Just feeling so inspired right now, I haven’t even seen it yet, it drops in South Africa tomorrow at 8 pm on MNET (channel 101), but I know that is going to be one of the greatest films of all time, I mean the clue is in the name. We have been stuck on Beyonce’s social media pages for a minute, looking at the scenes and possible visual album production and I just know, deep in my heart that it’s going to shake the industry. She’s not only a musician; she is an artist, a creative genius. We know this from her previous and first visual album ever, Lemonade, and by the look of things, she definitely will not disappoint.
I love Beyoncé simply because she is a hard worker who is relentless in seeing her vision come to life. I absolutely admire her style of work as she does not limit herself to what the media leaders are currently doing, she really is capable of expanding one’s imagination beyond the conventional and the is truly inspiring. Her vision is so broad that the film Black is King was shot in all kinds of locations, from the backyard of her home to the streets of Johannesburg, Ghana, London, and Belgium. The film is based on the re-telling and re-imagination of the iconic movie and play, The Lion King. She uses all kinds of art to narrate the story, from fashion, dance, music videos, and astounding natural settings not forgetting raw talent.
The idea behind Black is King is born from wanting to change the perception of the word black on a global scale. It is about acknowledging the beauty, the love, the strength, and inspiration about everything black. Hence every character in the film is black, sourcing talent, directors, creatives, and artists from all over the globe to present to the world this fine piece of black art. I am in awe and beyond exuberant at this point. Sis, is bringing up and exposing not only black American talent but black talent from all corners of the map. That is the epitome of leadership, and we stan. She truly lives up to the understanding behind making it with your people. Like it’s great to make it, but it’s even better when your people make it with you. Perhaps this is one of the underlying reason why Beyonce will continue to soar in all that she does because her work is not only inclusive but it is empowering, like just imagine the doors that will open for all those who contributed to the making of this masterpiece, I feel so grateful on their behalf, and aspire to be living in the future; forever working to elevate and to better the black community as I grow myself.
The visual album is going to follow shortly after the film drops, there has already been a release of one music video, and of course, the bar is set sky-high. If we can remember from Lemonade, she is still unmatched, and we just love what she is doing to change the game. Ladies, just watch and learn. Black is King.
The smart boss @Gorgeous_Mbali (Mbali Sebapu) has done it again. The well-known entrepreneur and influencer is breaking boundaries and continues stepping into her greatness. The founder and CEO of Hermosa Flor recently launched another palette (White Lily), matte liquid lipsticks (Phadii, CEO, Glow Getter, Dreamchaser) and lip glosses (Sparkly + Pink Roses) which made R100k in less than an hour! Hermosa Flor is a make-up line which was launched on the 31st of October! This Girl Boss has used her plateform to make waves in a short space of time. Its definitely her Phadii, her Rules! Girl Boss interviewed her a while ago and this is what she had to say.
- Please share with me who Mbali Sebapu is – how would you define yourself?
Mbali Sebapu is a young girl from Soshanguve, I’m 29 turning 30 in June. I’d describe myself as fun, loving and a go getter.
- Mbali, where did you start and how did that lead you to where you are today – please share your growth journey?
After matric I went to TUT to do analytical chemistry then I dropped out after I did my first year. I then joined the Navy and stayed in the Navy for 10 years until last year Feb then I resigned to start Hermosa Flor and now I work for Hermosa Flor.
- When you were still employed, how did you manage to jungle being an influencer, a student and an employee?
I worked shifts, so not like your 9-5 every Monday to Friday, so I worked one day 24 hours then I got 3 days off, so I had enough time in-between to do other things. So maybe prepare my content or whatever the brand wants with the spare time I had. I’d work as an influencer yet I was also a student at Stellenbosch. So, because of the off days I got, life was easy because I worked 8 times a month. Only 8 times.
- What did you study in Stellenbosch and what was your role in the Navy?
I studied a BMil in Human Organisational Development, the majors are industrial psychology with public development management and a bit of law. And in the Navy, I was an operations supervisor for Durban.
- You worked in the SA Navy for 10 years, why did you decide to leave?
I think when you start finding happiness outside your work, you realize this is not what I want to do forever, you start checking what you like and what can you do to make sure you achieve your goals and go to that dream job that you really want. Being in the Navy was good and enjoyable but it was not for me. I realized I like beauty, I like all things beauty and not the military.
- However, what did you learn from the Navy, there are certain value within the Military, so what did you take from that?
