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Black Women & The World

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Black is King or a marvelous narration of black pride that displays black beauty, strength and culture through Disney’s Lion king protagonist Simba, journey with the music of The Gift curated by Beyoncé. The film premiered the 31th of July on Disney+ and the next day on African platform like DSTV, Canal+ …

After getting amazed by these high quality visuals with dances, rhythm and researched aesthetics with the collaboration of our amazing creatives from African countries through direction, fashion and filming production we have to point out and show those references that made us lift up from our chairs.

The film was in work since 2019, proving again that Beyoncé’s NDA contracts have enough power to silence anybody. We’ve seen colors, Afrofuturism aesthetic but most importantly blackness through ages and all over the world.

Beyoncé represents an ancestor that will follow the young king into his trip and teach him about the circle of life and witness every moment of his ascending to be a king despite sadness, anger and lost of his own self, from his dreams,  and his new accomplished life with Nala and their new baby. In this narrative Beyonce amplifies women gift to give life and show that women are in the center of the creation of the world.

 

Through African Tradition

The symbol of White

The first scene revolves around Baptism, like the birth of Simba in the circle of life. We can see ancestors, priests sagging and priestess with Calabasas washing children faces and feet, holding flowers and praying. In many African cultures white means “Purity” and also remind us of Komians women in Akan societies, these women considered as medium were able to be in contact with the spirit world and ours. They wore white, had nude feet and  could see the future and always accompanies the King and royal family in their reign through protection and even afterwards, whe he passes.

The ceremony use body paint on the young king by his ancestors that solidify his status, and ritual of purification as young king, it reminds us of kaolin (White Clay) that is used in ritual and symbolize joy (Dan people with yangbah dance), peace and mourn, cultural ceremonies in Akan societies and all over west African tribes. Even the Fang of Cameroon and Myene in Gabon, the dead will cross the river of tears to become a spirit , in Gabon the Ogooue they use white clay also to represent ghosts.

 

 

 

But white is also refered in ancient Egypt as mourning, it symbolize death through mummification of passed pharaohs, shroud that can be seen in Nile video clip that represents “The king has died” after Simba’s naivety and fight against the image of funeral always symbolized by black in western societies.

 

 

 

 

 

Calabasas 

The use of Calabasas is really symbolic, a non-edible fruit that grows in Africa and America that isused to create utensil, musical instrument (balafon, maracas, djembe), its round form is a symbol of cosmic energy and women that are the perfect recipient for holding life. For example in Yoruba’s Orisha myth, Odudua and Obatala merge like two half Calabasas form the universe and represent the duality of the creation of the world.

 

Spiritual Animals 

Snakes can be seen as evil creatures in western religious belief, but in many tribes in Benin, togo vodun, and even dogon tribe where they represent their past immortal ancestors, they are seen as sacred, protectors. The Nommo androgynous twins of dogon is a python.

African spirituality is rooted in animal source of power and image of spirit and are used to portrays divinity and venerence. We can see a bull head of batammaribain Benin and Togo, mursi women in Ethiopia, the bull was a symbol of fertility in ancient Egypt whose horns were worn by Hathor goddess of love, family and also by Odiani people of igbo.

 

Golden and Divine status

Many great scenes representing the masai jumping contest in suit From Kenya and Tanzania. We’ve seen lot of wraps display in plenty of scenes, represent symbol of marriage, status. The lip disc from east Africa, popular in Ethiopia, Chad, Mozambique and are symbol of social status too.

 

 

The Akan crown, golds and umbrella Ohenekyinnie that means authority over his people. Omo people in Ethiopia, Guere in cote d’ivoire, mastered the art of body painting as cultural expression in Africa and flowers head pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

Scenes about balance reminds of Maat one of the most known goddess in Egypt, without forgetting Gods in Vodun Liza and Mawu through he portrayal of good and bad, light and dark that cannot exist without one another.

 

 

 

 

Adinkra symbol, one of the first written languages from Akan (Most popular in Ghana), is represented in this scene, and this sign is a symbol of wealth, power abundance and solidarity.

 

 

Red ochre by Himba women in Naminia mixed with cow milk is used to to protect their skin from the sun, give them a beautiful rich hydrated skin. Their thick hair symbolize fertility. In the film they are symbolising duality of male female spirits/ancestors .

 

 

 

We can see art from the Ndebele of south Africa, Masai jewelries of kenya, celebration of love and return back to the values of motherland that is the real royalty, not the crown and artifacts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dogon cosmogony

This visual send us far than earth, but to the creation of the world through the Dogon people, a tribe living in west Africa (Mali, Cote d’ivoire…) that refused the arrival of islam and Christianity and have a belief deeply rooted into nature, celestial bodies as the universe and their knowledges of space, astronomy till this day fascinating modern day scientist. In their spirituality the universe was created by the Amma and this God created the earth who was a women and fertilizes her to creates Nommo an androgenous twin deities and its first inhabitants to represens duality. They even have masks that represent the movement of the sun called Sirige. Beyonce represents every celestial mentioned in their tale like the stars, the sun, Sirius, Comet, Black Hole, the pleiade seven sisters to portray how the dance of all these bodies created the world like the dogon speak of in their oral tradition.

