In a phone conversation with Candice Carty-Williams, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie discusses, her books, race and womanhood. The article originally appeared in i-D’s The Earthwise Issue, no. 353, Fall 2018.

Some of the interesting points we noted in the interview:

1) “To write is to explore, and part of it is also the journey and not the destination.”

2) “My mother has six children, and I often tease her about my brother being her favourite, and she says, ‘No no no, I love all my children equally.’ So I’m going to do what my mother does and say ‘I love all my books equally’. And then I’m going to say in a smaller voice, ‘Half of a Yellow Sun has the most emotional significance for me.’’

3) “I’ve been a feminist since I was old enough to know anything, I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t acutely aware of how it was different for men and women.”

4) “I’m a people person, I think there are two different kinds of writers. There are writers who are interested in ideas primarily, and writers who are interested in people primarily, and I am interested in people.”

5) “I decided to use fashion as a kind of political statement, which is to say that I made the choice to wear mostly Nigerian designers to public events, because obviously I want to support an industry that’s full of talent, but also to make a case for how fashion can tell a story. Fashion and culture are intertwined in very interesting ways.”

6) “The reality of the world is one in which beauty is diverse,” she continues with real fervour. “Nobody falls from the sky and becomes the ‘it girl’, there are people who make them that, who constantly photograph them, and feature them in magazines.”

7) “I think I am seen as strong. I think I am strong, but I also think that strength doesn’t mean a lack of vulnerability. I am human and I am vulnerable. Being the strong black woman, I think often makes people forget your humanity. Friends and family think that I can handle anything. I think that even makes them sometimes forget that I’m vulnerable, that I’m human, that I cannot be strong about everything.”

8) “We have to remember our humanity. Every damn human in the world is vulnerable, I don’t care, we are, At the same time, there are black women I really admire — ordinary people, not necessarily celebrities – because they really do often deal with more crap than usual. And they somehow keep going. I don’t think we should expect black women in general to be the saviours, or even the sacrificial lambs of the world. I think this is true within black communities, in the US, in the UK, in Europe, where the black woman is somehow supposed to protect the black man. I think even that is another additional layer or responsibility that she doesn’t have to carry. Existing itself can be exhausting.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. A feminist, feminine. Strong, vulnerable. Observant. A body positivity activist, a mother, a friend, a teacher, a storyteller, human. In her own words, “Women should be allowed to be many things.”

Click here to read the FULL ARTICLE

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