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June Issue 2015

Celebrating Women of African Heritage


AfroElle Magazine is a monthly digital publication celebrating and empowering women of African heritage in Africa and the Diaspora.



Patricia Miswa




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COVER CREDITS Photography- Carey Bradshaw Model- Brigid Turner Hair Stylist -M'shari Whaley Makeup- Lisa Jones Jewelry designed and handmade -Uniquely Wired M. Wardrobe/Designs- Tafari Tribe AfroElle Magazine is published by Miswa Media copyright Š 2015. All rights reserved. | 3



















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Do you know a phenomenal woman impacting their community or making a difference in their field? Simply email their bio and links to their work to for a possible feature in our upcoming issue.

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elcome to our June Issue. There’s a lot of inspiration in store for you. We talked to An African City" Actress, Author and Holistic Health Expert Esosa E. , about her upcoming book “Got Veg? How to Thrive on a Plant-Based Diet” and she shares about how she thrives on her plant based lifestyle. In our interview with Ghanaian born, US-based artist, humanitarian, Maame Afon, she introduces us to the concept of being a whole woman and talks about the feminist spaces and creating spaces for young women leaders. Get inspired by Mushiya Tshikuka, the founder and owner of Atlanta’ s premier natural hair boutique salon, The Damn Salon. Find out what makes this successful business woman stand out in the hair industry. In our organization feature, we spotlight African Women Association (AWA), founded with the aim of bringing a holistic view on the significance of African women and find out about the upcoming African Women awards. Our cover feature focuses on actress, model and filmmaker Brigid Turner sharing her journey as an artist and the motivation behind her work. All in addition to interviews with twins Neomisia Silvestre and Thaiane Almedia, creators of Hot Pente, a hip hop party movement in Sao Paolo that seeks to merge hip hop culture, street fashion, graffiti and urban dance, and our conversation with New York based therapist , humanitarian and published stylist , Ieasha Tiffany and how she combines her love of social work with fashion. We’ve also put together our monthly gift guide featuring African inspired brands for every budget and season. Hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Until next time, I leave you with the words of Nina Simone, “You have to learn to get up from the table when love is no longer being served.”

- June gift guide 30+ Gift Ideas for Everyone and Every Budget | 7


JUNE ISSUE 12 Esosa E: Raw Girl In A Toxic World 16 Maame Afon: Whole Woman, Whole Leader for a Whole World 24 One on One with Mushiya Tshikuka 30 Sharing Her Story: Brigid Turner 42 Q&A with founders of African Women Association 48 Conversation with Ieasha Tiffany 52 June Gift Guide

INSIDE “It’s not the people with the best quality that will be most successful, it’s the people with the most drive, the most passion, it’s the people that don’t give up.”

Mushiya Tshikuka





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ESOSA E. Raw Girl in a Toxic World WORDS: PATRICIA MISWA

Best known as the creator of the blog Raw Girl in a Toxic World, and 'Ngozi' of the International television & web series "An African City", Actress, Author and Holistic Health Expert Esosa E. is set to release her book, “Got Veg? How to Thrive on a Plant-Based Diet” in July 2015. Since unveiling her first book “The Acne-Free Diet,” an e-book guide to overcoming acne for life that has changed the faces of readers worldwide, Esosa E. has also released the book “Parasites, BeGone!”. Her new book will be filled with practical information, including step-by-step instructions to help readers prepare for a plant-based lifestyle. kitchen prep, explanation of the levels of a plant-based diet, a thorough breakdown of the nutrients your body needs to thrive, how to transition, over fifty recipes and other tips make this book a must-read for anyone seeking to experience the plant-based life. Outside of her passion for health, Esosa is an award winning actress, producer, and model. Presently she is most known as an actress for her role as Ngozi, the vegetarian who is naïve about the world of dating, in the hit international television & web series “An African City.”

What inspired you to start your platform "Raw Girl In A Toxic World" and eventually write "Got Veg? How to Thrive on a Plant Based Diet"? The blog was inspired by my move from New York City, which I consider toxic, to the boonies in Virginia. At that time I was 100% raw and people would ask me a lot of questions about what I was doing to my skin and why was I eating certain foods. I decided to call the blog "Raw Girl In A Toxic World" because I

was a "raw girl" and the more that I learned about holistic health and about the meat industry, processed food industry, etc. I realized there were so many toxins that we have to be aware of and be informed about. Hence "toxic world" in the title.

And what is the underlying message from the book? I was inspired to write "Got Veg?" because I kept getting questions from my readers that were very basic about plant-based lifestyle. I realized a lot of people really need a resource that breaks down, not only how to go about a plant-based diet, but how to do it optimally. The book is a resource I wish I had when I first went vegan. It outlines all the nutrients you need to stay optimal, the various levels of a plant-based diet, shows you how to start a plant-

based kitchen, substitutes for seasoning food without meat products, and over fifty recipes to get you started.

