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Eddie Murphy is “Coming 2 America” in some standout African designs



In a scene from Coming 2 America, the much-anticipated sequel to the 1988 cult classic, Eddie Murphy’s Prince Akeem paces about his palatial home, wondering what to do about his recently-discovered son. He wears a colorful, patterned knitted vest, lending the king of the fictional African country Zamunda an assured look, despite his worried demeanor.

Murphy’s vest is one of the first items South African designer Laduma Ngxokolo ever showed to the world. He created it in 2010, as part of the launch of his label Maxhosa. Ngxokolo’s designs have roots in the fashion of young Xhosa men in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province—he started out creating pieces for initiates as something stylish and functional to wear when they left their hallowed initiation ceremony. A decade later, Ngxokolo’s designs are a main feature of the wardrobe of Coming 2 Americaout today on Amazon Prime.

Although it’s set in a fictional African country, the film has relied on real designers to allow for better representation of the continent on screen. Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter enlisted Ngxokolo to join her team and help create the looks for Murphy’s return to America, along with almost 40 other designers, ranging from India to Nigeria.

In collaborating with Nxgokolo, Carter has added an element of authenticity to a film with a pretty fantastical storyline. She’s done it before: Carter earned her Oscar for dressing the inhabitants of another fictional African country, Wakanda, in Black Panther.

Carter inherited the reins of costume design for the movie from Deborah Nadoolman Landis. The award-winning designer behind films such as Blues Brothers and Raiders of the Lost Ark designed all the costumes for the original film herself.

Directed by Nadoolman’s husband, John Landis, the outfits for Coming to America mashed everyday styles from Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, and Senegal, with European influences, like the aesthetics of 1950s Dior, to create a deliberately over-the-top effect. The outfits are a big part of the film’s enduring appeal, and earned Nadoolman an Oscar nomination in 1989. Carter, who is friends with Nadoolman, has described the look created for the original film as “iconic,” but says she’s going a step forward this time.

“Hats off to Deborah for coming up with the original plan,” Carter has said. “But things have evolved. Looking back, they kind of had an imperialistic idea of royalty. It was a blend of English and African royalty.”

Carter’s choice of direction for the new film’s costumes don’t just reflect contemporary norms. They’re an illustration of the changing perceptions of African fashion on screen. By tapping into the work of designers like Ngxokolo, she is accessing the global success of African fashion, which gives the film an edge over its prequel.

As an example, in the first film, the character of King Joffe, played by James Earl Jones, enters a barbershop wearing the taxidermied head of a lion draped across his chest. In Coming 2 America, a respectfully sized lion, rendered in gold, rests on the shoulder Murphy, now king. It’s a reflection of the understated elegance a brand like Maxhosa seeks to define, and reflects less of the “curio” side of African fashion.

Carter first reached out to Nxgokolo in mid-2019, he recalls. “She said, ‘I think your approach to pioneering the African aesthetic is so unique and different. I want to do something with you, I will call you when I’m ready.’” By then, Nxgokolo had built Maxhosa Africa into a brand beloved by South African and international celebrities. Alicia Keys and Beyonce were fans, and his designs had been displayed in the Smithsonian Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

A month later Carter called Nxgokolo back, asking him to help kit out the Prince Akeem’s royal court.

Nxgokolo tells Quartz that the team began with some of his existing designs, including the 2010 vest. It was one of the first five items Nxgokolo created for his label, born out of a university thesis project using knitwear to showcase Xhosa beadwork patterns and symbolism.

QUANTRELL D. COLBERT/2020 PARAMOUNT PICTURES South African actress Nomzamo Mbatha has a break-out role in Coming 2 America as Mirembe, the love interest of King Akeem’s son.

A majority of the other items featured in the film—about 100 or so pieces, including waistcoats, kufis (brimless caps), and tunics—were “designed with Ruth from scratch,” Nxgokolo says. “They then paired the looks with the actors, from the dancers to the house staff,” as well as fellow South African actress Nomzamo Mbatha, who has a break-out role in the film as Mirembe, the love interest of King Akeem’s son. “The ideas of the first film were the predictable ideas that the world has of African fashion,” says Nxgokolo. “This one has more innovation.”

Innovation has driven Nxgokolo’s work from the start, and is what he credits for his ability to cater for a specific demographic in South Africa and reach a wider audience at the same time. Maxhosa staged its virtual Spring/Summer 2021 collection at New York Fashion Week (the brand’s third NYFW collection) in September last year. Despite a season dampened by the pandemic, the brand managed to create a buzz with a YouTube video showing the collection. More than half of the 300,000 people who watched the video were from the US, Ngxokolo says.

