Popular
Photo: Max Montgomery

Isha Sesay, OkayMedia's new CEO

OkayMedia Taps Former CNN Journalist Isha Sesay for CEO of Okayplayer & OkayAfrica

Sesay to Join Board of Directors & Launch the Company's New Production Arm, SPKN/WRD, Elevating Seldom Heard Global Voices

As OkayMedia's First Female CEO, Sesay Brings Award-Winning Storytelling Experience Focused on Social Justice & Its Impact on Women and Girls

NEW YORK CITY – OkayMedia, the multimedia organization dedicated to uplifting the artistic and progressive voice of global Black culture, today announced that author, award-winning journalist, and former CNN International anchor Isha Sesay has been appointed to the role of CEO. Sesay will combine her decades of reporting experience –including groundbreaking global coverage of social injustice and the experiences of women and girls – and entrepreneurial spirit to the visionary team at OkayMedia, which includes the digital publications OkayAfrica and OkayPlayer. Central to her priorities will be expanding the company's commitment to innovative storytelling that moves the culture forward.


Sesay has also been appointed to the OkayMedia board of directors – which includes Sam Hendel, co-founder of Dataminr; and Shawn Gee, president, Live Nation, Urban and manager of The Roots – and named co-founder and CEO of OkayMedia's new production arm, SPKN/WRD. The boutique production company will bring seldom heard global voices and fresh perspectives to the forefront, across feature films, documentaries, television, podcasting and publishing.

"I'm so thrilled to be joining the OkayMedia family," said Isha Sesay. "This is an exciting company that has long done great work that I have admired. I can't wait to bring to life all my ideas to expand our content offerings and ways to expose this fantastic brand to even more people in Africa and beyond."

Sesay joins an award-winning team of accomplished creatives and will work closely with a senior leadership team that includes, Rachel Hislop, Teneille Craig, Scean Ellis, Armelle Crump, and Mariama Todd.

"We're thrilled to welcome Isha Sesay as the new CEO of OkayMedia," said OkayMedia chairman and board member Sam Hendel. "Isha's leadership throughout her career in shining a light on the most critical and under-reported stories from across the globe – from the pandemic outbreak in Africa to her work as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador combatting the ongoing violence against women and girls, perfectly aligns with our mission to tell stories that move a global culture forward, and we couldn't be more excited to have her joining our company."

Sesay's arrival is perfectly timed with the editorial evolution of the brand. Last month Okayplayer launched a mental health and wellness initiative celebrating Black joy called PASSAGE: The Practice of Healing, which included an eight-track EP of guided meditations produced by MMYYKK with original guided meditations voiced by creatives such as hip hop artist Big K.R.I.T., Kwasi Kessie, Deja Joelle, and Kenji Summers; a short-film visualizer edited by Andrew Morrow (Beyonce's, Black is King); a live, guided meditation event series with FotografiskaNYC; and an "In Conversation" fireside chat about Black healing with GRAMMY-nominated rapper Vic Mensa.

During her 13 years at CNN, Sesay led the team that covered the 2014 kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in north-eastern Nigeria. Sesay received a Gracie Award for Outstanding Anchor, in recognition of her coverage of the story; and was part of the network's team recognized with a Peabody Award for excellence in reporting. In 2018, she published her first book, "Beneath the Tamarind Tree," the first definitive account of the mass abduction of the Nigerian schoolgirls. She is currently the founder and president of W.E. (Women Everywhere) Can Lead, a non-profit organization working in her native country of Sierra Leone, to nurture and empower teenage girls to become Africa's next generation of dynamic female leaders.

About OkayMedia

OkayMedia is the innovative, artistic and progressive voice of Black culture working to bring attention to and uplift Black voices. Putting forth authentic, unapologetic thought leaders, OkayMedia doesn't mimic the homogenous gaze of most mainstream publications. Its editorial verticals chronicle sound, culture, film, arts, politics, and more, through a full spectrum of groundbreaking coverage that serves as a gateway to multi-faceted cultures and communities. These verticals include Okayplayer, founded by The Roots front-man Amir "Questlove" Thompson in 1999, and OkayAfrica. Now with SPKN/WRD joining the roster, OkayMedia plans to continue being the premier online destination for global Black culture, serving as an unrivaled source of news, culture, lifestyle content, and music discovery that moves the culture forward.

Style
Image courtesy of Daily Paper

Wekafore Releases Fela Kuti Inspired Collab With Daily Paper

The one-of-a-kind 'The Spirit Don't Die' capsule collection celebrates African heritage and a hope for a brighter future.

Amsterdam-based African streetwear brand Daily Paper has joined Nigerian fashion brand Wekafore in creating a unique capsule collection of note. The 'The Spirit Don't Die' collection is inspired by fashion and Nigerian activism icon Fela Kuti, but celebrates the bountiful beauty, potential, and heritage of Africans.

Nigerian designer Wekaforé Maniu Jibril, owner, and designer of the Wekafore brand has been hot since his 2013 debut. The brand has gone on to become a great success within the realm of West African fashion. Wekaforé represents a newer, more fearless generation of African designers and their latest collaborative collection tells the tale.

Daily Paper x Wekaforé 'The Spirit Don't Die' collectionImage courtesy of Daily Paper


The two popular brands share a rich history and intention to further African fashion's reputation in the world, as well as as a shared desire for raw necessity, organic growth, and authentic community engagement, development and, support. The fashion brands are making it known that street and casual wear are more than we once thought - fashion can be inclusive and fun. The stars truly aligned to bring us this partnership guided by similar core values and the hunger to celebrate Africa and her diasporas through fashion.

The Fela Kuti-inspired collection is filled with distinctive and bold pieces, honoring Africa's past while paving the way towards the future. Wekafore is known for their clear integration of West Africa's 1970's cultural golden age, and this limited collection speaks to those themes, making it a no-brainer to dedicate the line to the legendary King of Afrobeat, whose style never disappointed. It's clear to see how Kuti's influence inspired the exciting and vibrant creative renaissance seen in the collection. On using Kuti as his muse, Wekaforé says, "Like Fela, the pieces are very punk, very psychedelic, and very African at the same time. And that represents me 100%. And I think being able to speak that way through a platform like Daily Paper is a testament to contemporary African consciousness."


Image courtesy of Daily Paper

Daily Paper x Wekafore 'The Spirit Don't Die' Collection

Check out more of Daily Paper x Wekafore's collection 'The Spirit Don't Die' collection here.

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.