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Photo by Lawrence Agyei.

Photo by Lawrence Agyei.

'Last Born' Is Sunday School's Striking Photo Series Depicting the Strong Bond Between Siblings

Josef Adamu's creative platform enlists Ghanaian photographer Lawrence Agyei to bring this beautiful concept on sibling dynamics to life in their latest series.

Sunday School, the creative platform pushing the art of cultural storytelling, has released their latest photo series, Last Born. In the series, we follow two brothers and their strong bond as they navigate a new environment after immigrating to the States from the continent.

Josef Adamu, Sunday School's creative director, intended to highlight and focus on the younger brother who in turn looks up to his older brother in an aspirational way. With the brothers matching ensembles, symmetric posing and photography by Chicago-based Ghanaian photographer Lawrence Agyei, the end product is no less than elegant.

Agyei, who was born and raised in Italy, moved to the Chicago when he was 16 years old to pursue better opportunities and quality education. Once he won a school photography project during his senior year of high school, his teacher pushed him to pursue the art form seriously. Focusing on portrait photography, Agyei approaches his projects by trusting his intuition along with doing his homework via researching and watching documentaries.

Adamu also notes that this collaboration has been long overdue—but for good measure.

"I have always admired his film photography, and the way in which he captures subjects," Adamu says. "My goal with Sunday School involves telling stories in various spaces across the globe, and I was happy with this first effort in Chicago. The universe is literally our playscape as creatives, and we aim to showcase the beauty around the world, one project at a time."

We caught up with Agyei to learn a bit more about his creative approach for the series.


Antoinette Isama for OkayAfrica: How did you get involved in work with with Josef and Sunday School?

Lawrence Agyei: I've been close friends with Josef for about 5 years. We share the same beliefs when it comes to photography, design and just life in general. Our main focus is to tell stories that challenge the world we live in today. Since the beginning, we've wanted to collaborate on a project, but it was all about timing. Last Born was the project that we felt needed to happen, especially now.

How were you able to execute the vision of the concept while staying true to your aesthetic?

From the start, I knew that this project had to be photographed with a Mamiya RZ67, which is a medium format film camera. Shooting with the Mamiya film camera has allowed me to stay true to myself. Working with film requires a disciplined, considered approach. You can make all the decisions without the camera and then take a picture of it—that's how I was able to execute the project.

What's one thing you'd want viewers to take away from the series?

Last Born is a story about two brothers who have recently moved to the USA from Africa without their parents. The brothers are forced to start from scratch in a new environment, with the eldest brother being 25, and the younger brother, 10. The clear distinction between their age was meant to emphasize the parental role that the older brother had to step into.

With unity, perseverance and love, the brothers were able to overcome the struggles that many immigrants face when they move to a new country. I relate to this story because just like the two brothers, I had to start from scratch, so in a way, it felt like I was telling my story. With love, unity and perseverance, you will be able to overcome anything.

Take a look at our favorite shots from Last Born below, and view the full story here.

Photo by Lawrence Agyei.

Photo by Lawrence Agyei.

Photo by Lawrence Agyei.

Photo by Lawrence Agyei.

Photo by Lawrence Agyei.

Photo by Lawrence Agyei.

Photo by Lawrence Agyei.

Photo by Lawrence Agyei.

Photo by Lawrence Agyei.

Photo by Lawrence Agyei.

Credits

Models: Lino + Moses Wilson | Photography: Lawrence Agyei | Direction: Josef Adamu

BTS Videography: Darren Sanders Jr. | Styling: KJ | Styling Assistant: Ismael Lopez | Makeup: Annechellie Akuamah

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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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