Of Cakes and Clitorises

I had an Egyptian friend who was an artist, who left his country about 17 years ago because the views of his countrymen were too “myopic”.

“They are too bound by religion,” he snorted with disdain. “Religion has done more to harm my country than it has to help it.”

“I can see that,” I nodded. I mean, it’s true. The abuse of religion and atrocities in the name of whatever God one might ascribe to in any geographic location has only served to set humanity back a few decades.

“That’s why when I went back to Egypt I did an art show using the Qur’an,” he continued.  “I ripped pages from it, painted them red and smeared cow dung all over them.”

“What the hell did you do that for?” I asked indignantly. “Why would you desecrate a holy book like that?”

“You see!” he said triumphantly. “That right there! What makes the book ‘holy’? Why should you have such a visceral reaction? It was done in the context of art, and art is meant to provoke thought! It’s just a piece of paper!”

“So what happened after your show?”

He was pensive before he spoke.

“I had to leave Egypt, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back…at least not to where I’m from.”

*****

I never forgot that conversation with Khalid, and that was well over 10 years ago. He was such a sweet guy, but I just never understood why he would have the need to do something so hurtful in the name of art. Sure, religion has held progress back in some ways, but it has also been the catalyst for a lot of good that has been done in the world as well. Defiling it to avenge some personal discontent is just as deplorable an act as those who use religion to propagate their own evil causes – like war and rape. I’ve always assumed that he was the victim of or witnessed some wrong that was committed in the name of religion, but he never confirmed it. He did state in no uncertain terms that he harbored a personal disdain for Islam, which probably made his sacrilege even more rewarding. I was disappointed in my friend.

These old feelings rose anew in me yesterday when I got wind of the image of a ‘Nigger Cake’ that was circulating around the web. (In the unlikely event that you have not read about this story, you can catch up on it here ) Makode Linde is the ‘artist’ responsible for the work, and is described as a man of African descent. He is clearly mixed race, and obviously identifies more with his European heritage than he does with whatever alleged part of Africa he is supposed to share DNA with. His contempt for his African heritage is obvious. Why else would he seek to make a spectacle of and trivialize this very real issue that affects thousands of African girls and women on the Continent today?

As deplorable as the actions of the (laughing) Swedish officials taking part in the mock mutilation of a minstrel painted African woman, another bigger issue is hardly getting any attention, and it is that issue that concerns me more: The participation of a Black man in this abhorrence.

As I’ve said here on M.O.M. before, it seems like every few months Black women are the subject of some pop culture attack. I sat down for a few minutes yesterday and tried to conjure up a timeline that I could point to to refute this assertion for objectivity’s sake. I failed.

I believe that every Black or African woman can point to an incident in their life when they realized that they were the least valued being in existence, and particularly when pop culture presented them with that truth. Perhaps for some it might have been the illustrated caricatures of Aunt Jemima or Venus Hottentot from decades back. I grew up with Aunt Jemima, and I never equated her image with anything culturally off. However I imagine that an 8 year old girl growing up in the south 60 years ago would like at the pancake icon and say “that doesn’t look like me or anyone I know!” In truth, the Aunt Jemima we know today bares scant resemblance to the woman on the original boxes sold over 100 years ago.

For me, the infamous Don Imus incident was what seared this perception into my consciousness. His remark that Rutgers University’s female basketball team was a bunch of “nappy headed hoes” only served to keep ancient the canon ball that assaults Black female dignity rolling.
From Mammie, to Aunt Jemima, to Venus, to Sheneneh, to Nappy Headed Hoes, to Satoshi Kanazawa and his “study” declaring that Black women are less physically attractive, to this preposterous FGM ‘nigger’ cake…whew! Aren’t you tired after reading this? Imagine how I feel living it!

Now, you would imagine that there would be one group of people best able to identify with the struggles of a Black woman, and that would be the Black boys and men raised by them. Sadly, Black men are more often than not the cause of the ills that Black women face.

