On day two, we got going around 9 a.m. and went directly to Lloyd
Weaver's place. We found him at home and in good spirits. He
lived behind and across the street from his compound where we had knocked
the previous night.
LLOYD AND WIFE
Lloyd, 61 year old great-great grandson of Frederick Douglas, DC born, New York raised. Lloyd's a man who loves to talk and smile. He moved to Nigeria 21 years earlier and now has a new family. His wife and three children, girls aged 11 and 8 and a boy age 9.
We interviewed him to find out what it's like for an American living in Africa.
I always dreamed of livng.part of my life in Africa. I grew up in politically active part of Harlem.
A lot of African Americans wear africa in their hearts and on their head but they can't deal with poverty and inefficiency. Some guys go into shell shock!
But not me. I'm comfortable. Now, I complain because I want to see us progress. But in I am not in anyway a fish out of water.
QUESTION: Are there similarities between us African Americans and the people here in Lagos?
There are deep and heavy similiarties: our love of community, our love of family, our sense of wanting to be together, the way we do church.
It all helps me NOT feel like a foreigner, even tho I maintain an American accent.
I've seen a lot of African Americans come over here and carry normal American arrogance. 'You're talking to an AMERICAN! you know.'
But I think they're missing an opportunity.
QUESTION: Do you go back to the US often?
I was last in US four years ago, I used to go back twice every year. Now, I'm involved in television production and there's seldom an opportunity; always a project that needs my attention.
I am my on boss but it's very much a Nigerian busisness that earns a Nigerian wage and a Nigerian wage doesn't permit one to travel back and forth to the US twice a year.
And I have a young family and the children are in private schools. I' m looking forward to their first trip over there to meet the rest of my family.
Question: How do you compare the United States to Nigeria?
To me the United States is the most tribalistic country in the
world. Everybody is a German American or a Franko American or a Zeno
Ameican or this, that, or the other .... but when that flag goes up, everybody's
one trible. I'd like to see that kind of unity in Nigeria.
KINGSLEY AND LLOYD
Lloyd Weaver, who once produced for WCBS in New York, says he came to Nigeria originally on a training mission, to teach Nigerians how to do television as it's done in the United States. Randy Daniels, who's now New York's Secretary of State, was 20 years ago the head of Jacaranda Productions, a company that brought dozens of African Americans to Nigeria to help teach television production techniques. Lloyd Weaver is one of the few who are still in Nigeria.
I look at my kids here, how polite and disciplined and courteous they are and I wonder did I have anything to do with that.
Lloyd says were he back in the US, he thinks he'd have a tougher time rearing his children. he'd have to fear for their safety if they left the house in the morning
Question: But isn't Lagos just as dangerous as any city in America?
This is a fast, crazy, dirty, dangerous city as most cities are. I don't think crime is as high as it is in New York.
Yet Lloyd recounted how in Lagos he's been robbed at gunpoint in his office, shot at by robbers at his house and how he saw Musa, the security guard at his business, shot and killed for challenging men who were robbing Lloyd's business.
Despite all Lloyd defends Lagos and Nigeria and his decision to live here, saying he's just from another tribe:
I've very proud of being an African American and very proud of our history. My understanding of tribe is a group of people who have lived a common experience in a common place. We lived with the Africans who didn't live in Africa and we had a hell of an experience. In that sense I feel very very African.
And here in Lagos, it's a cosmopolitan city. If I want to talk to Igbos, I don't go to Igboland, I can find them right her in Lagos. If I want to interview Hausas, I don't have to got o Hausaland, they are right her in Lagos. As far as I'm concerned, I part of the mix, the melting pot here. We are all African people. I am able to blend.
Question: What do you Africans think of African Americans?
Those who have never been the the US have a great fascination for us and affection for us that comes through music, sports and movies. We make great movies and show a lot of pathos and depth of feeling. People empathize with what they see.
Also they are amused by us, in a a very affectionate kind of way, so you've got your chance when you come here.
But older Africans who have been to the United States, a lot of them had bad experiences with us African Americans. I remember Kent State, which I attended in the sixties, African Americans didn't want to think about Africa and didn't want it to be suggested we descended from them and theywere cold toward Africans. An African in New York or Howard woul have had a different experience. But in the heartland, African would have found no great love for them because they were African. Over in the US they had to seriously cling together.
As for America's affect on Africans who've been to the US:
There's a cadre of those educated in the US versus the UK and a cadre of those who have just "been to." Nigerians refer to them as "been to"s. The operative term is I've been exposed. Some will affect an American accent. They make you laugh. I called them them the "man, man, man, man"
'Man, man, man,' after every word, it gets a little crazy, it's
just something funny. Anything you've done gives you a claim to status.
Whether he makes it here or not, he's a "been to." And I imiagien it's
like that in any third world country.
LLOYD'S BUSINESS ASSOCIATES
What about the television industry here in Nigeria
The thing about Nigeria is that it actually has a television network and more. In addition to the gigantic government network, it has private and state owned television stations that could broadcast an idea to everybody at the same time. People have to understand the possibilty that that network represents and understand how to use it.
TOUR OF LLOYD'S NEIGHBORHOOD