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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

Kofi Jamar Switches Lanes In 'Appetite for Destruction'

The Ghanaian rapper and "Ekorso" hitmaker presents a different sound in his latest EP.

The drill scene in Ghana has been making waves across the continent for some time now. If you're hip to what a crop of young and hungry artists from the city of Kumasi in Ghana and beyond have been doing over the past year, then you already know about rapper Kofi Jamar.

Towards the end of November last year he dropped one of the biggest drill songs to emerge from Ghana's buzzing drill scene, the popular street anthem "Ekorso." In the December and January that followed, "Ekorso" was the song on everyone's lips, the hip-hop song that took over the season, with even the likes of Wizkid spotted vibing to the tune.

Currently sitting at over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms, the song topped charts, even breaking records in the process. "Ekorso" maintained the number one spot on Apple Music's Hip-Hop/Rap: Ghana chart for two months uninterrupted, a first in the history of the chart. It also had a good stint at number one of the Ghana Top 100 chart as well, among several other accolades.

Even though he's the creator of what could be the biggest song of Ghana's drill movement till date, Kofi Jamar doesn't plan on replicating his past music or his past moves. He has just issued his second EP, a 6-track project titled Appetite for Destruction, and it would surprise you to know that there isn't a single drill song on it. Although drill played a huge role in his meteoric rise, he wants to be known as way more than just a drill rapper. He wants to be known as a complete and versatile artist, unafraid to engage in any genre — and he even looks forward to creating his own genre of music during the course of his career.

We spoke to Kofi Jamar about his latest EP, and he tells us about working with Teni, why he's gravitating away from drill to a new sound, and more. Check out our conversation below.

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