The US makes up Maxhosa Africa’s second biggest market—in part due to his digital media savvy, and a boost he got after being listed by Beyonce in her Black Parade guide to Black-owned businesses last year. But Nxgokolo is still very much focussed on growth in Africa, and is working to position Maxhosa as a luxury brand, and on using fashion to help uplift the economy. Last year, he opened his second flagship store in Cape Town’s upmarket Victoria Wharf shopping centre. Gucci and Mont Blanc are neighbors. While their physical stores were impacted by the pandemic, Maxhosa online sales exploded, and he has doubled his staff to deal with the influx of orders.

Nxgokolo has also been working with DJ Black Coffee and artist Nelson Makomo, both South African, to open an academy for budding creatives. Should Murphy ever return to Zamunda again, there will be plenty more regal African designs for him to wear.

Culled from Quartz Africa

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  • Wesley Snipes and Eddie Murphy star in COMING 2 AMERICA Photo: Quantrell D. Colbert © 2020 Paramount Pictures

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Oprah Winfrey rushed to hospital as longtime friend Gayle King reveals details live on air



Oprah Winfrey has been hospitalized due to a severe stomach virus, as revealed by her close friend Gayle King. On June 11, Oprah , 70, was noticeably absent from a scheduled appearance on CBS Mornings, leaving many fans concerned.

During the segment, Gayle , a longtime friend and CBS anchor, disclosed that Oprah was unable to attend due to a “serious” stomach bug.

“She had some kind of stomach thing – stomach flu – stuff was coming out of both ends,” Gayle candidly explained. “I won’t get too graphic. Needless to say, she ended up in the hospital, dehydration, had to get an IV. It was a very serious thing.”

Gayle reassured viewers that Oprah would recover from the virus but emphasized that she needed time to rest. “She will be okay. I hope she’s not mad at me for sharing that detail,” she added with a hint of concern. “But I wanted to make it clear that it mattered to her and that it really bothered her that she couldn’t be here for you today.”

In a statement a spokesperson confirmed that Oprah is “recovering” following the stomach virus and had received an IV for dehydration upon her doctor’s recommendation. “She is resting and feeling better every day,” the spokesperson assured.

The official Instagram account for Oprah Daily also acknowledged Gayle’s heartfelt announcement. “Oprah was scheduled to go on CBS Mornings today to announce her latest Oprah’s Book Club selection.

When she came down with a stomach virus over the weekend, Gayle – being the best friend she is – offered to make the announcement for her,” the post read. “We are happy to share that after receiving an IV due to dehydration at the recommendation of her doctor, Oprah is feeling much better. We wish her a speedy recovery.”

Despite her hospitalization, Oprah’s dedication to her work remained steadfast. She was set to appear on CBS Mornings to unveil her latest book club pick, Familiaris by David Wroblewski. Taking to social media, Oprah promoted the book, showcasing her enduring commitment to her audience. “

Summer is here and I love to settle in with a big book that takes me through the season,” she wrote on Instagram. “So today I’m thrilled to announce that my next Oprah’s Book Club selection is Familiaris by David Wroblewski!”

Oprah’s health scare comes on the heels of her remarkable body transformation. Known for her public battle with weight, Oprah has recently lauded weight loss medications like Ozempic. In December, she described weight loss drugs as a “maintenance tool” to support new, healthy habits.

In May, she reflected on her role in promoting diet culture. During a live event broadcast on YouTube in collaboration with WeightWatchers, Oprah acknowledged, “I have been a steadfast participant in this diet culture.

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Why Black Woman Police Chief Says She Doesn’t Want To Hire Black Or Hispanic Women



There’s a reason we often believe Black cops are cops first and Black second (or never). Time and time again, Black police officers—such as the thugs in blue accused of beating Tyre Nichols to death—prove that they carry around the same anti-Black attitude that many of their white counterparts patrol the streets with.

Well, there’s a Black woman police chief in Atlanta who has taken this sunken place mentality to a whole new level, and she declared during a command staff meeting that she doesn’t want to hire any more Black or Hispanic women as police officers because they come into the force with too much “attitude.” (There’s an NWA joke in there somewhere, but Ima leave it alone for now.)

According to Fox 5 Atlanta, Atlanta VA Medical Center Police Chief Beverly Banks was captured in audio recordings from a September 13, 2023, command staff meeting attended by more than a dozen people, during which she said the following:

“I am to the point… I don’t want to hire black women no more. I’m to that point. I ain’t got no white women beating down my door to come in and work. But I wish they would. Cause I don’t have these problems.

“I don’t have no Hispanic women. Hell, I don’t want them neither. Cause you know what comes with it? A whole of lot of f—–g attitude. And I don’t want it. I’m the only one with an attitude in this place. Me.”

First of all, you know the narrative that racism in policing comes down to “a few bad apples” is some bluish-white nonsense when an officer of the law can casually declare their discriminatory attitudes towards Black people while other commanding officers just sit there and nod along like it’s just another Tuesday.

