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Revisiting the “African-Urban-Man” Style: Sapeurs by Amira Ali.

“White people invented the clothes, but we make an art of it”, a phrase commonly used and referred to the Sapeurs, Congo-Brazzaville’s self-confessed modern day dandies. The phrase coined by Sapeur godfather Papa Wemba.

Sapeurs, French slang for “dressing with class” take their name from the acronym SAPE, for Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes. Gentlemen’s club for the dapper, it’s a sartorial subculture consciously emulating its colonizer, layered with ambience and new expressions. The Sapes profess “La Sape” is an “art for ‘real’ gentlemen”. Living by an agreed aesthetical rule, their savior faire and modish use of the body and expensive dress with meticulously matched colors is a radical yet subtle form of protest, which in recent years has received international attention. Seemingly, the symbol of the Sapeur par excellence receives more notice on its aesthetics and less on meaning.

 In this extravagance buzz, the Sape’s fashion statement and bold flair is producing a post-modern phenomenon of the “African-urban-man” style and elegance. Sapologists, “gentlemen who live by a creed with a strict code of honor and morality”, are said to contest circumstances poised through the beautification effect of chic dressing. A belief that “it’s not the cost of the suit that counts, it’s the worth of the man inside it.” A performance and embodiment of sophistication, Sapeurs are prototypes of vibrant icons consciously portraying the embracing of a subcultural lifestyle.

Fascinated by this culture, the western world, beyond its ahistorical representation of Africa, has taken on the Sape as its new ‘western’ media phenomenon. In 2011, though an oddly placed feature the Sapeurs stole the spotlight in Solange Knowles’ “Losing You” video, shot in South Africa. But discovered long before Solange’s video, they have been introduced to the world colorfully as a ‘society of tastemakers and fashionably elegant’ stylistic inspiration to photographers.

The latest is the Guinness advertisement campaign; a break from the prototypical brand marketer’s portrayal of Africa, its approach takes on the exposé of the urban-debonair-man. A post-modern embodiment of style and sophistication, and a commitment to the “Society of Elegant Persons of the Congo” (La Sape), yet again, they add style, charm and vividness to a campaign that would otherwise be ordinary. These gentlemen referred to by Stephen O’Kelly, Guinness’ marketing director for Western Europe, as a “truly inspiring and unique group of men” are the featured ‘stars’ of Guinness’ recent advertising campaign, “Made of More”.  

A fashionable depiction, the Guinness ad artistically captures the extravagance of the everyday working Sapeurs as they transform from their day job to a cigar wielding, European-three-piece suit, silk socks, and fedora wearing men. Aesthically well crafted, a fine image is displayed of the urban-elegant expensive-looking of gentlemen. Yet, on the far side of this captivating documentation and splendid dress there is another side to the story of the Sapeurs living in Bakongo. These men are described as not being economically wealthy, and in fact some are said to rent items of clothing in the name of ‘ambianceur’ and fashion ‘worshipping’ or even take small fee(s) in exchange for a photographer’s glory –a snapshot of their dapper image. So, besides the undoubtedly rich spirit it may be a wonder, “what of what of the image we see of the Sapeurs is ‘true to life’?” A contrast of their ‘real-life’ far removed from our sight, the world is nonetheless left to experience the Sapeurs through the lens of photographers and cinematographers who bring out their mode par excellence alive. And perhaps, such depictions can be representational of the (re) construction attached to African cultural movements that permeates the western mainstream landscape. 

 All photos by Ruddy Roye :: a Brooklyn (New York) based photographer specializing in editorial and environmental portraits, and photojournalism. You can find more of his work here

BREAKING: Puppy Finally Catches Own Tail

By Stacie Grissom, BarkBox Blogger

An 8-week-old golden retriever puppy named Boatswain accomplished the unimaginable, becoming the youngest dog in history to capture his own tail.

"He’s a prodigy," says Abe Brenner, a golden retriever trainer and historian. "I’ve seen goldens with countless dog years on Boatswain who whirl and whirl after their tail to no avail. I’m flabbergasted by his early success."

No word yet on whether Boatswain will compete in tailchasing for the 2016 Puplympics. 

