My name is Lemi Ghariokwu and I am not black. I am an African.
I do not call Indians brown or the Chinese pale yellow or any colour for that matter.
Why then should I be seen as ‘A Black Man? I am not BLACK.
Strip the colour from the label. I do not believe in labels but if you must label me please call me African. The fact that my skin is dark is a blessing. It’s proof that I can endure tough situations and come out unscathed.
When the skin is stripped off, what colour is the skeleton? Is it different from yours? I am a human being first, then I am African, born, bred and buttered in Lagos. I am proud of my culture. I am not ashamed to be seen as African because only I determine how you treat me.
I have broken free from the slavery mentality. I tell you my name is Lemi Ghariokwu and you call me Lemi Ghariokwu. Now, I am telling you I am not black, I am African and you must address me accordingly.
I_am_African LEMI GHARIOKWU  the conscious African.

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Nigerian artist Lemi Ghariokwu Abiodun to speak at Detroit Institute of Arts – Ghariokwu known for iconic album covers of Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

(Detroit)—Nigerian artist Lemi Ghariokwu Abiodun, known for his iconic album covers of Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti, will give a presentation at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. The talk, which is free, is sponsored by the DIA’s Friends of African and African American Art.

In his presentation, entitled “Art as Visual Expression of the Underlying Soul of a People,” Ghariokwu will discuss how his work for Kuti and other designs illustrate his use of Nigerian aesthetic traditions to critique the country’s social, economic, and political ills. He will combine images of his work with select songs by Kuti.

The presentation will be followed by a reception with the artist and members of the cast of the Broadway musical Fela! at 8 p.m. During the reception, Dr. Nii Quarcoopome, DIA curator of African art and head of the department of Africa, Oceania, and the Indigenous Americas, will provide an informal tour of the African art galleries. Reception attendees will also receive a 10% discount on tickets for Fela! at the Detroit Music Hall Center for Performing Arts between Tuesday, Feb. 14 and Sunday, March 4.

Tickets for the reception are $20 and include hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Advance tickets are required. Please contact Lindsay McGuire at 313-833-4004, or at LMcGuire@dia.org. Payment will not be accepted at the door. The deadline to purchase tickets is Monday, Feb. 6.

The event is part of the DIA’s Black History Month programming and is co-sponsored by the Detroit Music Hall Center for Performing Arts.



The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera’s world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA’s collection is known for its quality, range, and depth. The DIA’s mission is to create opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.

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