Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Victoria Kimani and the five lovely ladies of 'An African City'

 series TELEVISION on Youtube . #AnAfricanCity and #TheReelQueen . Lagos, Nairobi, Accra, Johannesburg, cosmopolitan
Watch: An African City
Watch: The Rise of Queen Victoria
New episodes every week.


  1. You're wondering, ok VK looks banging, and trust me, she loves to dance, but can she rock the mic, rock the studio. Hmm, yes. Download Queen Victoria , her 2013 mixtape and decide that it's worth it.

  2. An African City: The Chronicles of African Returnees Told, by Stephen Kwabena Effah for infoboxx.com

    They are returnees. They left the shores of their birthplace in search of greener pastures. And now they are back in their homeland, and facing the realities of the African continent.

    Having attained degrees and expertise outside, they are back to reap the rewards -- good jobs, lofty government contracts, the good life, and above all, romance which perhaps, eluded them in the West.

    Who are they? They are five beautiful, successful African women and they make up the cast of An African City, a new Ghanaian web-based television serial that presents the tales of the five returnees in their homeland.

    It stars Esosa E as Ngozi, Maame Adjei as Zainab, Maameyaa Boafo as Nana Yaa, Nana Mensah as Sade and Marie Humbert as Makena.

    Oozing sex appeal and dripping sophistication, the ladies explore all the opportunities available in cosmopolitan Accra as they struggle to find their rhythm in the less than familiar city.

    Currently in its first season, An African City, which some have described as an African version of Sex and the City, premiered on March 2 and streams on Sundays on its YouTube Channel.

    Created by Nicole Amarteifio and produced by Millie Monyo, four of the 10 episodes of Season One have been released on YouTube. By all indications, An African City’s popularity should surpass most of the shows currently on television judging by the views so far. With its almost cinematic quality, witty dialog, and envelope-pushing storylines, this production bests anything I’ve seen come out of GH.

    “By going online, I don't have to be dictated by TV networks about what they do or don't want to see,” Nicole told theguardian.com in 2013. “My show certainly pushes the boundaries – it is about five women who talk authentically about love and life, and that includes sensuality.

    “People will be shocked, and some people will be angry – especially some African men. But by putting my show online I have the creative freedom to talk about these sexual politics. It is all about the conversation."

  3. Sex, style, and success in An African City, an interview on npr.org

    A group of beautiful, accomplished women are on the hunt for love —and great clothes— in a vibrant metropolis.

    No, Carrie Bradshaw is not returning for another run of Sex and the City. It's the story of the new web series, . The show follows the adventures of five young women who've returned to their home country of Ghana after years spent abroad.

    The stories of An African City may present a side of Africa that viewers have never seen before. But Executive Producer Millie Monyo embraces the connection to Carrie and company.

    "It was absolutely an inspiration, and honestly we welcome the Sex and the City comparisons." She tells NPR's Michel Martin that creator Nicole Amarteifio was a fan of the HBO hit. "These are the stories of these women who are dynamic, running around New York City, and why can't we have that in Africa? Why can't we have that on our continent? Why can't we have that in Ghana, in Accra?"

    Monyo explains that they "definitely wanted to tell the story of the returnee": young women who were brought up outside Ghana, but came home to get involved in the emerging culture of the capital city. That includes women like Harvard Business School graduate Sade, who is played by actress Nana Mensah. "She's highly educated, very ambitious, and she's set her sights on Accra and the men of Accra to succeed by any means necessary," Mensah says.
    Interview Highlights

    On whether characters are "African enough"

    Millie Monyo: We felt that there was a story that was there...where you feel at home in America, but when you come back to Africa —which is your home continent— you have people who look at you and say "Well, you're not African enough." And we weren't really sure how to respond to something like that. That has happened to all of us, where we show up...and they're looking at us like 'you akata,' which is, I guess, a slang word for someone who is African, however you were raised in the West and you may not necessarily know how to navigate life in Ghana anymore.
    Actress Nana Mensah plays feisty Sade on An African City.

