My name is Tonje Bakang and I am the founder of Afrostream.
Afrostream is a video-on-demand service which provides millions of fans with unlimited access to Afro-American and african movies.
I grew up in France where the representation of black people in the mainstream media is very low.
As a kid most of my friends could relate to the heros on TV. I couldn’t.
I was so frustrated. I felt I needed role models.
It was a real challenge for me to find my place in society where the little that was shown about the black community was, generally speaking, pretty negative.
I quickly realized that this feeling of being “left aside” by the Mainstream media was not only shared by members of my family but also by my black friends whatever their age,city, or country.
A few years ago, during my first trip to the US I discovered the extent of Afro-American productions: Sucessful US hits that were –surprinsingly- not released in European or African countries.
Later I discovered the impressive volume of film productions from Nollywood/Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. These films were full of exciting stories featuring black characters that I could finally relate to. And I did.
Those movies were truly inspiring for the kid I was. Through these movies, I realized that I have the right to dream of being a super hero, a lawyer, doctor, or entrepreneur.
These characters have fueled my confidence and strengthened my pride in my roots.
My outlook was radically changed by the possibilities offered in those stories and I am convinced they can change the lives of the many, who like me, have struggled with their identities as Africans or Afro-Caribbeans : 4 million black people in France. 10 million Afro-Europeans, 1 billion Africans. That’s a lot of people!
In Europe, Film distributors and TV channels are not interested in stories centered on black characters , unless there is an international star in the cast . According to them the general public would not be able to relate to black characters.
As a result, 5 % of African content is legally available.
People of African origin have limited access to movies that speak to their hearts and souls. Today I am fortunate to have access to these programs English language is not an obstacle because I travel regularly to the United States . Unfortunately this is not the case for everyone , and a large majority of black people in Europe and francophone Africa can not access these programs.
Today there are only two alternatives to access this type of content : illegal downloading or streaming , with all the disadvantages of such practices : -no local subtitles -Movies which are Hard to find -poor image quality -countless intrusive ads.
With Afrostream , we now offer an alternative: a unique platform with open access to content , anywhere, anytime with : -HD video -Multi-Device(computer, tablet , smartphone) -A monthly fee which is less than 10 euros with no commitment. In the future we will promote and generate the production of African/Afro-Caribbean fiction..
I want to help my community by bringing black movies to them. I want to share the inspiration I myself received from black entertainers and entrepreneurs who gave me hope through their accomplishments. So, I assembled a team which includes:
- Myself, a serial entrepreneur and independent producer in France. For the past 10 years I have been producing stand-up comedy shows, TV programs, plays. I was the first to launch comedy programs centered around cultural diversity, a previously untapped market with the Comicstreetshow.
- Ludovic Bostral, Formerly, technical project managerand head of R&D at M6 Web, he organized the implementation of technical environment, the software architecture of the catch-up TV platform 6Play, and video players of M6 group websites.
With AFROSTREAM, our mission is to change the lives of millions of people of African origin first in France and francophone Africa and the rest of the world !
Please share our voice !