Whistle stop tour of African food in NYC

#African #cuisine on the streets of NYC.

Having lived in New York, I know what a diverse city it is. Unfortunately, I didn’t sample what it’s African food scene had to offer but after watching this, I definitely will when I go back!

What do you think? Comment below…


House of Meena: SS16 Collection – WOW

Talk about finding a gem! I just happened to stumble across the Meena design label; established over 5 years ago. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to find the Nigerian fashion house and its Creative Director, Uju Offiah. As soon as I saw the SS16 collection, I was like, “WOW”.


The Lagos based designer has showcased previous work at regional fashion shows, Music Meets Runway 2011, Arise Magazine Fashion Week 2012 and the 2012 MTN Lagos Design & Fashion Week. However, it was at the Heineken Lagos Fashion & Design Week 2015, where she revealed her SS’16 collection of structured dresses and custom made prints, that stopped me in my tracks while surfing the net. The SS’16 lookbook, entitled ‘Ochiagha’ from the Igbo language, translates into ‘Neoteric Warriors’.


According to Meena, the collection was inspired by ‘Nsibidi’ – a pre-colonial symbolic method of communication among the Igbo people, in the south eastern part of Nigeria: Symbols were arranged in clusters telling a story of victory, resilience, love & hate, peace and unity of Nigerians.


The collection artistically evokes unity and peace in spite of the recent challenges and insurgencies in northern Nigeria.


A modern person; a person who advocates new ideas (noun).

Belonging to recent times; recent (adjective).

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Credits: PHOTOGRAPHY: Lakin Ogunbanwo (@lakinogunbanwo) | ART DIRECTION: Lakin Ogunbanwo & Uju Offiah | Model: Aduke (@adukebey_) of@bethmodelafrica | MAKE UP: Stella (@stellasaddiction ) | HAIR: Bernard (@bernardsmiless )


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Black model survival kit

The Fashion industry is definitely being called to account on its failings in providing an environment where all models are provided with the services required to do their jobs. These failings are chronic; the only reason they’re coming to light is because of social media and the fact that black models are just fed up!

It seems like, black models can’t just turn up to work and expect a makeup artist to have products that complement their skin, oh no no no! They need to be prepare just in case… This isn’t an issue 100% of the time, but it’s more prevalent than it should be, especially as it occurs at international shows.

If you’re a stylist / make up artist / hairdresser on an international model show, you need to be prepared. Just like any other job, in any other industry – be prepared/ equipped to do your job. Some argue it’s laziness but I also think it’s ignorance. Part of a solution to the problem is to just have more ethnic make up artists, who understand skin of colour and different hair textures. We don’t just need diversity on the runway but behind the scenes too!


Leomie Anderson
The (Victoria) secret’s out! Leomie Anderson walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (Photo by Michael Stewart/FilmMagic)

Discovered while she was at school, twenty-something model from London, Leomie Anderson, modelled for Victoria secret, Tom Ford, Chloe, Moschino, and Vivienne Westwood.  Leomie has been very vocal about her black model experiences in the fashion industry and felt compelled to help her fellow models out, buy laying down what’s in her ‘model survival kit’.

Hairdresser at fashion show: “Why do you think you need different products from everyone else?”

Leomie Anderson: “Babes, ’cause I’m a totally different race, of course I need different products!”


Pictures: Premier Model Management

After modelling for around six years, Leomie dishes out what she believes are the top 5 products every black model needs to survive at fashion shows.



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Eritrean food making waves in London

“Do not despise these small beginnings” – a modest Ethiopian / Eritrean café in Woolwich, London may be a small fish (at the moment) in a big pond, but it’s getting noticed!

The Blue Nile Café has had good reviews on travel website TripAdvisor.com and other restaurant review sites; its owner Hagos (who came to London in the 80’s as a refugee), opened the establishment in 2014 with the help of her sons.

As a former Italian colony, Eritrean food also has Italian influences.

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Blue Nile Cafe, serving the fermented injera flatbread – a staple in Eritrean / Ethiopian cuisine. Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

East African food is still trying to make its way onto the London food scene, but this Eritrean restaurant in London is going full stream ahead!

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Ghana’s art scene is taking shape

 It’s been 59 years to the day since Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain independence from colonial rule. Currently there are many issues affecting the country, which will probably reach boiling point during what will be a hotly contested election in November.

Despite all the politics, the country is basking in its burgeoning contemporary art scene. Gallery 1957 is opening in the country’s capital Accra, marking independence day, by showcasing a history of Ghanaian art and the work of current contemporary artists. The Ghanaian art scene has been struggling for decades, requiring funding, but those within the industry, like Creative Director of Gallery 1957, Nana Oforiatta-Ayim, are passionate about providing Ghanaian artists, like Serge Attukwei Clottey, an environment where they can produce and showcase their creations, while earning a living from their art.


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Passionate about African art: Gallery 1957 Creative Director, Nana Oforiatta-Ayim.

 Pic via Okayafrica: Artwork: Ibrahim Mahama. Photo: Alice McCool

Creatives in the diaspora are also drawing on their heritage for inspiration. Ghanaian-American animator Abdul Ndadi created a cartoon, who’s main character, a young African girl called Orisha takes on adventures.

The cartoon has a Pan-African feel, covering Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, Gambia and Guinea; from the characters, storylines to the music. It aims to show children a different narrative to what they usually see and provide black children with an additional character they can physically identify with.

