After moving to Chicago from Nigeria in 2014 to pursue a master’s in marketing from Roosevelt University, Efe Iyare recalls the culture shock he had. “I realized that there was a huge bias about me being African and what that represented,” he says.”People had no idea, just based off what they have seen in the media, where I came from or my culture.” The experience left him feeling inspired. “I felt obligated to represent [Africa] in my own way. It was my responsibility to show people the true colors and true values that Africa represents,” Iyare says. So in 2016, he took to social media and decided to create an Instagram page, Culture Power (@culture_power), “to promote African culture and diversity.” Now, two years later, the page has more than 1,200 followers, and Iyare’s efforts to foster cultural competency are growing beyond the Internet. Culture Power will be hosting its first event, People of Culture, this Sunday, August 26, at the DuSable Museum of African American History.
For Iyare, the history and significance of the DuSable Museum to Chicago’s black community made it the perfect place for People of Culture. The evening’s happenings will be based around music, dance, and fashion. A red carpet will kick off the event, followed by a light dinner and networking session, music performances, and a fashion display; the night will close with a talk.
The occasion will “show success stories and people from the continent who are doing extremely well,” Iyare says. A few notable people who will be in attendance are Tanzanian fashion designer Rahel Mwitula Williams, Senegalese businessman Elhadji Gueye, and Ghanian Instagram fitness guru Jehu Graham. There will also be 12 musicians performing, which is very important to Iyare. “They don’t necessarily have that audience and platform to promote like rock stars or African-American rappers, so this is the thing that will give them that platform for them to promote their talents,” he says.
Iyare hopes that the event will attract not just Africans but those who are interested in learning more about the continent and what its countries have to offer. Anyone who wants to learn about and celebrate the African culture is welcome; tickets are available on the People of Culture website.