Afropreneurs: Meet Aina Fadina, The Creative Force B...
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Afropreneurs: Meet Aina Fadina, The Creative Force Behind ‘I Of Africa’ Web Series


    Our new regular series, ‘Afropreneurs,’ gives our team here at Okayafrica the opportunity to bring to the fore the faces and minds of the brilliant entrepreneurs powering Africa’s most innovative and creative brands, challenging the status quo and trite narratives that abound about the African continent while simultaneously transforming its landscape for the better. In this first edition, we spoke with high fashion model Aina Fadina, Nigerian-American creator, executive-producer and host of web series I Of Africa now in its third season.

    Last week we told you a bit about web series I Of Africa now in it’s third season.

    It’s the creation of high fashion model-turned-entrepreneur Aina Fadina. She developed IOA in 2013, financing its production almost exclusively from her pocketbook, because “when I looked at original content that’s related to Africa, I realized that no one was telling African’s stories through my perspective,” Fadina says. And that perspective, if you will, is for Africans, by Africans. You won’t see an old white man or a blonde helming this show.

    Season three, which premiered July 7 on its YouTube channel, sees Fadina as the captain of her own ship—she hosts and executive-produces the series. An avid world traveler spending 40 percent of her time overseas, Fadina jetsets to cosmopolitan cities such as Lagos, NYC, Cape Town, Paris, and London to hang with African cultural provocateurs such as Blitz The Ambassador (who kicks off the first episode), Laolu Senbanjo, Marcus Samuelsson, the cast of Broadway breakout play Eclipsed in this season to learn more about their crafts.

    It’s all quite a feat for Fadina who continues to model as she’s done for eleven years with fashion houses such as Oscar De La Renta, Alexander McQueen, Versace and Fendi. She’s also busy promoting the web series and closing business deals—if you flew on South African Airways in June, then you were treated to an episode. Fadina is also in negotiation to have her series featured on a major U.S. airline. It’s all a labor of love fueled on pure, unadulterated passion. That’s the only way she could do it all.

    I caught up with Aina at a humming tea shop in Manhattan to learn more about her beginnings in Lagos, Nigeria, her concept for IOA as well as her opinion of the viral phrase “Black girl magic.” This interview has been edited and condensed.

    Erin C.J. Robertson for Okayafrica:Who is Aina Fadina?

    Aina Fadina: That’s an interesting question, just because I think there’s identity aspects of who I am as a person. Obviously I’m Yoruba, I’m Nigerian, I’m West African, I am African, I am black, I’m American (laughs).

    I’m a woman, I’m human. At the same time, I think there’s so many facets to who I am as a person, in terms of from a professional standpoint. I am also a model, an entrepreneur, a creative, a businesswoman, so yeah. There’s so many hats. Sister, a daughter, an auntie, a great friend. There are many aspects of who I am as a person.

    Omo oduduwa, omo Yoruba ni mi, Ati omo Sola Ati Deji Fadina. Oldie, but a good one. Shout out to all the women, who go through the gele drama every weekend.