Writing

Nnedi Okorafor Tells the Story of How Publishers Once Tried to Whitewash Her Book Cover

Science fiction novelist, Nnedi Okorafor, took to Twitter yesterday to share her experience with whitewashing in the literary world.

The Shadow Speaker is a 2007 novel by award-winning science fiction writer, Dr. Nnedi Okorafor—who we recently honored on OkayAfrica's 100 Women list.


The book is set in  Niger and its protagonist is a black, Muslim girl named Eji. Depite this description of the book's main character, Okorafor's publisher, at the time, thought it made sense to put an image of a white character on the book's cover.

Okorafor shared this story, yesterday, during a discussion on Twitter about racism in the literary world. She posted a photo, comparing the suggested cover image with the one that she ended up using.

"I described Ejii as "black skinned" and subsaharan African," she wrote. "Story set in NIGER and that left cover was proposed to me. WTF."

But it's not only the publishing companies who contribute to the whitewashing of narratives in science fiction, it's readers too, says Okorafor. In 2016, the author won the Hugo Award for her book Binti. Her win was heavily contested by an anti-progressive group aptly called the Sad Puppies, who basically exist to make sure that women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community remain underrepresented in science fiction. To combat this, Okorafor says that change needs to come from readers.

Image courtesy of Maki Oh

The New Maki Oh Collection Brought Sensuality and Yoruba Tradition to New York Fashion Week

The Nigerian brand's Fall collection, Ala Kobe, was one of the week's standouts.

Amaka Osakwe's latest Maki Oh Fall 2018 collection Ala Kobe, which translates to "someone that gets you into trouble," brought the flare and sexiness New York Fashion Week needed.

She opened the show with a full-body coat, made of "Adire" fabric—the signature dyed, indigo cloth crafted by Yoruba people in the southwestern part of the country—alluding to the very essence of her brand.

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Let Nissi Kick Start Your Weekend With 'Familiar'

Burna Boy's sister Nissi comes through with the uplifting new video for "Familiar"

Nissi has been making her mark with the drop of catchy singles like the politically-charged "Pay Attention," "Criminal," and "Mama Mi."

The budding Nigerian singer is now here with the lively new music video for "Familiar," arguably her most addictive track to-date which blends an array of electronic, pop and afrobeats influences for an all-out dance affair.

Nissi is joined by two dancers in the new clip as she proceeds to kill it with her dance moves—and with those outfits.

We talked to Nissi last year about her blossoming music career and her tentative plans to eventually work with her brother, Burna Boy, revisit the full interview here.

Let Nissi's new music video for "Familiar" kick start your weekend.

"Familiar" is available everywhere now from Okaymusic.

Style

Check Out the Phenomenal Style at the South African Premiere of 'Black Panther'

These looks are unbeatable.

The excitement over Black Panther can literally be felt all over the world, and especially on the continent.

Today's 'Black Panther' premiere in South Africa only further confirms this. The South African premiere is the second to occur on the continent, following the Kenyan premiere which took place earlier this week in Lupita Nyong'o's hometown of Kisumu.

The Johannesburg edition was a gorgeous affair, filled with impeccably dressed folks showing their Wakandan pride in full spirit.

Many of the outfits seen on the red carpet were unbeatable—seriously, other countries probably would've stepped their game up if they had seen how amazingly dressed some of South Africa's attendees were.

Both Nyong'o and Danai Gurira were in attendance for the occasion, sharing their excitement about "taking BP to the Motherland" on social media the day before.

With the fashion and language used in the movie—real xhosa is spoken briefly in the film—the Southern African influences in Black Panther are unmistakable, and many decided to channel these influences for their looks.

Check out some photos from South African stars like Babes Wodumo, Natasha Thahane, Thando Thabethe, and many others below.



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