What my first Afro Punk event was like.

What my first Afro Punk event was like.

Saturday 13th of June, I had the pleasure of attending the festival Afro Punk at La Seine Musicale, in Paris for the first time. Headlining the concert was Solange Knowles and Janelle Monae.

I must say that it was surreal to see so much creativity in one place. It was like being on a movie set where new characters coming out of nowhere every 2 seconds. It was amazing.

I made an effort to add some African touch to my outfit as I really didn’t know what to expect there. I was definitely NOT overdressed and felt like I could have been a little bit more extra. It was impressive to be in the middle of so much art.

They had massive flags which I obviously used  to take a picture 🙂 . It was not easy with the wind but we managed to take something nice.

D7DBF7C3-8338-4FAF-AA2D-495D3D94B263-1

Here are a few pictures I took at the event. It would be great to hear your comments if you experienced this event in Paris or elsewhere. There is another festival in the desert that I was looking into but I am not sure I will be handle to handle all the nakedness that google search has showed me.. ( ah aha ah)

 

 

 

GOLD CHOKER, Tribal jewellery from NACHO JEWELS , a label from Argentina.

IMG_3699

My friend came from Brazzaville, Congo to display and sell her clothing line, LIPUTA SWAGGA. If you have a minute, please have a look at her amazing work!

 

IMG_3692

 

Reasons why Rome was my worst getaway trip so far.

Reasons why Rome was my worst getaway trip so far.

I went to Rome for the first time over 10 years ago. It was an unplanned trip and I didn’t visit much of the city so I was really excited to return in May 2019 and do the photoshoot with footballer Steven Nzonzi for the cover of my magazine.

b0460947-216f-42ad-a162-60d5c48e26ec-1

A friend and I booked an Air B and B in Vatican City as we wanted to be able to do some sightseeing too. Big mistake. Although the apartment was lovely and close to a supermarket and a few other places, I had the worst weekend in an European capital of my entire life!

I love Italy, and I visited many places before for longer periods, Milan, Naples, Salerno, Capri, Grosseto, Florence, etc… but never I have felt the racism like that weekend in Rome. Of course, I am black and I get noticed but come on!!!!!! In 2019, can we just try to respect one another and get on with our lives?

Any coloured person I heard speak about Rome this year, had the same experience so I thought I would just write about it.

TAXIS

We had to take a UBER everywhere because Rome is actually quite big and beautiful. So much history to discover and the fantastic fresh food. But how does anyone explain a 10 minutes ride with UBER costing 60 Euros????!!!! Clearly, the Italians in Rome are like the French in Paris, rude without a cause. My best friend is Italian so I cannot find the words to say how much that weekend traumatised me.

The “regular” taxis all tried to rip us off as we didn’t speak the language so we thought at least with the rating system of UBER, things will be a bit better. The drivers were certainly nice but those prices completely outrageous. I guess, they have a reason to do this so “regular” taxis don’t get out of job. Hopefully in time, it will get better.

FOOD

The food in Italy is always tasty. But the service is another story. In London, customer service is key and maybe we are spoilt with that, same for America. But Italy has a long way to go in treating people equally with the same respect!

HOTELS

I won’t name them here but they were SO rude that we chose to rent a flat instead. NO COMMENT.

OVERALL 

We really tried to have a good time and Steven and his family made sure we felt at home.  The Vatican was simply splendid and I really wish we had more time to look at everything.

 

FONTANA DI TREVI and other places we saw…

rhdr

 

 

STEVEN AND HIS SISTER KAREN NZONZI

 

I did an impromptu shoot with my gorgeous red dress with my best carefree spirit in the middle of people staring at me like I was not part of the furniture. FUN TIMES!

 

We also had the honour the be invited by Steven to assist to his game, with his team AS Roma. Good thing, they won! And we got to see Ronaldo and Blaise Matuidi too!!

 

I hope you enjoyed the few photos. If you had a different experience in Rome and want to argue or add to mine, please feel free to share below or via email. I am working on adding content to our YOUtube Channel, ESIMBI Magazine and I can’ wait to share that later on.

 

 

If we don’t tell our story who will ?

If we don’t tell our story who will ?

Early 2017, I was still thinking about my trip in Congo which happened in October 2016. With a few volunteers, we organised a talk for over 600 students and a workshop for 250 kids, in the form of a drawing competition for www.esimbi.org . It was truly the most amazing experience of my life.

For the first time, I really felt the pressure of weighting every word because I understood the impact they could have on these young people’s lives. Kinshasa taught us lessons we didn’t expect. They say if you want to be a millionaire, spend time with millionaires. Your entourage will determine who you will become. Jay Shetty once said that we live in the perception that others have of ourselves. We can’t be what we have never seen. So how to bring those exceptional role models to these young people in a country that is in constant trouble? So one day, they can inspire to great things and believe that they can be who they want.

We certainly always seek the results but do we want to go through the process of what it takes to have that lifestyle. A life long commitment to being better than what surrounds us. It is hard. It is hard especially when you live in such conditions like these children in Congo. Everything is a luxury to them, a pen, a piece of paper, water.

The idea of the magazine came from all this thinking. I wanted to do something more. I wanted to give them something that they didn’t have and could keep. The fear kicked in about 5 minutes after thinking about making this magazine happen. What would the content be? Who would design it? What title could fit my thoughts? and so on…

It started to feel too complicated already. But a voice was telling me to just do it. It was necessary, not for me but for them. They needed to see people who came from similar backgrounds going places. They needed to look up to them and be inspired.

So I jumped in. I chose to call it ESIMBI ( meaning “it works” in Lingala ) like my social initiative. I then ask a work colleague who was good with graphic design to help me with a logo. My colleague and I started to do research about Congo, the history, the forest, the artists, the charities, etc…. and what we found was amazing. Tons of content.

www.esimbimagazine.com

 

PHOTO-2019-01-16-13-35-36                         Impression

My biggest fear was not to find things to talk about. No content to captivate whoever would read this free magazine that was supposed to be a one off. We simply wanted to give the final product to the schools and libraries. But our audience was larger than that. In fact, it was global. So the project ended up catering a niche of people hungry for knowledge. They want education over entertaining, so our goal became bigger.

I am thankful to every one who helped us on this journey. Especially the ones who told me not to do it because it would ruin my fashion career. This project helped me grow into a better version of myself without even knowing it and I simply hope that this magazine will keep going strong. The african community has a narrative to rewrite and we want to contribute to that immensely.

Impression

 

Impression