Whenever the attack comes, I listen for the voice of our men. This time they will come to our defense! I supplicate inwardly. This time they will come out and roar, saying this far is far enough!  However as usual, after Jesse and Al have been told to hold their peace and stay in their place, the collective voice of Black men goes eerily quiet.

You might recall that during the Don Imus incident, Fox News assembled Dr. Lamont Hill, Patrice O’Neal and some other guy on Sean Hannity’s show. Given that Patrice O’Neal was there to defend Imus’ disgusting utterances, he was given the courtesy of speaking uninterrupted by the host. O’Neal even went further to invite Dr. Hill to join in the jest.

“Nappy headed hoes – you know that’s funny!” Patrice declared.

Lamont Hill did not think so, and later on in the show told Patrice that he was up there “soft shoeing” for the majority. Well, Patrice didn’t like that one bit! Are Patrice O’Neals actions and attitude towards my women isolated? Hardly. In fact, they constitute the norm in the Black intra-racial experience.

Look at the African continent and look beyond the issues that get the most media attention – like poverty and access to education -that plague women. Makode Linde chose to bring attention to female genital mutilation, a very real issue on the continent, but by ridiculing it and inviting a bunch of people who have never had to suffer through this painful ordeal to participate in that ridicule. Had he gotten up from the table and said “Look folks, this is a very serious issue, let’s give it some respect”, we’d be having a different conversation. Instead, he lay underneath the table in blackface and let the Swedish Minister for culture feed him a piece of freshly sliced clitoris. But it’s supposed to be okay, right? Because it’s art -“Black” art.

But why the need for FGM in the first place? The only reason young girls are being mutilated is because men, African men in particular, refuse to grow up. They believe that removing a girl’s clitoris will make her less promiscuous, thereby reducing/eliminating the presupposed baggage that promiscuity brings. It’s the same reason for breast ironing, which is “the pounding and massaging of a pubescent girl’s breasts using heated objects in an attempt to make them stop developing or disappear. It is typically carried out by the girl’s mother in an attempt to protect the girl from sexual harassment and rape, to prevent early pregnancy that would tarnish the family name, or to allow the girl to pursue education rather than be forced into early marriage. It is mostly practiced in parts of Cameroon, where boys and men may think that girls whose breasts have begun to grow are ready for sex. The most widely used implement for breast ironing is a wooden pestle normally used for pounding tubers. Other tools used include bananas, coconut shells, grinding stones, ladles, spatulas, and hammers heated over coals.”

 Why the need to desecrate African women and girls’ bodies? Because men refuse to practice self-control, and NO ONE is willing to force them to do so. They get free pass after pass. Instead of requiring that they practice restraint and dignity, we’re cutting into the intimate areas of babies with razor blades! And why would anyone think that a Black woman’s body was worthy of such mutilation? Why is that okay? For the very same reason my friend smeared cow sh*t all over his Qur’an: it is not respected. It is treated as an object of disdain; and there are no repercussions that really matter.

 The assertion that Makonde Linde’s work is not “racist” because the artist as Black is as asinine as the assertion that slavery was not “painful because many of the slave raiders were Black Africans as well”. When an atrocity is committed, the only perspective that matters at all is that of the victim. The victim doesn’t care who hurt her…only that she was hurt! Racism has nothing to do with the color of the person meting out punishment, and ONLY to do with their perception and prejudices against the subject of their hatred. So yes, Black people can be racists.
I am offended, but I am not surprised. We are dealing with a small boy, and a group of cultural illiterates after all.

Linde is just one speck in a collective of Black that needs to grow up and become mature citizens. Black men need to learn how to be men for their own sake, but more so for the sake of Black women as well.

  • As a first generation Cameroonian-American I was shocked to hear my mother tell me that my grandmother had wanted to pound my chest fufu when I was younger.

    My own mother and her sisters had to experience it when they were younger but it certainly didn’t do a thing but leave bad memories, because they are pretty well-endowed.

