All Articles Tagged "Africa"
From The Grio
Seven-year old Emily told her father, Jeremiah Heaton, that she wants to be a real princess.
Instead of taking her to Burger King and ascending that throne by consuming fatty foods, the Virginia man traveled to Egypt. He found an unclaimed piece of land, planted a flag and called it the Kingdom of North Sudan. Nobody’s king Jeremiah wanted to prove to his kids that “I will literally go to the ends of the earth to make their wishes and dreams come true.” Princess Emily got her wish and all was well.
Then everyone told Disney’s producers to shut the hell up because that’s really racist and they shouldn’t tell such tales. EXCEPT NO! This is a real story. Writers from “The Onion” didn’t whip this up. This happened in real life, and I haz the sads about it because everything sucks and people are the worst.
When I was 7, I’m pretty sure I wanted to eat candy and cake for breakfast everyday, but because my parents loved me and didn’t want all my teeth to fall out my head, they said “no.” It taught young Luvvie that I could not have everything I wanted all the time. And that my parents majored in hating and minored in killing any fun I wanted to have. They were Magna cum laude in ruining my plans. Anyway, it made me the slightly jaded, well-adjusted adult that I am today, and you are all welcome.
In raising children, there is a thin line between making them happy and spoiling them rotten by giving them every single thing their greedy hearts desire. I get that Jeremiah wants to give his kids the world, but he doesn’t have to do it literally. LORD! You can’t just be going around the world handing places over to your children. Well, unless you’re a middle-aged white man from America. The world is your oyster, ashtray and free lunch ticket that you can hand out as you wish.
Read more about Princess Emily at TheGrio.com
Elizabeth Arden has selected Nigerian model Adeola Ariyo as its first African brand ambassador. Ariyo will appear in ads for Visible Difference, Skin Illuminating and the company’s foundation brands across the African continent.
“Adeola is well travelled and truly committed to young women on the African continent. She is sincere and authentic, and what shines through is that she is here to represent African women and educate us about beauty and what beauty means today,” remarked Elle editor Jackie Burger.
Ariyo is originally from Lagos and is of Ghanaian and Nigerian origin. She’s been modeling since the age of 13 when she got her start modeling during London Fashion Week. She has since appeared on catwalks in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Nigeria. She’s also modeled in the pages of Sports Illustrated.
This latest move is an effort by the Elizabeth Arden brand to expand its business in Africa. Corne Nel, Managing Director of Elizabeth Arden in Africa tells Elle, “Expanding into Africa is an exciting venture for our brand. It’s an opportunity to really celebrate African beauty.”
According to EuroMonitor, the African beauty market is expected to grow 5.2 percent through 2017, showing slightly more growth than Latin America (5.1 percent). These figures are smaller than other emerging markets — China and India — but we’re still talking about billions of dollars. The South African market is worth $2.1 billion and is the largest on the continent. Nigeria’s comes in second with $1.2 billion.
Erykah Badu is the latest in a long line of entertainers to perform for an overseas royal without knowing about his checkered past.
The singer has run afoul of human rights activists for performing at the birthday party of Swaziland’s King Mswati III. He’s notorious for his polygyny, marrying his 15th wife last year, and lavish lifestyle that’s at-odds with the rest of the country. According to the United Nations, 63% of Swaziland lives on less than $1.25 a day. As well, allegations of torture and other human rights abuses are widespread.
“She owes us all an explanation. The king is a kleptocrat who lives in the lap of obscene luxury while most of his countrymen toil in abject poverty for less than $2 a day,” the US-based Human Rights Foundation’s Alex Gladstein said in a statement.
The singer sang “Happy Birthday” for Mswati on his 46th birthday. He is considered Africa’s last absolute monarch.
Defending herself on Twitter, she wrote: “I was not paid by the KING. I had no idea of the political climate.”
In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, she explained the performance was a favor for American jeweler Jacob “The Jeweler” Arabo, who was throwing a party for the king and needed a last-minute replacement for a performer who’d suddenly dropped out. Badu has been recording her sixth studio album in South Africa and helicoptered in for the show.
