Arts + Culture

NextGen: Temi Otedola Is the Young African Fashion Ambassador to Watch

Meet the Nigerian fashion blogger who's putting African designers and culture on the map, Temi Otedola, in our latest edition of 'NextGen.'

DIASPORAOver the course of July we'll be publishing short profiles, essays and interviews on the theme of "Afrofutures." Together these stories will be a deep dive into the way African and diaspora thinkers, technologists and artists view a future for Africans in the world and outside of it. 


Take a look at our introduction to Afrofuturism here.

Throughout this month, we'll also highlight and celebrate young, leading talents who already put into practice what a future with black people look like through their work in our daily profile series, 'NextGen.'

In our 11th edition, meet Nigerian fashion blogger, Temi Otedola. 

Temi Otedola of JTO Fashion is a blogger, presenter and overall culture enthusiast who is using her brand to put Africa on the map. Her passion for blogging came as a result of not seeing African bloggers and designers represented in the mainstream media. Rather than settling for frustration she decided to fill a much-needed gap in the multi-million dollar blogging industry.

With recognition from publications including British Vogue and CNN Africa, Otedola’s mission of shining a light on the future of African design is coming to fruition with only three years of blogging under her belt. She's not only focused on educating people on fashion designers, she is also passionate about curating events that allows people to learn from the industries most noteworthy figures. “Specifically, my aim is to help build the infrastructure of the Nigerian fashion industry," Otedola says. "We undoubtedly have the talent, but our shopping culture and desire to support homegrown talent still has a way to go. I've already started an initiative called ATIA to begin my initial steps, by offering advice and key information to aspiring African creatives across the diaspora.” From art shows to curated tea events and panels, Otedola is using her platform to shape the future of African fashion.

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“Black millennials could be the face of future decades," Otedola says when asked about Afrofuturism. "Although previously undermined in creative industries, but often appropriated from," she continues, "a large proportion of art, music and design is rooted in black culture. How is it that we are often the innovators of popular culture trends but left behind in the monetization of such trends? I can slowly see black entrepreneurs and creatives taking a hold of our own ideas. It's incredibly exciting to spectate, and I can only hope to be a part of it.”

Her aim to show other young Africans to view fashion and artistic fields as credible career paths can only be executed through leading by example and she is not afraid to actively turn her dreams into a reality.

Audio
(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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