What's it about?
Iyaba Ibo Mandingo, a man from Antigua, talks about his personal adventures in coming to America. He goes down memory lane in Unframed: An Immigrant In Progress to finally reveal the man that he is presently.
What I experienced?
I liked the atmosphere of the place and how it was very afro-centric. I felt very comfortable there, especially because there were young women and men in the audience that looked like me. I felt like we were going to receive a message that would resonate with us. Mr. Mandingo invites viewers into his struggle finding his place in America, especially as a black man.
Iyaba begins at his birthplace, Antigua. He tells us about how he grew up without his father and how it affected him as a child. He felt lost at times and misguided, as he did not have that father figure to guide him. When Iyaba talked about this, it made me feel empathy, and it made me think of my father. My father’s father died before he was born, leaving him to figure out this world as a man on his own. Thankfully, I can say that my dad has been successful and is the most amazing man that I know, but just like Iyaba, it wasn’t easy getting there.
Iyaba then moves on to talking about moving to America as a black man and experiencing racism. This one right here is inevitable, and a shock for him as America was seen as the promised land of milk, honey and success. Since these beautiful promises can blind a person, I understood see how one would automatically assume that things in America are much nicer. That is until the experience of racism, and all that comes along with it, enters the picture.
The feelings of unworthiness, confusion, and disrespect are just a very few of the emotions that one who is the victim of racism feels. Iyaba did not understand what made him less of a human than others, which led to anger and disappointment. This also led to him finding himself through art. Art was his savior, his friend, his guidance - it was Iyaba Ibo Mandingo. After finding his strength through his talent, no one was successful in tearing him down or determining who he was.
I was inspired to continue doing what I am doing as a young black woman, and woman, period! For too long we have been told who we are and have not been able to garner our own sense of identity. Removing race from this (as that can keep you in a box) and finding what one loves as an individual leads to freedom and inner peace, something that Iyaba found.
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What did you experience?
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