FASHION: Top 10 Black Models at New York Fashion Week > Okayafrica


Top 10 Black Models

at New York Fashion Week

*Model to watch: Sudanese Mari Agory/ Photography: Phillip Ritchie


Fashionistas flocked to New York for the Fall collections shows and presentations of New York Fashion Week. This year proved to be another hit for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, which featured over 90 designers at the prestigious Lincoln Center and there was many other shows across the city like Harlem Fashion Row featuring designers of color. While some designers appeared to be more creative than others, you could not discuss the fashion minds’ engagement with the event. As an integral part of showcasing their beautiful pieces in motion, onlookers couldn’t help but admire the beauty and stillness of the models.

Models of color, whatever their ethnic background or lightness/darkness, were present during New York Fashion Week. They continued their blistering run of form during this special week by taking the stage by storm in small numbers. However, it’s always sad to observe that across almost 4500 models hired during NYFW 17% were models of color and only 6% of them were black models. The debate has been running for a longtime and unfortunately the numbers show a permanent lack of representation of models of color. To cut a long story short: there’s still a lot of work to do. That is why we decided to take some time off complaining about it and celebrate the models of color that worked NYFW. Browse our Top 10 Black Models who got the best exposure during New York Fashion Week below!

1 MARIA BORGES – Angola – 18 shows

NYFW MODEL Maria Borges Pret-a-PoundoNYFW MODEL Maria Borges For Custo Barcelona Pret-a-Poundo

*Maria Borges Portrait and Maria Borges for Custo Barcelona (source: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week)


2 GRACE MAHARY – Canada – 17 shows

NYFW MODEL Grace Mahary Pret-a-PoundoModel Grace Mahary Suno Fall 13 Prêt-À-Poundo
*Grace Mahary Portrait and Grace Mahary for Suno (source: Reuters)



3 CORA EMMANUEL – Martinique – 13 shows

NYFW MODEL Cora Emmanuel Pret-a-PoundoNYFW MODEL Cora Emmanuel for Diane Von Furstenberg Pret-a-Poundo
*Cora Emmanuel Portrait and Cora Emmanuel for Diane Von Furstenberg (source: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week)



4 JOURDAN DUNN – United Kingdom

NYFW Model Jourdan Dunn Pret-a-PoundoNYFW MODEL Jourdan Dunn for Trina Turk Pret-a-Poundo
*Jourdan Dunn Portrait and Jourdan Dunn for Trina Turk (source: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week)



5 MELODIE MONROSE – Martinique

NYFW MODEL Melodie Monrose Pret-a-PoundoNYFW MODEL Melodie Monrose for Badgley Mischka Pret-a-Poundo
*Melodie Monrose Portrait and Melodie Monrose for Badgley Mischka (source: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week)



6 LEOMIE ANDERSON – United Kingdom

NYFW MODEL Leomie Anderson Pret-a-PoundoNYFW MODEL Leomie Anderson for KaufmanFranco Pret-a-Poundo
*Leomie Anderson Portrait and Leomie Anderson for Kaufman Franco (source: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week)




NYFW MODEL Marihenny Rivera PasibleNYFW MODEL Marihenny Rivera Pasible for Nicole Miller Pret-a-Poundo
*Marihenny Rivera Pasible Portrait and for Nicole Miller (source: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week)



8 AJAK DENG – Sudan

NYFW MODEL Ajak Deng Pret-a-PoundoNYFW Model Ajak Deng for Jeremy Scott Pret-a-Poundo
*Ajak Deng Portrait and for Jeremy Scott (source: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week)



9 SHARAM DINIZ – Angola/Portugal

Model Sharam Diniz Black and White Prêt-À-PoundoNYFW Model Sharam Diniz for Dennis Basso Pret-a-Poundo
*Sharam Diniz Portrait and for Dennis Basso (source: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week)



10a GEORGIE BADDIEL – Burkina Faso

NYFW Model Georgie Baddiel Pret-a-PoundoNYFW Model Georgie Baddiel for Brandon Sun Pret-a-Poundo
*Georgie Baddiel Portrait and for Brandon Sun (source: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week)



10b NYKHOR PAUL – Sudan

NYFW Nykhor Paul Pret-a-PoundoNYFW Nykhor Paul for Costello Tagliapietra Pret-a-Poundo

