Once Upon A Time In China: An Open Letter To Anyone Who Might Be Mildly Interested

Early last year, I ran across a review written by a Dr. Adams Bodomo, the professor of African Studies at the University of Vienna (Austria). A book by author Don Wyatt, The Blacks of Premodern China, had been critiqued by Dr. Bodomo, and I admired his sharp insights.

I had only read a few chapters of Wyatt's book, but I was likewise critical of many of his theories on the origins of black folks in China prior to 1912 (when its modern era began). So on a lark, very late on the evening of January 31st, I sent Professor Bodomo a link to my photo essay "Ancient Chinese Secret." When I awoke the next morning, there was a brief reply.

With nothing in the way of fanfare, Dr. Bodomo opened by referring to my essay as "a wonderful piece of writing." Immediately after, he introduced the name of his associate, Professor Li Anshan, who he described as "the best historian on African issues in China."

He also mentioned where I might read some of Anshan's work. (By way of a Google search, I learned that Anshan is a professor at Peking University's School of International Studies. He's also the director of the university's African Studies program.)

Assuming that I might be familiar with the work of the African American historian and world traveler Runoko Rashidi, he also introduced his name into his note.

Ironically, I'd actually sent Runoko a link to the essay right after I sent it to Dr. Bodomo.

Runoko is someone with whom I've been acquainted for a decade. He even republished one of my essays in his 2012 book, African Star Over Asia: The Black Presence in the East (Books of Africa, UK).

I thanked the professor for his kind reply and went on with my day. Later that evening, I checked my stats on Medium...and saw that the page hits on my essay had gone up by about 1,500 new views, over the 950 it had slowly picked up after the piece was posted on November 28.

By Sunday evening, the stats reflected an even more surprising new total of 7.3 thousand views. (As of this posting, the count has just reached 13 thousand views.)

I've yet to write to confirm to whom it was that Dr. Bodomo sent the piece, but it seems that someone of influence liked it, and then shared it.

Benny Luo, the founder of the Nextshark website, saw the piece when it was shared by one of his contacts on Facebook. He tracked down my profile page and messaged me to ask if I was the author of the work. When I confirmed that it was in fact my piece, he asked if he could syndicate it on Nextshark.

Nextshark is an online magazine focused on business, tech, and culture, targeting Asian millennials around the globe. It averages about 3 million unique views per month. (See: site FAQs)

He offered some info about the site and I mentioned that I was already a fan of one of Nextshark's editors, whom I follow on Facebook. I also told him that I'd be pleased to have them syndicate my piece.

The next day, Benny told me to send a headshot and a 2-3 sentence bio. As of February 5, my photo essay currently on the Medium site is also being featured on Nextshark. The page views there are likely to be astronomical.

At the moment, I'm just tryna wrap my head around how quickly it all happened. But I'm happy the essay has finally found its audience. If I do say so myself, it is a wonderful piece of writing.

LOL! Fight me.

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