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Monday, May 31, 2010

Written By: Nani Hapa—Stella Mwangi recently released a catchy new single, Favorite, and it's available to download for free on her website: www.stellamwangi.com. The girl definitely knows how to make hit music; her single Go Getta was used as the promotional song for the latest season of America's Next Top Model, Cycle 14. As for what Stella's up to next, she says, "I'm currently working on my second album and hoping to get signed by a major label." I for one hope that happens so that we can hear more great music from her!

MIMI Related Links: Tracklisting: The Shuga Soundtrack

(Photo Credits: CD Cover Art)
Written By: Icy PR—Greatly influenced by Mediterranean, rock, pop and African music, AiRis is truly an international Artist. Born in Cairo, Egypt to a Nigerian Father and an Egyptian mother, AiRis spent her young adult years between Nigeria, United Kingdom, and Egypt. In the Fall of 2009, AiRis moved to Nigeria to pursue her singing/song writing career and in the spring of 2010 she created AiRis Music, her own record label. In creating her music, AiRis tries to convey her feelings, experiences, and those of others in the words and rhythm of her style. Her style of music is alternative pop and soul music with various cultural influences, specifically African. The debut video for AiRis (Without You) was directed by BET’s Hip Hop Award winning director Adam Rush and shot on location in Miami. Watch it below.

Without You- World Premiere from Asmaa Idrisu on Vimeo.

Written By: MIM!MIMI Magazine is 5 years old this year. To celebrate this milestone, we have compiled a Best Of issue with our 5 most memorable articles from each of the magazine’s sections—Features, Style, Lifestyle, Heart & Soul, Mambo, and Africana—highlighting the artistic, cultural, and political landscape of Africa and the Diaspora. To learn more about the past 5 years of publishing, including updates from our favorite interviews, a gallery of never before seen photos, and thoughts from some of the talented writers who volunteered their time over the years to make MIMI one of the leading digital publications for African women, visit this space, where we will post our "behind the pages" stories and subscribe to MIMI via Facebook or Twitter.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Written By: MIM!—Stephanie Okereke dazzled on the red carpet in Cannes, France for the screening of her movie Through the Glass. View the red carpet photos by clicking on the "Read More" link.
Written By: MIM!—NBC is gearing up for the fall premier of J.J. Abrams' spy drama Undercovers, staring Boris Kodjoe (Ghana) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (South Africa). Watching the preview, available at www.nbc.com/undercovers, we cannot wait for this one.

(Photo Credits: Frank Ockenfels/NBC)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Written By: Nani Hapa—J'adore Sade's recently released Babyfather video, and couldn't help but share my favorite videos from fellow Nigerian singers Asa and Ayọ. Enjoy!





Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Written By: Mazuba Kapambwe—Today is African Liberation Day (a day to “mark each year the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolize the determination of the People of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation”), and in recognition of the day, I've picked my favorite songs about Africa:

1. Akon featuring Keri Hilson—Oh Africa



2. Salif Keita—Africa

3. Akon—Mama Africa

4. Malaika—I Am African

5. Yvonne Chaka Chaka—Mamaland.

Written By: Nicole Parker-Jones—Women in sub-saharan Africa keep their hair short ... really short, in the same vain as a "buzz cut." As a result, their hair is neat, practical, and consumes less of their efforts. Their short hairstyles certainly don't make these women any less beautiful (if anything women with especially short hair have an organic beauty precisely because we see them for what they truly are).

It seems as though in Western culture, the opposite is true: black women are more consumed than ever with their hair, and there is nothing more pressing on black women's minds than hair—whether it is short (not really short), relaxed, locked, natural, straight, curly, braided, dyed, or dare I say, weaved (gasp), hair has us preoccupied. We spend hundreds of dollars every year on our hair even in the face of serious financial constraints. We forgo exercise to keep our hair—down to its very "edges"—looking pristine. And we sacrifice considerable time around our visits to the hair salon. Sometimes I even schedule important events around the times when my hairdresser can see me; when I had to travel outside of the country for the first time, I kept my vacation at two weeks to the day to ensure that I would not miss my standing bi-monthly hair appointment. This incident got me thinking: why is our livelihood consumed this much by hair when there are so many other more important things in our lives to care for (like our wealth, our health, and our time)?

