THE POWER
Go behind the scenes of French Deal’s newest campaign with The Power newspaper.
Go behind the scenes of French Deal’s newest campaign with The Power newspaper.

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The Berets KODJIA
a story of roots

French Deal was born at the crossroads of the hip-hop universe and a passion for fashion and African culture. Across its different collections and campaigns, the House of French Deal shares its convictions and vision of Black culture. After the Volume 4 collection, Steeven Kodjia takes a fresh position with his new campaign, shot on location in Ghana, titled “THE POWER IS YOURS.”.

THE POWER IS YOURS.” campaign is engaged and engaging, spotlighting the history of the Black Panther Party and the combat of certain great African leaders. With this new campaign, Steeven Kodjia wishes to awaken the conscience through his art.

This campaign elevates French Deal’s iconic new piece: the Beret KODJIA. Creative director Steeven Kodjia, created this eponymous beret in homage to prominent figures in the history of the Black community. With this line of accessories, he gives power back to the people.

Here, everything is a story of roots.

A UNIQUE
FASHION FILM

Enter the world of the Berets KODJIA…

…by watching the Fashion Film “THE POWER IS YOURS.”

This film shot in Ghana offers you a unique interpretation of the beauty of African culture.

LET YOURSELF BE TRANSPORTED

JOIN THE MOVEMENT

 

A word from the editors

« Inspiring ! »

« Full of emotions »

« An ode to Africa ! »

« I had tears in my eyes ! »

12
MONTHS OF WORK
9
BERETS
5
DAYS OF SHOOTING
4
WORDS
1
COMMUNITY

“Realism is sad, I prefer the dream because it is the dream that has allowed the wildest daring and it is these madnesses that have allowed men to stand up, to believe in their victory and to actually win. “

Thomas Sankara

THE POWER PROGRAM

In 1967 in the United States, the Black Panther Party created its Ten Point Program (also known as the Black Panther Party Self Defense Platform and Ten Point Program). With these ten points, much like a charter of rights and independence, they declare their ideals to finally make the Black community free.

Each point contains two sections:
– A first section entitled “What we want now!” states what the Black Panther Party wants, such as freedom, work, decent housing and education.
– The second section titled “What We Believe” expands on the first section by demanding what they see as sufficient compensation for all injustices committed against the black community.

Very explicit and comprehensive, this program quickly became the solid basis of the Black Panther Party and regarded as the document defining the actions of the party.

In 2021 in France, Steeven Kodjia transposes this program to the present, integrating these ten commandments into the DNA of the Maison French Deal.
Discover the POWER Program.

1
WE HAVE THE POWER TO DEFEND OUR CULTURE.
2
WE HAVE THE POWER TO UNITE.
3
WE HAVE THE POWER TO FIGHT.
4
WE HAVE THE POWER TO LOVE OURSELVES.
5
WE HAVE THE POWER TO UNDERTAKE.
6
WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THINGS.
7
WE HAVE THE POWER TO TEACH.
8
WE HAVE THE POWER TO ASSUME OUR STYLE.
9
WE HAVE THE POWER TO BELIEVE IN WHO WE WANT TO BE.
10
WE HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE HISTORY.

« We must dare to invent the future. »

Thomas Sankara

THE SYMBOLISM OF
COWRIES

During the process of creating the Beret KODJIA, it was important for Creative Director Steeven Kodjia to add a representative element of the land of Africa.
Cowries have become a symbol paying homage to the richness of our cultural heritage. These small, rather ordinary-looking seashells, carry with them a real history and strong symbolism on the African continent, especially in West Africa. The Maison French Deal has chosen to pay tribute to two of these symbolisms.

Cowries were introduced to West Africa long before colonization. These shells very quickly became the main currency of trade.

Indeed, the cowrie had all the characteristics inherent to a monetary currency: easy to manage and transport thanks to its lightness, non-perishable, and usable for both modest and large payments. Its unique shape made this shell instantly identifiable and difficult to counterfeit.

In the Villages
Conducting commerce was the responsibility and privilege of the ancients. They used cowries for the purchase of necessities for the community such as tools, medicine, or livestock. Trade on a larger scale was the specialty of several ethnic groups, in particular the Hausa, Dyula, and Yarse. Thanks to cowries, they participated in the exchange of goods on a large scale.>

In the Great Empires
The use of cowries helped promote long-distance trade. Seashells quickly began to replace gold (which was becoming increasingly scarce) in everyday monetary circulation. The cowrie has thus become an element of value and a symbol of wealth.

