Every woman needs a squad or what the feminist writer Bell Hooks calls “real sisterhood”—a band of women who support and share a collective vision. Chimamanda Adichie, herself a feminist, has a three-woman squad behind her successful Instagram account @chimamanda_adichie. She recently shared a picture of these smart, social media savvy women, describing them as “brilliant, kind, funny, lovely.”
The popular Instagram hashtag #sqaudmeansfamily applies to Adichie in the most literal sense. The picture shows 16-year-old Kamsi and 20-year-old twins Chisom and Amaka. They are all Adichie’s nieces and have taken on the (undoubtedly delightful) task of curating Adichie’s Instagram.
We’ve all come to know Adichie for her unapologetically political approach to most things. For Adichie, writing is political. Hair is political. The latest to join her list of political things is fashion. When she debuted the Instagram account last year, she announced that it was going to be dedicated to showcasing pieces made by Nigerian designers. Named Project Wear Nigeria, the initiative allows Adichie to put her star power behind the growing fashion industry in Nigeria. Chisom, Amaka, and Kamsi signed up early on in the project to bring Adichie’s vision to life.
The trio take their job seriously. From the onset, they had a clear vision for their curatorial work. In an interview with racked.com, Chisom says, “My aunt’s always been hopeless with social media…[My sister and I] wanted to have a say in which pictures were posted because some of the pictures she liked looked really, really dodgy to us.” Adichie needed the help. And they answered the call.
The Insta-squad has been busy. The account is updated regularly. Posts come with captions containing detailed information about the piece (including accessories), the designer, and the event where the outfit was worn. Over time the quality of the photographs have improved. Their hard work and know-how is paying off. With over 111k followers, the account is clearly on fire.
When you are social media-savvy but have an aunt who is a tad “hopeless” at it, your job description might include giving tutorials on literally everything having to do with Instagram, including tips on striking the right pose.
“She’ll ask us, ‘Okay so how should I pose?’ and we’ll give her directions like ‘Okay hands down, turn to the side, look up, one leg behind’…“and good lighting”), says Chisom. Adichie has said in the past that being in front of the camera makes her “knotted with awkwardness.” Well, Chisom and the crew are changing that one helpful tip at a time.
The significance of the whole project is not lost on Adichie’s fans. The fact that she is using her powerful global brand to promote Nigerian designers, both established and emergent, is a powerful gesture.
Adichie’s fans are also just super-delighted she’s made the entire Nigerian fashion industry her wardrobe, Instagram her runway, and that they get to enjoy a front row view.
By the way, for those of you interested in the pieces the women are wearing, here is some details shared on the Instagram post.