Read more about E.Badu at EurWeb.com
I swear, sometimes I think that Naomi Campbell is my spirit animal.
Forget her edges (or the lack thereof) and Tyra Banks’ hurt feelings. Who needs them when you are the queen of telling folks exactly how it is? And according to New York Magazine‘s The Cut, Ms. Campbell had no qualms with calling out the fashion industry, yet again, for its lack of diversity.
Hattie Crisell writes for The Cut that last week at the Vogue Festival in London, Campbell joined Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, for discussion about Africa’s future in print fashion. Sozzani, who is the global goodwill ambassador for the United Nation-led campaign, Fashion 4 Development, had lots of “interesting” things to say about the topic. The most interesting point was about how she feels she contributed to highlighting African talents as well as encouraging further development of the fashion industry on the continent, which are two aims of her ambassadorship. According to Crisell:
In slightly broken English, she explained why she’d created the May 2012 “Rebranding Africa” issue of L’Uomo Vogue. “For me, L’Uomo Vogue is not a fashion magazine — I mean, it is, of course, but it’s more how to use fashion as a media to awareness for something else. So when we did [the] African issue, for example, I stayed two weeks in Africa, I interviewed the president of Nigeria, and we put, on the cover, Ban Ki-moon [secretary general of the United Nations].” The goal of the issue, she said, was to show some of the many positive things happening within the continent — because “if we go home and say Africa is poor, Africa is civil wars, Africa is AIDS, Africa is malaria — how can people go there?”
That’s right: In order to “rebrand” the continent away from the image of famine-starved children with large malnourished tummies and flies swarming around their heads, the editor-in-chief of a global fashion magazine (fashion being the key operative word here) puts the very non-chic Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations on the cover. I don’t have any good snark to match the sheer ridiculousness of that so I’ll just say: No!
According to Crisell, Sozzani then goes on to talk about how she saw some nice designers in Ghana and Nigeria, but unfortunately, most of the fabric wasn’t really African and is printed in Holland. She also spoke on how “more manufacturing needs to happen on African soil to build a sustainable industry.” There is a bit of truth in what Sozzani says in terms of building a sustainable textile industry on the continent. And I should also mention that there are some very real and intentional reasons why textile industries have failed to take form on parts of the continent. But besides that, Sozzani seems to be saying that the supposed “inauthenticity” of the fabric is the reason why African fashion designers are denied platforms, which sounds like nonsense to me, considering that the entire fashion industry as a whole relies on global fabric and textiles. I mean, does Sozzani chide Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Diane von Furstenberg and the likes for working with Maasai prints in their collections without authentication from the tribe itself?
Thankfully, Ms. Campbell was there to slightly pull the covers back and put people rightfully in the hot seat. As Crisell writes:
In the midst of this discussion, Naomi Campbell turned to the front row and directed a public request toward Jonathan Newhouse, chairman of Condé Nast International. “I’m hoping, Jonathan, that we can have African Vogue,” she said, laughing in the deadly serious way that only she can. “I would be the editor,” said Sozzani, and Campbell replied, “I’ll be an assistant.” (Now there’s a reality show we’d like to see.)
But when pressed…Sozzani said she thought the possibility of a Vogue Africa was still very far off. “We really have to work much more, and to have more people believe in [Africa]. There is not confidence in these countries [from the international fashion industry] because they’ve seen too many things, and of course in the newspapers they only put [negative] things. The good side is huge … So now, everybody’s talking about Africa, and probably something will happen. I hope so.”
Yeah, some of you all might see this as Campbell asking for scraps from the table. However, I think of it as a clever call-out of the same tired excuses people of color, particularly black folks, are given every time the question is raised about why it is perfectly reasonable for these industries and so-called bastions of global tastemakers to exclude us from the profit side – even as its inspiration is largely derived from our aesthetic. From what I gather from Sozzani’s reasoning, it’s really not about promoting or even rebranding Africa and its talented children for the rest of the world. But rather, selling Africa and its children on Vogue‘s (and its specific designers) ideas of what is fashionable and luxury.
