News Brief

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Inspired Dior’s Feminist Collection at Paris Fashion Week

Dior has a new Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie-inspired “We Should All Be Feminists” t-shirt.

Often, when you hear about “inspiration” at European and New York fashion weeks, it’s for some horribly misguided shit that went down. Remember last month when Marc Jacobs defended white models wearing dreadlocks at his NYFW show with this knee-jerk response?


Here’s some inspiration we can get behind.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has emerged as one of the stars of Paris Fashion Week. Why? The Nigerian novelist, writer and feminist icon is said to be the inspiration for Maria Grazia Chiuri’s ready-to-wear spring 2017 Dior collection and show. Chiuri, Dior's first female creative director in the fashion powerhouse's 70-year history, brought unabashed feminism to the runway on Friday.

"I strive to be attentive and open to the world and to create fashion that resembles the women of today," she said in her show notes, according to the Washington Post.

One design that stood out was a t-shirt with the words “WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS,” the name of the groundbreaking speech Adichie gave at a 2013 TedxEuston talk and subsequently developed into a book-length essay published in 2014. (Although there's still no word on how much one of these feminist couture tees will set you back.)

At one point, Chiuri had her models walk the runway to “Flawless,” Beyoncé’s girl-power anthem that famously featured excerpts from Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists.” And according to the Washington Post, excerpts from the speech echoed throughout the show's soundtrack.

Adichie watched on from the front row.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.