Category Archives: Madness

There is only one person who brings drama and madness into my life, and that is my douche bag baby daddy from a previous relationship, whom I am tasked to deal with, courtesy of the Georgia Judicial system. I hope he DOESN’T get hit by a bus this week…

How the POTUS’ Pop Off Remix Landed Me on a Cold Tin Roof

music-for-babies-226x300We are introduced to the power of music from our infancy, cautioned about it in our religious lives, rendered mesmerized by its power in our private moments. “Scientists” have long convinced expecting mothers that by exposing their babies to classical music from Back and Brahms, they will exponentially increase the intelligence of that child. Pastors have warned many a congregation about the type of music they allow to penetrate their psyche.

“Your ears are a gateway to your soul!” they spit.

And of course, anyone who has spent a week fed on a steady diet of R&B (the old school sort, not this dishwater they are peddling today) knows the draw and power of baby-making music.

Yes indeed! Given the right circumstances, music has the ability to exert a certain kind of influence on any living soul. I ascribe to the notion that it’s important to discern what genre of music you submit yourself to; and if I had stayed true to my own convictions, I never would have ended up on my neighbor’s roof and breaking into her house.

A few days ago, VSB published an article recounting President Obama’s use of the term “pop off” during a press conference about his cabinet’s proposed response to the ISIS attacks on Paris last week. They coined it “the Blackest thing that happened this week.” The incident gave birth to one of the greatest moments in pop culture and Black internet history. Within hours, a POTUS Press conference playlist had been compiled featuring every crunk anthem that’s ever been the cause of street brawls, bar fights and Springer showdowns. And THEN, JX Cannon upped the ante and crafted this… Well, I don’t know what this is. For once, I’m at a loss for words and am not quite sure how to describe this piece of auditory magic.

All I know is that the POTUS Pop Off crunk remix had an immediate effect on me and I was ready to face my day with spurs on!

Here’s the thing about crunk (and trap and all related genres): It will have you convinced you are darn near invincible. I am a 37 year old, 225 lbs woman. I am the antithesis of “invincible”. And yet when L’il Jon interrogates humanity with rhetorical questions like “Turn down for what?!?” I find myself wondering the same thing. What, in fact, am I turning down for?

It was in this spirit that I approached my neighbor, Ms. Phoebe* on Tuesday morning. Ms. Phoebe is my 60-something year old Jamaican neighbor I’ve mentioned in the past. We trade favors for one another, as good neighbors are wont to do. On this occasion, she was standing outside with her Chihuahua looking quite perplexed. Marshall and I reached her at almost the same moment.

“Ahhh, I locked myself out of my house again,” she groaned. “I don’know what I’m gonna do…”

The wheels in Marshall’s head were turning but to no avail. He admitted he had no solution either.

“Can you open the door with a credit card?” Ms. Phoebe asked hopefully. “The last time I did this, a friend was able to do so fuh me.”

“No. I don’t know how to do that,” my husband admitted.

I snorted, disgusted by the spirit of defeat that had enveloped the pair. This was NO problem at all! I knew exactly how to get Ms. Phoebe back into her house!

“I see your bedroom window is open just a crack. I can get up on the roof, crawl through and let you in.”

Ms. Phoebe looked at me in surprise…and a good bit of concern.

“Oh, but you’re so well dressed. I don’wan yuh to get all dutty…”

I waved away her disquiet with my confidence. “It’s just jeggings. Marshall, retrieve the ladder! I have climbing to do!”

Knowing better than to argue, Marshall did as he was bid and got the ladder. I skipped over to Ms. Phoebe’s house and eyed the distance I was to eventually scale. Doubt overtook me, but just for a moment. Recalling the magical melody from the POTUS Pop Off mix I felt recharged, instantly.

Pop off, pop off, pop-pop-pop pop off…

As it turned out, the ladder was too short. We’d need another solution.

“I’ll have to climb on top of my car to get up there,” I announced.

Ms. Phoebe began to call on Jesus and the saints for my protection. I appreciated her prayers, but at that moment I didn’t quite need them. I was fueled on a presidential crunk/trap mix. Adrenalin was coursing through my veins!