“As an artist I felt a responsibility, even in a small way, to have an image of a beautiful African girl our youth could identify with, doing cool things. The main reason my main character is female is because not only do black women deal with the problem of racism, they also have the added burden of sexism as well.” – Abdul Ndadi 

The cartoon has already had audiences at various festivals, including the 2015 Cannes Short Film Corner and the Hiroshima International Animation Festival in Japan. Check out an interview with Abdul Ndadi at OkayAfrica and a snippet of Orisha’s Journey below.

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Featured image collage: Serge Attukwei Clottey courtesy of Gallery 1957 and Abdul Ndadi.

The diversity of Ghanaian artists

Art classes were the bane of my existence at school. I wasn’t born to paint (which is fine 🙂 and I realized that early on in life (with the help of a mean art teacher!). I’ve always envied those who can tell stories or capture moment with a sculpture or drawing.

I don’t really think of art as synonymous with Africans, and put that down to being raised in Europe where we’re force fed European art. I guess it’s also my fault for not being proactive in searching for African artists too! Academically, art isn’t a subject that is high on the agenda for most African parents in the diaspora or on the continent for that matter. Rarely are African children encouraged to purse their artistic side or made to believe it’s as a viable career choice.

African art and Artists are quite neglected compared to their European or American counterparts. The Foundation for Contemporary Art-Ghana (FCA), is one of its kind in the country, with a mission “to create an active network of artists, offer a platform for the presentation of contemporary art, and to develop a critical forum for the promotion of contemporary art in Ghana.” The growing collection of ‘Africa/ Africa Diaspora’ section of the resource centre focuses on artists working in Africa and its diaspora. After devastating floods in Ghana’s capital Accra, the FCA is asking for donations to rebuild the foundations headquarters and restore books and other valuables that were destroyed.

The diaspora has showcased it talents in various forms, more recently in portrayal of African-American celebrities wearing African garb, by Dennis Owusu-Ansah which grabbed viral attention on social media.

Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday, African print, kente cloth
Check out @densahcl on instagram. More like African print than PinkPrint: Nicki Minaj

Dennis was apparently inspired to do the drawings after his friend was ridiculed by people in the street for wearing the traditional Ghanaian kente cloth. Dennis wanted to erase some of the ignorance surrounding an aspect of African culture.

Rick Ross rapper, African garb
The self confessed ‘Boss’ – Rick Ross


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Bad Boy for life – Sean ‘Puffy Combs


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The dreamers…


Internationally celebrated Ghanaian artist El Anatsui, who’s sculptures have taken prominent stages in New York and Sydney, is described as ‘reflecting devastation and colonisation’, in his work. Anatsui was winner of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2015 Venice Biennale.

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Anatsui’s 2012 ‘Tiled Flower Garden’, which snakes 30 feet across the gallery floor. © El Anatsui. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

This year, his work showcased in Sydney, is a celebration of 50 years of work. Comprising drawings, wall and floor installations, as well as woodcarvings incorporating West African adinkra symbols.

Renowned architect, David Adjaye’s structural designs can be found across continents. Born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents; there’s no doubt his eclectic upbringing has contributed to his architectural prowess.

“By the time I was 14, I had lived in Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Nairobi, Cairo, Beirut, Accra and Jedda, and had quite a complex view of Africa.”


Adjaye Associates has its African headquarters in Accra Ghana, and is focusing on various architectural projects in Africa. David has various creations outside of Africa, including the Stephen Lawrence Centre in London. However, multiple attacks by racist vandals led the Architect to admit his creation was actually a failure.

“Yes, the project has failed. It’s gated, it has security cameras everywhere and it has barbed wire. But that is because of the context we are in now. I hope that in 10 years or in five years this changes.”

Stephen Lawrence centre, architecture, london architecture
The centre built in honour of the slain black teenager, Stephen Lawrence.


Anyone who knows African culture is acutely aware that funerals are a big deal! There is no difference in Ghana, where craftsmanship is expressed throughout Ghanaian life, from the beginning to the end, literally! Who said a coffin was just a box?! Novelty coffins are becoming more and more popular in Ghana.

bespoke coffins, african coffin makers, hand made coffins
Paa Joe is said to be one of Ghana’s most famous coffin makers; with his creations reaching the UK and USA.


Creativity never likes being restricted, life experiences and cultures are the basis of any art form, whether it be song, dance, words, paintings or structures. Artists want to be known as just that….Artists.

“I have a genetic relationship to the continent, also a cultural and lived relationship. I now have an office in Ghana and other places [but] I am less interested in the definition than I am in the way I can use it to produce in the world.” David Adjaye, Architect.


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#Quotes #MondayMotivation: #Optimism is essential to #achievement and the foundation of courage and true #progress

Another Monday and some more inspirational quotes, motivational quotes to keep up the positive thinking and maintain a positive mindset.

“If you don’t like someone’s story, write your own.” – Chinua Achebe; Novelist, poet & professor, 1930-2013

“How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.” – Benjamin Disraeli; former British Prime Minister, 1804 – 1881

“There are people who have money, and there are people who are rich.” – Coco Chanel; Fashion Designer, 1883-1971

“It’s not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It’s the customer who pays the wages.” – Henry Ford; founder of Ford Motor Company, 1863-1947

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” – Maya AngeloAmerican author and poet, 4th April 1928 – 28th May 2014

positive thinking, mindfulness, positive quotes

“Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.” – Hilary Hinton “Zig” Ziglar, American author & motivational speaker, 1926-2012

“Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.” Nicholas Murray Butler; American philosopher & educator, 1862–1947)

“Success and failure, we think of them as opposites, but they’re really not. They’re companions — the hero and the sidekick.” – Laurence Shames; American writer, 1951 – present

“To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee.” – William H. Walton

“Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” – Tom Peters; American business writer; 1942 – present

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