    Actress Nana Mensah plays feisty Sade on An African City.
    Emmanuel Bobbie/Bob Pixel Studios

    On how the show depicts money and sex in romance

    Nana Mensah: I think a lot of people have a hard time with the explicit nature of the transactional behavior between men and women. I think that is stirring the pot a little bit. And so I am interested in some of the push back from that because I don't think that anything we are depicting isn't true.

    On "Afropolitan" style vs. African stereotype

    Millie Monyo: We're showing a different view of Africa that, for some people, they say they didn't even know existed. They didn't realize that there's people in Africa spending money, who have money —you know— have the means to do these kind of things.They're not realizing that there's places to eat out. There's places to go and entertain yourself. And fabulous clothes! People have no idea that this actually exists on the continent and that's what we really want to show.

  4. The interview on Ebony,
    Page 2 of 2

    I think men in Africa as a whole would probably watch that particular episode and think it’s ridiculous to be dumped for such silly pet peeves. But whether they admit it or not, they also become aware that we as women are not so desperate that we have to stay with a man for the sake of just having one. It’s a great way to start that dialogue.

    EBONY: The show delves into the inconveniences that others might view as “normal” in Africa (water rationing, sporadic electricity) and even ventures into the taboo. How do you see An African City challenging cultural norms? Will this be the show that helps to define what’s considered a compliment across country borders?

    MM: I actually felt blessed to have lived in Ghana on and off and deal with these inconveniences. Seeing the lights go off or sometimes having to buy water just to shower definitely prepared me for traveling around the world to other countries. It can certainly get annoying from time to time, especially when you become accustomed to a certain way of life. But it also increases your appreciation for the conveniences that you do have and helps you to not take it for granted.

    One thing that started happening since living in both Ghana and New York is, when I was in Ghana I would miss the East Coast terribly but found that the same thing would happen. And I’d miss Ghana while in New York. I developed an appreciation for both, good and bad.

    NA: The show is just a show. When I grew up in the States, I spent much of my life in predominantly White neighborhoods. In school, when a “Black issue” came up, I would feel the heads of the teacher and all my classmates turn to face me—as if I, a Black human being, must then have all the answers to that issue.

    Since the launch of the show, I’m starting to feel that same pressure again. Some of the critics who look at me see a Ghanaian woman and then say, “The show must do this. The show must do that. The show must be this!” for all women on the entire continent. I agree that I do want the show to break some ground. But I also think it’s OK if sometimes an episode is not looking at a serious issue. Sometimes it’s just about having a few laughs. It’s absolutely okay to laugh.

    Kevin L. Clark is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer. You can find him on Twitter @HassanFvckry.

  5. THe interview on Ebony, Page 1 of 2.

    ‘An African City’ Gives Ghana Its Own ‘Girlfriends’
    Nicole Amarteifio and Millie Monyo, creators of the web series ‘An African City,’ discuss the challenges of doing a ‘Sex and the City’-style show set in Accra

    A new Internet series has made a splash, and it’s frequently described as Africa’s answer to Sex and the City. An African City is set in the Ghanaian capital of Accra, and follows the lives and loves of five successful African females who return to the continent after spending much of their adult life abroad in the U.S. and U.K.

    Created by Nicole Amarteifio and Millie Monyo, the duo have utilized millennial methods as well as traditional means to get the world buzzing about their boundary pushing show. Alongside director Dickson Dzakpasu, the trio are focused on entertaining the masses, changing public perceptions on how Africans are viewed, and fostering a discussion-inducing look at relationships within the continent.


    Each episode of An African City continues to grow in awareness, exposing viewers to an on-the-ground look at Accra, its language and customs. Starring Esosa Edosomwan, Maame Adjei, Nana Mensah, Marie Humbert, and MaameYaa Boafo, the show provides soul-searching commentary that women in any part of the world can relate to.