*Nykhor Paul Portrait and for Costello Tagilapietra (source: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week)


HISTORY: An Abbreviated History of Black Women on Broadway

An Abbreviated History

of Black Women on Broadway


 photo katori-hall.jpg

Playwright Katori Hall

Being featured on New York’s famous Broadway Theaters is a great and difficult accomplishment for any actor, musician, playwright or director. Over the years many black women have worked hard to achieve the highest success in commercial theater by being featured on Broadway, yet their success is little know and little celebrated. Black women have faced and are still facing challenges when it comes to landing on Broadway, but many women have overcome these obstacles to see their names in light on Broadway.
The legacy of success of black women in Broadway started with Ethel Waters in 1927. She became the first black woman to appear on Broadway in the production of Africana. In 1949 she became the second African American woman, after Hattie McDaniel to be nominated for an Academy Award for the film Pinky. Outside of acting, Waters is known for her blues, jazz and gospel singing. Waters broke the color barrier time and time again becoming the first black woman to perform on television, and to be heard on the radio.


Juanita Hall became the first black woman to win a Tony Award in 1950. She won this award for her Best Supporting Actress in the musical South Pacific for her role as Bloody Mary. Hall preformed in South Pacific as Bloody Mary in 1,925 performances on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre. Hall continued a career in acting being featured numerous times on Broadway and on Television.


On March 11, 1959 A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway at the Barrymore Theatre, making Lorraine Hansberry the first black woman to have a play produced on Broadway. With the success of A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry became the youngest playwright and fifth woman to receive the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. Hansberry's life and career as an author, activist, and playwright was cut short as she died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 34.


In 1972 Vinnette Justine Carroll made history by being the first black woman to direct on Broadway with the musical Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope. This musical was such a success that it was nominated for four Tony Awards. Carroll's success continued in 1976 with Your Arms Too Short to Box with God which received three Tony Award nominations.


Phylicia Rashād became the first black woman to win the award for best leading actress in a play in 2004 annual Tony awards in New York. Although she may be best known for her role as Clair Huxtable on the sitcom The Cosby Show, Rashād made history only 9 years ago when she won the coveted Tony Award for her role as Lena Younger in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun. Rashād can also be seen as Lena Younger in the 2008 film version of A Raisin in the Sun.



In 2011 Black women playwrights Suzan-Lori Parks, Lydia R. Diamond, Katori Hall were all featured on Broadway at the same time. Suzan-Lori Park's reinterpretation of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess was produced on Broadway almost a decade after her debut with Topdog/Uderdog. Lydia Diamond's play Stick Fly was featured on Broadway at the Cort Theatre and was produced by singer Alicia Keys. Katori Hall's 2011 Broadway debut The Mountaintop starred Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett.


Alexis Jackson is a student studying Creative Writing and Fine Arts at Vanderbilt University. You can reach her at and follow her @_alexisjacks.


AUDIO: Bobby Womack en concert sur France Inter (21/11/2012) > Funk-U

Vous avez manqué le concert de Bobby Womack diffusé en direct sur France Inter hier soir ? Pas de problème, Funk-U vous offre une séance de rattrapage avec la diffusion en streaming du concert ci-dessous. Revivez la deuxième (et dernière) performance de Bobby Womack à Paris cette année captée au studio 105 de Radio France, avec au programme une sublime version solo acoustique de « (If You Don’t My Love) Give It Back » et des extraits de The Bravest Man in the Universe, un des plus beaux albums de 2012.

PS : Funk-U vous donne rendez-vous très bientôt avec une interview exclusive de Bobby Womack !




VIDEO + AUDIO: Celebrating Grand Master Franco • Afropop Worldwide

Celebrating Grand Master Franco

Franco is a towering figure in the cultural life of Africa. Guitar wizard. Prolific composer. Bandleader who groomed the who’s who of Congolese singing royalty. Called “the Balzac of Africa” for his ear and way with a story. He passed in 1989. We’ll revisit Afropop’s 1985 chat with Franco in Kinshasa, hear from some of his contemporaries and relish recording highlights from the 50s to the 80s. 

