Last week a video of an Ethiopian-American woman surfaced and reignited the conversation around differences between the diverse people and culture that make up the African Diaspora.

This woman’s words—brimming with hate-filled vitriol toward African-American women—was not only difficult to watch because it was overflowing with an abundance of ignorance, but also because it was tough to see so much self-hate in action.

The first generation Ethiopian-American woman took some serious shots at African-American women calling them “the most desperate women in the world,” and asserting that no man wanted to date them. What was worse, however, is that she talked so badly about Black women like she wasn’t even one of us. Well, damn.

Watching the video was hard. Throughout the eight-minute diatribe I wanted to throw my computer out of the window and kick some sense into her (obviously) crazy ass, but alas that would have only served to bolster her negative stereotypes about Black women (angry, aggressive, neck-poppin’), rather than serve as a much-needed wake-up call for her foolishness. So I did what I always do when something irks me, I wrote about it.

What grew out of one woman’s extreme ignorance and hate was a serious dialogue between sisters of the Diaspora. Many women read and responded, sharing their experiences either being an American-born sister, or a Black woman from another part of the world. The stories of struggling to fit in, being ostracized by peers, celebrating cultural differences, and finding common ground—even though it may have been difficult—was nothing short of amazing. Reading through the 100+ comments made me realize that there is not only a lot of work to be done in terms of celebrating and bridging the vast landscape of our differences, but also all of us could use a little reminder on what makes us—sisters of the Diaspora—so amazingly fly.

The Caribbean Massive
Whether they sway to Soca, Reggae, Dub, Lovers Rock, or bust a slow wine to a dancehall tune, our sisters from the Caribbean know how to suck the marrow from life and enjoy every minute of it. From Antigua to Venezuela, the Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico, sisters from the Caribbean have their own special flavor. From the laid back shores of Barbados, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Aruba, to the lively streets of Trinidad during Carnival, Caribbean sisters know how to weave a mashup of cultural influences (African, Indian, Indigenous) to come up with a likkle something all their own. Nuff respect.

Sisters With Sabor
Calling all Colombianos, Dominicanos, Cubanos, Boriquas, and Hondurans. Black women not only permeate the Caribbean and its many islands, but they are also a force to be reckoned with in the Spanish-speaking world as well. From Panama to the Dominican Republic, Belize to Brazil, Afro-Latino women mix colonial Spanish influences with Indigenous and African roots to come up with a hypnotic concoction all their own. In the words of La Reina, Celia Cruz, “Mi Sangre as azucar negra…”

European Noir
The streets of European cities are not only home to some of the most historic cultural landmarks in the world (The Lourve, Big Ben, The Coliseum), but it is also home to some of the most amazing Black women on the planet. From the busy streets of London and France, to the picturesque views of Italy and Amsterdam, our sisters from across the pond have a certain je ne sais quoi that will give any burgeoning fashionista fever.

American Beauties
Black women in the U.S. and Canada share more than just a Northern border. Sisters in North America have thrived in spite of discrimination to achieve more than our foremothers could have every dreamed. Time and time again America Black women have defied the odds and achieving great success on our own terms. From California to New York, The Dirty South to Toronto, Black women in North America have carved our their own spaces in a society that sometimes fails to recognize their worth.

Sisters of the Motherland
Africa holds more than just the crater of life; it is home to millions of unbreakable Black women. Despite what some may think, Africa is not a monolith, it is comprised of a myriad of different cultures, dialects, and countries. From Ethiopia—the birthplace of Rastafarianism—to the pristine beaches of Kenya and Tanzania, Africa’s challenges may be many but the spirit of its women is its most precious jewel.

No matter where we come from, Black women are beautiful. Instead of fighting about our cultural differences, we should be celebrating our respective cultures and the unique differences that make us great. No matter where you come from or what language you speak, you are an amazing woman.

Now Werk!

Clutchettes, shout out your culture and what makes it so great!

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  • Shabba

    @African Mami: You must be one of these africans in love with the european and believe they can do no wrong, and that they are some good europeans out there..The whiteman is the one who established the different category of race and decides who is white or non-white, I do not make that decision..I’m all for maintaining the integrity of my own ethnicity, why should I promote self genocide by allowing my decendants to breed out my gene pool? The law of nature is self preservation, I love myself and will not want three generations from now my decendants to not look like me, my husband, mother or father…

    • African Mami

      So the whiteman came to Africa, raped us of our resources, instituted colorism amongst us which gave way to current tribal divide across the African nations and continues to conquer and divide us through globalization and interdependency. Do I have just cause for anger…ABSOLUTELY, do I engage in diatribe…HELL NO!
      I can’t generalize the whole Caucasian race based on what a few of them are engaged in.

      We can talk all day everyday about surpression and opression of our people, but this dialog is not leading us to the promised land. So instead of yapping all day about what the whiteman is doing to us, let us stop the talk and start walking the talk…okay so the whiteman is at the helm of XYZ corporation, I encourage you Shabba to start your own corporation and hire your people out of the misery of having to work for the whiteman and being unemployed because of the whiteman’s discriminatory business practices.

      Until then, I continue to be a lover of humanity, and a hater of prejudice without just cause.

  • Akua

    I’m representing the Gold Coast, Ghana. I was born in the U.S (NY). and when i grew up what saddened me was the ridicule I faced because of my last name, being called an “African booty scratcher” ( Still don’t understand that term, smh), and when i was asked where i was from, and being told I speak such “good english”. So, i understand having some feelings toward African-Americans, but now I feel like they are ignorant. It’s even sadder when Hispanic Sisters act like they never heard of Ghana, and still continue to think Africa is a country. I embrace my Sisters from all over the Diaspora, but it would be nice if ignorant stereotypes about Africans would stop being displayed. We come in all different colors and hair types. Lastly, to each his own, but a stop to ignorant comments about natural hair would be nice, I don’t rag on others if their hair is straight or weaved in.

  • VickyD

    When listening to the video, I was not surprised to hear this young lady’s comments. I endured such comments from many of my African sisters and brothers while attending a prominent HBCU. Walking the campus of this famous institution, I was initially thrilled to be among beautiful Black people from a myriad of nations spanning the globe. As black women raised in a predominately white city in upstate New York, I was elated to attend class with others who looked like me. However, as we engaged in candid discussions and shared philosophical views, my classmates’ stereotypical thoughts of African Americans were revealed. These views were surprisingly hurtful because I thought that blacks from Africa and other parts of the diaspora would understand the historical struggle, institutionalized racism, and related challenges that African Americans experienced. However, it seemed as though I was wrong. I discovered my classmates/friends felt the same way as did much of mainstream America; that all African Americans were ignorant, lazy sociopaths. I attributed their views to exported racism and shortsightedness. Nevertheless, I love the diversity within the African diaspora and embrace the cultural elements that I have retained from my African ancestors. To this end, I hope we take the time to learn from each other’s differences rather than judge one another due to a lack of understanding. The Bible says “My people will perish fropm the lack of knowledge.”

  • Belle

    Wait. No shout out to the Pearl of the Caribbean? Sak Pase to all my Haitian women! There is nothing like a Bel Fanm Kreyol!

  • I want to send a big shout out to all Panamanians out there.
    Hola pana!