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Ghana Cloth Features in US Anti Racism Protest

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and other top Democrats took a knee Monday on Capitol Hill to honor the life of George Floyd, the Internet’s eyes jumped to the colorful fabric draped around their shoulders. Kente cloth — woven with vibrant strips of silk and cotton — comes from Ghana, where people wear it to show patriotism or celebrate a special occasion. It is associated with royalty, pride and black identity. Why did the Democrats sport it while unveiling a broad police reform bill? Writer Roxane Gay tweeted: “I am not sure what’s funnier, those ridiculous politicians wearing kente cloth or Cory Booker smartly opting out of that absurd performance.” Across the Atlantic, some in Ghana followed the buzz with a mix of appreciation and skepticism. “I saw that and I was like, ‘Wow,’ ” said Jermaine Nkrumah, the head of a television network in Ghana’s capital, Accra. “The optics look good, but what happens when the cameras go away?”