Month: September 2013

AFRICA RISING : CNN SPECIAL FEATURE ON AFRICA’S HOTTEST NEW FASHION DESIGNERS by Jennifer Obiuwevbi

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Editor’s note: Jennifer Obiuwevbi writes on fashion for BellaNaija.com. Here she writes for CNN about Africa’s top up-and-coming designers.

CNN FEATURES BELLANAIJA FASHION WRITER JENNIFFER OBIUWEVBI

(CNN) — We have long moved on from the idea of African design being simply Africa centered. In the past couple of years it has made it onto catwalks in Paris, New York, Milan and beyond. And of course, as with any competitive market, there will always be new talent changing the game.

In African fashion today, names like Lanre Da-Silva Ajayi, Thula Sindi, Deola Segoe, Ozwald Boateng and more are praised in the hallways of fashion houses. And now there is a new breed of designers who have caught the attention of fashion enthusiasts in Africa and abroad. So here are seven emerging African designers to watch out for this year.

Shakara Couture

Princess of fashion

Africa’s feathered fashion export

Ewemade Erhabor-Emokpae has had a long obsession with the vintage glamor of the 1920s and 50s. Her design label — Shakara Couture — has encompassed the aesthetics, ambiance and essence of the present couture era and added an African flair.

Officially launched in 2012, the design label had its first major debut at the Music Meets Runway 2012 event where African designers clamoured together to unveil their late 2012 collections. Her collection was filled with long luxurious dresses with lace detail, creative fascinators, wide brim hats and satin gloves.

Recently, she released a few photos from her 2013 collection titled “There is No Such Thing As Too Much Glamor.” The campaign photos showcased a young housewife carrying about her daily chores dressed to the nines.

Read this: Africa Fashion Week hits London catwalks

Kaela Kay

Courtesy Jennifer Conley Images/Kaela Kay

When I first encountered the Kaela Kay design label I was immediately struck with its big and loud prints and funky designs. Created by Ghanaian designer Catherine Addai the label thrives on its passion to transform bold and extravagant prints into feminine, sexy and modern clothes for the modern woman.

Addai has created the Kaela Kay woman to stand out. The Kaela Kay woman is a refined socialite who walks with her shoulders back and her head held high.

Apart from her label’s aesthetics, which always have a professional outlook, another reason why the Kaela Kay brand caught my attention was because of its take on prints. It moves to re-interpret print combinations while still keeping its African foundations.

Kitschai

Courtesy BellaNaija/ Obi Somto

When the 2013 collection “Unicorns and Bullet Wounds” from Kitschai was released, fashion enthusiasts were engulfed by a wave of curiosity. The design label introduced an edgy and risqué collection that wasn’t typical of Nigerian designers and has not been seen elsewhere in this year’s batch of collections.

Fashion magazine targets ‘Afropolitans’

Traditional dress of Senegal

Created by London-based Nigerian Andrea Ushedo, she incorporated her punk/retro personality into the designs, making them just dark and edgy enough.

With such an impressive debut, one can only wait in anticipation for what the label will bring out next.

Love April

Whenever I think of the Ghanaian Love April design label, I think of sultry and feminine designs with a hint of African detail.

Nina Barkers-Woode launched the Love April brand in 2011. She started it as a label offering ready-to-wear clothes for women, as well as leather goods and accessories.

Read this: Glorious fashion in the desert

According to her interview with Shadders Africa: “It embodies today’s woman with the marriage between sophistication and sexiness which allows her to step into the world, wherever that might be, feeling and looking confident.”

She last showcased her 2012/2013 collection at Ghana Fashion Week 2012, where it received a lot of praise.

Milq & Honey

Courtesy Milq & Honey

Dark earthy tones, gold panel details and a twist to every piece are the three qualities that come to mind every time I look at a collection piece from Milq & Honey.

Nigerian fashion goes ‘green’

A stitch of Africa

Owned by Gabriella and Kelly Davids, the South African label speaks to the confident woman who is sexy and edgy, yet glamorous and classy. Their clothes are inspired by energetic colors, animals and the natural patterns and shapes of the Earth.

At the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town 2013 they debuted their 2013 collection, which was a mix of light and dark. They started off with a dark ensemble of typical Milq & Honey garments and then went off into a birth of colors in neon and summer-appropriate casual wear.

