Category Archives: African Actress

Thandie Newton Supports Jewel By Lisa

Thandie Newton was spotted wearing a Jewel By Lisa Spring/Summer 2012 jumpsuit and chrome Jimmy Choo “Anouk” heels at the Hope Rising Benefit concert in Toronto. Another red carpet superstar wearing JBL is always a breath of fresh air. Congrats to the JBL brand and its founder Lisa Folawiyo on this achievement. This is yet another step in JBL global red carpet take over.

In fact Thandie and her Half of A Yellow Sun co-star Anika Noni Rose paid a visit to Lisa Folawiyo’s showroom in Lagos. What a great moment for African fashion, isn’t it? This particular print that Thandie wore has also been seen on red carpet style stars Eku Edewor, Lola Ogunnaike, Catt Sadler, and June Ambrose.

The JBL Print That They All Have in Common

In related news, Thandie filmed Half Of A Yellow Sun and here she is with her co-stars Anika Noni Rose, Genevieve Nnaji and Chiwetel Ejiofor. A couple of years ago I made a dream cast for the film adaption of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel and I’m glad to see that my dream cast became reality. I’m eager to see this film when it gets its theatrical release in 2013.

image credits: tumblr & getty images

Cultural Presence looks at how celebrities and everyday people wear African fashion straight from the runway.

Cultural Spotlight: Keeping Up With Revenge Star Ashley Madekwe!

Revenge is returning back to ABC on Sunday September 30th so I thought I should give readers what they really want and it’s their most searched for person from the hit show – British-Nigerian actress Ashley Madekwe. I’ve read the e-mails, you all are just as obsessed with Ashley’s style as I am.

Last season we witness Ashley’s character Ashely Davenport hook up with Grayson’s heir Daniel. Ashley has truly played her cards right from her days as being labeled Revenge’s favorite Chief social planner and Victoria Grayson’s party planner/assistant/Grayson Family spokesperson! Anyone else enjoys the idea of Daniel being with Ashley? She made her move during the cliffhanger of Revenge’s season 1 finale and Daniel took it.

(via sashaudinov)

 In Revenge Season 2 premiere – “Destiny” Ashley and Daniel shared an awkward encounter with Daniel’s ex fiancé Emily Thorne/real Amanda! Ashley continues to prove that life after Tyler drama is good when you rubbed elbows with the right person. To think she spent the entire season trying to make good with Victoria Grayson to get into that elite lifestyle when she suddenly realizes that Daniel is her ticket in. Thanks to the good folks at Wet Paint Revenge here’s some Revenge season 2 spoilers! FYI: Mike Kelly is hinting at Daniel and Ashley being the new younger generation of Conrad & Victoria Grayson!

Mike Kelley on how the Daniel & Ashley relationship will foreshadow Daniel’s evolution into his father, Conrad Grayson: 

This whole Ashley bit with Daniel is going to play out in a really fun way for us next season. He’s not a pawn any longer. He’s made some pretty dark choices, and I don’t think that feeling misled by Emily is going to make him any nicer. We’re going to continue the ride to the dark side with Daniel. Emily is kind of the odd man out now, right? That’s not going to sit well with her.  think Ashley is going to get perilously close to making herself a target to Emily. You know, the fun thing with Ashley is that there are some surprises that we’ve been holding on her. I can’t wait to bring to light something about Ashley that will make everyone go, ‘”Oh! That’s why she’s hanging on!'” (E!)

I would definitely raid Ashley’s closet because her Revenge TV style is amazing! Is that a Azzedine Alaia dress? That’s all I’m giving you now on Revenge! Tune in on Sunday September 30th! When Ashley’s not busy shooting season 2 of Revenge, she’s balancing being a fashion blogger via her blog Ring My Bell with gorgeous street style photos taken by her husband Iddo Goldberg. These two have great chemistry and it shows through the photos. Her blog is worth checking out! Ashley and Iddo got hitched over the Revenge hiatus Summer break!

(Nice ring!)

(Ashley with her husband Iddo Goldberg & her Revenge co-star/BFF Christa B. Allen)

If you’re just as obsessed with Ashley’s Revenge style, you know her red carpet style is just as enviable! Here she is posing on and off the red carpet at the Fashion Night Out event she hosted, at the Nylon September TV Issue bash and at the Audi & Derek Lam Emmy Kick Off party.

Image credits – Wet Paint Revenge, Getty Images & Iddo Goldberg for Ring My Bell

Carmen Ejogo Steals The Show in Sparkle!

