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The rise of Africans in music and fashion across the world

21.06.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
African Music (Afro-Music) and Fashion (Afro-Fashion) are two very unique aspects of entertainment or “showbiz” because their ingredients are different from the regular. The sounds/rhythms of modern African urban music are made from purely traditional instruments and in languages. Fashion which goes hand in glove with modeling in other hand exploits regalia/fabrics with the designers and models striving to portray the different cultures in Africa.

About 20 years ago, Africa did not have the global recognition which is seen today but for the past 15 years, the African art of music and fashion have found their way up to the top.

African Legends of Art

The African Fashion industry young and the fashion art only improved recently. However, music Legends with huge international fan base have existed in lights of Miriam Makeba “Mama Africa”, Fela Kuti, Rachid Taha, Brenda Fassie, Lucky Dube all of late and others still alive such as Alpa Blonde, Femi Kuti, Manu Dibango, Natasha Atlas and Khaled Hadj.

Major American Record labels such as Sony Music Africa, Universal Music Africa, Kon Live Africa, Good Music Recordings and Coke Studio Records have signed Africans. Modeling and fashion Agencies such as Gigi Hadid’s Modeling, Beth Model Management, Global Africa Modeling and Beauty of Africa International Peagent are not left out.

During the 20th Century, most African fabrics were given marketing names, such as Bogolanfini, Adinkra, Kente (all from Ghana), Bark Cloth (Uganda), Adire Cloth also known as “Rapa” (Nigeria), The Grand Boubou (Mali), Ankara (East Africa) and Dashiki (Nigeria/Cameroon).

2019 Trending African Fashion Designs/Designers

From 2018, some African fashion trends were ranked on; number of appearances in international events, sales and featuring on The Vogue, Le Matin Dimanche, Forbes and Elle magazines: IntisaarM (Zimbabwe), Akosua Afriyie-Kum (AAK) (Ghana), Sindiso Khumalo (South Africa), LemLem (Ethiopia), Woodin Designs (Côte D’Ivoire), Lavie by Claude Kameni (CK) (Cameroon), MilleCollines (Rwanda), Lanre Da Silva (Nigeria), Bantu Wax and Sole Rebels (Ethiopia) and Taibo Bacar (Mozambique).

The following designers were also applauded; Sheria Ngowi (Tanzania), Kofi Ansah (Ghana), Mai Atafo (Nigeria), Yodit Eklund (Ethiopia), Claude Kameni (Cameroon), Gavin Rajah and David Tlale (South Africa).

African Models Excelling in the Art of Fashion

African Models who are the exhibitors of fashion art are in the spotlight today not only on social media, but also on global top magazine covers, TV interviews, Fashion Events, Music Videos, Awards, Movies and are also active in Charity/Humanitarian ventures.

Here are some female models, Vanessa Kilem, Nyadak Thot, Adesuwa Aighewi, Fatima Siad, Alek Wek, Maria Borges, Flavian Matata, Agbani Darego, Ajak Deng, Liya Kebede, Halima Aden, Malaika Firth, Candice Swanepeol, Aamito Lagum, Ataui Deng, Leila Lopez and Behati Prinsloo.

Males; Armand and Fernando Cabral, Staniel Ferreira, Sacha M’Baye, Adonis Bosso, Leonardo Taiwo, Hamid Onifade, Bakay Diaby, Chekh Tall, David Agbodji and Akintayo Ogunkoya, Abdullaye Niang and Hyun Min Han.

Top African Music Artists

There is no difference in art quality or financial levels between African artists toping charts in music both home and aboard although some are signed to foreign record labels and others to the home based such as Nasty C, Casper Nyovest, Sarkodie, Stanley Enow, Davido, Fuse OGD, Locko, Wizkid, Fally Ipupa and Diamond Platnumz..

How recognized are African Artists?

  • Collaborations between African and foreign artists and producers

Some Africans recently collaborated with foreign artists/producers to make records. American artits Rick Ross, Drake and Singer Ne Yo collaborated with Yemi Alade, Wizkid and Diamond Platnumz respectively. Ed Sheeran from the UK played sang and guitar on the Ghanaian Fuse ODG’s latest records, Cameroon’s rapper and music producer Jovi LeMonstre produced Akon’s Shine the Light and the Nigerian Harmony Daniels produced Janet Jackson’s latest record “made for now”.

  • Brand and Humanitarian Ambassadors

Many African artists are ambassadors and peace advocates due to their international recognition; Angelique Kidjo International UNICEF Ambassador of goodwill since 2002 and Prince Ndedi Eyango UNFPA International Ambassador for Women and Children. Others are brand Ambassadors; Davido for Infinix smart phone, Wizkid and Tiwa Savage for PEPSI.

  • Awards, Record Sales, Record Deals, Events and Shows abroad

Many African artists are signed to foreign record labels and perform in shows abroad and satisfy their fans despite the use of native languages. South Africa’s AKA and Cassper Nyovest signed a two-year deal each into Jay Z’s Roc Nation in 2017. 2Baba, Wizkid and Davido have received BET awards. The Soweto Gospel Choir and Youssou Ndour won 3 Grammy awards each.

  • Foreign Investments

Some African artists own establishments abroad and foreign Artists too have invested in Africa. Don Jazzy from Nigeria owns a mansion and an estate in the UK and Akon has gold mines in South Africa.

  • African designs used in Music videos,

The movie Black Panther used African designs. Solange Knowles was dressed for an event in 2018 by Nigerian Designer Lisa Folawiyo. Janet Jackson in her video with Daddy Yankee used Lavie by CK designs made by the Cameroonian Claude Kameni.

Africans are basking in international art success in general now but there are still some challenges. The world has not totally accepted African art with open arms yet. Some people think African art is not equitable yet and should not be paid for equally with other art in the world market. African artists themselves are battling with racism.

Côte D’Ivoire Model Adonis Bosso currently working with Dolce and Gabbana in a recent interview with The W Magazine complained of racial abuse during the 2015 Paris Fashion Week where his role was canceled because he is black.

Apart from music and fashion, movies, comedy and sports are other sectors where Africans have excelled; Idris Elba, Trevor Noah, Samuel Eto’o, Pascal Siakam and Lupita Nyongo’o. Despite this accreditation, Africans still need to push their art further to improve market value and home consumption to attain full world standards.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Credit image: google image/illustration

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