Africans Of New York (Iceberg Slim)
You moved to Nigeria a couple of years ago. How was your transition to the way of life in Nigeria?
When I decided to move to Nigeria, it was honestly an overnight decision. For about 2 years, my friend Sauce Kid had been telling me to make that move, but I was always a bit skeptical. Considering the fact that my whole family was in the US, and I was born and raised in New York, the only things I knew about Nigeria were the stories people would tell or what I would see in movies. It was definitely a rough transition, to say the least. I felt like a foreigner, in my fatherland.
Were there any culture shocks?
Yes, I definitely experienced culture shock. First of all, I didn't understand how things worked in the music industry. I wasn't fluent in the language, I wasn't a fan of the food, and then trying to adjust to the heat...it was a struggle. Anytime I stepped out, I would feel like I do not belong because I could not fit in.
When you were younger, did you ever imagine yourself living in Nigeria?
When I was younger, I never in my wildest dreams thought I would go to Nigeria, never the less living there. Prior to me moving, I have only visited Nigeria twice as a child, when I was three and when I was six. I had very faint memories of Nigeria, but again, all I knew were the traumatizing stories I would hear, or the cliché witchcraft (Juju) movies I would occasionally watch.
How has living in Nigeria changed your outlook on life?
Living in Nigeria changed the way I viewed the world. All the things I would complain about or take for granted as a child, I had to realize how privileged and blessed I was. Seeing less privileged people on a daily basis only reminds you how blessed you are. When I was 10, I was complaining because I did not have the latest game for my game system, yet over there, I see 10 year olds complaining because they have no food or no shelter. I realized that the things that meant so much to me actually mean nothing.
Is there a difference between Africans in America and Africans in Africa?
Yes, there is definitely a difference between Africans in America, and Africans in Africa. Living in Africa, you are more likely to hold on to your culture and values, whereas living abroad you are prone to be influenced by your environment.
If you could give your former self some advice, what would you tell yourself?
I would tell myself to embrace my culture, down to the food, clothing, and language. Growing up in America, I was not exposed to much of the Nigerian culture, and in hindsight I feel like I've been deprived.