Arts + Culture

NextGen: Daniel Obasi Is the Young Nigerian Stylist Making Big Moves

Nigerian stylist and art director Daniel Obasi's forward thinking art direction sparks conversation around issues that impact young Africans.

DIASPORAOver the course of July we'll be publishing short profiles, essays and interviews on the theme of "Afrofutures." Together these stories will be a deep dive into the way African and diaspora thinkers, technologists and artists view a future for Africans in the world and outside of it. 


Take a look at our introduction to Afrofuturism here.

Throughout this month, we'll also highlight and celebrate young, leading talents who already put into practice what a future with black people look like through their work in our daily profile series, 'NextGen.'

In our sixth edition, meet Nigerian stylist and visual artist, Daniel Obasi. 

A big part of shaping the future is taking risks to go against social norms and starting conversations that sometimes make people uncomfortable. This is the risk that 21-year-old stylist and visual artist Daniel Obasi is willing to take. Currently based in Lagos, Nigeria, Obasi spends half his time in the classroom studying French at the University of Lagos and the other half balancing his creative endeavors that range from styling editorials and lookbooks for publications like Oxosi, Hunger Magazine, Nataal and Contributor Magazine.

Daniel Obasi. Photo courtesy of the artist.

His projects often talk about controversial topics in Nigeria including gender, sexuality and social issues. This has attracted him attention from platforms like Marie Claire SA, CNN Africa and BBC radio. Beyond using his art as a way to start conversations, he also makes putting on African designers a priority in his work. Most of his editorials feature exclusively African designers and allow the outside world to engage with the trends happening in West Africa.

Photo by Daniel Obasi.

“Afrofuturism deals with a contemporary approach to storytelling, reimagining a narrative that fuses cultural and historical aesthetics with fantasy and science," Obasi says, when asked about his take on the movement.

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He continues:

"For me it's such a powerful way of sharing our history and experiences. My work is often rooted around my experiences as a young African. Growing up we are offered such a narrow and stereotyped perspective on Africa, that sort of hinders our progression especially within the creative scene. As an Artist the best way for me to help shape our narrative is to step away from those stereotypes and create along the lines of Afrofuturism and fantasy.”

Although his journey is just beginning, we are excited to see what Daniel Obasi does next.

News

The Ethiopian Government Has Asked Olympic Runner In Exile, Feyisa Lilesa, to Return Home

After two years in exile, the Olympic athlete will return home and receive a "hero's welcome."

Feyisa Lilesa, the Ethiopian runner who went into exile in 2016 after bravely protesting the Ethiopian government's brutal treatment of its Oromo population at the Rio Olympics, has been invited to return to home.

After living in self-imposed exile United States for two years the marathoner, who demonstrated by crossing his fists as he reached the finish line and claimed the silver medal, has been extended an offer to return to his homeland and compete for his country once again by the Ethiopian Athletics Federation and the country's Olympic committee. According to VOA News, the runner will return home in the coming weeks with his wife and children.

"Athlete Feyisa Lilesa has scored great results at the Rio Olympics and other athletics competitions enabling Ethiopia's flag to be hoisted to great heights," read a joint letter from the two athletics organizations.

"We want Lilesa to return to his home country to resume his athletics competition and upon his return we are prepared to give him a hero's welcome."

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Politics
Image via GovernmentZA's Flickr.

Could Justice Finally Be on the Horizon for Marikana Massacre Families?

New evidence suggests that the police intended to kill all along.

Today marks the sixth anniversary of the Marikana Massacre, when 34 mine-workers were gunned down by police after several days of wage disputes at Lonmin Mine in Rustenburg, North West province. New information was recently uncovered that undermines the police's longstanding claim that they acted in self-defence. If anything, it is a glimmer of hope for the families of the victims that remain left behind in the aftermath of that tragedy.

It was the worst mass civilian killing since the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, where South African protesters were killed for opposing the Apartheid regime. The Marikana Massacre, in contrast, was the tragic consequence of week-long wage disputes and clashes between miners and the South African police.

While media footage appears to show the miners as the victims, police have always argued that they were acting in self defence. Consequently no officers involved have been charged. Instead, the surviving mineworkers face murder charges under the doctrine of common purpose. But unnerving facts have come to light that seem to make the police argument even less likely. This includes the ordering of 4000 rounds of live ammunition and several vans from the mortuary the day before the massacre.

I cannot even begin to unpack my anger and frustration at this terrible irony.

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popular

Remembering Aretha Franklin and Her Heartfelt Connection With Nelson Mandela

In honor of the Queen of Soul's immeasurable impact, we revisit her passionate support of Nelson Mandela, and the anti-apartheid movement, through her musical tributes.

Iconic singer, Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul" passed away on Thursday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 76.

Franklin was considered by many to be the greatest singer of all time. Her influence on popular music cannot be overstated. The legendary artist sold 75 million records and earned 18 Grammys in a career spanning six decades and she was influential in many global social movements as well.

Having been a widely-embraced public figure for so long, Franklin was present for some of the biggest events of the 20th century, including the funeral of Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990.

Upon Mandela's release, the singer played a unique role in welcoming him to the States by performing at a freedom rally in his honor in Detroit. Rosa Parks, Jesse Jackson and Stevie Wonder were also in attendance for the historic night. During the celebration, Franklin called the anti-apartheid leader on stage, where he spoke about listening to and appreciating "the Detroit, Motown Sound" while he was in prison.

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