    Critics have questioned whether the show is only focusing on a certain segment of African woman, as each character has a respectable level of success. But, as our exclusive interview with Nicole Amarteifio and Millie Monyo shows, “certain segments” have proliferated all of the great television shows aimed at women—from Sex and the City to Girlfriends.

    With the increased new-media capabilities come opportunities to crack the rigid TV code. Amarteifio and Monyo join the ranks of Dennis Dortch (Black & Sexy TV) and Awkward Black Girl’s Issa Rae in creating interesting content for the next-gen audience. In our chat, Amarteifio and Monyo describe An African City’s origins, respond to skeptics and criticism, and explain how “An African Dump” will spark the discussion to improve male-female relations.

    EBONY: How important was it to focus the show from the perspective of a returnee? What elements within An African City aim to separate the show from the Sex and the City comparisons?

    Millie Monyo: For me, I loved the fact that it was the returnee’s story. When I started my own business, I always had a thought in the back of my mind to return to Ghana, and wondered how I’d be received and if I would be able to be successful there. Even though I thought of Accra as my second home, I wondered if I would be a fish out of water. I tried it in 2012 for a year and somehow ended up back in New York. Nicole has stayed, but it’s our story and it needs to be told.
    ‘An African City’

    ‘An African City’

    To be honest, Sex and the City is still my favorite show! The comparisons are flattering and warranted! I love how open and honest Sex and the City was, and how I was able to connect to the characters. To see it now with my own sisters and with an African twist is an absolute pleasure!

  6. The interview on Ebony, Page 1.5 of 2.

    EBONY: As viewers get acquainted with the show, how do you respond to comments that An African City only represents a “certain segment” of African women in society?

    MM: Doesn’t every show only show a “certain segment”?

    Nicole Amarteifio: Exactly. Sex and the City was four Caucasian women in their 30s. The show was criticized for having no woman of color, but then look at what happened? In Sex and the City the movie, they introduce Jennifer Hudson… as a personal assistant.

    If felt forced and, although it remains one of my favorite shows, that critique was handled in a way that then perpetuated the stereotype of the Black woman. I feel many Black women wanted a Jennifer Hudson who was on par with the other leading ladies and wearing Monolos—not a Jennifer Hudson who was responsible for organizing the Monolos in someone else’s closet.

    So, I will continue to write about a “certain segment” of the African woman, because that is the model for writing a sitcom. And quite honestly, it’s about time that that “certain segment” of the African woman be showcased. Why not? For so long mainstream media has shown the African woman as one who has HIV, living in poverty and needs to be educated about maternal and child health. That has been the reoccurring visual of the African woman. I want to change that.

    I’m reminded of when The Cosby Show first came out. A lot of people complained then about the show being one “certain segment” of society. Well, when for centuries the imagery of the Black person has been one way, why not? Why not change that story? Why not pivot the conversation in another direction?

    And, what does Chimamanda Adichie say? “The danger of one story?” One story does not have to have the monopoly in the conversation; there is room for many stories.

    But when it comes to the African woman, this is where we are different and where we are similar. Yes, in a continent of 54 countries, there are going to be African women of all shades, ethnic groups, classes, languages. But what about where we are one? As an avid viewer of Sex and the City, I could sometimes relate simply because of my sex, because I am woman. As a lover of both Girls and Girlfriends, I connect on the basis of my femininity.

    In the same way, with An African City, I believe the Nigerian woman flying business class has something in common with a Ghanaian woman who is sitting in Nima pounding fufu. A Ghanaian woman who is the CEO of her own company has something in common with a Ugandan woman growing moringa on a farm in Masindi. These women all have something in common: they have all been in love at some point in their lives. Knowing or having known love—that connects all women throughout Africa and the world.

    MM: I love that the show displays to everyone that Ghana has amazing restaurants, culture, people and fashion! Accra is amazing! My people certainly know how to live. Rich, poor or middle-class, there are women getting their hair and nails done, shopping and hanging with their girls. We may show the segment that can afford to dine at some of the establishments that we feature, but trust me, everyone can relate.

