News

Solange Claps Back at Commenter Who Questioned Why Her Son Speaks French Instead of an African Language

An exchange between singer-songwriter Solange and an Internet troll underscores a larger debate within African literary circles.

It seems quite obvious by now that you don’t come for Solange Knowles unless she sends for you.


But apparently, one woman didn’t get that memo Wednesday when she criticized the singer-songwriter on a Instagram post of her son Daniel “Julez” Smith Jr.’s 5th grade graduation ceremony where he recited a speech in French.

My bebe graduated 5th grade today and I think he's pretty rad. ??

A video posted by Solange (@saintrecords) on

Instead of offering a simple “congrats,” the woman questioned why Julez was learning French instead of African languages.

What was the point of him learning and speaking French? Is french gonna get him into heaven? Is French in his history? Is he French? Guide him to read and study African history, culture, language, etc. and The bible! His history! That’s what is important. Stop raising our black little boys to be Euro men. #imjustsaying

The Saint Records founder prefaced her response with a bit of shade, also noting that Englishthe language they're communicating inis also "a white mans dialect," before coming to this point:

What I will say is one of the key factors in making a decision on whether to embark on the French Immersion journey was actually made with the hopes of him being able to travel to many countries in Africa and connect, experience, and learn. He has since, been able to use that line of communication in Senegal, Rwanda and Morocco and make incredible friends, experiences, and moments in his life that I believe will be lasting and defining ones.

The exchange between the two women underscores a larger post-colonial debate within African literary circles on language and identity—whether writing and publishing in European languages privileges them over African languages and whether African literature can be considered authentic and classified as such if those works do not prominently feature them.

Consequently, there has been division among African writers like Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, who has questioned why African writers have accepted the “unassailable position of English in our literature,” and Chinua Achebe, who supports using European languages contending, "it will be able to carry the weight of his African experience."

And in 2013, Zimbabweans restated their commitment to communicating in English, making it one of the officially recognized languages in their constitution,

along with 15 others.

While the questions the woman asked on Solange’s Instagram are backed up by legitimate ones African writers grapple with as part of the process of molding a post-colonial African identity, posing them on an otherwise innocuous and celebratory post seemed wholly inappropriate.

But mama knows best. Tina Knowles, mother to both Solange and "LEMONADE" star Beyoncé, chimed in with some words of wisdom:

God just gave me the message...We must learn to not give negativity any rhythm and just it give it the attention it deserves and that’s NONE!!! <3

Read the full conversation here.

Events

Join Us at Lot 45 For a Night of Music With DJs YB, AQ, & EPM

Come to An OkayAfrica Party.

Join us for a special night of culture and sounds curated and hosted by OkayAfrica at Lot 45 in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

An OkayAfrica Party will feature the sounds of standout afrobeat selector DJ YB, NYC-based South African-Guinean DJ AQ and EPM.

See you there!

RSVP HERE FOR FREE ENTRY BEFORE 11PM

Photo: Tiph / @nerdscarf

An OkayAfrica Party

DJs: DJ YB, AQ, EPM

July 19 at Lot 45

10pm - 4am

Free before 11pm with RSVP

Video

Watch Stonebwoy's New Video For 'Tuff Seed'

"People have to realize that they have to be mentally strong and they have to know that they are seeds."

Stonebwoy comes through with the new single, "Tuff Seed."

The uplifting Streetbeatz-produced single sees the Ghanaian star singing about remaining tough and strong when facing life's issues. The accompanying music video for "Tuff Seed" was directed Adasa Cookey.

Stonebwoy recently stopped by Ebro Darden Apple Music Beats 1 radio show to talk about the new single. During that interview he also revealed that he has a new album coming in 2020.

"This story is an emotional one to me with everything that has been happening. I sat back and I got this inspiration," Stonebwoy mentioned in that interview. "People have to realize that they have to be mentally strong and they have to know that they are seeds. No matter what people do to them, or what they go through, they have to get down there, they have to be buried to grow into trees to grow fruit. This is a very inspirational song."

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News Brief
Image courtesy of ROK Studios.

CANAL+ Group Has Acquired Top Nollywood Studio ROK To Boost Original Content Development

This a huge feat for the 4-year-old Nigerian start-up.

ROK, Africa's leading film studio and international TV network, has been acquired by top French film and television studio, CANAL+ Group, for an undisclosed amount to boost original content development.

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