The kente is more than just a covering for the body; its patterns and colorings are usually meant to convey specific messages and was in the past reserved for royalty, and only worn on special occasions.
“That man has a blanket wrapped around his body like it’s winter time!” was the comment one taunter had about the kente.
In that incident, Ghanaian artist and illustrator, Dennis Owusu-Ansah was struck by the realization that the comments came from a point of ignorance.
“I figured something must be done to change the perspective of people who are not familiar with African culture,” said the 26 year old Business Administration graduate in a past interview.
Well, as an artist and illustrator, he chose to use his skill to show an Africa rich in “history, diversity and tradition.”
To that end, he maintains an Instagram page depicting renowned persons adorned in the finest African regalia, including the kente.
He depicts personalities like Pres. Obama, Martin Luther King Jr., Kanye West, Taraji P Henson, Rihanna, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Kendrick Lamar in the traditional wear of ethnic groups including the Samburu (Kenya), the Akan (Ghana) and Zulu (South Africa).
He further Africanizes the depicted personalities by giving them names from the ethnic group they are representing in his depictions.
So you’ll find on his page Alhaji Kanye Tanko West, rocking a Hausa (from northern Nigeria) dansiki while Kim Kardashian is all resplendent in a kente.
You could also stumble upon Robin Amahle Fenty and Lebron Nkosenye James, both representing Zulu heritage, or Chief Shawn Ugonna Carter, an Ibo, standing alongside his Samburu lady, Beyoncé Lankenua Carter.
He also has political illustrations, including one commenting on Black lives in the US and the exploitation of African resources.
His project of informing the public via illustrations continues.