Ai meu Deus! Seu Jorge set to perform David Bowie tribute at the Royal Albert Hall.

“Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs in Portuguese, I would never have heard this new level of beauty he has imbued them with.” – David Bowie

The Brazilian singer and ‘The Life Aquatic’ actor will be in London town on the 30th May performing songs from his The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions Featuring Seu Jorge album, a collection of the late David Bowie hits sung in Portuguese.
The tribute tour commemorates the life of David Bowie and although the songs aren’t sung in English the meaning and soul behind each one certainly isn’t lost in translation.

David Bowie’s death was a shock to the world and for Seu Jorge it was made all the more difficult to come to terms with as he revealed that he unfortunately lost his father 3 days after Bowie’s passing, for Seu Jorge the tribute tour is more than just a tour but also a homage to the men that had influenced him to be the musician he is today.

As a long-time fan of Seu Jorge the news of this tour is exciting, to get a taste of next months much anticipated performance and for you to understand why I’m so happy to see him inaction I strongly advise you listen
to the enchanting album. Thank me later.

British Vogue breaks 100 year record by appointing first Black & male fashion editor, Edward Enninful.

Alexandra Shulman’s departure as Vogues editor in chief in January came as a shock to many in the fashion industry, the question on everyone’s lips, who was going to replace her? The lingering question was finally met with an answer last Monday and British Vogue welcomed Edward Enninful as its Editor and I couldn’t be more happier.

To many Edward Enninful’s appointment may seem totally out of the blue and I must admit I was rather stunned myself. But after a little Google search and reminiscing, it didn’t take much for me to realise that that this was indeed a match made in heaven and in fact long overdue. At the age of 18 he broke one of many records to come and became the world’s youngest fashion director for i-D Magazine. He has been the mastermind behind one of Vogues most influential work, Vogue Italia’s July 2008 ‘All Black’ issue, featuring only black models which included the likes of iconic supermodels Iman, Naomi Campbell alongside Rihanna. This became the magazine’s top-selling issue. (And they say Black women “aren’t marketable”).

If anyone were to break the record to become British Vogue’s first male editor, Enninful was certainly the man for the job. For many Black creatives around the world this is exciting times because not only is Edward Enninful the first man to hold the editor position, he is also the the black person to do so as well. It seems a long delayed cultural shift appears to be underway in the fashion industry and as an advocate for diversity and representation in the world of fashion this news is music to my ears.

Fashion is everywhere and its influences stem from various branches, something Enninful is very much aware of haven been born in Ghana, lived in Ladbroke Grove from a young age (when it was less hipster), being exposed and surrounded by all kinds of cultures and people, change is something Enninful is used to and it something he’ll be bringing to British Vogue.

As a Black British woman who lives and breathes fashion this shift couldn’t have come any sooner. I’m excited for what the future holds for British Vogue, it’s high time the publication reflected the society we live in and appointed people who have moved on with the times and saw the fashion world for what it is now and not what it once was. An editor that takes a bottom up approach rather than a top down approach is exactly what Enninful is and what Vogue needs. For a long time British Vogue had been very exclusive and rather elitist, it’s reluctancy to be inclusive is the very reason British Vogue does not resonate with many people of colour. All this will be set to change, or so we hope, with Edward Enninful as Editor.

If you can’t already tell I have high hopes for the future of fashion, as things move in the right direction it can only get better.

#SpeakOut: Yes, ‘Big boys’ do and should cry.

For all who tuned in to watch last nights BBC One programme ‘Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad’ it was no doubt highly emotional. Rio took us all on a journey to finding solace as opposed to pain in remembering his wife Rebecca who at the age of 34 passed away in 2015 due to cancer. His honesty in admitting his struggle with coming to terms with her sudden death and adjusting to now being a single parent to three young children, who are also coming to terms with the loss of their mother all came to light.

Using his status and own personal experience Rio has sparked a long overdue conversation about men, emotions and how they deal with hard realities of life. Towards the end of the programme we witness a shift in his approach and outlook as a result of seeking advice from other men who were widowed and the children who lost their mothers at a young age.