Looking Back on Franco:

An Appreciation






PUB: Worldwide Entries Sought: 2013 Royal Economic Society Essay Prize (£1,000 top prize | international) > Writers Afrika

Worldwide Entries Sought:

2013 Royal Economic Society

Essay Prize

(£1,000 top prize | international)

Deadline: 24 June 2013

Students from any country in the world studying on an A Level or IB course are invited to write an essay of between 1,000 to 2,500 words on one of the topics below calling on key elements of their study, examples from the world around them and imaginative discussion.


The Society launched their annual Young Economist of the Year competition in 2007, in association with Tutor2U, the O2 Smarta100 2011 winner online teaching resource business. This prestigious essay writing competition invites students currently studying for A Levels and the International Baccalaureate in all subjects to write on a major current problem or topic of concern. The winner of the Young Economist of the Year wins £1,000, with runners-up each receiving £500.

Students are invited to write an essay of between 1,000 to 2,500 words, on a subject set by the President of the Royal Economic Society, calling on key elements of their A Level or International Baccalaureate courses, examples from the world around them and imaginative discussion. Each year's topic for the essay title will be set in the Spring term and advertised through Tutor2U and the RES website.

The winner of the Young Economist of the Year prize is announced in August each year, with the prize presentation to be made at the RES Annual Public Lecture in London in December.
2013 Young Economist of the Year essay competition now launched.


  • Does the international mobility of talent make it impossible to tax the rich?

  • Should the experience of China silence those who think that democracy is good for growth?

  • Is the UK banking system too concentrated?

  • Should Universities embrace market forces in deciding what to teach and how?

  • Should those who object to Heathrow expansion be ``bought off’’ at taxpayer expense?

  • Must “quantitative easing” end in inflation?
Students up to the age of 19 are invited to write an essay of between 1,000 to 2,500 words on one of the above topics calling on key elements of their A Level or International Baccalaureate courses, examples from the world around them and imaginative discussion. Then upload your essay to our partners Tutor2U using the YE 2013 application form.

Deadline for applications is Monday 24th June 2013(12.00 GMT).

Applications will be acknowledged by Tutor2U with results to be announced by the Royal Economic Society at the end of the summer.

Any queries on the essays should be addressed to Tutor2U or general queries to the RES office administrator, Amanda Wilman on


For queries:

For submissions: via the online application form




PUB: Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize

Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize

The Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize is awarded annually to the U.S. poet whose poem best evokes a connection to place. “Place” may be interpreted by the poet as a place of historical, cultural, political, or personal importance; it may be a literal, imaginary, or metaphorical landscape. We are looking for one poem that offers our readers a fresh, original, and meaningful take on the topic.

Like everything else we feature, we will most be on the lookout for that rare combination of brilliance and clarity, excellence and accessibility.

The winning poet, as judged by Zócalo Poetry Editor Stephanie Brown and the Zócalo editorial staff, will receive $500.

Massachusetts poet Jody Zorgdrager won our first annual poetry prize in 2012 for “Coming Back, It Comes Back.”

The poetry prize competition is hosted in conjunction with our book prize, awarded to the nonfiction book that most enhances our understanding of community.

Submission Guidelines

Poems must be original and previously unpublished work. Entries will be accepted between January 16, 2013 and April 1, 2013.

For consideration, please send up to three poems to

Please attach poem(s) as a single Word document to your email.  Include your name, address, phone number, and email address on each poem. Personal identification will be removed prior to judge’s review. We will accept online submissions only.

Entries will be judged based on originality of ideas, how well the poem fits the theme, and style. Judging is at the sole discretion of Zócalo Public Square. The winner will be announced in April 2013, and the winning poet will receive $500. The winning poem will be published on 

The winning poem becomes the property of Zócalo Public Square. By entering the contest, the entrant grants Zócalo the right to publish and distribute his or her poem for media and publicity purposes, along with the poet’s name and photograph.


PUB: Zócalo Public Square Book Prize

Zócalo Public Square Book Prize

Zocalo Public Square Book Prize

The Zócalo Public Square Book Prize is awarded annually to the U.S.-published book that most enhances our understanding of community and the forces that strengthen or undermine human connectedness and social cohesion.

Consistent with our organizational mission, as well as with the form and content of our web magazine and events, the Zócalo Public Square Book Prize seeks to honor the best contemporary thinking on the oldest of human dilemmas: how best to live and work together.

