GUMBO: DJ Deemaks


This time around, SUPAFRIK and Shaman are taking it up a few notches to bring the feeling of carnival season to the city. GUMBO will take place at two venues in one night. The party will start at the ROM with DJ Revy B supplying the soundtrack to an introductory Afrofusion dance class featuring dance choreographers Esie Mensah and Pulga Muchochoma, from 7-8pm. In between, attendees can explore other Friday Night Live programming, including an afro-diasporic fashion-art exhibit, “Water Carry Me Go”. Deemaks, Sean Sax, and Donet are the featured DJs for GUMBO #4 which will be hosted as usual by Wan and Chi, from 9pm–11pm , before the night moves Tattoo (567 Queen Street West) at 11:00pm.
Leading up to the night, we’re featuring the DJs that’ll make the night worthwhile. First up, DJ Deemaks.




Damola Makinde, better known as DJ Deemaks, has established an impressive resume in his relatively short DJ career. Deemaks is a Canadian Open Format/Afrobeats/Afrohouse DJ with an ever-growing worldwide fan base that eagerly anticipates each new mix and lively performance at their events.

His first mix released to the general public, NAIJA VIBES, became an instant hit. Subsequent successful releases include RUSH HOUR, which features dance, pop, edm& urban sounds and his famous African mixes GIDI VIBES, AFROBEATS SESSIONS, AFROBEAT GROOVE and many more. In total, he has over 14 million views on YouTube and over 1.5 million plays on Soundcloud.

Deemaks has played at some high profile events worldwide including the annual Sfinks Festival in Belgium, Toronto Harbourfront’s Hot & Spicy Festival, Toronto’s African Fashion Week After Party and many more. He has been billed alongside DJs like Walshy Fire (Major Lazer) and was most recently the Canadian tour DJ for R2Bees.


How did you get involved in music?
I’ve been involved since I was about 15. I DJ’ed high school events and I never stopped.

What are your top 3 Afrobeats songs right now?
Wizkid – Final


What are your top 3 Soca songs right now?
Machel Montano and Tarrus Riley – Memory


Where can we find you online?
Twitter: @deemaks
Instagram: @djdeemaks
Soundcloud: DJDeemaks


Anything else you would like to add?
Gumbo is about to be lit… 🙂



Style and Profile : How it Went Down

This past weekend, SUPAFRIK wrapped up Style and Profile at Toronto’s largest alternative design festival “Come Up to My Room”, held annually at the Gladstone. If you didn’t get a chance to see the exhibition yourself, we’ve put together a collection of stylish moments just for you!



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Style and Profile became an interactive experience as people picked up the ID Shades to see and be seen in the ways they choose.




To get a closer look at how it all came together at the Gladstone, follow the tags: cutmr16, comeuptomyroom, and CUTMR.


MEET THE FRIKS – The Interns

Next up in our Team Tuesdays Series – our interns!

SUPAFRIK welcomed a new batch of interns onto our team for our early 2016 projects. They’ve been working hard helping us on our mission to saturate Toronto with contemporary African awesomeness. Get to know them a little bit better…

 Studio Manager


Name: Rufaro Matanda
Meaning of Name: Happiness
City/Cities of origin: Harare

Why did you decide to become involved with SUPAFRIK?
Supafrik, in the past, has had amazing projects that showcase Contemporary African fashion and art. I had been an avid fan and follower of their curatorial lens, so when the opportunity jumped out for me to participate I immediately jumped on it.

What is your favourite part about working on these projects?
The hands on experience is by far my favourite part. Working on the canvases and having input on the creative process behind the curtain has helped me enhance my perceptual abilities as an artist and an aspiring art connoisseur.

What SUPAFRIK projects are you most looking forward to?
Ahhhh! Water Carry Me Go is amazing! It is a must see!

What is your favourite Afrobeats song right now?
Patoranking ft. Wande Coal – My Woman, My Everything

PR and Communications Intern

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Name: Hawa Noor
Meaning of Name: My first name, Hawa, means different things in different languages. In Swahili, it means Desire or Longing. It’s the Quranic (Arabic) version of Eve (as in Adam and Eve). In Hindi, it means Breeze. My last name, Noor, means light.
Cities of origin: Faza and Mombasa (Kenya), Moshi (Tanzania), Toronto (Canada)

Why did you decide to become involved with SUPAFRIK?
My friend Souleik went to a few of SUPAFRIK’s parties last year, which I could never make it to because I was always at work! She’s the one who introduced me to SUPAFRIK and their projects. I’ve never encountered a collective that’s so much of a combination of everything that I love – art, music, fashion, and Africa!

