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Afrocritik Turns Three: What It Means to Amplify African Voices

Afrocritik Turns Three: What It Means to Amplify African Voices

Afrocritik Turns Three: What It Means to Amplify African Voices| Afrocritik

In three years, we’ve become a cornerstone in the African and Black entertainment industry, conducting in-depth reviews and thought-provoking interviews, hosting weekly live podcasts on X, and publishing culture pieces that challenge norms and highlight the richness of these art forms. 

By Editorial Board 

Every story has a beginning, and for us at Afrocritik, it was first a vision to redefine African narratives and create a space where African arts and entertainment could be showcased, critiqued, and elevated. 

As the platform turns three, reflecting on how we started is imperative. The platform was conceived and launched not just to be counter-culture, but to bring something entirely different to the zeitgeist, as Jerry Chiemeke, pioneering Editor-in-Chief, puts it.  The objectives were simply to capture the pulse of the polity, while also offering high-brow critical engagement that was pure, unbiased, intellectual, and thorough. “It would be more than a music or film review site or a place where celebrities would be spotlighted”, Chiemeke said.

As the brainchild of Co-founders, Samson Jikeme and Owenate Max-Harry, the vision was to conscientiously explore the length of African and Black culture and to stir up conversations about people of colour globally. We sought to capture this experience beyond the familiar lenses of Lagos, Atlanta, New York, London, or Accra.

A prime moment underscored our mission to own our narratives; during Afrobeats superstar, Wizkid’s post-Made in Lagos media run, a profile of him was published in a foreign magazine. Many Nigerian music journalists at the time expressed frustration that Wizkid wouldn’t have granted that sort of access to a Nigerian or African publication. This debate about local pride illuminated a glaring gap — a lacuna in proper documentation, which further advanced the argument.

When Chiemeke came on board, he recognised that establishing the platform’s relevance required defining its core editorial standards and essence of cultural commentary. The first move was to draw up a short-term vision board, laying the foundation for the platform’s aspirations. And with that blueprint in hand, he scouted for the best young writers he knew at the time. Some of these writers included Joshua Chizoma, Vivian Nneka Nwajiaku, Nzube Nlebedim, John Augustina, and Nicole Philips-Kemenanabo, amongst others. Many of these writers have since evolved into brilliant creatives in their own right. “It’s been a fantastic three years and I am glad that at this point, especially when it comes to covering music, film, and literature, Afrocritik is a force to be reckoned with. This is beyond social engagement like the number of followers or retweets; this is about having a voice, a strong voice.” 

Afrocritik staff writers have produced some of the best essays on film, music, and literature. This, in many ways, reflects our brand’s growing reputation, its clear editorial direction, and an unwavering penchant for excellence. The future holds even greater promise. 

In three years. we’ve become a cornerstone in the African and Black entertainment industry, conducting in-depth reviews and thought-provoking interviews, hosting weekly live podcasts on X, and publishing culture pieces that challenge norms and highlight the richness of these art forms. From cinema to literature, music, sports, visual arts, and technology, we’ve made impressionable steps along the way. And to crown this milestone, here are a few words from the Afrocritik family:

“Over the past three years, we have worked tirelessly to amplify the voices of African and Afro-descendant artistes, writers, and creatives. We are proud of the impact we have made in promoting diversity and excellence in the media and entertainment industry. We look forward to continuing our mission of showcasing the richness and diversity of African culture for many years to come. Thank you to all our supporters and contributors for helping us reach this milestone.” __ Samson Jikeme, co-founder and creative director, Afrocritik. 

“I am elated to be part of a vibrant community which places a premium on art and social criticism. Today’s obvious challenges espouse the need for even fiercer critics, as we collectively strive to shape the world according to our most earnest inclinations. As Afrocritik marks its third anniversary, it is our wish that even more critics emerge, as a society without rudders is ultimately bound to falter. We therefore celebrate and toast on this third anniversary, to every voice out there yearning for standards in art expression and society at large.” __ Owanate Max-Harry, co-founder, Afrocritik.

“We’ve come a long way since 2021, and becoming a pop-culture hub that celebrates African creativity is no small feat. Afrocritik has allowed emerging writers, critics, and literati to thrive, while also cataloguing the African experience through our publications and reporting. We are proud of the community that we’ve cultivated so far, and as we look into the future and explore the boundaries with African and diasporan storytelling, we are grateful to our readers, contributors, and supporters for being part of this incredible journey.” __ Sybil Fekurumoh, Managing Editor, Afrocritik.

