In honor of Black History Month, I was inspired to make a shoot to honor the people who have done great things in this world, who I share deep roots with – African roots.
Having grown up in Europe, I have to say that African fashion has not been as represented in the Western world as I personally would desire. Fashion is a big part of African culture, and a true source of inspiration which we can see in many fashion shows and celebrity fashion outfits nowadays. Yet, it is clear that African fashion has not received the attention and recognition it deserves in the world. My stance therefore is not to complain about what we don’t have, but rather to create what I believe we are lacking. As I expand on my African fashion items, understanding and knowledge of that beautiful continent of my birth (Kinshasa, D.R. Congo, to be precise), I invite you to view my first African inspired outfit creation, mixed with facts about BHM.
Fact #1: Americans have recognized black history annually since 1926, first as “Negro History Week” and later as “Black History Month.” What you might not know is that black history had barely begun to be studied-or even documented-when the tradition originated. Although blacks have been in America at least as far back as colonial times, it was not until the 20th century that they gained a respectable presence in the history books.
We owe the celebration of Black History Month, and more importantly, the study of black history, to Dr. Carter G. Woodson. In his studies, he found that history books largely ignored the black American population. When blacks did figure into the picture, it was generally in ways that reflected the inferior social position they were assigned at the time.
Fact #2: Allensworth is the first all-black Californian township, founded and financed by African Americans. Created by Lieutenant Colonel Allen Allensworth in 1908, the town was built with the intention of establishing a self-sufficient city where African Americans could live their lives free of racial prejudice.
Fact #3: Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on friend Maya Angelou’s birthday, on April 4, 1968. Angelou stopped celebrating her birthday for years afterward, and sent flowers to King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, for more than 30 years, until Coretta’s death in 2006.
Fact #4: Born to freed slaves in 1731, Benjamin Banneker became an astronomer, author, inventor, mathematician, and surveyor. He invented some of the most effective clocks of his time, planned out the city of Washington, D.C., and published six almanacs that each included political and social commentary, particularly advocating for the rights of slaves and free blacks.
Fact #5: Madam C. J. Walker – Her contributions to the hairdressing industry will never be forgotten, especially her invention of a hair-growing lotion. This product, as well as the Walker System’ – a nationally-operating corporation dedicated to providing employment opportunities for black women – made her the first African-American female millionaire.
Fact #6: Daniel Hale Williams was born in Pennsylvania in 1856. He would go on to become a physician and surgeon. In 1891, he founded the first integrated hospital, and just two years later, he became the first person to successfully complete open-heart surgery.
With love and gratitude,
Long Green Blazer: Zara
Black High Waist Pants: Zara
Black High Heeled Ankle Boots: Steve Madden
White shirt with black leaves: H&M
Africa necklace: Got it from a street market in Harlem, New York