Engaging in the labor of storytelling is not a tradition of exclusivity; it’s one of exchange and collaboration, as long as all parties arriving at the table have entered into a safe space of mutual respect and understanding. It’s a loss for us all when a new piece of Black work fails to understand that framework.
The term “aunty” as a titular framework for the collection is equal parts reverence, exploration, and reclamation of the word, drawing through-lines on how the perception of African women has shifted in tandem with the storytellers in charge.
I may present differently in each language, but I love as a Comorian, equally, in all of them.
The Africana-as-commodity vs. Africana-as-identity debate remains: is it more important to signal kinship to the African identity, regardless of true origin, manufacturing, and branding as opposed to genuinely drawing out authentic African production?