Several years ago I spoke with Asante at a colloquium in Brazil on Pan Afrikanism, and we have talks several times since then. I took the occasion in Brazil to ask him a couple of questions. One of the most salient was, "Is there a difference between being Afrocentric and Afrikan centered?" He said they were the same thing and that folks in Chicago, in a rift with him and Karenga, had started this "schism." The reason I asked him this, is I had noticed the increasing us of the term "Afrocentric" in contexts that I thought were incongruous. For example, the "Afrocentric movement" was growing among Black churches. There was talk of Afrocentric clothing and the likes.
Was it possible for a church to be Afrikan centered? What did that mean? Was painting Jesus Black and wearing Kente or celebrating the Maafa all that was needed to be Afrocentric? Can we paint Santa Claus Black, believing, now, as a result, black children will develop healthy senses of cultural appreciation, racial pride and self-esteem? I don't think so! In fact, the same materialism and cultural values that preserve Western “civilization” are inculcated in our children, whether Santa is Black or white. In order for something to be Afrocentric or Afrikan centered it must be based on the Afrikan worldview. And there are key concepts that comprise the Afrikan worldview, such as unity, harmony, reciprocity, sacrifice, taboo, and order. Foremost is the concept of harmony, with its idea of masculine and feminine complementarity. If you currently espouse or believe in a system of thinking that excludes male-female complementarity, then it is not Afrocentric/Afrikan centered. Here I am speaking more anthropologically, referring to cultural intentionalities. But on a more down to earth level, the Afrikan worldview encompasses system that allow for veneration and communication with those who came before us--the ancestors. If your present system does not allow for this then again it is not Afrocentric/Afrikan centered!
It is this last element of the Afrikan worldview that has been under attack by monotheists or the longest. Terms like Black magic, and holidays like Halloween, were both associated with ancestral worship. It is time we became really Afrikan centered and stop toying with the concept. I am well aware that Afrocentricity is a process, but the sooner we get on board the better. None of what I have said is meant to contradict what Asante has developed, it is supplementary.