He might have curly and close to blonde hair, a much lighter skin tone than ours, and his English might even run on a bit but make no mistake, Jidenna
He might have curly and close to blonde hair, a much lighter skin tone than ours, and his English might even run on a bit but make no mistake, Jidenna is Black and African to the core.
Just yesterday, my cousin and I chanced on a recap of the just ended 2016 VMAs and what turned out to be a mere coincidence became a huge pleasurable and proud moment for us. A particularly unique performance caught our eye. Check it out too…
We first went like, “Wait, is that not Ankara on his shirt?,” “Shut the front door! Did I just see Alkayida dance moves?,” “Wait, that is definitely Azonto!,” “OMG! That was real pidgin English at the end right? Who is this guy?”
So we jumped right out of our seats and straight unto the internet and discovered rather surprisingly that we had jammed to one of his hit songs, “Classic Man,” last summer.
Jidenna is 31 year old American artist born to an American dad and a Nigerian mother. His name Jidenna is actually an Igbo name meaning “embrace the father.” Not only did we jam to the song that played live at the VMAs, we held our heads up high at how strongly he represented his home. Haven run through a few of his works so far, I have noticed how prominent Ankara/African print plays towards his image, and how he tends to only feature natural haired African/Black women in his works.
His image and works got me thinking a lot about our own artists back home. Yes, maybe we cannot afford to make any comparisons because of course, he is signed unto a bigger international record label and thus has a wider reach and exposure. Nonetheless, I can guarantee you that those factors only contribute a certain iota to his success so far.
Jidenna’s “art” is his “identity” and no matter which language he sings in, nor the location he shoots at; His message rings loud and clear. So while our favorite Ghanaian and Afrobeats artists fight over titles, compete over foreign brands and mock others for rocking our very own “GTP,” Jidenna is living his life as an artist and an African; unapologetically. Whether that makes a difference or not, you be the judge. Check out the real video to the song, “Little Bit More.”
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