Via whiteprussian.

NO MORE RAMEN IS SEEKING CONTRIBUTORS!

I am seeking contributors to specialize in the following for the blog:

  • budget grocery shopping
  • tips for people using food stamps/SNAP
  • gluten free/celiac cooking
  • kosher cooking
  • recipes for diabetics
  • eating disorder recovery
  • halal cooking

I am looking either for someone to contribute a post every other week or two writers to each write a monthly post relating to their area of expertise. You and any of your projects would be featured in a “Contributors” page, as well as a bio at the bottom of each of your posts. Plus, you’d be helping a large food community of almost 30,000 readers! 

If you’re interested, please send me a message! I’d appreciate readers signal boosting this and sharing. Thank you so much! <3

Local Dog is a Total Chick Magnet

By Scott Friedstein, FluffPo Correspondent

No one knows how he does it.

According to sources, Flip the dog is a veritable expert when it comes to attracting chicks. Once an average border collie, Flip has intrigued animal lovers and scientific experts alike with his uncanny ability to pick up loads of chicks. 

"Flip has a skill virtually unrivaled in the dog community," says zoologist Kirk Horton. "Or the human community, for that matter. Once chicks come to him, they don’t leave. To be honest, I’m kind of jealous."

Friends say they’re baffled by the dog’s sudden talent.

"It’s like somebody flipped a switch," says Ryan Deal. "He never used to get any chicks — they barely even noticed him. But not anymore. Chicks love him."

And it only got worse over the Easter holiday.

"Oh, man," says Deal. "The chicks were everywhere. In baskets, in marshmallow form — it was like Christmas for him. But with chicks.”

Via YourFavoriteMartyr. This post originally appeared on HelloGiggles.

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Meet the sitta shai, or the Sudanese “tea ladies”.

Walk through the streets of Khartoum, and you will find these women in each corner, dressed in their colorful thawbs and covers. Beside them, a makeshift kitchen is set up to serve you flavored coffee and tea throughout the day.

And the flavors vary. Numerous jars of tea (black, hibiscus, Mahareb) and coffee can be accompanied with herbs and spices like mint, cinnamon, cloves and ginger.

The chatter of the day’s gossip can be heard rising above the tea’s steam as customers sip close by.

To learn how to make Sudanese cinnamon tea, click here

Photos by Tomoko Goto

For more posts on African food and culture, head to ChefAfrik.com.

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All Africa, All the time.

 

"Academic Diaspora" by Nicole Nomsa Moyo.

When Africans began going to Europe, America and other foreign countries to further their tertiary education, many were sent in the hopes that they’d come back and use those skills to contribute to the upliftment of their communities. Whilst some returned, others remained abroad for one reason or another - some because it made practical sense to do so, and others simply because the pull of their new home yielded more than the places they had left had ever offered them. Now, more than ever, as may African countries face critical brain drains, those who form part of the latter are often criticized for this decision. Zimbabwean-born architect Nicole Moyo, who studied abroad in Canada details her experiences as an adventure-hungry globetrotter and someone who is part of the African Academic Diaspora.

What if we never moved? And we all stayed in our own niches, remaining indigenous in the purist form? I wonder how many terms we would go our whole lives never having heard: “inter”, “multi”, “dimensional” – these words, to name a few, rely on an “other” or “outer” relationship to give them a purpose. These simple words describe myself, and yourself in the borderless world we live in today.

I never really understood Africa until I left it. I say ‘Africa’ because as I crossed the boarders towards the Western shores, my immigrant identity was greater in numbers. I, like countless young individuals, had left home and was on the pursuit of seeking my fortunes abroad. Well, my family has always been on the move – by the age of 19 I was fortunate enough to have visited 23 countries. I wanted more, I was curious to know what exactly was on the other side of the pond, what was this first-world business?

Now, I cannot speak for others, but to be honest I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Other than incredible, unpredictable and gratifying – ‘reverse cultural shock’ would be one way to describe my experience.