Praise from Industry Stakeholders

Industry stakeholders have weighed in on our remarkable contributions to spotlighting voices. 

“Afrocritik arrived on the Nigerian cultural scene only a few years ago, but its impact has been massive. They have curated commentaries and reviews, which are particularly important for fostering and animating conversations within popular culture and literary space. I am rooting for their longevity in this precarious space with little institutional support.” __ Dami Ajayi, writer, music and culture critic, and author.

“I sincerely want to thank Afrocritik for the amazing work that they do; documenting the African experience to the world. As an industry, we appreciate the good job so far, and we cannot wait to see all the amazing stuff you have in store for us. Cheers to an amazing future.” __ Barnabas Emordi, Nollywood’s highest-grossing cinematographer for A Tribe Called Judah. 

“A big congratulations to the great folks at Afrocritik, and on behalf of my colleagues, I want to say a big thank you for the great work you guys have been doing. Moving forward, I look forward to the great things you’re going to do. Pat yourselves on the back; you’ve earned it.” __ Award-winning film producer, Oge Obasi.

“Afrocritik has been a brilliant ambassador, inspiration, and content crusader of Nigerian Entertainment. On your third anniversary, I wish you continuous growth and greater heights. Thank you for your service.” __ Wingonia Ikpi, producer for FilmOne Studios.

“As African artists push boundaries across media and genres, it is important for critics to keep up with the pace in prolificity and quality. Afrocritik provides a platform where fine writers can appraise and break down art that matters to the African young audience. The extra depth from reviews and interviews grants an ultimately richer experience of the work of art to fans.” __ Patrick Ezema, music and culture writer, and regular contributor.

“I am proud of what Afrocritik has achieved since it kicked off. We can’t overestimate the importance of an establishment that documents and critiques African art while also proffering creative solutions that will help the continent live up to its potential. More power to Afrocritik.” __ Adeayo Adebiyi, music editor for Pulse Nigeria.

“A big shoutout to Afrocritik for platforming underrepresented guys; the folks who work behind the scenes, whose work is important in bringing the big picture to life.” __ Martini Akande, film editor and post-production supervisor with Greoh Studios.

Afrocritik Turns Three: What It Means to Amplify African Voices| Afrocritik

An Incursion Into the East African Scene

Earlier this year, as part of our inclusive vision for holistic coverage of African entertainment, we expanded our tentacles into East Africa, documenting the film, literature, and music from the region. In our short stint, we’ve recorded groundbreaking impact across the board. 

“Reading Afrocritik starting this year, I have seen extensive coverage of East African music in a manner I had not witnessed happening before. We’ve seen analyses of our niche music genres, reviews on our albums, and even interviews with artists whom the mainstream media had turned a blind eye to. Generally, I consider the platform to be a breath of fresh air in the African cultural scene, and I hope that we may get more and more coverage of East African artistry.” __ Keith Ang’ana, Qwani Founder, and Columnist at The Star Kenya Newspaper.

“I believe Art needs criticism to flourish like a plant needs water to grow.  A good critic presents art with something it would otherwise not have; relevance. It bridges the gap between the art and the consumer of art. It challenges the artist to dig deeper and finesses the audience’s palate for art. While the African culture has always been a melting pot for rich, unique, and multicultural art, for a long time, the continent has been lacking authoritative voices to examine, appreciate, and showcase this art. This was until Afrocritik came to the scene—a platform I soon realised not only understood the nuances of African art but could authoritatively showcase it to a global audience. As an African artist and art connoisseur, the moment I discovered Afrocritik, I knew I had found the one special note missing from the African art tune. The music and culture critiques by its critics have changed the way I consume African music, while the various essays, interviews, and analyses on the platform have been an inspiration and bolstered my pride as an African creative.” __ Tony Ogwa, Kenyan film critic and writer at The Daily Nation, The Standard Newspapers, Qazini, Debunk Media & The Republic.

“Being featured in a few articles by Afrocritik has seen my music gain traction in Kenya and has even increased my numbers at home in Uganda.  Thanks to a review of my debut Solo EP, I have managed to get connections with Kenyan journalists and events organisers who learned about me and my music through the article.  My interview with the platform also helped me gain more credibility as among the new wave of artistes engaging in the mainstream music industry in Uganda. I believe Afrocritik is a really beautiful avenue that has highly impacted my artistry as I have seen my brand grow by being recognised  by the platform.” __ Ugandan AfroPop artiste, Bowman Aremwaki.

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“I got to learn about Afrocritik through an interview that Frank Njugi did with Bowman Aremwaki, and I love what you guys are doing because it is good for the culture in East Africa, and Africa at large.” __ Ugandan music producer, Instrumento.

