Black History Month 2021: Global Awareness of the Afropolitan


There is a Black Community in almost every advanced country in the west. This community consists of three main quarters of people of African descent. The Caribbean Populace, the African Populace, and the African American Populace. In 2021, during this month of black history, I will shed light on the often disremembered African community. These are Afropolitans born or raised either in Africa or abroad. We studied in the US, Australia, Canada, or Europe and spend a significant amount of time going to and from Africa. On March 7, 2010, Afropolitan Style described an Afropolitan as: “African + cosmopolitan. A collaboration of the two words.” They referred to people claiming the African continent or patronage with a tremendous interest in Africa.

An Afropolitan may be an African who has never left Africa. We may carry multiple passports, declare numerous nationalities, speak different languages, and adapt quickly in various neighborhoods in the international community. 

Cambridge Dictionary: cosmopolitan means “someone who has experience of many different parts of the world.” Combine African + cosmopolitan, and you’d get an Afropolitcan. That is an African who has experience in many different parts of the world. In the Urban Dictionary, on February 07, 2012, another editor who identified himself as Mr. Cool wrote: “It doesn’t matter whether they are born abroad or not; the important thing is their global perspective on issues, as well as their mixed cultural identity. For example Becky: Hey Kofi, you’re so hot. Where are you from? Kofi: Well, I was born in Ghana but have lived in New York for the past fifteen years, so I’m a true Afropolitan. I eat fufu with as much dexterity as I eat a Philly cheesesteak! 

If I had the same conversation it will sound like this: Becky: Hey Freddy, you’re so hot. Where are you from? Freddy: Well, I was born in Sierra Leone but have lived in New Jersey (USA), Ontario (Canada), Belgium, and Germany for the past twenty-five years. I am a true Afropolitan. I eat Cassava Leaves and rice with as much dexterity as I eat a Nova Scotian Lobster Roll! An Afropolitan may be an African who has never left Africa. We may carry multiple passports, declare numerous nationalities, speak different languages, and adapt quickly in various neighborhoods in the international community. This is often the case with African brothers and sisters who live in the African diaspora from China, Japan, and India through Saudi Arabia, the UAE to Israel.

You will find that she oscillates in R&B, Soul, Jazz, and Hip Hop, as well as in Dancehall, Reggae, Reggaeton, and Afrobeat. He is a good man in the crowd wearing a beanie hat, dashiki shirt with blue jeans, and a pair of Timberland boots. Some key Afropolitan features include 1. An African from the continent who has naturalized in multiple countries. 2. An African born in one of the global Diaspora with strong ties in Africa. 3. An African who identifies with European, Canadian, Australian, or American lifestyles with a mixed culture. I have heard some blacks say that they are not African. Many do not include Africans as part of the Black Community. Do we need an African History Month? Is it time for the Afropolitis to push for global recognition?

As is always the case within all African communities, there are many disagreements and controversies surrounding the Afropolitan. Some disagree on the definition. Some say Afropolitans are natural-born Africans who live and thrive in Africa. Others point to highly skilled and well-traveled Africans from the global diaspora with multiple citizenships. Controversies stem from the possible division among Africans with different educational or financial standings. Is the Afropolitan better than the African villager? Is the African businesswoman an Afropolitan? Check out the articles: The Afropolitans Must Go, Bye-Bye Babar, What Makes You An Afropolitan?, and Young, Urban and Culturally Savvy, Meet the Afropolitans.

Even though we are very experienced, traveled, educated, welcoming, and culturally understanding, Afropolitans are often the most neglected, passed over, or ignored part of black communities. Also, many Afropolitans fade between the blurred lines and may never fit in because of their upbringing or mixed race. Former United States President Barack Obama is a perfect example. The late Hip Hop icon, Nipsey Hussle is also a great example. We are products of economic or cultural integration between Africans and citizens from foreign nations. The story of an Afropolitan is often too unusual. Either too extreme, too new, or it sounds like it might be considered impossible. He could be a Nigerian taxi driver with a double doctorate in computer science.

As is always the case within all African communities, there are many disagreements and controversies surrounding the Afropolitan. Some disagree on the definition.

Being disrespected and underestimated by his less educated and less traveled western peers allows him frequently to outmaneuver them. Or this independent Grammy nominee who was previously a decorated warlord whose access to uncharted income and resources allows him to dominate the elite. She may be the undocumented maid who knows how to cure Covid with wild herbs and berries. An Afropolitan can be Indian, Arab, Jew, Asian, or Caucasian. In the 1991 film, Mississippi Masala, actress Sarita Choudhury played Mina, a young Indian Afropolitan who fell in love with Demetrius Williams, a young African-American played by Denzel Washington. Hip Hop legend Ice Cube played Vusi Madlazi, in the 1997 film Dangerous Ground.

Vusi Madlazi was an Afropolitan youth from South Central, Los Angeles, who returned to his South African homeland to claim his inheritance. Who can forget Black Panther, the 2018 box office smash hit about Wakanda? King T’Chaka’s brother N’Jobu and his son, N’Jadaka / Erik “Killmonger” Stevens played by Michael B. Jordan were both Afropolitans. You could be sitting next to, dating, working with, or be friends with a REAL African king, queen, prince, or princess without knowing it. This scenario was demonstrated in the movie Coming to America by Eddie Murphy. This Afropolitan blends in so perfectly that his true strength and identity are often masked by the prejudice, racism, discrimination, or double standards within the given community.*

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