Ernest Mahomane

Courtesy SDR

With the experience gathered from being trained by Gavin Rajarh, Ernest Mahomane’s eponymous label could easily pass off as one that has been in the business for years. The label opened the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town 2013 with an amazing combination of white and red dresses with gathered tulle, fitted bustiers and enhanced shoulder cuts that were as daring and serene as its Spring/Summer 2013/14 collection.

The clothes have a smooth and classy appearance that isn’t overdone and is true to the Ernest Mahomane ethos of transcendent beauty.

Read this: Taking African colors to America’s Deep South

Fenix Couture

Courtesy BellaNaija/ Julius Ding

This Nigerian-Canadian design label reminds me a lot of the Jewel By Lisa label. Its well-tailored designs and understanding for the female form are both professional and appealing.

The brand was created by Josephyn Akioyamen, who started her journey into fashion while living in Lagos, Nigeria. She was constantly surrounded by intricate colors and prints and, of course, African culture.

Fenix Couture is a combination of timeless elegance and modern luxury brought to life by stimulating textiles and precision tailoring. With its 2013 Ihotu Collection, the label introduced itself to the world as one not just to watch, but a label that is so transformational that it would last for years to come.

Creating a fashion label begins with the birth of passion, after which the dream is filled with enthusiasm and drive. I have only listed seven African designers that are certain to do great things this year and in the years to come, but there are many others that, just like these, are taking the African fashion industry to new heights.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jennifer Obiuwevbi.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: IT’S YVONNE “YVES” NELSON

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Okay, most women will struggle into pants like that. However, we love that YN bravely struggled her way into  these seemingly tight pants and caught our attention.( I wonder how  she always does that anyway)

Love them on her and the top even moreso does the magic.

FRESHLY RELEASED VIDEO(PPP): I WIN BY CWESI OTENG

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For some days now, Cwesi Oteng ‘s Music Video has been making rounds online and we are loving it.

Now you can check it out here. Please Press Play (PPP) to listen to his inspirational gospel song “I WIN”

HAVE THE GHANAIANS TAKEN OVER NOLLYWOOD?

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Yesterday, I came across  this piece on the net. The words in the piece were very profound and thought  provoking. The insightful words got me thinking. Obviously the writer hit right home with all his assertions about the movie industry in Nigeria. He had done a very  cumulative  and comprehensive breakdown of why Nollywood is no more being dominated by its own and  the majority of Ghanaian acts were flocking to the 2nd largest movie producing country in the world.  Could it be that the majority of Nigerian film connoisseurs were tired of their own  or could it be that Ghanaian acts are  generally better than their own . Find out why?

According to the writer on Allafrica.com,

Nollywood has been known to be a major force in the movie industry worldwide. The Nollywood is also the third highest producer of movies in the world with heavy presence of Nigerian acts. But recently, the opposite is the case as Ghanaian artistes are gradually taking over the industry.

Ghanaian actresses have taken over Nollywood as the Nigerian movie industry is gradually being taken over by foreigners.

It was revealed that over the past seven months, Ghanaian actors, producers and directors have grabbed over 60 per cent of the total market share.

Taking a cursory look at the movies on the shelves, a large chunk have Ghanian artistes featured. Out of 184 movies featured between April and August, 2013, Ghanaian actresses have led in at least 93 productions. Almost the same result is obtained if you check through iRokotv, ibakatv and Nollywood.com.

At retail stores, one will also find that films with Ghanaian actresses are getting more patronage than the ones with Nigerian acts. It was revealed that different customers have different preferences, but recently, a lot of them always ask if Yvonne Nelson or Jackie Appiah have new films out. Then some of the ladies always like to buy a John Dumelo or a Majid Michel movie. Yvonne Nelson and Nadia Buari have become household names in the Nigerian movie industry and have also become very much sought after by top Nigerian producers and directors. Juliet Ibrahim another rising star, is now a popular face at most Nigerian events.