What moment or experience led you to become a vegan and why did you eventually decide to go raw? There wasn't a specific moment or experience that led me to become vegan. Actually growing up I was lactose intolerant---milk didn't sit well with me. | 13

I had already cut out dairy products; and just decided one day to cut out meat. Many years later I had a skin crisis which consisted of rash like acne all over my forehead and on my face and I remembered my cousin who educated me about the raw lifestyle. So I decided to learn more and go completely raw. Within one month my skin was clear.

For those who may not be aware, and from your experience, what have you found are some benefits of adopting a plant based lifestyle? Some of the benefits I have experienced include increased energy, clear skin, and increased youthfulness. In addition to these points, I rarely get sick, and have experienced a stronger spiritual practice because of my diet.

What misconceptions are there about being vegan that you’d like to clear up? People think that being vegan means you have to sacrifice eating delicious food. That is really not true; it's all about knowing how to prepare plantbased foods. The other major misconception is that vegans do not get enough protein. There are so many incredible plant-based foods that are very rich in protein. Everybody's body

is different and has different requirements, but the truth of the matter is that most Americans actually over consume protein.

Can you share one secret on how you personally thrive on a plant-based diet? One word ---superfoods! I include, as often as possible, a variety of foods that have a very dense nutritional profile in my diet. Because I'm so busy I have to take care to get adequate nutrition and this solves the problem. This includes Irish moss, morninga,

spirulina, cacao, maca, green powders, and more.

What’s the one thing you hope readers take away from your book? I really hope that readers read the book and are inspired to eat to live. I don't have any desire to convert people, I just hope that even if they are meat eaters, or junk food consumers, they are compelled to take a good look at what they are eating and start to become conscious of how their food choices can affect their bodies long-term.

Can you share a beauty secret that have worked for you?

You are what you eat. If you don't want to look like a greasy bag of potato chips, then don't eat that greasy bag of potato chips.

The major secret I learned is that there is no secret. You are what you eat. If you don't want to look like a greasy bag of potato chips, then don't eat that greasy bag of potato chips. Clear beautiful skin has everything to do with what you are putting in your body. If you have skin issues you have to start thinking from the inside out, rather than the outside in, in order to see lasting changes.

Esosa’s mission as Raw Girl is to make plantbased lifestyles accessible to anyone interested in achieving optimal health. For ongoing health tips and discussion, visit For pre -orders of "Got Veg? How to Thrive on a Plant-Based Diet" visit | 15

WHOLE WOMAN, WHOLE LEADER FOR A WHOLE WORLD She is a female artist with a powerful voice, a woman of faith, mother, wife, feminist, humanitarian and all around whole woman. Ghanaian born, USbased, Maame Afon shared her story, one that is inspiring, authentic and full of life lessons, with Moiyattu Banya. PHOTOS BY PEPPERMINTTEA PHOTOGRAPHY | 17

LEADING BOLDLY; EMPOWERING WOMEN & FEMINISM We begin the interview with Maame telling me about her cultural heritage and her upbringing. “I am from the western part of Ghana. I am Fanti and Ahanta, and my family also has some ties to the Dutch. In the 1950’s my grandmother traveled to Holland to trace part of her ancestry. Her maiden name is Fletcher”. She mentions that she moved to the US in 1999. Her journey moving to the United States was not easy. Maame went through what she calls trials prior to God opening the door in her life. A firm believer and Christian, Maame gave her life to Christ at the age of 12. Her faith helping her during times of trials. When it came to going to high school Maame took a bold step and selected three of the premier girl schools in Ghana and she was admitted to her top choice, Wesley Girls High School, This was the foundation of taking bold steps in her life. After high school she took another bold step and decided not to apply any universities in Ghana, she was met with disappointment when she was denied a visa to the UK to study but she was able to go to the United States and study French and Spanish at Luther College in Iowa. She explains that her mother had a strong influence on her . Maame credits a lot of her woman strength and what she has learned to her mother and grand mother.

On talking about her identity as an African woman; she expresses to me that being an African woman one has to overcome many obstacles. She takes me back to her childhood where she learned that she had to break certain barriers very quickly. She laughs at the irony that her grandparents had only one son and six daughters, and fortunately chose to invest equally in their girls. She says that sometimes life has a way of pushing you to do the unconventional. When discussing the empowerment and education of young girls, Maame describes it as “lip service” across the continent, with which I agree. I can tell her passion on the subject by the rising in her voice as she talks. “We have a long way to go, because there is a still a struggle in understanding why girls need to be educated. It is a fact that when you educate a woman communities thrive”. She beams and states as she pounds her fists at this point, “It’s like a great investment and the best investment you can make”. Maame would say she was a feminist from a very young age. Growing up with her cousins, who were mostly male, she would do everything they did, including games labeled as ‘boy’ games. Though she was discouraged by her mother and grandmother from doing what the boys did, she questioned this. She always questioned why she couldn’t be different. Maame explains that she understood the importance of being a woman and

“Being a feminist is not about wanting to become a man, it is about knowing who you are as a woman, the unique gifts that have been placed in you as a woman and enjoying that and not being apologetic. I don’t want to become a man, because then I become a counterfeit. I want to know that I can access different spaces and do it the way that is right for me and the way that will allow me to enjoy what I am doing. to her that shaped her feminism. She points out that she didn’t want to become a boy; she wanted to have liberty to play soccer etcetera . She also stresses that as a woman she is a nurturer, “I mentor, I am a homemaker, I am a professional”. Having been married for 12 years she is thankful for these lessons.

trials, triumphs, faith, and all of who you are. Don’t live in silos. Bring all of who you are so when people see you they see all of who you are.”


