Thu April 10, 2014
Sex, Style And Success In 'An African City'
Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 11:46 am
A group of beautiful, accomplished women are on the hunt for love --and great clothes-- in a vibrant metropolis.
No, Carrie Bradshaw is not returning for another run of Sex and the City. It's the story of the new web series, An African City. The show follows the adventures of five young women who've returned to their home country of Ghana after years spent abroad.
The stories of An African City may present a side of Africa that viewers have never seen before. But Executive Producer Millie Monyo embraces the connection to Carrie and company.
"It was absolutely an inspiration, and honestly we welcome the Sex and the City comparisons." She tells NPR's Michel Martin that creator Nicole Amarteifio was a fan of the HBO hit. "These are the stories of these women who are dynamic, running around New York City, and why can't we have that in Africa? Why can't we have that on our continent? Why can't we have that in Ghana, in Accra?"
Monyo explains that they "definitely wanted to tell the story of the returnee": young women who were brought up outside Ghana, but came home to get involved in the emerging culture of the capital city. That includes women like Harvard Business School graduate Sade, who is played by actress Nana Mensah. "She's highly educated, very ambitious, and she's set her sights on Accra and the men of Accra to succeed by any means necessary," Mensah says.
On whether characters are "African enough"
Millie Monyo: We felt that there was a story that was there...where you feel at home in America, but when you come back to Africa --which is your home continent-- you have people who look at you and say "Well, you're not African enough." And we weren't really sure how to respond to something like that. That has happened to all of us, where we show up...and they're looking at us like 'you akata,' which is, I guess, a slang word for someone who is African, however you were raised in the West and you may not necessarily know how to navigate life in Ghana anymore.
On how the show depicts money and sex in romance
Nana Mensah: I think a lot of people have a hard time with the explicit nature of the transactional behavior between men and women. I think that is stirring the pot a little bit. And so I am interested in some of the push back from that because I don't think that anything we are depicting isn't true.
On "Afropolitan" style vs. African stereotype
Millie Monyo: We're showing a different view of Africa that, for some people, they say they didn't even know existed. They didn't realize that there's people in Africa spending money, who have money --you know-- have the means to do these kind of things.They're not realizing that there's places to eat out. There's places to go and entertain yourself. And fabulous clothes! People have no idea that this actually exists on the continent and that's what we really want to show.