Havana Club and Skepta have reunited for the second installment of a collaboration that sees the iconic artist design his own limited edition bottle of the traditional Cuban rum. In a nod to his roots, Skepta’s design draws inspiration from Nigeria and the connections between Yoruba and Afro-Cuban culture.
“This Havana Club 7 bottle honors my roots,” said the artist. “It traces the migration of Yoruba culture from Africa to Cuba and back again. Inspired by the region of my chieftainship in Ogun State Nigeria, it celebrates inner strength and the journeys that make us great.”
The specially designed label centers both Nigeria and Cuba through the use of symbols significant to each country and their shared cultures. Adire, traditional Yoruba textile patterns, appear alongside national landmarks and native animals. Cowrie shells which figure into the traditions of both places line the Havana Club 7 limited edition border.
In conjunction with the label’s release, Skepta and Havana Club took a trip to explore his Yoruba roots.The trip was documented in a film that follows the artist traveling from London to Nigeria where he visited Lagos, Ogun State, and the famous New Afrika shrine. The journey from Nigeria to Cuba represents a cultural heritage that both the brand and the artist share. "When I was in Cuba I explored the Yoruba connection, finding similarities between two cultures so it made sense to trace those similarities back to the origin," said Skepta. Altogether, it’s an unabashed celebration of Yoruba culture, both traditional and contemporary.
For another view on the campaign, Teezee, artist and close collaborator of Skepta's accompanied him on the trip and filmed his experience. He condensed his footage of the journey into something of a trip diary that shows a more intimate and behind-the-scenes take on the experience. Teezee has also been creative consultant on this journey from Cuba to Lagos. As a leading cultural curator he gave serious insights to the similarities and rich history shared between both nations.
In addition to the video, the campaign also features an initiative to empower small and local corner shops who weathered a rough ride over the past year of on-and-off lockdowns by giving them exclusive first access to the special-edition bottles, soon followed by online distribution in the UK, and some lucky few European countries. In an effort to reanimate what is so often the heart of a community, Havana Club and Skepta will release their collaboration first in convenience stores across London, before rolling out nationwide.
As for Skepta's favorite way to enjoy Havana? "Straight on ice."
More information is available on Havana Club's official website.