British-Nigerian actress Carmen Ejogo completely stole the show in the 1976 remake of Sparkle. From her brilliant acting performance to her overall “A Star is Born” swagger, Carmen definitely won me over with her portrayal of Sister Anderson. What I also enjoy about Carmen’s Sparkle gig was her voice! This woman CAN sing! A favorite scene of mine from Sparkle was the emotional interaction Sister had with her mom Emma over her man, Satin. There was not a dry eye in the theater. Carmen also did a great job playing the sultry vixen who wanted more out of her life than a $96 paycheck from her department store job! She wanted her own piece of paradise at any cost which I think was a true lesson that the film wanted to illustrated. Going to see Sparkle during opening weekend definitely made it worthwhile because the theater I went to was filled with die-hard Whitney Houston fans. When Whitney made her on camera debut you could hear a pin dropped. Everyone was eager to see Whitney. When Whitney sang “His Eye is On The Sparrow”, the audience stood up and clapped! (It felt like I attended a church service with the positive feedback Whitney’s performance received!) The audience and I also embrace Carmen for her electrifying performances of “Hooked On Your Love” and “Yes I Do.”

Hooked On Your Love

Yes I Do

Did you also know that Carmen’s married to actor Jeffery Wright and that they have two children?! If Sparkle doesn’t re-get Hollywood signing her onto major starring roles, I don’t know what to say. Carmen Ejogo is definitely one actress to watch in the future. On that note, proudly presents a new feature called Cultural Cinema. This feature is focused on all things Carmen Ejogo on and off the red carpet promoting Sparkle.

Carmen Ejogo at the NY premiere of Sparkle

Carmen at the LA premiere of Sparkle

Carmen on the September 2012 cover of Ebony with Jordin Sparks & Tika Sumpter

Next up for Carmen is the Tyler Perry thriller, Alex Cross and the TV showZero Hour. Sparkle will hopefully get film directors to recognize Carmen’s star power. Onwards and upwards for Carmen! I’ll leave you all with this great clip of Carmen talking about Sister Anderson and how she prepared for the role. If this feature didn’t convinced to see Sparkle, go see it! It’s a great feel good film. 

Carmen Ejogo Online: Wikipedia//Twitter//IMDB

image credits – getty images x ebony magazine

Cultural Cinema showcases influential Africans directing, producing, and acting in Hollywood, Nollywood and on the global market!

Chanel Iman Rocks Wax Print Head Gear & Scarf for Vogue Italia July 2012

Chanel Iman pose for Vogue Italia July 2012 issue wearing handmade West African and Ghanaian kente textile garments as head wraps. Inspired by the African continent, Rushka Bergman styled Chanel Iman for her latest Vogue Italia editorial.

I love how the fabric prints were used to give her editorial a pop of color against her teal Miu Miu Fall 2012 power suit! I could see Chanel rocking any piece from Jewel By Lisa’s Resort 2013 collection in place of wearing the scarf and head gear for this photo session! I do  however love her Marc Jacobs skirt in the gif below…

It’s great to see West African wax print fabric being used in a high fashion setting. It continues to amaze me the growing trend of “African fashion fabric prints” in mainstream media. Influential African superstars are also embracing the trend of wearing textile prints on and off the red carpet. Ghanaian actress Nadia Buari just last month was seen in a cute jumpsuit at the red carpet premiere of Shackles and Secret Burden alongside Jackie Appiah and John Dumelo. What would blow my mind is when Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, or Nordstrom follows suit with H&M and do a designer collaborative collection with high profile African designers for their retail chains! A girl can only dream!

What are your thoughts on Chanel Iman and Nadia Buari wearing wax prints?

image credits – Ameyaw Debrah,Vogue Italia via Hell Yeah Chanel Iman

Congrats to Newlyweds Ashley Madekwe & Iddo Goldberg

Revenge TV star Ashley Madekwe jumped the broom late June to her long-time boyfriend actor & photographer Iddo Goldberg. Congrats to the newlyweds! I love these two ever since I discover that Iddo is the photographer behind Ashley’s personal daily style blog, Ring My Bell. He captures Ashley’s essence completely! Ashley has yet to publish official wedding photos on her blog and her accompanying tumblr page but she did however flaunt her wedding ring today!

Bookmark Ashley & Iddo’s social media links:!/smashleybell!/IddoG

image credits – Iddo Goldberg for Ring My Bell

Cultural Love highlights couples in love!

