The Lorraine Hansberry Story

"What happens to a dream deferred, does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?" - Langston Hughes 

A few weeks ago in Uni, I was put into a group and we were given the task to produce a photoshoot in the style of i-D Magazine, taking inspiration from an exhibition and recreating it's story. The exhibition we decided to do our styling shoot on was the Brooklyn Museum's: Twice Militant: Lorraine Hansberry's Letters to "The Ladder."

Lorraine Hansberry was an African-American playwright/writer. She was the first black woman to write a play performed on Broadway. She is best known for the play A Raisin in the Sun, which is a title taken from the poem "Harlem" by Langston Hughes. 

Hansberry was a lesbian. She was an activist for gay rights and wrote letters about feminism and homophobia to a magazine called, The Ladder. For the shoot we decided to look into lesbianism, transgenderism. The aim was to style our models in an androgynous style in an attempt to confuse the audience of the models sexuality, and to capture key moments in Lorraine's life such as the rabbit fur white coat her parents bought her during the Great Depression, which resulted in her being attacked by her classmates; punching and throwing bricks at her and spilling ink all over her white fur.  

There was only one person in mind when it came to choosing a model and that is my girl Yolanda Dombo. Androgyny style? Check! White fur? Check! 
We shot on location in places like the tube, under-paths and gritty, urban areas to give the shoot a raw "modern" feel; subtly adding key components from her life with the styling without being too obvious such as The Ladder, bricks, fur, masculine trousers etc. 

Photographer: Stephanie Toms. Fashion Editor and Blogger at http://www.creatorsofdesire.com

The whole concept of the shoot was that "Lorraine" was out to face the world but as a closeted lesbian she "hid behind a mask" (hence the mask). Anyway, I'm sure you kind of get my drift so ill stop telling you about the shoot and let the pictures speak for themselves. 
 Final images for our i-D Magazine style shoot: 
Photographer: Stephanie Toms. Fashion Editor and Blogger at http://www.creatorsofdesire.com
(Other models portraying lesbianism and transgenderism)

Scroll down and read the post below  to know a little more about Lorraine Hansberry aka Yolanda Dombo 
Mpho x 

The Divah

Yolanda Dombo


Remember that name honey, 'coz you're gonna be hearing a lot of it in the future! This flamboyant human being is a really good friend of mine with an impeccable, individual style. It is clear she belongs in the fashion industry, without a doubt. 

I don't think i've been anywhere with Yolanda where someone doesn't want to take her picture or where she isn't being likened to Lil Kim, Lady Gaga or some fashion icon, and with good reason too because she dons some extra-ordinary pieces that I would never ever be able to pull off in a million years. She is the definition of unique.  

So in a world where everyone is consumed by the media, celebrity lifestyle and the ever-changing world of fashion I sat down with The Divah herself to find out how she stays true to who she really is especially in this pretentious and competitive bubble better known as the fashion industry where everyone claims to be "different" and a "trend-setter."

Who is Yolanda?

I would say I'm a complex character who doesn't follow trends and would like to think I'm also down to earth and humble.

Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from everything. I draw from all things such as tribal wear to street style.

How would you describe your style?

My style is grand and daring and has no limits.

What's your favourite piece in your wardrobe?

Currently my favourite piece is a vintage little black dress with pearls.

Where do you see this "fashion journey" taking you and your blog?

I'd love for my blog to be able to reach people from everywhere in the world and eventually build a platform where I can have opportunities such as collaborations with well-known brands and travelling to participate in fashion related activities around the world

Style Icons?

Ulyana Sergeenko, Nick Wooster, Lino Leluzzi, Sam Lambert and Shaka Maidoh from Art Comes First, one of my favourite bloggers Toni Tran, the 90s Lil Kim and of course Lady Gaga.

What's one thing people don't know about you?

The one thing most people don't know is that I have a phobia for cats. I am not fond of them at all.

