Afrocritik Takes Position at the Forefront of Africa’s Cultural Renaissance

With a new bi-annual print magazine in the works, the culture platform in set to lead the African media landscape.

Afrocritik, established two years ago, has emerged as a leader in promoting African talent by publishing highly regarded literary and entertainment reviews and essays, and conducting interviews with distinguished cultural figures both within and outside the continent. The platform boasts experienced writers and critics who are renowned in their respective fields and have been nominated for various accolades, including the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing and other national and continental awards.

Afrocritik is at the forefront of delivering the best African content, as African arts and entertainment gain recognition worldwide. Despite acknowledging the significant progress made in global acceptance of African arts, Samson Jikeme, who co-founded Afrocritik with Owante Max-Harry in 2020, stresses the need for continued urgency in promoting African art and style, recognising that there is still more work to be done.

Afrocritik’s new bi-annual magazine, which was announced in January with an expected first issue release in June, is set to elevate African arts and culture to new heights by showcasing Africa’s finest creatives in diverse fields and promoting African stories and heritage through a unique perspective.

As the team continues to work to create a formidable first issue, we sat down with founders Samson Jikeme and Owante Max-Harry to discuss ongoing work on the magazine and the contributions platforms like Afrocritik are making towards a wider media landscape in Africa.

Who is the target audience for Afrocritik Magazine, and how will the magazine appeal to them? 

The Afrocritik magazine will cater to diverse readers, the world over who are enthused about African entertainment and culture.

What kind of content can readers expect to find in the Magazine? How will the print and online versions differ, and how will readers be able to access the magazine? 

The Afrocritik magazine would encompass deep dives into core African culture expressed via music, movies, literature, and fashion. Exploring the depth of African culture through these undertakings would naturally involve artist(e) spotlighting, interviews with key players in these industries, and cultural insights into various African traditions, lifestyles, and values. 

How will it differ from other cultural magazines, and how do you plan to stay unique and relevant in the industry?

Being an offshoot of the Afrocritik brand, the magazine will showcase the uniqueness of diversity in the African continent. Over time, what is perceived to be African has largely become mono-themed with little or no attention being paid to the core uniqueness of various African peoples. This magazine will go in-depth at spotlighting these intricate parts of African identity, notwithstanding the obvious immersing impact the African pop culture renaissance is having globally. 

Authenticity is the key to staying unique and relevant in a dynamic industry such as this. This is what Afrocritik thrives at. At our core is a clear message – expressing African excellence through art and culture, which inadvertently is innately the nucleus of the entertainment business. As long as there remains a yearning for authenticity, it is given that African art and culture, with its richness, will remain a minefield for such undertakings. As long as we remain authentic in our message and approach to telling African stories, we believe we will stay relevant in the long run. 

How will the magazine contribute to the promotion of African arts, culture, and entertainment on a global scale? How will it contribute to the development of African creatives, and what opportunities will it provide for emerging talents?

Africa is undergoing a cultural renaissance with music, movies, and arts being exported globally at an alarming rate. This means that there is a deluge of content the world is willing to consume from the continent. With Afrocritik at the center of all things entertainment in the continent, we are primed to showcase these art and culture undertakings as our website is an entertainment hub catering to hundreds of thousands of views monthly. Our social media presence is also highly optimized to broadcast Afrocritik-led products, the chief of which is the magazine to be published this year. This magazine will be an aggregator of both legacy and contemporary/pop versions of African culture, covering the entire continent. With our wide reach, we hope to export African arts and culture to the various crevices of the globe. 

Afrocritik also has products that cater to spotlighting new African acts. A huge segment of our magazine will include ‘Afrocritik Spotlight’ as a major venture of ours is promoting young African acts. As we place African creatives at a vantage position through our magazine, there is no telling the publicity artists are bound to garner as Afrocritik places them on the world map. 

Can you tell us about the team behind Afrocritik Magazine and their experience in the industry? 

Afrocritik boasts of a team of senior writers, editors, graphics consultants, journalists, critics, filmmakers, and well-established marketers with over two decades worth of experience in their careers. With a multi-disciplinary staff core, ranging from Law to Economics and other Sciences, the Afrocritik team with its broad range is poised to use all tools on deck to tell African stories to the world with this magazine. 

What are some of the challenges that you anticipate in launching and promoting the magazine, and how do you plan to overcome them? 

Obviously, for the audience we are trying to reach, many logistics would come into play. Human resources is also a huge deal with undertakings of this nature. However, we pride ourselves in having the best team suited for executing this task, as seen in our broad range of multi-disciplinary savvy personnel in our array. Funding is always a huge aspect of publishing, and so is finding the right partnerships to further our goals with this magazine. But we already have structures in place and also hope to create new relationships and build on existing ones to ensure that we overcome these challenges, if and when they arise.

How do you plan to expand the reach and impact of the magazine in the years to come?

Collaborations, staying authentic and consistent with our goal of promoting African excellence in art and culture. The world is yearning for new and genuine stories, with Africa filling this gap in our entertainment industry. As long as we stay original and promote excellence, impact, and reach are simply inevitables that will follow.

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