I’ve learnt discipline, time management and not to procrastinate therefore do your work at the right time. I’ve learnt a lot of things; my 10 years were worth it. I don’t regret anything.
- Are you still happy with the decision to leave and did leaving change your life?
Yes, leaving changed my life. Yes, I am happy, I’m doing what I love now. So, my time is spent on my dreams and goals every day and it’s been great. My journey with Hermosa Flor has been great so far.
- So how long have you been an influencer now?
Since 2014 and I was 24 when I started. At that time, I called myself Gorgeous Mafia (laughs).
- Do you think being an Influencer in SA is enough or do you feel like it’s necessary to be more than that?
It’s necessary to be more than that, because you can’t just wait for brand. There are a lot of influencers now, so that means you might wait for 6 months to make money. So why not use your influence to make money at any time and you can control everything yourself. I feel like we should have our own brands since we are capable to influence others.
- How would you advise someone who aspires to become an influencer – how can one tap into this space?
I think a lot of people ask me this question every day. You don’t wake up and say I am prepping myself to be an influencer because if you do that, we’ll see it’s not authentic. So just be you because you will find other influencers don’t want to share certain products because they aren’t being paid. If you are an influencer you must want to share things even when the brand is not involved. You have to be selfless.
- But in a more practical sense what does one have to do?
You need to be consistent, you should post almost every day. At least one post, your content must add value to your audience. E.g. you can’t post a tree, post something that someone can associate with you. It’s important to have a niche, don’t do everything.
- What, would you say, have you done differently from other influencers that has kept you so relevant to your followers?
I always make sure I don’t treat my audience as fans. And I always make sure I’m nice because when you start treating them like fans they feel uncomfortable. You’ll end up losing followers because of that. I also make sure I always keep true to my personality when posting content, I prefer making my own title rather than getting a set caption.
- We noticed, you have a lot of Qs and As on Instagram, does this also take place via DMs?
Yes, you don’t want the restaurant to be one way, you want a conversation. You telling me how you feel and I do the same. People will really see how much you care about them rather just telling them of a product and just leaving it there.
- There is a conception that one needs money to influence? Is this true or false? And Why?
No, it’s a lie. You can influence anything and everything without leaving the house. People think you have to spend 80% of your time in a restaurant, being out with friend taking selfies. No, your OOTDs can be taken at any place, just be creative.
- However, in terms of have products and samples, for you to influence you need to have products especially if advertising beauty. Do you need that new foundation or new skincare line?
No, influence what you have. Work with what you have, work with what you afford. Don’t try Chanel because it’s one of the “in” products. Use what you have.
- What type of influencer would you describe yourself as? Would you say you are a travel, beauty, lifestyle.
Everything, beauty and lifestyle. I’m your girl for everything. However, I focus on beauty and skincare.
- You’re a striving business woman now, in a few words, how would you describe this journey towards entrepreneurship?
Challenging but you learn every day. You make mistakes, you learn, it’s a nice journey. You wake up every day and you focus on something that you know the end result will benefit you. Unlike waking up and doing something for someone and they are the ones benefiting. You only getting 5%. So here, you work with an open heart. It doesn’t even feel like you working.
- Do you think a mentor is important?
Yes, you need someone that has a bit of experience. That can teach you, how to do the things you don’t know.
- Why beauty tho? Why a makeup range?
You know I enjoy doing Live stories on Instagram, so when I was doing my face, at the time I was in Durban, a lot of people would ask what lipstick is that, what eyeshadow is that and then I realized I have potential customers. So, if I come up with my own brand, my followers will actually buy the brand.
- Who is your biggest competition?
I don’t feel like there is competition. I’m just in my lane doing my thing. Competition will lead to unnecessary pressure and I’ll start releasing palettes without thought. However, I’m inspired by Huda and Kylie Cosmetics.
- Hermosa Flor is your new baby, what steps did you take to establish it? Name, manufacturing etc.
I left the Navy and took my pension money. I then invested every cent into my business. My 10-year pension. It happened so fast. So, I found a supplier online, she invited me to china to test all the products, quality and colours. I approved the samples then after one and half months, they were done with production. They supplier has different sections that concentrate on different factors like packaging, filling, designs. So, it’s a whole process. The brand is named after Mbali and Hermosa Flor is Spanish for beautiful flower.
- What was the time frame because you mentioned it happened fast?
I left the navy around Feb/March and I launched in October. However, started in July. It was just so fast.
- What would you like young women in SA to know or aspire to? (Since 2020 is about Winning and Bossing up).