  7. THe interview on Ebony, Page 1.8 of 2.

    ‘An African City’ Gives Ghana Its Own ‘Girlfriends’
    Nicole Amarteifio and Millie Monyo, creators of the web series ‘An African City,’ discuss the challenges of doing a ‘Sex and the City’-style show set in Accra

    EBONY: An African City gained a bulk of its awareness through social media. Can you both talk about your relationships with the Internet generation and how that helps the show increase recognition?

    MM: I like to call myself Internet savvy, but I am no expert. That is all Nicole. I started my professional career in 2003 as a publicist, and at that time, the way we generated a buzz was through word of mouth, creatively placed articles/quotes, openings, parties and appearances. I have literally seen the introduction of sites like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube take a project such as ours from obscurity to global visibility.

    It was so smart of Nicole to have the idea to want the show to be a web series, inspired by Issa Rae, who launched The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl a couple years ago. And being a web series helped to catapult us into the phones, computers and tablets of people everywhere. Our show has been viewed in the U.S., U.K., Ghana, France, Ethiopia, South Africa, Nigeria, and the list goes on and on.

    EBONY: Each episode gives the audience an on-the-ground look at the culture, sights and sounds of Accra. What aspects are you hoping stand out to first-time visitors and natives alike? What idiosyncrasies are apparent that only Ghanaians would notice in An African City?

    MM: The terms “boss” or “chale” may be frequently used. But the one major thing that I hope people pick up on is the fact that Zainab always orders a Coke with ice and no lemon. Somehow when it arrives, there’s always a lemon! This is something that happens religiously in Accra.

    NA: I am just hoping people see another side of Accra, of the country of Ghana, of the continent of Africa. Again, going back to mainstream media, our show is about the Africa you do not typically see. In fact, when it comes to the B-roll, I wish we did a better job at that. If we are blessed enough to be able to do a Season Two, our B-roll will significantly add to that goal of showcasing the Africa that mainstream media does not show you.

    EBONY: One of the most revealing episodes so far is “An African Dump,” where the ladies talk about their dating pet peeves. The episode highlights how men are able to utilize their wealth or status to appeal to single women. How are situations such as this able to impact the discussion between male and female relations?

    MM: This is nothing new. Happens all the time from New York to Accra. I especially see it in business and always get a kick out of it. We still live in a male-dominated world.

    I love that the women in our series have jobs and are successful in their own right. The men are an accessory!

  8. Another interview. maameYaa is in Ghana and does a really cool photoshoot.

    Icon From An African City: MaameYaa Boafo
    Posted on May 15, 2014

    New York based Ghanaian actress MaameYaa Boafo was in Accra a couple of months ago during the shooting of the web series, An African City. Mantse Aryeequaye took MaameYaa on a walk through the back roads of Dzorwulu, a suburb of Accra, for some photos capturing that “fly Ghana girl back home” vibe. Nana Osei Kwadwo chatted with her later on about An African City.
    MaameYaa finds home in Accra!

    MaameYaa finds home in Accra!

    The first time I saw MaameYaa Boafo in Nicole Amarteifio’s An African City, I thought she was beautiful, fierce and versatile. She stars as one of five women characters, in the webisode, that returns to live in Accra after years of studying and working abroad. Debuting less than a couple months ago, the series has quickly gained a popular online following with major media shout-outs hailing via Ebony Magazine, BBC News, BET and NPR.

    With comparisons being made to Sex in the City, the webisode is growing its audience by the day and captivating folks with African fashion, fly natural hairstyles and “awkward African girl” situations as the women support one another in acclimating to life in Ghana again.

  9. Source

    MaameYaa has lived most of her life traveling around the globe but currently calls New York City home. She’s now working on a new project with renowned African American novelist and playwright, Walter Mosley, as well as a few new films.

    Curious to know more about MaameYaa, I caught up with her recently to chat about acting, what it means to be Ghanaian, and her role in An African City.
    MaameYaa against the posters.