Link Worth Bookmarking: Issa Rae’s Hugely Successful Viral Series, Awkward Black Girl

Issa Rae’s The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl is a huge hit on YouTube and it’s also become my guilty pleasure ever since the epic Stop Sign moment the lead character J shared with a one-night stand/co-worker. I was hooked on her hip-hop rhymes, her quest for love, her natural hair chop, and of course her awkwardness. (I mean who didn’t fall in love with White J* during The Dance episode?!) When I discover that Issa hails from Senegal by way of Maryland/L.A., I had to show her love on not because of her heritage but for her determination to bring quality comedy from a black female perspective monthly on Youtube. When you google her name and her funny webseries, you are welcome into her personal journey from how she started to present day where she is now signed under Pharrell Williams’s production company, I Am Other. I’m glad that Issa stuck to her ambition and dreams with Awkward Black Girl and I also admire her drive for not altering anything from her series. (FYI: She raised over $40,000 from fan donations to help run and maintain season 1!) Issa is currently enjoying success and praise from the media. In fact she’s on the supplement cover of Essence August 2012 magazine – Young, Black & Amazing! Three words that perfectly fit her persona! Issa Rae, we salute you girl!

Get hook on Awkward Black Girl

Issa Rae discusses her famous show on CNN

Season 1 Episode 1 – The Stop Sign

Favorite Season 1 episodes

The Date

The Dance

The Hallway

Season 2 Episode 1 – The Sleepover

Awkward Black Girl Season 2 Trailer

Favorite Awkward Black Girl moments



Issa Rae Interviews

*Team White J!

Support Awkward Black Girl online:


Awkward Black Girl premieres every first Thursday of every month!

images via &

Cultural Spot highlights outstanding, influential Africans in the media showcasing positive images of the Diaspora!

Nia Long Covers Essence August 2012 with sons Massai & Kez

Actress Nia Long pose on the August 2012 cover of Essence magazine with her handsome sons Massai (with her first husband Massai Z. Dorsey) and Kez Sunday (with her current boyfriend NBA player Ime Udoka).  Essence gave the new mom her own cover with newborn 7-month old son Kez. Rumor has it that there will a sequel to The Best Man! The proud mother of two shared with Essence how comfortable she has become in her own skin. Cuteness galore!

Nia Long is unquestionably one of the most beautiful woman in Hollywood. The actress and Mommy is gracing the August issue of Essence Magazine and she looks gorgeous!

She revealed to Essence “I’m in my forties, post baby and I’m thinner than I’ve been in years. The last step will be letting my hair go natural. That’s when you’ll know I’m free…”

Nia recently spoke about her personal rebirth after her second son was born, claiming that “I am the happiest that I’ve been probably in my life.” “Baby Kez Sunday has given me a bit of a rebirth and it’s really nice because I’m able to look at life through his eyes. You have to pay attention to the smallest thing from the birds chirping to the dog barking across the street. These are the things that make the world go around today. When you look at life in its simplest form, stress and worry isn’t the cornerstones of your life. Experiencing life through that lens is refreshing.”

Check out these cute kodak moments of Nia and Ime hanging out with Massai and Kez…

Favorite Nia Long moments in no particular order…


Cultural Offspring celebrates the children of Africans within the Diaspora.

image credits  – Essence Magazine &

Jackie Appiah in Jil at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival

Ghanaian powerhouse Jackie Appiah arrived at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival in a Jil traditional kente clothe strapless orange, black and green number! Jackie was one of the handful of stars who attended the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival. I love the way she celebrated her beautiful heritage by rocking a hand beaded creation straight from her native homeland. This is HUGE news! I’m waiting on another Nollywood superstar to light up another major Hollywood red carpet!

This however is NOT the first time Jackie has supported the Ghanaian fashion label, Jil. If you can recall, I asked Jackie who was she wearing at another major red carpet event. She wore another stunning Jil design with a white Louis Vuitton clutch at the 2011 F.A.C.E. List Awards run by Face 2 Face Africa!

Love what you see? Check out the new Jil collection which was shown at ARISE Fashion Week in Lagos, Nigeria this past March!

Cultural Presence looks at how celebrities and everyday people wear African fashion straight from the runway.

photo credits –, ARISE Magazine, F2FA, Jackie Appiah

Cultural Loop: Adepero Oduye’s Oscar Moment, King Peggy’s Book Release, Omotola Goes Glam for StyleMania, Keke Palmer’s in Loza for Vibe Vixen & Alek Wek’s Deola Sagoe MFW Stunner

This new edition of Cultural Loop highlights Adepero’s Post-Oscar moment, King Peggy’s Book release, Omotola’s glam StyleMania Magazine cover, Keke Palmer’s wearing Loza Maléombho on the cover of Vibe Vixen and Sudanese model Alek Wek bringing Aso-Oke to Milan Fashion Week!

