Fashion has always been a world-building up multiple trends in order to validate your resume of fashion addicts and to see how your creativity can reinvent those trends and make them yours.
There is a meaning behind everything, and sometimes we don’t necessarily pay attention to the cultural or spiritual aspect of what we wear. Fashion has demystified apparat, trendiness took out their real estate and the values that they encouraged.
We will talk about some accessories that we’ve seen on our favorite cover magazine or celebrity and give their ethnic aspect in Africa and for others in the world.
Cowries are now the trendiest accessory you can have in your closet this year. Traveling from Africa, Asia, their necklaces and jewelry are on every continent.
In the past, it was used as a currency in West Africa, one of the most successful in the world, especially during the great empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhaï.
Cowries had a strong spiritual value and cultural aspect, horns, fetishes were set with cowries used by both healer and sorcerer. These objects and costumes covered with them are found in Casamance among the Diola and in Eastern Senegal among the Bassari, where the traditional religion is still alive.
On the symbolic level, the cowries are frequently connected with the feminine.
Their shape being associated with that of the female sex, cowries can be used during fertility rites. Unfortunately, in most countries, cowries have lost its ritualistic and symbolic value, even though in some tribes it is still used and seen as a protective charm or divination tool by divine tellers, but now we can all give them another sense through fashion and we are loving it.
Beyoncé (Singer, Songwriter), wearing a Lafalaise Dion headpiece
Gold is the most precious metal in the world but guess which continent produced and register the largest goldmine? Africa. Egyptians Gods and pharaoh were always represented with gold, it was one of the most symbolic object to define royalty.
African history with gold despite of the blood spilled caused by covetousness, still remain one of the most common used material in our communities. You have seen gold in weddings, married couples were certainly dancing with their golden costume and jewelry. Gold implies wealth in our societies and nowadays shines on rings, necklaces, gourmets, etc
Meanwhile, it still has its same aspect in Akan tribes having a symbol of power, spiritual force by creating statuette that were worshipped and used as another language for educational purpose to the youngest. In Mali, the Dioula people use it as a lucky and protective charm. You will hear stories of gold being a present from the gods in countries like Ghana, Mali and South Africa that still have a strong relationship with gold and are the countries producing the most in the world.
Mansa Musa, was the tenth Mansa of the Mali Empire and made Mali the largest producer of gold in the world, and Musa has been considered one of the richest people on earth.
Bags and handbags have been noted throughout history as far back as ancient Egypt – hieroglyphics depict men carrying bags tied around their waist (similar to a modern-day fanny pack).
Peasants and farmers in early civilizations were known to carry seeds and grains in small bags and African priests have been known to carry beaded bags as a sign of luxury and power. They were shaped through fashion and adapted to every need from the smallest to the largest (Handbags, Backpack).
“Ghana must go” is a brand that we all have seen one day at the airport or we even ourselves carried to travel, this popular bag was used by several West African citizens, especially Ghanaians, to contain their belongings as they were forced to leave Nigeria during the 1980s. Now it’s getting appropriated by western fashion companies during their fashion shows.
Handbags have become a fashion accessory, that men and women cannot live without.
Some people still believe that Europeans are the ones that introduced shoes in Africa, that we were a land of naked and barefoot.
Let me warn you before you start realizing your ignorance. They were often reserved for ceremonial functions and for royalty. Traditional materials to make shoes, as discerned by anthropologists, were rawhide, leather, and metal; to mention a few. Interestingly, archaeologists have discovered that Ancient Egyptians made shoes for the right and left foot; unlike earlier European shoes.
The Hausa seem to have the most documented shoe history of the continent. Their leatherwork is considered legendary throughout West Africa and their intrinsic work has constructed the likes of boots and sandals. Ghana, in particular the Akan’s community, had
the Ahenema which is a local slipper that commands respect, majesty, and authority in society. The shoes were made using plant material, with climbing plants making the upper and gradually started to use leather in the shoes which were referred to as ‘chawchaw’ which were for the kings and a few queens in the kingdom.
It’s actually hard to precisely know who made the first eyewear in history. Some will talk about the Inuit’s who made rustic ivory sunglasses to protect their eyes from sunlight. Furthermore, it served judges in Ancient China during the trial, made of “smoke-colored quartz” it was used to prevent the prosecution and defense from being able to read the judges’ expressions and not be altered or influenced by accidental facial reactions. Egyptians have the most ancient lenses but we don’t really know if they had sunglasses.
Nowadays sunglasses are a must to have a classy, trendy and are a celebrity go-to accessory but it was either to protect your eyes or used as a microscope.
Why do you wear your accessories, would tell us more? Subscribe to our mail address we want to read everybody!
Written by Yao Boni.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Cuba has some of the best food in the world. A unique blend of African, Spanish, and Caribbean influences. The cuisine of Cuba reflects the island’s rich and dynamic history.
French colonists over from Haiti and enslaved Africans brought their own culinary influences. On an island offering ultra-fresh seafood and sweet fruits straight from the vine, the diverse people of Cuba created flavors all their own.
Let’s dive into Cuban cuisine! Here are the dishes you MUST eat in Cuba.
Arroz con pollo
Chicken and rice is the most common staple in a Cuban household. This one pot dish is similar to Spanish paella. There are many variations of arroz con pollo, but the basics include rice, quartered chicken leg or thighs cooked with sofrito, Bijol seasoning, chicken broth, and beer. Peas and roasted red peppers are also traditionally mixed in.
Considered the national dish of Cuba, ropa vieja literally translates to “old clothes” and comes from Spain. The dish is made with shredded beef that’s slow cooked in a tomato-based sauce with onions, bell peppers, garlic, and cooking wine. It is always served over white rice and accompanied by maduros (sweet plantains) or tostones (fried pressed plantains). A similar dish with a twist is vaca frita, or fried cow, which is a flank steak marinated in mojo and then fried with garlic and salt.
This simple dish is another Cuban classic that’s a perfect weekday meal. It’s ground beef that’s browned with garlic, onions, bell peppers, oregano, bay leaf, and salt. Then, the beef is simmered over low heat with tomato sauce, cooking wine, olives, and raisins. White rice is mixed in once all the flavors combine. The dish comes from Spain, and the name comes from the word picar, which means to chop or mince.
A stew that’s made with a little bit of everything, ajiaco is a recognizable and well-loved Cuban dish. Cooks often throw together what they have on hand to make ajiaco, but common ingredients include corn, sweet potato, malanga, plantains, beef or pork, tomato paste, garlic, onion, and lemon juice
A pastelito is a baked puff pastry filled with something sweet or savory or both. Traditional Cuban fillings include guava and cream cheese, sweet cheese, or ground meat. Like croquetas, pastelitos are usually eaten for breakfast, but can also be a snack
Arroz con lech
Rice pudding, or “rice with milk” is another popular Latin American dessert. But in Cuba, again, evaporated and condensed milk is used, making it a sweeter and richer dish. Lime peel and other traditional ingredients like rice, vanilla, and cinnamon complete a proper Cuban arroz con leche.