Important things to know
before attempting to date an African,
or how to properly cook rice.
One– You must cook rice.
Two– Africans like to speak in metaphors,
so I was very surprised when my mother wanted to disown me
after I told her, “I’m going to become an artiste,”
when she’s always saying things like,
“The smartest goat in the room
is the one who understands the flow of the river.”
I’m like, “What the hell does that mean?”
“It means go wash the damn dishes, you stupid goat!”
Whether we’re 3 feet or 300 feet from you,
we are always megaphone-parade loud.
Our voices project like a howling typhoon,
filled with all of the anger and plight of all of Africa.
Whispering is as foreign as we are,
our voices molded in accented thunder
probably because for so long history only shamed us into silence.
Four– You must cook rice.
Five– At one point in life,
we’re all supposed to be doctors or lawyers.
If you ever meet the parents, make sure you uphold this.
Do not give them a reason, reminder of how–
insert less-than-stellar six-figure paying profession here–
does not pay the bills.
And, “We did not send you to America to become Cameroonian Shakespeare,
shag your pants, listen to that [Jersey] stuff,
or try to make babies with all of the women.”
Don’t call it soccer. Call it football!
Real Madrid versus Barcelona. La Coupe d’Afrique.
Tottenham versus Liverpool.
When the World Cup is in progress nothing else matters, y’all, nothing.
Seven– You must cook rice.
Eight– Africans have no concept of time,
for to meet at 10 a.m. it really means 1 p.m.
Make sure you plan everything at least three hours in advance.
Nine– All weddings, parties, and gatherings involving any sort of music
last for at least three days,
probably because everybody showed up late.
But you will dance until you grow blisters on your feet
the size of African liberation.
We dance, and we dance, and we love to dance
because we understand that music is the undying essence of freedom.
Ten– Despite the ugly shade of calculated misfortune,
or the drag of empty often [railing] from our eyes,
we are more than just HIV commercials,
more than just, “For 30 cents a day you can feed this hungry caricature,”
more than just a grain dropped in colonization’s pot
with a flame of guilt swaying under.
But, like my Momma always said,
(speaks in French)
If you cannot cook anything else,
you must cook rice.
Thank y’all so much! Y’all beautiful!
(cheers and applause)
Have you read the original anthology that was the catalyst for The Good Men Project? Buy here: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood
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