Kwesi Yanful @Kwesithethird


afropunk bk: spinthrift market, mizizi

August 20, 2019

Our merchants are the heart of the festival (besides the poppin’ bands and artists, of course). Each one has a particular story that makes their craft meaningful and unique. We interviewed some of our fave brands that will be at AFROPUNK Brooklyn this year. Get your wallets ready!

What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Paakow Essandoh and I’m a Ghanaian-American born in New York but raised in Dallas, Texas.

Describe what you do and what you sell.
I’m the Chief & Founder of MIZIZI International, a lifestyle brand for the African Diaspora. We make jerseys representing different nations starting in Africa but we have since expanded into the Caribbean and Latin America as well. Meaning “roots” in Swahili, MIZIZI began as a reminder that taking pride in your culture is an integral part of self-actualization but has since become an international movement that transcends clothing; it’s a celebration of identity and the roots that connect us all.

What was the moment you decided: okay, I gotta turn this idea into a reality?
By fall of my sophomore semester at USF, I decided that I needed a break from Tampa and took some time off. I moved back home to Dallas and worked in my career field as a pharmacy tech at a retail pharmacy. It was during my time here that I realized that there was no way I was going to go back to school just to end up in the same place but with a different title. It was then I started doing my due diligence and started taking the idea of MIZIZI more serious.

Define success.
As I get older, I’ve watched my definition of success change. It used to be how much press and accolades MIZIZI could garner or what famous person we could get a jersey on. But now it’s being able to inspire confidence in one’s self. To be able to help someone stand proud in their identity and feel like they have an authentic outlet of expression is success to me.

What’s something fest-goers should check out at your booth?
Two things. Last year we partnered with Marvel to release the officially licensed Wakanda Baseball Jersey in light of the Black Panther movie premiere. This year we partnered with Disney to release the officially licensed Lion King Baseball Jersey in light of the 25th-anniversary remake of The Lion King.

Kwesi Yanful @Kwesithethird