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Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

Entrepreneurship

Römaina Tiendrebeogo believes that: “Representation Matters.”

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Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

How did you come up with the name Cay Cay’s World?

I must admit, I was really overthinking when I was looking for a name for my cartoons. I realized this is an attempt to give people a glimpse of her(my daughters) world and others. Also did I need something that the children could remember.  A lot of people refer to her as ”Cay Cay” (pronounced: SySy). It was only logical for me at that time to give it the name Cay Cay’s World.

After seeing everything come together, getting a feel for what I want my characters to represent. I decided to change the name to ’Akwaaba Adwoa & Friends’. Akwaaba means ”Welcome” in the Ghanaian Twi dialect, by the Akan tribe of Ghana. Adwoa is a name that is given to females born on a Monday in Ghana.

My daughter was born on a Monday and this felt closer to home than her first name. My daughter’s name is Cayra (pronounced Sy-ih-rah) Anaiah Sage.

Cay Cay

Cay Cay

Where does Cay Cay come from?

Adwoa (Cay Cay) is a Ghanaian girl, both parents are from Ghana. The idea stems from my daughter.

 

Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

 

You decided to tell a story based on 8 characters, why those 8 and why not more or less?

The reason why I chose to tell a story about these 8 characters is because in order to make this work to it’s best ability, I needed to start with what I know. I lived in the Netherlands for a majority of my life and was mostly surrounded by people from Suriname, Curacao, Ghana and Nigeria.

Besides, my mother is married to a Nigerian for 26 years now and my siblings are half Nigerian. I also felt it was important to choose from different parts of Africa and choose the countries I had been learning about prior to ’Akwaaba Adwoa & Friends’. These 8 will not only be a representation of themselves but also a voice for thei countries around their own individual countries.

 

Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

 

“Representation matters!”

There are 52 countries in Africa why not tell a story of Africa in general?

You see, the beauty of Africa is that the differences somehow unite us. I would not do Africa or people from the Diaspora justice by generalizing everything and everybody. I made sure I chose countries that different countries in Africa can relate to.

As these characters grow they explore and learn about their neighboring countries. Africa is a continent that stands for strength, power, survival, wealth, traditions, beauty and much more. Now tell me what Justice would I do it and it’s descendants by generalizing Africa.

Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

Akwaaba, Adwoa & Friends

What are the storylines going to be about?

My stories are going to incorporate Nursery Rhymes in English, Dutch and most importantly the language from each characters’ country. They will not always be together in one episode. Everybody is going to be in the spotlight seperately.

We will also be learning some words from their own dialects. My intentions are not only to bring black excellence into our households but to also spark conversations between parents and kids. We usually leave our country, reside abroad and leave behind our childhood memories. It is okay to adapt, but even greater to instill a piece of themselves in their upbringing.

 

“It is time for children of color to grow up and have representations of themselves”

Romaïna

Romaïna the creator of Cay Cay and friends

Why do you think it is important to make colored animations for kids?

Whenever I watch a kids channel I can usually count the amount of colored kids on one hand. The majority of TV characters is Caucasian and you would maybe see 2 or 3 colored children. Representation matters! As a kid I would see some toy commercials advertising extensions to add to your hair. This was not even avaiblable in my hair texture/color!

You will subconsciously develop a low self esteem. I started to believe that I was not that special enough to shown on TV. It is time for children of color to grow up and have representations of themselves, to know that they are a part of beauty standards, because that’s not for anyone to decide but them. Representation matters!

 

“I believe this will make a change Worldwide.

 

How long will one episode be?

One episode will be about 12 minutes. The audience I am targetting are toddlers and it is advised for them to have about an hour screen time a day. 12 minutes is enough for kids  to pick up on certain things and to give parents inspiration on how to incorporate what they have seen in a for examples with games.

 

 

Akin, from Nigeria! He says Bawoni: meaning: How are you

Akin, from Nigeria! He says Bawoni: meaning: How are you

Do you feel like making animations will make a change in Dutch society or more in African?

I believe this will make a change Worldwide. In the Dutch society it will most definitly make make an impact on children of color.

They will become more aware of themselves and most importantly they will be more confident! Living in The Netherlands can make you as a North-African, think that you are nothing but trouble. A country where blacks are being confronted with mockery of their whole being just to honor a country’s tradition that stands for oppression.

Our kids need to see and know that they too are an important part of society.

 

Cay Cay inspired by Römaina's daughter

Cay Cay inspired by Römaina’s daughter

What do you think the stereotype of black people is in Holland?

