Insights - Afropolitan Insights
Afropolitan Insights is a platform committed to exhibiting and highlighting positive depictions and narratives of Africa and Africans in the diaspora.
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What is this all really for?

What were we before the black and the white? I reconcile more with darkness and light. The skies could never lie to you the way these people do, government officials programming our reflections of each other based on a hue. Think for yourself, you did when you were a child. Then their world slapped you cold, slapped you to sleep, please wake UP. The ascension to our higher selves starts now. The real revolution. Time is speeding up to be endless. The Eyes of humanity has started to reopen, to what’s really going on, but farther behind the TV screen or corruption of the government. So far up into other realms, planets, stars, the dimension you go to dream. The universal order is here to stay, the oppressors have used the last of their days. There is important sacred information within each one of us. Our ancestors knew it, they wrote it in codes on the walls.. I am trying to take it forward there, with my art, bring it into the present, to finally try to answer- what is this all really for? What is it you have forgotten? Here it is.
@tesfayetra // www.gabrielletesfaye.com
 Tesfaye is a painter vowed to igniting the sacred inner Goddess in all woman, awakening our third eyes with her visuals, leading the rebellion to the true revolution, and healing our people, one paint stroke at a time.
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Distant Relatives

Distant relatives I finally got to meet. The Ma’Ati nation meets the Mursi nation. Finally in a place I began to understand myself. If this pic moves you, please go to the Rift and Omo Valley yourself. These beautiful civilizations, which we’re racing to have again, are under threat due to “development” and destructive tourism practices. Those in the Diaspora have the means to help our brothers and sisters to continue to live in dignity instead of being forced to become the spectacles in human zoos.

@themaatimag
Shamira is the founding editor of upcoming online illustrated novel/ travel magazine, The Ma’Ati and has previously worked with France24, AlJazeera Investigations and Gwonders Production.

The concept of William Okpo started on a damn plane ride!

19 and 23 we decided to start William Okpo. In this picture we were on a family vacation in Nigeria , Lizzy had us on a hunt for some fabric that she was traditionally not supposed to use, but she was determined. Til this day I still don’t know what she wanted to make out of it. Story of my life with my sister. She talked my ears off for ten whole hours on the plane about starting William okpo.

The concept of William Okpo started on a damn plane ride and was inspired by a trip to Nigeria and among other things. We launched the brand in 2010, this year makes 5 years!! That’s 1825 days, 43,800 hours ( I’m having a moment, but y’all get the point) of hard work and never giving up. We design collections in our sleep, this is part of our DNA. We built great friendships along the way and the support we have is unreal. We just want to say thank you.

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This feeling in my heart …

I’ve always had this feeling in my heart since a child, that I’m suppose to change the world…I’m still crazy enough to believe it! Five years ago I decided to move to New York with no real plan, but with just that one confirmation in my heart and haven’t looked back. I just know my purpose is greater than I could ever put into words…even with the trials and tribulations that I’ve faced on my journey.. I still believe in me. I live with this quote Og Mandino once said….”Victory comes only after many struggles and countless defeats. Yet each struggle, each defeat, sharpens your skills and strengths, your courage and your endurance, your ability and your confidence and thus each obstacle is a comrade-in-arms forcing you to become better or quit. Each rebuff is an opportunity to move forward; turn away from them, avoid them, and you throw away your future.” I choose to face them because the only thing holding me back is my sight and my focus! You see growth is given and your right; you just have to believe and see it ~ even when you can’t see how! Believe that inner voice!! Don’t waste your life believing you can’t… Keep going!

 

via instagram:@nyamuoch_girwath

To go back to traditions …

​”To go back to traditions is the first step forward”.. I was raised in a family of 10 siblings and parents devoted to sharing their loves for each other and that of our African Congolese traditions. Now as a musician, creative director,
and founder of the MELANIN brand, my sole purpose is to encourage all peoples of color to showcase their beauty and excellence.​

instagram.com/yougnparis_ //facebook.com/youngparis  (photo’d is myself and 3 of my sisters”)

Raised by world renown Congolese performers, YP mixes his traditional background with a swing on electronic music.

