The annual #YNaijaPowerList enters its 5th year, and we bring you the most influential young Nigerians under 40 who are rocking the culture space and making something out of nothing. From art gallery owners to publishers, photographers and curators, these bright young things have taken up the onerous task of preserving our heritage. And they make it all seem like fun too.
Nosa Oyegun and Folayemi Agusto
The art of fine dining in the big city hasn’t been the same again, not since, Nosa Oyegun and Folayemi Agusto came up with Eat.Drink.Lagos, an influential blog that crawls Lagos’ trendiest restaurants and offers comprehensive reviews on everything from the menu to the adequacy of the parking lots. Nosa and Folly also team up with sponsors and industry folks to organise the biannual #EatDrinkFestival, a curation of the city’s best food and drink vendors, all in one venue.
Akinseye is that one person who knows how to do it all. A writer, film critic, actress and educationist, from the stable of her own Yellow Tamarind productions, Akinseye hosts and produces Africana Literati on television, a magazine show airing on Africa Magic that seeks to ignite and promote a healthy reading and learning culture among Africans home and abroad. Akinseye is also publisher of the online movie industry trade publication, NollySilver Screen.
The season finales of the runaway web drama series, Skinny Girl in Transit and Rumour has it have just aired and a lot of people don’t quite know what to do with their lives now that both shows are on hiatus. It is a testament to Damilola Elebe’s skill as a storyteller and ability to make gripping, relatable content that she works on a double bill of Ndani TV’s biggest hit(s) since Gidi Up. Did we mention that Elebe also has a day gig as an On Air Personality on The Beat 99.9FM?
Esiebo’s work has appeared on the New York Times, and has been endorsed by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Born and bred in Nigeria, Esiebo, who taught himself photography has through his deeply affecting portraits and snapshots, emerged as perhaps the finest chronicler of urban Nigerian life. A beneficiary of numerous arts residencies and contributor to countless local and foreign media outlets, Esiebo remains committed to documenting Nigeria and Africa, one photograph at a time.
When you are American R&B superstar Ciara and you want to endear yourself to the locals on a working visit to Nigeria, who do you engage to back you up and school you in on the culture? Kaffy of course. The 36 year old mother of two and Guinness World Record holder for the Longest Dance ever has remained a force to be reckoned with via her training school, Imagneto. She also serves as a judge/faculty instructor on Peter Okoye’s Dance with Peter reality television show.
Lakin Ogunbanwo is a prolific artiste and photographer whose portfolio is not afraid of showcasing visually provocative imagery of fashion and culture in Nigeria. With each photograph, this daring auteur pushes the envelope and creates new vistas for what can be done with fashion photography in Nigeria. Ogunbanwo’s portraits have appeared in fashion Bible, Vogue, the New York Times as well as British GQ amongst others.
The prolific video director, cinematographer and filmmaker is still the hardest working man in show business. As an artiste, you have no bragging rights until the words ‘Clarence shot it’ are imprinted on your video. Peters’ videography reads like a dream and he has his imprint on nearly every relevant video that has come along in the past 7 years. This year, he has worked on the controversial If I Start to Talk video by Tiwa Savage as well as for artistes like Flavour and Phyno.
Seun Salami is best known as the author of The Sex life of a Lagos Mad Woman, a sizzle filled collection of short stories published in 2014 but not so widely reported, are his efforts at contributing to a thriving literary scene through his work as founder and head of publishing, Bookvine, the publishing outfit that releases his work as well as titles by high profile authors, Ayo Sogunro, Ariyike Akinbobola and William Ifeanyi Moore.
When Laolu Sebanjo left his job as a human rights attorney in Lagos to follow his passion and make art, he had no clue that a collaboration with Beyonce for her sixth studio album was only a matter of time coming. The pop queen must have been deeply impressed as Sebanjo’s work forms a hefty part of the Lemonade aesthetic. American sportswear company Nike also selected him as a Master of Air, a once in a lifetime commission to create art-inspired Air Max at the Air Max Con 2016.
Adenrele Sonariwo started the best thing to happen to the arts and culture space in recent times. Rele gallery is a cultural and contemporary art space that offers art for public consumption and nurtures the creators of the art at the same time, bringing their work to the attention of a larger, global audience. As director of Rele, Sonariwo has organised various programs, showings, book readings and galleries that have attracted performers like Toni Kan, Victor Ehikhamenor and Wana Udobang.