African Vibes Magazine shone a bright light on up and coming African designers and performers at its all white 5th Anniversary event which took place on May 1st at the Avalon Hollywood. The event kicked off with a Pre-Show Glam Lounge where Beauty Sponsor, Milani Cosmetics glammed up guests while VIPs sampled some delectable desserts and sipped on complimentary champagne. Guests received exciting gift bag items including a selection of Milani’s Passport of Color Spring collection items. The show kicked off with an opening dance act from renowned choreographer, Titus Fotso along with members of his troupe (Wilfried Souly, Michel Kouakou, Rachel Tisby, Malik Sow and Soro Gnenmon). Other performers included the Brown Family (Somto Madu, Samuel Dosumu and John Paul Arabome) and Oudy 1er whose performance and dance moves had guests on their feet asking for an encore.”
This year’s participating designers included jewelry designer Su Beningfield from South Africa, clothing designer Solome Katongole from Uganda, jewelry designer Monalisa Okojie from Nigeria, shoe designer Joseph Ntomp from Cameroon, clothing designer Oyin Ayoola from Nigeria, clothing designer Princess Latifat from Nigeria and clothing/jewelry designer Wawi Amasha from Kenya who closed the show with models dancing down the Runway in her clothing.
Designers have previously showcased clothing items and accessories for women but this year, the men were all too happy to spot Joseph Ntomp’s shoe collection while the ladies cheered as the male models walked down the runway with a swag in their step. Other designers who included pieces for men in their collection were Princess Latifat and Monalisa Okojie.
Editor In Chief, Belle Niba and Actress Tangi Miller who hosted the event kept the audience entertained throughout the evenings. As part of the event, the African Vibes Magazine African Diamond Award was given to Senator Curren Price Jr. for encouraging trade and investment opportunities between Africa and California, Dr Condessa Curley and Anita Gent Williams for the work they do to help African communities through their Charity organization, Project Africa Global. The Awards were sponsored by Arik Air along with Supporting Sponsor, Gigi Jewelry.
Following the show was the VIP After Party where VIP guests, designers, models and artists joined in celebration with International DJ Fly kept guests on their feet on the dance floor throughout the evening. Hors d’oeuvres were served along with complimentary champagne for Gold, Platinum and Diamond VIPs.
For those who missed the show, Television media sponsor, Afrotainment TV, will be airing it on May 7th at 6:15pm (PST) and on May 8th at 11:50am (PST). The show will be on their DishNetwork Channel 751 available nationwide.
African Vibes magazine rolled out the red carpet in style to celebrate its fourth anniversary of shining a positive spotlight on Africa and Africans, by presenting an “I Wear African” fashion show on Saturday, April 24, 2010 at the Avalon in Hollywood. The event kicked off at the Glam Lounge where VIP guests were offered complimentary champagne, hors d’oeuvres and gift bags with items from Tourneau, Milani Cosmetics, Tarte Cosmetics, Clear Essence. The Glam Lounge was followed by the ‘I Wear African’ Runway and Award show which brought a new and fresh aesthetics to contemporary African style through the interpretive work of some of Africa’s hottest and talented designers. And if that wasn’t enough, award-winning and international superstar and singer Awilo Longomba – known as the “King of Techno-Soukous Music” in international music circles – rocked the runway by shaking his hips and gyrating across the runway as the evening’s special musical guest. The magazine honored Awilo and celebrity fashion designer and “Project Runway” alum Korto Momolu with the African Vibes Magazine African Diamond Award for uplifting their African heritage through music and fashion.
In the “I Wear African” fashion show, one afronista after another trotted down the catwalk in a colorful kaleidoscope of designs and jewelry, representing designers from various parts of Africa. The designers who participated in the “I Wear African” fashion show included Sheila Denanyoh (Ghana) of Ill-la-la Designs; Arthlene Legair (Dominica, West Indies) of the Legair Brand; Kahindo Mateene (Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC) of Modahnik; Maryanne E. Mokoko and Stephanie T. Mouapi (Cameroon) of Côté Minou; Mekdes Tefera Taye (Ethiopia); jewelry designer Monalisa Okojie (Nigeria) of NEHITA and Christiane King (Ivory Coast), who is a contestant on this season’s “Project Runway.” Makeup for the ‘I Wear African’ Runway was provided by Official Beauty Partner, Milani Cosmetics.
