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Image courtesy of Riveriswild

#BuyBlack: The 8 Black-Owned Brands To Shop For On Black Friday 2019

It's that time of year again, here is OkayAfrica's 2019 gift guide for you to #BuyBlack this Friday.

You know we're near the end of 2019 once the holiday season comes back around. Thanksgiving is upon us and the bargain shopping and gift-giving is set to commence thereafter. While this American "holiday" being questionable in of itself, Black Friday is a prime occasion to highlight, support and spend exclusively with black-owned businesses.

Just like we mentioned last year, let's keep the 'for us, by us' energy going. Even beyond the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, tap into the businesses that continue to contribute to wealth-building, development and employment in Black communities around the world.

Here is OkayAfrica's curated shortlist of black-owned brands to take note of this Black Friday, including some standout home decor, fashion, skincare and beauty brands you should know.

Take a look below.


ITADI BODY

Itadi Body is a new natural skincare brand launched by Togolese artist and businessman Tabi Bonney. The inaugural line consists of a face wash, toner and moisturizer made out of ingredients sourced from Bonney's family-owned farms in Togo, including the coffee berry—known for its antioxidants and skin protecting properties. Whether you're a product minimalist or newbie needing a starting point with skincare, Itadi Body can be the go-to line to leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.

Riveriswild

Riveriswild is the lifestyle brand tapping into African nostalgia through their eclectic designs. "The name of our brand symbolizes the chaotic fluidity of life," Akinwale Akinbiyi, Riveriswild's creative director, told OkayAfrica in 2017. Their latest collection, Garba, is dedicated to the man Akinyibi bought sweets from during his formative years in Lagos. A standout from this line is the Bloom Hat, featuring two groovy flowers made out of the Riveriswild logo.

Spicegrove Roselle

This is the perfect holiday gift for the sorrel/zobo/bissap lovers in your life. Audrey Powell has bottled up her take on sorrel with Spicegrove Roselle+Ginger hibiscus drink. Named after her family farm that Powell spent her formative years in Jamaica, Spicegrove is the healthy and accessible approach on what she witnessed her mother make during the holidays growing up. What you taste is what you get—a delicious, spice-filled blend of dried hibiscus roselle petals, raw ginger, allspice, cinnamon, lime peel and raw cane sugar.

Ditto Africa

Ditto Africa is an emerging, centralized mobile marketplace where one can shop a curated array of fashion brands from Africa and the diaspora. The platform features designers including Nigeria's Orange Culture, Haiti's Petit Kouraj, Egypt's Okhtein and more. Be sure to take a closer look at Ditto Africa's jewelry selection—they're to die for.

54kibo

Nana Quagraine founded 54kibo to make contemporary African interior design more visible, accessible and authentic. "After the birth of our twins, my husband and I hosted a Ghanaian Naming Ceremony in Brooklyn, New York; a day filled with love and the beauty of my culture," she says on 54kibo's website. "This day inspired me, and created a sense of urgency to build 54kibo, to share the beauty of the African diaspora with my children and the world." The online platform features stunning home decor items, furniture, home decor for kids, as well as rugs and carpets.

Vitae London

Vitae London, founded by William Adoasi, has been the brand that makes beautiful watches affordable and stylish. Based in London, it consistently produces high-quality genuine leather band or stainless steel band watches, that are built with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass. Vitae London is all about giving back as well. Proceeds from each watch sold contributes to the lives of schoolchildren on the continent via new school uniforms and a solar light that helps them study safely at night.

UOMA Beauty

UOMA Beauty is the latest African-owned makeup brand to watch. Founded by Nigeria's own Sharon Shuter, a former beauty executive, UOMA looks to shake up the rules of inclusivity and diversity in the beauty industry. The brands range includes eyeshadow palettes, eyeliner, brow pencils and gels, vibrant lipsticks and glosses, as well as foundation and concealers formulated especially for women of color.

BONUS: OkayAfrica Shop

If you're looking for fun accessories, records, and graphic tees that represent for the culture, look no further than our very own OkayAfrica shop. The shop is stocked up with best-sellers like the Toussaint L'ouverture tee, the popular Africa Prism t-shirt, our new collection for Jidenna's '85 to Africa' tour, OkayPlayer's The Roots-inspired Illadelph jersey and plenty more for all your streetwear needs.

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Image courtesy of Daily Paper.

Daily Paper Enlists Ghanaian Artist David Alabo For New Tarot Card Capsule Collection

The streetwear brand's new line of t-shirts feature striking, Afro-Surrealist designs by Ghanaian artist David Alabo.

Amsterdam-based, African-owned streetwear brand, Daily Paper has released a new limited edition capsule collection in collaboration with Ghanaian visual artist David Alabo.

The Tarot Card collection of high end t-shirts is part of the brand's Spring/Summer 2020 collection. Each t-shirt features a unique design by Alabo "highlighting an Afro-Surrealism tarot card providing insight and guidance through symbolism and spiritual wisdom," according to a press release from Daily Paper. The designs reflect Alabo's artistic vision of using elements of fantasy and mysticism to critique African society.

"Daily Paper is dedicated to promoting African culture by honoring the past and its influence on their vision of the future," said the artist. "They push the boundaries and challenge the perception of Africa in the fashion world which is what I aim to achieve in the art world too. It just makes sense that we work together and inspire each other."

