2018 saw the premiere of one of the biggest movies of our decade. The screening of “Black Panther" invoked a spirit of "African Power" and curiosity across the globe. And with a stellar all black A- List cast, Black Panther reminded the world that Africa is a force to be reckoned with from tribal markings, war paint and exquisite costumes. For years, we've witnessed on international runways, designers looking to Africa for inspiration.

Tribal make up has always been a staple in African culture, typically made from clay, mud or paint used to signify a celebration, a ceremony, markings of an esteemed warrior or tribe or even in just everyday life. Very much like we use make up today.The clever use of colour often attached to an emotion, paired with flowers, beads and even shells used as a personal form of expression.

Girls from the Suri tribe were encouraged to express themselves and introduce themselves into society. Yellow symbolising joy, energy& warmth or green expressing growth, life or healing. The Masai adorned in their fiery "do-not-mess-with-me” red.

A visual that certainly caught my eye as a Make-up Artist, a young Suri woman who if you look closely has chosen key areas we in the modern world of makeup artistry would use to contour and highlight. Leaves me to wonder has Africa been trendsetting all this time?

Ultimately make up, some may say the camouflage of the modern day world and perhaps alongside African inspired trends marks a shift in thinking and pride that should be encouraged.

Is make up the final piece to the puzzle or the icing on the cake? My recent curiosity inspired by these ancient African rituals led me searching beyond the surface…stay tuned for the next article where we go skin deep.

Zakiyya Bham

For Fashion Lab Africa

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