The Founders of Afripedia Are Changing the One-Sided Story About Africa

Art, film, fashion, and design are retelling the narrative

Senay Berhe, co-founder of Afripedia

The idea of creating Afripedia, a platform dedicated to changing the conversation about Africa, came from a long period of frustration.“Every day, we get fed a one-sided story about Africa and Africans—whether it’s while watching the news, reading the newspaper, or listening to the radio,” said Teddy Goitom, co-founder of Afripedia.

Afripedia is a new discovery platform and a visual guide connecting art, film, photography, fashion, design, music, and other contemporary cultural ideas from African creatives worldwide. Growing up and working in the creative industry, Goitom and co-founder Senay Berhe always felt the need to change the narrative of how Africans are being represented and valued.“We see the creation of Afripedia as providing a resource to highlight Africans on the continent and in the diaspora overall.”

The dynamic duo’s next move in breathing life into the platform was making Afripedia a curated outlet where users can share knowledge, access stories, and build their respective networks, eventually growing into a destination and database for African creative content and services. “Our goal is to build an online and offline platform to highlight and showcase African creatives worldwide. Creativity has no borders, and our common interest in culture is key to a deeper relationship in unifying us.”

Both based in Harlem, New York, Senay Berhe and Teddy Goitom work out of New Inc., the New Museum’s incubator program, with a core team of four people and a network of hundreds and growing. Black Enterprise caught up with the founders to learn more about the process of turning their vision into reality.

Black Enterprise: How do you find content to publish on your site?
Afripedia: Curation and user submissions. We want to bring on board creators and enthusiasts with great taste and interest on emerging creatives. Additionally, we seek user submissions from people who produce original content.

Which ‘societal’ rules would you like to change?
I would to like break all the cultural rules and stereotypes that keep the work of Africans and creatives undervalued, that don’t allow for the changing of the narrative, and that simply don’t progress the conversation. Our recent works with Afripedia as a new five-part documentary series about the newest generation of African creative talents are challenging all preconceptions and stereotypes; presenting an interlinked visual mixtape of today’s most interesting emerging visual artists, filmmakers, fashion designers, musicians, photographers, and cultural activists from Africa’s biggest metropolises. These are compelling, intimate stories, told by African visionary artists who are pushing the boundaries of creative self-expression.

Describe the work that you’re most proud of.
The video magazine Stocktown. I founded the Stocktown collective in the late ’90s. We started out by documenting all aspects of street culture from all over the world through documentaries, pirate television, and various exhibition projects. It’s evolved today into an online video magazine dedicated to street culture in motion with a committed team of video curators out to find the most inspiring material out there.

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