Over this past year, we have encountered a host of individuals making power moves to the next level and advancing to the driver’s seat. These individuals have refined pop culture and created subcultures. At YNaija, we call them The New School.
The YNaija Editorial Board has for years, put forward The New School classes; providing the first wave of recognition needed to encourage these men and women to stay committed to innovation and personal excellence.
These men and women have gone on to do fantastic things, proving yet again, that our New School lists sieve through the morass of activity that clog our creative industries and draw out the hidden gems within.
Want to know the 2021 New School class? Let us introduce you to them:
Derin Onaolapo Jayonair (OAP)
When said slowly, the name Jayonair becomes pretty self-explanatory – Jay – on – air. With this comes a young talent in the business of hosting radio shows and television events; aiming to make history.
He is an on-air personality for 88.5 UFM. He is also a content creator, dishing out hilarious skits on his social media pages.
When he is not tackling the day-to-day intricacies of the media world, he is busy running his own fashion enterprise which focuses on selling vogueish and classy thrift wears.
Adeoluwa Enioluwa (Content Creator)
Only a few people in Nigeria, particularly men, have taken the bold step of rebelling against societal dictates. Enioluwa is one progressive radical who has rejected the idea of societal conformity and decided to lay it all bare.
Using relatable stories, masked in situational comedy, Enioluwa has created a genre of social media content that perfectly articulates his feelings towards certain issues, and by extension relaying the feelings of an audience that can relate to the subject being discussed.
He dabbles in men’s skincare and beauty tips, proving that with more attention to details even men could come out looking fabulous.
Enioluwa also passionately advocates for the rights of minority groups using his social media platform. And, last year, he produced a short and insightful film, one with the powerful message of self-love on his YouTube channel.
Gift Ugochi Christopher (Gospel Artist)
Faith, as history has shown, is a yearning for a more meaningful and purposeful existence. As a result, this quest raises a relatively important question, one which is geared towards finding a path to GOD.
For those who follow GUC ministries, one sure way to connect to GOD is through this man’s ministries. He is a singer who has dedicated his talent to the pursuit of the Christian Faith.
He uses a soulful voice to breathe life into the gratitude, subservience and reverence for GOD. His music also somehow manages to fill a generational gap that exists between an older generation of Christian worshipers and a much more youthful one.
GUC takes a meditative approach to ministry, he is more worship than praise, more reflective than avid, more ice than fire. Yet, it is these qualities that distinguish him as a prodigy in the Christian community.
Joseph Obanubi (Visual Artist)
For any visual artist, the high point of creating a masterpiece is having said artwork(s) put up for exhibition. Having people see and recognise an artist’s work, and try to make meaning of it, is the reason why most artists spend those gruelling hours, turning a blank canvas into an edifice of their inspired artistry. Looking at Joseph’s artworks, you can tell that his works were created to elicit certain puzzling emotions in his audience. As he mentions, he considers his work to be bricolage.
His art pieces borrow from the concept of reality, technology, globalisation and fantasy. You can find traces of the aforementioned merely looking at his works – his works tend to give off an outer world vibe.
His series Techno-Heads was shortlisted as part of the finalists for the Contemporary African Photography Prize, and it won the British Council Prize for Emerging Artist. His work was exhibited at AKAA Art Fair in 2019, Darmstadter Tage d. Fotografie. He was announced as a finalist for the Kuenyehia Art Prize.
HE continues to inspire and you cannot sleep on this one.
Kunle Ologunro (Writer)
You just know someone has a lot of interesting things to say when they tag themselves; The Noise Maker at the Cabal. This moniker speaks sincerely of Kunle Ologunro, as he brings his brand of storytelling to an already deliciously juicy media platform. Kunle is a writer for Zikoko magazine, a conversational media platform that amplifies the voices of young Nigerians.
Kunle delivers content for the site ranging from music to life hacks, and of course, fun banters. His writing portfolio extends past this as he managed to secure a Finalist position for the 2020 Adina Talve-Goodman Fellowship. He is an assistant editor in Kreative Diadem, a terrace for poetry and short stories. And he is a published author at Brittle Paper.
Gilbert Bassey (Screenwriter)
With such an eye-catching name like Gilbert Bassey, one, seemingly befitting of Nollywood nobility, it is rather ironic or better yet, poetic, that this young creative already has a foot in the door of the ever-alluring Nigerian movie industry.
