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Photos: Babes In Benin

Is the "Babes in Benin" feature article from the latest issue of Pigeons and Peacocks exploitative of "African Babes?"


Fashion week has come and gone but the words and images from "Babes in Benin," the feature article from the latest issue of Pigeons and Peacocks are timeless.

Issue #4 takes a look at "exploitation and excess" and asks: "where is the line to be drawn between inspiration and exploitation" when dealing with African culture, and European appropriation? Inspired by Daniel Laine's series, "Kings of Africa," Babes in Benin uses traditional prints, but takes the designs the opposite direction. Rightfully concerned with cultural translation P&P even questions whether it's detrimental to have their white European stylists depicting African iconography.

"It's nostalgia as exploitation: exploitation of the past; exploitation of the stereotypes forged in the past, and an exploration of when cultural stereotypes become iconography, and where iconography becomes inspiration, and when inspiration turns to exploitation...it is a cycle of pop regurgitating itself, reappropriating symbols and codes and inappropriately fetishizing and remixing different cultures. "

On the upswing, Natalie Lasance reports from fashion week in Lagos, Nigeria "Africa's second ever fashion week", and notes the rich local talent while claiming many Nigerian designers who studied abroad are returning home to "fuse technical excellence with the unique cultural history of Nigerian tribes." For young designers fashion in Africa is a fresh frontier that also includes social initiatives like female empowerment, voting education, identity empowerment, and the list goes on.

Visionary designers who are "using their success to make a difference" include, Kemmy Solomon, who uses design to celebrate femininity, as well as Autumn Adeigbo, who donates 5% of profits from each dress to Women For Women International. Terence Sambo, who blogs as One Nigerian Boy is behind the campaign, Vote, It's in Style," which promotes voting to the youth via fashion and media. Pick up a copy to read the full article including interviews with the models. Enjoy the photo stream!

Interview
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Interview: How Stogie T’s ‘Freestyle Friday’ Became a TV Show

Freestyle Friday started as lockdown content but is now a fully-fledged TV show on Channel O. In this interview, Stogie T breaks down why the show is revolutionary and talks about venturing into media.

When South Africa was put under a hard lockdown in 2020, Stogie T started Freestyle Friday to "make SA rap again." Freestyle Friday, hosted on Instagram, saw a different cohort of rappers each rap over the same beat picked by the veteran rapper. From niche and emerging rappers to some of the most notable names in South African hip-hop—the likes of AKA, Focalistic, Ginger Trill and several others all participated.

In the last few weeks, however, Freestyle Friday has found its way to cable TV. The show airs every Friday on Channel O, one of the continent's longest-running music TV channels. Freestyle Friday as a TV programme isn't just about freestyles, it's about the art of rapping and the music business, particularly SA hip-hop. Guests range from lyricists to record executives and other personalities aligned with the scene—Ninel Musson and Ms Cosmo for instance.

But Freestyle Friday is only the first media product Stogie T is working on as he is in the process of starting a podcast network, a venture in which he is collaborating with Culture Capital. In the Q&A below, Stogie T breaks down the relationship with Culture Capital, how the show moved from the internet to TV, why it's a revolutionary idea, touches on his venture into media and his future plans.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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