News Brief

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.

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

The 7 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month (July)

Featuring Olamide, Lady Donli, Omah Lay, Adekunle Gold, Falz and more.