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Monday, August 17, 2009

Are You African American?

Almost 3 million of America's black population are foreign born. Between 1980 and 2005, this population more than tripled-Haitians quadrupled-Ethiopians increased 13 times. Director Kobina Aidoo addresses what it means to be a black immigrant living in America in the documentary The Neo African Americans. Kobina explains,

"Having come from an overwhelmingly majority black country, I had only thought of my being black in philosophical terms. Living it as a minority was new to me, and I felt myself getting squeezed in boxes with which I was unfamiliar. For instance, I didn’t know why people in the gym wanted me on their basketball team. Of course, I knew why, but I didn’t know why, given that I would only go on to embarrass myself—and all black people. By talking to other black immigrants, I realized they were all dealing with the idea of becoming black in America in different ways—the process of becoming black in America is quite different for the Somali in Minnesota, the Trinidadian in Queens, the Afro Cuban in Miami, and the Kenyan student in Iowa ... With my shoestring budget, camera equipment, Adobe Premiere, and tons of help from family, friends, scholars and strangers..., I hope The Neo African Americans becomes one useful tool for this timely and important conversation."

Join the coversation about how rapid, voluntary immigration from the Caribbean and, especially, Africa is transforming the African American narrative at

MIMI Related Links: Are You African Enough?, Compromising Ourselves