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Africans in America: WHY do they Call African Americans “Akata”?

In this scene from the classic film, “Sugar Hill”, you get a glimpse of what many, but not all, REAL Africans think about their so-called “African American” counterpart whom they call the “Akata“, the “black” American, the “cotton picker”.

Anyone who has seen the above scene and identifies or at one time identified themselves as being “black”, can remember the emotions it invoked. How shocking it must’ve been to the so-called “African” American community that the people they admired and looked to for answers about their identity and history, looked upon them as uncultured, lacking in certain principals that would deem one to be relegated into “uncivilized” peoples box, and thusly treated as such; uncivilized. I know how it made me feel, especially as a young boy having some level of consciousness that would allow me to identify with being “African”. In my emotional and immature 11-year-old mind, I said: “Fuck them African niggas!” That scene from the Sugar Hill movie allowed me to see that I have so-called “brothers and sister” who unfortunately do not identify with me as I identify with them. It angered me. Of course, as a grown man, I’m reasonable enough to now know that not all Africans from the continent of Africa see so-called African Americans as uncivilized or uncultured. Even still this “akata” issue must be addressed, as this particular blog post was inspired by some rather disturbing public posts made by Africans in America that I came across on social media.


My research has shown me that the word “akata” is a Yoruba word, and though used in a derogatory manner for African Americans by many Africans both in and outside of Africa, it is alledgedly not a derogatory term at all. The very beautiful sista below further expounds on this subject.

Hey! Welcome to this video. I will attempt to explain the meaning of Akata. Due to misinformation from all sides, ignorant ways the word has and is used, ignorance spread thanks to movies like Sugar Hill, this word has come to be a source of tension for Black people in Diaspora. If you are watching on Mobile, you probably can’t see the Note in the video that says “Undomesticated Cat symbolize Cats that don’t live at home. -Cats Symbolize African. -The Yoruba word Ologbo or Ologinni, also meant Cats that lived at home (Africans that resided in Africa.)” Hopefully this helps clarify some questions you have about that word, Akata. Whoop, Whoop! Enjoy.

It means a cat that doesn’t live at home like a wild non domesticated cat, this is used to reference mostly African Americans as they are considered Africans by all Africans but the fact that they don’t live in Africa make them akata while those of us who live at home can be considered as Ologbo (cat). It is no different from an African American calling his buddies “cat”, it is just that the Yorubas recognize the fact that this is a cat that isn’t at home.


The above definition comes by way of the Urban Dictionary website. The poster of the definition purports his/her self to be an actual Yoruba tribesman/tribe-woman who also studied Yoruba in High school, which I’m sure is no different than speaking English as a first language, yet you still learn it as a subject at school. In my time, Language Arts used to be English.

So knowing that the word “akata” is not a “bad word“, then why do Africans use it in such a derogatory manner?

Akata Thinks She's an African
running nose akata
akata thanksgiving

What we find to be strange is that the above statements were made by Africans who no longer live on the continent of Africa. The Yoruba Urban Dictionary poster also stated:

It is also another word used to identify Africans who have visited America.


This simply means that ANY African who NO LONGER lives on the continent of Africa is an “akata” by the very definition, a fact that many of our African brothas and sistas fail to realize. This also means there are two types of akatas. You have those who were raised on colonized “American” culture and you have those who were raised upon African culture, having knowledge of their heritage and pedigree, yet no longer living in Africa. The reason so-called African Americans are called akata is that they have been separated from their true culture. They have become uncultured in such a way that they are foreign to themselves, lost to their free national principles, only to become the personification of “ignorance” via the Worldstar Hip-Hop website and social media. This cannot be logically argued against, as it is a fact.


I honestly don’t think that is the case at all. What some so-called African Americans fail to realize is that Africans have the same system working against them that is working against African Americans. They too have the “white supremacy” media propaganda machine that portrays African Americans to them as gangsters, whores, and lazy criminals just as it presents Africans as a bunch of starving poor people with big bellies and flies stuck to their faces. Africans and African Americans have been given false images of one another. The sole purpose of this is simply to divide and conquer, an old tactic that Africans in America and so-called African Americans should be very well cognizant of. Even still, we cannot overlook the purposeful use of the negative connotations of the word akata, especially when the children of African immigrants are assimilating into so-called African American culture. Even when you look at the youth of Africa today, you can see that they are copying and mimicking the American Akata people.

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