    My mother didn’t want me to go experience something she describes as unnecessary suffering.

    You are right Malaka-male apathy towards the situation of female mutilation or black female bashing is only perpetuating both.

    • How absolutely terrifying! Thank God for your mother. Other women would allow pressure to obey cultural norms to allow the cycle to continue.

      As for me, I just don’t understand this whole breast pounding thing. If the article I read was correct, it said it’s done because when a man sees a girl with breasts, it’s an indication that she is ready for sex. Maybe so, but does that mean she is ready for sex with YOU, sir? What an entitled attitude!

      We really have to do a better job of raising better men, especially in the rural areas. It’s time to take a long, hard look at what we classify as traditions and decide what good they are really doing. Some of the most enduring traditions were dreamed up by the biggest idiots. Shooting guns wantonly at Christmas comes to mind.

  • Karen

    I’m in tears after watching the video and reading your blog… I’m heart-sick, I’m furious, I’m sitting here wondering what is this world coming to?

  • I have seen his rebuttal in regards to the increasing criticism about his art piece. He danced around the subject of why he chose FGM as his focal point, by stating that the art piece was multifaceted in that it had multiple entries of intention. Most notable bringing light to the fact that censorship and freedom of speech have clouded black identity to believe that FGM only happens in Black Africa. Propagating the notion that only women in Africa are oppressed, which is not quite the case as far as he is concerned He wanted to stress the fact that oppression, especially of the womenfolk ilk is felt all across the world, even in Europe. Furthermore, he also wanted to stress the fact that there are other forms of oppressions taking place in the world, other than FGM that need attention, like homophobia etc.

    As far as I was concerned he rumbled and danced around the question. He did not make much sense to me. Anyway, as far as I am concerned he minimized the effects of FGM to some sort of freak show. Being that he identifies himself as an Afro Swede, I would have thought that he would have researched intensively on the subject material before presenting it into an audience, that could give two hoots about whether or not our women are walking around clitorisless or not! This piece was a cultural mishap on his part! When you have an avenue, to uplift Africa through art, a blog, whatever make use of it!

    Maybe I am too laden with the burden of wanting Africa to shine, positively so and expect the same with Africans, especially those of us in the diaspora to have the same aspirations, forgetting that the continent’s burdens/struggles may not have a direct impact on others, as it has with me! Whatever the case, I’m still #team Africa positive.

    • Bravo Aftican Mami! I couldn’t agree more. I don’t believe this man identifies with Africa in the least. And if he wants to highlight other ills in the world, he has no right to crucify a caricature of a black woman’s body to bring light to these issues! The impudence!

      The only reason he feels comfortable to do so is because he has bought into the notion that we are objects, not people. Foolish small boy.

      • His lack of identification with the continent is apparent, he could climb Mt.Everest and claim it, but you know what dear, actions speak louder than words!

        Great, great writing! ——–>Again, why aren’t you published. Check my twitter time line, there was an #APMG interest!!!!

    • NM

      @ African Mami: “Maybe I am too laden with the burden of wanting Africa to shine, positively so and expect the same with Africans, especially those of us in the diaspora to have the same aspirations, forgetting that the continent’s burdens/struggles may not have a direct impact on others, as it has with me! Whatever the case, I’m still #team Africa positive.

      Bravo! My sentiments exactly!

  • Andrew

    I do not dare to defend African men! However, isn’t it a question of standing by and watching the ‘other’ people make fun of their plight/problems in life..?? That is, when looking at the Swede minister. But seriously, Makonde Linde’s art is so wrong in so many levels, but….does he represent the collective ‘European’ position (yes, he’s European)? Is this the average position of a European? However, I wonder, as an educated African, if am honest with myself, isn’t the position by Linde the true position of most African men? We want to raise awareness but are hopelessly unable!! Clueless….I beg to ask, what could he have done differently…I wonder

    • @ Andrew,

      isn’t the position by Linde the true position of most African men?
      What position———>not having forethought?! You want to tell me, in your daily interactions with people of another race you make us look like fools?!