“You know how sometimes when people ask for your bio, they direct you a certain way? Lately I have gotten more and more comfortable sharing who I am. I say I am a wife, mother, mentor, sister, activist, and recording artist. I AM ALL OF THE ABOVE.”

One of the things Maame shares is how she views herself as a whole woman. She explains that this concept of being a whole woman is to bring all of who you are to everything you do. When we do that everybody benefits, the entire community, family, the people we choose to serve with our gifts. She elaborates on the term as “Whole Woman, Whole Leader for a Whole World. You bring your gifts, talents,

Maame mentions that all of these things are integrated into who she is and that is what makes her a whole woman. She works with young women through Moremi Initiative and through it has learned that when working with young women you realize that beyond their achievements, when you dig really deep, they are looking to share real personal stories and how they go about navigating their lives. | 19

“Being called a super woman means there’s more pressure for me to live up to it. It’s not manageable. Anytime people say that, I use it as an opportunity to say instead of calling me a super woman call me a whole woman”. | 21

Maame explains that her ability to embody the values of a whole woman allows her to give timely support to the young women. Maame says she constantly advises the young women in the program to prioritize rest and self care as this is part of being a whole woman. In essence, if you don’t take care of yourself you are not showing up fully. When you think of the word wholeness, “You are healthy in every area of your life. Being healthy in every area of your life is so connected to how you show up!” She laughs and points out that in raising three children while maintaining a career, she has been called a super woman and has had to refute that statement because “being called a super woman means there’s more pressure for me to live up to it. It’s not manageable. Anytime people say that, I use it as an opportunity to say instead of calling me a super woman call me a whole woman”. She believes that being a whole woman means you can be human.

WHOLESOME MUSIC: TO UPLIFT, INSPIRE AND ENCOURAGE Maame’s whole woman idea doesn’t stop with just her humanitarian work but extends to her music which she describes as wholesome. Her music is inspired by the various spaces she finds herself in, whether training women in Africa, listening to old Negro spirituals, or connecting to social justice movements from the past. She also

draws inspiration from history and past revolutionary movements, such as the civil rights movement. Wherever she finds herself music becomes a catalyst for change, a transformative tool, a tool to break down very strong walls. “If we lose music we lose our voices, if we lose our voices we lose our course” Maame started singing as a teenager in church, and as a woman of faith she believes that when you have a gift you have to use it to bless others. “To whom much is given much is required”. Maame says and explains that she didn’t pay for her gifts, and seeing the emotions that her gifts bring out of people highlights the need to share them with others. “Every time you give someone a gift it changes who they are”. She states that her music goes back to being a whole woman. She sings in church, and in her work she realizes that music is also such a strong catalyst for positive transformation and change.

ON CHALLENGES Maame tells me that the feminist spaces in Africa can sometimes be isolating if one doesn’t fit within a specific box. The feminist space has gatekeepers she says “we are trying to do this thing to move the voices of women forward; however we often undermine our own progress”. If you don’t do all the things some of the feminists within the space want you to

do, then you don’t really fit; it leads to fragmentation in the Photo by Rucha Chitnis movement. For Maame this means she has to constantly reflect and do a “self check” to ensure she is always creating spaces for young women leaders. She tells me humbly that the selfchecking is what keeps her grounded. With our work she states “What we do is just as important as how we do it. The how we do it refers to relationships, and we haven’t done a very good job in that area as women”

ON LEADERSHIP, VULNERABILITY & SERVICE In closing, she quotes one of her mentors: “the power to lead will only come from the commitment to serve”. If you want to show up as a leader it will come from your commitment to serve. Music is such a powerful way to bring about positive change - the more we can tap into it the more we can move and break down walls. She makes a powerful statement by saying the Arts bring out a strong

leadership trait, allowing people to be vulnerable. It allows us to let our hair down. She concludes the interview by saying the more we can have leaders who are vulnerable the more we will see the dynamics of leadership change. Maame believes deeply that the ability to be vulnerable is what allows people to facilitate change, whilst letting down their walls. She leaves me with this quote “As a woman I have been in so many spaces, and everywhere you go women are always holding it down. Women do hold the solutions. Afroelle is doing great work to highlight that and I believe we need more of such spaces and platforms to share the stories of African women.” | 23

