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South Sudan Unites On The Runway

Luol Deng unites the South Sudanese Diaspora on the runway with a fashion show in DC curated by Mari Malek and Deng Deng.

Photos by Jefry Andres Wright & Dior Davis


Over the weekend, NBA star Luol Deng– fresh off a visit to the Oval Office with POTUS– hosted a series of events in D.C. rallying his fellow South Sudanese in the Diaspora to unite in the name of peace. "We have to be the generation that says we're going to stand up for it... Eventually South Sudan will stand up on its own two feet," the Miami Heat player said at the start of his inaugural South Sudan Unite event. "What we created here is a first step towards something great," Deng later stated.

Held at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium, the Saturday night event shined a spotlight on creatives in the South Sudanese Diaspora, with musical performances by the AFRIMMA-nominated Dynamq, Meve Alange, Baf Jay and Sultan Clintone, as well as a high-end runway show.

Curated and produced by South Sudanese model, activist, and DJ/producer Mari Malek and Deng Deng (@de3ng), the stunning fashion component saw a fleet of models grace the runway under the creative direction and stylings of DapperAfrika, with makeup done by LaneaMua and designs from Royal Jelly Harlem, Kwabs Couture, Fanm Djanm, Nassquiat, Installation Brooklyn and Jahnkoy MariaDJ Stiletto– aka Malek's DJ alias– provided beats on the runway, with a grand finale set to Wizkid's "Show You The Money."

"This was first gig where I had to follow a guideline. I'm very rebellious and always in the moment when I'm styling," DapperAfrika wrote in an email to Okayafrica. "South Sudan has been through a lot. I wanted to show all of those elements and present [it] in a new world. The patterns the textures and mood created was effortless. The melanin of the models was so radiant and perfect. It made it easier because they were all very passionate and happy to wear clothing that reminded them of home. I wanted the audience to travel, and they did."

Take a look at the first ever Luol Deng South Sudan Unite Fashion Show in photos above.

The runway at @luoldeng9's #SouthSudanUnite in DC

A video posted by Okayafrica (@okayafrica) on

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(Youtube)

7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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