APiF: Please introduce yourself.
Millie Monyo: I am Millie Monyo, the Executive Producer of An African City.
APiF: What inspired you to create ‘An African City’?
Millie: Nicole Amarteifio created and wrote An African City. A mutual friend – a member of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN) – connected us a few years ago and we met for the first time in Accra. We instantly connected and became business partners and shared stories about the trials of dating as a returnee. We collaborated and worked together to bring the web series to what it is today.
Nicole and I were both tired of the imagery that kept circulating from century to century and from decade to decade about the African continent…about the African woman. A show was needed that might change the narrative and be another story to the many stories that are out there but not made visible by mainstream media. When you think of the African woman, why not think Harvard Business School or a successful entrepreneur…or a woman who just wants to get her “American massager” out of customs! We rarely see smart, beautiful, successful and well-educated African women being showcased so that was the inspiration.
APiF: What is the key theme or message of ‘An African City?
Millie: The show tells the story of five beautiful, successful and determined African females who return to their home continent in search of the life and love they’ve always longed for. The show delves into the lives of these women as they struggle to find new ways to deal with being modern and successful while not falling victim to the pressures put on them by their traditional African parents and society as a whole. The story of Africa is many. But, I like to think this show is 100% African. The characters and actresses as well as Nicole & I are from the continent and we try to remain true to telling OUR story.
APiF: Is ‘An African City’ the “African” answer to ‘Sex and the City’?
Millie: I don’t know if I would go as far to describe our show as Africa’s “answer” to Sex and the City… because I don’t think African’s were waiting for an answer. I will however say that “Sex and the City” is still my favorite show, so the comparisons are flattering and warranted!.
I love how open and honest SATC was, and how I was able to connect to the characters. To see it now with my own African sisters and with an African twist is an absolute pleasure and I have found that many other people in Africa that have seen our show are responding in the same way!
APiF: What role plays fashion in your show?
Millie: Fashion plays a MAJOR role in the series and I like to say that Fashion in the 6th main character! The majority of the clothes were given to us by African fashion designers such as Christie Brown, Kiki Clothing, Osei Duro, Ameyo, AfroMod Trends, Deborah Vanessa, Afrodesiac and Chemphe Bre. We made it a priority to showcase the talent of African creatives from acting to music to fashion to the actual production. Everything the girls wear tells a story. In season 1, you will notice Nana Yaa’s evolution from when she first returns and slowly see how her fashion choices change with the more comfortable she becomes with being back home. If you pay close attention you will see that the fashion in the series is telling a story all its own.
APiF: What is the advantage of starting a show online? Are there plans to bring the show to TV Screens?
Millie: It was so smart of Nicole to have the idea to want the show to be a web series. She was inspired by Issa Rae who launched ‘Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl’ a couple years ago. Our show launching as a web series helped catapult us into the phones, computers and tablets of people everywhere. Our show has been viewed in the US, UK, Ghana, France, Ethiopia, South Africa, Nigeria, and the list goes on and on.
It was always been my plan to see this show on TV screens and we are currently in talks with a few different networks to do just that.
APiF: How many more seasons are planned?
Millie: As many as we can churn out. It is my hope that we will continue the series for as long as people are willing to continue watching and enjoying it.
APiF: Any tips for aspiring artists and entrepreneurs?
Millie: My best advice is to decide what it is you want to do and just throw yourself in there. Be inquisitive and surround yourself with people that you can learn from who know what they are doing. Be hungry, open and willing to learn and before you know it you will be capable of doing it yourself. I am a big fan of mentorship and always suggest finding a mentor in your field that is willing to encourage you and guide you in the right direction.
Last but most importantly, ignore the haters and push forward with your dream! Nicole did not start out in the film industry and had no idea that one day she was going to pull off a show like this… She says the best advice she received during her journey was: “Just write, the rest will follow!”