Pop off, pop off, pop-pop-pop pop off…

Now that I was safely on the top of her garage, I gingerly made my way across the flimsy tin sheeting to her window. I was confronted by a glass pane that wasn’t securely set in place. Every time I slid it up, it came sliding back down. I imagined myself being impaled by the dusty glass in an attempt to shimmy through the 2’ high opening. I heard Ms. Phoebe bark her encouragement from below.

“Girl, jus’ break that sh*t if yuh need to!”

Pop off, pop of, pop-pop-pop pop off…

No need for that. I found a few pieces of wood on the roof, propped the window open, knocked over a side table and a fan on my way in, and made way down the stairs. Ms. Phoebe was overjoyed when I turned the knob and let her in. She thanked me profusely, and I told her not to mention it. This is the same woman who gave me a bottle of homemade pepper sauce not three days before. How could I NOT climb her roof and reunite her with her belongings?

Now, this is the part where you point out that we could have easily contacted one of the 12 locksmiths that work and operate in the Roswell area. And yes, you are right to note this. But in my defense, I was under the influence of crunk and cannot be held responsible for my irresponsible actions! Un-crunk Malaka would have done just as you suggested: Called the locksmith on my phone, waited for him/her to arrive with my neighbor, offered her words of encouragement and assured her she was not “stupid” for locking herself out.

But these aren’t the decisions one makes when you’ve got Pop off, pop of, pop-pop-pop pop off… on repeat in your head. Turn up ALWAYS wins.



Is Rae Dawn Chong the Only Black Woman to Pilot a Plane in the History of Film?

“I think Rae Dawn Chong is the only black woman to fly a plane in a crunch time situation.”


“Rae Dawn Chong. You know…with the curly hair?”

“Is she Chinese? Her last name is ‘Chong’…”

“Babe. Tommy Chong is her dad. Cheech and Chong?”

Marshall grabs his iPhone and sets about Googling. He has no idea who or what I’m talking about. Had this conversation transpired between Sami/Adwoa Gyekye and I, or any person who spent their childhood watching the same 15 films repetitively because migration to Africa in the 80s necessitated it, we would have gotten much further along in the exploration of this question and perhaps even arrived at some alternate conclusion.

But this conversation was NOT carried out with someone of  with an underprivileged movie viewing background. This conversation was between me and someone who had unlimited access to Nickelodeon and NBC after school specials and a plethora of disposable content. Someone who will never know what it’s like to pine for those weekends that stretched into months in anticipation of a new VHS sent from a sympathetic cousin in the US filled with never-before-seen cartoons and blow man films like Commando. I can quote Commando, and Rae Dawn Chong is the reason. She was simply amazing.


I used to be in love with Rae Dawn Chong. I loved the sound of her name, the color of her skin, the curl of her hair. I think I mostly loved her because I frequently confused her with Irene Cara, who for me was the epitome of youthful Black woman cool. Rae Dawn Cara could do anything. She could sing, she could dance, she could fly a plane, she was quick with the witty comebacks. At some point in time – probably the late 90s – I separated the two women’s identities in my mind, much to the relief of all concerned. Rae and Irene were free to be their individual selves again.


Marshall and I were watching Modern Marvels: Glass, when Rae popped into present memory. One of the scientists over at Corning was explaining how they made glass for the shuttles that launch into space that had to be strong enough to withstand a temperature of absolute zero. Everyone in each of the frames – from the men fitting the panes into the shuttle holes to the experts interviewed to speak about the company’s and industry’s history – was white and with the exception of one woman, male. It left me mired in a feeling of dread. What would happen if there was a situation that needed an individual with a unique set of skills (not necessarily of the Liam Neeson sort) and there was no white man present? Would we survive? Could someone drive a boat or pilot a plane if necessary? Has a Black woman ever been capable of this? I  only think of one: Rae Dawn Chong.