Take risks, take big risks. Don’t play small. You know the type pf life you want and you know playing small won’t take you there or its going to take you years. You should also learn, be willing to take advice from people who have experience.
- If it wasn’t for your following, do you think you still would’ve launched Hermosa Flor?
Yes, I was going to use influencers to influence because you can still do that. You don’t need a huge following, as long as you have a good marketing strategy, you can do it.
- How will you be Bossing Up even further this year?
This year I’m launching a few new products. Adding to what exists. Bringing in new lip colours and eyeshadows. So, ladies be on the watch out!
MOVIE/BOOK TITLE: NEVER HAVE I EVER
CAST/CHARACTERS: MAITREYI RAMAKRISHNAN, POORNA JAGANNATHAN, RICHA MOORJANI
DIRECTOR: MICHAEL FIGMOGNARI
AUTHOR: MINDY KALING, LANG FISHER
NETFLIX RELEASE DATE: 27 APRIL 2020
GIRLBOSS RATING: 8/10
Vera Mindy Chokalingam also is known as Mindy Kaling is a comedian, actress, and writer. She is known as the second-generation American-Indian creator. She wrote, produced, and acted in the medical comedy, The Mindy Project. This girl boss has achieved greatness in her career and wanted to showcase her personal life. She felt that when she was growing up there wasn’t enough representation of South Asian families on American media and wanted to change that reality. And she did that with “Never Have I Ever” the new Netflix series about coming of age. And yes, it’s based on some of Mindy’s upbringing.
Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) is a high school sophomore who is super smart and funny. She is seen as an uncool girl because she doesn’t conform to the rules of a typical high school learner which entails partying, drinking, cheerleading, etc. She stays with her mother and her cousin Kamala (Richa Moorjani). Devi is also battling with grief as her dad passed away. She suppresses her emotions and this leads to a lot of mischiefs. Devi is trying to figure out how to live in a modern American world and still respect her Indian culture. Trying to come to terms with her “Indianness”. Devi also has to deal with pressure from her mother. As her mother is trying to raise her on her own, you can see the frustrations throughout the series.
What we think about it? A lot of coming of age series have the same plot, and that’s the case with this series. A nerd having the biggest crush on the jock who is too cool for school. Although I am post-high school (and post-varsity) I still find such series interesting. I enjoy the typical chick-flick. So, if you are tired of the same storyline then this series isn’t for you.
The series also gives us insight into Indian culture, especially the Hindu culture. This is what I gathered:
• Indians pray for important objects such as school books. Once something is prayed for, it can’t be disrespected. In one of the scenes a chemistry textbook has been blessed by their family pandit, however, after it was thrown out the window it would have to be blessed again.
• I learned that dress code is very strict, females aren’t allowed to wear clothing that reveals their shoulders e.g. there is a scene where Desi is dancing with her friends as they create content for TikTok, she is wearing a red strappy dress and her mom tell her to change and wear a white t-shirt underneath the dress.
• Arranged marriages are still the norm in this day and age. And Hindu women are expected to behave a certain way e.g. there is a scene which focuses on Desi’s mother trying to make her cousin the perfect Bahu (daughter-in-law). So she definitely needs to know how to cook their traditional dishes.
Mindy Kaling highlights how Generation Z and Generation X might clash when discussing culture. However, I do feel the culture is a tad bit exaggerated in a negative way or maybe the writer wanted to highlight how oppressive it can be? I guess you’ll have to decide for yourself.
Why 8/10? The series had my attention, it refreshing watching a show based on a culture different to mine. It’s also very rare to see an Indian young girl get a lead role in what could be a hit show. The series had funny moments and Desi’s character is likable because she raw and questions everything that surrounds her.
MOVIE/BOOK TITLE: BLOOD AND WATER
CAST/CHARACTERS: AMA QAMATA, KHOSI NGEMA, GAIL MABALANE
DIRECTOR: NOSIPHO DUMISA
AUTHOR: NOSIPHO DUMISA
NETFLIX RELEASE DATE: 20 MAY 2020
GIRLBOSS RATING: 8/10
Here I am scrolling through my Twitter feed and I come across a tweet about this new South African series. I see learners dressed in school uniform and I instantly buzz with excitement. Any series that has to do with high school drama, love, and friendship gets my attention.