Rather than focus solely on developing his craft, Gilbert is one of the few young and aspiring authors who have taken up the responsibility of cultivating the writing talent of his fellow creatives. He uses his ‘Medium’ blog to cede knowledge on the complexities of delivering fine pieces of literature to his audience.
This Madonna University alumni also attended the School of Media and Communication, Pan Atlantic University, through the years 2018 – 2019, studying the business of Art and Film in the MultiChoice talent factory. There, he bagged a diploma as the best graduating student in Media and has since gone on to write and direct a short film titled Ananze and the Zipman. He currently works at ALC Media as a managing partner.
Wait for those ‘cinema worthy’ works made possible through Gilbert’s fantastic talent.
Anne Adams (Artisan)
Not too many young artistes today understand and appreciate the ancient art of pottery, but when they do, only a few do justice to the craft as well as Anne Adams. Anne is a potter who ironically majored in Economics.
Regardless of her discipline in school, this young lady decided to forge her way into the world of arts, and she seems to be doing an excellent job. Her designs seem to be a mix of African and Aztec cultures, all accentuated with different shades of brown, black and white, basically focusing on tribal arts. She specializes in creating pots, using her hands to detail every design on the piece of art.
She has been featured on BBC where she spoke on what it means to carry on the age-old art of clay moulding in Nigeria. She was also one of 35 artists who were chosen from around the world to display their art at the 23rd International Open, in November of last year. Her work has also been featured in ArtX Lagos, Feministartmuseum, Pottery Forall, among others.
It’s interesting to note that her foray into pottery kick-started from a gnawing thought to explore the art after she met with a fellow artisan named Madam Kassi.
Matthew Blaise (Advocate)
“Queer Lives Matter” was a nigh redundant and almost meaningless statement in this part of the world, as Nigerians are not particularly keen towards issues concerning the LGBTQ community. But late last year, during the march against police brutality, Matthew Blaise bravely chanted those almost abominable words, and somehow managed to spark a conversation on not only homophobia, but police conspired hate crimes.
His famous “Queer Lives Matter” chant went viral on social media garnering around 17,000 retweets and three million views on Twitter and created a channel for the conversation to be had on the responsibility of the law in upholding its promise to every citizen, including gay men and women. His actions also inspired a piece on Vogue magazine UK, a documentary on BBC pidgin, Pink News UK, and stories on other notable publications.
Prior to taking to the streets to protest against this specific brand of police brutality during the #EndSARS movement, Blaise had been actively advocating the freedom of the LGBTQ community and women in Nigeria using stories that entail the victimisation of queer people and women in Nigeria.
He is a Future Awards Africa Nominee. He is also a Trustee at ReportoutUK, a volunteer content creator at 9ja Queer City podcast, and a Peer Educator at Foundation for Better Health and Human Rights.
Tomie Balogun (Financial Educator)
Coming from humble beginnings, without the wealth that has cushioned many successful individual’s ways to the top, Tomie can tip her hat to herself knowing what she has made of her life so far. This ambitious young Nigerian long ago came to the daunting realisation that she had no real wealth, no asset to her name, despite giving herself to her career for four years. It was then she decided to be in the driving seat of her own fate, and the vehicle to what would become a successful enterprise would be investments.
In 2013, right after her MBA, she co-founded an investment club; The Midas Capital with four friends. After a while, the club became alluring to other potential investors, but Tomie wasn’t keen on accepting new members, that’s when she came up with the brilliant idea to teach these hopefuls how to start their own investment club.
This institution; ‘The Vestract Company’ boasts of teaching over 60,000 people and counting.
Desmond Ekunwe (Media Presenter)
Looking at Ebuwa’s body of work, the word that best describes him on so many levels, and does justice to the sort of content he puts out there is ‘diverse.’ Watching him work creates an atmosphere of solace, one that is brought about by a certainty of the future of show hosting being in safe hands.
Ebuwa does an exceptional job in presenting. He is a TV and Radio host who has been able to draw out the sort of honesty from his guests that is rather difficult to do. He anchors the cousin of Channels TV premier interview show, Rubbin Minds, aptly dubbed Rubbin Minds +. In this show, he has featured guests like Tacha, Tomiwa Tegbe and Derenle.
When he isn’t hosting a show, he is producing one. Desmond is the brains behind last year’s lineup of Rubbing Minds guests. Asides this, he is also a radio presenter at WFM, and sometimes serves as a voice-over artist.
You have to see the star we see in this one. Just ‘press follow’ on his matter.
For Chinedu Okafor, its all about making an impact with words, creating a profound impression on the audience with the intended narrative.