Last week a video of an Ethiopian-American woman surfaced and reignited the conversation around differences between the diverse people and culture that make up the African Diaspora.
This woman’s words—brimming with hate-filled vitriol toward African-American women—was not only difficult to watch because it was overflowing with an abundance of ignorance, but also because it was tough to see so much self-hate in action.
The first generation Ethiopian-American woman took some serious shots at African-American women calling them “the most desperate women in the world,” and asserting that no man wanted to date them. What was worse, however, is that she talked so badly about Black women like she wasn’t even one of us. Well, damn.
Watching the video was hard. Throughout the eight-minute diatribe I wanted to throw my computer out of the window and kick some sense into her (obviously) crazy ass, but alas that would have only served to bolster her negative stereotypes about Black women (angry, aggressive, neck-poppin’), rather than serve as a much-needed wake-up call for her foolishness. So I did what I always do when something irks me, I wrote about it.
What grew out of one woman’s extreme ignorance and hate was a serious dialogue between sisters of the Diaspora. Many women read and responded, sharing their experiences either being an American-born sister, or a Black woman from another part of the world. The stories of struggling to fit in, being ostracized by peers, celebrating cultural differences, and finding common ground—even though it may have been difficult—was nothing short of amazing. Reading through the 100+ comments made me realize that there is not only a lot of work to be done in terms of celebrating and bridging the vast landscape of our differences, but also all of us could use a little reminder on what makes us—sisters of the Diaspora—so amazingly fly.
The Caribbean Massive
Whether they sway to Soca, Reggae, Dub, Lovers Rock, or bust a slow wine to a dancehall tune, our sisters from the Caribbean know how to suck the marrow from life and enjoy every minute of it. From Antigua to Venezuela, the Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico, sisters from the Caribbean have their own special flavor. From the laid back shores of Barbados, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Aruba, to the lively streets of Trinidad during Carnival, Caribbean sisters know how to weave a mashup of cultural influences (African, Indian, Indigenous) to come up with a likkle something all their own. Nuff respect.
Sisters With Sabor
Calling all Colombianos, Dominicanos, Cubanos, Boriquas, and Hondurans. Black women not only permeate the Caribbean and its many islands, but they are also a force to be reckoned with in the Spanish-speaking world as well. From Panama to the Dominican Republic, Belize to Brazil, Afro-Latino women mix colonial Spanish influences with Indigenous and African roots to come up with a hypnotic concoction all their own. In the words of La Reina, Celia Cruz, “Mi Sangre as azucar negra…”
The streets of European cities are not only home to some of the most historic cultural landmarks in the world (The Lourve, Big Ben, The Coliseum), but it is also home to some of the most amazing Black women on the planet. From the busy streets of London and France, to the picturesque views of Italy and Amsterdam, our sisters from across the pond have a certain je ne sais quoi that will give any burgeoning fashionista fever.
Black women in the U.S. and Canada share more than just a Northern border. Sisters in North America have thrived in spite of discrimination to achieve more than our foremothers could have every dreamed. Time and time again America Black women have defied the odds and achieving great success on our own terms. From California to New York, The Dirty South to Toronto, Black women in North America have carved our their own spaces in a society that sometimes fails to recognize their worth.
Sisters of the Motherland
Africa holds more than just the crater of life; it is home to millions of unbreakable Black women. Despite what some may think, Africa is not a monolith, it is comprised of a myriad of different cultures, dialects, and countries. From Ethiopia—the birthplace of Rastafarianism—to the pristine beaches of Kenya and Tanzania, Africa’s challenges may be many but the spirit of its women is its most precious jewel.
No matter where we come from, Black women are beautiful. Instead of fighting about our cultural differences, we should be celebrating our respective cultures and the unique differences that make us great. No matter where you come from or what language you speak, you are an amazing woman.
Clutchettes, shout out your culture and what makes it so great!