From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

Listening to colonialism and hearing liberation

Napoleon Maddox


The goal of this essay is to hear the ‘vocality’ of Black liberation ‘in response’ to colonialism. Considering the widely held assumption that Black liberation movements are found across the African diaspora, where there are concentrations of Black bodies, in this essay I explore an approach of listening to colonialism where Black voices are not immediately apparent. After questioning the way contributions made by leaders and artists are often conceptualized as contrasting, I elaborate on the main questions: “what if we could really sense the continuum of the contributions we have made?” As I build a reply to such a question, I use Franz Fanon, Jay-Z, Nina Simone, bell hooks and Ralph Ellison, as well as my own songs. In conclusion, I suggest that understanding the continuum means to hear the result of a million collective unheard voices.


Black voice, rap, connections, liberation, pop-icons, Toussaint Louverture



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