As the disturbing images of a white woman – Swedish Minister of Culture, Lena Adelsohn-Liljeroth – cutting into a cake in the shape of a grossly caricatured, African woman sped around the internets yesterday, cries of racism rang out. The National Association of Afro-Swedes, along with activists all over the world, demanded for Adelsohn-Liljeroth’s resignation. Generalized outrage ensued.
Meanwhile the Okayafrica offices were filled with heated conversations about media depictions of race, artistic intentionality, diplomatic responsibility, and Tupac’s hologram. Luckily, Africa Is A Country came through to break it all down for us. And we agree that the piece of performance art (see disturbing video above) could quite possibly be “a brilliant staging of structural racism and post-colonial existence.” (For their full, insightful analysis, check here.)
By this morning Al Jazeera posted extensive interviews with Makode Linde, the artist of the cake. It’s a wonder no one thought to interview him – and contextualize the piece – before the firestorm began. So much for not making assumptions based on appearance.