A special highlight of the evening was the presentation by Liberian-born Korto Momolu, who showed pieces from her fall 2010 Collection — the Korto Momolu Collection. Viewers will remember the Liberian-born Momolu as a finalist and fan favorite on season five of “Project Runway.” In February, she debut her first post-show collection during New York Fashion Week. Highlighted as “one to watch,” Momolu has been featured in various national newspapers and publications including LA Times, InStyle, Essence, and African Vibes magazines. Currently, she has a signature handbag and jewelry line exclusively designed for Dillard’s Department Stores and Dillards.com. And she’s set to produce a poolside fashion show at the Tom Joyner 2010 Fantistic Voyage™ Cruise.
Blond and blinged out, Awilo gave a stirring performance, singing in both French and English, and showing why he is the most wanted Congolese artist on the African continent and Europe.
Awilo’s album, “Super-Man” won the Best Soukous Entertainer Award in 2009 at the International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) and was nominated for Best African Act at the African Music Awards. He is this year’s recipient of the 2010 Humanitarian Award at the upcoming Beyond the Tears Awards. And he’s nominated again for the Best Soukous Entertainer award at this year’s IRAWMA awards to be held on May 2 in Queens, New York.
The opening acts were Avin-U C, consisting of three artists – EddyB, Naomi Achu and H.Bolo – all hailing from Cameroon. Other performances included Liberian hip hop artists Romeo Mulbah aka 2C. Mulbah just snagged the HIPCO Artist of the Year at the 2010 Liberian Entertainment Awards.
The event was co-hosted by actress/filmmaker Tangi Miller and African Vibes Magazine Editor In Chief, Amabel Niba. Miller is best known for the role of the smart, spirited and stylish Elena Tyler on the J.J. Abrams hit show, “Felicity.” She also recognized the winner of the $1,000 Ideas Contest created by African Vibes magazine in partnership with its Gold sponsor, Keller Graduate School of Management.
After the show, VIP guests, designers, models and artists were ushered to the VIP Lounge After Party where they were served more champagne and hors d’oeuvres while dancing the evening a way to contemporary African tunes by DJ Fly who has been a constant at all African Vibes Magazine anniversary celebrations.
African Vibes Magazine Editor In Chief, Amabel Niba will be appearing on Radio Afrodicia (KPFK-FM 90.7) airing in Los Angeles from 2 to 4 p.m on Saturday April 17 with host Nnamdi Moweta. Niba will be on the show with “Project Runway” contestant and “I Wear African” Ivorian designer, Christiane King to discuss how showcasing a contemporary Africa through fashion helps to change the continent’s perception. The show streams live at www.afrodicia.com.
Host Nmandi Moweta plays all the best in modern and classical African music.
Radio Afrodicia on Twitter: http://twitter.com/radioafrodicia
African Vibes magazine is rolling out the red carpet in style to celebrate its fourth anniversary of shining a positive spotlight on Africa and Africans. This year, hosting with Editor In Chief, Amabel Niba is the beautiful actress/filmmaker Tangi Miller. Miller is best known for the role of the smart, spirited and stylish Elena Tyler on the J.J. Abrams hit show, “Felicity.”
The Miami-native is also a two-time NAACP Image Award nominee for her work on the small screen, grabbing nods in 2002 for “Best Actress in a Dramatic Series” and again in 2005 for “Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie” for her work in “Phantom Force”. She was named as “one of the sexiest stars on television” by TV Guide, and Ebony Magazine dubbed her as one of the “most beautiful people of the millennium.”