Perhaps it is time that we take the short cut like so many African women living in other parts of the world do, and simply stop obsessing over hair.

(Photo Credits: iStockPhoto/Stacey-Newman) (Model Used Solely For Illustrative Purposes)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Written By: MIM!—We found out today, thanks to an anonymous comment left on our post Preview The Best Of MIMI Magazine, that we're nominated for a Nigerian Blog Award in the "Best News or Magazine" category! We're incredibly honored to be nominated in this category and of course want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your continued support; thank you, thank you, thank you!

Voting for the NBAs begins at the end of the month, and we'll be sure to remind you about that once voting is officially open :)
Written By: MIM!—MIM! celebrates 5 years of publishing this year, and to mark this milestone we're publishing a special "Best Of" issue featuring our best and most memorable stories from the past 5 years. Our "Best Of" issue—featuring Noni Gasa (South Africa) on the cover photographed by Patrick Toselli—will be available to read at the end of the month. We'll make an announcement when the "Best Of" issue is published on Facebook, Twitter, and of course this space!

(Photo Credits: Patrick Toselli)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Written By: Mazuba Kapambwe—This summer, have an African-inspired summer in the city that never sleeps—New York!

1. KNOW YOUR HISTORY. If you’re in the New York area, must see places include The African Burial Ground in Manhattan, where the bodies of freed and enslaved Africans were found in 1991. You may even sign up for a guided tour of the African Presence. If you’re not in the New York area, take a trip to the local museum which would most likely have an African section.

2. EXPLORE A TASTE OF AFRICA. Indulge your taste buds by enjoying an African meal at an ethnic restaurant. I would encourage trying food from a country other than your own. I would recommend the “Queen of Sheba” restaurant in New York for Ethiopian food and “Braii” or “Madiba” for South African food.

3. TAKE AN AFRICAN DANCE CLASS. Check your local dance school for African inspired dance lessons. Or show your African moves at the annual Dance Africa Bazaar in NY from May 29th 31st. Featuring about 300 vendors selling arts and crafts as well as music and food, this is one event not to be missed!

4. FELA! Three words: “A must see.” This TONY nominated play is receiving rave reviews all over the world. If that doesn’t have you convinced, it should be known that Will Smith, Jada Pinkett and Jay Z are executive producers of the Broadway music. You might even bump into them there!

5. SOCCER, SOCCER, SOCCER. For the first time in history, the FIFA 2010 soccer world cup will be held on African soil in South Africa. Book your ticket now and get in where the action is. Or slip on a team soccer jersey and root for your favorite African team on your television. Countdown the World Cup at the DJ Sbu Channel O event on May 29th in NYC.

6. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC. See Nigerian-US songstress Nenna Yvonne live at the Summer Jam 2010 on June 5th in New Jersey or Ghanaian rapper Blitz the Ambassador at the Summer Stage in Central Park on July 8th. Or experience BET nominated duo “Psquare” on the NY leg of their tour on July 24th.

7. SIT FRONT ROW AT AN AFRI-CHIC FASHION SHOW: Get inspired by an African fashion on June 5th at the OYATO fashion launch event in New York. If you’re in the DC area, check out Passport to Africa (May 23rd 29th), a weeklong celebration which includes a fashion show, food tasting and white party. Mingle with the who’s who of the African fashion scene by attending African Fashion Week New York (AFWNY) 2010 which will be held from July 12th 18th. Designers showing include Kirette Couture, 54 Kingdoms and more.

8. GET AWAY WITH FILM AND BOOKS. View some independent African films at this year’s 17th African Film Festival NY like the much acclaimed “White Wedding” or “Bronx Princess.” Rediscover African tales with books like “Things Fall Apart” or newer books like “The Powder Necklace.”