We have long bemoaned the representation of Black women in film. Until the Magic of Shonda touched our television screens, we were always cast in a box: The sassy best friend. The mouthy security guard. The crack whore strung out on the street. The ‘strong black woman’ who raised her kids on roach infested Raisin Bran and tough love until a benevolent white hero(ine) rescued her son(s) and made him a football/basketball star. If it weren’t for Foxy Brown and the Blaxploitation era, we may never have had the opportunity to see a Black Blow Woman portrayed in film… even in the 80’s when the genre guaranteed a box office hit. It was always Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Gibson, Chuck Norris or Van Damme. The closest we ever got was Rae Dawn Chong.

Marshall disputes this. He says that Halle Berry as Storm is Rae’s counterpart in this unique category. I disagree.

“No. Storm is a Yoruba goddess. And she was trained at a facility specifically kitted out for combat. Storm is not at Starbucks slangin’ coffee right now. She doesn’t count.”

And that’s my point. If you had a room full of 20 people of various races and there was a crunch time situation – say the room began flooding – who would you assign certain tasks to?

  • The white guy to lead, for sure.
  • The Asian (it doesn’t matter if they are male or female. ALL Asians are brainy) to calculate how much oxygen we had left before any imminent escape.
  • If there were zombies outside, (just to up the ante) the huge Black dude would fight them off with his brawn as heroically encouraged everyone to “Go! Just get the f*** outta here, y’all!”

Once safely on the coastline, perhaps the troop happens upon a World War II era plane, long abandoned; its hull covered in seaweed and  lapped by the waves. Who might be qualified to fly this plane, or at least get its propellers rolling? You’re not looking for the Black girl, are you? No…she’s either dead by now, or sent on some fool’s errand like gathering firewood or rustling up some fried chicken. Unless that Black girl is Rae Dawn Chong, the only non-superhero Black female civilian to ever pilot a plane on demand in the history of film.

This is why I will be not only be looking into the cost of flying lessons for my girls, but scuba and equestrian training as well. Because should an oily man rippling with muscles suddenly appear and need them to dive into the water to retrieve the key of a speed boat to ferret them to safety, I don’t want my babies losing their lives because they were afraid to get their hair wet… or unfamiliar with horses or intimidated by knobs and switches. I don’t want my daughters dying an ignoble death while rustling up some fried chicken at the end of the movie.

So! Have you come up with any alternate names yet, or am I right about Rae? Honestly, I can’t think of anyone else who has rivaled her ability to date. Man, Commando got lucky the day he picked her out of the crowd and used her for bait. Look at that poise.

Ladies and gentlemen…Rae Dawn Chong.


I’ve Never Seen a Maxi Pad in a Shoe Box

Something happened to me at work this wee that I thought would be best re-told in rhyme. *Sigh*. Here goes….

I work part time at a retail store

Because I love shoes and things covered in rhinestone

It’s also so that I can get discounts

On several other accessories I hope to later flaunt


And I have never seen a maxi pad in a shoe box


I’ve seen many things while at my post

People of different races stealing things, probably most

Or is it one particular group who delights in leaving items strewn on the floor?

Ugh, those are the days at work I most abhor


Yet I have never seen a maxi pad in a shoe box


I’ve seen grown men spit into our plastic bins in the aisles

I’ve watched pregnant women hurl their bile

I’ve looked on while little Frankie runs roughshod all over the store

While his mother stares at him blankly with eyes that say “I can’t take this anymore!”


Yet I have never seen a maxi pad in a shoe box


I’ve seen shady customers try to purchase items with fake checks

Then storm off when the transaction fails screaming:

“You’re gonna hear from my lawyer, you bet!”

A quivering sales associate stands at the till in fear

Wondering if the threat means that the end of her employment is near


Yet I have never seen a maxi pad in a shoe box

There are days when retail work can tire you to the bone

When your feet are so sore that you cry on the way home

When your back turns to jelly and your knees turn to jam

You want to quit but can’t, because your colleagues have become your fam


And also because you’ve never seen a maxi pad in a shoe box


Until tonight…


What manner of zoo animal came into your store

Who would think it fit to remove a sanitary napkin from her drawers

And place the vaginal scented item in a box of Michael Kors’

When the distance measured to the toilet in feet was no further than four?


Why am I looking at this maxi pad in a shoe box???


Who does this…and why?

Was it for the sole purpose of making me cry?

