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Travel Diary: Karen Mitchell Explores Havana With Cuban Friends

In our second June travel diary entry, Karen Mitchell takes us to her favorite spots in Havana, Cuba.

Havana—June is “No Borders” month at OkayAfrica. That can mean a lot of things and we’ll get to that, but one thing we wouldn’t want to miss out on is the sheer joy of travel. So, to honor the carefree black traveler we’ll be posting new photo diaries from a wide range of African and diaspora super-travelers of their favorite places and why.


Our second diary entry—see the first here— is from the hair care expert Karen Mitchell, owner of the True Indian hair franchise. The Jamaican born entrepreneur has spent over a decade in the haircare industry. Beginning as a licensed cosmetologist, license honed her skills in salons from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Her experience as a stylist introduced her to her true passion: connecting image-conscious career women with easy-to-care for luxury extensions.

Mitchell’s dedication to this mission has propelled True Indian Hair to the forefront of the industry. Today Mitchell counts trend setting celebrities such as Taraji P. Henson, Ciara, Kelly Rowland, Rihanna, and Serena Williams among her devoted clientele. As a result, leading publications like ESSENCE, Black Enterprise and The YBF have all leaned on Mitchell’s expertise for stories as well as profiled her rise as one of the few African-American entrepreneurs in her industry.

Since it’s inception, the demand for Mitchell’s product has seen the expansion of True Indian Hair from it’s flagship Brooklyn boutique to Midtown Manhattan and Atlanta locations.

Mitchell is currently at work on expanding her franchise to Los Angeles and West Africa in the coming year. Check out her site here. Below, Mitchell tells us about some of her favorite moments from her trip to Cuba.

Roof top dining with friends at Havana's Hotel Inglaterra

Photos courtesy of Karen Mitchell

Photo courtesy of Karen Mitchell

This historic hotel has a prime location facing Central Park and very near the Capitolio, which means it’s perfectly situated for exploring the old town. Three cozy seating areas ensure optimum lounging and the roof terrace is legendary.

Visiting San Pedro de la Roca Castle in Santiago de Cuba

Photo courtesy of Karen Mitchell

Photo courtesy of Karen Mitchell

The large fort was built to defend the important port of Santiago de Cuba. The design of the fortification was based on Italian and Renaissance architecture. The complex is one of the most complete and well-preserved Spanish-American defense fortifications.

Taking a classic car tour in Havana

Photo courtesy of Karen Mitchell

Havana is known for its classic cars dating from before the American embargo. While parts can be hard to find, the cars are kept in top shape through a mix of Cuban ingenuity and care. Classic car tours are a great way to see the city in style.

 

Photo courtesy of Karen Mitchell

Wizkid at Gidi Fest 2018. Photo: Tej/Gidi Culture Festival.

The Significance Of Wizkid's Failure To Perform At Coachella

And what consequences this could have for future Nigerian and African music shows abroad.

Nigeria's Wizkid didn't perform at the 2018 edition of the Coachella Valley and Arts Festival. While leading musicians across genres from all parts of the world climbed the stages over two weekends to provide concert-goers a live experience of their art, Starboy was absent. He was booked, his name was announced in the line-up, and two slots, over two weekends were allocated for his set. But he missed his placement due to "his inability to get US visas" for his band members.

Wizkid didn't just miss this chance. Africa did. Due to the significance of the his set at such a global stage, the Afrobeats movement did. Everyone, from creators, through the facilitators of the art, down to the consumers, everyone missed out on a crucial chance to bring our music to a diverse audience, at arguably the biggest music festival in the world. The timing was right. Wizkid, due to strength of his art, and the efficacy of his deals, found himself as the anointed one from Africa to do that.

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The IAAF Says Caster Semenya Must Lower Her Testosterone Levels Or Compete in Longer Distances

A new controversial set of rules will affect Caster Semenya severely.

South African middle-distance athlete Caster Semenya might be forced to compete in longer distance dashes.

This comes after the International Association of Athletics Federation announced that this Thursday it will reveal new rules for athletes with hyperandrogenism (high levels of testosterone in the female body). The rules, according to a report by the Daily MailDaily Mail, will force Semenya to either take medication to reduce her naturally occurring testosterone levels or move to longer-distance events.

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Photo by Sabelo MKhabela.

11 South African Hip-Hop Songs About Weed

4/20 Special: Here are 11 South African songs to get high to.

You can't separate hip-hop and weed. Dr. Dre's debut album The Chronic was named after the herb and the likes of Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa and Quasimoto pretty much made careers off rapping about weed.

The tradition is alive wherever hip-hop exists. In South Africa, weed has been rapped about just as much as the aforementioned artists have. And according to Lord Quas on "America's Most Blunted" from the album Madvillainy, listening to music under the influence of weed makes it sound better.

"Listening to music while stoned is a whole new world. Most cannabis consumers report it second only to sex. And grass will change your musical habits, for the better."

In light of 4/20, we list some South African hip-hop songs, both old and new, about weed. If you're a smoker, these songs could come in handy for you today.

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