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The Malaika Collective

We are opening our first flagship location + co-creation lab dedicated to empowering, celebrating and educating the Pan-African diaspora.

$4,055
pledged of$100,000 goal
35
120Days Left
Fund it
Campaign Ends on March 30, 2022

Project Description

 

Welcome!

WHO ARE WE?

We are Malaika Collective. We are the world’s first lifestyle fashion brand that cultivates conversation and community about the histories and cultures of the Pan-African diaspora. From our African-inspired fashion spreads to our carefully-curated online threads, our goal is to get you to discover your efiɛ, your nyumbani… your home.           

Home

                                                                                                                  

OUR STORY & WHAT WE DO:

Malaika means Angel in Swahili

Malaika Collective is a brand that represents the radiance, regality, and resilience of the African diaspora. We created Malaika Collective to foster a multicultural home for Black and Brown people from all parts of the African diaspora and allies alike. As a collective, we strive to create content that reminds you of the comfort of your home country and the promise of new beginnings. Malaika Collective creates and celebrates the fabric of home -- the one we’re born into and the one we create in community.

We foster conversations

The Malaika Collective is a culmination of a five year venture of innovative storytelling through fashion, media, and education. Empowered by her Ghanaian and Kenyan heritage, our founder, Rita Bunatal, began to build the Malaika brand through sketching designs in 2015, with the launch of Malaika Apparel Co., the apparel branch of the collective. Our iconic design, “Black Gold: Fist of Solidarity,” remains the number one sold out item with Malaika. Our designs are more than ideas, they have impact.

 

In addition to Malaika’s conscious threads, we provide a social platform with historical resources for anyone interested in learning more about the cultural and political history of the African Diaspora. In addition to education, we have sought to empower the Malaika community as well through several professional development opportunities. We have partnered with the Brooklyn Community Pride Center to hire LGBTQ+ POC youth. 

While our digital reach is international, Malaika’s physical home will be in New York City. 

In 2022, The Malaika Collective (formerly known as Malaika Apparel Co.) is expanding & opening our first experiential retail shop + co-creation lab that will focus on educating and empowering members of the Pan-African diaspora community through innovative & immersive ways of storytelling.

 

THE PROBLEM

There are no collective spaces that provide a space for Black creators and entrepreneurs to engage and interact not only with their work, but with their collective histories and cultures that have been forcefully separated from them. In addition, the mainstream miseducation and misrepresentation about African Cultures in and beyond the continent persists. There are no unique and immersive 360 shopping & learning experiences that engage all 5 senses and encourage learning more about the African continent and the connections to the Diaspora. 

Where are the African-focused community spaces that creators and innovators of African descent can educate and empower themselves? 

1. Over the last decade, there has been a desire for Diasporans to reach back and connect with their homeland. Transparency Market Research PVT. LTD (TMR) reports the global DNA test kits market is projected to expand 23.4% from 2019 to 2027. After Airbnb partnered with 23andMe, the number of travelers using Airbnb for tracing their roots increased by 500 percent in 2014, and 78 percent of these trips were taken in pairs or solo, suggesting these are introspective journeys. In 2019, Ghana launched "The Year of Return" encouraging diasporans to "return home" and further bridge the gap between the global Black diaspora.


2. COVID has severely impacted the work of many black creatives & entrepreneurs in New York City. Although the government passed The CARES Act which expanded unemployment benefits to include self-employed and gig economy workers – the Black community has been hit the hardest in terms of recovering compared to other groups.

OUR INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS 

In Summer 2022, The Malaika Collective will be our first flagship location. This space will double as a retail location & immersive, membership-based innovation hub for Black creators and entrepreneurs.

From interactive educational walls to a kitchen that prepares Afro-fusion inspired dishes, our location will feature a co-working + co-creation space along with a separate event space to host events celebrating the heart, culture and traditions of Brooklyn. Our co-creation space will be available to the members of our community to create art that centers on the education of traditional African & Black Diasporan cultures, experiences & forms of representation.

 

LET US BE ONE OF THE PLACES YOU CALL "HOME":

Malaika Collective has been successful in cultivating a community that is dedicated to learning, growing and coming together to celebrate the beauty of the diaspora. Malaika has also created a space for allies to show their solidarity with the essential pro-Black movements that are ongoing and extremely necessary. We provide a platform to anyone and everyone that is dedicated to learning about the multiple ways we as a people are connected to the continent of Africa. 