I swear, I only work here to get by

Not because I have aspirations of becoming a socialite…


Father in Heaven… I mean. It’s a maxi pad. In a shoe box!


Perhaps you’re wondering if it was bloody

Or tinged in a color that made it appear muddy

Your imagination conjures up visions of things nasty

Even the previous owner, for she surely must be trashy


To do something as vile as leave a maxi pad in a shoe box

And so my friends, I must end this little rhyme

And hope when I go to work next, it will be not to speak of a time

When I perchance wandered down the meandering store aisles

And felt my heart quicken at so tawdry a sight

As a maxi pad in a shoe box.





Why Aren’t Black Women Considered Funny?

Greetings, saints. I won’t be keeping you long today because I actually have to work on a book of short stories exclusively written for a certain sister of mine, so brevity will have to be the order of the day.

Do you consider Black women to be funny? No, seriously…think about it. Can/are Black women considered comedic “geniuses”, and why/why not? I ask because of several events I’ve witnessed unfold on social media.

Between 2008-2010, I used to run a blog called It was a breaking news website, wholly devoted to satire. My cousin Ms. Naa used to read some of the stories on her radio program to rave reviews. By chance, she revealed to a certain mutual acquaintance in the entertainment industry that I was the sole entity behind all of the writing on the blog. (I had one guest post during its entire run.) His reply?

“What? I know guys have humor like this…but a chick? Nah!”

I was young(er) in those days, and foolishly took his surprise that someone of my gender could be capable of such a feat as a compliment. Much like when white people mark with (pleasant) surprise that Africans can grow their own crops or know what a rolling pin is. Nevertheless, his remark troubled me: Why wouldn’t I be considered funny because I am a woman? Why would anyone not expect me to be?

Black women the world over are expected to conform to a specific set of stereotypes, and even when we refuse to, that roguishness must not extend beyond a certain margin. In Ghana just this week, Nana Aba Anamoah discovered the hard way what the repercussions are for evoking humor in a society that:

  • Doesn’t understand a particular genre or brand of humor
  • Doesn’t anticipate women being capable of that brand of humor

AnneBeing an African comedienne in this day and age is much like being a Vaudeville performer thrust into the 21 Century. Women who are deemed “funny” are expected to perform tropes that depict them as clueless, humble, struggling to navigate even the simplest of tasks. Ugandan actress and comedienne, Anne Kansiime, is one of the few women who has been able to break the dependence on these tired tropes for laughs to great success. And then, there’s Luvvie No-Last-Name-Needed-Nuff-Said-Ajayi.

In Nana Aba’s case, she shared a picture of a football match and implied that she was present in an attempt to prank her followers. Only she and her followers know what kind of rapport they share, so it was for them to get the joke. If I photoshopped an image of myself perched on the edge of Prince’s guitar for instance, with the caption “Haters will say I was never here” every faithful reader of MOM would understand what was implied. The rest of the clueless world would not, and then accuse me of madness. (But you know… actually mean it. Not in that “ha ha, Malaka, you so crazy kinda way.) Image manipulation is a tool widely used in the realm of humor in this age of technology. Some have suggested she not venture into the realm of comedy again. (A woman actually said this to me.) Why the hindrances and false outrage that eventually cost her her job?

Someone shared this video with me earlier today and instructed me to “listen to this buffoonery” that better be a joke.

OF. COURSE. IT. WAS. A. JOKE. How could anyone take this seriously?

Like fart jokes or geek humor, this type of humor isn’t for everyone. It’s a parody of real life events that are a result of the global phenomenon “Netflix and chill”. It’s commonly accepted that if a guy invites a girl over for “Netflix and chill”, he really is gunning for sex in the long run. And it is also a rebuke to Netflix to update their title selection – which does, save for a few exceptions – is really antiquated and does suck. Even as I type, I’m watching ‘Murder She Wrote’ because it is one of Netflix’s better offerings. Also, note her interjections during her speech. This was my favorite:

“I’m sorry… I’m 16 and I have heartburn from this Netflix baby and the lemon pepper wings.”

