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Kehinde Lijadu, One Half of the Legendary Lijadu Sisters Has Passed Away

Tributes have been pouring in for Kehinde Lijadu of the celebrated Nigerian twin duo, known for their funky harmonies and themes of women's empowerment. She was 71.

Nigerians continue to mourn the loss of one of their musical legends, Kehinde Lijadu—one half of the identical twin duo Lijadu Sisters who passed away on Saturday morning after reportedly suffering a stroke, according to Music In Africa. She was 71.

Originally from Ibadan, the Lijadu Sisters, rose to fame in the 1970s. Kehinde was the second-born of the twins (in Yoruba culture, this made her the elder twin). They released their first Iya Mi Jowo in 1969 and dropped several albums throughout the 70s and 80s, including the album Danger (1976), which featured the politically-charged anthem "Cashing In," Sunshine (1978) and Horizon Unlimited (1979) which featured the standout track "Orere Elejigbo." As some of the only female acts in Nigeria's male-dominated music industry at the time, they often spoke about the challenges facing women in the scene, and the importance of social progress and women's empowerment.


They became full blown pop stars in Nigeria in the 70s and 80s and also gained success in US and Europe, where they brought their unique harmonies and genre-bending sound which fused elements of Afrobeat, funk, jazz, psychedelic rock and reggae. They performed alongside drummer Ginger Baker and his band Salt at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, one of their earliest performances outside of Nigeria. Baker also worked closely with their second cousin, the legendary Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti.

They moved to Brooklyn in the 80s, performing with other Nigerian musical acts like King Sunny Ade. Taiwo and Kehinde continued working into the 2010s, appearing on the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon in 2014 as part of the Atomic! Bomb Band tribute to the elusive Nigerian artist WIlliam Onyeabor. They toured several American cities with the band during this time.

OkayAfrica visited the legendary singers at their Bronx home that same year for the "Lijadu Lessons," where they discussed their bond, the influence of their mother and overcoming adversity and speaking out against oppression. "I will forever be the mouthpiece of those who are oppressed worldwide," says Kehinde In one clip. Watch it below and check out the full series here.

You can now donate to the GoFundMe fundraiser for Kehinde Lijadu's memorial service, it was started by her sister Taiwo. Keep up with Taiwo on the Lijadu Sisters' official website and Bandcamp.

Lijadu Lessons: Part One "Speaking Out" www.youtube.com

Kehinde will be remembered for her contribution to Nigeria's rich musical legacy, her promotion of women's rights, and outright sublime music. Tributes have been pouring out for the late singer, from those who were touched by her music.






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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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