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Design: African Fashion Week, New York City 2011


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.




As an African living in New York City who loves to wear all sorts of ‘ethnic shit,’ as my Texan friend likes to say, I couldn’t be more excited about a week full of glamorous afro-centeric fashion (long live the Brooklyn fashionista!). Last week, July 14 -17, at the Broad Street Ballroom marked the second annual African Fashion Week in New York with 3 days of cutting edge showcases featuring 30 designers - check out photos from the events above. From music to fashion Africa has always been a great source of inspiration for many artists worldwide, but it is only recently that the world is beginning accept that African art and culture are not just a trend but a mainstay that is radically changing the global pop sensibility.

Directed by Adiat Disu, AFWNY brings to the forefront established and emerging African fashion designers from around the world in this one of a kind event. While each designer’s collection was very different and brought their unique touch to the runway, the one thing they all had in common was their forward thinking approach to traditional fabrics and designs. Starting with the bridal ceremony during Korto Momolu’s playful collection, moving to the beautiful accessories from Design By U, and to the ready-to-wear urban chic modern lines of Madam Wokie’s Couture, African designers today are redefining how the world sees fashion. Watch the short video from AFWNY below.


*photo credits: day 2 photos by Seher Sikandar, day 3 photos by Refugee Club.


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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.

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