Catch Up

Meet the feminist who inspired Beyonce….

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an extremely well-educated (i.e. Yale, Princeton AND Harvard…) Nigerian writer who resides in both the USA and Africa, having received worldwide acclaim for bringing a new generation of readers to African literature. You may know her work ‘ Purple Hibiscus, Half a Yellow Sun, That Thing around Your Neck…

There has recently been a surge of interest in her and her work as pop diva Beyonce quotes Adichie as influential in her own views on feminism and empowerment and has sampled her famous Tedtalk on her new album. So thought I would post Adichie’s Tedtalk here, which Jenna also includes in her Listen Up post. (look at Jenna’s post so you can also see the interview with Beyonce about the album, and feminism etc v interesting0

Adichie’s Tedtalk is entitled “We should all be feminists” which is a gutsy platform to take in parts of Africa I am sure. Beyonce sure was inspired as she samples some of the lines below.

We teach girls to shrink themselves

To make themselves smaller

We say to girls

‘You can have ambition

But not too much

You should aim to be successful

But not too successful

Otherwise you will threaten the man’

Because I am female

I am expected to aspire to marriage

I am expected to make my life choices

Always keeping in mind that

Marriage is the most important

Now marriage can be a source of

Joy and love and mutual support

But why do we teach to aspire to marriage

And we don’t teach boys the same?

We raise girls to each other as competitors

Not for jobs or for accomplishments

Which I think can be a good thing

But for the attention of men

We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings

In the way that boys are

Feminist: the person who believes in the social

Political, and economic equality of the sexes

I was interested in all of this in light of the furore that emerged earlier in the year when Beyonce released her track Bow Down with lyrics such as “bow down b’tches”. Yeah, I don’t go for that “bitches” talk myself but I thought that with the release of her latest work at least she is using her pop stardom to spread a more interesting message than “if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it”.

So Chimananda, Beyonce and you too Jenna….to quote another famous Afro American superstar…..Oprah…..YOU GO GIRL!

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