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.

popular

Janet Jackson Returns With Afrobeats-Inspired Song & Video 'Made For Now' Featuring Daddy Yankee

The icon's latest is a nod to the sound, fashion and culture of the diaspora.

Ms. Jackson is back.

The iconic artist returns with her first single since the release of her 2015 album Unbreakable, and it's a timely nod to the "made for now" influence of afrobeats fashion, sound and culture.

On "Made For Now," which features Puerto Rican reggaeton titan Daddy Yankee, Janet Jackson does what she's done successfully so many times throughout her decades-long career: provide an infectious, party-worthy tune that's fun and undeniably easy to dance to. "If you're living for the moment, don't stop," Jackson sings atop production which fuses dancehall, reggaeton and afrobeats.

The New York-shot music video is just as lively, filled with eye-catching diasporic influences, from the wax-print ensembles and beads both Janet and her dancers wear to the choreographed afrobeats-tinged dance numbers, even hitting the Shoki at one point in the video. The train of dancers travel throughout the streets of Brooklyn, taking over apartment buildings and rooftops with spirited moves.

It's obvious that Jackson has been studying and drawing inspiration from the culture for some time now. She even hit the Akwaaba dance, popularized by Mr Eazi, during her Icon Award performance at this year's Billboard Music Awards.

The bouncing video, directed by Dave Meyers, features contributions from a number of creatives from Africa and the diaspora who were involved in the creation of the video, including designer Claude Lavie Kameni and choreographer Omari Mizrahi. Ghanaian health guru, Coach Cass pointed out some of the many dancers involved in the production on Instagram, who hail from Ghana, Nigeria, Trinidad, Grenada and the US.

Ahead of the video's release, it garnered attention on social media when Jackson was spotted filming in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, wearing what many thought was a questionable fashion ensemble. The outfit in question only makes a small appearance in the video, and we're glad to see that Janet's other looks appear, at least slightly, more coordinated.

Watch the music video for "Made for Now" below. The singer is set to perform the song with Daddy Yankee live for the first time tonight on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, so be ready!

Audio

You Need to Hear Juls' New Single 'Saa Ara'


New hip-hop and highlife grooves from the celebrated UK-based Ghanaian producer.

By merging the diverse influence of growing up in Accra and East London, Juls has managed to cultivate a hybrid afrobeats style that has set him apart from the rest.

For his latest single, "Saa Ara," he teams up with award-winning rapper Kwesi Arthur and gifted lyricist Akan.

The brilliant fusion of vintage highlife instrumentals and booming hip-hop beats, along with Kwesi Arthur's lively chorus and Akan's fiery delivery gives the song a very spiritual and classical feel.

Soothe your soul this weekend with these tasteful sounds from Juls.

Listen to "Saa Ara" by Juls featuring Kwesi Arthur and Akan below.

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News Brief

FIFA Refuses To Meet with Nigeria's Sports Minister as Ghana Takes Steps to Avoid Ban

This could jeopardize Nigeria's qualifier against Seychelles in September, while the Ghanaian government has pledged not to dissolve its football association.

In lieu of the ultimatums Nigeria and Ghana's football associations faced from FIFA, one country is on its way to dodge the threat of being banned, while the other is not going down without a fight.

FIFA has refused a proposed meeting with Nigeria's sports minister, Solomon Dalung, to discuss problems in the country's football federation, BBC Sport reports. They say their leadership and the FIFA president is unwilling to meet during the proposed time period.

FIFA is giving the NFF until August 20 for Chris Giwa, who was acknowledged by the courts as the president of the federation, to leave the NFF offices.

Giwa's lawyer Ardzard Habilla asserts that FIFA can't ban Nigeria as the federation's issues need to be sorted out internally by the country's judiciary.

Habilla questions, "Do we take it that FIFA laws are superior to the judgment of the highest court in our land—the Supreme Court, and has FIFA elevated itself before the constitution of Nigeria?"

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