Photos

These Striking Photos Bring the Phrase ‘Black Girl Magic’ to Life

Take a look at our favorite photos that make you never doubt the phrase, "black girl magic."

Black girl magic is one of the most important phrases of our generation—it denies society’s negative stereotypes about black women by declaring that we are even powerful and magical beings who can change the world.


We use the phrase to empower our fellow sistas, to add glimmer to our photos and social media presence, to inspire ourselves while we get ready for the day, to support a black woman when she shines in her professional field or accomplishes an amazing feat.

But what happens when we take this slogan one step further, and try to replicate it into living art? The photography below explores the different sides of black girl magic—from fantastical, dreamy images to traditional African inspired aesthetics to pure magic, afrofuturism and black royalty.

Delphine Diallo

Delphine Diallo’s Highness series examines the sensuality of the black female figure, the power of spirituality and healing and the marvel and mystery of masks. In Highness, women’s faces are covered with intricately braided masks, designed with African face paint or simply colored with white paint, to create a ghostly effect. The result are secretive, seductive photos that are as haunting as they are harmonious.

Laolu Senbanjo

A photo posted by Laolu (@laolunyc) on

A photo posted by Laolu (@laolunyc) on

Laolu Senbanjo’s artform, the Sacred Art of the Ori, is a Yoruba aesthetic of tracing fluid lines, shapes and words on a person’s body. He says this method creates a phenomenal moment between artist and muse: through their connection, he is able to conjure up the hidden images within the muse’s skin. The muse is transformed into a spiritual being, with captivating messages and symbols displayed on their face and body.

Lisa Farrall

A photo posted by Lisa Farrall (@lisafarrall) on

A photo posted by Lisa Farrall (@lisafarrall) on

Lisa Farrall’s Armour Collection became a viral hit this fall, and understandably so. She decorated her models with extravagant African inspired hairdos and earth-toned outfits, bangles and necklaces that posed as decorative pieces of armor against their skin. With their heroic stances and captivating stares, they embody a traditional yet fantastic side of black girl magic.

Meiji Nguyen and Ajok Madel

Ajok Madel. Photo by Meiji Nguyen.

Ajok Madel. Photo by Meiji Nguyen.

Model Ajok Madel looks like she stepped out of a futuristic fairytale in Meiji Nguyen’s dreamy photo spread. With silver feathery textures, cotton candy hairstyles and glitter swept across her cheekbones, Model breathes royalty and effervescence into camera.

Island Boi Photography

Joey Rosado, the artist behind Island Boi Photography, captures black women in romantic states inspired by nature: sleeping on a bed of rose petals, decorated in flowers or adorned with glitter. What struck me about his art is his use of lines. The models’ cheekbones, collarbones, temples, shoulders and backs are traced with thick, bold lines, accentuating their round curves and sharp features.

Taylor Giavasis and Simone Mariposa

Model Simone Mariposa transforms into an intergalactic goddess for Taylor Giavasis’ The Naked Diaries Project. The Naked Diaries Project showcases the beauty of all women and non binary people’s bodies: whether it's skinny, fat, scarred; filled with lumps, pimples, moles and more. In these pictures, we are invited to relish in the wonder of Mariposa’s body, in all its glitter-filled glory.

Oye Diran

A photo posted by Oye Diran (@oye_diran) on

A photo posted by Oye Diran (@oye_diran) on

Nigerian photographer Oye Diran captures the essence of black and African royalty in his series, Black Monarch. With gold crowns, lace, sheer fabrics and adornments and a dramatic black backdrop, models Cleopatra Roberts and Destiny Ohwawa turn into alluring, powerful queens.

Reign Apiim

Lashaia Artis, known as Reign Apiim (All power is in me) is a soulful, ethereal artist and designer who spreads beauty and light through her work. She has a plethora of photos on her Instagram page, but the ones below are spectacular for her displays of black girl magic around New York City: mainly, in subways. Reign shows that magic can be sparkled in the most overlooked places.

Featured
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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Sports
Via CONIFA

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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Events
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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