The topic of slavery is one which is very close to the hearts of not just Africans, but also to a great extent, African Americans. At every point, Black people in America evoke and recounts the stories of slavery; not because it is fun, but because it is their story and because those who hurt them have not seized to persecute the African American on American soil.
So therefore, it might be hard to swallow, when Akon says African Americans should forget slavery ever happened and move on.
But just before we conclude, let us go through the exact words of Akon, and see if there is any sense in what he said.
At the beginning of August 2020, in an interview with Vlad TV, Akon admonished Black people to move to Africa and build a new future, and also let go of slavery.
The interviewer asked Akon how slavery was viewed in Senegal, which is the childhood home of Akon, in West Africa. In response, Akon said that the people of Senegal no longer think of slavery and its effects, because they have “overcome” the horrors of slavery, unlike African Americans.
He said: “In Senegal, we’ve kind of overcome the thought of slavery, we don’t even think about it… The only time we think about it, honestly, is when we’re doing tours at Goree Island. Outside of that, people have lived and moved way beyond the slavery concept …”
He buttressed his views by saying that African Americans will benefit more by simply “letting go’ of slavery.”
He continued by saying: “I think it’s the art of just letting the past go and moving towards the future… And I think, in the U.S., they have this stigma of just not letting go of the past and blaming the past on every mishap or, you know, disappointment. I think as long as you hold onto that past, there’s a lot of weight that you carry with you everywhere you go. It’s hard to move forward and move fast when you got a weight on your back. You just gotta let it go.”
Akon’s words carried a lot of weight, and Africans in the motherland and those in America did not take it lightly. All over social media, comments were flying. Some were against Akon while others were in support of him.
Below are some of the reactions from African Americans on social media:
For us at Liberty Writers Global, we do not think it is possible for African Americans to forget slavery. Although it is very important that African Americans focus on building Africa, I do not think that letting go of the story of slavery will do our people any good.
One thing that has remained constant in America, is white supremacy and white oppression of Blacks, and there is no end in sight. It is therefore very important that the stories of slavery are told to our people, children, and next-generation so that when they experience the highest forms of racism in America, they can connect the dots, and tell where it all started, and how to best defend themselves.
In summary, we strongly believe that African Americans should look back home to Africa and join their brethren in building motherland, and also defending Africa from European invasion and oppression. However, in doing that, Africans should hold onto the history of slavery, for it is part of our story and journey through the ages.