Yagazie Emezi


Cultural Anthropologist & Africanist

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


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.

In accordance to pictures:

 "I must be honest with you; I never loved this child. Whenever I remember what his father did to me, I used to feel the only revenge would be to kill his son. But I never did that. I forced myself to like him, but he is unlikable. The boy is too stubborn and bad. It’s not because he knows that I don’t love him; it is that blood in him." 

 ”When I found out I was pregnant, I thought that I would kill the child as soon as it was born. But when she arrived, she looked like my family, and I realized she was part of me. I started to love her. Now, I love my daughter so much; actually, our relationship is more like sisters.”

 ”A group of militias attacked our home and killed my three brothers. Then they took me to a place where they raped me, one after the other. I am not interested in a family. I am not interested in love. I don’t see any future for me. Sometimes… I regret that I didn’t die in the genocide.” 

 ”I had a premonition that I might survive if I picked one child and ran away. I looked at all three of my children, and they all looked so nice to me that I couldnt pick one. But I also knew that I couldnt run with all three. Eventually, my heart told me to pick the first born. Many other people were running too, and I fell… “

Intended Consequences is a series of portraits made in Rwanda of women that were brutally raped during the Rwandan genocide and the children they bore from those encounters. Over the course of three years, “I traveled to Rwanda several times, to photograph, interview, and uncover more details of the heinous crimes committed against the mothers of these children. The mothers, many whom contracted HIV/AIDS from the militiamen that raped them, felt unable to speak about their experiences for many years, silenced by the shame of rape and having a child of militiamen who in many cases were also responsible for killing their entire families.

All the interviews were conducted in the privacy of the women’s homes. It was impossible to prepare myself for what I was going to hear. For most of them, this is the first time they have ever spoken out about what they experienced, yet with each interview, the women shared with me intimate details of their suffering, isolation, and the daily challenges they continue to face as a direct result of the violence inflicted on them. 

These mothers have lived through the most severe torture any human can endure, and in the aftermath they continue to struggle against multiple levels of trauma. Unfortunately, victims of sexual violence in Congo DRC, Darfur, and around the world are facing similar challenges today. My greatest hope is that, in reading these stories and seeing the images of the women and children in this series, people will be inspired to act and work toward ensuring that similar acts of violence never happen again, and that these families can have a brighter future.”
—Jonathan Torgovnik (Source)

(via yagazieemezi)


Photographer Stephanie Sinclair spent nearly a decade documenting the harmful repercussions of child marriage, from self-immolation to trafficking and rape. In India, home to the highest absolute number of child brides in the world, she witnessed secret wedding ceremonies for girls as young as five years old. Sinclair’s journalistic investigation culminated in her creation of a full-blown campaign to educate and inform to end child marriage around the world.

Sinclair recently returned to Rajasthan, India, where change has begun. She met young girls—and boys—who had taken a stand against their own parents and refused to be married, choosing instead to stay in school. In between making images with her regular camera, Sinclair snapped the candid portraits shown here with her mobile phone. (via Celebrating the Courage of Children in Rajasthan | PROOF)

Too young to wed by Stephanie Sinclair

(via violetemotions)


Watch this wonderful film “ELIKYA” by Congolese filmmaker Sarah M. Kazadi on the aspiration of a young Congolese woman basketball player to make it in the US college basketball world and WNBA.

(via foxxxynegrodamus)


Marc Riboud born in 1923 in Lyon, took his first pictures in 1937 using a small vest-pocket camera gifted to him by his father.  Although having started off studying engineering and working in a factory, Riboud picked up his passion for photography once again which took him from the Middle-East, to India, to China before he started to follow the independence movement in Algeria and Western Africa. The location and time period of the above images are noted in the captions.

"Rather than a profession, photography has always been a passion for me. A passion closer to an obsession."

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