In 2017, YNaija committed a big part of its time and resources towards carefully documenting the big stories happening in the country and on the continent and highlighting the efforts of young Nigerians and Africans challenging the tired narratives around the continent through personal achievement and social good. Sometimes these stories are forgotten, buried under the avalanche of a year’s worth of news reporting and spot analyses.
Our reporting has been diverse and extensive, and we have chosen to start our reporting in 2018 by returning to these stories, to remind ourselves and our readers just how much ground was covered in 2017 and reaffirm the level of quality and care we commit to telling our stories in 2018.
We hope they resonate with you now, as well as they did when they were first published.
For the sixth consecutive year, YNaija brings you its annual ranking of the most powerful young persons under the age of 40 who are getting things done in entertainment. From singers taking our indigenous sounds to the other side, to board room deal makers, these are the 10 that matter the most.
The crossover talent cum businesswoman was already a household name in the Yoruba film divide of Nollywood but smart strategic choices ensured she made the crossover to the mainstream in grand style within the year. Abraham has been a solid team player in well-received titles like Hakkunde, Okafor’s Law and The In-Laws. With her slapstick comedy Alakada Reloaded, the latest in a profitable franchise, Abraham made razz cool once again and filled up cinema seats while at it.
Victor Sanchez Aghahowa
Victor Sanchez Aghahowa sits atop a nice perch from whence he churns out the most compelling – not to mention addictive – television content. Some of his credits include writing, directing or creating EbonyLife Tv’s Dowry, the Africa Magic double whammy of Hotel Majestic and Hush. He is presently working his magic as executive producer of the Africa Magic hit Jemeji. Aghahowa also makes out time to train and mentor upcoming screenwriters and directors through his Baking Bread sessions.
With the classic character Jenifa, Funke Akindele created a gift that keeps on giving. After enjoying a successful run on video and on the big screen, everyone’s favourite country bumpkin launched her way into the small screen. In the space of ten seasons, Jenifa’s Diary has become the most popular television content this side of West Africa. Because stopping there would be too mainstream, Akindele has launched SceneOne.TV, an on-demand video service for her creative content.
When Yemi Alade rebranded her career and reinvented herself as a continent hugging matron, not a few people chided her for overreaching. She appears to be laughing last as her brand has undergone a rejuvenation, the like of which has not been witnessed in a long time. With two major studio albums to her name, countless hit singles, Youtube’s most popular video by a female artiste and a sweet gig judging talents on The Voice Nigeria, it has never been more rewarding to be Ms Alade.
What do the films The Wedding Party, Banana Island Ghost, Fifty and Oko Ashewo (Taxi Driver) have in common, apart from the fact that they all made bank? They are all distributed by Filmone which Babatope oversees as executive director. Babatope may be a behind the scenes player but everyone who is anyone in Nollywood knows he is the man to see when looking for the best possible production or distribution deal for their film.
Davido’s new imprint, Davido Music Worldwide (DMW) is responsible for giving singers Mayorkun and Dremo the springboard to fame and success. Having secured an international recording deal, Davido tried his hands at cross-continent collaborations. When they didn’t start the conversation satisfactorily, the BMW boss went and dropped what may well be the year’s biggest song, If. We have lost count of how many times he’s been able to manage this.
The name may not ring a bell but the moniker Emperor Geezy certainly does. It is the name drop heard at the end of every Kiss Daniel or Sugarboy song. To the uninitiated, Ehimare is the CEO of G-Worldwide music, the label that has guided and blossomed the career of a certain young singer known as Kiss Daniel. Under Geezy’s watch, the fresh-faced Daniel put out a spectacular debut which won Album of the Year at the Headies.
Mary Remmy Njoku
Remmy Njoku’s Rok Studios, an arm of iROKO which she runs as a production and original content company, has been able to scale effectively, launching a free-to-view 24-hour channel for all Sky subscribers on Sky TV in the UK. Rok on Sky is set to take Nollywood to perhaps its biggest audience yet and Mary Remmy Njoku is at the forefront. She also produced and starred in the well-received romantic drama, Picture Perfect
Everything Tekno touches turns to gold. Well, almost anything. But don’t take our word for it. Ask Davido, and Flavour, and Mr Eazi, and everybody else whom Tekno has made music for and with, in the past year. The boy wonder with the cheesy dance moves and unmistakable penchant for making hit songs which everyone from Lagos to Durban can sing along to, has finally announced a debut album, Teenage Dreams
Wizkid has been the man of the hour for several years now and he shows no sign of quitting. Fresh off his Billboard chart topping feat with Canadian rapper Drake, Wizkid is definitely owning his role as the champion of pushing Afrobeats beyond these shores. His recently released EP, Sounds from the Other Side aims to do just that despite middling reviews. His Starboy independent label manages the careers of white hot Mr Eazi and Ghanaian songbird, Efya.