“An African City” is all the things “Sex and the City” Wasn’t
“Well instead of Starbucks coffee on every corner you’ll find plenty of fried plantains.” –Ngozi, “An African City”
In 1998, “Sex and the City” kicked off the trend of shows about the complicated lives of professional women. However, when you watch shows of professional women trying to find themselves, the cast is normally white women in the United States. Now we don’t have to imagine what television classics would have been like if they included people of color because in 2016, “An African City” hits everything that “Sex and the City” missed.
The cast is filled with Black women with diverse skin tones, hairstyles, upbringings, and desires. The “Kim” of the group is a preacher’s daughter who is networking the land of sugar daddies. While the “Charlotte” of the group is just trying to navigate being a vegetarian in a city that always wants to add goat meat or chicken to her salads. As a Naija girl, “African City” is the familiar story of my uncles and aunts. All of them traveled or lived in the United States and then returned to Nigeria. For them like many others, nothing can replace the feeling that home gives.
During the first episode of “An African City” the main character, Nana Yaa arrives in Ghana and returns back to her parent’s home, and the feelings of comfort just echo off the screen. After she is welcomed by her family, she meets with her friends and together they discuss what it’s like to return to Africa, their longing for American novelties, and trying to navigate a professional life while finding love.
Both Nicole Amarteifo, the writer and creator of “An African City,” and Millie Monyo, the Executive Producer, portray a vibrant world that major United States based television networks ignore. The television show is inspired by the creator and producer’s experiences of returning back to Africa after living in the United States. In its totality, the show tackles the preconceived notions of Africa and what it’s like for a modern girl living in a modern city.
When Africa is shown in media it has a certain image–an image of suffering, poverty, and “tribalism”. It’s the 21st century, and cities like Lagos, Accra, and Nairobi are thriving economic capitals, but when you research Africa’s economy on sites like Google, the most popular question to pop up is: “what is Africa’s poorest country?”
Due to racism, the entertainment industry refuses to show African people in a positive light. So, there is an overflowing reservoir of untold stories. “An African City” taps into that reservoir and shows the world that interesting stories aren’t reserved for the United States.
(Photo: Cast photo of “An African City” from anafricancity.tv)