It is the annual YNaija series of power lists, celebrating some of theÂ most influential young persons in the country. We have scouted the lengthÂ and breath of Nigeria to bring you the 10 names that matter the most inÂ entertainment.
Age bracket is 18 to 40.
The Chocolate City label Chief executive may have lost 2 of his A-listÂ acts, Brymo and Jesse Jagz but he remains master of the game and theÂ label, one of the most influential. Ice Prince remains one of the mostÂ profitable rappers in the game and the recent release of his sophomoreÂ album proved audiences are catching the fire of Zamani. M.I keeps rackingÂ the endorsement deals and and with a steady push by rappers Pryse andÂ singer Nosa, it appears nothing even happened. Appaz, as they say onÂ Twitter, some people werenâ€™t born to lose.
The African Film Festival (AFRIFF) has been around for 3 years onlyÂ through the tenacity and hardwork of Ms Chioma Ude. The founder/CEO makesÂ it seem like an age-old institution. In 2013, the festival moved toÂ Calabar, thanks to Governor Liyel Imoke and celebrated its best year yetÂ with everyone who is anyone turning up to make it a show to remember.Â Highlights were the new talents discovered, fresh voices heard andÂ assemblage of the biggest movie stars on the continent. It has become theÂ most important film festival for the industry.
Darey has come a long way from his days as an On Air Personality on hitÂ radio station Cool FM. First, he became one of the countryâ€™s finestÂ vocalists, reliably churning out great material by the numbers. His â€˜LoveÂ like a Movie concertâ€™ which has attracted both Kim Kardashian and KellyÂ Rowland in itâ€™s 2-year existence has become the most important musicÂ concert of the year. Aladeâ€™s events/production outfit Soul Muzik hasÂ therefore now set the standard for event architecture â€“ driving eventsÂ like The Headies and AFRIFF. He was recently announced as a judge on theÂ 4th season of Nigerian Idol. That is apart from his consistent MC gigsÂ and his label incubating new stars. Yes, Darey is in power.
The handsome actor/director has paid his dues, starring in about 200Â Nollywood productions. He recently turned to working behind the screen,Â setting up his Denziott studios and has his name attached to films likeÂ â€˜Weekend getawayâ€™, â€˜Finding Mercyâ€™ and the recently released â€˜Apaye:Â Motherâ€™s loveâ€™. The critics may have their reservations about hisÂ directing skills but audiences seem to reward his every effort withÂ box-office success. Even a lukewarm supporting turn in â€˜Finding Mercyâ€™Â was awarded a trophy at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA).Â And those who want to be stars certainly know who to suck up to.
Yes, Don Jazzy has lost a lot of his mystique, perhaps deliberately? ThenÂ he messed it up when he mixed it up with Wande Coal after the latter leftÂ Mavin Records. But hereâ€™s the deal â€“ when everything is gone, it remains:Â no one cooks a track like this man. He proved it with Tiwa Savageâ€™sÂ â€˜Eminadoâ€™, he proved it with that track Wande ran away with, and then heÂ put paid to any doubt with Dr Sidâ€™s â€˜Surulereâ€™. He also signed on 2 newÂ acts Diâ€™Ja and Reekado Banks and is set to unveil what many call theÂ biggest headquarters of any Nigerian label yet. His clout remains onÂ Twitter, and the endorsement deals have not stopped. Here is a manÂ blessed by the gods.
The scion of a popular film-making family, Afolayan has with his last 3Â features become the most exciting filmmaker working in Nollywood. The NewÂ York Times loves him, actors would give an arm and a leg to be cast inÂ his productions and audiences flock to the cinemas for anything with hisÂ name on it. Afolayan recently completed work on his next project â€˜OctoberÂ 1â€™, a murder mystery set in the heady days leading up to the nationâ€™s bigÂ day in 1960. In an industry -or country- that values quality, AfolayanÂ would have investors lining up to sponsor his next 2 projects but untilÂ then, weâ€™ll just be content with seeing his name on our power lists.
Ekeinde may be mother to 4 lovely children but she still commands theÂ box-office clout of a starlet in her prime. Her reality television showÂ â€˜The Real meâ€™ became a television event, gifting host Channel, AfricaÂ Magic with ratings not seen since inception. Honored by Time magazineÂ last year as part of the 100 most influential people in the world,Â Omosexy also lends her voice to dozens of advocacy campaigns among whichÂ are her youth empowerment initiative, Omotola Youth Empowerment ProgrammeÂ (OYEP), Amnesty Internationalâ€™s maternal mortality projects and oilÂ spillage in the Niger Delta. She even finds time to send the blogs toÂ hell for publishing pictures of her teenage daughter. The celebrity withÂ the largest combined social media following in Nigeria, she gives newÂ meaning to â€˜superwomanâ€™.
The brothers Okoye are so big, African presidents welcome them to theirÂ countries. They are so huge, even president Goodluck Jonathan invitesÂ them to fly with him (private jet style) to economic summits. They are soÂ hot, Aliko Dangote attended the wedding of one of them. They perform soldÂ out concerts across the world, party with A-listers Rick Ross and AkonÂ and even after about 10 years in the business, every single they dropÂ becomes a major hit. They are music royalty and they know it. And theyÂ flaunt it. And they donâ€™t care what anyone thinks. Still, when theyÂ sneeze â€“ well there goes your cold.
The former Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) winner for best actressÂ starred in and produced last yearâ€™s biggest hit â€˜The Meetingâ€™ via herÂ increasingly popular outfit The Audrey Silva Company (TASC) which sheÂ co-founded with partner/director Mildred Okwo. The kind folks at theÂ AMVCAs even created a category just to reward her. TASC has become the goÂ to place for talents looking for that big push and former televisionÂ darlings, Femi Jacobs and Linda Ejiofor can attest to this. She is hardÂ at work on a new television series â€˜Tessaâ€™s placeâ€™ as well as a featureÂ film and can next be seen in Izuchukwu Ojukwuâ€™s much delayed period pieceÂ â€™76â€™. Said to be one of Nollywoodâ€™s biggest draws at the moment,Â everyone wants to be her, or at least be close by.
Where were we when Wizkid suddenly became a force to reckon with? TheÂ former tween heartthrob Wizkid is not even 25 yet but he has alreadyÂ amassed the kind of clout usually reserved for enduring stars. He is yetÂ to release a sophomore album but churns out hit singles almostÂ effortlessly. Last year he rebelled against the system that created himÂ and demanded for greater control of his career and finances and guessÂ what? He got it. He also set up his Starboy imprint and promptly signedÂ up hit makers like Maleek Berry. The Channel O Music Video AwardsÂ considered his average-y video good enough to win best video in all ofÂ Africa and he continues to perform on all the important stages andÂ concerts. If that isnâ€™t power, we donâ€™t know what else is.