Thursday, 25 August 2016

click / read if u wanna be enriched by a cool novel

I don't even know where to start with this. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has to be one of the most amazing pieces of art to ever come out of the 21st century. Actually forget that, Adichie herself is such a gifted and inspiring writer that cannot go unshared or unheard of on this blog.

*appreciation selfie.* i don't usually stick my tongue out in photos but i guess you can see how excited i am about sharing this ~~~amazing~~~ book with you??

Anyway, Americanah is a book that centres mainly around two characters, Ifemelu and Obinze. They are two teenagers who grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, who fall in love. Around this time, Nigeria is under military dictatorship and many people are leaving the country if they can, and because their education is disrupted, Ifemelu leaves for America to study.

Obinze struggles to join her and lives an undocumented, troubling life in London. Years later, he returns to a newly democratic Nigeria, a wealthy man with a beautiful family.

During her time in America, Ifemelu achieves success as a writer of a blog about race in America. This was my favourite aspect of the novel. Throughout the story that flashes between various moments in Ifemelu's life in America, Obinze's life in England, and memories of the past,  a blog post is featured somewhere in between.

Growing up in Nigeria, Ifemelu never felt the weight of 'race'. Being "black" didn't mean anything specific until she came to America, and this is something that Adichie shows so so well.
Everything about this book is relevant and real. It is so refreshing and informative and I strongly believe it is a novel that everyone should read, especially in today's society.

Because they are my favourite parts of the novel, I am going to share some quotations from some of Ifemelu's blog posts!


1. Understanding America for the Non-American Black:
American Tribalism.

"In America, tribalism is alive and well. There are four kinds - class, ideology, region, and race. First, class. Pretty easy. Rich folk and poor folk. Second, ideology. Liberals and conservatives. Third, region. The North and the South. Finally, race. There's a ladder of racial hierarchy in America. White is always on top, specifically White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, otherwise known as WASP, and American Black is always on the bottom, and what's in the middle depends on time and place. (Or as that marvellous rhyme goes: if you're white, you're all right; if you're brown, stick around; if you're black, get back!)..."


I really liked this one!

3. Why Dark-Skinned Black Women - 
Both American and Non-American - Love Barack Obama

"...So light skin is valued in the community of American blacks. But everyone pretends this is no longer so. They say the days of the paper-bag test (look this up) are gone and let's move forward."

"...And this is the reason dark women love Barack Obama. He broke the mold! He married one of their own. He knows what the world doesn't seem to know: that dark black women totally rock. They want Obama to win because maybe finally somebody will cast a beautiful chocolate babe in a big-budget rom-com that opens in theatres all over the country, not just three artsy theatres in New York City. ... In movies, dark black women get to be the fat nice mammy or the strong, sassy, sometimes scary sidekick standing by supportively. They get to dish out wisdom and attitude while the white woman finds love." 


4. Travelling While Black

"A friend of a friend, a cool AB* (this means American Black btw!) with tons of money, is writing a book called Travelling While Black. Not just black, he says, but recognisably black because there's all kinds of black and no offence but he doesn't mean those black folk who look Puerto Rican or Brazilian or whatever, he means recognisably black. Because the world treats you differently."

"...They tell you in the guidebooks what to expect if you're gay or if you're a woman. Hell, they need to do it for if you're recognisably black. Let travelling black folk know what the deal is."


5. What Academics Mean by White Privilege, or Yes It Sucks 
to Be Poor and White but Try Being Poor and Non-White 

"So this guy said to Professor Hunk, "White privilege is nonsense. How can I be privileged? I grew up fucking poor in West Virginia. I'm an Appalachian hick. My family is on welfare. Right. But privilege is always relative to something else. ... The Appalachian hick guy is fucked up, which is not cool, but if he were black, he'd be fucked up plus."