This idea that boys don’t cry is so ingrained in society that when boys become men they become emotionally unavailable, end up not knowing how to grieve and deal with the realities of life. Being told to “man up” at the slightest hint of human emotion. Suppressing feelings can be detrimental to society on the whole, for many these issues can be traced back to childhood upbringings where children have been brought up in homes where they are never shown affection from male role models, their fathers. It then becomes a cycle as shown in the scene where Rio visits his childhood estate with his father and recalls his father never really being there for emotional support, that’s probably the reason why Rio finds it difficult to speak about his problems. Having to suppress emotions and not talk about traumatic events can not only take a toll on ones mental health but can also be physically damaging. With a life time full of so much pent up anger, sadness, grief and guilt, perhaps this is why men generally die earlier than women?

We should not stop boys and men from expressing their emotions and talking about their feelings.  The myth that you are less of a man if you show and speak about feelings continues to be debunked and challenged in our society. With role models like Rio Ferdinand being open about the long healing process we can hope that society overcomes gender stereotypes and allows men to be humans.

The programme only touched on a few aspects of the past and was overall very much forward focused. I have so much respect for Rio and the people who shared their stories. By doing so I’m sure they have helped so many people in similar situations by letting them know they are not alone and encouraging them to seek help as help is available. I wish nothing but the best for Rio and his family, although they have suffered such a great loss and the memory of Rebecca will live on they can be assured that better days are coming ahead.

 

 

What happens when Afrobeats meets Salsa?

Summer 2017 is set to be filled with sweet sweet sounds from our talented Afrobeat artists. Of my favourite for 2017 so far Queen Yemi Alade and the gorgeous Seyi Shay have topped the charts in my opinion.

Why? Because this month they came out with hits that fuse two of my favourite genres of music together: The beautiful sounds of Afrobeats and the sensational rhythms of Salsa. 

Who does this?! Yemi Alade that’s who!

I get a very Brazilian samba pagode vibe, it reminded me of one of many songs from Grupo Revelacão (Trump Huge fan by the way). If this video (surprisingly shot in South Africa!) doesn’t make you want to book a one way ticket to the Caribbeans or South America then I don’t know what will.

Yemi and Seyi show you what happens when salsa returns to it’s African origins. I can only pray and hope many tunes like this continue and perhaps collaborations with Afrobeat artists and South American/Caribbean artists?

My summer playlist is now complete, thank you Yemi Alade and Seyi Shay may you forever to continue to slay showcasing the world your musical versatility.

Samuel L. Jackson needs to take several seats.

To say I’m disappointed with Samuel L. Jackson is an understatement. With all that money and travelling you mean to tell me he still doesn’t know or understand that issues of race are not exclusive to African Americans? Really Jackson?

In a recent  interview with Hot 97, Samuel L. Jackson made some rather bitter remarks about Black British actors who take on African American roles in the American film industry. It all came out when asked about Jordan Peele’s hit horror film “Get Out” which stars Black British actor Daniel Kaluuya. He went on to say some things that I thought were unnecessary, ill informed and down right ignorant.

Daniel Kaluuya played an African American guy whose white girlfriend has psycho parents (in a nutshell), Jackson said “I tend to wonder what that movie would have been if it were an American brother who really feels that…some things are universal but not everything”.

Pause. Take a deep breath. Yes, Samuel L. Jackson did just insinuate that because you as a Black British/French/Italian/Brazilian person are not African-American you couldn’t possibly understand what it feels like to fall victim to racial discrimination and prejudice, even if you did it’s not legit because you’re not African-American. Now, the struggles we face as Black British people do differ to that of African Americans, I agree, but nonetheless the fight for equality and diversity for Black people is global. It is not just a US problem, it’s here in the UK too, in other countries it’s even worse!  *cough cough Brazil*

If you really want to talk about everyday struggles and hurdles we face as Black British people let’s do that: It’s been reported that some people have had to change their ethnic sounding names to stereotypically white names so that their CV’s don’t get thrown in the bin. He insinuated that everything in the UK was all dandy and fine because… we’ve supposedly “had interracial dating for a hundred years”? Wow. You want to speak to interracial couples who were around 5, 10, 20 years ago, society is only now coming round to the fact that love has no colour. About the same time you were seeing signs like “No Blacks” littered across America, over here in the UK we too were seeing the infamous “No Blacks, no dogs, no Irish’ sign across the UK, being beaten, harassed, murdered all because of our skin. Not too long ago an incident involving an unarmed Black man and the police sparked the London Riots, resulting in days of unrest and confusion. Not too far from where I live I was shouted at, called a ‘Black monkey’ and ‘told to go back to Senegal’, even though I’m of Nigerian heritage. I know of innocent young Black men that were framed and locked up for no reason. The list goes on.

