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Hannah Akua The Face of Melanin Wonder 2019

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The Face of MelaninWonder

A bit about me…who am I?
I am Hannah Ofosu-Oware. I was born in Accra, Ghana, West Africa in the late nighties.

Accra, Ghana source: phdmedia.com

I came to the Netherlands at the age of 15 and have been blessed to enjoy the exciting journey of assimilating into the Dutch culture.

It has been a stark difference from what I left behind in Africa. The unlimited sunshine, heat and abundance of fresh tropical foods. The uniqueness of this deep culture and environment is what I feel adds depth to my character and look.

The Vibrant marketplace in Ghana

I am fun, warm, attentive and love to be around people. I also adore cooking and aspire to one day own a fusion African restaurant in Holland and in Ghana. I cook for friends, family and anyone that loves to eat!

” By nature, I am typically a very shy individual and have always had to motivate myself to break out of my shell. “

Why I took part in the MW contest?

Hannah rocking some Kente fabrics

By nature, I am typically a very shy individual and have always had to motivate myself to break out of my shell. However, I decided to let go of my inhibitions and take the leap of competing in this year’s campaign to be the female face of the Melanin Wonder brand. I have in the past taken up a few modelling projects and found it to be an art form that brings out creativity. I love it. 😊

Photography by: Godfried van Utrecht

For those who may not be aware, Melanin wonder is a Netherlands based online magazine created with the intent to educate, entertain, inspire and also highlight social issues affecting the African youth in the diaspora. 

Hannah

I would like to support and be part of a brand that uplifts individuals to spotlight when they do not have a voice or a face. As the popular saying goes, ‘Black is beautiful’, but many fail to acknowledge that.  

Photography: Vonne in-house Melanin Wonder photographer

I desire to be an inspiration to the Black OR Brown girl, woman (FEMALE) with her unique African lineage and truly believe that BLACK is indeed BEAUTIFUL.

Hannah

Khoudia Diop inspired me a lot she said “Being black it’s not a crime, Be happy with what you have and who you are”.
  

Hannah.

Entrepreneurship

Eric Jones builds his empire, from Fayetteville, AR to LA – The American dream

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We reunited with Eric Jones, CEO and lead designer at LFLS shoes. He started his business in 2016, after graduating and mourning his late mom and dad. He pulled through and continued building his empire, making his late parents proud, building his life with the goals he in-visioned.

His mother in particular was a big part of designing LSLS shoes. She helped him create the first designs of LFLS’s 1st collection while he was finishing up college. Unfortunately, she was not there to experience the launch of his collection or witness his graduation. She passed away a few weeks before he graduated. Eric’s first collection was very important to him, as he was holding a piece of his mom in his creations.

 

 

We asked Eric how life changed since the first year into entrepreneurship.

”My life has changed tremendously, it is literally like comparing night and day!” 

” My slow success has allowed me to build so much character and it has molded me into an individual that has the influence, courage, resilience and story to inspire a nation. I’ve had the chance to experience so many things that I couldn’t have imagined. I worked with people that I never thought I would be able to work with MJ Harris ,Tasha Page Lockhart, Anthony Anderson and Desi Bank just to name a few.

From left to right MJ Harris, Tasha Page Lockhart, Anthony Anderson, and Desi Bank

I achieved goals that exceed my wildest expectations. I also, recently took a huge leap of faith and relocated to Los Angeles, California a little over a week ago. Coming from Helena, AR, these are things that I could have never imagined doing in my life! ”

Eric’s life changed tremendously in just 24 months!

Exposure – he has been recognized my national and international media and has been featured on Global Grind, Because of them We Can, Melanin Wonder, Voyage LA/Dallas, and a host of other platforms! New friends, gaining MJ Harris as a friend and mentor.

Building his CV, booking multiple speaking engagements and also speaking on panels across the country to share my story. Recognition, being recognized by my Alma Mater and moving to Los Angeles, just 2 weeks ago!

Are your shoes as dapper as you are?

It’s a guarantee because you can’t find shoes like these anywhere else. I have added my own unique touches to each shoe and they have become a high demand for special occasions like weddings, galas, proms, graduations and red carpet events. The shoes are the representation of a lifestyle that many individuals want to live. A lifestyle of modern luxury with a sprinkle of good old classic vibes.

How do you test the product quality?

