All Articles Tagged "nigerian"
Two years ago Ify Ojo decided to act on an idea which happened to come by way of her own interests. An unsuccessful internet search for invitations that showcased her Nigerian heritage jump-started the entrepreneurial venture which is now Bibi Invitations — an African inspired, customizable wedding and special occasion invitation business. With a background in mixed media and design, Ojo teamed up with longtime friend Omena Babalola, a certified accountant and University of Ibadan, Nigeria classmate Chinelo Agazie whose education in project management was a much-needed asset.
Officially launched in late June of this year, Bibi Invitations’ already earned success comes from the customer base the three established years prior. Offering couture wedding invitations catering to African-American brides and grooms-to-be, the founders —Ojo and Babalola based in Canada and Agazie in the UK — are looking to spread the vibrancy of African culture further.
Madame Noire: From a professional standpoint, what do each of you contribute to Bibi Invitations?
Ify Ojo: I’m the design person, the one that conceives the designs and executes.
Chinelo Agazie: I’m the technical person. I handle the planning and all technical aspects such as the website.
Omena Babalola: My background is in finance and accounting so I do more of the bookkeeping, tax and accounting work.
MN: What was the motivation for starting your business?
IO: One thing that I always wanted to do was create a design that would suit our nature as African-Americans and Africans. I’ve often seen wedding invitations that weren’t as vibrant and that didn’t captivate the essence of who we were. We’re all Nigerian. At a typical Nigerian wedding you’ll see an explosion of colors. I always thought that it would be nice to have a line of wedding invitations that matched the vibrancy of weddings in Africa.
MN: You can customize cards on the Bibi invitations website, but is there something that’s special about the production or materials used that distinguishes your product from others?
IO: When I thought making the invitations and what captures the essence of being African-American I said, ‘What better way to represent a culture than to use fabrics that we wear?’ Most Nigerians wear Swiss lace. When we have huge occasions and ceremonies, we wear the lace with the combination of a fabric called Aso Oke, which is a traditional woven fabric. The idea was to combine what we wear and morph that into a card. All of the cards draw inspiration from those colors and patterns.
MN: The launch was two years in the making. How much money would you say you collectively invested to do so?
OB: I would say close to $15,000.
MN: Omena, you came in with an auditing/financial background. How was it transitioning from accounting work to handling duties for a business like Bibi Invitations?
OB: I’m a certified accountant so I’ve done bookkeeping for businesses and other people when I worked in the business accounting field. There aren’t many differences with the business. Right now it’s a bit early to tell, because we’re just starting to get things up.
MN: Did you come into the wedding arena for a particular reason and were the invitations you made prior to launching for other occasions in addition to weddings?
IO: The wedding arena has always attracted me, because it’s always a time of joy. I just felt like there was a need for ethnic cards to represent Black brides, because I feel like Black brides are underrepresented in every way. Monthly, there are about 3,000 searches for African inspired wedding invitations. When I Googled African inspired invitations nothing concrete came up so I saw a gap in the market for that. I would visit blogs and chat rooms and see people complain about the lack in the wedding market.
It’s amazing the lengths people will go to to smuggle drugs—and still fail. A Nigerian woman who flew into JFK Airport in New York City from France this weekend was detained by a Border Protection inspector when something didn’t seem quite right with the way she was waddling around. Afolake Awoyemi claimed to be three months pregnant but the inspector ordered a pat-down search to check out her story and that’s when it all went downhill.
During the pat down, officers found a bulge in Afolake’s groin area—a bump that has nothing to do with being pregnant—and when they proceeded to do a strip search, all was revealed. As soon as the woman dropped her underwear, pellets containing brown powder began dropping from her groin area and the substance tested positive for heroin. That wasn’t the only place Afolake had a stash though, X-Rays revealed more heroin pellets in her intestine, which she was forced to pass into a toilet that sanitizes the drugs throughout the day.
A total of 25 pellets ended up coming out, which would have brought in $20,000 on the streets. But according to a spokesman, Afolake is small time. He said, “Experienced drug mules have swallowed up to 200 pellets containing drugs, indicating [Afolake] may have been on a maiden voyage.”
For now, the only voyage Afolake is on is to see a federal magistrate after recovering in a hospital this weekend. Just to be sure, the drug-smuggling passenger was given a pregnancy test while there. As expected, the test was negative.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Nothing is new under the sun but if you’re not careful you may pick that one old thing that can’t be duplicated or in 50 Cent’s case, bought. The Guardian reports that the multi-million selling rapper/actor/entrepreneur recently lost a legal battle over the now former title of his upcoming film, “Things Fall Apart.”
The movie, which stars 50 cent as an American football player diagnosed with cancer, shared the same name as the classic 1958 novel written by iconic Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. The novel tells the tale of an Igbo leader and wrestling champion named Okonkwo, as life in his village takes a challenging turn with the arrival of British Christian missionaries and colonialism. The highly acclaimed novel is read in schools across the world.
Once Achebe heard about 50’s upcoming movie, he and his legal team immediately began to contest the movie’s name, claiming that Achebe exclusively owned the rights to the title. While 50 may have more muscle and street credit than Achebe, he couldn’t win this fight.
The internationally recognized author was not giving up his rights to the title for anything, not even the $1 million 50 Cent offered him in exchange for the title rights.
“The novel with the said title was initially produced in 1958 (that is 17 years before rapper 50 Cent was born),” Achebe’s legal reps said, according to Nigerian news website Naijan.com. They went on to state the novel was “listed as the most-read book in modern African literature, and won’t be sold for even $1 billion.”
Apparently, one man’s borrowed title can never be borrowed again. Achebe did not come up with the title “Things Fall Apart.” He took the phrase from Anglo-Irish WB Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming,” written in 1919, 39 years before Achebe’s novel. The poem expresses Yeats’ feelings on the aftermath of the first World War. (“Turning and turning in the widening gyre/The falcon cannot hear the falconer/Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.”)
None of this seems to matter to Achebe or to the court. 50 Cent’s movie, set to debut in 2012, will now be called “All Things Fall Apart.” Let’s hope no one has a problem with the new name.
Business in Africa has been booming and the movement is being led by a new league of African businessmen. These men are building pan-African companies with regional and global presences. They are considered some of Africa’s most esteemed voices in the business and political spheres. Ultimately, they are helping to shape the economic future of the continent. Here are 10 of those bold and fearless leaders according to a recent list compiled by Forbes:
Chairman, Shanduka Group, MTN
Ramaphosa is considered one of South Africa’s most respected business and political figures. He is the founder and executive chairman of the Shanduka Group, a black owned and managed investment group with investments in resources, financial services, property, energy and beverages. Recently, his company acquired the South African operations of McDonalds.
Ramaphosa is committed to South Africa’s development in the areas of education and enterprise development. The Shanduka Foundation focuses on these areas through the initiatives of the Adopt a School program and the Shanduka Black Umbrellas.
When Nneka walked in to speak with us, she had a tissue in one hand and a cup of warm cocoa in the other. Fresh off a packed weekend of performances, interviews and appearances she was a bit under the weather. But despite her approaching cold she still took time to chat with us about her past and present tour with Nas and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley.
(NYTimes.com) — Nigeria swore in a new president and buried its old one on Thursday, sealing the transition from its long-ailing leader to his successor and quelling some of the political uncertainty that had loomed for months. Goodluck Jonathan, a mild-mannered academic, formally took over the presidency in the capital, Abuja, just hours before his predecessor, Umaru Yar’Adua, was buried in the northern stronghold of Katsina to chants of “God is great” from the crowd.