      What could he have done differently? Researched!
      C’mon, he states that he is AFRO Swede! The AFRO in him should have prompted forethought that would have led him to research on the subject matter. Furthermore, he is interested in raising awareness about his “black identity”—–>way to go with debauching an African woman’s sexuality and making a caricature out of her.

      Nobody is obligated to constantly uplift the continent. But having lived in the diaspora for a long time, I have subjected myself with the sole prerogative of denouncing the stereotypes as merely having some truths, and the rest being falsities. If we are going to tell our stories, we cannot shit on them! It defeats the very purpose of even telling them.

      • Andrew

        @African Mami,
        I see your point and what could have been done differently. Linde lacks foresight and any sensitivity; dangerous given the lack of research. I feel your burden as one who’s away from home but I reckon that sometimes you can be black but have no African in you. It is for that reason that I say he is not really African. His views cannot be qualified as those of an African man. His Afro self may give him the flawed view that he speaks for Africa or wants to uplift the continent, but he simply is not. I’ve read in another blog that the fact that the art is done by an African man validates the caricature ‘thus removing the cannibalistic and racist notions’. Unacceptable. It does not excuse his insensitivity and it is for these reasons that I, being African, consider it deplorable to be put in the same category as Linde. He cannot surely be telling our stories.

        • THIS sounds more like the Andrew I know! For a moment I thought someone had hijacked your user name and was posting basa basa on this space.

        • NM

          @Andrew: Phew, ok thank goodness! I read your first response and I quickly moved you to the ‘insensitive men’ group. I happily transfered you back after reading this morning’s entry. 🙂

  • It was January 2012 in Nigeria when a girl of 15 ran away from home and we learnt of that because a few days before, her sister of 13 was crudely mutilated and she literally bled to death according to hospital records after days of unmentionably excruciating pain.

    I believe she ran away because she believed she might suffer the same fate either to make her conform or to silence her in terms of the unfortunate death of her sister – I was amazed at how FGM cuts a swathe through West Africa to the East/Central Africa and then to North being quite prevalent in Egypt.

    I realised this practice might be difficult to stamp out that all I could say was that the theatre for this macabre practice come under supervised medical procedures if nothing else could be done.

    You also articulate so well that other part that I many a time argued, the societal bye that men have for committing acts of sexual violence against women without having to take responsibility or face consequence shifting the blame on whatever the state of the victim is in dress or body form – I have always asked, when will men be expected to exercise self-control, restraint and respect for their womenfolk?

    Sadly, this cake is only the tip of the iceberg of many of the other underlying issues you discuss but this Swedish caricature just left me completely speechless, sometimes I see things in 2012 and have to check my calendar that we are not in 1912.

  • NM

    All that’s left to say is thank you! For being a voice for women in general, black women particularly and African women specifically. Thank you!

  • Wow, this is the most thought out piece I’ve read about the whole issue. The dehumanization of black women is something that saddens me every day, be it when I see lauded pop stars calling other black woman “nappy headed hoes” or Black men glorifying black (mostly “light-skinned” black women) with Caucasian facial features, while degrading “dark-skinned” Black women . It saddens me that we as black men are responsible for the suffering of our sisters, mothers, friends and lovers.

    Even IF Makonde Linde’s intention was to denounce the complete detachment of Western society from the experiences of African woman who undergo FGM, I think his tasteless and horrific performance was ultimately flawed by the fact that he is a man who clearly hasn’t thoroughly researched the issue (I find it hard to believe that someone who has ever spoken to a victim of this horrendous crimes would do something like this and even if he has had the opportunity to talk with a victim that would simply make him an even worse person, in my opinion ).

    I don’t think men can’t bring up issues like these (we should as well), but there is in some way a limitation in our ability to identify with a victim of such terrible practices. Trespassing our limitations as spectators of these injustices is what ultimately will lead to ambiguous and poorly executed art.