9. DISPLAY YOUR AFRICAN PRIDE. Celebrate Nigeria’s 50 year Independence by attending the Nigerian Day Parade in New York which is followed by parties and fashion shows. Or dedicate a day to community service on Mandela Day (July 18th).

(Photo Credits: iStockPhoto / Renphoto)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Written By: Fanele Chester @ Fashion Et AlI don't know if it's God working his magic, or the universe arranging itself, but life almost always comes full circle. This leads me to believe, or to be a little bit more convinced, that most of the things that happen to us, by choice/ consequence/ coincidence, have a reason and a meaning.

I'd like to believe that everything I have been through up to this point will have some meaningful resonance in the future. As chance had it, I was born not into the fortunate lot. Not monetary wealth, mind you, but a wealth of family. I do not know if the person I eventually became was as a result of those circumstances, or its something innate, but for the past decade I have been trying to change and be a good person.

For the longest time I really did not like, let alone love, the person I was. As a result, I greedily sucked in whatever the world threw at me as "good" in a person. It's truly incredible how influential the people I saw on tv, read about, and met in class/ town/ a party were on me. I was thinking about this last week, and it hit me how unoriginal I really was. I remember in high school the way I walked changed often because of the inconsistency of my personality. I wanted to be accepted by / seen in so many different ways that in the end it was all a mess. All the time I was trying to emulate the people around me that I thought were good or better than me, and the person I truly was got buried so deep underneath it all. Stripping all those layers is taking as much time as acquiring them—which means I have a good 9 years before I can be this person that I am.

There is truth in God's mercies being renewed each day, in much the same way that Alicia Keys in Troubles says "If you're troubled, you just gotta let it go." The message is change: the beautiful thing about man is that we have the ability to transform irrespective of what we were before. Each dawn is a testament of the impermanence of our selves. So, if there is something you do not like (about yourself), change it! If you cannot, change your attitude (Maya Angelou). You can fall in one day, and rise in the next. In the end, this change gives us a power over our lives, our fates. By simply knowing that change is inevitable, permanent even, allows us to engineer that change in a certain way.

Thank God I have gone through the teenage years—those we're some rough times. I would say I regret everything that happened and want to take it all back or to be given a second chance. However, by rising up from everything that happened, that is the true beauty of life. Better said than done, huh?!

You can be a victim, or a conqueror. You can choose to be pitiful and resentful—forgiveness is a virtue—and live in the past. Alternatively, you can chose to fight for something better for the sake of the future. A war is made of battles—some won, some lost. So each day is another battle whose triumph is a point in life where you can say I've fought my battles, now it's time to enjoy the victory: the good life.

So when the going gets tough, when you make another mistake, it's not the end. It's not final. Tomorrow is another day, so recognize where you went wrong, and make a note not to fall into the same trap again. Have the spirit of a fighter! Life eventually comes full circle, and everything you go through to constantly improve yourself and your circumstance will definitely have results in the end.

* * *


To read more of Fanele's musings, please visit her truly lovely blog: fanelelove.blogspot.com. We're fans of her versatile fashion blog that covers fashion, fashion, and more fashion, and also shares insights into the life of Fanele (who by the way is from Swaziland).

If you want to be a guest blogger for MIMI's Blog, email us at mimimagazineonline[at]gmail.com.

(Photo Credits: iStockPhoto / Dodz-Larysa) (Model Used Solely For Illustrative Purposes)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Written By: Nani Hapa—Continuing with the brilliant movie theme for the launch of the Obsidian Spring/Summer 2010 CONTROL collection, up-and-coming designer Isoken Ogiemwonyi has released a movie introducing the highly anticipated collection. Take a look at the short film below.

CONTROL BY OBSIDIAN from Isoken Ogiemwonyi on Vimeo.

