Just after I handed the book manuscript over to the publisher for the last time, a tiny bit of chaos ensued. The digital image selected for the cover was old, and was not enough megapixels to work. But, that fan created by the artist Ben Jones was a perfect fit for that cover. Ben suggested that I contact New Jersey-based photographer, Mansa Mussa, to reshoot the fan. Mansa saved the day.
Since that time, I have been very fortunate to have made a new colleague and friend in the field of Afro-Atlantic arts and cultural expression. Mansa K. Mussa’s photography and artwork is exceptional. Above I include one of the images that he shot at a fashion show in Havana, Cuba, in the autumn of 2014. This model’s performance on the runway, holding a gold, Akan-inspired-sculpture-turned fan, wearing a yellow-gold dress, is fabulous. The references to the deity Ochún and contemporary West African fashion in Havana is pivotal to understanding contemporary attitudes to African Diasporic expression today.
More of Mansa K. Mussa’s work from that 2014 fashion show can be found here: