Events
Photo by Polly Irungu

Photos: A Night of ‘Cocoa and Color’ at Okay Space for Tony’s Chocolonely and Joshua Kissi’s ‘Reframed’ Exhibition

The exhibition, currently showing at Okay Space Gallery, advocates for fair practices in the West African chocolate industry.

What happened when cocoa hero Tony's Chocolonely and creative wonder kid Joshua Kissi rolled up to the Okay Space on the same night? Chocolate-y magic and sweet enlightenment. The two entities have been working together on a project called REFRAMED: Cocoa and Color aimed at shifting the perspective on the West African cocoa farmers who make Chocolonely's delectable bars.

The project kicked off its first US exhibition with us at the Okay Space Gallery in early October, where brightly colored chocolate bars of all sizes covered the tables as attendees had their pick of a variety of Tony Chocolonely's chocolate. Anywhere you looked, there was chocolate and smiles. The only time folks stopped munching on chocolate was to take a bite of the fantastic cuisine—jollof rice, fried plantains and beef skewers—from Gold Coast Catering and plantain ice cream from Kelewele NYC. The room was packed with a diverse and wonderful crowd, excited to interact with Kissi's work and curious about learning how the chocolate brand was focused on empowering Africans and African economies. DJ GFlamee created the perfect atmosphere with tunes that highlighted the region and made a Thursday feel more like a Friday.

The highlight of the night, however, was a live Q&A session between Joshua Kissi and Dena White, Tony Chocolonely's head of marketing for the US. Kissi created the concept and took photos of the people in Ghana and the Ivory Coast working to create the chocolate the world adores. Together, they discussed the methods and importance of Tony Chololonely's fight to end slave labor in the cocoa industry. It was illuminating to have the session with the faces of those being honored surrounding us, looking on, being included in something that has long been swept under the rug.

While the chocolate has all been gobbled up, Kissi's striking photos will stay on display at the gallery until October 31st.

Check out some of the action from the event below, with photos by Polly Irungu.


Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Photo by Polly Irungu.

Spotlight
Photo by NurPhoto via Getty Images.

A Year After #EndSARS, Nigerian Youth Maintain That Nothing Has Changed

Despite the disbandment of the SARS units, young Nigerians are still being treated as criminals. We talk to several of them about their experiences since the #EndSARS protests.

On September 12th, Tobe, a 22-year-old student at the University of Nigeria's Enugu Campus was on his way to Shoprite to hang out with his friends when the tricycle he had boarded was stopped by policemen. At first, Tobe thought they were about to check the driver's documents, but he was wrong. "An officer told me to come down, he started searching me like I was a criminal and told me to pull down my trousers, I was so scared that my mind was racing in different ways, I wasn't wearing anything flashy nor did I have an iPhone or dreads — things they would use to describe me as a yahoo boy," he says.

They couldn't find anything on him and when he tried to defend himself, claiming he had rights, one of the police officers slapped him. "I fell to the ground sobbing but they dragged me by the waist and took me to their van where they collected everything including my phone and the 8,000 Naira I was with."

Luckily for Tobe, they let him go free after 2 hours. "They set me free because they caught another pack of boys who were in a Venza car, but they didn't give me my money completely, they gave me 2,000 Naira for my transport," he says.

It's no news that thousands of Nigerian youth have witnessed incidents like Tobe's — many more worse than his. It's this helpless and seemingly unsolvable situation which prompted the #EndSARS protests. Sparked after a viral video of a man who was shot just because he was driving an SUV and was mistaken as a yahoo boy, the #EndSARS protests saw millions of young Nigerians across several states of the country come out of their homes and march against a system has killed unfathomable numbers of people for invalid or plain stupid reasons. The protests started on October 6th, 2020 and came to a seize after a tragedy struck on October 20th of the same year.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Meet Uyi Omorogbe: TikTok's Resident Menace and Founder of Clothing Brand NASO

We spoke with the viral 'Annoying My African Parents' creator about online success and his upcoming brand collab with Converse.