Arts + Culture
Patoranking in Tolu Coker. Models in FordhamRowe, Studio 189, Eki Orleans and Taylor Goldenberyg. Photo by Rackz Media.

Alexander-Julian Gibbson Takes Us Behind the Scenes of Patoranking's New Music Video for 'Lenge Lenge'

The Nigerian-American stylist and content creator put together timeless looks for Patoranking and 27 women who represented Fela's Kalakuta Queens.

Patoranking has dropped a new single, "Lenge Lenge," where both the music video and the song itself give a nod to afrobeat legend Fela Kuti as well as his 27 wives—the Kalakuta Queens.

The visual, directed by Luke Biggins and Rebekah Bird, shows Patoranking epitomizing Fela in style and jest as beautiful black women, donning face paint inspired by the Queens, surround him and pose in fresh threads by designers from Africa and the diaspora. The minimal vibe of the video has the eyes focus solely on the fabulous looks.

Take a look below.


Patoranking - Lenge Lenge (Official Video) youtu.be

We caught up with Nigerian-American stylist and content creator Alexander-Julian Gibbson who was the stylist for the music video. He explains that Patoranking's team and himself collaborated to fuse what they think makes a contemporary African woman with traditional hair and makeup.

"I pulled 40 pounds of aso oke and traditional coral beads from my mom's personal collection," he shares with us.

Putting together looks Nigeria's Orange Culture, Yemzi and Jewel by Lisa, the UK's Tolu Coker and Eki Orleans, as well as New York's own Studio 189 and Mimmy Yeboah, his goal was to help bridge the divide between African designers and popular African music acts, as well as build a community of support between the two worlds.

Take a look at more of our conversation about his experience styling "Lenge Lenge" as well as behind-the-scenes images below.

Patoranking in Jewel by Lisa. Photo by Rackz Media.

Photo courtesy of Alexander-Julian Gibbson.

Antoinette Isama for OkayAfrica: Can you talk through how you were able to get involved in this project?

Alexander-Julian Gibbson: Someone from Patoranking's team reached out to me a while back to actually style his band for a performance. After half a day of negotiating, they scratched that job and invited me out to come and style his album cover the next day. I met Pato and his team and instantly gelled. A week later, after I made it back to New York they messaged me letting me know they now needed me to style him and 27 women for his music video and I got to work instantly.

Photo courtesy of Alexander-Julian Gibbson.

Model in Eki Orleans. Photo courtesy of Alexander-Julian Gibbson.

Model in Taylor Goldenberg (top) and Yemzi (bottom). Photo courtesy of Alexander-Julian Gibbson.

What about Fela's dynamic as well as the dynamic of his wives were you hoping to exude through the looks and the whole vibe of the music video?

The Kalakuta Queens were badass. They exuded confidence, strength, and beauty traits that I believe epitomize the African woman. And as they rightly are in society, African women were an influential part of Fela's legacy, and I was excited and honored to bring them to the forefront with this project.

Photo courtesy of Alexander-Julian Gibbson.

Photo courtesy of Alexander-Julian Gibbson.

We don't hear too much from the folks behind the camera who help bring the art (i.e. the music) of our favorite African artists to life through these concepts. How important is it for such collaborations to happen as African culture continues to be amplified on a global level?

I think we're all a part of the aesthetic. As African culture becomes more and more widespread it's important that the story is told in full. African culture is not only about music. It's about fashion, dance, art and so much more and as these artists become globally recognized they will inevitably become the poster children for our rich culture. With that being said, it's crucial to have a supportive team of creatives behind them to help make sure that as they wear their countries on their back, the history these countries hold is portrayed accurately and in color.

popular
Image courtesy of Riveriswild

#BuyBlack: The 8 Black-Owned Brands To Shop For On Black Friday

It's that time of year again, here is OkayAfrica's 2019 gift guide for you to #BuyBlack this Friday.

You know we're near the end of 2019 once the holiday season comes back around. Thanksgiving is upon us and the bargain shopping and gift-giving is set to commence thereafter. While this American "holiday" being questionable in of itself, Black Friday is a prime occasion to highlight, support and spend exclusively with black-owned businesses.

Just like we mentioned last year, let's keep the 'for us, by us' energy going. Even beyond the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, tap into the businesses that continue to contribute to wealth-building, development and employment in Black communities around the world.

Here is OkayAfrica's curated shortlist of black-owned brands to take note of this Black Friday, including some standout home decor, fashion, skincare and beauty brands you should know.

Take a look below.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
'Queen & Slim' soundtrack cover.

Burna Boy Samples Fela's 'Shakara' on New Track, 'My Money, My Baby' From 'Queen & Slim' Soundtrack

The film's official soundtrack also features tracks from Lauryn Hill, Blood Orange, Megan Thee Stallion and more.

The official soundtrack for Queen & Slim has arrived, and it features a standout solo track from none other than Burna Boy.

"My Money, My Baby" is a heavily Afrobeat-tinged track that features a prominent sample of Fela Kuti's 1972 song "Shakara." The pulsating track also sees the singer, channeling Fela's signature talk-style of singing and repetition. Check it out below.

Keep reading... Show less
News Brief
Photo by Seyllou/AFP via Getty Images

France Returns a 19th Century Sword Back to Senegal

The sword belonged to a Senegalese anti-colonial struggle fighter Omar Saidou Tall.

France has returned a 19th century sword back to Senegal. The sword belonged to Senegalese Islamic scholar and anti-colonial struggle fighter Omar Saidou Tall. The French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe recently handed over the sword to Senegal's President Macky Sall in a ceremony held in Dakar this past Sunday. The sword is now in the Museum of Black Civilizations of Dakar. The move comes after the Senegalese government's request for France to return more than 100 artifacts housed in French museums and France's President Emmanuel Macron subsequently commissioned a report entitled "The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage: Toward a New Relational Ethics".

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images

South Africa's Iconic Group Bongo Maffin is Set to Release a New Album

It will be the group's first album in well over a decade.

Last year, the iconic South African kwaito group Bongo Maffin, reunited after several years. They then went on to release the single "Harare" much to the delight of their numerous fans. Of course, the single was just an appetizer for everything else still to come. Thandiswa "King Tha" Mazwai, one of the members of the diverse quartet, recently confirmed that Bongo Maffin will be releasing an album on November 29th—the group's first album in well over a decade.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.