There are many advantages to academic Diaspora. This of course all depends on how motivated and dedicated you are to your own personal development. I have continuously learnt the limits are boundless. Individuals you meet from around the world I describe to be the most valuable asset to the development of your perspective on life as a whole. With an international degree you open yourself up to more opportunities, which I believe is needed in a world of unpredictable economies. South Africa for example, like many other counties is being built on an international working class. “If things don’t really work out here I can always go back home” – this is the option my parents have awarded me, however every person that leaves home has the responsibility to reward themselves. Freedom is a utopic expression, the liberation to do whatever you want, whenever you want to may seem ideal until you see people around you using it as a weapon against themselves.

The disadvantages are that you really are on your own. The networks of community and support you have back home are something you always long for. You are an immigrant in an environment where you have to integrate yourself into not forgetting that you have to work far harder than the nationals for who the jobs were created. As an international, my university fees were very expensive. Architecture was a degree that I could have also obtained at home for a tenth of the price so why leave? And why do so many people never return and share their abilities and the knowledge that, if leveraged correctly, becomes a priceless commodity and significant to the development of their home countries? Well I cannot answer that because each case is different. As for myself “When are you coming home?” is a question I hear far too often and an answer that becomes further diluted as I wonder how I will re-engage myself, how will I make a great and meaningful impact? The truth is really I don’t know.

At times I feel confused and guilty, but for no good reason. I am a citizen of the world, a woman on a mission. There is no fault in my journey and if anything I get butterflies in my stomach that feel like love because I know I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing: Loving myself so that I can purposefully love others. Limitations are not always easy and present themselves as challenges of faith. As women, we are constantly being reminded of what we cannot do, how we should look but not how we should think and do best. It is our responsibility to absorb and then have a voice to teach others about the “inter”, “multi”, and “dimensional” world we all belong to. I am no longer just a woman, or just an African. Through my education, international experience and multiculturalism as an individual, I am continuously advancing my value to become a useful and purpose-driven globalized citizen.

Stacey Dash Joins Fox News as a Contributor

Stacey Dash Joins Fox News as a Contributor

Fox News hires Stacey Dash as a Contributor to the News Network

Fox News has announced that Stacey Dash will be a contributor to the network and will “offer cultural analysis and commentary across various daytime and primetime programs.” 

“Stacey is an engaging conversationalist whose distinctive viewpoints amongst her Hollywood peers have spawned national debates – we’re pleased to have her join…

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Samoyed Puppy Was Born to Model

by Anna Washenko, FluffPo Correspondent

From the day he was born, Zeke seemed to have a natural understanding of his best angles. As he’s grown up, he developed a sixth sense for finding the camera and the light. Friend Natalie Brown showed The Fluffington Post her home photos of Zeke and his puppy siblings. In every shot, he’s flashing a dazzling samoyed smile to the camera, even when the other dogs are oblivious to the attention.

Brown said she noticed Zeke’s photogenic nature right away. “He’s from a litter of five, but even when he was a tiny puppy, he stood out from the pack,” she said. “He’s got that magical X factor.”

In fact, Brown thinks Zeke has the natural talent to make it big time. “I sent a headshot to Tyra Banks,” she said. “I mean, he’s got her ‘smile with your eyes’ thing down to a science.”

In FluffPo’s editorial opinion, we would be much more inclined to watch the fierceness of America’s Next Top Poodle rather than the human show currently on air.

Via Duca.

Love animals as much as we do? Check out explore.org's network of live cams on bears, baby birds, puppies, kittens and more.

Watch on dynamicafrica.tumblr.com

“Your perceptions become your reality” by Nikissi Serumaga-Jamo.

Am I Going Too Fast? is a poetic documentary filmed in Nakuru and Nairobi, Kenya by Hank Willis Thomas and Christopher Myers. As successful applicants of the Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge, it was one of 5 short films to receive a $10,000 prize and premiere at a private event at Sundance.

With an engaging soundscape and capturing cinematography, this film exchanges talking heads and sympathetic storylines for practical economic solutions and beautiful characters and stories.

To all filmmakers interested, you can still apply for this same grant, deadline is July 1. There is no fee to apply.

More information can be found at tongal.com/sundance.

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