Updated: Jan 27
By Rachael David
I started the year in Lagos but not in a black-owned club *covers face*. There are loads in Lagos, naturally, but our main go-to spot isn't one of them. I did wear a new outfit from one of my favourite Nigerian brands - Heritage - for the festivities.
Back in London, the first major event in my social calendar was my boyfriend's birthday. I'd already booked to see screening of La Dolce Vita - a classic Italian-language 1960s black and white film for those not familiar - at the British Film Institute on the day before. I go to see films at the BFI a lot; but usually to see films from the African Odysseys film programme that shows new and rare films made by filmmakers from Africa and the diaspora. I couldn't think of a black-owned restaurant in the Southbank area so I booked dinner at a restaurant at a hotel nearby. Then, at the 11th hour I realised if we went to dinner really early, i.e. 6pm, we could have a quick dinner at Ikoyi and still make the film. He'd never been so I was extra excited to take him there. The food at Ikoyi is amazing and quite unusual; they use West African ingredients in interesting ways. The restaurant got really good reviews when it opened and a Michelin star about a year after opening so I'm obviously not the only person who loves it. The dinner and movie was his present but I also got him beard oil from Rich by Rick Ross because I remembered that he'd mentioned that he wanted it.
On his actual birthday we went to a black-owned clubnight run with a big group of friends. Disappointingly the club didn't have Ace of Spades (the Armand de Brignac champagne brand owned by Jay-Z) on its menu. Since Jay-Z and Beyonce brought their own champagne to the Oscar's I've renewed my determination to like it and request it, but this will only be when other people are footing the bill because it retails for > £300 per bottle for the non-vintage wine and naturally in clubs it's a lot more expensive. I'm trying to drink less but special occasions usually call for some kind of sparkling wine and I'm keen to discover more black-owned wineries / brands. I thought Rick Ross owned Luc Belaire sparkling wine brand but it seems that he doesn't and is a high profile brand representative, like Diddy is for Ciroc vodka.
There a number of black-owned wineries and winemakers in the USA and South Africa, notably from the latter, House of BNG, owned by media personality (and general boss chick) Bonang Matheba but I don't know of any currently stocked in the UK. There are other types of alcohol brands available here that are black-owned. At Ikoyi I tried Pedro's ogogoro, a type of distilled spirit made from palm sap. Nigerian brands of beer (as well as beers from other African countries) such as Star are widely available in the UK too. I'm am now on a mission to find some more and give an update when I've found some more... wish me luck.