by Wilfred Okiche
When it comes to entertainment, fame is often misconstrued for power. Thankfully we know the difference. While having an instantly recognizable face or a world famous brand may get you into all the swanky parties in town, you need more than those.
We are talking raw, unadulterated power, the kind that seeps beyond your immediate environment and controls the world. We bring you 10 names that get things done.
Robert De Niro knows her, Oprah knows of her, CNN respects her views. She’s hung out with Christian Louboutin (the designer, not the shoes), partied with Naomi Campbell and has the ear of President Jonathan, need we say more? Arguably Africa’s most popular actress, Genevieve Nnaji has come a long way from her humble beginnings. Her name above a film’s title is enough to guarantee millions in box-office receipts and she enjoys lucrative endorsement deals that are the sole prerogative of the A-listers. As a matter of fact, she tops that list.
Love him or hate him, curse or hug him, none can deny the power of the Don when it comes to his forte – show business. He took a struggling young artiste with limited vocal abilities and turned him into a mega star. Thrice. Proof of his keen eye for business can be seen in his Mo’Hits crew which he has guided from relative obscurity to global visibility. He shared production credits on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s collabo album and his name on a track these days equals hit single. So what are you gonna say about that?
As an actress and film maker, Funke has been at the fore front of a quiet but effective movement that is bent on taking Yoruba movies to the mainstream. And if recent happenings are anything to go by, she is succeeding mightily. She created the classic character Jenifa in 2009 and only last year, guided the sequel, The Return of Jenifa to box-office returns that many English speaking movies are yet to top. She is currently headlining director Tunde Kelani’s Maami. She’s not just an actress, but she is also a producer and a businesswoman par excellence.
A couple of years back, Banky W was just another wannabe hustling his talents in the United States. He took a conscious decision to return home and has not looked back since then. With two successful albums and countless hit singles, Mr Capable floated his own record label and signed up a certain boy wonder by name, Wizkid. With Banky W, Wizkid and Skales these days, EME is king and the rest, as they say, is history.
Mr. Incredible is still sitting atop his perch as Nigeria’s nay Africa’s number one and with hit albums, mixtapes and singles like the kind he keeps dropping, it may yet be a long time before he is dethroned. Any track with M.I on it is a guaranteed hit and his breezy wordplay keeps him at the top of every list. Then there is his being part of the award winning, big investor-attracting Chocolate City – with a new record label planned to be launched in the first week of March. No one man should have all that power – except he’s the short black dude from Jos.
She may have been part of the defunct singing group, KUSH, but Emem Ema has gotten most of her current industry status from playing behind the scenes. With her law degree, she founded the talent management company, One Management and has worked with and represented A-listers like Kunle Afolayan, Nse Ikpe Etim, Lala Akindoju, Ireti Doyle, Darey, Damilola Adegbite, Joseph Benjamin, amongst others. If you want to get to the talent, Emem is your go-through.
If you have been watching Trace TV and you’ve seen a 2face video playing right after a Beyonce video, which was preceeded by Flavour’s current chartbuster, then you have Sam Onyemelukwe to thank. The managing director of Trace urban is credited with bringing the music station to Nigeria, soon after leaving MTV Base, and if the boundaries of our music have been extended, we also have him to thank.
Some have credited Stephanie for igniting the present cinema culture with the success of her project, Through the glass. Then there is the Del-York film school that brought the New York Film Academy to Nigeria and provided training capacity for hundreds of young film makers. She also appeared alongside screen legend, Meryl Streep in a stage play and is currently putting finishing touches to her upcoming film, ‘Dry’. That’s apart from the fact that when it comes to movie stars and their closeness to Aso Rock, Okereke is the woman who makes it happen.
As one of the directors behind Storm records, Tola has seen the record company grow in leaps and bounds, bringing us some of the finest names in current pop music. Naeto C, Darey Alade, Sasha P have at some point called Storm home and his influence as a star maker has been manifest in their careers. He recently negotiated a deal that saw pop starlet Ms Jaie sign an endorsement deal with lifestyle brand, Christian Audigier and with his Bobby Boulders, is making things happen with film and music videos.
They you have not arrived in the industry till Clarence Peters has directed at least one of your music videos. It is probably an overstatement but the significance is that Mr Peters is presently the most sought after video director working today. The offspring of actress Clarion Chukwurah and afrojuju legend, Shina Peters, the talented and prolific helmer has worked on Davido’s ‘Dami Duro’ and Chidinma’s ‘Kedike’ this year. His capital dreams imprint can be seen on videos from Samklef, 91ce and every other artist worth their status. It comes in the genes.
Do you agree with our list? You think we missed anyone out? Share your thoughts!