Still from Amber Akaunu's debut short film 'Afro Hair Rituals'. Available to watch HERE on BBC iPlayer.
Amber Akaunu is a Nigerian-German artist from Liverpool and co-founder of multi-award-winning magazine, ROOT-ed. She works across several mediums to explore concepts and ideas of race and identity through the lens of her experience as a Black Northern woman. Amber is also a current MA Screen Doc student at Goldsmiths which was made possible through her being awarded the BAFTA Kirsch Scholarship.
Amber’s work is heavily influenced by the everyday experiences, conversations, and discoveries of life and is therefore focused on a range of topics such as Eurocentric beauty standards, the transatlantic slave trade, Afro hair, and Black culture. Amber likes to use music as a portal to explore these sometimes heavy topics. This is evident in her body of work titled ’39’ in which she created 39 visual interpretations of 39 different hip hop lyrics to celebrate 39 years of the genre and Black culture.
"I appreciate a rapper's ability to effectively tell stories that the masses can access and relate to, whether directly or indirectly. I believe hip hop is the documentary filmmaking of music and as a hip hop fan, I'm currently exploring ways to incorporate the structure of hip hop (storytelling, sampling, realism, flow...) into my work."
Amber Akaunu recently directed the short film ‘Afro Hair Rituals’. The 4-minute film presents the idea that the process of styling and caring for afro hair is a sacred and intimate ritual that has been passed down for many generations. ‘Afro Hair Rituals’ draws from Amber’s own experience of getting her hair done at her grandmother's home. The film was created with New Creatives North and made its TV debut in March 2020 when it was broadcasted on BBC 4.
In 2018 Amber graduated from university with a first-class bachelor's degree in Fine Art from Liverpool Hope University. During her final year of studying, Amber co-founded ROOT-ed Zine, a quarterly magazine and social platform that promotes, inspires, and supports BIPoC creatives from the North West of England. Through this endeavor, Amber has had the opportunity to work and collaborate with established and talented artists and arts institutions in roles such as curating, arts programming, and producing. It was recently announced that ROOT-ed Zine was selected to be one of the three Tetley Jerwood commissioned artists.