We can see green man that represents water genie in Bambara, dogon, Azuza of west Africa (Ghana, benin, togo) pygme genie male, Congo with ireyi cult Toula in Niger, also created by the foam of the sea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can see Kanaga masks wore by the Awa society, a mask that is used in a ceremony called Dama and establish the connection between the earth and the sky to usher the sprits and accompany the dead into the spirit world that show this vision of the creation of the world to the young king and his ancestors portrayed by the stars. They always pay homage to their first ancestors like mufasa showing his ancestors to simba.

 

Representation of Black Beauties 

In brown skin girl, The film is pushing Black girls and woman in Disney spaces and is a real statement on universial beauty that misrepresented in its film and Disney princesses.  Those girls that beauty is and always have been undeniable through their versatility and diverse characteristics, the song praises darker skin in this colorist society, an ode to black beauty portrayed through Kelly Rowland, Naomi Campbell.  She portrays young girls in contemporary princess outfit thinking about cendrillon ballroom, reference to Rapunzel with huge braided hair, Beyonce included herself as Rapunzel, to celebrate versatility in Afro.

We’ve Fulani braids, bantu knots , Nigerian hair scuplture, hair from Hamer people of Ethiopia, mangbetu with lipombo skull elongation which is a sign of beauty intelligence and power making us think about Nefertiti representing beauty through ages.

Beauty universiality and blackness through the world with south/east Asia where colorism is harsh and economy allow the commercialization and encouragement of bleaching.

 

African Women bodies

Busiswa wearing Isicholo of zulu, is celebrating african woman curves that have been demonized and sexualized all these years reference to Saartjie Baartman a south african enslaved woman that lived a terrible life because of racism. The hips movement like the earth reminds of assiko dance in Cameroon or dances in Congo that are centered on the hips.

 

African Spirituality and water (Like Fela says water no gets enemy)

Water is source of life, purification to baptize, regeneration and is important in the circle of life (Ships were seen as trip to the afterlife).

Its very important in African spirituality. We’ve seen her dance with water, on water (river) mazina maganda an Uganda dance to vibrate and bring life to the water. She pays homage to african deities that are connected with water , the orishas from Yoruba mythology, that she mentionned that accompanied the young king through his fight for enlightment, we can mention Yemaya (igbo) also Mami watta in Benin, Togo, vodun, Faro in mali link to Niger river and has a strong relationship with water through music reminds of blues,in saheli tribe where water is a necessity  which they are always seeking for.. We remember that the Nile was the center that explain how African migrated through the whole continent, Abla Pokou that sacrified her child to save her people (Baoule myth), water has memory and recover the truth and hold our spirituality, water and woman share life that they give. In mali they have a strong relationship with water, nobody can exist without water. The image of African women taking charges on their head in calabases walking kilometers to get safe water from well or rivers for their family.

ORISHAS (Yoruba)

 

Through Lion King 

In Mood 4 eva, we can see a display of eccentricity and careless and fantasy world that reminds African dictators through presidential wealthy mandate like Mobutu and Marie Antoinette in RDC with his cheetah famous hat. Its represent the famous phrase “Hakuna Matata” which is a celebration of life. The animal prints are here to remind us of the animals in Lion King the film, we have the morning report by Zazu reference with beyonce reading her morning paper, and the flamingo scene with synchonised dancers in the pool with pink. This dream will send Simba into a world where he will only see his fantasies that scramble his perspection of reality and build his illusion of happiness to ignore his worries.

We can see Beyonce in a tree as Rafiki in Already and others scene th Lion King’s fans will love.

 

Black is king is a counterbalance narrative towards the hate, incomprehension towards Black people in the world ! Lets seek wealth, real royalty that are not represented by monarchy but by our community values, knowledge and love for each other.

Zindziswa Mandela, the daughter of South African anti-apartheid leaders Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, has died aged 59

The cause of her death has not been revealed yet.

Known for her political and social activism, she was appointed as South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark in 2014.

In a brief statement, The Mandela family said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Mama Zindzi Mandela, youngest daughter of the late ANC stalwarts Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. She is survived by her children and grandchildren.

“The memorial service and funeral arrangements are to be announced in the course of the week,” said the family statement.

Tobias Elling Rehfeld, ambassador of Denmark to South Africa, said he was “saddened” to learn about Zindzi’s death.

“I am so saddened to learn that Ambassador @ZindziMandela has passed away. Zindzi was a dear colleague working tirelessly and with a smile to nurture and grow the strong friendship between #SouthAfricaFlag of South Africa and #DenmarkFlag of Denmark. My deep condolence to the Mandela family!,” he tweeted.

The mother of four was the author of Black As I Am, first published in 1978.

Tributes are pouring in after the sudden death of struggle stalwart Zindzi Mandela. Details are sketchy but the Mandela family is expected to reveal more in a statement on Monday.

Educated in South Africa and Swaziland, Zindzi spent many years involved in South Africa’s freedom struggle, and embraced roles in the arts, philanthropy and business.