She’s set to appear in the upcoming comedy, “Drones,” directed by Amber Benson and Adam Busch, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. And this spring, she stars in the romantic comedy, “My Girlfriend’s Back,” co-starring Malik Yoba (Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married”) with a supporting cast of award-winning veterans, Guyanese-American CCH Pounder and Obba Babatunde. Filmed in Miami and Los Angeles, “My Girlfriend’s Back” is an intelligent romantic comedy that chronicles the social and economic rise of Derek Scott (Yoba), and how the arrival of his ex-girlfriend (Miller) changes everything!
As an independent filmmaker, she has produced and starred in several independent films, including ”After School,” “Hurricane in the Rose Garden,” and “Love … & Other 4 Letter Words,” as well as the upcoming release, “My Girlfriend’s Back.”
A Conversation with Tangi Miller
AV: Is it true that you weren’t allowed to watch television as a kid?
TM: Yes, my mother felt that television might be a bad influence on me and my brothers and sisters. (She is the eldest of five.) She just felt like anything that wasn’t edifying God or anything that wasn’t speaking to your spirit in a positive was negative.
AV: How did you get into acting?
TM: Well, I began acting in stage productions while in high school. It was a wonderful outlet. It gave me a chance to release my feelings, my emotions, and have fun at the same time. It became a fun hobby. I left Miami and majored in the more practical field of marketing at Alabama State University. It wasn’t until I realized that I spent all of my free time acting in theater productions that I decided to pursue an acting career after graduation. I realized that I wanted to figure out a way to make a living doing it because it made me so happy. I continued my studies and got a master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of California, Irvine.
AV: As luck would have it, you landed one of your first gigs on the hit-show “Felicity,” created by uber-producer-writer J.J. Abrams. How excited were you to land the job, playing Elena Tyler?
TM: It was a whirlwind because it was my first gig, and it was a BIG job for my first job. I was kind of blown away and thrown right into Hollywood almost immediately.
AV: How was it working with J.J. Abrams?
TM: I was very fortunate to work with such a talented visionary as Abrams, who at the time was very young in his career. He was very open and welcoming of any suggestions and input. It was a pleasure to work with him. He also gave me a blueprint of how I wanted to run my own production company, Olivia Entertainment.
AV: Yes, you’ve turned your attention to filmmaking. Why?
TM: I just wanted the chance to tell the stories I wanted to tell.
AV: You’ve produced several films, including ”Hurricane in a Rose Garden,” a comedy, which centers around a Nigerian family. What was that like?
TM: I had a great time working on that film. The film is directed by Ime Etuk with Pascal Atuma, Yun Choi, Oris Erhuero. It’s a comedy about what happens when the life of a happily-married couple is suddenly interrupted and turned upside-down because of an unwelcome visit from a very traditional and opinionated Nigerian mother-in-law.
AV: Where does the title of the movie come from?
TM: Pascal Atuma came up with the title. I believe the “hurricane” represents the mother, and the “rose garden” symbolizes the relationship of the couple.
AV: What message do you hope audiences will gather from the film?
TM: I hope people will see the love that the couple has for one another, and learn that despite cultural differences, we can learn from each other and make this world a better place.
AV: Did you experience any cultural differences working with Nigerians on the project?
TM: Well, yes and no. Ordering lunch on the set was a little different; (she laughs) but as artists, we all wanted the same thing – a chance to flex our creative muscles.
AV: So what do you enjoy more – acting or filmmaking?
TM: That’s a tough one. I enjoy expressing myself as an actor and bringing life to a character. But, as a filmmaker, I loves taking a concept or an idea and bringing it to life on screen. It’s very satisfying and fulfilling.
AV: You’ve been involved with Africa in many ways including movies and African dance. What is it that draws you to Africa?
TM: I am drawn to Africa because I am African. Yes, I’ve been kissed by America, but there is no question where my ancestors came from. This fact alone constantly draws me to the Motherland. As a dancer, I became deeply entrenched into the African community in Los Angeles, and those connections and ties has brought me even closer to the Motherland.
