Black Americans Who Have Been Granted Citizenship To African Countries
By Parker Diakite
All eyes were on Ghana this past year after it declared 2019 the Year of Return. The year-long campaign drew in foreigners from all over the world, including U.S. celebrities.
Beyonce’s mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson, Boris Kodjoe and his wife, Nicole Ari Parker, Steve Harvey, and Jidenna were among a long list of celebrities who visited Ghana for its tourism campaign.
With so much attention on Ghana, you may have missed how other celebrities not only visited various African countries but were also granted citizenship.
Samuel L. Jackson
In August 2019, actor and producer Samuel L Jackson received a Gabonese passport after he was hosted by Ali Bongo, the president of Gabon.
Jackson became a Gabonese citizen after tracing his ancestry to the Benga tribe after taking a DNA test as part of a US documentary series Finding Your Roots that uncovers the family history of stars.
“When you’re on a journey of discovery & a life choice becomes clear!” he wrote.
During a family trip to Gabon, Ludacris’ wife Euxodie surprised her husband, their daughters, and the rapper’s mother with a gift of dual citizenship to her homeland.
Ludacris thanked his wife on Instagram stating, “Starting My New Year off with Dual Citizenship! AFRICA I’M OFFICIAL!! Momma & Kids Too. The Best Gift of the Decade 🥇Award goes to @eudoxie”
In May 2019, comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish traveled to Eritrea where she gained the country’s citizenship from her father’s home country.
“My father is from Eritrea and he passed away last year, he said one day I would end up here,” Haddish told reporters on the red carpet. “He said that if I ever end up at the Oscars to honor my people, so I’m honoring my fellow Eritreans.”
05/21/19#Asmara— Hadnet Keleta (@hadnetkeleta) May 22, 2019
A historic moment for our sister @TiffanyHaddish!!!! She applied for an #Eritrea/n ID card and granted citizenship at this very touching momemnt of our independence week. Congrats Tiff.#EritreaShinesAt28
ኤርትራ ወትሩ ብደቃ ትኹላዕ pic.twitter.com/Q8qCcCI6IL
Although not an American, actor Idris Elba was given citizenship of his father’s native country on his first visit to Sierra Leone. Speaking to the BBC, he said: “the biggest honor I could get from my country.”
Today was a powerful day. We @Siakaborn2ball have made a commitment to our country of Sierra Leone, with hope of positive change as our drive. I am thankful for the opportunity. My Dad and Grandpa would be proud. #Sherbrocity is coming. 🙌🏾👊🏾 pic.twitter.com/p2wmwzZMUP— Idris Elba (@idriselba) September 30, 2019
The Journey Back Home
Recently, Ghana held a mass ceremony in which 126 African-Americans and Afro-Caribbeans took Ghanaian nationality as part of the country’s “Year of Return” marking 400 years since the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in North America.