    MaameYaa’s poster game.

    A.D.A : How did you get into acting? Are you involved in any other form of art apart from acting?

    MaameYaa: You know how in primary school you have to be in the school play? Well, that was me in kindergarten. I thought I was the luckiest kid in the world because I got to have one line as a sheep in our class production of Gingerbread Man. I also sang for a couple years until high school when I decided to focus on acting and also try out for the soccer team.

    Can you believe I was goalie!? Chale, that’s why we lost a lot of our games but when I did catch the ball, those bruises on me sure looked like art. Does that count?

    A.D.A : How does your Ghanaian background influence your acting?

    MaameYaa: I have a very animated father who when I was a child was the best bedtime storyteller – I must say that hearing him do Kwaku Ananse played a part in that somehow.

    MaameYaa reaching out for some AMA News.

    A.D.A : Tell us what life is like in New York.

    MaameYaa: This is my third year living in New York. What is that life like? It’s magical at times especially in the spring and fall. Everything is here – all sorts of exposure to different worlds and culture. There is no excuse for ignorance here. It’s also a tiny world in New York because everyone comes through here and it’s nice recognizing people or seeing classmates from years ago in the streets and on the subway. The subways, however, are not so magical.

    A.D.A : What’s your favorite food? Favorite chill spot in Ghana?

    MaameYaa: Kenkey with some grilled fish or crispy “one man thousand” [fingerlings] and lots of shito from this spot in my hometown in North Suntreso, Kumasi. However, I recently discovered the calamari at Republic [Bar + Grill in Osu] and I might just start eating that with kenkey as well, so it’s a win-win situation.

    My favorite spot to chill is my Grandma Helena’s front porch in Dzorwulu.

    A.D.A : What’s a cherished childhood memory about Ghana?

    MaameYaa: Getting spoiled by my grandparents. One of my grandmothers owned a store that sells cloth and she’d always let me pick which one I wanted to get a dress made.

    Laugh Out Loud!

    A.D.A : How did you the role in An African City come about?

    MaameYaa: I saw the posting a few years ago on an actors’ group page on Facebook and thought, why not audition. I actually couldn’t stay long for the audition because I had a train to catch out of town, so Nicole was kind enough to allow me to send her taped audition.

    A.D.A : You’ve lived most of your life abroad. How did that affect your portrayal of a returnee living in Ghana?

    MaameYaa: I am Ghanaian. The character of Nana Yaa is “a different kind of Ghanaian, that’s all” and so am I. I was born in Pakistan and raised in Sudan, Ethiopia, Switzerland and Kenya. I came to the States for college then continued my studies into graduate school. Unlike Nana Yaa, I can and do speak Twi.

    My parents only spoke to us in Twi when we were in the house. I’ve been told that I speak in a funny accent, so in that aspect I can definitely relate to Nana Yaa. Quite often I’m told that I don’t look Ghanaian just like Nana Yaa – I’m not sure why that is since I have the momapo [big forehead] to prove it. I didn’t grow up in Ghana even though Ghana is the only citizenship I have. It definitely has its challenges but nonetheless I’m proud to be an Ashanti girl and just like Nana Yaa, I continue to embrace my heritage. In episode 8, you see her with a Twi book and she starts taking classes!

    I Believe I can Fly!


  10. A.D.A : Who’s on your top African designer list, especially since the clothes on the show are so fierce?

    MaameYaa: Gosh all of them! I loved wearing all the designs on set. Each piece is a different personality. I love representing anything that has to do with my country – so proud to see these designers representing Ghana. I would also love to wear anything by Washington Roberts of Nigeria or Taibo Bacar of Angola.

    A.D.A : What do you think about the reception of the show so far and comparisons to Sex in the City?

    MaamYaa: The reception has overall been positive. People love the fashion, of course, and the topics that we talk about. The main complaint is that the series is too short but I like the fact that it leaves people wanting more. I believe Nicole Amarteifio [the show’s creator, executive producer and writer] achieved her goal but introducing the world to An African City. Now things will go into more depth – if we have a season 2 – which would also mean it would be longer than fifteen minutes.

