Style

The Warm, Welcoming Senegalese Coast Shines Through Sophie Zinga's 'Hibiscus' Collection

Photographer Florence Ngala and Sengalese designer Sophie Zinga collaborate for a gorgeous fashion editorial.

It's beyond heartening to see how things come full circle for young African artists.


Florence Ngala, who we featured first in our series, This Week In Photos, reached out to me with a gorgeous fashion editorial featuring designs from Senegal's Sophie Zinga. How this collaboration came to be is a great example of how you never know who can come across your work—thanks to the internet.

"It's actually a funny story," she says via email. "Nigerian artist Oroma Elewa and I had met before (she's awesome) and after having a second encounter and a chat, she went on to get in touch with me about working with her during NYFW. While traveling to meet with her in Chelsea, I saw the amazing and super dope Amy Sall getting into a cab and took a street style shot of her. I sent her the photo and she posted it, which is how Sophie, a good friend of hers, went on to find my work and reach out to me about shooting for her."

This link up was an opportunity for Ngala to visit and work on the continent for the first time, and produce work she came to love.

The collection, entitled "Hibiscus," is inspired by the flower native to the designer, as well as the hibiscus flower's socioeconomic impact on Senegal and in countries in the Caribbean (care for any sorrel, anyone?).

"There is a widely popular drink called bissap, which is made from the hibiscus flower," Zinga says. "Bissap is a national drink which is widely offered during the most important ceremonies in Senegal and has medicinal virtues. The hibiscus is widely referenced in the collection in terms of its vivid colors and its texture."

For Ngala, her inspiration from the photography angle came from Zinga's exquisite designs and how her creativity and effort shines through the collection. "She already had a strong vision for the vibe she wanted in the images," Ngala says.

Ngala continues:

When working with her, she expressed how inspired she was by the "African Cosmopolitan," the working, global-minded, savvy woman. She wanted the images to be clean and to have a modern, high end look, while at the same time, paying homage to her roots.

She'd explained to me that this is why she casted the models she did because they looked "quintessentially Senegalese" as well as why she decided to shoot the images in the country where she's from. We scouted other locations but ended up reverting to her childhood home, which her parents gracefully let us use. This was also cool because I brought to her attention that I thought it would be so dope to hold the shoot there after she shared with me that this was where she grew her brand out of years prior.

Have a look at selects from Hibiscus below.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Credits

Location: Dakar, Senegal

Photography: Florence Ngala

Models: Aminata Faye, Aicha Gueye

Creative Director: Sophie Zinga

Makeup: Aida Ndiaye

Music
Image: Nabsolute Media

Reekado Banks Recalls The Carnage of The #EndSARS Protests In Single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

The Nigerian singer pays his respects to those lost during last year's #EndSARS protests.

Nigerian singer and songwriter Reekado Banks is back with a track that is as socially important as it is a banger. It seems fitting for the singer's first solo release of the year to be a tribute to his fellow countrypeople fighting for a country that they all wish to live in. The 27-year-old Afrobeats crooner has returned with endearing track 'Ozumba Mbadiwe', honoring the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests that saw the Nigerian government authorize an onslaught of attacks on Nigerian citizens for their anti-government demonstrations.

The protests took the world by storm, additionally because the Nigerian government insists that none of the police brutality happened. In an attempt to gaslight the globe, Nigerian officials have come out to hoards to deny any and all accusations of unlawfully killing peaceful protesters. Banks mentions the absurd denials in the track, singing "October 20, 2020 something happened with the government, they think say we forget," in the second verse. Reekado's reflective lyrics blend smoothly and are supported by the upbeat, effortless Afrobeat rhythm.

In another reflective shoutout to his home, 'Ozumba Mbadiwe' is named after a popular expressway on Lagos Island that leads to the infamous Lekki Toll Gate where protesters were shot at, traumatized, and murdered. Although packed with conscious references, the P.Priime produced track is a perfect amalgamation of the talents that Reekado Banks has to offer; a wispy opening verse, a hook to kill, and an ethereal aura to mark this as a song as a hit. On "Ozumba Mbadiwe," all the elements align for Reekado's signature unsinkable sound to take flight.

Check out Reekado Bank's lyric video for his single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

Reekado Banks - Ozumba Mbadiwe (Lyric Video) www.youtube.com

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