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Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images.

Ozwald Boateng's Fashion Show at the Apollo Was an Exploration of Authentic Identity

The Ghanaian-British designer presented a new collection inspired by his African roots and the Harlem Renaissance.

Ozwald Boateng, the Ghanaian-British fashion designer known for his meticulous bespoke suits, recently held a fashion show at the iconic Apollo Theater in partnership with social networking platform, Vero.

When he made the announcement of the show, the designer floated around the abbrevation "AI" which we all know as "artificial intelligence," but this time, however, it was intended to stand for "authentic identity," CNN reports.

The models casted were a diverse multigenerational array of who's who in fashion, music and in Black Hollywood including Michael K. Williams, Jidenna, Adesuwa Aighewi, Aldis Hodge, Jo-Ani Johnson and more. They donned Boateng's classic three-piece suits as well as silk ensembles with wax print-inspired ensembles, Ethiopian-inspired jewlery across hues of greens, blues, earth-tones, grey and white.

"We live in a time where Authentic Identity is becoming a crucial part of who we are and the journey we are on," Boateng says to CNN.

Take a look at a few of our favorite looks below.


Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images.

Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images.

Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images.

Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.