WHAT?!? #Dead

But of course, because Black women are ONLY perceived as ratchet, unaware, bumbling hood rats with no common sense, it would be impossible to see this as one of our own poking fun at herself or the stereotype she’s been made to bear.

Bassey Ikpi, whom I think is one of the funniest African women breathing life, often makes references to her imaginary relationship with Chiwetel Ejiofor…and has gotten a lot of us to buy into it. I have appointed myself as the plantain prefect for their wedding. (Bassey doesn’t know yet. It’s my wedding gift.) And STILL, there are enough clowns (not of the delightful sort)that jump into her newsfeed to ask – without irony and no shame – if she should seek professional mental assistance.

Again. IT’S A JOKE.

Ms. Ikpi has quite a firm grasp on reality, people.

So what’s the deal? Why aren’t Black women expected or allowed to explore these facets of their personhood? Why must we be constantly reduced to raging, furious caricatures of who we actually are? Anyone?


NB: If you’re trying to Google MaizeBreak and coming up empty, it’s because I stopped paying on the domain. I could have told you that in the middle of this post, but I wanted to watch you run in circles.

NB: And before you mental Oompa Loompas swoop into my comments about Nana Aba, I am aware she was fired for  “copyright infringement”, not for a joke. She denies this claim, and until it’s proven otherwise, I believe her.

How I (Presumedly) Became Ghana’s First Female MC

This is one of those stories I was going to wait to tell my grand kids to serve as a moral or a fable, but I guess I’ll tell it to y’all now. Just hold on till the end.


As a teenager, I frequently found myself the subject of rumors – the quality of which varied from the outrageous to the plausible. Some where laughable and others really hurtful. Being subjected to rumors is the price of admission into certain cliques and even certain academic institutions in Accra. I have slept with people I’ve never met, been on vacation to places I’ve never heard of, bombed exams I never took. I’ve survived the onslaught almost unscathed.

There are so rumors so ridiculous that it belittles one to even address them. These are the type that earn an “Ahhh? Is that what you heard?” coupled with a side eye and a sucking of the teeth. Then there are others that are amusing at first, then flattering, then potentially lethal to your street cred if left unaddressed. The rumor that I am Ghana’s FIRST female MC is one of those.

Yes. You read that right. It’s rumored that I am Ghana’s pioneer female MC. Mic Checka Malaka in the hizz-ous!!!

This is something I’ve heard before, but never really took seriously. If not for a respected member of Ghana’s music industry asking me to tell him how it all happened it last night, I wouldn’t be addressing it all! But if it has reached THIS person’s ears, then the rumor has grown teeth and wings and is auditioning for a part in Game of Thrones. I would let the rumor persist if not for the fact that I may be called on stage one day to “spit bars like I used to back in the day” for an expectant crowd and then find myself staring blankly into a sea of Accra’s finest looking like this guy:

riakWhat I am about to tell you is going to confound you. It may change your opinion of me forever. I am willing to take that risk. The truth must be known!

In the early 90’s, hip hop was HUGE. It was bigger than anything that had come before. Bigger than jazz, bigger than ragtime, bigger than Koo Nimo. This was the era of Queen Latifah, Naughty by Nature, Biggie and Pac. I had just completed my O’levels and my imagination, potty mouth and I were ready to fully engage in all the musical glory that the genre had to offer. I entered and performed in several talent concerts in the city, ready to show off my rap skills.

People used to say I looked like her. Humph. Wish I looked like her MONEY!

People used to say I looked like her. Humph. Wish I looked like her MONEY!

Well, it wasn’t “several” really. More like 1.5. And that’s exactly what makes this rumor so hard to believe if you were there and SAW what happened.

In those days, everybody in secondary school had a rap/rhymes/lyric book. We would all write down the lyrics to songs in exercise books and perform them later. Some people were better at it than others, usually those who painstakingly scribbled out the words to genres as divergent as country is from high-life.  The person with the best compilation of lyrics won. Won what, no one knows. Lets say they won honor…that honor being bestowed the mantle of being the go-to person for verification of lyrical content. This is how a whole dormitory in a certain unnamed school could perform Fresh Prince’s ‘Summertime’ with the intro going “Hegediz kukum hedediz…” (Here it is…) with gusto and without apprehension.

