In a time where virtually anyone can discovering their production skills using their mobile phones, webseries have become a means to address the lack of diversity in mainstream media. I for Africa is one such series that features and celebrates African-inspired innovators across different industries. Its founder, entrepreneur, fashion model and creative director, Aina Fadina recently chatted with SLA about the series, which is now in its third season.
What was the spark that leads you to create I for Africa?
Living in NYC, I was surrounded by so many talented and innovative creatives, entrepreneurs, and innovative thinkers inspired by Africa, and I thought they needed to be celebrated. As I traveled around the world, I noticed the same examples.
I realized there was something here. I felt that it was important to change the narrative of what mainstream media was reporting about Africans and immigrants. It’s important to change the narrative of our stories and the people telling African stories around the world.
With so many web series, how do you stand out?
The engagement with guests on the show is in a very relaxed format that draws the viewer in to the conversation. It is a conversation between two friends talking about what inspires them and motivates them to be pursuing their ventures.
Additionally, the program highlights the transatlantic journey of people from different ports inspired by Africa.
What defines someone inspired by the African continent? How do you brainstorm episodes and people to interview? Have you faced any difficulty finding personalities to talk to for the series?
Someone inspired by Africa is in the manner in which they choose to celebrate the continent through their creative ideas. It’s the connection of the heart and soul to the continent.
With coming up with episodes, I reflect on who I am inspired by personally and professionally. My finger is always on the pulse of what is happening, so it makes it quite easy to think about who to interview. Finding someone to interview is actually quite easy for me. I have a lot of friends who have recommended other creative friends. People have been very kind to say yes.
There are so many dope people doing phenomenal things, so brainstorming is quite easy. An interview depends where I am, if I am able to connect to the people, and if they have a project coming out.
Overall, coming up with a list of people isn’t challenging at all because there are so many creatives inspired by Africa.
Did you have to learn any new skills to host a web series?
I have experience modelling international. For modelling, I took commercial acting classes, which allowed me to transition to hosting. I have developed an acute understanding camera presence, engaging with people in the same space and how to engage with the camera.
What has been the one I for Africa episode that stands out to you?
They all stand out for me, every person I have interviewed has inspired me in so many ways.
If I had to choose, perhaps it’ll be the first ones I shot in South by South West. Once we were done, I realized this is what I wanted to do. It also showed me that the path of content production wasn’t an easy one, but I wanted it. I wanted to see a change in mainstream media, rather than complain about it, I needed to create a solution. Taking that first step to create something is what stands out to me. Starting something isn’t hard; the challenge is how you chose to continue.
As someone who travels a lot for work, which African city holds the most cheerful memories for you?
Tough one…I have loved every African city for various reasons. Lagos fills the core of my existence. Cape Town challenged me the most from a psychological perspective. It was there that I met two friends —who became brothers— who welcomed me with open arms. Accra speaks to my soul. Cotonou brings beautiful childhood memories.
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