Saturday at 8am on WCLK's The Local Take I speak with Audrey Edwards, author of American Runaway- Black and Free in Paris in the Trump Years. Edwards is the third person we've spoken with in the last few years who left the USA due to political reasons.
We've spoken with Aiyanna Mathews who left the USA when George W. Bush was relected for a seond term. She became fluent in Japanese and still represents Japanese firms in the United States.
We also spoke with Dr. Sharita Yazid who repatriated to Ghana over 10 years ago. She host a bi-annual conference to help others who want to leave the USA. Dr. Yazid was awarded Ghanaian citizenship in 2019 during the country's Year of Return.
The August edition of Fortune Magazine features an article titled "America's Black Brain Drain: Why African-Americans are Moving Abroad And Staying There. " Many speak to the blatant and undercover racism that exist in the United States.
I was excited to read Ms. Edwards memoir as I encounter more people seriously discussing a move from the United States. I also worked with Audrey Edwards while I was at ESSENCE Magazine in the early 1990's. Her book is a fast read that is funny, profound and enlightening.
I asked Edwards why she decided to leave the USA after the election on of Donald J. Trump to the office of President. She speaks to being an active participant in the New York real estate community, and knowing his reputation as a charlatan, she thought even if he is elected, he will resign after the first few months when he realized he couldn't do the job. She figured she'd be back in the USA by the end of March.
Although I love the city of Paris, I asked Edwards why she moved to Paris. She spoke about the relationship between the city and Black folks which began during WWI. The French were honored to fight beside those first African-American troops and even honored a few with military awards.
She speaks about other "ex-pats" that she already knew in Paris, including Patricia Collins-LaPlante, an African American woman who celebrated the culture of African Americans in Paris. She hosted culturally rich salons for community members in Paris and those visiting.
Edwards discusses identity and speaking with Africans in Paris, many from former colonies of France. She speaks about the identiy of being a "runaway" and what that means to our community.
Edwards became stuck in the United States when the pandemic struck, she is still paying rent on her apartment in Paris with hopes of returning soon.
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