Mpho x 


Music Monday #4

Tyrese | Ginuwine | Tank 
First of all I find it so crazy that there are people out there who don't know that Tyrese is also a singer! Like really? Come on! Tyrese has been a singer long before he delved into acting and no, he hasn't just been in Fast & Furious films you clueless people! Anyway…

I am so excited! This coming thursday (March 27) Libby and myself are going on a double date to the Hammersmith Apollo to see these men in the flesh! I don't think i'm going to be able to handle such fineness on one stage. Just look at them…  I feel sorry for our boyfriends!

Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank are solo R&B artists with mega-hits under their belts, however they formed this supergroup TGT to "bring back the real R&B" and I must say that they did just that. Don't get me wrong, I do feel that they could've done a lot better considering they are all veterans in this game but the album is good nonetheless. And i'm pretty sure if i'm not in love with it now I sure will be after thursday!  The album is sexy and mature. They talk about different situations in life and love, their imperfections as men in love and of course the album wouldn't be complete without a 'lil baby-making music. Listen to the album and tell me what you think.

One of my favourite tracks from the album:

I am loving… 

JUSTIN BIEBER!!!!! That's right! Well, his new song featuring Chance the Rapper anyway.  I'm not a firm belieber just yet. Say what you want to say about him but you can't deny the fact that he is talented. I've been playing this song non-stop since i've heard it and i'm not tired of it yet. 

I think his behaviour and the way the media covers it has overshadowed his music lately.  They need to give the boy a break, his young and living his life just like the rest of us. 

I'm conflicted about what I think of Justin and his behaviour to be honest. I mean, most boys his age go through all types of phases but why is it different when it comes to him? because he is a celebrity and a "role-model?" Mmm, I think Rihanna said it best when she said she doesn't want to be a role model, kids should look up to their parents as role models. And to some extent I agree. However as a public figure being a role model comes with it, whether you like it or not. Watch the video below:

Mpho x 


Black Formal Zip Front Backpack
Just look at this bag! (excuse the picture quality, using my iPhone) I'm so in love with it. Literally decided to walk into New Look by chance a few days ago, not even looking for anything and within seconds my eyes were fixated on this beauty. I told myself I wouldn't buy another black bag but I just couldn't resist it. I just love how it looks like a handbag but on the flip-side its actually a backpack, and at only £19.99 it's a bargain. The backpack comes in white and green also, check out the website and Get Yours Here!

Mpho x


Music Monday #3

If you didn't know about him before, you sure do now...

Every New Years we are all guilty of saying "this year is my year," and we make resolutions and goals that we forget all about the next day. Not Pharrell Williams! 2013 was undoubtedly the singer/rappers best year of his career. The success of French duo Datf Punk's album where the "immortal" star provided vocals for various tracks including "Get Lucky," and his No.1 hit "Happy" thrusted him into the spotlight.

2014 is set to be an even better year. Pharrell's new album "GIRL" has finally hit the shelves, his famous Grammy's hat had the world in awe with some people (including myself) laughing and branding it ridiculous, but the joke is on us because Pharrell is running all the way to the bank after fast-food chain, Arby's bought the iconic Vivienne Westwood creation on eBay for a whopping £26,444). And if that wasn't enough, Williams has now teamed up with fashion designer Rei Kawakubo's Comme des Garçons Parfums to create his own custom unisex scent, named GIRL. 

G I R L is the second studio album by Pharrell and comes eight years after his 2006 debut album, In My Mind (who still remembers 'That Girl"?. The album has Funk, Neo-Soul and Pop references and catchy, playful beats. Guest features including Justin Timberlake, Kelly Osbourne, Timbaland, Miley Cyrus, Daft Punk, Jojo, Alicia Keys, Tori Kelly and Leah LaBelle. This album is definitely a "feel good album" and with the sun finally coming out to play it's the perfect combination. However, with that being said, I don't think it will be everyone's cup of tea. Comment and tell me what you think :)

The latest single from the album is "Marilyn Monroe" listen below:

Have you had the chance to listen to any of the albums i've talked about so far? What do you think? 

