Recently I watched an interview between Senegalese rapper/humanitarian Akon (Aliamue Damala Badara Akon Thiam) and White Russian/Jew Dj Vlad (Vladislav Lyubovni) the founder and host of Vladtv. Dj Vlad, the former Bay area Dj regularly flaunts a lucrative career from his hip hop affiliated business. A job that has allowed him the privilege to take trips to the continent of Africa, particularly Senegal, where his guest Akon is from originally. Senegal is also home to Goree Island. Goree is a tiny island off the coast of Dakar, the capital of Senegal. It is known for its role in the slave trade between the 15th -19th century. It also features the House of Slaves built in the 1780s. The Maison de esclave is the name that its afro-french metis architects, that built it, gave it. The world-famous structure features the renowned "door of no return" that many tourists travel the world to feel the "slave experience" that my ancestors felt before departing the "motherland" of Africa. An attraction that Senegal's economy still profits and benefits from "til this day." In the interview, a very upbeat and jovial tone Dj Vlad and Akon Discussed family lineage, reparations, the African American disconnect with Africa, and the topic of Slavery in Africa.
Vlad asked Akon, "how do the Senegalese feel about Slavery? You know there were a lot of foul people involved, of course, you know Europeans, Jew, Whites and Africans were also involved". Akon vehemently agreed, and in a philosophical yet partially unnecessary rant, he revealed that Senegalese don't think about Slavery, and the only time they do is when they are making money from it on Goree Island. He said his people "have moved past the slavery concept and idea mind state." (Just a quick question from the writer of this article when was his family ever enslaved?) Akon and Vlad continued to proudly highlight how Akon has direct knowledge and documentation of his family origin and lineage, which is why I chose to provide you with their full birth and family name at the beginning of this article. These two men know where they came from and who they are. Their families were not stolen or enslaved. They joked about African Americans still carrying the names of their former slave owners and their history being brainwashed and taken from them. In the same three-minute interview clip, Akon says that African Americans should just move on from Slavery. Akon thinks that African Americans should "let go of the past" and "we should stop blaming the past on every mishap" forget about reparations because he doesn't believe we are going to get them. Akon encourages American blacks to forget about everything wrong done to you and your ancestors. Just leave America and come back "home." My question to Akon is, where is home? And If you are referring to Africa, where in Africa?
Vlad stated when he was in Senegal, it was the first time he saw "black people that felt comfortable with no type of dis-ease." He also said that "every Black American that has an issue with how they are being treated in America should go to Africa." At the end of the interview clip, they jokingly cosigned the white American media-manufactured stereotype that Black Americans were scared of Africa. I plan to go to Africa very soon, but it is a costly and challenging trip to make. Especially when you have no generational wealth or knowledge passed down, and your entire family is a victim of Slavery, redlining, the war on drugs, and mass incarceration all directly. It will take a little while, but I will get there. I have spoken to dozens of Black Americans that share my same sentiment. I would not be surprised if the most significant spike in tourism in West Africa in the past few years were black Americans. However, I do know that there is no boat coming from Africa to retrieve me. We have waited almost 500 years for it. I think the best thing that any African can do is support your Black American Relatives in whatever favorable decision or righteous cause that they may undertake. If you disagree, stay silent. Just like you did during Slavery and throughout many other injustices perpetrated against us by your co-defendant, you love, the white man. Because like you and Vlad said, Whites are not the only ones that were guilty in the slave trade.