21 People In 21 Million: Mo Abudu, Wizkid, Olamide, Others Make Guardian Africa Power List
Guardian Africa network have selected Media mogul, Mo Abudu, Olamide, Wizkid, Japheth Omojuwa, Ikhide Ikheloa and others among their 11 most influential personalities in politics and entertainment in Lagos.
Mo Abudu, “the African Oprah”, abandoned a highflying career in the corporate world to run a television studio.
Abudu, 51, set up EbonyLife Television (ELTV) in 2013 to try to change the way the way the world sees Africa– and has since commissioned young film-makers to produce original content.
ELTV have also secured the franchise for developing an African version of Desperate Housewives, and released Fifty, a hit drama about the lives of middle-aged Nigerian women.
Kene Mkparu, 49, is trying to revolutionise Nollywood’s film distribution. The industry may be worth $5bn (£3bn), but film-makers struggle to make a profit because of the distribution of pirate copies, often recorded at the cinema.
The CEO of Filmhouse Cinemas, a franchise popular across the country, his staff sit in screenings with infrared glasses to identify anyone who might be trying to record a film, a practice he has previously said “breaks his heart”.
Mkparu is currently working on a project that will take film distribution directly to the grassroots through a network of community cinemas.
In the past five years the 26-year-old rapper and label boss has seized the imagination of an entire nation with his catchy, locally-flavoured anthems.
Raised in Bariga, a ghetto suburb of Lagos, Adedeji’s music represents his experiences and the yearnings and aspirations of the country’s considerable underprivileged population.
In November 2015, Olamide became the first Nigerian rapper to put out five consecutive solo albums in as many years. His label, YBNL Records (YBNL stands for Yahoo Boy No Laptop), is home to Lil Kesh and Viktoh, two of Nigeria’s fastest rising young talents.
Bolanle Austen-Peters, 42, is the founder of arts and culture hub Terra Kulture, which has established itself an important venue for arts and cultural diversity in Lagos. Since 2003, Terra Kulture has hosted hundreds of plays, exhibitions and readings.
Austen-Peters produced the Broadway-esque musical Saro, “a story of love and Lagos”, in 2013 and followed up with the sold out Wakaa: The Musical in 2015. She is also the producer of the upcoming film 93 Days, an account of when the Ebola virus hit Nigeria in 2014, staring American actor Danny Glover.
Wizkid, real name Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, is only 25 but he has amassed a cult following usually reserved for veteran stars. He hangs out with Rihanna and Chris Brown, and records with R Kelly. Alicia Keys even confessed on Instagram to enjoying his music. Wizkid’s album, Ayo, received tepid reviews at home but was a hit abroad, making Rolling Stone’s list of 15 great albums you didn’t hear in 2014. The following year his Afropop track Ojuelegba became a big hit and was remixed by Canadian rap king Drake and UK grime star Skepta.
Don Jazzy, real name Michael Collins Ajereh, is an award-winning music producer, singer-songwriter and record label owner who wields massive influence over the Lagos music scene. He formed Mo’hits Records in 2004 with the then little-known D’banj – who went on to become one of the biggest groups to come out of the continent.
Check out full list HERE
About Red Media Africa
Red Media Africa is the PR & Communication division under the parent brand, RED. It focuses on using inspiration, empowerment and action to help brands and organisations connect with their audiences, enhance their bottom-lines and lead in their industries. It has 6 major practice areas: Corporate Practice, Tech Practice, SME practice, Governance Practice, Faith Practice and the International Practice - with work for brands across Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. RED owns the continent's largest portfolio of youth media brands.
Its Content Division holds brands across TV, radio, online and events including Y! Magazine, YNaija.com, Rubbin' Minds, #YTech100 and the The RED Summit. It also anchors a development firm, The Future Project, which projects include Africa's leading youth platform, The Future Awards Africa, HowCanIGetInvolved.com and Aiki.ng, which is run in conjunction with Microsoft.