#YNaija2020Review: Laycon, Omah Lay, Anthonieta Kalunta…The Revelations of the Year

2020 was traumatic enough it is easier to forget. Don’t forget the 10 people on this list.

Oluwatobiloba Ajayi

Oluwatobiloba Ajayi is the inaugural winner of The Nigeria Prize for Difference and Diversity. She claimed this honor and N1million Prize for her work with the Let Cerebral Palsy Kids Learn Foundation. A lawyer and disability rights advocate, Ajayi’s foundation started in 2017 works to change the face of cerebral palsy in Africa through advocacy, capacity building, referral services, and counseling.

Arie and Chuko Esiri

It is no mean feat to have your debut feature length debut at the Berlinale, the largest film festival in the world. But the twins Arie and Chuko have taken it all in stride, an outcome of the talent and back breaking effort they put into making the film. Eyimofe, a two-part story of migration and the search for a better life does a fine job of humanizing the people at the center of the big news headlines.

Logan February

February is a poet, essayist, and singer/songwriter whose works have appeared in several local and international platforms. Their work has transcended literary circles and found relevance in mainstream pop culture via collaborations with creators working in other fields. Their debut full-length collection In the Nude is a freeing exploration of grief, God and the erotic. They guest edited YNaija.com’s non-binary blog for Pride month this year.

Chimezie Imo

An actor and model, Imo is just as comfortable working on small indie-projects as he is working with an ensemble cast on one of the continent’s most beloved television series. Last year Imo landed the lead role in Nimbe, a social advocacy drama. Nimbe arrived Netflix this year and a wider audience was exposed to the intensity emotional depths he brings to the demanding characters that he brings.

Fisayo Longe

In 2019, Longe made the decision to return to Nigeria to collaborate with a local pattern maker on the now successful ‘Gaia’ print. Longe’s Kai Collective has become a global household name, featuring in editorials and on fashion covers across the globe. Her designs have been embraced by the influencer community as the look of the season with her one of a kind print catching the collective fancy of the fashion world.

Yanmo Omorogbe

Wondered about what the new PiggyVest will look like? Perhaps think Bamboo. Founded by Omorogbe, Bamboo allows people to buy and sell foreign-based securities from their phone. Before Bamboo, the U.S. stock market was closed to Nigerians. Not anymore as the largest investment opportunity on earth is now open to Nigerians. Bamboo was chosen for incubation by global venture capitalist fund Ycombinator. Omorogbe is working on expansion plans across the country.

Anthonieta Kalunta

The Milkmaid is the first time you will see Anthonieta Kalunta but you won’t be forgetting her soon after. The film simply wouldn’t work without Kalunta’s non-showy but extremely effective performance. The Theatre Arts graduate is a mix of coiled physicality and controlled emotions. Kalunta goes through every experience that her character does, imbibes them and then pours it all out on screen, sometimes with merely a sweep of her sad eyes. Kalunta is capable of speaking multitudes with only a shy glance.

Omah Lay

Stanley Omah Didia – known professionally as Omah Lay is a star and 2020 was proof. Despite the constraints of a pandemic on the global music industry, Omah Lay, a singer, songwriter and record producer from Port Harcourt pushed his way to the upper echelons of pop music. With two well received mixtapes and a huge record or two under his belt, it is safe to conclude that it is Omah Lay’s world and we are all just living in it.


Laycon saw off all kinds of competition to emerge winner of the Lockdown season of Big Brother Naija, the most important reality show in the country. Deploying his charismatic personality, intelligence and calm demeanor, the rapper born Lekan Agbeleshe emerged an instant fan favorite and rode this wave all the way to the end. Post-BBNaija, he has turned his focus back to music while seizing other opportunities that have come his way. Safe to say he isn’t going away anytime soon.

Tomi Owó

Tomi Owó has been on the grind for a while now but it seemed like 2020 was the year the world took notice. With high profile performances at Art X Lagos where she co-headlined the Live event and After Dark: Jam Africa, she had a pretty visible year. Owó’s sound is an eclectic mix of soul, jazz and R&B, and while her material can sound wiser than her years, her youthful exuberance sells it convincingly.

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