Arts + Culture

Hassan Hajjaj's Moroccan Biker Barbie Dolls

Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj reinterprets his previous 'Kesh Angels' with photographs featuring biker barbie dolls for a twist.

We've previously featured Hassan Hajjaj for his Kesh Angels project and collaboration with Amine Bendriouich, which play off contrasts between the multiple cultures the Moroccan-born/London-based artist is surrounded by. Hajjaj's recent work follows up on his Kesh Angels series, a tribute to the biker culture of young women in Morocco peppered with elements of Western consumerism. This time around, the pictures feature Barbie dolls wearing traditional outfits and high-end labels like Louis Vuitton. The underlining message in question is clear: what's the impact of Western culture in Africa with the thousands of mainstream Western brands settling and promoting their products across the continent? What's the effect when international labels don't give any interest to national culture and won't even bother to adapt their commercials to the country they're targeting? What happens when the youth lose interest in their national and traditional culture, opting instead for these global brands? We'd love to hear your opinion. If you want to talk about it, tweet @okayafrica with #hassanhajjaj.


[H/T One Nigerian Boy]

Interview

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.

''I'm having the time of my life,'' says Adekunle Gold over a Zoom call while seated in his office in Lagos. ''I'm making songs that are so true to my current energy, my current vibe.'' When I got on the call with the 34-year-old artist on a Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was his hair tied up in little braids, the second was his wide smile. As we speak, the crooner laughs multiple times but it's his aura that shines through the computer screen, it lets you know better than his words that he's truly having the time of life.

Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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