News

These 5 African Foodies Are Redefining The Diasporan Culinary Experience

Get to know some of the African changemakers who are part of a growing foodie movement in the diaspora.

Photo courtesy of Black Foodie.


Food is intrinsic to African heritage and customs. Whether it’s fufu, nsima, atkit wot, caldeirada de cabrito à Angolana or rasta pasta, the food of the African diaspora has the power to connect people wherever they are.

To showcase the diversity of African cuisine, millennial tastemakers are revolutionizing culinary platforms by creating new spaces—for Africans, by Africans—to emphasize and celebrate the recipes, traditions, and cultures of the diaspora.

Get to know some of the African changemakers who are part of a growing foodie movement and redefining the African culinary experience.

Blackfoodie

Eden Hagos (center). Source: Instagram.

After a racist encounter at an Italian restaurant in Toronto for her birthday, Ethiopian-Canadian Eden Hagos decided to take her unfortunate dining experience and create a platform to celebrate Black-owned restaurants, recipes, and Black chefs in the United States and beyond. Hagos is the founder and creator of Blackfoodie, an online digital platform that explores food and lifestyle through a Black lens and spotlights the best African, Caribbean, and Southern cuisine and foodie experiences. Uncovering stories, traditions, culture and flavors of the African diaspora, Blackfoodie is a culinary resource for tips on recipes, foodie events such a brunch, dinner parties, restaurant openings, festivals in your area and more.

Whether it is featuring Chef Roble’s chicken doro wat deviled eggs recipe, how to make the popular Nigerian breakfast staple, akara and getting the details on the top five Black-owned restaurants in Detroit, Blackfoodie is the ultimate guide to flavor within the community.

With “Injera + Chill” pop-ups in Toronto and London; covering an Ethiopian buffets and weddings; and creating the hashtag #DiningWhileBlack so that other Black millennials can share their racist, foodie experiences, this platform is a growing movement to engage, reinvigorate and redefine how food, fashion, and fun in the Pan-African context connect and collide.

Tolu Eros

Tolu Erogbogbo. Photo courtesy of Cookie Jar.

Tolu Erogbogbo aka Chef Eros is bringing all the flavor and love to the Nigerian foodie scene—literally and figuratively. Specializing in fine dining and catering, Eros is the founder of Cookie Jar, a fine bakery that produces gourmet cookies, cupcakes, cakes, and Parisian inspired desserts. Infusing the finest ingredients sourced locally and from around the world, Cookie Jar grew to become a household name that delivers the best tasting desserts in Nigeria including dripping chocolate cream cakes, Belgian chocolate, cappuccino cupcookies and cookiepops, and dulce bannoffee pie, which is a delicious whipped cream layered pie, topped with demerara caramelized bananas on a crust of Madagascan vanilla cookie crumble, and is finished with Belgian milk chocolate ganache and chopped white chocolate.

Applying unconventional techniques to baking, Chef Eros was featured on CNN for his flavorful and fanciful confectionaries and has cooked for some of the world’s biggest names, such as Lauryn Hill.

Dine Diaspora

Maame Boakye, Chef Jonathan Harris, Nina Oduro and Nana Ama Afari-Dwamena. Photo courtesy of Catherine Rae Photography.

Creating culturally designed culinary experiences connecting leaders and game changers from the diaspora, Dine Diaspora—a contemporary lifestyle and events company—deviates from the typical D.C. happy hour scene and produces unforgettable Pan-African dining experiences.

Gathering an array of change makers from various professional backgrounds, Dine Diaspora is led by a dynamic team of African female game-changers in the District—Maame Boakye, director of event production and talent management, Nana Ama Afari-Dwamena, director of digital communications and community engagement, and Nina Oduro, director of visual design and partnerships.

Using the power of the camaraderie, cuisine and conversation, Dine Diaspora spotlights prominent Black chefs and their creative, culinary creations. Some chefs that have been featured include Chef Jonathan Harris, Chef Dadsi Olutosin, and Chef Essie Bartels.

With conversations centering on topics such as Pan-Africanism, favorite foods from childhood and how to bridge the gap between African-Americans and Africans, past honorable guests of Dine Diaspora include the Honorable Olubanke King-Akerele, the Former Minister of Foreign Affairs to Liberia, Bryan Monroe, the former vice president and editorial director at EBONY and Jet magazines, and the former Washington Editor of Opinion & Commentary at CNN.

Ndudu by Fafa

Fafa Gilbert. Photo courtesy of Ndudu by Fafa.

Fafa Gilbert is a creative African chef, blogger and TV personality based in the UK. Ndudu, means “food” in Gilbert's Ewe language from Ghana. Incorporating the traditional African cooking methods in her recipes by fusing African and Western ingredients together, her varied upbringing with different food cultures inspires her to travel, explore new ingredients and create new recipes. The founder and CEO is also a TV personality, where she showcases her delectable African-inspired recipes on ‘ITV This Morning.’

With her diverse culinary recipes including buka jollof with lamb kleftiko; oil free okra and fish soup; or korklui, she also offers cooking lessons to improve home cooking skills, learn about creative cooking for catering businesses, food presentation and styling. Gilbert also has the “Dine with Fafa” series where in a secret location each month, she creates a 4-course creative meal dining experience.

The LaRue Group

Kirk Ward. Photo courtesy of The LaRue Group.

Based in Philadelphia, The LaRue Group is a one stop shop for minorities in the world of culinary, beverage, and hospitality. With their goal to include minority chefs, product producers and hospitality professionals into the global conversation, the founder and visionary, Kirk Ward, is quickly becoming the go-to representative for minority chefs in the culinary world. Creating a platform for recognition, brand and marketing coaching, and connecting top culinary talent with those seeking an experience in taste they have never had before, The LaRue Group is the source for the latest in trends, products, services, recipes, classes, and so much more as it pertains to minorities.

Producing unique social experiences, The LaRue Group’s marquee event, “The Chef Series Experience,” is a monthly affair giving food connoisseurs the exclusive opportunity to sample signature dishes prepared by the area's most talented minority chefs. Offering cooking classes to the public, some of the chefs on the roster include Chef Joy Parham, Chef Monterray Keys, Chef Naimah Rutling, and Chef Tim Thomas.

Jaimee Swift is a journalist, activist and is obsessed with Pan-Africanism and the African Diaspora. You can follow her on Twitter @JaimeeSwift.

Culture

The Best African Memes of 2018

Laugh with us into 2019 with OkayAfrica's best African memes of 2018.

Meme culture has become a mainstay on these internet streets. It's essentially an alternate form of communicating, of commentary and of simple laughter. 2018 had its fair share of highs and lows, and young Africans continue to utilize memes to celebrate or to cope with the nonsense.

To reflect on the African memes that broke the internet this year, we tapped contributors and African meme tastemakers to list the best African memes of 2018.

Laugh away below.

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popular

The Black Women Who Made Big Strides in France in 2018

Yes, this was a bad year for many reasons, but we can still celebrate the black women who rose to prominence

Back in 2015, a group of Black women activists appeared in the French media: les afrofems. They were and still are, fighting against police brutality, for better inclusion in the media and to destroy harmful sexual stereotypes surrounding black women among other worthy goals. Since then, more influential Black women have gained a bigger representation in the media. And, even better, some of the afrofems activists, like Laura Nsafou and Amandine Gay, have made films and written books to bring more diversity to the entertainment industry.

2018 has, in many ways, been a year where black women made strides in France, at least in terms of culture. From winning Nobel prizes, to having best selling books and being on top of the charts, Black French women have showed that, no matter how much France wants to keep them under the radar, they're making moves. And, no matter the tragedies and terrible events that have shaped the year, it is something worth celebrating.

France's New Queen of Pop Music

We begin with Aya Nakamura, France's new queen of pop music. Her song Djadja was a summer hit. Everyone from Rihanna, to the French football team who successfully won their second world cup, sang it. Her sophomore album "Nakamura" has been certified gold in France and is still on top of the charts. She is the first French singer to have a number one album in the Netherlands since Edith Piaf in 1961. The last time a black woman was as visible in pop music was in 2004, with Lynsha's single "Hommes...Femmes".

Nakamura has received a huge backlash, mostly due to misogynoir—misogyny directed towards black women where race and gender both play roles. From a French presenter butchering her African first name despite the fact that he can easily pronounce words like "Aliagas", to online trolls calling her ugly and manly when a picture of her wearing no makeup surfaced, to people complaining that she is bringing down the quality of the entire French pop music industry, Nakamura responds to her critics gracefully. Her music is not groundbreaking but her album is full of catchy songs with lyrics using French slang she masters so well that she came up with her own words like "en catchana" (aka doggy style sex). And most importantly, many black girls and women can finally see someone like them in the media getting the success she deserves.

The Nobel Prize Winner

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Another Black French woman has broken records this year: the Guadeloupean writer Maryse Condé who won the Alternative Nobel Prize, a prize meant to replace the Nobel Prize in Literature, after the scandal that the Swedish Academy of Literature faced last year. Condé wrote her first novel at only 11 years old and has been prolific ever since. A former professor of French literature at Columbia University, she has published more than 20 books since the 1970s, exploring the complex relationships within the African diaspora. "Segu", her most famous novel, is about the impact of the slave trade and Abrahamic religion on the Bambara empire in Mali in the 19th century. Condé's work is radical and she remains committed to writing feminist texts exploring the link between gender, race and class, as well as exploring the impact of colonialism. Condé is a pillar of Caribbean literature and it's taken long enough for her work has been acknowledged by the Nobel prize committee.

The Children's Books Writers

From Comme un Million de Papillon Noir

And finally, 2018 has been the year where France's children's literature industry has finally understood how important, for the public, writers and publishers, being inclusive and diverse was. From Laura Nsafou's Comme un Million de Papillon Noir, a best selling book about a young black girl learning to love her natural hair which sold more than 6000 copies, to Neiba Je-sais-tout: Un Portable dans le Cartable, the second book of Madina Guissé published this year after a successful crowdfunding campaign, there are more and more children's and young adult books with non white protagonists. In France, there are still no stats about how diversity is doing, but in America, in 2017, only 7 percent of writers of children's literature were either Black, Latino or Native American.

There's still much to accomplish in France for the Black community to have better representation in the media, politics and all walks of life, but important strides have been accomplished this year, and it make me hopeful for what 2019 and the following years have in store.

News

J Hus Has Been Sentenced to Eight Months in Jail for Knife Possession

The rapper has been convicted following an arrest in June.

Gambian-Biritish grime rapper J Hus has been sentenced to eight months in prison for knife possesion, reports BBC News.

The artist, neé Momodou Jallow, was arrested in Stratford London in June when police pulled him over near a shopping center, claming that they smelled cannabis. Police officers asked Hus if he was carrying anything illegal, to which the rapper admitted that he had a 10cm folding knife in his possession. When asked why, he responded: "You know, it's Westfield."

Hus pleaded guilty at a hearing in October after initially pleading not guilty.

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