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From Fear to Confidence: Creating Afro Archives

02 May

From Fear to Confidence: Creating Afro Archives 

In producing work myself, I’ve found it to be a classic experience of what I’ve read about, and heard about when it comes to voices telling you, you are no good – all of that. I begin doing some work on Afro Archives and get a feeling to give up. A constant judgement. On other days and in other moments I’m really excited. From fear to confidence.

One of the things that has let me continue is to shrug. Stillness of mind, zen practice,  talks about letting go. Don’t grip, let it flow.  My mum, every now and then, comes out with a philosophical gem, and the other day she said “you’ve got to stumble to walk”. The natural process of learning, and reminding myself of that means becoming properly aware of beginning – then I can get on with it.

It’s another funny thing that if I’m creating something, it means it is the first time it’s seen the light of day. It’s spent all that time in the dark, away from the world away from me and my consciousness. What can I compare it to? There is nothing. Whether it makes sense and how I communicate it is the steps to getting better and improving. Translating it into something coherent. From fear to confidence.

What has helped beyond the stars, and another main factor that has made me continue, is the belief from other people. Afro Archives has been a project that has involved loads of other people. The Black Cultural Archives letting me film upstairs, my friend Imogen Dall being interested creating her own ideas and vision, bringing her friend Chris Lovell along to be our DOP. My niece India being up for joining us and creating bits and pieces herself too, all my actor friends, saying yes, and making time. Livvy Baker-Mendoza, who I hardly knew when we started, coming on board with an incredible determined commitment for creating the Afro Archives orginal music. Africa Fashion, being present, supporting and continuing to support me at every step. Africa Fashion has invited me to guest blog about the Afro Archives series. To let me put the videos up each month and write about them. It’s meant I’ve had to think really hard about the project and what it means. What I realised, is that when I began, it didn’t have a main point that I could articulate. I didn’t know what it was about apart from being interested  – I thought it was funny that my hair and how others were wearing their hair, seemed to be affecting the roles we were getting, acting-wise. We wanted to know more. Whether I have found out more, or what I have found out, I’m still not sure. I am convinced that more care and attention is needed when it comes to afro hair and working in the acting industry. I am also more and more confident that if there is a make-up artist or hair-artist on set who does not know how to do afro hair, then there is indirect disrimination happening on racial grounds. But I am also aware that there is a natual hair movement and more and more women with natural hair are appearing on our screens, which is awesome. 

For “Afro Archives A Performers World” the collaboration and openness with others has made me stronger and able to carry on with it. By inviting me to blog, Africa Fashion has given me an opportunity to begin to unravel the information I’ve collected and to work out what I think about it all. Watching the videos again and again each month as I write my blogs and upload the next release to YouTube is a process and a learning. It’s my first project of this kind. On the next one, I’ve been thinking to myself maybe I should try having a plan from the outset – might be easier…! But then again, I like and embrace letting Afro Archives just be a space and place of whatever. Coming together and stumbling through it. Being honest. It lives on the internet, where there is freedom to do that. It’s a beginning, an exploration, it’s where I’m at today.

For my Africa Fashion guest blog we’ve started at Afro Archives episode four, which was released on Friday 28th April – with the past blogs to follow soon and the rest on their way as the videos are released in the months ahead. A bit out of sync but who cares. From fear to confidence.

Ayesha Casely-Hayford and India Ria Amarteifio

Ayesha Casely-Hayford and India Ria Amarteifio

Ketorah Williams

Ketorah Williams

Ayesha Casely-Hayford, Chris Lovell and Imogen Dall

Ayesha Casely-Hayford, Chris Lovell and Imogen Dall

Chris Lovell, Imogen Dall, Ketorah Williams,  Alice Fofana and Simone McIntyre

Chris Lovell, Imogen Dall, Ketorah Williams, Alice Fofana and Simone McIntyre

Ayesha Casely-Hayford with Africa Fashion at The Black Cultural Archives October 2015

Photo: Loreen Brown: Africa Fashion

Afro Archives A Performers World

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