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This African Woman Has a Message for Somalians, East Africans Who Don’t Claim Their Blackness

YouTuber Sumaya Smiles demands that East Africans end debates over Blackness and stop acting as if they are better than other Black people across the diaspora.

After being besieged with comments about whether she was Black or pro-Somali, the London-based YouTube culture critic made a Dec. 16 video squashing these petty squabbles on nation and race.

“When you are filling out forms and things like that, what do you click?” she asks rhetorically. “There’s no Somali option. Black African, Black Caribbean, Black other. You are Black.”

She reminded her viewers that this line of thinking, that being Somalian makes a person believe they are better than others, originated from previous generations. When Sumaya was younger, a friend told her that she was Black but not “Black, Black.” Her friend’s statements were shocking because they had the same skin tone.

“I’m like, ‘What do I have to do now to be Black now?'” Sumaya Smiles says. “To be honest, I think it starts with us. If we don’t [classify] ourselves as Black, then what do we [classify] ourselves as being?”

Ultimately, she believes many people just hate themselves.

“There is a group of Somali people that feel that they are better than this kind of African. Or this kind of people that have that kind of texture, that have the more kinky hair,” she explains. “They’re stuck in this kind of [mindset] … that the closer you are to looking Arab, the more beautiful you are. What? Where?”

The YouTuber urged all Black people to just come together, because “no one is better than anyone else.”

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