Ghanaian stylist Nana Kwasi Wiafe on the story behind Michaela Coel’s Kente Variety cover
Everyone is gushing over the iconic look created by Ghanaian stylist, creative director, and model Nana Kwasi Wiafe for British-Ghanaian actress Michaela Coel. Coel featured on the latest cover of Variety in Kente prints. She is one of six creative influencers in comedy honored in the 2021 Power of Women issue.
Styled by Wiafe, her colorful Kente and gold accessorized look inspired by powerful Ashanti queens from Ghana is what everyone is talking about.
Wiafe, who is the founder of Very Ghanaian, a travel lifestyle brand, detailed the inspiration behind the iconic cover. “When I had the email to style this project I knew this is the time have been waiting for, the time for a change, a time for us to tell our story,” he wrote an Instagram post.
“I came into the fashion industry to change things not knowing exactly how to do that, however, it was going to happen I had no idea, all I knew is I wanted to change the narrative and the way our stories are told and now here I am doing just that! changing the narrative, the narrative of us men always pushing our women to the back and pushing our Queens to the kitchen, yet these women always fight for us, these women always have our back. Black women, we are eternally grateful to you. we don’t say this enough but we appreciate you,” he wrote.
He said with the theme of this issue being the power of women, he was inspired by two powerful queens from Ghana — Nana Yaa Asantewaa, an influential Ashanti queen, and Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, who was the queen mother of the Ashanti Kingdom.
“I was inspired by two of the most powerful Queens. Nana Yaa Asantewaa, Queen of Ejisu, and Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, mother of Asantehene whose bravery and courage am reminded of by Michaela Coel, the same bravery it took to write & direct “I May Destroy You.“ I believe and highlighting the rot in our society so we can do better as a people. Here’s to us changing the narrative and telling our own stories in our own way,” the Ghanaian artist wrote.
Wiafe, who is also the creative director of THOUARTKWASI, a styling brand, worked as a stylist on Beyoncé’s visual album ‘Black is King’. He has also worked with fashion designer Kim Jones and award-winning artist Amoako Boafo, as a stylist on the Dior Men Spring Summer Collection 2020.
Coel, recently named the most influential Black woman in the UK, came into the limelight with her hit E4 sitcom Chewing Gum, which earned her a BAFTA Award for Best Female Comedy Performance.
Her hit HBO series I May Destroy You though snubbed for the Golden Globes has earned rave reviews across the board. She created, wrote, co-directed, and stars in the series, which explores the life of an eccentric millennial writer who tries to put her life back together after being drugged and raped in a nightclub.
“I May Destroy You” has been nominated for the Peabody Awards.