THE DENVER AFRICANA PROJECT
IMMIGRATION AND DIASPORA NARRATIVES: AFRICANA/BLACK VOICES IN THE DENVER METROPOLIS
Denver, Colorado, is currently the 23rd largest city in the USA. Fondly known as the “Mile High City,” it is justly famous for the great outdoors as well as the Denver International Airport (the second largest in the world). Denver metropolis has an ethnic population that is 75.7% white, 22.2% Hispanic, 5% black, 4% Asian, and 0.5% Native American. Both the distinct ethnic cultures and the interaction between different groups (including the stories that they have to tell) give the Denver metropolis its remarkable character. The aim of the “Denver Africana” project is to gather the views of one of these groups (Africans and African Americans in the Denver metropolis) on their experiences, challenges, and expectations or projections as immigrants (if they are) and/or Denver residents. Read together, these immigration and diaspora narratives could contribute to a real understanding of the scope and the possibilities for synergy provided by African immigration and the African American presence in the Denver metropolis.
Anthony Adu, Ghana, 17
Anthony Adu is from Ghana. He is seventeen years old and a sophomore at the University of Denver (DU). He hopes to become an actor and as such is deeply involved in the theater program. He speaks Ewe, Fanti, and English.
Anthony was ten when he moved to Colorado. His father had moved to the US earlier because of better opportunities and he joined him later. He points out however that the distance (with his father living in the US and his mother in Ghana) kind of created a wedge e between his parents and they eventually divorced. He thinks that Colorado is a really great place but says that he would like to move to the East Coast so as to widen his acting horizon.
Anthony believes he has come a long way from when he had a heavy accent, which affected him, to now being in a situation where he feels more comfortable with himself. He wishes though that people would be more open-minded within the university environment. He compares the ambiance of his high school (Overland High School) where there was a lot more diversity to the “claustrophobic ambiance” he has experienced at the university.
Anthony sees himself first of all as a Ghanaian (he believes his African heritage is very integral to his life) and then as an actor. He does not really go out of his way to seek out any group of people to identify with. He was very surprised to find out there is a vibrant Ghanaian community in Denver. Neither he nor his father belongs to that community. Belonging, he says, means attending meetings and even going to Ghanaian stores, something he is not so enamored of at the moment.
But he is quick to point out that his culture means a lot to him; he appreciates the discipline and parental guidance associated with African culture.
Anthony has not visited home since he left because to do so requires a lot of planning and is very expensive, but he is definitely working toward that. He is currently a permanent resident and hopes to become a U.S citizen as soon as possible. He considers himself very productive at the level he is and thinks that Colorado is becoming more vibrant with a lot of people moving to the area. So far, he has auditioned for acting roles in Denver, Littleton, and Aspen
Note: The interviews were conducted in 2016, and some details (including biographical information) may have changed.
Download a . PDF copy of the full results here
This project was completed thanks to a partnership between Africa Agenda and the University of Denver department of English. For more information, please contact the Africa Agenda office via email: Office@AfricaAgenda dot org, or Dr. Maik Nwosu at the University of Denver in Colorado.