Folk Art PA

Dosina “Dee” Blemahdoo

Ghanian Clothing

Dee Blemahdoo was born into the Ga tribe in Accra, Ghana, West Africa. In 1993, Dee established her shop, Blemahdoo’s African Market Place, in Homestead, Allegheny County, creating African and African-inspired clothing for weddings, funerals, christenings, school and musical groups. 

“My brother said to me, ‘Listen, I am going to send you some fabrics.’  And I said ‘I don’t think there is anyone here who will wear these clothes... you might as well be working for charity’   But he said, “It’s ok.  You will find some people.”   Then, in Black History Month, people would call my friend and ask to borrow her clothes, but this year she told them to come to me.  I showed them my own clothes.  In the living room, they started putting my clothes on, and saying ‘Ooh, I want this and I want that.’  I said ‘No, you can’t have that, but I will make it for you.’  That’s how my business started.”

According to one of her clients, "While consumers flock to department stories and boutiques for any type of Afro-centric item, individuals go to Dee in search of history.  The quality of her work satisfies the community's sense of connective-ness and binds them closer to their African ancestry."