Shades Of Black: African Americans With African Names


Director Nzingha Sterwart at the 17th Annual Image Awards
By Erickka Sy Savané

 “For the longest time, when I would show up places people would expect to see an Asian woman, not a black man,” says my friend Sekou, one day in conversation. It's been argued for years that the ancient Japanese migrated from Africa, so why not? Now I'm thinking about African Americans with African names, and how their experience must differ from the rest of us. I do a Google search to read up on the topic and there's nada. Guess I gotta research it myself...

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How I Respond To Rude Comments About My Daughter's African Name



Erickka Sy Savané
I was on the phone the other day with a receptionist. The woman was having me spell my daughter’s name for what had to be the 100th time. I try to be patient when this happens because I know her first name is a doozy–11 letters–and African. It’s like nothing most of us Americans have ever heard before. So when I begin to detect this woman’s tone changing, I make sure to chill. We’ll get there eventually.

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