Poetic Justice: Drake and East African Girls

April 3, 2013
By

By Safy-Hallan Farah

I am an East African Girl. A couple years ago, one of my friends told me that being an East African meant I’m not really black. A visibly mixed-race girl with a “high yellow” complexion and sandy brown hair telling me I’m not black didn’t sit well with me. I wanted to tell the girl, in the words of CB4, I’m black y’all. I’m black like the back of Forrest Whitaker’s neck. I’m black like Snoop Dogg’s lungs. I’m black like some Helvetica font against a white backdrop trying to sell you stuff.

I’m a black woman. But my nose, my loosely coiled curls and my fivehead make me black in a way that extends the colorism debate, creating this hierarchy of aesthetic value where I’m not just black, I’m also acceptably black.

Iman

Supermodel Iman

Back in the day, white people went to East Africa to find Iman, their acceptable black girl. When white people did this, former Essence Editor-in-Chief Marcia Gillespie called East African model Iman Abdulmajid “a white woman dipped in chocolate,”  highlighting Iman’s acceptable blackness while also lamenting the fact that black women’s beauty is often measured in their proximity to whiteness.

Two decades later, Bill Cosby in his “Ask the Ethiopian”  speech said African Americans should aim higher than menial jobs because menial jobs are for “Ethiopians,” i.e. immigrants, i.e. The Other. Marcia and Bill emphasized the otherness of East Africans like we’re not black, too, which is why I’d like to tell Bill: please let us, East Africans, have all the menial jobs. But in accordance with Marcia Gillepsie’s criticism, make sure those shitty jobs aren’t jobs where the way we look will inspire racists to pat us on the back and deem us more respectable or better than other black people. This is what the fashion industry notably did with Iman.

East African Girls, Iman included, take part in a system that marginalizes and limits other forms of aesthetic blackness. Every image of Iman or Yasmine Warsame or Liya Kebede reinscribes white beauty through black beauty. Reinscribing white beauty through black beauty has always been with us, but in recent years it has inspired rappers to reference East African Girls like we’re the 49th Law of Power, predictably denigrating black women who lack acceptable blackness in the same tired ways.

The first rapper I remember rhyming about East African Girls was Nas. In “The Set Up,” a song from Nas’ “It Was Written” album, Nas raps, “They thought the hoes were Somalian.” The “hoes” in question are “two fly bitches, Venus and Vicious.” On his latest album, “Life Is Good,” Nas references East African Girls again, in a party song called “Summer” ft. Miguel and Swizz Beats.

East African Girls have been referenced in several other songs: Wale’s “No One Be Like You” (“Somalian women, Ethiopian queens/Never could tell the difference, I just know that you mean”) and “Hold Yuh Remix” (“I’m lookin’ for an Ethi-Somali here beside me”); Tinie Tempeh’s remix of Drake’s “The Motto” (“My bitch booty bigger than a fucking Eritrean”); Common’s “Celebrate” (“Exotic broads lobbyin’/Spanish, Somalian”); Drake’s “Where To Now” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Poetic Justice” ft. Drake.

In “Where To Now,” a track off Homecoming Season, Drake’s second mixtape, Drake spits sweet nothings about an East African Girl, over a J. Dilla beat. Drake desires the East African Girl (perhaps as much as he desires getting ghost head from Aaliyah): “Ethiopian girl, Ethiopian girl, with yo long curly hair and yo big ass bootay.”

In “Poetic Justice” by Kendrick Lamar ft. Drake, Drake does it again: “I was trying to put you on game, put you on a plane/Take you and your mama to the motherland/I could do it, maybe one day/When you figure out you’re gonna need someone/When you figure out it’s all right here in the city/And you don’t run from where we come from.” But couched between another lazy description of a faceless, nameless East African Girl, and Drake’s assertion that that East African Girl is busy ignoring him for another man, is a story of afrodiasporic identity, which is what sets Drake apart, narratively, from other rappers.

fatima

Fatima Said, a former America’s Next Top Model contestant

While Drake’s definition of black beauty may seem limited, his definition of black identity is what Touré would call “post-black,” and Michelle Wright would call “postwar diasporic black.” Drake’s flow in “Poetic Justice” facilitates a broader discussion of black identity and black authenticity, a discussion that implicitly critiques Marcia Gillespie’s “white woman dipped in chocolate” statement, positing that East African Girls “come from” the same city Drake does, Toronto. The underlying message is that Drake considers us black like him. Drake, as a black Jewish man whose Degrassi character Jimmy Brooks dated a fake East African Girl, occupies a similarly hybrid space like East African Girls. For many East African Girls, that feels like poetic justice because the definition of ‘authentically black’— descendants of Africans brought here as slaves— is a limited definition that doesn’t even include Barack Obama, much less East African Girls.

When one does a cursory Twitter search of Drake’s “East African Girl” lyrics, fetishistic things are tweeted by Drake fans, most notably East African Girls themselves. “Poetic Justice” functions, on some level, as a false empowerment anthem, a Song For East African Girls. There is a pleasure many East African Girls I know derive from hearing men, particularly Drake, talk about us to a larger supposedly authentically black population. A pleasure teenage me would no doubt indulge in, too. It’s a reiteration of our own myth that when God created humanity, he started with the Somalis, Ethiopians and Eritreans first— borne out of us is whiteness and blackness. It’s unscientific but when you’re a teenage girl, especially a young East African Girl, there’s no science needed to justify supremacy or fetish, and where those two things interplay.

East African girls are generally not mixed race, yet this idea that we are is deeply embedded in the minds of white racialists, leading some to believe we’re an entirely different, special, exotic breed of people. This goes back to the pseudoscience of Carleton S. Coon’s “The Races of Europe.” Anthropologists and white racialists, which are often one in the same, have been claiming we are of majority Arab or white or “Afro-Asiatic” descent for years. And while that isn’t the sentiment of Drake or Nas’s lyrics, our alleged mixedness underpins their lyrics by virtue of the sheer selectiveness of the East African Girls shouted out in hip-hop lyrics. When Drake or Nas reference East African Girls, it can be easily inferred that they mean Cushites representing the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia). “Cushite,” a term derived from “Cush” of the Hebrew Bible and Quran, is in reference to our shared “Afro-Asiatic” language classification, which is often mistakenly typified as a shared racial identity. This little mistake triggers a big mistake: the conflation of biology and genetics with race and ethnicity as a social fact, which reifies the racial categories.

One of the most popular threads on Niketalk.com, a sneakerhead forum, is called, “African Women Appreciation Thread: ‘Young East African Girl/Thoroughbreds.” A commenter in the forum who goes by Macc E-Money claims he was deprived of “beautiful African women,” and wasn’t able to procure a Somali “thoroughbred” until he left his home state of Michigan. Macc E-Money references Drake’s “Young East African Girl” lyric, presenting black beauty in a limited way and privileging East Africans over other Africans while passing it off as an appreciation of African beauty.

The lines between acceptance, fetishism and exoticism are blurry. It would seem that the primary distinction between black (North American) men, East African men and white men exoticizing East African Girls is that for many white men and even some East African men, the exoticism is firmly rooted in a belief in the racial categories—a belief that race is biological when it is in fact social, and a fetishization and romanticism of our Arab World ties and colonial past. For a lot of black men like Drake, it’s way less insidious. At best, it’s a misguided reinscription of the white standard of beauty through acceptably black women. At worst it’s intra-racial discrimination. Usually, it’s a combination of all these things but if representing, hyping and esteeming women with acceptable blackness is good for all girls—Trickle Down Acceptability, if you will— then we’d probably live in a post-racial world where fairies and dragons and Tupac populated the earth.

liya

Supermodel Liya Kebede

Sadly, we live in a racist, sexist world where black men and white people can hurt black women in the same ways. Black women hurt black women, too, but differently: we don’t have each other’s back. Those that see themselves represented in the lyrics and the videos, accept it without questioning it. And those who lament the overrepresentation of East African Girls, frequently fail to realize that the “Young East African Girl(s)” of Drake’s lyrics are like all women of color; they are objectified and male-gazed upon in hip-hop. These women are mythic, “exotic” generalized by rappers as the ambASSadors of their ethnicity or nationality. We are an idea rooted in a scant and skewed example— a token— from Drake’s own lived experience, mixed in with a little bit of mainstream imagery and a history that isn’t even our own.

Perhaps my own cousin, Leyla who Drake once bought lunch for, is Drake’s East African Girl. Maybe his East African Girl is my friend Ayan, who Drake met while clubbing. Maybe his East African Girl is like Helen Gedlu or Lola Monroe. Drake’s East African girl, whoever she is, does not account for of all of us. Our varied hip-to-waist ratios and hair textures and booties (or lack thereof) and cultures make us more nuanced than whatever Drake or anyone else needs to believe.

The over-representation of East African Girls cannot be separated from broader media representations of acceptable blackness. Broader representations that, in the 90s, brought us acceptable black women like Tatyana Ali, Stacey Dash, Chilly of TLC, etc.; the biggest face today being Scandal’s Kerry Washington. It’s no wonder Kendrick Lamar believes there is a balance issue. Kendrick cast Brittany Sky, a black woman, as his love interest in the video for “Poetic Justice.”  Brittany Sky is a black woman who is neither East African or light-skinned, however she is every bit as acceptably black as Iman. It’s Drake’s love interest—or rather, sex interest— who is actually balancing representation. But she is who Drake is having sexually for that night, not who, as the video and the lyrics suggest, Drake wants; Drake wants the East African Girl he’s talking to on the phone. Drake is talking on the phone with the East African Girl while his sex interest is splayed across the bed, naked. Thus, even within the video there is a hierarchy. There’s a specific depersonalization and objecthood of the non-acceptable black woman’s body. The non-acceptable black woman is granted zero agency, and rendered the least desirable in a video that is supposedly progressive.

There is nothing progressive about acceptable blackness. There is, however, something progressive about Drake and the internal conversation he seems to be having in his music. When Drake raps about this East African Girl as he is talking to this East African Girl on the phone, he is also talking with other black people. He is having a conversation with Marcia Gillepsie and Bill Cosby and me and that girl I used to be friends with who said I wasn’t black. This conversation requires context that can’t be reproduced for an American audience with limited knowledge of the nuances of blackness. This conversation cannot translate externally, hence the phone. The video begs for the consistency of our transmuted presence but the direct presence of an East African Girl wouldn’t make sense to an audience that doesn’t understand Drake’s specific location in the diaspora, what diaspora is, or who East Africans are.

____________________________________________________________

safyphoto

Safy-Hallan Farah is a writer and undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota. She blogs at Fatwas and Fanboys and tweets at @SafyHallanFarah. Safy-Hallan Farah has written for Geez Magazine, This Recording and Gawker, among other places. Currently, Safy is co-editing Sad Pretty Girls, a collection of art and writing which seeks to explore diasporic identity through a millennial and feminist lens.

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256 Responses to Poetic Justice: Drake and East African Girls

  1. [...] Poetic Justice: Drake and East African Girls [...]

    • Fatou on April 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      This is probably the most amazing piece I’ve read in a long time. It saddens me that I have no one around to have this kind of conversation with.I’m Senegalese and even us talk about East Africans as beautiful, curly-haired goddesses. When I look around the women surrounding me, I have zero hope left. We don’t question anything, we just go with the standards of beauty society impose on us.No self acceptance whatsoever, just mere resignation sometimes.

    • hana on April 8, 2013 at 11:11 am

      If the Present Looks Like the Past, What Does the Future Look Like? (1982)by Alice Walker
      Is a great start in talking about colorism within the black community. I think what many of these discussion omit is the ridiculous power the male gaze is afforded. Wouldn’t it be nice if a song that privileged the near Eurocentric beauty of “East African” girls (of course, this probably does not include our Kenyan or Uganda girls), was just that, a song by a mediocre rapper? Instead, it is positioned as anthem. I also feel discussion like these get us nowhere unless the lighter skinned women in the debate while acknowledging their pain, equally aknowledge their privilege. As a dark-skinned woman, entry in these debates is made more difficult by your initial position. We are often made to feel we are ‘just jealous’ and our stance comes off as defensive. So, anyways, read Alice Walker. Even though the colorism she wrote was over 30 years ago (!!!) it is sadly still alive. I am reminded when I read posts like this one.

  2. [...] Poetic Justice: Drake and East African Girls [...]

    • Fatou on April 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      This is probably the most amazing piece I’ve read in a long time. It saddens me that I have no one around to have this kind of conversation with.I’m Senegalese and even us talk about East Africans as beautiful, curly-haired goddesses. When I look around the women surrounding me, I have zero hope left. We don’t question anything, we just go with the standards of beauty society impose on us.No self acceptance whatsoever, just mere resignation sometimes.

    • hana on April 8, 2013 at 11:11 am

      If the Present Looks Like the Past, What Does the Future Look Like? (1982)by Alice Walker
      Is a great start in talking about colorism within the black community. I think what many of these discussion omit is the ridiculous power the male gaze is afforded. Wouldn’t it be nice if a song that privileged the near Eurocentric beauty of “East African” girls (of course, this probably does not include our Kenyan or Uganda girls), was just that, a song by a mediocre rapper? Instead, it is positioned as anthem. I also feel discussion like these get us nowhere unless the lighter skinned women in the debate while acknowledging their pain, equally aknowledge their privilege. As a dark-skinned woman, entry in these debates is made more difficult by your initial position. We are often made to feel we are ‘just jealous’ and our stance comes off as defensive. So, anyways, read Alice Walker. Even though the colorism she wrote was over 30 years ago (!!!) it is sadly still alive. I am reminded when I read posts like this one.

  3. [...] Poetic Justice: Drake and East African Girls [...]

    • Fatou on April 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      This is probably the most amazing piece I’ve read in a long time. It saddens me that I have no one around to have this kind of conversation with.I’m Senegalese and even us talk about East Africans as beautiful, curly-haired goddesses. When I look around the women surrounding me, I have zero hope left. We don’t question anything, we just go with the standards of beauty society impose on us.No self acceptance whatsoever, just mere resignation sometimes.

    • hana on April 8, 2013 at 11:11 am

      If the Present Looks Like the Past, What Does the Future Look Like? (1982)by Alice Walker
      Is a great start in talking about colorism within the black community. I think what many of these discussion omit is the ridiculous power the male gaze is afforded. Wouldn’t it be nice if a song that privileged the near Eurocentric beauty of “East African” girls (of course, this probably does not include our Kenyan or Uganda girls), was just that, a song by a mediocre rapper? Instead, it is positioned as anthem. I also feel discussion like these get us nowhere unless the lighter skinned women in the debate while acknowledging their pain, equally aknowledge their privilege. As a dark-skinned woman, entry in these debates is made more difficult by your initial position. We are often made to feel we are ‘just jealous’ and our stance comes off as defensive. So, anyways, read Alice Walker. Even though the colorism she wrote was over 30 years ago (!!!) it is sadly still alive. I am reminded when I read posts like this one.

  4. [...] Poetic Justice: Drake and East African Girls [...]

    • Fatou on April 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      This is probably the most amazing piece I’ve read in a long time. It saddens me that I have no one around to have this kind of conversation with.I’m Senegalese and even us talk about East Africans as beautiful, curly-haired goddesses. When I look around the women surrounding me, I have zero hope left. We don’t question anything, we just go with the standards of beauty society impose on us.No self acceptance whatsoever, just mere resignation sometimes.

    • hana on April 8, 2013 at 11:11 am

      If the Present Looks Like the Past, What Does the Future Look Like? (1982)by Alice Walker
      Is a great start in talking about colorism within the black community. I think what many of these discussion omit is the ridiculous power the male gaze is afforded. Wouldn’t it be nice if a song that privileged the near Eurocentric beauty of “East African” girls (of course, this probably does not include our Kenyan or Uganda girls), was just that, a song by a mediocre rapper? Instead, it is positioned as anthem. I also feel discussion like these get us nowhere unless the lighter skinned women in the debate while acknowledging their pain, equally aknowledge their privilege. As a dark-skinned woman, entry in these debates is made more difficult by your initial position. We are often made to feel we are ‘just jealous’ and our stance comes off as defensive. So, anyways, read Alice Walker. Even though the colorism she wrote was over 30 years ago (!!!) it is sadly still alive. I am reminded when I read posts like this one.

