For the final project of the semester our group, Megan, Madi, and Ariana have decided to create a comic. We believe that it is a medium that people can connect too deeply with an option for color use and simplicity that draws the eyes and catches the mind. Also, Madi is a visual communication design major, therefore she has experience and a unique eye to lend to the project as our point person on design.
Our inspiration comes from Ifemelu’s interactions and reactions to the women in the hair salon. The way immigrants both support, judge, and compete with each other creates a fascinating dynamic that few native born Americans are aware exists. The interactions and views are different between fellow African immigrants, who are from different countries, then between immigrants and born Americans. It caught our attention and made us think in a new way, that we would like to highlight and share. The root of all these interactions can be summarized by a quote from the Migration Policy Institute, “Immigrants display an appreciation of the U.S. and a commitment to making it their home, but they also maintain a strong connection to their country of origin” (Farkas). The interaction differences show almost immediately when Ifemelu’s origins are made known, “Aisha did not look up, Halima smiled at Ifemelu, a smile that, in its warm knowingness, said welcome to a fellow African, she would not smile at an American in the same way” (Adichie 9). This interplay and differing reactions of the hair stylists to Ifemelu, as well as the difference between her greeting and that which a native born American might receive, are contrasting. The exchanges between immigrants are not all positive and supportive like this though. Instead some are rather dismissive and mean, like the time Ifemelu spoke to her aunt’s friend about how long she’d been in the US, “The jeer on the Nigerian’s face had taught her that, to earn the prize of being taken seriously among Nigerians in American, among Africans in America, she needed more years“ (Adichie 15). Rather than giving this new woman (Ifemelu) supporting advice she sneered and acted dismissive and rude. Instead of supporting or congratulating a fellow Nigerian woman on her American journey there was spite given. This dichotomy is fascinating and we want to show it and highlight it in our comic.
Adichie, Chimamanda N. “Chapter 1.” Americanah, Knopf Canada, 2013, p. 9.
Adichie, Chimamanda N. “Chapter 1.” Americanah, Knopf Canada, 2013, p. 15.
Farkas, Steve. “What Immigrants Say About Life in the United States.” Migrationpolicy.org, 1 May 2003, www.migrationpolicy.org/article/what-immigrants-say-about-life-united-states.