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 »

Jimi King on African Fashion and Art

September 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

Jimi King

Jimi King

You can’t call Jimi King a “fashion designer,” even though he is quite a successful one. You can’t really call him an “African artist” either, even though he is an artist, and most definitely a proud African. Like many individual artists in the art and fashion world, Nigerian artist Jimi King is uncomfortable with labels. “I don’t like to be boxed in,” he revealed in an interview with Afrofusion TV on a recent visit to the Washington, DC area during his 2016 summer tour. Given the length and breadth of his experience, it’s understandable. In addition to fashion (wearable art, as he calls it) King does painting, sculpture and music (drumming). He has been a regular in Paris at the UNESCO Africa Week and Bazaar for the past five years, and participated in Africa Fashion Week London during the « Read the rest of this entry »

Reparations, Race and Religion at 10th African Diaspora International Film Festival

August 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

This year the African Diaspora International Film Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary in Washington, DC at the Marvin Center on the campus of George Washington University. Over the course of three days, from August 19-21, the festival showed narrative and documentary feature films and short films from just about every corner of the African diaspora. The biographical documentary BadddDDD Sonia Sanchez, (2015) shared the opening night with another movie, Discipline. Noted Black Arts Movement poet Sonia Sanchez herself was in attendance together with one of the film’s directors Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, for a Q&A which was followed by a VIP reception where attendees

Sonia Sanchez (right) takes questions with the director of BadddDDD Sonia Sanchez, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

Sonia Sanchez (right) takes questions with the director of BadddDDD Sonia Sanchez, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

got to mingle, take photos with, and get autographs from Ms. Sanchez. The closing night films focused on celebrating the African religions still vibrant in Brazil and Cuba. Oggun, an old classic by Afro-Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando and Yemanja: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil, (2015) directed by Donna Roberts, who participated in a lively Q&A after the film’s screening. « 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 »

Examining the Intricacies of Afro-Latino Identity

July 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Milena Carranza, Dash Harris and Gabriela Watson in discussion at Intersections of Afrolatinidad

Milena Carranza, Dash Harris and Gabriela Watson in discussion at Intersections of Afrolatinidad in Focus

Across cultures, darker people suffer most. Why?” That question, displayed on one of Andre 3000’s costumes from the Outkast Tour, may well have been tugging at the United Nations when they declared 2015-2024 the International Decade for People of African Descent. The resolution pledged that it would work harder to fully recognize the contributions of people of African descent to global society, to encourage and promote inclusiveness, and to vigorously combat racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia. As Afrofusion TV prepared a segment on Afro-Latinos as part of our African Diaspora series, we found that this group has had varied success in fighting some of the battles outlined in the UN resolution. Less than 4% of the more than 10 million enslaved Africans ended up in North America; the vast majority was brought to the Caribbean and Brazil. The study of Afro descendants in the Americas, their culture, and their struggle with identity led us to the work « Read the rest of this entry »

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