Over the years, Globetrotter has had the pleasure of meeting with or even knowing from afar some incredible women around the world. Ranging from musicians and fashion designers to photographers, they awe us with not only their talents, but also their roles in empowering other women. To celebrate Women’s History Month, we look at some of these female creatives and check out what they’ve been doing.
Abrima Erwiah X Rosario Dawson (Studio 189)
Co-Founders, Studio 189; Ghana & United States
A few years ago in Lagos, Globetrotter got the chance to meet Abrima Erwiah, the one-half of Ghana- and U.S.-based fashion label, Studio 189. The designer co-founded the brand with actress Rosario Dawson and, together, they’ve been hailed for their efforts in supporting women and artisans in West Africa. Fast forward to this year, and we’re glad to see that they’re still continuing the fight. For their effort, the duo recently received the Diaspora Dialogues Award at the 2nd Annual International Women of Power Event in Los Angeles.
Globetrotter first met up with Yacko back in 2017, following the release of the video for her single, Hands Off, which features women of all ages, shapes and sizes. In the song, Yacko raps about fighting street harassment and encouraging women to rise up together.
As one of very few female emcees in Indonesia, Yacko has earned her place in not only local, but also international music industry. Recently, he was invited to be part of the line-up of Festival La Belle Hip-Hop in Belgium, which is dedicated to female rappers.
We caught up with Yacko just before her flight to Belgium where she talked about hoping to empower other women through her music. “Ing madyo mbangun karso and tut wuri handayani,” she says, citing two of Javanese traditional philosophies. “Ing madyo mbangun karso means I wanna walk together, empower and inspire women to understand their rights through my music and lyrics. While tut wuri handayani, I wanna encourage women to have full access to their rights, which are the right to live free from sexual harassment, slavery and discrimination, to be educated, to vote and to earn a fair and equal wage.”
DJ; United States
In an industry so dominated by men, female DJs don’t always get their due. Yet Natasha Diggs shines on. A resident DJ of “Mobile Mondays” and “Soul in the Horn” parties in New York, Natasha has been spinning records for over a decade now and is known as one of the most sought-after DJs in the world.
Natasha has also co-founded the all-girl jam “Us Girls” in Brooklyn, which showcases female DJs and artists while creating a network among New York’s rising female talents.
Amrit Kumar X Mriga Kapadiya (Nor Black Nor White)
Co-Founders, Nor Black Nor White; India
When the duo behind India-based NorBlack Nor White (NBWB), Amrit Kumar and Mriga Kapadiya, returned to their homeland, they fell in love with the ancient practices of textile design. It prompted them to finally create NBWB, which has been praised for skillfully combining traditions with modern design aesthetics.
In early 2018, NBWB released a capsule collection that took inspiration from artist Aqui Thami’s project, which saw her paste pink posters at public spaces throughout Mumbai. Each poster read, “A Woman Was Harassed Here,“ and was made to spread awareness and spark conversation on the society’s complicity in burying gender violence cases. In support of the movement, NBWB created a capsule to spread Thami’s message further.
Ji Won Choi
Designer; United States
We first met Ji Won Choi at GTB Fashion Weekend in Lagos, Nigeria late last year. Born in Seoul, raised in the midwest USA, and educated in New York City and Paris, life hasn’t always been easy for the designer. In an interview with Globetrotter, she opens up about living as an immigrant and finding inspirations in her heritage.
Known for creating designs that celebrate human cultures and champion sustainability, Choi has been tapped by Adidas Originals for a collaborative collection. In the official website, Adidas Originals has praised her for using her designs to “promote positive change.”
Globetrotter chatted with gothic feminist writer Intan Paramaditha after her short story compilation Apple and Knife was published in Australia. Since then, Intan has become of the winners of the 2019 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants, which allows more support and fund to assist the completion of the translation of Intan’s first novel, Gentayangan: Pilih Sendiri Petualangan Sepatu Merahmu (The Wandering). Previously, the publisher Harvill and Secker has also bought the rights to publish Apple and Knife in the UK. Intan is currently preparing for her talks at the London Book Fair Indonesia Market Focus Programme.
Intan has always been empowering women through her Indonesian urban legend-inspired stories, but her fight doesn’t stop there. “I want to be someone who questions and disrupts,” she says in an email to Globetrotter. “I want to work with other women who are aware of layers of power that they are implicated in, and who interrogate their achievement, privilege, and comfort zones. Comfort zones are tools to preserve the status quo. A few years ago a white middle-aged European man told me that, with equal opportunities that women have now, feminism will be out of the door very soon. Well, not in my backyard. Not in his backyard either, I believe -- just think of the very recent Nobel Prize sex-abuse scandal. So yes, I guess that would be my role: someone who says, “No, things are not okay. They just seem to be.”
Designer; Côte d'Ivoire & United States
As a fashion designer, Loza Maléombho is known for her sharply tailored womenswear line. “My silhouettes lean toward a sharpness and structure that exudes confidence,“ she says, as quoted from Nataal. But the New York-based Ivorian’s efforts in empowerment didn’t stop there; she has also trained young women, provided them with jobs and collaborated with local artisans to produce items in her AB collections. “I believe in female empowerment through socio-economic trade,” she says.
Photographer; United States
When Globetrotter featured Delphine Diallo and her photographs back in 2017, we were so much in awe of her “unreal” work. Today, our feelings for her haven’t changed. Delphine “does not ascribe to the world's beauty standards, often photographing uncommon faces. She emphasizes the importance of social change and her disinterest in popular culture.”
Singer, songwriter, actress; Nigeria & Germany
Nneka Egbuna, or Nneka as she’s usually known, is famously private about her life, but it’s no secret that she has a difficult past, which includes an abusive family member and leaving home to seek asylum in Germany. But those things have also made her the strong and brave woman that she is, who sang about the corruption in her country and the injustice caused by the oil companies.
Outside music, Nneka is also an ambassador for "African Women's Development Fund," an organization that champions women's rights and the co-founder of the "Rope" foundation, which supports youths to express themselves through music and fashion.
Artist & Photographer; Nigeria
Lagos-based artist and photographer Yagazie Emezi is funny and warm on her YouTube channel (and we need more videos), but she’s never not serious. She uses digital platform to openly discuss about social issues in African communities.
In her photographs, she documents the lives of at-risk women, and those who are overlooked. Her ongoing project Re-learning Bodies, for example, explores trauma survivors in Africa as they adapt to their new bodies. Her female-focused works have attracted not only lifestyle publications around the world (Huffington Post, Paper Magazine, Vogue, Washington Post and many more), but also the U.S Consulate General in Lagos who bestowed her a grant for her photo series addressing sexual violence against women and youths in Nigeria.