Afropolitan Dandy…

Mos Def: “All of it is a political expression… The cultural paradigms that are aggressively promoted to young Black people and young poor people are extremely narrow.”

Following on from NUMBI: Afropolitan Dandies at the weekend this article contains further views on the idea of the “Black Dandy” and centres around an infamous Nivea ad which was also featured in last week’s slide show presentation “African Fashion – Once Sacred Now Desecrated” by Merira Kwesi, organised by Leeds Per Ankh.

Some fascinating conversations around fashion as a way of communication and symbolic significance for Afrikan peoples, as well as conversations around connecting peoples, movements, and affecting change coming out of these two events…


Late last week Nivea set the Internets atwitter with an ad showing a black man, with a shaved head holding a mask with an afro and facial hair à la Cornel West. The image was emblazoned with the tagline: Re-civilize yourself. A study in contrast, the white version of the ad had the message: Sin City Isn’t an Excuse to Look Like Hell. Other Nivea ads also show other white men – some with facial hair with clean edges, some without – with the simple slogan: Look Like You Give a Damn. Why does Nivea think that the slow crawl towards civilization for a black man requires shedding an afro and facial hair?

The problem, as many bloggers have pointed out, is that the ad relies on the trope of the savage black man, an idea as old as the nation that has only changed rather than disappeared over time…

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