AfriMericans defined: 1. slang. Typically used in reference to first-generation Africans born to highly traditional parents/family. AfriMericans is generally utilized in reference to millennials or younger generations.
Afrimericans represent a unique demographic of first generation Black people who are fully immersed in the “American dream,” while staunchly holding on to tradition. It can be difficult, balancing the sweet spot where the past and the future meet, but these entertainers, tastemakers, and influencers do it flawlessly.
These women have made a mark on this world while highlighting and representing the roots that gave them the strength to grow. They navigate this world with grace, flyness, and African consciousness.
Bozoma St. John
Bozoma St. John has always been a boss, but her Worldwide Developers Conference speech moved her from an industry notable to a household name.
The Ghanian beauty is the head of global consumer marketing at Apple Music & iTunes. Before scoring her major Apple gig, Bozoma was busy running the music and entertainment marketing group at Pepsi, where she reportedly secured deals with mega-stars Nicki Minaj and Kanye West. According to Wired, Bozoma also secured Beyoncé‘s epic 2013 Super Bowl performance.
Born to a father who was a clarinetist in the Ghanian army, her family relocated to Colorado when she was 14. She went on to earn her degree from Wesleyan University in African-American studies. Before moving to Pepsi, she worked in various ad agencies.
Lupita Nyong’o catapulted to A-list status when she won an oscar for her heart-wrenching role in 12 Years a Slave.
As a Kenyan woman raised in Mexico, Lupita started turning heads when she waltzed her way onto red carpets, gracefully rocking the latest trends and styles. With projects across the board, from Broadway shows to sci-fi flicks, Lupita is proof of how far integrity and talent can get you.
In a recent spread with Vogue, Lupita shared her hometown with the high-end fashion mag, saying, “Being able to use my platform to expand and diversify the African voice,” she says, searching for the right words, “I feel very passionate about that. It feels intentional, meaningful.”
We first fell in love with Uzo Aduba when she starred as “Crazy Eyes” aka Suzanne on Orange Is the New Black. But we quickly learned this actress was talented across different genres, too (remember her ethereal performance in the Wiz as Glinda The Good Witch?).
The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Uzo explained she pulled from her own experiences to relate to her Crazy Eyes character, who often feels like an outsider.
“I was raised to know that I am Nigerian. I’m from a very long lineage of proud Nigerians,” she told Biography. “But there are not a lot of Nigerians in New England! (Laughs) So there was always a push-pull inside of me, and that’s something that I definitely bring to Suzanne. I understand what its like to feel different.”
Danai Gurira is known for her badass role as Michonne in the hit AMC show The Walking Dead, but this actress has done it all — from being on the Broadway stage in Eclipsed with Lupita, to the big screen in the highly anticipated superhero series The Black Panther.
As a Zimbabwean woman, Danai prides herself on choosing roles that show the diversity of African stories. She explained to Yahoo that she came to the U.S. with the spirit of an activist, dedicated to educating people on the nuances of African life.
“There is a statistic[al] perspective toward what is going on on the continent. It wasn’t about individuals, it wasn’t about individual stories, it wasn’t about the intricacies of life and people — with aspirations, dreams, careers — being affected in the prime of their lives,” she told the site. “That was something that made me a bit of an activist right when I came back to the United States … just wanting to help people on this side of the world understand that it’s not this helpless situation where people are unwilling to see their lives progress, and are doing things carelessly. It’s not like that. They’re just like you and I — people that are trying to live their lives the best they can and are striving for upward mobility, who had these experiences deeply affect them.”
Luvvie Ajayi has been blogging our thoughts as long as we can remember. This truth teller and author of new book I’m Judging You always proudly big-ups her Nigerian blood.
Aside from making us laugh to ourselves while reading her latest post, Luvvie is very vocal on social issues and uses her platform to push for change.
“Citizen journalism has democratized [social justice],” Luvvie said at the National Association of Black Journalists earlier this year.