MIMI Related Links: Coming Attraction: Obsidian Launches The CONTROL Collection

Written By: MIM!—Fans of experimental hip-hop will appreciate Tumi And The Volume's music. Drawing heavily on the legacy of apartheid, as well as the realities of life in today’s South Africa, The Volume is one of South Africa’s most eclectic music acts blending samba, reggae and poetry that speaks to the unique reality of the South African experience. To hear The Volume's music, visit www.thevolume.co.za and www.myspace.com/tatv.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Written By: Minna Salami @ Ms. AfropolitanAfrican women can truly benefit from the gift of meditation. Many of us lead stressful lives that leave little time for connecting with the Spirit-God within, and reaching into our divine power and sacred wisdom. Stress is a dangerous health condition, so we need to find ways to stay calm and balanced. Meditating can wake up your heart and mind, and make you feel more relaxed as you carry out your daily life.

The key to making meditation a part of your life is to understand that silent contemplation is enjoyable. It’s not a chore, but something to look forward to. Below are five useful tips to get you connecting with that inner fountain of peace and calm.

1. Substitute the word ‘meditation’ with ‘me-time’. As much as I love to meditate, I’m not a great fan of the word. It sounds quite clinical, and certainly not like a source of enjoyment, which makes it easier to neglect on a busy day. Think of meditation as ‘me-time’ instead.

2. Make ‘me-time’ fun. It is rewarding to be in a silent Buddha pose, but on occasion you might prefer to draw, write or sit silently in your garden or park. The only criterion is that you connect with your ‘self’. If you choose to draw, sketch something that relates to how you are feeling. If you write, perhaps write a poem about yourself. Whilst outdoors, observe and feel at one with nature.

3. Spend ‘me-time’ every day. If Barack Obama can set aside daily me-time, then so can you. Start with five minutes a day. That’s nothing! Be persistent and gradually, you will expand your me-time, as you will find yourself looking forward to that time of the day when you can exist without labels, restrictions, titles, deadlines or false expectations.

4. Expand your imagination. On those days that you decide to silently contemplate in Buddha position (which I highly recommend you do), imagine that you are on a private beach by yourself, or in a tropical garden lying on a bed of scented flowers, or that you are a ballet dancer practicing in an empty arena. You can be anywhere or anything, set your imagination free.

5. Spend me-time on the go. Meditation is about more than sitting at home in a reflective state of mind. It means making connections to everyday life. Take your reflective mind with you wherever you go. For example, stay calm during rush-hour traffic by practicing deep-breathing techniques. If you commute on public transport, close your eyes, clear away the chatter and transport yourself into your inner world.

* * *

Minna Salami blogs at www.msafropolitan.blogspot.com. If you want to be a guest blogger for MIMI's Blog, email us at mimimagazineonline[at]gmail.com.

(Photo Credits: © iStockPhoto | STEEX)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Written By: MIM!—One Mango Tree uses a fair trade model to provide income generating opportunities for women in impoverished and conflict-ridden areas of the globe. Their first project —an organization of tailors—is now well underway in Gulu, Northern Uganda. The project has enabled tailors to move from their cramped market stall and into a spacious compound just on the outskirts of town, improving the quality of their workplace and bringing together tailors from various locations. See the beautiful efforts of their work by visiting www.onemangotree.com where you can purchase beautiful handcrafted accessories such as the bag pictured on the right.

(Photo Credits: One Mango Tree)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Written By: Nani Hapa—A vibrant, soulful, beautiful wedding ... love it.

the triple threat sde // parts one and two from stillmotion on Vimeo.

MIMI Related Links: A South African Love Story, A Love So Inspiring

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Written By: MIM!—We ♥ the Mother of Men Jewelry line created by up and coming designer Nyakinyua Gill, who, as an aside, is best friends with Adama Kai of Aschobi Designs. To see more of Nya's unique collection, visit www.motherofmensite.com.

(Photo Credits: Mother of Men)
Written By: Nicole Parker-Jones—Not many novelists would wander around the seedy red-light district of Antwerp, Belgium in a mini-skirt and thigh-high boots to carry out research for a novel. But this is what Nigerian writer Chika Unigwe did for her powerful novel On Black Sisters' Street.

