Finding joy and unity in the perfect song
Mervat Hamza, 27, senior risk analyst
In my apartment it was me, my friend who is Congolese, and two Liberian friends. Just right before we were leaving to go out, I was fiddling around with my playlist and “Aye” by Davido came on. That song started playing and we all transformed into our natural selves.
We all just started dancing. It was such a magical moment. The way that song starts, it’s such a classic. We all just dropped everything, even though everyone is so different. When that song dropped, all of us were one.
Because we are African, we have very strong identities, and we are proud of it. It’s only when we are so far away from home that we’re able to fit under the umbrella of African. It takes something really special to bind us in a moment as one. I’m completely East African. One is Central. The other two are deep West African. Yet, in that moment, we were lovers of Africa.
I was born in Ethiopia, and I lived there for eight years. Then I moved to Kenya from age 8 to 18. When I’m home, in Kenya, there’s nothing about me that’s Kenyan. Even though I lived there consecutively for 10 years, my parents raised me very Ethiopian. I only eat Ethiopian food and celebrate Ethiopian traditions. I’m super Ethiopian, even when I lived in Kenya. So when I came here, I saw that because there are fewer of us, we can unite under a greater umbrella of being African.
I’ve learned that joy isn’t something that you always feel when you’re experiencing triumph. It’s the people who have explored the depth of their struggle who are able to feel the height of happiness and success. I surround myself with people like that.
Those friends have lived here for a while and their families are here. To be in a moment that feels like home is a very difficult moment not only to achieve but to actually feel. It’s a moment that even if you try to create, it is so rarely authentic like that. In that moment, the space we were in was just hovering. We were no longer planted in America. The space was an illusion and in that illusion, we were home.
Published at Mon, 30 Jan 2017 20:04:19 +0000