Inside The Shade Room: Director Thembi Mawema Talks Curating Black Culture and Staying Connected

Zimbabwe-born Director of Social Media for The Shade Room, Thembi Mawema, spoke with OkayAfrica about the platform's impact and influence. The Shade Room is an Instagram account that has grown into a global media powerhouse with more than 27 million followers, where it has shared over 200,000+ opinions, accusations, and more across its multiple platforms.

Zimbabwe-born Thembi Mawema, the managing editor of The Shade Room
Thembi Mawema

Mawema, who joined the site in 2016 as an editor, after meeting Nigerian-American screenplay writer and founder of The Shade Room, Angelica “Angie” Nwandu, at an event hosted by Issa Rae, is now a director, and her quick-witted, personality-filled coverage and perspective have made her a household favourite amongst the "Roomies." The Shade Room has become a media landscape of its own, amassing a following twice the size of Mawema's home country Zimbabwe's population and regarded as a reputable entertainment news source on red carpets and in reference. Mawema discusses her background, career, and African celebrity pop culture in the interview.

When asked if a career in media was always a dream growing up in Zimbabwe, Mawema revealed that entertainment was always her dream. She said, "I always knew I wanted to be in entertainment, even though I wasn't quite sure what exactly. That was the one thing I was always very sure of." She continued, "It wasn't always media until I learned more about that world, and I was like, 'Wait a minute, this makes sense. It can't be Beyonce, so this I can do.'"

Mawema was then asked about her interest in pop culture, and she admitted that it was hit or miss. While she was interested in celebrity culture to a certain extent, she was more drawn to the latest music and trends. She said, "Even now, with what I do for a living, I'm not that invested outside of my career."

Regarding African celeb pop culture compared to American celeb pop culture, Mawema stated that it depends on where the Africans are in the world. She acknowledged that American celeb culture is popular across the globe, while African celeb culture is becoming increasingly popular, but it hasn't always been on a global scale. She said, "I’d say the difference is in access to worldwide opportunities, but I think we're kind of breaking those barriers a little bit, for sure."

Mawema's role at The Shade Room involves directing the conversation and attention to the brightest and loudest in the entertainment world, and the site has become one of the most notable "news sources" for many people. The African women behind the brand continue to break barriers and show what Black women can do, and The Shade Room has created a media landscape of its own, with an insurmountable global following that dances on the perimeters of being cult-ish.

Head over to OkayAfrica to read the entire conversation.

Enjoyed reading this entertainment news report? Support Greedysouth by buying the team a cup of coffee. Your support assists in the production of such quality reports. Thank you.
Mungwadzi Godwin

twitterinstagramI like sharing positive stories about Zimbabweans at home and abroad. I also write articles on Personal Finance, Fashion, Music, and Tech. Let's connect!

Post a Comment (0)
Previous Post Next Post