By Donu Kogbara
MEGHAN Markle, the former actress who captured the heart of Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson, looked fabulous when she got married last weekend.
Her natural beauty was on full display. Her bridal gown was simple but sublime. And she now has a new title: Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Sussex.
Black people across the globe took a special interest in this royal wedding because they regard this young woman – who has an African-American mother – as one of their own. And I myself was one of Meghan’s fondest fans in the early days when she first emerged on the world stage as Harry’s girlfriend.
But – sorry to be a party-pooper, peeps! – I no longer regard her as a Sista because having researched her background and her wedding guest lists, I have concluded that the love that so many of us have lavished on Meghan from afar is not mutual and that she has no real interest in the black side of her heritage.
Sure, she has written a couple of charmingly poignant articles in glossy magazines about the complexities of being biracial (her father is white). Sure, she clearly adores her in-your-face (ie, dreadlocked) black mom, Doria.
But, as Brits say, one swallow does not make a summer (in other words, you should not assume that something is true if you have only seen one piece of evidence); and guess what? Meghan doesn’t appear to have any longstanding black friends that down-to-earth types like me can describe as “real”!
Meghan is a divorcee and photographs of her first wedding (to a white film producer) are all over the internet and have featured in several magazines since her romance with Harry was announced. And perhaps I’m blind, but I didn’t spot a single black face in the crowd that attended her first wedding.
And the only black faces I spotted at her second wedding were Serena Williams and Oprah Winfrey (celebrities she hasn’t known for long), plus some excellent black performers who provided some of the music and passionate American Episcopalian Bishop, Michael Curry, who provided a lively sermon.
And I’m told by contacts who claim to know these things that this fairly strong black presence at the wedding was not even Meghan’s idea…and that it was the royal family who suggested that it would be a nice touch for some of her ethnic brethren to participate in the ceremony. But perhaps I have been misinformed.
Meanwhile, even though none of her black relatives have criticised her or embarrassed her in any way, she didn’t invite any of them to the monarchical extravaganza that took place in the shadow of Windsor Castle last Saturday.
As a result, Doria sat in church, elegant – and no doubt proud to see her darling daughter getting such an amazing second chance on the marital front – but almost chillingly isolated. Had she been a Naija Mama, I guarantee you that she would have insisted on showing up with a bunch of ashoebi-clad pals and cousins, even if her offspring had tried to exclude ordinary folks in a bid to be posh!
Another Big Issue I have with Meghan is that when her father Thomas, claiming ill health, decided to stay away, instead of asking a relative or a friend whom she had known before she met Harry to give her away, she asked the most senior royal male, Prince Charles – Harry’s Dad – to do the honours.
I wish I could escape from the strong suspicion that Meghan is status-obsessed and has cold-bloodedly ditched almost everyone who knew her before the age of 30!!! (she also currently appears to have absolutely no childhood friends).
Anyway, I’ve expressed my concerns about Meghan’s character to lots of Africans and Diasporans; and while some completely agree with me, I think it is fair to say that most are slavishly In Denial and psychologically incapable of assessing Meghan objectively. So let me shut up and stop raining on their parade and pray that she does well as a Duchess and makes her Prince happy!!!
THIS reader, a 29-year old optometrist called Dr. Ikenna, has shared his thoughts with me, following last week’s column in which I expressed disapproval of Malaysia’s decision to elect a 92-year old president.
Could it be that there are no young people [in Nigeria] who are fit for the presidency?…the youths having been groomed to see it as an office for bent-over sages with only our best interests at heart.
In trying to analyze the reason for the continued backwardness of the federation, an outsider may conclude that Nigerians have refused to be truthful to themselves.
The truthfulness lies in the fact that we have sat back for years to watch the polarization of the country by our leaders. There is inequality, killing, rot in the education sector, youths migrating by foot, walking into slavery in Libya. There is no water, no steady power supply, no enduring institutions, thousands of people awaiting trial due to the laziness of the judicial system, porous borders, religious killings, communal clashes, brazen corruption, nepotism and unmatched disrespect for the rule of law.
Meanwhile, the south is growing impatient with the excesses of the northern elite who have deliberately impoverished their region.
Are the young generation of leaders willing to come out boldly and face these issues that the older ones have chosen to ignore? Will they take cognizance of the fact that these are issues that need to be settled for the country to move forward? Will they take the bull by the horn or will they pretend that we can forge ahead with the imperial 1999 constitution that has made us serfs to our fellow countrymen?
I believe that the time has come for the youths to emerge into political activity. If there are young aspirants who sing the same tunes as these old ones…then they too, desire retirement.
Yes, it is only when they take up a cause like this that they can outrank any form of comparison with the old. Only then, can they rise above the pettiness of childish old men and become firm, young and efficient fathers of a modern Nigeria.