All Articles Tagged "Africa"
Meet the Heatons! A middle-class American family from Abingdon, Va. This family is comprised of the head of household, Jeremiah Heaton, his wife, Kelly, their two sons Justin and Caleb, and their 7-year-old daughter, Emily. Jeremiah works in the mining industry and even attempted to run for Congress in 2012. However, he has managed to make the news for something that has less to do with Congressional politics and more to do with White supremacy and continued disrespect of the African continent.
Emily, like most little girls her age, has an affinity for princess stories. After asking her father if she would ever become a princess, Jeremiah began researching places that he could claim as king so that Emily’s dream of becoming a princess could come true. His quest landed him smack dab in Africa, right between Egypt and Sudan on the land of Bir Tawil. In the midst of turmoil between Egypt and Sudan, Jeremiah Heaton in all his supreme authority and invincible power, traveled to Bir Tawil, planted a flag made by his children, and Emily’s wish of becoming a princess was granted.
Bir Tawil is frequented by Bedouins. They are a nomadic people whose ancestral lineage is a part of the Bir Tawil land, which they roam. The Bedouin way of living differs from the Heaton family’s White American way of life, so one can’t expect the Heatons to understand it. But the Bedouins should be respected.
This move by Heaton is White supremacy at its finest and perpetuates the colonization of the African continent. Sticking a flag in the sand and claiming land that is not yours, which you did not cultivate or even buy, all the while benefiting from the resources of that country perpetuates the colonialist attitude that has raped Africa for decades.
Though this highly problematic story of White superiority and entitlement continues to hijack Africa of its riches and denigrate the history of African peoples, what is most alarming is that this story will be passed on for generations to come. It has been picked up by Disney for development into a film called The Princess of North Sudan.
Disney has paid for the rights to Heaton’s story, and while many are in an uproar about it, we shouldn’t be surprised. It’s not like Disney has any respect for the stories of Black and brown people. In 2009, Disney released The Princess and the Frog featuring its very first Black princess, Tiana. It only took a mere 72 years since Disney’s first studio film release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 to make this happen. I, along with many Black film enthusiasts, was elated at the idea that little Black girls would finally have an animated depiction of a princess who looked like them. But we don’t look like frogs. The Princess and the Frog ended up being adapted from the Brothers Grimm story The Frog Prince.
But what makes this recent decision by Disney to develop this story for the big screen so offensive is the fact that they don’t need to. Africa is overflowing with a rich oral history full of folklore and folktales of kings, queens, princes and princesses. Full of magical moments, love stories, adventure, family bonds, and happily ever after. And there are plenty other classic stories based in the continent that deserve to be shared. Here are a few authentically African princess stories we love that Disney could adapt instead:
Written by African-American author and illustrator John Steptoe in 1988, the popular children’s story takes place in an African village where kindhearted villager Mufaro and his two beautiful daughters Manyara and Nyasha live. Nyasha has taken on her father’s attributes and is giving. But unbeknownst to Mufaro, Manyara is mean and selfish. Mufaro gets word from the city that the king is looking for “the most worthy and beautiful daughters in the land” to marry. Mufaro can’t choose between his daughters as they are both equally beautiful, so he decides to take both of his daughters to the city so the king can decide for himself. Instead of traveling with her family, Manyara takes off toward the city in the middle of the night hoping to get there before her sister and be chosen as queen. On the way, she is faced with a few tests that challenge her character. Nyasha leaves the next morning with her father. She also has to take on the challenging tests, but she handles them with compassion and grace. Once they arrive at the palace, they realize the tests were set up by the king to see which sister possessed not only physical beauty, but inner beauty as well. The king chooses Nyasha to wed, and she becomes queen.