Zindziswa came to international prominence in 1985, when the white minority government offered to release Nelson Mandela from prison if he denounced violence perpetrated by his movement, the Africa National Congress, against apartheid, the brutal system of racial discrimination enforced in South Africa at that time.

South Africa Won’t Open To Tourist Until 2021

Zindzi Mandela read his letter rejecting the offer at a packed public meeting that was broadcast around the world.

South Africa’s foreign minister Naledi Pandor said that Zindzi was not just the child of two hallowed struggle activists – she was a struggle heroine herself.

Her death comes a week before Nelson Mandela International Day, an annual commemoration on July 18, the former president’s birthday. The day was officially declared by the United Nations in Nov. 2009.

 Jeyza Gary has a rare, inherited condition that causes her skin to shed every two weeks.  She was born with a rare skin condition called lamellar ichthyosis,

Two years ago, Jeyza Gary decided to pursue a modeling career while completing her bachelor’s degree in special education. Now, she’s signed to a modeling agency, and has been featured in Vogue Italia.

DESCRIBE JEYZA IN 3 WORDS?

Giving, observant and smiley!

 HOW DID YOUR APPEARANCE INFLUENCE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS? FRIENDSHIP, LOVE, EVEN IN YOUR FAMILY?

My appearance has always been something that is seen. Consequently, in all of the relationships mentioned there is a form of dialogue that usually takes place. Nonetheless, once that conversation takes place my appearance is the last topic of conversation moving forward.

 WHO WAS YOUR BIGGEST ADVOCATE BEFORE YOU KNEW HOW TO ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF?

My mom was undeniably my biggest advocate.

Jeyza Gary

 GROWING UP WITH YOUR SKIN CONDITION, DID YOU FEEL THERE WAS PROPER REPRESENTATION IN FASHION/ BEAUTY MEDIA?

Growing up I didn’t see anyone in the media or fashion even with my condition.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GO INTO MODELLING?

Taking pictures with my uncle and seeing how I can evolve into something totally different behind the camera really made me want to work until it became my reality.

#InspiredByHer: Ezinne Kwubiri, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at H&M North America

WHAT WAS THE MOST EXCITING PROJECT YOU EVER WORKED ON?

The most exciting project I’ve ever worked on is an unreleased Editorial for a magazine in London. I got to wear vintage Chanel and other amazing designers. I met some of the most talented artists and models respectively. Jeyza Gary

 HOW DO YOU DFEINE BEAUTY? WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL BEAUTIFUL?

I define beauty as carelessness. What do I mean by that? Well, True beauty in my opinion isn’t definied by societal standards, if anything it’s the complete opposite. I believe true beauty is when individuals challenge conventional standards and break molds. Beauty is courage, it’s boldness when everyone wants to silence you. Styling my hair, a casual outfit and lip gloss makes me feel the most beautiful. It doesn’t take much for me to like what I see.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES YOU FACE IN THE MODELLING INDUSTRY?

Standards and precedents. Being someone that isn’t represented in the media and trying to break into the industry is undeniably challenging. It is already challenging To be a model in such a competitive industry let alone a model that does not fit conventional norms.

Woman Who Sheds Skin Every Two Weeks Becomes Probably The First ...

 

Could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Chebet Chikumbu, I am a Pan African woman of Kenyan origin and South African cultivation. I currently serve as the Regional Director of Southern and East Africa at Global Citizen.

 What was the path that led you to this role at Global Citizen?

I was working under the extraordinary leadership of Mama Graça Machel in her capacity as Chairperson of Mandela Institute for Development Studies. During this stint, I was exposed to the power of information dissemination for social change and finding solutions for
development challenges on our continent. I was in awe of her humanitarian efforts
through various interventions and channelled her lessons into my own line of service. I
was responsible for shaping the nature of the development programmes in African
Heritage and Economic Development which planted seeds in the role that Africans can
play in actively seeking our own interventions through collaboration and coordination.
Prior to that, I served at Praekelt Foundation – an organisation dedicated to using mobile
technology to improve the lives of people living in poverty. This was my introduction to
advancing our development agenda using digital platforms to tackle social issues.

Can you tell us a little about your duties as the Africa Director at Global Citizen?

I am responsible for leading our Joburg-based team in the execution of our regional strategy.
I oversee the delivery of our key advocacy campaigns, communications, programmes
and strategic partnerships in the Southern and East Africa region.

Did you always know that working in the Humanitarian was what you wanted to do?

Yes, working in the humanitarian field was always what I wanted to do as a conscious
citizen fueled by serving others and using my inner agency to uplift vulnerable people.
As a first born child, I was taught to work hard and treat everyone with kindness while
remembering my roots. As a grown African woman, I am determined to lead with
compassion and live with purpose to tackle the systemic causes of extreme poverty.

What  motivates you on a daily basis in the humanitarian field?

I am motivated by those who have gone before us and fought for our economic freedom such as Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Mama Wangari Maathai as well as living legends devoted to leaving a legacy for a better world for our next generation, driven by their individual stories for social justice and I emulate their ideologies through my own existence.

