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Lupita Nyong'o Shared Her Experiences with Colorism on 'BBC Newsnight'

'Colorism is the daughter of racism in a world that rewards lighter skin over darker skin,' the actress said.

In an interview with BBC Newsnight last night ahead of the release of her children's book Sulwe, Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o shared her experiences with colorism—the prejudice against those with darker skin. Similar to the main character in her book, whose skin is the color of midnight and darker than everyone in her family, Nyong'o speaks candidly about how she grew up being uncomfortable with her dark skin and describes her book as a mirror for other dark-skinned girls.


Colorism is still a contentious issue especially in the Black community. Despite dark-skinned women constantly sharing their lived experiences and the challenges they've encountered compared to their light-skinned counterparts, colorism is a topic that is still shrouded in denialism and limiting archetypes. ABC's popular show Black-ishattempted to address the issue in its "Black Like Us" episode while actress and show-runner Issa Rae has spoken about how she wants to change the way dark-skinned women are portrayed in television and film.

Growing up in Kenya, in a society with predominantly Black people, Nyong'o explains how she felt judged because of her dark skin and the general expectation of having to ascribe to Eurocentric standards of beauty. She said that, "I definitely grew up feeling uncomfortable with my skin color because I felt like the world around me awarded lighter skin". She also went on to add that, "Race is a very social construct, one that I didn't have to ascribe to on a daily basis growing up. As much as I was experiencing colorism in Kenya, I wasn't aware that I belonged to a race called Black because suddenly the term Black was being ascribed to me and it meant certain things that I was not accustomed to."

Recently, Nyong'o appeared on the The Tonight Show, Starring Jimmy Fallonand spoke about her excited reaction to being mentioned in Beyoncé and Wizkid's "Brown Skin Girl", a lyric which has since become an anthem especially among dark-skinned women.

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Photo by David Mesfin

Africans Are Taking Surfing Back

We sat down with Ethiopia-American director David Mesfin to discuss the importance of knowing where you come from, and his upcoming surf doc 'Wade In The Water'

For so long, Black and African communities have been made to believe that the water was our enemy, often citing the traumatic history of African slaves drowning at sea during the Atlantic Slave Trade. But, what certain people with certain agendas failed to add was the fact that the slaves had such a powerful understanding of the ocean that slave owners began to torture them into fearing the thought of it.

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8 Queer-Owned African Fashion Brands to Check Out For Pride

In honor of pride month, we highlight eight African queer fashion designers and brands putting queer stories on the global map through fashion.

In the last decade, there have been an emergent of fashion designers who aren’t just queer but have aligned their fashion vision with their identity, creating demystifying collections and criss-crossing their concepts and ideologies to represent the inscape of non-conformity, fluidity, queerness and androgyny — whilst maintaining a quick balance with their cultural roots. Despite the numerous fabric experimentations and collections, these designers never forget to tell stories that align with them, especially those that resonate with queer people in queer unfriendly countries.

In honor of pride month, OkayAfrica highlights 8 African queer fashion designers and brands putting queer stories on the global map through fashion.

Rich Mnisi

South African designer Rich Mnisi is part of a new wave of designers putting African stories on the global map. Founded in 2015, the brand Rich Mnisi is immersed at offering fluid expression to gender, celebrating youthful excellence and exploring extremist design elements with minimalist cultural tailoring. For pride month, the brand released a limited edition capsule titled “Out." The capsule visualizes a fine-line between elegance and fluidity whilst boldly emphasizing on the act of struggle and resilience as an outfit.

Udiahgebi

For a fashion brand like Udiahgebi, identity is very important. And offering that form of visibility to femme queer Nigerians is not just a form of visual activism but a detailed story of essence. The brand was founded by Emerie Udiahgebi, a gender non-forming fashion designer who wanted to give queer, non-binary and non-conforming individuals more options to express themselves fashionably. Udiahgebi’s fashion concept is extremely bold, fierce, and unconventional.

