Jidenna Responds to “Light Skinned, Dark Skinned” Controversy with Harrowing Open Letter


Classic Man: Jidenna

In a recent interview with VladTV, Nigerian-American upstart Jidenna detailed the complications he had to endure when he went home to bury his father.

When I actually buried my father, I had to bring a lot of AK-47s. I had to employ military commandos. Just to bury my father. When you’re light-skinned, you’re a heavier target for being kidnapped. You’re seen as more valuable. You’re seen as you’re white.

In classic internet fashion, his comments were taken way out of context, and people began singling the “Classic Man” singer out as an elitist. In an open letter, he responded to the comments, breaking down both his background and upbringing, and detailing how they relate to the context of his current “controversy.”

You can read an excerpt below, in which he tells the harrowing tale of being kidnapped and assaulted at just 5 years of age.

When I was 5 years old, my family was robbed at gunpoint, my mother was beaten, family members were kidnapped, and I was shot in my foot. As is the case with all kidnapping, targeting those who are perceived to be wealthy is the objective. In this instance, my father was the target because of his prominence in the community. This was a traumatic experience for my family that would shape our entire lives and our experiences in both Nigeria and America. As a little boy, I swore that I would never let that happen to my family again. As my father often said, “Once you’re bitten by a snake, you‘ll be ready to shoot a lizard!” At the time of my father’s burial 5 years ago, my family in the village was concerned about increased targeting for kidnapping since the rate of abductions had increased dramatically in the area we are from.

Read the full letter here.


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