R. Kelly - Black Panties | Rick Ross - Mastermind | PartNextDoor - PARTYNEXTDOOR
Mpho x 


On the Come UP: Kenke Danmole

With the fashion week saga well and truly behind us, I managed to snatch ELLE’s latest intern away from the glamorous offices a stone throw into the bustling streets of the popular entertainment district, Soho.

We’ve arranged to meet at a quiet bar, Zebrano. I wonder aimlessly about pre-ordering drinks; however, the idea is pushed to the back of my head by the questions I’m about to bombard her with. “Why are you even nervous” my subconscious mind confronts me. It’s a few short minutes before Kenke joins me at the table, and it’s instantly clear that no matter where she works or who she brushes shoulders with, she’s one of the most humble people I’ve ever met! She has her feet planted firmly on the ground.

Kenke Danmole is a 23 year old, headstrong girl born and bred on the streets of Hackney. Sipping away on our drinks, the ice is long broken, as she lets me in on what her name means. “God looks after me” she says with a smile, “It’s Nigerian. Kenkey is a staple dish from Ghana served with stew, so it’s a very peculiar name. Even Nigerians will sometimes be perplexed with my name, but it’s short for Olukenke and it does mean God looks after me.”

Kenke laughs as she reminisces about her childhood. She remembers her mischievous ways that set her apart from her older siblings. And recalls the time her mother uprooted the whole family to Milton Keynes at the age of 15. Kenke spent a few years in what she refers to as “keeping myself to myself,” which a few people often mistook for arrogance. However, she stresses that wasn’t the case at all.

From an early age, Kenke has always dreamed big. At just 10 years old her “cylinders with flicks at the bottom” were the envy of the aspiring fashion designer’s friends. When it came to her future she had no qualms about finding her place in the world; she has always had a clear vision of what she wants to get out of life. Kenke is a firm believer in helping others. Whilst in Brunel University she saw an opportunity and brought together a group of motivated volunteers to create an active committee called Fashion Society. “There were so many people that I spoke to in and around University that were interested in fashion, so I created an environment where we could get together and develop things. We put together photo-shoots, workshops and fashion shows. It was very homegrown,” she laughs. “But it created such a buzz on campus we even raised money for AIDS awareness week.”

It has only been four months, and already Kenke has forged a reputation as a go-getter and a force to be reckoned with in the offices at ELLE. She is not your typical tea-fetching intern, nor does she file paperwork, she is part of a team working tirelessly to give us a “fly-on-the-wall” insight, granting us privileged access to the day-to-day workings of the fashion team, new-in products to buy now and looks straight from the catwalk into their rails.

“It’s crazy,” she says. “We have samples coming in, we have things going out. No one has a specific role; everyone knits into one team to make everything flow better. Everyone’s presence is crucial. If the cupboard is out of control, then it will potentially have a domino effect on everything else, but I just love being there and having so much responsibility this soon.”

Talk soon changes to Kenke’s everyday life. With such a hectic new job I can’t help but wonder what she gets up to outside of ELLE Magazine. My suspicions are confirmed. “It’s really sad,” she says with a huge smile on her face. “I’m coming to terms with the fact that I need to start living. So spending time with my family and friends is something I really cherish right now.” It might seem like it’s all “work and no play” for the average person, but for a self-proclaimed extrovert like herself, ELLE surely is the perfect place to be to feed her gregarious personality. The girl who kept to herself as a teenager is dead and buried.

One thing is for sure, God is an essential part of her life, and always has been. Talking about the recent ELLE Style Awards, one of the most glamorous nights on the calendar, she recalls bumping into the likes of Pharrell Williams and Rita Ora. “I’m not a fanatic sort of person, I guess you can say that I am not fazed by celebrities. I just can’t, nope! We are both human beings. I mean, I may appreciate what you do, for example someone influential in some way, but I can’t knowingly put myself below someone. God is above all.”

She has stayed grounded through her strong Christian faith and humbly gives God all the credit for what she has achieved so far. “Being a God-fearing woman is the driving force behind who I am today. It’s constantly my attitude check, and one of my main reasons behind making sure I think about others in a sticky situation. It also contributes to me being self-assured and confident in any environment, both professional and personal. God looks after me.”

