Photo courtesy of Dunnie Onasanya-Hasan.

Dunnie OH Is the Proud Nigerian Powerhouse Carving Her Own Lane in the Creative Business

We catch up with Dunnie Onasanya-Hasan, the businesswoman behind Olori Swim, on the purpose behind her new art and design gallery.

Nigerian creative Dunnie Onasanya-Hasan, popularly known as Dunnie OH, has amassed quite the following over the years serving #BodyGoals, #CoupleGoals and #MotherDaughterGoals. The Tuskegee University graduate who has always been a social butterfly got her start event producing and has gained a great reputation working on events like Facet Fashion Week and the Hollywood Confidential Series, a free event for individuals pursuing careers in entertainment to hear A-list talent speak on their trials and tribulations.

Today, Onasanya-Hasan is at the heart of Olori, a luxury swimwear line that blends American and Nigerian cultural influences and celebrates melanin rich queens. Her work, including the popular KenteKini, glorifies curves on women of all shapes and sizes and her muses are to die for.

Dunnie is doing more than "making women feel good and empowering them," as she puts it. She's an entrepreneur at the helm of a growing business. Olori Weekend, which took place at the end of September, was momentous for her as she celebrated her birthday, Nigerian Independence and the grand opening of the Olori Gallery of Art & Design.

The gallery, which she and her husband, Ibrahim Hasan, acquired in May is a work in progress, but Onasanya-Hasan hopes it will be a haven for all things African fashion and art. She's certainly off to a good start because it is currently home to abstract murals she created with her own hands. The murals comprised of stones, beads and gold pieces are nothing short of awe-inspiring.

She speaks candidly about what inspired the courage to create the murals."To be honest with you, as a kid I always liked drawing and painting," she says, "and my parents would say, 'You need to do your math and science.' They tried to sway me in that direction because this is what's going to make you money and you will have a career to be able to support your family. This isn't a bad way to think, but as a child I really wanted to explore being an artist."

Her husband, who is also a creative, has encouraged her to express herself through visual art. He told her to go for it on the gallery walls. "Over the years he has pulled a lot of that out of me," she says. "The murals are years of suppressed creativity. You are looking at liberation."

The gallery houses Onasanya-Hasan's personal collection of African inspired designs for stylists to pull for special events. She prides herself on being LA's go-to girl for such pieces and hopes the collection will expand. Finally, it's there that the Olori "small but mighty" team sews swimwear and custom ankara pieces of all kinds.

It should come as no surprise that Dunnie has chosen the path she has. "I am a Delta. I became student government president before I left Tuskegee University," she says, describing her college career. "I loved being involved and being a part of student life. Naturally, I am a social person, someone who likes to plan things for people, likes to make people feel good."

Onasanya-Hasan spends nights staying up until 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. ensuring her business is running smoothly while her husband serves as an incredible support system. Her 2-year-old daughter, who shares a middle name with the brand, holds her own as she supposedly "runs things around the gallery." I inquire how she balances her work as well as being a mother/wife. "By the grace of God, I have been balancing my work and personal life," she says. "I am learning every day. There are days I will sit down and think I suck. I think having a supportive partner is the key. Do you have someone that gets you and allows you to make strides towards your goals? I take things one day at a time and try to prioritize. I try to make sure they are clothed and fed."

Olori flourishes in a retail space that is more accepting of cultural diversity. "I am a proud Nigerian," Onasanya-Hasan affirms. "Both of my parents are Yoruba. I love the fact that people are now embracing African culture and heritage. I remember when I was a kid it wasn't cool to wear African print. I was called African booty scratcher. I hated having braids and now you can't catch me without them. It's just very funny how things flip flop. I'm glad that I can really be myself and really do what I love."

There are times where she is apprehensive, but she is confidently pushing forward in the direction of her dreams. "It is okay to be wrong sometimes," Onasanya-Hasan accepts. "I can't be too hard on myself. In regards to the retail business, you are not going to be able to please everyone."

