April 17, 2011

A Moment of Oroma-therapy

Power comes in many forms.
For some, power is the ability to control the actions of a multitude of people. Some feel that power is having great physical strength. Others believe that power is having superiority over your conglomerates. Yes, these are all examples of power. However, I feel that power goes beyond control, strength, and superiority. You see, there is power in thought. There is power in vision. There is power in acting upon that vision and transforming those thoughts into something tangible. Those individuals out in the world who take the initiative to act upon their dreams in order to achieve their vision are those who have influence.

Oroma Elewa has influence.

Oroma Elewa is the founder & director of Pop’Africana: a fashion, art & culture publication based out of New York City that’s dedicated to delivering a rejuvenated image of Africans worldwide. To call Pop’Africana just a magazine would be an understatement. To me, Pop’Africana is a movement: a movement towards a newly defined image of Africans. There is so much more to Africa than what you see on the news. The Africa I know is a wellspring of uninhibited creativity, effortless individuality, and raw talent. The Africa that birthed me is a melting pot of cultures so vibrant and so rich; its influence pours over the shores and makes its way across ocean waters to surrounding lands. Unfortunately, this is not the Africa you see in the media, but that is where Pop’Africana comes in. Sometimes it takes pieces of art, such as this magazine, to tear people’s eyes away from the often times grotesque images of Africa and its people that have become a representation of the continent and to see the beauty that lies within. Through fashion, art, and other cultural expressions, Oroma Elewa is leading an initiative that will forever change the way the world views Africa.

Q:   What inspired Pop’Africana?
A:   Pop'Africana came about out of necessity.
The initial idea of Pop’Africana was to create a publication that would help redefine the image of Africa and redirect opinions of the African. There was a certain mediocrity associated with things African that didn't sit well with me, that didn't fully represent our capabilities. This is not to say that I do not love my culture or history but it is important to show more. What's wonderful is that there is no longer need to explain or constantly stress the issue; the change I have been wishing for is already here. Young Africans are already forging individual identities and paths for themselves. There are so many talented designers, musicians, photographers filmmakers, writers, etc. who are doing wonderful jobs showing the world Africa's diversity and the creative capacities of Africans. Theirs, much like Pop'Africana, has a kind of quality of work that can be appreciated on a global scale. Their individualism is inspiring everyone and that’s what I always wanted to see.
So I would say that the continual inspiration for my project is the need to shelter and present these ideas.

Q:   What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the magazine industry as a writer or even an editor?
A:   I will advise you to have a clear vision and a strong point of view but understand that there's a constant flow of learning and unlearning.

Here are some photos from Issue 2 of Pop’Africana

Oroma’s passion is contagious to say the least. I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with her over skype a couple of months ago and within the 20+ minutes I spoke with her, I received a generous dosage of that passion. The love she has for her work is palpable. The words of encouragement she gave me that day concerning my blog and what I have done with it thus far are words I will not soon forget. She is truly one of the people that I hold in high regard and her work will be a continuous well of inspiration for me and many others hoping to follow in her footsteps someday. As a young woman of Nigerian descent, it means a lot to me to see other Nigerian women, such as Oroma, becoming so successful. Thank you for daring to live for something bigger than yourself, Oroma. You’ve got that good good.

Learn more about Oroma Elewa by viewing her incredible feature on Vogue Italia’s website (here).

Oroma's Twitter: @oromatherapy
Oroma's personal blog: www.oromatherapy.com
Pop'Africana: www.popafricana.com


  1. WOW! Oroma is amazing indeed. I have heard of Pop'Africana before and I love the way you wrote this post, it's very intimate. Great job Dee :]

  2. And the photos are stunning!

  3. Anonymous4/17/2011

    This is a very inspiring write up, I had never heard of her but she seems like an amazing individual

  4. She is gorgeous. Her legs go for miles! Great interview:) I admire the work that she doing.

  5. Yay! You finally did a post on her. I am becoming obsessed with Pop-Africana. Great post as always.

  6. You know i'm always checking out the new photos that accompany your pots. The vintage style feel is on point.

  7. she is stunning!! first time hearing of her.

  8. very nice she is definitely talented and I've been following her for awhile now. The images she features in her magazine are beautiful.


  9. Anonymous4/17/2011

    gorgeous + super inspiring. This was a pleasure to read and view, fabulous eye candy photos!


  10. This was so beautifully written <3

    This is the passage that got me the most:
    "There is so much more to Africa than what you see on the news. The Africa I know is a wellspring of uninhibited creativity, effortless individuality, and raw talent. The Africa that birthed me is a melting pot of cultures so vibrant and so rich; its influence pours over the shores and makes its way across ocean waters to surrounding lands. "

    That is so very true!! When people hear of Africa they automatically think of starving children with swollen bellies and flies landing on their bloodshot eyeballs. There is so much MORE TO AFRICA! And as Oroma said, there really is a mediocrity placed with Africa and it really is unsettling! Thank goodness for Pop'Africana to open peoples eyes to the beauty of our continent. And thank goodness for you as well Dee, you are always managing to find the coolest Africans to put on your blog. People I would have never known about if not for you.

  11. Great interview. Keep'em coming.

  12. Anonymous4/17/2011

    This is great and so inspiring! I love how she's changing the image of Africa for the better :)

  13. I love your comment you left on my Blog and so I decided to come over here and I love your blog Its amaazzzing!!!! I had no clue who Oroma Was But Now I think I fell In love :) Im def following...
    Follow PaigeB. Vintage Will you? thanks

  14. you find the most inspirational people to write about! thank you so much for sharing :)))

  15. What you say about her is really palpable - there's warmth, determination, passion... PopAfricana sounds like a great project and the photos are amazing. Will go and check out their website.

  16. Amazing post...the world def needs 2 c more of this... this post made me smile :)

  17. Oh wow.Love the write up.

    Sooo emotive... I likeee ittttt! A lot!



  18. wow..i didnt realize how big the fashion scene was in africa. this is very enlightening for me!

  19. I'm so impressed. I know the mag but didn't know her. ANd she's Nigerian! Whoop whoop!! :D


  20. I love all the bits about power, made me think..!
    I love the idea behind Pop'Africana it would be nice to have a different representation than poverty and struggle.. Something positive and hopeful.. :) xx

  21. I love the way you write girl. You better enlighten k!

    Oroma is a beast.




  22. Oroma is an inspiration fo'shaw! Seriously hooked on this good good ish you keep dealing...don't ever hold out cos i dont think i can handle going cold turkey lol
    Thanks for visiting and commenting on BLEURGH

    BLEURGH & Xisses

  23. Very beautiful selectios

  24. Great blog honey!! Check mine http://thanksgoshimawoman.blogspot.com/ and let me know what you think xoxo

  25. Thank you all so much for your feedback!

  26. Waou love this blog
    Thank you for your message.

  27. Wow! Definitely a fan of Pop'Africana now!

  28. Anonymous4/20/2011

    I will definitely check her out. Thanks for featuring her.

  29. Anonymous4/21/2011

    She is beautiful inside and out :)

  30. cool! thanks for sharing love the pics!

    xoxo from rome

  31. geez lousie. she is hella pretty :)



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