Smokey Robinson Prefers To Be Called Black American, Not African American—Here’s Why

Smokey Robinson is specific about his self-identification.

During a recent appearance on journalist Chris Wallace’s CNN series, Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace, the Motown singer explained why he considers himself to be Black American rather than African American.

Robinson discussed his career and topics such as race on the episode with Wallace.

“You have said that you resent the idea of being called an African American, that you are a Black American,” Wallace said before asking Robinson to explain his reasoning.

“You know, Chris, I have been basically all over the world. I’ve never been to Africa,” Robinson said. “At any time in my life. I’ve never been to Africa.”

“I think that when they call Black people who were born and raised for generations in this country, if you accept the handle of African American that says that you don’t accept being an American American. You don’t accept being born in Chicago or New York or Detroit, or wherever you were born,” the “Just to See Her” singer added.

Robinson emphasized that America is his country because of the generations of Black Americans who shed their sweat and tears to build and fight for the United States. “So, I don’t want to be called African American. I’m an American American,” he said. “My people died and done everything for this country.”

According to Mediaite, he also referenced a line from a poem he wrote that addressed the topic. “…It says the wonderful Black Americans who served in the armed forces, and gave their lives in all the wars,” Robinson said. “They didn’t do that for Timbuktu or Cape Town or Kenya. They did that for Mississippi and Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana, Texas and Virginia. So that’s why I feel like that.”

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