You may have noticed that across the various anti-racist and #BlackLivesMatter reading lists that have emerged recently, one novel constantly featured in them is Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah. Rightly so: a large part of the novel is taken up by Ifemelu’s musings on the question of what it means to be black in America. In the spirit of current efforts to raise awareness about structural racism and racist encounters on an individual level, Adichie recently shared on Instagram several videos of her reading passages from Ifemelu’s blog in Americanah that deal with issues related to being black.
So far, Adichie has chosen four passages to read aloud. By bringing her book to life this way, so to speak, Adichie has hit on what seems to be an extremely effective means of getting the book’s anti-racist messages across. Watch the videos below for the rich (and sometimes sassy) insights into being black that Americanah conveys.
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In AMERICANAH, Ifemelu’s blog is called ‘Raceteenth, or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known As Negroes) By a Non-American Black.’ I wrote it in a slightly exaggerated version of Ifemelu’s voice, and wanted it to be irreverent, darkly funny and truth-telling. I’m reading from a blog post titled ‘Friendly Tips for the American Non-Black: How to React to an American Black Talking About Blackness.’