Yes, it is true that advertising dollars move magazines, and on the continent, there are only two Louis Vuitton stores. However, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Givenchy and the likes were not birthed royalty. That came through branding and lots of backing and support from the industry. And honestly, there is nothing really stopping the industry from doing the same for black designers, except the industry, including Vogue‘s unwillingness to do so. Seriously, the best way to rebrand Africa is to stop treating it like a charity case all the time and just put some African designers in the magazine already.
Likewise, the high-end fashion industry thrives on exclusivity and aspiration. The lack of access of these products to the “average” person makes people more inclined to seek it out. It’s a game plan, which has worked wonders in the ‘hoods of America. And let’s not act like there isn’t enough purchasing power in certain areas of Africa to support luxe products. Sozzani is correct in her assertion that the image of Africa we often see in film and on television only tells a fraction of the continent’s story.
According to this Bain & Company Worldwide Luxury Market study, luxury spending on the continent, while small compared to the rest of the world, has increased by as much as 25 percent, particularly in South African, Moroccan and Nigerian markets. And as anyone with friends or family on the continent knows, some of the biggest requested items to bring back include the luxury s**t. This article from last year in the Guardian UK points out how Nigeria is the UK’s second largest trade market thanks in part to all those Nigerian cousins, visiting the UK from the continent, “who are spending more due to a booming oil-driven economy.” According to the Guardian, “Nigerian visitors want to spend not just on luxury, but also at mass market chains including Marks & Spencer and even Prada, as they get better value over here.”
I’ll be the first person to say that Africa does not need Vogue, or any other Western magazine, to validate its fashion sense. The patchwork handmade tote bag I had made during my visit to Ghana gets me at least five compliments a day (true story!). But part of me believes that a major reason why Vogue Africa does not exist is because it would likely cypher off the allure of the Western-fashion houses, while actually keeping the fashion (and eventually textile) dollars on the continent. Without a Vogue Africa, which would hopefully promote black African beauty and fashion, Western designers can still try and justify white girls in blackface posing with slave earrings in mock African jungles while wearing “authentic” African zeb-raffe prints as homages or as art.
But even still, I agree with Ms. Campbell’s particular call out of the BS too. I mean, there are 16 active Vogue international editions in publication, including one in Mexico, whose economy is ranked 14th in the world; Taiwan, whose economy is ranked 19th in the world economy; and Portugal, whose world economy ranks in at 49th. But Nigeria, which is ranked 26th and South Africa, which is ranked 28th respectively in world economies, don’t get one? In the fashionable words of RuPaul, sashay away with that!
If you’re still in the Halloween spirit, there’s a chilling news story about the deadly hair weave, infested with ear-burrowing worms.
If you haven’t heard of the story, (and have the stomach for it), the reports go something like this:
“Irene Myangoh, a personal assistant working at a law firm, went to a renowned hair salon along Kenyatta Avenue, in the Kenyan capital city of Nairobi, and spent more than N5,500 on a human hair weave. Two weeks later she started suffering from severe headache that would not go away. She even could not sleep at nights and was forced to call a private doctor. The doctor proscribed her drugs for the relief of mild to moderate pain of inflammatory origin with or without fever. This did not solve Myangoh’s problems: the effect from the medicine lasted for a few hours only, and then the headache would be back worse than even before. Desperate, the lady went to see another specialist who did blood tests and even a brain scan. All the tests were negative but the headache persisted, making her unable to concentrate at work and sleeping very poorly. Fortunately, her doctor who decided to examine her scalp carefully, and, under the beautiful weave, he found worms!The worms were burrowing into her skull and after sending the samples to the lab they found that the hair had eggs from which the worms had developed. Irene had to shave after this ordeal and took antibiotics for two weeks. The alleged reason of parasites appearance is that the hair has been taken from a dead body.In a parallel story, a 16-year-old girl from Buruburu, a Nairobi surburb, also suffered similar fate, but unfortunately for her, she died. The girl dropped dead after constant headaches. Cobweb eggs were found in her hair after corpse examination. The root of death was unnoticed spider eggs. The warmth produced after weaving provided a very conducive environment for the eggs to hatch. A spider grew in her scalp and bit her. The poison found its way to her blood. She had no chance to survive the attack…”
Somebody cue the Vincent Price laugh because we have a certifiable Thriller on our hands…
The sources of the tale has been narrowed down to three African gossip blogs: Trendy Sturvs, iReporters TV and Stella Dimoko Korkus however variations of the story have been showing up on various continental African and African-American websites and hair message boards including Naturally Moi, Information Nigeria, Nairaland, and Long Hair Care Forum. The horrifying narration of the deadly hair weave has also been making the rounds on social media, particularly Facebook, where it has been mainly posted as a cautionary warning for weave wearers about the potential dangers lurking behind that 18 inches of virgin Indian. But despite being a rallying cry for #TeamNatural – as well as some pretty funny fodder for some concern trolling – few have stopped to find out if the terrifying story of the deadly hair weave is even true.
