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Artful Dodgers: A New Film Sheds Light on Kenya’s Class of Urban Waifs

The kids in Village Beat’s upcoming documentary, Tough Bond, exist in a social limbo. While the communal fabric of the Kenyan villages in which they were raised erodes around them, they are forced into an urban environment that has no room for their kind. They must eek out a meager living amidst the slums that have already consumed lives that began with better circumstances than their own. It is a tragic lot, where even the survivors scrape and hustle among the refuse for paltry crumbs, and the only respite is the heady rush of huffing an industrial adhesive called Tough Bond.


From everything I’ve seen the film is a heart-wrenching story shot in a hauntingly beautiful style. The photography is crisp and colorful, adding a vibrancy to scenes that would otherwise be unimaginably depressing. Co-directors Anneliese Vandenberg and Austin Peck spent two years filming their subjects, traveling alongside them from the villages to some of the most squalid parts of Kenya’s cities. The film will also feature an original score by Seattle hip-hop collective Shabazz Palaces, which is sure to give the documentary a sound worthy of its subject matter.  Above, check out their video for "Blast It."

Tough Bond is due out this summer. Be sure to check out Village Beat’s website for more information on the film.

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Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Qatar Museums

Influential Louis Vuitton And Off-White Designer Virgin Abloh, Dies at 41

The popular Ghanian-American designer had been battling a rare form of cancer in private for several years.

The fashion industry has lost a talented, unique, and boundary-pushing influence this weekend.

41-year-old Ghanianian-American designer Virgil Abloh has died after a 2 year battle with a rare form of cancer, a statement from his associates LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton said on Sunday. Abloh, founder of luxury streetwear brand Off-White, and artistic director of men's wear at French fashion house Louis Vuitton leaves his wife Shannon, and 2 children - Lowe and Grey. Chairman and CEO of LVMH Bernard Arnault said in a statement, "We are all shocked after this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom." "The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow, and we are all thinking of his loved ones after the passing of their husband, their father, their brother, or their friend," he added.

After the news broke on Sunday, Abloh started trending on Twitter, with fans of the designer remembering his influence on music, art, and fashion. The 1990s saw Abloh DJ and the creative director once told The Guardian in a 2016 interview, "When the phone is off, I play my favorite songs really loud for myself, and I'm not talking to anyone. I'm not managing anything. It's just like a time when I can listen to music… I'll be DJing after I'm done designing or doing anything else." Virgil got his hands into designing album artworks after strumming up a friendship with American rapper Kanye West before becoming the creative director of West's DONDA Creative House. More recently known for his creative streetwear brand 'Off-White' the designer became popular among fashion-conscious youngsters and will forever be immortalized.

A statement posted to Abloh's Instagram explained that "Virgil chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture"

Friends, fans, and colleagues took to social media to share their well-wishes for Virgil as he transitions to his next destination.



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How Relocating to Ghana Helped Reinvigorate Jewelry Designer Aisha Asamany's Work

Moving to Ghana gave Aisha Asamany's luxury jewelry brand, inspired by Adinkra symbols that traditionally project strength, fearlessness, love and power, renewed verve to tell personal stories of her growing clientele.