    P.S.: I’m sorry if my comment isn’t completely clear, English is not my first language. I wish I could transcribe my thoughts in a more comprehensible way.

    Again, I thank you for enlightening me with your opinion.

  • Waaaa!!! Words just can’t seem to express what I felt when I watched the video + the sentiments expressed on this post. It’s so wrong on so many levels. As a black man, I feel offended, saddened….FGM, breast ironing (btw, this is the first time I’m encountering it) has no place. Not now, shouldn’t even have been there in the past. God help us and protect our beautiful black sisters. Shame on Linde. Disgraceful. He should travel to Africa and spend some time in villages where such atrocities continue unabated, get 1st hand stories of.the young victims….

  • Reblogged this on ramblingsofadiva and commented:
    I just couldn’t help but share this post with you my dear followers. Racism, FGM and violence against women is an issue we constantly grapple with. It is high time we sensitise others and possibly bring change.

  • antwilliams

    hi. i’m a new reader. thanks for writing such an interesting and thoughtful commentary. i understand the criticism of this piece, but i ask what can be done besides criticizing art? the people that are criticizing, how do you, personally, yourself bring awareness/fight against/prevent / FGM. His caricature cake, to me, is a light-hearted and provocative way to raise awareness about a very serious subject. I have heard of FGM, but like most people I thought, “hmmm…that’s unfortunate,” and went on with my daily life, eating cake and such. Now, that this story/art piece has surfaced years later, I’m forced to reexamine the subject.

    • BOOO!!! And BOOOO I say again! There is no light hearted way to approach FGM! If men were going around cutting other men’s balls off, would you think making a joke of it would be a compassionate response? “Had your balls ripped from you old chap? Have some cake to take your mind off it!”
      Anyone with a brain and a SOUL has never looked at or read about FGM and thought “too bad, so sad”. These women often end up developing fistula at best and end up DYING at worst after these primitive surgeries are performed.

      Man please. Get outta here with all that.

    • @ antwilliams

      Of course it is light hearted when you do not have a vajay jay in between your legs. Of course it is light hearted when you do not come from a community that practices this inhumanity. Of course it will continue to be light hearted, when artists such as Linde use their platform to caricature instead educate the many clueless and ignorant folks alike.

      He was NOT bringing awareness to FGM! Read my first comment. He is as confused and ig’nant as they come! Afro Swede, my foot on that Afro part!

    • NM

      @antwilliams: There some situations anyone with compassion wouldn’t dare inject humor into, FGM is an example. He clearly missed the mark if his intent (which I doubt) was to raise awareness on this issue. Why? Because most people are discussing the absurdity of the cake, the buffoonery of the white people cackling in those photos, his heritage, his intent, race relations, censorship…….. FGM the supposed catalyst for this exhibit falls by the side lines.

      Want a provocative way to drive the evils of FGM home?
      (a) Have an exhibit of pictures such as the one listed on this blog and I mean the ones of little girls (and make no mistake, it is little girls this happens to) sans their clitorises and the barbaric way their labia is sewn together.
      (b) Have victims share their story. The painful recovery, problems urinating, sexual intercourse, giving birth, fistulas…..
      (c) Show videos of little girls (there’s plenty) undergoing the horror. Their screams and blood loss would suffice.

      This atrocity speaks for itself, it didn’t need abstract art or performances as a medium and seems to me with all the laughing fools in the room, nobody got it!

      • antwilliams

        I understand what you all are saying. Perhaps “light-hearted” was a bad choice of words. To me, the singing and marching of the civil rights era was a “light-hearted” way to bring awareness to being beaten to a bloody pulp for being black. But the non-violent approach put the atrocities being committed against blacks in the national spotlight. The genius of MLK (a student of Ghandi) was the obvious juxtaposition of the “light” burden of love and peace against the “heavy” burden of hate and violence. This ultimately led to the Civil Rights Act and a reversal of Jim Crow Laws. In contrast, Malcolm X (at least initially) called for a response equal to the atrocities being committed.