According to the website Snopes: Heck no, silly rabbits. Hair tricks are for kids. Get it? “Hair” and “Hare?” Oh never mind…
“The tale of the contaminated hair weave is long on gruesomeness and variable details but short on checkable facts. While the victim’s first name is always provided (depending on the version one receives, she’s Krystal, Laimi, or Irene), her surname rarely is. Likewise, while the account always says she’s a personal assistant at a lawyer’s office, the name of the lawyer or firm that employs her is not given. The salon where the manky hair was installed is described only as an “upmarket hair salon” on a street that’s either Independence or Kenyatta, which is in a city that’s either in Namibia or Kenya, two countries the entire width of Africa apart.”
Even in the age where information tends to travels faster than all the facts, it is hard to believe that a legitimate news story would neglect to put a name the shop at the center of what is not only a scandalous incident but what very much sounds like a crime (i.e. grave digging, tampering with corpses, theft, etc…). If not for journalistic integrity than at least for liability sake (heavens forbid, we confuse one “upmarket hair salon” with another). Not to mention that a quick search on the good ole’ Google revealed that the same story has been trending on blogs and hair care forums since 2010 including on the message boards of Black Hair Media, where instead of the hair salon being located on Kenyatta Avenue in Kenya, it was on Independence Avenue in the Republic of Namibia. According to Snopes, there are four variations of the deadly weave worm story and they all appears to be a composition of three faved wives tales including the fatal bouffant hairstyle, which (according to legend) after years of being unwashed, became the home of venomous spiders.
So why how do these stories make their way around the black blogosphere when there are so few verifiable facts?
Well,because they play on our ignorance and preconceived biases. In the case of the deadly weave worm, the story works well because it plays off our collective ignorance of what we think we know of Africa. It may not be malicious especially considering that we are constantly bombarded with imagines and stories throughout the media of the immoral, desperate and backwards dark continent. And if we recall that not too long ago, the internet was abuzz over sensationalized reports about a rash of hair crimes in South Africa, involving the theft of dreadlocks right from people’s heads. While there had been two reported cases of dreadlocks being stolen, as it turned out, the frequency of the occurrences might have been greatly overstated. Nevertheless the story – with its travel advisements about the alleged increase in random acts of hair stealing – had already imprinted in our minds. And it is that conditioning, which has made it easier to be-weave a fanciful tale about some crazy African walking around with remains of some deceased person on their heads.
Likewise, and probably more importantly, the weave worm story also latches ( “latches” get it?) onto the widespread hatred of hair weaves, particularly those worn by black women. Not only is the victim in this story suffering consequences for her vanity but she is also being punished for abiding by European beauty standards of long, straight hair. It’s the same sort of cautionary message I’d seen recently in a Nollywood film called Brazilian Hair War, which ironically is about a street vendor, who has the misfortune of having the silky straight of a dead ghost sewn onto her head. It may not be as spooky as the hair worm story but it is just as equally laughable.
There’s something about Keri Hilson and Serge Ibaka being together that we just…love. Plus, when you see them in a picture together, we can’t help but do a double take.
Anyway, the singer and her NBA player boyfriend stepped out into the Oklahoma City streets Friday night for the Ronald McDonald House Red Shoe Gala. The event, held annually, is the most successful fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House charities and they gain most of their resources to keep going through the money they raise at the Red Shoe Gala.