Netflix has done it again and released a South African original series after Queen Sono. And this time it’s based on the South African youth showcasing a mix of privilege and inequality in many schools in the country. The cast is pleasingly diverse and with the main actress being a dark-skinned black girl boss. Why am I highlighting that? Well, it’s great to see a new face with unconventional beauty standards take the lead. Puleng Khumalo (Ama Qamata) is a 17-year-old girl who stays with her family (mother, Thandeka Khumalo played by Gail Mabalane, father, Julius Khumalo played by Getmore Sithole and brother, Siya Khumalo played by Odwa Gwanya), however, her family is incomplete because her sister was stolen in a hospital at birth. Puleng and her family are still torn and broken by the separation.
After 17 years of not having her sister, Puleng is distressed and becomes obsessed with the case. She starts digging and finds a lead to who her sister might be. She moves to Parkhurst College which is a school for academic overachievers and begins her search.
Puleng is in awe as she arrives at this new “boujee” school. She quickly identifies her lead and befriends the popular squad as that gives her access to cracking the case. She gets close to Fikile Bhele (Khosi Ngema) who the school’s star student, however, their relationship gets complicated as the series evolves. She also gets tied up in a love triangle with KB the rapper (Thabang Molaba) and Wade the photographer (Dillon Windvogel). And yes, things definitely get hot and spicy.
What we love about this six-episode series:
• Highlights the severity of human trafficking and the impact it has on families.
• The cast is diverse. We see all races (Black, White, Indian, Coloured).
• Interracial and homosexual relationships are embraced and normalized. And that is amazing. We need more shows to celebrate the LGBTQI community.
• We can see the difference between private and public schools. And South Africa still has a long way in bridging the gap.
• It has 6 episodes. I love this new trend of releasing short seasoned series.
• It was shot in Cape Town. The beautiful Capetonian life is showcased. It is rare because a lot of South African series and movies take place in Johannesburg. The perfect reminder of how beautiful Cape Town is.
South Africa has great potential to create a great series. The one thing preventing us from being super great is the budget. There is so much talent and creativity in our townships but we don’t have the means. I hope this narrative changes soon and more South Africans are able to release content.
Blood and Water is a must-watch. It is worth it. The talent in South Africa is raw and pure.
SERIES TITLE: GOMORA
CHANNEL: 161 MZANSI MAGIC ON DSTV
CAST: KATLEGO DANKE, ZOLISA XALUVA, CONNIE CHIUME, THEMBI SEETE
PRODUCTION: SERITI FILMS
GENRE: CRIME, DRAMA, TELENOVELA
GIRLBOSS RATING: 8/10
Situated in the Gauteng province of South Africa and located near the upper-class suburb Sandton, is where the township Alexandra abbreviated to Alex but notoriously known as Gomora is found. A South African originated telenovela came to life, resembling a story about how fine the line of inequality between the poor and rich can be. Featuring Generations famously known, Katlego Danke as a housewife by the name Thathi. She is married to Mr. Ndaba whose character is played out by Themba Ndaba. Just like any rich man who lives in the suburbs of Sandton and owns a bank, Mr. Ndaba did everything for his family. From luxury-branded cars, clothes, jewelry, private schools, and even vacation homes all over South Africa. The Ndabas had everything they wanted and were untouchable.
This series came out late in March and so far, I have watched about four episodes and each ending keeps me on my toes. In a world full of perfection, nothing is more precious than real, this proved to be true when Mr. Ndaba got hijacked and murdered. Thathi had to discover that her husband’s company was bankrupt when the insurance refused to pay out, just a few days before the funeral. Here is where it got exciting. Not only was Mr. Ndaba’s company bankrupt, but he was also in serious debt and the bank took everything including the mansion. Now Thathi, her son, Langa (Siyabonga Xaba) and her “Instagram pleaser” of a daughter Buhle (Amamkele Qamata) had to go back to where it all started, Gomora. At first, she was in denial about how everything unfolded.
I liked the way the producers and everyone who played a role in the making of this series worked together to compile and demonstrate the saying, ‘’ ivili liyajika’’ meaning the wheel turns and nothing lasts forever. They portrayed not just the main idea but also every inch of detail around it, like how one situation turns to another. Thathi who always relied on her husband soon happened to realize that she cannot sit and moan about how unfair life treated her and that she had to be strong for her children and show her daughter what matters. Though it was hard for her to do so, she had to adjust a few things and start living in reality, in Gomora. I cannot fully say if the series has a good or bad ending because I also haven’t finished the season… YET and all I can say is that, it’s been good so far and would suggest that if you haven’t watched it yet, you better go and catch up with all the episodes from the start if you want to enjoy it.