Because community is such a vast subject that can be explored in myriad ways, we accept submissions on a broad array of topics and themes from many fields and disciplines.

But, as with everything else we feature, we are most on the lookout for that rare combination of brilliance and clarity, excellence and accessibility.

Three finalists will be announced in March 2013. The author of the winning book, as determined by a panel of judges, will receive $5,000 and deliver a lecture at the award ceremony in May 2013. In 2012, Richard Sennett won the second annual book prize for Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation, and in 2011 Peter Lovenheim was awarded the inaugural prize for In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time.

Our judges:
Kimberly Freeman, director of community relations for the Southern California Gas Company
Gregory Rodriguez, founding director of Zócalo Public Square
Raquelle de la Rocha, Disability Rights Legal Center, Loyola Law School
Marshall Croddy, vice president of the Constitutional Rights Foundation
Susan Straight, author and professor of creative writing at University of California Riverside
Marten denBoer, provost of California State Polytechnic University Pomona
Maria Blanco, vice president of civic engagement for the California Community Foundation

The Zócalo Book Prize is sponsored by the Southern California Gas Company. Additional support provided by the Shepard Broad Foundation.

PUB: Call for articles – IHDP writing contest on Sustainable Development Goals > IHDP

Call for articles – IHDP writing contest on

Sustainable Development Goals

The IHDP Secretariat's Writing Contest is open again! Young scholars are invited to take part and write an article for the third issue of the Dimensions magazine, to be published mid 2013. The issue will focus on the human dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals that have been widely discussed in the context of the Rio+20 summit.


The IHDP Secretariat's Writing Contest is open again! Young scholars are invited to take part and write an article for the third issue of the Dimensions magazine, to be published mid 2013. The issue will focus on the human dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals that have been widely discussed in the context of the Rio+20 summit. The magazine is directed towards a wider audience, including non-scientists interested in the topic. Upon expiry of the submission deadline, the Secretariat will select up to three winners to be awarded cash prizes - and will publish their work in the magazine (print and online).

Cash prizes will be awarded as follows:   

  • 1st Place - US$ 500
  • 2nd Place - US$ 200            
  • 3rd Place - US$ 100     


At the UN conference on sustainable development “Rio+20” in June last year, world leaders agreed to create a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a means to embed sustainability into economic development. As part of the post-2015 development agenda, the SDGs are to reflect the lessons learned from the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that are set to end in 2015. The new goals aim to address issues such as poverty eradication, energy access and renewable energies, food and water security, biodiversity, sustainable consumption, production and urbanization, as well as social exclusion and equity. An intergovernmental Open Working Group, consisting of 30 UN member country representatives will starts its work in September 2013 with support from the UN Secretary General, other UN entities and consultation with additional governments.

Who is eligible?

The contest is open to young scholars from all over the world (graduate students, PhD students or postdocs). Scholars from developing countries are particularly encouraged to take part.     


Articles must address a significant issue relating to the human dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While the subject matter may cover political, technological, economic or social aspects, contestants should seek to write an article that is understandable to a non-scientific audience, offering a narrative and avoiding the use of too many technical terms. Winning articles will be written in engaging, non-scientific language, and will provide for an interesting and easy read. Contributions in the style of an academic paper will not be accepted. Submissions must be exclusive to this Writing Contest and not be published by any other outlet before the release of the magazine.

Entries are not to exceed 2,500 words and must be submitted via e-mail to by 15 April 2013, including “Writing Contest” in the subject line. Contestants are asked to provide a short paragraph about themselves stating their date of birth and field of research. All submissions will be reviewed carefully. Cash prizes will be awarded to up to three winners whose work will be published in both the print and online version of the magazine (1st Place: $ 500; 2nd Place: $ 200; 3rd Place: $ 100).

Winners will be announced on the IHDP Web site and social media channels and informed via email toward the end of April.

Photo: UN Photo/Martine Perret


VIDEO: First Trailer For Nelson George's 'Finding The Funk' (Doc On Origins & Influence Of The Music) > Shadow and Act

First Trailer For

Nelson George's

'Finding The Funk'

(Doc On Origins & Influence

Of The Music)

by Tambay A. Obenson

February 28, 2013 10:44 AM



S&A featured the Kickstarter campaign for this last fall, which was successful. The film looks like it's done, or close to being done since it's listed as one of 109 films screening at the SXSW film festival in March.

