09 March 2007

Where is Africa?

Along with a lot of people I was shocked to see Sabrina Sloan voted out of the top 12 on Idol yesterday. Unlike a lot of people who after the fact swear at a persons brilliance (a la Jennifer Hudson), I actually devote time after every show to vote for my favorite performances of the night, not that Sabrina is my most favorite, that honor goes to Melinda who I think is very good if a little polished and as such might not win. Anyhow I didn't think Sanjaya would still be around or that Sundance would be going home this early. I did want to keep Jared around just for eye candy!

Anyhow they had been buzzing all week about a huge announcement on Idol and finally it came; 'Idol Gives Back' to whom I wonder. According to the Idol website,

‘"Idol Gives Back" is a two-night special to benefit children and young people in need in American and Africa airing Tuesday, April 24 and Wednesday, April 25 on FOX.

The show is partnering with the Charity Projects Entertainment Fund (CPEF) for this

historic television event – IDOL GIVES BACK – a two-night special raising awareness and funds for organizations that provide relief programs to help children and young people in extreme poverty in America and Africa.

Ryan announced on the show that he and Simon had already made a trip to ‘Africa’ to witness the poverty and sickness firsthand perhaps to authenticate its existence after all they are serious celebrities who can only lend the ‘weight’ of their ‘serious’ celebrity to real causes. Cowell seemed totally convinced that poverty is real in ‘Africa’ as he stiffly shook hands with children on the obligatory tape made of their fact finding mission. Ryan went further to try and experience this poverty by attempting to balance a basket of bananas on his head. Randy will be taking Paula on a tour of his beloved home state Louisiana and its surrounding region to see how people are living post-Katrina. You guys should save the money and watch Spike Lee’s documentary, he managed to capture the whole Katrina situation very well and since we all know the mess FEMA has been my guess is as good as yours that not much has changed since that documentary aired.

First it irks me when I hear ‘celebrities’ especially the black ones (who in my opinion should know better) say they went to Africa like it was a suburb of LA! Oya bring a map and show me the exact spot on which you stood and I will name one of the 54 countries that the continent is made up of. When your assistant made your travel plans, where did they tell you you will be going? Did you land at the Africa International Airport? Please do not tell me you traveled thousands of miles and don’t know exactly where on this lovely earth you where headed! South Africa is one of the 54 countries on the continent, if that is where you went, please say so. I here people say all the time they went to Europe, traveling through Spain, Germany etc. If you can do it for Europe you can do it for Africa. The inability of these celebrities to tell you exactly where they went shows me they don’t give a toss about the place, they just want to mark the attendance register of ‘African Pilgrims’, making this like some rite of passage so you can show the world you are ‘down like that’. Then again ‘Do me I do you, God no go vex’ is a popular saying. The locals are not as ‘simple’ (dim witted) and ‘happy’ as you might think. While they (celebrities, etc) are busy making the ‘in’ trip, my African brothers and sisters have wised up and will pose for the obligatory photos and participate in the requisite games just ‘drop something’ before you go.

Second, generating awareness on behalf of a cause and raising money for it is a good thing. I am pissed that today’s scam seems to be raising money for ‘Africa’ to eradicate aids, combat poverty, emancipate the girl child, etc. With the effort put into raising money for Africa by now one would have thought ‘Africa’ would be totally ‘free’ from the different elements it has had to wage a ‘war’ or ‘go into combat’ with. Alas! Enough with the videos of the snotty nosed, half naked, mud encrusted, fly/flea attracting very black children. Your persistent display of these images on your national TV is the reason why I have to put up with such comments as ‘You speak English so well’ every other place I go. Imagine my further irritation when I read about Bono and Project Red abi Champaign Red abi Red Champaign! (I dey vex no be small!) At least with most Nigerian scammers, the ammo is to hook up with the scammee’s greed; no ‘innocent, starving, disease ridden African children’ are exploited in the process. How can you spend $100M to make $18M? As my people will say ‘Oluwa ma je kin sowo short’ (God don’t let me trade at a loss). You really don’t need to wear your charity on your new boobs which you acquired on credit or receive calls on it for that matter. Shey they would have done a lot better by donating the $100M instead of ‘investing’ it with the belief that it will yield fruits/multiply (as if the weeds of their greed go gree). I know that the $100M didn’t come out of any one person’s pocket, the participating companies (GAP, Motorola, etc) spent the total from their individual marketing budgets. I say continue to sell your normal $10 t-shirts and give to charity fair and square, God knows you get the tax break. Shey if they hired marketing companies indigenous to Africa, they can at least claim the money is right now circulating through the continent, creating jobs for people who actually want to know how to fish and not wait in line bowl at the ready to be fed. And don’t get me started on the outside influences from the US, Asia and Europe that are fueling the various conflict areas on the continent, conflicts that are ensuring that we cannot heal ourselves from within.

I am not impressed; Oyinbo man if you want to help Africa, help Africa else leave my mother land out of your scam!

Bono, Who Preaches Charity, Profits From Buyouts, Tax Breaks bloomberg.com


Chxta said...

Excellent post. This is one of those topics that really irks me, I find it so annoying that I finally had to holler at an Indian in my class when he asked me to speak 'African' with a Kenyan.

Anonymous said...


I read with sadness - albeit wonders - that good people like you still spend their times and efforts concentrating news, insights, and discussions on internal affairs and ‘local championship’. Although, I am not a Nigerian, I admire Nigerians like the people who are behind the African Muslim Website www.esinislam.com because of their incise coverage of the international affairs.

The problems of Nigeria and Africa in general today is not internal politics. Whatever politics our people fight or kill themselves for do little to change destiny of millions of the Black people, especially their own as the world order is not made within their reach. Think about the UN, the IMF, WHO, Commonwealth, US, Israel, Palestine, Hague, G8, CNN, BBC, Ibadan’s Nigerian Tribune… Who really is in charge of how the Nigerians - sorry - the Africans are living? Shell or Dan Tata, Naira or Dollar, Obasanjo or Bush? Wake up! Get real!! Open your door for international engagements, insights, and informations.

My father who was serving as a pastor here in the United States before he returned to Ghana used to say to me many people don’t know who serve their meals. I couldn’t understand then. But, my world! How right a pastor. He also joked his Nigerian friends used to called Jesus Jesu but he could not find equavalent in Twi. Perhaps, the Africans are too lazy to pronouce Jesus. Thay are active to master English and therefore promote the heritage of those who enslaved them, chaining them and shipping them like commodities only to plant suagr cane for their…

Well, with website like www.esinislam.com - though Islamic and also available via www.islamafrica.com and www.islamicafrica.com

Wake up. Wake up Nigerians! Wake up Africans. Expose to a wider world. The problems today cannot be solved by talking only about ourselves. As African, we must see our problems from its ‘emanacium’. It is the international politics that define our destiny not local issues.

Thank you for given me this opportunity to contact you. I look forward to your response on this important matter.

However, I commend you for your efforts.

Kevin Kofi

Aaron in South Sudan said...

Well thought out and thank you for not pulling any punches. It's like that stupid Hollywood movie "Tears of the Sun", the opening credits roll, we see a chopper over open ocean and land approaching in the distance with this idiotic and iggnorant title.

"Somewhere off the coast of Africa"

They don't even try to mention that it's a damn continent and not a country, never mind that there was a name to the country that they were off the coast of. Ok I'm done.

Sorry for the rant at my own culture's disregard.

adefunke said...

@Aaron in South Sudan - Don't get me started on the nonsense they did in 'Sahara' ...