Cutting It In The ATL with


Mushiya Tshikuka, the founder and owner of Atlanta’ s premier natural hair boutique salon, The Damn Salon, is sounding the trumpets and letting the world know you can be unapologetically proud of your natural hair and equally glamorous. Mushiya has married high-fashion, edgy aesthetics with celebration of women’s curly and kinky textures to usher in a “New Era” in natural hair. Mushiya and The Damn Salon have transformed attitudes toward natural hair across the nation, with their touring salon division, Taste of Damn, which hosts pop-up styling suites in cities like Oakland, Houston, New York, Washington D.C. and Charlotte. Originally from the Congo, Mushiya came to the US by way of Montreal, which gives her a cosmopolitan flair. She launched

Runway Curls, a line of 100% Human Hair and Blended extensions that flawlessly blends with natural curl patterns, as part of her mission to redefine the idea of natural hair and provide women with more options to celebrate curly and kinky textures. Mushiya stars in WeTV’s newest reality show, Cutting It In the ATL, but if you’re thinking, “another reality show full of catty women”, then think again. Mushiya is on a mission proving that while drama may be inevitable, business comes first. From her hair to her personality, she exudes confidence and is infecting everyone around her to be inspired by their own beauty. As her slogan so candidly states, “Stop dreaming and start goaling!” | 25

“You can put me in any city, anywhere without me knowing anybody and I can be a leader.” AfroElle: From the Congo to Montreal and now Atlanta, you’ve had the opportunity to span various cultures. What influence has that had on you as a stylist and businesswoman? Mushiya: I have travelled a lot as

you know and the one thing about travelling is that it opens your mind. It opens your understanding to a lot of different types of people and it also kind of makes you fearless. You can put me in any city, anywhere without me knowing anybody and I can be a leader. So when it comes to business Atlanta was just an open space for me. It’s different from New York where everything is ‘established’. I can still get by and meet who I need to know but in Atlanta it’s just that much easier. You don’t have to actually know anybody you just have to create something different and of good quality, and if it’s refreshing to people, that’s it, people just follow you. So the biggest influence moving and having lived a lot of places has had was fearlessness.

AE: You have a new reality show out, what made you decide to do this reality show? Tell us more about the show, what can we expect? M: This opportunity came to me

because The Damn Salon is very well known in the hair industry. I’ve created a lot of new styles that people today are wearing and that a lot of stylists are trying to replicate. You can’t ask six people about The Damn Salon without five knowing who we are. The show was looking for someone who could stand out and who was doing something different from other people so they called me. Some of the other cast members already knew me so when they called I was definitely excited but I felt two ways about it. I was like, “Reality, hell no. I don’t even watch TV. I’m not going to do a reality show and act crazy and look crazy.” Those girls look crazy on TV and everybody knows this. Housewives that aren’t really housewives, and it’s like why am I watching you?

One thing I do have to say is that I decided to take this opportunity because firstly, they really wanted to show black women doing business and not just the drama. And they wanted real women who are in the beauty industry that are really making power moves. The fact that they wanted to show that side as well made me say okay, I’ll do it.

AE: A lot of reality shows have come under fire because they often depict women as catty and unable to get along, how do you think this show will be different? M: There a lot of things that women can

take away from this show especially if they are aspiring entrepreneurs. You will see four successful businesswomen who come from four completely different backgrounds that are all in the same industry and are all making it. A lot of people think that the industry is saturated but it doesn’t matter, the world is popular and there are enough clients to go around. People think they can’t do something because of competition but I don’t believe in competition. What I’m offering is so different Coca Cola is my only competition. I think one thing people will learn is that it’s not how saturated the business is, nor is about the competition, it’s really about yourself. How hard are you working? It’s not the people with the best quality that will be most successful, it’s the people with the

“ People think they can’t do something because of competition but I don’t believe in competition. What I’m offering is so different Coca Cola is my only competition. | 27

most drive, the most passion, it’s the people that don’t give up, it’ the people that go around the around instead of stopping at it. These are the people that will become successful. There are people who dream and aspire all day but what are you doing to reach that goal? That’s the question.

Moulin Rouge5

AE: What hair trends do you love for Summer and Fall? M: Big hair, curly hair, colored hair.

Messy B1

Definitely just big curls. That’s everything right now. Straight is boring and is kind of out. People are doing gorgeous natural styles and Runway Curls is definitely the look this Summer and Fall. With Runway Curls you can have a range of looks. You can have it curly, you can tame the curls, you can brush it out and have more of an afro style; and if you want to color it, change your mind and color it back you can. If you wake on the wrong side and decide you want to straighten it you can. And all you have to do is wet it when you want it curly again. The Runway Curl Collection is composed of two lines. We have the City Afro Collection which is a blended hair. It’s amazing for crochet styles, twists, or Afro looks. Our Classic Collection is our 100% virgin Ethiopian textured hair and you can color and straighten it and it will still go back to its original texture. Dirty Girl

AE: Some women use hair extensions as a way not to do their natural hair. What are some of the biggest no-no’s you see when it comes to hair maintenance? M: My biggest no-no actually begins before the maintenance. A big problem that I see comes in the installation. A lot of stylists braid extra tight and it’s not good for you because obviously, it’s pulling your natural hair follicles. This can actually result in alopecia and other hair diseases. So even before the maintenance the installation must be done right.