And what are the main challenges?

Given the nature of finite resources in our world, we will continue to experience inequalities and scarcity to some extent. Thus the opportunities for us remain to address shortages, to source supplies and mobilise those who are fortunate enough to meet the growing demand of basic needs in our communities.

What was it about your mentality that changed when you started working at Global Citizen?

I have gained a greater appreciation for diversity. Working for an advocacy
organisation that spans across five continents has affirmed that our thinking and actions
are truly shaped by our cultural awareness, lived experiences and varied background.
Our cultural differences should not separate us from each other, but rather cultural
diversity brings a collective strength that can benefit all of humanity. As a member of
the human race, our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the
socio-economic solutions we develop and pass them on to the next generation.

You’ve had so many career highs. What’s been your proudest moment?

Being part of a team that delivered the Mandela 100 campaign culminating in a festival which
galvanized 16 governments, eight international institutions and foundations, and 12
corporations to make financial and political commitments. This campaign saw engaged
citizens take over 5.65 million actions globally, which resulted in 60 commitments and
announcements worth USD $7.2 billion (ZAR 104 billion), set to affect the lives of 121
million people around the world.

How do we achieve having more women chairing government or business Affairs in
Africa?

We need to lean into our own inherent capacities and capabilities to chair all
types of affairs on the continent. It starts with self belief to apply our innate strengths,
followed by making decisions using facts and figures with good sensibilities and
sensitivities when needed. Additionally, I am learning how to make a difference and
move the needle through teachings from some of our formidable African elders such as
Amina Mohammed, Maki Mandela, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Winnie Byanyima.

Which topics or Areas are most interesting to you?

Early childhood development, gender equality, women’s empowerment and partnerships for development.

What’s your advice for women trying to discover or build upon their passion?

Go for it wholeheartedly, grind hard and have a willingness to try again if at first you do not
succeed. Life is a series of learnings and wins, there can be no failures if we build upon
each lesson. Condition your mind with positive success stories and fill up on courage to
step outside of your comfort zone. As the great late poet Maya Angelou said “you
develop courage by doing small things like just as if you wouldn’t want to pick up a
100-pound weight without preparing yourself.” The inches we need are everywhere.

#InspiredByHer: Annie Jean-Baptiste, The Woman Fighting To Ensure Google’s Product And Workforce Reflect Its Diverse User Base

What are the main characteristics you believe every successful leader should possess?

Empathy, humility and integrity.

 What Woman inspires you and why?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; for her outlook on identity, feminism and fashion as well as her excellent command for storytelling and positively shifting narratives through her craft.

Why is it important for people to care about the crisis and disasters that are happening
around the world?

We have a shared universal obligation as members of the human race to care for each other as well as our planet as our home. The negative externalities we face are often within our control to course correct as we have the agency and abilities to take action to make our world a better place. We need to generate more consciousness about the collective power of active citizenry that lifts societies for our greater good.

 

Through her company, African Ancestry Inc., Gina Paige is helping individuals curious about their African heritage trace their roots through DNA testing, And in doing so, pioneered a new way of tracing African lineages using genetics, and a new marketplace for people of African descent looking to more accurately and reliably trace their roots. Gina Paige travels the world helping people demystify their roots and inform on identities so that they may better understand who they are by knowing where they’re from.

Dr. Gina Paige has worked with and revealed the roots of the worlds’ leading icons and entities including Oprah Winfrey, John Legend, Chadwick Boseman, Spike Lee, Condoleezza Rice and The King Family. Paige has served as speaker, presenter and/or partner to McDonalds, Capital One, The Walt Disney Company, Booz Allen Hamilton, Wells Fargo, The Wall Street Journal Health Forum 2019, United Healthcare and dozens of community organizations and faith-based entities. She’s often a go-to resource for African Diaspora communities including the Embassies of Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana.

#InspiredByHer With Gina Paige

Can you please tell us about yourself and background?

I love Black people. All aspects of my life are guided by this simple principle and it is what led me to co-found a company that’s in the business of being Black!  

People also say that I have entrepreneurial DNA because I come from a family of entrepreneurs. After starting businesses in elementary school and after college, I now run a company that’s the world leader of genetic ancestry tracing for people of African descent.  For specifics, see my attached bio.    

How did you get involved and become a co- founder of African Ancestry?

I was fortunate to be introduced by a colleague to leading geneticist, Dr. Rick Kittles, our company’s Co-founder and Scientific Director. Dr. Kittles’ passion for the movements of African people across the world, combined with his research and compilation of thousands of African lineages that comprise our company’s database —  sparked it all. We combined his science expertise and my business acumen to form  African Ancestry   

You discovered from your African Ancestry test you share paternal genetic ancestry with Hausa people in Nigeria. Have you visited Nigeria?

I have visited seven African countries. My plan is to finally visit Nigeria in 2020!

Was it easy to bring the African Diaspora into this experience?

