Christelle Kedi: Afropolitanism and the Black Blogosphere
Christelle Kedi is an award-winning makeup artist (GLE One London, Rising Star 2008 and Women4Africa, Make-up Artist of the Year 2012) nominated to the BEFFTA Awards (Black Entertainment Film Fashion television and Arts Award). A beauty historian, she was born and raised in Paris, before moving to London where she opened a firm specializing in make-up and fashion in 2007.
Christelle Kedi holds a diploma in make-up and body art for performances, a Bachelor of Arts in Beauty Salon Management and a Master's Degree of Arts in Fashion imaging and Promotion. Mastering French and English perfectly, she has worked with several magazines including National Geographic Green, The Voice, Scarf and New African Woman to name a few. She has also collaborated with the Royal African Society, Fashion Works, London Fashion Week, Afro Hair Show 2012, Boucles d’Ebène, and the exhibition on the origins of the Afro Hair Comb at the University of Cambridge.
Her first book "Beautifying the Body in Ancient Africa and Today" was published in 2013 by Books of Africa, a historical journey on identity authenticity through the African sense of beauty and its secular secrets.
Her second book Afropolitanism and the Black Blogosphere (2016, Books of Africa) is a selection of 21 case studies of Afro bloggers, in beauty, fashion and lifestyle in 9 European countries.
Christelle Kedi is the guest of our fashion page this month in the following lines she tells us more about her new book.
Flashmag: Hello christelle we are happy to have you as guest this month
Christelle: Hi thanks for receiving me ....
Flashmag: If in your first book you have more explored the customs and traditions of African beauty from Antiquity to the present days, this second work is more scientific, critical and right in its era. What did you want to achieve with Afropolitanism and the black blogosphere?
Christelle Kedi: The objective was to propose a book that to my unpleasant surprise did not exist in 2014 when I read 25 books on blogging, and I could only list 3 black bloggers on thousands of blogs featured. 2 Afro-Americans and another by a former male model Afro French and gay ... we had to make black bloggers exist outside the virtual world, to perpetrate and record the history of our practices in communication, fashion and life style.
Flashmag: And why did you think it was necessary to talk about the black blogosphere?
Christelle: The black blogosphere is particularly developed compared to the black press and other community media. It is not, however, professionally speaking, a fact of trained journalists or investigators. It is an additional and popular platform of expression that offers the advantage of being anonymous and available from a mobile phone or any other technology connected to the Net.
The Afro blogosphere (except for Afrikaners and other non-Black North African populations) is a universe of influencers who are seen by their readers (wrongly) as celebrities or experts. I developed on an academic basis the fundamental difference between 'celebrity', 'success', 'notoriety' and 'influence'
Flashmag: And what do you define by Afropolitanism?
Christelle: I do not define afropolitanism ... I deconstruct the myths around its reality. It is a term born of the Afrikaners of Cape Town in South Africa a Town 80% white ...
Flashmag: What kind of myths?
Christelle: Afropolitanism does not exist as a sociological fact, nor historical, nor nowhere in the Academia. This is the fact of black writers obsessed with Western validation. Indeed, only female diaspora (rarely male) literature is fond of this finished form of Stockholm syndrome. To be anything but 'African' under the pretext that a place of birth or dwelling determines the anthropological reality of people! As if a Bantu was born to practice skiing. Even a salmon migrating in tropical water, remain a cold-water fish! Why pretend that we are no longer African when we have tried the Berlin metro?
I make a demonstration, not a fictitious fixation, based on Western psychology ... Unfortunately, this is the strongest myth: Afropolitanism is an Afrikaner creation because the Bantu of Southern Africa refuse them the " The name of Africans ... Why would naturalized Africans define themselves as Afro-Americans, Afropeans or others? Would they be closer to the Afrikaners in terms of identity? Certainly, they share a colonial vision of their relationship to Africa, eternal land to be Westernized, but from there, to establish a fiction as a scientific truth. I needed React.
Flashmag: about you the black diaspora is important in what? When it aims to integrate, itself it’s in general for its own purpose, is the representativeness in the Western structures an asset or a disadvantage for Afro Self-Determination?
Christelle: The Black Diaspora represents 4.3% of Afro-Americans, 6% Brazilians and Caribbean and finally 1 to 2% Africans outside their continent ... It is a minority in Number but economically significant for the black world that it maintains under infusion ... Its complexes of integration in the West, I do not understand them. I fight to have multinationals on my continent, not to work for NASA or a senate in Europe. Especially since these same people criticize the European industries that exploit Africa while working and paying their taxes in Europe! I consider diasporic only those who descend from the formerly captive Africans, the others are migrants, volunteers to minimization in the colonizing country, like my parents ... Afro self-determination begins with entrepreneurship in Africa. Social, economic or cultural, entrepreneurship creates activities, offers local solutions, and develop initiatives for the youngest continent of the world.
Flashmag: Young Continent in the modernist Understanding which places the West at the head of capitalist development but very old when it comes back to ancient culture. About you how the little-known history of Africa and colonial and slavery history affects the Development and behavior of Africans in Africa and elsewhere?
Christelle: Young in terms of demographics. The Western paradigm with its concepts of 'development' and 'capitalism' does not concern us.
If you put your parents in retirement homes instead of looking after them, if bestiality is legal in Canada and in Germany, this kind of development, let them keep these practices for themselves. Meanwhile the negroes who run after them, so much the worse for them ...
history “his- story” only affects us if we continue to use the intreprevatism to identify ourselves. Let's talk about the present and the future to rebuild what has been destroyed, disturbed or altered. Most Nigerian billionaires do not know how to read the Medu Neter but they create opportunities at home!
Flashmag: by intrepevatism you mean?
Christelle: It is a grid of academic reading very used in the social sciences and which opposes the positivism.
Flashmag: about you, afro bloggers want to reach what goal with their publication?
Christelle Kedi: The bloggers who took part in this study motivated their goals by the need to inform, to exchange and to express themselves. I show that self-gratification, media visibility and finally monetarization are also contemplated motives.
The essay is mostly a writing on business practices (valid or not) used by fashion and beauty blogosphere of Afro descendants in Europe.
Flashmag: How was your work welcomed into the Western Black community?
Christelle: In London, the reception was mixed. Bloggers appreciate moderately being associated with mercantilism. And then my demonstration of African identity as an economic vector is justified by the success of bloggers in Africa and the relative success of those who are blogging from Europe as Afropolitan or Afropean, and who run tirelessly after the sponsorships of the major Western brands. There are so many other business models to exploit ...
Flashmag: Do you think your book will reach its target? A word towards the potential readers?
Christelle: The target is very wide ... all those interested in the virtual black world.
Flashmag: the final word for readers?
Christelle: There are worlds on this Earth: neither virtual, nor Western, nor materialistic.
Flashmag: Good continuation thank you for this open talk.
Christelle: a big thanks to the Team!
Interview by Hubert Marlin