The process and performance of migration forces a spiritual reckoning, as it relates to distant memory. Distant memory in this life and in previous times, while connecting us to the current. There is a remembrance in movement. In addition, movement teaches us the power of connecting with new territory, unfamiliar, or foreign territory. In this regard, we can observe how events in time, unfamiliar rhythms, and landscapes come together to force a connection and explosion of memory. This energy is reflective of a painting, literally created by human existence-patterns, location, vegetation, scenery, journeys, the experiences, creativity, and whatever fruits (Earthly and spiritual) are engulfed along the way.
When we examine the Black American experience, we see an aesthetics of movement. Movement in the physical. Movement in the cultural. Movement, as a means to sustain one’s community, cultural and racial existence, in foreign spacing meant to destroy them. The magic of it all was the phenomenon in making the foreign familiar. A perfect chemistry and alchemy rhythm. So, when we examine those who visit into Black America’s gardens (at least one of them), its a given that they will be introduced to a peculiar people-a peculiar culture and feminine energy, that was forced to retreat into the nudity of Blackness for the re-birth and continuation of her people. There are many who have wandered into these gardens, bringing their own traditional cultures with them. Some even use the musical perfumes from these gardens. How do they perceive, understand, and immerse in the unique sensory, style, fashion, design, and spiritual ecstasy from their Being? How?
In the literary genius of Half Of A Yellow Sun, readers are presented with this magical interconnection that happens in Nigeria, during the Biafra wars, between Black America and the Igbo community. One of the genius, literary mechanics that Adiche uses, is her crafting of two Black American characters in the novel. In particularly, the Black American feminine presence is there- at that time, within that space. She is the neighbor of the heroine of the novel. Observing what is happening. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie brings a type of healing for the Black American community, by placing representations of the feminine and masculine energy principles, of this community, within the novel. In this regard Black America is not distant. Right there, they are in Nigeria-witnessing what is happening to Biafra, and the experiences of the Igbo community. The Black American woman character, in the novel, becomes connected to the Igbo women. The pain, devastation, atrocities, and longing for freedom is heightened through the experiences, emotions, and sensory of the Igbo women in Biafra. The agony and suffering of one’s femininity being violated, in attempts to destroy her culture, and people, is felt throughout the story.
When we examine the presence of singer, actor, and model, Rotimi, we are presented with an aesthetics and process of the Igbo and Yoruba presence in Black America’s understanding. This time it is through the musical persuasion. That peculiar sound and how Rotimi sees his own cultural background and positioning in this journey, within the her/history of the Negro in US soiling. What can be felt? Has a spiritual memory of the past been re-ignited? Has a mystery been solved concerning one’s connection to members of a distant plane? What is being secretly revealed to us?
The artistry of Rotimi has taken him to experience the musical havens of Soul and R&B. One of the sensual breezes of Black American soiling. Then, of course, his performance of AfroBeat. Another story of musical memory and travel, where two sectors of West African soiling (Ghana and Nigeria) used traditional, musical artistry from these two nations, while finding a harmony with dat’ Negro sound of the U.S. of .A. Mix it all in and you get the melodies of AfroBeat. The modern style incorporates the Jamaican Reggae and Dancehall sectors. Hmmm! Touches of island mixture! For another piece, of course.
When we examine the literary work of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half Of A Yellow Sun and the musical work of singer, actor, and model, Rotimi, we are observing a healing ritual take place between two communities of the African Continent and Black America. Through Adichie, (in Half Of A Yellow Sun) pain is exposed on both sides. One form of pain is written in the obvious, while the other is crafted in a way that is briefly highlighted; leaving readers-unfamiliar with this her/history-to further inquiry. Rotimi’s combination of Black American, Jamaican, and particular musicalities of the West African persuasion makes these cultures familiar to each other. That familiarity triggers any past memory. For the good. For the bad. For the better.
Both of these creative individuals have maintained a connection to their Nigerian cultures and nation (Yoruba and Igbo), while being dipped in Black America to observe or participate in the experiences and culture. A new era of therapy in healing and reconciliation is taking place. And, its very richness and authenticity, is not happening through political speeches, political movements, or illusions. No, Ladies and Gentlemen! It is beginning with the arts. Theater. Literature. Fashion. The Visual. Music. Its all happening, in the creative arenas. Why? Because it is within these very entities, which targets the Soul. When you target the Soul, you see where the broken pieces and divisions lay. You see the reason for their existence, to begin with. The real discourse comes from there. Real conversations and discussions of unity (in whatever definition “unity” means) begins with. . .the arts. In true art and creativity, you can not hide. You are exposed. And, you are forced to reckon with what you see. Plain and simple. No manipulations. No scapegoating around the truth. No confusions. Its there. Big. Bold. Available. Sometimes what you see is ugly! It may even be grotesque, but it is. . .real. And, the realness of it forces you to grapple with pains, prejudices, and denials, you didn’t even know were there. That’s art, Baby! That’s the creative mind!
So, as the patterns of migration continue to tap into that distant memory, one becomes perplexed in witnessing how movement formulates distance through culture. How rhythm erases forgetfulness. How the foreign sings, writes, acts, raps, and dances with what they discovered to be. . .familiar.