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Meet the South African Fashion Designer Behind the Mantsho x H&M Collection

For designer Palesa Mokubung, a collaboration with the retail giant marks her ascent to the global stage.

Johannesburg's own Mantsho clothing brand has become a household name thanks to the bold work of its founder and creative director, Palesa Mokubung.

Designing both ready-to-wear and red carpet creations for her clients, Mokubung has been honing her craft as a designer since creating her label in 2004. Meaning "Black is Beautiful" in Mokubung's native language Sesotho, Mantsho is best known for its vibrant fabrics, bold and edgy designs with distinct silhouettes and structure. Her collections have been seen on runways in Senegal, Greece, New York, India and Nigeria, however her collaboration with Sweden retailer H&M may mark her biggest industry splash yet.

Palesa Mokubung Photo: Courtesy of H&M

"I chose the name 'Mantsho' to speak to my love and my appreciation for the strong black woman," she tells OkayAfrica. "Even though it's been over 15 years, I'm still inspired by my original work because I'm only just now starting to understand and sort through them. I guess that I can say that I've created this Mantsho world that has become an inspiration on its own to both myself and to others."

Mantsho is the first African label to collaborate with the retail giant who was heavily criticized last year in South Africa due to an advertising display of a young black boy clothed in a hoodie with the word "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle." Several stores in area were vandalized and finally closed as a result of the customer outrage.

"This was a big mistake and we simply got it wrong," H&M's manager for South Africa, Oldouz Mirzaie tells a room of journalists at a scheduled press conference. Mirzaie adds that removing the racist hoodie advert and the hoodie itself from stores was not enough.

Photo: Courtesy H&M

As a result, the Mantsho X H&M Collection is currently online and in 11 countries including South African H&M retail stores.

A true Mantsho garment can be identified by its confident silhouette, structure and colors. These three elements work well to describe Mokubung's knowledge of her craft. "I decided to go back to school to get my degree right in the middle of it because it wasn't working for me. I had the talent but not the qualifications and I didn't want anything standing in my way. When big opportunities like this came my way, I wanted to make sure that I was worthy of it because I've put in the time," Mokubung tells SABC TV.

"I now understand how retail works. I understand the mind of the consumer and their lifestyle. I think that's why H&M wanted to get into business with me. My talent is undeniable. I know that but you still have to put in that work. I know certain parts about retail. There are pieces that I sell in the store for say R2500 and you can get them at the Mantsho X H&M Collaboration for a fraction of the price maybe R900 or R800 which is the average price point and they needed a designer that would not oppose that because they understand that the life of this project is short."

Photo: Courtesy of H&M

Shapes and colors are big characters in her designs as she believes that is where a woman stores her confidence. "This is my love letter to the world from Africa," says Mokubung. "I hope customers around the world will enjoy this ensemble of my stand-out pieces from my last three collections." Through this collection, Mokubung wanted "to celebrate the beauty of women and the vibrancy and diversity of the African aesthetic, its textures and its colors."

The brand has a signature, a face-floral motif that's spotted across its main line—it's so core to Mantsho it had to appear in this capsule (and it does, in three new prints, created by Mokubung on the occasion of this partnership). Products, which range from apparel to accessories and footwear, start at $24.99 and cap out at $129 and are on sale for a short period of time.

"I'm happy that, from the onset, H&M gave me full rein to be authentic in my designs, which are influenced by the life of the modern African woman," Mokubung says. She wanted to represent "the best of Mantsho,"

"And I'm hoping it won't be in stores for more than four weeks," says Mokubung.

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Photo by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach.

South Africans Condemn Police Brutality During National Lockdown

A number of videos have emerged on social media allegedly showing the intimidation and assault of several Black South Africans by law enforcement.

South Africa recently began a nationwide lockdown in an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been deployed across the nation to aid the police in ensuring that the rules of the lockdown are abided by. However, disturbing footage has emerged on social media allegedly depicting law enforcement agents assaulting South Africans.

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Image by Sabelo Mkhabela.

This Is What It Takes for South African Musicians to Succeed Abroad

Jeremy Loops, Shimza, Moonchild Sanelly and GoodLuck discuss what it took to build their names overseas.

Disclaimer: The conversation which this piece makes reference to took place before the COVID-19 pandemic hit South Africa.

"I said it for 10 years that I'm going to work with Beyoncé, and everybody laughed for those 10 years. And I said it with conviction. Today, I'm on a Grammy-nominated album [on a song] with Beyoncé right now," says Moonchild Sanelly referring to the song "MY POWER" in which she's featured in alongside Busiswa, Nija, Yemi Alade, Tierra Whack and of course Queen B herself. The track is a fan-favorite from the Lion King: The Gift soundtrack album curated by Beyoncé. Moonchild is pulling out these receipts to elaborate a point she just made about self-belief which helped her build a career that's recognized globally, a feat very few South African artists have achieved.

A few of those artists— Jeremy Loops, Shimza and Juliet Harding (a member of the versatile electronic band GoodLuck)—are on the podium alongside Moonchild during the Midem Africa Conference in Langa, Cape Town towards the end of February. The four musicians are in conversation with Trenton Birch, musician and founder of Bridges for Music Academy, sharing their secrets to breaking into the highly competitive and advanced music markets of mainly Europe and the US.

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