On Black Sisters' Street is a moving and unsettling story about the many factors that lead African women into prostitution in Europe. The story follows the stories of Sisi, Ama, Efe and Joyce, four African women who are illegally trafficked into Belgium by pimp "Senghor Dele" who sells them the illusion of an affluent life in the West. Rich and ruthless, Dele specializes in exporting girls to work in Belgium for a modest fee of 30,000 euros, a fee the women must pay back by years of prostituting. The women, of course, don't know that this is what lies in store. Working in Belgium, we learn about the women's lives that have been torn apart by war, sexual abuse, and family breakdown, which led them to fall for Dele's exploits.

Chika Unigwe gives voice to women who are stripped of one, and breathes life into their existence. On Black Sisters' Street is not one to miss.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Written By: MIM!—In the Spring 2010 article A Typical African Woman, writer Nana Bonsu challenged stereotypes about African women (and Africa more generally). She started, "Think Africa, think poverty stricken, famine ridden, war torn pit of despair." While we can think of African countries that do not fit any of these stereotypes, we cannot hide from the inescapable truth: this laundry list of stereotypes was born from tragic real-life events.

Think "poverty stricken," think Zimbabwe's claim to the title world's highest inflation rate in 2008. Think "war torn," think Rwanda's genocide in 1994. Think "famine ridden," think Ethiopia's famine in 1984-85. But after public outcries about the state of affairs in these countries, how much of this remains true today? Particularly in the case of Ethiopia's devastating famine, which happened over 25 years ago now? This year, two different production houses will be releasing films exploring this very question from very different perspectives. Take a look at the trailers below:

Ethiopia Teaser from REKO TV on Vimeo.


Love, Ethiopia - A documentary (teaser) from ReFocus Media on Vimeo.

To learn more about these films, visit Twenty5Ethiopia.org and RefocusMedia.org. And tell us, are some stereotypes about "Africa" warranted today?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Written By: Nani Hapa—Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba (left) and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (right)—two of football's biggest (and arguably best) stars—proudly represent the World Cup, "the planet's biggest sports event" on the June cover of Vanity Fair. Inside the pages of Vanity Fair, you will find more football stars including Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o and Ghana’s Sulley Muntari. In a revealing look at the significance of the World Cup (excuse the pun, but they are wearing flags and little else), Vanity Fair attempts to relate football to its American audience explaining, "In America, these men might not enjoy the same name recognition as the stars of the N.F.L.—that game that we call football—but for most of the planet, they are more than just showstoppers. They are gods."

For more information, visit www.VanityFair.com and if you're interested in learning more about and following the World Cup from the vantage point that only Vanity Fair can give you, check out Fair Play, a football blog created by the magazine.

(Photo Credits: Annie Leibovitz For Vanity Fair)
Written By: MIM!—Known as the “Queen of African Pop” and dubbed by TIME Magazine as the “Madonna of the Townships,” Brenda Fassie, nicknamed Mabrr by her fans, inspired audiences with her uplifting music and profound lyrics, through which she often provided a voice for underprivileged South Africans. Brenda Fassie, who sang in English, Xhosa, Sotho, and Zulu, formed the group Brenda and the Big Dudes and rocketed to fame in 1983 with the song Weekend Special. Mixing African vocals with a slick international pop sound, her songs were especially poignant during the period under apartheid (for example, Black President, which was dedicated to Nelson Mandela, who was in prison at the time), which endeared her to fans and resulted in her dominating the music industry for almost two decades.

Bold, brash, and brilliant, Brenda Fassie said in a 1998 interview: “I'm a shocker. I like to create controversy. It's my trademark.” And shock she did with a turbulent personal life, marred with drug battles, failed relationships, lesbian affairs and headline-grabbing tantrums. Addiction shadowed Brenda Fassie's celebrity, and in the early 1990s, she admitted having a chronic cocaine and alcohol problem, following her separation from her husband Nhlanhla Mbambo amid accusations that he was a wife-beater. In 1995, Brenda Fassie hit rock bottom when she was found in a hotel room, in a drug-induced haze, lying next to the body of her lesbian lover, Poppie Sihlahla, who had died of an apparent drug overdose.