  5. Eman on April 3, 2013 at 8:55 am

    This piece was so beautiful and thoughtful, and I really enjoyed reading it. I had a question for you, as I am currently working on a related project. I completely agree that images of desirable black women (and other non-white women) are selected for their proximity to whiteness. This may lead to the idea that those women are not authentically black, and this is because one uses an overly narrow racial category that in actuality encompasses a diverse set of people. It does reinscribe a valorization of white features when Liya Kebede shows up on the runway, but does it only reinscribe whiteness? Or is it possible to understand race in a more expansive way, a way which does not exclude women like her from the category for lack of proximity to archetypal blackness, and read her as also participating in blackness? I guess my question would be (awkwardly) whether the belief that Iman and Kebede reinscribe whiteness itself reinscribes a very circumscribed blackness which fades at the edges of whiteness, and which seems to reinscribe discrete racial categories.

  6. Eman on April 3, 2013 at 8:55 am

    This piece was so beautiful and thoughtful, and I really enjoyed reading it. I had a question for you, as I am currently working on a related project. I completely agree that images of desirable black women (and other non-white women) are selected for their proximity to whiteness. This may lead to the idea that those women are not authentically black, and this is because one uses an overly narrow racial category that in actuality encompasses a diverse set of people. It does reinscribe a valorization of white features when Liya Kebede shows up on the runway, but does it only reinscribe whiteness? Or is it possible to understand race in a more expansive way, a way which does not exclude women like her from the category for lack of proximity to archetypal blackness, and read her as also participating in blackness? I guess my question would be (awkwardly) whether the belief that Iman and Kebede reinscribe whiteness itself reinscribes a very circumscribed blackness which fades at the edges of whiteness, and which seems to reinscribe discrete racial categories.

  7. Eman on April 3, 2013 at 8:55 am

    This piece was so beautiful and thoughtful, and I really enjoyed reading it. I had a question for you, as I am currently working on a related project. I completely agree that images of desirable black women (and other non-white women) are selected for their proximity to whiteness. This may lead to the idea that those women are not authentically black, and this is because one uses an overly narrow racial category that in actuality encompasses a diverse set of people. It does reinscribe a valorization of white features when Liya Kebede shows up on the runway, but does it only reinscribe whiteness? Or is it possible to understand race in a more expansive way, a way which does not exclude women like her from the category for lack of proximity to archetypal blackness, and read her as also participating in blackness? I guess my question would be (awkwardly) whether the belief that Iman and Kebede reinscribe whiteness itself reinscribes a very circumscribed blackness which fades at the edges of whiteness, and which seems to reinscribe discrete racial categories.

  8. Eman on April 3, 2013 at 8:55 am

    This piece was so beautiful and thoughtful, and I really enjoyed reading it. I had a question for you, as I am currently working on a related project. I completely agree that images of desirable black women (and other non-white women) are selected for their proximity to whiteness. This may lead to the idea that those women are not authentically black, and this is because one uses an overly narrow racial category that in actuality encompasses a diverse set of people. It does reinscribe a valorization of white features when Liya Kebede shows up on the runway, but does it only reinscribe whiteness? Or is it possible to understand race in a more expansive way, a way which does not exclude women like her from the category for lack of proximity to archetypal blackness, and read her as also participating in blackness? I guess my question would be (awkwardly) whether the belief that Iman and Kebede reinscribe whiteness itself reinscribes a very circumscribed blackness which fades at the edges of whiteness, and which seems to reinscribe discrete racial categories.

  9. beks on April 3, 2013 at 9:38 am

    this was a wonderful article. i have often come across this stratification of black beauty but felt uncomfortable entering the conversation. mostly because i definitely dont want to be put in the position of being on the other side of the table from another black girl. thanks for adding this particular voice to the conversation!

    lastly this sentence needed to be checked ” This conversation requires context that can’t be reproduced for an American audience with limited knowledge of the nuances of blackness. ”

    I hope you meant that the conversation can’t be had with an US audience that had limited info (implying that you could have it with the US audience that was more informed) and not that all Us audiences had limited knowledge. we do read and follow this conversation closely and have a vast knowledge, the US audience isn’t a monolith and includes people like you as well.

  10. beks on April 3, 2013 at 9:38 am

    this was a wonderful article. i have often come across this stratification of black beauty but felt uncomfortable entering the conversation. mostly because i definitely dont want to be put in the position of being on the other side of the table from another black girl. thanks for adding this particular voice to the conversation!

    lastly this sentence needed to be checked ” This conversation requires context that can’t be reproduced for an American audience with limited knowledge of the nuances of blackness. ”

    I hope you meant that the conversation can’t be had with an US audience that had limited info (implying that you could have it with the US audience that was more informed) and not that all Us audiences had limited knowledge. we do read and follow this conversation closely and have a vast knowledge, the US audience isn’t a monolith and includes people like you as well.

  11. beks on April 3, 2013 at 9:38 am

    this was a wonderful article. i have often come across this stratification of black beauty but felt uncomfortable entering the conversation. mostly because i definitely dont want to be put in the position of being on the other side of the table from another black girl. thanks for adding this particular voice to the conversation!

    lastly this sentence needed to be checked ” This conversation requires context that can’t be reproduced for an American audience with limited knowledge of the nuances of blackness. ”

    I hope you meant that the conversation can’t be had with an US audience that had limited info (implying that you could have it with the US audience that was more informed) and not that all Us audiences had limited knowledge. we do read and follow this conversation closely and have a vast knowledge, the US audience isn’t a monolith and includes people like you as well.

  12. beks on April 3, 2013 at 9:38 am

    this was a wonderful article. i have often come across this stratification of black beauty but felt uncomfortable entering the conversation. mostly because i definitely dont want to be put in the position of being on the other side of the table from another black girl. thanks for adding this particular voice to the conversation!

    lastly this sentence needed to be checked ” This conversation requires context that can’t be reproduced for an American audience with limited knowledge of the nuances of blackness. ”

    I hope you meant that the conversation can’t be had with an US audience that had limited info (implying that you could have it with the US audience that was more informed) and not that all Us audiences had limited knowledge. we do read and follow this conversation closely and have a vast knowledge, the US audience isn’t a monolith and includes people like you as well.

  13. Lauren on April 3, 2013 at 9:47 am

    You are only an undergrad?! The writing is well beyond your years, very thought provoking.

  14. Lauren on April 3, 2013 at 9:47 am

    You are only an undergrad?! The writing is well beyond your years, very thought provoking.

  15. Lauren on April 3, 2013 at 9:47 am

    You are only an undergrad?! The writing is well beyond your years, very thought provoking.

  16. Lauren on April 3, 2013 at 9:47 am

    You are only an undergrad?! The writing is well beyond your years, very thought provoking.

  17. Parson on April 3, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Thank you so much for writing this. In two words “acceptable blackness” you’ve flawlessly described what I (and my sis) has struggled with for years. I am not a Stacey Dash (bi-racial) or a Liya (East African) and yet every black man (and men of color in general) I meet within seconds want to know my “ethnicity/nationality”. They are even disappointed when they discover I actually don’t belong to some exotic story. I literally had a man yell at me across a restaurant “you mean you’re just “regular black’” and this was after he shouted asking me if I was Creole, Spanish, Indian, Cape Verdean. I am as a “regular black” as you can get with 2 black parents from the south. And yet something about my face, hair demands to these people that I must be “black and…”. Some people even get upset with me once they find out I’m “regular black.” Ethiopian men have stopped me in the street to ask if I’m from their country which to me is absurd because I lack the gait that I would normally associate with East Africans (taller more lean but that could be my ignorance). I think I’m most shocked when a “high yellow” man wants to know my race. And the time when a doctor decided she would check multiple boxes on a form for me was pretty shocking, as well. What is the obsession we have to put people in boxes? Why must the idea that you can be “regular black” and attractive shock and offend some (of our own) people. I used to get angry when a person started up about my heritage. Now I laugh it off and say “I’m American. Nope, 2 black parents. Proud American.”

    • Fatou on April 3, 2013 at 11:55 am

      I agree with mostly what you’ve said but there’s something very confusing to me about African-Americans. Pardon my english, It’s not my first language. Anyway, I just would like to know what’s you guys conception of “black”. You all are mixed to some extent, aren’t you ? It’s always baffle when I witness disputes between so called “mixed” and “regular black” people, because in my african eyes, I see mixed people fighting against each other because one has less “black” in him.

      • Parson on April 3, 2013 at 5:22 pm

        Hi Fatou. I think you are right. I understand black to include any of the people who fall under “brown”. I actually don’t use the term African American to refer to myself because I don’t think it tells the blacks’ whose ancestry is in America whole story. A story that is a melting post of not only the Africans who were brought here, but the many years of mixing of the races.
        However, there is a movement in America where “bi-racial” or “mixed race” individuals want to separate themselves and really make it known that they are more “other” than you. Many don’t accept this idea that even the term bi-racial seems silly as most black people in this country have mixed racial heritage. A lot of them scoff and want to be sure that you know “no, 1 of my parents is X while the other is black; whereas both of your parents are black.” It cracks me up because half the time a person would confuse me, with the 2 black parents, for the “mixed race” person before them.
        I don’t fight it because I’m very proud to be black and I don’t let anyone add on an “other.” Now if African American is my only choice then I do choose “other” because it’s all too convenient and easy for Americans to try to sweep that history under the rug. Black Americans, the ones who are here whose family has been here for years, are generally a mixed race people.

        • Fatou on April 4, 2013 at 8:22 am

          Thank you for replying me. It did clear up things for me :)

      • DESIGN on April 14, 2013 at 11:51 am

        If people understood the bible they would realize that God created different languages looks and cultures he never mentioned race because race isn’t important but diversity is ,I believe that we as the human race created races based off of our identity(looks) and what category we “best” fit in(who looks more or less individually like us)smh…I stopped calling people black and white because those are colors used to increase the ignorance a racists supremacy has created that is also why when anyone sees a person that is fair they assume that he or she is mixed ,but if a m

  18. Parson on April 3, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Thank you so much for writing this. In two words “acceptable blackness” you’ve flawlessly described what I (and my sis) has struggled with for years. I am not a Stacey Dash (bi-racial) or a Liya (East African) and yet every black man (and men of color in general) I meet within seconds want to know my “ethnicity/nationality”. They are even disappointed when they discover I actually don’t belong to some exotic story. I literally had a man yell at me across a restaurant “you mean you’re just “regular black’” and this was after he shouted asking me if I was Creole, Spanish, Indian, Cape Verdean. I am as a “regular black” as you can get with 2 black parents from the south. And yet something about my face, hair demands to these people that I must be “black and…”. Some people even get upset with me once they find out I’m “regular black.” Ethiopian men have stopped me in the street to ask if I’m from their country which to me is absurd because I lack the gait that I would normally associate with East Africans (taller more lean but that could be my ignorance). I think I’m most shocked when a “high yellow” man wants to know my race. And the time when a doctor decided she would check multiple boxes on a form for me was pretty shocking, as well. What is the obsession we have to put people in boxes? Why must the idea that you can be “regular black” and attractive shock and offend some (of our own) people. I used to get angry when a person started up about my heritage. Now I laugh it off and say “I’m American. Nope, 2 black parents. Proud American.”

    • Fatou on April 3, 2013 at 11:55 am

      I agree with mostly what you’ve said but there’s something very confusing to me about African-Americans. Pardon my english, It’s not my first language. Anyway, I just would like to know what’s you guys conception of “black”. You all are mixed to some extent, aren’t you ? It’s always baffle when I witness disputes between so called “mixed” and “regular black” people, because in my african eyes, I see mixed people fighting against each other because one has less “black” in him.

      • Parson on April 3, 2013 at 5:22 pm

        Hi Fatou. I think you are right. I understand black to include any of the people who fall under “brown”. I actually don’t use the term African American to refer to myself because I don’t think it tells the blacks’ whose ancestry is in America whole story. A story that is a melting post of not only the Africans who were brought here, but the many years of mixing of the races.
        However, there is a movement in America where “bi-racial” or “mixed race” individuals want to separate themselves and really make it known that they are more “other” than you. Many don’t accept this idea that even the term bi-racial seems silly as most black people in this country have mixed racial heritage. A lot of them scoff and want to be sure that you know “no, 1 of my parents is X while the other is black; whereas both of your parents are black.” It cracks me up because half the time a person would confuse me, with the 2 black parents, for the “mixed race” person before them.
        I don’t fight it because I’m very proud to be black and I don’t let anyone add on an “other.” Now if African American is my only choice then I do choose “other” because it’s all too convenient and easy for Americans to try to sweep that history under the rug. Black Americans, the ones who are here whose family has been here for years, are generally a mixed race people.

        • Fatou on April 4, 2013 at 8:22 am

          Thank you for replying me. It did clear up things for me :)

      • DESIGN on April 14, 2013 at 11:51 am

        If people understood the bible they would realize that God created different languages looks and cultures he never mentioned race because race isn’t important but diversity is ,I believe that we as the human race created races based off of our identity(looks) and what category we “best” fit in(who looks more or less individually like us)smh…I stopped calling people black and white because those are colors used to increase the ignorance a racists supremacy has created that is also why when anyone sees a person that is fair they assume that he or she is mixed ,but if a m

  19. Parson on April 3, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Thank you so much for writing this. In two words “acceptable blackness” you’ve flawlessly described what I (and my sis) has struggled with for years. I am not a Stacey Dash (bi-racial) or a Liya (East African) and yet every black man (and men of color in general) I meet within seconds want to know my “ethnicity/nationality”. They are even disappointed when they discover I actually don’t belong to some exotic story. I literally had a man yell at me across a restaurant “you mean you’re just “regular black’” and this was after he shouted asking me if I was Creole, Spanish, Indian, Cape Verdean. I am as a “regular black” as you can get with 2 black parents from the south. And yet something about my face, hair demands to these people that I must be “black and…”. Some people even get upset with me once they find out I’m “regular black.” Ethiopian men have stopped me in the street to ask if I’m from their country which to me is absurd because I lack the gait that I would normally associate with East Africans (taller more lean but that could be my ignorance). I think I’m most shocked when a “high yellow” man wants to know my race. And the time when a doctor decided she would check multiple boxes on a form for me was pretty shocking, as well. What is the obsession we have to put people in boxes? Why must the idea that you can be “regular black” and attractive shock and offend some (of our own) people. I used to get angry when a person started up about my heritage. Now I laugh it off and say “I’m American. Nope, 2 black parents. Proud American.”

    • Fatou on April 3, 2013 at 11:55 am

      I agree with mostly what you’ve said but there’s something very confusing to me about African-Americans. Pardon my english, It’s not my first language. Anyway, I just would like to know what’s you guys conception of “black”. You all are mixed to some extent, aren’t you ? It’s always baffle when I witness disputes between so called “mixed” and “regular black” people, because in my african eyes, I see mixed people fighting against each other because one has less “black” in him.

      • Parson on April 3, 2013 at 5:22 pm

        Hi Fatou. I think you are right. I understand black to include any of the people who fall under “brown”. I actually don’t use the term African American to refer to myself because I don’t think it tells the blacks’ whose ancestry is in America whole story. A story that is a melting post of not only the Africans who were brought here, but the many years of mixing of the races.
        However, there is a movement in America where “bi-racial” or “mixed race” individuals want to separate themselves and really make it known that they are more “other” than you. Many don’t accept this idea that even the term bi-racial seems silly as most black people in this country have mixed racial heritage. A lot of them scoff and want to be sure that you know “no, 1 of my parents is X while the other is black; whereas both of your parents are black.” It cracks me up because half the time a person would confuse me, with the 2 black parents, for the “mixed race” person before them.
        I don’t fight it because I’m very proud to be black and I don’t let anyone add on an “other.” Now if African American is my only choice then I do choose “other” because it’s all too convenient and easy for Americans to try to sweep that history under the rug. Black Americans, the ones who are here whose family has been here for years, are generally a mixed race people.