Lagos Space Programme

Designer Adeju Thompson fuses traditionalist concepts with genderless possibilities. Founded in 2018, Lagos Space Programme is a gender-neutral fashion brand that enveloped aesthetic designs using local craftsmanship. The brand appreciates West African unique fabric and communicates compelling stories of identity, gender and queerness — a ideology that has garnered them not just audience but earned them a spot at the LVMH prize.

Muyishime

Patrick Muyishime is a fashion innovator. Not only does he know how to source excellent fabrics but his designs are authentically vibrant. Founded in 2016, Muyishime is a Kenyan fashion label that introduces conversations surrounding androgynous and explores aesthetically fabric inventions that commands fluidity, feminine wiles and constructive elegance.

Bola Yahaya

Founded in 2019, Bola Taofeek Yahaya's fashion label aligns thought provoking pieces that elevate the discusses around queer representation, sexuality and feminity. The brands merges sustainability and explore eccentric fabric experimentations.

Nao Serati

Founded by South African designer Nao Serati Mofammere in 2014, the fashion brand Nao Serati explores the versatility of gender and the fine margin of sexuality whilst finding its balance with their South African heritage. Mofammere wants his brand to explore masculinity and the different ways it takes to wear a fragile look.

Vangei

Lolu Vangei has different recipes to gender fluidity and she has used fashion to express that. Founded in 2018, Vangei is a fashion label that unites modern ideology of afro-centricism to produce pieces that dismantle cliched ideas about gender.

Mayetobs

There is no explaining the sort of talent Emmanuel Tobiloba possesses. Founded in 2020, Mayetobs' eccentric approach in reinstating androgynous norms is interesting. From oversized pants that speaks of fabric maximalism to fast flowing robes, the fashion brand is an ode to redefining modern masculinity.

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The 6 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Kizz Daniel, Tekno, Focalistic, Ckay, Davido, Mayorkun and more.

Every week, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column. Here's our round-up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks.

If you like these music lists, you can also check out our Best Songs of the Month columns following Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African and South African music.

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(Photo by Timothy Norris/Getty Images for Coachella)

Black Coffee & Tresor’s Work On Drake’s New Album Speaks to the Rise of South African Music

Unlike the Kendrick Lamar-curated Black Panther: The Album or Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift album which had hints of South African flavours on them, Honestly, Nevermind is imbued with them.

On the 16th of June, news that rap superstar Drakewas dropping a surprise album first hit the internet. As with any of his releases, the announcement sent people into a frenzy. Leading up to the drop, the OVO camp, as part of a subtle and timely album rollout, put out a track list. Included in it as one of the album’s executive producers was South African super producer, DJ and artist Black Coffee. His name was listed amongst Drake’s regular collaborators and business partners, Noah 40 Shebib, Oliver El-Khatib and Noel Cadastre.

The two artists have previously collaborated on the remake of Black Coffee’s seminal 2009 hit “Superman.” Drake’s take on the instrumental and composition, “Get It Together,” was released almost a decade later on his 2017 playlist More Life. When the song dropped, the reviews and public reactions were split because of the original vocalist Bucie being replaced by then-burgeoning British singer Jorja Smith.

Fast forward to 2022, Black Coffee has a ‘Best Dance/Electronic’ Grammy award for his 2021 album Subconsciously, and has played at the biggest stages across the globe. It then shouldn’t come as a surprise that when putting together his experimental dance album, Drake tapped the South African producer to oversee and shape the sonic and creative direction of the album.

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Afro-Colombian Francia Marquez's Ascendance Is Historic

The single mother and former cleaner captured many as they voted her and President-elect Gustavo Petro in to redirect the South American nation's path.

Magixx Wants to Speak for a New Generation of Nigerians

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Black Coffee Brings South African Magic to Drake's New Album, 'Honestly, Nevermind'

The star South African DJ, alongside his son Esona Tyolo and singer Tresor, give Honestly, Nevermind that classic South African house music flair.

The 5 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Black Coffee x Drake, Ladipoe, Ayra Starr x Sun-El Musician, Gyakie and Tay Iwar.

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Watch: Kendrick Lamar Celebrates His Birthday With A Love Letter To Ghana

The American rapper teamed up with Spotify to document his recent and first trip to the West African country.