Africa vs American
S1: Now playing on the Parker Edison Project.
S2: What I learned is that after we got on the boat , we don't know what happened in our past and they didn't know what happened once we got to America. So there's like this huge gap of like information that's missing.
S1: That's up next on the Parker Edison Project.
S3: Wait , wait , wait. But. Wait. Oh , wait , wait , wait. No , no , no , no , no. This. Okay. No. Okay. No.
S4: You are now tuned to the park at Edison Project and Project.
S1: Good morning and welcome to the Parker Edison Project. The theme of this season is geopolitics , which includes the relations between countries and their people. Let's talk about Africa and America. There are centuries of history there , but the transatlantic slave trade sits prominently as a gross , twisted bridge that bonds us and simultaneously sours that connection. So much so it might play out locally as a distance between American and African communities here in San Diego. We party separately , work for different companies. For instance , there's Yellow Cab. It's quite popular. There's also a group of taxi drivers with yellow cabs that say a retreating cab on the door. There's a specific section of San Diego's El Cajon Boulevard where even billboard signs are in an African language that ten , 15 blocks , maybe coincidentally , is heavy with African households , perhaps it's nothing. Or maybe it speaks to the quiet rift playing out post-slavery. I don't know if we get into these types of nuanced conversations when we discuss historical traumas. Luckily , I got a platform and I'm curious about it , so I tapped in with one of my best friends , got him on Zoom and started there a piece.
S5: I was kind of thinking about it earlier. It was sort of different before I left to the Army because , you know , I guess I was just younger at a younger point in life. So it was just like little situations like I had when I went to San Diego State for one semester. So I had to take I took the bus from Chula Vista , the trolley , and so like I would end up at the Euclid Trolley station. And so I had a lot of like more interactions where you would see you sort of just put in your memory bank like , Oh , like I don't think the older African people really like us , you know what I mean ? And then sort of I went to the Army , I did my time there and had a little bit of life experience. And then when I came back , the the African community had sort of exploded , if you will , and they the younger Africans were more mainstream. And so then , like I said , with the little bit of more gained knowledge being four years older , I had came to realize that they didn't like us. And then I received that energy from them that they were better , they were superior , they were more African , more black , and that mostly we were corrupted by our American ways. And that sort of , like I said , their stance and my stance has always been , like I said , like we're the survivors. Like , like we're the ones that went through slavery. You know what I mean ? We're the descendants of the slaves. Like I got back in 2000 , even up to like 2005 , you would see like African kids downtown , you know what I mean ? At the club or they weren't trying to deny they they were African. They were more , you know what I mean ? Like , I was like , okay , they out here now type of deal , but they still , even though they was out there , the mentality was still like , Oh , y'all are trying to do our thing and y'all still don't like us. Not , you know what I mean ? Like , like , that's weird , bro. Yeah. Yeah.
S1: I've been to a few places. New York , Houston , Vegas , the Bay. These aren't far out things my guy is saying. I've heard these sentiments expressed before , and in my opinion , they don't land as judgmental or throwing shade. I hear them as genuine critiques of the experience. And of course , others have a different take. And I like to listen and give those the same weight.
S3: Sir , what's.
S6: I mean , the food industry. So I own a restaurant called Flavors of East Africa North Park. Oh , yes.
S6: So originally I was working for an accounting company. Then we have the meltdown. In that time , I didn't have a job for about six months , and I was thinking like , probably I need to get something to do. And then eventually that's how I ended up going to the farmers market. And that's when I discovered there's an opportunity there with what I did that I had to do.
S1: Was the farmer's market before the brick and mortar ? Yes.
S6: That's how it started. Wow. Yes. Started very humbly , very , very humble.
S1: One of the reasons I'm doing this show is because I'm from San Diego and I have always thought there was a bit of a friction between the black Americans and the African community. And I feel like it's less now. I don't want to ask , have you ever experienced that or do you have any take on it.