This rising star has even bigger plans for her bright future. In five years time she hopes to own her own business as a Creative Consultant, just like the good old days in Brunel. “I want to carry on what I’ve been doing from day one, helping others around me and giving them the same platform to be creative outside of school curriculum that a charity called Creative Access specialising in finding internships in the creative industry for talented young people from under-represented black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds did for me.” With an attitude like that, there is no denying we will be seeing more of Kenke in the near future.

Nearly an hour has whizzed by, and Kenke looking down on her watch reminds me that her lunch is over, and that she has to dash back to her “crazy world.”

 Words by: Mpho Sishuta 


Music Monday #2

Imagine blending Drake, The Weeknd, and Miguel into one person. What would you get? Well… meet  Jahron Anthony Brathwaite, better known under the stage name PartyNextDoor. The Canadian singer  is living the ultimate dream, he is currently signed to Drake's OVO Sound record label. 

A friend of mine introduced the 20 year old to me early last year, and I was impressed. There is no denying who has inspired the young singer musically, his influences are obvious, however, most importantly he doesn't come across as an imitator. His voice has such an uncanny sound to Drake's that I only realised quite recently that he even performed background vocals on "Own It' and "Come Thru" from Drake's third studio album 'Nothing Was the Same'. 

The emerging R&B vocalist is definitely one to watch. He's definitely in the right hands with Drake as his mentor. I'm one of those people that take their time listening to an album and making my mind up about it, but I can honestly say I can listen to this EP from start to finish. The beats are on point and his lyrical content and delivery reminds me of the Weeknd who I equally love I would describe the EP as "fresh" with intricate lyrics that make you think, it's very sexy too. Over the weekend, I was driving around with my girl, music blasting out the windows, felt like it was summer, that's the vibe this EP gives you.  He needs more publicity, I really see him going far. His self-titled EP has been described as EDM (Electronic Dance Music and also contains elements of R&B fusion. Check out one of my favourite tracks from the EP below (not official video): 

Mpho x 

Better Late Than Never..

That's how the saying goes. The outfits below are from last week, however due to such a busy schedule *sarcasm* I haven't had time until today. Surprisingly, the sun has been coming out to play this past week or so, and I have also noticed that it's getting darker much later in the evenings which is a good sign. I could've sworn I read in a newspaper that snow was on it's way, but after the horrific floods that have ravaged thousands of homes across the country, I couldn't be happier that the climates had a change of heart.

Anyway, last thursday, the weather was alright so I took advantage of it. Teamed my striped high-neck cropped top with a pair of leggings, leather boots and jacket and tied a plaid shirt around my waist. I wasn't the only one with that idea it seems as Libby and another friend of mine and fellow blogger Vanessa wore plaid shirts around the waist too haha. Great minds think alike eh?

Leather Jacket - TopShop 
Leather Cut-Out Boots - TopShop 
Basic Leggings - H&M
Striped Top - Primark 
Leather Bag - Miss Selfridge 
Red Plaid Shirt - H&M 

The following day (friday) I had the wonderful opportunity to interview a young lady by the name of Kenke Danmole, who's currently interning at Elle Magazine. I will post the interview up in a few days. Once again, the weather wasn't too bad, so I decided to wear my latest purchase, this gorgeous trench coat. I fell in love with it instantly and to make things even better it was only £24.99 and of course 25% cheaper for me with my staff discount (makes it so hard not to spend in there :( ). I just love how light the matieral is. I'm sick and tired of wearing big, heavy jackets. I thought about wearing some heeled boots, but opted to wear my Vans instead as I was planning on galavanting around London, and as you all know by now I'm sure, I am all about comfort.

