Yagazie Emezi


Cultural Anthropologist & Africanist

None of the images posted here belong to me unless stated otherwise.



Shades of Swagger # 85 | Solid Gold


Documentary: The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo

Ama Ata Aidoo was the first African woman playwright, publishing The Dilemma of a Ghost (1965) at the age of 25. She is a poet, a novelist and a feminist.

The documentary follows Aidoo over a course of a year during which she travels to her ancestral village in the Central Region of Ghana.

Aidoo’s writing is rich in historical and cultural context, dealing with slavery, drawing inspiration from colonial Ghana and the post-independence period to present day Africa where support for women’s creative talent remains lacking.

Award-winning director Yaba Badoe (The Witches of Gambaga, 2010) and her producer Amina Mama, a leading feminist scholar, are crowd-funding $45,000 on Indiegogo to cover post-production costs. One-third of the project budget is being covered by donors such as the African Women’s Development Fund and the Global Fund for Women but you can be a donor too.

"When I was growing up, I definitely remember my mother told us folktales. Once I became aware of myself, I occurred to me that I should add to life’s stories."

"Ghanaians have always been nervous about the presence of people of diaspora here. And I think that was in part, due to the fact that they remind us of what we don’t want to deal with. And if fact, in the wake of the slave trade, we were colonized, conquered and again, we have not really dealt with the implications of colonization. What is colonization?

So the relationship between us and the African diaspora is charged”

(via 2brwngrls)


I came across Mambu Bayoh’s work in late 2010, drawn to the vibrant softness and hidden strength of the women captured by his camera. Bayoh is a Sierra Leone/Liberian photographer who came to the United States at a young age, escaping the Liberian civil war. Drawn to the art of photography, Bayoh stopped his pursuit in Law and dedicated his time to his now current passion. His work not only crosses over into high fashion and street fashion, but into social documentation as well. 

To view more of his images, view his TUMBLR, INSTAGRAM and official WEBSITE.

"My work is journalistic; I capture life as I know or see it. It is also laboring; it’s born out of love passion and inner struggle. I love to capture people. The collective strength of humans is beyond amazing and the determination of an individual is prolific. I’ve been blessed to be on earth for a little amount of its history but I just want to document what I see and hear. To show the human strength, defeat, determination, culture, and resilience.”

Needless to say, Mambu Bayoh’s work is a visual feast and his continuous output of new images assures us that there will always be more to enjoy.




Kwaku Ananse filmmaker Akosua Adoma Owusu has initiated the project “Damn the Man, Save the Rex” to preserve one of Ghana’s most important cultural heritages; the Rex Cinema. The Rex Cinema in Accra is Ghana’s oldest cinema and was built by Kwame Nkrumah, but it is at risk of being sold-off to foreign developers by the Ghanaian government. The kickstarter aims to raise $8000 to restore the cinema - to renovate and transform into an alternative creative space for art, music, and film.

With the money raised through Kickstarter, Owusu will repair The Rex, install video and film projectors as well as a light and sound system.. The Rex’s first event will be a screening of Owusu’s award-winning film, Kwaku Ananse along with a concert by Koo Nimo, Kyekyeku, Nana Asaase, and This House is Not For Sale.

Shortly after winning the Africa Movie Academy Award, I had this idea to open up one of Ghana’s oldest cinema houses and premiere my film, Kwaku Ananse there. On my visits, I noticed the venue was in complete disrepair. It was nearly impossible to hold events there. No public toilets. No projector. No sound equipment. No cinema. One of the people I met on my visit was the late actor/theater director Evans Nii Oma Hunter, (on the far right of this photo). He expressed much grief about Ghana’s dying cinema culture and how back in the day he never waited around for the government to offer help before embarking on art projects most important to him. He passed away a few weeks after taking this photo with me. RIP Evans Nii Oma Hunter”

Africans and Africans of the diaspora…support!
Donate to the Kickstarter

10 days left to Save the Rex!


(via blackfilm)

I LOVE PRINTS!!! Growing up in Nigeria, I got stuck with school uniforms, hand-me-downs and the ‘mother hand-picked this for me’ clothes. But I was surrounded daily by vibrant traditional clothes worn by others around me as they bustled about their everyday routines; which perhaps explains my attraction to patterns. Moving to the States as a teen fueled the already present desire to fit in, to blend in, but the more I believed I was doing just that, the more I felt myself crippling with body-consciousness and self-esteem issues. So at some point during my college years, I simply let myself be and started to wear what my eyes were drawn to in order to express myself.

As fond as I am of my dark colors, I cannot get enough of my printed items because with their jumble of patterns and designs, they seem to represent who I am on the outside - Yagazie

You are my tumblr crush lol .. Ok bye
yagazieemezi yagazieemezi Said:


the Emezi sisters. #watch

Big sis and I

(via 2brwngrls)



“La Obra”

This latest photography project is based on the photographs of Frida Kahlo, honoring her legacy as well as exploring one’s own identity through her inspiration. I chose to collaborate with Whitney (la-negra-barbuda) as my model on this, and they truly brought the spirit of this project to life.

