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13 Questions for Amina Kamara

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It feels good to be queen. Just ask Amina Kamara, the first ever Miss West Africa, who was crowned Saturday the 8th of November 2008 at the prestigious Conway Hall in London. The beautiful pageant representing Sierra Leone stole the show in a beautiful green dress by Keni Magma amongst 11 other great pageants from various countries. The beauty shed tears as her mother ran up to hug her in her victory walk.

African Vibes Online’s AV Reporter caught up with Amina Kamara shortly after her win with 13 Questions:

AVReporter: Now that you have won the crown, what are the first three things you would do as Miss West Africa?
The first thing has been done already; I had a celebration with my closest friends. So the next two things you should find me engaging in soon is working with sickle cell charities as this is a main concern of mine and touring West Africa which I’m very much looking forward to.

AVReporter: Have you ever been to Sierra Leone?
Yes, I visited Sierra Leone in 2003. It was amazing to see my family and my two sisters I had never met before.

AVReporter: Have you encountered any issue with the fact that you are London born and raised?

Well, I’ve not come across that yet; everyone I’ve met has embraced me as Miss West Africa, which is a great symbol of growing unity within our people’s mentality. I’ve never personally experienced any negativity towards me because of my ethnicity. I always worked hard for what I want. When Obama won the elections, Africa celebrated, even more so Kenya. No matter what ‘science’ the government or a passport may say, I am an African of Sierra Leone origin. For those that say I don’t deserve it, I can only say actions speak louder than words, and I can assure everyone that if they are of West African heritage they surely would appreciate my reign as Miss West Africa.


AVReporter: What are some of your aspirations?
I aspire to be one of the best beauty pageants ever. I don’t want people to look at me and simply say ‘Oh that was Miss West Africa 2008′. I want to set standards for Miss West Africa; I want people to know this title is more than a few photo shoots and events. There are political and social conflicts between and within West African countries, as well as horrific poverty in many areas. I can not change this, but I wish to use my position to highlight it. I aspire to be someone who when you can look at and say she was a true hero and took full advantage to do the best she could as Miss West Africa and as an aspiring model.

AVReporter: How do you think the combination of brainpower and beauty is important in achieving your goals and aspirations?
I think this is very important. Beauty attracts a lot of attention. It is necessary to combine the two because young girls and generally everyone wants to be beautiful, being beautiful and an intelligent role model makes them aspire to the characteristics attached. Just as we see some celebrities before our time were the centre of attention we aspired to their characters no matter how good or bad because we all wished we would be in their shoes some day. I think it’s also important for the guys as well, seeing a beautiful smart female figure gives them something to look forward to when in search of that right partner. And most importantly people are naturally interested in beautiful people, they want to know more about them, being beautiful and intelligent allows you to raise issues they might never have cared for before you exposed it, so beauty and brains actually is very important and that’s why most beauty pageants are attached to goodwill work.

AVReporter: What are your words of wisdom:
Don’t underestimate anyone

AVReporter: How about your secret to success:
If I told, it wouldn’t be a secret, he he

AVReporter: Fair enough. Who inspires you the most?
My Mum. She is a prime example of a strong woman who looks after her family.

AVReporter: What are some of your favourite beauty brands?
I mainly use beauty products such as Simple for exfoliation, Mac and Mary Kay products for make up.

AVReporter: Your favorite all time 3 movies:
Blood Diamonds (because it is based in my country Sierra Leone), Ironman, Love & Basketball

AVReporter: Your favorite all time 3 books:
Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, Screw it Lets Do It by Richard Branson and Garanteed Success by Percy Miller (Master P)

AVReporter: What is your sign (Zodiac)
Aquarius

AVReporter: What is your favorite dish from Sierra Leone?
No doubt, Cassava Leaf.

 

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Georgiana

    December 20, 2008 at 5:13 am

    I am glad that you are miss West Africa. I am from West Africa, Sierra Leone . Congratulation for your achivement. It is time for africans to come to together and help our people who are suffering with poverty. United Africa will stand! “One Loveto you .”

  2. Cornelia

    January 30, 2009 at 4:00 am

    CONGRATULATIONS,MISS West Africa….Who says all Queens are equal?
    It’s time 4 Africans to break the silence and do great exploits with our God given potentials and be the change /the best in all arenas of life on the platform of Love and unity .
    Am blessed to be an African[Cameroonian].
    You are a woman of valour,endeavour to leave a legacy in that which you’ve been nominated …make Africa the light of the world.
    Adieu Africa!

  3. The beuty of west Africa

    April 11, 2009 at 5:36 am

    AM PRODE OF WEST AFRICA
    LOVE YOU GUYSS AND KEEP IT UP LIKE THIS

  4. MCC

    April 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    All Black Women are Queens, we just have to know this. We come from legacy of Kings & Queens!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Peace & Blessings and My Person Will you the Best……………….

