The latest industry news is that American R&B singer Trey Songz has “confessed” that he is of Cameroonian heritage. It is alleged that his grandfather is Cameroonian. It is unclear which side of the family he refers to i.e. maternal or paternal.
An excerpt of the story follows:
“Having spent over 20 years hiding his origins, Trey Songz (whose real name is Tremaine Aldon Neverson), the American artist that has gained fame in the RnB culture has finally decided to reveal his true origins. In an exclusive interview with MTV last Saturday, the artist revealed that his grand father was from Cameroon and more specifically the west region of Cameroon known as Bafoussam…” – Actualite.co
I think I have said this on AML before. As an industry insider when I am out and about attending events here in the States, I often have persons that, to all, identify as “Black”, come up to me and strike interesting conversations surrounding identity. The conversation usually goes like this.
Talent/Industry Insider: Hello/Hi, what is your name?
Talent/Industry Insider: That’s African right? You are African right?
Me: Yes. My family hails from Nigeria.
Talent/Industry Insider: You look so confident and even use your African name.
Me: Er… yeah.
Talent/Industry Insider: Well I am also African. I am (Nigerian), (Ethiopian) (Ghanian) (South African) or whatever they are.
When I say, “wow!” I would never have guessed. They tell me how they changed their names in trying to fit into the America culture etc.
I am discovering that in America’s showbiz, there is a strong showing of movers and shakers who are of Carribean and African heritage in the business. Many, however, are in a different identity space which finds them reluctant to affiliate or claim their African or Caribbean identities.
It is good to see more of us begin to come out of the woods, and confidently claim our identities. Ain’t nothing to be ashamed of. Take back your narrative and put the world on notice while you are at it.