To be fair, Banks and two other commanding officers were suspended with pay last month due to what the Veterans Administration called “unacceptable behavior,” but that doesn’t change the fact that she felt comfortable enough to say what she said without fear of repercussions. (And by “repercussions,” I mean paid suspension, which some people might call a vacation.)

Also, it’s worth mentioning that it wasn’t just the clear hatred of Black women with bad attitudes—that came from a Black woman who clearly has a bad attitude—that got Banks suspended. The suspensions of the officers also revolved around “allegations of sexual assault and harassment.”

Months before she arrived, VA internal affairs examined the case of Shaneka Jackson. She accused Deputy Chief Johnnie McCullor of sexual assault.

“I didn’t know what he was doing until everything ultimately started to happen,” Jackson told the FOX 5 I-Team.

McCullor denied everything. But a 2022 VA investigation raised questions about his honesty and found Jackson to be “accurate and truthful.”

“I was being truthful,” said Jackson. “And nothing happened.”

Jackson lost her job. McCullor remained deputy chief. And when Chief Banks took over, she kept him there. It’s unclear whether she knew about the IA findings.

In December 2023, another Black woman with the department filed a handwritten complaint with her supervisor accusing McCullor, who is also Black, of threatening to drag her down the hall by her hair, and while it’s unclear what happened with that complaint, during a department-wide meeting the next month, Banks reportedly told McCullor, “Deputy Chief McCullor, if you don’t know how to talk to people, tell me now so I can do whatever I need to do to get you disciplined… again.”

It’s also unclear what that “discipline” would entail since a sexual assault allegation determined to be “accurate and truthful” wasn’t enough to get him the ax. According to the EEO complaint filed by Jackson, McCullor offered to help her get a job with the private security company the Atlanta VA also uses, but that offer came with the condition that she perform sexual acts with the deputy chief.

Jackson was ultimately demoted and transferred—which she said happened after she finally filed the complaint—and after she failed to show up for work the next day, the private security company fired her and denied it had anything to do with the complaint she filed.

McCullor, Banks, and a third officer with the department, Major Daryl Gates, were all relieved of duty pending a VA investigation “to address the challenges in the Atlanta VA police department” as well as “investigate the situation in the Atlanta police department, make recommendations related to these 3 individuals, and identify other changes that might be needed to improve the culture.” Gates has since been reinstated. It’s unclear what role he played in the “unacceptable behavior” that is still under investigation.

As for Banks, a VA spokesman told Fox 5 of her remarks about hiring Black and Hispanic women, “There is no place for racism or discrimination at VA, and these comments are unacceptable.”

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This Former Kenyan Refugee Just Made History As The First Black Mayor Of Northern Ireland



Lilian Seenoi-Barr made history this week when she became the first Black Mayor of Northern Ireland. On Monday night, she was installed as mayor of Derry City and Strabane at a special council meeting.

Ms. Seenoi-Barr, who arrived there 14 years ago as a refugee from Kenya, said it was an honor to become the first citizen. After being installed, Seenoi-Barr addressed the council chamber, thanking everyone who made the journey from Kenya for the “historic moment for Derry” acknowledging that their attendance “signifies the unity and shared pride between our communities,” BBC News reports.

“Many of you know that I am deeply proud of my Maasai heritage, rich with culture and tradition,” said Seenoi-Barr. “Growing up as one of 14 siblings in a Maasai village, I was nurtured in a home filled with love, unity, hard work and commitment to justice and freedom – values I carry forward into my service.”

“But my story, becoming both a Maasai woman and a Derry girl, began back in 2010 when I came to this city in search of safety and for a better life,” added Seenoi-Barr. “If you had told me then that I would be seated here today as the mayor of the north’s second city, I don’t think I, or anybody in my family would have believed you…Since I arrived Derry has embraced me, it has granted me a family, a community and now the honour of serving as your first citizen.”

The 42-year-old is no stranger to breaking barriers—just last year, She made headlines for the remarkable accomplishment of becoming the first Black woman to become an elected member of the “public office in Northern Ireland” as a councilor.

ot everyone has been happy with this development and unfortunately, since the mayoral announcement, Seenoi-Barr confessed to being the subject of “racist abuse and death threats. But she said that while the threats have been hurtful, she has also had enormous support across the island from community organizations and politicians who have stood in solidarity,” RTE, Ireland’s National Public Service Media reports.

“Of course there are some in recent weeks who have seen this history making moment as a threat and it is no secret that it has provoked anti immigrant sentiments,” countered Seenoi-Barr. “That has been a reminder of the issues we face as a community, but I know that those sentiments find no home in Derry and they were not reflected by most people in our city and district.”

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