For about ten years I have been traveling the world and especially universities in the United States to show and talk about the Black Italian experience, not only through the stories I produced, but also through the lens that I use to observe the reality of ethnic relations and groups in the Italian context, which is mainly influenced by my background in Political Science with a focus in Sociology.
For many years your students, colleagues, Deans of Faculty have been asking me hundreds of questions aimed at knowing more about Black Italy or at comparing it to African-American or other African Diasporas experiences.
Over the years, some of these questions have given me the inspiration to complete, catalog and systematize some reflections, giving them historical, objective, community dimension and contextualizing them in the Afro-Italian demographic dimension, which has only had significant visibility in Italian culture, history and society in the last five years.
When we talk about Black Italy, we are moving from a mainly immigration-oriented narrative to that of the second generation who are no longer just young people but also adults.
Many years ago, I started from the United States to offer a specific course on Black Italy and I must say that I found many people willing to understand how to bring this novelty into their educational offers. In 2015, I remember that I often spoke about many of the least known artists and names because this change was taking place in the digital sphere and not on literary production. I remember the young writer Antonio Dikele Distefano, who later became a musical mogul, launching the career of Ghali, one of the most important music artist of the scene in Italy’s today, and then Distefano is the creative producer of the Netflix series "Zero".
In this particular historical moment which we are experiencing, there are many statements to change within the academy and make the curricula of Italian Studies, European Studies and Black Studies richer by including courses on Black Italy and Black Italians Experience.
Many of you with whom I have personally collaborated over the years as event speakers, or in co-teaching projects including topics on Black Italy or as the object of study of my works, have asked me and stimulated me to make my knowledge as an insider, scholar, and storyteller available.
Together with a team of scholars who, like me, are Black Italians but specialized in disciplines other than Italian Studies (Sociology, History, Communication Studies) we have been working hard at factual analysis, preparation of video materials suitable for an appropriate and effective anthology of resources, readings and stories. Later, we decided to launch for the first time an online refresher and professional development for teachers "Black Italy Summer School" with the aim of making it physical in 2023 and collaborating with you for a few years, the time necessary for a transition and exchange of knowledge that will be increasingly filled by other scholars and fresh Ph.D. students.
Fred Kudjo Kuwornu - Founder of "Teaching Black Italy" Summer School