AE: I know you love big hair but share with us how you being the stylist is bigger than just the hair? M: One of the messages that I

preach a lot is to work with other black women. Often in our community there’s a stigma that black people can’t work together. With my hair line that we just launched, one of our main missions is to create opportunities for black women to build together. They have the opportunity to become a part of our Runway Curl

network and Runway Curl stylists. I do hair. I’m a hairstylist but that’s actually not my passion. If you read my bio I actually hate doing hair. But what I do love is the beginning and end of that moment. I love in the beginning when a woman comes in and we see what we’re going to do to transform her, and I love the end when she is transformed. But the middle point is the most exciting, not because I’m doing the hair but because I have the platform to instill that confidence in woman and tell her how beautiful she is. And we need to hear how powerful and great we are. This is how I build women. That’s what really happens at The Damn Salon or wherever I am and that’s what I fell in love with.

For interested readers, The Runway Curls Network is looking for brand ambassadors interested in promoting the Runway Curls Collection. Join the Runway Curls movement and apply at Hair stylists can also purchase the Runway Curls Collection at a wholesale prices to sell to their clients by visiting the site. | 29

TURNER Actress, Model, Dancer & Director Photography- Carey Bradshaw Model- Brigid Turner Hair Stylist -M'shari Whaley Makeup- Lisa Jones Jewelry designed and handmade -Uniquely Wired M. Wardrobe/Designs- Tafari Tribe | 31


rigid Turner is an upcoming artist in the field of Acting, Modeling, Dancing and Directing. Her beauty and talent is uncanny and classic. Her most recent notable work was accomplished as a model for the As I Am Naturally hair WHO IS BRIGID TURNER? campaign. She was a featured wife in the film Just Wright and was portrayed as a body double for Mary J. Blige on a Chevy Traverse Commercial and Jennifer Hudson in the movie Inevitable defeat of Mister & Pete . She has directed and choreographed dances for music videos and to date, she has directed 8 short films. When you speak of dedication, versatility and a creative perspective for the arts, this dynamic New York native has developed a budding directing, modeling and acting career around her natural talent, beauty and classic presence. Starting in theater and excelling in modeling, dancing and directing; she has elevated her way through and outside of the local Brooklyn scene. She is currently working on her first independent series called For A Dark Skin Girl.

I am a combination of God's child, my father's daughter and my mother's pride. I am a women that has had to be self taught and made in many areas of my life. I am a passionate, resilient and compassionate. WHAT WAS YOUR MOTIVATION BEHIND STARTING YOUR FILM PRODUCTION COMPANY NASTALLIAGON PRODUCTIONS/ DOPESHOES ENTERTAINMENT? When I first thought about the idea of starting a production company, I thought that this would be a great way to produce films and projects that would allow my fellow actors and artistic peers a platform. A platform to show what they wanted the world to see, but didn't have the opportunity to do so. This would also allow my peers and myself to develop our skills and share the knowledge we have with vibe another. | 33

The film industry is very tough, especially lately with the absence of positive black women in directing and production roles. WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST OBSTACLE THUS FAR YOU HAVE FACED AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT? The greatest obstacle was going out to New Orleans, not knowing how and when I would be able to get a cast, team and crew of people together to work on the For A Dark Skin Girl project. I knew with God on my side, faith, the people who took a chance on me and believed in my vision that it would be done. And that is exactly what I did. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT YOUR WORK ETHICS AND/OR CHARACTER THAT SEPARATES YOU FROM OTHER DIRECTORS/INDUSTRY PEOPLE? The most important thing about my work ethics is that I am very time conscious and detailed. I value other people's time and mine. I am very passionate and dedicated to completing my projects and getting everyone their due credit. I also take my planning (pre-production) serious. When planned ahead, one leaves less room for error.

WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU? I have told my story a few times about my journey as a filmmaker, a person in the industry and the love I have for working with the youth and my faith in God. One thing that fans probably do not know about me is that I played college volleyball. YOUR LATEST FILM ‘FOR A DARK SKIN GIRL’ IS CURRENTLY BEING CIRCULATED IN FILM FESTIVALS. TELL US WHAT CAN THE AUDIENCE EXPECT? Right now as we are making our rounds with the film For A Dark Skin Girl, we are gearing up to start raising funds to film a series (one season at the least) in New Orleans this fall. This series will dice into what the short is really about. WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT AND WHO DID YOU WORKED WITH? The inspiration behind the film For A Dark Skin Girl was one that many young girls and adults have encountered. That saying of "You're pretty for a dark skin girl". I was told that when I was a young girl in 2013. That’s when I knew it was time to tell this story. | 35

Although it is a fictional story, it has true depictions of what occurred in my personal life. I worked with some great people from New York and New Orleans to put this project together. A lot of first time producers, crew and cast. It was a great experience and I an still grateful to God for those individuals.

That's a good one. I would love to work with Ava DuVernay. She is at the top of my list. I would also love to work with Mara Brock Akil, Issa Rae, Viola Davis and Denzel Washington. Just to name a few.