Why do we have to justify and prove that we have hurdles to overcome as Black British people just like you do?

My dear African American brothers and sisters you are not alone in this fight for equality and diversity in the film industry, if anything you are much better off, at least you get to have your stories heard. Who on this earth doesn’t know that African Americans are the biggest exporter of culture, you dictate how the world sees Black people. You dictate what the world deems cool. If only you knew how much power you have.

We’ve had slavery here too, like seriously what country was heavily involved in slavery and colonialism (Hint: The UK). You produced the phenomenal movie ‘Roots’ showcasing the harsh treatment of Africans in slavery, despite it being common knowledge to many that slavery was rampant here in the UK, we’ve had…nothing.

Contrary to popular belief Black people had been in the UK long before the Windrush but our stories aren’t heard and our contributions are heavily downplayed.

The films Hotel Rwanda and The Last King of Scotland were lead by African American actors Don Cheadle and Forest Whitaker, many Africans didn’t care about the fact they were American, we were just happy that the best people got the job to tell such compelling stories. Now, when we had a problem with African Americans playing an African character, Nigerian for that matter, was with Will Smith’s movie ‘Concussion’ (That accent…LET ME NOT EVEN START).

I grew up watching African American films like Love & basketball, Best Man and the episodes of Fresh Prince, The Parkers, Kenan & Kel, One on One, My Wife and Kids the list goes on, it was the only time on TV where I’d see faces that looked like mine. Why do you think we do the American accent so damn well. The point is YOU get to tell your stories, for us Black British people we don’t often get the opportunity but through you we do.

Black British actors are going over to the US should tell you that the UK is still struggling with the idea of diversity in the film industry. Oh, you didn’t hear about the whole Idris Elba and James Bond thing? Or the time when racists attacked Noma Dumezweni for being casted as Hermione in the West End play Harry Potter and the cursed child?

To my dear Mr Jackson, the struggle is indeed universal and the sooner you realise the better. Your stories are ours too and ours are yours. From America to the UK, the struggle for opportunities, equality and diversity remains. Don’t pit us up against each other, we need to work together.

I will not dispute the fact that as a country, here in the UK we have made progress overall, slow but nonetheless progress, we can only hope that it gets better even in the midst of this tense political atmosphere and Brexit. I love the UK, London is home I was born and raised here, and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else (…not going to lie Lagos doesn’t sound too bad though, need a bit of sun).

For someone who has built a legacy and is all about Black Power, rather than being divisive, Jackson should use his influence to help. There is no obligation but it would be better if he used his voice to address this issue of diversity in the film industry rather than pit us Black people against each other and call our talented and hardworking Black British actors “cheap”.

Instead of talking about people like David Kaluuya, David Oyelowo, John Boyega, Naomi Harris, Thandie Newton, Sophie Okonedo, Idris Elda (hey boo) ‘taking’ roles from African-Americans you should rather see it like this, they are coming over to the US for jobs, man, how bad must it be for a Black person to get a break in the UK? As Idris Elba will tell you it’s quite bad.

Besides all that what it ultimately boils down to who is right for the role. Forget about the whole Black British vs African American debacle, in the words of the great John Gboyega it is a “stupid a** conflict” that we just should not entertain. The person who gets that role has done so out of sheer talent and suitability for that role. So Mr Samuel L. Jackson needs to take a seat, several for that matter. Our Black British actors are more than worthy and qualified to take on these roles at the end of the day its not called “acting” for no reason (SO IN YOUR FACE!)

I could go on and on but I’ll leave with this, racism is a global disease that doesn’t just start and end in the US, we all need to unite and uplift one another not have a competition of who struggles the most and downplay one another.