        • Fatou on April 4, 2013 at 8:22 am

          Thank you for replying me. It did clear up things for me :)

      • DESIGN on April 14, 2013 at 11:51 am

        If people understood the bible they would realize that God created different languages looks and cultures he never mentioned race because race isn’t important but diversity is ,I believe that we as the human race created races based off of our identity(looks) and what category we “best” fit in(who looks more or less individually like us)smh…I stopped calling people black and white because those are colors used to increase the ignorance a racists supremacy has created that is also why when anyone sees a person that is fair they assume that he or she is mixed ,but if a m

  20. Parson on April 3, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Thank you so much for writing this. In two words “acceptable blackness” you’ve flawlessly described what I (and my sis) has struggled with for years. I am not a Stacey Dash (bi-racial) or a Liya (East African) and yet every black man (and men of color in general) I meet within seconds want to know my “ethnicity/nationality”. They are even disappointed when they discover I actually don’t belong to some exotic story. I literally had a man yell at me across a restaurant “you mean you’re just “regular black’” and this was after he shouted asking me if I was Creole, Spanish, Indian, Cape Verdean. I am as a “regular black” as you can get with 2 black parents from the south. And yet something about my face, hair demands to these people that I must be “black and…”. Some people even get upset with me once they find out I’m “regular black.” Ethiopian men have stopped me in the street to ask if I’m from their country which to me is absurd because I lack the gait that I would normally associate with East Africans (taller more lean but that could be my ignorance). I think I’m most shocked when a “high yellow” man wants to know my race. And the time when a doctor decided she would check multiple boxes on a form for me was pretty shocking, as well. What is the obsession we have to put people in boxes? Why must the idea that you can be “regular black” and attractive shock and offend some (of our own) people. I used to get angry when a person started up about my heritage. Now I laugh it off and say “I’m American. Nope, 2 black parents. Proud American.”

    • Fatou on April 3, 2013 at 11:55 am

      I agree with mostly what you’ve said but there’s something very confusing to me about African-Americans. Pardon my english, It’s not my first language. Anyway, I just would like to know what’s you guys conception of “black”. You all are mixed to some extent, aren’t you ? It’s always baffle when I witness disputes between so called “mixed” and “regular black” people, because in my african eyes, I see mixed people fighting against each other because one has less “black” in him.

      • Parson on April 3, 2013 at 5:22 pm

        Hi Fatou. I think you are right. I understand black to include any of the people who fall under “brown”. I actually don’t use the term African American to refer to myself because I don’t think it tells the blacks’ whose ancestry is in America whole story. A story that is a melting post of not only the Africans who were brought here, but the many years of mixing of the races.
        However, there is a movement in America where “bi-racial” or “mixed race” individuals want to separate themselves and really make it known that they are more “other” than you. Many don’t accept this idea that even the term bi-racial seems silly as most black people in this country have mixed racial heritage. A lot of them scoff and want to be sure that you know “no, 1 of my parents is X while the other is black; whereas both of your parents are black.” It cracks me up because half the time a person would confuse me, with the 2 black parents, for the “mixed race” person before them.
        I don’t fight it because I’m very proud to be black and I don’t let anyone add on an “other.” Now if African American is my only choice then I do choose “other” because it’s all too convenient and easy for Americans to try to sweep that history under the rug. Black Americans, the ones who are here whose family has been here for years, are generally a mixed race people.

        • Fatou on April 4, 2013 at 8:22 am

          Thank you for replying me. It did clear up things for me :)

      • DESIGN on April 14, 2013 at 11:51 am

        If people understood the bible they would realize that God created different languages looks and cultures he never mentioned race because race isn’t important but diversity is ,I believe that we as the human race created races based off of our identity(looks) and what category we “best” fit in(who looks more or less individually like us)smh…I stopped calling people black and white because those are colors used to increase the ignorance a racists supremacy has created that is also why when anyone sees a person that is fair they assume that he or she is mixed ,but if a m

  21. Jlz on April 3, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Great article…but i think you might have taken Mr. Cosby’s reference out of context…

  22. Jlz on April 3, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Great article…but i think you might have taken Mr. Cosby’s reference out of context…

  23. Jlz on April 3, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Great article…but i think you might have taken Mr. Cosby’s reference out of context…

  24. Jlz on April 3, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Great article…but i think you might have taken Mr. Cosby’s reference out of context…

  25. Janice on April 3, 2013 at 10:47 am

    So “East African Girls” are only Ethiopian/Somali/Eritrean? I’m a little troubled that the assumption is that this term only applies to these specific groups.

    • S on April 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      That’s the least of this article’s problems.

      • lol on April 4, 2013 at 10:45 pm

        can you elaborate, safia?

      • Tristan on April 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm

        The least, indeed. This article is on incomprehensible problematic levels. It fails miserably to address nuanced privileges clearly present in belong to this very limited scope of Drake’s “East African Girl” and instead opts to broad stroke the “I just recognized my privilege” literary ploy (often, if not always, done by those belong to privileged groups (read: white men, women, lighter skinned persons, etc.)) under this black acceptability (watered down) “critique.” The author’s attempt to situate themselves merely acts as a reaffirmation of broads holding on to and remaining complicit in structures of privilege for dear life. You gotta let go of that privilege, man. Just let it go.

        This article and this comment section hilariously, in many ways, has just become an open forum for tears fallen over the fact that rappers across generations and the spectrum of hip hop adore you and the aesthetic they believe you to be embodying. This self-satisfying-styled argument has been done at the expense of other(ed) black women and their bodies (darker skinned, non-(Drake defined) “East African women,” etc.) and subsequently aids to the furthered marginalisation of black women like myself who don’t benefit from the buckets of privilege being spewed towards the author and others umbrella-ed under this category.

        This article does nothing to emphasise the ways in which exoticisation, while horribly disgusting and nasty as all hell, is also profitable in terms of, not only the (black) acceptability that is afforded to women of this aesthetic, but also levels of respect afforded to them by those belonging to the patriarchy as well as fails to critique, acknowledge (footnote, even) the ways in which these women have become concretised as the (black) object of desire and the societal advantages that evidently come along with this classification. These crucial critiques, which are basic at best, are entirely missed throughout this article. Like I can’t. The unrealness of this all.

        Least of its problems in-damn-deed.

        • Abdi on April 8, 2013 at 2:07 pm

          You seem to have dedicated a lot of time to hating on other WoC. Do what you do tho. Safy’s article didn’t have to do any of the things you wanted it to do. Write that article if you want that to exist in the world. I’d personally love to see you write it as eloquently and get as many likes and comments as Safy.

          • more lols on April 9, 2013 at 8:56 pm

            “You seem to have dedicated a lot of time to hating on other WoC. ….. Safy’s article didn’t have to do any of the things you wanted it to do.”

            didn’t realize that asking an author to recognize her privilege and urging them to include an analysis that provides the nuanced ways in which black women’s bodies are being exploited is considered “hating”.

          • Tristan on April 13, 2013 at 11:10 pm

            Oop, apparently asking the author to recognise how her article is oppressive to particular women of colour for whom her argument necessitates and is contingent on is hating. Who knew?

            If you can’t address the concerns I raise in my comment for whatever reason (be it lack of understanding, disasociation with my claims, etc.), that’s fine. But don’t use the “hate” argument as way of discrediting the points I’ve made. It’s not a good look on you, trust me.

          • Tristan on April 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm

            Well then. Apparently asking the author to recognise how her article is problematic and oppressive to particular black women for whom her argument necessitates, rests and is contingent on is hating. Who knew?

            If you can’t address the concerns I raise in my comment for whatever reason (be it lack of understanding, disasociation with my claims, etc.), that’s fine. But don’t use the “hate” argument as way of discrediting the points I’ve made. It’s not a good look on you, trust me.

      • Tristan on April 8, 2013 at 12:51 am

        This is neither directed to you, S, nor to any other person who hasn’t done this; so my apologies in advance if it excludes you.

        However, for those of you who have taken it upon yourselves to attempt to out people like “lol” featured above or below this comment or those of you cyberstalking people like myself who disagree with this piece, I kindly ask you to hop the fuck off my unshared, personal internet spaces and keep discourse/dialogue about this article, your (fanatic) love of the author, or whatever to this comment section. Your cyberstalking is fucking with my flawlessness and I’ve never been ’bout people fucking with my flawlessness. So yeah, just gwan.

        Thanks. lovelovelove.

    • H.H on April 3, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      We all know where east Africa is located but those mentioned above are classified under cushetic ppl. The cushetic ppl live in Somalia/Ethiopia/ Eriteria/North Kenya( Somali Ethnic) and Djabouti( Somali and Afar ethnic).

    • Nonie on April 4, 2013 at 9:22 am

      Perhaps the term “East African” in the US is different from what we in Africa know and accept it to be, but last I checked, Tha East African Community only had Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi? I see where the confusion may lie based on this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Africa but if that’s the case then an East African girl should come from over 20 different countries. Why narrow it down to just the Horn of Africa ones?

      • Topis on April 5, 2013 at 3:50 am

        Please do some research before commenting, East African community is a economic bloc of Swahili speaking countries with shared history. This article is in reference to horn of African girls whom the American rappers have termed “East African”

  26. Janice on April 3, 2013 at 10:47 am

    So “East African Girls” are only Ethiopian/Somali/Eritrean? I’m a little troubled that the assumption is that this term only applies to these specific groups.

    • S on April 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      That’s the least of this article’s problems.

      • lol on April 4, 2013 at 10:45 pm

        can you elaborate, safia?

      • Tristan on April 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm

        The least, indeed. This article is on incomprehensible problematic levels. It fails miserably to address nuanced privileges clearly present in belong to this very limited scope of Drake’s “East African Girl” and instead opts to broad stroke the “I just recognized my privilege” literary ploy (often, if not always, done by those belong to privileged groups (read: white men, women, lighter skinned persons, etc.)) under this black acceptability (watered down) “critique.” The author’s attempt to situate themselves merely acts as a reaffirmation of broads holding on to and remaining complicit in structures of privilege for dear life. You gotta let go of that privilege, man. Just let it go.

        This article and this comment section hilariously, in many ways, has just become an open forum for tears fallen over the fact that rappers across generations and the spectrum of hip hop adore you and the aesthetic they believe you to be embodying. This self-satisfying-styled argument has been done at the expense of other(ed) black women and their bodies (darker skinned, non-(Drake defined) “East African women,” etc.) and subsequently aids to the furthered marginalisation of black women like myself who don’t benefit from the buckets of privilege being spewed towards the author and others umbrella-ed under this category.

        This article does nothing to emphasise the ways in which exoticisation, while horribly disgusting and nasty as all hell, is also profitable in terms of, not only the (black) acceptability that is afforded to women of this aesthetic, but also levels of respect afforded to them by those belonging to the patriarchy as well as fails to critique, acknowledge (footnote, even) the ways in which these women have become concretised as the (black) object of desire and the societal advantages that evidently come along with this classification. These crucial critiques, which are basic at best, are entirely missed throughout this article. Like I can’t. The unrealness of this all.

        Least of its problems in-damn-deed.

        • Abdi on April 8, 2013 at 2:07 pm

          You seem to have dedicated a lot of time to hating on other WoC. Do what you do tho. Safy’s article didn’t have to do any of the things you wanted it to do. Write that article if you want that to exist in the world. I’d personally love to see you write it as eloquently and get as many likes and comments as Safy.

          • more lols on April 9, 2013 at 8:56 pm

            “You seem to have dedicated a lot of time to hating on other WoC. ….. Safy’s article didn’t have to do any of the things you wanted it to do.”

            didn’t realize that asking an author to recognize her privilege and urging them to include an analysis that provides the nuanced ways in which black women’s bodies are being exploited is considered “hating”.

          • Tristan on April 13, 2013 at 11:10 pm

            Oop, apparently asking the author to recognise how her article is oppressive to particular women of colour for whom her argument necessitates and is contingent on is hating. Who knew?

            If you can’t address the concerns I raise in my comment for whatever reason (be it lack of understanding, disasociation with my claims, etc.), that’s fine. But don’t use the “hate” argument as way of discrediting the points I’ve made. It’s not a good look on you, trust me.

          • Tristan on April 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm

            Well then. Apparently asking the author to recognise how her article is problematic and oppressive to particular black women for whom her argument necessitates, rests and is contingent on is hating. Who knew?

            If you can’t address the concerns I raise in my comment for whatever reason (be it lack of understanding, disasociation with my claims, etc.), that’s fine. But don’t use the “hate” argument as way of discrediting the points I’ve made. It’s not a good look on you, trust me.

      • Tristan on April 8, 2013 at 12:51 am

        This is neither directed to you, S, nor to any other person who hasn’t done this; so my apologies in advance if it excludes you.

        However, for those of you who have taken it upon yourselves to attempt to out people like “lol” featured above or below this comment or those of you cyberstalking people like myself who disagree with this piece, I kindly ask you to hop the fuck off my unshared, personal internet spaces and keep discourse/dialogue about this article, your (fanatic) love of the author, or whatever to this comment section. Your cyberstalking is fucking with my flawlessness and I’ve never been ’bout people fucking with my flawlessness. So yeah, just gwan.

        Thanks. lovelovelove.

    • H.H on April 3, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      We all know where east Africa is located but those mentioned above are classified under cushetic ppl. The cushetic ppl live in Somalia/Ethiopia/ Eriteria/North Kenya( Somali Ethnic) and Djabouti( Somali and Afar ethnic).

    • Nonie on April 4, 2013 at 9:22 am

      Perhaps the term “East African” in the US is different from what we in Africa know and accept it to be, but last I checked, Tha East African Community only had Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi? I see where the confusion may lie based on this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Africa but if that’s the case then an East African girl should come from over 20 different countries. Why narrow it down to just the Horn of Africa ones?

      • Topis on April 5, 2013 at 3:50 am

        Please do some research before commenting, East African community is a economic bloc of Swahili speaking countries with shared history. This article is in reference to horn of African girls whom the American rappers have termed “East African”

  27. Janice on April 3, 2013 at 10:47 am

    So “East African Girls” are only Ethiopian/Somali/Eritrean? I’m a little troubled that the assumption is that this term only applies to these specific groups.

    • S on April 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      That’s the least of this article’s problems.

      • lol on April 4, 2013 at 10:45 pm

        can you elaborate, safia?

      • Tristan on April 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm

        The least, indeed. This article is on incomprehensible problematic levels. It fails miserably to address nuanced privileges clearly present in belong to this very limited scope of Drake’s “East African Girl” and instead opts to broad stroke the “I just recognized my privilege” literary ploy (often, if not always, done by those belong to privileged groups (read: white men, women, lighter skinned persons, etc.)) under this black acceptability (watered down) “critique.” The author’s attempt to situate themselves merely acts as a reaffirmation of broads holding on to and remaining complicit in structures of privilege for dear life. You gotta let go of that privilege, man. Just let it go.

        This article and this comment section hilariously, in many ways, has just become an open forum for tears fallen over the fact that rappers across generations and the spectrum of hip hop adore you and the aesthetic they believe you to be embodying. This self-satisfying-styled argument has been done at the expense of other(ed) black women and their bodies (darker skinned, non-(Drake defined) “East African women,” etc.) and subsequently aids to the furthered marginalisation of black women like myself who don’t benefit from the buckets of privilege being spewed towards the author and others umbrella-ed under this category.

        This article does nothing to emphasise the ways in which exoticisation, while horribly disgusting and nasty as all hell, is also profitable in terms of, not only the (black) acceptability that is afforded to women of this aesthetic, but also levels of respect afforded to them by those belonging to the patriarchy as well as fails to critique, acknowledge (footnote, even) the ways in which these women have become concretised as the (black) object of desire and the societal advantages that evidently come along with this classification. These crucial critiques, which are basic at best, are entirely missed throughout this article. Like I can’t. The unrealness of this all.

        Least of its problems in-damn-deed.

        • Abdi on April 8, 2013 at 2:07 pm

          You seem to have dedicated a lot of time to hating on other WoC. Do what you do tho. Safy’s article didn’t have to do any of the things you wanted it to do. Write that article if you want that to exist in the world. I’d personally love to see you write it as eloquently and get as many likes and comments as Safy.

          • more lols on April 9, 2013 at 8:56 pm

            “You seem to have dedicated a lot of time to hating on other WoC. ….. Safy’s article didn’t have to do any of the things you wanted it to do.”

            didn’t realize that asking an author to recognize her privilege and urging them to include an analysis that provides the nuanced ways in which black women’s bodies are being exploited is considered “hating”.

          • Tristan on April 13, 2013 at 11:10 pm

            Oop, apparently asking the author to recognise how her article is oppressive to particular women of colour for whom her argument necessitates and is contingent on is hating. Who knew?

