Stevie Wonder is heading to West Africa for a profound reason.
During a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, the 25-time Grammy-winner, 70, opened up about his future plans to live in Ghana indefinitely — as part of his efforts to shield his lineage of grandchildren and great grandchildren from racial injustice in the U.S.
“I wanna see this nation smile again,” he told Oprah, 67. “And I want to see it before I leave to travel to move to Ghana, because I’m going to do that.”
When asked if he plans to relocate permanently, the star replied, “I am, because I don’t want to see my children’s children’s children have to say, ‘Oh, please like me. Please respect me. Please know that I am important. Please value me.’ What kinda [life is that]?”
The star’s decision may be influenced by a number of reasons — but it is often said that living in majority Black regions gives Black individuals a sense of safety, confidence, liberation and pride. Many argue that within the U.S., attending HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities) gives American Black students the same feelings.
Wonder has been considering moving to Ghana since as early as 1994, per the Orlando Sentinel. At the time, the “I Just Called to Say I Love You” hitmaker told a Washington gathering of the International Association of African American Music that he had fallen in love with the country and “there’s more of a sense of community there.”
Last month, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day, the musician wrote an emotional letter to the late civil rights leader and addressed the lack of racial advancement since the fight for equality, which began in the U.S. in the mid-1950s.
“Dear Dr. King, I met you when I was 14 years of age,” he began. “You were a true hero and you became an inspiration.”
Wonder later said, “It is painful to know that needle has not moved one iota. For 36 years, we’ve had a national holiday honoring your birthday and principles, yet you would not believe the lack of progress. It makes me physically sick. I am sick of politicians trying to find an easy solution to a 400-year problem.”
The vocalist concluded his letter with a call-to-action for “all those in the Senate to speak truth to what they know they can physically see and begin the steps towards accountability, forgiveness and then healing.”