No. 15: Deborah on Creating AfroNoire Mag and Finding Home in Ivory Coast and England

NO. 15: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE AFRONOIRE MAGAZINE?

DEBORAH, Founder of @AFRONOIRE ANSWERS.

LOCATION: LONDON

I basically wanted to foster a community of black women because I like being around us. And I come from a matriarchal family so that probably explains it too. The female being at the center of everything. It’s something that’s not alien to me.

Some people probably consider me to be a feminist. That’s not something that I subscribe to. It’s not a title I give to myself because it is very natural for me to want  to have and for me to take the same rights that men have. So I wouldn’t say Afronoire is political in that sense.

‘Cause I think the name in itself makes people…I think one of the things that most people attribute to anything that’s black and that’s created in the context of Western society is that it has to be charity-based or it has to defend our cause. These conversations need to be had, but I just want to record us and what we’re doing.

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If I feel there is a need to have different conversations, we’re going to have them because all conversations are valid, but I guess I created Afronoire because I wanted to create my own representation.

My legacy that I hope Afronoire will create is that I want it to be a publication that’s passed down and seen in different institutions. I would like my younger sisters to pick it up and read about other women.

And we don’t have an emphasis on female celebrities because every story matters. And we’re basically trying to tell stories and tell it in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing.

On living between Ivory Coast and England

The dream is to be living in Africa and Europe. I have spent half of my life in Africa and the other half here [in London].

I can dream from wherever I am, but when I’m over there [Ivory Coast] I am more hopeful and I believe in my dreams a bit more. And I guess that’s because over there erases the lingering worries of day to day life.

Over there, I know that if I do not have a penny I’m going to make it. I’m never going to starve. I’m always going to have a place to go because that’s home.

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You know family, even if it’s not a direct family member, the neighbor would consider you family. So the togetherness and the sisterhood and the brotherhood that I see exist over there. And it’s not something I have to try to create. It’s a natural way of life.

And of course not having to worry about being black. Sometimes it’s like you are forced to think about it [in London]. And it’s like no I’d like to exist, please.

Over there, I don’t have to think about that because I live in a country where the majority of people are black. So we have the privilege of doing what white folks do over here, which is not think about their whiteness and just think about other issues like planning what their next holiday is going to be. Like, what they’re going to do on the weekend — think about the lighter stuff.

And when I’m in Ivory Coast, I definitely feel peace and it’s just nice.*

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