SAY IT LOUD: Black Power in Every Language by Onjena Yo

These concepts have evolved over many late night conversations... born out of pain and love and laughter. As a Black woman and a Spanish language teacher, it was quite natural that my sister would translate "Say it loud, I'm Black and I'm proud" to Spanish. This and that 30 Rock episode starring Tracy Morgan, prompted me to research how to say "Black" in every language.

I’ve learned the word ‘black’ in every language, just so I know when to be offended. Russian “tcherny,” Korean “heug-in [hooking],” dolphin “eeee eeee eee eeee.”
— Tracy Jordan, 30 Rock: Season 4: Episode 17

Source: UnlikelyWords.com [*hooking edited to "heug-in" or "흑인"]

I came across an abundance of enthusiastic databases of ethnic slurs (for the sake of academic research, of course..). Digging a little deeper, I found that Black people were often called a term that was rooted in racist etymology by the "majority" of that country (e.g., derivative of slave, non-believer). I was on the hunt for what we called ourselves around the globe...a color in some cases... a tribe in others. The time frame deliberately spanned beyond the "transatlantic slave" era. This activity led me inward to a memory of my father, who, during parent's weekend, drove around my small New England college campus blasting James Brown's song, "Say it loud, I'm Black and I'm proud!" I've only begun to scratch the surface on what identifying and celebrating Blackness means to me, as an American, as a woman and as a person raised in a third culture *mix of Black and Korean.

Our translation of "Black" in our "Black in Every Language" design: 

Black – English
Negro – Spanish
Noir – French
Nwa – Haitian Creole
Oji – Igbo
Dudu – Yoruba
Preta – Portuguese
Nyeusi – Swahili

Whatever the language, we encourage all to #sayitLOUD! We would love to hear your thoughts! Connect with us on twitter at @MultiPATRIOT or @populistdemand

 OUR DADDY

OUR DADDY

Thank you for your time.

~ Onjena Yo

[For the folks in the cheap seats passing notes, you can be proud, too... Black is beautiful, too... Black lives matter, too... Black girls rock, too... but it ain't always about you, too...]

 


BLACK: SAY IT LOUD Design Series by Onjena Yo

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SAY IT LOUD:

ARABIC: 'AQUL DHLK BISAWT EAL

FRENCH: DIS LE BRUYANT

HAITIAN: DI LI BYEN FȮ

IGBO: EKWU YA OKÉ

PORTUGUESE: DIGA ALTO

SPANISH: DILO ALTO

SWAHILI: SEMA NI KUBWA

TAGALOG: SABIHIN MO MALAKAS

YORUBA: SO Ọ TI NPARIWO

 

 

I'M BLACK:

'ANA 'ASWAD 

JE SUIS NOIR

MWEN NWA

ADḷ M OJI

EU SOU PRETA

SOY NEGRO

MIṂI NYEUSI

AKO ITIM

DUDU NI MI

 

AND I'M PROUD:

WA'ANA FAKHUR

ET JE SUIS FIER

AK MWEN FYĖ

NA ABU M MPAKO

E TENHO ORGULHO

Y SOY ORGULLOSO

NA MIṂI MPAKO

AT AKO MAIPAGMAMALAKI

ATI EMI LI AGBERAGA


Do you speak any of the above languages? How did we do on our translations? Want to add a new language? 

Let us know via twitter @MultiPATRIOT & @populistdemand


Designed by Onjena Yo

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