One of the most expensive gifts you can ever gift anyone is your time. As the saying goes, time is money, money is time. So, in addition to reading Ladybrillemag.com, Ladybrillenigeria.com and Africamusiclaw.com, which we say “thank you” and is time well spent, where else should you spend your time, if you have any left and want to add to your portfolio of blogs? Below is our inaugural list of the 2011 Best African/African inspired blogs worth checking out as part of wrapping up our Bloggers’ Edition.
NOTE: There is no science to how we made our choices. But we definitely looked at the quality and originality of content, the longevity of the blog, color and design aesthetics, navigation and frequency of updates and have observed these blogs and more, over an extended period of time, to make our choices. Enjoy our selection and take your pick on what suits you best.
Ghanamusic.com: Definitely the authority on music from Ghana and Ghana musicians, this blog has evolved into an online empire. It comes complete with music videos, a link for purchase of music on Itunes from most of the Ghanaian musicians you listen to, music industry news and great features. The design and blog aesthetic is also relatively easy to navigate.
Iwantairplay.com: What is there not to want about airplay? From the beautiful accentuation of hot pink juxtaposed with white, the blog is clean, modern and holds a gorgeous database of Nigerian music. Subdivided into four easy categories of “featured videos,” “new releases,” “reviews” and “hot albums,” it is an oasis and a great playground for lovers of music from Nigerian artists. The icing on the cake is their music player. Our only biggest complaint is the lack of marketing to push this great brand to the limelight. But then again, maybe that is a good thing and you can “wantairplay” all to yourselves.
Notjustok.com: What started as a small music blog on Typepad (blogging platform), has since metamorphosized into a growing online music empire where Nigeria and Africa’s biggest stars like D’Banj and P-Square collaborate with, on a first name basis. The blog averages about 28 posts per week of fresh music content, mostly in videos and audio clips. With a black tiled image background and an accentuation of burgundy red colors, easy navigation, e-music store and a very vocal audience, there is never a dull moment on Notjustok.com.
Disclaimer: I have authored business and law articles for this blog, notwithstanding that, its success and growth speaks for itself.
MyTruspot.com: A pioneer in its own right, MyTruSpot.com has evolved into a Pan-African music blog/blog in line to be Africa’s itunes, if executed well. While there are a few other Pan-African music blogs out there, MyTruspot stands apart by making it relatively easy to navigate the blog without getting lost with its voluminous content. The blog comes complete with a blog e-commerce store, a buzz letter, talk shows streamed on the blog and a lot more goodies.
Okayafrica.com: This blog has “deep swag.” It is a fusion of pop culture found in Lagos, Nigeria, The Bay Area (Berkeley, San Francisco), Brooklyn, New York, Paris, France and London, UK. It’s progressive, edgy and for real lovers of good African music. You can’t go wrong. Bookmark it.
Addistunes: East Africa is often ignored when discussions of fashion and music come into play. It really shouldn’t. To put a stop to that by highlighting some of the best talents out of the East, is Addis Tunes- and they do it so well. It is a blog full of really rich culture and offers a learning experience, all while enjoying great music.
Lastplanetolagos: “Cool” is how to best describe Last Plane to Lagos. While the blog has over time shifted to producing more music content and coverage, in its earlier days, it offered even more variety in fashion, art and photography. Nevertheless, the design aesthetics and its own uniqueness of covering content seen elsewhere, makes it feel like you just discovered a whole new treasure trove.
OnoBello.com: The gap for African beauty blogs in blogosphere is so huge, yet it continues to be ignored. One blog that is not ignoring it, is Onobello.com. With an absolutely gorgeous beauty canvas, each brush stroke of beauty posts exposes and introduces some of Nigeria’s beauty mavens to the world. Onobello is a guaranteed classy sophisticated experience, almost like a lovely relaxing day at a high end beauty spa. Oh! they do cover fashion apparel also, a nice treat all around.
Beauty is Diverse: If you want to enjoy great fashion beauty editorials, from around the world, Beauty is Diverse is your destination blog. Operated by Tiffany Lorde, Ladybrille Woman of the Month August 2011, the blog is a glimpse into a world where skin color does not matter, and beauty is truly diverse.
Fashion Junkii: Style bloggers are another group lacking in the online world. Thankfully, Rosemary Kokuhilwa “a freelance fashion stylist, fashion blogger, certified make up-artistry, co-founder & producer of Global Fashion New York and an ex-model from Tanzania,” has done something about it. Her style blog Fashion Junkii has been one of the pioneering style blogs from an African that shows people how to find their inner style voice. Rosemary knows her stuff inside and out and it is reflected by the tons of pictures she has taken over time sharing the tricks and tips of attaining great style; from incorporating the latest trends to fabulous accessories and shoes.
