Summer is a distant dream for many of us living in the northern hemisphere (climate change aside, that is – only 3 days ago I was out and about in short sleeves!). Indeed, it's now 2 months since I returned to London from my trip to a hot and humid U.S. and, I've been meaning to share the highlights since. What better timing than when I need a reminder of how good it feels to have the sun kiss my appropriately darkened skin.
My 5-week trip was a glorious respite from what has been a very challenging year, in so many ways (more on that another time).
‘Beige’, as an adjective, often has negative connotations – boring, plain, unimaginative. When we think of African design, we often think of the opposite – a creative kaleidoscope of prints and colours. I thought it would be interesting to find some beautiful design pieces for the home, that prove that beige can indeed delight. It's all about texture!
It’s a great honour to present this interview with musician, actress and activist, Fatoumata Diawara. Born in Côte d'Ivoire to Malian parents, Fatoumata moved to France to pursue acting – she appeared in the films La Genèseand Sia, le Rêve du Pythonand played a leading role in the musicalKirikou et Karaba. She later began composing her own music, blending Southern Mali traditions and international influences.
The Women of the World Festival at London's Southbank Centre is coming and there are some great music performances that will be complementing the various talks and workshops. Today, enjoy music and spoken word from the African and diaspora contigent of artists who will be performing next week.
Boddhi Satva, Central African Republic-born DJ/Producer has made some special music with his recent release, Ancestral Soul Interpretations Part 1. A collection of songs reworked with his distinct Ancestral Soul sound, it features artists including Bjork, Drake, Erykah Badu, Frank Ocean, Gyptian, Jill Scott, Meshell Ndegeocello, Radiohead, Rihanna, Stevie Wonder and Usher!
As you may know, I LOVE house music with soul and this description of Boddhi's sound is quite close to explaining why: "a generous and extravagant music that tells real life stories as well as makes people give their whole self up to limitless and code-stripped styles of dance – ritualistic, erotic, ecstatic, jubilant."
A recent visit to the Cotton: Global Threads exhibition raised 2 issues that I thought were particularly relevant for the Afri-love context: the heritage of wax print and the problems with cotton (and our complicity!).
The exhibition at Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery gives a global history of the production, consumption and trade in cotton and features art by contemporary artists including Yinka Shonibare MBE, Malian artists Abdoulaye Konaté and Aboubakar Fofana and Grace Ndiritu. As well as presenting some truly beautiful textile-related installations and pieces of art, you're in for an informative experience.