Griot: any of a class of musician-entertainers of western Africa whose performances include tribal histories and genealogies; broadly
A story teller.
Do you know who Chimamanda is? Let me help you to get your life, right now!
SB: I’m going to call her by her first name throughout this post because she is my friend in my head.
Or maybe you discovered her through her highly acclaimed TED talk: The Danger of a Single Story:
The way this woman writes, the imagery, the real lifeness, the ways her characters tug at our hearts and exposes our shortcomings…it’s just phenomenal.
At one point, in reading one her novels, she had me feeling sorry for a rapist. I literally had to put the book down because my heart ached for the woman being assaulted while also aching for the man committing the assault.
Ummmmm, yeah sit with that.
Take a minute
Chimamanda is a dope chick, she espouses feminist ideology and does so being quite fashionable. She is a mother, a wife, and a writer. She is pretty darn awesome. And she doesn’t back down from anyone or anything. Just check out all the controversy around her comments about transgender women.
I really really love that she takes beauty, fashion and make up seriously. Mostly, because we tend to create these boxes for black girls and women, if you’re sexy you’re not smart and if you’re a “good girl” your chaste, a wall flower, you just kind of blend into the background. And that to be sexy and bold and fly is to not have anything more to offer. Chimamanda has her own style and she isn’t afraid to show up and show out! Check her out in her, “Today I’m wearing…” Vogue photo blog.
Once I discovered her, I Googled her to death and decided that I loved her. It didn’t hurt that she is a Virgo. I literally read ALL of her books between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve, 2014. I ate, breathed, and lived in the worlds she created with her words. For Kwanzaa, everyone in my family received her book Americanah. If I was still teaching…it would have been a very expensive holiday season.
As an immigrant woman myself, who often felt not Black American enough and not Antiguan (Afro Caribbean) enough, Americanah spoke to me and helped me to discover my own way to identify, as a woman of the African Diaspora.
It is an amazing time to be a black woman, because our very varied and diverse stories are being told. We are no longer one dimensional sex pots or mammies or whores. We can now see parts of ourselves in so many places. I love Chimamanda so much because she doesn’t fit in a box. You can’t just box her in as an African, or more specifically Nigerian writer. She is worldly. You can’t just put her in the feminist corner. She’s not just a wife. She is all of those things and more than those things when singled out.
She is a true 21st century Griot!
And I’ve been patiently awaiting her next masterpiece since 2014. And listen, I don’t always agree with my girl, because she rides for feminism way harder than I am comfortable with but I’m going to read her new book, even though I’m not excited about it. Lol.
I mean, it’s sitting in my amazon checkout cart.
Her work inspired me so much that I wrote on Ode to her and all her Professional Black Girl dopeness.
An ode to Chimamanda
My words fail,
How can I describe what you do for me
Reading your work
inspires me to work
to craft the collective stories of our lives
make it plain
and light the fire
in the bellies of the next generation
of little black girl writers.
I am on this quest to put the power of the pen in the hands of our young people, because if they aren’t able to tell their stories….well Zora Neale Hurston’s quote will remain true. But let’s be clear, our babies have stories of great joy, pleasure, success and achievement . We must write those too.
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