Afrourbanism: How Cool Are You?

Afrourbanism continues to dictate global trends: Meet the cool kids From Africa!

Afrourbanism is an emerging trend which has been dominating global trends in recent years. So, what do we mean by the terminology?

Afrourbanism is Concerned with Fusing the Local Pan-African/Afrocentric Cultural Context with a Contemporary/Urban Perspective for Global Appeal.”

Afrourbanism Nas

American legendary Rapper Nas on the cover of Complex magazine in African print shirt by Woolrich Woolen Mills

‘Urban’ usually means City dwellers or those in densely populated areas. For many years, global media has used the term to categorise black music (Hip Hop) and culture without specifying any racial group.

Growing up in the UK, many people were ashamed to claim they were of African origin, but not me. I’m as African as it gets. Fast forward to a decade later and it’s suddenly cool to be African. So, what changed?


Woman Culturally Appropriating Yardie Women who wear multiple rings on their fingers.

Personally, I find cultural appropriation flattering as celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner, Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian-West, Khloe Kardashian and others are being inspired by the Afrourban vibe.

Afrourbanism Laolu NYC

Nigerian-American Contemporary Artist Laolu NYC is a true representation of Afrourbanism with his “Ori” African Art Expression

In this particular scenario, Afrourbanism can be translated to how major African cities on the continent such as Lagos, Accra, Nairobi, Johannesburg and others; as well as young Africans in the Diaspora continue to dictate global trends. We combine our traditional African heritage and contemporary understanding of the world to create Afrourbanism.

Afrourbanism Davido

Davido ft. Tinashe in How Long Music Video

Afrourbanism has not only attracted International artists such as Drake, French Montana, Omarion, Swiss Beats, Rick Ross, Major Lazer, Alicia Keys, Tinashe and others into collaborating with African artists like Wizkid, Davido, Psquare, Diamond Platinumz and much more for our music flavour, it has also inspired a street culture trend which influences my sense of self and style – Afrourbanism.

How Cool Is This ‘New Cool?’


Jamie Oliver, Tinie Tempah & Jimmy Doherty With Nigerian Suya

There has been so much development in the Afrourban scene that a white millennial who grew up in London can visit a London-based Nigerian restaurant like 805 Restaurant or high-end Restaurant like Ikoyi London and ask for Jollof Rice.

I remember in 2015, Jamie Oliver & Jimmy Doherty invited Nigerian-British artist Tinie Tempah (real name Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu) to cook West African street food “Nigerian Suya” (Bbq sizzling chilli powder beef skewers) for their predominantly white audience on BBC “Friday Night Feast.”

For me, this was an Epic moment for African Cultural advancement. Check out his Suya recipe here.


Celine Fall 2013 RTW Controversial “Ghana Must Go” Collection

Another example is International brands such as Celine, Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton & others jumping on the controversial Ghana must go trend. Let’s also not forget how Ankara African print has received the global appeal within the fashion scene. Not only will you see African millennials in the diaspora (previously ashamed of being called African) rocking it with confidence in their various cities and towns, other races like the Caribbean community have jumped on the trend.

Afrourbanism WafflesnCream

Nigeria’s First Official Skate Crew “Waffles N Cream” in action – Shot taken by Amarachi Nwosu

As an African millennial, Afrourbanism will continue to inspire how we choose to express ourselves. For example, the skate culture has developed in Lagos, Nigeria thanks to lifestyle brand Waffles N Cream.

However, in relation to style, music, food, art, dance and other forms of expression, our global perspective on issues are of mixed cultural identity too and we know we can’t be one without the other. Take me for example. I spent half of my life in Nigeria and the other half in the UK. I can’t choose between the two. Thanks to our Afrourban experiences, we are definitely less judgemental than our parents’ generations. That’s a really good thing.

Afrourbanism Dpiper twins

Fashion Entrepreneurs of Ghanian Heritage DPiper Twins Spotted Streetstyle at the Afropunk Music Festival

You might have also heard of other related terminologies such as Afrocentric, Afropolitan, Afropunk, Afro-modern, Afro-European, African-American, African-British etc which also have their own place in the development of Afrourban culture.

What’s your take on Afrourbanism and how Afrourban are you on a scale of 1-10?  Let us know in the comment section.

Culled from: Mariam Tijani 

Check out this amazing artist who shares Africa’s stories through arts 

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