When I say the word "Africa" to you, what images come to mind? For most Americans (based on my personal experience) some often think of wild animals roaming freely, primitive people darting around buck naked and extreme poverty.
Maaaaan Listen! This. Couldn't. Be. Further. From. The Truth!
Don't believe the hype. My Africa is vibrant, cosmopolitan, incredibly beautiful and rapidly emerging. It is the world's second largest and most populated continent and home to more than 1 billion people. Let me let you in on the worst kept secret - Africa has been fly and it's time for the entire world to catch up. Here's a recent example: just yesterday an article was published detailing the story of Africa's first female billionaire, Isabel dos Santos, who is the oldest daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos. According to Forbes, her net worth is over the $1 billion mark, making the 40-year-old Africa’s first female billionaire. Trust me when I tell you, everybody ain't struggling in the motherland.
Welcome to what Africa looks like in 2013! GlobalGrind presents to you a new column focused on bringing you along on the hippest trip in the universe. This series of weekly posts will focus not on the gloom and doom aspect of the continent, but will seek to highlight on a weekly basis, the best of Africa in style, fashion, music and all things entertainment.
We might be a little tardy for the party though. Celebs such as Angela Simmons, Solange, Jamie Foxx and numerous others have discovered that the best way to stay phresh off the runway is by wearing to-die-for-clothing by African powerhouses. The continent is practically brimming over with the dopest designers. I'm talking David Tlale, Loin Cloth and Ashes, Jewel by Lisa, Ozwald Boateng, I mean the list just goes on and on. The star-worthy attire is just one example of the brightest and hautest designers slowly stepping into the international spotlight.
On the music front, even iTunes is getting into the action. Apple's stores are targeted to launch in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana by the end of 2013. There is serious money to be made despite the unruly piracy and corruption. American rap royalty has even tapped into the continent to find the next generation of exciting pop stars. Kanye West signed West African artist D'Banj to his G.O.O.D. Music label recently and P-Square partnered with Rick Ross to produce "Beautiful Onyinye," which boasts over 8 million YouTube views. D'Banj and P-Square ain't the only ones though, Black Coffee, Wiz Kid, Sarkodie, Freshlyground, Bez, LIRA are quickly becoming breakout stars, threatening to make an unforgettable mark on the international landscape.
But where my ladies at? Africa has always been known to have beautiful women. Did you know that the current Miss USA Nana Meriwether was born in South Africa and has a foundation set up in the continent with a focus on humanitarian issues? How about Leila Lopes? The gorgeous Miss Universe 2012 was also born in Angola and was the second women of African descent to win Miss Universe. I would be remiss not to mention other celebrities with African roots, Thandie Newton, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Danai Gurira and too many others to count.
While the rest of the world debates on whether or not Beyonce lip-synched at the Inauguration, let me leave with you something to chew on. For the first time ever, a group of distinguished ambassadors organized the Inaugural Ambassador Ball, an exclusive black tie event in Washington DC. Supported mainly by African dignitaries, the glitzy soiree was held in honor of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. It was a true full circle moment for many Africans in the room. It hit me right there and then that our President is of Kenyan decent. He is one of us and we couldn't ask for a better ambassador. This is what Africa looks like in 2013: Stunning, smart, trendy and incredibly fly.
Makho Ndlovu is a Zimbabwean born celebrity reporter and blogger based in New York City. You can follow her @MakhoNdlovu. To learn more about her, check out her personal blog Makho-Ndlovu.blogspot.com