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Kehinde Wiley's Official Portrait of Barack Obama Has Been Revealed

The National Portrait Gallery unveiled portraits—by two black artists—of the former president and first lady Michelle Obama today.

The National Portrait Gallery unveiled the official portraits of former president of the United States Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama in Washington, D.C. today.


This unveiling is historic, to say the least, because the two artists who were commissioned for this honor—Amy Sherald and Nigerian-American artist Kehinde Wiley—are the first black artists to paint official portraits of the first family.

"Working with Kehinde was a great joy, he and his team made it easy," Obama says. "Kehinde, in the tradition of a lot of great artists, actually cared to hear how I thought about it—before doing exactly what he intended to do."

"What we did find is that we had certain things in common. Both of us had American mothers who raised us with extraordinary love and support," Obama notes. "Both of us had African fathers who had been absent from our lives and in some ways our journeys involved searching for them and figuring out what that meant."

Wiley also notes on why he chose to feature flowers that connect with Chicago, Kenya and Hawaii in the portrait, saying:

"When you look at that painting...there's also botanicals that are going on there that nod to his personal story—in a very symbolic way what I'm doing is charting his path on earth through those plants. There's a fight going on between he and the foreground—who gets to be the star of the show? The story? Or the man who inhabits that story?"

Watch Michelle Obama also touch on the impact her portrait will have on young girls of color:

The reactions to the portraits on social media all point to awe—they are indeed stunning.

Style
Photo: La Fédération de la Haute Couture

Lukhanyo Mdingi on Making his Paris Fashion Week Debut

We talked to the South African designer who, after co-winning the LMVH Prize last year, showcased his Bodyland Autumn/Winter 22-23 collection in Paris earlier this month.

In 2015, South African designer Lukhanyo Mdingi founded his eponymous label. Inspired by his mother and grandmother who raised him, Mdingi has created a formidable brand that is centered on building a bridge between heritage and timeless fashion pieces. Since the brand’s inception, Mdingi has made great strides in fashion, from his NYFW debut in 2019 to being crowned a joint winner of the 2021 LVMH Karl Lagerfeld Prize.

This year, Mdingi took his vision of Africa to France’s fashion capital, Paris, where he made his Bodyland Autumn/Winter 22-23 debut for the Paris Fashion Week Menswear Collection. Being the first designer on the program schedule to present, Mdingi showcased a collection that spoke of the relationship he shares with himself and the artisans he collaborates with. For the past two years, Mdingi has been working to source his woven textiles and knitwear from crafts communities in Burkina Faso, Somalia, and the Eastern Cape, and the collection featured textural and sartorial nuances paying homage to his being a young Black creative.

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Music
Photo: YouTube music video

Ayra Starr Proves That She Is Not To Be Toyed With In New Video For 'Beggie Beggie'

The Nigerian superstar joins forces with fellow singer CKay in her latest run at topping the charts.

Nigerian singer Ayra Starr joins forces with fellow Nigerian crooner CKay to bring fans a passionate reminder of how complex romantic relationships can be. The 19-year singer-songwriter has finally gifted us with the accompanying visuals to power ballad 'Beggie Beggie', off of her 2021 debut album 19 & Dangerous.

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Photo: Sundance Film Festival

The Ebo Sisters on Debuting Their First Feature Film at Sundance

Nigerian-American filmmakers Adamma and Adnanne Ebo are premiering their debut feature film Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul, starring Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown at the Sundance Film Festival.

Growing up in Atlanta’s Nigerian community, the church played a big part in the lives of Adamma and Adanne Ebo. So it’s no surprise the identical twin sisters, who founded Ejime Productions (twins in Igbo) together, centered their first feature film around the subject of religion.

Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul is making its debut at the Sundance Film Festival, with Adamma as writer-director and Adanne as producer, alongside the likes of Regina Hall and Sterling K Brown, who star in the film, and Daniel Kaluuya. The film is a satire on for-profit religion, exploring a couple, played by Hall and Brown, who run a Southern Baptist megachurch trying to manage the aftermath of a scandal.

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A Ugandan Author Has Been Abducted By The Military For Calling The President's Son 'Obese'

Ugandan courts set Kakwenza Rukirabashaija free on bail this week before unidentified security forces "picked him up". His whereabouts are currently unknown.