Author, filmmaker, producer Nelson George presents a documentary feature titled Finding The Funk, a journey through the origins and influence of funk music, from James Brown to D'Angelo.

Among those to be featured in the film are: Sly StoneBootsy CollinsMike D of the Beastie Boys, D'Angelo,Marcus Miller, MtumeNona HendryxVernon ReidMaceo ParkerBernie WorrellSteve ArringtonReggie HudlinSheila EShock G, and others.

Cliff Charles (he shot both Spike Lee Katrina documentaries) shot this film, and internationally renowned producer Arthur Baker (who's worked with Bob DylanAl Green and Bruce Springsteen, amongst others) is executive producer.

We already announced that the film will make its broadcast debut on Vh1 this Spring, with Ahmir "Questlove"Thompson narrating.

For the film, Nelson raised over $20,000 in 30 days, from October to November last year, to help finance the doc.

The film's first trailer has surfaced and is embedded below:


INTERVIEW + VIDEO: An Eden Jefferies Mashup: Rise of the Dandelions > idiosyncracie

An Eden Jefferies Mashup:

Rise of the Dandelions

‎”The dandelions at the base of the telephone pole. Why, she wonders, do people call them weeds? She thought they were pretty. But grown-ups say, “Miss Dunion keeps her yard so nice. Not a dandelion anywhere.” Hunkie women in black babushkas go into the fields with baskets to pull them up. But they do not want the yellow heads–only the jagged leaves. They make dandelion soup. Maybe because they are so many, strong, and soon.” -Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye)

Style is all encompassing.   When I saw Eden post her latest mash up “Rise of the Dandelions” on Facebook I had to reach out to her.  Eden as well as her art is emblematic of what “Idiosyncracie” is about. Creative, fearless, individual style.  In the past I had watched and shared her beautiful work, but had little context.  Eden was gracious enough to answer a lot of my questions about what her work is about and how she came to it.  “Rise of the Dandelions” features filmmaker Cinque Northern and Brooklyn born, street dance battle champion Storyboard P to the tune of Bon Iver’s “Wolves.” It speaks loudly, it is overflowing, and mesmerizing.  It is indeed hard to watch just once. The video was  a collaborative effort with a grassroots organization ( of which it is named after)  seeking to give voices back to communities of color, disproportionately affected by violence.  Famous footage from an Angela Davis interview opens the dance mashup, and her words are the only ones spoken throughout. They’re really the only words that need to be spoken.  Everything else, does for itself.   Thank you Eden!

M: What prompted you to start video mashups?

Eden: I started creating the mashups fairly recently (a few months ago) because of this thought I had one day about pairing up a hip-hop song I was listening to with a radiohead video in which Thom Yorke is doing some seemingly strange, interpretive, fun, dance moves. I was really excited about the juxtaposition of the two different vibes/emotions of the songs and video and also the idea of what might be a rare or surprising collaboration. So I took off with it and decided to continue creating unexpected collaborations.

M: You’re a poet and clearly a very creatively expressive person, where does a majority of your inspiration lie within your work?

Eden: In my own art and a lot of the art I love, I’m really drawn to juxtaposition of images and collage. I like the idea of sampling or piecing together various sources and creating something new, exciting, and/or surprising. Also, I try to challenge expectations, whether it’s the way we see, hear, or think about things, by recreating/reimagining, and recommunicating an idea or image. Once I thought about fleshed this out, it really made sense why I was compelled to create the mashups.

M: This lastest mashup (featured above) particularly stood out to me, what was your message behind it?

Eden: This last mashup ‘Rise of the Dandelions‘ was created for a specific collaborative project and theme. There is a group of artists and activists (Freedom Harvest: Rise of the Dandelions) based here in LA that are creating work, spaces, and opportunities for healing around freedom, justice and an end to violence in communities of color. With this mashup I really wanted to evoke an emotional journey, process, conversation and physical expression in regards to those themes.  

||”We are the dandelions rising up, reclaiming our stories, fighting for our freedom and healing our bodies, our communities, and our spirit.”|| 

For more on how to help the Rise of the Dandelion Movement, visit affiliate organization Nation Inside on how to help stop the cycle of violence as it is perpetuated  in LA jails.