Pariah breakthrough star Adepero Oduye shined at the 2012 Vanity Fair Post-Oscar party. Adepero joined Oscar nominee Viola Davis and Oscar’s In Memoriam performance star Esperanza Spalding in celebrating natural hair. Prior to her Oscar appearance, Adepero as first published on Tumblr stepped out in a two-piece yellow and blue ankara paint suit at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards.

Food for thought: Wouldn’t it be great to see Macy AND H&M collaobrating with Jewel By Lisa and prominent African fashion designers like Washington Roberts, Maki Oh, Tsemaye Binitie, Lanre Da Silva, Virgos Lounge and Chichia London for their in-store designer collaborative initiatives???

During my weekly peruse of Barnes & Noble, I check out a hot new recommendation called King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed An African Village. The book chronicles how Peggielene Bartels went from being a secretary at Ghana’s Embassy in Washington, D.C to becoming African royalty of her late uncle’s village Otuam. Visit her official website on where to buy her book and to see her book tour dates.

This clip highlights the accomplishments King Peggy made during her month-long Fall 2012 trip to Ghana. She not only distributed food to needy families but open a new well. What a class act!

Nollywood starlet Omotola Jolade-Ekeinde shot a stunning cover shoot for StyleMania March 2012 Magazine. This is by far her best looking cover feature. Follow Omotola on Twitter (@realomosexy) to keep up her latest Nollywood projects. See the full shoot over at!

Actress Keke Palmer stuck a pose in a Loza Maléombho printed ruffle blouse from her Spring/Summer 2012 collection for the new digitial Vibe Vixen December 2011/January 2012 issue. You can check out Loza’s SS 2012 collection via Facebook. Loza, born in Brazil and raised in Abidjan and Cote D’Ivoire, is a womenswear designer based in New York with a strong mission of women empowerment, social and economic trades in West Africa. Loza’s fly and social conscious – gotta love it!

Sudanese model Alek Wek wore a blue and gold Deola Sagoe Aso-oke dress to Roberto Cavalli Fall 2012 show during Milan Fashion Week. Alek first wore this dress and the same gold criss-cross heels for the inaugural issue of Arise magazine back in November 2008 and at a JoinRED event. Great to see Alek  continue to support Deola! This is a style repeat offender that I appreciate!

Speaking of Fashion Week, anyone else anticipating ARISE Fashion Week in Lagos? 77 Designers will showcase their latest collections in a fashion extravaganza from March 6 to March 12! Get full details here on when and where! Below is the full list of designers expected at the huge style event:

Adama-Paris (Senegal/France), Amine Bendriouich Couture and BS (Germany/Morocco), Amrapali (India), Angelo Van Mol(Belgium/Ghana), Be-Grey (Nigeria), Bestow Elan (UK/Ghana), Bridget Awosika (Nigeria), Buki Akib (UK/Nigeria), CHICHIA(UK/Tanzania), Christie Brown (Ghana), CLAN (Nigeria), David David London (UK), Davida (Nigeria), Duaba Serwa (Ghana),Ejiro Amos Tafiri (Nigeria), Eki Orleans (UK/Nigeria), Frank Osodi (Nigeria), Funlayo Déri (UK/Nigeria), Gavin Rajah(South Africa), Gloria Wavamuno (Uganda), HOUSE of DIVAS (Nigeria), House of Farrah (Nigeria), House of Nwocha (Nigeria),ICONIC INVANITY (Nigeria), Imane Ayissi (France/Cameroon), Jacob Kimmie (UK/South Africa), Jewel by Lisa (Nigeria), Kastle Designs & Treasure Chest (USA/Ghana), Kaveke (Kenya/UK), Kevan Hall (USA), Kezia Frederick (UK/St.Lucia), Kiki Clothing(Ghana), Kinabuti (Italy), Klûk-CGDT (South Africa), Koke (Botswana/India), Korto Momolu (USA/Liberia), Lanre Da Silva Ajayi(Nigeria), LaQuan Smith (USA), Laurenceairline (France/Ivory Coast), Loza Maléomsho (USA/Ivory Coast), Madam Wokie’s Couture (Sierra Leone), Mai Atafo (Nigeria), Maki-Oh (Nigeria), Mataano (USA/Somalia), Meena (Nigeria), Mustafa Hassanali(Tanzania), NKWO (UK/Nigeria), Odio Mimonet (Nigeria), Okunoren Twins (Nigeria), Osman (UK), Paul Hervé ELISABETH(Martinique), Poisa (Kenya), Re Bahia (UK/Nigeria), Sandra Kennedy (Jamaica), Sandra Muendane (Mozambique/Portugal),Sunny Rose (Nigeria/UK), Taibo Bacar (Mozambique), the Vessel. By Lois (USA/Jamaica), Tiffany Amber (Nigeria), Timo Welland (USA/South Africa), Tsemaye Binitie (UK/Nigeria), U.Mi-1 (UK/Nigeria), Virgos Lounge (UK/Nigeria), Viv La Resistance(Nigeria), William Okpo (USA/Nigeria) and Zekaryas Solomon (Eritrea/UK).


image credits –,, Loza Maléombho, StyleMania  &Vibe Vixen

Cultural Loop is a must-read news rundown within the fashion & entertainment industry!

