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New US series reflects experiences of the African diaspora

Updated: Jun 18

A new series that highlights the diversity and commonality of experiences from the African diaspora communities will premiere on Juneteenth (19 June) - a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the USA.


#Stressed will air on BronxNet and stars actress Abena Mensah-Bonsu, who plays Ashanti.


Abena is a plus-sized woman, second-generation Ghanaian who navigates between her Ghana-born parents’ idea of career success, and her own vision for her life.


"Seeing our own stories on screen validates our experiences and ensures our voices are heard globally" - film director Kobina de Graft-Johnson

#Stressed is directed by Kobina de Graft-Johnson and written by creator & screenwriter Jasmine Patrice White.


The premiere episode sees Ashanti attempting to build on her digital influencer persona by entering the world of beauty pageants. In the process, she fights stereotypes about body types, as a plus-sized beauty.

KOBINA DE GRAFT-JOHNSON, is the Producer|Creator|Director of the new BronxNet series, “#Stressed,” which premieres on June 19, 2024.   Photo courtesy of BronxNet
KOBINA DE GRAFT-JOHNSON, is the Producer|Creator|Director of the new BronxNet series, “#Stressed,” which premieres on June 19, 2024. Photo courtesy of BronxNet

Representation in film is vital for Ghanaian stories because it preserves our rich cultural heritage and inspires our communities," Kobina told AKADi Magazine.


"Seeing our own stories on screen validates our experiences and ensures our voices are heard globally. It’s about celebrating our identity, fostering pride, and connecting with others through the power of film."


Kobina and Jasmine are part of a cohort of 10 BronxNet artists that are supported by Creatives Rebuild New York, an artist economy development initiative that provides employment or guaranteed income grants for up to 2,700 artists.


USA-based Tema native Kobina is CEO and director of photography at Anibok Studios, and has built up a catalogue of 100 films.


His projects include ‘Barely Made’ which won the Best TV and Web Series award at the 2023 London Pan African Film Festival.


Jasmine is an African-American writer and producer, who founded independent multimedia company J.P White Productions. The company is dedicated to creating healing stories about BIPOC (Black, Indigenous People Of Colour). Jasmine first garnered attention for her work on the digital series Hotline.


BronxNet is the independent non-profit organisation that serves the people of the Bronx with media production training, access to technology, and television channels.


BronxNet executive director Michael Max Knobbe said: “BronxNet provides storytellers and media makers with the tools, technologies, and platforms to create and launch original new shows that connect us, like this dramatic series about the African immigrant experience in NYC, #Stressed.”


The broadcast premiere of #Stressed will take place on Juneteenth, Wednesday, June 19, at 9.30pm on BronxNet channels 67 Optimum/2133 Fios, and at www.bronxnet.tv.


Read more about Kobina’s work here:


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