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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!

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Photo by Giles Clarke/UNOCHA via Getty Images

Cameroon Holds Vigil to Remember Children Killed in School Attack

Residents in Kumba paid their respects to the seven lives lost, and those injured during the attack over the weekend.

In the latest tragedy to come from Cameroon's historically violent clash between Anglo and Francophone citizens, seven children were murdered after attackers stormed a school with guns and machetes over the weekend.

In what has been deemed as the "darkest and saddest day," by Bishop Agapitus Nfon of Kumba, armed attackers stormed the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy, targeting students aged 9 to 12. The tragic event saw dozens of children injured, some critically.

The attack has shocked the nation, with both local and international agencies condemning the horrible offense. On Monday, Cameroonian President Paul Biya denounced the "horrific murder" of the school children, and alluded to the "appropriate measures" being taken in order to bring justice to the families of the victims. Prime Minister Dion Ngute Joseph shared his condolences via a tweet saying, "I bow before the memory of these innocent kids."

The Cameroonian presidency and governing body have blamed Anglophone 'separatists' for the attack, though the group claims no part in the attack.

Human rights groups, however, have blamed both opposing parties, as the conflict has led to the death of over 3,000 deaths and resulted in more than 700,000 Cameroonians fleeing their homes and the country.

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Interview: Meet Velemseni, Eswatini’s Queen of Soul

Soul artist Velemseni's music reflects Eswatini culture and aesthetics. "The Kingdom of Eswatini is a magical and mysterious place, and my music aims to interpret and document that mystique, drawing from genres like Swazi gospel, soul, African soul, cinematic and traditional music," says the artist.