The Future Awards Africa 2019 held this week, parading a slew of promising, young Nigerians doing well in various endeavours and rewarding them. The YNaija’s top 10 influencers for November is spliced from that pool, familiar names that need no introduction. It’s also interesting how influencing is beginning to interplay with social justice. You love to see it.
10. Kenneth Ize
Kenneth Ize’s name is on everyone’s lips whose pieces have been worn by Naomi Campbell and Donald Glover. The Kenneth Ize brand takes a sustainable approach to the design by using locally sourced materials land ensuring a fair and safe working space for all workers and artisans, one that encourages collaboration and births magic.
In 2019, the brand introduced womenswear and currently counts Sense, Browns and Machine-A among its stockists. Ize was a finalist for the LVMH Prize 2019 and a joint winner of the Arise Fashion Week Award for “Designer of the Year.”
9. Sandra Ezekwesili
Sandra Ezekwesili is a radio Presenter, public speaker and compere. She currently hosts the drive time radio show Hard Facts on Nigeria Info 99.3FM in Lagos, Nigeria where she discusses topical governance issues. Noteworthy is how she uploads snippets of the show on Twitter, to elicit reactions from her followers. Sandra is also a fierce advocate for transparent governance, consent education in Nigeria lending her voice against sexual harassment.
8. Duro Arts
Durotimi Bolaji-Idowu, who works under the name, Duro Arts, is a digital artist known for his impressive caricature-styled art and even more so for the iconic troll he created, Bun X Belly. He has worked with various artistes in designing album cover arts and only recently, he did the art for Davido’s album cover, which marks his first international music cover commission.
7. Stephen Tayo
Stephen Tayo has a knack for telling authentic stories through his vivid photography. Looking at Nigeria through his lens, you don’t just get a sun-soaked snapshot of everyday life in the heart of West Africa, you gain a deeper understanding of the culture. From IBEJI, his series exploring how twins are sacred in Yoruba culture (“the most exciting thing” he’s worked on, he says), or his ongoing assignment capturing the beauty of geles, intricate women’s headwraps tied for special occasions.
6. Tolani Alli
Tolani Alli is an acclaimed documentary photographer whose images and stories have been featured on BBC News, World Press, The Guardian (U.K), Bella Naija etc. Currently Tolani is The Special Advicer on Photography to the President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria in the office of the Vice-President and The Personal Photographer to Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN.
5. Rahama Sadau
Rahama Sadau is an actress, filmmaker, and singer who has appeared in a number of Nigerian movies, both in Hausa and English languages and has been one of the actors that speaks Chinese language fluently. She has twice won the Best Actress (Kannywood) at the City People Entertainment Awards.
She formed her production company named Sadau Pictures through which she produced her first movie, Rariya starring Ali Nuhu, Sadiq Sani Sadiq, and Fati Washa. Some of her recent works include Up North, Aljannar Duniya, Adam, Ba Tabbas, MTV Shuga Naija. Importantly, and following her ban from Kannywood because she was featured in a music video wherein she was seen cuddling and hugging a male artiste, she has curated her social media in a way that shows how continuously transgressive she can be, and a totem of influence for Northern women online.
4. Aisha Salaudeen
Aisha Salaudeen is a multimedia journalist with years of experience telling and helping people tell stories. She has worked in full time and freelance journalism, using images, videos, and text to report and investigate diverse human-interest stories in Africa. Her work has appeared in the Financial Times, Al Jazeera English, Okay Africa, and TRT World.
She currently works out of the CNN Africa bureau in Lagos, Nigeria, writing/editing features on China- Africa relations, business, culture, and technology in Africa. Salaudeen is currently a nominee for the Future Awards Africa in the category for journalism.
3. Joey Akan
Joey Akan is a writer, journalist, and commentator on current affairs on the bubbling music landscape and pop culture. He spent over five years as the Music Editor of Pulse Nigeria, where he led a team of creatives at the Pulse Entertainment Desk.
He’s written on a variety of topics for the music industry, including investigations into the music distribution business, Africa, it’s sounds, and the culture of music. His works have appeared in Pulse, Guardian, OkayAfrica, Genius, CNN, the New York Times, and with his newly minted deal with Opera News as a content writer, he has been able to amass a relatively large legion of readers.
2. Tacha Akide
Amassing a great deal of brand endorsements, and feverishly reaching the upper echelons of celebrity has defined Tacha’s post-Big Brother Naija footprint. More and more, the reality star, along with her restless, hive-minded colony of fans, are pushing the envelop of what influence can be, especially in the internet age. Tacha was the first ex housemate to be verified on Twitter, just shortly after founder of the micro-blogging platform Jack Dorsey was in Nigeria, and fans heavily pushed for Tacha to have the blue tick on her account. Co-incidence or not, Tacha wields a staggering amount of influence we haven’t see from reality stars in a long time.
1. Kiki Mordi
Kiki Mordi’s career in journalism had a big break when she, with the platform of the BBC, investigated and exposed the scourge of sexual harassment in West African universities through a viral #SexForGrades documentary. In turn, the revelations sparked a buzz on the internet and caused universities to expunge offending lecturers. Importantly, the Senate re-introduced the anti-sexual harassment bill for consideration. Impact.