Leave My Second Cousin Alone!
Last year, I received a breakthrough call to perform in a local Tv series. It was a special honour to be invited. Normally, most people scramble for roles. For me as kid with a tongue-twisting name, that was a big deal!
I was asked to play a Nigerian conman. Ouch! I thought it over and gave it a no. Not long after, I was offered another similar role; but less intense. I took it. Gave it my best debut. Two months later I received a call to play a drug trafficker. I said, “No thanks.”
A few weeks later, they called that they had superb role for me with good money. I asked what was the role? The casting agent said, “Somalian Pirate.” Once again, I said I was flattered but, “No thanks.”
Personally, I felt it was very weird. Physically, I don’t look like a Somalian at all. Generally, Somalians are skinnier, taller and a little grayish. Lemons are not oranges, even though both are of the citrus family.
Last week, I had a call for a new role. I asked what TV series? They told me Crime Watch. I said “No thanks.” I told the producer, “I am leery about the stereotyping of Africans.” I told her I did not wish to keep feeding the beast. She promptly told me, “Ooh don’t worry, the thief will be a China-man.”
To which I replied, “Leave the China-men, alone, they are my second cousins.” She got back to me a few times and I compromised after consulting with a few friends.
As I reflect about it, I still feel that there is too much victimization of China-men in local media and even in some parts of Africa. People are quick to jump on them or pick them apart. Not fair!
All I can say is, if you don’t like them them, leave them alone. They are extremely hard working folks. Nobody is perfect. We all have flaws. When you pick on them, you are picking on me. By the way, they are my second cousins!