Luvvie’s impact is felt beyond writing, with her Awesomely Techie brand extension dedicated to entrepreneurs in the digital space and her nonprofit Red Pump Project that is committed to HIV/AIDs education.
Pearl Thusi, aka the Black Pearl of South Africa, constantly inspires her fans on her upward trajectory to the top. In her new role on Quantico, Pearl stars as Dayana Mampasi, a new CIA agent from Zimbabwe.
Before landing this role alongside Priyanka Chopra in the action-packed drama, Pearl was a TV host in South Africa and a soap opera star.
What’s most impressive about Pearl is how she continually motivates her thousands of followers with motivating quotes and messages of love:
Always one to celebrate her native South African pride, Pearl was overwhelmed by her country’s response to her Quantico debut. The twitternet declared Monday #PearlThusiDay, with fans showing their love through the trending hashtag.
The love didn’t go unnoticed:
Nicole Amarteifio is a burgeoning media powerhouse as the creative mind behind web series An African City. The show was inspired by the popular American girlfriend series Sex and the City. The series went viral when it hit 1 million views on YouTube just a few weeks after its release.
Nicole relished in her opportunity to create lead roles for women in the wake of the series’ success. In an interview with Ebony, Nicole spoke out about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, which went viral when it was noted that no person of color had been nominated for leading roles in film.
“Let them have their Oscars. Our casting call sought after women from the African diaspora. The women we were looking for are usually told they are only good enough to play Store Clerk #3 or Prostitute #5. We were telling them, ‘We see you. Your worth is the worth of a leading role. That is what you are.’”
Originally from Ghana, Nicole worked as a communication strategist for the government, as well as the United States African Development Foundation. A jack of all trades, Nicole is also the first ever social media strategist for the Africa Region at The World Bank.
Evelyn From The Internets
You know you’ve made it when Beyoncé acknowledges your work. That’s what happened to vlogger Evelyn From The Internets when she released her hilarious Lemonade review. After her reaction vid hit the web, it wasn’t long before Bey herself noticed — she even incorporated her commentary into her Formation concert:
Evelyn constantly serves us Black girl realness via her YouTube channel and Twitter profile, and some of her greatest internet moments include very public reads of Buzzfeed and their terrible “27 Questions Black People Have For Black People” or Black Panther fans who claim they are from the fictionalized city of “Wakanda.”
Lola Ogunnaike has been hustling in the journalism game for quite some time. From the New York Daily News to CNN to The New York Times, Lola has interviewed an array of high-profile heavy hitters, including First Lady Michelle Obama.
As the daughter of Nigerian immigrants, that interview was a crowning moment for Lola, who had the opportunity to speak to Michelle in Africa.
“Meeting her was definitely its own unique and amazing experience, but actually interviewing her on the continent of Africa was also really powerful and a really full-circle moment for me … For me to return to the motherland and interview the first black First Lady on the continent from where my parents came was just really powerful,” she told Media Bistro.
Angelica Nwandu owns shade. Her gossip site The Shaderoom gets the latest juicy celebrity gossip tips from their millions of devout fans and followers — including some of your favorite celebrities.
Angelica’s key to success revolved around leveraging Instagram as a source for news. Her fresh approach to the Black TMZ earned her a spot on Forbes 30 under 30 list.
Angelica’s parents emigrated from Nigeria to the U.S. in the late 1980s, where she was born. Her early years were marked with tragedy, with her dad murdering their mother, leaving Angelica and her four sisters orphaned and sent into the foster care system.
Despite adversity, Angelica graduated from Loyola Marymount University in 2012. She credits her endurance to her Nigerian roots.
“Nigerians are some of the most successful immigrants in America,” she told Buzzfeed. “And so when I would go to class, people would say, ‘Oh, you’re Nigerian,’ so they would expect me to be smart. Somebody expected something from me.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter, Instagram