Marian Kihogo: We featured Marian last year in Ladybrille Magazine, and she remains a constant and relevant force in the fashion industry. Authentically herself, her blog Marian Kihogo, named after her, is an extension of her style personality. It is no wonder she has been featured on numerous blogs and magazines including Vogue, Elle UK, Glamour and Cosmopolitan.
Style Guide Capetown: Robyn Cooke is one of the authoritative voices on style in South Africa’s fashion industry, both on and offline. Her blog, Style Guide Capetown, deconstructs many style options worn by both South African and American celebrities. It is a fun read and a great insight into some of the inner workings of South Africa’s fashion industry.
Style Pantry: A fun sweet blog with colorful vibrant aesthetics, Style Pantry offers numerous features on its blog. But, the real stand out is the style sense of the blog owner Folake Kuye Huntoon. A lawyer turned fashion stylist and designer, Huntoon does what many have been unsuccessful at doing. She easily translates the whole concept of African designs into an everyday lifestyle in teh West. It is really no big deal being African in her world and anyone can in-corporate African clothing aesthetics and designs into their daily lives. For an online style blog with a well edited personal fashion point of view, Huntoon and her blog is a destination to check out.
Afripopmag.com: A pan-African blog authored by Yolanda Sangweni (Editor-in-Chief) and Phiona Okumu (Editor), Afripop covers a phletora of topics in fashion, film and African culture and does so in a uniquely street yet modern voice. Content is kept fresh and updated at a minimum three times a week and they also manage to really maintain their own identity, even when covering breaking news.
Africa is a Country: Arguably this blog could fall under politics but with its “music break” offerings and occasional dabble in African fashion culture, it best fit a lifestyle blog in our book. The blog authors, which include primarily non-Africans fascinated with all things African, keep their content fresh, inspiring and regularly updated. This is a great read and often mentally stimulating.
Bellanaija.com: Often, pioneers enter the marketplace but have a hard time innovating and staying relevant, not Bella Naija. With its humble beginnings in 2006 the blog has evolved into a leading online media destination with a niche in Nigerian fashion, entertainment & lifestyle. Averaging 52posts a week, the blog delivers multiple fresh content daily with overwhelming success in weddings and event coverage.
Munaluchi Bridal: If you haven’t bookmarked this blog already, slap yourself. Whether you are that into weddings or you are a huge wedding fan, Munaluchi offers refreshing and unique content that will keep you interested. The blog has also just undergone a much needed facelift and provides a much more refined user experience.
Ciaafrique: In a time where it is hard to find authentic content on African fashion online, the Ciaafrique blog manages to do so. Always on message with the blog’s mission to showcase African fashion, there is so much to take in from the blog, especially with coverage of emerging designers that are often ignored, even within Africa’s fashion industry. The blog, aesthetically, however, could use a little more refinement.
IFashion: South Africa remains the capital of fashion in Africa, although Nigeria is hotly on its heels. For all things fashion from South Africa, IFashion is the place to go. The blog caters to both fashionistas, industry professionals and fashion students. In the last year, it got a face lift with a much better design aesthetic and template to put it in line with modern times. Ifashion is a great read and a blog worth book marking.
One Nigerian Boy: Best described as the Sartorialist meets Lagos street culture and San Francisco style, One Nigerian Boy operated by Terrence Sambo is one blog not to pass on. It offers a distinct perspective often unseen in Africa’s fashion markets, and provides more in-depth coverage on men’s fashion. The design aesthetics of the blog is also very easy on the eyes, and easy to navigate. Also, the current addition of a relationship column keeps things very interesting.
Stylehousefiles: Operated by Omoyemi Akerele, a seasoned fashion veteran and stylist, Stylehousefiles gets fashion. The writing voice is well edited, the blog blog is easy to navigate, and even when contributors join Akerele in sharing articles, the SHF’s identity is not lost. A must book mark blog. Our only complain, not enough updates.
Shop Liquorice: This blog is also another really great blog not to be ignored. Sharing similarities with SHF this blog blog has its very clear and distinct voice. The problem, however, is the updates have gone from regular to sometimes to infrequent. We wished they updated a lot more frequently as the updates because they are one of the few intelligent voices on African fashion, online. Nevertheless, you really should check them out.
