Hi and welcome to MsAfropolitan!
MsAfropolitan is a blog connecting feminism with critical reflections on contemporary culture from an Africa-centred perspective.
Its core aim is to encourage a recognition and transcendence of the ways that oppressive forces such as sexism, racism and tradition that prevent women of African heritage particularly, but not exclusively, from living intellectually, psychologically, politically, socially, culturally, and spiritually empowered lives.
Although there has been an increased interest in African heritage women’s lives in the mainstream media, the mainstream is still very much a male and white dominant space. When African heritage women’s concerns are addressed it is first and foremost the concerns of African-American women that dominates the type of commentary that we receive, which is great but there is a need for commentary where the African continent is centred in the discussion, and the mainstream is rarely able to provide such commentary in ways that truly feel relevant to the people they are discussing.
As a writer living at the intersection of these struggles, my commentary engages with the African continent not in a sensationalist or detached way, but with a genuine presence and a rooted conviction in the necessity of rigorous expression.
What inspired MsAfropolitan?
In 2010, I was working as a Project Manager in the creative industries. I enjoyed a successful career having worked in New York for some years and then in London ….And then one day….I came into work and I decided that it would be my last day. Or at least it would be the day that I resigned. I’d had this nagging voice in my head that increasingly demanded that I dedicate my time to what truly mattered to me, to writing, to advocating feminism, to researching African histories. Quitting my job was a spontaneous decision but it was rooted in years of ignoring my truth.
I was already blogging at the time, and my blog was growing…I noticed that people especially enjoyed my commentary on cultural and social issues, and so a few months after leaving my job I launched MsAfropolitan as an effort to focus my writing.
I was driven by a need to write what I longed to read more of – for example, about the history of African feminism, afropolitanism, African feminist thought, eroticism, romance, philosophy, mythology, psychology, beauty, power, religion and pop culture from a feminist and pan-African view.
At the time (and for the most part still), blogs about Africa were male dominant and feminist blogs were Eurocentric. Much of the feminist writing from Africa that I encountered was academic or fiction writing. It was brilliant work… but I yearned to read more commentary that connected feminism with popular culture and African Studies. Not finding much, I set up MsAfropolitan.
It has not only been a change of career, it has also been a journey of self discovery. Shortly after launching the blog, I enrolled in a Masters Degree in Gender Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London: I wanted to learn as much as I could about feminism, African women’s history, society and culture to ensure my blogs had depth, nuance and my own, distinct voice. In finding this voice, I’ve also come to find myself.
What has MsAfropolitan achieved to date – “The Buzz”
Even though it has been a challenge, the risk of changing careers was worth it. Doing the work that I now do as the editor of MsAfropolitan – which means researching and sharing information in a kind of personal way that good blogging requires – has since not only become my source of work but also a way of life. I used to drag myself to work in the mornings and now I look forward to each day with excitement. MsAfropolitan has been well received, hardly a week passes by that I am not doing some kind of activist work, lecturing, speaking, consulting, giving a workshop somewhere…and hardly a month passes that I’m not promoting MsAfropolitan and its subject matters at international institutions such as Yale University, Foreign Policy, the BBC, the Oxford Union and so on.
My Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages are vibrant platforms where I engage with tens of thousands of people who follow me. MsAfropolitan has won a couple of awards and been shortlisted for many more, and I’ve been listed alongside Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie as one of “twelve women changing the world” by ELLE magazine. MsAfropolitan is used as a resource and case study at universities around the world including Cornell University, University of Berlin, Duke University, Copenhagen University and Xavier Universities to name just a few.
Last but not least, MsAfropolitan has become a go-to for information and analysis about African feminisms. If you google African feminism, for instance, my site appears several times on the search pages as a key contributor to the popularisation of African feminist issues.
My readers and fans matter a great deal to me. Most people subscribe to the blog to stay in touch and receive updates of my writing wherever it is published. I’d love to invite you to do the same below. You can also contact me if you have any thoughts or questions.
For more about my work, read my bio.