The Color Purple 2023

This Kenyan Global Nomad wants you to know how dismissal feels.


Koya Nyangi Photo Credit: Amanda Brooks

“I grew up in Kenya, where everybody around me was black, so being black was not an issue. In fact, I did not even recognize my blackness until I left the continent.”

I was not going to go unscathed, though, because I was from Africa. I have that beautiful chocolate skin and kinky hair, so any black person’s struggle is a struggle that ultimately affects me. The dangers of showing a people as one thing and as only one thing, over and over again makes it even harder to educate someone who doesn’t want to know about how race affects people like me, black people and the systems that have created this stigma. Nonetheless, I must have these conversations and I need you to have an opinion, as an ally and a co-conspirator where you commit to pursuing equality even for the people that do not look like you. Your silence is paralyzing, I need you to have an opinion, but I am afraid the opinion you have may put a damper on this relationship.

To know that we have laughed and loved over many things, this one real issue, this one about me and my people this one that is important to me, we see it differently. It angers me to know how you think and your nonchalant way of addressing it, your rationalization of it. But despite this one thing, I am trying my level best not to dislike you, I want to see you as the bad guy, the opposite of an ally, but deep in my heart I still somehow manage to see you as a human. Again, your silence is paralyzing. I need you to see the ways you can make a difference and how, through my peoples’ pain, your white privilege has been accorded to you. I want you to know that although you may see me as just a black friend, I come from generations of black people who have been hurt in so many ways.

Like the black author, Luvvie Ajayi said,” White people, I’m talking to you. THIS. IS. YOUR. PROBLEM. TO. FIX. Y’all got some work to do, because this system that y’all keep on privileging from, you’ve got to help us dismantle it.”

This article is part of our “What is Black” series from the Summer 2020 print issue of Culturs Magazine. For a full digital version of the publication, click here. To view another part of thieis series, check out this article.

Grab your copy of the print edition “TIME FOR CHANGE” HERE.

After making extended stops in Ethiopia, Rwanda, London, Dubai and India, Kenyan-born Koya Nyangi found new adventures and a new home in Denver, Colo., U.S.A. She loves to tell fashion stories through styling and writing and works as an editorial and personal stylist. Nyangi calls herself the fashion curator — telling tales of fashion in culture, giving fashion a fresh perspective. She lives by the motto #BeBoldBeBraveBeDifferent Keep up with her on Instagram

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