What is your favourite part about working on these projects?
I’m never bored here. I have a notoriously short attention span, so I knew I was at home here when I went 9 hours without tweeting. I also love everyone I work with. I’m learning so much.

What SUPAFRIK projects are you most looking forward to?
All of them! I can’t choose. Right now, I’m looking forward to the next project, Water Carry Me Go. The garments are under lock and key and we only get tiny sneak peeks – I can’t wait to see them all together.

What is your favourite Afrobeats song right now?
I have way too many. I’ll name the first song in my Soundcloud playlist right now – Lil Kesh – Ibile. It’s probably going to change tomorrow, though.

Artist Assistant

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Name: Oyinkansola Olalekan
Meaning of Name: My name is a Yoruba name that means “Honey has dropped into my wealth”. I’ve always teased my Mom saying that with a name like this one, how could she ever be surprised that she gave birth to an artist.
Cities of origin: I was born in Lagos, Nigeria. But grew up in New York and Calgary before I found myself in Toronto.

Why did you decide to become involved with SUPAFRIK?
It didn’t take much for me to know I would want to work with the Supafrik team. I saw the work they had previously done with their pop-up shops on the blog. Their events found a way of blending all of my favorite things: art, design, fashion, and of course foo

What is your favourite part about working on these projects?
I love the conceptualization process that happens with the Supafrik team. It’s a beautiful thing seeing how an idea that gets tossed around becomes something real and tangible. I think part of that is definitely the atmosphere that’s been built as we put in the long hours at the studio. Its a space that allows for us to share the ideas we have and play with them until they feel right.

What SUPAFRIK projects are you most looking forward to?
I really cannot wait to see the final pieces for Water Carry Me Go. It has been so exciting to get sneak peeks as the designers finish their projects. Each piece is so detailed and specific to the designer’s interpretation of the theme and I think it will be incredible to see it all live at the ROM.
What is your favourite Afrobeats song right now?
Definitely still bumping Aye by Davido, Standing Ovation by Tiwa Savage ft. Olamide, and even though they aren’t Afrobeat, the Ibeyi twins have been getting steady play.


GUMBO Choreographer: Esie Mensah

SUPAFRIK and Shaman are bringing our popular GUMBO party to the Royal Ontario Museum for their Friday Night Live series, followed by an after party at Tattoo. The night will start with Afrofusion dance lessons lead by some of the best dancers in the city – Esie Mensah and Pulga Muchochoma. We asked them a bit about what they love to get to know them a bit better before they make us sweat on February 5! First up, Esie Mensah.

Esie Mensah
Esie Mensah is a dancer who is trained in several disciplines – Traditional African, Commercial, and Contemprorary dance. She’s created her own unique style, Afrofusion, which is an amalgamation of her entire dance background. She’s the founder, director, and choreographer of the Black Stars – an elite Afrofusion dance group based in Toronto. She produced a show, Akomathat ran a the Betty Oliphant Theatre between October 30 to November 1 2015, and has worked with some of the music industries largest stars – JaNelle Monae, Nelly Furtado, Jully Black, Flo Rida, Mariana’s Trench, and most recently, Mr. Vegas.
1. Why do you think African dance has become increasingly popular?
I think there’s been a major shift within this generations of Africans on the continent and Diaspora. I feel that all Africans everywhere are wanting to just show off a culture that has had no love. The things we do naturally are getting glorified which is making everyone everywhere feel proud to be African.
2. What are your top five favourite songs to dance to?
  • Timaya – Sanko
  • Ola – Olatunji
  • Black Coffee – Superman
  • Chop Am – Reekado Banks
  • Shoki – Kesh ft Davido

3. Share a clip with us of you dancing!

4. Where can people find you in the city? 
Follow me on twitter and instagram @esiemensah!

Behind the Scenes at Style and Profile!

We can’t believe that Chinedu Ukabam’s Style and Profile is just about coming to a close. Tonight, the SUPAFRIK fam will be at the Come Up To My Room Love Design Party to celebrate our hard work and long nights. Chinedu partnered up with Gregorio Jimenez from Honour Carpentry to create some amazing pieces for Style and Profile. Here’s a look back on a few moments (out of the countless hours!) spent putting it all together. The show is still on until Sunday evening – if you’re in Toronto and haven’t checked it out already, make sure that you do!



