In a world as fast paced as the one we currently live in, ingenuity, hard work and talent are indispensable currencies that can keep anyone in pace with how quickly the world is revolving. These tools are what keeps the wheel of human progress and development spinning and these tools are naturally abundant within young people. This is why the world looks to young people to build and develop their world.
Young people lay at the intersection of ingenuity and progress and it is the job of this demography to determine what the future will look like, with the work they put in today. Fortunately, there are young leaders across different sectors who are laying the ground work for a bright future, here in Africa, and by extension inspiring everyone else on how to take things to the next level. They are the trendsetters and trail blazers molding the future for the next generation to thrive.
It is in light of this that YNaija presents its annual Power List for this year, spotlighting these young people, and highlighting the influence and power they yield.
David Adeleke (Davido)
Considered one of the three biggest artistes in Africa, David Adeleke popularly known as Davido, for about a decade now, has been the purveyor of numerous successful music projects, including those of other artistes. In 2019, he released his second studio album, A Good Time which peaked at 40 on the US World Albums (Bill Board).
Late last year, he followed suit with his third studio album; A Better Time, which featured a number of international acts and broke a few records of its own, including the song; FEM which was No. 1 on Apple Music in at least eight countries, including Nigeria. Davido in the past year has experienced a global reach, the likes of which African music artistes do not typically experience. He has transcended continental prominence, and has become one of the few African Musicians who are truly considered global icons.
Temilade Openiyi (Tems)
Temilade Openiyi popularly known by her stage name Tems, is one of Africa’s fastest rising music stars. Her brand of music is a refreshing mix of afrobeat and R&B which creates a surprisingly soothing and pleasantly eccentric sound that Africans have come to accept. She came into the music scene in 2018 with her hit single “Mr Rebel” and has since had a strong influence on young Nigerians particularly gen Z.
Last year. She continued on an upward trend, having released her album “For Broken Ears,” and featuring on the global hit track Essence with Wizkid. Between last year and this year, she has received nominations from The BET, The Future Awards Africa, The Headies, MTV Music Awards and more.
Damini Ogulu (Burnaboy)
Since the release of his hit track Ye, in 2018, Damini Ogulu, popularly known as Burnaboy has been on a meteoric rise to the position of one of Africa’s biggest artiste this generation. Befittingly, following his growing success he gave himself the moniker, African Giant, which everyone has come to accept.
In 2020, he teamed up with global music legend; P Diddy, to produce his 5th studio album Twice as Tall, which earned him a BET Award and a Grammy, among other awards. He is one of Africa’s most gifted lyricists, a magnet for international collaborations and global awards, one of the three afrobeat horsemen in Africa, and the most streamed African artist on Spotify.
Teniola Apata (Teni)
Teniola Apata, simply known as Teni is arguably one of Nigeria’s most infectious singers. Each year, she delivers at least one hit track the entire country can’t help but vibe to. She is a bonafide hit maker, who has easily made her way to the upper echelon of the African music scene, delivering chart toppers like Power Rangers, Billionaire, Case and more.
Very recently, she released her debut Album Wondaland, which featured hit tracks like For You with Davido and Moslado. Last year, she was the recipient of the Best female MVP at the Soundcity MVP Awards. She also received a nomination for the Best African Act in the MTV Europe Music Awards.
Divine Ikubo (Rema)
In the past three years, there has been a surge in the emergence of very young talented music acts in Nigeria. At the forefront of this revolution is this young talent; Rema.
Divine Ikubo, or Rema as he is commonly known, has been on a fast track to fame and so far, with all he has done, you can say he has gotten to his destination quite quickly. With just two years in the industry, his name is being mentioned in the same category as big players like Wizkid and Burna Boy.
Last year, he was nominated as Best Viewers Choice: International Act on the 2020 BET Awards, alongside Wizkid and Burna Boy. He also received the Soundcity MVP Awards for Best New artist. In September 2020, Rema’s songs were included in the FIFA ’21 soundtracks.
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun (Wizkid)
Depending on who you ask; they either have this music sensation as the number one or number two artiste in Africa.
Wizkid since the start of his career has built a Fela-esk sound which has propelled him past the heights of Fela himself in terms of achievements. He released his critically acclaimed fourth studio album; Made in Lagos which peaked number 2 on the US World Albums (Billboard). The album was the first African album to debut on the Spotify Global Album chart, debuting within the Top Ten. It also did more than 100 million streams across five platforms nine days after release.
The song Essence on the album became a global Summer jam, with Justine Bieber jumping on the remix. He also snagged a Grammy for his collaboration with Beyoncé on the hit song Brown Skin Girl.
Stanley Omah Didia (Omah Lay)
Over the past two years, he has proven to be one of the torch bearers for the New School AfroBeats sound. With an immense story telling ability, sultry voice and a unique sense of style, Omah lay has interjected his name in the list of Nigerian music royalties.
