Viola Davis’s speech at the Emmy Awards was poignant,apt, and beautifully spoken.She talked about the power of visibility and how black actresses are marginalized in film because there simply aren’t enough roles created for them. Closer to home there are African women who are also creating spaces for African actresses to tell the stories of African women and the complexities of our experiences. I’ve mined around and a few of them are here-if you’re OCD prone and really mind the list being 9,instead of 10,recommend a final name:
1. Mo Abudu: Mo Abudu came into the spotlight with her show ” Moments with Mo”,which was the first syndicated TV talk show in Africa. Mo Abudu created Ebony Life TV- a lifestyle and entertainment channel on DSTV in 2013. On ELTV, Mo Abudu produces shows that portray African women from all walks of life. These shows include Desperate Housewives Africa, Best Friends, and most recently a film- “Fifty”.
2. Nicole Amarteifio: When An African City came on YouTube,it brought a new dimension of what is defined as “An African Woman”. Changing the allusion of a stereotypical African woman as helpless, impoverished and begging for help, these five women represented middle income to wealthy career women who were navigating love and life in the vibrant city of Accra.
3. Shirley Frimpong-Manso: As the CEO of Sparrow Productions, Frimpong-Manso creates shows that tell stories specific to career African women. In Adam’s Apples, Frimpong -Manso brings up a range of issues from sex with your ex, and living with HIV/AIDS.
4. Tope Oshin Ogun: Tope Oshin Ogun is the producer of one of Africa’s biggest soap operas-Tinsel. She is also one of the producers of Mo Abudu’s Fifty,and one of the casting directors for Shuga 3.
5. Wanuri Kahia: The Kenyan director has been at the forefront on discourses surrounding the image of Africa and has critiqued the way in which NGOs affect popular imagination in Africa. Her 2009 Film Pumzi,won critical acclaim for its work on AfroFuturism. Her films have been screened at Sundance and Berlinale.
6. Yaba Badoe: The Ghanaian -British journalist, author and film maker has created significant films that narrate real stories,such as The Witches of Gambaga and The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo.
7. Leila Djansi: The Ghanaian –American writer and producer has created some notable work such as “Ties That Bind”, a story about three women who have lost children and are seeking redemption in a Ghanaian village.Leila Djansi’s work has explored lesbian rights in The Sisterhood and domestic violence in Sinking Sands.
8.Laila Marakchi: Laila Marakchi is a Moroccan producer and film maker. Her most famous work Marock,explores the intersection between love and religion in Morocco.
9.Zina Saro- Wiwa: Zina Saro-Wiwa is a personal icon as she is a journalist,writer and a film-maker,( my ideal career combination) . Apart from contributing to Marie Claire and The Sunday Times, Zina Saro-Wiwa has also made short documentaries and experimental films such as the ‘Natural Hair’ for The New York Times.