Inspired by lyrics from the song Gentleman by late Nigerian musician and civil rights activist Fela Kuti, this painting, like the song, challenges the idea of a “Gentleman” and insists that it cannot apply to the African man. In the second half of the song, Fela describes Africa as hot, which he likes and knows how to dress for accordingly. Then he brings up a friend of his, whom he describes as a “Gentleman”. He jokes that his friend puts on socks, shoes, underwear, singlet, trousers, shirt, tie and finally a coat despite the relentless African heat, just so the friend can say he is a “Gentleman”. Fela continues the song making fun of his friend as he suffers from overheating due to his delusion about being a “Gentleman”. This seemingly simple and funny anecdote has a deeper meaning, as is usually the case with most of Fela’s songs. From our childhood, we are taught that to “overcome” our blackness, we must confirm to western ideals, represented in this painting by the suit which the subject is wearing. But in our case, the neck tie has been replaced with a noose. Because we don’t get ties. We don’t get to put on a suit and magically escape hundreds of years of slavery and institutional racism. No. We get a noose. It dangles around our necks, ever ready to tighten at the slightest provocation.