Who? Why? She is described as a model and an actress. But her real claim to fame is that she was until recently Kanye West’s girlfriend. Her current fame is tied to her dating another rapper Whiz Khalifa. Who? “Black and Yellow” Whiz. (While you’re at it, the remix with Snoop Dogg is even better.) Bear with me. Amber was invited by a British mobile phone company to promote its brand (which is already dominant) in Ghana. I know. Like any visitor to Africa she danced. She also made some comments about the lack of a middle class (she only saw or met very poor or very rich people), and, most importantly, she lectured young, most Muslim, schoolgirls in Nima, a very poor part of the capital Accra (they do offer walking tours though), to stay in school and about women’s empowerment.
When she was ridiculed, she responded on her blog:
Why wouldn’t I speak to those girls? I AM West African [her mother is Cape Verdean] just like them, I grew up poor just like them, most of those girls quit school to take care of their families JUST LIKE I DID. So how the hell do they not relate to my life and I theirs??? Talking to those young girls wasn’t a job for me feeding those kids wasn’t a job for me it wasn’t for publicity and I didn’t get paid to do it. I went there cuz I LOVE to help ppl. I DON’T want a pat on the back for shit that I do from my heart or even a thank u it was my blessing to go out to Ghana it is a second home for me now and it changed my life FOREVER!
Anyway, all of this–in this case where celebrity means humanitarianism and Africa usually stands in as backdrop–gets recounted regularly on “The Side Eye,” a weekly column over at Okayafrica by AIAC alum Allison Swank. Irreverent, funny and definitely the kind of thing you need on once a week. Go check it out.