by Wilfred Okiche
Someone once said no one man should have all that power. Not so for these celebrities who have defied the odds and have evolved beyond mere superstardom to become potent forces in their own right. Capable of influencing ideas, events and policies that go far beyond their personal lives and careers, these guys rule.
We bring you the definitive list of the 10 most powerful people in entertainment (listed in alphabetical order).
AY: The comedian has in the space of a few years become the biggest brand in Nigerian comedy. His live shows regularly attract people from all walks of life and are the bench mark used to judge other shows. He has diversified lately with interests in Music, publishing and dance and his Open Mic show has been credited with discovering new talents like Seyi Law who have gone on to become bankable stars.
Cecil Hammond: The Flytime CEO has created a body of work and influence to make any competitor green with envy, not that he has many of them. Flytime has cornered the market on big-budget concerts and live shows and have organized events for everyone from 9ice to Bez. Mr Hammond has made inroads in television-with the 3live chicks program hosted by Oreka Godis, Tosyn Bucknor and Omalicha- and music with the signing of fast rising singer Seyi Shay.
D’banj: What more can we say about the Kokomaster? His international career might still be unfolding but there is no doubt that he still has what it takes to draw in the crowds- and the superstars (Idris Elba, Tinnie Tempah) for his concerts. Only recently was he contracted to perform at the closing ceremony of the AFCON proving that his visibility has in no way diminished. Oh and did we forget, Kanye West replies his emails.
Don Jazzy: It’s Don Jazzy second act and he has proved that he is still as relevant as ever. His carefully constructed armor took a hit following the breakup of Mo Hits but he rebounded strongly, quickly setting up Mavin records and signing some of the biggest pop stars in the country. The endorsement deals keep coming in (Loya milk, Samsung), proof that he is one of the most viable names in entertainment and his social media presence is unimpeachable.
Funke Akindele: The recently wedded Mrs Oloyede has done for Yoruba movies what Kenneth Nnebue did for Igbo films; taken them to the centre where they can be viewed and assessed on their own merits. Moving beyond the spectacular success recorded by Jenifa and The Return of Jenifa, she has headlined both English (A Wish) and Yoruba (Maami) films that have met with enviable box-office returns. Endorsement deals with Lagos state government and it’s agencies as well as big telecom companies glide easily towards her and she gives back some of this goodwill through her film training/production outfit.
Genevieve Nnaji: The box-office queen and leader of the A-List has continued to impress with her ever expanding profile. She was added to the cast of the upcoming ‘Half of a yellow sun’ film after cries of side-lining the local talent became deafening and even though there are reports of scenes being cut, anticipation is high because Ms Nnaji’s name is attached to the project. Partying with Hollywood’s big wigs is all in a day’s job for her and anything project she touches becomes gold. Lux, Mud, Range Rover Evogue and Luna milk are just some of the brands to enjoy a boost in popularity after featuring her in their ad campaigns.
Kunle Afolayan: The New York Times in a detailed profile on his life and work dubbed him ‘A Scorcese in Lagos’ and we are inclined to agree. Coming from an artistic background, Kunle Afolayan has gone on to direct and produce some of the best films to ever come out of Nigeria. ‘The Figurine’ became an instant classic and it’s successful follow up set a standard for future romantic comedies. With his Golden Effectss studio, he is able to affect some of the brightest talent to work on his projects and his work is moving to that rarefied area of selling out on account of his name only.
M.I: The short black dude from the city of Jos has done well for himself, carving out a niche both in the glamour and financial aspects of showbiz. Not satisfied with his billing as Africa’s number one rapper, he set up his own imprint, Loopy records (home to upcoming acts Ruby, Lindsey and Threadstone) which complements Chocolate City music where he is both artiste and Vice president. With other business interests on the side, M.I is set to pull out all the stops for the roll out plan of his third studio album. Expect everything.
Omotola Jalade Ekeinde: In her recently commissioned reality television show, ‘Omotola- The real me’ (deal with it, it’s here to stay), the screen queen is billed as an actress, entrepreneur, songstress, humanitarian and mother. While she is yet to cause any major earthquake, it is hard to deny the enduring presence of this diva in all the afore-mentioned activities. Her presence in the film, ‘Last flight to Abuja’ guided it to rewarding box-office returns and her charity work with widows got her all the right notices. She recently became the Nigerian celebrity with the most Facebook likes, having surpassed the 1million mark.
Psquare: The most famous twins this side of the world keep moving from glory to glory and seem set for world domination. Their feel good music has attracted them fame, wealth and legions of fans as well as the chance to collaborate with international acts Akon, Rick Ross and Matt. They don’t get out of bed for less than a certain mind-boggling amount and enjoy a lifestyle that few artistes can lay claim to.
Age limit is 18 – 35