Black America, please stop appropriating African clothing and tribal marks.
Zipporah Gene
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You have written an interesting blog post that has certainly at the time I’m writing this has gotten quite a bit of viral response. I just posted this comment on Paul Louise-Julie’s response to your blog post.

“Well stated Paul. I’ve read the article by Zipporah Gene Goetze and I get what she was attempting to articulate but she did it so poorly (meaning cultural nuances should have been paid respect to and this should have been treated as a teaching moment not one of condemnation). As a Nigerian-American I understand all too well the challenges between African descendants throughout the diaspora as well as continental Africans when it comes to how they view one another.

The notion of cultural appropriation amongst Black people is hogwash at best but there are serious cultural nuances than can be misinterpreted by both sides if they’re never in a situation where they can have dialogue and develop a better understanding of one another.

One thing Black Americans have that most continental Africans don’t possess is a notion of nationalism and patriotism. An idealised notion of oneness via shared history and experiences in which there’s no need for ethnic distinctions because nationalism and patriotism supersedes that. One notable contrast would be colourism being the primary form of “ethnic” difference when it comes to diasporic Africans in the West.

Now by contrast Black Americans don’t truly understand the seriousness of ethnic difference throughout the African continent and how these differences have molded the psyche of generations of peoples on the continent. These difference are very real and would certain butt heads with the Black Western notion of oneness and Pan-Africanism. Hopefully you get my point.

You coming from a Franco-Caribbean background and having lived in various places on the African continent have an understand that most in the West will never have based on the very things you’ve mentioned as impediments to Black Americans knowing more about who they are and where they come from.

I too was conflicted by many of the images I saw coming out of the Afropunk event but for very different reasons. My conflict came from truly appreciating the visual beauty and affirmations while at the same time asking myself what ultimately will this cultural nationalism do for Black people in general?

Black America when through this same phenomenon during the 70's with the Black Power Movement and ultimately in it’s revival during the early 90's. For me I want to see more concrete connections between Afro-Latin, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-North Americans with the continent of African and her people.”