I test the quality of my products by having a sample developed of a specific shoe that I have designed and want to send into production. Based on how the sample comes out will determine what changes are needed or if I will work with that particular factory or not. 

What was the main reason you chose to start making women’s shoes as well?

I decided to start making women’s shoes because so many women would ask me about shoes for them or if I made kids shoes that they could fit. I tested the market to see if women would actually purchase the pair of flats that I ended up designing. It turned out that they liked them a lot and at times purchased more than my customer base of men would.

 

So to circle back around on the question, the main reason I chose to start making them is to please the ladies hahaha. But then it also became bigger than that because I made sure the women’s flats matched the men’s loafers, which lead to our his and hers collection. My late mother Gloria also loved shoes a lot, I plan to design a women’s shoe dedicated to her in the near future.

 

What’s the next up-and-coming trend Eric?

”I’m not much of a trendy person, I tend to create them versus keep up with them!” 

If you weren’t making shoes, what would be your craft today?

Branding and social media strategy for sure, along with still inspiring people through my journey! I love everything about branding and how a business conveys its story to their potential customers, whether that be through visuals or strategy. This is one reason why I started offer branding/business development consultations. I also love styling too, so I’m sure I would also still be dabbling in that industry even if I wasn’t a shoe designer!

You recently moved to LA, how will this impact the LFLS brand?

” This move will take the brand to the next level!” 

Being in this environment around celebrities, stylist, red carpet events, influencers and a host of other entrepreneurs/creatives is all I could ask for plus more! You never know who you will meet here in LA, so many doors will be opened for myself and the brand that could have never been opened back in Arkansas. I’m thrilled to be here and just honored to be able to have the faith, courage and resilience to take such a huge leap of faith and sacrifice for my future.

 













Get you a pair of LFLS shoes to look just as dapper as Eric
https://www.lflsshoes.com/
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P.S. Eric is doing a give-away in collaboration with Melanin Wonder.
Comment under this article and repost it on your socials.
Send us a screenshot of you comment under this post +
your repost on any socials (email: info@melaninwonder.com)
Winner will be announced in the third week of september.
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Media

Melanin Excellence from Politics to Disney – our 2019 so far

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We are in the home stretch of 2019 and 2020 is fast approaching! What a year it has been! Black Excellence is truly on the rise! Personally, I have never been this proud to see our culture represented in such a positive light. – Tiesha

In the Political News – The United States has a black woman on the ballot for President of the United States!

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Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris, United States Senator from California, is really making her mark in the presidential race. She is the first black woman that has run of the office for president in over 9 years. The US has had 11 black women to run for President of the United States over the years. 

Her campaign slogan “For the People” is not just a slogan but a true testament for the changes she has initiated in her political career. From introducing tax cuts to the middle class, proposals of tuition-free higher education, protecting the rights of refugees and immigrants, and so much more. Her work showcases her commitment to the advancement of the United States. These are perfect qualities of a President!

But Kamala Harris is not the only Black presidential candidate. Wayne Messam, a Florida Mayor, is also in the running for the election. His parents came to Florida from Jamaica with only a 5th-grade education to build a better life. The work ethics that were instilled in their son drove him and his wife Angela in building several highly profitable minority construction businesses.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Wayne Messam
Wayne Messam

In the career of Wayne Messam, he has been an advocate of higher wages, job security for US workers, leading the cause of protection of immigrants to come to the US for a better life, and many other contributions to the country. His campaign slogan “For America” shows that he has what it takes to bring wealth and prosperity to the US.

In Entertainment News – Disney has not one but two new remakes that have featured lead black cast members. This is a major accomplishment and advancement for Disney. The last black lead role in Disney pictures was The Princess and The Frog released in 2009.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Halle Bailey the new Ariel
Halle Bailey the new Ariel

The Little Mermaid Reboot featuring Halle Bailey as Ariel is a beautiful addition to the Disney family. Halle Bailey is a part of the R&B Group Chloe x Halle who rose to fame after their rendition of Beyoncé’ Pretty Hurts. This led to the group to be an opening act for Beyoncé’ Formation World Tour in 2016.

Halle being the starting role unfortunately suffered major backlash from critics.  Hashtags #NotMyAriel were trending on Twitter causing an uproar of negativity to the star due to the changing of the skin color by Disney from fair to a melanin complexion.