The first time I rapped was with my classmate Akua. We performed Pharcyde’s ‘Passin Me By’ at a show in GIS. I was the dude with the high pitched, nasal voice…or at least I was supposed to be. On the day of the actual show, I chickened out at used my regular speaking voice in the performance. Akua hardly spoke to me after that. We’re Facebook friends now, so I guess she’s forgiven me.

The next time I was supposed to rap (the .5 in this equation) was at Labadi Beach during some event during the long vac. I had been invited by Wos, Ben, Eddie and Jake to join their group. I didn’t understand why, but it was something to do so why not? I asked my mom for permission, she gave it, and I practiced for the show. I didn’t even write my own rhymes – something that it is critical for any person claiming MC status to do. I think the name of the group was NFL, I can’t remember. All I know was Das EFX was big at the time, and every other word Ben and Wos rapped had an “iggity” at the end. I was going out with a guy named Joe at the time. This is where you’ll want to pay attention.

On the day of the even, your humble potty mouthed thug miss arrived at the beach in all white. I wore white baggy pants, a fitted white shirt, cornrows and combat boots. I also had a baseball bat in my hand. You know…to up the hard core effect and to let people know I meant bidness. I had such a hard life living in a 5 bedroom home in Labone, naw’mean? The presenters of the show instruct us to step out on stage so we could be introduced to the crowd later.

“Oh look! They even have a girl in their group!” he trills.

The crowd goes wild. I grip my baseball bat tighter, cock my head to the side and deliver a 5 point mean mug. We descend from the stage where Joe is waiting for me. I feel exhilarated.

“You’re not going to rap today,” he said flatly.


“No girlfriend of mine is going to stage to rap,” he sneered.

My sister was disgusted. I was confused. What was this gibberish this boy was talking? As it turned out, I couldn’t perform that day because our set was too long. Each performance had to be no more than 3 minutes. Ours was between 5 and 6. I volunteered to step back. The boys debated and Jake was next on the chopping block. Somehow, later during the show, Jake and I got into it. I think I told him his breath was stank, his body was stank, something or everything about him was stank. He threatened to shoot me because “you don’t know I am carrying a gun eh?”

My sister, always ready to come to my rescue swoops in with this challenge:

“Shoot her! Shoot her! I want to see if you can shoot her!”

Jake backs off and my sister hurls a string of insults as his retreating silhouette. Joe and I broke up shortly afterward. He’d left for the States to go to college, and I was grateful for his departure. Ladies: don’t ever let some boy waltz into your daughter’s life and control or quell her creativity. Did he born her? No. He did NOT.

If you can suss out from this series of events how I became Ghana’s female first MC, please let me know and come for toffee!

At What Point Does One Cease to be African?

There is an article on Medium that has been floating around the internet for almost a week now. It deals with one African woman’s (country of origin unknown and unclear) umbrage with African/Black Americans “appropriating” African culture. As a blogger, I am reluctant to participate in a public pile-on as I’m sure I’ve written my fair share of provocative articles which unwittingly or unintentionally caused harm. Though I vehemently disagree with every syllable she wrote, I wouldn’t want to refer any of my readers to her domain for the sole purpose of setting her comments section aflame. Plus, I don’t know if it was this author’s intention to be as inciting and divisive as the language and tone in her article would suggest.

In her piece, the author writes:

“I’m not trying to start a war, but I would just like you all to realize the hypocrisy of seeing someone wearing a Fulani septum ring, rocking adjellaba, painted with Yoruba-like tribal marks, all the while claiming that this is meant to be respectful. It’s a hodgepodge, a juxtaposition, a right mess of regional, ethnic and cultural customs and it screams ignorance and cultural insensitivity.”

She then goes on to compare African/Black Americans wearing tribal accessories and African prints to the Australian guy rocking dread locks. Surely by now, I have given you enough clues to find the original article. Got it? Eh hehhhn. Now we can discuss!

