Black Excellence: Peter One


One way we might understand the global Black diaspora is through the notion of arrival—the idea that Black folk in the Americas, in Africa, in Europe, and elsewhere, are and have been, in one way or another, always and already arriving. That is, they have moved or been moved, willingly or otherwise, from one place to another, and in so doing, have adapted, changed, and necessarily reconstituted their own selves as well as the places that they have found themselves, forever. Arrivals are a kind of renewal, signaling birth, beginning, and promise, and—as the scholar Werner Sollors has written—American culture in particular has always emphasized arrivals, arguably more so than points of origin. Literal and metaphoric mobility, perhaps not solely definitive of the American identity, may indeed be close to the essence of global diasporic Blackness as well.

Peter One’s journey as a musician from Cote d’Ivoire to Nashville, Tennessee to today is no different. His life contains its own series of arrivals—again, literal and metaphorical—and each one more surprising than the next.