The attitudes of many people in the world is greatly influenced by the media. How Africa, Africans and African Immigrants are portrayed in these mediums often stereotypes and reinforces perceptions of aid, disease and war.
When Belle Niba first came to the United States as a teenager, she struggled with the story that was being told about where she was from. Africa was always this dark place with endless wars, disease, poverty and strife. Her country of origin, Cameroon didn’t stray too far from the stereotype but the mainstream narrative was one sided and omitted stories of resilience, hard work, determination and success. The stories of ordinary Africans doing extraordinary things.
That’s when she decided to take matters into her own hands and fill the void. She created African Vibes, a general interest lifestyle publication, to counter the negative stereotypes about Africa and Africans perpetrated by mainstream media.
The publication reaches across the borders of national origin to engage bi-cultural individuals who have a desire to stay connected to Africa through stories that are hopeful, inspiring, educational and motivating.
The internet has opened up an information superhighway where information is can be shared more liberally across the globe. Despite all that, stories of Africa in mainstream media have not strayed too far from old patterns. If it’s about fashion then Safaris are the theme; if it is about today’s Africa then desperation, war, disease and poverty are the highlights. African Vibes does its part to add more color and perspective to the the beautiful fabric of Africa’s story so its diversity can be more fully expressed.
There are so many stories to tell and so much more to discover. With every story we are reminded of how much light and beauty rests in a continent that was once coined ‘the dark continent’.