Is Stevie Wonder Really Moving to Ghana for Good This Time?
It's no secret how much Stevie Wonder loves Africa. He has been talking about moving to Ghana since the early 90's per the Orlando Sentinel. At the time, he told a Washington gathering of the International Association of African American Music that he had fallen in love with the country and "there's more of a sense of community there."
News headlines are making it a big deal that Stevie Wonder is moving to Ghana over an interview he had with Oprah Winfrey back in November, 2020. You can watch the full interview on Apple TVPlus or watch clips via Youtube.
Oprah met with Wonder via video to share loved classic hits and new songs, discuss the current racial divide affecting the country and the immediate need for change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and race in America.
If you don't know who Stevie Wonder is by now, get to know him as a genius, former child prodigy (signed to Motown Records at the age of 11) turned musical star. He is one of the most gifted and influential vocalists of his generation. Wonder was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, has a Lifetime Grammy, and is currently worth over $100 million dollars.
So, why is everyone making it a big deal all of a sudden that Wonder is permanently moving to Ghana?
My guess is a newspaper outlet on Twitter called Punch Newspaper with over 4 million followers, tweeted a clip from Oprah's interview and it sparked a super frenzy. Given that this interview is only available on Apple TV+, many fans of Stevie Wonder and other viewers probably hadn't watched the interview. Once the video made waves among other Twitter users in Africa and received over 150 retweets, the word got out to media reporters and that then had the domino effect!
According to Stevie Wonder, he plans to move in an effort to protect his grandchildren from the racial injustice and prejudice that he feels is pervasive in American society. Stevie Wonder has 7 children and one grandchild!
"I don't want to see my children's children's children have to say, 'Oh, please like me. Please respect me. Please know that I am important. Please value me,'" Wonder shared. "What kind of [life would that be]?"
Most Black Americans, if not all, feel the same way and fans support his decision! We all want to live in a country where we don't have to keep fighting for rights just because of the color of our skin or who we are as a people. We want to live in peace just like anyone else. We want to be able to build our own communities, banks, hospitals, etc, without fear of our progress as a threat because of "white fear."
In my opinion, Stevie Wonder has an absolute valid point!
Ghana has invited Black Americans to move there for years now. Eleven years ago, you couldn't even find enough information to make that kind of move. Now, there is an abundant amount of information on how to get your citizenship. Black people are constantly searching for their identity. Where are our ancestors from? Is there something other than America? Who says we have to live here? Feelings of displacement for some in the Black community remain as police-involved violence continues. According to one study, from 2013 to 2018, Black men and boys were 2.5 times more likely than white men and boys to die in encounters with police. The study reported that at least 1 in 1,000 Black men and boys in America can expect to die in police-involved encounters.
You know, it’s a sad day when I can see better than your 2020 vision.- Stevie Wonder
Wonder has always been vocal about and fought back against injustices in America and Africa. He even dedicated his Oscar win to anti-apartheid activist/future president Nelson Mandela and he performed on the No. 1 charity single, "We Are the World," to raise money for famine relief in Africa. He claimed in the interview with Oprah that he wants his descendants to live better lives, escaping the impacts of racism. He added to the Free Press that the Ghanaian president "has allowed me to have some land."
"I think America needs five years of atonement. I challenge you to do that. To take the time out, look at the wrongs and the things that have happened, and say, We're going to fix this," he said.
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day, the musical genius wrote an emotional letter to the late civil rights leader and addressed the lack of racial advancement since the fight for equality, which began in the U.S. in the mid-1950s.
"It is painful to know that needle has not moved one iota. For 36 years, we've had a national holiday honoring your birthday and principles, yet you would not believe the lack of progress. It makes me physically sick. I am sick of politicians trying to find an easy solution to a 400-year problem."- Stevie Wonder
Even though Wonder had stated he wanted to move decades ago, he never actually packed his bag, but it looks like he means business this time. Either way, no matter what Stevie Wonder chooses, he is going to be welcomed with open arms!
With the government expanding the idea with a new initiative, "Beyond the Return," which invites Black people to invest financially and socially in Ghana. The country is making a pathway to citizenship easier for foreigners and reforming the visa process to make the country more accessible to travelers. It hopes to increase tourists' visits from 1 million to 8 million by 2027.
"We feel that given the wealth that African Americans and Black Americans have, given that spending power, travel budgets of Blacks in America, we felt that it's about time that we start that conversation that, instead of moving to any other destination, come back to where you came from," said Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of Ghana's Tourism Authority.
This is just the beginning of a new start for Black people. Stevie Wonder isn't the first celebrity to move nor will he be the last. Black folks are waking up every day and want to live in a place that is actually home and not just a composed fairy tale. This isn't to say that America isn't home, because you do have a lot of Black Americans that want to stay right here and fight for their home here. However, that's what dual citizenship is for. We actually are lucky enough to enjoy both worlds.