Sunday, 30 December 2012

7 Sisters to watch in 2013

As the effects of Xmas' indulgences fade and the prepping for New Year celebrations begin, it is always expected that one will be bombarded with write-ups and all sorts of media-driven assaults, all put together by people who somehow have convinced themselves they can genuinely foretell the trends of the upcoming year.

All manners of lists emerge (I am one of the annoying assailants by the way) and we are told who and what will be the personalities and styles that will attract our future interest and drive our impending purchases. By the way, you might be wondering why I have restricted my list to just sisters, well, why not? You hardly find anyone paying attention to this deserving demographic and besides, it's my blog and I can do what I please...haha. That arrogant attitude also explains why I have restricted this to 7 profiles. Everyone does a top 10 and most importantly, 7 is my favourite number.

So, without further ado, let me unleash the Black women who will turn heads for various reasons in 2013:

1. Taiye Selisa - b. 1979. Writer.

When you are at the relatively early stages of your writing career and well regarded novelists like Toni Morrison and Salman Rushdie are already fans, you definitely don't need anyone to inform you the only way is up. With her impressive novel, 'The Sex Lives of African Girls' still making waves on the literary scene, Taiye has backed up her CV by putting out a new novel, 'Ghana Go home'.

Born in London to Ghanaian and Nigerian parents, she was raised in America and regularly shuttles all three continents. Oh, by the way, she is also known for coining the term, 'Afropolitans'.

2. Laura Mvula - b. 1986 Musician.

Imagine you were 25 years old and you just happened to be a classically trained musician who has been playing the piano since 8 and the violin since 10 and somehow, you end up finding yourself being a receptionist (albeit at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra). Would you be tempted to give up and accept your lot or would you like our second subject, keep the hope alive?

If you chose the latter, then you would love Laura Mvula's meteoric rise to recognition. A year later and with a Brits Critics' Choice Award and BBC Sound of 2013 nominations in the bag, LM is in perfect timing to rock us in 2013. Born in Birmingham, UK to West Indian parents, Laura's debut album, 'Sing to the Moon' drops in March and you can expect influences ranging from jazz, R&B, pop and classical music.

Asked how she is adjusting to her new surroundings, she replied:

"My mum always used to say to me, and it always used to p*ss me off, that there will always be someone better than you. I used to think that's so discouraging, but her message was that there is a place, there is a point, in my existence and in yours, in our journeys, where you can absolutely be fulfilled and also at the same time, feel excited for what you don't know is coming."

Clever mum.....definitely clever girl.

3. Anais Mali - b. 1991 Model.

 From Naomi to Iman and Tyra, there is nothing as invaluable to a model, as a memorable first name and a banging body. At only 21 Anais has those and much more. She has already appeared in American, French and Italian Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and is the first black model to don the cover of W Korea magazine.

Having worked with celebrated photographers from Steven Meisel and Mario Testino, she is already a well-sought after model by the high and mighty fashion houses. Name the designer and it is almost certain Miss Mali has already walked for them. Born in France to a Chadian mother and a Polish father, she is also involved in charitable activism for YNTIAFRICA to help raise aid for impoverished children in Africa.

Beautiful inside and out, she once said her personal motto was simply; "always reach for the moon, and even if you cannot do something, you will fall into the stars."

Need I say more?

Anais Mali - Photo Gallery

4. Carmen Ejogo - b. 1974 Actress.

Not satisfied with being a member of MENSA and a talented crafter, this gifted, but nearly famous actress is the standout performer in the movie, 'Sparkle' starring the late Whitney Houston. As far as one critic was concerned;

"Very few people will walk out of Sparkle talking about Houston or Sparks, at least not at first. instead they will be saying, "who was that?" And they will be referring to Ejogo....if there was any justice, Ejogo will be famous very soon. As in maybe is rare to see someone become a movie star right in front of your eyes, but that is what happens with Ejogo in Sparkle...."

Hugely tipped for an Oscar nomination for that role, Ejogo is also in another high-profile film of 2012, 'Alex Cross' with Tyler Perry. In the upcoming ABC drama, 'Zero Hour' she plays an FBI agent tracking down a kidnap victim and it has been muted that this could be the role that catapults her into American consciousness. Married to the ridiculously talented actor, Jeffrey Wright (Shaft, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Manchurian Candidate and Hunger Games etc), Ejogo was born in London to a Nigerian father and Scottish mother.

Carmen Ejogo Trivia

5. Toyin Odutola - b. 1985 Artist.

 Born in Ife, Nigeria and raised in Alabama, USA, this is what this artist had to say about herself on her blog:

"I am that strange, dark girl in the back of a densely-aired, dimly-lit bar: talking loudly, smoking copious amounts of cigarettes, and drinking loads of chardonnay. You think I may have a compromising sexuality due to my ambiguous attire and androgynous appearance. Furthermore, there is a puzzling mixture in my unnecessarily aggressive, unwavering independent, and fiercely passionate disposition while muddled with abrupt bouts into quiet contemplation, all during 'intellectual' conversation."

With a truly spellbinding genius, Toyin's work involves the principal use of  ballpoint pens to create intricate portraits. So, it is even more impressive that she will then have already completed 2 residencies, including one at the prestigious Tamarind Institute. In truth, one could call her a lithographer, but her work may well transcend such description.

2013 seems to be the year when Toyin's star will shine even brighter and bring her the overdue credibility and recognition. A major solo exhibition at the Jack Shainman Gallery for April.  The sky is truly the limit for this uniquely raw talent.

6. Chika Unigwe - b. 1974 Writer. 

Fresh from winning the $100,000 Nigerian Prize for Literature for her novel, 'On Black Sister' Street,' this Nigerian-born and Belgian resident, writes in both English and Dutch. Armed with a Ph.D in Literature and numerous other citations, Unigwe has also claimed the Caine Prize for African Writing (2003) and the BBC Short Story Competition (2004).

The award-winning and highly respected British author, Bernardine Evaristo, on reviewing Unigwe's novel, 'Night Dancer,' describes her as:

" of the most probing and thought-provoking writers of the recent renaissance of African fiction......she continues her project of tackling big issues through superb portrayals of complex female characters, and immersing us in the dramas of their lives."

The widely-held educated opinion is that 2013 will be Unigwe's breakthrough year.

7. Carly Cushnie - b. 1984 Designer.

One half of the talented duo Cushnie et Ochs, Cushine has recently being named in Forbes Magazine's "30 under 30" list, which in brief is a roll-call of the emerging leaders in their chosen fields. With an A-list clientele  
from Michelle Obama, Rihanna to Kelly Rowland, CEO are known for their delicate and inventive ensemble of minimalist colours and cut.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Cushnie said:

"We felt there wasn't clothing out there for a sophisticated woman who wanted to be sexy without being vulgar."

Born in London and of Jamaican heritage, Cushnie and her business partner, Michelle Ochs are definitely in perfect position to dominate their field in 2013.

Carly Cushnie Trivia

So, there we are. Of course, there are many more also worthy of mention, but I can only have a finite list of seven (something to do with my crazy editor). Having said that, it is only fair that I name those who would have completed my top 10 list.

8. NoViolet Bulawayo - b. 1981 Writer.

9. Zawe Ashton - b. 1984 Actress.

Zawe Ashton Trivia

10. Katarina Johnson-Thompson - b. 1993 Athlete.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson Trivia

By the way, for those who can't stand lists in any way shape or form, you will be delighted to know I will revert to my usual format come 2013....for those who crave more lists, well....maybe if you invade my blog overwhelmingly, I may be forced to review my stand...

Have a great 2013!

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