Fashion Pioneers Dapper Dan And April Walker Want To Use Fashion To Connect The African Diaspora

‘What is the most powerful element of African culture that’s still here in America?’

A cursory Google search of pioneering female hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa immediately produces a spread of images from the trio’s most iconic look: spandex paired with 8-ball jackets, kente-coated kufis, and heavy gold dookie chains.

Said images are by British photographer Janette Beckman, now on display at 10 Corso Como New York as part of a new exhibition that explores the origins of hip-hop culture from 1981 to 1993.

The West African element of Salt-N-Pepa’s (don’t forget Spinderella!) 1987 look was at the heart of a panel discussion that took place at the concept fashion store, Friday (Dec.13).

“What is the most powerful element of African culture that’s still here in America? You find it in South Americans, Colombians, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, people from the [rural] South,” said legendary Harlem fashion designer and haberdasher Dapper Dan, who sat in the company of Beckman, urban fashion pioneer April Walker, and renaissance woman Vashtie to discuss fashion’s role in the development of hip-hop.

“What I’ve discovered is that one thing that we never lost that we came with from Africa is the elements of the Yoruba religion that’s manifested in a lot of different ways.”

Read more here

Photo by Janette Beckman
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