Kyemah McEntyre unveils debut design collection at Harlem Fashion Week

February 17, 2017 § Leave a comment

Kyemah McEntyre with a replica of her famous prom dress

Kyemah McEntyre with a replica of her famous prom dress

She “broke the internet” with an Instagram photo of her African print prom dress in 2015; now 19 year-old Kyemah McEntyre is the featured designer at Harlem Fashion Week’s runway show in her debut collection at New York Fashion Week. Afrofusion TV was there as Harlem Fashion Week Founders Tandra Birkett and Yvonne Jewnell put together a radical, magical show that featured emerging and established designers, with part of the proceeds going to the rebuilding of the Slave Museum at Senegal’s Goree Island. Check out the video we put together, with interviews from Kyemah McEntyre, Yvonne Jewnell, Tandra Birkett, and celebrity stylists Brandon Hood and Jonathan Boderick. Tandra and Yvonne are also organizing a symposium on “The Business of Fashion” next month, March 25th in Harlem, to help educate new and established designers on ways to build their business. Be sure to check it out! You can also watch our highlight video on our Facebook page.

Some photos from the show are below. Bless…hfw-shots-1-11

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Models wearing Kyemah McEntyre's Mind of Kye Designs

Models wearing Kyemah McEntyre’s Mind of Kye Designs

Yvonne Jewnell (c) poses with models wearing her designs

Yvonne Jewnell (c) poses with models wearing her designs

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Smithsonian African Art Awards Dinner Honors Contemporary African Artists

November 2, 2016 § Leave a comment

The Smithsonian’s historic Arts and Industries building in SW Washington, DC was the venue for the first Annual African Art Awards Dinner on Friday October 28, hosted by the National Museum of African Art. Museum director Johnetta Betsch Cole launched the fundraising dinner as a way to honor established and up-and-coming artists, and also to show gratitude to major philanthropic organizations that have supported the museum and its mission.

Yinka Shonibare, MBE giving remarks after receiving his award

Yinka Shonibare, MBE giving remarks after receiving his award

The 2016 awardees are Kenyan born artist Ato Malinda and Nigerian-British Yinka Shonibare, MBE, one of the most important contemporary artists in the « Read the rest of this entry »

In “Baobab Flowers,” African diaspora women challenge Education Inequality

June 2, 2016 § 1 Comment

BF Still

In the ever changing world of filmmaking, from the technologies used in its creation to the way we view the end product, a few things remain constant. For artists of color the world over, especially those of African descent, one of these is the importance of telling our own stories. Brazilian filmmaker Gabriela Watson obviously takes this very seriously; in her new documentary film Baobab Flowers, she tackles the problem of education inequality from an African Diaspora perspective by following two women high school teachers in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Philadelphia, USA. It is a film that seeks to show the endemic  problem of low quality education in underserved black communities worldwide by focusing on two unrelated women who are nonetheless similar in their approach to teaching and to their relationships with their students, and also in their struggle to overcome such abject inequality. « Read the rest of this entry »

African Arts and Fashion on Display in DC

May 26, 2016 § 4 Comments

AA Fashion Showcase_

AAFWDC Founder Uche Ibezue (l) with Maria, makeup artist.

When Uche Ibezue of Omak Designs started African Arts and Fashion Week DC, her idea was not simply to bring attention to the nation’s capital as a fashion force. Grabbing the attention of the fashion market, both national and global, was an abiding aspiration. Last week, the third annual AAFWDC featured a panel discussion and fashion showcase, and many of the burning issues regarding African fashion were raised.

A few years ago it was nice to see a number of celebrities wearing African print designs to red carpet events worldwide. Famous names like Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Solange Knowles and her sister Beyonce, Angela Simmons, and even Gwen Stefani were all spotted in gowns and complete sets that were made from African prints like Ankara and Kente. The popularity of those designs has since trickled down to the young ones, the rebellious youth that are always finding innovative ways of expressing themselves. In that vein, a young lady “broke the internet” when she created a stunningly beautiful African print gown, posted it on Instagram, and « Read the rest of this entry »

A Bunny Mack Retrospective: Sierra Leone’s Music Icon

July 15, 2015 § 2 Comments

"Let Me Love You" single cover

“Let Me Love You” single cover

Let’s just be honest: “Let Me Love You (My Sweetie)” by Bunny Mack has one of the funkiest bass lines ever laid down on a dance track. Composed by Bunny Mack (producer Akie Deen shares writing credits on the song as well), it was a continuation of a style of music he had developed with Deen, where he fused disco with calypso, African and funk grooves. “Let Me Love You (My Sweetie)” became one of the biggest African releases; it made the British pop charts in early 1980, reaching Number 76, and cracked the top 10 dance chart there, where it stayed for about 4 weeks. With its slamming bass line and infectious chorus, the melodic tune became a dance classic throughout the African diaspora, generating in the process a certain confusion about who sang it and which country it originated from. Play it for virtually anyone from the African diaspora, and the odds are that they have either partied to it, or played it themselves if they are DJs. When an African American friend asked me excitedly a few years back if I had heard “this new African song” as she put it, and sang “Let Me Love You,” I had to patiently inform her it’s old, but it’s a classic, and that’s why it seems new.

Bunny Mack with Akie Deen (Photo credit:Sewa News)

Bunny Mack with Sierra Leonean music producer Akie Deen

It has been a few decades now, but I do remember well when Bunny Mack was interviewed by a radio show host back in either late ’79 or early ’80s Sierra Leone. This was fascinating to me because I had never really considered Sierra Leone music in terms of solo artists. We had a bunch of semi-successful bands with decent hits, like Afro National, Sabanoh 75 and Supercombo, and each had solid musicians that were very talented in their own right. But the last really « Read the rest of this entry »

Defining the Future of African Writing at PEN World Voices Festival

May 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

Ngugi wa Thiong'O on a panel at the PEN World Voices Festival in New York City

Ngugi wa Thiong’O on a panel at the PEN World Voices Festival in New York City

What will the future of “African Literature” look like? Will there be a better defined space for literature written in African languages? Will there be more books by African Diaspora authors? A wider role, perhaps, for African women writers? These were the questions that came to Afrofusion TV at the PEN World Voices Festival in New York City last week. At the panels we attended, the topic of language kept coming up, with a number of writers discussing the viability and importance of writing in native African languages. I wanted to get the perspective of noted Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong’O, but I was also keen to speak to Senegalese author Boubacar Boris Diop, who teaches Wolof Literature, and is the author of one of the few books in modern times to be written in the Wolof language, Doomi Golo (2006). The festival this year chose Africa as its focus, and was co-curated by celebrated Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who delivered the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write closing night lecture. The intent, according to festival organizers, was to showcase a diverse group of writers from around the African continent and the diaspora; writers and poets from Congo-Brazzaville, « Read the rest of this entry »

Video Preview: Jamaican Dominance at the Penn Relays

May 10, 2015 § 1 Comment

I promised to release a preview clip of our visit to the 2015 Penn Relays that we attended last month at the University of Pennsylvania. Here is a short clip we threw together, featuring some of the fans, athletes, coaches and other supporters we were able to talk to at the event. Look out for the full segment later, which is part of an upcoming series on Afrofusion TV. Big up to Team Jamaica Bickle and Caribbean Food Delights for all they do to support Jamaican and other Caribbean athletes at the Penn Relays. Bless.

 

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