In this #eNCAlive debate, a week after Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, we talk all things creative . My guests are Anthony Bila, a visual artist and blogger; Sonwabile Ndamase, executive president of the South African Fashion Designers’ Association and Nhlanhla Nciza, the creator of NN Vintage and one half of the super Afro-pop group Mafikizolo. We talk about why South Africa does not wear its own when it comes to fashion. The latest Gavin Rajah saga does not escape the panel as it tries to establish the line between inspiration and fraud.
Lupita Nyong’o on beauty:
“And when I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse, as you can imagine happens with adolescence. My mother reminded me often that she thought that I was beautiful but that was no [consolation], she’s my mother, of course she’s supposed to think I am beautiful.
And then … Alek Wek. A celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was. Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me, as beautiful. My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden Oprah was telling me it wasn’t. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy. But a flower couldn’t help but bloom inside of me, when I saw Alek I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I could not deny. Now, I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated by the far away gatekeepers of beauty. But … to the courters that I thought mattered I was still unbeautiful. And my mother again would say to me you can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t feed you and these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be. “
As recorded by Essence.
|Source: City Press/Elizabeth Sejake|
In last Sunday’s City Press (18 August), I have an opinion piece that argues that black women’s style choices should be limited by our imagination, not ideology. The article brought some heat to my otherwise cool twitter timeline.
I’d like to send a shout-out to two talented visual women – Maki Mashego, whose art work revived this line of thinking in me, and Elizabeth Sejake, who took amazing pictures of that work (and me in the background).
Unedited version of the piece: