Playwright and scriptwriter Ade Solanke is passionate about telling the dynamic stories of the African Diaspora. Her long and impressive list of accolades and accomplishments is incredibly inspiring. She has written BBC radio scripts and a screenplay for 'The Family Legacy,' a Nollywood-style film about sickle-cell. She has has been a British Film Institute Writer-in Residence and a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. And much more …
The motivation behind the Afri-love interview series is to demonstrate the possibilities that come with pursuing your passion. The interviews acknowledge that the path is challenging and they show how its travellers have persisted through adversity with wonderful results. As with the blog in general, there is a strong creative thread – poets, painters, musicians, designers, artists, writers and people creating change through activism.
Here's a round-up of some popular interviews from a diverse group of inspiring people:
Interview with poet, sports writer and musician, Musa Okwonga.
Interview with singer-songwriter, Amira Kheir.
Interview with artist and photographer, Mutua Matheka.
What was your favourite interview?
If you missed yesterday's best of 2011 installment, "African and Africa-inspired fashion, interior and furniture design," here it is.
Tune in for the rest of week for:
- Thursday – Popular commentary posts (from technology to natural hair, from life lessons to identity)
- Friday – Top music finds of 2011
An emerging trend with the inspiring people I've interviewed is that many are masters of several trades. Today's interviewee, Musa Okwonga, is no exception. Musa is a poet, writer, musician, City lawyer by training, member of poetry collective A Poem in between People (PiP), a blogger for The New York Times and The Independent and a twice-published author. His first (and award-winning) football book is titled A Cultured Left Foot and his second is titled, Will You Manage?
You may be familiar with Andrew Mugoya from his guest posts earlier this year ("5 Reasons why Ghana is the next African App Powerhouse", "Learning from the Success of Nollywood"). A friend, my fellow co-owner of Asilia, and the company's Technical Director, I've been meaning to interview Andrew for a while. In the wake of the hugely successful launch of his ebook – African Apps in a Global Marketplace (which you can download for free, over on Afriapps), I've finally got down to sharing with you what inspires and drives the man.
Meet designer Fatima Spencer. The dedicated 22 year-old makes handmade floral hair accessories and has built a business around her passion for hair and fashion – Flowers From Fatima. She wanted to share her inspiration with thousands of other women of colour and it's perfectly in line with this week's emerging theme – embracing your true self and setting your creative expression free!
I'm listening to Amira Kheir's debut album, View from Somewhere, as I post this and it's just what the doctor prescribed. The Sudanese-Italian singer/songwriter's music is inspired by traditional Sudanese singing and instrumentation along with hints of jazz, soul, East African, West African and Middle Eastern music. A real pan-African global fusion that soothes and makes you want to move (a sultry, downtempo kind of groove) at the same time. I'm happy to share with you an interview with my fellow SOAS alumna …
I'm really excited about today's interview with Live Unchained Co-Founder and PhD candidate, Kathryn Buford. Live Unchained is a global arts and media initiative featuring black women artists and writers across the African diaspora. I virtually met Kathryn earlier this year when she approached me for an interview and since then, we've been exchanging ideas, finding opportunities to collaborate and sharing life experiences. Despite the thousands of miles between us, we've become friends and I'm really honoured to know this inspiring, intelligent, thoughtful woman and to share her story with you.
I've been working with Nadia Denton for the past few months and she's got so much up her sleeve! She's involved in film – she established and co-ordinated Black Filmmaker (bfm) Film Club, a monthly platform for Black World Cinema at the Institute of Contemporary Arts between April 2003 – Jan 2010 – and just this month launched her book, The Black British Filmmaker’s Guide to Success (which you can download for free!); she has an exhibition of her photography going on right now; she's developed the Black History Month film programme in Islington, London and; she's in charge of PR & Marketing for the upcoming Film Africa 2011 festival. I'm always super-inspired by creative people who dabble in several areas and happy to hear what makes them tick. Today, Nadia shares …
I haven't yet met Amina Doherty in person but I love this woman! This 27 year old Nigerian feminist activist is inspiring as inspiring gets. Her work and her life is guided by a passion for creativity and an unshakable belief in the powerful agency we each have to make positive changes in our lives, our communities and the world.
Amina holds a BA in Political Science & Women’s Studies from McGill University and an MSc in Gender, Development and Globalization from the London School of Economics. Currently setting up FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund, Amina has a range of experience working with organisations such as human rights funder The Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Directorate of Gender Affairs in Antigua and Barbuda, the Caribbean Policy Development Centre, the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action, Feminist Majority Foundation and Arts & Business.
A daughter of the Diaspora, London-based Amina has lived and studied in Africa. Here's her story, in her own words …
What's your passion?
Over the years I have worked as a researcher, grantmaker, freelance writer, and community activist and in all of those roles, I have made a conscious effort to infuse my love for all forms of creative expression. I am passionate about music, poetry and spoken word, art, fashion and seeing new places. Driving all of these things however, is a love for life and an overwhelming belief that we should seek to live our lives with as much courage, adventure and love as we possibly can. My passion is Life itself.
What inspired you to be an activist in general, and specifically, to work on feminist issues?
For many years I struggled to call myself an “activist” in large part because I felt as though I wasn’t “activist” enough; as though the contributions I was making would never be enough to bring about the kinds of substantive social change that I wanted to see in the world. A world wherein people continue to be discriminated against on the basis of their race, gender, class, sexual preference, socio-economic position and other varying axes of inequality.
However, over the years I have come to understand that what actually makes someone “activist” is a heartfelt and genuine commitment to change. Simply knowing that, as an individual, I have the potential to be powerful in whatever it is that I set my mind to, motivates me. I am driven by the understanding that the smallest acts can bring about the biggest changes … being an activist is simply about taking a stand (or a seat) and refusing to move to the back of the bus.