        I ask: what about the alternate scenarios. What if no one laughs? No one cuts the cake? The cake is avoided, removed, or never even seen by the public as it is “highly offensive art.” What would that have accomplished? The prime minister would have just spoke about the freedom of expression and then she would have turned around and silenced this piece about FGM. An artist would have been silenced and the countless screams of victims of FGM would have gone unheard, unnoticed, except in their usual forums of people who usually already know about it. This artist chose to vocalize those screams, to make them real, to put them in your face as you choose to eat cake…or not.

        Also, if I remember correctly, the artists at this event were charged specifically with making a cake. What were the other cakes? No one knows or cares, but as an artist, he has succeeded in creating a piece that gives us all something to think about, a piece that we must react to in some form or fashion. Perhaps you, NM, host, would like to host or have hosted exhibits with graphic images like the one above. I would think this would bring more shame and embarrassment to the the people in the pictures. But this is the power or art. It is something only humans can do and only we can react to. To blame the artist about the creation is like contending with the creator about creation. Even if you are right, nothing is accomplished. In fact, this writing, these thoughts, all of these comments all stem from Malaka’s blog which is itself a response to Linde’s original creation.

        • To blame the artist about the creation is like contending with the creator about creation.

          *Blank stare*—————->Linde’s work is now of a supernatural level?!
          Abeg o!

          Even if you are right, nothing is accomplished.
          Excuse me, what do you mean nothing is accomplished. The tireless efforts of FGM activists began with voicing their concerns/opinions about this atrocity. It then evolved to fighting it at the grass root level. My comments are not in vain! At the end of the day, somebody will fight the fight, as others write about the fight. What is important is that I am contributing to the stoppage of this suffrage.

          • antwilliams

            @Afrikanmami12… This is my point exactly. I agree with you whole heartedly. My original point was that this cake brings the subject to light, as well as the underlying implications of ignoring or accepting the practice. The question is, now that you have viewed this cake, how will you react to, address FGM from this point forward?

            Is the work supernatural? No, but the thought process is. God said let there be light, and there was light. Linde said let there be a cake, an artistic piece that will make real the horrors of FGM to an unsuspecting, unfeeling audience, and there was that cake. Even if they did laugh, I believe they were laughs of discomfort. You can have millions of reactions to your existence on Earth, but the fact that you exist is indisputable. “God why did you make me?” *Blank stare*

            Even if there are elements of cannibalism and racism, I believe they were injected into the conversation by squabblers who saw the images and formed opinions. They artist is “racist” by nature because he uses this stereotype character as a running theme in all of his recent art. This is his mode. I do not believe the artist set out to offend, perhaps to shock, but, chiefly, to aid in the cause of making the world aware of FGM so that perhaps the practice can become more publicly abhorred, more shameful, and ultimately outlawed or at least made hygienic by law with extreme consequences for violators. I don’t believe those who practice FGM would praise the artist or celebrate the cake as an artistic justification of their practices. It’s not that kind of issue, IMO. I believe his prevailing message was that we cannot be happy going about our merry lives eating cake when injustices such as this are happening to citizens of the world. At the very least if you knew nothing of FGM or black caricatures, after seeing this visual you would have to seek out the real pictures, see the real victims, hear the real screams.

            The true victims know nothing of this art. They only know of their powerless position within the households that accept this practice. We, the empowered, have to show the world that this atrocity exist so that minds are changed against this practice. Hopefully generation, by generation the practice is weeded out. Those in control of their own destiny do not have time to fret about the work of an artist.

          • You keep defending this artwork. I keep criticizing it. We’ll never see eye to eye oo. I’ll respectfully bow out of the conversation. Have a great day mister! 🙂

          • You can intellectualize this all you wish, but at the end of the day this side show was all about intent. And the artist’s intentions are nowhere near as noble as you would have us believe, nor were those of anyone in attendance.

