[J]ust before dawn the last Sunday in May, one of the most elaborate rituals in immigrant New York reached its apogee. The man at the center was Nana Acheampong-Tieku of the Bronx, New York regional chief of the Ashanti people from Ghana in West Africa.
The inauguration was part of a quadrennial, two-day ceremony in the Bronx that is a high point in the Ashanti diaspora’s calendar, serving to strengthen traditions and community ties in New York. “This is gorgeous, this makes me happy,” said Kojo Ampah Sahara, a community leader who helped organize the event. “This is who we are.”
There's one big problem with this spectacular event: many Ghanaians weren't interested in it. The types to take this sort of thing are old, dead, or back in Ghana. Young Ghanaians are Americanized and find it hard to have real feelings for such ceremonies.
“They think we are stuck in the past,” Mr. Ampah Sahara said. “They think once we are here, we should move on.”
It is the business of the youth to break from the mastery of their elders. (If you caught a whiff of Robert Trivers from the previous sentence, your sociobiological senses are in good working order.) When the elders fully control the transmission of a culture to the youth, the youth have two choices to express a break: invent a culture (as was the case with hiphop) or adopt another one (Americanization in the case of the Ghanaians).