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Africa Rising Brings Its Runway To D.C.

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Africa Rising Brings Its Runway To D.C.

Arts & Life

Africa Rising Brings Its Runway To D.C.

Africa Rising Brings Its Runway To D.C.

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/93112319/93112307" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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A model struts down the catwalk during an Africa Rising fashion event, while performers entertain the crowd. Bennett Raglin hide caption

toggle caption Bennett Raglin

A model struts down the catwalk during an Africa Rising fashion event, while performers entertain the crowd.

Bennett Raglin

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Africa Rising founder and journalist Nduka Obaigbena. Cher Murphy hide caption

toggle caption Cher Murphy

Nigerian fashion icon Fati Mohammed Asibelua, also known as "Momo," pictured at a group event in Nigeria. Cher Murphy hide caption

toggle caption Cher Murphy

In 2006, Nduka Obaigbena made it his mission to highlight Africa's artistic, political, and economic culture by creating the African Rising Music and Fashion Festival.

Obaigbena, who is also editor-in-chief of the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay, says his vision is tied to a distinct goal.

"Africa Rising Music Festival is to tell the world that there's more about Africa than the news intends you [to] see — [more] than the wars, than the famine and all of that," says Obaigbena.

This week, Africa Rising hits Washington, D.C., with a fashion festival promoting supermodels and leading African designers. The group is also partnering with music icons Jay-Z and John Legend, who will perform at the venue.

Nigeria designer Fati Asibelua, who will showcase her work at the festival, founded her boutique line Momo in 2000.

"The modern clothing we have to tap into the African culture into our design and therefore for Europeans and Americans it is something new, we have not seen this," she says.

Obaigbena and Asibelua recently spoke with NPR's Michel Martin to discuss this week's event the message behind Africa Rising.

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