I have a lot of projects in the works. I have the series to complete, a comedy that I wrote, directed and produced, that is in post production, to complete and other great things to come. I'm looking forward to bigger and greater projects to come.

I love inspiring and working with others that want to achieve their goals and dreams. Mentoring is very important for anyone that wants to learn and develop their craft. I myself is still on that quest to acquire a great mentor of my own. IF YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH ANY DIRECTOR IN FILM, WHO WOULD IT BE?




and the African Women Awards


African Women Association (AWA) was founded by Zimbabwean beauties Carol Nyazika and Lisa Chiriseri. AWA aims to be a part of the movement that will lead and influence progress across Africa and promote gender equality. Through its different platforms, the organization aims to bring a holistic view on the significance of African women. This will be achieved by raising the standard of what is possible in the African community and amongst women. Instead of merely talking about what females can do or should do; their aim is to show what is already happening. AWA is not a platform that excels in the rhetoric but fails in practice. They are invested in empowerment that works and shifts the norm with tangible results.



“ Whether local or abroad the younger generation of Africans rarely have access to the stories and information around successful Africans. ”

Can you share with us your personal journeys) leading up to the launch of African Women Association. Lisa: I have been part of many initiatives such as being the founder of FACEZ, an education fund for orphans, part of the Youth in Social and Community Development committee under the Zimbabwe National Youth Council and also supported a women’s group called Girls Monthly Meet.

Carol: I have packaged myself as an influential brand that promotes business initiatives by aiding individuals who are interested in empowering their current and future financial position, I also founded a lifestyle brand platform called Ndanaka, I am a certified consultant for Motives Cosmetics, and I have also have been part of events for

women in the UK. The idea of launching African Women Association began with a discussion one evening where we shared our frustrations at the poor celebration and more so, documentation and publicity of the successes and achievements of African women globally; women worthy of global stage recognition but rarely known beyond their borders or sector specific platforms. Whether local or abroad the younger generation of Africans rarely have access to the stories and information around successful Africans. The lack of documentation, modern profiling and publicity of our role models has led to this deficiency and has allowed for influences other than ours to write and publish our stories. Based on this, we decided to start this initiative. | 43

are free to submit their names. Are there any notable strides made in your goals since the launch of the organization?

Please give us details on the African Women Awards. The objectives for the African Women Awards is to create a fresh brand of African role models within Africa and to pay tribute to African women who have contributed to the development and positive image of Africa as a whole. This can be done by sharing success stories of successful African women on popular international media platforms and to share what is achievable by women so that they can inspire the new generation and change the perception of female African success. Lastly, to create a platform spotlight and celebrate excellence in Africa. The awards will be broadcast in over 28 countries across Africa and the UK via our media partner Vox Africa TV who will be showing it on Sky TV, GoTV and DSTV. Nominations are open to the public to submit names. The criteria for each award can be found on our website. Individuals

Ever since the launch in December 2014, we have reached most of our goals for 2015. The AWA Foundation was established to promote gender equality through providing underprivileged women and girl children with opportunities, education, mentorship and training. The foundation is split into four core activities: Access to opportunity – we have partnered with women in the rural area of Nyamapanda in Zimbabwe and working on bringing a product on to the market Access to Education – we have met our target of sending 5 girls to school Access to Role Models – there will be a tour with the honourees for the Awards for the youth to gain access after the awards Mentorship & Trainings – we have partnered up with reputable companies, such as our sponsor Cyrex Business, to provide female students internships in order to marry their knowledge from their studies with practical experience.

Join the movement, nominate someone or yourself and play your part in acknowledging African Talent.


Painting Brazil in

Hot Pente

Hot Pente identical duo, Neomisia Silvestre and Thaiane Almedia are the buzz of Sao Paulo. Journalist and writer, Neomisia and personal stylist Thaiane, started Hot Pente, a hip hop party, mainly inspired by the hip hop movement and the absence of parties they wanted to attend with black, urban and Hip Hop slant. Hot Pente unites artistic and peripheral aspects in the realization of a contemporary black and

urban party concept, while seeking dialogue with the culture of hip hop, street fashion, graffiti and urban dance. The provocation of the name "Hot Comb" refers to the use of shorts and bikinis of the 1940s and the hot comb used to straighten curly hair. Neomisia and Thaiane spoke to AfroElle about their movement. | 45

What was the starting point for Hot Pente? In March 2013, we created an AfroBrazilian party project which we produced in collaboration with a third party. We stopped the project at some point and had many people ask us why. When we started again, all the decisions were more conscious; our image and its associations with black culture and fashion. There were no black, urban and hip hop style parties and we wanted to create parties we would attend. We already had a lot of support, we sat with our friends and shared with them about the idea and they eagerly joined in and participated in the growth of the project.

