Arts + Culture

OkayAfrica's 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Our guide features dope products by companies from Africa and the diaspora.

This is our third gift guide in the run-up to the holidays. Keep checking for more lists of great African products here. And for more ideas check out the OkayAfrica Shop.

The holidays continue to commence and before you know it, it's already 2018 (eek!). But don't fret, in case you haven't started shopping away from your loved ones, we got you.

See OkayAfrica's 2019 #BuyBlack Black Friday holiday shopping guide here

OkayAfrica's 2017 holiday gift guide features items that are perfect for the fashion-forward person in your life, the kiddies, the bookworm and more.

Shop our picks below:


STYLE

Photo via Kintu's Instagram page.

1. Kintu

2. The Brooklyn Circus

3. Maju

4. MAXHOSA BY LADUMA

5. Mory Jay

BEAUTY + GROOMING

Photo via The Afro Hair & Skin Co.'s Instagram page.

1. The Afro Hair & Skin Co.

2. Nature Boy Grooming Products

3. Foxie Cosmetics

4. Shear & Shine

5. OBIA Naturals

KIDS

Photo via Ozzie + Olive's Instagram page.

1. LoveMyAlannah

2. ABC Me Flashcards

3. Brown Toy Box

4. Ozzie + Olive

5. Queens of Africa Dolls

HOME + DESIGN

Photo via Ilé-Ilà's Instagram page.

1. Haute Baso

2. Ilé-Ilà

3. KUDU

4. Yswara Teas

5. Kouamo

BOOKS

Photo via Penguin Books' Instagram page.

1. We We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates

2. What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

3. A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa by Alexis Okeowo

4. bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward

5. Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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