A buzzworthy series dubbed the “African Sex and the City” reveals a side of Africa that mainstream media rarely portrays.
The online television series An African City, launched in 2014, is catching on worldwide with its depiction of five young, affluent women who have returned to Ghana after completing their studies in Western metropolises. Nicknamed the “African Sex and the City,” the show reveals a side of Africa that mainstream media rarely portrays.
The series follows the women as they navigate careers and romance, redefining sex and gender norms along the way. It highlights a rising cohort of “Afropolitans”—“the newest generation of African emigrants, coming soon or collected already at a law firm/chem lab/jazz lounge near you,” as writer Taiye Selasi characterized the group in her popular essay “Bye-Bye, Babar (Or: What is an Afropolitan?)” Afropolitans are young people who are not just African but citizens of the world, traveling and living beyond their countries of origin, but increasingly returning “home” to pursue their ambitions.
An African City creator Nicole Amarteifio told The Guardian she wants to break down the “single story” being told about African women. Attending a presentation on development in Africa, Amarteifio noticed that “every African woman in it had a pot on her head and was half naked except for strings of beads…I told my professor: this is not the story of the African woman.”
Amarteifio’s series was deemed too much of a risk by major networks, so she and her team took to YouTube to launch the show. It proved a hit, with the first season garnering more than 1.7 million views. The second season was recently funded by sponsors and fans, and is slated to air early next year.
Watch for Afropolitans to gain a higher profile in media and culture. Brands are taking note of the group’s rising influence—earlier this year, Dove tapped Taiye Selasi to write an ebook on embracing natural hair, and Kenyan-Mexican actress Lupita Nyong’o has become a brand ambassador for Lancôme. It’s time for a new narrative of African womanhood, argues Amarteifio, “one of beauty, glamor and intelligence.”
Image source: Best of Radio