Tribal Marks, a creative outreach and personal lifestyle brand that serves as a catalyst to convey the message of identity, truth and culture through events, products, services, clothing and design.
We interviewed ‘Dami Madugu, the inspiring brains and beauty behind Tribal Marks. ?As the organization’s Creative Director, her passion for humanity continues to drive the growth, mission and impact of the organization, not only in the United States, but around the world.
Tell us a little bit more about Tribal Marks and who your typical audience is?
In a nutshell, Tribal Marks is a creative outreach and?lifestyle brand with clothing, services?and design inspired by the message of identity, truth, culture and the fight for freedom.?We are all about Social Entrepreneurship.
Tribal Marks’ design style is a trend infusion that started with Africa, highlighting the beauty of culture and the inspiration of words through the unique form of fabrics and languages in graphic forms. Therefore most of our products are called “inspired wear” as our goal is to go beyond fashion to making a fashion “statement” with words, a walking inspiration so to speak.
We thrive on connecting people to Christ?and seeing lives transformed and equipped for eternity.
Our typical audience is multicultural. Starting out in Southern California, we were well received and patronized by cosmopolitan Latino and Caucasian young adults and women; and in some instances, the Nigerian community. Though in the case of the African community we were more so a celebration and inspiration to them. There was an increase in patronization however, in introducing the outreach and collections on ground in Africa.
In what direction are you hoping to take your work with the organization?
We’re still relatively young so the direction is to expand our reach, but stick with the creative direction and vision. Currently, Tribal Marks has extended one of it’s activities, Karingah! by creating a brick and mortar experience featuring a Tribal Marks showroom. The Boutique Fitness Lounge will offer services in art and dance inspired fitness, life coaching, spa treatments and Tribal Marks inspired wear. The Tribal Marks signature collection will itself focus more on an active wear line for overall brand cohesiveness. Since my heart is for people, I wanted a home platform and freedom space to invite them into. Hopefully we’ll continue to open several locations globally.
Can you tell us more about Tribal Mark?s campaign ?Please take my Children??
The ?Please Take my Children? campaign is Tribal Marks? advocacy for orphans; and child victims of?human trafficking ? a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that involves the recruitment, transportation,?harboring or delivery of people for the purposes of slavery, sexual exploitation and forced labor.??Please Take my Children??is the cry of a dead or helpless parent, but ultimately, the heart of God? asking us to steward His creation-His children, and take up their cause as though they were ours, just as He did for us.
What inspired you begin this very important global initiative?
A few years ago, right before I launched Tribal Marks, I started to hear a lot about this “human trafficking thing”, but like with many others, the concept just wasn’t hitting home… until I actually listened. I was listening to Lisa Bevere with Pearl Alliance and she told the story of an undercover visit to a brothel. She spoke of a lady who was trapped in sex slavery and forced labor. We’ll call the lady “Pearl.” Pearl was accustomed to servicing about 40 clients a day while her children waited under the bed. She had concluded that there was no hope for her, but maybe someone could smuggle away her children… if she could just get them into the right hands, that is. She ran after them and almost blew their cover as she called out “Please, take my children.”
I didn’t know when a wail came from within me as I listened. Not tears or sadness, but a long, painful WAIL! Oddly enough, Lisa had just said this a few weeks before in another one of her podcasts:?“It’s not until you wail on behalf of another. It’s not until the plight of another touches you to the core… then will you do something about it.”
I had considered myself an orphan and abuse victim advocate, yet I had never imagined an industry where perpetrators maximized the very worst of this combination. Preying on orphans, “harvesting” babies, and putting children as young as 7 years into sex slavery and pornography, while clients from suits to beach bums took advantage of them.
How did women like Pearl get into this bondage? Was she lured with a great “job” offer that would help her take care of her family? Was she sold off by parents or guardians who couldn’t afford basic neccessities? Was she born into it? Or was she simply kidnapped and never heard from again, becoming another soul lost in the sea of about 27 million in captivity.
Tribal Marks launched, with the?Please TAKE My Children campaign, and the brand is?bound?to the cause of?Freedom.
Our campaigns allow us to raise funds in a creative manner with evenings of art, fashion, food, dance, poetry, friends… and then we channel the funds through allies on the field as we build relationships. We also go alongside when we can to offer physical support.
What would you describe the goals of your campaign to be?
Raise consciousness (not just awareness because as things lay on our conscience we should be moved to action and intercession); prayer, funds and inspire a “stepping out” into the field for those who may discover this to be their calling.
What would say the impact of the campaign has been till date?
The campaign has gone alongside a few organizations so far, but I’ll give an example of one new team and it’s collaborative numbers in just the rescue of women and children. This doesn’t even begin to cover children that have been prevented from being trafficked; homes that have been built, food, clothing and shelter in after-care facilities and vocational training schools.?What I like about coalitions is that it’s hard to covet the credit. Because, as the question asks, what is the impact? And this is what these teams care about 622?Victims Saved By Teams; 348?Teams? Prosecutions; 15?Undercover Operatives; 5?Countries.
It is often said that very little recognition is given to individuals of African descent that are involved in social enterprise or global development. What do you envision the role of Africans to be in global outreach or impact?
I envision a huge role because it’s a huge continent. Human beings are a great asset to creation, therefore, having so many people from the continent increases the impact opportunity. The key is that we begin to think that way.
Also, those who are already involved and will be involved should be proud to highlight their heritage. Americans take pride in their US heritage everywhere they go, but once Africans hit global heights, there sometimes seems to be a complex that creeps in to neutralize their heritage (in my humble opinion of those of us in the Western Hemisphere). Now I’m not suggesting ethnocentrism, but a simple matter of reference.
Are there any other projects you are involved in?
Yes, as an official Exodus Road blogger, we just returned from an expedition to Asia with the team to see the realities of the darkness of human trafficking in one of the most saturated areas in the world. The Exodus Road focuses on intervention through covert investigations, an area in battling human trafficking that has been weak for too long. The three main areas are Prevention, Intervention and After-Care. Confronting the criminals behind this is delicate but necessary to turn back the wheels of captivity. Please read more on my blog at ThinkAgainBlog.Tv.
A lot of my energy is also being poured to getting the first Karingah! Studio location ready and running.
If you could change anything about people?s perceptions of the African continent, what would it be?
That it’s a huge continent and it’s not possible to say just one thing about Africa and Africans. Some of us have a lot in common, but some don’t. Just think of it in terms of Asia. Of course, this is the complaint of the average African exposed to the shortcomings of western thinking.? But really, we’re fully human, intelligent, resilient, innovative and rich in many areas.We should be highlighted for our different strengths more, and not compared to just the strengths of others. But more importantly, what I really would like to change is Africa’s perception of itself. Truly, many of us have a high esteem of ourselves and culture, which is great, but we should be more global outreach minded. When people see Africa only as a place that’s in need, we should take it personally. The principle of giving is a principle of life and prosperity. We tend to think our problems are so huge, that we can only afford to help ourselves and receive help from others. This creates stagnancy. We have a lot to offer but our minds need to change.
I find that Africans may migrate to the Western Hemisphere and still have a closed-minded approach to purposefully reaching out to others. It’s definitely fine to send money back home and keep your family roots protected; however I do think if what we have is so great, why don’t we strive to share it with those right in front of us? If you think your non-African neighbor is morally beneath you (not that I agree with that thought pattern) then why not reach out with love and respect to show the healthier way? Wouldn’t that be compassion? Why not have a world changing attitude? The proverbial widow and orphan in another impoverished land is just as much our human responsibility as it is the United States? responsibility.