He released two EPs last year, Look What We’ve Done and Get Layd, both of which had songs that were amongst the most streamed Nigerian songs on Apple Music. Last year he hopped on Olamide’s Infinity ”which topped the Apple Music charts for Nigeria, and became a social media favorite.
He was also the first artist highlighted for Apple’s Africa Rising Campaign to spotlight African talent, in the same year. He was the recipient of the Headies Next Rated 2020 as well as the Net Honours Most Played Pop Song 2021.
Simply one of Nigeria’s Queens of music, Yemi Alade’s success is rivaled by very few in the music industry. She has earned a reputation as one of the continent’s most gifted performers – including in Francophone Africa where she is considered a sweetheart.
Last year, she was invited to perform at the Global Goal: Unite for Our Future, alongside singers like Miley Cyrus, Shakira, J Balvin, Jennifer Hudson, and more. In the same year, she also released her fifth studio album Empress. She was featured in Beyonce’s album Black is King Album, and featured as one of the judges in the music reality show; The Voice Nigeria. She was also casted in the 2020 record-shattering blockbuster Nollywood film; Omo Ghetto The Saga.
Over the past few years, Timini Egbuson has become one of the movie industry’s Adonis, while also delivering remarkable performances in movies. Since last year, he has been in some of the biggest movies in the country including: Fate of Alakada, Dwindle, and Omo Ghetto; The Saga, amongst others.
He won the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards – Best Actor in a Drama in 2020. He also took home the Net Awards for Most Popular Actor 2021. Although a magnet for controversy, Timini is one of the few actors who fans can’t seem to get enough of.
Gaining a lot of notoriety from her performance on the hit web series Skinny Girls in Transit, Sharon Oja has quickly become one of the faces of New School Nollywood. Her role in the Blockbuster Movie, Oloture further propelled her to stardom.
Earlier this year, she received the Special Recognition Award in the The Eko Star Film & TV Awards and has also starred in some of the most popular movies in the past year including; Who’s the Boss, Kambili, The Whole 30 Yards, and Still Falling.
This fast rising star began his acting career playing small roles in blockbuster movies or major roles in low-budget films. However, that phase in his career has become an afterthought, as this actor has been called to take on lead roles in big project movies. Some of these movies include 2019’s Living in Bondage: Breaking Free, 2020’s Kambili, The Whole 30 Yards, and 2021 Dwindle.
He has also been the recipient of numerous awards in the past year including; The Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards Trailblazer Award. Best Actor in a Leading Role (English) and Revelation of the Year (Male) in the Best of Nollywood Awards. Net Honours Most Popular Actor and The Future Awards Africa Prize for Acting 2020.
From actress to reality TV star, and back to actress, Erica’s path to becoming a movie star has been a rocky but ultimately rewarding one. From struggling actress to staring the number 1 Movie in Nollywood, Erica has since her appearance in the Big Brother Naija show last year, been a product of grace, hard work, and diligence.
She has since starred in the block buster Movie, Devil in Agbada, which peaked number 1 in cinemas, as well as the recently released Bitter Rain. The Reality TV Star also has her own reality TV show; Inside Life, and in just a year since she left the BBN house has been nothing short of impressive and her current trajectory only leads one way, up.
Bimbo Ademoye is an award winning actress who for the last few years have been featured in some of Nollywood’s finest movies. She played lead in the 2019 blockbuster movie, Sugar Rush and has gone on to feature in 2020’s Nneka the Pretty Serpent, Dear Affy, Reach, Breaded life and more.
In 2020 she took home the Best Actress in a Supporting Role (English) in the Best of Nollywood Awards. She is also a recipient of the Eko Star Film and TV Awards. In 2019, she took home the City People Movie Awards for Most Featured Actress in Cinema Movies, and a year prior she bagged Best Supporting Actress in the Best of Nollywoods Awards.
Samuel Animashaun Perry
Putting a new twist on the words creative and hardworking, Samuel Animashaun Perry popularly known as Broda Shaggi has extended his niche, and by extension, his portfolio from a skit maker to a full time actor and independent film maker.
With an Instagram following of over 8 million and YouTube subscribers reaching 1.07 million, it’s safe to say that Africans are buying whatever Samuel Animashaun sells. The movie he features in are no different.
Since 2020, he has been casted in some of the big name movies to hit the cinemas and or Netflix. Movies he has featured in includes; Fate of Alakada, Day of Destiny, Namaste Wahala, and more. His comedy styling on line earns him anywhere from 100,000 views to 4 million views on YouTube.
Maryam Booth is an award winning actress, a model, a business woman and one of Kannywoods, most prolific actresses in the last few years.
She gained a lot of fame in the Nigerian movie industry after staring as Zainab in the 2020 hit movie, the Milk Maid, Nigeria’s official submission for the International Feature Film category at 93rd Oscars.
In the same year, she won the Best Supporting Actress category at the Africa Movie Academy Awards.
For Chinedu Okafor, its all about making an impact with words, creating a profound impression on the audience with the intended narrative.