Seven years ago, one of the most amazing novels to ever grace bookshelves was born. If you guessed Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; not only are you right, but congrats you might be psychic too (someone get the writers for That’s so Raven). But in all seriousness, Americanah is truly nothing short of a classic; it should be a part of college curricula nationwide.
If you’re wondering where have you come across the name Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, well it’s simple: Beyonce of course. She’s the brilliant voice you hear in Beyonce’s hit ‘Flawless’ giving the true meaning of feminism. That’s how I was introduced to Chimamanda, and I was re-introduced to her in college; when my professor gave us a copy of Americanah. It’s been five years since my freshman year, but this novel still packs a punch.
On it’s seventh birthday we’re going to celebrate this brilliant novel and give Adichie her much needed flowers.
As I said earlier, I was introduced to Adichie from her genius TED talks on topics such as feminism; so when my freshman year professor assigned me her novel I was over the moon. Let’s be honest, unfortunately most novels assigned in college aren’t written by black authors. It’s even more rare to have black protagonists, depicting a genuine version of the black experience. This novel was quickly setting itself apart from the others.
Americanah is about a couple named Ifemelu and Obinze. Their young love is put to the test when they leave military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Ifemelu, beautiful and self-assured, heads for America; where even though she’s successful academically, she’s grappling with what it means to be black for the first time. Obinze wanted to join her, but due to a world post-9/11 he settles for undocumented life in London.
Ifemelu represents the black experience for many immigrants coming to new country, and truly discovering race in it’s entirety. Not only was her story relatable, but certain aspects from it seemed like Adichie took it from my actual life. Now, if you don’t want to take just my word on Americanah, maybe you’ll believe HBO? HBO Max (basically HBO 2.0) is adapting Americanah and adding some star studded names to the cast. Black Panther stars Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira are tabled for HBO Max’s exclusive limited series.
As a black woman, Americanah left a mark on me; this novel provided romance and representation. Seven years later, I’m so happy it’s still getting the love it deserves. Definitely read Adichie’s novel and stream the adaptation when it premieres on HBO Max (I definitely will!).