Style

Prêt-À-Poundo: Supafrik's International Debut In DC!

Toronto fashion designer Chinedu Ukabam clothing label Supafrik.


Supafrik is the brainchild of Toronto fashion designer Chinedu Ukabam of the clothing label Chinedesign. Chinedu travelled to New York, Paris and London to collect some of the unique items for sale at SUPAFRIK — a journey which was documented on his blog

Featured designers include Chinedesign’s new Marrakesh collection which is getting an exclusive world premier in DC, Toronto-based ethical designer brand Ann & Arrayata which refashions raffia into beautifully constructed chic bags and purses (proceeds go towards charity work in Rwanda) and UK based clothing label Chichia London which is ethically manufactured in Tanzania using traditional kanga textiles.

Supafrik will also feature homeware by Shine Shine (Cape Town, South Africa), made-in-Africa sneakers by Paris-based SAWA, and graphic tees by the Parisian multimedia collective AITF (Africa Is The Future). The gallery will also feature the work of visual artists such as Kalkidan Assefa whose work is inspired by musical icons such as Fela Kuti and Nina Simone.

Supafrik will double as a space for programmed events over the four days that it takes over Gallery O on H. These will include the Thursday fashion show (featuring the MRKSH collection and a performance of new material by Grammy nominated singer/songwriter and DC native Wayna) , an Afro-House shopping party and a food tasting event to sample an afro-fusion “designer” food menu. Head their website for the full calendar of events.

*** Brand new Okayafrica t-shirts and hoodies will be on sale at Supafrik's pop-up shop — our new collection is up for viewing at the Okayafrica store now. See the full flyer below for more information.

WHEN: Oct 18th to Oct 21st

WHERE: Gallery O on H, 1354 H Street NE Washington DC

FASHION SHOW/LAUNCH PARTY: Thursday October 18th 6PM -11PM

 

Music

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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