The worlds irrational fear of diversity is just that, irrational. This myth that Black actors and directors don’t sell films continues to be dispelled and proven wrong. Over and over again. Writer and director Jordan Peele has just smashed the coveted $100 million box office sales. But I guess like the US, it seems like the only time society doesn’t have an issue with diversity is when it comes to who is filling up their prison cells. *Sips tea*

Burberry x Henry Moore Exhibition: Truly A Feast For The Eyes

What do you get when an iconic quintessential British brand collaborates with the prestigious Henry Moore Foundation? Magic.

For a whole week in February (21th-27th) the Burberry Makers House opened their doors to the public giving us a rare opportunity to see their new collection which drew inspiration from the works of Henry Moore.

There was a real feeling of intimacy the moment you walked in, from the chic but welcoming settings to the displays and presentations showcasing the processes and talented hands that stitched these exquisite garments together.

 

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The Parasol: A homage to British Weather. Hand-gathered waterproof layers. (I’d wear this everyday if I could, with London being rainy and all!)

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The exhibition explicitly acknowledged the influence of art in the fashion industry. Clear links between art and fashion aren’t often made despite the fact the two worlds influence one another and are not mutually exclusive. The exhibition was a testament that when the two meet they inspire one another to create timeless pieces.

The exhibition continues on to Paris, Tokyo and Los Angeles. If you missed the London spectacle and happen to be in those cities when the travelling exhibition is in town it is highly recommended you go see it. You’ll be in for a treat!

The Hijab wearing model shaking up the fashion industry

Halima Aden is a 19 year old model breaking down stereotypes in the fashion industry and I’m here for it. Although originally from the historically beautiful country Somalia (was once upon a time a holiday destination), Halima was born in a Kenyan refugee camp due to conflict in her country.

Fast forward 19 years and now she is slowly becoming an icon. From walking down the catwalk for Kanye West’s Season 5 collection to making her debut yesterday at Milan Fashion Week, she strutted her stuff at the Alberta Ferretti show. This girl is on fire! Striding along in the very industries notorious for setting unattainable fashion and beauty standards, and still struggling with the idea of diversity.

Not only is she representing hijabi girls and women around the world but also showcasing that there is indeed a space for them in the industry. As for women like myself who don’t wear the hijab this symbolises the fact women do not have to be half naked in order to be recognised for their beauty and strength. You can be all covered up and let your confidence, defiance and hunger to challenge the norm shine through.

Aden first came under the spotlight when she became a contestant at the Miss Minnesota USA pageant last year. Becoming the first woman to compete in a hijab and for the swimwear round she switched it up and wore a burkini which was something never seen before in the competition.

Ok so I won’t lie and say I agree with the reasoning behind the hijab. I don’t, once upon a time in Somalia as supermodel Iman pointed out in a recent interview with Halima many women in Somalia did not wear the hijab when she was growing up. Only showing that Muslim women around the world need to keep in mind that their religious identity of being a muslim woman/girl is not tied in whether or not they wear a headscarf.

Just because of my belief does that mean millions of women around the world who do wear the hijab should not have their voices heard and faces represented in the media? They absolutely should. I admire her courage and tenacity to go out into the world in a time like this and challenge both Muslims and non-Muslims alike on the idea of beauty and redefine what it is to be a Muslim girl.

I believe representation matters, and for the same reasons she entered the pageant is exactly the same reason I too entered the a pageant last year (Miss Universe GB 2016), not enough Black women in the beauty and fashion industry. I cannot stress how much representation matters. For that reason just because I do not agree with the hijab does not mean that I will ignore the fact that Hijab wearing women are not represented at all in the fashion industry. Some of the most fashionable women I have met in my life have been friends and family that wear the hijab. Like your average woman they love fashion, so need to see a reflection of themselves in the media and the retailers that they buy from.

Beauty comes in different shapes, shades and sizes and it’s highly ignorant to not have that reflected in the fashion industry. No, the world is not full of women who are white with blonde or brunette hair and pale skin. No, white people are not the only group of people that spend money in high fashion stores like Gucci and Prada (go to Harrods and see what I mean). Yes, the fashion industry needs to change and now.

Let’s not forget that wearing a headscarf is a choice, its her choice and if she decides to keep wearing it in the long term, then I’m sure many people like myself would happily support her. Go Halima!