Yes and no.  When you think about it, African Americans have been here in the U.S. for more than 400 years. Unfortunately, we have been disconnected from our African heritage just as long. That means that for many of us, we have been longing to know our roots for generations. On the other hand, it also means that we have been subject to every negative stereotype possible about Africa and so  there are others of us who want nothing to do with being from there. This is why AfricanAncestry.com exists. We reconnect people across the world with their true African roots. And our customers are excited to find out and transformed through the process.      

What Motivates you at African Ancestry to help people reconnect with their African roots?  Was it your own experience?

I am motivated by the fact that I am a Black woman with the ability to use my skills and talents to provide a service that expands that way that we view ourselves and Africa in a unique, unparalleled way.    

How many people have utilized your product and service? We have helped nearly one million families reconnect with their roots.

Who are some of the notable people that have experienced the work of African Ancestry? You can find a list of notables here (Wall of Return). It includes people like Chadwick Boseman and Oprah Winfrey. However, the most fulfilling part of our work is the excitement and reactions of everyday people … especially young people like Julian Frederick @stepstoolchef.

#Inspiredwithher with Dr Gina Paige
Comedian and Actress Loni Love Traces Her African Roots to Nigeria With AfricanAncestry.com

What’s your next step after you get in touch with your ancestral background? Do you encourage them to travel and see for themselves where they come from?

We refer to the process of finding your roots with AfricanAncestry.com as “The African Ancestry Experience”. It begins with taking the test and then takes off from there. We provide information resources and training and we facilitate connections and engagement.   For example:

  • The African Ancestry Online Community empowers test takers to meet, exchange and share with other members of the African Ancestry Family. Strong bonds have been formed among members in the group that share similar ancestries.
  • African Ancestry Family Reunions are specially curated birthright journeys home to the countries of Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ghana, providing a more meaningful way to visit and experience our roots in Africa. 
  • Programs such as The Ultimate Selfie Youth initiative, The AfricanAncestry.com Experience event and our flagship African Ancestry Reveal Ceremonies, among others, celebrate our connections to Africa and educate groups on various countries and tribes.  

#InspiredByHer: Meet Sarah Chan, First African Woman to be a Lead Scout for An NBA franchise.

We have seen these years the necessity for African Diaspora to come back, we had the Year of Return in Ghana that attracted more thousands of people landing in Accra. Is your mission aiming to fulfillment or is there more to do?

We have seen unprecedented momentum due in part to efforts such as the 400 Years of African-American History Commission Act, Ghana’s Year of Return and The 1619 Project, but there’s always more to do.  For AfricanAncestry.com, we won’t stop until every Black person displaced from their African roots knows where they’re from; and those that know, use their knowledge to enhance self and community.

What was the funniest reaction you had after someone took his Ancestry Reveal? 

We recently did an African Ancestry Reveal for some employees at Facebook’s NY office. The guy I was about to reveal is quiet and reserved. When I revealed that he shared ancestry with the Yoruba people in Nigeria, he had a huge smile on his face. But the entire room of over 100 people exploded with shouts and claps and screams of “Naija!”. They had the outward loud and raucous expression of the joy that he was feeling inside. It was a priceless moment! 

Entrepreneurship is challenging. What keeps you going/motivated?

I am motivated by the reactions and the impact that our work has. It is an honor for me to be able to serve Black people in the Business of Being Black. 

gina Paige

What would you say to motivate/ empower women who want to go into entrepreneurship but are scared and nervous?

I would tell them to embrace the fear first and then use it to their advantage. In my experience, when you admit things to yourself, it diminishes the power it has over you.

I also believe it’s important to start a business that you’re passionate about. There are many, many factors that affect the growth and sustainability of any company, and if you’re not driven beyond the money, you won’t last.

And always remember — most women are already entrepreneurs.  We’re working jobs, running homes, raising kids, taking care of mates, handling civic duties and maintaining social lives. Use this as a reminder that you’re naturally equipped with what it takes to succeed.

 

 

 

Regardless of where you are at in your Natural hair journey, there are a few natural hair essentials that will help to keep your strands healthy and flourishing. With the wide range and ever-growing selection of natural hair products stocking shelves, it is easy to become a self proclaimed product junkie.

Here are a few natural hair essentials that can help you to take better care of your hair

#InspiredByHer: Annie Jean-Baptiste  is the Head Of Product Inclusion, Research and Activation at Google. She is passionate about making the web and Google’s products work for underrepresented communities while ensuring that Google is a place where everyone shines for their differences.

 

Annie Jean-Baptiste

Can you please tell us a bit about Yourself, Background, Role and what inspired You to be in tech landscape?

I am a 31 year old first generation Haitian-American. My brother inspired me to apply to Google after he interned there. It’s been my only full time job- I’ve been there for over 9
years!

Product inclusion is about bringing an inclusive lens to the product design process. We are building products for users all over the world, and so we want to ensure we have diverse
perspectives at the table throughout the process, especially at critical points.

You have a huge mandate and responsibilities at Google. Can you walk me through what a typical day looks like for you?

I meet with product teams and help consult on new and existing products and features. I help them understand what underrepresented users they need to bring into the fold at
critical moments in the product design process. I also work with senior leaders to make sure we have buy-in and accountability for product inclusion.

