Lupita Nyong’o | Rising Star & Captivating Presence


Lupita at a Dinner hosted by Vogue’s Sally Singer for fashion label Sacai, 23rd Oct 2013. Photo: Pablo Frisk

What a pleasure it was to spend time with someone so talented and charismatic. In April 2013, Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o was my very first ‘Profile of The Week’ feature where I noted her early accomplishments including  In My Genes, a documentary that detailed the plight of people living with Albinism in Kenya, her stage work while she studied at the Yale School of Drama and her leading role in the MTV award-winning drama series Shuga.

Since then, she has gone on to garner considerable fame and acclaim for her searing role as Patsey in the historical drama film 12 Years A Slave directed by British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen. The story is based on the memoir of Solomon Northup, a Black man and talented musician who was born free in New York state, kidnapped in Washington D.C., then sold into slavery and kept in bondage for 12 years. The screenplay was adapted by John Ridley. The film has been awarded 370 nominations and won 183 awards thus far. Lupita has been nominated for 37 awards and has won 28. To find out more about her award wins and the upcoming major events during this awards season, go here.


Director Steve McQueen with actors Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor at the premiere of 12 Years a Slave at the BFI Film Festival premiere in London.

I felt very honoured to receive an invitation to attend the London premiere and gala reception (sponsored by Accenture) of 12 Years A Slave in London during the BFI London Film Festival. View photographs (courtesy of my friend and plus one for the night, Janet of Cool On Demand & Fashion Democracy) from the premiere in the slide-show below.

The film rendered me speechless then, and again, when I watched it for a second time at The Watershed which was followed up by an informative Q&A session led by Dr. Edson Burton. So much so, that I have been unable to compose a response to it that captures my thoughts to a satisfactory degree. Hence, my delay in writing again about Nyong’o or the film. As a testament to how great her performance was, she has also been nominated for the most prestigious award of all, Best Actress In A Supporting Role from The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences (Oscars). Watch the full announcement of the nominations here:

Lupita has since been chosen for the 20th Hollywood issue cover of Vanity Fair along with a slew of distinguished actors (photographed by Annie Leibovitz), and hosted on the Hollywood Reporter’s Actresses Roundtable along with esteemed actresses Oprah Winfrey (The Butler), Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks) and Amy Adams (American Hustle).

Read more about Lupita’s rise to fame as a fashion icon below and watch the full Hollywood Reporter interview here:

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J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere | Sartorial Moments and the Nearness of Yesterday


From left to right: Untitled (1970), Untitled (1972), Untitled (2006)
Credit: J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere

J. D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere: Sartorial Moments and the Nearness of Yesterday is the second in The Museum of African Diaspora‘s (MoAD) Curator’s Choice Series. Curated by Olabisi Silva, Director of the Contemporary Centre for Art, Lagos, Sartorial Moments portrays a people defining their place in history.

J. D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere understood fashion as a personal display of independence, and in the 50 photographs included in this exhibition, dating from 1955 to 2008, he captures traditional Nigerian dress and hairstyles alongside popular Western-style adaptations. Hair, as one of the main identifiers of time and place, became an especially important focus for the artist as he documented the changing body politic of his young nation.

In depicting the complexities of a new and free post-colonial Nigerian society, Ojeikere reveals the degree of influence that the West—particularly the United Kingdom and the United States—has had on the youth of Lagos as they continually negotiate between the old and the new, colonialism and post-colonialism.

About Ojeikere

Born in 1930 in the western part of Nigeria. In his young days Ojeikere incessantly writes the Ministry Of Information, asking them to hire him as an “assistant in the dark room”. His tenacity is rewarded when in 1961 the first television station is founded.

At the eve of the decolonisation he is contacted by the West African Publicity agency. Soon after that he opens his own studio “Foto Ojeikere”. In 1967 he becomes an active member of the Nigeria Art Council, an organisation in charge of organising a festival of visual and living arts.
Hairstyles is his most known collection, involving almost 1000 different hairstyles that give an image of the African woman. He finds these “sculptures for a day” on the street, at a marriage or at work.

With thanks to Fifty One

Exhibition run June 20, 2013 – October 13, 2013

Museum of the African Diaspora
685 Mission Street (at Third)
San Francisco, California 94105
phone: 415.358.7200
fax: 415.358.7252

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Escape to New Lagos, 2081 A.D.

Idumoto Market
A city so crowded that it is impossible for one to find himself without a mirror and some purposeful soul-searching. Like a modern day Atlantis, New Lagos became an oasis in a desert of global despondence. On top of the bomb-blast rubble, and in the wake of the political pariahs’ exile, its people dared to build something beautiful…and they dared to build it so high, the whole world would see it and stare.

New Makoko Village
Once, the fishermen of Makoko village would feed their families with what their hands were able to pull from the water at dawn. They built homes on top of the water; an African Venice created from sheer resolve and necessity. It was within one of these dark recesses that a tailor desperately hoping to keep his business open took in an unlikely apprentice. A young boy who would later become the man that they all whispered about.

Victoria Island
On the day of the Great Crude Explosion, the ground parted, erupting a rich blackness that crept over the landscape. Barefoot children whose parents hadn’t been able to afford shoes found themselves ankle deep in more wealth than any could have conceived. Far away, in foreign boardrooms, fattened oil executives whispered amongst themselves. This was a land of a hundred dialects, but there would be no Babel. The people spoke in one voice, and they spoke of freedom. New Lagos was born.

Later, few remembered what his real name was; or what he actually looked like.  There are few accurate accounts of his sacrifice. However he came to his end, all readily conceded that it was his end that ushered Lagos, and ultimately Nigeria, to its new beginning.
When they spoke of hope, the future, or merely spoke of a child with too much ambition for his size, they would speak fondly of him: IkiréJones.

What a pleasure it was to find these incredible images on one of our favourite blogs AfroFuturist Affair.

Escape to New Lagos is a collaboration between Vigilism (Lekan Jeyifous, a Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based architect, artist and designer) and menswear designer Wale Oyejide. This set of illustrated scenes are part of a fashion campaign for Oyejide’s Ikiré Jones Menswear line. Oyejide is also a musician and a lawyer by profession.
Jeyifous describes it as a ” perfect opportunity to further extend the boundaries of Architectural Representation and (his) interest in exploring new aesthetic vocabularies.”

Wale Oyejide wearing the Black Danté jacket by Ikiré Jones

Wale Oyejide wearing the Black Danté jacket by Ikiré Jones

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