Loza Maléombho's Designs Shape an Untold Narrative of the African Continent

We catch up with Loza Maléombho, Ivorian designer and honoree in OkayAfrica's 100 Women list, on the importance of cultural heritage.

This feature is in conjunction with our inaugural list—“OkayAfrica’s 100 Women”—where we take a look at the women making an impact on the African continent and in the diaspora.

Check out the biggest names in culture to young up-and-comers in "OkayAfrica's 100 Women" list here.

The narrative of African women for centuries has been very one-dimensional. Despite these depictions being perpetuated through social standards and mainstream media, there are women like Loza Maléombho who are taking risks to tell their own story and redefine standards.

Maléombho is a Brazilian-born fashion designer who was raised between Côte-d’Ivoire and the United States, just to name a few. Her designs have been worn by mega artists like Beyoncé and featured on major platforms like Vogue and Forbes. Although art and animation was a very big part of Loza’s life early on, fashion did not come of interest until 2006 when she graduated from college in Philadelphia. Her interest in fashion lead her to moving to New York City where she interned under designers like Jill Stuart, Cynthia Rowley, Yigal Azrouël.

“I felt my creativity wasn't being put to practice and I apprehended starting a business with no experience and no plan other than to just create,” Maléombho says. “At the time, this anxiety prevented me from giving my best self and inspired me to direct my attention to the things I really wanted to do like start my own brand. That is when I decided to move back to Ivory Coast.”

After her move to Côte-d’Ivoire, Maléombho established her self-titled label, where all her pieces are produced in a small manufacturing workshop. She uses her position as a means to inspire people in her home country and expose the world to the value that African people have to offer. Her work creates a bridge that communicates heritage and traditions in a modern language within the arts.

Photo via lozamaleombho.com.

“Cultural heritage is equally as important as progress and development. They must work together to preserve identity, ethics and integrity,” Maléombho says. She believes that “the minute you break with cultural heritage, you marginalize or alienate the portion of the population which finds value in that notion.”

While there are tremendous hurdles to overcome as an African designer and in communities that value economics and traditional jobs over art and design, this is not stopping Maléombho from making power moves and shaping an untold narrative. She wants to incentivize people in the continent to see art and design as a way to push the continent forward.

“One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that whenever confronted with challenges in building a business, your best option is to do what you can with what you have and where you are. In other terms, this means any situation that may limit our ability to progress is an opportunity to be creative,” she says.

Maléombho hopes to inspire the next generation of African designers to take risks and set the tone for how non-Africans interact with African culture. She believes that “heritage and development serve to connect or reconnect” and hopes that creative industries can be a vessel for the communication of culture and innovation in Africa.

She also wants her story to bring awareness to the communication gap between Africa and the rest of the world and hopes that the next generation of African creatives can continue to build the bridge that her and her contemporaries have started.


OkayAfrica and B4Bonah Share New 'B4Beginning' Capsule Collection

We've teamed up with the Ghanaian artist ahead of the release of his debut project for some colorful new merch.

Rising Ghanaian star B4Bonah, premieres his catchy debut track "See Body," and to mark the song's release, OkayAfrica has teamed up with the artist to share a new collection of tees, that'll fit nicely into your summer wardrobe.

The artist's latest track is a party jam, that sees him flowing "over an earworm flute melody and afrobeats percussion," using "his rasping flow to celebrate the girl of his dreams." The track was produced by J.Rocs.

B4Bonah - See Body www.youtube.com

In conjunction with the song's release, two new shirt designs are available for preorder at our Okayshop. The vibrant shirts feature the artist's image on colorful blue and green colored blocks, with the words "B4BONAH B4BEGINNING," on the back—referencing the artist's debut mixtape, which is slated for release in late July. The project features Medikal, Mugeez (R2Bees), Amaarae & Ivy Sole.

B4Bonah is an artist to watch, as he continues to make his presence known in the Ghanaian music scene.

Watch the music video for "See Body" above, and head to shop.okayplayer.com now to pick up to pre-order a shirt (or two). You can also preorder B4Bonah's B4beginning mixtape here.


Watch EL, Joey B and Falz' New Video for 'Ehua'

Ghana meets Nigeria in this hilarious new clip.

Ghanaian rappers EL and Joey B connect with Nigeria's Falz for this addictive new collaboration and music video for "Ehua."

"Ehua" is built on energetic afro-electronic beat work produced by EL himself. Joey B handles the hook while Falz kicks things off early with a solid verse.

The eye-catching and hilarious music video for the single, directed by Yaw Skyface, features EL as a policeman, Falz as the 'oga' bossman, and Joey B as a worker for the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

Falz takes Joey B's woman by showing off his money and status, so Joey B enlists policeman EL to get back at Falz. The plan backfires however as the officer decides to stick around and party with the rich instead of helping the everyday worker out.

For more GH hits check out our Best Ghanaian Songs of the Month roundups and follow our GHANA WAVE playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Watch the new music video for EL, Joey B and Falz' "Ehua" below.

EL ft Joey B & Falz - Ehua (Official Video) youtu.be

News Brief
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

Nigeria's Super Falcons Were Forced To Threaten a Sit-In Protest Over Unpaid Bonuses After Women's World Cup

After negotiations, the Nigerian Football Federation have agreed to run the players their money.

Nigeria's own Super Falcons had a great run during the Women's World Cup. But instead of the players heading back home or to their respective professional clubs after losing to Germany 3-0, they were forced to strong-arm the Nigerian Football Federation to pay what they're owed.

According to ESPN's initial report over the weekend, the Super Falcons threatened to stage a sit-in protest at their hotel in France until all of their unpaid bonuses dating back to two years ago were paid, along with their World Cup allowances and bonuses.

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