Politics

Black America Pressures The ‘Groovin Gorilla’ To Change Name


There is a new dancing sensation on TikTok, but it’s not the dancer’s moves that have everyone talking. It’s the name the muscular Black dancer uses. On social media, Clive Ibizugbe goes by the name Groovin Gorilla.

Black American wants him to change his name.

“Just change your name while these white folks sponsoring you they already look at us look we’re monkeys and here you are using the name ‘grooving gorilla,’” tweeted Lay’ah (@ColorherMonae_).

Ibizugbe is a Nigerian from the Edo State but lives in the U.S., according to the Kossy Derrick Entertainment blog. He has 100-plus followers on Instagram, 92 followers on Twitter and more than 85,000 on TikTok.

Black people on Twitter blasted Ibizugbe for “cooning.”

“That groovy gorilla is just a tap dancing coon honestly from the name down the constant videos he know the white people in love with the entertainment,” tweeted Mr BBQ chicken.

“That big dancing nigga groovy gorilla (coon ass name) is he a celebrity ? Y’all always sharing his green mile looking ass,” tweeted TasteTheRambo704.

The history of cooning and the Black Sambo image goes way back in American history. They refer to images and or actions of Black people clowning for the benefit and entertainment of white people. 

Joseph Boskin, a professor of history and Afro-American studies at Boston University, wrote in the 1987 book, “SAMBO: The Rise & Demise of an American Jester” that Sambo can be traced back to 16th-century Europe and Africa. “Sambo” was used by whites as a racial label, and it was a verb meaning “to disgrace” or “to be shameful,” Boskin said. English slave traders most likely also adopted “Sambo” as a form of the Hispanic slaver slur, “zambo,” meaning “of mixed blood”, “bow-legged” or “monkey.”

Then it was used to describe “entertaining slaves.”

Sambo was a kind of American jester, performing for powerful whites in the North and South, Boskin said.

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There is a difference between a coon and a Sambo. The coon caricature is “one of the most insulting of all anti-black caricatures,” according to the Jim Crow Museum.

“Sambo was depicted as a perpetual child, not capable of living as an independent adult. The coon acted childish, but he was an adult, albeit a good-for-little adult.” The coon caricature, which was born during American slavery, is depicted as “slow,” “lazy,” and “trifling.”

Ibizugbe did cave to the pressure and recently announced that he has changed his name.

“I will be changing my name from Groovin Gorilla to Big Groove…A lot of people feel sensitive to the word ‘gorilla.’ I just used it as a way to brand myself because I’m massive, I like to dance, and I like gorillas. But due to the history… there’s a lot a sensitivity to that name, gorilla, monkey. So I’m going to change my name and continue to spread that joy,” he said.

Photo: @groovingorilla



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