Trench Coat - H&M 
Black Jumpsuit - H&M
Chunky Chain Bracelet - H&M
White Crop Top - TopShop 
Large Clutch - Accessorize 
Studded Vans - Office 
Faux Fur Scarf - Charity Shop

Mpho x 


Making A Statement

Since the Swingin' 60s, the T-shirt has long been a means of getting something off your chest, and telling the world what we cared about. The Groovy 70s saw shock tactics triumph, with the likes of Vivienne Westwood making political and controversial t-shirts such as the most popular design which featured a swastika and an inverted crucifix under the word 'Destroy". Then came Katherine Hamnett in the 80s, an English fashion designer who's best known for her oversized t-shirts with large block letter slogans. Her designs were adopted by pop bands, and her t-shits could be seen everywhere from music videos to the streets. At one point, Hamnett was photographed shaking hands with then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, dressed in her own t-shirt with the slogan "58% DON'T WANT PERSHING", a reference to polls showing public opposition in the United Kingdom against the basing of Pershing missiles in the country. 

Hamnetts designs were copied all over, which brings me to a man by the name of Henry Holland (shop here). Holland gained attention with his bold, 1980s-inspired t-shirts that displayed catchphrases such as  "Flick yer bean for Agyness Deyn" and were modelled by his model friends and fellow designers. 

His tongue-in-cheek t-shirts were a massive hit and we have since saw high-street giants such as Topshop and River Island coming out with there copy-cat editions, re-introducing the slogan t-shirt to the mainstream fashion scene. Recently, they have become celebrities weapon of choice in order to make a statement too, making their feelings clear. 

I personally love slogan t-shirts. Why? Well simply because they are the best way to get something off your chest without even saying a word. It's a way of expressing your viewpoint. Slogans work on so many different levels, they're almost subliminal too. They are a great way to convey your thoughts, opinions and even your personality to the world. And most importantly, they make any outfit FUN, 'coz that's what fashion is all about right?

Mpho x


Music Monday

A friend of mine, Libby from http://libbyroselondon.blogspot.co.uk has started this thing on her blog called 'Music Monday', where she posts new music, or song she is currently loving at the moment (on mondays, obviously) and I thought it was such a great idea, so great that I've stolen it!

First up is Rick Ross *grunts* Today was the release of his sixth studio album 'Mastermind' which features the likes of Jeezy, The Weeknd, Kanye West, Big Sean, Meek Mill, Lil Wayne, French Montana, Diddy, and Jay-Z (to name a few). I'm yet to listen to the album, however, given the big names he's pulled out the bag, I'm pretty sure there will be a few club bangers.

The first single to come out from the album is 'The Devil Is A Lie' which features Jay-Z. He explained that song saying, "We’re pushing the envelope once again and it’s just one of those records I can’t wait to hit the streets. We went in another direction but it’s just one of those records that’s gonna speak for itself and everybody’s gonna have their opinion of it, but it’s most definitely what the streets need."

Last but certainly not least is none other than the man himself… R.Kelly. Where do I even start? 'Black Panties' is the twelfth studio album by the R&B singer, 12 ALBUMS!!! In my opinion, R.Kelly is undeniably one of the best male vocalists of our time. This man can sing anything from Pop to Gospel. And he has stood the test of time. 

Now, when I saw what R.Kelly was wearing for his performance for last year's BET Awards (spikes galore) I was like "oh no, he's going through a mid-life crisis, blah blah" and to be honest I was reluctant to even listen to the album. Then came the song with Lady Gaga which saw the two dancing all over each other, I was so confused as to how that collaboration even came about, but I must say the song grew on me. Black Panties is not R.Kelly's best album, but I am loving it nonetheless.

Don't expect to hear songs like "I believe I Can Fly", "I Wish" or "U Saved Me"… Oh no, "Kells" has gone back to his 'Bump N' Grind' roots. Guest features include Ludacris, 2 Chainz, kelly Rowland, Young Jeezy, Future, Migos and Juicy J which give the album a contemporary sound. The cover has the classic 'parental advisory' logo and believe me when no person under the age of 18 should be listening to it. It's basically all about sex and the woman's lower region. I will never look at an Oreo in the same way again after listening to 'Cookies'.

My other favourites on the album include, "Legs Shakin'", "You Deserve Better", "My Story", "All The Way" and "Every Position". (Basically the whole album) And for all of you haters out there, R.Kelly has something for you in "Shut Up". He shuts down critics and ex-friends who declared his career dead.