04 Jun Rharha Nembhard
We are committed to bringing you the freshest talent you didn’t know you loved. More than mere influencers we want to showcase the innovators; the true masters of cultural manipulation
Words: Tshiamo Seape
Rharha’s CV reads like three. She seems far too accomplished for someone her age (26), but that’s exactly what we love about her. In Rharha’s world, boundaries are imaginary and the thirst to create outweighs any fears she might hold that would prevent her from doing so. During breaks from her Master’s in museums, galleries, and contemporary culture she works so feverishly at her craft that it is clear that this is someone with the drive and passion to succeed in anything they do.
The sheer scope of her talents means that there is no way that her impact on popular culture in and around Africa can be understated, and she’s only about to get bigger. Rharha (sounds like a battle cry), is the multitalented art director, model and jewellery designer responsible, in no small part, for the co-creation of “Noir-Wave” – The moniker created to define the genre-bending style created by Belgian born, South African raised musician, Petite Noir (who is also her partner).
Noir’s music is a seamless blend of afro beats – reminiscent of your parent’s favourite dance music, and electronic flourishes all raised to new heights by Noir’s deep yet soothing vocals. The visual accompaniment (all Rharha), is harder to define. Her artistry is refreshingly eclectic. Her style can make use of light and shadow exploiting black and white to reveal rigid yet striking contrasts like on their video for The Fall. In the very next breath, Rharha can shift gears and present, for our pleasure, a completely different side of her.
In the video for Down rich colours adorn the backdrops of Congolese streets as Rharha, in gleaming regalia, serves looks that make you yearn for more. Her hair is an ever-changing masterpiece, while her personal style is full of colours, designs, and style you never thought you could perceive. Her whole life is like a giant living mural from the future.
Born in London to Jamaican parents, she spent much of her youth in South Africa. This life experience has coloured her perceptions decidedly black. Her goal is to represent this blackness in a global context, because black narratives are still, unfortunately, grossly underrepresented. She has used her vast array of talents to expertly curate the visual style that accompanies Noir Wave. Her visual aesthetic is embedded in the work of Petite Noir, and at this point, it is impossible to deny her talent; a talent eager to showcase the cultural richness of the continent closest to her heart.
Rharha Nembhard is a powerhouse; a champion of the continent and a visual genius, whose abilities are just now getting the attention they deserve. Her future is bright, and ours brighter for it.