            If you can’t address the concerns I raise in my comment for whatever reason (be it lack of understanding, disasociation with my claims, etc.), that’s fine. But don’t use the “hate” argument as way of discrediting the points I’ve made. It’s not a good look on you, trust me.

          • Tristan on April 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm

            Well then. Apparently asking the author to recognise how her article is problematic and oppressive to particular black women for whom her argument necessitates, rests and is contingent on is hating. Who knew?

            If you can’t address the concerns I raise in my comment for whatever reason (be it lack of understanding, disasociation with my claims, etc.), that’s fine. But don’t use the “hate” argument as way of discrediting the points I’ve made. It’s not a good look on you, trust me.

      • Tristan on April 8, 2013 at 12:51 am

        This is neither directed to you, S, nor to any other person who hasn’t done this; so my apologies in advance if it excludes you.

        However, for those of you who have taken it upon yourselves to attempt to out people like “lol” featured above or below this comment or those of you cyberstalking people like myself who disagree with this piece, I kindly ask you to hop the fuck off my unshared, personal internet spaces and keep discourse/dialogue about this article, your (fanatic) love of the author, or whatever to this comment section. Your cyberstalking is fucking with my flawlessness and I’ve never been ’bout people fucking with my flawlessness. So yeah, just gwan.

        Thanks. lovelovelove.

    • H.H on April 3, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      We all know where east Africa is located but those mentioned above are classified under cushetic ppl. The cushetic ppl live in Somalia/Ethiopia/ Eriteria/North Kenya( Somali Ethnic) and Djabouti( Somali and Afar ethnic).

    • Nonie on April 4, 2013 at 9:22 am

      Perhaps the term “East African” in the US is different from what we in Africa know and accept it to be, but last I checked, Tha East African Community only had Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi? I see where the confusion may lie based on this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Africa but if that’s the case then an East African girl should come from over 20 different countries. Why narrow it down to just the Horn of Africa ones?

      • Topis on April 5, 2013 at 3:50 am

        Please do some research before commenting, East African community is a economic bloc of Swahili speaking countries with shared history. This article is in reference to horn of African girls whom the American rappers have termed “East African”

  28. Janice on April 3, 2013 at 10:47 am

    So “East African Girls” are only Ethiopian/Somali/Eritrean? I’m a little troubled that the assumption is that this term only applies to these specific groups.

    • S on April 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      That’s the least of this article’s problems.

      • lol on April 4, 2013 at 10:45 pm

        can you elaborate, safia?

      • Tristan on April 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm

        The least, indeed. This article is on incomprehensible problematic levels. It fails miserably to address nuanced privileges clearly present in belong to this very limited scope of Drake’s “East African Girl” and instead opts to broad stroke the “I just recognized my privilege” literary ploy (often, if not always, done by those belong to privileged groups (read: white men, women, lighter skinned persons, etc.)) under this black acceptability (watered down) “critique.” The author’s attempt to situate themselves merely acts as a reaffirmation of broads holding on to and remaining complicit in structures of privilege for dear life. You gotta let go of that privilege, man. Just let it go.

        This article and this comment section hilariously, in many ways, has just become an open forum for tears fallen over the fact that rappers across generations and the spectrum of hip hop adore you and the aesthetic they believe you to be embodying. This self-satisfying-styled argument has been done at the expense of other(ed) black women and their bodies (darker skinned, non-(Drake defined) “East African women,” etc.) and subsequently aids to the furthered marginalisation of black women like myself who don’t benefit from the buckets of privilege being spewed towards the author and others umbrella-ed under this category.

        This article does nothing to emphasise the ways in which exoticisation, while horribly disgusting and nasty as all hell, is also profitable in terms of, not only the (black) acceptability that is afforded to women of this aesthetic, but also levels of respect afforded to them by those belonging to the patriarchy as well as fails to critique, acknowledge (footnote, even) the ways in which these women have become concretised as the (black) object of desire and the societal advantages that evidently come along with this classification. These crucial critiques, which are basic at best, are entirely missed throughout this article. Like I can’t. The unrealness of this all.

        Least of its problems in-damn-deed.

        • Abdi on April 8, 2013 at 2:07 pm

          You seem to have dedicated a lot of time to hating on other WoC. Do what you do tho. Safy’s article didn’t have to do any of the things you wanted it to do. Write that article if you want that to exist in the world. I’d personally love to see you write it as eloquently and get as many likes and comments as Safy.

          • more lols on April 9, 2013 at 8:56 pm

            “You seem to have dedicated a lot of time to hating on other WoC. ….. Safy’s article didn’t have to do any of the things you wanted it to do.”

            didn’t realize that asking an author to recognize her privilege and urging them to include an analysis that provides the nuanced ways in which black women’s bodies are being exploited is considered “hating”.

          • Tristan on April 13, 2013 at 11:10 pm

            Oop, apparently asking the author to recognise how her article is oppressive to particular women of colour for whom her argument necessitates and is contingent on is hating. Who knew?

            If you can’t address the concerns I raise in my comment for whatever reason (be it lack of understanding, disasociation with my claims, etc.), that’s fine. But don’t use the “hate” argument as way of discrediting the points I’ve made. It’s not a good look on you, trust me.

          • Tristan on April 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm

            Well then. Apparently asking the author to recognise how her article is problematic and oppressive to particular black women for whom her argument necessitates, rests and is contingent on is hating. Who knew?

            If you can’t address the concerns I raise in my comment for whatever reason (be it lack of understanding, disasociation with my claims, etc.), that’s fine. But don’t use the “hate” argument as way of discrediting the points I’ve made. It’s not a good look on you, trust me.

      • Tristan on April 8, 2013 at 12:51 am

        This is neither directed to you, S, nor to any other person who hasn’t done this; so my apologies in advance if it excludes you.

        However, for those of you who have taken it upon yourselves to attempt to out people like “lol” featured above or below this comment or those of you cyberstalking people like myself who disagree with this piece, I kindly ask you to hop the fuck off my unshared, personal internet spaces and keep discourse/dialogue about this article, your (fanatic) love of the author, or whatever to this comment section. Your cyberstalking is fucking with my flawlessness and I’ve never been ’bout people fucking with my flawlessness. So yeah, just gwan.

        Thanks. lovelovelove.

    • H.H on April 3, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      We all know where east Africa is located but those mentioned above are classified under cushetic ppl. The cushetic ppl live in Somalia/Ethiopia/ Eriteria/North Kenya( Somali Ethnic) and Djabouti( Somali and Afar ethnic).

    • Nonie on April 4, 2013 at 9:22 am

      Perhaps the term “East African” in the US is different from what we in Africa know and accept it to be, but last I checked, Tha East African Community only had Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi? I see where the confusion may lie based on this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Africa but if that’s the case then an East African girl should come from over 20 different countries. Why narrow it down to just the Horn of Africa ones?

      • Topis on April 5, 2013 at 3:50 am

        Please do some research before commenting, East African community is a economic bloc of Swahili speaking countries with shared history. This article is in reference to horn of African girls whom the American rappers have termed “East African”

  29. Joe T. Wilson II on April 3, 2013 at 11:05 am

    As a male I thought this to be an amazing article and testimony of what is a reality in Hip-Hop culture. I do appreciate this piece, and hopefully more people read and become more conscious about what they are saying about women in general.

  30. Joe T. Wilson II on April 3, 2013 at 11:05 am

    As a male I thought this to be an amazing article and testimony of what is a reality in Hip-Hop culture. I do appreciate this piece, and hopefully more people read and become more conscious about what they are saying about women in general.

  31. Joe T. Wilson II on April 3, 2013 at 11:05 am

    As a male I thought this to be an amazing article and testimony of what is a reality in Hip-Hop culture. I do appreciate this piece, and hopefully more people read and become more conscious about what they are saying about women in general.

  32. Joe T. Wilson II on April 3, 2013 at 11:05 am

    As a male I thought this to be an amazing article and testimony of what is a reality in Hip-Hop culture. I do appreciate this piece, and hopefully more people read and become more conscious about what they are saying about women in general.

  33. Julia on April 3, 2013 at 11:57 am

    What a thoughtful, compelling piece. Magnificent.

  34. Julia on April 3, 2013 at 11:57 am

    What a thoughtful, compelling piece. Magnificent.

  35. Julia on April 3, 2013 at 11:57 am

    What a thoughtful, compelling piece. Magnificent.

  36. Julia on April 3, 2013 at 11:57 am

    What a thoughtful, compelling piece. Magnificent.

  37. Zari on April 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I agree with Janice, my understanding of East Africa is actually Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda. The horn (Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea) is part of Eastern Africa which includes North and South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Djibouti.
    Not sure why you would use these terms interchangeably Ethiopian/Somali/Eritirean as East African girls,because it implies that those three countries are the only ones that constitute East African.
    Great article though, also interested in your thoughts about the Colorism(sp) Ethiopian/Somali/Eritreans practice themselves against other Africans.

  38. Zari on April 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I agree with Janice, my understanding of East Africa is actually Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda. The horn (Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea) is part of Eastern Africa which includes North and South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Djibouti.
    Not sure why you would use these terms interchangeably Ethiopian/Somali/Eritirean as East African girls,because it implies that those three countries are the only ones that constitute East African.
    Great article though, also interested in your thoughts about the Colorism(sp) Ethiopian/Somali/Eritreans practice themselves against other Africans.

  39. Zari on April 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I agree with Janice, my understanding of East Africa is actually Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda. The horn (Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea) is part of Eastern Africa which includes North and South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Djibouti.
    Not sure why you would use these terms interchangeably Ethiopian/Somali/Eritirean as East African girls,because it implies that those three countries are the only ones that constitute East African.
    Great article though, also interested in your thoughts about the Colorism(sp) Ethiopian/Somali/Eritreans practice themselves against other Africans.

  40. Zari on April 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I agree with Janice, my understanding of East Africa is actually Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda. The horn (Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea) is part of Eastern Africa which includes North and South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Djibouti.
    Not sure why you would use these terms interchangeably Ethiopian/Somali/Eritirean as East African girls,because it implies that those three countries are the only ones that constitute East African.
    Great article though, also interested in your thoughts about the Colorism(sp) Ethiopian/Somali/Eritreans practice themselves against other Africans.

  41. CheRae on April 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Janice,
    i think the reason is that the Horn of Africa has become synonymous with the term East Africa.

    • Zbo on April 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      Synonymous among who? She seems to have accepted the categorization of the same targets of the piece as far as the region goes. Outside of hiphop and Horn communities in particular, I’d argue most people connect East Africa with Kenya, Uganda, and Sudan. The narrow scope of the term as used in the article is as problematic as the other issues touched on.

      • Parson on April 3, 2013 at 5:12 pm

        I’m not at all hip hop or Horn, but I’ll be the first to admit I thought East Africa iois Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. That is my ignorance. I get that the classification is important, but as it relates to the point of her article the discussion over who is East is a bit pedantic. So change that one word. Does it change her point? I think not.

  42. CheRae on April 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Janice,
    i think the reason is that the Horn of Africa has become synonymous with the term East Africa.

    • Zbo on April 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      Synonymous among who? She seems to have accepted the categorization of the same targets of the piece as far as the region goes. Outside of hiphop and Horn communities in particular, I’d argue most people connect East Africa with Kenya, Uganda, and Sudan. The narrow scope of the term as used in the article is as problematic as the other issues touched on.

      • Parson on April 3, 2013 at 5:12 pm

        I’m not at all hip hop or Horn, but I’ll be the first to admit I thought East Africa iois Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. That is my ignorance. I get that the classification is important, but as it relates to the point of her article the discussion over who is East is a bit pedantic. So change that one word. Does it change her point? I think not.

  43. CheRae on April 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Janice,
    i think the reason is that the Horn of Africa has become synonymous with the term East Africa.

    • Zbo on April 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      Synonymous among who? She seems to have accepted the categorization of the same targets of the piece as far as the region goes. Outside of hiphop and Horn communities in particular, I’d argue most people connect East Africa with Kenya, Uganda, and Sudan. The narrow scope of the term as used in the article is as problematic as the other issues touched on.

      • Parson on April 3, 2013 at 5:12 pm

        I’m not at all hip hop or Horn, but I’ll be the first to admit I thought East Africa iois Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. That is my ignorance. I get that the classification is important, but as it relates to the point of her article the discussion over who is East is a bit pedantic. So change that one word. Does it change her point? I think not.

  44. CheRae on April 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Janice,
    i think the reason is that the Horn of Africa has become synonymous with the term East Africa.

    • Zbo on April 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      Synonymous among who? She seems to have accepted the categorization of the same targets of the piece as far as the region goes. Outside of hiphop and Horn communities in particular, I’d argue most people connect East Africa with Kenya, Uganda, and Sudan. The narrow scope of the term as used in the article is as problematic as the other issues touched on.

      • Parson on April 3, 2013 at 5:12 pm

        I’m not at all hip hop or Horn, but I’ll be the first to admit I thought East Africa iois Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. That is my ignorance. I get that the classification is important, but as it relates to the point of her article the discussion over who is East is a bit pedantic. So change that one word. Does it change her point? I think not.

  45. [...] Poetic Justice: Drake and East African Girls [...]

  46. [...] Poetic Justice: Drake and East African Girls [...]

  47. [...] Poetic Justice: Drake and East African Girls [...]

  48. [...] Poetic Justice: Drake and East African Girls [...]

  49. Homeboy on April 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    i would first like to say that you’re a good writer and second, never take what rappers say serious, especially Drake. He is the biggest buffoon and does not know what he is talking about, take this from someone who has known him for years. that said, i have issue with your definition of what east african male/woman is — you listed Ethiopia/Eliteria/somali — i think your definition is very narrow. for example, there many somali-yemenies who live in somalia and have for-generations but dont look black at all, as matter in fact many light-skin somalis are not black at all. So what i want to say is that east african is not limited to those 3 regions in Africa.

    • Deanna on April 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      I think I get what you are trying to say the only one question I have for you is what exactly is looking black how can you look black or white if those are simply colors ….The racists supremacy are the ones who divided race by looks and color when in reality there is only one race the human race and God created different hues,features,cultures ,etc and according to the Bible we all came from Africa ,race is a social construct so when you say they don’t look black at all you’re correct because no one looks black,white,Hispanic ..etc and its upsetting how people can come across these labels and accept them …like if I were to say blue eyes and blond hair one would automatically think “caucasion” but if I said that I was describing an African-American an ignorant person would laugh,say that the person must be mixed or has a mutation ….but my only question is sense humans have created these categories why is it that it seems to only apply to the women that are of color why when a woman who has accepted to be “white ” is still called fully white/caucasion when she has brown or green eyes or dark coarse hair but when a woman who has accepted to be “black” and has long curly hair and blue,green,or just has an exotic look period is thought to be mixed ….the problem is indeed internalized and psychological and it will take more than just this comment to reverse the problem

  50. Homeboy on April 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    i would first like to say that you’re a good writer and second, never take what rappers say serious, especially Drake. He is the biggest buffoon and does not know what he is talking about, take this from someone who has known him for years. that said, i have issue with your definition of what east african male/woman is — you listed Ethiopia/Eliteria/somali — i think your definition is very narrow. for example, there many somali-yemenies who live in somalia and have for-generations but dont look black at all, as matter in fact many light-skin somalis are not black at all. So what i want to say is that east african is not limited to those 3 regions in Africa.

    • Deanna on April 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      I think I get what you are trying to say the only one question I have for you is what exactly is looking black how can you look black or white if those are simply colors ….The racists supremacy are the ones who divided race by looks and color when in reality there is only one race the human race and God created different hues,features,cultures ,etc and according to the Bible we all came from Africa ,race is a social construct so when you say they don’t look black at all you’re correct because no one looks black,white,Hispanic ..etc and its upsetting how people can come across these labels and accept them …like if I were to say blue eyes and blond hair one would automatically think “caucasion” but if I said that I was describing an African-American an ignorant person would laugh,say that the person must be mixed or has a mutation ….but my only question is sense humans have created these categories why is it that it seems to only apply to the women that are of color why when a woman who has accepted to be “white ” is still called fully white/caucasion when she has brown or green eyes or dark coarse hair but when a woman who has accepted to be “black” and has long curly hair and blue,green,or just has an exotic look period is thought to be mixed ….the problem is indeed internalized and psychological and it will take more than just this comment to reverse the problem

  51. Homeboy on April 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    i would first like to say that you’re a good writer and second, never take what rappers say serious, especially Drake. He is the biggest buffoon and does not know what he is talking about, take this from someone who has known him for years. that said, i have issue with your definition of what east african male/woman is — you listed Ethiopia/Eliteria/somali — i think your definition is very narrow. for example, there many somali-yemenies who live in somalia and have for-generations but dont look black at all, as matter in fact many light-skin somalis are not black at all. So what i want to say is that east african is not limited to those 3 regions in Africa.