            They all knew that this function was centered around FGM (they say in the aftermath). They should have come in a more somber spirit if that is the case. I reject your assertion that the laughter was ‘nervous’. Read the article the audience was EGGING the minister on even in the midst of the screams! The laughter and the willing participation speak more volumes than any empty explanations ever will. When you’re older, perhaps you will see this.

  • Stumbled upon this when ‘isetfiretotherain’ reblogged it on hers and I couldn’t thank her more. I totally agree with all you have written and Linde’s work is disgusting in the least.
    Having said that, i dare say that this problem is even deeper than portrayed. I know for example that a lot of supposedly enlightened, western African-American women are somewhat racist towards Africans too. Something as little as how dark the your skin is, is a damning rhetoric in black America.
    I remember watching the Oprah show once and a bunch of black women where talking about how unattractive black is and how they wanted to have lighter skin hence all the bleach laced cosmetic products everywhere. Wale an American rapper also through one of his rap songs also talked about the issue in one of his songs. I have seen social media requests from young African Americans stating specific conditions like “light skinned guys/girls only.” Now, even these are within the so called ‘western civilisations.’ This problem is a problem of self worth. When majority of a race cutting through generations, secretly or unknowingly wish they could be someone else. Shame on the black man for not standing up to fight this mind set. Generally, there’s an absence of quality leadership amongst black folk. We need to rise now hence it’ll trickle further down to generations yet unborn.
    Linde is the kind of man that will use his left hand to point towards his father’s house. However, there is a ‘Linde’ in a lot of us, whatever our sex.

    The time to act is NOW.

  • MsAfropolitan

    I agree entirely (of course)! I hope it’s just that I’m following the wrong guys on twitter but barely seen any men condemn this from a gendered perspective and I find that truly concerning. In fact I’ve seen discussions from black men about how it could be considered artistic. Like, huh?? I get that same feeling when I’m in Lagos and I witness men act proud that foreigners are using women however they want, in fact contributing to it. Or when I read about how Shirley chisholm’s presidential campaign was greatly damaged by the men if the civil right’s movement (because a woman’s place was not in politics) and yada yada yada. Too many examples. Yet let black/African men be ridiculed and we are first to defend them. Disappointing.

    • @ MsAfropolitan,

      Yup we are not getting African men’s perspective on this. I just posted a question on my twitter on the same. Thus far crickets. Let’s see, how it goes by the end of the day.

  • I would very well hope I am not the only black man who writes about the heinous and debilitation acts of FGM and I have been doing so for years.

    I wrote about a recent FGM death in Nigeria in February, I dare say I do not see enough condemnation of FGM beyond activism and NGOs.

    http://www.akinblog.nl/2012/02/fgm-in-nigeria-raze-abattoirs-of.html

  • I was absolutely appalled by the lack of respect the so called artist obviously lacked, it is very insulting to the dignity of the African woman. i do not buy the idea that he was trying to raise awareness on the issues of FGM. Well, as we can see, he really is neither here no there in making any sense. Often times, people think they are trying to do good, when in actual fact they are causing more harm. I really hope this fellow redeems himself by apologizing for such a senseless act, whether in the name of art or not.

    Thanks Malaka.

  • i have really tried to go through the whole story without looking at the lil girls picture. we, the African men are losers. its no wonder we never invented a thing the best we can think of is to cut a small child clitoris. we should be ashamed. am so feeling like i should have been born a monkey, at least they don’t practice FGM

    • You seem like a man with compassion. Do you know what I love? Instead of just feeling shame, why don’t you express why you are ashamed of this practice to other men who condone it? Tell them why it is such a harmful practice and encourage them to change attitudes of other African men?

      This is not a fight we women alone can win. Men have a powerful voice in this, and you can use that voice to make a change. No matter how hard you try, you can never be born a monkey but I suspect that if you try hard enough you can save a girls life!

  • Eye opener