AV: What are your thoughts on African fashion?
TM: I love the colors and the bold style in many of the designs. I am excited that contemporary African style is making an impact on fashion. Styling with Western designers mixed with touches of African accessories — or vice versa — brings a new and fresh aesthetics to contemporary African style.
AV: Which designers do you usually wear?
TM: Of course, I have my favorite Western designers. However, in my travels to Africa, I like to buy headwraps and skirts, and incorporate them in my wardrobe. I really enjoy pairing a colorful African accessory with my jeans and t-shirts, blending fabrics for a new interpretation of American style. Since Korto Momolu’s appearance on “Project Runway,” I’ve been really impressed with her point of view on fashion with an African flair. I also love her jewelry, and will be wearing some of her accessories at the anniversary event. I can’t wait!
AV: What made you decide to host the “I Wear African” runway show?
TM: I love fashion! Plus, I’ve been blessed to participate in various fashion shows – showcasing the designs of African Americans, Latins and Europeans. This is my first time participating in a runway show, featuring African designers, and it’s so exciting and new.
AV: What kind of look will you be going for on the red carpet of the anniversary event?
TM: Well, I haven’t decided on a particular look per se, but I am going to rely on the styling efforts of a designer featured in the “I Wear African” fashion show. I would like to represent today’s African woman – a style that’s global and can be worn by anyone. I’ve been flipping through African Vibes magazine for inspiration.
AV: What does the “I Wear African” mean to you?
TM: It’s an opportunity to wear, support and celebrate talented African designers and their contributions to fashion.
AV: You have come a long way from the days when you were not allowed to watch television. Since your success in film and television, has your mother changed her opinion about watching television?
TM: Yes, and she’s very proud of me!
To Learn more about Tangi, Visit http://www.tangimiller.com/
Watch a Clip from Hurricane in the Rose Garden: http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi690749977/
African Vibes Magazine’s Editor in Chief, Amabel Niba discussed the African Vibes Magazine 4th Anniversary Event and “I Wear African” Campaign on CNE TV in an interview which was aired today on the station’s network. The interview can be viewed at http://www.cneworld.tv
Amabel Niba’s report on the fuss, fun and finery of the Spring 2010 Arise Promise of Africa Collective
Fashion Week is a thrill and pure heaven for every and any fashionista but it’s not all glitz and glamour. Days of entertaining disorderly queues to proudly get a seat assignment can wear down even the most resilient fashion lover. Still, the highs outweigh the lows, so I’ll be back next season. Here’s my recap of the Arise Promise of Africa Fashion Collective which was the focus of my journey to Bryant Park. Four designers excited our senses with color, texture, fringes and flair. We saw the good, the better, and the swag.
The Tifany Amber collection screamed spring with the vibrant kaleidoscopes of artist Kolade Oshinowo. Abstract digital prints, an interpretation of an urban Lagos scene painted by the artist, sat alongside fine Chantilly lace and glamorous metallic weaves taking a cue from Diana Ross in the 1974 Motown hit. Mahogany with voluminous skirts and billowing sleeves; a collection for city nights or luxury resort living and I could hardly resist. My favorites were many but I particularly loved the aquamarine chantilly lace overlay shift dress.
South Afica’s David Tlale also caught my attention with the short black fringed skirt with fringed black pleated top. Karolin who modeled the dress rocked it too. Black seemed to dominate his collection and I found that a little odd for Spring when vibrant colors seemed to rule but every girl needs a little black outfit and David Tlale added some flair to the lot. His inspiration was Africa’s diverse cultural heritage – from the San to the Ndebele tribes; attempting to capture Africa’s artistic wealth.
Eric Raisina captured the vibrancy of his home town, Madagascar. We experienced his inspiration from the bustling sensuous markets, jacarandas in full bloom, the deep blue of the Indian Ocean and the gradations of red laterite at the island’s centre. My favorites were the red silk ribbon stitched on leopard tulle halter neck long bias dress and the dark aubergine and silver tie-died silk chiffon trimmed long halter neck dress with pleated front.