Words of Whitney (the model):

I felt honored when Yvonne wanted to collaborate with me because I loved “Man or Woman?”, her photo project about her identity and thoughts on gender. We brainstormed about possible topics and she suggested a Frida-themed shoot. I was a bit apprehensive because many photography projects that I’ve seen based on Frida have focused on unibrows, flower crowns, and red lipstick, almost fetishizing the common images of Frida and Mexican mestiza identity. As a fan of Frida, I wanted to do the project, but focus more on recreating photography of her, not her paintings. My own life has many threads that are present in Frida’s life also: queerness, self-trained artistry, reproductive issues, mixed heritage, a spinal injury from a traffic accident, and lastly, facial hair that is not considered popular for a person read as a woman. After considering Frida’s life and self-expression, it only seemed right to work on a Frida-themed project.

Since I’m not Mexican, I did not want to appropriate aspects of Mexican culture through Frida, but find ways to express my own Afrolatinidad, more specifically Afroboricua identity, using Frida as a template. The flowers Yvonne used to style my hair are hibiscuses in my favorite color, a nod to the national flower of Puerto Rico: La Maga. In one photo, I’m holding a figure of the Orisha Eleggua as a display of my own spiritual legacy of Lukumi, a belief practiced throughout the Americas which is based in the Caribbean on West African religions. The jewelry and clothing are all my own and like Frida’s extensive wardrobe my taste in clothing has been influenced by the variety in the mezcla of my own cultural heritage.

To see the full collection, please go to the photoset on Flickr.

To see the inspiration photos of Frida Kahlo herself, please go to this Pinterest collection.

[Note: “Obra” in Spanish is the word for a piece of artwork, a play, work (labor), or a written deed.]

Stunning photographs!

(via elisamexica)


Beninese photographer Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou incorporates a technique very traditional of African portraiture. With this method he captures the body-builders of Porto Novo, showcasing the current generation of Africans caught between tradition and what would be seen as more ‘modern’ practices. Body-builders are nothing new within Africa, but Leonce has them bearing plastic flowers; a beautiful contrast to their masculinity all tied together with the traditional prints enclosing them.  - Yagazie

Find out more here.

(via yagazieemezi)

Got a message from a young reader who felt shame over her name because people could not pronounce it or would not make the effort to, thus making her nervous over introductions. She was especially worried about not being able to connect with others as a freshman in college. 

My opinion:
DO NOT BE ASHAMED OF YOUR NAME! If people can’t make the effort to pronounce it right, how it is your fault? I’m YAGAZIE and I’m proud of my name. Honestly in college, I used to have people call me Frankie (short for my middle name, Francisca), but I quickly stopped that. No one is going to not talk you just because of your name, don’t be silly dear!! And if they do, no big loss. Trust me.

When I introduce myself to people, I look them straight in the eyes and with a firm handshake, I say my name. THE PEOPLE WORTH KNOWING are the ones that either get it or if they don’t, they ask, “Wait, how do you pronounce that?” Then I say my name slowly and have them repeat it. The ones probably not worth knowing are those who give that look which means that they didn’t get the pronunciation of your name, but they keep quiet. Having a shorter version of your name is really up to you. A lot of people just call me Yaga, but they MADE THE EFFORT TO SAY MY FULL NAME FIRST. And when people ask me what I prefer to go by, I say, “Yagazie”

It’s corny, but give honor to your name. Have people say it. NOBODY is not going to deny their friendship to you just because of your name! Our names in our languages is a mark of who we are and where we come from and you shouldn’t let anyone make you feel anything but positive about it. - Yagazie

(via yagazieemezi)


"‘Lipombo’, the custom of skull elongation, which was a status symbol among the Mangbetu ruling classes at the beginning of the century and was later emulated by neighboring groups, evolved into a common ideal of beauty among the peoples of the northeastern Congo. At birth the heads of  babies’  were tightly wrapped with cloth in order to give their heads the streamlined look. The practice began dying out in the 1950s with the arrival of more Europeans and westernization. Because of this distinctive look, it is easy to recognize Mangbetu figures in African art.” - Source

(via yagazieemezi)


Founded by Lawrence Williams, Wide Open Walls is a project founded by Lawrence Williams with the goal of turning villages villages in Gambia (under the Ballabu Conservation Project) into living art and also promote the Gambia as a tourist destination. 

With the hope to have more projects like this one start up in other communities, Wide Open Walls encourages public art; giving space to images that would normally be viewed at a gallery or musuem.

"Without doubt, art measures up as an attraction and a way to connect communities with imagery that is beautiful and resonates with them."

Escale a Bissau for Shoes Up Magazine
Styling Monica Lafayette
Make Up Elodie Fiuza
Hair Belos Cabelos
Model Ivandra at L’Agence

"Troublemaker’ is an Afro-Thriller set in the townships of South Africa where four young children with destructive super powers wreak havoc on their town."

I always enjoy watching any sort of well done African sci-fi/paranormal film/short. A bit reminiscent of Heroes, but then again, it’s easy to connect super-heros and villains to a lot in cinema.

"The boxer, Patrick, is a fantastic athlete. He’s very, very dedicated to his sport, I have total respect for the way he conducts himself. He’d trained solidly for 3 months and as you can see was in superb shape. Unfortunately and unbelievably he was denied a visa for his fight just two days before the bout. I was gutted for him, especially as I was in no doubt that he’d win."

From the personal blog of Luca Sage.