By Paul Pannone
At Caribbean week in New York I sat down with Chike Nwobu, founder of Munaluchi Bride, beginning a week of endeavors that culminated with Mr. Nwobu joining the Wedding Water Cooler. My new friend Chike soon learned the Cooler is a sometimes treacherous place where at least one– sometimes two or more members say something so raw and outlandish that it sparks discussions leading to a favorable conclusion.
“I’m liking the Water Cooler overall and plan to get more involved after listening to how it all works,” said Chike.
The ink is black, the page is white; together we learn to read and write. Besides, all wedding couples are beautiful on their special day.
Kristen and Alex photographed by K and K Photography
I met Chike at several industry events including the historic meeting of all major wedding media publications in New York. Chike will be the first to say it’s important to have an open mind and support major offensives against the pirating of wedding dress designs and images in the United States.
Chike stands about 6’6 with an intimidating frame but once I got to know him I felt all the sensitivity towards the injustices of society and why he’s set off to give Brides of Color a place to find all the resources she could ask for. But the forum is not only for the color black; or white, or red or yellow. Chike’s message transcends all (implied) barriers between human beings. In the end, we’re all mainly water anyway.
But for our purposes we’ll stick with the eloquent response Chike gave to Jim Duhe of Bridal Guide and why he created Munaluchi Bride magazine.
“As much as we have progressed and integrated, one thing we found in our own studies is that each and everyone of us still carry our culture within, as we grow. The content of a publication actually sell more than the cover. At Munaluchi we have a slogan; For the bride who craves culture and style. If you flip through the pages of my publications you will see how we have integrated the modem women who still wants to incorporate culture into her wedding.
The African-American market has really grown within the past 30 years. What we currently have on the streets is an integration of African/Caribbean’s and African-American, bound by the strong desire to hold on to culture we feed on. It’s all about the Bride and what she is looking for,” according to Chike.
Chike is well-aware of the difficulties in producing such an alternative product in mainstream society. But Chike realizes not all brides are blonde-haired, blue-eyed and five-foot-two. As illustrated by Angelina Jolie’s wish to attach the word ethnic to her wedding to Brad Pitt. According to the story the couple agree on the essentials but Angelina wants to add facets of world diversity. Whatever her reasoning is– it’s her wedding.
Discussions with Chike revert back to tolerance and understanding for the wishes of the bride– not how society boxes her in or how she is supposed to feel.
“My understanding of the failed publications is that they sold the same content like any other. Munaluchi is a teaching tool for the American bride– regardless of color. They just might just want to see other couples that happen to look like them; with the sophistication of a bridal publications showcasing a Vera Wang gown, a Tiffany Jewelry and more,” says Chike.
The latest issue of Munaluci Bride featuring Preston Bailey on the cover. Since we started this story we’ve shown the magazine to women of all color. White Italian, Latino, Jewish women say the magazine is not like thumbing through a typical bridal (yawn) book.
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