Where We Spend Our Late Nights: BAND Gallery

It’s been a busy start to the year for SUPAFRIK. We’re just about to wrap Chinedu Ukabam’s installation at Come Up To My Room, Style and Profile, and jump right into getting ready for Water Carry Me Go. None of our planning, plotting, and scheming would have been possible without our outstanding sponsors at Black Artists’ Network Dialogue (BAND) Gallery who have generously opened up their studio space for us. They’re dedicated to highlighting and supporting the work of Black artists and cultural workers in Toronto, and are, in a nutshell, pretty dope. Here’s an introduction:



What is the Band Gallery Mandate?

BAND Gallery and Cultural Centre is dedicated to developing emerging and mid-career professional artists and arts administrators by providing an accessible venue to showcase artists’ work and to present Black cultural community events and programs to the general public.

What is coming up in the space?

We have two main events coming up in the next few months.

The first is Black History Month Programming 2016 happening from February 11th to March 6th entitled “50 years of Creating Safe Spaces: From The Rent Party to Club Night.” This interactive exhibition will bring music, videos, photography and dance together to document safe spaces. This exhibition will include the photography of Ian Watson along with the archival promotional posters of Hot Steppers who bring us Bump and Hustle.

The second is the Scotiabank CONTACT Festival happening from April 28th to May 29th. In partnership with Autograph ABP,BAND presents the first solo exhibition in Canada by the celebrated African photographer James Barnor, showcasing a wide selection of street and studio portraiture from the 1950s to the early 1970s. Through the medium of portraiture, Barnor’s photographs represent societies in transition: Ghana moving towards its independence from colonial rule and London becoming a cosmopolitan, multicultural metropolis during the ‘swinging’ sixties.

How can artists in the community get involved with BAND Gallery?

We have opportunities for people in the community to get involved at the gallery as volunteers. Volunteers are responsible for gallery maintenance and guest relations, with an emphasis on educating and exhibiting. If interested please send cover letter and resume to Paula Kennedy at


To the BAND team from SUPAFRIK: Thanks for all of your support!

Yemoja: Tracing Diaspora in the Water

Water Carry Me Go, the fashion-art exhibit curated by SUPAFRIK Creative Director Chinedu Ukabam, is right around the corner. The exhibit will feature seven afro-diasporic artists from around the world who have created exclusive pieces for the show centred on the theme of-you guessed it-water. Throughout history water has been a site of transience and of displacement. But it has also transported the stories and shared culture of the Diaspora so it is only right that water be personified and brought to life by Yemoja. 

Yemoja, whose name is a contraction of the Yoruba words “Yey omo eja”: Mother whose children are the fish, originates from the Yoruba constellation of orishas. She is the orisha of fertility, and offers women protection. Yemoja birthed the fourteen Yoruba orishas and when her water broke, out flowed the seven seas.  Yemoja rules the dreamspace, and is the keeper of deep secrets.  Yemoja is known to be both compassionate and merciful. But her rage is like the storms of sea: swift and deadly. Often seen as a mermaid (sometimes two-tailed), or a woman emerging from the water. Her colours reflect the sea and the moon. 

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As Africans were taken from the west coast of the continent and scattered throughout the Caribbean, and the Americas, Yemoja persisted in the oral tradition of the diaspora. Versions of West African myths of Mami Wata can be found wherever Africans went, and as language and space commingled Yemoja became Yemaya, Yemajá, Iamanje and others.

She appears as the Mother of all Orishas again in the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé and the Afro-Cuban religion Santería. But as the religious practices of Afro-Brazilians and Afro-Cubans was often identified as voodoo, they began to syncretize elements of their practices with those of the Catholic church. As a result Yemonja in Brazil became Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes: Our lady of  Seafaring,  and Yemaya in Cuba was associated with La Virgen de Regla: The Virgin Regla. Today, you can find images of Yemoja scattered throughout  popular culture (take a closer look at your Starbucks coffee logo the next time you grab a coffee).









Tributes to her have been made in the music of Celia Cruz and Hector Lavoe and more recently the Ghanian hip hop artist and visual artist Blitz the Ambassador who released the third installment of his Diasporadical Trilogia on January 15th. The video pays homage to the Bahian celebrations of the Mother of the Sea that happen every year in the first week of February. Check it out below!

 Water Carry Me Go is launching at the Royal Ontario Museum on February 5 as part of Friday Night Live and then running as a permanent installation at the Harbourfront Centre from February 6-12. 

Tickets to Friday Night Live at the Royal Ontario Museum are available here. Entry into the Harbourfront is free.

By: Oyin Olalekan