    • Deanna on April 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      I think I get what you are trying to say the only one question I have for you is what exactly is looking black how can you look black or white if those are simply colors ….The racists supremacy are the ones who divided race by looks and color when in reality there is only one race the human race and God created different hues,features,cultures ,etc and according to the Bible we all came from Africa ,race is a social construct so when you say they don’t look black at all you’re correct because no one looks black,white,Hispanic ..etc and its upsetting how people can come across these labels and accept them …like if I were to say blue eyes and blond hair one would automatically think “caucasion” but if I said that I was describing an African-American an ignorant person would laugh,say that the person must be mixed or has a mutation ….but my only question is sense humans have created these categories why is it that it seems to only apply to the women that are of color why when a woman who has accepted to be “white ” is still called fully white/caucasion when she has brown or green eyes or dark coarse hair but when a woman who has accepted to be “black” and has long curly hair and blue,green,or just has an exotic look period is thought to be mixed ….the problem is indeed internalized and psychological and it will take more than just this comment to reverse the problem

  52. Homeboy on April 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    i would first like to say that you’re a good writer and second, never take what rappers say serious, especially Drake. He is the biggest buffoon and does not know what he is talking about, take this from someone who has known him for years. that said, i have issue with your definition of what east african male/woman is — you listed Ethiopia/Eliteria/somali — i think your definition is very narrow. for example, there many somali-yemenies who live in somalia and have for-generations but dont look black at all, as matter in fact many light-skin somalis are not black at all. So what i want to say is that east african is not limited to those 3 regions in Africa.

    • Deanna on April 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      I think I get what you are trying to say the only one question I have for you is what exactly is looking black how can you look black or white if those are simply colors ….The racists supremacy are the ones who divided race by looks and color when in reality there is only one race the human race and God created different hues,features,cultures ,etc and according to the Bible we all came from Africa ,race is a social construct so when you say they don’t look black at all you’re correct because no one looks black,white,Hispanic ..etc and its upsetting how people can come across these labels and accept them …like if I were to say blue eyes and blond hair one would automatically think “caucasion” but if I said that I was describing an African-American an ignorant person would laugh,say that the person must be mixed or has a mutation ….but my only question is sense humans have created these categories why is it that it seems to only apply to the women that are of color why when a woman who has accepted to be “white ” is still called fully white/caucasion when she has brown or green eyes or dark coarse hair but when a woman who has accepted to be “black” and has long curly hair and blue,green,or just has an exotic look period is thought to be mixed ….the problem is indeed internalized and psychological and it will take more than just this comment to reverse the problem

  53. KiwNak on April 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Who are ”East African girls?” Are they are homogeneous group?

  54. KiwNak on April 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Who are ”East African girls?” Are they are homogeneous group?

  55. KiwNak on April 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Who are ”East African girls?” Are they are homogeneous group?

  56. KiwNak on April 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Who are ”East African girls?” Are they are homogeneous group?

  57. Huda on April 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    all around claps. SAFY BACK AT IT AGAIN!

  58. Huda on April 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    all around claps. SAFY BACK AT IT AGAIN!

  59. Huda on April 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    all around claps. SAFY BACK AT IT AGAIN!

  60. Huda on April 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    all around claps. SAFY BACK AT IT AGAIN!

  61. Cara on April 3, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Thank you for this overall excellent piece. Like other commenters, I would like to have seen greater space dedicated to addressing the problematic natures of identifying “East African Girls” as though they are a monolithic group.

    There was a comment about the Horn of Africa being synonymous with East Africa. That is an incorrect privileging of the views of certain Americans/Westerners over the views of the very people who live in East Africa. Having lived and traveled extensively in East Africa, I can tell you that the peoples of Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi are all core states within East Africa, as defined by the people who live there. Please, let the people of these countries define and identify themselves, and respect it. Don’t go renaming people in places you have never seen because you heard about it in an American hip hop video.

    Having lived in East Africa, I am perplexed by the very idea of an “East African Girl” as an identifiable person who possesses a particular look. First, as a feminist I don’t use the term “girl” to refer to grown women so I will discard that term. Secondly, there is no uniform East African woman. The look this article describes describes a small portion of the area and completely ignores the literally hundreds of varied ethnic groups with different characteristics who inhabit the area. It wipes them out of existence. That, my friends, is privilege.

    While the commentary on acceptable Blackness is extremely important, I would caution those engaging in it to be mindful of not marginalizing or rendering invisible the majority of real women in East Africa who do not fit the “East African Girl” stereotype under discussion. These women are already silenced too often in global discourse. Just as a white person discussing acceptable Blackness needs to be careful of their privilege, people living in the West need to be careful of their privilege when discussing people in the Global South. It dangerous to talk extensively about places and people you have limited experience with. Chances are, you’re going to get it wrong, as here.

    • Angelica on April 3, 2013 at 10:25 pm

      This is a wonderful piece of writing and i thank the writer for expressing many pertinent points. And thank you Cara, thank you very much for your contribution.

      I accept the writer’s point, but this is the first time i am hearing or reading of East Africa being Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. Maybe in the United States and other parts of the world this is the perception, but as a Tanzanian woman, myself and Africans in general define East Africa to be Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. IF countries in the horn are now included, this is a recent development. I do not want to take anything away from the writer’s point, which i do agree with, but this is yet another example of just how distorted other people’s perceptions of oneself can be. I reject these sorts of categorisations because i cannot relate to someone else’s imagination and expectation of who or what i am. I am an East African woman, yes, but i never consider myself part of some sort of homogenous group based on that. Come to Tanzania and you will see so many different looking people it will leave you either thoroughly confused or thoroughly enlightened. In Africa we can often (not always) tell which geographical region a person hails from or which tribe they are likely to be. If these rappers (who in the larger scheme of things represent a very narrow portion of humanity but unfortunately appear to have far reaching influence) are fixated on women who have certain identifiable features, that is their issue to deal with and i have no qualms with that. But i cannot witness a grave inaccuracy that affects the way people perceive me without speaking out about it. There is no such thing as an “East African Girl” based on physical and facial features. That is a misleading way of perceiving people who do not even perceive or present themselves that way in the first place.

      • fifi on April 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm

        I’m african, west african and I can assure you that most of us wouldn’t not know that the countries you’ve just listed are in East africa. We all think of it as: Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia. I guess that’s our ignorance but that doesn’t even matter here.Do you think Drake of kenyans when he says “East African girls”? Of course she’s going to use the general conception of the “East African girl” for the sake of this article. It’s annoying that most of these comments are filled with this.(it’s upsetting the writer you know). Y’all are acting like those people that correct your grammar instead of actually making a point.

  62. Cara on April 3, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Thank you for this overall excellent piece. Like other commenters, I would like to have seen greater space dedicated to addressing the problematic natures of identifying “East African Girls” as though they are a monolithic group.

    There was a comment about the Horn of Africa being synonymous with East Africa. That is an incorrect privileging of the views of certain Americans/Westerners over the views of the very people who live in East Africa. Having lived and traveled extensively in East Africa, I can tell you that the peoples of Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi are all core states within East Africa, as defined by the people who live there. Please, let the people of these countries define and identify themselves, and respect it. Don’t go renaming people in places you have never seen because you heard about it in an American hip hop video.

    Having lived in East Africa, I am perplexed by the very idea of an “East African Girl” as an identifiable person who possesses a particular look. First, as a feminist I don’t use the term “girl” to refer to grown women so I will discard that term. Secondly, there is no uniform East African woman. The look this article describes describes a small portion of the area and completely ignores the literally hundreds of varied ethnic groups with different characteristics who inhabit the area. It wipes them out of existence. That, my friends, is privilege.

    While the commentary on acceptable Blackness is extremely important, I would caution those engaging in it to be mindful of not marginalizing or rendering invisible the majority of real women in East Africa who do not fit the “East African Girl” stereotype under discussion. These women are already silenced too often in global discourse. Just as a white person discussing acceptable Blackness needs to be careful of their privilege, people living in the West need to be careful of their privilege when discussing people in the Global South. It dangerous to talk extensively about places and people you have limited experience with. Chances are, you’re going to get it wrong, as here.

    • Angelica on April 3, 2013 at 10:25 pm

      This is a wonderful piece of writing and i thank the writer for expressing many pertinent points. And thank you Cara, thank you very much for your contribution.

      I accept the writer’s point, but this is the first time i am hearing or reading of East Africa being Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. Maybe in the United States and other parts of the world this is the perception, but as a Tanzanian woman, myself and Africans in general define East Africa to be Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. IF countries in the horn are now included, this is a recent development. I do not want to take anything away from the writer’s point, which i do agree with, but this is yet another example of just how distorted other people’s perceptions of oneself can be. I reject these sorts of categorisations because i cannot relate to someone else’s imagination and expectation of who or what i am. I am an East African woman, yes, but i never consider myself part of some sort of homogenous group based on that. Come to Tanzania and you will see so many different looking people it will leave you either thoroughly confused or thoroughly enlightened. In Africa we can often (not always) tell which geographical region a person hails from or which tribe they are likely to be. If these rappers (who in the larger scheme of things represent a very narrow portion of humanity but unfortunately appear to have far reaching influence) are fixated on women who have certain identifiable features, that is their issue to deal with and i have no qualms with that. But i cannot witness a grave inaccuracy that affects the way people perceive me without speaking out about it. There is no such thing as an “East African Girl” based on physical and facial features. That is a misleading way of perceiving people who do not even perceive or present themselves that way in the first place.

      • fifi on April 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm

        I’m african, west african and I can assure you that most of us wouldn’t not know that the countries you’ve just listed are in East africa. We all think of it as: Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia. I guess that’s our ignorance but that doesn’t even matter here.Do you think Drake of kenyans when he says “East African girls”? Of course she’s going to use the general conception of the “East African girl” for the sake of this article. It’s annoying that most of these comments are filled with this.(it’s upsetting the writer you know). Y’all are acting like those people that correct your grammar instead of actually making a point.

  63. Cara on April 3, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Thank you for this overall excellent piece. Like other commenters, I would like to have seen greater space dedicated to addressing the problematic natures of identifying “East African Girls” as though they are a monolithic group.

    There was a comment about the Horn of Africa being synonymous with East Africa. That is an incorrect privileging of the views of certain Americans/Westerners over the views of the very people who live in East Africa. Having lived and traveled extensively in East Africa, I can tell you that the peoples of Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi are all core states within East Africa, as defined by the people who live there. Please, let the people of these countries define and identify themselves, and respect it. Don’t go renaming people in places you have never seen because you heard about it in an American hip hop video.

    Having lived in East Africa, I am perplexed by the very idea of an “East African Girl” as an identifiable person who possesses a particular look. First, as a feminist I don’t use the term “girl” to refer to grown women so I will discard that term. Secondly, there is no uniform East African woman. The look this article describes describes a small portion of the area and completely ignores the literally hundreds of varied ethnic groups with different characteristics who inhabit the area. It wipes them out of existence. That, my friends, is privilege.

    While the commentary on acceptable Blackness is extremely important, I would caution those engaging in it to be mindful of not marginalizing or rendering invisible the majority of real women in East Africa who do not fit the “East African Girl” stereotype under discussion. These women are already silenced too often in global discourse. Just as a white person discussing acceptable Blackness needs to be careful of their privilege, people living in the West need to be careful of their privilege when discussing people in the Global South. It dangerous to talk extensively about places and people you have limited experience with. Chances are, you’re going to get it wrong, as here.

    • Angelica on April 3, 2013 at 10:25 pm

      This is a wonderful piece of writing and i thank the writer for expressing many pertinent points. And thank you Cara, thank you very much for your contribution.

      I accept the writer’s point, but this is the first time i am hearing or reading of East Africa being Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. Maybe in the United States and other parts of the world this is the perception, but as a Tanzanian woman, myself and Africans in general define East Africa to be Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. IF countries in the horn are now included, this is a recent development. I do not want to take anything away from the writer’s point, which i do agree with, but this is yet another example of just how distorted other people’s perceptions of oneself can be. I reject these sorts of categorisations because i cannot relate to someone else’s imagination and expectation of who or what i am. I am an East African woman, yes, but i never consider myself part of some sort of homogenous group based on that. Come to Tanzania and you will see so many different looking people it will leave you either thoroughly confused or thoroughly enlightened. In Africa we can often (not always) tell which geographical region a person hails from or which tribe they are likely to be. If these rappers (who in the larger scheme of things represent a very narrow portion of humanity but unfortunately appear to have far reaching influence) are fixated on women who have certain identifiable features, that is their issue to deal with and i have no qualms with that. But i cannot witness a grave inaccuracy that affects the way people perceive me without speaking out about it. There is no such thing as an “East African Girl” based on physical and facial features. That is a misleading way of perceiving people who do not even perceive or present themselves that way in the first place.

      • fifi on April 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm

        I’m african, west african and I can assure you that most of us wouldn’t not know that the countries you’ve just listed are in East africa. We all think of it as: Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia. I guess that’s our ignorance but that doesn’t even matter here.Do you think Drake of kenyans when he says “East African girls”? Of course she’s going to use the general conception of the “East African girl” for the sake of this article. It’s annoying that most of these comments are filled with this.(it’s upsetting the writer you know). Y’all are acting like those people that correct your grammar instead of actually making a point.

  64. Cara on April 3, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Thank you for this overall excellent piece. Like other commenters, I would like to have seen greater space dedicated to addressing the problematic natures of identifying “East African Girls” as though they are a monolithic group.

    There was a comment about the Horn of Africa being synonymous with East Africa. That is an incorrect privileging of the views of certain Americans/Westerners over the views of the very people who live in East Africa. Having lived and traveled extensively in East Africa, I can tell you that the peoples of Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi are all core states within East Africa, as defined by the people who live there. Please, let the people of these countries define and identify themselves, and respect it. Don’t go renaming people in places you have never seen because you heard about it in an American hip hop video.

    Having lived in East Africa, I am perplexed by the very idea of an “East African Girl” as an identifiable person who possesses a particular look. First, as a feminist I don’t use the term “girl” to refer to grown women so I will discard that term. Secondly, there is no uniform East African woman. The look this article describes describes a small portion of the area and completely ignores the literally hundreds of varied ethnic groups with different characteristics who inhabit the area. It wipes them out of existence. That, my friends, is privilege.

    While the commentary on acceptable Blackness is extremely important, I would caution those engaging in it to be mindful of not marginalizing or rendering invisible the majority of real women in East Africa who do not fit the “East African Girl” stereotype under discussion. These women are already silenced too often in global discourse. Just as a white person discussing acceptable Blackness needs to be careful of their privilege, people living in the West need to be careful of their privilege when discussing people in the Global South. It dangerous to talk extensively about places and people you have limited experience with. Chances are, you’re going to get it wrong, as here.

    • Angelica on April 3, 2013 at 10:25 pm

      This is a wonderful piece of writing and i thank the writer for expressing many pertinent points. And thank you Cara, thank you very much for your contribution.

      I accept the writer’s point, but this is the first time i am hearing or reading of East Africa being Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. Maybe in the United States and other parts of the world this is the perception, but as a Tanzanian woman, myself and Africans in general define East Africa to be Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. IF countries in the horn are now included, this is a recent development. I do not want to take anything away from the writer’s point, which i do agree with, but this is yet another example of just how distorted other people’s perceptions of oneself can be. I reject these sorts of categorisations because i cannot relate to someone else’s imagination and expectation of who or what i am. I am an East African woman, yes, but i never consider myself part of some sort of homogenous group based on that. Come to Tanzania and you will see so many different looking people it will leave you either thoroughly confused or thoroughly enlightened. In Africa we can often (not always) tell which geographical region a person hails from or which tribe they are likely to be. If these rappers (who in the larger scheme of things represent a very narrow portion of humanity but unfortunately appear to have far reaching influence) are fixated on women who have certain identifiable features, that is their issue to deal with and i have no qualms with that. But i cannot witness a grave inaccuracy that affects the way people perceive me without speaking out about it. There is no such thing as an “East African Girl” based on physical and facial features. That is a misleading way of perceiving people who do not even perceive or present themselves that way in the first place.

