Michael Jai White, an American actor has hit hard at critics of his recent visit to Ghana and his enstoolment as a chief in the Akwamu Traditional Area.
Bestowed the name Nana Akoto III, Odopon, which means “The tree with strong roots that does not fear the storm”, the actor was made a chief when he visited the country in December for the Full Circle Festival.
In his return to the United States, the martial art expert has been sharing his experience and how the moments he spent in Ghana have changed his perception about the continent.
White’s visit to Ghana and enstoolment have, however, received some backlash from his fans in the black American community.
The actor has since written about the negative reactions, saying that it is ideal to be made a chief in Akwamu where he traces his roots than to be made a knight by the queen of England.
“For me to be enstooled by the King Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III of Akwamu is far more relevant than if I were knighted by Queen Elizabeth who’s royal bloodline doesn’t go back as far. Ghana has been the 8th African country I’ve visited. They’ve all been astoundingly beautiful, with classy and very educated people who speak more languages than we do.
“Those of us that felt “some kind of way” maybe you can begin to direct that anger toward those orchestrators that made you hate who you are- those who’d find comfort in you hating your own people, and those who’d find it threatening for you to unite with your people in solidarity,” he said in a statement.
The actor did not end his piece without educating his cynics on the rich culture and history of the continent.
Below is the full statement:
With the recent pilgrimage to Ghana I shared with friends and new title given to me by the King of Akwamu, there have been some interesting negative responses from the black community. Though the positives far outweigh the negatives, I choose today to focus on those negative ones because I believe there is great power in studying this mindset to provide teachable moments.
We American born blacks were bred to hate our own people and ourselves. Self-deprivation is buried deep within our subconscious. We’ve found comfort in calling ourselves derogatory names and sabotage our own progress because we’ve been convinced we are unworthy of the same things whites or other nations enjoy. When Jews visit the Holocaust Museum or Israel, or Irish and Italian Americans travel to their homelands, there’s ZERO backlash from their communities and communities outside. Ask yourselves:
WHY IS THERE ALWAYS BACKLASH FROM OUR OWN BLACK COMMUNITY WHENEVER WE HAVE PILGRAMIGES OUR HOMELAND?
This is not only from other blacks; it brings commentary from other communities who mysteriously seem entitled to chime in as well!
“Negative comments like; “Who do these Ni**ers think they are? They’re celebrating slavery! Africans were complicit in slavery as well! This is just a publicity stunt! They just want attention! etc.” Why all the hate? Why do folks care so much? It’s like we threatened them…AND WE HAVE! We have threatened them and other black folks to think better of us, therefore- better of themselves!
We American blacks are SUPPOSED to think negatively about being connected to our homeland because that’s how we were conditioned to think! We’re SUPPOSED to think; all Africa was, was slavery when only an extremely small portion of the continent was even involved in the slave trade. We’re SUPPOSED to see Africa as mainly “starving people and jungles.”
We may call ourselves African Americans but we are truly disconnected from Africa. I say WE because I’m not excluded! I thought “my people” came from South Carolina which I now see, is as stupid as a Chinese man saying his people came from Ohio! I tracked my heritage South Carolina was only a small part of my people’s journey that began in Ghana, a place that had kings well before Europe had theirs.
For me to be enstooled by the King Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III of Akwamu is far more relevant than if I were knighted by Queen Elizabeth who’s royal bloodline doesn’t go back as far. Ghana has been the 8th African country I’ve visited. They’ve all been astoundingly beautiful, with classy and very educated people who speak more languages than we do.
Those of us that felt “some kind of way” maybe you can begin to direct that anger toward those orchestrators that made you hate who you are- those who’d find comfort in you hating your own people, and those who’d find it threatening for you to unite with your people in solidarity.
I believe the original culprits are long dead but their policies are alive and well. Please ask yourself; if Mark Wahlberg or Ben Affleck went back to their place of heritage would you care? They have a country that loves and embraces them. WE HAVE A WHOLE CONTINENT THAT LOVES AND EMBRACES US!
In Africa, a voice commands him to look around. The Voice: “Do you see any n*ggers?” He answers meekly “No.” The voice: “Do you know why? Because there aren’t any.”
– Richard Pryor.