    P.S. It is great news to hear how you are striving to address poverty in the 3rd world country not just look at beauty. It is a wonderful thought and a act of ” Love”. (fetch back)!!!!!!!!!!!

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Fashion

This Liberian-American Wants To Change Liberian Fashion Industry

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Junda Morris-Kennedy

The Liberian fashion industry is facing myriads of problems including stagnations and proliferation of copy-cats. Fashion events saddled with the responsibility of strengthening the industry has died prematurely before they could live up to the objective due to low return on investment. However, irrespective of these negative indices, Junda Morris-Kennedy, a Liberian-American fashion promoter is eager to make a difference.

“I knew there was a challenge, but I was ready for the leap and this why I decided to take the risk and make the difference and now it is working. [However] my dream is to use the runway to create global visibility for Liberian fashion designs, boost innovation among local fashion designers and to create jobs for people.”

Last week Mrs. Morris-Kennedy breathed life into the Liberian fashion industry with one of the most successful runway fashion events in Liberia. Over fifteen local and international fashion designers were present at the epoch event. For her passion and contributions to the industry, ECOWAS Fashion Week named Morris-Kennedy ‘Fashion Icon Facilitator’. Morris-Kennedy is also the official World Fashion Week (WFW) representative in Liberia.

The origin and success story

According to Morris-Kennedy, the founder of Runway Liberia, the fashion event began in Baltimore, Maryland. Subsequently, it grew into an annual event. Baltimore was also the host for the first three annual events. However, Liberia hosted the annual event last week. Last week’s event was covered by Glamour Magazine, Studio 24, African Fashion TV, and Deamina Magazine. Runway Liberia is currently the largest fashion event in Liberia dedicated to the promotion of local fashion brand.

Morris-Kennedy mentioned that the inspiration came after surveying the African fashion industry. Morris-Kennedy found out Liberia fashion industry is nowhere compared to other African counterparts. Runway Liberia is her initiative to change the status quo.  Consequently, the event has exposed professional and new designers. The event is also connecting local and international designers.

“I am ready to do whatever it takes to build the fashion industry in Liberia, create more jobs, contribute to the economy, and increase the standard of living. [However] I am proud of what the platform has achieved over the last five years in Liberia and the USA. The event, which started as a little event five years ago, is now providing a platform for designers, most especially emerging designers in Liberia to showcase to a global audience of fashion enthusiasts, international media and visitors, and attendees.”

Runway Liberia and a multi-million dollar industry

Runway Liberia is now in its fifth year. The event has featured Chris Collins. Collins is famous for designing for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the former president of Liberia. Another big name that has featured in the event is Papa Ngala of Senegal. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Fashion industry is a multi-million dollar industry. However, Liberia is yet to tap into the full potential of the industry. Morris-Kennedy said,

“Liberia’s fashion industry is far behind its African counterparts, but we are working to change the situation. At least, we are now seeing some level of success in the industry, and that is good. We are getting there gradually.”

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10 Gorgeous Crochet Faux Locs Hairstyles

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Women are rarely satisfied with just one thing. Which is why we have a variety. That way everyone gets to choose what they want and need. Growing natural locs can be quite challenging, as it might mean you have to give up on a lot of other hairdos. Then it ends up being that thing you really wanted to do but couldn’t. Well, here’s the good news, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore, because someone came up with the creation of crochet faux locs hairstyles. As a result, it looks and feels like real locs.

Just the perfect look for a romantic evening, family vacation, boss lady event and so much more. Plus you can wear it comfortably no matter the season or the reason. We know making a choice is not always easy, thus below is a variety of photos that will appeal to your sense of sight and help you decide which look best suits you.

 Faux Loc Hairstyle #1

The beauty of a woman, they say lies in her hair. The reason why women often pay extra attention to their hair amongst other things . which is why this partially braided faux locs crochet hairstyle is perfect for someone who wants to show off a little hair as they rock their faux locs.

 

Faux locs Hairstyle #2

A woman’s confidence is part of her aura, and it says a lot about her. The goddess faux locs crochet hairstyle fits naturally like a crown on your pretty head. As it speaks for itself. Representing the proud classy and beautiful  Wakanda princess that you are.

 Faux locs Hairstyle #3

For someone who loves to let down their hair, this is definitely what you need. But then it comes with a little twist as it has a slit in the middle so the hair doesn’t fall on your face. perfect for work and other events


Faux locs Hairstyle #4

The world can be so bleak sometimes that we all need to add a little color to make it bearable. Nothing too drastic but just enough to say “hey I am simple sweet and a little mysterious”.

