Akunna Cook: Shaping Africa’s Global Image Through Media
In this episode of the Change Africa Podcast, Akunna Cook, the founder and CEO of Next Narrative Africa, shares her unique journey and vision for transforming Africa’s global narrative through media.
The conversation began with an exploration of Cook’s transition from her career in policy and diplomacy to the realm of media and entertainment. She emphasized the strategic importance of narrative change in media to alter global perceptions about Africa. Cook’s experience in policy significantly influences her approach to content creation, focusing on stories that present Africans as innovators and problem-solvers.
Cook discussed the various challenges and opportunities in the African media landscape, highlighting the negative portrayal of Africa in the media and its impact on perceptions and investments. She explained how Next Narrative Africa aims to counter these stereotypes by producing entertaining and impactful stories that positively represent Africa and its people.
The podcast delved into the company’s content strategy, which includes projects covering democracy, governance, health, climate, and inclusive economic growth. Cook underscored the need for content that is both entertaining and educative, aiming to make a social impact while also being commercially viable. Her strategy also involves creating a supportive ecosystem that facilitates the growth of diverse African storytellers. This includes organizing events like concerts and discussions to engage communities and foster partnerships essential for narrative change.
Looking ahead, Cook expressed her aspiration to build a globally recognized African media industry. She spoke about the importance of collaboration with the diaspora and international artists to amplify African stories. The conversation also touched upon the critical aspect of funding and investment in African media, with Cook outlining strategies to create a supportive ecosystem for diverse African storytellers.