Obi Egbuna Jnr Simunye
WHILE so-called African Americans living inside US borders began the month of February paying homage to the Father of African History, Dr Carter G. Woodson, who through the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (today called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History), the nationally acclaimed comedy show “Saturday Night Live (SNL)” arrived at the conclusion that a parody that included US President Trump and President Mugabe would garner worldwide attention and do wonders for ratings.
Since SNL began in 1975 the show has received at 50 primetime Emmy Awards, 2 Peabody Awards, 3 Writers Guild of America Awards, in 2000 SNL was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, SNL has received 150 Emmy nominations, the most by a TV show.
During the US Bicentennial in 1976 the US government decided the time had come to officially recognise African History Month, US President Gerald Ford encouraged US citizens “to seize the opportunity to honour the too often neglected accomplishment of Black Americans in every endeavour throughout our history”.
What so-called African Americans have learned the hard way is these opportunist overtures, are part and parcel of the process aimed at exploiting our lack of exposure to African History and Culture, especially the geographical and generational disconnect with our beloved Mother continent.
The parody focuses on President Trump’s phone calls to world leaders which has become an area of concentration for SNL writers and performers, it begins with President Trump’s Chief Strategist Steve Bannon insisting that he call up some little random country and show them who is boss.
When President Mugabe answers the phone President Trump makes the bold declaration that there is a new Sheriff in town, President Mugabe’s response begins with two questions: “Is this Donald Trump? You think you are a real dictator?”. “I will rip out your spine and drink your skull you little white bitch you can’t even walk down the stairs don’t you ever call Zimbabwe again? “
President Trump is portrayed by Alec Baldwin and President Mugabe is portrayed by Kennan Thompson, who has the distinction of being the only SNL member who was born after the beginning of the show, to be hired due to his comedic talents. Thompson has done more impersonations than any SNL member in history. Some of the characters Thompson has portrayed include Dr Martin Luther King Jnr, OJ Simpson, Reverend Al Sharpton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to name a few.
Brother Thompson is a childhood star who played in films like “Fat Albert”, “Good Burger”, “All That, Barber Shop 2” and the television sitcom “Kenan and Kel:, Thompson previously did CNN real news for kids and is a product of The Youth Ensemble of Atlanta.
The fact that Thompson was born in Atlanta, Georgia, where the second incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan occurred which resulted in 5 million members, it makes total sense that he would not hesitate to mock President Trump due to his white supremacist disposition and inflammatory rhetoric, however, the question we must pose to our young brother is should it be done at the expense of mocking an African revolutionary icon who is at the forefront of ensuring Mother Africa reawakens and assumes her proper role on the world stage?
Brother Thompson must be told that the first of many flaws SNL made when creating this parody was attempting to paint a picture that President Trump has to call President Mugabe and read him the riot act because his predecessor former US president Barack Obama was soft on the question of Zimbabwe.
If they are functioning from this bogus understanding they should have reached out to President Obama while he was kitesurfing with Virgin Group founder and billionaire Sir Richard Branson and asked him how he feels about not being able to successfully oust President Mugabe and Zanu-PF from power.
Brother Thompson would see the response would have been music to the ears of Sir Richard who went into his own pocket and contributed $18 million to the Elders Group whose membership includes former US president Jimmy Carter, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the late Madiba Nelson Mandela and his widow Graca Mandela who was previously married to the African revolutionary giant Samora Machel the first president of Mozambique. We remember when the Elders Group attempted to force their way into Zimbabwe in 2008 under the guise and auspices of a fact finding mission.
Brother Thompson must be told that President Mugabe and Zanu-PF saved Graca Machel Mandela’s life when she was marked for death by Renamo death squads who were trying to overthrow her first husband’s revolutionary government. Brother Thompson must learn about the Lancaster House agreement between President Mugabe, Father Zimbabwe Joshua Nkomo and president Carter and former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, this way when he visits Atlanta he can break bread with Mr Carter and pose the question why didn’t he demand his successors in the White House honour this agreement.
Brother Thompson must be told that in March of 2007 that President Obama then a junior US Senator serving on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee wrote President Bush a letter pleading with him not to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe until the ‘’dark cloud’’ of Robert Mugabe was ousted from power.
If he watches the news Brother Thompson will discover former US vice president Joseph Biden has established the Biden Institute at his alma mater the University of Delaware that focuses on domestic policy and also will lead a foreign policy institute at the University of Pennsylvania. What Brother Thompson will discover is M. Biden is a co-sponsor of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) of 2001, a vindictive measure aimed at humiliating President Mugabe for reclaiming our ancestors’ land who had been in the clutches of British and Rhodesian invaders.
Since Mr Biden was the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when President Obama penned that letter to his master, Brother Thompson may ask himself the question who really dictated foreign policy in Washington the last eight years?
If Brother Thompson knew President Mugabe’s history we are confident he would never have referred to him as a dictator, we are concerned that so-called African-Americans who have propagated the notion that our salvation lies in the agendas of the Democratic Party are to blame for this stupid parody in the first place.
They were outraged when President Trump referred to Frederick Douglas as an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognised more and more but were crying crocodile tears when Obama at the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday demonstration in Selma, Alabama, uttered these bogus words, “That’s what makes us unique and cements our reputation as a beacon of opportunity. Young people behind the Iron Curtain would see Selma and eventually tear down a wall. Young people in Soweto would hear Bobby Kennedy talk about the ripples of hope and eventually banish the scourge of apartheid.”
Someone should tell President Obama when our comrades took to the streets of Soweto RFK’s rhetoric was the furthest thing from their minds.
The next time his schedule permits him to take a vacation Brother Thompson should bring his wife and children to Zimbabwe, tour the schools in the African nation that boasts a 97 percent literacy rate, visit the farms where 350 000 families in a nation where each family consists of six people are following the dictum of the Honourable Marcus Mosiah Garvey who said we must be masters of our own destiny.
When he was a teenager Brother Thompson was given the name Lumumba by the African Revolutionary Personality Mukasa Dada formerly known as Willie Ricks, if he sits down with Brother Mukasa he will learn those who call President Mugabe a dictator might have mistaken him for Mobutu Sese Seko the butcherer of Patrice Lumumba. We leave Brother Thompson with the message that all African “dictators” are given the full red carpet treatment at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, meaning they don’t get threatening phone calls from US presidents.
Obi Egbuna Jnr is the US correspondent to The Herald and the External Relations Officer to Zicufa (Zimbabwe Cuba Friendship Association). His email address is [email protected]