#Okay100Women

AMAKA OSAKWE

OkayAfrica's 100 Women celebrates African women who are making waves, shattering ceilings, and uplifting their communities.

Nigerian designer Amaka Osakwe's eye for detail has earned her an international fan base, which includes the likes of Lupita Nyong’o, Alek Wek, Beyoncé, Kerry Washington, Solange and the former first lady, Michelle Obama.


Her label, Maki Oh, is a fashion favorite which Vogue, Glamour, The New York Times, Forbes and other prestigious publications have featured. Osakwe has also shown her designs at New York Fashion Week and Lagos Fashion and Design Week.

The Lagos-based designer is repping hard for her country and continuing to reach new heights in fashion, by using traditional African textile processes, including the Adire method which requires dying fabrics by hand and painting the pattern with a cassava paste.

Osakwe studied at the Arts University Bournemouth where she received a BA in fashion, and founded Maki Oh in 2010. She is the first and only African fashion designer to receive an invitation to the White House.

For demonstrating that fashion doesn’t have to omit African methods and fabrics to make waves globally, Osakwe had to make it on this list.

-JO

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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