Most people who read the assertions levied in this piece – and indeed, this line of thinking – replete with pig wind. The only way to take any part of the idea that Black people can appropriate themselves seriously is to ignore or somehow magically erase the fact that we in the Diaspora are from West Africa. A recent shipwreck discovery revealed that the trans-Atlantic slave trade extended as far as South Africa. Black people are Africans, and that’s the end of it. Time and circumstance have robbed us all of aspects of our identity, but the fact remains that our genomes will never be snuffed out. Our skin, lips, hair, the visceral connection to one another that compels us to nod “what up?” as we pass total strangers of the Black variety will always tell the truth. That is why I found this article so hurtful and unnecessary. It is just another spoke in the wheel that keeps tempers between Africans flared and takes us that much further from the unification we so desperately need!

One of my favorite pastimes is to study people, particularly African Americans. There are some that have so much of the continent in them that I could tell them what village they came from. In fact, MX5’s husband had an encounter recently with a Ghanaian who worked at Best Buy and struck up a casual conversation with him based on the same observation/assuptions. Eventually, he asked him where in Ghana he was from.

“I’m not from Ghana,” FX5 replied.

“Okay…so where in Ghana are your parents from?” the man pressed.

“My parents are from Norf Cah’lina (no one from NC pronounces it NorrrrTH Carolina!). I’m from North Carolina.”

Shocked, the Ghanaian retail worker informed him that the only reason he treated him with such familiarity was that he was sure that FX5 was a Ghanaian! He shouldn’t have been, because FX5 is essentially an African.

Image from Dex R Jones' Envy of the World. I believe the caption encapsulates the experience of many.

Image from Dex R Jones’ Envy of the World. I believe the caption encapsulates the experience of many.

I understand the writer’s need to police African-ness. We have all either policed or been policed by other Black folk who have formulated a measure of Blackness by which to judge all other Black folk by. Those who are found wanting are ridiculed and ostracized until they are compelled to conform to that standard. However, we who have had the pleasure of living on the Continent know that her indignation is neither righteous nor founded; not truly. Most of the things we hold dear as “African” weren’t designed on the continent at all. The most recent may be the furor over Louis Vuitton’s rebranding of the Ghana-Must-Go bag, which has many Ghanaians on social media are in a veritable tizzy.

louis-vuitton-africa-styleThis “African” bag was (and still is) mass produced in China. When Ghanaians who had migrated to Nigeria in search of economic opportunity. Like all economic migrants, they were seen as parasitic on an economy that could not sustain the entire population. In 1983, they were given mere days to pack their belongings and leave the country. The cheapest and fastest way for the expelled to stow and carry their possessions were in these cheap plastic bags. Many people died during the forced migration. There is no pride or symbolism to be found in this particular bag – practical as it may be – unless you’re a sadist.

Secondly, if we’re truly honest, the things that make us “African” are the things we often despise the most. It has taken African Americans to help us find pride in them again, foremost of those would be the darkness of our skin. The neophyte globe trekker would be surprised for example to discover just HOW many Africans hate the darkness of their skin. The proof is in the billions of dollars spent annually on bleaching and toning creams.  Rappers of African descent come to the continent to shoot music videos and request only “light skinned, pretty girls” come to casting calls. Pupils are frequently called “black boy” where black is used as a pejorative. If you can’t be black in Africa, where can you be? Up until a few years ago – and I mean three – it was virtually impossible to find a hairdresser in Ghana who had in-depth of how to style and maintain natural hair. Every salon I visited would scrub my hair with detergent laced shampoo, take a step back to look at the matted mess they’d created and ask me in Twi if they could ‘put some small perming cream inside’.

“Just to soften it a little,” the beautician would say encouragingly.

No plix. I’ve have enough breakage to know what putting small perming cream can do to one’s follicles. If it wasn’t for African American women pushing through the ridicule, stigma and backlash for wearing their hair as it grows naturally out of their hair, threading, afropuffs and twists would not be as trendy on the continent as they are today. There would be hundreds more women wearing weaves or those slicked back, oily coifs resulting from poorly relaxed hair.

And let’s not forget, this is still a continent where folks ask you, without irony, what your English or Christian name is after you’ve introduced yourself as Kobina Owiredu Boateng. The inquirer is confused by the contents and finality with with you’ve delivered news of your moniker. They query further.