“We are at a point where very few digital media outlets put their resources into proper journalism. Most mainstream media outlets do the bare minimum. I am glad that Afrocritik is filling that gap, and putting in the work to ensure that African voices are spotlighted. It is quite commendable that a platform like Afrocritik has a reach in Africa and beyond. Congratulations to the Afrocritik for its third anniversary, as it is not an easy feat, especially in this volatile environment. Thank you for refusing to get swept by the wave or joining the bandwagon of ‘content creation’.” __ Dorphanage, Kenyan spoken word artiste.

“I believe Afrocritik has done a very good job propagating and showcasing the richness of African arts and culture to not just Africans but the Black diaspora and the world. I was very humbled for my interview to be featured on a respected platform like that. Thanks to Frank Njugi for making that happen. I will acknowledge that after my interview feature, more people interacted with my work, which fuelled my desire to keep writing stories. On this occasion, I hope they keep up the good work and keep telling our unique stories.” __  Peter Ngila Njeri, Kenyan writer and winner of the 2023 James Currey Manuscript Prize.

Words from Our Readers and Supporters

It is vital, at this point, to acknowledge the community that has been with us every step of the way. Our readers and supporters have been the heartbeat of the brand, driving us to continuously push boundaries and deliver high-quality resonating content. Many of our readers have shared their thoughts on what Afrocritik means to them. 

“As a reader and fan of Afrocritik, the platform is at the frontiers of criticism in the African art and literature scene, especially because it’s a seemingly non-rewarding venture in these climes. The platform manages to churn out the best think pieces and reviews on diverse subjects, and it’s clear the writers are thorough, objective, and widely read. I like that I can find essays on any subject on Afrocritik, and I would like that to continue. One time, I was researching the Igbo perception of hair, and I found this interesting essay about Umu Dada. That essay stuck with me. I believe Afrocritik is becoming a wealthy archive of thought by some of Africa’s best thinkers.” __ Iruoma Chukwuemeka, writer and essayist.

“Afrocritik has opened my eyes to another dimension of criticism of literal works. My favourite pieces are the music columns and movie reviews. They infuse light humour with in-depth analysis of various bodies of literary works. It goes to show that they have the best brains assembled. The best part? They’re just getting started.” __ Abdulkareem Kay Okpanachi, lawyer and music enthusiast.

“Happy third anniversary to Afrocritik. It’s been a special ride thus far. I think that the impact of the work that has been done by the brand has been tremendous. The platform has not only made giant strides in the literary community but has penetrated the entertainment spaces, particularly the music scene. The brand, over the years, has connected with both the young and old generation. It has been fabulous and I hope that the journey continues.” __ Tony “Gingerbread” Chucks, MC and regular Afrocritik live podcast contributor.  

“In the three years that Afrocritik has been in existence, it has curated arts, and shaped culture and discussions around art. It has also helped platform both budding and established writers and developed a community where everyone can learn and feel inspired. Congratulations to the team, and cheers to more years, more content that continues to build and challenge African literature.” __ Best Michael. 

“Afrocritik has been a great documentation of the music scene in Nigeria since the time I have gotten to know them. The platform is very objective, constructive, and accommodating with its analysis, and I can only wish them more strides moving forward.” __ Olumide Oluseun, sports enthusiast. 

“My first contact with Afrocritik was through their weekly X space. A friend, who was an intern then with Afrocritik encouraged me to join the space — that was sometime around early 2023. What struck me was the range of the topics being discussed and debated and the civility with which people expressed their opinions and disagreement. You know the saying ‘One try will convince you?’ I remember telling myself that I wanted to be a part of this. Three years is not such a long time, but it’s a huge stride and to be honest, I was shocked when I found out Afrocritik is just three years old. The reason is that they conduct their business like a company that has more than 20 years under their belt. I think that is what I love most about Afrocritik; the professionalism with which they run the company and the premium standard they hold themself to. I’m sure it will only get better from here. Cheers to better years ahead.” __ Ojomi Daniel.

“I like that the newsletter discusses everything from music to film, fashion, sports, literature, etc. The music segment also helps me discover new music. For example,  I discovered Kofee’s Gifted album after reading a newsletter it was mentioned.” __ Nengi Sele.

These heartfelt comments from our readers and supporters reinforce our commitment to continue our mission. We are deeply grateful for your unwavering support and engagement. It is your passion and enthusiasm for exceptional reportage that inspires us to strive for excellence every single day.

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