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Photo by Jamal Nxedlana.

Afripedia is the Visual Platform Connecting African Artists to Their Clients

The newly launched platform wants to foster a strong community of African artists on the continent and in the diaspora.

Afripedia is live! The curated visual platform, which was created by Swedish production collective Stocktownfilms aims to do away with misrepresentation within the creative industry and connect African creatives to their clients by giving them increased exposure. The platform comes five years after an initial 5-part documentary series which focused on creatives in Angola, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya and Senegal.


OkayAfrica recently spoke to Afripedia's co-founder and creative director Senay Berhe about the platform. Describing where Afripedia is currently, Berhe says, "Right now we are finalizing our next update where clients will be able to create their own profile and start connecting with creatives." He adds that, We want to become the best curated search engine to find and connect with creatives of African descent worldwide."

The landing page of Afripedia is breathtaking. It accurately depicts the varied quality African talent both in color and form. It features the work of photographers, costume designers, stylists, illustrators and several others. "Our hope is that talent seekers, brands, institutions and creatives use Afripedia to connect and hire creatives on the platform for assignments," Berhe says. "Our primary goal is to get top creatives onto the platform and build a strong community both online and offline," and goes on to add that, "We would love to do more events, like talks and portfolio review sessions, where the creative industry and creatives of African descent can connect."

Courtesy of Afripedia.

Berhe sees the visual platform fostering a strong community of creatives and inspiring those who are still to come. "We want to become a platform, where we can share our own stories and to create new role models for the next generation of creatives," he says confidently.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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