Just when critics had written her career off, Brenda Fassie emerged on the scene with the release of the album Memeza, South Africa's best-selling album of 1998; that same year, Brenda Fassie scooped the Kora Award for best female artist. She was on top of the world, saying: “I'm going to become the Pope next year. Nothing is impossible.” But Brenda Fassie never won her battle with addiction. On 26 April, shortly after the release of Mali, her last album, Brenda Fassie had a severe asthma attack, suffered brain damage and fell into a coma. News of her condition dominated South Africa's headlines for weeks.

Despite her personal battles, there is no denying that Miss Fassie was simply the continent's greatest pop star.

(b. November 3, 1964 – d. May 9, 2004)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Written By: MIM!—MIMI-istas, Afri-couture is exploding in a big way, and we can barely keep up with all the press releases we've been getting about new and exciting talents who draw some, if not all, of their inspiration from Africa. We couldn't be more thrilled about the continued growth of Afri-couture, because it means that no matter where you are in this world, Afri-chic fashion is accessible to you. This week, we already introduced you to designer Isoken Obsidian's CONTROL collection, but we've got more fashion news, and this time it's from House of Versatile Styles. At the helm of this ultra feminine-chic fashion label is designer Bukola (aka "Bukky") Are, who will be unveiling her HVS collection at Seattle Fashion Week 2010. If the sleek ad campaign introducing the HVS collection is a sign of what's to come from House of Versatile Styles, then Afri-couture is not only on trend, it's in vogue.

[click on images to view larger versions]

Get the style scoop on House of Versatile Styles by visiting: www.HouseOfVersatileStyles.com.

(Photo Credits: House Of Versatile Styles)
Written By: Nicole Parker-Jones—Dear MIMI-istas, it's been a while since I've blogged in this space with my book reviews, but I have been busy reading so that I can return with some new reviews.

Just one month ago, Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond had her first book, Powder Necklace, published. The book, which Nana took 6 years to write, is about a teenager living in the UK who is sent to Ghana by her mother in an effort to protect her from the UK's "bad influences." As Nana explains, the book was inspired by her own childhood: "As a kid, I lived in Ghana for three years where I attended boarding school and encountered a small group of kids whose parents had also sent them to Ghana from Europe and the States. I wanted to write a book about that unique hybrid experience of being from two places at the same time, reconciling a first world superiority complex with respect for your immigrant parents, crisscrossing the globe to visit family "back home" and on other dots of the map, and figuring out how to answer when people ask you where you’re from—all while meeting the challenge of growing up."

This book had me immediately engaged, so much so that I finished it in two days! Although I cannot personally relate to the experience of being forced to grow up in different countries, Powder Necklace is about more than that, it is a universal story about trying to understand one's identity. As the long-time writer, first time novelist says about the book: "It tells the story of a heroine I'm so proud of—a sharp, honest young girl making the turbulent journey of adolescence across three continents ... It offers a new perspective on important issues that need fresh examination including: the superiority complex Westerners have regarding the so-called "Third World," the effect of single parenthood on girl children in particular, what it means to grow up American/British/etc when your parents are trying to raise you as a good African/Jamaican/Trinidadian/etc."

If you pick up the book, let me know what you think!
Written By: MIM!—The challenge: to create a campaign that celebrated Africa's incredible music talent, both historic and current. The result: a campaign called "Young, Gifted and Black," in which Ogilvy South Africa remade the 1970 Nina Simone song “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” into a music video. The music video stars African talent from legends like Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Grammy Award winner Hugh Masakela in addition to rising stars such as South Africa’s Lira and Nigeria’s Ikechukwu.

Channel O - Young, Gifted & Black from Ogilvy South Africa on Vimeo.

