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Be One With The Maasai

A few months ago I connected with online environmental lifestyle magazine Green Jar to style its first awareness campaign, HIGHLY ENDANGERED: THE MAASAI – a viral campaign that seeks to advocate awareness about the effects of environmental degradation on the Maasai culture through the mediums of fashion, photography, and design.The campaign featured 5 different ad looks starring model and America’s Next Top Model victor Dani Evans adorned with Maasai tribal accoutrements.  I was immediately enthused when Green Jar reached out to me to be involved with this project.  Not only am I an avid collector of artisinal jewelry but I am more inspired to serve a purpose that goes above and beyond monetary treasures.  It would be a shame to not use our gifts and talents to raise awareness about current affairs in our world so to deliver a message through our art was truly fulfilling and a blessing.

The term Highly Endangered is often used to describe a population at risk of becoming extinct either because it is few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters. But what about a culture at risk? This is where the Maasai tribe finds itself today. The Maasai, a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania identify themselves as those who uphold the culture of pastoralism. However, maintaining a traditional pastoral lifestyle has become increasingly difficult due to outside influences of the modern world and environmental degradation that has resulted from drought.

Consequently the Maasai have been forced to develop new ways of sustaining themselves. Tribal embellishment is a strong example of the way the Maasai have taken initiative in order to raise money and awareness to combat some of the effects of environmental degradation.

The Highly Endangered: The Maasai campaign, features exquisite jewelry made by the Maasai women. Each beaded piece was purchased from Maasai Association at http://www.maasai-association.org. This traditional art form is now at the heart of an initiative to enhance earnings. Here, fashion, environmental preservation and women’s rights come together.

By visiting http://www.highlyendangered.com and following the campaign on twitter athttp://www.twitter.com/hendangered, you can learn more about this at risk culture and how you can be apart of the solution.

Producer: Green Jar
Co-Producer: Dani Evans
Creative Director: Jamie Baratta
Model: Dani Evans
Photographer: Itaysha Jordan
Stylist: Samantha Jo Alonso
Makeup: Merrell Hollis
Hair: Dante Blandshaw

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