Jewel by Lisa brought us Ankara prints laden with hand-embellishments that transcend global fashions. New York women will fit right in with this collection; the snippy shorts, slim leg pants, mini cocktail frocks and leather-mix biker jackets in a cacophony of color off-set with batik-inspired silk prints. She left an indelible mark on her Ankara designs and I could see a good number of her pieces in my closet; the multi-colored circle print beaded long dress, the red and mustard swirl print cocktail dress with crystal and glass beaded detail, the leather cut out mini dress and the list goes on.
Overall it was a great show and our senses were excited with color, texture and creativity. I could hardly resist the urge of getting my hands on some of the pieces for shoots and my wardrobe; falling prey to the beauty that had just unfolded like a kid in the candy store. After asking Folake Coker of Tifany Amber about some of her pieces she regrettably informed me that her clothes are currently not distributed in the US just yet; something she hopes to change sometime soon. That is an unfortunate predicament for some of these Africa based designers who get loads of exposure from fashion week but are unable to fully explore the potential and opportunities that result from the exposure.
I did have a major disappointment though. I noticed that despite all the hype last year about getting runway models to gain weight or using healthier models on the runway, a good number of the girls I saw at the Arise Promise of Africa Collective runway were not only really skinny but looked quite hungry with bones sticking out. I could not fathom why the designers made such picks because they only took away from some of the beautiful outfits. One case in point was the model who walked for Jewel By Lisa to showcase the multi-colored circle print beaded long dress. I believe her name is Iris. Seeing her bones stick out was awful. I was seriously concerned.
A model was reported to have actually passed out at Jeffrey Chow’s first collection for the Poleci presentation the next day with producers having to put cold Coca-Cola cans on her head and feed her fruit to bring her back. Hopefully next year, the designers will set an example with the girls they select to showcase their beautiful clothes.
PREVIEW THE AFRICAN VIBES ISSUE 14 AFRONISTA AND THE CITY PHOTOSHOOT
In this Issue 14, Designer Malena Ruth talks about her Poverty Not accessories and inspiration
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If you have never heard of her, soon you will. Her song L.O.V.E will have you tapping your feet, moving your head and jumping off your seat to move to the beat. She is the new kid on the block and her talent is unquestionable. The 19 year old singer has shared the stage with the likes of General Levy and Jahaziel and she is called Sharon Rose.
Sharon Rose was born in Zimbabwe and moved to the UK when she was 9 years old. She is unafraid to get up on that stage and do her thing. I caught up with the budding star as she prepares to release her new single L.O.V.E next month for an interview.
Belle Niba: How did you start out in the music business?
Sharon Rose: Well, I woke up one beautiful morning during the summer and I said to my brother “I want to do an album and can you make some music for me please” and after a month and a half, we had written, produced and recorded the album and were preparing for the show which was going to be a few weeks after we had finished recording!
Belle Niba: Looks like you have been working hard. What has the journey been like in creating your own single?
Sharon Rose: It’s been like MAD hard work, but that’s a good thing! Its been exciting and eye opening!!!
Belle Niba: Which artists have inspired your album and career?
Sharon Rose: On my first album, I have to say that my inspiration came from people like Jill Scott and Beyonce …but I was still trying to discover myself and what I was good at. For this album, names like Coldplay, Robyn, Gwen Stefani, Miley Cyrus, Lauryn Hill, CeCe Winans, Pink and Jill scott pop up! Its crazy! Lol
Belle Niba: Who writes your songs?
Sharon Rose: My brother and I wrote the songs for the first album, but for this one, I’m taking the lead for a bit…showing my skills, but its not completed yet, so you never know!
Belle Niba: Why did you choose to sing about Love in your first single?
Sharon Rose: Because I wanted to (lol)! Nah but seriously, I love Love…so I thought it only right to write about it! Also because it’s a quirky subject and it’s almost summertime and people like that sort of stuff at this time of year!