But back to Keri Hilson and Serge Ibaka.
The hot couple donned their finest threads for the gala, with Keri wearing a blue spaghetti strapped dress with a little keyhole opening in front and Serge in a nice black and white pinstriped suit. Keri is also still rocking the braids and had on very little makeup.
There’d been rumors over the summer that these two had called it quits, but judging from their social media accounts, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
We’re sure she’ll be back in Oklahoma City when the NBA regular season starts in November to cheer on her boo and his team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
For those of you looking for a new Keri Hilson album? I wouldn’t hold my breath, she looks pretty content these days!
Most of us remember our 21st birthdays — the cake, the outfit, the friends who helped us enter the prime of our 20s. Whether you had an intimate dinner or a live party that left you wearing sunglasses while washing Advil down with water, we are sure you did not celebrate like this 21-year-old Australian woman.
Buzzfeed shared the story of the woman who invited her friends to celebrate her milestone bday with her in “Africa.” For her African-themed celebration, guests came dressed in blackface, dashikis, turbans, leopard prints and animal costumes. If that wasn’t enough, someone thought it would be intelligent to dress as K-K-K members and others as Native Americans. Like most of us, she uploaded pictures of her party to social media, titling the album, “This is Africa…my 21st :),” but after her pictures went viral and people started reacting negatively, she released a statement vowing she meant no harm or offense with her theme party. Her intention, she claims, was to celebrate another “country’s culture,” though the last time we checked Africa is a continent and interestingly enough she would like to teach English in Africa. A Tumblr user posted her response for her, which read:
“Okay don’t even know how to use tumblr but wanted to clarify this. It was my ‘African themed’ party and it was honestly made that theme because I have always wanted to go to Africa (to teach english) but haven’t made it there yet. In no way was this party intended to hurt anyones feelings or upset anyone at all. In fact as you can tell from the photos I dressed up as cleopatra, whilst MAJORITY of my guests came as animals, that can be found in africa or wore traditional african clothes or even dressed up as famous people who come from africa. If anything this was to celebrate the amazing country and people. However, some guest did decide to paint themselves, although this was in no way my intention or encouraged in the slightest. I understand that this has offended some people and I have no idea how these photos have even been seen, they were simply put on facebook for my guests to see the photos of themselves. I am 100% sure that parties would be held that would be ‘Australian themed’ or American themed or even countries of the world, and in that instance I don’t believe anyone would be offended. People wear oktoberfest cotumes to parties and no one cracks it that they are not German? So what I am saying is I do understand the people who have painted themselves have offended people, although none of them intended that…. but how can people be annoyed that the majority of the people at the party were celebrating another countries culture. Also one of my friends who is Mauritian painted himself white, but that photos didn’t make it to this page along with the MAJORITY of people who were amazingly detailed costumes that no one could take offense to!! I am sure that not one person at my party felt upset that said guest painted himself white as it was not meant in that way at all. Also, I have NEVER been asked to take these photos down, however if I had of course I would have done so, as I had no idea that anyone other than friends and guests could see these photos, and to be honest I am not a racist person at all so I didn’t think anyone could possibly take it that way. I intend to spend 2 months teaching english in cambodia in January, and cant wait to do the same in Africa. If you will still have me. To reiterate, I was cleopatra and did not encourage my guest to wear anything racist simply to come as something African Inspired, much like if you went to an australia day party (Which I am 100% sure people of all races and cultures do every year!!!) Again I am sorry for those I have offended and the photos have now been removed now that I have eventually been made aware people were upset. For those who know me at all you would know the last thing in the world I would want to do would be to offend people.”
Although her response may have been written with good intentions, it does not excuse her ignorance. By synonymously stating Africa is a country while explaining her desire to travel to the continent, this young woman’s lack of knowledge becomes blatantly apparent. Furthermore, racially charged theme parties far too often revolve around enjoying “becoming” caricatures of cultures rather than celebrating certain ethnic groups. As you can see from the pics on the next page, this party was very much the former.
Click the next page to see more pictures from this woman’s 21st birthday party. Thoughts?