Can you tell us about your look? We used to hear that Hot Pente is "our face". We found an identity that pleased us and that is what we believe; the beauty of black women, with black power, hair and colorful clothes. Our main feature is the dyed curly hair, we are blond and redheaded. We get away from labels imposed by the market of beauty. Although, in everyday life, people look at us in a prejudiced and curious way, we love being who we are and dressing in a way that makes us feel good.

Is Sao Paulo the home of Hot Pente? Yes, for now. We have only held the Hot Pente in nightclubs in S達o Paulo. We

have already received invitations to take the party to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, but nothing has been confirmed at this point. We also want to take it to other countries and we are accepting invitations to do so.

What has been your biggest event? For us, all the parties were huge and special, but the second edition had 300 people. We are now in the eleventh edition now.

What can we look forward to, from Hot Pente? We would like to involve more people in the project, black women especially. But it is difficult to maintain such a project in Brazil, because we need money to pay people well for their work. In the future, we want to include workshops for dance, graffiti, deejaying and fashion, hold discussions about racism and empowerment of black women and other issues on the outskirts of the city. For now, its only the two of us but we want to be more, while keeping our essence of the party. | 47

Conversation with

IEASHA TIFFANY Making a Difference Through Fashion and Social Work by Brenda Ibarah


easha Tiffany is a 23 year old New York based therapist , humanitarian and published stylist who has been living and working in Gulu, Uganda for the past 8 months. She went to Gulu to work for TRIBE , a Non profit organization that produces high quality, handmade jewelry that enable women to save money for education and make their dreams come true. She later joined Educate For Change, an NGO still in Gulu that sponsors young girls and boys for secondary school education. Afroelle had a conversation with Ieasha to talk about her work in Gulu and a bit about her styling career which she considers her creative outlet.

Tell us a bit about TRIBE and you work with them. Well, Tribe is a social enterprise that employs women to make jewelry that is sold internationally. Initially I came to do their marketing and my job was to get them out there on different platforms like social media, magazines and different outlets but I slowly became more of a creative director. I started helping them develop different ideas for the business. Unfortunately the organization went on a brief hiatus at the beginning of the year, to redefine themselves and so I ended up joining a different NGO, Educate For Change.

Tribe and Educate for change sound like two different projects. Why did you choose Educate for Change? I chose Educate for Change because I wanted to be directly involved with people as opposed to Tribe where I was mostly behind the scenes. I'm very used to one on

one contact with people and that's what EFC does. Basically the organization provides scholarships to students in secondary school that cannot afford it. And this is done based on their academic performance where the best students are enrolled in the program. We also organize workshops for the students to improve their skills in different areas. For instance, we just finished a health and leadership camp where we taught our girls about sexual reproductive health, self esteem and self defense.

What has been your highlight so far with working with young girls? Our just concluded workshop on health and self esteem has been my favorite experience by far, hands down. There's something about seeing a young girl finally believe in herself and start to understand herself as a maturing young adult. It's amazing being present for them and helping them become comfortable with who they are. It's very powerful, and empowering them made me feel even more empowered as a woman. | 49

What's the difference between working with women and working with girls? Working with the TRIBE women and the EFC girls are two completely different experiences for me. TRIBE had women of all ages, ranging from about 18-30, all of them being mothers. Because they were mothers they naturally kind of took me under their wing, which was absolutely awesome. They taught me so much about Acholi culture and just being a woman-onthe-go in this day and age. They had wisdom for days and so much spunk and attitude that they just radiated with confidence. Working with the EFC girls is a different dynamic because they are younger, and still in school. So although they are still colorful and full of personality and energy, they were a bit more timid and shy at first. But once you get them talking, there's no stopping them! Ultimately, both groups of ladies are incredible, its always such an experience to interact with women at both their formative stages and in their more stable years. While working with Tribe, did you find any inspiration for your styling? Being in Gulu in general has done a ridiculous amount for my styling inspiration. But TRIBE in particular helped me translate all of the amazing colors and patterns and vibes into something that could be internationally marketable. So through my position, and just being around to see the intricate process of design and product creation, it made it easier for me to look at my creative juices and ask myself, how can I make these colors, this lifestyle, this culture, relatable all over the

world? And that honestly sparked my interest in doing an editorial shoot in the area. Do you relate your styling work with your community work or are they two separate entities? Initially I was trying to keep these two things separate and I found myself living two separate a lives. I remember back in New York, I used to work all day as a counselor and go to photo shoots after work, day in day out. But after a while I realized that I was fighting so hard to keep the two separate and it was getting harder and harder. And like I said I have experience with adolescents and so last year I started this organization back home called 'You Can't Sit With Us' where we mentor young women and men who want to do fashion but feel like they are not good enough. The fashion industry in New York can be very tough and it is easy to just be pushed on the sidelines. Basically YCSWU is about these kids who refuse to be pushed out and stick to their guns of realizing their dreams in fashion. However when I came to Uganda, I put the project on hold but I hope to have it up and running again once I'm back home. So that's basically how I merge my styling with my community work.

To keep updated on Ieasha’s work Visit her website | 51

AFROELLE - June gift guide -

30+ Gift Ideas for Everyone and Every Budget

AfroElle Magazine’s monthly gift guide features gift ideas for everyone, every budget and every season.