Haven’t we heard enough? It is either lazy, loud or uneducated just to name a few. My goal is not about changing what the caucasian think or say about us. My goal is to make sure that whatever they do, think or say that we will not it our reality.

 What do you think about an online magazine such as melaninwonder.com, is it needed?

First of all I commend you for creating such a platform. Of course it is needed. There can never be too much representation! I will be starting a crowdfunding soon and your magazine has already given me the opportunity to put myself out there. Thank you for sharing the same goal as I do.

 

 

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.

 













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Entrepreneurship

American based Randall Holloway singer, actor, Executive producer and so much more TALENT!

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Randall for Africa experience

Who are you for those who don’t know?

Hello my name is Randall Holloway, and I am originally from Milwaukee Wisconsin the Home of the Brew. I have five older brothers and I am the youngest of the tribe. My brothers had a major influence in my life.  When people see strong and educated black men standing together in numbers that is the most powerful image that can be displayed to the world.

 

Randall Holloway

Randall Holloway

Do you know anything about your ancestors?

That is a great question.  Our family definitely comes from West Africa.  I have got a little bit of European blood, but I would have to dig a little deeper.

 

“When people see strong and educated black men standing together in numbers that is the most powerful image that can be displayed to the world.”

 

How did you become a Filmmaker?

When I was younger, I was always writing stories and scripts and “doing it the Holloway”.  Since coming to New York I have been acting and partnered with Bric TV and Harlem Fusion Studio. That led to being a producing handling tasks like location scouting, social media management, casting  and now I am one of the executive producers of the Curvy Girls Rock Series. It is all Gods Plan.

Harlem Fusion Studios is a Production Company that was created by Shakesha Williams with the mission to tell honest stories to voice of the voiceless. So we are not afraid to push the envelope. Like Nina Simone said in an interview back in the day; “An artist’s job is to reflect the times.” So if we are not creating conversations with our art than what are we doing?

 

How long have you been acting?

Watch Randalls acting skills.

 

My parents started me off in the performing arts so I have been playing characters my entire life. I am currently developing my website, but if you follow me on instagram @itsrandallholloway and look up my name up on IMDB that will give you access a lot of my upcoming projects.

One of the shows I am currently in production with is called Miles & Associates an action packed legal crime series created by Frank Deniro that centers around a black attorney named Ray Miles and brings awareness to a corrupted broken system and sheds light on the ups and downs of black attorneys in America.  I am also in production for a new series called Bubbly Brown Sugar, a love story about two soulmates meeting in their dreams navigating the ups & downs of life until they are destined to meet.

 

When did you start singing? 

I started singing at the age of 10 with a choir that performed for high profile leaders, and political figures throughout the United States. I continued my training in classical voice at Milwaukee Highschool of the Arts. My parents always pushed for my brothers to go to Historically Black Colleges so I went on college tours and got accepted into Howard UniversityThe Real HU”.

 

 

Randall Holloway packed in a suit

Randall Holloway packed in a suit

 

Who is your favorite actor and who would you love to work with in the future?

 

OMG I have so many, that I look up to and find inspiration from, but if I have to choose.  I really would love to work with Sterling K. Brown, Viola Davis, Michael K. Williams, Samuel L. Jackson. So hopefully the Universe will listen.

 

How do you combine these three things and still manage to have a social life (acting, singing, directing)?

 

We make time for the things that are important to us. Successful people have the same amount of time like everyone else they just learn how to properly manage it.

 

Randall Holloway

Randall Holloway

 

“So if we’re not creating conversations with our art than what are we doing?”

 

Do you have a girlfriend or wife? 

 

I recently got out of a relationship so at this point of my life I would rather just stay single until God sends me my better half to complete my life.

 

What do you think of all the Melanin in the social media now a days? Do you think its, real or a trend?

 

This is not a trend this is definitely real. I love the skin that I wear.  There is so much pride, and beauty in the black community because we are the Kings and Queens of the world. With movies like Black Panther idolizing black culture I feel people are finally waking up and owning their magic.

 

Randall Holloway

Randall Holloway

How do you feel about light skinned men saying that they would never date a woman that is darker than them or a dark skinned woman?

 

Women are beautiful. If a light skinned man doesn’t find a dark chocolate woman attractive he’s dealing with his own insecurities, and you need to leave him alone.  Keep in mind there is someone for you so don’t waste your time and energy with scrub that doesn’t see your beauty for what it is.

 

How would you advise others that want to pursue a career in acting, singing or film-making?