Cultural Pulse: Adepero Oduye

Introducing a new segment on – Cultural Pulse. This new segment is a weekly feature celebrating talented influential African-Americans in the entertainment and fashion industry. 33 year-old Nigerian actress Adepero Oduye is someone all should admire for her pure talent! This week we’re celebrating Pariah breakthrough star Adepero!

Pariah trailer

Quick Facts about Adepero Oduye

  • Pariah, a film Spike Lee produced and a 2011 Sundance Film Festival participant, is Adepero’s feature debut.
  • Adepero on the lesson she hopes Pariah viewers will get: “It’s a great time for the film to come out, to make people a little bit more aware of the issues that’s been happening for a while but many people haven’t been paying attention to,” she said. “Here we have this story that’s really specific, but it’s so universal. You take away race, you take away sexuality by identity and at the end of the day when you watch it I feel like you realize, ‘Wow, we’re all more similar then we are different.” –Huffington Post Black Voices
  • She was a pre-med student prior to turning to acting.
  • She’s a Cornell University graduate.
  • She was raised in Brooklyn, NY to Nigerian immigrants. Her father’s death pushed her into acting. “He had a master’s. He had a Ph.D. Eventually, he got an M.D. but passed away before he could really pursue that. He died young. He died suddenly. When he passed away, I realized why I was in school. Why I wanted to be a doctor. It was because of him. When he passed away it propelled me to really figure out what really I wanted to be.”- Denver Post
  • Her mother didn’t understand her acting career choice: “She didn’t see it as a profession. Acting was not for people like us. For her, movies were not for African or black people. I remember thinking, ‘Yes, mom, I know I am black but I still want to act.’ She knew instinctively it was going to be a hard road.” –Daily Beast
  • Pariah’s story touched Adepero’s mother’s heart.After Sundance, my mother was in Nigeria and she called me and said ‘Pariah needs to come to Africa because they are killing people here because they are gay,’” said Oduye, smiling broadly. “She never talks about LGBT issues anywhere. But my participation in this film opened her mind up a little more. If that can happen to my mother, anything is possible.” -Daily Beast
  • Her biggest nod came from Vanity Fair magazine which crowned her as one of Hollywood’s fresh young stars of 2012! 

Pariah film star and Cornell University graduate Adepero Oduye appeared on the Mario Testino-shot cover of the coveted 18th annual Hollywood Issue for Vanity Fair Magazine. Each year the publication annouces their picks for Hollywood’s next generation of it girls. The shining recognition comes fresh off the heels of critically-acclaimed buzz the young Nigerian actress has received for her starring role in Pariah! When asked about the praise surrounding her performance in Pariah, Adepero said, “This is the beginning of a dream come true. It’s been so surreal and overwhelming, but in a good way.”

From the Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue:

January 2012: Adepero Oduye

Provenance: Brooklyn, New York. Age: 33. Is there a doctor in the house? The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Oduye, who had always planned to be a doctor, graduated pre-med from Cornell. A convert to acting: After seeing Robert Duvall in The Apostle, her new path was decided. “I remember thinking to myself, This is why I want to be an actor. I want to be able to tell stories that mean something to people. I definitely feel like this is my purpose in life.” Try telling that to her mom: When Oduye told her mother about her career plans, “it was as if I was talking a foreign language. She was like, ‘Something happened to you—you’re crazy!’ But as long as I’m happy, she’s happy.” Plenty to be happy about: Last year’s Sundance Film Festival saw Oduye’s latest film, Pariah, become the critics’ darling. “This is the beginning of a dream come true,” she says. “It’s been so surreal and overwhelming, but in a good way.” And with Pariah’s release scheduled for December, more good things are sure to come.

Photograph by Ben Hassett.

Oduye wears a dress by Donna Karan New York; earrings by De Beers. See complete credits. VANITY FAIR

Judging by all the well-deserved praise Pariah has received and her recent Vanity Fair magazine cover, we predict more roles for Adepero in 2012. Maybe famed novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie might cast her in her next book-to-film adaptation? Hint, hint! 

Cultural Pulse is a weekly feature celebrating talented influential African-Americans in the entertainment and fashion industry.