News Brief

Studio 189 Wins CFDA x Lexus Eco Fashion Initiative Award

Ghanaian/Ivorian-American fashion business woman, Abrima Erwiah, and actress, activist, Rosario Dawson, claim the prize from one of the most difficult fashion brand competitions.

Studio 189, run by Ghanaian/Ivorian-American, fashion business woman and OkayAfrica 100 Women honoree, Abrima Erwiah, and activist, actress, artist, singer and producer, Rosario Dawson, champion the 2017-2018 CFDA x Lexus Eco fashion Initiative.

The Initiative was "to facilitate steps to measurable progress thereby furthering American fashion's journey to sustainability." It provided mentorship, and gave its participants the opportunity to grow as a fashion business as a leader, and inspire change and innovation. Erwiah and Dawson's Studio 189 proved it was able to be a platform to do just that and more.


Headquartered in Ghana, USA and throughout West Africa, the company showcases and sells fashionable items while spreading African pride and female empowerment.

According to the initiative, Studio 189 has managed to "target aspects of their design and business strategies to define actionable goals in areas such as consumer consciousness, bespoke product and service innovations, and ethical methods."

"What we're trying to do is make change," Erwiah says in an interview with OkayAfrica back in March regarding her collaborations and work with Studio 189. "What we're trying to do is put together and create a space where all the different players are doing something really interesting and we're creating larger connections."

We're proud of our indicted 100 Women honoree, Erwiah for such a great accomplishment. The announcement of Studio 189's award presented by CFDA x Lexus Eco not only speaks for the company, but also says that African fashion and cultural influence is in fact rising higher in America, within the fashion industry and beyond.

Interview
Justice Mukheli. Courtesy of Black Major/Bongeziwe Mabandla.

Interview: Bongeziwe Mabandla's New Album Is a Calm Meditation On Relationships

We speak with the South African artist about his captivating new album, iimini, love cycles, and the unexpected influence of Bon Iver.

"I've been playing at home for so many years and pretending to be having shows in my living room, and today it's actually happening," Bongeziwe Mabandla says, smiling out at me from my cellphone as I watch him play songs on Instagram Live, guitar close to his chest.

Two weekends ago, Mabandla was meant to be celebrating the release of his third album, iimini, at the Untitled Basement in Braamfontein in Joburg, which would no doubt have been packed with some of the many fans the musician has made since his debut release, Umlilo, in 2012. With South Africa joining many other parts of the world in a lockdown, those dates were cancelled and Mabandla, like many other artists, took to social media to still play some tracks from the album. The songs on iimini are about the life and death of a relationship—songs that are finding their way into the hearts of fans around the world, some of whom, now stuck in isolation, may be having to confront the ups and downs of love, with nowhere to hide.

The day before his Instagram Live mini-show, Mabandla spoke to OkayAfrica on lockdown from his home in Newtown about the lessons he's learned from making the album, his new-found love for Bon Iver, and how he's going to be spending his time over the next few weeks.

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Interview
Lueking Photos. Courtesy of emPawa Africa.

Interview: GuiltyBeatz Proves He's Truly 'Different'

The Ghanaian producer talks to us about his debut EP, Different, the massive success of "Akwaaba," producing for Beyoncé and more.

GuiltyBeatz isn't a new name in the Ghanaian music scene. A casual music fan's first introduction to him would've likely been years ago on "Sample You," one of Mr Eazi's early breakout hits. However, he had scored his first major hit two years before that, in the Nigerian music space on Jesse Jagz' and Wizkid's 2013 hit "Bad Girl." In the years to come, the producer has gone on to craft productions for some of Ghana's most talented artists.

In the years to come, the producer has gone on to craft productions for some of Ghana's most talented artists, having worked with the likes of Efya, Pappy Kojo, Sarkodie, R2Bees, Stonebwoy, Bisa Kdei, Wande Coal, Moelogo and many more over the last decade. The biggest break of the talented producer's career, however, came with the arrival of his own single "Akwaaba".

In 2018, GuiltyBeatz shared "Akwaaba" under Mr Eazi's Banku Music imprint, shortly afterwards the song and its accompanying dance went viral. The track and dance graced party floors, music & dance videos, and even church auditoriums all around the world, instantly making him one of Africa's most influential producers. Awards, nominations, and festival bookings followed the huge success of "Akwaaba." Then, exactly a year later, the biggest highlight of his career so far would arrive: three production credits on Beyoncé's album The Lion King: The Gift.

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Image via Wikimedia Commons

Nollywood Actress, Funke Akindele, Arrested for Throwing Party During Coronavirus Lockdown

Naira Marley, who was also in attendance, has also turned himself in according to local reports.

Star Nigerian actress, Funke Akindele, and her husband, rapper JJC Skillz, were arrested on Monday after hosting a party at their home which violated Lagos' coronavirus lockdown order.

The actress came under fire over the weekend, when footage of a party she threw for her husband's birthday began circulating on social media. The clips showed several people, including fellow Nollywood actress Eniola Badmus and Nigerian rapper Naira Marley, gathered inside of Akindele's Lagos home. According to a report from Pulse Nigeria, Marley also turned himself in on Monday for attending the function and will be arraigned.

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