Film

This New Documentary Shows an Ethiopian-American's Journey to Connect with His Heritage

'The Diaspora Journal' is a new documentary that shows director Nathan Araya coming to grips with his identity as he travels to Addis Ababa.

As a first generation Ethiopian-American, Nathan Araya, the director of a new documentary The Diaspora Journal, felt his adolescence was awkwardly positioned in the middle of two cultures. Neither fully Ethiopian nor fully American, he struggled coming to grips with his identity. In the documentary, Araya travels to Ethiopia in an attempt to bridge that gap.


In The Diaspora Journal, a film that Araya says it took him 30 years, or his whole life, to make, he finds himself in the bustling and rapidly growing capital Addis Ababa. Araya takes an immersive approach into finding out and experiencing the country by working as a taxi cab driver assistant and shoe shiner.

Araya on culture and his experience of traveling to Ethiopia:

America is full of different cultures, yet it baffles me when people with cultural differences, who rarely interact with each other on deep levels, have so much commentary on the others' cultural perspective. Division is to be expected when people aren't developing meaningful relationships with others outside their culture.

Everyone who lives in America does not see everything the same. But if you find yourself perplexed at someone's outlook...that may need to be the very person you build a relationship with. When I went to Ethiopia for the first time, I did not bring in a 'Western Savior' complex trying to help people that have been stigmatized through media as 'hopeless people.' I went in knowing that there was much to learn and I knew that I needed to be very intentional with building relationships through meaningful conversations to gain perspective.

Still From The Diaspora Journal courtesy of Nathan Araya.

Still From The Diaspora Journal courtesy of Nathan Araya.

An insightful, yet lighthearted documentary that explores a rapidly changing Ethiopia and its relation to the children of those who left it, The Diaspora Journal is necessary viewing.

Araya’s last documentary, Sincerely Ethiopia, also nominated for an African Movie Academy Award, showcases a diverse array of organizations that are creatively addressing issues of literacy, accessibility for people living with disabilities, homelessness, and a range of other social issues.

Although there are no upcoming screenings for the 40 minute documentary, Araya welcomes folks who want the documentary to be shown to contact him.

Still From The Diaspora Journal courtesy of Nathan Araya.

Check out the trailers of Sincerely Ethiopia and The Diaspora Journal and be sure to head here for more info.

popular

Casanova, Davido & Tory Lanez' '2AM' Will Soundtrack Your Weekend

Flatbush meets Lagos and Toronto in this addictive new single.

Brooklyn rapper Casanova rolls through with an energetic new collaboration with Davido and Tory Lanez.

"2AM" sees the rapper going in over highly-infectious afrobeats-meets-pop beat work, in the same vein as we've heard from massive hits like "Unforgettable." The song was produced by 30 Roc.

The single features the star power of Davido and Tory Lanez which gives "2AM" the increased potential to be one of those huge new jams that'll be getting constant spins this year on both sides of the Atlantic (it's already got the top slot in Spotify's African Heat playlist).

The music video kicks off in Atlanta but eventually follows Casanova to Lagos, where he connects with Davido in Shitta. The clip was directed by Nigeria's Meji Alabi, the creative force behind many of your favorite afrobeats videos.

"2AM" is the lead single from Casanova's upcoming EP, Free At Last, which is due from Roc Nation/Def Jam Recordings on February 15.

We talked to Casanova below to learn a little more about this new collaboration and sound for him.

Keep reading... Show less
popular

Dive Into TOBi's New Music Video For 'City Blues'

The Nigerian-Canadian rapper delivers a solid jam.

TOBi is a Nigerian-born, Toronto-based rapper making music inspired by his early life move to Canada and the experiences around immigration and culture shock.

You might have previously heard his track, "Hidden Fences," closing out the finale of Insecure or gotten into his 2016 debut EP, FYi.

TOBi is now sharing the new single and music for "City Blues," which sees the rapper taking cues from Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues" over a beat produced by Free n Losh. It's the first taste we're hearing from his upcoming debut album due later this year.

"[City Blues is] written from one perspective within the African diaspora, pertaining to being caught between two worlds and reclaiming my ethnic identity," TOBi tells OkayAfrica. "Embracing my name has been a crucial part of my personal growth."

"I drew inspiration from the Shakespeare quote: 'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.' City Blues speaks about the many roles that a human takes on at once but from my perspective," he adds.

Get into it below.

Keep reading... Show less
News

Issa Rae to Star In Murder Mystery Rom-Com, 'The Lovebirds,' With Kumail Nanjiani

Issa Rae isn't playing with us in 2019!

Issa Rae has added yet another exciting project to her growing list for 2019, and we're totally here for it.

The actress and Insecure showrunner is set to star alongside comedian and Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani in the upcoming romantic comedy The Lovebirds, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.