African -American rapper and actor Ludacris has become the latest US celebrity to take the nationality of an African country.
Ludacris, whose real name is Christopher Brian Bridges, celebrated Christmas and rang in the New Year in Gabon, where he received the citizenship.
The rapper’s wife Eudoxie Mbouguiengue is Gabonese.
A video uploaded on Twitter shows Ludacris with his Gabonese passport and confirming his mother and two daughters also obtained the citizenship of the small, oil-rich Central African nation.
In recent years a number African-American celebrities have received African citizenship or travelled to Africa to trace their roots.
In August 2019, actor and producer Samuel L Jackson also received a Gabonese passport after he was hosted by Ali Bongo, the president of Gabon. His father, Omar Bongo, was in power for more than four decades.
Gabon is not the only country welcoming African-Americans as citizens.
In May 2019, comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish travelled to Eritrea where she gained the country’s citizenship.
She was criticised by some for appearing to endorse Eritrea’s totalitarian government.
And last November, 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.
‘Africa was born in me’
The popularity of African Ancestry, a US-based genealogy company with the largest African DNA database, shows that many African-Americans are looking to discover more about their roots and family history.
The Trans-Atlantic slave trade, which saw some 12.5 million Africans shipped to the New World, stripped most African slaves of their identity and over the course of 400 years, erased their history.
“Our ancestors never gave up Faith. You can never imprison our minds nor our spirits. They empowered me to Return,” Ludacris wrote on Instagram.
In one of the photos taken in front of a slave dungeon built by the Europeans in Cape Coast, Ghana, Ludacris has his back turned to the camera, wearing a shirt that says: ” I am not an African because I was born in Africa. I am an African because Africa was born in me. I have returned.”
This is a slogan from Ghana’s “Year of Return” programme.