“To be African Just Means To Be Human” – Ryan Coogler


Source: Variety

I came across a Variety Article written by Kristopher Tapley. The article is about the podcast interview with Ryan Coogler, where he spoke about Black Panther and what it means to be African. You can read about the interview or listen to the interveiw here.

There were 5 major take aways from the Ryan Coogler’s podcast interview for me and they were:

  1. “Is that to be African just means to be human, what I discovered — it’s kind of what I knew all along — is that to be African just means to be human.
    And as I read this, it hit me. It is sad but true, Africans are not seen as humans that are well-educated, technologically savvy, and culturally artistic. Instead we are portrayed mostly in the media and public as uneducated, uninformed, poor, impoverished and lacking. Look at No.45’s offensive comments about shit hole countries, and this was said in 2018. In 2017, someone said to me the country Africa…sigh. AFRICA IS A CONTINENT, the second largest and second most populous continent. The continent hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. There are 54 recognized states in the continent.

2. “You love art so much that you put it everywhere, You put it on your clothes. You’ll put it on your body. And you’ll make art out of anything. If you’ve only got dirt and wood and sticks, you’re going to find out how to make art out of that”.
Yes we do, we love art and we are very creative and expressive. Not just with our art but with our clothes, hair styles and culture.

3. “To be African is to be beautiful, is to love your family so much that even when they die, you still don’t let them go; you talk about them as if they’re still right there.
This is so true but it is not some sort of spiritual jargon that some people/cultures like to make it out to be…SHADE to those who shall not be named.

4. “To be African is to love to dance and to dance until you can’t move anymore and still dance some more. And you can say that about any human being.”
Yes you can, it is not just Africans that love to dance. The same thing can be said about Latin-Americans, Europeans and Westerners. People love to dance, it’s a universal thing not just an African thing. There is so much more to an African than dancing! I can tell you smdh stories of people asking me if I know this South African dance (you know am not South African right? I am Nigerian) or let Naturalhairchiquita do the dance part after all she is African. SMDH…sigh!

5.”So to be African is just to be human. For whatever reason, I hadn’t seen much media that showed that.”  I agree, I haven’t either. It is like the narrative of Africa can only be of the unfortunate parts. Why aren’t the inspirational, succesful and beautiful parts shown? Poverty, mal-nutrition and lack of education is everywhere not just Africa. I am not saying don’t show it. Do so, so that there can be aid and help.

There is so much more to Africa, there is a spirit to my continent that is beautiful, proud, strong, resilient, amazing and  badass! As a Nigerian born and raised in Nigeria to Nigerian parents. I was taught to be proud, confident and bold about Africa. But when I went to the U.S. for higher education, I was not too ethusied with the preception of my beautiful continent and her people.

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