We are creating an affordable, membership-based physical space where people of the diaspora can convene, connect and collaborate with others in our community. Amenities include:

  • Photo and sound studios that are fully supplied with the high quality equipment
  • Computer Lab equipped with quiet high performance Apple machines, perfect for helping our creators bring their dreams into reality
  • Luxurious and cozy furniture perfect for lounging or working, depending on how you feel that day 
  • Secure and safe dressing rooms w/ lockers and showers fully stocked with black owned beauty and wellness brands to help keep you fresh and on top of your game 
  • An Afro-fusion cafe designed to keep you fed, hydrated and informed about various dishes and tapas from across the Black diaspora 
  • Private workrooms and sound-proof phone booths to make sure your tea remains confidential
  • A fully equipped conference room, with printing and free wifi available
  • A digital community where members can connect seamlessly with others within the community. We know and understand the power of collaboration and want to foster healthy relationships within the community.
  • Creative consultations with the Collective team and experts in their respective fields

THE SPACE:

Malaika Collective’s stimulatory environment will make for an immersive experience which allows individuals to reground, reaffirm, and reclaim their identity and provide them with an invaluable opportunity to make use of our services.

Hear

 

THE RETAIL SPACE:

Our retail location will be the new home for our apparel brand, Malaika Apparel Co. All of your favorite designs since 2015, will be available right here & ready to purchase. Staying true to our core values, we want to continue to tell the stories behind our designs and teach you more about the inspiration & history behind our pieces.

 

THE AFRO-FUSION CAFE:

Allow us to take you on a trip through your taste buds to Dakar, Senegal or Mombasa, Kenya with our jollof rice dishes and fufu/swallow stations. The Cafe will offer an exclusive and unique opportunity to experience the Diaspora through the story of spice. In addition to a cultural space, we want our members to be nourished in their bodies as well. 

 

THE CO-CREATION LAB:

Are you the next Issa Rae? Malaika is a space for the next generation of Pan African creatives, artists, and visionaries who have really big ideas. Our space provides hi-tech equipment to make your creative visions a reality.

The Creation Spaces will be three full rooms equipped for multimedia content creation.

  • 2 fully equipped Photo + Video Studio. Complete with lights, assorted backdrops, grip equipment and an associated camera rental system.

  • 2 comfortable and fully equipped and sound treated recording studio perfect for music recording + podcasting & voice over sessions.

 

 

THE EVENT SPACE & PROGRAMMING:

The Malaika Collective is a community that is committed to educating our members on the cultures and histories of the African diaspora. Every month, members will benefit from a rich array of events, workshops, and series that support their personal and professional development. We will feature programming in partnerships with other major creators, artists, investors in the diaspora. We aim to also foster and facilitate cross cultural exchanges between the United States and the continent through Zoom panels and speaker series.

 

 

 

YES, WE ARE PROVIDING SCHOLARSHIPS FOR THE SPACE!

 

The new generations of diaspora are finding new ways to bridge the gap between the pan-African diaspora communities by pulling inspirations from their identities and struggles and voicing their opinion on their lack of representation. When equipped with the right resources, such youth will rise to become leaders of their fields and bring exposure to diasporan stories that have long been suppressed.

The Malaika Collective scholarship differs from other scholarships because it holistically approaches an application to see areas of strength and need of the individual because we understand and identify with the community we serve. Recipients of our scholarship will be given the materials to help them as they advocate for their community and to help them succeed during their academic life.

 

WHAT SETS US APART?

While other spaces are rather one dimensional in their offerings, Malaika is fully invested in facilitating the next innovations in culture and commerce between emerging and established Black creatives regardless of social, educational or economic status.

Malaika Collective provides space, community, apparel, education and opportunities. Malaika Collective puts the tools into the hands of creators. Period.

When you invest in us, you are investing in Black creativity and entrepreneurship -- TWO things that we innately do best. We are the foundation to support innovators and creators.

We are the Malaika Collective.

 

WHO IS THIS SPACE FOR?

Malaika Collective is the home away from home for all African diasporans and our allies. At Malaika, we serve the needs of Black people, including women and LGBT communities, first. Allies and other people of consciousness in support of our mission are also welcomed in our space, provided that they agree and abide by the guidelines of engagement with the collective.  Designed by us for us, our space invites Black creatives, entrepreneurs, artists, educators, and community organizers who share a passion for promoting Pan African life and culture. They are emerging and established leaders in their fields and their communities who demonstrate socially active, progressive and queer affirming mindsets. 

Under the most repressive conditions, the strength of the African diaspora is in its reliance on the reservoir of kinship ties that offered resources and reprieve to not only survive, but also combat systems of oppression. At Malaika, we draw on this well documented knowledge to create a space that is safe, nurturing, and empowering for our members. 

 

WHY CROWDFUND? 

Malaika Collective has been operationally self-sufficient for the past five years without a major financial investment. Still without funding, Malaika has already established itself as a change agent and creative agitator in communities of color within the tri-state area and the African continent. In five years alone, we have cultivated a close knit community of creatives of color through fashion, storytelling, and digital media. It has been difficult to acquire traditional means of funding and as studies show, Black founders receive around 1% of funding and according to Forbes, Black women are denied access to credit and face capital constraints. Needless to say, we need to raise this money on our own to make this vision a reality.

