#Sentimental: Honoring The Things That Help Narrate Our Stories

Abi Ishola


After my husband Kunle and I were officially married I couldn’t wait to open the suitcase full of gifts his family gave me as part of my dowry at our traditional Nigerian ceremony (I like to think I’m worth a lot more than a few cows you know, lol). 

There were lots of cool goodies, but one I kept tucked away is the fabric in the backdrop of this photo. It’s the same material his family wore to our “white wedding” reception.  The other day the fabric reemerged from my trunk filled with Nigerian clothes as I searched for Ankara for my daughter to take to her Afrocentric preschool (only in Brooklyn…more on that later).  I realized then I wasn’t ready to cut a piece from my bundle.  It was too sentimental.  So far I’ve only had a pair of pants made from it during my last visit to Nigeria.
That got me thinking about the things we hold onto.  The things that we use to narrate our stories or the items that paint the details in the lives of our loved ones.  So I had my husband take this photo with the fabric in the background.  My yellow headwrap was gifted to me from a popular Ghanaian wax print factory during my trip to Accra.  I’m also wearing my father’s ring with his initial on it.  He’s now deceased but I look at it and think of him and his soft veiny “pretty boy” hands.

Abi Ishola

My mom loves gold.  She’s always talking about it so I threw on some of the pieces I casually lifted from her collection.  My favorite is this Nefertiti pendant that my sister and I have been in awe of since we were old enough to understand what gold means to the average Nigerian woman.  Mom always brags about this along with the other gold her “dear brother” bought her from Mecca during his Hajj.

This month on BeyondClassicallyBeautiful.com, you’ll see photos of other women I admire showing of pieces that are sentimental to them.  In the meantime, let us know what you hold dearest.



Abi Ishola
Abi Ishola


Abi Ishola is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Beyond Classically Beautiful, the acclaimed photo series turned multimedia platform. On any given day, you can find her tucked away in a perfectly lit Brooklyn coffee shop working for several hours. Then she dashes off to pick up her daughter from daycare. Abi is also a TV Producer, a proud FIT Alum, Nigerian-American, and a soul searcher.

  1. I love the energy of your platform. Thank you for inspiration, all the layers of brown beauty and the non-nonense forum women of color face display daily.

    Love, Peace & Blessings

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