      • fifi on April 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm

        I’m african, west african and I can assure you that most of us wouldn’t not know that the countries you’ve just listed are in East africa. We all think of it as: Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia. I guess that’s our ignorance but that doesn’t even matter here.Do you think Drake of kenyans when he says “East African girls”? Of course she’s going to use the general conception of the “East African girl” for the sake of this article. It’s annoying that most of these comments are filled with this.(it’s upsetting the writer you know). Y’all are acting like those people that correct your grammar instead of actually making a point.

  65. Jade on April 3, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    In a Eurocentric society, white people (and their minions) will exalt only beauty that they can see themselves in. A “reflection” in a mirror so to speak. When you are a beautiful woman of African descent who deviates most from their “accepted norm” it’s the most threatening.

  66. Jade on April 3, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    In a Eurocentric society, white people (and their minions) will exalt only beauty that they can see themselves in. A “reflection” in a mirror so to speak. When you are a beautiful woman of African descent who deviates most from their “accepted norm” it’s the most threatening.

  67. Jade on April 3, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    In a Eurocentric society, white people (and their minions) will exalt only beauty that they can see themselves in. A “reflection” in a mirror so to speak. When you are a beautiful woman of African descent who deviates most from their “accepted norm” it’s the most threatening.

  68. Jade on April 3, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    In a Eurocentric society, white people (and their minions) will exalt only beauty that they can see themselves in. A “reflection” in a mirror so to speak. When you are a beautiful woman of African descent who deviates most from their “accepted norm” it’s the most threatening.

  69. Madeleine on April 3, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Great article and great read. It bemuses me (quiet tirelessly – I would go further and say relentlessly) to see the ongoing topic of dark skin vs light skin – or perhaps the ongoing debate of entrenched Eurocentric ideals of black beauty being dissected by black people! Even more annoying is the fact that black people themselves continue to perpetuate the problem! To me, I feel that this ongoing discourse is very predominant among black Americans. Living in the UK, the discourse of colorism is not as entrenched nor as problematic. Pop culture does not help the cause neither so anyone who would believe rhyming lyrics of Drakes and his peers as anthropolopical gospel has some serious reflecting to do. Until mainstream networks such as BET begin to employ more dark skin presenters for shows such as 106& Park for instance little dark skinned American girls will continue to feel inadequate within their own skin due to the lack of skin tone representation on TV. Black men (rappers) should use more dark skin models as lead girls instead of objects of desire. A lot can be said, but waiting on ‘the white man’ to do this is a lost cause. People need to stop alienating one another; begin to travel to Africa and see the real faces of the continent, suck up the culture etc would also be beneficial, I’ll stop right there as this topic really frustrates me due to people’s ignorance. I am African (is that even relevant?)Too much talk, not enough action. Self love is the only progressive step, the rest is ect!

  70. Madeleine on April 3, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Great article and great read. It bemuses me (quiet tirelessly – I would go further and say relentlessly) to see the ongoing topic of dark skin vs light skin – or perhaps the ongoing debate of entrenched Eurocentric ideals of black beauty being dissected by black people! Even more annoying is the fact that black people themselves continue to perpetuate the problem! To me, I feel that this ongoing discourse is very predominant among black Americans. Living in the UK, the discourse of colorism is not as entrenched nor as problematic. Pop culture does not help the cause neither so anyone who would believe rhyming lyrics of Drakes and his peers as anthropolopical gospel has some serious reflecting to do. Until mainstream networks such as BET begin to employ more dark skin presenters for shows such as 106& Park for instance little dark skinned American girls will continue to feel inadequate within their own skin due to the lack of skin tone representation on TV. Black men (rappers) should use more dark skin models as lead girls instead of objects of desire. A lot can be said, but waiting on ‘the white man’ to do this is a lost cause. People need to stop alienating one another; begin to travel to Africa and see the real faces of the continent, suck up the culture etc would also be beneficial, I’ll stop right there as this topic really frustrates me due to people’s ignorance. I am African (is that even relevant?)Too much talk, not enough action. Self love is the only progressive step, the rest is ect!

  71. Madeleine on April 3, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Great article and great read. It bemuses me (quiet tirelessly – I would go further and say relentlessly) to see the ongoing topic of dark skin vs light skin – or perhaps the ongoing debate of entrenched Eurocentric ideals of black beauty being dissected by black people! Even more annoying is the fact that black people themselves continue to perpetuate the problem! To me, I feel that this ongoing discourse is very predominant among black Americans. Living in the UK, the discourse of colorism is not as entrenched nor as problematic. Pop culture does not help the cause neither so anyone who would believe rhyming lyrics of Drakes and his peers as anthropolopical gospel has some serious reflecting to do. Until mainstream networks such as BET begin to employ more dark skin presenters for shows such as 106& Park for instance little dark skinned American girls will continue to feel inadequate within their own skin due to the lack of skin tone representation on TV. Black men (rappers) should use more dark skin models as lead girls instead of objects of desire. A lot can be said, but waiting on ‘the white man’ to do this is a lost cause. People need to stop alienating one another; begin to travel to Africa and see the real faces of the continent, suck up the culture etc would also be beneficial, I’ll stop right there as this topic really frustrates me due to people’s ignorance. I am African (is that even relevant?)Too much talk, not enough action. Self love is the only progressive step, the rest is ect!

  72. Madeleine on April 3, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Great article and great read. It bemuses me (quiet tirelessly – I would go further and say relentlessly) to see the ongoing topic of dark skin vs light skin – or perhaps the ongoing debate of entrenched Eurocentric ideals of black beauty being dissected by black people! Even more annoying is the fact that black people themselves continue to perpetuate the problem! To me, I feel that this ongoing discourse is very predominant among black Americans. Living in the UK, the discourse of colorism is not as entrenched nor as problematic. Pop culture does not help the cause neither so anyone who would believe rhyming lyrics of Drakes and his peers as anthropolopical gospel has some serious reflecting to do. Until mainstream networks such as BET begin to employ more dark skin presenters for shows such as 106& Park for instance little dark skinned American girls will continue to feel inadequate within their own skin due to the lack of skin tone representation on TV. Black men (rappers) should use more dark skin models as lead girls instead of objects of desire. A lot can be said, but waiting on ‘the white man’ to do this is a lost cause. People need to stop alienating one another; begin to travel to Africa and see the real faces of the continent, suck up the culture etc would also be beneficial, I’ll stop right there as this topic really frustrates me due to people’s ignorance. I am African (is that even relevant?)Too much talk, not enough action. Self love is the only progressive step, the rest is ect!

  73. Ava on April 4, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Anthropologists and white racialists are not one in the same. Initially the field of anthropology was used as a mechanism to justify racist idea through science, but that was quite a few hundred years ago. So, please correct that. Also, race is biological. It is ethnicity and nationality that are social. Other than those major faults, it was a decent article.

    • Cecily on April 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      Race is not biological.

  74. Ava on April 4, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Anthropologists and white racialists are not one in the same. Initially the field of anthropology was used as a mechanism to justify racist idea through science, but that was quite a few hundred years ago. So, please correct that. Also, race is biological. It is ethnicity and nationality that are social. Other than those major faults, it was a decent article.

    • Cecily on April 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      Race is not biological.

  75. Ava on April 4, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Anthropologists and white racialists are not one in the same. Initially the field of anthropology was used as a mechanism to justify racist idea through science, but that was quite a few hundred years ago. So, please correct that. Also, race is biological. It is ethnicity and nationality that are social. Other than those major faults, it was a decent article.

    • Cecily on April 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      Race is not biological.

  76. Ava on April 4, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Anthropologists and white racialists are not one in the same. Initially the field of anthropology was used as a mechanism to justify racist idea through science, but that was quite a few hundred years ago. So, please correct that. Also, race is biological. It is ethnicity and nationality that are social. Other than those major faults, it was a decent article.

    • Cecily on April 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      Race is not biological.

  77. Zew on April 4, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Y’all steady debating moot points. This article is great.

  78. Zew on April 4, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Y’all steady debating moot points. This article is great.

  79. Zew on April 4, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Y’all steady debating moot points. This article is great.

  80. Zew on April 4, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Y’all steady debating moot points. This article is great.

  81. kyle on April 4, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    i’m curious about where people like Jeremih fall into…i don’t really recall him ever being particular specific about which girls he loves, since his song “Ladies” kinna talks about his desire for all of them.

  82. kyle on April 4, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    i’m curious about where people like Jeremih fall into…i don’t really recall him ever being particular specific about which girls he loves, since his song “Ladies” kinna talks about his desire for all of them.

  83. kyle on April 4, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    i’m curious about where people like Jeremih fall into…i don’t really recall him ever being particular specific about which girls he loves, since his song “Ladies” kinna talks about his desire for all of them.

  84. kyle on April 4, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    i’m curious about where people like Jeremih fall into…i don’t really recall him ever being particular specific about which girls he loves, since his song “Ladies” kinna talks about his desire for all of them.

  85. Kyana on April 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    You seem to be making a lot of assumptions about American-born black folks’ perceptions, experiences and conversations about racial identity and “blackness”. I’m sure you meant well, but your knowledge and understanding of these folks’ racial/diasporic identity politics is limited, and you do not acknowledge this. This article feels defensive and short-sighted to me, but I appreciate your contribution to the conversation.

  86. Kyana on April 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    You seem to be making a lot of assumptions about American-born black folks’ perceptions, experiences and conversations about racial identity and “blackness”. I’m sure you meant well, but your knowledge and understanding of these folks’ racial/diasporic identity politics is limited, and you do not acknowledge this. This article feels defensive and short-sighted to me, but I appreciate your contribution to the conversation.

  87. Kyana on April 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    You seem to be making a lot of assumptions about American-born black folks’ perceptions, experiences and conversations about racial identity and “blackness”. I’m sure you meant well, but your knowledge and understanding of these folks’ racial/diasporic identity politics is limited, and you do not acknowledge this. This article feels defensive and short-sighted to me, but I appreciate your contribution to the conversation.

  88. Kyana on April 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    You seem to be making a lot of assumptions about American-born black folks’ perceptions, experiences and conversations about racial identity and “blackness”. I’m sure you meant well, but your knowledge and understanding of these folks’ racial/diasporic identity politics is limited, and you do not acknowledge this. This article feels defensive and short-sighted to me, but I appreciate your contribution to the conversation.

  89. Meena on April 4, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Great. But I am not black and never will be black. There is nothing to prove. My solidarity is much higher than some chickenhead dancing around in a music video. I am an African woman. Black is a slave. I am African and FREE.

  90. Meena on April 4, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Great. But I am not black and never will be black. There is nothing to prove. My solidarity is much higher than some chickenhead dancing around in a music video. I am an African woman. Black is a slave. I am African and FREE.

  91. Meena on April 4, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Great. But I am not black and never will be black. There is nothing to prove. My solidarity is much higher than some chickenhead dancing around in a music video. I am an African woman. Black is a slave. I am African and FREE.

  92. Meena on April 4, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Great. But I am not black and never will be black. There is nothing to prove. My solidarity is much higher than some chickenhead dancing around in a music video. I am an African woman. Black is a slave. I am African and FREE.

  93. Meena on April 4, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    India Arie is not “black” either now. She’s “cocoa”. (eyeroll) When you focus on the SUPERFICIAL, SUPERFICIAL is what you end up with.

  94. Meena on April 4, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    India Arie is not “black” either now. She’s “cocoa”. (eyeroll) When you focus on the SUPERFICIAL, SUPERFICIAL is what you end up with.

  95. Meena on April 4, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    India Arie is not “black” either now. She’s “cocoa”. (eyeroll) When you focus on the SUPERFICIAL, SUPERFICIAL is what you end up with.

  96. Meena on April 4, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    India Arie is not “black” either now. She’s “cocoa”. (eyeroll) When you focus on the SUPERFICIAL, SUPERFICIAL is what you end up with.

  97. Meena on April 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    India Arie: “I am not my skin lightener.”

  98. Meena on April 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    India Arie: “I am not my skin lightener.”

  99. Meena on April 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    India Arie: “I am not my skin lightener.”

  100. Meena on April 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    India Arie: “I am not my skin lightener.”

  101. EAMAN on April 4, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Meanwhile East African MEN say….. [*crickets*].

  102. EAMAN on April 4, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Meanwhile East African MEN say….. [*crickets*].

  103. EAMAN on April 4, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Meanwhile East African MEN say….. [*crickets*].

  104. EAMAN on April 4, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Meanwhile East African MEN say….. [*crickets*].

  105. Marcus on April 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I think you lost credibility in your Cosby reference. Did you even listen to the clip yourself? Or bother to check the context in which the reference was made? This is the full quote: “Ask the man from Ethiopia. He will flip some burgers. Why? Because somehow he knows he’s going to become the manager of the place.” So opposite to what you claimed, he was actually telling African-Americans to be more like Ethiopians and not settle for menial jobs…I think slandering someone in this manner shows high incompetence at best or dis-ingenuity at worst.

    • Hamdi Dollaz on April 4, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      1. Being the manager of the mcdonalds is still menial.Managerial but menial.
      2. Cosby was conflating immigrants + Ethiopians.
      3. Cosby was disrespectful and inciting intra-racial prejudice.
      4. Go fuck yourself and stop commenting on shit you can’t understand.

      • Abdi on April 5, 2013 at 1:11 pm

        “Ask the man from Ethiopia. He will flip some burgers. Why? Because somehow he knows he’s going to become the manager of the place.”

        THAT PROVES HER POINT. THAT IS BLACK ACCEPTABILITY. LIKE WOW PEOPLE BE DUMB. LMAO. I can’t believe you guys are trying to argue that Bill was on some positive tip.

  106. Marcus on April 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I think you lost credibility in your Cosby reference. Did you even listen to the clip yourself? Or bother to check the context in which the reference was made? This is the full quote: “Ask the man from Ethiopia. He will flip some burgers. Why? Because somehow he knows he’s going to become the manager of the place.” So opposite to what you claimed, he was actually telling African-Americans to be more like Ethiopians and not settle for menial jobs…I think slandering someone in this manner shows high incompetence at best or dis-ingenuity at worst.

    • Hamdi Dollaz on April 4, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      1. Being the manager of the mcdonalds is still menial.Managerial but menial.
      2. Cosby was conflating immigrants + Ethiopians.
      3. Cosby was disrespectful and inciting intra-racial prejudice.
      4. Go fuck yourself and stop commenting on shit you can’t understand.

      • Abdi on April 5, 2013 at 1:11 pm

        “Ask the man from Ethiopia. He will flip some burgers. Why? Because somehow he knows he’s going to become the manager of the place.”

        THAT PROVES HER POINT. THAT IS BLACK ACCEPTABILITY. LIKE WOW PEOPLE BE DUMB. LMAO. I can’t believe you guys are trying to argue that Bill was on some positive tip.

  107. Marcus on April 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I think you lost credibility in your Cosby reference. Did you even listen to the clip yourself? Or bother to check the context in which the reference was made? This is the full quote: “Ask the man from Ethiopia. He will flip some burgers. Why? Because somehow he knows he’s going to become the manager of the place.” So opposite to what you claimed, he was actually telling African-Americans to be more like Ethiopians and not settle for menial jobs…I think slandering someone in this manner shows high incompetence at best or dis-ingenuity at worst.

    • Hamdi Dollaz on April 4, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      1. Being the manager of the mcdonalds is still menial.Managerial but menial.
      2. Cosby was conflating immigrants + Ethiopians.
      3. Cosby was disrespectful and inciting intra-racial prejudice.
      4. Go fuck yourself and stop commenting on shit you can’t understand.

      • Abdi on April 5, 2013 at 1:11 pm

        “Ask the man from Ethiopia. He will flip some burgers. Why? Because somehow he knows he’s going to become the manager of the place.”

        THAT PROVES HER POINT. THAT IS BLACK ACCEPTABILITY. LIKE WOW PEOPLE BE DUMB. LMAO. I can’t believe you guys are trying to argue that Bill was on some positive tip.

