Prêt-À-Poundo: Arise Magazine 'African Icons'

*All photos by Childeye

New York Fashion Week kicked off with an inspiring runway show, "African Icons" presented by Arise Magazine. In it, the five collections (Tiffany Amber, Tsemaye Binitie, Maki-Oh, Gavin Rajah and Ozwald Boateng) illustrated a cultural mix of fresh ideas, featuring trendy and classy womenswear and menswear designs, all revealing true glamorous African chic.

For these designers, it is no longer only about african prints, it is about revolutionnary fashion design using the powerful prints and bright colors of African fashion. I believe that fashion is political and the more these designers creations are innovative on the runway, the more they are becoming a phenomemon of communicaton showing a social development of African fashion. However, I was disappointed to see the lack of diversity represented on the catwalk. I was expecting to see a real representation of black skin - usually under represented in the fashion industry.

*Ozwald Boateng

For those who missed the show...

Designer Tiffany Amber first took the runway with a tribute to African music and drums, highlighting a range of bright colors with a sense of seductive femininity in glamorous evening dresses and jumpsuits. This collection seems to be design for the modern woman who is en vogue.

The atmosphere definitely changed with Tsemaye Binitie showing a real mix of fabrics, materials and shapes. We saw some peplums pieces, a transparent black dress, a pair of leather pants, sportswear and much more. Mr. Binitie clearly decided to give us a melting pot of ideas, seemingly totally disorganized and disconnected one from the other but ended up being connected. Binitie's work in some ways represents our century; this era where we are pursuing a fast life and fashion is constantly changing. However, I do not understand Binitie's music choice and I believe that I wasn't the only one in the audience. The first track was all about "Pussy, pussy.. pussy" and as a male designer for a womenswear collection, that makes me think that he's perceiving women as a sexual object of desire.

*Tiffany Amber

Oh !... Maki Oh !, Amaka Osakwe, the Lagos-based designer strucked at New York Fashion Week for her first time. She presented us stunning work, reminding me of the retro-elements of the 20s with the fringed dance dresses and tassels. I could have seen Josephine Baker appearing onstage with one of Maki-Oh !'s creations.

*Maki Oh!

I love the contrast between the structured base of the dress and the lenghtly fringes which really set the fashion in motion. Osakwe's spring pieces provide us an another opportunity to celebrate the beautiful shape of a woman's body.

*Gavin Rajah

The fairy-tale takes place with Gavin Rajah's magic and sparkle. Some of the models sporting metallic visors appeared to be queens of a new era. Figures in dresses covered with beads, sequins, ornaments, Rajah impressed the audience with its glitz and glamour.

*Ozwald Boateng

The welcoming of the army of designer Ozwald Boateng was the best way to close out the show. The staging was meticulously organized; we witnessed columns, lines, walking duets, all really graphic and always in motion. The British-based designer from Ghana took us to the spotlight and allowed us to see his cutting-edge wax prints on tailored blazers, hemmed pockets and showcased a perfect array of tailored suits for the modern man with an African touch. Then, just as we were still rediscovering the African print, Boateng brought us back to casual wear, fit with proper collars and playful bibs.

*Ozwald Boateng

Strong representation of this menswar collection sported by an army of models. The show concluded with Boateng himself taking stage as he walked through the men to the end of the runway. This African icon definitely showed that he was leading this fashion army.

*Ozwald Boateng

The Arise show was an historical and beautiful moment highlighting the African evolution of innovative, cutting edge and creative fashion trends and ideas. African designers took the runway by storm, during one of the world's most powerful, influential and important fashion events, the New York Fashion Week.


ARISE Magazine presents African Icons Fashion Show for 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Images by terrence jennings


Introducing OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2020 List

Celebrating African Women Laying the Groundwork for the Future

It would not be hyperbole to consider the individuals we're honoring for OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2020 list as architects of the future.

This is to say that these women are building infrastructure, both literally and metaphorically, for future generations in Africa and in the Diaspora. And they are doing so intentionally, reaching back, laterally, and forward to bridge gaps and make sure the steps they built—and not without hard work, mines of microaggressions, and challenges—are sturdy enough for the next ascent.

In short, the women on this year's list are laying the groundwork for other women to follow. It's what late author and American novelist Toni Morrison would call your "real job."

"I tell my students, 'When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else."

And that's what inspired us in the curation of this year's list. Our honorees use various mediums to get the job done—DJ's, fashion designers, historians, anthropologists, and even venture capitalists—but each with the mission to clear the road ahead for generations to come. Incredible African women like Eden Ghebreselassie, a marketing lead at ESPN who created a non-profit to fight energy poverty in Eritrea; or Baratang Miya, who is quite literally building technology clubs for disadvantaged youth in South Africa.

There are the builds that aren't physically tangible—movements that inspire women to show up confidently in their skin, like Enam Asiama's quest to normalize plus-sized bodies and Frédérique (Freddie) Harrel's push for Black and African women to embrace the kink and curl of their hair.

And then there are those who use their words to build power, to take control of the narrative, and to usher in true inclusion and equity. Journalists, (sisters Nikki and Lola Ogunnaike), a novelist (Oyinkan Braithwaite), a media maven (Yolisa Phahle), and a number of historians (Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Leïla Sy) to name a few.

In a time of uncertainty in the world, there's assuredness in the mission to bring up our people. We know this moment of global challenge won't last. It is why we are moving forward to share this labor of love with you, our trusted and loyal audience. We hope that this list serves as a beacon for you during this moment—insurance that future generations will be alright. And we have our honorees to thank for securing that future.


The annual OkayAfrica 100 Women List is our effort to acknowledge and uplift African women, not only as a resource that has and will continue to enrich the world we live in, but as a group that deserves to be recognized, reinforced and treasured on a global scale. In the spirit of building infrastructure, this year's list will go beyond the month of March (Women's History Month in America) and close in September during Women's Month in South Africa.

100 women 2020

Burna Boy 'African Giant' money cover art by Sajjad.

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Since bursting onto the scene in 2012 with his chart-topping single, "Like to Party," and the subsequent release of his debut album, L.I.F.E - Leaving an Impact for eternity, Burna Boy has continued to prove time and again that he is a force to be reckoned with.

The African Giant has, over the years, built a remarkable musical identity around the ardent blend of dancehall, hip-hop, reggae, R&B, and afropop to create a game-changing genre he calls afro-fusion. The result has been top tier singles, phenomenal collaborations, and global stardom—with several accolades under his belt which include a Grammy nomination and African Giant earning a spot on many publications' best albums of 2019.

We thought to delve into his hit-filled discography to bring you The 20 Essential Burna Boy Songs.

This list is in no particular order.

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With festivals, concerts and events around the world having been postponed and cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Black Coffee's company Soulistic Agency will be presenting a Lockdown edition of Africa Is Not A Jungle. A Is Not A Jungle is the South African house music superstar's tour which had dates across South Africa and other parts of the continent—Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola and Uganda. The tour was put on hold in March soon after President Cyril Ramaphosa banned social gatherings of more than 100 people.

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Malawian poet Upile Chisala is set to deliver readings of her latest works of poetry on Instagram Live this week.

On the 8th of April, she'll be hosting a session where she'll read from her first two works Soft Magic and Nectar while the session on the 9th of April will include a reading from her latest work titled A Fire Like You. Both sessions will take place at 8 PM (SAST).

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