Bliss in Connecting

It’s beautiful how being African can create such a strong representation of one’s self. I believe that when someone identifies themselves as African, they recognize where they are from but also declare that they are changing what it means to be “African”. There are many critics that say that being a part of the diaspora eliminates the feeling of being a true African. However, having lived in the diaspora for a majority of my life, I hold a different opinion: that there is a bliss when all Africans can connect, weather they are within the continent or not and bring a sense of our homes into the same space, whenever we all gather. That connection is truly a phenomenal experience and I think that it is a special thing that we all share.

My name is Ekua Musumba: born in England, Raised in New York City but I am truly an Afropolitan.

Do right by the ancestors

The re-current theme of both my husband and I is that we stand on the shoulders of those that have come before us. We, as well as all of us, are a direct reflection of our ancestors, and it is to them that we must make proud. It is our ancestors that keep us uplifted, grounded, moving in the right direction. Do right by them, they will do right by you.

London Ogunlano; singer/songwriter, dancer, model and actress

To live the life that is truly meant to bring you happiness…

Recently I attended a sister circle and they asked me this,” Which one of your identities were you chosen vs. assigned” I struggled a bit to answer this question a maturing woman is constantly learning more about who is truly Shea on a daily basis. As I racked my brain on what was my most honest answer I came up with this, I believe I was chosen to be a dancer being born with a natural ability understand movement and translate its language on the stage passionately. For a long time although I had many many other artistic interests I thought I was just supposed to be a dancer or at least that would be my main career path. Since refining my many skills and learning more about who I am I realized that my assignment is really to lead, teach, share, and help others through my artistic form and marketing acumen. As a dancer I will always be an artist. I understand the mind of the creative. As a scholar who loves history, research, and culture I realized my assignment is really to help fellow visionaries crack the code on purposeful and authentic branding as it relates to their true being. In life getting clear about our chosen identities versus our assignment or purpose will create room for a more peaceful spirit and clear vision. If you don’t know what your assignment is you will never began to live the life that is truly meant to bring you happiness.

 

A native of Harlem, NYC, Shea Zephir has always experienced life in multi-dimensional realms. She is a “Jill of many trades” sistren that is particularly inspired, intrigued, and empowered by the Black female experience through the lens of fashion, art, and culture

@Harlemsoul // sheazephir // www.sheazephir.strikingly.com

A native of Harlem, NYC, Shea Zephir has always experienced life in multi-dimensional realms. She is a “Jill of many trades” sistren that is particularly inspired, intrigued, and empowered by the Black female experience through the lens of fashion, art, and culture.

Appreciate our Cultures

As a Rwandan studying in the US, it is crucial for us Africans in the diaspora to learn how to appreciate our cultures and the beauty in our blackness.

As Miriam makeba said ” Africa has her mysteries,and even a wise man can not understand them. But a wise man respects them”

Why gets to represent Black misery and who gets to represent Black joy?

I recently emailed the VP of my school this: “Furthermore, educational societies are obsessed with black narratives of oppression. There are always lectures, discussions, or events on race, crime, capitalism, gender, etc…Emmanuel College is obsessed with discussing black misfortune without an action plan to make structural changes on a campus or societal level. As we continue conversations about making changes at EC, I hope action-oriented diction will come out of our mouths and fill up our ears.”

Indeed, society is obsessed with black narratives of oppression. I can’t access the world wide web without seeing Tamir Rice’s face on posters and pins. I can’t access the internet without seeing black uprisings on college campuses. I can’t turn on the television without seeing black bodies being convicted, brutalized, or hypersexualized.  Media, arguably, shapes our reality. How do we resist those narratives and images if we’re readily internalizing them? Even as we are being oppressed its imperative to continually produce a critical mass of black joy, black pleasure, black beauty, black magik, black excellence, black comfort food for long periods of time. The dilemma is appointing who gets to represent black misery and who gets represent black joy? One minute I’m posting a killing of an unarmed youth. Next minute I’m posting about a black teen with a college degree. The emotional instability from having to do this on a daily basis has seeped into how I communicate, engage and relate to others in my everyday life.

IG: baddisparateyouth // FB: Adebukola Ajao

Adebukola Ajao is an undergraduate studying Political Science and Africana Studies. She is an avid blogger and co-founder of We Are the Ones, a coalition of young people striving to create positive social change in communities of color.