AfroKrip, a term I just thought of (2016) to help united Afro disabled people around the African diaspora associate to Krip-Hop during and after becoming politicized. As a Black disabled activist/artist living in America having a need and vision of connecting with other disabled artists/activists in the African diaspora realized there must be terminology that speaks to our experiences.
Since my childhood, the late 70’s all the way up to the late 90’s I realized and experienced with other Black disabled people in the US is that the Black community and the dominate society including the White disability community have limited knowledge of the increasing Black disability politics, activism, history arts, music and culture. With social networks/internet along with my travels internationally studying the Black Disability Movements in London, UK, Toronto, CA & South Africa, reading more and more articles of activism from disabled people internationally and books like Nothing About Us Without Us by James I. Charlton all have expanded my cultural activism and a deep need to connect with disabled artists/activists throughout the African diaspora.
As we know the African diaspora refers to the communities throughout the world that have resulted by descent from the movement in historic times of peoples from Africa, predominantly to the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, among other areas around the globe. The term has been historically applied in particular to the descendants of the West and Central Africans who were enslaved and shipped to the Americas in the Atlantic slave trade, with their largest populations in Brazil (see Afro-Brazilian), followed by the USA and others. Some scholars identify “four circulatory phases” of migration out of Africa.
Many have written that Africans brought to the Americas the greatly varied cultures of their homelands, including folklore, language, music, and foodways. In forging new lives with one another, as well as neighboring Europeans and Native Americans, rich varieties of African diaspora culture took root in a New World decidedly shaped by the cultural innovations of Africans and their descendants. Through folklore, music, dance and more all had connection to disability but very few know about this connection. Folklore like the tale/song of “Follow the Drinkin’ Gourd” with a main character, Peg Leg Joe, who gave direction to freedom for Africans through a song to an elder disabled man, Jim Crow , to dancing like the Bulk dance that Africans were shackled at the ankles causing disabilities and were made to dance. Lastly the story of“The Dozens” that many Hip-Hop artists and scholars researched and came up with as below.
“The Dozens”, “snapping”, “cracking”, or the act of trading insults back and forth is a black oral tradition that dates back to slavery and has it’s roots embedded in both Mississippi and Louisiana. The name itself refers to the sale of slaves who had been overworked, were disabled, or beaten-down – their physical (and often mental) conditions affected their value and they were sold by the dozen, which was considered by slaves, the lowest position within the community. The term evolved to mean a competition between two people, typically men, in a contest of wit, mental agility, verbal ability and self control. It is believed “The Dozens” developed as an outlet for slaves’ depression and worked as a “valve of aggression for a depressed group.” Since it was nearly impossible for slaves to display aggression towards their oppressors, but it was encouraged and expected for them to display aggression towards one another, The Dozens became a practice for nearly all slaves, male and female, young and old.”
We see “The Dozens” played out in early Hip-Hop where MCs battle each other in a cypher and now on cd going back and forth.
So it makes sense that disabled people, our culture and activism are also apart of this African diaspora and we share stories and also creating realities of today. So because of the above, I want to add a term, AfoKrip as one culture aspect of/under African Diaspora Culture with a focus on disability through activism, art, music and such.
In my vision there is a process or steps to get to AfroKrip. AfroKrip at the highest level is a common political stage where the person is comfortable with their identity as a person with a disability and are throwing off the mainstream brainwashing of overcoming or hiding disability to also reach beyond themselves to others for community and discovery of history building on arts and struggles of our African disabled ancestors.
With this new term AfroKrip we need to know why the term Krip knowing that it has an ugly history. Why Krip with a K? Like I wrote above, there is a process or steps to get to AfroKrip. AfroKrip at the highest level is a common political stage where the person is comfortable with their identity as a person with a disability and are throwing off the mainstream brainwashing of overcoming or hiding disability. Internationally, language, like other oppressed groups, was taken from people with disabilities and was turned on us to oppress us. Before people with disabilities had civil rights, a movement and arts nationally and internationally, many had placed labels on us like “crazy”, “lame”, “cripple” and “retarded”, etc. Of course, now with our civil rights and disability studies and culture, we have named ourselves and have used the negative terms to our own benefit to not only shock people but to respect that these words are our history and we must reclaim them.
On the other hand I realize that international solidarity with terminology and history is tricky but we can come close to a commonality well respecting our differences just like in Hip-Hop you turn something that the so-called mainstream has discarded with a fresh spotlight thus changing the C to a K in what we know today as Krip-Hop and now AfroKrip.