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Amplify Africa's Dami Kujembola Wants More People to be Connected to "Home"



In partnership with Chick Fil A and The Shade Room, Amplify Africa, a leading media and entertainment platform, recently announced the winner of their short video contest to help amplify the voices in Africa and the diaspora.



The Amplify Africa video contest is a way to celebrate and recognize the unique qualities and similarities that exist between African Americans, Afro-Caribbean’s, Africans on the continent and those who make up the international Black collective. Based in Los Angeles, California, the media platform's vision was to create spaces for education in different African cultures while promoting African creativity to a global audience and bridging the gap between continental Africans and the world, namely the African diaspora communities, comprising African American, Afro-Latinx, Afro-European communities. Most recently Amplify Africa has grown with a digital audience of over 100,000 millennials across the US, United Kingdom and Brazil and has produced over 100 events including the Afro Ball, an annual awards ceremony and gala which includes a Certificate of Recognition from the US Congress to Africans excelling in the diaspora.


More recently Amplify Africa has partnered with The Africa Channel, a cable and streaming channel focused on travel, lifestyle, culture, documentaries, series and movies, for AFRICON 2021, a conference to showcase the excellence, culture, talent and innovation the continent and its diaspora has to offer. Taking place May 21st – 23rd (Friday - Sunday), the virtual multi-day event will feature virtual performances, panels and Amplify Africa’s highly anticipated AFRO BALL, a fashion-conscious, philanthropic event that celebrates individuals who are amplifying Africa and the diaspora by excelling in their respective professional and creative fields.


The Quintessential Gentleman had the chance to host a Q&A with co-founder, Dami Kujembola.


Can you talk about Amplify Africa, and why it is important for an organization like this to exist?


Amplify Africa was born out of a need and longing for community. The absence of basic cultural necessities is what gave Timi Adeyeba, COO, and me the vision to bring the company to fruition. There was and continue to be a longing and need for individuals in the diaspora to be connected to "home". Interestingly enough, as much as we refer to Africa, the motherland, as home, the home we truly speak of lies between nations and continents. It's the culture and through-line that is rooted in Africa but has grown and evolved through African people around the world. At Amplify Africa, we connect brothers and sisters of the motherland to who are those invested in her welfare through events, online content and community. As humans that something we all need. That's why Amplify Africa is so important.

What was it that clicked that made you want to create such a platform?


Honestly, it started in our hearts. Timi and I were new to America and we were incredibly homesick. We missed our family, our food and our people. At the time, places we could go to in order to be with our community were limited, if not non-existent. As we met others within the African community, we learned we were not alone in the desire to feel connected to the continent. It just so happened that the burden or responsibility fell on our hearts. Small gatherings turned into large gatherings, and eventually, those large gatherings transitioned into what Amplify Africa is today.

When first starting out, what was your intentional goal?


The goal has always been to create community, educate more people about the cultures of the continent and its diaspora, and represent its talents and interests. This is inherent in everything we do. As a Nigerian, I'm extremely proud of my culture and I want others to experience it. Also, the idea that you are not alone and that you have a support system/tribe is invaluable, especially for mental well-being.

I know the company had plans to produce 100 events in 2020 in over 20 cities around the world. What would that have looked like?


Very busy! We receive so many inquiries monthly from different cities and countries about hosting an event, so we were excited when the opportunity came to partner with one of the biggest event companies in the world to increase our marketing budget, as well as give us access to their many venue spaces around the world. That would have been another step in the right direction for the company's plan to amplify.


How did you overcome the letdown of your 2020 goals once Covid halted many of your plans?


We are blessed to have a very positive and passionate team. Although we took a step back to analyze and strategize, there are so many ways to amplify Africa. To us, one door closing while another opened.

The company made a pivot to stay fresh during the pandemic. you turned your focus to social media to continue your mission. Was that a tough decision, and how has that been?


We've always wanted to be in the media business because it gives us the opportunity to create communities unrestricted by geography. We launched an editorial platform with a dedicated team of writers, expanded our social media reach with new verticals and launched original programming. The team also launched a creative agency to help other companies and brands speak to our audience. It has been quite the learning experience, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

The success of Amplify Africa during the pandemic is outstanding. You launched an editorial site, launched a podcast & video channel, doubled your employees. What do you attribute to that success and picking yourself up by the bootstrap mentality?


We really think a great factor that contributes to our success is the clear mission. Everyone we work with and everything we do is aligned with all of our colleagues and partners. We work towards the advancement of the African narrative in business, entertainment, tech and beyond.

What do you believe your purpose is as far as representation?


It's simple: You have to see it to be it. That is why entertainment has been our focal point. People need to see other people who are just like them doing these great things so that they aren't believing a foreign narrative about themselves. Instead, they are realizing their full potential because they've seen others just like them do it.

What are some obstacles Amplify Africa is facing and how are you approaching those obstacles?


Time is a big one. 10 years ago in the US, being African wasn't cool. Even though we are taking steps in the right direction, there is still a lot of work to be done. A lot of progress has been made, but more change is coming. It’s inevitable. Time is our only enemy.

What are some common misconceptions that disconnect African Americans and Africans?


The idea that African Americans are willfully disconnected from our ancestry, as though to embrace one’s African roots devalues the power of their Black experience. The misinformation campaign to divide Africans across the diaspora has created a psychological separation through narratives that each group has been fed about themselves, as well as about each other. The colonial caricatures of tribalism and colorism have long fostered self-hate and resentment amongst and within each group. In today’s world of information, there is a shift towards the appreciation of traditional African culture, ancestry and rituals among African Americans and a growing respect for the history, struggles of the Black experiences. We are one.

What are ways to fix that disconnect?


It's already happening through connectivity, intermingling our cultures and collaborations. Also, what always works is open and honest dialogue. That is what will ultimately bring forth healing.


What is next for you and Amplify Africa?


Wow. I love that question because…a lot. There is a lot that is coming up next. What I'll say is stay tuned and stay close. Follow @amplifyafrica and see for yourself!


Learn more about Amplify Africa by visiting Amplifyafrica.org.

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