Why Actor Gbenga Akinnagbe Uses “African Prints”To Rebrand Vintage Furniture

Gbenga Akinnage, an actor on HBO’s “The Deuce,” revealed to The New York Times Style Magazine that he has a side business that not many people know about. When he’s not on set shooting, he spends his off-hours reupholstering chairs for his vintage furniture brand called Enitan Vintage.

As the Times’ Style Magazine popped into his brownstone in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, they described what his living room/stockroom looked like and how he gives these chairs a new life.

“He restores baroque settees and wingbacks of Western provenance,” they write. He “then re‑dresses them primarily using West African Dutch wax fabrics.”

They also write that while he was looking for some property, he found a lone chair in a basement that he decided to take home. When took a trip to South Africa to film the movie “Detour,” he found the perfect purple fabric to put on his tattered chair. This hobby became a part of his life, then transformed into a business. Anytime he was in a new location, he was looking for fabrics to start a new project. He’s picked up chairs from all over the world from right in the states-  Oklahoma, to be specific – to Nigeria.

Akinnage told the Times, “I’m Nigerian, so everything is just shy of being a business already.”

The Times also spoke about the deeper meaning of what Akinnage is doing. “Dutch wax fabrics have been accepted as a symbol of African culture since at least the 1960s, but they are, in fact, the product of a long history of colonialism,” they write. “By covering antique British, Danish and French chairs in these materials, Akinnagbe is reappropriating that appropriation.”

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