I was watching Akon's talk at the Youth Summit and he spoke on rebranding Africa as a whole. He talked about how the United States branded this country as somewhere next to heaven. If you ask people about Africa, more often than not, people will say some ignorant comment that either has huts, animals running wild or naked people in there somewhere. Let's face it, most people will vacate in Europe and Asia before Africa, Africans included. We Africans need to start supporting our continent. You want to vacate somewhere, try one of the 54 African countries you've never been to before. I am not saying never go to Europe, but can we please place African countries on our travel list.
We need to start holding our celebrities accountable for their actions as well. Everyone wants to be drenched in Gucci, YSL, etc and our celebrities are the main culprits. They should honestly express those same excitements they do when showing off their luxury purchase when spotting African brands as well. As a matter of fact, we need to purposely look for these designers instead of the western designers who honestly can give a s*** less. It's time to get our African designers out there. We should have household brand names who a kid at least knows their names before they know what "style" is. I do understand that these household luxury brands are decades even centuries old and we can't really compete with time can we. However, we can start somewhere. With time, prominent names such as the likes of Andrea Iyamah, April by Kunbi, Deola Sagoe to name a few, can be placed amongst such widespread brands. The gotcha is, we have patronize their business and continue to keep their names in our mouths.
To be honest, when I visited Nigeria and South Africa, unless you visit the rural/villages, you tend to see more western garb on the locals. Even when I visited malls in the city of Ibadan in Nigeria, I noticed the stores mostly consisted western brands. I actually had to look for places where I could snatch me a bad ass Ankara. Now, it might be that I was not in the right place but I should have not had to look so hard.
It starts with us. We have to be the ones to show the world what is amazing about our continent. If we continue to conform and surround ourselves with all things from the West, why should the world support us if we can't support ourselves? The same way the West loves their culture and wants everyone to experience it is the way I love my culture so much that I want everyone to have a glimpse of how amazing we are in all its entirety.
Now, I obviously won't wear all African everything at all times because its not easy especially being in the states. However, I will be more conscious about purposely penetrating African brands more often. We have to do our part in re branding Africa and moving the continent forward from the so called last position the world has placed us.