  108. Marcus on April 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I think you lost credibility in your Cosby reference. Did you even listen to the clip yourself? Or bother to check the context in which the reference was made? This is the full quote: “Ask the man from Ethiopia. He will flip some burgers. Why? Because somehow he knows he’s going to become the manager of the place.” So opposite to what you claimed, he was actually telling African-Americans to be more like Ethiopians and not settle for menial jobs…I think slandering someone in this manner shows high incompetence at best or dis-ingenuity at worst.

    • Hamdi Dollaz on April 4, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      1. Being the manager of the mcdonalds is still menial.Managerial but menial.
      2. Cosby was conflating immigrants + Ethiopians.
      3. Cosby was disrespectful and inciting intra-racial prejudice.
      4. Go fuck yourself and stop commenting on shit you can’t understand.

      • Abdi on April 5, 2013 at 1:11 pm

        “Ask the man from Ethiopia. He will flip some burgers. Why? Because somehow he knows he’s going to become the manager of the place.”

        THAT PROVES HER POINT. THAT IS BLACK ACCEPTABILITY. LIKE WOW PEOPLE BE DUMB. LMAO. I can’t believe you guys are trying to argue that Bill was on some positive tip.

  109. Q on April 4, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Question with regards to the premise of this article. What’s the claim that there is an over-representation grounded in? The article cites a handful of rap lyrics, tweets, and message board threads as indicative of a much larger trend. Is this necessarily true? I’m not sure if it would be an identifiable trend prior to the “Poetic Justice” hit verse.

  110. Q on April 4, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Question with regards to the premise of this article. What’s the claim that there is an over-representation grounded in? The article cites a handful of rap lyrics, tweets, and message board threads as indicative of a much larger trend. Is this necessarily true? I’m not sure if it would be an identifiable trend prior to the “Poetic Justice” hit verse.

  111. Q on April 4, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Question with regards to the premise of this article. What’s the claim that there is an over-representation grounded in? The article cites a handful of rap lyrics, tweets, and message board threads as indicative of a much larger trend. Is this necessarily true? I’m not sure if it would be an identifiable trend prior to the “Poetic Justice” hit verse.

  112. Q on April 4, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Question with regards to the premise of this article. What’s the claim that there is an over-representation grounded in? The article cites a handful of rap lyrics, tweets, and message board threads as indicative of a much larger trend. Is this necessarily true? I’m not sure if it would be an identifiable trend prior to the “Poetic Justice” hit verse.

  113. Pam on April 4, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    i hope we all realize that ethiopians and eritreans are not the only countries that are in east africa. this misconception really offends me. i am east african. i am a tanzanian east african. i am black, and i am proud.

  114. Pam on April 4, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    i hope we all realize that ethiopians and eritreans are not the only countries that are in east africa. this misconception really offends me. i am east african. i am a tanzanian east african. i am black, and i am proud.

  115. Pam on April 4, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    i hope we all realize that ethiopians and eritreans are not the only countries that are in east africa. this misconception really offends me. i am east african. i am a tanzanian east african. i am black, and i am proud.

  116. Pam on April 4, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    i hope we all realize that ethiopians and eritreans are not the only countries that are in east africa. this misconception really offends me. i am east african. i am a tanzanian east african. i am black, and i am proud.

  117. Saira on April 4, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Interesting…never thought of the East African girl as those only from Ethiopia/Somalia as described in this article, I’m from Rwanda/Uganda and I’m an East African girl. That phrase describes the whole region.

  118. Saira on April 4, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Interesting…never thought of the East African girl as those only from Ethiopia/Somalia as described in this article, I’m from Rwanda/Uganda and I’m an East African girl. That phrase describes the whole region.

  119. Saira on April 4, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Interesting…never thought of the East African girl as those only from Ethiopia/Somalia as described in this article, I’m from Rwanda/Uganda and I’m an East African girl. That phrase describes the whole region.

  120. Saira on April 4, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Interesting…never thought of the East African girl as those only from Ethiopia/Somalia as described in this article, I’m from Rwanda/Uganda and I’m an East African girl. That phrase describes the whole region.

  121. Beauty is Diverse on April 5, 2013 at 4:39 am

    Very good article! The songs are glorifying certain kind of east African women, its an extension of the broader issue here within the African American community where “acceptable” blacks are presented in the music videos and films. These referenced east African girls with curly hair and with more Caucasian features are not a true representation of even the Horn of Africa region(Ethiopia,Eritrea,Djibouti and Somalia)At least half of the Horn of Africa’s population do not fit the above description. And even the terming “East African” is misleading because it leaves out the rest of the East African countries as many have mentioned.

  122. Beauty is Diverse on April 5, 2013 at 4:39 am

    Very good article! The songs are glorifying certain kind of east African women, its an extension of the broader issue here within the African American community where “acceptable” blacks are presented in the music videos and films. These referenced east African girls with curly hair and with more Caucasian features are not a true representation of even the Horn of Africa region(Ethiopia,Eritrea,Djibouti and Somalia)At least half of the Horn of Africa’s population do not fit the above description. And even the terming “East African” is misleading because it leaves out the rest of the East African countries as many have mentioned.

  123. Beauty is Diverse on April 5, 2013 at 4:39 am

    Very good article! The songs are glorifying certain kind of east African women, its an extension of the broader issue here within the African American community where “acceptable” blacks are presented in the music videos and films. These referenced east African girls with curly hair and with more Caucasian features are not a true representation of even the Horn of Africa region(Ethiopia,Eritrea,Djibouti and Somalia)At least half of the Horn of Africa’s population do not fit the above description. And even the terming “East African” is misleading because it leaves out the rest of the East African countries as many have mentioned.

  124. Beauty is Diverse on April 5, 2013 at 4:39 am

    Very good article! The songs are glorifying certain kind of east African women, its an extension of the broader issue here within the African American community where “acceptable” blacks are presented in the music videos and films. These referenced east African girls with curly hair and with more Caucasian features are not a true representation of even the Horn of Africa region(Ethiopia,Eritrea,Djibouti and Somalia)At least half of the Horn of Africa’s population do not fit the above description. And even the terming “East African” is misleading because it leaves out the rest of the East African countries as many have mentioned.

  125. Beauty is Diverse on April 5, 2013 at 4:46 am

    Your Reference to Bill Cosby is misinforming, I would suggest for you to listen to what he says carefully he used the example in a positive way to inspire. I agree with Marcus that you could lose credibility if you are citing sources you your self have not listen to.

  126. Beauty is Diverse on April 5, 2013 at 4:46 am

    Your Reference to Bill Cosby is misinforming, I would suggest for you to listen to what he says carefully he used the example in a positive way to inspire. I agree with Marcus that you could lose credibility if you are citing sources you your self have not listen to.

  127. Beauty is Diverse on April 5, 2013 at 4:46 am

    Your Reference to Bill Cosby is misinforming, I would suggest for you to listen to what he says carefully he used the example in a positive way to inspire. I agree with Marcus that you could lose credibility if you are citing sources you your self have not listen to.

  128. Beauty is Diverse on April 5, 2013 at 4:46 am

    Your Reference to Bill Cosby is misinforming, I would suggest for you to listen to what he says carefully he used the example in a positive way to inspire. I agree with Marcus that you could lose credibility if you are citing sources you your self have not listen to.

  129. Gemma on April 5, 2013 at 8:51 am

    This piece is the writer’s point of view with the evidence to support her arguments so before you exercising your internet right to retaliate your verdict respect her thoughts and opinions and you would like yours to be.

    And now respect mine as I have done so to yours.

    Firstly, I would like to respond to the already intricate problem that has just left me perplexed reading through the comments written by some belligerent state of minds. It would be unnecessary of me to reveal my ethnicity as it will only provoke biased and negative thoughts towards what I am about to write. Certainly, geographically East Africa predominantly consists of; Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda yet realistically, the uneducated world immediately identifies the Horn of Africa when brought to the mention of East. Unfortunately this propaganda is a barraging lie that has been developed and tainted through the eyes of the media but that in its self in a whole other infuriating issue that has only been adequately maintained for monetary gain.

    Next I would like to briefly discuss another important unjust conservation of mine. It seems as if women that aren’t from the horn of Africa region are constantly brushing off any relations to East Africa when it is described as “starving to death” by the hip-hop community and emphasis their explanations as to why they are not be specified within the category of East Africa. Nonetheless when the hip-hop community prominences the beauty of East Africans they eagerly dive in for appreciation and decide to take claim as East Africans and they have the nerve to say that they feel offended when they are not celebrated. If you are an East Africa you will be overtly patriotic and rightfully accept and rebuttal the truth to the negativity that come your way by any means at all costs not when you feel like being one and when you don’t.
    Lastly, in perspective to the real issues, I liked to explain the insignificance of this altercation here. I was listening to a new song called ‘I’m East African’ which is performed by several up and coming East African rappers (in the USA) surprisingly enough they did express some thought evoke lyrics. One rapper from Eritrea name J.W.S (jigna-sky-walker) raised a very very important point that I now quote in agreeance; “Y’all forget what you came here for, you think a Drake shout out on a verse is what you made for..” he sincerely stated that after he emphasised the countless years of war that many East Africans and/or their parents have endured and risked their lives to escaped in search of a better life elsewhere. So I’m saying we should focus on what’s really important and that is educating ourselves (the people who have been blessed with a better life) to help those who are still at unrest and strive together to defeat the poverty.

  130. Gemma on April 5, 2013 at 8:51 am

    This piece is the writer’s point of view with the evidence to support her arguments so before you exercising your internet right to retaliate your verdict respect her thoughts and opinions and you would like yours to be.

    And now respect mine as I have done so to yours.

    Firstly, I would like to respond to the already intricate problem that has just left me perplexed reading through the comments written by some belligerent state of minds. It would be unnecessary of me to reveal my ethnicity as it will only provoke biased and negative thoughts towards what I am about to write. Certainly, geographically East Africa predominantly consists of; Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda yet realistically, the uneducated world immediately identifies the Horn of Africa when brought to the mention of East. Unfortunately this propaganda is a barraging lie that has been developed and tainted through the eyes of the media but that in its self in a whole other infuriating issue that has only been adequately maintained for monetary gain.

    Next I would like to briefly discuss another important unjust conservation of mine. It seems as if women that aren’t from the horn of Africa region are constantly brushing off any relations to East Africa when it is described as “starving to death” by the hip-hop community and emphasis their explanations as to why they are not be specified within the category of East Africa. Nonetheless when the hip-hop community prominences the beauty of East Africans they eagerly dive in for appreciation and decide to take claim as East Africans and they have the nerve to say that they feel offended when they are not celebrated. If you are an East Africa you will be overtly patriotic and rightfully accept and rebuttal the truth to the negativity that come your way by any means at all costs not when you feel like being one and when you don’t.
    Lastly, in perspective to the real issues, I liked to explain the insignificance of this altercation here. I was listening to a new song called ‘I’m East African’ which is performed by several up and coming East African rappers (in the USA) surprisingly enough they did express some thought evoke lyrics. One rapper from Eritrea name J.W.S (jigna-sky-walker) raised a very very important point that I now quote in agreeance; “Y’all forget what you came here for, you think a Drake shout out on a verse is what you made for..” he sincerely stated that after he emphasised the countless years of war that many East Africans and/or their parents have endured and risked their lives to escaped in search of a better life elsewhere. So I’m saying we should focus on what’s really important and that is educating ourselves (the people who have been blessed with a better life) to help those who are still at unrest and strive together to defeat the poverty.

  131. Gemma on April 5, 2013 at 8:51 am

    This piece is the writer’s point of view with the evidence to support her arguments so before you exercising your internet right to retaliate your verdict respect her thoughts and opinions and you would like yours to be.

    And now respect mine as I have done so to yours.

    Firstly, I would like to respond to the already intricate problem that has just left me perplexed reading through the comments written by some belligerent state of minds. It would be unnecessary of me to reveal my ethnicity as it will only provoke biased and negative thoughts towards what I am about to write. Certainly, geographically East Africa predominantly consists of; Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda yet realistically, the uneducated world immediately identifies the Horn of Africa when brought to the mention of East. Unfortunately this propaganda is a barraging lie that has been developed and tainted through the eyes of the media but that in its self in a whole other infuriating issue that has only been adequately maintained for monetary gain.

    Next I would like to briefly discuss another important unjust conservation of mine. It seems as if women that aren’t from the horn of Africa region are constantly brushing off any relations to East Africa when it is described as “starving to death” by the hip-hop community and emphasis their explanations as to why they are not be specified within the category of East Africa. Nonetheless when the hip-hop community prominences the beauty of East Africans they eagerly dive in for appreciation and decide to take claim as East Africans and they have the nerve to say that they feel offended when they are not celebrated. If you are an East Africa you will be overtly patriotic and rightfully accept and rebuttal the truth to the negativity that come your way by any means at all costs not when you feel like being one and when you don’t.
    Lastly, in perspective to the real issues, I liked to explain the insignificance of this altercation here. I was listening to a new song called ‘I’m East African’ which is performed by several up and coming East African rappers (in the USA) surprisingly enough they did express some thought evoke lyrics. One rapper from Eritrea name J.W.S (jigna-sky-walker) raised a very very important point that I now quote in agreeance; “Y’all forget what you came here for, you think a Drake shout out on a verse is what you made for..” he sincerely stated that after he emphasised the countless years of war that many East Africans and/or their parents have endured and risked their lives to escaped in search of a better life elsewhere. So I’m saying we should focus on what’s really important and that is educating ourselves (the people who have been blessed with a better life) to help those who are still at unrest and strive together to defeat the poverty.

  132. Gemma on April 5, 2013 at 8:51 am

    This piece is the writer’s point of view with the evidence to support her arguments so before you exercising your internet right to retaliate your verdict respect her thoughts and opinions and you would like yours to be.

    And now respect mine as I have done so to yours.

    Firstly, I would like to respond to the already intricate problem that has just left me perplexed reading through the comments written by some belligerent state of minds. It would be unnecessary of me to reveal my ethnicity as it will only provoke biased and negative thoughts towards what I am about to write. Certainly, geographically East Africa predominantly consists of; Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda yet realistically, the uneducated world immediately identifies the Horn of Africa when brought to the mention of East. Unfortunately this propaganda is a barraging lie that has been developed and tainted through the eyes of the media but that in its self in a whole other infuriating issue that has only been adequately maintained for monetary gain.

    Next I would like to briefly discuss another important unjust conservation of mine. It seems as if women that aren’t from the horn of Africa region are constantly brushing off any relations to East Africa when it is described as “starving to death” by the hip-hop community and emphasis their explanations as to why they are not be specified within the category of East Africa. Nonetheless when the hip-hop community prominences the beauty of East Africans they eagerly dive in for appreciation and decide to take claim as East Africans and they have the nerve to say that they feel offended when they are not celebrated. If you are an East Africa you will be overtly patriotic and rightfully accept and rebuttal the truth to the negativity that come your way by any means at all costs not when you feel like being one and when you don’t.
    Lastly, in perspective to the real issues, I liked to explain the insignificance of this altercation here. I was listening to a new song called ‘I’m East African’ which is performed by several up and coming East African rappers (in the USA) surprisingly enough they did express some thought evoke lyrics. One rapper from Eritrea name J.W.S (jigna-sky-walker) raised a very very important point that I now quote in agreeance; “Y’all forget what you came here for, you think a Drake shout out on a verse is what you made for..” he sincerely stated that after he emphasised the countless years of war that many East Africans and/or their parents have endured and risked their lives to escaped in search of a better life elsewhere. So I’m saying we should focus on what’s really important and that is educating ourselves (the people who have been blessed with a better life) to help those who are still at unrest and strive together to defeat the poverty.

  133. Pines on April 6, 2013 at 3:07 am

    Although it was an interesting read I found this article rather problematic. The East African categorisation you make is but one of my issues. I feel as though, by your pre-determination that east Africa consists of Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, you’re exhibiting an underlying discrimination that exists with Horn of Africa countries. Often I meet a lot of Somalis and Ethiopians who don’t consider themselves black let alone African. They place themselves on a hierarchy in which they are at the top as ‘light skinned, looser curled’ when in reality they are a minority in their countries. You place them on a pedis tool by confirming some idea that the East African girl can only refer to this girl. Personally as an East African girl myself, hailing from Kenya with that ‘big ass in that sundress’ and the small waist, I thought he was referring to that kind of girl. I don’t want to accuse you of being selective in your understanding, neither do I want to dismiss some of your very relevant and true conclusions especially that there are acceptable kinds of beauty. I do want to point out that perhaps you may also be glorifying the Somali, Ethiopian or Eritrean features, which are not that common (think of the Oromo in Ethiopia), on top of that three countries that do not even make up the whole of east Africa. I feel you should have emphasised that Hollywood has picked out this acceptable beauty in this region in these three countries, people with these specific features excluding many others. And what about Sudanese women, like Alek wek the runways love that tall dark skinned woman? You seem to have avoided some areas to formulate and support your argument I think you need to address it from each angle. It’s a valid point but the way it was reached is biased in itself.

