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Photo by Reuben Silot (@reubensilot).

This Is What the Second Edition of the 'Hand-Forged in Kenya' Party Looked Like

It was another epic edition of our party in Nairobi featuring performances from Vallerie Muthoni, Bahati Bookings, Chris Kaiga and more.

OkayAfrica, Bateleur Brewery and The Alchemist Bar joined forces to launch a new live music series, Hand-Forged in Kenya, which is focused on showcasing rising Kenyan talent to fans, both locally and globally.

Curated by our Kenyan-based contributor Camille Storm, the long-awaited second edition took place on Saturday, August 10th at The Alchemist Bar in Nairobi.

Taio kicked off the night on the decks delivering a superb DJ set that got bodies moving on the dance floor almost immediately. By the time Bahati Bookings got on stage, the floor was packed with a curious audience. The budding music collective, consisting of artists Ekumbo, Baraka and DJ Supersun, had all eyes on them as they performed a groovy alternative hip-hop set.


Hand-Forged in Kenya: Vallerie Muthoni www.youtube.com

The crowd went wild once newcomer Chris Kaiga came on stage. The fast-rising rapper got the party really started his dance-ready genge-inspired set and the audience particularly couldn't wait for him to perform his breakout hit song "Zimenice" featuring Tezzla.

Singing sensation Vallerie Muthoni got on stage with her drummer to give an incredibly lively rendition of her Pisces SZN EP that came out earlier this year. One of the highlights was the music video premiere for her single "Spicy SZN" which features rising afro-jazz singer Le Ru and Taio Tripper. It was a beautiful moment when they all united on stage to perform the song while the video premiered on the screen.

Nairobi's finest DJ Mix Master Lenny finished off the night with an incredible set which was based on Kenyan music from different eras. Just like the debut edition, this party went on till the early morning hours.We definitely can't wait to see what the final edition of the year looks like.

All photography by Reuben Silot (@reubensilot).

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Photo: Courtesy of Radswan

Freddie Harrel Is Building Conscious Beauty For and With the African Diaspora

Formerly known as "Big Hair Don't Care", creator Freddie Harrel and her team have released 3 new wig shapes called the "RadShapes" available now.


Photo: Courtesy of Radswan


The normalising of Black and brown women in wigs of various styles has certainly been welcomed by the community, as it has opened up so many creative avenues for Black women to take on leadership roles and make room for themselves in the industry.

Radswan (formerly known as Big Hair Don't Care), is a lifestyle brand "bringing a new perspective on Blackness through hair, by disrupting the synthetic market with innovative and sustainable products." Through their rebrand, Radswan aims to, "upscale the direct-to-consumer experience holistically, by having connected conversations around culture and identity, in order to remove the roots of stigma."

The latest from French-Cameroonian founder and creator Freddie Harrel - who was featured on our list of 100 women of 2020 - has built her career in digital marketing and reputation as an outspoken advocate for women's empowerment. On top of her business ventures, the 2018 'Cosmopolitan Influencer of the Year' uses her platform to advocate for women's empowerment with 'SHE Unleashed,' a workshop series where women of all ages come together to discuss the issues that impact the female experience, including the feeling of otherness, identity politics, unconscious bias, racism and sexism.

And hair is clearly one of her many passions, as Freddie says, "Hair embodies my freest and earliest form of self expression, and as a shapeshifter, I'm never done. I get to forever reintroduce my various angles, tell all my stories to this world that often feels constrained and biased."

Armed with a committee of Black women, Freddie has cultivated Radswan and the aesthetic that comes with the synthetic but luxurious wigs. The wigs are designed to look like as though the hair is growing out of her own head, with matching lace that compliments your own skin colour.

By being the first brand to use recycled fibres, Radswan is truly here to change the game. The team has somehow figured out how to make their products look and feel like the real thing, while using 0% human hair and not negotiating on the price, quality or persona.

In 2019, the company secured £1.5m of investment led by BBG Ventures with Female Founders Fund and Pritzker Private Capital participating, along with angelic contributions from Hannah Bronfman, Nashilu Mouen Makoua, and Sonja Perkins.

On the importance of representation and telling Black stories through the products we create, Freddie says, "Hair to me is Sundays kneeling between your mothers or aunties legs, it's your cousin or newly made friend combing lovingly through your hair, whilst you detangle your life out loud. Our constant shapeshifting teaches us to see ourselves in each other, the hands braiding always intimately touching our head more often than not laying someone's lap."

"Big Hair No Care took off in ways we couldn't keep up with," she continues, "RadSwan is our comeback.It's a lifestyle brand, it's the hair game getting an upgrade, becoming fairer and cleaner. It's the platform that recognises and celebrates your identity as a shapeshifter, your individuality and your right to be black like you."


Check out your next hairstyle from Radswan here.

Radswan's RadShape 01Photo: Courtesy of Radswan


Radswan's RadShape 02Photo: Courtesy of Radswan


Radswan's RadShape 03Photo: Courtesy of Radswan

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