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Photo via Fenty Beauty's Twitter page.

How Fenty Beauty Is Leading the Inclusion Conversation for Black Women

And doing so while making us look FABULOUS.

Rihanna proves that Fenty Beauty is deeper than just makeup. "The new generation of beauty" is redefining the way in which women of color are represented in popular culture, and also revolutionizing the consumer experience for women with darker complexions. Fenty Beauty's mass success can easily be measured in sales, but it's the 29-year-old pop icon's vision of inclusion that's challenging the outdated ideals of beauty in media as we know it.


Fenty Beauty beautifully encompasses today's millennial woman in the most unapologetic, disruptive way possible. This is huge for the average girl who thinks her lips are too big to rock a bold red lipstick, or for the girl who tirelessly searches to find the perfect shade to match her deep-dark complexion. We all look to trends to help us decide what's hot and what to purchase, but in beauty, what happens when the brands you patronize don't celebrate or even acknowledge women with bold ethnic features like yourself, or women with kinky hair like yourself, or women who wear a hijab like yourself?

The beauty industry is a space historically dictated by a standard of "perfection," one that is viewed by many as unrealistic and unattainable. To make matters worse, imagine never being able to readily find makeup or cosmetics that match your skin tone, just because it's deeper than "dark tan." Welcome to a struggle that many black women know all too well.

Fenty gives us images that celebrate every woman, but most importantly those with dark skin, freckles, bold features, and textured hair that would otherwise never be seen. This is the moment that all black women have been waiting for—a brand that celebrates and embraces our beauty, propagating images that allow us to look in the mirror everyday and be confident in knowing that the world sees our true beauty.

While a few high-end cosmetic brands have done their due diligence by expanding their foundation shade offerings (most notably Make Up For Ever, NARS and Lancôme), if you're not prepared to drop $50 on a one ounce bottle of foundation, finding a wide array of shades at a fair price point was virtually out of the question before Fenty Beauty launched in early September. The brand offers 40 shades of its Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, with every shade from paisley, pale light to deep, dark brown. At $34 for 1.08 ounces, Pro Filt'r sits at a cozy price point right in between drugstore and high-end.

Black women finally have a brand that we can believe in because it was crafted with all of our uniquely beautiful tones in mind, but our love for Fenty runs much deeper than lipgloss and highlighter. The first look at Fenty Beauty was released only 7 days before the actual launch of the brand with a trailer highlighting women of all shades and ethnicities. Most notably featured were Australian-born Sudanese model Duckie Thot, African American model/influencer Slick Woods and Somali-American model Halima Aden, all recognized for their vastly unique features.

In the guerilla-style video, we see the Fenty girls fiercely navigating the streets of a busy urban city, all serving strikingly appealing looks. With their glossy lips accentuated, we eventually see the women holding what will come to be known as Gloss Bomb, one of the brand's hero products. What's so amazing about the simplicity of the video, though, is the fact that every single model is wearing the same lip gloss and it looks amazing on every shade of woman featured.

This is the guiding principle behind why I think Fenty Beauty has been so immensely successful. It's an ode to every woman: I am perfection. You are perfection. We are perfection. Rihanna would later go on herself to say that she wanted to make beauty line that looks good on women of all skin tones, with all of her diverse friend groups in mind. She did just that. And it turns out that the well-crafted range of universally flattering offerings for is exactly what black women needed. Plus, girl power is a little easier to stan for when you're actually included in the celebration. Just check out how these Fenty fans stanned for one another following the launch of Fenty's fan-favorite red lipstick, STUNNA.

Rihanna and her team are single-handedly cultivating the conversation around the shift in "modern beauty" and who gets to be included in it. Fenty Beauty's cult community embodies women of all backgrounds, shades, shapes and styles, and the millions of diverse women who make up its tribe are the result of what it means to be genuinely inclusive. Brands are finally recognizing the importance of diversity, and we're here for it. It's important that we see positive, authentic images of ourselves—especially taking into account that total black buying power is projected to peak at $1.5 trillion by 2021, according to Nielsen. We need brands to stand behind who position us at the forefront, not who appropriate our culture then treat us like an afterthought.

Fenty's newest launch is set to drop today, December 26. The brand will be debuting 14 bold and fearless shades of its Mattemoiselle lipstick, all which embody the singer's eclectic style. With a reported $72 million in its first month of sales, a slew of honors including 'Launch of the Year' by Women's Wear Daily and 'Invention of the Year' by Time Magazine, plus 2.5 million followers, I think it's safe to say Fenty Beauty and its celebration of #BlackGirlMagic is here to stay.

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Khalah Morris is a digital marketing professional, freelance writer and diehard Chicagoan. She spends most of her spare time relishing over the latest in hip-hop & urban culture, fitness, beauty and dog pages on Instagram.

This YouTube Account Is Sharing South African Audiobooks For Free, And We Are Here For It

Listen to audiobooks by Steve Biko, Bessie Head, Credo Mutwa, and more.

