Op-Ed
Video still via Twitter.

Off With Their Heads: Diversity Won’t Save the Royal Family’s Legacy

On the Royal engagement and why Africa never seems to catch a break.

During the Mau Mau uprising in 1950s, the British detained over one and a half million Kenyans in concentration camps. In these camps, men, women and children died of starvation, waterborne diseases and torture. The documents recording these atrocities were of course destroyed and the knowledge thereof hidden away because hey, long live the King!

Yesterday, news of Prince Harry's engagement to his girlfriend, the sexy paralegal Rachel Zane from "Suits," played by Meghan Markle, has created an epic media storm. This is normal for a royal wedding but the fact that Markle is of African American descent has had many people feeling all kinds of different ways.


The British royal family has ruled for the centuries and still are—sort of. In that time, they have colonized numerous African countries, murdered a great deal of Africans, disrupted and appropriated our cultures, initiated bloody wars, stolen our land, pillaged our resources and imposed on us their allegedly superior ways of doing things—the English way, good and proper.

Prince Harry has always been a bit of a "royal rebel." Unlike his brother William who has always borne the burden of taking the throne and thus having to tow the line, Harry has really been living his best life from chilling with the likes of Jay-Z and Kanye West to allegedly throwing naked parties with a dominatrix.

The dyed in the wool monarchists turn up their nose at the pair. He can do so much better than a young woman who is not only not British but, gasp, has ancestry from Africa.

Personally, I don't see how the monarchy itself is more moral than the African dictatorships that they so indignantly denounce. In 2017, why have we not gotten rid of this ridiculous notion of a lineage of blue blood in the same way we got rid of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution? Without all the gore, of course, but nonetheless they simply must go. The royal family is not a force for stability but rather a stunning representation of grievous class inequality. And so if anyone should be turning their nose up in disgust, it's certainly Markle and the rest of us as Africans who are still deemed not good enough to grace the lavish corridors of Windsor Court. Isn't that a load of BS?

I'm all for love: black love, interracial love, and everything in between. Harry deserves to marry whomever he wishes (Markle the same) and whether Markle has a black mother or not or hails from the jungles of Africa or not shouldn't matter.

So, while Markle is black, that doesn't mean the royal family's wrongs have now been righted and we can sweep everything that happened historically under grand Persian rugs. Not by a long shot. It runs far deeper than that. However diverse and 'forbidden' their love may be, it alone will never atone for the centuries of crimes against humanity committed by the royal family—no matter how dreamy their engagement photos may be. So let us not entertain the idea that it may or that it will. It. Will. Not.

What matters most for me, is whether this impending marriage will finally start a necessary and long overdue conversation. Perhaps not by Harry and Markle themselves but at least by the public at large as to the royal family's history of imperialism in Africa especially and its steadfast condescending perception of Africans in general till this day. I may be naïve but surely it's the uncomfortable and unavoidable white elephant in the room? I mean, it has to be. They'll be having tea with one of our own now.

Interview
Stella Mwangi. Image courtesy of the artist.

Stella Mwangi: Hip-Hop Saved My Life as an African Growing Up in Norway

The Kenyan-Norwegian rapper speaks about the Hollywood hustle, the potential of East African music and what she's dropping next.

If it seems like Stella Mwangi is everywhere these days, that's understandable. It's nearly impossible to see all the rings she's throwing her hat into: her songs are getting featured in Hollywood and across commercials, films and movie trailers.

There's a reason why it's possible to stay on such a grind, to make it work after more than a decade in the rap game, and that's an underlying theme with much of what the Kenyan-Norwegian artist, who also goes by STL, does. She's charged with an incomprehensible current that would have burned out other artists. Even as I caught up with her, she was hours away from taking a flight to the filming of a reality cooking competitions in Norway.

So what is on deck for Stella Mwangi? As it turns out, seemingly everything.

Keep reading... Show less
News

This South African DJ Is Creating a List of Toxic Men in the Industry She Won't Work With

DJ ANG is taking a stand against sexual harassment in the music industry by calling out toxic artists.

August is Women's Month in South Africa, and women around the country are using the opportunity to stand up against femicide, gender violence and sexual harassment on a national level.

There are many ways to protest, and South African DJ and head of SheSaidSo South Africa, Angela Weickl, also known as ANG is carrying out her own demonstration against sexual harassment in the music industry by calling toxic artists out by name and refusing to work alongside them.

"I will be including a list in every booking agreement from now onwards," the artist wrote on Facebook. "This list will be of artists who I refuse to be on a line up with due to their toxic and harmful behaviour. I will not share the spaces where we work to promote diversity, inclusion and safety, with people who harm and disrespect us. If a venue or promoter cannot understand my choice, then I choose not to associate with them."

Keep reading... Show less
popular

Watch the Trailer for 'La Negrada'—Mexico's First Feature Film with an All-Black Cast

The beautifully-shot film snagged the cinematography award at the 2018 Guadalajara International Film Festival.

This August, OkayAfrica shines a light on the connections between Africa and the Latin-American world. Whether it's the music, politics or intellectual traditions, Africans have long been at the forefront of Latino culture, but they haven't always gotten the recognition. We explore the history of Afro-Latino identity and its connection to the motherland.

This new film that recently premiered in Mexico City has made history in the Latin American film world.

La Negrada, directed by Jorge Pérez Solano, is Mexico's first fiction film portraying the Afro-Mexican population, REMEZCLA reports.

Contributing to the slow, but long overdue recognition of Afro-Latino communities on the big screen, La Negrada tells the story of two women, Juana and Magdalena, who are both romantically involved with the same man, Neri. The film was shot throughout Costa Chica—a region that spans along the coast of Guerrero and Oaxaca that's home to the highest concentration of Afro-descendants in Mexico—as Solano enlisted locals and non-professional actors to star in the film.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.