Striking South Sudanese supermodel Alek Wek graces the cover. No, it’s not another fashion magazine but Forbes‘s newest publication–Forbes Life Africa. But Forbes hasn’t created just one magazine for rapidly developing continent, but two publications. The second caters specifically to the female market–Forbes Women Africa. The magazines are being introduced on the second anniversary of Forbes Africa.
Both launched on Oct. 2, reports BET. The new magazines will highlight trailblazers and pioneers in the business industry and focus on the economy and high culture of Africa.
For its first issue, Forbes Life Africa features a cover story on Wek that gives readers a glimpse into the model’s life at New York Fashion Week, further stressing the impact globalization has had on the magazine’s cosmopolitan African demographic, reports BET.
The premiere issue of Forbes Women Africa features a cover story about Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, a South African-based businesswomen, philanthropist and fashion entrepreneur. There is also a list of the world’s 100 most powerful women and an article on the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women for South Africa Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
“There are so many stories of success on the African continent that we will never be able to do justice to all the women making a difference in the corporate world, which is the principal reason why I took the decision to have a separate magazine for women,” said Rakesh Wahi, founder and vice chairman of ABN Group, the company publishing the magazines.
“We are looking forward to making this the most sought-after business magazine for women on the continent.”
Check out this behind-the-scenes clip of Alek Wek who talks about being involved with the magazine and what’s happening on the continent.
You Know It’s A Continent Right? Lance Gross Gets Schooled By IG Followers During His Recent Trip To “Africa”
Our favorite cutie, Lance Gross, recently took a trip to the motherland, but as he posted gorgeous photos of his time there, fans became upset with the actor. Why, you ask? Because he kept referencing a trip to “Africa” without any regard — or reference for that matter — for the country he actually visited. At that point, fans decided to school Gross until eventually he tagged a fan saying he went to Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea. Here are some comments from Lance’s Africa 101 course, given by his Instagram followers.
kekekelechi You say Africa like its a country. Pls be specific which country in Africa this picture was taken. Africa is not a country it is a continent and there are many countries there.
nasirahs_virgin_hair people feel like when others visit Europe or Asia their specific on the country. Thats why. Alot of people still believe that its a country not a continent. But its a beautiful picture indeed
yayabrawercombs@troysumpter it would be like me posting a picture and saying “while I was in a state” uhm… OBVIOUSLY people would want to know which damn state I was in… Lol!! While in Africa just isn’t good enough for most people… I would want to know if he was in my country Uganda… Most people aren’t on Instagram to just stare at pictures… Most people are on Instagram to get a look into other people’s lives, and get to know them. So it’s really not just a matter of liking it or moving on… Just some of my thoughts…
elesi_a It matters because it isn’t merely a ‘part’ it’s actually a country. A country with a different culture and native tongue…
Welp, as they say these days, Lance Gross gone learn today!
Click the next page to see some of the gorgeous photography from Lance’s trip to Equatorial Guinea! What do you think about his geography lesson?
If you’ve ever wanted to get a closer glimpse into what life is like for the First Lady of the United States, you will finally get your chance…Michelle Obama has joined Instagram! Woop Woop!
The first family of course took off on their trek to Africa where they will visit South Africa (though the health of Nelson Mandela is still not 100% clear), Tanzania, and they are currently making stops in Senegal at the moment. She decided to start her page and post her first photo a few hours ago under the name, @MichelleObama. No BaddieMichelle or HotGirlFLOTUS if you were hoping for some extra flair. The Obamas keep things professional.
For her first few photos, Michelle has posted pictures at a school in Dakar, as well as a video of young girls dancing during a welcome ceremony for the family. In the photo above, she captioned it, “My first instagram! So inspired and so impressed by these extraordinary young women. -mo #FLOTUSinAfrica”
Michelle Obama, as well as Malia, both look great in the photos, and I’m excited to see and learn more about her trip through Instagram. If you’re equally as excited, you’re welcome to follow too, but know that if you’re looking to be a hater, someone’s monitoring her page and removing foolish comments, so don’t try it. Keep it positive, as the first lady always does.