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Prêt-À-Poundo: Style Guide — 'Wax Doll, Rag Doll'

This is a fashion editorial showcasing our Okayafrica Dan-Nguere Tee with emerging and mainstream fashion designers, photographed by Rae Maxwell.

This week, we highlight our Okayafrica Dan-Nguere Tees. This rendering of an ancient Dan-Nguere tribal mask takes on psychedelic dimensions when Marcus of Rockers NYC gets his design on it. In this style guide, you'll discover two imprisoned dolls. They're pretty and make us think of an old 60's french tune called "Poupée de cire, Poupée de son," by Serge Gainsbourg, sang by France Gall. Composer/singer Gainsbourg was known to fill his lyrics with double meanings, wordplay and puns. Music journalist Sylvie Simmons thought that it was about "the ironies and incongruities inherent in baby pop" and "the songs young people turn to for help in their first attempts at discovering what life and love are about are sung by people too young and inexperienced themselves to be of much assistance, and condemned by their celebrity to be unlikely to soon find out."


Photographed by Rae Maxwell

We thought of Gainsbourg because of the contrast between the beautiful models and the way you can't really reach out to them — but even more because the song's title, which can be translated to "Wax Doll, Rag Doll," reminds us of Madame Tussaud's pieces. They seem pretty and simple but there's a real darkness when you look deeper at the pictures. What about an African doll, what does it suggest to you?

*Okayafrica Dan-Nguere Tee-shirts

When fashion meets art photography, it's a real challenge for your eyes and mind. In the first place, fashion photography displays clothing, jewelry & accessories featuring women's body embellishments (make-up, hair, nail art). Photographer Rae Maxwell doesn't conform to conventional notions of fashion. Maxwell creates her own statements through her eyes with freedom and imagination. Spring peak flows through Al Malonga's style, Afi Bijou's hair and Michela Wariebi's chief makeup ideas. These pictures deserve to be seen in an exhibition, printed in a larger format. You might be surprised how many things will appear to you if you look closely.The other designers/brands involved include Sachin + Baby, Ted Baker, Fennimas, C. Spot Designs, Diane Von Furstenberg, Milly, Theory, Cornelia Guest and Aqua.

"Spring reminds me of something ethereal and soft, colorful and pastel, light and whimsical. The head pieces were definitely something I wanted to play with. In NYC, where people love costumes and dress- up, a touch of fantasy with feathers and ribbons is always acceptable... Wearable outfits for dolls and fairies". - Al Malonga

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Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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