In This is My Africa, the first production of Zina Saro-Wiwa’s AfricaLab, the filmmaker set out to use “the memories and perceptions of 21 Africans and Africaphiles to weave a very different view of the continent.” The widely screened dcoumentary showed at the Brooklyn Museum last year and aired on HBO in February.
Chef/Restaurateur Pierre Thiam of Clinton Hill’s popular Le Grand Dakar has crafted a wonderful cookbook and food memoir of his home country, in the well-designed Yolele! Recipes from the Heart of Senegal. (I received it as a gift from a friend and I love it!) … Inventive chef Abdou Gueye at the intimate A Bistro in Fort Greene, where everything on the rotating menu is delicious.
The “Binta” chair at Moroso is available in various colorways … From the venerable Vlisco, purveyors of “dutch Wax” fabrics for over a century, a striking image from their May advertsing campaign. Their glamorous boutiques are found in Benin, the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Togo and the Netherlands.
Paul Smith’s Spring womenswear collection was inspired by the dapper gents of Congo-Brazzaville, La SAPE, La Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes … So taken by their dandyism, he provided the preface to photographer Daniele Tamagni’s book, Gentlemen of Bacongo, with its in-your-face shot of sapeur Willy Covary on the cover … A feminized stiletto brogue for women and a slick magenta oxford for men (PS by Paul Smith) are available on the British designer’s website.
The Sartorialist, Scott Schumann snapped a little sape swagger on the streets of the Lower East Side … Flipping the script on colonial dressing and making it his own, the sapeur uses his clothing as a symbol of rebellion as well as hope.
In a fresh homage to stacking bangles, the men of Casely-Hayford adorn their Spring collection with multiple silk squares tied on the arms … Rebecca Lolisoli’s Umoja Uaso Women’s Village, in Kenya, provides safe haven for Samburu women fleeing violence and an opportunity to make a living creating beaded accessories. Her story caught the eye of Designer Diane Von Furstenburg who featured Umoja Village jewelry in her Spring show … Ebony Bones! (returning to Southpaw on June 6, 2010) with her fierce, eclectic style, piles it on.