Friday, March 06, 2009

Michelle in March

I've been working on an opinion piece on my girl Michelle and I think it's time that I finish it up and post! It's a shame that there's nothing on this blog yet about Michelle, as much as I've been watching, following and studying her for the past 18 months and more. So must and WILL rectify in next few days.

I have been collecting all magazines I can find with her on the cover. Some covers make her look great while a few others don't do her enough justice. I'm yet to physically possess my copy of Vogue's March edition with Michelle on the cover, but as far as I can see, I expected waaaaay better! Oprah's O Magazine has the 'bazillionnaire' sharing cover vanity and glory with someone for the first time ever and guess with who! Again, I don't know what the cover artist/photographer/editor was thinking but they look like a camera shot caught them not quite ready to pose. They should have had them standing back to back in a Charlie's Angels-type pose or something :-). Again, not enough justice done to my girl. But I don't mind, I'll gawk and marvel anyway. But I decided to rectify the issue by adding a photo of her looking beyond gorgeous in this fantastic Peter Soronen number and that stunning necklace she had going with it at the Governor's Ball in February. Haute. This is a First Lady unlike no other. Talk about heating it up at the White House. Barack ti she kona. We now have a bonafide babe in the White House.
More to come. I promise.

M.i. Album Review

I don’t quite know who’s behind this album, nor do I know who M.I is or what his real name is (ok, I think I made it out to be Jude from one of his lyrics), or what his story is (I also made out that his parents are evangelists and he’s from Jos) or what his earlier claim to fame is. But I trust that more will unfold as we get to know him better. I’ll do more homework on that later. But he’s literally outta the blue and he’s a smash hit already. His entrance into the crowding Naija music scene reminds me of when Jill Scott first came out with ‘Who’s Jill Scott’ back in 2000 and I remember being in the HMV store on Walnut Street back in Philly with a group of friends pawing the album all over and were literally like “who “is” Jill Scott? And the rest as they say is history. The ENTIRE M.I. album rocks and is a perfect antidote for a ride through maddening Victoria Island traffic with your air-conditioner straining for relevance through the scorching Lagos heat. Turn up the volume in your car and you will find yourself bobbing your head from side to side with people in the car beside you wondering what the heck you’re so happy about. M.I. really does make it all ok, at least for that moment. I know I refer to traffic a lot in my music reviews, but that really is the best time to listen to music as you’re stuck in it and there’s nothing else to do!

His lyrics are political, serious and playful all at the same time. I will continue to say and advocate if I must, that in new Nigeria, the cup of talent runneth over. M.I. along with some of my other favorite Nigerian artistes continues to attest to this. Grab your copy from your nearest ‘streetpreneur’, that’s if they have any left from the slam-fest that is this album all across Nigeria and beyond.

Favorite tracks on repeat:
13. Money (this I literally have on repeat permanently); 15.Jehovah; 16.Hustle; 4.Short Black Boy; 5.Teaser (this is a brilliantly done track with a unique blend of raspy dancehall and hip hop); 6. Talk About It (this track is a real hoot. Listen to the words carefully.)
Saymama gives 5 ***** (out of 5) stars for great effort.

My Random Asa Encounter

In the midst of a harrowing, stressful and unbelievably hot day, I’m standing at the teller counter at GTBank when Asa walks in to stand beside me. I’m awe-struck, no, star-struck and wanted to say something but didn’t know if I should. In my mind I was like, gosh she’s tiny! Her mien was very calm, totally oblivious to everyone in the banking hall trying their hardest not to gawk at her. You know Nigerians are the best when trying to pretend that they aren’t star-struck nor do they care for celebrity when they REALLY do deep down.

So I finished my business at the bank and left. I got into my car and was about to drive off when I thought to myself, I’m going to stalk her. No, wait for her to come out and I’ll go up to her and say hello and ask her if she wouldn’t mind taking a picture with me. Her BIGGEST FAN! Emi ati Asa nikan sho sho. And as big a fan of hers as I am, I am ashamed to say that I’ve missed her in concert at the few given opportunities that have come my way. So you can understand why I had to capture this moment and couldn’t just let her go scot-free like that.
After about 20 minutes, she eventually came out and camera in hand, I burst out of my car and pretended to calmly walk up to her. I said to her, “Hi Asa. I’ve been waiting for you to come out. How are you?” “I’m good” she says with a smile. Then I asked her if she wouldn’t mind taking a picture with me and she’s like “sure”, in a nice and good natured manner. So I grabbed her companion and took my pictures with Asa live! And voila! I wasn’t looking my glammest as you can see from the picture, but ask me if I care. ‘Fi mi sile’!

Monday, March 02, 2009

..On Fashion and Animal Inspiration

So I’m leafing through the March editions of British/Europe fashion magazines (Elle, Vogue, etc) and I’m irritated. I’m irritated that whenever European runways do a play or interpretation on Africa, especially today’s’ Africa, it is replete with lions and tiger cubs sashaying down the runways alongside the models and all the prints are still of tiger, cheetah, or bloody zebra designs as a recurring theme. Why oh bloody heck why?! No sense of imagination? Dearth of ideas? Why is Africa still belittled, represented and viewed through the interpretation of wild animals? With all that Africa has to offer in its mere vastness, a continent so rich in diversity and beauty, surely there has to be more to Africa than thoughts that evoke fantasies of safaris, animals and jungles? And it’s positioning and accessibility in today’s global arena, it’s just shallow and disappointing.

Note to Alexander McQueen, Roberto Cavalli and John Galliano et al: repeating a decades-long practice of thinking that the use of wild animals and the Masai on prints and runways representing Africa is not sexy anymore. I’m sure one can find reptiles in the swamps of Europe if they swam in it long enough!