fela kuti perfoming

Fela Anikulapo Kuti and band performing during the Berlin Jazz Festival - 1978.

Photo by Mehner/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Playlist: The Sounds of 'Africa Fashion'

Get into our curated playlist to accompany Brooklyn Museum's Africa Fashion exhibit.

TheBrooklyn Museum is currently hosting an exhibit on the dazzling development of African fashion from the 1950s century to present time. Africa Fashion showcases incredible garments from iconic African designers, highlighting fashion's pivotal role in Africa's cultural renaissance.

The largest-ever presentation on the subject features more than forty designers and artists from twenty African countries—including those who broken barries and first gained worldwide attention, such as Kofi Ansah (Ghana) and Shade Thomas-Fahm (Nigeria), as well as the new generation like Thebe Magugu (South Africa) and Gouled Ahmed (Djibouti). Many of their works are on view for the first time in the United States.

Africa Fashion also features an array of visual art and—most importantly for this article—African music. From featuring iconic outfits worn by the king of afrobeat Fela Kuti, as well as his Lemi Ghariokwu-designed album covers, to highlighting the role of Miriam Makeba as a fashion icon, the exhibit is closely tied to music from the continent.

“Music is interlocked with fashion and also fashion is interlocked with visual art, with literature, with culture, with everything,” Africa Fashion curator Annissa Malvoisin told OkayAfrica. “They’re all kind of interconnecting, interlocked, intersectional. We also wanted to highlight North Africa, because it’s so very often disassociated from the rest of Africa.”

In light of that, we decided to put together a playlist to accompany your visit to Africa Fashion, it features the likes of Fela Kuti, Miriam Makeba, King Sunny Ade, Manu Dibango, and many more.

Brooklyn Museum's Africa Fashion exhibit is open until October 22, 2023. See visiting hours and details here.