This Akamba legend is the story of a princess with beautiful long hair. According to the tale, she has “the loveliest hair in the world.” Singing maidens weave her hair into magical plaits every evening, which causes her hair to grow even longer. The maidens even adorn her hair with gold and carry her hair so that it won’t touch the ground. The princess loves all of the attention. One day as she sits in the garden getting her hair done, a bird lands on the garden wall and asks the princess for a strand of her hair to make a nest. The princess is so into her hair she feels disrespected that the bird would even ask her such a question. She denies the bird’s request. The bird casts a spell on the princess, which causes all of her hair to fall out and brings drought and famine to the kingdom. A young beggar boy named Muoma wants to help the kingdom and sets out to find the bird to ask if the spell can be broken. On his way, he faces a few tests where he has to practice kindness and share the last of his food and water with a mouse, an ant, and a flower. Because Muoma shows how kind he is, the spell is broken. Muoma helps to save the kingdom from the drought and famine, and the hair of the princess grows back. She falls in love with Muoma, for he truly showed her the meaning of kindness. Muoma and the princess marry and live happily ever after.
This tale from South Africa is often compared to Cinderella but we think it’s much better. Nomi, an adventurous young girl, is being starved by her father’s second wife. On a day out exploring her village, she meets and becomes friends with a fish at the stream. The fish brings Nomi food. Nomi’s evil stepmother becomes very suspicious and follows Nomi to the stream one day. When she sees Nomi has made a friend in the fish and the fish is bringing her food, the evil stepmother kills and eats the fish. But the fish had already predicted his demise and told Nomi that when the day came that he is eaten to throw his bones in the village chief’s garden. Nomi does just that. The next day the chief solicits help from whomever can bring the bones to him and offers his hand in marriage as the reward. Nomi is the only one who can do it. The two are married and live happily ever after.
Every Saturday my sister and I teach an ethnic studies class. Basically, we teach minority children, who range from 7-12, about world cultures. Naturally, since history and science has told us that human life was first documented in Africa we decided to start there.
I googled “Introducing Africa” and there were some great resources available. Including an introductory lesson about “Unearthing Stereotypes” about Africa. It actually turned out to be very thorough. There were 12 pictures, each from various countries in the continent. There was a boy drinking from a Coca Cola can, buildings in downtown Uganda, a castle in Morocco, the pyramids of Giza and a Black man and White man working side by side in South Africa.
The children were supposed to look at the pictures and determine whether or not the subjects and scenes in the images were located in Africa and explain why or why not.
We heard all types of rationalizations.
– The boy with the Coke can wasn’t in Africa because they “don’t drink from cans in Africa.”
– The pyramids were not in Africa because the pyramids are in Egypt.
– The skyscrapers were not in Africa because they don’t have tall buildings there.
– The crossing guard wasn’t in Africa because they don’t have those in Africa.
It completely and utterly blew their minds when we told the students that every last image they had seen was a scene photographed in Africa.
I’d like to think they learned that day.
When my sister and I took their papers home, I was saddened to see some of their thoughts about Africa and the pictures they saw. It wasn’t until my sister asked me a very rhetorical, very telling question about our own education system, that I started to understand it really wasn’t their fault.
“What did you learn about Africa in school?”
Really, aside from a unit on Egypt, in middle school, not too much. And even then, I don’t know if the fact that Egypt was in Africa was really stressed. In all honesty, my African education came from my parents first, later, research of my own and then traveling to Ghana and Egypt once I was old enough.
Our children aren’t the only ones ill informed or misinformed about the continent. For instance, today when we wrote about Nicki Minaj’s canceled concert in South Africa, someone suggested she didn’t show up because was she scared of contracting Ebola.
Ebola is currently affecting West Africa. And Africa is a continent. It’s the equivalent of saying people in the southern most point of Mexico should take cover because there’s been an outbreak in the northern most point of Canada. There are thousands of miles between the two regions of a continent.
In our ethnic studies class, we have a lot of Latino students so we were going to just spend a couple of days on Africa and then move on to other countries, so they see themselves represented in the lesson. But seeing those responses, we might have to take a few more days to make sure they understand the width and depth of Africa’s richness, diversity and influence the world over.
I’m writing all of this as a cautionary tale. Don’t assume your child’s school is doing their due diligence when it comes to educating our children about our heritage, outside of slavery. And you know if our children, in this age of connectivity, don’t know what they should about Africa, our generation and older learned practically nothing. This could be a great way for us all to get it right together.
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.