Another big part of my work is research- we are looking at what practices lead to positive and inclusive outcomes in product design, and will be launching a white paper on our findings this
year

Technology is a male-dominated field and Breaking into the tech industry can seem challenging for women of color, who usually don’t see people who look like them in the industry. What steps should be taken to attract more women to tech and rectify the imbalance?

We need perspectives of women of color and many other underrepresented groups to truly build global products. By understanding that diverse teams lead to increased innovation and better products for everyone, we will see more underrepresented people in tech. There are so many rich perspectives that come from women of color and so we are committed to inclusion in culture and product

What is your go-to work look?

I love supporting underrepresented designers. Google doesn’t necessarily have a dress code, so my look varies. I love leather and vegan leather, metallic colors, and fun heels,
but could also be wearing combat boots. Some of my favorite designers: Aminah Abdul Jilil, Andrea Iyamah, Cushnie. I make an effort to support underrepresented designers whenever I can!

What professional accomplishment has given you the most satisfaction?

Hearing from users that they feel seen. When a user talks about using a product and knowing they were thought of in the process, it validates the work and pushes me to work
harder!

What does it mean for you to have a commitment to diversity/Inclusion? How have you demonstrated that commitment?

It means treating it like any part of your strategy. Having metrics that matter, accountability frameworks, sponsorship and a clear theory of change or hypothesis around what needs to change or how you can change to see structural shifts that bring equitable outcomes.

What would be your message to women trying to get into technology? What do you wish you had known?

Find your voice and use it, but use it in a way that’s authentic to you. I’m an introvert, so for me, that can mean writing something down, or letting my team know id like an agenda
beforehand so I can collect my thoughts before a meeting. I’d also say to push yourself. My former manager, Karen always told me to lead with yes, and I think even if that was scary,
it’s helped me grow and be able to find my passion.

How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?

#InspiredByHer: Ezinne Kwubiri, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at H&M North America

There is an amazing group of women inside and outside of Google that have my back, that advise me and lift me up. It means celebrating each other, being honest with each other,
providing opportunities to one another, and truly feeling like when your squad wins, you win. I win. I’m super blessed to have support like that and try to be intentional about reciprocating
and paying it forward!

Your team’s guide ‘building for everyone’ will be released in summer 2020. Tell us more about it?

It’s about best practices and our research. It also gives a behind the scenes look at the Googlers who have powered the work. There are also concrete examples across
industries, from medicine, to fashion, sports and more. If you have a product or a service, or you serve customers, thinking about inclusivity in your process is important so that you solve core user needs.

 

 

 

African Women hold an incredible legacy on their back, a vibrant history of queen, pharaohs, leaders and thinkers that, still today manifest their feminine energy into our current society through those who are bold enough to lift their voices in a patriarchal society, always diminishing their power and make them seek refuge in fear and forced empathy, accepting every form of violence from this system.

Today, we are not only highlighting those great figures that we all know and we all respect but it’s a short path that we’ll draw on the sand with a small piece of wood that will lead to understand many aspect and roles African women played or faced to be who they are today.

 

Hatshepsut – fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt

Hatshepsut: The pharaoh is a woman

Actually she wasn’t the first woman to reign on men, but she was the most iconic to do so. Hatshepsut came on the throne with knowledge on economy, international diplomacy and for 20 years she managed to enhance Egypt and build wealth over her kingdom. She was a visionary and participated in major technical advanced and discovery, by financing and leading the first expedition to the Land of Punt (Region of Somalia) who was believed to be an ancient kingdom, where the first Egyptians are coming from. As a matter of fact she paved the way for strong, magnificent buildings that many pharaohs claim as theirs, transplanted foreign trees into her royal yard that a generation benefited from.

 

 

African Women’s Legacy: From Hatshepsut to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Original Beauty

When we talk about beauty, African women have a strong resume. From Nefertiti that overshadowed every women in history for her beauty that was registered so many times through time to Makeda: Queen of Sheba that brang another sense to it with her internal beauty (wisdom, compassion, respect, boldness, fearlessness and self-esteem) a strong value in Africa.

The black of their skin was described as gold, their hair were crown, worn to express their creativity and versatility, and they knew many secrets of beauty that they passed down from mother to daughter. African woman are naturally beautiful and smart, praised for their strong curves holding themselves and others on their back. Beauty wasn’t something to seek for when they already knew they were, accepting every aspect of their bodies, African women were their own standard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Furthermore, some accessories like fragrance, wigs, cowries, and make up were already used in the past in a sense of beauty enhancer. External beauty may seem false and give a wrong impression of someone’s true nature for instance many distinctive signs of beauty were established in different tribes like necklaces and jewelries by Zulu people, stripes on faces by the Maasai in Kenya, and face scarification by Yoruba people in Nigeria.

 

African Women’s Legacy: From Hatshepsut to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 

Abla Pokou TO

FREEDOM, Glorified. 