It's a song. It's a message. It's a movement. We have so much love for the unified cross-country approach behind the campaign. Here's a behind the scenes look at how the project came together:

Channel O - Young, Gifted & Black - Case Study from Ogilvy South Africa on Vimeo.

Keep shining MIMI-istas!

[click on image to view larger version of the versatile skirt dress]

Written By: MIM!—BLACK COFFEE's Everyone Can Be A Designer collection is the practical jet-setting fashionista's dream: one garment that transforms into as many as five variations, each with its own look and style. The purpose of the Everyone Can Be A Designer line was to literally create an entire clothing range made of flexible fabric (in this case jersey) that could fit in one suitcase (if you pack right, a carry on tote). Learn more about the innovative collection by visiting everyonecanbeadesigner.com.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Written By: Nani Hapa—Culture and creativity collide at Johannesburg based company Pollen Creative, a one-stop creative solutions provider, specializing in high-end motion graphics and design and animation for advertising, broadcast, retail and production projects. Pollen Creative has used their creative license to contribute to some truly original adverts like these:

Sunlight from Pollen on Vimeo. The spirit of this advert is so warm, even hand washing clothing looks like fun!

Ford Ka from Pollen on Vimeo. They had my attention when they cast the modern day "Rapunzel" as an Africa woman with dookie braids.

To view more of Pollen Creative's adverts, visit vimeo.com/pollen, and for more information about their work, visit pollen.tv.

[click on image for larger version]

Written By: Nani Hapa—Up-and-coming designer Isoken Obsidian has a stunning new Spring/Summer 2010 collection, CONTROL, that focuses on cocktail dresses with intricate craftsmanship and whimsical flourishes. CONTROL is a reference to the film noir genre, particularly Rita Hayworth, the femme fatale of the time—graceful, ultra-feminine and irresistible. True to inspiration, the eye-catching campaign introducing the collection has been creatively themed as movie posters with credits for the team behind the looks to boot. Designer Obsidian commented, "I don’t like to belabor references, but I believe ultimately, every woman wants to be in control of her image and you can be powerful, and in control without losing your femininity—simple but superb."

[click on image for larger version]

The CONTROL by Obsidian Ready-to-wear Collection can be bought exclusively from the Obsidian website (the full site is launching—or to be more appropriate, "coming to a computer near you"—on May 25, 2010). There will also be a pop-up store in collaboration with Le Petit Marche in June 2010.
Written By: Jamelia Mmari—I love the idea that these photos represent: Africa's hope lies in its children.


(Photo Credits: © iStockPhoto / M&H Shepard)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Written By: MIM!—Much like her diverse background, Parisian raised singer/ songwriter Keeya (who was born to an Algerian mother and a Cameroonian father) has a musical taste that is exceptionally diverse. It is no surprise then that today, she is trying to break out a musical career for herself performing a unique variation of synth laden electro pop music. She says: "My Mom was addicted to music. At home we would listen to soul, funk, reggae, r&b, hip hop, rock, pop, and Arabian music ... and she’s a fan of Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Michael Jackson, Sade, En Vogue, but also Madonna, The Rolling Stones, The Doors ... Every time I had the opportunity to grab the mic, I would jump on stage and do my thing... People named me the jukebox." When she was a teenager, she discovered gospel, and the harmonies she was exposed to led her to perform with gospel/soul choirs. Compelled to follow her musical heart, Keeya quit high school to focus exclusively on music (it didn't hurt that she could also work on musical gigs on the side and book jobs as a model to pay the bills).

Today, the young artist is ready to step into the spotlight to see if the world is as diverse and open minded as her sound. She certainly thinks the answer is yes, noting "musical sensitivity has no limits..." To hear Keeya's music, visit www.myspace.com/keeyamusik.
Written By: MIM!—According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Nigerian film industry (better known as Nollywood) has overtaken Hollywood and closed the gap on India, the global leader in the number of movies produced each year, to become the second largest producer of films, proving that storytelling (even in digital format) lies in the heart of African culture. According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) , Bollywood—as the Mumbai-based film industry is known—produced 1,091 feature-length films in 2006. In comparison, Nigeria’s moviemakers came out with 872 productions—while the United States produced 485 major films. Catch a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes in Nollywood, by watching the clip below from the documentary film Welcome to Nollywood.