Only a decade ago, Ghanaian movies hardly sold in Nigeria while Nigerian movies were blockbusters in Ghana. Today, the Ghanaian movie industry has come a long way parading some of the most beautiful actresses in Africa. At the first-ever Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, AMVCA, Ghana’s Jackie Appiah took home the coveted award for the ‘Best Actress in a Lead Role’. Appiah again on September 14, was awarded ‘Best Actress’ at the Nollywood and African Film Critics’ Awards (NAFCA).

In the last few years, it seems that the established Nigerian actresses are more interested in chasing Hollywood pipe dreams than featuring in indigenous movies, while their Ghanian counterparts are more serious in getting more roles and continuing making names for themselves.

In the last one year, some of the established acts have reduced the number of films that they appeared in to an average of three in a year, when on the other hand, their Ghanaian counterparts would have done an average of eight and sometimes produce too; like Yvonne Nelson has done with ‘Single and Married’ and ‘House of Gold’.

Actresses of Ghana origin have somehow capitalised on this gap to win the hearts of movie lovers. Their industry has already identified them for the appeal they have in Nigeria and have used that as leverage to push their movies into the homes of movie loving Nigerians.

Apparently, Nollywood is much renowned worldwide and so it is understandable for the average Ghanaian actress, after achieving much in her industry to aspire for recognition in Nollywood which is ranked as the second largest film industry in the world in terms of number of annual film productions. Talented new actresses have been lacking in the last few years, many pundits say; with many saying the focus has been on building celebrity rather than capacity and skills.

If you ask an average Nigerian who his or her best actress is, they will still mention the likes of Genevieve Nnaji and Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, whereas these actresses hardly have new movies out.

More Nigerian actresses are looking beyond Nollywood to survive, as their take home pay is abysmal. So many are turning down roles and using their new found fame to focus on personal businesses. While many are surviving on brand endorsements, some now run fashion houses and a few unconventional businesses, not forgetting a few who have also tried to diversify into the music industry.

Whatever happened to the new comers you may ask? Is it that they lack the talent and the appeal? A movie critic and consultant opines that Nollywood as an industry in recent years has failed to create an enabling environment for new talents to grow. ‘There’s so much nepotism in the industry. People don’t get role by credit anymore, how can real talents then be discovered? Now it seems like only those involved in scandals that seem to make the headlines. We know the likes of Nuella Njubuigbo, Anita Joseph and Susan Peters more for the scandals they have had than for movies they have acted’.

Many at times, producers have been accused of having preference for pretty faces rather than talent in their choice of actresses. In most cases, these pretty faces are nothing but just pretty faces with little or no talent.

It can be recalled that the essence of reality shows like Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO) and Next Movie Star were to discover the next Nollywood stars but sadly not many of the products of these competitions have made it to the mainstream. The reason isn’t far fetched. They are not serious about doing the right thing, giving the Ghanians the express way to take over.

Besides OC Ukeje who was named ‘Best Actor in a Lead Role’ at AMVCA 2013, other AMBO winners; Azizat Sadiq (2005) (who has now turned to music), Bhaira McWizu (2007), Wale Ojo (2008) and Ivie Okujaiye (2009) are still finding it hard to make a strong presence in the highly competitive industry. Same can be said of the Next Movie Star winners and contestants who apart from enjoying the largesse that were doled out to them when they participated in the show and the attendant movie role, have not made any significant mark.

So what makes the Ghanaian actresses tick? Ghanaian actresses are a lot sexier and talented as well. Apart from enjoying a good movie, the fans want to see their stars looking good and trendy.

Are the Ghanaian over-celebrated more for their good looks than for their acting? For some time now, the industry has been plagued with internal wrangling. Intra and inter association bickering and tribal sentiments which has left the industry divided into Nollywood, Kannywood and the Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP)-led Yoruba movie industry- all following tribal etymology. These intrigues have denied Nollywood the capability to function as one strong united front.

In many cases, viewers look out for much more from a movie than a good actor and a good story. ‘When I watch a movie, I want my favourite actors to not only be able to act, but to also look great and that is why I would still love Genevieve, not because she’s the best actress in my book, but she certainly knows how to keep it trendy,’ says, an ardent movie lover.

Yvonne Nelson has transformed into a household name in Nollywood. When her movie ‘House of Gold’ premiered in Nigeria, it was definitely a huge success. The success was also replicated when fans troop to the cinemas in the following weeks to watch the movie.