Women held an important power in many chieftaincies and tribes in Africa. Matriarchy was a system that gave African women power positions in politics, social privilege and control. One of the most common tribe that is known for this societal organization is the Akan people. Their society is matrilineal, meaning that all inheritance matters are based on the mother. Female were leaders, they weren’t only this stereotypical etiquette on their reproductive capacity, they allowed greatness on their entire lineage.

Ablah Pokou was an Akan queen that sacrificed her baby to save her kingdom and allowed them to reach another land for safety. Her people were named Baoulé, word coming from (Baouli: The child has died) a homage to her lost child. On top of that she is venerated and represents courage, woman leadership, determination, spreading the message of this legend that survived every ages to inspire more women.

#InspiredByHer: Ezinne Kwubiri, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at H&M North America

Art was very important in African societies, it described our culture, stories, deities through paintings, sculptures and more. African women were making potteries, baskets, sewing, designing textiles etc.…

Although they were participating in creating art pieces, most of the time the artworks, masks and sculpted figures represented their bodies, their nudity and were even used for rituals, fertility purpose. Women were both creators and subject, and female beauty was portrayed and glorified by both men and women.

 

 

Between lust and a cursed heritage

This huge legacy was coveted and African women will never be the same. The colonial era brought violence, gender discrimination, women were losing their power in African societies becoming only objects. African women are now highly disrespected, the one that were painted as goddess are now playing not a second but third role. Marriage was important but now that’s the only title that they can pretend to in this new one hundred percent patriarchal society.The black of their skin was described as dirty, ugly and their hair were cut, burned, hidden to make them believe something they were not. Broken families, burned traditions, lost empathy, bashed blood, bleached skin, hair cut, tragedy.

Saartje Baartman was one of the many victims, this curvy african woman was sexualized, abused, raped, and lived a depressed life before dying sadly at a young age. This marked not the start but years of humiliation over african women that started losing their yesteryear strong aspect. However, they were still perceived as strong but in a negative way. For this reason, they are not allowed to cry, to be vulnerable, they have to compromise no matter what happen to their dignity and self-worth.

After centuries of oppression, trying to step back, the world was always an enemy to their fulfillment like a curse, casted by history that generations will face until they find a counter spell.

 

African Women’s Legacy: From Hatshepsut to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 

We should all be Feminist!

Nowadays, we see another era of women claiming for equity and equality. They are tired of male supremacy and male privilege, the “a woman is supposed to stay at home” narrative is for the past, education for young African girls, redefine our culture and the aspect that doesn’t allow them to evolve, tell women to not accept everything formed against them in this world. LETS ALL BE FEMINIST.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, a Nigerian writer is now a feminist icon in Africa and beyond. She wants equality, she wants dignity and respect for every women in this world. After sending powerful messages in her TED talk, she exhorts women and men to join this fight for generations to uncast the curse. She is a great example of leadership, greatness, elegance and intelligence, that’s an African Women.

 

 

Now we have Ellen Johnson Sirleaf the first woman elected president in Africa in 2005, who maintained Liberia and imposed herself in this so called man dominated field, that’s an African Woman, which created controversy because of her gender.

She was certainly guided by Hatshepsut’s spirit her great ancestor aura who proved years ago, she was more than her gender, don’t limit myself when I can run this world too. Black women will always find a way to reach their final form, our first mothers coming from the so called motherland, breaking codes as they will set their reign to another era allowing a future generation of African women to first breathe in this world without holding one nostril.

 

 

 

 

Written by Yao Boni.

It would be hard to find a little girl who’s never wanted to be a Disney princess. Or any princess for that matter. Unfortunately, our media is not very inclusive and the majority of iconic princesses in children’s movies and books fit a very stiff mold that not all children can relate to. But as our society is becoming more progressive, so is the media and art. Hairstylist LaChanda Gatson decided to redefine the image of a traditional princess in a stunning photoshoot that showcases elegant, colorful and brave African American princesses

Regis and Kahran, the duo behind CreativeSoul Photography, produced a series of 14 photographs showcasing princesses with “[their] own dash of style, culture and swag”. Bored Panda reached out to the photographer duo and they provided a brief explanation behind the project. “The princess series was created by hairstylist LaChanda Gatson and child photographers CreativeSoul Photography,” they explained how this project was a collaboration between creative minds.

The goal is to inspire more girls around the world to start seeing themselves as regal princesses,” the photographers explained. We could definitely spot some similarities with the iconic Disney princesses so we decided to guess which ones they might represent!

