Style

Interview: Makho Ndlovu of Global Grind's 'The African Scene'

African style blogger Makho Ndlovu talks to Okayafrica about her new weekly column for Russell Simmons' Global Grind website.


A  lot of us don't need to get hipped to the flyness that is African style and fashion, unfortunately the rest of the world still has a little catching up to do. Zimbabwe-born, NYC-based blogger and writer Makho Ndlovu is starting to change that with her new weekly column for Russell Simmons' hip hop and pop culture news website Global Grind. Okayafrica took a few minutes to chat with the lovely Mahko to discuss her latest venture, the importance of sharing a new vision of Africa, and what it's like working for Russ.

Okayafrica: Is your new "Africa" column on Global Grind indicative of an increased presence of alternative information on Africa in the mainstream?

Makho Ndlovu: Absolutely! Often times as Africans we get frustrated about how our collective story is being shared with the world. With columns such as the Global Grind one, we are taking back the responsibility for communicating our narrative. With the framework of social media, it's super easy to share information within the blink of an eye globally. It's incredibly empowering for me as a Zimbabwean to tell "our" African story and discuss real issues in a context that is cognizant of who we are as a people.

OKA: How did your column come about?

Makho Ndlovu: I actually pitched the idea to the Global Grind co-president Michael Skolnik about a month ago. With his blessing, it came into fruition. I obviously was very nervous about whether or not he would green light it, but I am glad he gave me a shot.

OKA: What does Russell Simmons say about the column?

Makho Ndlovu: Interestingly enough, I'm not sure. All my communication is via the Global Grind editorial team. My hope is that he likes it. I know that Russell does a lot of important work in Africa through his Diamond Empowerment Fund so I know it's an issue that is near and dear to his heart. I'm almost positive that if the bossman didn't like it, the column would not be in existence.

OKA: What kinds of things will you report on?

Makho Ndlovu: My original idea was so focus on the everything entertainment related within the continent. Style, music, fashion and stories that celebrate our successes. However, I will probably expand that scope and start talking about huge stories coming out of Africa. For instance this Oscar Pistorious story touched me so much on so many levels and it's hard to ignore. As a personal goal I want leave the readers with something to think about or evoke some sort of emotion after reading the blog posts.

OKA: What has been the feedback from readership so far?

Makho Ndlovu: So far so good. The post I publish this week will officially have been my fourth column. I will say that 99.9 % of the comments that I have received have been positive, a lot of Africans read Global Grind, so it's nice to see that the site values them and has etched out a specific column to tell their stories.

OKA: Who's been your favorite celebrity to talk to?

Makho Ndlovu: With the Global Grind African Scene column, just last week I reached out to Nigerian singer Bez for his take on his favorite African designer. So that was really cool, I dig his music. But as their red carpet host my FAVE celebrity to chat with was LA Reid. It was Russell's Simmons' Art for Life Gala in the Hamptons and he paid me a compliment on camera and I almost passed out. I'm a huge fan of his work so that was a special moment for me.

Check out Mahko's coverage of NYFW here and be sure to stay tuned to her blog for more fashion news from an African perspective.

"SA Rappers Out Here Killing Y'all," M.I Abaga On Nigerian Rappers

M.I has fueled a debate about the state Nigerian hip-hop with his latest song, "You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Life."

Nigerian star M.I Abaga is back with a punch and taking aim at all of his fellow Nigerian rappers.

The track—which sees M.I. drop lines like "none of you rappers is real enough... that's why these fans are not feeling ya'll," "SA rappers out here killing ya,ll," and "rappers are singing now just to get popular, yuck"—has sparked a debate across social media on the current state of Nigerian hip-hop.

There's been some calling out M.I for not supporting young Nigerian rappers like big rappers do in South Africa. These years have seen the likes of Cassper Nyovest and other big SA stars supporting younger talent.

Others, however, have taken up the challenge and started responding to M.I's track over the "Fix Up Your Life" instrumental. M.I's been retweeting the responses and, in a way, the track's been getting a lot of the young rappers M.I calls out some more attention.

M.I and his label Chocolate City have also been in the news lately over suing Nas for not delivering a good verse.

What do you think? Is Nigerian hip-hop in decline?

See some choice tweets below.

Video: Looking at the Roots of IsiPantsula Culture Through Some of Its Leading Voices

This new video shows us why South African Pantsula is much more than just a dance move.

Pantsula is more than just a dance, it's a cultural movement and it's being revived through enthusiastic South African youth.

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In Photos: Migos' Culture Tour in Johannesburg

ATL trio Migos' Culture Tour had two South African stops–in Durban on Friday and Johannesburg on Saturday.

We attended the Joburg leg of the tour, and the group didn't disappoint, although the event itself was unacceptably disorganized. South African rappers Riky Rick and Nasty C gave great performances, especially the latter.

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