BY CHRISTOPHER VOURLIAS
Six years into a career that’s seen her emerge as the queen of the Ghanaian box office, Shirley Frimpong-Manso still remembers the African movies she used to watch growing up in Accra — and the way African women were depicted onscreen.
Typically portrayed as weak and submissive, they bore no resemblance to the American stars — “women wielding guns,” as the helmer says, with a laugh — who blazed their way through leading roles in Hollywood films.
More strikingly, they were nothing like the women she saw around her.
“I grew up in a totally different environment,” says the 38-year-old filmmaker, who explains that she was raised in a household run by “strong African women.” When Frimpong-Manso finally embarked on a career in cinema, she thought about how those portrayals were affecting young Ghanaian viewers, and made herself a promise. “It’s about time we change that image of the (African) woman,” she says.