When Afrophiles Attack!! Dun, dun, dun…


There are many perks to being African. For one, I never pay for cabs (this may have to do with the way I stumble into taxis in the middle of the night affecting some crunchy Ghanaian accent and pretending I just won the green card lottery and I’m trying to get some fufu from my auntie in Brookleen.)

If I need tube socks, phone cards and Twizzlers ALL at the same in the middle of the night, some store full of rambunctious Senegalese men is ready to do my bidding. The braiders charge me half and do my twists African-tight, afraid I’ll come back wielding a machete and threatening to make some juju man turn them into snakes if just one kinky twist falls out of my head. My relatives are crazy and are a neverending source of immigrant hilarity. At these times, life is good.

But then, when you’ve got one of those wide-ass noses fit for stealing all the ofays air and high cheekbones and kinky hair that suggests you’ve gotten drunk off palm wine before, the Afrophiles just roll on out. An Afrophile is some Western loser who tries to connect with the large and varied continent that is Africa by growing dreads, burning incense, wearing those wierd widelegged bike pants (who in the name of crack still sells those!) and making my black ass uncomfortable. Afrophiles can be of any race but are usually underemployed fool ass men. Ugh, gag me with a spoon.

Consider this recent situation with an Afrophile: I’m on the A train quietly avoiding the gaze of some old play African (you know those children who change their name from Tyrone to Tukufu and wear all types of nonsense beads and loud prints that hark back to “Africa”). They start discussing “politics” (“who was better for Africa? Kwame Nkrumah or Bob Marley”), “music” (“you know, I had a co-worker who looked like Fela Kuti. But Fela would never be a janitor, ha ha!”) and casually drop the fact that they like dark meat (“my ex-girlfriend introduced me to Jill Scott”). Said play African is persistent and asks me:

Play African: Are you African?

Conny (knowing where this fool exchange is heading): No.

PA: You look West African? Where are you from?

Conny (rolling my eyes): Boston.

PA (Totally ignoring my answers): Yeah, you like you’re from Ghana. I was just there and you look like a Ghanaian.

Conny (thoroughly annoyed): Well, I’m from Boston. 

PA: What’s your name?

Conny (Completely over it): Mary Whitebitch.

PA: Oh, that doesn’t sound African. Ha, ha.

Conny (trying to turn around and subtly shoo PA away): Ugh, yeah.

PA: Well, my name is Kojo (and he pronounces it like addle-headed white girl) and we’re having a film festival. You should come.

Conny: Yeah, whatever [I was so annoyed, I probably gave him the hand]

I take the 40 pamphlets about “Africa” that he shoves into my hand and even though I wish I brought my spear to chuck him in the face, he did work for a legit African Film Festival with screenings in the Bronx and later on at BAM in Brooklyn. I actually felt a little sheepish since now I couldn’t go and get VIP treatment since I had lied my way out of my blue-chip Africaness.

But I guess the point of this post is 1) go to the African Film Festival’s selections in May at BAM because African film is a whole ‘nother animal that is incredibly complex and always overlooked. So, big ups to the “Motherland” for making sound cinema.

Also, never try to hit on me when you smell like some aromatic mash-up of patchouli and Dax hair grease.


7 Responses to “When Afrophiles Attack!! Dun, dun, dun…”

  1. The Half-Breed Ho Says:

    Ghanaians are always so rude. Now if he was talking to a proper African, maybe someone Congolese then I’m sure this would have been a different story. We’d be sitting up in the VIP balcony selling counterfeit Nikes, eating fufu, and drinking goats blood. Damn Conny…

  2. connykate Says:

    Congolese aren’t real Africans. They’re real hot ass messes.

  3. The Half-Breed Ho Says:

    Don’t hate, Ms. Thang. Who wants to be a play hot mess anyway? Oh, and while I’m disgracing my family I might as well add the only phrase in Lingala that I know: nganda ezali wapi?

    For all you who ain’t up on the ill Afro-linguistics, it means where is the bar. Use it in a sentence today.

  4. exclusivelyexclusive Says:

    THis post is hilarious. As an African-American, I am used to white people obsessed with black culture trying to chat me up about hip hop (why Ras Kas doesn’t get the recognition he deserves as one of our greatest MCs) or their expertise on the civil rights movement. However, I’ve never thought about how westerners can annoy Africans with their over eagerness to be down with the Motherland. Great post, Ms. Whitebitch.

  5. connykate Says:

    Yeah, Africans really don’t have tolerance for much. We’ll smile and shit but most of the time, we’re not listening. We don’t care how profound it was learning about Amistad or how much you paid for your Kente cloth. We’re just trying to get through our immigrant lives a little easier and if that means pretending to care for a few minutes then ok. Other than that, no.

  6. dreads Says:



  7. Wonk Hop Says:

    Sheesh. Yeah my Kente is expensive, but I didn’t pay for it. I only tell women, of any ethnic/social make-up, about my Kente and my signed Nkrumah, in order to prevent shocking them when they see the rest. Damn.

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