I haven’t been on the African continent [yet], so I guess my opinion may be a bit incomplete. My family is from the Caribbean, specifically Jamaica, so that was my first experience in a predominantly black nation. Since I was raised with some of the Jamaican culture in the US, visiting Jamaica felt somewhat like a second home to me because of the familiarity with the food, dialect, music, certain customs, mannerisms, etc.

I personally relate more to people from the Africa diaspora than the African continent because we all have the shared experience of our ancestors losing majority of their original African traditions and recreated (or remixed) new ones in our respective foreign lands . I never took an ancestry test; my dad did, so I have an idea of African my roots.

I do hope to visit the continent one day, and explore as many nations as possible, but I always viewed Africa (wherever I come “from”) as my distant cousins that I heard of but don’t know much about because we were raised separately and differently.

There’s a disconnect between Africa and the African diaspora (and in some cases, tensions and huge misunderstandings of each other) because we are culturally different. Even within the diaspora we are culturally different. The black experience varies around the world. Nothing wrong with that. It is what it is.

When I do visit the continent, I hope to take in the culture as I do with any other country that I’ve visited in the past. If a feel a sense of awakening, that’s cool, and if I don’t, I don’t.

I do sense that [some] black Americans romanticize Africa because many of us would love to know where we’re from and what our ancestors were doing before they were sold into slavery. Given the history of the US we tend to view all skin folk as kin folk and feel satisfaction when we’re represented positively in mainstream media. Being in a society amongst all black faces makes some people happier and they have a right to feel that way too. It’s still valid, even if every black person doesn’t really care for those type of things.

It doesn’t matter where one travels, I think people should be clear of their intentions prior to visiting or else they’ll end up disappointed.

Self-reflections, sports, travel, and social commentary that may come with a splash of contrarianism. Twitter & IG @_nicolecoop

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