From the UN to the World Bank, hundreds of global institutions have released reports heralding Nigeria as one of the fastest consumer markets in the world. Chief among their desires? Fashion, music and...champagne! This past October we visited Lagos to meet the key personalities behind these industries, setting up at the site of Lagos Fashion & Design Week, held at Eko Hotel in Victoria Island. Between backstage fittings, front row shows and cocktail parties, we gathered a list of Lagos’ glitterati and commissioned three of the city's most dynamic photographers -- the veteran Kelechi Amadi-Obi, the new kid Lakin Ogunbanwo and Detroit boy-turned-Lagos regular, Nick Hagen -- to shoot 'em all. And although Nigeria has been in the news lately for its oppressive anti-gay legislation passed in the months following our visit and photo shoots, politics shouldn't overshadow the fact that the capital city is home to fabulous young people working to change, influence and impact the future of their country. In Part II of our Beautiful People: Lagos feature, meet five people making waves in Lagos' entertainment industry, which includes a thriving music scene and the third largest film market, known as Nollywood.
Beautiful People Lagos Part I: Fashion
Photo by Nick Hagen
Born Nelson Agose, the artist known as Blink is poised to make his mark on the international music scene. The rapper combines an eclectic sound and delivery with good looks and a heavy dose of charisma. It’s no wonder his debut album, "The World Is Small” continues to gain traction as an underground favorite of music lovers far and wide.
How does the city of Lagos inspire your work?
The hustle and bustle of everyday life, how we forget that hustle and bustle, the slang we use, the attitudes we have towards each other, peoples' struggles and desires. All of it.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on my first official EP for Nigeria titled "Live from Lagos". It is a follow-up to my previous project titled "American Dreams African Principles," and it is based on the sum total of all my experiences in Lagos since moving back from the U.S.
Photo by Nick Hagen
Since her “Top Model” debut, the London-born/Lagos-raised beauty has quickly transformed from an up-and-coming model to a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry.
What are some street style fashion trends you have noticed in Lagos?
I notice the way young men dress. The dandy is well and alive in Lagos -- bold trousers, shoes, shirts. Global fashion trends are reflected in the streets here far more than other places I've been. People dress up every day, it's so fascinating. Everyone is a fashionista or fashionisto.
What new projects are you currently working on? I produced and starred in a Nigerian adaptation of Patrick Marbers Closer alongside my co-producer Bikiya Graham Douglas. We had two great shows in December. Now working on an African tour and eventually a global one.
Photo by Lakin Ogunbanwo
This dapper man about town hops effortlessly between Lagos, London and Paris while repping all the hot acts in Nigeria. From the beautiful actress and TV personality (and Beautiful Person!) Eku Edewor to the popular artist Lynxxx, Okeke is Lagos' go-to guy for discovering the most exciting talent in the city.
What projects are you currently working on? The Gidi Culture Festival, which is a beach festival that has become a huge social movement and is all about the youth, and the Dreams Project, which is a platform for creating opportunity in non-traditional forms of employment through entrepreneurship and apprenticeship.
How would you describe Lagos to someone who has never been there? A jungle. It's the land of opportunity but not for everybody. Some make it and some don't, but either way, it is where dreams are made and life lessons are learned.
Photo by Kelechi Amadi-Obi
Don is an appropriate name for the nightlife and music impresario who moves quietly in the background of Lagos' nightlife and music scenes. Few know him by name, but almost all Lagos residents would know the wildly popular artists he’s groomed including Tuface Idibia, Africa’s leading music artist. After several decades in the industry, the fiercely private manager, counts this as one of a handful of press interviews he’s allowed. We feel honored.
Who are the most exciting music acts coming out of Lagos or Nigeria right now?
Lagos is like the headquarters of music in Africa, evidenced by the number of quality acts with monstrous hits. Some notable names includes: 2Face, Sound Sultan, P Square, Wizkid, Davido, K Cee, 9ICE, Tiwa Savage, Chidinma, J Martins and so much more. The list is actually endless.
Photo by Lakin Ogunbanwo
The synergy between style and sound is embodied by Olenuga, the fashionable maestro behind the Lagos Philharmonic.
Where in Lagos do you like to enjoy music?
There are great places like Miliki, Bogobiri and the Jazzhole, but I really enjoy post-rehearsal jamming. We're into all types of music so some days we find ourselves playing interpretations of Bon Iver or Kanye West. Other days we get into 'vibing' and creating strange, pretty pieces of music that come from no one and everyone and are beautiful because of how temporary and unstructured they are.
What projects are you looking forward to?
We are planning an amazing show for Lagos Philharmonic's premiere: a post-modern orchestra with lights and fog, synced animation and film and African instruments as well as electronic. It's going to be pretty crazy!