Even through the criticism, an outpouring of support on social media came forth for Halle. Fellow celebrities Willow Smith, Mariah Carey, Donald Glover, Jordan Sparks, and many others came to showcase support for her as well for the upcoming remake of the Disney film.

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Donald Glover as Simba in the Lion King live-action movie

The Lion King remake has a host of black excellence in the cast. Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, Chance the Rapper as Bush Baby, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Keegan-Michael Key as Kamari, Eric Andre’ as Azizi, John Kani as Rafiki, Florence Kasumba as Kamari, Phil Lamar and J. Lee offering voice supporting roles, and legendary artists Alfre Woodard as Sabri and James Earl Jones as Mufasa.

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Beyonce as Nala in the Lion King live-action movie

The Lion King remake has made over 540 million dollars to date. It was reported by Forbes magazine to be the top-grossing live-action remake! Hats off to the cast!

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The movie “Little” features youngest executive producer 14-year-old Marsai Martin from the ABC hit show Black-ish.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Marsai Martin youngest producer ever
Marsai Martin – Youngest producer ever

This was a great breakthrough for the youth in film. Working alongside Regina Hall, Preston L. Holmes, and Josh Martin who also executive produced this film, offered support and guidance as she embarked on this journey. This movie opened more doors of opportunities for Marsai to produce a film adaptation of B.B. Alston’s debut novel Amari and the Night Brothers and another film Step Monster with future release dates coming soon.

In Beauty News -The US has three major Black pageant winners!

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Miss USA 2019 Chelsie Kryst
Miss USA 2019 Chelsie Kryst

Miss USA 2019 Chelsie Kryst from North Carolina, Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin from New York, and Miss Teen USA 2019 Kaleigh Garris from Connecticut.

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Miss Teen USA 2019 Kaleigh Garris

This is a record-breaking history-making victory to have such representation at one time in this space. For years black beauty has been commercialized and society unaccepted.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Nia Franklin
Nia Franklin – Miss America 2019

As a black woman being born and raised in Mississippi, I have seen firsthand many accounts of racial injustice and heard countless stories from my elders. To see Black people, rise above the pressures of opposition and move into their appointed victory in black excellence inspires me to do the same.

I truly believe that James Brown says it best “Say it Loud! I’m Black and I’m Proud!”

Blogger: Tiesha (Latiesha Olive) is a beauty blogger with her own blog beautifulnaturalcurls.com. You can also follow her on Youtube- ‘Beautiful Natural Curls’ and Instagram @Bnaturalcurls. Tiesha is our USA correspondent for your Melanin Wonder News!

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Art

De KROON

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On the sixth of May, 2019 something horrifying happened. The Dutch lifestyle and fashion TV show allowed one of the cast members to make racist comments about Afro and kinky curly hair.

This exploded in a negative in all the news platforms and many if not all black and brown men and women were grossly offended. Robin Ramos (20) and Kymani Ceder (19) wrote a poem as a response. They used the poem as a positive representation by, from and for the Afro-Dutch community. The goal is to use the movie “The Crown” (De kroon) created by Robin and Kymani to create awareness and free the Black community from the chains of stereotyping of Afro hair.

Footage from the short film – de KROON

Robin and Kymani chose to form the video as a school assignment with a theme family.

Robin Ramos

Kymani Ceder

Using ‘Black hairstyles’ as a point gave them the inspiration to show different historical and tribal connotations involving Afro hair. In many cultures, it is still a way to be in contact with the ancestors. Besides braiding, is doing hair an activity done throughout time and has it has been a signature activity in black families.

The short film portrays a paradox time-machine with precolonial impressions. It takes you on a journey back to the age of where the traditional braids were used to connect the past with the present.

The movie is a re-enactment of history acted out by present-day Dutch Africans. How do Dutch Africans experience their African identity after the physical alienation that has taken place after slavery? How do they feel about their hair now? How do we feel during and after watching the short film?

Around 80 people were involved by the making of the short film: De Kroon. Some well-known artists and actors from the Dutch entertainment such as Sylvana Simons, Veronica van Hoogdalem, Digitzz, Clarice Gargard and Guillermo Babel.

Sylvana Simons & Robin Ramos

“De Kroon” is a poetic storyline about the relationship Afro Dutch citizens have with their natural hair and hairstyles. The Natural Hair movement is becoming more and more visible in the world. And we are loving it.

For all readers from the Netherlands: Want to read more about the backstory and behind the scenes, straight from the creator/inspirator of this video? click here

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