Without the incredible talent of African creatives, there would be no African entertainment industry. Now more than ever, Africa is under a global lense, and our stories are finally being told by us, using our voices, for the world to see. On a not so normal Monday in Johannesburg, Netflix gathered 18 eclectic creatives from across the continent to speak to and celebrate their stories currently on, and soon to be on the streaming platform in a moment captured on film, entitled, ‘Made By Africans, Watched By The World’. These visionaries and storytellers, who have been at the forefront of African content on Netflix.
Nao Serati, owner of NAOSERATI, a brand that specializes in unisex garments that explore the margins of gender, was tasked with the job of translating the importance of African creative stories through fashion for the campaign. “With some of the best African talent in one room coming together to celebrate African creativity, we knew we had to put African fashion at the forefront. To remain true to the messaging, we wanted to work with talented designers from the various countries where each of the creatives are from, ensuring we were being as authentic as possible. The direction for the styling had to be glamorous, fresh and rooted in Africa. Each of the creatives featured in this collaboration is so beautiful and dynamic that creating looks for each individual was a surreal experience,” said Serati.
Expressing his excitement to work with fellow creatives, Serati added “we as Africa are a world of our own. We tell stories through our craft. I was so inspired, as a designer myself, researching every country and its designers. I saw all the obstacles some of these designers had to overcome and I am humbled by the fact that they still see the beauty in our world and create the most moving work. We collaborated with each artist to ensure that each story worked and that they came together beautifully. Once the final firework went off, it was a defining moment for all of us”.
South African star of Catching Feelings and Queen Sono, Pearl Thusi, was dressed by Nao Serati and spoke enthusiastically about Netflix’s investment in the African continent. “Africa is so intriguing to the rest of the world as there really is nothing like the beat of the African drum. It resonates with everyone,” said Thusi. The writer of Mama K’s Team 4, Malenga Mulendema of Zambia was dressed by Viviers and said, “like any other storyteller across the globe, we are just trying to tell our stories and explore our lives and communities that we live in, so it’s incredible that Netflix gave us a voice to do so globally”. Genevieve Nnaji, Nigerian all-round creative, dressed by Andrea Iyamah, echoed this statement and said “It’s a good thing, especially for upcoming artists who want a chance. We have so many more stories to tell in this part of the world.’’
Serati’s advice for creatives is, “as a creative it’s hard to be positive and confident, you are always faced with being picked on and being picked apart. It’s really important to keep at it though. If you don’t get up and create you’ll never move anyone and personally I’d rather everyone hate it then feel nothing. So my advice is, above all, “DO IT”.
Nao Serati, owner of NAOSERATI