African culture is very diverse, consisting of a variety of tribes that have their own individual unique characteristics. It is expressed through arts and crafts, tradition and religion, clothing, cuisine, music and languages. African music and fashion has been growing at a fast rate and is now influencing the pop culture of the West.
African fashion is becoming trendy, spreading out of the African continent to all over the world. Before, people in the West wore African fashion to portray a sense of black awareness, consciousness or black pride: This includes notables like Jesse Jackson, Nina Simone, Herbie Hancock, just to mention a few. Lately, African fashion is being worn by not only Africans and the African diaspora but by American celebrities and artists like Beyoncé, Rihanna, Solange, Gwen Stefani and Chris Brown.
African print fabrics incorporate vibrant colors and tribal patterns that often portray symbolic elements of African culture and landscapes. These print fabrics can also be indigenous to particular regions of Africa. They come in varieties such as ukara, adire, kente, akwete, shweshwe, chitenge, and ankara (which is the most sought after). With the cross-pollination of African print fabrics with Western fashion the results can be jaw dropping.
Just like African fashion, the West has also embraced contemporary African music. A popularized African music style of today is known as Afrobeats, characterized by its electronic dance beats that is recorded in various tempos, infused with African percussion and rhythm. With a large following in the West, Afrobeats can now be heard regularly on the radio and in many dance venues. More and more American artists are recording or working with African artists and producers.
In celebration of African heritage and pride through African fashion and music, The Georgie Badiel Foundation presents “The African Print Affair.” The mission of the foundation is to provide clean, accessible water to African countries, and also focuses on the empowerment of African women. The African Print Affair takes place on Sat., April 15 at Club 40/40 in New York at 11 p.m. DJ Nenim will keep the dance floor rocking to Afrobeats, kuduro, and more.
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