AM I THAT BLACK? | Akinyemi Adedeji Muhammed

If you’re brown, black, darn skinned, fair skinned, ‘yellow’, orange, or whatever tone your skin colour is; as long as you’re not white (bleaching doesn’t count), then you’re expected to be (stereotypically) reading this from the top of a tree with a snake around your neck, malaria playing with your relatives, while your Lion strolls downstairs. In fact, how the fuck did you get an Internet enabled phone? (white literature, take it easy.) 
If you’ve a non-white skin colour and you’re somewhere else that isn’t Africa (maybe America), then you’re expected to be reading (stereotypically of course) this from a drug store, an alley where you’re planning a new heist, in front of a cop that you’re going to attack soon (he’s going to kill you for it — RIP in advance), or in a dingy one bedroon apartment you share with ten other relatives. In pop culture and mainstream media, you can’t be that black and be this (Forbes, Vogue, whatever depicts a great lifestyle) successful, unless there’s a sinister cause which a tall, lanky, handsome, dedicated, and energetic white man (usually a cop or soldier) will soon discover.

If you’re that black, and you’re not this bad, then maybe you’re the dumb cop or soldier in a team of awesome white soldiers. This is exemplified in the A-Team where despite the presence of a lunatic pilot in the team, the dumbest of them all is Baracus who would rather drive buses than be in an aeroplane, and is known for his strength and never for his wits. Are you trying to reference Ice Cube’s roles in action movies? Let’s reference Ride Along, where he plays a veteran cop alongside a security guard (with a veteran dream) Kevin Hart. What’s the representation? Black man hates black man for wanting to be great. Unless you’re Samuel Jackson, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, or some other veteran in their league, you’re only black enough to be the joke of an action movie. Or hate on another black man. It’s how we run our hoods. You know what I’m sayiiiiiiiin’

Are all movies wrong depiction of black people or are we just being black?

No come on. Just the main ones. Okay, I’m rephrasing. Just the main ones that do not depict blacks trying to aggressively show whites that they fall in love (and occasionally do alley drugs), have children, and are just victims of misrepresentation. In popular TV series like Game of Thrones, we’re only black enough to be slaves or something like that. Didn’t life start on Africa? Why does mainstream pop culture always leave that part out and just… ignore a whole race? George R. R. Martin couldn’t think up a race of tall, muscular, fast, and ‘aggressive’ black people to own one of the civilizations in Westeros? So, there you’ve it. Not all movies, just the main ones. 

We’re so black, we talk differently in blockbusters.

‘The blek painter’! Wtf is Blek?! If you think the only time Black accent have been whited out in misrepresentation is the billion dollar Black Panther movie then you’ve not seen Gods of Egypt, where Egyptian gods had British accents. I think Set went to  Havard in that one. Have you seen our own Idris Elba talk in some movies? While Idris is an all round fantastic actor who delivers wonderful performances, Idris has had some major black fails that we’re considering he might be white with some DNA vitiligo. Or how else do you describe his performance in Beast of no Nation? Do Africans really shout “ehhh, ehhh” after every sentence?

You’re only black enough to play black, but not black enough to play white, even in fantasy. 

Why isn’t there a black James Bond? Oh wait, he’s a fantasy super spy who shouldn’t be portrayed by a black man, as his touch would bring darkness to the suit. But… but… Gods of Egypt is a fantasy (grounded in legend though) movie about gods, which was played by white men. Why can’t a black man then play something that symbolic? Okay. I’m shouting now. If I was on TV, I’d be a short black man always trying to shout his way to being heard. Oh, we’ve it already. It’s called Kevin Hart. 

Am I that black? 

Okay. On a much more sincere note, there have been awesome representation of black people in movies. We’ve Akinnuoye Agbaje in Suicide Squad. We’ve seen John Boyega take up roles in fantastic movies like Pacific Rim, Star wars, Attack the block, and a culturally important role in Detroit. Even Idris Elba plays the all-seeing Heimdal in the MCU, and has portrayed Mandela (the best ever), but for every consolatory role, there’s about fourty seven black misrepresentation in pop culture where the black guy is either the villain, the dumb guy who holds the team back, the very powerful guy with no sense of direction, or something collosally stupid. 

Am I as black as depicted in movies? Maybe they get the skin tone right, maybe I can be mildly overzealous, but I am not as aggressively stupid as they portray. With my strength comes wit, and being black doesn’t tone down being bright in the head. Hollywood, I am not that black! And to white writers, I don’t live on a tree. I live in a city! Edaaakun!

AKINYEMI ADEDEJI MUHAMMED

22 Comments
  1. Excellent write up. We may have a black skin but we clearly do not have a dark or dumb brain, we are achievers and conquerors

  2. Well written to awaken the Black and white sense disparity in us… but the real question is who is ready to change that perception or rather convention????

    1. It starts with you and me, Mr. Bakare. Perhaps when we finally have the boldness to own the narrative, there will be changes.

  3. I couldn’t stop laughing. I mean, how do you do this right here. Imagine i totally forgot those accents in ‘blek’ panter and the ‘ehh ehh’. Dude, you really did hit the nail on its head. I have also had this idea a while ago, ever since i re-viewed the ‘gods must be crazy’ i was upset. That movies was funny but i mean, they depicted blacks as people far from civilization. It somehow reminded me of colonialism and the rest, but i then consoled myself with the thought of mr.bones being a white man and all.

    The reality is there for us all to see, and your piece is top notch. Keep the good work up brother.

  4. For me I feel Akinyemi adedeji is a league on it’s own.whenever he writes their is a mixture of god and superhuman in between the lines…thanks for putting your talent to use…

  5. You crossed the line when you yabbed game of thrones. Wasn’t Daenerys’ husband in Mereene a black man? The people of Narth are a black civilisation.

    As for slavery, it’s not just black people that are depicted as slaves, white people are also depicted as slaves.

    Moral lesson, A Song of Ice and Fire is perfect, while Game of Thrones is near perfect.

  6. Apparently one of the best read, it’s insightful but here comes the big question; Do you still feel the whites are our problem?
    Yeah, frankly speaking, they mostly paint us whatever way they want but I must confess most criticism or tags mostly come from the race.

    If we are our own problem, how do we change other races’ mindsets.
    Since it’s cool to accept whatever it is they tag us and you feel so superior to the brother right next your door.
    FFS.

    Anyway, keep inspiring bro. You’re great

  7. Wow! Excellently written and well thought out. I love it! You raised some good points in your argument and this sits close to my heart. I love how you reason and PP,you’re amazing.

    TVB❤

  8. Here’s a nice read. Just last night I saw a TEDTALK show on a similar topic. How Africa’s story is always associated with the negatives. How races have chosen to view Africa based on a single story of backwardness, hardship and uncivilisation. When in fact, we are so much greater then the story of us they choose to know. Their idea of Africa authenticity revolve around negatives and so they only relate that to us. But we too are as guilty as they are, because subconsciously or not, we have viewed ourselves a little lesser than we are. Being so immersed at the media coverage of coloured people such that our own successes become surprising to us. Above all, you write beautifully.

  9. This is very thoughtful. Between the lines are very controversial as we cannot all put our blames on only white writers. It’s what some blacks paint us as that they write. The ending was epic though. We really do not live in trees and all the likes of that. A lovely piece. More strength!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Have us directly in your inbox

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Copyright ©2019 Black Youth | Designed by Ashraph