by Wilfred Okiche
Snapchat juggernaut, Internet sensation, cross dresser, make up lover, dealer in skin lightening products and lover/flaunter of bae, Bobrisky (born Idris Okuneye) took the country by storm with his against the norm embrace of his feminine side and blatant gender bending behaviour. Bobrisky hasn’t just conquered the Internet, he has kick started and been a visible part of a national debate on alternative lifestyles and what is considered acceptable behaviour.
The funniest person in comedy this year wasn’t AY or Alibaba. That title goes to 6 year old Emmanuella Samuel, break out star of the comedy skits produced by adult person, Mark Angel. Emmanuella’s precocious comic timing and acting skills have elevated Angel’s business from the backwaters of Port Harcourt, Rivers state to national and international recognition. Her videos easily scale the 1million views mark on Youtube. Not bad at all for a primary school pupil.
Once in every long while, a star is born in real time through old fashioned means. Media hype and affiliation with a certain clique of producers are great but they can never beat the thrill of watching sheer talent and a powerful screen presence announce the arrival of a major star. Somkele Idhalama who gotten some notices on Gidi Up announced her presence in style with a heart breaking performance in the Ebola picture, 93 Days.
The freshest pop star to seize the attention of music lovers this year appeared in the form of Oluwatosin Ajibade, better known as Mr. Eazi. Signed to Wizkid’s StarBoy Worldwide Entertainment, Mr. Eazi spent the year working with everybody that matters in the music industry. Mr. Eazi’s appearance on Eugy’s Dance for me elevated the song to one of the catchiest tunes of the year and his own.
Born and raised in Canada, Falana is an alternative singer who performs in fluent Yoruba and English. Since releasing her debut EP, Things Fall Together in 2014, Falana has opened for both Yemi Alade and Asa. In 2016, Falana headlined her own concert series in Lagos tagged Uncover’d every month from June, all through September, enticing new audiences to her type of one of a kind, soul haunting sound.
When Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (CNA) announces your upcoming debut novel as ‘’really spectacular,’’ there can be no higher praise. Jowhor Ile, fresh literary voice, recipient of CNA’s unreserved praise, and contributor to literary publications like McSweeney’s Quarterly had his debut, And After Many Days published abroad by Penguin Random House to critical acclaim. Ile’s book has been named to the Etisalat Prize for Literature long list.
For the better part of the year, the grass to grace story of Olajumoke Orisaguna,- the bread hawker who became a media sensation when she happened upon a Tinie Tempah photoshoot helmed by celebrity photographer TY Bello- enthralled the world. TY Bello took an interest in Olajumoke when she observed the former bread seller photographed beautifully. Bello placed her on the cover of ThisDay Style and photoshoots, a modelling contract and endorsement deals followed shortly.
This talented beauty was brought to our attention after she was banned by Kannywood’s Motion Picture Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN) for appearing in a music video by ClassiQ and gifting the male rapper with an ‘’offensive hug.’’ (ClassiQ was left off the hook.) Sadau who is one of the busiest actors in Kannywood, failed to let this slow her down though, scoring new audiences in EbonyLife TV’s Sons of the Caliphate and taking the United States for a professional tour.
Personal finance never sounded sexier or looked smarter either. Not since Arese Ugwu, armed with an MSc from the University College London happened on our consciousness. Arese is the founder of smartmoneyafrica.org a personal finance platform for the African millennial. She contributes a column to the Guardian newspaper and hosts Guardian TV’s personal finance show “Your Life Your Money”. She is also a brand influencer for Remy Martin’s One Life/Live Them campaign.
As a 23-year-old Stanford grad and soon-to-be medical student, Chierika Ukogu entered history books as the very first person to represent Nigeria in competition as an Olympic rower. Even though Okogu did not medal in Rio, her pioneering spirit and determination quickly set her aside and reminded the world that the Olympic Games are as much about participating as they are about the win.