‘An African City’ is a television and web series that tells the story of five young, single and successful African women who have resettled in Accra, Ghana after living abroad for many years. The show is filled with all the excitement you would expect from contemporary shows such as HBO’s ‘Sex in the City’ that explore love, career and, of course, fashion.
The show is a refreshing take on the African diaspora rarely portrayed in mainstream media. The world in this show depicts trendy, fashion-forward, career-driven, educated women portrayed through the characters of Nana Yaa, Sade, Zainab, Makena and Ngozi. However, these characters also represent the day-to-day lives of many women on the continent. An African City depicts the lead characters in colourful prints, fashion-forward hair styles and bold makeup. The five leading characters have varied appearances from lighter to darker skin textures, as well as wide-ranging styles of hair that characterize African women’s diversity in beauty and style.
This show bucks the overwhelming narrative of the African female migrant who flees war and hunger to live on the fringes of Western society. The women in the show are highly-educated, having attended schools such as Georgetown, Columbia, Harvard and Oxford, supporting a lesser-known statistic that Africans are the most-educated migrant group in the US. 43% of African immigrants hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Many Africans travel abroad to study in universities and, in the process, interact with new people, communities, languages, fashion, styles, music, arts and culture. These rich interactions shape who people become. An African City is a peek into the world of five individuals who have had such experiences and their attempt at navigating the exciting ups and downs of life be it family, love or career.
Nicole Amarteifio is the creator, writer, co-director and executive producer of the show, which hit one million views within its first week of release. When asked how the show came about, Nicole said ‘I wanted something for African women, something for us by us. The sole narrative of the African woman is poverty and disease. I wanted to see another narrative of beauty, glamour and intelligence.’
As a result, the show sets a different tone and landscape of Africa, particularly for women. It sets a scene and environment of success, advancement, power and opportunity. The show is not only centred on entertainment and fashion but offers a platform to discuss issues of the modern African, grappling with issues of identity, language, patriarchy, opportunity, business and growth. Such a show enables Africans and the world to see another point of view that is told by people living and thriving on the continent. These layers of identity are communicated in a fun, witty and digestible manner that displays the new African as a myriad of cultural influences – modern and traditional, creating new identities and ideologies of who an African is.
Africa is filled with richness in diversity, in language, culture, geography, weather, races, religion and ethnicity. An African City is but one fresh perspective. There are so many other home-grown shows to look forward to.