Faux locs Hairstyle #5

Nowadays everyone goes on and on about inner beauty and we totally agree. But come to think about it, no one can tell how beautiful you are on the inside if they don’t get attracted by the outside first! in other words, you have to make the outside look as beautiful as the inside. Try something different, yes different is good too. Imagine a Marley look but in a feminine and sassy way. The locs are in color and totally curled! Such a diva. want to experience the feeling, go ahead and try it.

When grey meets black multiplied by style it equals to a completely beautiful out of the world look. and with the help of a bandana, you could personalize the entire picture. Life is too short to have boring hair. Dare yourself to try something you’ve never done before, and maybe you’ll find something in you, you never knew existed. Don’t forget, you only live once.

 Faux locs Hairstyle #7

If you are aiming for that sultry yet sweet, innocent yet mysterious look, this crochet faux loc hairstyle is the ideal choice for you. with the right outfit, you could become anyone and play the role of sinner or saint. Imagine being a bond girl one minute, and Cinderella the next.! your options are quite limitless and can only be limited by you. Here`s your chance to live your dream, don’t think just do it!

 Faux locs Hairstyle #8

Talk about being noticed, this hairstyle gives a pop of color. It creates a very exciting and distinguished look.

Faux locs Hairstyle #9

You can go into battle with this amazing faux locs crochet hairstyle and have your opponent tap out before the war even begins! Slit in the middle and small portions in forms of pompoms on the side, it just reeks of strength, readiness, and strategy on all fronts. You should look and feel like a winner already. Superwoman has got nothing on you.


Faux locs Hairstyle #10

This beautiful faux locs crochet hairstyle is quite interesting. Notice how a few edges are purple? that’s right, you don’t notice it instantly till you wonder where the glow on her face is coming from. Then bingo! you realize the little addition can go a long way to leave the simple look yet adding a little spice to the already sweet sauce.

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Fashion

DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: Sheelah Garbrah Gives The Kente Cloth A Stunning Makeover With Her Ohemaa Collection

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Sheelah Garbrah

Sheelah Garbrah is a Ghanaian fashion designer currently based in Ghana. Her fashion label, “Shebybena” is widely worn by celebrities within and outside the country. She has sewn for popular actresses like Yvonne Nelson and Joselyn Dumas.

Garbrah’s passion for cloth making began at a tender age. Confirming this in an interview, the 31-year old designer said,

“My passion for fashion started when I was in secondary school. I found myself always sketching clothes and designing. I loved to design my own clothes for seamstresses when my mum took us to have dresses made.”

Appearances at major fashion shows

Fashion events give designers the opportunity to showcase their collection to a wider audience. It is always the dream of a designer to be invited to major fashion events. Garbrah has featured in many fashion events within and outside Ghana. Her first fashion show appearance was on Glitz Africa Fashion Week in 2014. She was also part of the Durban Fashion Fair. Narrating her experience she said,

“The Durban Fashion Fair was extremely exciting because that was my first time taking part in a fashion show outside Ghana.”

The Kente-inspired Ohemaa collection

Her “Skittles” collection received numerous positive feedbacks. However, Garbrah has been spinning heads on social media since the release of her “Ohemaa” collection. The collection is a combination of spectacular designs carved from different Kente cloth designs. The Kente dress is a brightly colored silk and cotton fabric made up of various strips sewn together. The word Kente comes from’ kenten’ which means ‘basket’ in Akan dialect. The patterns on a Kente are symbolic. Of great interest is how Garbrah integrates these meanings into the Ohemaa collection.

The Ohemaa collection creatively combines kente with other fabrics to give a seamless finish. There are four different designs currently making rounds in the Ohemaa collection. Each of the designs is paired with a statement fascinator. The fascinator hat is made by Traditions Couture Millinery.

#1 – The Kyemfere Dress

Kyemfere loosely translates to ‘Potsherd’. This pattern is a symbol of experience, knowledge, service, time, antiquity, rarity, and heirloom. The pattern is also backed by the proverb,

'The potsherd claims it has been around from time immemorial; what about the potter who molded it?' - African Proverb Click To Tweet

Sleeveless gowns are not particularly new but having a Kente touch makes the difference. Garbrah brilliantly combines the yellow and blue kyemfere pattern kente dress with Ankara. The kente dress forms the blouse and fuses with the yellow Ankara skirt.

The skirt flares down ending with fluffy blue embedding. The creative finish at the base of the gown is one of the reasons many argue Garbrah designed it with princesses in mind. At the waistline, there are two folds of kente dress sewn into blue silk to give the impression that the kente dress is rolling out of the silk.

As a topping, the dress is paired with a hat accessory from Traditions Couture Millinery. The blue flower and yellow feather fixed to a headband complete the outfit. In addition to the royal color, the veil draws attention like a bride-to-be.