    Being compared to Sex and the City is only a thin layer. Yes we are businesswomen living in a metropolitan world. But the five of us are new to this city, and we are readjusting to culture shocks, traditions, finding our identity in that, learning about the double standards and what dating African men is like. Once you get to know the five of us, you see that we are our own brand.


    A.D.A : Some critics of An African City say the series is not a true representation of Ghanaian life. Do you think the show represents the reality of most Ghanaians?

    MaameYaa: An African City is about the chronicles of being a returnee and every returnee has a different experience that rings true to their circumstance. It’s not supposed to represent a large population of Ghanaians – that doesn’t even make sense because the five of us are learning about the culture as we settle.

    As you can see, the main characters gather together to seek comfort, advice and share their baffled moments of what life is like being in your country of origin even though you didn’t live there. The thing that Nana Yaa, Sade, Zainab, Ngozi and Makena all have in common is that they CHOSE to come and make a life for themselves back home. The five of us are rediscovering the culture of Ghana and as our days turn into weeks and our weeks into months, we discover more about it.

    Be patient ooh, this is only season 1! I think the reason why this show is so successful is because other returnees, not just Ghanaian returnees, can relate to our struggles and achievements. The characters are discovering Ghanaian culture, taboos and all, and that takes time.

    MaameYaa the warrior.

    A.D.A : How has being involved in An African City shaped how you perceive the film industry in Ghana and Africa?

    MaameYaa: An African City is groundbreaking. As some of the reviews have noted, it was my first time working home on a set and our crew team was so passionate, enthusiastic and professional. Making a film is making a film. The collaboration becomes beautiful when people who believe in what they do surround you. I believe the industry is international despite what people say about the African films. That hasn’t been my experience and even if it was, I wouldn’t let that deter me from doing my job as an actress and bringing the truth of my character to the story.


  11. A.D.A : What are your thoughts on the webisode genre vs. TV or film? Is it the wave of the future?

    MaameYaa: I think webisodes are smart mediums because it’s a new and exciting territory that is definitely a new wave and catching on very quickly. Since everything is becoming digital, it’s more accessible.

    A.D.A : You’re working on a project with Walter Mosley. Tell us about that.

    MaameYaa: I’m met Walter Mosley at my callback audition for his new play Lift. He was sitting there with the producers, director and the casting director. He’s such a cool cat with the best sense of humor. During rehearsals he would commute to New Jersey from New York just to see us and then he’d take the cast out to dinner and just share things about his life and all his adventures. This is a world premiere play so the fact that we get to originate these roles is pretty cool. We could just call him up and ask questions about our characters.

    Our show is currently running at Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ. It’s about two strangers who get stuck in an elevator and it’s a nonstop ride, which happens for the next two hours. The response from the audience is really great. It’s been a blessing to be a part of this cast.


    A.D.A : What are your long-term goals as an African actress in the States?

    MaameYaa: To acquaint people to the idea of who Africans are. It baffles me to this day when someone says I speak English really well for an African, or ask if I came on a boat to college. When I was in graduate school studying acting, people couldn’t understand why as an African I wasn’t in Law School, Med School or studying Economics. I had an unconventional upbringing according to the opinions of others. If being an African actor is unconventional, then God help us.

    I want to contribute to the world with what I know, what I went to school for, what makes me, me. As an African actor, my job is to be truthful in whatever circumstances my character is in whether she is African or not. My goal is to be a universal actor.

    A.D.A : What other projects do you have coming up?

    MaameYaa: I’m set to shoot a few films this year so stay tuned! And a few films that I shot are being screened soon. A short that I did called When It All Falls Down screens the day after Lift closes. I also currently play Cassie in another web series called Thru25 – A comedy about how a group of friends deal with life after the death of our mutual friend. And of course, we are also waiting for the announcement of season two of An African City.

    Click for pictures


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