Cynthia Okeke Explores the Beauty of Africa in First Documentary "Bad Africa"
Bad Africa is the exploration of the Western view of Africa and the negative residual effects that the media has played in shaping the perspective of Africa. Bad Africa was created to tell parts of Africa’s story that are seldom told. Although there are current struggles in Africa, it is not the single story of the vast and dynamic continent. It is time that we tell our own stories and blaze a trail that sets out to create a more authentic African voice. My name is Cynthia Okeke, I am a Nigerian marketing professional in the music industry and the producer of my first documentary, Bad Africa.
Bad Africa is a journey that follows four African Influencers to the continent. We stop by three African Countries – Ghana, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast. During this journey you’ll find representation of major events in Africa such as Afrochella and PVO (Positive Vibes Only), as well as music representation featuring Afro B, who is one of the few African artists to crossover mainstream into the US.
2014 was the first time I would visit Nigeria in my adulthood and I can firmly say that this trip forever changed my life. I was riding down the Lekki Expwy, looking out the window at all of the beautiful buildings and infrastructure that Lagos, Nigeria had to offer, and I could remember myself growing angry. This was absolutely not the Africa they taught me about in the U.S. Where were the animals and hungry kids with the flies on their faces that the media so often portrayed in regard to Africa? I am however, fully aware that this does exist in Africa. But where was Africa’s other story? Many of my friends back home didn’t even know a Modern Africa existed. From that trip forward, I made a promise to myself that I would be a part of telling Africa’s other story – one that highlights the beauty, the music, the people and the culture. A story about Africa told by Africans.
Photo: Behind the scenes of Bad Africa
I spent some time at Sony Music, a record label that signed two of Nigeria’s biggest artists Davido and Wizkid. During my time at the label, Davido dropped his hit single Fall and this record became a crossover hit in the U.S. playing on many urban radio stations across the country. This inspired me to talk about the impact music was having on changing the African narrative; and so the documentary was born. Bad Africa examines the western perspective of Africa while also highlighting those who are helping to change that narrative through the lens of music and influence.
One of the most important aspects about my journey in making Bad Africa was navigating through the process of this being my first Documentary film, and a film that I initially didn't believe I could make on my own. To my own surprise - I learned that we can all be surprised by what we can accomplish if we simply try. I didn’t have a blueprint on making a documentary. I just knew I HAD to make it. Little by little and step by step, this project was able to come to life and I am most certainly proud of it and all of the people who added tremendous value to this project throughout the journey of making this film. This project is my first love letter to Africa and I will write a thousand more.
We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Philippians 4:13
Bad Africa premieres on YouTube on Wednesday September 30, 2020 at 10am PST/ 1pm EST. Preceding that, Debbie Alamrew will be hosting an IG Live with Cynthia Okeke on Amplify Africa's Instagram page to discuss the documentary Bad Africa in detail, the process of making the film and more.