Google Doodle honors Mama Cax, Haitian-American trailblazer of New York Fashion Week

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  • Published on February 8, 2023
  • Last Updated March 17, 2023
  • In Culture

Google honors Black travel blogger and fashion industry legend, Mama Cax.

With New York Fashion Week 2023 kicking off on Friday and combining themes from Black History Month, today’s Google Doodle honors Mama Cax, whose debut at New York Fashion Week 2019 was four years ago on this day, February 8th.

As an amputee model Mama Cax was a role model for body positivity. She traveled the world and walked the runways on a prosthetic leg that was often beautifully designed and decorated.

A keen traveler, who had visited at least 35 countries, she also sought higher education abroad to fuel her passion for exploring new places.

Mama Cax said that before she was signed as a model in 2017 she published her own travel blog and was committed to traveling at least twice a year. In this interview with Here Magazine from April 2019, she said Kenya and Japan were next on her list.

“Even before modeling, I was a travel and fashion blogger,” Cax said.

After finishing college, she added, “I traveled in Southeast Asia for about eight months. Then my master’s took place in three different countries: France, Tunisia, and Italy. Traveling has always been a passion. I just love exploring new places. I have plans to go to Japan soon. Both Japan and Kenya have been on my list for ages. I’m trying to do those before the year ends.”

Sadly, later that year in December 2019, she passed away during a trip to England. I have been scouring her Instagram in the hope that she got a chance to visit Japan and Kenya.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Haiti, Cax also hoped to visit Benin, West Africa, where she believed her ancestors originated from.

“I would love to go to West Africa. Africa is the only continent that I have not visited. My ancestors came from West Africa and I think it would be such an emotional journey. I would probably spend my days eating and shopping for colorful fabrics,” Cax recalls telling AFAR in an interview.

“I grew up in Haiti and learned that my ancestors were enslaved by Europeans and transported to the Americas. They were believed to have originated from West Africa, specifically Benin. For the longest I was waiting for the opportunity to visit my mother land,” Cax said.

Nonetheless, readers of DETOUR will be glad to hear that she did get a chance to visit Africa in 2015. She visited the Ivory Coast to meet a college friend, making the 20-hour journey from New York to Brussels to get her connecting flight to Ouagadougou and then Abidjan.

What was the first thing they did when she arrived? Went clubbing till 5am and then ate a famous Ivorian dish, “poulet braisé with Attiéké.” She wrote this lovely short blog post on her first impressions of Abidjan and she captured the sights, sounds and smells that intermingle with an intense and fleeting joy of being in a totally new place where the land itself seems to welcome her.

“My very first Ivorian meal. The famous poulet braisé with Attiéké. Attiéké is made from shredded cassava and commonly served with grilled meat onions & tomatoes,” Cax said.

“It was 5am when 10 of us gathered at a neighborhood food joint. While waiting for the food I listened to my stomach growl, a noise smothered by afro beat accompanied by the smell of grease and the sight of the sunrise. Abidjan was welcoming all my senses.”

As we remember Mama Cax today, I’m sure she would want her travel stories to inspire you to take the first step on the runway to your dreams! Check out DETOUR’s Black travel guides to many of the places she visited: Haiti, Paris, Cuba, Africa, Iceland, Italy and Brazil.

Jonathan Allen is the Senior Vice President Digital Business & Product Development at DETOUR. Originally from London, UK, he moved to the USA in 2010. Spanning a 20-year career in digital, Jonathan has played advisor to dozens of traditional media companies transitioning their publishing business online. His previous ventures include co-founding a 2x Inc 5000 listed (2019-2020) digital marketing agency in New York. Successfully exiting this venture in 2021, Jonathan pursues an MA in Journalism at Mizzou where he met the founding team at DETOUR. He also serves as Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of EQ, a St. Louis media startup he founded in 2019.

This story was originally published February 08, 2023 4:47 PM.


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