Rwandan Model Lilian Uwanyuze Lights Up The Beach In This Amazing Photo Shoot

Rwandan model and artist Lilian Uwanyuze stars in a stunning beachside photo story for Jennifer Nnamani's Beau Monde Society.

Images courtesy of Beau Monde Society

Rwandan model and artist Lilian Uwanyuze is the muse for a sunny, beachside photo story shot by the Beau Monde Society, the New York City-based eco-focused fashion communications agency founded by Jennifer Nnamani in 2013. Nnamani is also the brains behind the brand’s photo campaigns.

“Uwanyuze embodies the interpretation of beauty and mystery,” Nnamani says of the Los Angeles-based model. A Rwandan of both Hutu and Tutsi background, Uwanyuze’s childhood, says Nnamani, “was enveloped in moments of solitude, surrounded by the deadly chaos in Rwanda. Yet, she overcame this tragedy and blossomed into a colorful personality.”

Nnamani flew out to L.A. for the shoot. While there, Uwanyuze spoke about moving to America at the age of 15, shortly after the end of the Rwandan Genocide, and beginning to “understand the complexities of her unusual background.”

“As a wildflower that grew in the midst of these life-changing events, she remains poised,” Nnamani says.

Nnamani’s Beau Monde Society is currently gearing up for the fourth installment of their Fashion Envie (Fashion + Environment + Life) eco-collective, April 22-23, 2016, in New York City.

Keep up with the Beau Monde Society on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Uwanyuze is on Instagram at @lili_ann.

Beau Monde Society's Wildflower Photo Credits

Creative Director/Coordinator/Fashion Storyteller: Jennifer Nnamani of Beau Monde Society

Photographer: Osose Oboh

Makeup Artist & Hairstylist: Sameerah Hoddison

Model/Muse: Lilian Uwanyuze


6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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