S6: Just the way you say it , that many people have had it , but they've not experienced it. Oh , so the difference here. Is are we going by what people are saying ? I suppose by experience. I mean , I've never had any kind of that kind of situation because I mean , I talk to a lot of people. I go to the farmers market , there's all these sorts of people that I can tell and we communicate with so well. And I'm not saying that you might not have 1 or 2 bad apples somewhere , just like any other race has bad apples. I've got , you know , had misunderstandings with different races , but not a matter of racial thing is a matter of not understanding one another of principles , but not on the on a racial aspect of it. I don't get to hear that narrative as much as I used to hear it a long time ago , like ten , 15 years ago. Yes. The narrative is kind of , you know , dying off politely as opposed to then that was the solution. That's a big question. That is the solution is our brothers in America need to travel to Africa. They need to go and see what's going on over there. And then they will figure out that narrative. Is it true or wrong ? It's a very wrong narrative that is just being magnified. Amplified. Go look for any brother who's going to Africa and have an interview with him like you did to me. Then you'll get a different response.
S1: You know what ? I'm a I'm actually about to interview a young lady I'm about to interview. She's at that table over there. I'm about to interview her. She's she was in Ghana and she's about to tell me her experience , experience.
S6: And also interview a white man. What should I ask ? Give me give me two questions to ask. What is your experience in Africa ? How do you interconnect with Africans in Africa ? I love you. Ken will give you the last good. Slaughter it to a stranger that they've never seen before. Just the fact he's a stranger. That has never happened in America. Nobody's going to take the last good and slow rate to a stranger. You'll probably get a gun. That. I bet you if you go , you won't even want to come back because the kind of love you're going to get over there is some kind of love that you never seen over here. Wow.
S1: I got I got to sit down with this interview because she's waving me over. Thank you so much for giving me a few minutes and for letting us do this interview in this gorgeous spot. Give me the address so listeners can stop by. Okay.
S6: So we are located at two three , two two. El Cajon Boulevard , San Diego 92104. And the name of the business , again is called Flavors of East Africa.
S1: There's an optimism in Alvin that only comes from love. I think you can hear the warmth in his words , and that makes me want to see what he's describing firsthand. When we come back from commercial , I'm going to introduce you to one of my favorite people. She's been some places and one is across the water. Stick around.
S4: Stay tuned for more of the pep. Pep.
S7: Hey , folks. My name is Bob Surratt. I'm a librarian and host of Listeners Advisory , the San Diego Public Library Podcast. Listeners Advisory is the audio access point that connects users with SD services , facilities and staff. Tune in twice monthly for a mixture of narrative driven segments , in-depth interviews and roundtable discussions about everything from professional recommendations to community centric matters. Find us wherever you get your podcasts or at. Org Forward slash listeners advisory.
S3: And now back to the pep. The pep.
S1: Welcome back. The topic is the relationship between Africans and black Americans. Although we are genetically related by the same bloodlines , we're essentially separated by one major event. Africans are pre slave families and blacks are post slave generations. This complicates the relationship because even though we are one people , we've experienced two different realities. My next guest and I refer to each other as siblings. It's an unspoken rebellion against past traumas that try to keep us separated. I adore everything about her , and it's a blessing that I was able to get her on. She's from the places I'm from , so I take her take on things. Is being pretty close to what I might think. Peep.
S2: What's your name ? Oh , my name is Truth , but everybody calls me truth. I am working as an organizing coordinator , so I activists pretty much with California Black Power Network , and we're working with nonprofits across California to talk to them about social justice issues , anything that affects the black community. And so , yeah , it's just pretty dope to be able to organize and get paid a living freaking wage. Ooh , And to organize in California for black folks , five black folks with black folks in mind.
S1: There's not enough depiction of that happening right now.
S2: It's not. It's so it's rare. And I'm just honored that I get to be in this space every day. I'm super excited and shout out to my girl , Christina Griffin , because she's she's amazing and she's my supervisor , but she's like one of my best friends. You can't do that in corporate America. You can't work with your friend. But we do it a lot. True. We have done a lot within our community. Absolutely.
S1: Absolutely. I had to get at you because you've been to Africa. But before I ask about that , I want to ask if you've ever witnessed any friction between just black people and Africans in San Diego.
S2: And San Diego. Sure. I would say there's been different instances , instances where there was like friction going on. They grew up naive to us and we grew up naive to them. You know , growing up in San Diego , there's a lot of East Africans here. I'll be waving at them and be like , Hey ! And they'll just look at me like especially the older ones. But having And then when I went to San Diego Community College and I started talking to like the younger Africans there , East Africans there , they would tell me the language barrier. Like it wasn't that these people didn't want to talk to me , they didn't speak the language , they didn't understand the culture. So that already was enough to silence them and to be like , Oh , I don't know if I could talk to any probably the way I was dressed or , you know , you just never know. And then , of course , you know , you hear African Americans saying like derogatory words towards Africans and vice versa nationally , for sure. Yeah , your talk. I'm like , what ? What do you mean they don't like us , right ? Yeah , right. Yeah.