With your support, we can reach even more creatives and provide a competitive stipend that not only allows them to survive, but to thrive. A large portion of this investment would go directly to the purchase and development of our first flagship location in Brooklyn. This retail shop and co-creation lab would focus on educating and empowering members of the African diaspora and allies through art expos, immersive education and creative workshops. This flagship location aims to be a one of a kind space that offers a unique approach to showcasing the beauty of the diaspora through our five senses and creating an experience like no other. An investment in Malaika Collective is an investment in the future of Black entrepreneurship as well as a commitment to sustaining diverse, creative communities in New York and beyond.

 

HOW YOUR FUNDS WILL SUPPORT US:  

Bringing this vision to life is one of the most important things to us right now. Throughout the past decade, we have seen such a transformation within our community and a need for such a unique space like the one we’ve envisioned. The power of the Malaika Collective lies with the community, so we decided to bring our idea to iFundWomen to make it a reality.

We just need your help to execute this vision. Your voice and your push will help us get started on securing a location and beginning the full build out of this very unique experience. 

The Malaika Collective is committed to working with other Black and Brown owned, women owned and other socially conscious businesses and ensuring that we pay them for their time and craft. 

The money raised through this round of funding will:

  • Aid us to secure the brick and mortar location in Brooklyn, and begin our first phase of interior and exterior renovations 
  • Construct photo and sound studios fully equipped with quality items
  • Compensate creatives and artisans who help us as we bring this vision to life 
  • Support inventory build out for Malaika Apparel Co

 

OUR FOUNDER:

Taken by: Rochelle Brockington
Makeup by: Amelia W.

Rita Bunatal is the founder & creative director of The Malaika Collective (formerly known as Malaika Apparel Co.), a Pan African lifestyle brand. Envisioned in the spring of 2015, Rita Bunatal started to create apparel designs that were inspired by the happiness, pain, frustration, joy, anger and excitement she felt in the midst of not only being a 1st generation African, but also as a black woman living between the U.S. and Ghana. As a Communications Major, she was inspired by various misrepresentations of the narratives surrounding Black bodies in the media, as well as the misunderstanding of each other within the diaspora . Since the launch of Malaika Apparel Co, her work has been featured in BuzzFeed, The New York Times, Blavity, HerCampus & Essence Magazine. Through this brand, she hopes to change and reshape the dominant narrative surrounding Africa.

Rita holds a B.S. in Communication Management and Design with a Corporate Communications focus and minors in African Diaspora studies & Communication studies. She identifies as a Ghanaian - Kenyan American & a Pan-African womanist. She also spends time exploring the complex identity formations of young Africans who continue to live between Africa and the United States. She was also recognized for her work with viral photo campaign during her sophomore year in college -- The Real Africa: Fight the Stereotype. The campaign dispelled common stereotypes about Africa and was featured on CNN, BET, USA Today amongst many others. She was also named a Future of Ghana 30 Under 30 Pioneer in 2019.

Rita continues to do work & create art that explores the complex identity formations of young Africans who continue to live between Africa and the US. 

OUR TEAM:

 

 

As the saying goes, it takes a village. Help us bring our vision to life by sharing our campaign with your networks on social media. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok for updates as we launch. If there are additional ways that you’d like to support us, please reach out to akwaaba@themalaikacollective.com

 

MEDAASE! ASANTESANA! THANK YOU!

 

Updates

The Campaign FAQs

Who is welcomed in the Malaika Collective?

The Malaika Collective welcomes all communities within the Pan-African Diaspora. Allies of other races and other people of consciousness are also welcomed in the Collective, and must agree to abide by the rules of community engagement in order to participate.  

 

Is Malaika Apparel the same as the Malaika Collective?

Yes and no. While we will continue to bring you the latest trendy and eco-friendly conscious threads, we will slowly be transitioning our brand name to the Malaika Collective. Malaika Apparel Co. (the Co. stands for “Collective”) will be housed under the Malaika Collective brand. Malaika Collective represents an expansion of Malaika Apparel, which will include our other digital and cultural ventures.

 

Where is the space?

While we are still in the process of selecting the space, Malaika Collective’s flagship location will be in Brooklyn, New York. The donations in the iFund women campaign will primarily go towards executing this vision to bring Malaika Collective to a reality. We will launch in 2022. 

 

I am not based in Brooklyn, how can I be part of the Malaika Collective?

Those who are not based in Brooklyn are still welcomed to be a part of the Collective. Sign up for our newsletter by clicking the link in our campaign to receive exclusive invitations to events that may happen in your city once it is safe to do so. Additionally, please follow our social platforms to stay up to date with workshops and merch. Shortly after we launch the flagship location, we will be introducing virtual memberships. 

 

How can I be a featured speaker or collaborator with Malaika Collective?

