Jidenna talks about xenophobia in Mzansi ahead of concert
The "Africans Unite" concert takes place this coming weekend and award-winning American Nigerian musician, Jidenna, is a part of the lineup.
Known for hits like "Classic Man" and for collaborating with people like Nasty C and Janelle Monáe, Jidenna is no stranger to African music lovers.
Speaking from New Orleans, Louisiana where he is currently on tour, Jidenna said that when the promoters of the concert contacted him, saying yes was easy.
“When I was told about 'Africans Unite' I wanted to be apart of something that will help bring us together as a people because I believe we really need to unite and I always want to help make that happen”, he said.
The "Yoga" hitmaker, who is part Nigerian himself, said that Africans have more similarities than differences.
“We should not get caught up in artificial walls and borders that have been put up to separate us”
Giving his take on how xenophobia can be avoided, Jidenna said anytime you design an algorithm it will continue until you reprogram it.
“There are many things that play a role in xenophobia, one of those things is colonialism which we still have the effects of to this day so I think that we as a people need to change our algorithms on how we see each other because we really are the same”, he said.
He also said that realistically it can only be changed with the next generation. “To be frank there is nothing you can do about the old generation, for them it is a wrap. I want to focus on the new generation and ensure that they don’t look at each other the way some of us do now and embrace each other”.
The award-winning musician just released his latest album, "85 To Africa", is a call to all Africans, particularly those in the diaspora.
“This album happened very organically unlike my previous one. For me, home is bigger than just Nigeria and the USA so this album needed to speak to that. I found a new sense of power in being me and I wanted to relay that message it's just that this message is not new, it’s just a reminder”.
He said that "85 To Africa" is the perfect album to listen to while on a road trip. “It is not genre-specific so you get a little bit of everything, hip hop, afrobeats, afro Caribbean beats and more.”
Comparing this album to "The Chief", he said that this one was slow-cooked. “It is a very cohesive album which falls perfectly onto your ear just the way meat that has been slow-cooked would fall off the bone. The Chief was autobiographical and this one is not, I was in no rush to get the music out and I liked that”.
*"Africans Unite" will take place in Cape Town at The Lawns on the November 23 and Pretoria at the Sun Arena on November 24.