S1: With the motherland. What officially prompted your trip ? Like , what made you pull the trigger and just do it.
S2: When , you know Alfred Alonzo was murdered by the police and I was going through so much here in America. A friend of mine at the time was going and I was like , I'm going with you. I didn't have a really good job. Then I was on welfare. I didn't have a passport , I didn't have money to go. But I don't know. I felt led and felt like it was like divine. It was definitely divinely guided. It's something that was already in my heart. And then I feel like the universe made a way for it to happen because I did a GoFundMe and I raised $5,000 in three months and I was able to fund my trip and was able to pay for my passport and everything. So yeah , that was like how it all came about. It was very magical. I went to Ghana. That's the only place that I've been in Africa so far. Fun fact for folks. Every place there is a country that is a continent. Africa is not one country. I know there's there's like 50 something countries there. So every place is different with a different currency. What a different president or elected official , whatever. However , they do their thing. Right. Different cultures , everything's different.
S2: Being from San Diego , we have the luxury to go to Mexico often , and it kind of gave me the same kind of vibe , like seeing people that have less than us but have more more than us inside. Like their gratitude is more , their mannerisms are more just. Simplicity of life means more to them than to us. We're just the stress. I'm not saying that it doesn't exist. There's definitely stress there , but the stress that we have and the depression and all that type of stuff that consumes us every day that work , work , work , work , work , work. It's just a different kind of vibe there. It feels different.
S2: So there's like this huge gap of like information that's missing. One time I remember I was with a friend of mine and we were walking down the street and he was a police officer. And then he was like , well , you know , one thing I don't understand , like why you guys are. Don't listen to the police. And you know why ? You guys just don't do what they tell you to do , that you won't get killed. And I'm like , It's not like that , love. There's actually a lot of racism. They don't understand racist. Some of them don't understand racism , the mass majority of them , because everybody around them looks like this now is their classes. I'm sure they're biased , of course , ignorance. But racism is not. There's colourism. Sure , but racism not a big factor in that alone is a different freedom for black people that we've never had. You're not walking around with this anxious anxiety like , Oh my God , I'm the only person , black person in this room. If something happened , they're going to point at me or something , you know what I'm saying ? There's that type of there's a peace that you get just not having to deal with racism.
S2: Okay. Because it's just like anywhere people going to try to you're not from there. They're going to try to get you. I would just say go with somebody there so that they could , like talk for you when bargaining for things because if they know you're American , they're going to upsell you. Of course. Yeah. You're trying to survive. Yeah , I think American dollar , $100 bills when I went $100 bill equated to like five times more.
S1: Ooh , yeah. Tell the listeners , how can they find the company that you're working with so that they can support you if they're so inclined ? Okay.
S2: Well , definitely you can find us on all social networks at California Black Power Network if you want to support , even if you're not black , like reparations is everybody's duty. Just like , say , slavery was everybody's problem. So we need everybody at the table.
S1: Thank you so much.
S2: Of course. Thank you. I love you , sibling. I love you , too , bro.
S1: A subplot of Hype Williams 1998 film Belly is how the character , sincere , played by the rapper Nas , dreams of escaping his gritty New York life of crime for the Paradise of Africa , as if the airplane were a time machine that could reverse the toxic tendencies he's generationally acquired , creating a pure , more natural version of himself that could have existed pre slave trade. Both Richard Pryor and Malcolm X have documented the way their outlooks changed after visiting the motherland. And my next guest , coincidentally an accomplished rapper himself , echoes a similar sentiment. Peace , brother.
S1: This episode is about in particular , West Coasters who make the trip in Africa. And you've been to the motherland ? Yeah. Yes.
S8: Yes. Ah. Ah.
S8: When I was living in France , a fan from Greece was taking his girlfriend shopping in Paris where I was living , and he contacted me on Facebook saying he wanted to come and buy some music from me. I had a lot of merch with me and he came. We went out to lunch , he bought a bunch of CDs and stuff , and then he hit me up again. A few months later when I came back to America and asked me to come to Greece to do a show , and I did this European tour and did Greece last chill with them for like five , six days before I came home in Athens. This was in 2009. Then in 2015 , one of his friends hit me up named Ireland , and he wanted me to come to this festival that they're starting called a negative festival in Uganda , and they wanted me to come out there and be a part of the festival. I was there for two and a half months. They had me there to help with promoting the festival , with working with some of the other artists that are going to be in the festival , doing some production and taking it to a studio to record.
