If there is one thing that gives me a hearty chuckle in life, it’s people who barely know me thinking that they have me figured out. What does give me pause though, is when people get surprised by the things that I like to do, purely based on my race. It’s as though people think that The Fresh Prince of Belair, My Wife & Kids, and MTV Base are case studies on blackness and anything outside of those three things is abnormal. The funny thing is that these stereotypes on the things black people like are only upheld by the non melanated. Black people can uphold these stereotypes too. I’m going to give examples of three things I enjoy that would surprise some people, since some folks base interests on skin colour.
- Black People Listen To More Than Just Rap
Surprise, surprise Black people like more than just Hip-Hop and R&B. Fun fact, historically Rock & Roll was created by black people (Google Little Richard) and the majority of the Korean music industry is influenced by Hip-Hop and R&B which was created by us. I say this because these are two types of music that I enjoy. However, even if black people had absolutely nothing to with these two genres, it would not matter. A naïve tribe from the Amazon jungle could have created them and if it was good I’d still listen to it.
Let me remind folks that the human brain is a remarkable creation and it is possible for a person to like several genres of music at once. I am perfectly capable of enjoying Kendrick Lamar, Aerosmith, BTS and GOT7 all at the same time. If I hear a good beat, impressive lyrics and the artist is an excellent performer, I am going to show support. It should not have you taken aback by the fact that I am a Black girl from Essex who would happily stand on a table and sing every lyric to Livin On a Prayer.
- Black People Like Camping
I was watching an episode of Black-ish and Dre (the main character in the show) was talking about how Black people don’t go camping. I laughed hard. Not because I agreed. I laughed because the majority of Black People I know have camped several times and love it. I’m going to need the Pathfinders from across the globe to rise up against this lie.
Allow me to explain, I’m a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Christian and we have an organization in the church called Pathfinders. It’s basically the Adventist version of Scouts and it is in almost every country where there is an Adventist church. It’s LIT! I enjoy being in the great outdoors, with my friends in tents. These are some of my best teenage memories. There are millions of Black Adventists across the world and we camp because it is fun, and we camp in the thousands in countries such as Denmark, Finland, and Holland. Make friends with an SDA, you’ll need us if Donald Trump or this Brexit situation ushers in the Apocalypse.
- Black People Can Swim
I do not know who started this myth that we cannot swim but when I find this individual, I’m throwing them in the deep end of a swimming pool. Just joking. Kind of.
I know as a people, we must take into account braids, weaves and shrinkage but believe it or not, we do like water. Usually, clean water that does not resemble the River Thames but I assure you that we can swim. I, for one, get a kick out seeing how far I can swim without coming up for air.
You should never limit Black people in the arena of sports. If African countries such as Nigeria are starting to show up at the Winter Olympics, please believe that we will take over swimming. We shall follow in the footsteps of Olympic gold medalist, Simone Manuel and debunk this lie.
There is something about Black People that are universal. Such as Summertime by Will Smith & DJ Jazzy Jeff and Return of the Mack by Mark Morrison being the national anthems of summer. Most of us think that chicken is delicious and even if we didn’t like Black Panther (which you’d have to have been insane not to like), we will defend that film in front of mixed company until the day that we die. However, I just want to reiterate again, that we are not monoliths. Some of us can’t dance, some of us are nerdy and some of us don’t like Beyonce. All of these things are okay because our differences are what make us beautiful. Take the time to get to know us on a human level and you will see.
Please comment on the things that you like that have surprised people.