Not only has Jackie Appiah been clinching many of the prestigious awards, she has starred in over 20 Nollywood productions in the last few years making her the most featured Ghanaian actress in Nollywood with movies like ‘Victim’ and ‘Passionate Liar’.

Talented and sexy Nadia Buari has the highest fan base in Nigeria and that’s as much as what it takes to score a lead cast in much of Nollywood’s production. The 31-year-old actress who is currently enjoying a controversial romance with Nigeria’s Jim Iyke, in the last few years has managed to maintain her place at the top.

Whether they be over-celebrated or not, one thing that cannot be in doubt is that these Ghanaian ladies have left a lasting impression in the hearts of Nigerians and for one reason or the other, movie lovers have come to love to see their faces on their TV screens.

PHOTOS: MARY J BLIGE ROCKS SISTERS WITH SOUL CONCERT IN NIGERIA

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PHOTOS: MARY J BLIGE  ROCKS SISTERS WITH SOUL CONCERT IN NIGERIA

The Sisters with Soul concert in Lagos was an all female performance with the queen of hiphop soul, Mary J. as the lead act, other female artists who rocked the stage were Seyi Shey, Zaina, Niyola, Lola Rae, Emma Nyra, Eva, Victoria Kimani, and DJ Cuppy. check out the photos!!!! Not bad for an amateur, huh?

More photos below

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JIM IYKE DELIVERED FROM DEMONIC ATTACK AT SYNAGOGUE CHURCH OF ALL NATIONS(SCOAN)

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Famous Nollywood actor Jim Iyke has been delivered from demonic attacks during the live deliverance service at the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Nigeria headed by Prophet T.B. Joshua Sunday.

According to the Man of God, the actor was been hindered of his chances of finding real love and marrying.

During the whole deliverance session, the actor who is widely known for his bad boy roles in movies was totally subdued in the spirit.

Iyke appeared dazed, wobbled and wept uncontrollably as the Man of God cast him free of the demonic possession.

As the Man of God cast the bad spirit out him, Jim could be heard responding “You know I can’t marry… I have been trying to destroy his career.”

The actor, possessed by the spirit, attempted to run out of the auditorium but was held back with the prophet shouting: “Out! in the name of Jesus. Come out! in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.”

“I can’t breathe. I can’t let him go. He will never ever go. I will never let him go. This one is the biggest of them all,” the spirit kept shouting through Iyke.

“Rise up you are free,” the Man of God told Jim Iyke after he had finished delivering him, a spectacle which attracted a thunderous applause from the congregation.

“Thank you Jesus” Jim responded, panting, crying and demanding to know how his shoes were removed and who removed them?

This will not be the first time SCOAN is delivering celebrities of demonic passion or attacks.

Renowned Nollywood actress Camilla Mberekpe was on Sunday, April 28, 2013 delivered of an alleged demon that had been tormenting her life and impeding her success.

Also, Denise Williams, a former member of RnM, who won the maiden edition of the Vodafone Icons reality show, in shocking revelations at the same church confessed to attempting suicide and engaging in prostitution.

The 28-year-old musician stood in front of a packed congregation of the church and gave an account of how the prophet saved her from a life filled with temptations and tribulations.

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LORD HAVE MERCY( LHM): DOZENS OF NIGERIAN COLLEGE STUDENTS SHOT DOWN WHILE ASLEEP

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Dozens of students at an agricultural college in Nigeria have been shot down while in their dormitories during the middle of the night.

According to the Associated Press, students were shot in their sleep, and classrooms were torched down because of the current Islamic uprising in northeast Nigeria.

Reports say that around 50 students have been killed in the attack, which started at 1 AM on Saturday morning.

Molima Idi Mato of the Yobe State College of Agriculture told the news outlet:

“They attacked our students while they were sleeping in their hostels, they opened fire at them.”

Security forces are said to still be looking and recovering bodies after the terror, with 18 injured students in the hospital.

Over 1,000 other students have fled the school while an investigation goes on and bodies are found. Mato also said that there were no security forces stationed at the school, despite the government assurance that there would be.

We pray for the victims of this attack and hope that the violence can end soon.

nIGERIA

SOURCE: Associated Press | PHOTO CREDIT: AFP Screenshot