, 10 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Let me tell y'all a relatively harmless story about the first time I encountered the power of foreign media to permanently alter an African story.
In 2009 (centuries ago, lol), as part of Just A Band, we put out this video that featured Makmende, who until that point had been an abstract, Kenyan character with hazy origins.
And there was this incredible reaction. And then CNN came to visit us for an interview. They asked us where Makmende came from, and we told them the truth: we didn't know, he had always kinda existed in the abstract hive-mind that is the Kenyan neighborhood playground.
So CNN told the story and - presumably to "hook the American audience" - they invented this absurd story about Makmende having been mangled from Clint Eastwood's "make my day" phrase in the 1983 movie "Sudden Impact".
Which was quite a streeeeeeeeeetch, not to mention a very troubling framing of the 'Africans having trouble with English' joke.
I don't know about you guys, but Clint Eastwood was NOT that big a thing in Kenya in the 80s. To this day I haven't ever watched Sudden Impact, or met any fellow Kenyan who has. So we really doubted that story.
But CNN said it, and BBC co-signed it, and it became FACT. Wikipedia has a whole section on the "History" of Makmende that sets this dubious story in stone, permanently centering Americans solidly into what was an African story.
"Mek man nday", fam. Isn't that insulting? Does that remotely sound like us? Jesus.
So, people romanticize the power of foreign media to bring attention to African stories, but we rarely talk about the erasure that's on the flip side of that.
This, like I said, is a relatively harmless example. There are worse examples, but I'm trying to be positive here. OK, I'm done, bye.
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