Being dubbed “the Shonda Rhimes of Ghana,” is a weighty accolade, but Nicole Amarteifio is eager to measure up to the honor. The self-taught TV producer and director has made waves locally and abroad with her work. Born in Accra, her family fled for London when she was three months old amid a series of political coups and relocated to Westchester, New York when she was six. While Amarteifio, now 35, studied African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, and earned her Master’s degree in corporate communications and public relations from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., she technically had no formal training in television. In fact, she took a job with the World Bank in Washington, D.C. in 2010, coordinating Africa-focused social-media campaigns.
Yet, the TED Fellow and FORD Foundation Fellow recently closed a TV deal with yet-to-be-disclosed prominent U.S. network for Season 3 of An African City, a series she produced with her own money and likens to Sex and the City set in Accra. Once it airs, it will be the first TV series on a U.S. network that is exclusively set in West Africa. Additionally, she recently wrapped up production on “Before the Vows,” (the rom-com is her first feature film) and pitched two other Ghana-based shows to U.S. networks. Amarteifio, who is mentored by Rosa Whitaker, Cindy Courville and Mara Brock Akil, is set on “disrupting the narrative” and has long-term goals of putting out more projects that bridge the gap between the U.S. and the continent of Africa, and that stray beyond the single story of Africa.