American rapper and actor Ludacris, whose real name is Christopher Brian Bridges, is the latest United States celebrity to take the nationality of an African country.
Ludacris uploaded on twitter pictures of his Gabonese passports recently confirming that his mother and two daughters also obtained Gabonese citizenship.
In August 2019 popular actor Samuel L Jackson also received Gabonese passport after he was hosted by the country’s president Ali Bongo. (Neither has moved there full-time.)
Monique John wasn’t sure what to expect when she stepped off the plane in her new home: the West African nation of Liberia.
“It was very rundown looking,” the Brooklyn-born 28-year-old recalled of her first glimpse of the capital, Monrovia, nearly three years ago. “But my feeling as I was walking along the city’s main streets was a sense of excitement . . . it felt almost like an out-of-body experience to finally be in Africa.”
John is one of a number of African Americans moving to the continent, some inspired by the recent “Year of Return” movement initiated by Ghana, 400 years after the first Africans were brought in chains to Jamestown, Virginia Last year, Ghana gave citizenship to 126 folks of African descent, many of them Americans.
Many Americans who moved to Africa cherish their newfound feeling of community.
Kaylan Reid, a journalist who grew up in Mount Vernon, NY, has lived in Namibia for 10 years.
“There is a comfort that comes with being around people who look like you, and seeing [people like you] on billboards and in government positions,” Reid, 36, told the New York Post.
Per Second News gathered that between 3,000 and 5,000 African Americans live in Accra, Ghana
Even as many newcomers embrace their new homeland, they’re not blind to Africa’s traumatic past and occasionally rocky present.
John, a freelance journalist who has since moved back to the US, is haunted by the memory of a young girl selling popcorn across the street from her apartment.
“The electricity had gone out and she was trying to heat the popcorn with this little lamp while trying to get her homework done,” John said. “This is the reality of children having to forgo school altogether or manage a side hustle along with school to protect themselves and families.”