There is a lot in the pipeline for the brand. Onasanya-Hasan has learned to shoot and film models for her business' Instagram page from her film-producing husband. She plans on releasing six, new full-coverage prints on the way and the launch of headwear pieces to compliment swimsuits that are already out. Even though women are at the heart of her business, she wants to make pieces for babies like her daughter Zion and their daddies. She refers to it as a "Mommy and me slay" and says, "Mom can't be the only one looking fly on the vacation or bae-cation." On the art side of things, Her gallery will soon house a portrait series, as well.

Keep up with Dunnie Onasanya-Hasan on Instagram and Olori Swim on their website and Instagram. If you're ever in LA, visit Olori Gallery of Art and Design at 965 E. 31st Street, Los Angeles, CA.

Courtesy of the artist

Meet Musa Okwonga, Poet, Musician and Activist Standing Up Against Xenophobia One Line At A Time

We talk to the artist about leaving London, being a migrant and resisting Germany's resurgent fascist movement.

A German TV channel recently announced a TV debate on whether Germans should still be allowed to say the N-word.

One of the announced panelists was Frauke Petry, the former leader of the AfD—a German far-right party that recently got 14 percent of the vote in local elections. Petry openly called for the return of Nazi-era terminology in public. This issue might have remained hidden for anglophones if it wasn't for the British writer, poet and activist Musa Okwonga who called out the TV channel on his Twitter account. Eventually, they cancelled the show.

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At This World Cup, Players Risk Imprisonment to Compete

What you need to know about the CONIFA World Cup, the football tournament for breakaway nations.

The ConIFA World Cup, the global football tournament for unrecognized nations, and football associations not affiliated to FIFA, is about to begin its third edition. The championship will kickoff on 31 May in Sutton, Greater London, where the Barawa FA team will act as host.

Barawa FA, named after the port city of Barawa in southern Somalia, represents the Tunni and Bravanese people who live there, but it also represents the wider Somali diaspora in the United Kingdom. So, even though the tournament will be played in England, this will be the most African ConIFA competition to date, with not only an African member hosting and heading the organizing committee, but with two other African teams taking part in the competition: Matabeleland and Kabylia.

This will be the largest edition of the ConIFA World Cup so far, with 16 teams playing in 10 stadiums—seven in Greater London, two in Berkshire and one in Essex. In contrast, the previous edition, held in Abkhazia—a separatist region of Georgia—in 2016, featured 12 teams in two stadiums; while the inaugural edition, held in Lapland—a region encompassing parts of northern Sweden, northern Norway, northern Finland and north-western Russia inhabited by the Sami people—in 2014, only featured one stadium and 12 teams. It will also feature the largest number of African teams so far, as only two participated in 2014 (Darfur and Zanzibar) and 2016 (Somaliland and Chagos Islands).

The tournament has also raised its profile. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power announced it will be sponsoring the tournament, probably seizing the opportunity to take bets on the tournament, which will occur between the end of national European leagues and the beginning of the FIFA World Cup in mid-June.

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Photo by Farah Sosa.

Here's What Amplify Africa's Inaugural Afro Ball Looked Like

The awards event was a celebration of excellence and ambition in the African community.

On Saturday, May 19, the Los Angeles Theater Center in downtown LA became a mecca for idealists and dreamers from the African diaspora.

The casual passersby would've been greeted with an effusion of bold prints, intricate headwraps and color coordination—the likes of which had not been seen since their favorite 90s music video (or church, or a wedding for some of us). And though the festivities might have vaguely resembled a film set—as is all too common downtown—this moment wouldn't be rehashed months later in a movie or television show. Attendees were flocking to Amplify Africa's inaugural Afro Ball. With the support of BET International, Buzzfeed, OkayAfrica, the GEANCO Foundation and more, Afro Ball lived up to its name as a "for Africans, by Africans" awards event, celebrating excellence and ambition in our community.

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