Cecile Emeke is taking the world by storm. A UK-based filmmaker, she has been capturing the attention of many through videos such as, “Fake Deep” and her web series, “Ackee & Saltfish,” which, in my opinion, is the best thing to hit YouTube since Issa Rae’s “Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.” But her mini-documentary series #Strolling is not one to miss. From the UK to France and onward to other countries, Cecile has been using her camera to capture the unfiltered musings of Black millennials to connect “the scattered and untold stories of the Black/African diaspora.”
Here are four things #Strolling shows about diasporic reconnection today.
- We are going to learn to listen and speak in MULTIPLE languages.
Cecile’s series began in the UK, but she’s on the move. Right now she’s highlighting the voices of our Francophone siblings in France, and that means we’re going to use the French term for these instances of uninhibited streams of black consciousness: flâner.
Because here’s the thing: People of African descent are EVERYWHERE, and each place carries nuances and subtleties that do not translate exactly from one language to another. Even if our experiences are similar, they’re not the same. That’s where our magic lies. So sometimes that means we can’t use the same terms. Have you ever heard of “Fatou”? Learn a lesson from Gaëlle and Christelle.
- We will make room for all of our stories.
Diaspora isn’t just displacement. It also showcases dual (or multiple) rooted-ness. There are many reasons why we’ve each ended up where we are. Each one of those routes has its history, and each matters. We’re going to talk about slavery, colonialism, immigration, etc. as we navigate home in more than one way. We can’t always just privilege the African American slavery narrative, and the American experience cannot always adequately capture the experience of our siblings, as Fanta lays out.
We’re also not going to ignore some of our elephants in the room, one of them being mental health. Listen to Simone.
- We will be free and our freedom doesn’t have to be “respectable.”
Respectability politics is a real thing. Depending on who you are or where you’re at, that might be the hustle. Do you. But “respectability” is not the end goal. Our end goal is to create the space to become the most free version of ourselves. We are a constellation of dispersed dreamers, each of us connected by our inherent right to define ourselves in any number of ways and for any number of reasons that we, as respective individuals and as broader collectives, desire. Our gaze is and will be our own. If you don’t believe me, check Rianna‘s meditations.
And if you’re still not convinced, Kevin will remind you why your addiction to boxes won’t work in your interest.
- We will tolerate absolutely no f*ckboys!
Yep, that’s right. Just watch Anne lay it out below.
Today’s Pan-Africanism is going to be unabashedly feminist. Bringing the global diaspora together is not just about Black representation. We’re also going to unlearn the mechanisms we’ve inherited that separated us in the first place. Does that include racism? Yes. But we’re also going to address patriarchy. Strolling showcases how truly effortless it is to highlight the stories Black women, such as Vanessa, tell in order to talk about ourselves as women and as Black people.
But strolling also highlights how Black men must hold themselves to that same standard. You better be bout that bell hooks life for Black liberation for more than just the booty. Abe gets it.
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