Photo by PHLOSHOP – Hat by Traditions Couture Millinery – Dress by SheByBena – Makeup: Lawrencia Owusu

Photo by PHLOSHOP – Hat by Traditions Couture Millinery – Dress by SheByBena – Makeup: Lawrencia Owusu

Photo by PHLOSHOP – Hat by Traditions Couture Millinery – Dress by SheByBena – Makeup: Lawrencia Owusu

Photo by PHLOSHOP – Hat by Traditions Couture Millinery – Dress by SheByBena – Makeup: Lawrencia Owusu

#2 – The Sika Futoro Dress

The Sika Futoro literarily means gold dust. The gold dust was a medium of exchange among the Akan people before the coming of paper currency. This pattern replicates the gold dust. The cloth symbolizes royalty, wealth, spirituality, elegance, honorable achievement, and purity.

There are so many features of this gown that cannot be missed on a first glance beside the combination of orange and purple. The right shoulder has a strap while the left hangs loose. Rather than have a strap, a fold from the right extends diagonally to form a covering for part of the right hand.

The rest of the gown flows freely downward only interrupted by a front slit that extends to the thigh. The purple, silk flower on the right side of the waist is not just an attachment like you would see with some designers. The silk from the flower runs around the waist and forms part of the gown on the back.

Complementing the dress is a colorful fascinator. The headgear consists of an orange zucchetto with a blossoming purple rose at the top with making a bold fashion statement.

Photo by PHLOSHOP – Hat by Traditions Couture Millinery – Dress by SheByBena – Makeup: Lawrencia Owusu

Photo by PHLOSHOP – Hat by Traditions Couture Millinery – Dress by SheByBena – Makeup: Lawrencia Owusu

Photo by PHLOSHOP – Hat by Traditions Couture Millinery – Dress by SheByBena – Makeup: Lawrencia Owusu

#3 – The Nanka Tire Dress

This pattern is translated as the Puff Adder’s head. It symbolizes being over-burdened with work or exploitation. The accompanying proverb is “I cannot even carry the python, yet you are asking me to use the puff adder’s head as the carrying pad”. Garbrah’s design will leave you looking like a bird rather than being exploited.

This is another perfect fusion of Ankara with kente. The sleeves are designed to look like the wings of a bird. An oval cut on the outside reveals the wearer’s shoulder. The slit running from the neck to below the breast is lined on both sides by red flowers while translucent silk covers the gap.

Two variations of the same patterned kente dress form the base of the gown. The first variation runs from the waist to below the calf while the second flare up to the toes. The deeper red color of the pattern of the flare complements red flowers on the chest.

The accompanying fascinator blends with the entire outfit in color and design. Flowers similar to the one used to adorn the chest sit on an orange headband which can be secured firmly to the head. The entire apparel is not only appealing but also teasing.

Photo by PHLOSHOP – Hat by Traditions Couture Millinery – Dress by SheByBena – Makeup: Lawrencia Owusu

Photo by PHLOSHOP – Hat by Traditions Couture Millinery – Dress by SheByBena – Makeup: Lawrencia Owusu

Photo by PHLOSHOP – Hat by Traditions Couture Millinery – Dress by SheByBena – Makeup: Lawrencia Owusu

Photo by PHLOSHOP – Hat by Traditions Couture Millinery – Dress by SheByBena – Makeup: Lawrencia Owusu

#4 – The Eban Dress

Garbrah carved this design from non-regular kente dress. However, it bears the characteristic eban adinkra symbol. Eban is a ‘fence’ which fence symbolically separates and secures the family from the outside. Eban is a symbol of love, safety, and security. Apart from the fabric, the design is enticing and would make you feel loved.

From the top, you will first notice how the left shoulder is allowed to hang loosely. The right-hand rests on the shoulder and has a curvature in form of a cone running from the front to the back. Like other designs in the Ohemaa collection, Garbrah combines two fabrics but the closeness of color can make it difficult to spot.

This design also has a front slit which extends to the thigh. However, unlike the two previous designs, this one has no flare. The gown runs straight from the hips to the toes. If you want to look elegant without calling too much attention with bright colors, this should be your pick.

To cap it off, this dress is paired with a beautiful fascinator hat consisting of a bouquet of blue roses. Two antenna-like filaments extend from the left side of the hat and curve to the right.

Photo by PHLOSHOP – Hat by Traditions Couture Millinery – Dress by SheByBena – Makeup: Lawrencia Owusu

Photo by PHLOSHOP – Hat by Traditions Couture Millinery – Dress by SheByBena – Makeup: Lawrencia Owusu

Photo by PHLOSHOP – Hat by Traditions Couture Millinery – Dress by SheByBena – Makeup: Lawrencia Owusu

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