In the last seventy two hours Beyonce Knowles’s new album has become the single most talked about cultural event of the year. While the music is great, some of her best work ever even, it is the visual album that accompanies the music that has drawn the most attention.
We see a side to Beyonce that she has never shown, embracing and celebrating her multi-ethnic African-American and French creole roots through visual imagery and the poetry of Warsan Shire. She also used the visual album to celebrate the work of several international and African-american artists and creators including Nigeria’s Laolu Sebanjo and Maki Oh.
Amaka Osakwe has extensive collaborations with Beyonce Knowles’s younger sister Solange Knowles and has dressed her on several occasions, but having her work feature in Beyonce’s film, worn by actress and activist Amandla Stanberg. Osakwe is (as far as we know) the only designer based in Africa given this honor.
A photo posted by Maki Oh Lagos (@maki.oh) on
Laolu Sebanjo also features prominently in the visual album, his distinct ‘Afromysterics’ body painting that celebrates Yoruba culture and the traditions of the Yoruba Orishas is embraced by Beyonce as it harkens to the French Creole practice of Santeria and Lukumi workship, an off shoot of traditional Yoruba polytheistic religion. Sebanjo was recently in the news for his collaborations with Nike and this collaboration legitimizes his work as an internationally recognised art form.
Congratulations to Osakwe and Sebanjo and We hope more Nigerian creatives get this kind of public recognition for their stellar work.