Bios


Special Guests: Khafila Abiola

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Khafila Abiola is a human rights and democracy activist from Nigeria. She comes from a family of dedicated Pan-Africanists and courageous fighters for freedom and justice. Her father, M.K.O. Abiola, won the Presidential election held in Nigeria in 1993 but served out his term in solitary confinement, incarcerated by the military. He died in prison, on the eve of his release. Her mother, Kudirat, was a democracy leader who organized major strikes, marches and fought assiduously against the military. In 1996, she was assassinated in the streets of Lagos.

To continue the legacy left by her parents, Khafila actively works as a member of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND). Currently, she works as the Development Officer and is responsible for building a community of friends that support KIND’s mission and vision. She is also responsible for organizing and speaking at international engagements and human rights campaigns for KIND. Khafila is involved in the global movement to empower youth as a member of the State of the World Forum’s Emerging Leaders Program.

Panelists: Loza Maléombho

Established in New York City in 2009 and relocated in Côte d’Ivoire since 2012 where its production also takes place, the brand is best described as a fusion between traditional cultures/ sub-cultures and contemporary fashion. In fact, Loza Maléombho credits her early world wide exposure for the ecclectic aesthetic and multi-culturalism ever present in her work.

Born in Brazil and raised between Côte d’Ivoire and the United States, she was designing since 13, and graduated in 2006 from the University of the Arts of Philadelphia with a BA of Fine Arts in Animation. She was then initiated in the fashion industry by interning with New york based designers Jill Stuart, Yigal Azrouël and Cynthia Rowley all before deciding to start a brand of her own.

By producting in Côte d’Ivoire, Loza’s vision is to empower women with a small manufacturing workshop that produces the collection and solely hires young women from unfavorable backgrounds. She also works closely with local artisans on featured products such as Indigo dye fabric, jewelry, shoes and accessories.

Panelists: Busayo Olupona

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Busayo Olupona is an attorney, textile and fashion designer, boxer, writer and podcast host. She is the founder and creative director of Busayo; an apparel company that utilizes traditional Nigerian textiles to create contemporary women’s wear. In addition, she has authored several pieces on the history of Adire, an indigenous Nigerian textile and other Nigerian textiles.

Prior to her life as an entrepreneur, she practiced corporate finance law and securities law at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. She has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Panelists: Kukua Odoi

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Brooklyn-based Marketing expert and blogger Kukua Odoi (aka MsK) started African Prints in Fashion (APiF) in Summer 2011 as a blog to document the influence of the African Diaspora on fashion, track on Africa-inspired trends and showcase African as well as Africa-inspired designers. Through a unique mix of personal favorites, interviews, trends and a distinctive voice, African Prints in Fashion has established itself within a short time in the African Fashion/Africa-inspired blogging community. APiF has over 210.000 followers and keeps on growing.

https://www.facebook.com/AfricanPrintsFashion
http://www.africanprintinfashion.com/

Panelists: Prof. Awam Amkpa

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Awam Amkpa is a Nigerian actor, playwright, and professor of dramatic arts. He received his B.A. in B.A. 1982 in theater from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria where he studied under the tutelage of Wole Soyinka, his M.A. in 1987 from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, and his Ph.D. in 1993 from University of Bristol, Bristol, England.

Dr. Amkpa is currently a professor of drama at New York University as well as the Director of Africana Studies at NYU. [1]. He has also taught at Mount Holyoke College [2]

Special Guests: Joanna Lipper

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Joanna Lipper is an award-winning filmmaker, photographer and author of the nationally acclaimed book, Growing Up Fast. As a Lecturer at Harvard University, she teaches Using Film For Social Change. Her work as a documentary filmmaker has been supported by the MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation/Just Films, ITVS, the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Women Make Movies, IFP Spotlighting Documentaries, and Britdoc Foundation.



In 2013, Gucci commissioned an extended trailer from her film The Supreme Price to launch their Chime For Change Campaign at TED 2013 and globally.

In 2012, Joanna Lipper won the Gucci Tribeca Spotlighting Women Documentary Award for The Supreme Price. Previous films she has produced and directed include Inside Out: Portraits of Children, Growing Up Fast and Little Fugitive.



Lipper’s book about teen parenthood, Growing Up Fast, was published by Picador in 2003.

  “Compelling and important…this book adroitly illuminates a social crisis.” (Publisher’s Weekly)

Her photographic series, Seaweed Farmers in Zanzibar was featured in Economica: Picturing Power and Potential, a group exhibition presented by the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery and The International Museum of Women in Summer of 2010. This series along with a related multimedia installation was featured in a solo show at Photo De Mer in Vannes, France in 2011.

