Happy Mother's Day!
Entries in Sweet Mother (3)
Happy Mother's Day!
We came. We played. We conquered.
Strange words for me to utter in the wake of Ghana's stunning defeat by penalty kick in their World Cup quarter-final match against Uruguay. I would be lying if I said the taste of this loss was not still bitter on my tongue; my senses dulled by the doused hopes and quelled elation of a match lost a heartbeat from history. I came home directly after the game to find my cell, SMS & Twitter exploding. I couldn't answer any of them. I laid down & slept a fitful sleep of disbelief.
And then I awoke. My heart is still heavy but I can't escape another tide of emotion rising within me. My ears still ring with the thunderous shouts, cheers & vuvuzela blasts of the crowd that joined me at a local pub here in LA to watch the match. Of the seething mass of people in the room I could only see one other person who was clearly Ghanaian, and yet the room erupted with explosions of sonic support every time the Black Stars appeared poised to make history.
As I rose this evening post-pout (almost), it occurred to me that in fact they have. I have never been in a room full of Americans of every stripe, shouting so loud and so proud for anything African in my life. The closest I can imagine is at the closing of shows I've played, or at the end of Broadway's brilliant production of "Fela! The Musical." But this was different. It was not only the love of African artistry or culture that permeated that room. It was an altogether new feeling. A hope, a heaving spirit hewing for the success of Africa herself. There was not a hint of charity in that room, nor a modicum of pity. But flowing freely & fiercely was a palpable, pulsating and perhaps unprecedented sense of PRIDE.
If you're from Africa, if you've been to the continent, you know that when we speak of African pride, the measure of what we speak far outweighs the constant dismal portrayals of the continent. A few years ago I created this video in homage to that sense of African Pride - an ode to we who would never give up on our Sweet Mother:
We who know Africa hold her dear to our hearts, in dogged defiance at her constant dismissal as a lost cause by those who would rather judge than acknowledge the ongoing progress that is happening on the continent. Indeed in this day, even the mainstream engines of media & opinion are beginning to declare the new day that is dawning there.
Years ago I decided that I would use my artistry in service of the world and that I would seek to tell the other sides of the African story, so that others could feel the sense of wonder, love and commitment I feel to the people of Africa. Today I felt that love come crashing back over me in waves. I've said for a long time, that there is profound hope for the future of our Sweet Mother Afrika. Today, through the courageous play of the Ghanaian national team - the literal embodiment of the Pride of Africa in World Cup 2010 - I felt that hope in the hearts of my fellow Americans. And for that Black Stars, I thank you.
You came. You played. And indeed...you conquered.
Black Stars Forever