Welcome to Nollywood - Trailer from IndiePix on Vimeo.

If you've never seen a Nollywood film, you are in a for a treat! Take a look at the trailer below for director John Uche's Mind Game (set to be released this month), starring two of Nollywood's biggest stars, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and Van Vicker.

Mind Game Trailer from John Uche on Vimeo.

MIMI Related Articles: Welcome To Nollywood; Nollywood's Darling: Dakore Egbuson; Nollywood And The Northern Line; All The World's Her Stage: Ini Edo; True Star: Genevieve Nnaji

Written By: MIM!—We ♥ these bangles by CLOTH, which is a self-described "50/50 company"; that is, its products are made in the USA and produced by refugee/displaced women. Shop for these bangles ($15 each) at www.etsy.com/shop/ourCLOTH, and for more items, visit shop.ourclothshop.com.
Written By: MIM!—Today Just A Band released their highly anticipated album, 82. Here's what the band had to say about the album: “Just A Band are Blinky, Dan and Jim. We put this album together ourselves, as always (despite a countrywide power rationing program—blackouts 3 days a week!) ... We live in the same house—our friends call it Just A House—and being in a band is mostly fun, except for the days when all three of us are broke ... We were all born in 1982, hence the album’s title. This was the year a military coup was staged in Kenya—so our mothers were all under some duress. Twenty one years passed before we all met up and decided to start a band ...” Get more details by visiting Just A Band's official website: www.just-a-band.com.

(Photo Credits: CD Cover Art)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Written By: MIM!—The Bicycle Portraits project was initiated by Stan Engelbrecht (Cape Town, South Africa) and Nic Grobler (Johannesburg, South Africa) early in 2010. They’re finding out who rides bicycles, why they ride bicycles, if and why they love their bicycles, and of course why so few South Africans choose bicycles as a transport option with the goal of publishing a photography book of portraits about South African bicycle commuter culture and people who use bicycles in their day-to-day existence. To learn more about the project, take a look at the video below.

Bicycle Portraits 1 from Bicycle Portraits on Vimeo.

Visit the book's growing site—bicycleportraits.co.za—to get a clearer idea of what they are working on, and find out how you could be a part of the book.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Written By: MIM!—The first comparison that comes to mind when listening to Tawiah's EP In Jodi's Bedroom is ... well, that's hard to say for it's hard to classify Tawiah's music—her tone is sweet and sincere one moment, soulful and mysterious the next.

Providing backing vocals to everyone from Corinne Bailey Rae to the Guillemots, and performing onstage with Mark Ronson (she's the only live female singer at his gigs) Tawiah already has a devoted underground following. But with the release of her 6-song EP, In Jodi's Bedroom, everyone is taking notice of her talent. The album is full of songs that provoke both introspection and optimism for what’s to come. Bringing something new and fresh to the music scene, it is obvious that Tawiah is on to something big—something really big.

Don't miss out on the chance to discover great music for yourself by listening to In Jodi's Bedroom, and visit www.myspace.com/tawiah for more information.

(Photo Credits: Jean Baptiste and CD Cover Art)
Written By: Nani Hapa—Nolitha and Xolile’s beautiful South African wedding ceremony was captured in a 10 minute video clip by Mark Chipps of Goosebump Productions. The Diemersfontein Wine Estate in Wellington, Cape Town, South Africa made for a beautiful natural backdop on the hot wedding day.

South African Wedding: Nolitha & Xolile from Mark Chipps on Vimeo.

If you enjoyed this video, make sure you also read: A Love So Inspiring for more wedding inspiration. Love is definitely in the air.

Written By: Jamelia Mmari—Would you ever get a tattoo of the continent on your body?

(Photo Credits: © iStockPhoto | STEEX)