Afrocentricity: African Heritage Becomes of Growing

Students at FAMU are setting out to educate more black youths about the significance and cultural importance of Afrocentricity.

Eric Hardy, 20, head of public relations for the FAMU Student Alliance for Cultural Development said most people don’t know what afrocentricity is.

“Most people think [Afrocentricity] and take it to the extreme,” said Eric Hardy, an english student from Prince George’s County, Md. “If you wear a dashiki, have an afro and wear dark shades that is fine, but you don’t neccessarilly have to do all of that. You can just believe in the cause.”

The SACD is one organization attempting to spearhead this cultural awareness movement and determining exactly why students aren’t getting involved is one of their methods.

Whitney Moore, 18, a freshman pre-pharmacy student from Tallahassee links the lack of students with African mindset to lack of exposure. She feels visiting might cause blacks to realize their actual connection to the continent.

“I have friends from [other races] who have either visited or have close relatives in their native country…I think some [African Americans] feel that if they haven’t experienced the land first hand then they can’t identify with it,” Moore said.

Afrocentrism became widely recognized in the late 20th century due to the contributions of Molefi Kete Asante, referred to as, “The father of Afrocentricity.” Some of the main principles includes the “out of Africa” theory that suggests the first forms of life have their origins in West Africa. Recognizing African contributions to western society and teaching blacks and others in the black diaspora about their African heritage is also significant.

Hardy addresses how Afrocentricity helped him develop a sense of self worth and pride.

“I was a completely different person before I learned about my ancestors,” Hardy said. “Seeing their accomplishments and knowing I was connected made me want to better myself. I quit smoking, ate better and even changed the way I talked.”

At http://www. thefactsaboutafrica. com, there is a list of several ongoing myths that tarnish the reputation of the continent. One of the most common is that Africa is the “dark continent.” Another is that Africa has made no meaningful contribution to world history and only has a legacy of poverty, slavery, famine and violence.

Hardy encourages students to join organizations like the SACD so that common misconceptions about Africa and Afrocentric principles can be disproved. He mentions positive neo- soul and rap artists like The Roots and De La Soul, who make reference to Africa and support Afrocentric principles.

“The overall goal [of our organization] is to get the students to be unified,” Hardy said. “History shows that Africans and their descendants have talent and drive. If we focus that energy and work together, who knows what we could do.”

Cynna Kelley,19, a sophomore political science student from Tampa said she knows many students that are not concerned about knowing their African roots.

“We’re taught early in life to love patriotism so much that any place that’s not

America doesn’t seem to matter,” Kelley said.