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We began Black History Month examining the sometimes thin line between multicultural marketing and the exploitation of ‘blackness’.

What does ‪#‎BrandingBlack‬ mean to individuals, companies and communities and how can we keep the conversation going for the rest of the year?


Sprite is introducing a new line of limited-edition cans and bottles featuring selected inspirational hip-hop lyrics, a collection they’re calling “Obey Your Verse." 

The first set of 16 features five selections each from the discographies of Drake, Nas, and Rakim, along with a single line from The Notorious B.I.G.’s catalog. Taken together, the lyrics span over 25 years of hip-hop history.

Photo credit: ©Pius Utomi Ekpei (AFP)

Nigeria’s Cafe Neo: hoping to become the African Starbucks

The bright young things and senior managers were in Cafe Neo, on Victoria Island in Lagos, which has been specifically designed to cater to the tastes of “repats”.

Ngozi Dozie and his brother Chijoke created the chain with returning Nigerians in mind, in the full knowledge that years spent abroad alter views, tastes and expectations.

Now the brothers hope to conquer Africa’s major cities with 100 percent African coffee before giants of the business such as Starbucks try to capture the market.

“The demand (in Lagos) is very high. There’s a significant minority of people who love coffee and want to drink coffee but haven’t had access to coffee,” Ngozi told AFP.

The “significant minority” have studied and worked abroad, coming back in their thousands from the United States or Europe as austerity measures kicked in after the global financial crisis.

While they were away, Nigeria – already Africa’s most populous nation with some 170 million people – became the continent’s leading economy – and a country ripe with opportunity.

With economic growth has come an emerging middle class, which has increased six fold to 4.1 million households between 2000 and 2014, according to a recent study by Standard Bank.