To Advertise Your Products and Services in Our Gift Guide Email


SEBO is taking the classic concept of the sophisticated, accessory-wearing gentleman, and advancing it with African prints, to create a captivating look that is intelligent, cultured, and ambitious. Our tailors are some of Uganda’s finest who simply want their work to speak for itself. Take a closer look at our distinctive handmade products and you will see that it does. Photography by Classic Proletarians | 53

For African bow ties, ties & pocket squares

Nakasero Bow Tie Nakasero is the workplace and playground for Kampala's

Skinny Ties Whether one is going to work, a party, a wedding, or a date, SEBO has a range of prints that can match perfectly with any outfit on any

Ntinda Bow Tie Ntinda is an up and coming Kampala neighborhood that is growing as fast in influence as it is size

Nyankumasi Shirt Blue


Beautiful shirt made of blue cotton and African fabric with a blue flower print. The shirt is handmade in Ghana by Kofi and designed

Jumpsuit Yellow Beautiful jumpsuit made of African fabric with a yellow/blue print. The jumpsuit is handmade in Ghana by Victoria and

Akwan2fo Fashion

Juaso Bag Orange Stylish bag made of African fabric with an orange/blue/pink p rint. The bag has a neat and firm lining and a main- and front pocket with a zip. The bag is handmade in Ghana by Gena and designes in The

Fosu Blazer Orange Stylish blazer made of African fabric with an orange/blue/pink print. The blazer is neatly lined with a black lining. The blazer is handmade in Ghana by Margreth and | 55


1. Printed leather orange diamonds pouch Stun in this sleek editors pouch clutch in a vibrant graphic printed leather. Also fits an iPad

2. Phonecase | iPhone and Samsung Galaxy Our vibrant yellow and purple print case adds some cheer to your ever present accessory

3. Graphic pink print shirt Infuse your look with bold print shirts

4. Embossed croc leather clutch This trendy clutch is roomy enough to get you through the day and compact enough to party

Use code AFROL for £5 off your order online

SÁFÓJÒ UMBRELLAS £25 Blending unique African designs with durability, these Foldable Windproof Umbrellas are a must-have to complete your trendy look even on a rainy day! Each purchase supports ‘House of Wells’ a South African orphanage. | 57


Bakyazi African Pre-tied necktie designed for the modern gentleman with classic taste ! Gift your Father with a limited edition piece found at

Gala African Pre-tied necktie made with hand-selected African fabrics from Uganda, and handcrafted in Toronto by @love_lakeri. Gift your Father with a limited edition piece found at

Classic styles, vintage inspired, culturally African accessories.

"Myuufu" Bow Rockabilly headband with beautiful fabric from Uganda perfect to compliment you & your mothers outfit during any season!


African fabric on wood "Chain Link" earrings, with handpainted, gold detail The "Significant" African fabric on metal necklace makes a statement, with a golden, cowrie shell. House Of VintEdge: "The Tropics - Deco" African fabric on wood, Deco inspired, adjustable necklace House Of VintEdge: "The Tropics" Vintage inspired, African fabric on wood and brass earrings approximately 2 1/4" long

House Of VintEdge: "Vivid Mix - Deco" African fabric on wood earrings, with hand-painted, gold detail - Deco inspired | 59 is a new site created by Olelé , home of the best quality Ankara and Wax print fans and accessories. All the products have been handmade with care and patience by Karmele Luqui. Since Karmele created Olelé in 2010, she has sent hundreds of fans all over the world from her hometown in the north of Spain. Olelé fans celebrate the mixture between modern African style and traditional Spanish artisan work.

To order items: call or Whatsapp 647-704-9803

Pbel necklaces are carefully and perfectly handmade in Toronto from African prints wax fabric. They are 21 inches long and 5/8 thick and can be worn in every season . Available in one size. The necklace has a golden lobster clasp closure and extension chain. They should not be worn during exercise, sleep or/and bath. | 61

1. Chipewa Headwrap Vibrant headwrap curated from the bustling fabric markets of Malawi. From winter to summer, this accessory is perfect for all seasons and can also be worn as a neck scarf.

2. Hexagon L/S Enan This shoulder bag is great for regular everyday use, with ample space for all your things. Featuring two faux leather handles and a zip at the top. Interior pouch compartment with zip. Fully lined.

3. Hexagon L/S Handbags The Hexagon LS handbags have ample space for all your things, our handbags are great for everyday use. Each bag is unique with vibrant prints.

4. Trekume Bamboo Handbag

AfroElle Library Peruse our past issues for more great stories and interviews

























Afroelle Magazine June Issue 2015  

AfroElle Magazine is a digital magazine that celebrates and empowers women of African heritage in Africa and the Diaspora. www.afroellemagaz...

Afroelle Magazine June Issue 2015  

AfroElle Magazine is a digital magazine that celebrates and empowers women of African heritage in Africa and the Diaspora. www.afroellemagaz...