We are always looking to expand and amplify the voices in our village. Please email us at akwaaba@malaikacollective.com with your interest and contact information. We look forward to working with you!

Annyelica Diaz
06/30/2021
Monetary Contribution
$100
Cecilia
06/29/2021
Monetary Contribution
$30
Candacé King
06/03/2021
Malaika Collective Limited Edition Scarf
$60
Luke Harbur
04/20/2021
Medaase from our Founder
$100
Cheryl Faux
04/15/2021
Special Gift Package from Malaika
$200
Jordan Mason
04/14/2021
Early Access to our New Collection
$25
Lauren W.
04/14/2021
Supporter Shout-Out
$50
Olivia Sod
04/14/2021
Early Access to our New Collection
$25
04/13/2021
Malaika Collective Limited Edition Scarf
$60
Shyanne Ruiz
04/13/2021
Limited Edition T-Shirt
$150
Monetary Contribution

Give any amount and become a part of the community that helps bring the Malaika Collective's vision to life. Chale! Let's go!

4 Supporters
Select this reward
100.00 USD
It's A Wrap!

You will receive a limited edition scarf from with the Malaika Collective emblem on it. This is a 100% silk scarf and will only be available to those that donate to this tier.

7 Supporters
Select this reward
250.00 USD
Welcome to the Tribe! Akwaaba!

You are officially invited to our launch party! Once we launch, you will receive a VIP ticket to our launch party. As a supporter, we want to celebrate with you once we officially open!

2 Supporters
Select this reward
500.00 USD
Medaase from our Founder!

Our founder will shout you out in our thank you video.

3 Supporters
Select this reward
1,500.00 USD
Welcome "Efie"

YOU ARE OFFICIALLY A FOUNDING MEMBER OF THE MALAIKA COLLECTIVE! Let's make history together! You will be invited to the launch of our flagship and will receive all exclusive updates.

2 Supporters
Select this reward
2,000.00 USD
Creative Consultation

Sit down with our founder, Rita Bunatal,  and discuss creative strategies to bring your brand (back) to life. This will be a 45 minute call where you will be given several creative ideas to help refresh/start your brand.

2 Supporters
Select this reward
3,000.00 USD
🎞️The Storyteller 📽️

One thing our team is good at is telling a good story. Let us help you tell your story visually with a concept photoshoot put together by our founder, Rita Bunatal. You will receive a full package of photography and creative direction, along with a Malaika Apparel Co. item.

 

*This will be featured on our website.

0 Supporters
Select this reward
5,000.00 USD
Corporate Sponsor

This tier is for corporate sponsors that want to show solidarity with our community.

0 Supporters
Select this reward
10,000.00 USD
A True Malaika 👼🏽👼🏻

Your name will be etched into the walls of our flagship location. You helped to make this vision come to life & as a thank you, we will put your name on our building.

0 Supporters
Select this reward

Rewards

Monetary Contribution

Give any amount and become a part of the community that helps bring the Malaika Collective's vision to life. Chale! Let's go!

4 Supporters
Select this reward
100.00 USD
It's A Wrap!

You will receive a limited edition scarf from with the Malaika Collective emblem on it. This is a 100% silk scarf and will only be available to those that donate to this tier.

7 Supporters
Select this reward
250.00 USD
Welcome to the Tribe! Akwaaba!

You are officially invited to our launch party! Once we launch, you will receive a VIP ticket to our launch party. As a supporter, we want to celebrate with you once we officially open!

2 Supporters
Select this reward
500.00 USD
Medaase from our Founder!

Our founder will shout you out in our thank you video.

3 Supporters
Select this reward
1,500.00 USD
Welcome "Efie"

YOU ARE OFFICIALLY A FOUNDING MEMBER OF THE MALAIKA COLLECTIVE! Let's make history together! You will be invited to the launch of our flagship and will receive all exclusive updates.

2 Supporters
Select this reward
2,000.00 USD
Creative Consultation

Sit down with our founder, Rita Bunatal,  and discuss creative strategies to bring your brand (back) to life. This will be a 45 minute call where you will be given several creative ideas to help refresh/start your brand.

2 Supporters
Select this reward
3,000.00 USD
🎞️The Storyteller 📽️

One thing our team is good at is telling a good story. Let us help you tell your story visually with a concept photoshoot put together by our founder, Rita Bunatal. You will receive a full package of photography and creative direction, along with a Malaika Apparel Co. item.

 

*This will be featured on our website.

0 Supporters
Select this reward
5,000.00 USD
Corporate Sponsor

This tier is for corporate sponsors that want to show solidarity with our community.

0 Supporters
Select this reward
10,000.00 USD
A True Malaika 👼🏽👼🏻

Your name will be etched into the walls of our flagship location. You helped to make this vision come to life & as a thank you, we will put your name on our building.

0 Supporters
Select this reward