See the stunning princesses for yourself

      #1 Princess Rapunzel

disney princesses reimagined as black princesses     

 #2 – PRINCESS JASMINE

   #3- PRINCESS TIANA

#4- PRINCESS CINDERELLA

#5- PRINCESS NALA

#6- PRINCESS MOANA

#7- PRINCESS POCAHONTAS

#8- PRINCESS ANNA

#9- PRINCESS ELSAWhat 14 Disney Princesses Would Like If They Were African American

#Africancreativeseries: Meet Mobile Photographer, Derrick O Boateng From Ghana

#9-  PRINCESS SNOW WHITE

What 14 Disney Princesses Would Like If They Were African American

#N011- PRINCESS AURORA
What 14 Disney Princesses Would Like If They Were African American

#NO12- PRINCESS SHURIWhat 14 Disney Princesses Would Like If They Were African American

#NO12- PRINCESS BELLEMore info: creativesoulphoto.com | Facebook | Instagram | Facebook | Instagram

What 14 Disney Princesses Would Like If They Were African American

#NO14 – PRINCESS ARIEL
What 14 Disney Princesses Would Like If They Were African American

The photographers also revealed that people’s response has been great so far! “The social media response has been amazing with currently over 75,000 reshares on our Facebook post and several other pages,” they told Brored panda

 

Source:Bored Panda

 

 

Ezinne KWUBIRI is a black woman, diversity leader, innovator, and ally. She is an Alumni of Howard University’s School of Business where she majored in Accounting and Business strategy. She started her career in Diversity and Inclusion at Viacom Media; Kwubiri earned a newly created position as the Head of Diversity and Inclusion for H&M North America.

ezinne

1. Please tell us about your Nigerian roots.

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, my roots are from Umuahia in Abia State (Nigeria) part of the Igbo tribe. My new Nigerian legacy will be from Imo State, where my husband is from.

 

2. Tell us about your profession and how you got into your line of work?

My career has transitioned over the years. I began my career as a consultant (auditing roles) at a (then) Big 4 accounting firm. I soon transitioned to the entertainment/ media industry in another auditing role. During my time there, I started my career in people management – specifically Change Management & Diversity & Inclusion. Now I lead D&I at one of the largest fashion retail companies in the world.

 

3. What is the most challenging part of your job ?

Every role has its challenges & successes. The size & global footprint of my current role creates various nuances on how you communicate, create, & resonate with various persons.

 

4. Tell us about your vision for H&M’s diversity and inclusion initiatives?

My vision as the Head of Inclusion & Diversity is to provide an intentional space that promotes, embraces and highlights the diversity of people & thought, where people feel they have equal opportunity to be seen and heard, where customers feel they can see themselves represented in our campaigns; attracting and retaining top diverse professionals.

 

5. What is the most common mistake in an organization’s thinking about diversity?

Companies should recognize that fostering a workplace of diversity requires intentional actions. It is not an overnight process. You have to be honest with where you are, what the people want, & how you will get there. It’s a true commitment that requires full buy-in from key decision-makers.

 

6. Your appointment means a lot to people of color, especially women of color. Any top tips for women trying to get into your line of work who wants to use her voice to change the narrative ?

Regardless of your title, line of work, or level of experience, you can use your voice to change the narrative. The way you show up in those spaces is how you begin that change. Always speak up, initiate, challenge, & provide solutions to areas that you see have gaps. It doesn’t always have to be a formal process.

#BlackArtistToWatch: Meet Nneka Jones From Trinidad and Tobago

7. As more women of color enter and thrive in the workforce, how will that impact the future of diversity and inclusion ?

Women of color, really all women, have been forces in the workforce for decades. Now their voices are louder & stronger. We are starting to be seen for what we’ve always been: leaders, resilient, empathic & visionaries. The future is keeping that integrity & strength and demanding equal pay & rights from our male counterparts.

ezinne

 

8. H&M recently announced its first-ever collaboration with a South African Designer. Should we expect more collaboration with African brands in the nearest future?

We hope to continue to provide collaborations that will resonate with our customers & align with the brand’s aesthetics. I am excited about the future potential collaborations.

9. Do you have a philosophy that you apply to your personal life and your career?
What are your career commandments?

Staying true to who I am and living in purpose & integrity. Own your true & use your voice.

 

10. What do you see as the greatest Leadership Strength?

The ability to motivate others & make everyone feel heard & important. If your team is not rallying behind you, it’ll be challenging for you to lead them.

 

11. For those who work in the diversity and inclusion space, are there any tips you would recommend?

Be kind to yourself. Change is not going to happen overnight – it might take months or even years for you to see any progress. Be true to yourself & the work. Be sure there is a budget & resources to support your efforts. You cannot, and should not do this alone.

 

12. To what extent do you believe there are significant differences in how one should work with diverse cultures within the US/US minorities and diverse cultures from other nations? Are different strategies appropriate, and if so, what are they?

Even within the same continent, your strategy for diversity & inclusion should not the same. Everyone works, hears, & listens differently. We have to understand the complexities of the audience, the current culture, what you are trying to achieve. There is no “one size fits all”.
Also, understanding as much as we are different, there are still similarities, things that unite us as humans. Find that connector & go from there.

 

13. How does it feel being an African representing in the West at a time like this where the world is becoming more and more aware of the African continent and its POWER?

Africa to the WORLD! I am proud to be Nigerian. There is so much beauty & talent on the continent and it’s exciting to see the world recognizing that. There are many Africans that are the “first black” in their fields, that are trailblazers & representing well. I remember growing up, being from somewhere else was not the “cool” thing. Now our styles, foods, names, music, etc. are influencing the nations.

We’ve been here & been great… I’ll tell the rest of the world…WELCOME !