She deserves the hype.
And by “she,” I’m referring to Nigerian feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Beyoncé’s recent eponymous album–and the woman herself–have been dissected, and hyped and argued over to death. One of the most eyebrow-raising song’s on that album was the song “***Flawless,” which had originally been released under the title “Bow Down/I Been On” and lacked a quote from Adichie taken from a TED talk titled “We Should All Be Feminists.” I found the original track to questionable material, especially from a woman (Beyoncé) who referred to herself as a feminist; the original song was offensive not just because it used the word “bitch”–a term I don’t believe automatically makes a person anti-feminist for using, although I consider the term “problematic”–but because it referred to Beyoncé telling her homies to “smack that trick.”
But I digress. “***Flawless” is a much better track than “Bow Down/I Been On” in large part due to the removal of that smacking tricks line, but also because of the addition of Adichie, an addition which made the intent of the song much clearer. Adichie hasn’t commented on the inclusion of her voice to the newer track, which makes me wonder what she thinks of the actual song. Hopefully Adichie will one day voice her opinion “***Flawless” and what she thinks of the song after her quote was added.
Listen to Chimamanda’s full TED talk titled “We Should All Be Feminists” below. It’s a 30 minute video but well worth the time to view in its entirety.
If feminism isn’t your thing, check out Adichie’s other famous TED talk, a talk which she gave in 2009 titled “The Danger of a Single Story.” A synopsis of the speech states, “Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding”
I’m currently reading ‘Americanah,’ published by Adichie in May of 2013. ‘Americanah’ follows the unfolding life and loves of Ifemelu and Obinzi, two Nigerian’s who fall in love as youths only to find themselves parted as adults by the passage of time and the distance of oceans. Over the years of their separation, Ifemelu maintains a blog about race relations in America from the perspective of a black-but-not-black-like-that woman. Chimamanda has also written ‘Purple Hibiscus,’ her first novel, and ‘Half of a Yellow Sun, which has been turned into a movie starring Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor.