Nuevo Culture

This French-Malian Singer Turned Heads At Balenciaga

Aya Nakamura attends the Balenciaga Haute Couture fall 2021 show. Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

Today in Paris, a masked Kanye West, pearl-wearing Lewis Hamilton, and corset-donning Bella Hadid took in Balenciaga’s latest couture show. While that front row is stacked on its own, it was the French-Malian singer Aya Danioko aka Aya Nakamura who caught our attention in an emerald green Balenciaga robe dress.

The 26-year-old singer, who was born in Mali and was raised in the suburbs of Paris, is a bop-creating genius. Even if you don’t understand French (I don’t!) her songs deserve to be on repeat. Nakamura’s knack for powerful, layered lyrics is a family gift, too: Nakamura’s mother is a griotte, a Malian poet and storyteller. Nakamura’s biggest hit, her song “Djadja,” currently has over a whopping 785 million views on Youtube. The lyrics talk about a lying man who spreads rumors about having sexual relations with Nakamura. The song resonated so much with listeners in France that back in 2019, people protesting against violence against women in Paris used Nakamura’s face on banners. Already, the singer has caught Maluma, Stormzy, Major Lazer, and Swae Lee’s attention, collaborating with each.

The Balenciaga show isn’t the first time that Nakamura has flexed her fashion prowess. One of her latest music videos for “Bobo,” released this past May, shows the singer coming into her stylish own. Shot on the Cape Verde islands, the video shows Nakamura wearing an array of knitwear, including a knit yellow and green dress and a lavender bikini top with a pair of striped pants—fresh and beachy. As major Maisons take notice of the singer, we can bet that this won’t be the last time we’ll see Nakamura wear a killer look.