During the Colonization
Later, the Europeans sought to impose their own monetary currency to replace cowries. They aimed to divert trade from the British Gold Coast to their own colony in Ivory Coast. Compared to banknotes, they found cowries to be bulky to store and difficult to count. However, the task was more complicated than expected, as Africans wanted to keep their currency rather than joining a new, centralized currency.

When the French banned the use of cowries in the early 1900s, the elders resisted, refusing to include the new currency in their reserves or use it in their ceremonies in place of the beloved shell. The ban on the use of cowries, however, has not changed people’s habits much. The attachment to the shell, its great availability on the market, and the depreciation of the French franc (unlike cowries which had retained their value) contributed to the resistance of West Africans until the 1940s.

Nowadays
Today, cowries are no longer used as official currency on the African continent but leave behind traces of their history. In some countries, like Burkina Faso, locals occasionally give cowry alms, alone or mixed with coins. All over West Africa, it is still possible to pay for ritual services with these shells. The cowrie is also used to adorn ornaments, decorations, and objects of divination.

Divinatory Art
The use of cowries for divinatory art is arguably one of the oldest practices in the world. Common throughout West Africa, cowries are a way to read the future and find answers to questions.

During a reading, cowries work in pairs. The person seeking answers thinks or whispers their question, then blows on the cowries before throwing them onto a circular surface. The cowries are then interpreted according to their distribution and position (face up or down). Depending on various beliefs, this allows to get exact answers about the inquirer’s private life or a crucial decision.

Cowries are also lucky charms adorning the outfits of hunters and warriors, and braided into sacred masks and ceremonial dance costumes. They may also be used in traditional medicine to accompany the deceased on their journey as they leave this world. In northern Guinea, for example, the Lodagaa believe that the dead must pay 20 cowries to cross the River of Death and reach the land of rest to the west.

Lastly, the slit on the underside of the shell may resemble a black pupil against its pearly surface. This is why it’s often used to protect against the evil eye.

Religious art
The religious value of the cowry led animist priests to make costumes entirely or in part of cowries to be worn during ceremonial events. The sacred power of these small seashells only sublimates their beauty.

THEY MADE HISTORY...

To each great man, his story.
To each story, its legacy.
To each legacy, its tribute. 

 

Pay tribute to remember.
Pay tribute to salute with respect.
Pay tribute to pass on to future generations.

KWAME NKRUMAH

We pay tribute to one of our African leaders: Kwame Nkrumah. In celebration of him, the “THE POWER IS YOURS.” was filmed in Ghana. Kwame Nkrumah was a statesman and the first president of Ghana as an independent country. One day, he uttered a powerful phrase which still resonates today in the heads of all children of the diaspora: “I am not African because I was born in Africa but because Africa was born in me.”

The creative director of French Deal, Steeven Kodjia, forever carried by this symbolism, naturally wishes to pay homage to this man and return the letters of nobility to the continent.

« I am not African because I was born in Africa but because Africa was born in me. »

Kwame Nkrumah

BLACK PANTHER PARTY

Around this same time, across the Atlantic, Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in Oakland, California. Thanks to their fervor and concrete actions for the freedom of the Black community in the United States, the Black Panther Party has strongly influenced the world and remains a universal symbol of struggle.

Taking inspiration from the Black Panther Party, Steeven Kodjia therefore decided to reinterpret it in his own way. Ideologically and stylistically, the revolutionary movement is the primary source of inspiration for the “THE POWER IS YOURS.” campaign. In tribute to the members of the Black Panther Party and their struggle, we have reproduced one of their famous photos.

BACKSTAGE OF THE CAMPAIGN SHOOTING IN GHANA
1
MESSAGE
5
DAYS OF SHOOTING
9
BERETS

FEBRUARY 2021
The Maison French Deal invites you to discover the shooting backstages of the campaign “THE POWER IS YOURS.” for the release of the Beret KODJIA line.

10
FILMING LOCATIONS
20
MEMBERS IN THE FILM CREW
42
MODELS

Art and Creative Direction – Steeven Kodjia & Urivaldo Lopes
Photography / Video – Urivaldo Lopes
Lighting – Thomas Clodine-Florent
Framing – Frédéric Blavot-Zara
Styling – Steeven Kodjia & Kahina Melchane

By Elodie Mikomo Kimbosso & Océane Marsau

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