Travel & Design Blog - BY YASMIN METZ-JOHNSON

Friday, 2 March 2018

Back to Basics: An ode to Wakanda

 

I’ve been back home in the UK from my trip to Ghana for two months now and its no secret that I find it extremely difficult to blog about the UK – Ok, maybe not difficult as I haven’t tried too hard to do so but that is because enough bloggers do that and that is there niche. Unless I’m going to a cool event, I have no zeal whatsoever to blog about travel in the UK, but who knows that could all change.

This time last week I had no motivation in the world to blog, to be honest I’ve even thought of packing it all in. Only to be reminded of how far I’ve come every time I mention it to my friends. I was looking back at photos I had taken the very first time I visited Dakar, Senegal. I went to find them again after watching the Black Panther movie as the euphoria I felt reminded me of that feeling I had back in 2013; The excitement and relief that a country on the continent is so beautiful and contrary to the pitiful stereotypes of Africa. A highlight of last month was most definitely the long awaited film Black Panther, I’m not here to review it or give any spoilers if you are yet to see it but it is fair to say the film is a game changer. In my twenty-five years of life I had never seen an all black cast depicted as strong and influential characters, it was so refreshing. I know the feeling is mutual amongst many black people as the #wakandaforever and #inwakanda hash tags continue via social media. I was stunned by the amount of research that went into the film in terms of the production as they merged a variation of cultures from West, North, South and East Africa to form Wakanda from the Malian architecture to Senegalese Music to the South African Ndebele tribal graphics. It was overwhelming to process, another similar emotion I feel now and then while creating content online.
 
GOREE ISLAND, SENEGAL 2014
All of these blogging strategies, Pinterest and all that jazz to boost your blog profile are time consuming and overwhelming to learn. It almost takes the fun out of blogging. I was speaking to my Dad recently about the pressure around blogging and how everything now heavily revolves around your stats and figures. It is a lot to take in alongside creating great content. It can be difficult not to look at what other bloggers are doing and compare yourself and think you are not doing things right, failing to realize what works for them may not work for you, every blogger is different. There is a general ideology that ‘consistency is key’ but what is the point of being consistent/active if you’re not adding value? I’ve really had to be honest and ask myself that. It’s ok to not be active and to take a step back to rest and prepare, as the saying goes ‘Rome was not built in a day’ and I’m pretty sure Hannah Beachler the Set Designer of Black Panther spent multiple hours grafting before making Wakanda come to life.

Other than thoroughly enjoying the film, I guess it reminded me too of my purpose as a ‘Travel and Design Blogger’. Something I feel that I segregate quite often when I really do not need to. In the words of my Dad “Remember why you started”. The reason I continued blogging was to document travelling elsewhere, especially the continent of my heritage, to the places that are not advertised the way they should be. To learn more about cultural history that was never taught in school. To document the design, people and artisan culture I was discovering on a daily basis, to make comparisons and observe the similarities of neighboring countries in Africa within culture and design.
DAKAR, SENGEL 2014

If you did not know Yasmin TELLS stands for Travel, Explore, Live and Learn. I feel I sometimes stray away from the purpose of my blog, which is not a bad thing, but Black Panther’s virtual city Wakanda gave me the wake up call I needed. Whenever you are suffering from a creative block or feel like giving up, remember why you started and focus on your core strengths.




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