Sunday, July 09, 2006

owambe with ireti

My friend Ireti and I went to this serious owambe party in North London on June 17. The location was one of those London spaces that serve as Sports Centre for youths during the day, and ready party venue for Nigerians (and other communities, I'm sure, the rental charges yielding tidy sums for London councils every year) on weekends. There must have been a thousand people - two thousand and more possibly - in the hall, every last one dressed to the nines - right down to their toes. But just look at this scene above... Ireti and I were nicely turned out or at least we tried to - even wore the aso-ebi - but we practically disappeared in this gilded throng. The picture above gives an idea. I surveyed the scene at one point and asked Ireti: "How on earth is a person to stand out in a place like this?" No chance. Still, it was fabulous, and we enjoyed ourselves.

The party venue was on the Broadwater Farm estate - my first time there. Broadwater Farm was one of those places I only heard about now and then in the news, when recalling the riots that took place there in the 80s.

Here (and in the foreground of the two pictures above) is Ireti, dancing the night away. Ireti is something of a celebrity on London's airwaves, I'm lately discovering. She had often told me about her several times weekly participations on Radio phone-in shows, what she said during conversation with Vanessa Feltz or some other host, the lot. But not being a radio listener, I had no real appreciation of any of it, until someone phoned me recently to ask: "Is your friend the same Ireti on BBC London?" I was like, "Uh... yeah?" By the end of the conversation, it had been impressed upon me that Ireti is known to thousands of radio listeners in the UK. I'd have to start listening to the radio, I guess...

Ireti Bakare-Yusuf is like a Nigerian Anna Wintour, totally obstinate in her views about what is fashionable and what isn't. But she knows her stuff... Also known as Sisi-Oge, she's written some fashion pieces and will soon be taking charge of the styling, for one designer's fashion show... with Fusion.


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