Arts + Culture
Photo by Fifo Adebakin.

Photos: This Is What the Melanin Unscripted x Native House Pop-Up Looked Like

Young African creatives gathered in community to discuss the state of contemporary African culture and music today.

As Lagos and Accra continue to buzz with plenty of concerts and parties to revel in the festive season as well as ring in the new year, young African creatives are also taking the time to gather like minds in community.

Melanin Unscripted, the agency and media platform headed by Nigerian-American visual multi-hyphenate Amarachi Nwosu, recently linked with The NATIVE to host Native House. Guests from near and far came through to the African Artists Foundation in Lagos for a day-long pop-up of cultural activations including a photo exhibition and a series of panels to discuss the state of contemporary African culture and music today.


"The Futurist Exhibition" amplified young African photographers you should know who are challenging stereotypical narratives of Africa, showcasing the work of Nwosu, Manny Jefferson, Stephen Tayo, Lawrence Agyei, Jerusa Nyakundi, Flo Ngala, Wami Aluko, Josef Adamu (Sunday School), Nwaka Okparaeke and TSE.

While attendees perused through the photo exhibition, three panels were held, focusing on West African music being today's newest cultural currency to African youth shifting their continent's narrative through imagery.

Journalist Ivie Ani moderated "The New Scramble for Africa" panel featuring Teezee of The NATIVE, Chin Okeke of GidiFest, Olive Uche, Wale Davies of Show Dem Camp and Dipo Faloyin, managing editor of VICE UK. Ani and the panelists touched on the history leading up to the "scramble," how to maintain authenticity in West African music during this moment and more. Nwosu then gathered Lawrence Burney of The FADER, record exec Tunji Balogun, as well as Nigerian artists Tems and WurlD in conversation for the "Music in Migration" panel for a talk on the importance of online platforms have in the ever-growing music industry on the continent, risk-taking, giving credit to the past while paving a way forward and the industry's future.

To close, journalist Stephanie Smith-Strickland led a panel discussion entitled "The Futurist," where she was in conversation with the featured photographers in the exhibition, touching on African youth culture and the role visual arts' play in shaping the creative landscape on the continent.

Take a look at select images from Native House below, with all photographed by Fifo Adebakin.

Interview

Interview: Wavy The Creator Is Ready to See You Now

The multidisciplinary Nigerian-American artist on tapping into all her creative outlets, creating interesting things, releasing a new single and life during quarantine.

A trip canceled, plans interrupted, projects stalled. It is six months now since Wavy the Creator has had to make a stop at an undisclosed location to go into quarantine and get away from the eye of the pandemic.

The professional recording artist, photographer, writer, fashion artist, designer, and evolving creative has been spending all of this time in a house occupied by other creatives. This situation is ideal. At least for an artist like Wavy who is always in a rapid motion of creating and bringing interesting things to life. The energy around the house is robust enough to tap from and infuse into any of her numerous creative outlets. Sometimes, they also inspire trips into new creative territories. Most recently, for Wavy, are self-taught lessons on a bass guitar.

Wavy's days in this house are not without a pattern, of course. But some of the rituals and personal rules she drew up for herself, like many of us did for internal direction, at the beginning of the pandemic have been rewritten, adjusted, and sometimes ditched altogether. Some days start early and end late. Some find her at her sewing machine fixing up thrift clothes to fit her taste, a skill she picked up to earn extra cash while in college, others find her hard at work in the studio, writing or recording music.

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