fluidity also . They are the true inheritors of the people who left our shores so very long ago ."

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12. oriolori89, 2015
"I am also including carribean cultures here when I mention south America because Cuba is the largest carribean island and the smaller islands although do not have any of our languages but they have developed distinct cultures of their own , HAITI is the closet to the west African roots than any of the other islands followed by Cuba and Jamaica . it is these people who tend to appreciate our musical forms not the north American blacks who tend to either come on to harass us and complain about white people or tell us we are inferior to their rap and hip hop forgetting that setting words to music isn't something that we copied , and the instruments they boast of such as the Banjo has its roots on west African soil, simple RESEARCH proves these points .. Again as I said before , THOSE WHO FEEL IT KNOW IT .. the rest is immaterial."

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13. Mitochondrial Eve, 2015
"+oriolori89 Wow, you seem to have had bad experiences with African Americans. That's very unfortunate since I know many African Americans who love African people and study Africa and Africans and take trips to Africa. Many African Americans are broadening their horizons and becoming more conscious of what it is to be an African. I think you do all of us (Africans of the diaspora, African Americans, and Africans) a disservice with your harsh words. I know it is a valid opinion but nonetheless a bit too harsh. You have to keep in mind that there has been a lot of obfuscation, misinformation, disinformation that has caused the amnesia of some African Americans as well as Africans of the diaspora. That should be weighed when judging any of us."

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Reply
14. Mitochondrial Eve, 2015
"+oriolori89 I think stating that African americans are "crazy obsessed race hate obsessed" people is an insult and a very myopic view of race in the United States. Race relations in the US are quite unique and don't compare to those in Latin America where the Spanish (I speak for my country here), Taino, and African amalgamated and created what some may deem a "race" on its own. Definitely created one people, although the colorism and self hate are rampant in Latin America."

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15. Tamara Laird, 2015
As a haitian woman I have always love my Nigerian music. Yes, I said "My" even though it isn't my country, I feel like the music speaks to my sprit.

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Reply
16. 21Q, 2015
"Yes sister, you are welcome to say 'MY' you are African. We are one people."

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Reply
17. heru1974, 2015
"We are all from the African continent no matter which area we were dropped off to. You are an African through DNA so you are just like us."

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Reply
18. tamcar04, 2015
"I feel the same way and I'm "American"....Our spirits are all connected even though we are far apart from each other."

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Reply
19. mbeer14, 2015
"Same for this Jamaican!"

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20. Brii Gee, 2015
"Me too and I am American...Although I must admit, I feel like SOME Africans look down on African/Black/Afro/Whateveryouwanttocallit Americans... Some say it's because we don't know our culture, but how is that our fault?? We were stripped of our culture and it bothers me because sometimes I feel that we are not accepted in America nor Africa. Anyway I'm trying my best to discover my culture every day. :-) This music just makes me want to move!! Lol Love this song!!"

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Reply
21. vixxy02, 2015
"+Brii Gee my dear this IS your culture.... EMBRACE IT!✌"

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Reply
22. L. Duncan, 2015
"+Brii Gee gurl me too and I am prpud to be an African woman born in America. we were stripped from all that we knew... but now I just open myself up to my African culture and I do not care who has an issue with it. I look forward to the day when more African Americans are open like us to be proud to be African. I may not know my tribe, but at least I know I'm from Africa. Mama Africa oh how I love and appreciate you so much."

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Reply
23. vixxy02 1 month ago
+L. Duncan We welcome,love and embrace you darling....."Welcome home!"

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Reply
24. Shirla Percentie, 2015
"I'm also a Haitian and love love love African music! Even though we were forcefully brought to the west there is no denying that Africa lives in our different cultures and souls."

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Reply
25. Taylor Brune Siri, 2015
"+Tamara Laird It's your Music girl"

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Eeply
26. AnonymouslyStrange1, 2015
"+Tamara Laird To you and other's, I'm not sure if you all are aware, but despite being from another culture, you are African. Caribbean music is heavily influenced by Africa. This is the reason it resonates to you."

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Reply
27. Eric B. aka Quaashee, 2015
"+Tamara Laird it's not your fault that some of our people were taken from the continents, but you still have your roots there in africa, no matter what, that is our point of origin. One Blood"

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28. Eric B. aka Quaashee, 2015
"I'm for all black people in the diaspore to come together unite as One."

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29. Eric B. aka Quaashee, 2015
"Music and YouTube connects us Africans worldwide. ..Peace Family"

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Reply
30. Diplomatic Worrior, 2015
"+Eric B. aka Quaashee Be careful of what you say! Caribbean people don't like to be associated with Africa!"

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Reply
31. Eric B. aka Quaashee, 2015
"+Diplomatic Worrior well those are the ignorant once because I know many people from the islands that do know their history and proud of it."

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32. Luz Ozuna, 2015
"+Diplomatic Worrior I am Dominican and proud to be part of the African Diaspora. Although you are right there are some people in the islands that don't like to be associated with Africa and maybe is because of the culture in their country they may not identify with Africa"

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33. Andrea Sealy, 2015
"This is my song right here!!! Proud Bajan of African descent!!!"

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34. Kayla Suave, 2015
"Melanin!!!! We are all the same people ❤️❤️❤️ Melaninated people rise up ❤️❤️"

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35. nayenaye1992, 2015
"ohweeee! this song makes me wanna dance! big ups to Iyanya fine ass lol :) <3 shout out to my BLACK AFRICAN brohas & sista on the continent :) <3"

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36. Gongo Aso, 2014
"I AM FROM NIGERIA AND I LOVE IT WHEN MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS FROM THE AMERICAS TELL ME HOW MUCH THEY LOVE 9ja MUSIC AND HOW IN TOUCH WITH THEIR ROOTS THEY ARE. it shows 9ja music is reaching a wider audience and having a positive impact. Abeg, make all the uptight haters-dem comot for this place."

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37. vixxy02, 2015
"+CreamyButta You being Cuban, there's a very high chance that you may have ancestry from CALABAR, the place mentioned in this song, as many Africans were taken from here to Cuba! The ABAKUA secret society was founded here,the "Cantos Abakua" is sang in Efik, and the Rumba and Salsa originated here (though Salsa is heavily influenced by Spain also!) And of course the Abakua dance form!"

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Reply
38. CreamyButta, 2015
"+vixxy02 +vixxy02 i know sweetie.. my ancestors..are Yoruba... bantu ..and Ibo...

my country.. runneth over with AFRICAN CULTURE!!!!!...be blessed"

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