Special Guests: Gbenga Akinnagbe

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Gbenga Akinnagbe (born December 12, 1978) is an American actor, best known for his role as Chris Partlow on the HBO original series The Wire.[2]

Career

He played “Ben Ellis” in the episode Contenders on the TV series Numb3rs. In the summer of 2006, Akinnagbe performed the role of “Zim” in the NYC Fringe Festival’s “Outstanding Play” award-winning production of Modern Missionary.[4] In 2003, Akinnagbe auditioned for the role of Chris Partlow on the HBO series The Wire and starting in 2004 began a frequent recurring role. In 2008 during the show’s fifth and final season, he was promoted to a series regular. In 2007, Akinnagbe appeared in the film The Savages with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Laura Linney, and Philip Bosco. He appeared in the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, which was released by Sony in June 2009. Akinnagbe made a guest appearance on a Season 10 Law and Order: SVU episode entitled “Hell” as Elijah Okello, a former Ugandan child soldier living in New York, facing deportation. Akinnagbe’s former The Wire cast mate Robert Wisdom also appeared in that episode as Father Theo Burdett. In 2010 in Seattle, Washington Akinnagbe starred in world premiere play The Thin Place at The Intiman Theatre.[5] He was also in the movie Lottery Ticket and is currently in The Good Wife as Pastor Isiah Easton.[1] His former co-star from the The Wire, Frankie Faison, portrayed his father on the show in several episodes. He is currently starring as Kelly Slater, a new nurse in the 3rd season of the Showtime series Nurse Jackie.[6] He will be seen in the lead role of Jack in the upcoming Independent film “Home”, directed by Jono Oliver. He is currently playing a drug lord in the USA series Graceland and stars as CIA agent Erik Ritter in 24: Live Another Day.

Writing career

As of 2009, Gbenga has begun a writing career, having had two articles published in The New York Times, one detailing a trip to Nepal to climb the Himalayas, and the other outlining the medical procedures he underwent to correct his severely flat feet.[7]

Special Guests: Kunle Afolayan

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Kunle Afolayan is a Nigerian actor and director. He is the son of the famous theater and film director and producer Ade Love. He is of Yoruba descent.[1][2] Afolayan majored in economics. Since 2005 he has been active in the Nigerian film industry. He has made several extremely popular titles including: The Figurine: Araromire which was in the Yoruba and English languages and Phone Swap which featured Nse Ikpe Etim and the legendary Chika Okpala. The Figurine won five major awards in the African Film Academy and experienced tremendous success in the Nigerian movie theaters.[1]

Kunle Afolayan appeared at the Subversive Film Festival in 2011 where he represented the second largest film industry in the world, the Nigerian film industry, with his colleague Zeb Ejiro.[1] In May 2013, Phone Swap premiered in France at the first edition of NollywoodWeek Paris and won the Public Choice Award.[3]

Special Guests: Wunmi Olaiya

Wunmi Olaiya, international recording artist and global brand, is the embodiment of cultural confidence. Her raw lyricism and musical performances have been described as “sensational,” “breathtaking,” “mesmerizing” from London to Tokyo to Bahia and feature an eclectic mix of AfroBeat, House, Jazz, Funk; likening her to a new-era Fela Kuti.  She’s made music and shared stages with everyone from Soul II Soul to Tony Allen to Roy Ayers.

Wunmi is as real as it gets, and her performance talent is fully matched by her gift as a fashion architect. Having designed for the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Esmerelda Spalding and Susan Taylor, among others, her stringent commitment to superior quality, authenticity, beauty has made her own clothing line—Wow Wow by Wunmi—one of the most coveted ready to wear African fashion brands on the planet. Join Wunmi and other culturally confident ALAs (Africans Living Abroad) at NDFS Cultural Confidence.

Learn more about Wunmi here.

Special Guests: Adepero Oduye

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Adepero Oduye in Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Issue

“To watch Adepero Oduye … is to experience the thrill of discovery.” – A.O. Scott (New York Times)

Before we saw her as Eliza, starring across from Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave, Adepero Oduye brought us several powerful characters on the big screen and on Broadway. Growing up in Brooklyn as one of seven children, Oduye says she always considered herself Nigerian first. A former pre-med student, Oduye defied all odds by leaving the medical path to become a successful actor.

The second most amazing thing about Oduye, who the New York Times calls “a master of understatement,” is that she is motivated by a passion for telling powerful stories. In Pariah, her breakout film, Oduye played a teenager who overcame tremendous opposition to embrace her queer sexuality. In Steel Magnolias, with Queen Latifah, Jill Scott, Felicia Rashad and Alfre Woodard, she played ‘Anelle,’ a character who transforms herself from fearful and shy, to bold and true.

The most amazing thing about Oduye is what the Times calls her “megawatt smile,” which we’ve seen in Fela! On Broadway, Law & Order, The Bluest Eye, Trip to Bountiful and much more.

Come and meet Adepero and other culturally confident special guests at NDFS: Cultural Confidence on October 10 & 11 at NYU. Tickets