Simo Ezoubeiri's 'New Suburban Marrakech' Photography

Marrakech-born, Chicago-based photographer and filmmaker Simo Ezoubeiri speaks on his 'New Suburban Marrakech' images.

Photos courtesy of Simo Ezoubeiri

Last week Marrakech-born, Chicago-based photographer and filmmaker Simo Ezoubeiri reached out to us with his latest body of work capturing the intricacies of life in contemporary Morocco. The series, M’hamid 9, was shot from the single point of view of Ezoubeiri's parents' terrace in the small Moroccan town at the edge of the Sahara. "The use of this God’s POV style of framing/shots invites the viewer into myriads of intimate, stolen and fugitive moments of an anthropological physical space," he told us. "The street environment and landscape unfold as unpopulated world. The charm and architectural character of buildings, the streetscapes and signage are shown to help comprehend the hidden aspects of modern suburban life style."

Ezoubeiri says the series is part of a digital photography genre that explores various elements of the inner space of a new suburban Marrakech. "I haven’t been to Marrakech for almost 5 years and I felt an inner need to capture this 'new suburban life' and follow my unconventional method of documenting the scenery around me," he said. "It’s a private vision, covered and guarded with mixed feelings of sadness and happiness that I can’t express with words."

"Marrakech is an inspirational city for many photographers throughout the years," Ezoubeiri tells us of the photo scene in Morocco's fourth largest city, where he's also set a number of short experimental films. "I personally remember the great influence of local photographer, Hassan Nadim, when I first saw his photographs at Foundation Dar Bellarj ten years ago. I found them great and fascinating to look at! Later on, the work of pop artist, Hassan Hajjaj has shown new interpretations of the photo scene in the city. However, the creations of new artistic platforms like 'Marrakech Biennale', 'Digital Marrakech' and the pending 'Marrakech Art Fair' have enriched the photo scene and created a lot of competition between curators and artists. Overall, the photo scene is growing slowly surely since Marrakech has 25 galleries by itself."

Ezoubeiri is currently working on post production for his debut narrative short film, Ladder, which he shot in Marrakech in January. The project will focus on what happens when a woman suddenly decides to leave her husband of 30+ years. Speaking on what he calls a "very personal film," Ezoubeiri says "There is scanty dialogue, unorthodox narrative, little characterization but the intension, of course, is to show what the main character seems and what is affecting his psychology after the sudden departure of his wife."

Photo: Courtesy of Radswan

Freddie Harrel Is Building Conscious Beauty For and With the African Diaspora

Formerly known as "Big Hair Don't Care", creator Freddie Harrel and her team have released 3 new wig shapes called the "RadShapes" available now.

Photo: Courtesy of Radswan

The normalising of Black and brown women in wigs of various styles has certainly been welcomed by the community, as it has opened up so many creative avenues for Black women to take on leadership roles and make room for themselves in the industry.

Radswan (formerly known as Big Hair Don't Care), is a lifestyle brand "bringing a new perspective on Blackness through hair, by disrupting the synthetic market with innovative and sustainable products." Through their rebrand, Radswan aims to, "upscale the direct-to-consumer experience holistically, by having connected conversations around culture and identity, in order to remove the roots of stigma."

The latest from French-Cameroonian founder and creator Freddie Harrel - who was featured on our list of 100 women of 2020 - has built her career in digital marketing and reputation as an outspoken advocate for women's empowerment. On top of her business ventures, the 2018 'Cosmopolitan Influencer of the Year' uses her platform to advocate for women's empowerment with 'SHE Unleashed,' a workshop series where women of all ages come together to discuss the issues that impact the female experience, including the feeling of otherness, identity politics, unconscious bias, racism and sexism.

And hair is clearly one of her many passions, as Freddie says, "Hair embodies my freest and earliest form of self expression, and as a shapeshifter, I'm never done. I get to forever reintroduce my various angles, tell all my stories to this world that often feels constrained and biased."

Armed with a committee of Black women, Freddie has cultivated Radswan and the aesthetic that comes with the synthetic but luxurious wigs. The wigs are designed to look like as though the hair is growing out of her own head, with matching lace that compliments your own skin colour.

By being the first brand to use recycled fibres, Radswan is truly here to change the game. The team has somehow figured out how to make their products look and feel like the real thing, while using 0% human hair and not negotiating on the price, quality or persona.

In 2019, the company secured £1.5m of investment led by BBG Ventures with Female Founders Fund and Pritzker Private Capital participating, along with angelic contributions from Hannah Bronfman, Nashilu Mouen Makoua, and Sonja Perkins.

On the importance of representation and telling Black stories through the products we create, Freddie says, "Hair to me is Sundays kneeling between your mothers or aunties legs, it's your cousin or newly made friend combing lovingly through your hair, whilst you detangle your life out loud. Our constant shapeshifting teaches us to see ourselves in each other, the hands braiding always intimately touching our head more often than not laying someone's lap."

"Big Hair No Care took off in ways we couldn't keep up with," she continues, "RadSwan is our comeback.It's a lifestyle brand, it's the hair game getting an upgrade, becoming fairer and cleaner. It's the platform that recognises and celebrates your identity as a shapeshifter, your individuality and your right to be black like you."

Check out your next hairstyle from Radswan here.

Radswan's RadShape 01Photo: Courtesy of Radswan

Radswan's RadShape 02Photo: Courtesy of Radswan

Radswan's RadShape 03Photo: Courtesy of Radswan

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