Recently on “Black Twitter,” a picture surfaced showing a protester with a sign saying “We are not our ancestors, we will fuck you up.” Through erasure of our culture and miseducation of our history in the school system, it’s a common misconception that our ancestors didn’t fight back. The staged narrative that Black people are lazy, just allowed themselves to captured, and became too docile and submissive during slavery are all lies that propagate self-hate and loss of identity. During a time where our people are in need of strength, let me show you when the strongest of our ancestors, women, did indeed, fuck someone up.
Yaa Asantewaa was an African Queen of the Ashanti people during the 19th century in what is present day Ghana. She held many other responsibilities including being a farmer, primary King advisor, and Gate keeper of the Golden Stool, an emblem of Ashanti power, cultural, and the kingdom itself. In opposition to attempted control of her land by the Europeans and the starting of a colony being formed, Asantewaa rebelled by leading her army as Commander in Chief against the oppressive forces of the white enemy. To inspire her troops she is quoted as saying “How can a proud and brave people like the Asante sit back and look while white men took away their king and chiefs, and humiliated them with a demand for the Golden Stool. The Golden Stool only means money to the white men; they have searched and dug everywhere for it…If you, the chiefs of Asante, are going to behave like cowards and not fight, you should exchange your loincloths for my undergarments.” She proved to be such an enduring revolutionary and soldier that she even has this war named after her- Yaa Asantewaa War of Independence. In August 2000, Yaa Asantewaa had a museum opened in her honor in Ghana to commemorate her influence.
Queen Ranavalona I of Madagascar was African royalty that was viewed as a tyrant by colonists, but really was a patriotic leader that wanted to keep her political and cultural sovereignty in tact while creating a self-sufficient nation for her people. Succeeding her husband’s reign, after his death, Queen Ranavalona reversed his policy of Europeanization. She strongly opposed colonization efforts, expelled Christian missionaries, and persecuted Malagasy converts. When the British and French launched an expedition against her kingdom, they were repulsed at Tamatave; the heads of her enemies displayed on pikes as sign of her victory. By the Queen’s death in 1861, Madagascar was isolated from Europe and remained so for the next three decades.
Queen Nzinga was a tactical leader who fought against the Portuguese and their expansion within Central Africa and Queen mother to her Mbuntu people. In this 30 year lasting war with this rival country, Nzinga personally led her warriors to victory in 1647 using guerrilla attacks. Her resistance and strength inspired the revolt that ultimately ended in the independence of Angola. Her legacy is regarded with a little controversy as she was a christian, joined forces with the dutch at one point in time, and it’s debated whether or not she killed her brother. With all things considered, she is a military leader that protected her people, a nation of Black brothers and sisters with little hesitation, a lot of force, and her strength.
Since the beginning of time, as they may be the creators of life and the universe, Black women have given their all for the protection of their people and land. To say that the ancestors didn’t fight back is almost disrespectful, but also a lasting result of slavery causing the miseducation of our people. These are just a few of our ancestors that played a vital role in the war waged against the white man, the numbers are numerous. Acts of rebellion aren’t just physical wars. Protesting, marching, buying from Black owned businesses, making Black art, etc. are all ways of fighting back. Even just waking up and choosing to stay Black and alive when the world is wishing the opposite upon you is rebelling. However you fight, just let it be for our Black people and in an effort to dismantle white supremacy, like our Queens did.