S8: It also means sex to Those are two different meanings. That's two different meanings.
S3: What's what's.
S8: We all need that experience to go , especially to Africa , because it's so , you know , the way we were taught about Africa as kids , nobody black want to be called African or be associated with Africa. When we were kids , you know , they called you African booty scratcher and stuff like that as a joke. But , you know , a lot of people as a kid , if I met somebody from Africa , I'd be like , Is it tigers and lions ? He's been , you know , and giraffe before and they live in the city just like us , you know. And they all have huge populations of young. People. That's the biggest population boom in a in like the next couple generations Africa is going to take over China you know , like a couple countries in Africa , you know , because they got so many kids right now. And that one stay reproduces. Like that's why all these countries are going there. That's why China is there. That's why Russia is there and America is there because this is the you know , the boom. This is where all the consumers are going to be. You know.
S3: I dig. I dig.
S8: This is just , to me , the biggest consumer center.
S3: Is there anything you.
S8: And right there is where they found some of the oldest , you know , human remains is right there in that park in that area.
S1: This whole episode , we've been playing music from a record that you recorded during the time you were in Uganda. It's a beat record. Yeah. Yeah.
S8: Like it got some good press. You got really good reviews and all the tapes that they made soul out , you know , it's like a limited supply thing. It wasn't even a whole lot.
S8: I'm working on a solo album. Phish just finished the solo album that I did. Some of the production on that will be coming out in the next couple of weeks , and I'm finishing up a new album called The Reformation that I'm working on.
S3: I got a copy of the CV Vinyl Man.
S1: I appreciate you sent it over. It's real classy of you , man.
S8: This is how we start every morning with so.
S3: Much bass that you can feel it vibrate every organ , shaking the floor in your dorm and awake in the dorm. And it's quite alarming when the bass keep the wind blows.
S8: Like Forman's back in its prime , where I.
S3: Put my styles upon these beats , they shuffle like all these feet. If there's a greatest of trolley me So let it rest.
UU: On Steve Let them test and we shall see the glory praise victory We prove we're more than history here We're roasting rappers over.
S3: So we got to go to work to get to the pizza smorgasbord. Put a ring to the feast. What ? I pray to the Lord that I might defeat some of my kills I keep discreet , while others I did right in the street make a music that mercs are enemies at the same time.
UU: So perky in how we start every morning with so much pace that you can feel it vibrate every organ , shaking the floor in your dorm and awake in the dorm.
S3: And it's quite alarming.
UU: When the bass keep the wind blows like Foreman's back in his pride. This is how we start every morning with so much.
S3: Pace that you can feel.
UU: It vibrate every organ , shaking the floor in your dorm and awake in the dorm. And it's quite alarming when the bass keep the wind blows like Foreman's back in his bra. This is how we start.
S3: Every morning with so much pace that you can feel it vibrate every organ , shaking the floor in your dorm and awake in the dorm. And it's quite alarming when the bass keep the wind blows like Foreman's back in his prime.
S1: Thanks for stopping in. The Parker Edison Project is produced and hosted by yours truly , Parker Edison , and of course , the good people at platform collection. Be sure to subscribe and catch the next episode on Apple , Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. If you have any comments or questions , visit the Parker Edison Project or hit us on Instagram at the project. Chris Reyes is head of audio production. Liza Jane Morissette is Operations manager and John Decker is Associate General Manager for Content. This programming is made possible in part by the Kpbs Explorer Content Fund. I love saying that because it reminds me of Sesame Street. Y'all stay safe out there.
In this episode, some friends and I discuss their travels to the motherland. Plus LA rappers CVE close the show with a track from their newest record “Critical Bass Theory“
Episode artwork by Anne McColl
Show credits: Parker Edison (Host), Chris Reyes (Head Editor), Prof Robert A. Saunders (Geo-Political Consultant), Adrian Villalobos (Media Production Specialist), Lisa Jane Morrisette (Director of Audio Programming and Operations), and John Decker (Senior Director of Content Development)