Belle Niba: How has life changed since you became an artist?
Sharon Rose: When I became an artist, I thought it was going to be a fun and easy ride! But I realized really quickly that there is a lot of work to be done and that I had to get up off my butt and grind! Some of the challenges have been the traveling thing and keeping up with the business side of things-learning to be patient and working with people who are less than patient! But I realized that every second I waste getting worried about something stupid, someone else is getting on with work that I should be getting on with, or someone else is earning money I should be earning, so I try by all means not to worry!
Belle Niba: Have you gone through moments when you doubt yourself?
Sharon Rose: I definitely have been through those moments and it is mostly when I see someone who I think is better than me at singing or performing but then I realize that there is NO ONE in this world that can do what I can do so I quickly snap back and do my thing!!!!
Belle Niba: I hope you all stop by her website at http://www.sharonrosemusic.com and show her some L.O.V.E
All the theatre and drama of couture fashion was present at the African Vibes Magazine 3rd Anniversary I WEAR AFRICAN Campaign launch which took place over the weekend. The campaign, an initiative of Amabel Niba, the magazine’s Founder and Editorial Director generated lots of excitement as guests were encouraged to dress in Africa inspired fashions.
The event was a parade of glamorous evening wear as well as innovative couture and luxury wear from 8 Designers. The mood of the show ran the gamut from dramatic to sensual, whimsical to classic, traditional to eclectic. The wall to wall enthusiastic audience of socialites, fashion lovers and editors from different parts of the country and abroad flocked to the perennially elegant event April 18, 2009 to enjoy couture and a luxury fashion showcase by designers from Ghana, Cameroon, Sudan and DR Congo. Showcased labels were Bothdoll Fashions, Cote Minou, KiRette Couture, Knaf Couture, Modahnik and Studio D Maxsi. Guests received goodie bags with beauty items from Supporting Sponsor Milani Cosmetics and were served exotic hors d’oeuvres from Africa along with samples of juices from Silver Sponsor, Barrel Juice. Performances by emerging entertainers Les Belles D’Afrique and Stephane Afeni (S.A) also enchanted attendees.
“It is always a great feeling when we celebrate our growth and that feeling only gets better with the launching of this campaign. I was quite touched by the turnout and guests who came out showing off their beautiful African outfits. The launching was a great success, ” said Niba, who dressed for the occasion in a beautifully crafted cream-colored 2 piece outfit straight off the Runway by Afua Sam of Studio D Maxsi; later on changing into a pink strapless frock dress with special markings native to Cameroon by Kirette Couture.
The campaign is just one of the many initiatives the publication is engaged in to stay true to its goal of connecting the world to Africa.
Which Designer was your Favorite?
Event Highlights from VOA
We do not see African Glamour in the social scenes and we do not see it at red carpet celebrity events,
so this Spring, I believed it was necessary for us to launch the biggest African Fashion campaign
The African Vibes Magazine I WEAR AFRICAN Campaign
A campaign about individual expression, contemporary style and cultural heritage. The goal of this campaign is to celebrate the beauty of Africa through fashion and to promote the glamour and beauty of contemporary African fashion into the social scenes. This campaign gives us an opportunity to take pride in our heritage and be proud of the connection we have with Africa.
It is my hope that you will all join us in one way or another to celebrate the beauty of who we are and where we come from. We have a growing list of very talented and creative emerging and established Designers who are incorporating inspirations from the continent into their designs. That list will grow and it is our hope that you join in. Become a part of this exciting ‘movement’; join the I WEAR AFRICAN fan page on facebook or our online community. Vote for your favorite designers and the clothes. Thank you for stopping by. We hope you get involved by wearing beautiful Africa inspired designs. Share your photos showing off your African Style and visit us regularly for updates on the campaign.
A portion of proceeds from all events related to this campaign will be contributed to our VILLAGE EFFORT.
African Vibes Magazine