The King of Afropop

How Black Americans Made Fela Kuti a Black African

Comments

1
Good Afternoon Charles,
I was definitely intrigued by this excerpt of which you wrote:

"In a typical encounter between a black African and a black American, the black African knows more about the black American's world than the black American knows about the black African's. This has a lot to do with the fact that most Americans (white or black) know little about what happens outside of their country. But it's also because the United States exports a massive amount of culture and imports very little. As a consequence, a person in, say, Singapore consumes his/her local culture along with the culture that Americans consume almost exclusively. The US has become the universal—the rest, a puzzle of particulars.

When we talk about American cultural dominance, the discussion instinctively turns to brands like Nike, McDonald's, and Coca-Cola, and the image industrial complex called Hollywood. But blacks in Africa and countries with large black populations cannot imagine any discussion of American cultural dominance that fails to mention black American music, the music of the world. It is heard everywhere and imitated by everyone."

I believe you're correct. Having resided in Africa for 3+ years (visiting 4 times) it was extraordinary how much Africans in general, knew about America. I was always pleasantly surprised by that. On the other hand, I was and remain dissappointed at how little Americans of all stripes know about Africa, let alone a particular country. That attitude is exacerbated by even a liberal media that tends to report only the negative stories of Africa (famine, disease, corrupt government or civil war). Alas, I do believe that's true.

We still have a long way to go in understanding that fascinating continent. Fela! might be a way for better or for worse in understanding more.

I may end up seeing this show. I'm not a big fan of Afropop (Afrobeat?). However, I am a fan of Makossa, its close relative.
2
while i'd hesitate to call this show 'great'.. - the 'american voice' belonging to michelle williams provides tends to jar - it is the most entertaining show i've seen in decades.. see it if you can.
3
This is in reply to what lark posted. I also agree with you. I am an African and I just came to the United States to gain a degree. I know how true that is. I loved this article by the way. Do not want to give my thoughts on it though.