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Celebrating Resistance - Celebrity Paper

AFRICAN RESISTANCE CULTURE

Horace Campbell in Rasta and Resistance: From Marcus Garvey to Walter Rodney reminds us that:African resistance to slavery began on the slave ship and continued up tothe present. It was the struggles on the slave ship, which led to the chaining of the slaves. The restlessness of the slaves caused revolts to be endemic and the slaves broke tools, committed suicide, ran away, and mothers preferred their children to die at birth rather than to grow up as slaves. (1987, 20–21)

Resistance culture has played a pivotal role in the emancipation of enslaved Africans in the diaspora. The embodiment of “defiance” is captured in the Haitian revolution and personified in the character and style of Toussaint L’Ouverture, arguably the first black resistance celebrity of the nineteenth century.

Much of African resistance culture in the diaspora was steeped in religion. It is this culture that “celebrated” people like Toussaint L’Ouverture, Boukman Dutty, Sam Sharpe, Paul Bogle, Marcus Garvey, and Bob Marley. African Caribbean resistance culture embraces notions of “heroism” and “celebrity” status emerging from the bottom up (grassroots) with the hero showing the facility/capacity to overcome adversities (organized or natural) to “beat the man at his own game.” Often the celebrity in resistance culture is diametrically opposed to the (“enemy”) dominant culture or status quo. The foundation of African resistance and heroism continues to be ideologically grounded in anticolonialist, antiracist, antiwar sentiments and activities.

On the slave plantations colonies of North America and the Caribbean, the black and white populations were polarized along the great “divide” of race. This feature naturally manifested itself in all spheres of society, including the sphere of sport.

Within the context of resistance culture, my analysis is grounded in the theories of play and sport within a domination/resistance, oppressed/ oppressor paradigm viewed from an Afrocentric or African-Caribbean standpoint/perspective.

Molefi Asante in Afrocentricity provides a basic introduction to understanding the concept of Afrocentricity, when he argues:
Afrocentricity is the belief in the centrality of Africans in post-modern history.It is our history, our mythology, our creative motif, and our ethos exemplifying our collective will. On basis of our story, we build upon the work of our ancestors who gave signs toward our humanizing function. (1988, 6)
Asante continues:
It does not take away from the universality or humanity of man to have a particular culture or history as one’s center since all cultures share certain universal traits; but, they do not necessarily resemble each other.

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