Social-Mediated Afrobeats Culture and Identity Construction/Expression among Diasporan and Homeland West African Youth.
Solomon is interested in exploring how diasporan Africans form and/or express their identities across internet spaces through Afrobeatsculture, and how these compare with Africans living in selected ‘home’ spaces. Black music cultures have been centralised in the field of African diaspora studies as vital lenses through which African/Black identity is scrutinised. However, scholarly discourse has focused predominantly on diasporic music cultures, neglecting indigenous African cultural productions and experiences. As the product of collective indigenous and diasporan African creativity, and with its growing prominence within Black popular culture, Afrobeats musicpresents an opportunity to explore African/Black identity beyond the boundaries of diasporic experiences. Engaged with, reconfigured, and transmitted through social media, the genre has evolved into a form of transnational culture with unique dances, fashions, symbols, slang etc. It is a particularly useful lens because it sustains a circulation of culture from homeland through multiple diasporas, within a transcultural space where a collective African identity is constantly being (re)constituted. The study will explore the role of social media in fostering this Afrobeats culture, and how they are appropriated towards forming/expressing a collective African identity.
Solomon is also interested in extending identity research to African science, and exploring in the future how scientists/institutions position their identities in a global science ecosystem that remains heavily colonised. He is interested in documenting the evolutions in their branding/identities and how these govern their science and their global outlook.
Supervisors: Professor Myria Georgiou and Dr Wendy Willems
Solomon studied French & Psychology at the University of Ghana, where he also completed an MPhil degree in Communication Studies in 2017. Before joining the Department of Media & Communications as a doctoral candidate, Solomon worked for four years in communication management and public engagement/relations roles in Ghana, building expertise in science communication and corporate/institutional branding. His work has helped carve out institutional identities for African organisations and start-ups in a variety of fields including biomedical research, FinTech, cancer research, and biotechnology. As a member of a network of African science communication professionals, Solomon has led several training workshops targeted at providing African research scientists with soft skills in personal branding and other essential skills for communicating their research. He has also contributed to the development of a context-specific science communication manual intended to provide a reference point for African scientists in their endeavours to engage with non-scientific audiences. Solomon also worked for three years in local governance & rural development, where he oversaw community engagement functions and was a focal person for public accountability & inclusion. He contributed to community interfacing efforts and helped to establish systems of participatory and inclusionary communication between local authorities and rural communities.