“Oh…but that’s what they call you in the house, isn’t it? I’m asking of your English name.”

“I don’t have one.”

“So…you use Kobina in the office? Ei.”

Why? Because in the mind of the every day African, a professional African must surely have an English name! In many ways, our concept of African-ness is counterfeit koraaaa. A lot of the concepts and ideas we hold fiercely to in the name of tradition are eerily Victorian and frankly, anti-black.

I could have supported the author’s assertions about Black American’s appropriating African culture if she could say definitively when someone stops being African. My children are mixed Ghanaian and whatever else is in their African American father’s bloodline. Are they not African? If my daughter decides to do dipo rights at the appropriate time, will she be appropriating Ghanaian culture? What about her great-granddaughters who may want to participate in the ceremony? Will my descendants four generations hence be denied their right to be called African because one group says so? Will they not be allowed to wear kente or kaba and slit because their great-great grandmother was Ghanaian – and just as Black as they are – they have not earned the right to wear the clothes of her Ghanaian ancestor because she may have never been to Ghana, therefore it’s “disrespectful”?

I swear, we are the only people who do this. Indians don’t do that to other Indians. It doesn’t matter if you live in New York or on the moon, you are expected to participate in your culture and know your roots! Why do Africans mock and shove and deny people of African descent the right to connect and more importantly heal the wounds of being robbed of identity? Instead of prohibiting “everyone at Afropunk” from wearing Fulani septum rings, hold a seminar and educate those who are clearly thirsty to connect on the use or significance of these items! But you can’t, can you? You yourself as an African barely knows what it means to be African or understand the roots and origins of your traditions! And honestly, if we are going to insist that African Americans stop “appropriating” African culture, then we must also insist that Africans stop doing this:

It’s only fair.





African Rappers Who have Tried to Kill me But will Not Succeed in de Name of Jesosss….



Timbalands in 100 degree weather and humidity at 140%.

An NY “kep” tilted just to the side to indicate that you are saturated with that certain “I-don’t-care-ism”. (Or perhaps your African head is too big for the kep, who knows?”

These are just a few of the trappings of the African hip hop artiste grinding on the internet streets must acquire and perfect if he/she has any hope of raking in all those nairas and rands. The goal is to murder a track and by extension, murder “the game”. Some of these hip hop boys have also tried to murder me in the process, but like you, I have stood firm and stayed strong! I refuse to allow their trickery and roguishness bring me to an early grave in the name of all that is holy!

Oh…who are these boys? Allow me introduce you! I hope you have a strong pair of ribs and 15 minutes to spare. These videos are a doozie.

First up is RIAK, Sudan born, Minnesota bred round the way rapper. You know who else is from Minnesota? Prince. You know who Minnesota swerved when it was time to receive talent? RIAK. Please watch:

When Drake and Meek Mill began their Twitter spat which quickly devolved into a diss track rap “battle”, ‘Legendary’ top-top Nigerian rapper Vic. O promised to “murder” both Drake and Mik if he got 5,000 retweets. Within 48 hours, he accomplished that goal and one of the worst (and most hilarious) African rap videos was born:

Now, there are times when an African rapper will intentionally use his craft to make a mockery of the aberration  of Western culture that has become pervasive in sectors of African society. Ghana rapper Wanlov the Kubolor is one of those rap-smiths. Here is his contribution to near heart attack:

And what list of Africans who have caused near car crashes and the death of a thousand fairies and babies’ dreams be without acknowledging the contributions of songstress Berenice? Though she is not a rapper, she is certainly worthy of honorable mention on this list. It’s been a year since this video went viral, and it’s still as delightful as the first time it almost killed me:

In fact, my sister and I were so inspired by Berenice that we made a video emulating her while we  were on vacation in the Islands earlier this year:



You. Yes, you reading! There is a video of a girl screaming “Eddie Woking”. You know the one I’m referring to! Feel free to drop it in the comments section. It is only THEN that this disastrous list can be deemed complete. It’s okay! It’s time for the world to know that the Continent is not just inhabited with warlords and greedy governors. We have other ways of killing ourselves…chiefly with laughter.