The Diaspora Comes Full Circle

The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this weekend in Great Britain marks a point on the circle of the African slave trade if you take a pretty long view, which I tend to do.
The British Empire was founded in part on slavery. Among the consequences of that slavery was immense wealth for G.B. and immense increase in the population of people of African descent in the New World. As the one declines a bit and the other ascends a lot, it was inevitable that the cultures created by the wealth and the African population would meet. The wealth is obvious in the trappings of the wedding and the Africanness inserted into the wedding. Usually we might see some kente cloth and hear a spiritual sung in operatic style, both products of European culture. But Saturday we heard an Episcopalian priest deliver a decidedly Black sermon and a choir deliver a genuine performance of African-American music. Those of us familiar with Black churches, particularly Holiness churches, jokingly noted the length of the Black pastor’s sermon as being the Blackest part of the wedding. When a Black preacher says, “In conclusion….” you know you have another 20 minutes or more. When it was over, I joked with my wife, “That wasn’t long!”
Seriously, the delivery followed the arc of typical Black sermons, the vocal tones and flourishes provided authentic touches, and the sermon itself, in its imagery, reflected the Black adaption of Christianity to slave life. The priest even referenced slaves and Martin Luther King. That gospel choir and that lead singer were perfection. Maybe it is selective viewing, but I thought I noticed some I presumed to be Americans rocking a bit in the audience/congregation. It may be churlish of me, but I believe I noted a bit of discomfort among the Britishers during the sermon. It’ll be interesting to read and hear interviews with the participants to get their reactions.

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