 

First think longevity.  So many of us just accept whatever is handed to us not realizing how it could hurt us in the long run. So starting of; take on projects that speak to you as an artist.

Second find you tribe its imperative to find people that you surround yourself with that you can comfortably to bounce ideas and knowledge off of.

Be ready to sacrifice your time, money, and your relationships. Sometimes the industry has to create room for you so get ready for a lot of rejection and ups and down because it’s not an easy road to success.

 

Have u ever considered participating in a talent show like Idols for example?

 

I auditioned for American Idol three different times and X- Factor when they had their first season in the United States. For those shows what they don’t show is the amount of times you have to audition before you make it to the televised round of auditions. 

The contestant that was in my final group was told by one of the producers of the show to change her audition song to something more popular at the last minute. I started teaching the girl how to sing this Alicia Keys song, and when it came time for me to audition I got eliminated, but she end up making it through all the way to the Top 10 for that season.

 

What is your favorite place to eat out?

One of my favorite places that I love to eat in the Brooklyn area is MangoSeed. I am addicted to their Oxtail and Grits so make sure you all check out www.mangoseedbrooklyn.com

MangoSeed delicatesse

MangoSeed delicatesse

 

Favorite song at the moment?

 

I just wanna put this out there first the navy has been waiting Rihanna so I’m gonna need you to drop that album, but in the meantime Kendrick Lamar All the Stars ft SZA is my jam, and I really like Majesty from Nicki Minaj.

 

Your favorite place in Brooklyn?

I like to go on long walks in Prospect Park and sit by the Waterfall.  That’s when I feel that i’m truly connected to the Earth.

 

Do you ever think of changing your community? How do you plan on doing that?

 

Me and God got big plans. I eventually wanna open up my own Performing Arts School and help minorities get into college.

 

Tell us about Curvy girls rock and where can people watch it?

 

Curvy Girls Rock is a new scripted series about confident plus size women living their best lives in New York City. It’s not about fat shaming, and depressing narratives that were used to seeing.  Its pulls from shows like Sex in the City, and Girlfriends the only difference is all the leading actresses are plus size women. Were hoping to that a major distributor in Hollywood will see it and pick up the series so that we can get syndicated.  As of right now we have a few people interested, but if its not the right deal we’re not going to take. It’s only fair to the cast,crew, and our audience that have been rocking with us for so long.

 

“There is a missing voice in Hollywood”

 

There is a missing voice in Hollywood and here at Harlem Fusion Studios we are giving these women more of a narrative on television. Sixty-seven percent of the women in the United States are plus size, but Hollywood only pulls from the two percent. We are not holding back, so the audience better get ready because it’s about to go down.

 

Where can people donate or support your cause?

 

We still need help with editing some of our future episodes, and all that requires time and money so every dollar counts.  If you would like to donate to our series please go to our website www.cgrseries.com and follow us on instagram @curvygrilsrockseries

 

Any last words?

 

Stay Humble People…PEACE

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Entrepreneurship

Mary SKYROCKETS with her MAFCouture Line and AMAZING and FAST design!

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Mary in one of her Stunning Dresses!

Mary from MAFCouture

MaFCouture

When I was a child I was kinda the “happy feet” of my family.

Designed by Mary for MAFCouture

Designed by Mary for MAFCouture

What are your roots?

I am a Cameroonian with Some mix of Nigerian heritage. I came to the Netherlands when I was  about 14-15 years old.

 

 

Do you have siblings?

I do have siblings here in the Netherlands that I stay with.

One is a musicianBessemoh.com– and the other one is an IT guy that loves fashion shows and parties.

 

Is sewing a thing in the family?

No, sewing wasn’t really an inheritance from my family neither can my grandma or my mother sew. She’s (my mother) very creative but sewing I never saw her do. I actually developed this talent on my own and I enjoy it thoroughly.

WATCH the MAFCouture Launch Party coverage here.

 

 

MAFCouture by Mary

MAFCouture by Mary

What would be your passion if you didn’t choose to be a designer?

Hehe, Dancing!! When I was a child I was kinda the “happy feet” of my family.

 

MAFCouture design worn by model

MAFCouture design worn by model

Why are your designs different than the rest?

My designs are different from the rest because it comes from a place inside of me. When I want to get creative the most I shut off everything, go in myself and start imagining things.

 

The "Janet" dress worn by stunning model

The “Janet” dress worn by stunning model

 

 

Then will I sketch them all down. Every creation I design is clearly to be seen from the things I make for my clients.

It is like two different worlds. I am literally attached to my designs, because they are very personal to me.

