In the third installment of our Behind the words series, we introduce you to Gillean. She’s the writer behind the great blog, afroklectic, where you’ll find Music, Photography, Film, Fashion and words living together. Here’s one of my favorites of her recent posts. Before I go on forever about this awesome lady, I’ll let her tell you about herself in this interview.
1. What made you decide to start blogging?
I used to spend hours (still do) looking at other African blogs and wondered why we didn’t have one in Australia. My friend at Uni use to always tell me that I needed to start a blog because I had built up a large digital archive of African associated things and it was like I had an opinion on everything I collected or I always had background into to back it up or link it to something else. I would to always brush my friend off because I wasn’t keen on writing. As time went on I noticed that young African-Australian people around me were starting to show their creative side, I thought they needed a place to showcase their talent to the rest of the world and I personally needed a platform to communicate my thoughts and ideas. Blogging seemed to be the best solution, so I faced my fear of writing and decided to I start Afroklectic.
I toiled around with about 40-50 names and then I stopped trying, because I didn’t want to force the process and come up with a name a would eventually regret. I wanted something which represented the diversity of creative Africa in one word. Six months later, I was thinking about one of my favourite words in the English dictionary – ‘eclectic’. I thought that it linked to the ideas I had for a blog. And then ‘afrokletic’ popped in my head! It was exactly what I was looking for!
Anything about creative Africa – it could be African inspired, it could be work by an African, or work made in Africa, whether in music, fashion, design, interiors and so forth. I also write about my experiences as an Australian-born African. I didn’t realise that I have a lot of stories to tell until I started writing for afroklectic.
4. Tell us a little bit about your cultural background
I was born in Sydney to Ghanaian parents who moved to Australia in the mid-80s. When they arrived, there weren’t many Africans. The Ghanaians used to (still do) stick together holding onto their traditions from Ghana. So I grew up quite submerged in my Ghanaian culture yet, I would always come to the surface to get in touch with Australian way of life.
Being African, born in Australia and studying design surely affects the way I view the world. I recently went on exchange to the UK and that too has changed my perception on this world. It’s made me appreciate my upbringing in the Australia, but my parent’s time was the struggle to establish themselves in Australia. As first generation children during the struggle, we didn’t understand. Now it’s time for my generation to reap the benefits of the struggle.
6. In your opinion, what does it mean to be a girl/woman today?
Being yourself and striving for the things you want out of this life!
7. Finally, If someone asked you to recommend some music, what would you say? What are 2 songs you just can’t help replaying these days?
‘I feel good’ by Mary J. Blige because it is a great statement song for women and ‘Back in the Day’ by Ahmed because it a great reminiscing song.