Photos

Photos: Meet The Ethiopian Artist Behind Beyoncé's Stunning Maternity Shoot

Beyoncé enlisted Ethiopian photographer, Awol Erizku, for her Venus-inspired maternity shoot that broke the Internet.

Unless you've been residing under a rock, by now, you've heard that Beyoncé is pregnant with twins.


She shared the news of her pregnancy yesterday with a portrait of herself in front of a floral backdrop with green mesh adorning her head and stomach. Today, she released the full maternity shoot, and the rest of the pictures are just as stunning.

The striking viral photos are the handiwork of Ethiopian-American photographer and conceptual artist, Awol Erizku, who's long been on our radar thanks to projects like The Only Way is Up, which we featured back in 2014.

#Beyonce #Blue

A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beylite) on

#Beyonce #Blue

A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beylite) on

#Beyonce #twins

A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beylite) on

#Beyonce

A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beylite) on

Much of the Los Angeles-based artist's earlier works placed Black subjects at the center of well-known Renaissance paintings.

Erizku took a similar direction with Beyoncé's shoot. The photos envision the singer as a Black (and beautiful) version of the Roman goddess Venus.

For his latest collection, I Was Going to Call It Your Name But You Didn’t Let Me, Erizku paired his paintings with curated mixes of the songs that inspired them. It showcased last year at Art Basel.

This isn't the first time that Beyoncé has looked to African artists for inspiration. The works of African creatives have been unmistakably present in many of her recent projects. On last year's Lemonade, she spotlighted Laolu Senbanjo's Sacred Art of the Ori and commissioned the writings of British-Somali poet Warsan Shire—who also wrote the Yoruba-inspired poem "I Have Three Hearts" that Beyoncé shared on her website to accompany the maternity photos.

Beyoncé's affinity for African creatives is no secret, and with the wealth of innovation and talent coming from this group of artists, it's not really a surprise either.

Check out more of Awol Erizku's work below.

 

 

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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