 

Mary in one of her own designs made with a long train

Mary in one of her own designs made with a long train

Do you feel like you have any competition here in the Netherlands?

In Holland? Not that I have seen. In countries outside the Netherlands, yes! Like a Ghanaian designer called: Christie Brown. I love her stuff!

I feel like she is a game changer and it scares me the most because we think alike and that can bring some tension between us.

 

MAFCouture

MAFCouture

Who is your favorite manufacturer for Ankara fabrics?

I can’t say I have any. But who do I think they have creative patterns and designs in their fabrics? Julius Jansen in Helmond.

 

I can name designers that are better than Louis Vuitton and the rest

 

What is your favorite place u have traveled to up till now?

My favorite so far will have to be London.

Is your plan to go international?

Yes

 

Please learn how to support each other and connect with the person

 

Where do you expect to be in 5 years’ time?

My own small boutique here in Holland, France, Cameroon, London and Nigeria next to my atelier where I could freely express myself through my creativity and travel the world for more inspiration and collaboration.

Mary with her models at a runway show

Mary with her models at a runway show

Have u ever experienced being treated different because of the color of your skin?

Yes, I had this crazy experience once in Rotterdam Blaak. An interior shop that was close by the metro station Rotterdam Blaak was open that I was passing by to get some furniture to work with. I went to the shop and the door had a note that stated that the store was open . If the door was closed I should ring the bell so I did. I had a black hoodie on from sweatswithattitude and a black legging.

This guy walked up to me to open the door took a look at me and tries to imply that they were closed. When I brought to his attention what was written on the door he then asked me to come in.

I went in feeling this awkward “we don’t need you here” kinda stare. I saw amazing things and I was inspired! While looking around this guy stood by the help desk and stared at me the entire time meanwhile there was a Dutch girl in the place with a huge camera.

So I pulled out my phone to take some pictures; he rushed quickly to me and asked me to not take pictures of their stuff cause it is their new Collection bla bla bla.

Meanwhile the girl next to me was doing just that. Ok, I said fine. Before I knew it he handed me their card and said I could look at the things online and showed me the door.

I was not even ready to leave yet, men I was super pissed and I was sad the whole day because of it.

 

MAFCouture for every one!

MAFCouture for every one!

How do you feel about diversity in fashion?

I feel as though it is very much needed especially NOW! I can name designers that are better than LV and the rest.

We need those people to inspire our little black children at least they won’t be insulted by them or called names in public like these other designers out here do to black people. Our black kids should also know that their moms and pops are able to archive such names and success in the fashion industry as well to motivate them and most importantly inspire them.

Fashion show by Mary

Fashion show by Mary

What do you want to see change in the fashion nowadays?

The skinny models. Let’s start elevating the big girls and the world will be a little better . Because a confident woman can archive a lot.

Fashion to make our men look like women; Please stop that! I cannot allow my kids to be inspired by such designers, so they need us. They need change!

Adama Jobe for MAFCouture

Adama Jobe for MAFCouture

What do you consider fashion?

Fashion for me is a form of expression. Who I am inside shows on the outside by what I wear and how I present myself. But fashion has a lot of meanings and translations world wide.

Fashion comes with presentation.. how do I want to present myself to the world. Different, mixes, cultural influences or whatever.

Mary in one of her Stunning Dresses!

Mary in one of her Stunning Dresses!

Does fashion come with size or do all models have to be a size 4?

Like I said earlier, if fashion came with just one size which means the big girls won’t be able to express themselves. Fashion is for all sizes.

Do you have a partner?

Hehe, who would like to know?

Tell us a fun fact about yourself?

I am happy when I am eating. If you want to make me happy, get me food.

Fashion by MAFCouture

Fashion by MAFCouture

What is your favourite song at the moment?

Assurance by Davido

Where can we FIND YOU!

Instagram: mafcouture
Personal IG : mary_tataw
Facebook page : mafcouture
Pinterest : mafcouture
Snapchat : youngestceo
Facebook group: My Ankara Closet NL

 

Mary

Mary

Final say?

“For the African male/females that have businesses in the Netherlands please learn how to support each other and connect with the person. Let love rules above all Love is the strongest. We can do whatever, give shoutouts, hold meetings or seminars but without love all we do is vain.” – Mary

 

 

“Beloved, let us [unselfishly] love and seek the best for one another,
 for love is from God; and everyone who loves [others] is born of God 
and knows God [through personal experience].”

‭‭1 JOHN‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭AMP

MARY

Mary and models

Mary and models

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