  134. Pines on April 6, 2013 at 3:07 am

    Although it was an interesting read I found this article rather problematic. The East African categorisation you make is but one of my issues. I feel as though, by your pre-determination that east Africa consists of Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, you’re exhibiting an underlying discrimination that exists with Horn of Africa countries. Often I meet a lot of Somalis and Ethiopians who don’t consider themselves black let alone African. They place themselves on a hierarchy in which they are at the top as ‘light skinned, looser curled’ when in reality they are a minority in their countries. You place them on a pedis tool by confirming some idea that the East African girl can only refer to this girl. Personally as an East African girl myself, hailing from Kenya with that ‘big ass in that sundress’ and the small waist, I thought he was referring to that kind of girl. I don’t want to accuse you of being selective in your understanding, neither do I want to dismiss some of your very relevant and true conclusions especially that there are acceptable kinds of beauty. I do want to point out that perhaps you may also be glorifying the Somali, Ethiopian or Eritrean features, which are not that common (think of the Oromo in Ethiopia), on top of that three countries that do not even make up the whole of east Africa. I feel you should have emphasised that Hollywood has picked out this acceptable beauty in this region in these three countries, people with these specific features excluding many others. And what about Sudanese women, like Alek wek the runways love that tall dark skinned woman? You seem to have avoided some areas to formulate and support your argument I think you need to address it from each angle. It’s a valid point but the way it was reached is biased in itself.

  135. Pines on April 6, 2013 at 3:07 am

    Although it was an interesting read I found this article rather problematic. The East African categorisation you make is but one of my issues. I feel as though, by your pre-determination that east Africa consists of Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, you’re exhibiting an underlying discrimination that exists with Horn of Africa countries. Often I meet a lot of Somalis and Ethiopians who don’t consider themselves black let alone African. They place themselves on a hierarchy in which they are at the top as ‘light skinned, looser curled’ when in reality they are a minority in their countries. You place them on a pedis tool by confirming some idea that the East African girl can only refer to this girl. Personally as an East African girl myself, hailing from Kenya with that ‘big ass in that sundress’ and the small waist, I thought he was referring to that kind of girl. I don’t want to accuse you of being selective in your understanding, neither do I want to dismiss some of your very relevant and true conclusions especially that there are acceptable kinds of beauty. I do want to point out that perhaps you may also be glorifying the Somali, Ethiopian or Eritrean features, which are not that common (think of the Oromo in Ethiopia), on top of that three countries that do not even make up the whole of east Africa. I feel you should have emphasised that Hollywood has picked out this acceptable beauty in this region in these three countries, people with these specific features excluding many others. And what about Sudanese women, like Alek wek the runways love that tall dark skinned woman? You seem to have avoided some areas to formulate and support your argument I think you need to address it from each angle. It’s a valid point but the way it was reached is biased in itself.

  136. Pines on April 6, 2013 at 3:07 am

    Although it was an interesting read I found this article rather problematic. The East African categorisation you make is but one of my issues. I feel as though, by your pre-determination that east Africa consists of Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, you’re exhibiting an underlying discrimination that exists with Horn of Africa countries. Often I meet a lot of Somalis and Ethiopians who don’t consider themselves black let alone African. They place themselves on a hierarchy in which they are at the top as ‘light skinned, looser curled’ when in reality they are a minority in their countries. You place them on a pedis tool by confirming some idea that the East African girl can only refer to this girl. Personally as an East African girl myself, hailing from Kenya with that ‘big ass in that sundress’ and the small waist, I thought he was referring to that kind of girl. I don’t want to accuse you of being selective in your understanding, neither do I want to dismiss some of your very relevant and true conclusions especially that there are acceptable kinds of beauty. I do want to point out that perhaps you may also be glorifying the Somali, Ethiopian or Eritrean features, which are not that common (think of the Oromo in Ethiopia), on top of that three countries that do not even make up the whole of east Africa. I feel you should have emphasised that Hollywood has picked out this acceptable beauty in this region in these three countries, people with these specific features excluding many others. And what about Sudanese women, like Alek wek the runways love that tall dark skinned woman? You seem to have avoided some areas to formulate and support your argument I think you need to address it from each angle. It’s a valid point but the way it was reached is biased in itself.

  137. Monti on April 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    “Perhaps my own cousin, Leyla who Drake once bought lunch for, is Drake’s East African Girl. Maybe his East African Girl is my friend Ayan, who Drake met while clubbing. Maybe his East African Girl is like Helen Gedlu or Lola Monroe.”

    Not really. The person he is speaking of is actually a friend, an Oromo-Ethiopian girl here in Toronto that he’s long been trying to court. The various overtures he mentions in the lyrics is pretty much a recap of what he has been offering her.

    Anyway, great article.

  138. Monti on April 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    “Perhaps my own cousin, Leyla who Drake once bought lunch for, is Drake’s East African Girl. Maybe his East African Girl is my friend Ayan, who Drake met while clubbing. Maybe his East African Girl is like Helen Gedlu or Lola Monroe.”

    Not really. The person he is speaking of is actually a friend, an Oromo-Ethiopian girl here in Toronto that he’s long been trying to court. The various overtures he mentions in the lyrics is pretty much a recap of what he has been offering her.

    Anyway, great article.

  139. Monti on April 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    “Perhaps my own cousin, Leyla who Drake once bought lunch for, is Drake’s East African Girl. Maybe his East African Girl is my friend Ayan, who Drake met while clubbing. Maybe his East African Girl is like Helen Gedlu or Lola Monroe.”

    Not really. The person he is speaking of is actually a friend, an Oromo-Ethiopian girl here in Toronto that he’s long been trying to court. The various overtures he mentions in the lyrics is pretty much a recap of what he has been offering her.

    Anyway, great article.

  140. Monti on April 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    “Perhaps my own cousin, Leyla who Drake once bought lunch for, is Drake’s East African Girl. Maybe his East African Girl is my friend Ayan, who Drake met while clubbing. Maybe his East African Girl is like Helen Gedlu or Lola Monroe.”

    Not really. The person he is speaking of is actually a friend, an Oromo-Ethiopian girl here in Toronto that he’s long been trying to court. The various overtures he mentions in the lyrics is pretty much a recap of what he has been offering her.

    Anyway, great article.

  141. Asjia on April 8, 2013 at 12:25 am

    What interested me most about this post is the attention you brought to “acceptable blackness” and the fact that “we live in a racist, sexist world where black men and white people can hurt black women in the same ways. Black women hurt black women, too..”. I don’t listen to most of the artists you mentioned however I have before but I never picked up on the denigrating ways the videos and lyrics put black women into a hierarchy. How dehumanizing is it to have certain women for sexual needs and others for more personal/emotional needs? Also, though we are all not the same, black women allow the standards of beauty that society imposes on us to dictate our appearances and attitudes towards other black women. Why?! If we want to look a certain way then it should be accepted amongst the community of black women; why can’t we be accepting of our differences? Probably because we have black men and white men telling us certain looks are superior to others but that’s patriarchy talking. We are women. We should listen to each other and present ourselves the way we like not the way men would like to see us. Since I’ve been in college (3 years) I’ve spent a lot of time disliking my natural hair and unfortunately damaging it to make it appear “more white”. I was confused, I still am, about how I want to be perceived to the world and unfortunately beauty plays a huge role in that process. It sucks that a facet of white superiority manifests itself in the black community causing beauty hierarchies…

  142. Asjia on April 8, 2013 at 12:25 am

    What interested me most about this post is the attention you brought to “acceptable blackness” and the fact that “we live in a racist, sexist world where black men and white people can hurt black women in the same ways. Black women hurt black women, too..”. I don’t listen to most of the artists you mentioned however I have before but I never picked up on the denigrating ways the videos and lyrics put black women into a hierarchy. How dehumanizing is it to have certain women for sexual needs and others for more personal/emotional needs? Also, though we are all not the same, black women allow the standards of beauty that society imposes on us to dictate our appearances and attitudes towards other black women. Why?! If we want to look a certain way then it should be accepted amongst the community of black women; why can’t we be accepting of our differences? Probably because we have black men and white men telling us certain looks are superior to others but that’s patriarchy talking. We are women. We should listen to each other and present ourselves the way we like not the way men would like to see us. Since I’ve been in college (3 years) I’ve spent a lot of time disliking my natural hair and unfortunately damaging it to make it appear “more white”. I was confused, I still am, about how I want to be perceived to the world and unfortunately beauty plays a huge role in that process. It sucks that a facet of white superiority manifests itself in the black community causing beauty hierarchies…

  143. Asjia on April 8, 2013 at 12:25 am

    What interested me most about this post is the attention you brought to “acceptable blackness” and the fact that “we live in a racist, sexist world where black men and white people can hurt black women in the same ways. Black women hurt black women, too..”. I don’t listen to most of the artists you mentioned however I have before but I never picked up on the denigrating ways the videos and lyrics put black women into a hierarchy. How dehumanizing is it to have certain women for sexual needs and others for more personal/emotional needs? Also, though we are all not the same, black women allow the standards of beauty that society imposes on us to dictate our appearances and attitudes towards other black women. Why?! If we want to look a certain way then it should be accepted amongst the community of black women; why can’t we be accepting of our differences? Probably because we have black men and white men telling us certain looks are superior to others but that’s patriarchy talking. We are women. We should listen to each other and present ourselves the way we like not the way men would like to see us. Since I’ve been in college (3 years) I’ve spent a lot of time disliking my natural hair and unfortunately damaging it to make it appear “more white”. I was confused, I still am, about how I want to be perceived to the world and unfortunately beauty plays a huge role in that process. It sucks that a facet of white superiority manifests itself in the black community causing beauty hierarchies…

  144. Asjia on April 8, 2013 at 12:25 am

    What interested me most about this post is the attention you brought to “acceptable blackness” and the fact that “we live in a racist, sexist world where black men and white people can hurt black women in the same ways. Black women hurt black women, too..”. I don’t listen to most of the artists you mentioned however I have before but I never picked up on the denigrating ways the videos and lyrics put black women into a hierarchy. How dehumanizing is it to have certain women for sexual needs and others for more personal/emotional needs? Also, though we are all not the same, black women allow the standards of beauty that society imposes on us to dictate our appearances and attitudes towards other black women. Why?! If we want to look a certain way then it should be accepted amongst the community of black women; why can’t we be accepting of our differences? Probably because we have black men and white men telling us certain looks are superior to others but that’s patriarchy talking. We are women. We should listen to each other and present ourselves the way we like not the way men would like to see us. Since I’ve been in college (3 years) I’ve spent a lot of time disliking my natural hair and unfortunately damaging it to make it appear “more white”. I was confused, I still am, about how I want to be perceived to the world and unfortunately beauty plays a huge role in that process. It sucks that a facet of white superiority manifests itself in the black community causing beauty hierarchies…

  145. M on April 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Who decided that certain features belong to one race? From Senegal to Ethiopia I have seen people with what is considered “White features” and from Scandinavia to Italy people with what is considered “black” features. This discourse was created as a tool of exclusion; it has been a political and economic tool since 1492. Read the black code and you’ll get a basic idea. “They” have messed us up so badly that we cannot recognize that their strategy is still working and that Beauty is not about color or features but about symmetry.

  146. M on April 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Who decided that certain features belong to one race? From Senegal to Ethiopia I have seen people with what is considered “White features” and from Scandinavia to Italy people with what is considered “black” features. This discourse was created as a tool of exclusion; it has been a political and economic tool since 1492. Read the black code and you’ll get a basic idea. “They” have messed us up so badly that we cannot recognize that their strategy is still working and that Beauty is not about color or features but about symmetry.

  147. M on April 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Who decided that certain features belong to one race? From Senegal to Ethiopia I have seen people with what is considered “White features” and from Scandinavia to Italy people with what is considered “black” features. This discourse was created as a tool of exclusion; it has been a political and economic tool since 1492. Read the black code and you’ll get a basic idea. “They” have messed us up so badly that we cannot recognize that their strategy is still working and that Beauty is not about color or features but about symmetry.

  148. M on April 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Who decided that certain features belong to one race? From Senegal to Ethiopia I have seen people with what is considered “White features” and from Scandinavia to Italy people with what is considered “black” features. This discourse was created as a tool of exclusion; it has been a political and economic tool since 1492. Read the black code and you’ll get a basic idea. “They” have messed us up so badly that we cannot recognize that their strategy is still working and that Beauty is not about color or features but about symmetry.

  149. Accent on April 23, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    As an Ethiopian, I agree with what you said but I am tried of people telling us what we are and we are not. Its funny because You have people talking shit about Ethiopian because some Ethiopian men/women told them they aren’t fully black. But when they meet the Ethiopian who says he/she is black, they have problem too!

    I keep telling people that most Ethiopians are not mixed at all. We have less outside influence than the Kenyans and Nigerians. Just because we are fairly lighter than most African’s that doesn’t make us less black. I am over this whole race situation and it is so complicated and I am tried of explaining myself so I just say, I am Ethiopian….and close the case :)

  150. Accent on April 23, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    As an Ethiopian, I agree with what you said but I am tried of people telling us what we are and we are not. Its funny because You have people talking shit about Ethiopian because some Ethiopian men/women told them they aren’t fully black. But when they meet the Ethiopian who says he/she is black, they have problem too!

    I keep telling people that most Ethiopians are not mixed at all. We have less outside influence than the Kenyans and Nigerians. Just because we are fairly lighter than most African’s that doesn’t make us less black. I am over this whole race situation and it is so complicated and I am tried of explaining myself so I just say, I am Ethiopian….and close the case :)

  151. Accent on April 23, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    As an Ethiopian, I agree with what you said but I am tried of people telling us what we are and we are not. Its funny because You have people talking shit about Ethiopian because some Ethiopian men/women told them they aren’t fully black. But when they meet the Ethiopian who says he/she is black, they have problem too!

    I keep telling people that most Ethiopians are not mixed at all. We have less outside influence than the Kenyans and Nigerians. Just because we are fairly lighter than most African’s that doesn’t make us less black. I am over this whole race situation and it is so complicated and I am tried of explaining myself so I just say, I am Ethiopian….and close the case :)

  152. Accent on April 23, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    As an Ethiopian, I agree with what you said but I am tried of people telling us what we are and we are not. Its funny because You have people talking shit about Ethiopian because some Ethiopian men/women told them they aren’t fully black. But when they meet the Ethiopian who says he/she is black, they have problem too!

    I keep telling people that most Ethiopians are not mixed at all. We have less outside influence than the Kenyans and Nigerians. Just because we are fairly lighter than most African’s that doesn’t make us less black. I am over this whole race situation and it is so complicated and I am tried of explaining myself so I just say, I am Ethiopian….and close the case :)

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Arts & Culture

  • Hunger Kwame Laughing Foto

    They say you had the eye; they say you saw
    into people. They say you came before as shaman
    or bruja and returned as priestess; they say you were
    stonebreaker. But for me, you were a big sister
    feeling for a lonely brother with no language
    to lament, and you gave me more days, and
    more days. Yes, they could have called you
    Grace, Bambara; they could have called you that.

  • Stroller (A Screenplay) Black families and community

    Roxana Walker-Canton: Natalie sits in her own seat in front of her mother and looks out the window. Mostly WHITE PEOPLE get on and off the bus now. The bus rides through a neighborhood of single family homes. A BLACK WOMAN with TWO WHITE CHILDREN get on the bus. Natalie stares at the children.

  • I’ve Got Something To Say About This: A Survival Incantation Kate Rushin
credit/copyright: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

    Kate Rushin: I see the whole thing played out. I’m bludgeoned, bloody, raped. My story is reduced to filler buried in the back of the paper, on page 49, and I say, “No. No way.”

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