4Aces: From the film/show ‘Sex and the City’ to ‘Girlfriends,’ many of us ladies know what it is like to have a group of beautiful women who support you and you them. 4Aces is that group of girlfriends via their online fashion blog. Made up of four girlfriends/siblings Cookie, Abby, Oz and Kaven, the blog is intimate, fun, classy, tasteful and youthful. The girls take you through their lives, wardrobe, boy talks, parties, beauty talks and just plain moments if goofiness/ silliness, all done in good fun. Whatever the case, you’ve got your four fashion forward girlfriends at 4Aces who have your back, fashionably speaking.
African Women in Cinema: The contributions of women in Cinema; especially African women, is often overlooked. This blog focuses on African women filmmakers. The features are detailed and at times, academic and intellectual side. But, if you are a great movie buff who appreciates history, Africa and women, this ought to be perfect for you.
Nollywooduncut.com: When Bola Aduwo first launched Nollywooduncut.com in January 2010, Ladybrillemag.com gave her a shoutout. Over a year later, the blog is the go to spot for credible stories on Nollywood films, reviews, releases, trailers and red carpet events. What makes Aduwo’s site stand apart is the direct insider experience she has that many Nollywood focused sites lack. With such insider knowledge and a fun and relatively clean design aesthetic, we can only anticipate it gets better.
Shadow and Act, Cinema of the African Diaspora: When it comes to a blog that provides expansive, authoritative and intelligent niche focused coverage on Pan-African films online, Shadow and Act is definitely on our list. While it has unmatched great content, the site is a bit much on clutters on the side bar that serve as distractions when trying to access content. A much cleaner and clutter free template will go a long way in making for a well rounded user experience.
Ghanacelebrities.com: If you are a Ghanaian in the Diaspora or have an admiration for the Ghanaian culture and people, this blog is a great read to stay abreast of some of Ghana’s Gollywood (movie) and music stars. With an energetic audience, reactionary celebrity stars who respond to posts posted on the blog, and a blog author who is unafraid to speak his mind, there is never a dull moment.
Linda Ikeji: This blog throws in the whole kitchen sink but manages to do so in a coherent fashion. The owner is a former model turned full time blogger and model agency owner. The blog is quite a read with a very vocal audience and a blog author who is unafraid to reveal the most personal of details online. The blog’s aesthetics could be a lot sharper and cleaner, especially on the sidebars. But, what might seem like a weakeness on the aesthetics, Linda Ikeji more than makes up for with interesting and many times amusing content.
Myweku.com: We always say on Ladybrille that the well rounded Ladybrille man and woman is necessarily one who stays abreast of business, pop culture and politics, among other current events topics. Myweku is definitely that blog site that lets you do so, and is one to add to your list. Often thought provoking, sometimes light hearted and fun, it is a good read to engage the mind and make you think.
Ms. Afropolitan: There is nothing as sexy as a woman who knows her mind, knows what she wants and is unafraid to use her voice. If you resonate or appreciate this kind of woman, then the Ms. Afropolitan blog is for you. Serving fresh spoons of intellectual musings on current political affairs and issues affecting Black/African women in the diaspora and wherever they may be found, there is much to talk about, disagree with and agree on.
CP-Africa: Averaging 17posts per week, CP-Africa.com is the go to place for progressive trends on primarily Africa’s business and technology trends. The blog is owned and operated by Nmachi Jidenma, one of the few African women in technology who is obtained her Bachelors Degree in Economics from Grinnell College and a Masters Degree in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University. The site is easy to navigate and contains strong content and features from some of Africa’s leading technology and business minds.
Timbuktu Chronicles: Timbuktu Chronicles is one very rick blog. Operated by Emeka Okafor, a veteran on the web, the site features “a view of Africa and Africans with a focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, technology, practical remedies and other self-sustaining activities.” It is a great read and a great place to learn new things, discover new personalities and expand your technology braincells.
African Digital- They say, save the best for the last. African Digital Art is definitely our best way to conclude this review of African inspired blogs worth your time in 2011. Unequivocally THE blog authority on African digital art online, African Digital art is the place to go when you are so far away from the most beautiful African Museums of Modern Art filled with art works you never even knew existed. It is a world of creativity and vibrant splashes of color limited only by your imagination. It’s an oasis for African art and artists like you have never seen before.
We hope you enjoyed our list. There are new blogs emerging everyday. Some that might be great to add here but we’d like to see them around, a lot longer. We value your time!
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Founded in 2007, Ladybrille® Magazine is a California based pioneer digital publication demystifying the image of Africans in the west through contemporary African fashion and celebrating the brilliant woman in business and leadership, with an emphasis on the African woman in the diaspora. Our coverage includes stories on capital, access to markets, expertise, hiring and retention, sales, marketing, and promotions.