I usually don't give a specific piece of media, literature or film it's own blog post, but Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adieche is simply too good to lump in another list. I am thoroughly impressed by this novel and how quickly it has risen to the top of my ranks. It is at once both a sense of self-help and a great story.
Americanah is the story of Ifemelu and Obinze, two Nigerians in how they navigate the modernization of their own country while experiencing diasporas in the most Western worlds of England and America. While it is far more depth in Ifemelu's time in America, it highlights a great deal of Nigeria, England and the spaces in between frequently. To extrapolate on each: the American segment deals primarily with Ifemelu's comprehension of Blackness versus African in America. Obinze's time in England serves to express the world of the expat in general. Meanwhile, all the Nigeria segments both showcase and critique the increasing Westernization of one of the most modern countries in the world.
Beyond these stories are the themes and blog posts from Ifemelu touching on romance, romance through racial understanding, but also concepts of romance and what love means in a few new ways of language. Identity is another theme as many people wonder their heritage in regards to Nigeria, other African countries, and what it means to Black in America. There are also a few concepts revolving masculinity and femininity, but far more around emotions and money. Wealth is a large part in the novel and is a constant through line in how the characters are able to navigate their circumstances. In a sense, having money and being Black and even in this case African determines what you can do in this world, if you can get yourself out of your predicament, and how you can somehow become white?
As such, I found myself taking several pictures of lines and quotes in the novel because of how well it related to my own confusion around African v. Blackness, being Black in America (as Black in Africa doesn't matter much), and how for a time I lived in whiteness. Another fascination this novel highlights is the many shades of Blackness, dark to light and in between and what that means. Not knowing who you are is everything. This is most apparent in Ifemelu's cousin Dike, I have many similar traits to him, but I'm about to learn with this ancestry DNA test!
There are many novels I still need to read on modern Blackness Between the World and Me or The New Jim Crow, but this is the most relevant and brilliant book on Blackness I've read in ages. No it didn't beat Invisible Man, but it certainly entered the top 10, maybe even top 5.
My haircut and beard shape may have been the highlight of the weekend, but this book was my week and then some. Read it, love it and relate to it.