Audio Books Masters is a YouTube channel that uploads audio versions of South African books and short stories.

Recent additions include Life by Bessie Head, Crepuscule by Can Themba, Indaba, My Children by Credo Mutwa, among others. South African poet Keorapetse Kgositsile, who passed away three weeks ago, also gets read. You can listen to his poem No Serenity Here. More books you can stream include I Write What I Like by Steve Biko, Africa is my Witness by Credo Mutwa, among others.

Audio Book Masters was started by two friends, Bonolo Malevu (24) and Hahangwivhawe Liphadzi (23).

Malevu is a University of Pretoria BA Drama graduate, who is currently doing his LLB. Liphadzi is an LLB graduate, who is completing his LLM this year.

"I found a hobby of narrating books to craft my art skill after reading Credo Mutwa's Indaba, My Children," says Malevu in an email to OkayAfrica. "After reading the prologue, I knew that this book was meant to be converted [to] many different formats such as stage plays, series, movies and audiobooks."

Then came the idea of creating a YouTube channel. That was when Malevu teamed up with Liphadzi.

They both bought themselves high quality recorders, and started reading, recording and uploading.

Authors from the olden days such as RRR Dhlomo and HIE Dhlomo, whose audio versions of their books are available on the channel, are older than 50 years and their copyrights have since expired.

The rest, though, Liphadzi and Malevu say they are trying to get in contact with the publishers, but it's not easy.

"We have contacted the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) regarding this issue," they say. "We have been in contact with various copyright holders and we are still in the negotiation process. However we are finding it difficult to contact certain publishers, and the consistent uploading of their books is to attract their attention."

The two friends say they started the channel to bring books closer to people who otherwise wouldn't have access, and to get people to appreciate literature, especially African authors. "We want to bring such literature to the digital age in the form of storytelling which has been a unique African form of literature," they say. "The channel also helps develop our voices as we are a voice company that offers all kinds of voice services. We also identified how South African authors lack audio books, and found that there is a gap in this market, and this could really create many job opportunities in South Africa."

The two are currently developing stories in indigenous languages for children in English medium schools. "This is drawn from the fact that in such schools, a lot of African students struggle to speak their own native languages. So we approach various schools to sell them such literature. We are freelance voice over artists who also do radio, content production, news reading and radio adverts."

We are so here for this.

Subscribe to Audio Books Masters' YouTube channel and follow them on Twitter.

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Nigerian Actor Sope Aluko On How She Landed a Coveted Role in ​'Black Panther​'

Marvel's Black Panther is already on the brink of being a blockbuster, as it already broke box office records within the first 24 hours of it's pre-sale. Beating Captain America: Civil War's record in 2016, Fandango reports results from a user survey, stating Black Panther was 2018's second most-anticipated movie after Avengers: Infinity War.

One up-and-coming actor who will star alongside Lupita Nyong'o, Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan (to name a few) is Sope Aluko. Come February 16, we'll see the Nigerian-born actor play 'Shaman' in the film. Her previous credits include recurring roles on Netflix's “Bloodline," NBC shows “Law & Order SVU" and “Parks & Recreation" and guest appearances on USA Network's “Burn Notice" and Lifetime's “Army Wives."

Her film credits include supporting roles in feature films including Identity Thief, 96 Minutes, Grass Stains, The Good Lie and more. Raised in the UK, Aluko studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). Aluko speaks four languages, including her native language, Yoruba, French, and Bahasa, an Indonesian language.

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Music

Femi Kuti Spreads Some Much-Needed Peace In the Video For 'One People One World'

Watch the music video for the first single off Femi Kuti's upcoming EP "One People One World."

Femi Kuti drops the music video for his single "One People One World," the title song from his forthcoming 10th studio album.

The energy boosting music video sees Femi Kuti delivering an electrifying performance in the Kuti family-owned New Afrika Shrine in Lagos.

On the track, the accomplished musician promotes an unwavering message of peace and unity—things that the world could perhaps always use more of, but especially so in today's Trump-dominated political climate. His message of positivity is illustrated with graphics that appear throughout the video, showing various country flags and symbols of love and peace.

"Racism has no place, give hatred no space," Kuti sings atop brassy instrumentals. "Let's settle the differences, it's best to live in peace. Exchange cultural experiences; that's the way it should be," he continues.

"One People One World," (the album) is a plea towards global harmony and solidarity. When you look at what's going on in Africa, Europe and America, it's important to keep the dream of unity alive," the artist told OkayAfrica in November.

"When I was a boy, I listened to funk, highlife, jazz, folk songs, classical music and my father's compositions, so you will hear those things in the music."

"One People, One World" by Femi Kuti and his band, the Positive Force, drops on February 23 via Knitting Factory, and is now available for preorder.

Femi Kuti, 'One People One World' cover.

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