"He also said to Professor Hunk: Why must we always talk about race anyway? Can't we just be human beings? And Professor Hunk replied - that is exactly what white privilege is, that you can say that. Race doesn't really exist for you because it has never been a barrier. Black folks don't have that choice. The black guy on the street in New York doesn't want to think about race, until he tries to hail a cab, and he doesn't want to think about race when he's driving his Mercedes under the speed limit, until a cop pulls him over. So the Appalachian hick guy doesn't have class privilege but he sure as hell has race privilege."


I deeply hope you enjoy reading those! (pls give 'em a read, don't be lazy, lol) I find them hard-hitting, funny, informative and honest. They talk openly and unapologetically about issues to do with race in a way that kinda just makes you listen. Man, this book just BANGED. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is such an amazing writer it's almost unbelievable to think that a book like Americanah was actually written - I feel as if it's just some superior entity in the form of a novel ... okay I'm babbling a lot, I'll stop. 

As you can probably tell at the length of this post and the amount that I am writing, I would recommend this book 10/10. Adichie's other novels are brilliant too - the first I read of her was her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, which was longlisted for the Booker Prize (!!!). 

Find out more about Chimamanda here, and comment below if you want with your opinions on the various blog posts from Americanah - I'd love to hear other peoples opinions tbh!!

~peace out and c u in the next post! Zoe xo~

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

kissed by the sun

HELLO WORLD, this summer has been so weird, but great. I just got back from Jamaica which was absolutely amazing, but I'll feature more about it in another post later on.

I want to talk about artists of colour. As everyone knows, mainstream media is brazenly white-washed. I can probably list over 30 white artists that I like and listen to in an instant, but I panicked when I tried to remember all of the underground artists of colour that I know because I felt as if I was falling into this trap of ignoring the struggle minorities face in the industry, and I felt bad. PoC have a small voice in mainstream media, and although progress is being made there are still loads of gaps in important places. I actually made a post about why there needs to be more creative spaces for PoC here, and it's really brief, but take a look at it nonetheless.

Here are three artists/bands of colour that I really love!

The Internet:

Okay now ... I can't even ... I love The Internet so much. They are a neo-soul band who produce the most amazing music that tingles and massages my ears every time I listen to them. A song by them that most people seem to know straight away is "Dontcha" which is gorgeous in every way shape and form - go check it out. When you listen to this song, you would think that they can't get any better, but then you discover their album Ego Death, and basically die. This whole album is just so beautiful and perfect: 10/10! Please listen to the entire album. Infact, I'm going to link it right here now <<< so you can click on it, now.

Princess Nokia:

Princess Nokia is an up-and-coming artist that you have probably heard of before as she is rising up prominently in places like Dazed and i-D magazine and platforms similar to that. Princess Nokia's real name is Destiny Nicole Frasqueri, and she is an Afro-Nuyorican independent artist based in New York. She had two former stage names: 'Destiny' and 'Wavy Spice', and in a recent interview with i-D, she discussed her independence in the music industry. Really cool. Relating to her Afro-Nuyorican background, she talked with Fusion about her identity and her music.

The first song I heard by Princess Nokia was "Young Girls" sometime last year. The music video is so gorgeous and the vibes are insane. Check it out here.


India Arie:

She is a neo-classic soul artist that came out around the early 2000s, affiliated with artists such as Lauryn Hill and D'Angelo. She was a studied songwriter and guitar player rooted in the soul and blues of the past, as well as in positive-minded contemporary hip-hop. Her first album Acoustic Soul entailed four Grammy Awards and five consecutive placements in the Top Ten of the Billboard 200. 

My two favourite songs by Arie have to be "Brown Skin" and "Video". Please listen to them. They send out such inspiring and important messages to women, in particular black women. What I also love is that she is a dark-skinned black woman (like me!!) Representation is so important man. 

"Brown skin, you know I love your brown skin
                              I can't tell where yours begins, I can't tell where mine ends
Brown skin, up against my brown skin
Need some every now and then, oh hey"

* * *

             "When I look in the mirror and the only one there is me
Every freckle on my face is where it's suppose to be
And I know my creator didn't make no mistakes on me
        My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes, I'm loving what I see" 

hope you enjoyed this post, peace out my loves, Zoe xo ~