Olubowale Victor Akintimehin, better known as Wale in the hip hop industry, represents his Nigerian heritage and upbringing in America through his music. He was born in Washington D.C., however his parents made sure to make him no stranger to his Nigerian roots and culture. Wale states, “I look at myself as a black man in America, but as Nigerian first. ‘Cause that’s my blood, I’m 100% Nigerian.”
In his single ‘Black Bonnie’ featuring Jacquees, he sends a powerful message to the public of Black Power and Black love, highlighting his utmost respect for black women. At the beginning of the music video, he shows the equal footing of him and his black queen in their throne, stating in the song “I trust her intuition.” I interpreted this as a message for black women in the diaspora and within Africa. For many generations, we have struggled with equality between men and women due to slow adjustment out of traditional gender roles. Wale addressed this factor by a blunt portrayal of the necessity of women in our lives, also showing it is necessary to unite as black people, rather than be divided between black men and black women as this would inevitably be two battles.
The Bonnie in Black Bonnie is in reference to the infamous American criminal couple, Bonnie and Clyde, who traveled the United States during the Great Depression committing burglaries and robberies. That being said, their love story was notorious; they were considered to ride or die, supporting each other in face of any danger.
Bang, I’m woke shawty, I’m growin’ and maturin’/ Of course we not bank robbers, they hate us ‘cause we colored/ Really should leave the city, really would if you with it/ Really could never get lost, I follow what you feelin’, yeah /She tell me, “I got you, I got this intuition”
Wale considers his woman and any other black king who has a black queen in his life, their ride or die. In the music video, he and multiple women are planning a Black Panther march and protest. I believe he is focusing on the lead and initiative taken by black women that may go unnoticed in society. To face the racial pressures that are still prevalent in society, Wale believes that men and women must trust and confide in each other, for their unity will bring about progress in this battle. This message is for his African brothers and sisters as well as Africa has not progressed in gender equality nearly as much as the rest of the world.
This fight for progress in any part of the world is not a simple or safe one. Wale has shown he has been an activist back home in Africa, as well as in America and in order for progress to be made, Africans and African Americans must work together in their communities.