When we begin to view the shared historical experiences of the Atlantic Afro cultures, we see how impossible it is to describe one without a little bit of substance on their connections.
In 2015, Yoruba’s Oshun was portrayed in African-American Singer Beyonce’s “Lemonade”. Millions watched as West African native tradition and religion made its way into the short film’s aesthetics, by Nigerian Artist, Laolu Senbajo, in the body painting of dancers of its 4th chapter, Apathy.
There are emerging trends in mainstream media and entertainment demonstrating the connections between West Africa and its Diaspora. There is no escaping the fact that majority of blacks across the Atlantic, , can claim ancestry from West African countries, such as Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Cameroon, and Senegal. Millions of West Africans populated the other side of the Atlantic through involuntary servitude.
According to the slave voyages database, between 1651 and 1675 over 100,000 to the Netherlands; between 1776 and 1800, over 700,00 slaves were transported to Great Britain; between 1801 and 1825, over a 100,000 were transported to the United States and over 1 million to Brazil. Altogether, Between 1500 and 1875, over 10 million Africans were transported across the Atlantic into the New World. This led to the emergence of new Western Afro-cultures in the Americas, Caribbean, and parts of Europe. Newly established communities such as African Americans, Jamaicans, Afro-Brazilians, Afro-Cubans and other Atlantic blacks in the New World emerged, with a new set of cultural systems and allegiances.
When the hunger for slavery was satisfied and many set free, several Westernized black communities chose to return to West Africa and resettle. Utilizing whatever scrap of skill and resources had been scraped up they reestablished more communities across West Africa. Between 1770 and 1840 over 2000 freed slaves from the United States and the Caribbean resettled in various parts of West Africa, creating new westernized African communities in places like Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ghana.
The cultural remnants of West Africans can be found in most if not all of its Diaspora communities. West Africans and its Diaspora have unbroken bonds that, despite the raging waters of the middle passage, the dehumanizing conditions of slavery, the defeating reality of always fleeing to and freedom from; or the ethnic disparities resulting from artificial color and border lines, the shared heritage remains embroidered into the West African identity.
West African Chronicles offers commentary and creative highlights of the historical experience of West Africans and descendants in the Diaspora.