With it being Black History Month here in the UK, I deemed it timely to start a Black Excellence (shout out to Diddy!) series here on my blog.
I mean, it is only right that I greet readers today in Yoruba, one of the many languages spoken in Nigeria. Today, 01 October 2017 marks 57 years of independence - Happy Independence Day to my Nigerians across the world! This post is a real short one to celebrate a number of UK-based Nigerians in their respective fields.
Creativity is not something that is scarce to Nigerians and it is beautiful to see so many creatives blossoming on various social media platforms. Over the last five to ten years, there has been a significant rise in UK-based Nigerian bloggers and vloggers, pushing out amazing content. Here are a few of my personal favourite beauty/lifestyle bloggers and their impressive accolades.
Ms Deb Deb, Nigerian MUA and beauty blogger who recently hit 1.2million views on her Fenty Beauty first impressions video - pretty impressive if you ask me! Esther, known as EstareLive has a plethora of content on her channel from hair and wig tutorials to serious 'get your life' makeup tutorials, hilarious vlogs as well as relatable and real 'sit-down' chats. Upon recently hitting 100k on both YouTube, Instagram and winning African Pride Awards' 'Social Media Personality of the Year', the only way is up for this proud Nigerian. Next, we have the beautiful Lizzie Loves! Her content spans across all things beauty, academic advice and an insight into her journey adjusting to life after graduation. SimiAllSmiles has to be one of my favourite vloggers here in the UK. Her consistency is undisputed! For some reason, Simi seems to be at a hall party, wedding or celebration of some sort every weekend so I am really going to need her to be sharing the details for us all so we can all be tying gele and sewing aso ebi too - please and thanks! Finally, The Patricia Bright. Her evident consistency and progression over the years has landed her over 1M subscribers and she has become the first Black British YouTube personality to achieve such a milestone!
Still in the creative field, LADIES, SHALL WE HAVE SOME FUN? If you are active on Twitter, you will know exactly what this means! Dami Olonisakin is the founder and editor-in-chief of Simply Oloni, an award-winning platform that covers all things sex and relationships. Not only is she a blogger but an author too! Her books include 'Dear Oloni, The Experience and 100 Questions'! One post I will encourage all ladies to read is 'The Girlfriend Fluffer'. I won't say too much to spoil it but read the post and re-evaluate your life! Next we have the nation's favourite, Miss Tolly T who is a lifestyle and beauty blogger for Buzzfeed and also 1/4 of The Receipts Podcast. I say the nation's favourite because she is literally the loveliest lady ever with the most hilarious stories and contagious laugh! I have learnt a thing or two from Miss Tolani and aspire to be the 'thirst trap that I want to see in the world'. Last but certainly not least, Ade Akins, the mastermind behind Adzvice.com, a recommendation hub that give young individuals and entrepreneurs tips worth sharing! It has been amazing to see how far Adzvice has come in the last year I cannot wait to see how far Ade and the fantastic Adzvice team are going to take this platform! Great things to come from all 3 bloggers!
Entertainment. Now we all know, Nigerians love a good party. Everything is a celebration and I am so here for it! There are a number of people throwing fantastic parties and get-togethers, celebrating Nigerian culture and to an extent, incorporating popular Western trends. My top 3 right now are as follows. Cococure has been described as an experience to say the least. If you work in Central London and fancy unwinding to the latest Afrobeats tracks on a Friday or Saturday night, Cococure is the place to be! The story behind the brand is an interesting one and more can be found on their website.
As a young babe (I am still very young but that is besides the point!), I remember going to hall party upon hall party and Viva Nights have revived that memory with their unique Viva Hall Parties every single year around Ghanaian and Nigerian Independence. The hashtag trends every single time and gorgeous pictures of young men and women in their rich traditional attire constantly go viral! Big up the Viva team! I believe that tickets for the 57th Nigerian Independence celebration are still available - click here to purchase yours! Faaji Sundays, created by my beloved Yinka and her amazing business partner Frances, is a cultural 'drunch' experience filled with amazing, uniquely mixed cocktails, West African cuisine and serious African music - live band and all! Be sure to have your dollars ready if you are ever attending Faaji Sundays!
Speaking of live bands, fuji music is an extremely popular music genre in Nigeria and it is so interesting to see how Nigerians here in the UK blend fuji with current Western bangers. My personal favourites have to be Team Ologo, Samson Serafu and WonderboySolek.
Team Ologo are a live band, spearheaded by the talented Mista Ologo himself! If you zoom into the photo, you may see a few familiar faces - AdeJosh, upcoming afrobeats artist and ATGMusick, bad boy producer! Samson Serafu, an afro-fuji artist dedicating to bringing a unique twist to the afrobeats scene and has worked with the likes of Sona and Naira Marley. His voice, with a live band is a serious vibe! Finally, Uncle Solek. I am sorry, if you haven't seen videos of his set online, where have you really been? He brings the real ginger to the faaji! If you attend a Nigerian celebration of some sort and any 3 of these guys are performing, please make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes because you go dance non-stop oooo!
Education and professional development. Many of our parents, regardless of their country of origin, came to England to ensure a better life was passed onto us, their children. It is honestly so heartwarming to see so many children and young adults excelling in the academic realm and going on to greater heights in their professional careers. There are 4 amazing platforms, founded and currently run by young Nigerian professionals. Ladies first. WCAN (Women in the City Afro-Caribbean Network), founded by the beautiful Mariam Jimoh, is a platform that aims to connect black women across the city, providing black female students and young professionals with personal and career development. WCAN aims to inspire, mentor and connect black women at various stages of their professional career. With there being an evident need for diversity in many corporate environments, WCAN is set to shake the table and smash a few (if not all!) glass ceilings - true definition of Black Girl Magic! Secondly, Capital Moments. Before you continue reading, open Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and follow Capital Moments now. Capital Moments is a social enterprise formed by young professionals working in the City. CM aims to promote commercial awareness to maximise personal development. Co-founders, Joshua and Lekan are real pioneers in this field and the expansion of the brand thus far is inspiring to witness. Bola Sol is the founder and editor of Refined Currency, a platform dedicated to providing women with information on personal finance as well as finances as a whole. Bola Sol has gone on to become a keynote speaker at a variety of events as well as expand Refined Currency into the podcast realm. Be sure to subscribe to Refined Currency and listen to the podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud for fantastic financial tips and tricks! Finally, Black Young Professionals Network. BYP is a community for young black professionals to network, socialise or date. Founder, Kike Oniwinde identified a gap in the market and an evident necessity within our community and levelled all the way up! The BYP app launched on September 16th 2017 and definitely is worth downloading whether you are looking for new friends, an opportunity to professionally network or even to look for love!
Nigerians are indeed the true definition of hustlers. There has been an evident rise in the number of start-ups and there are a few that I believe, for the purpose of this post, should be recognised. Aji Ayorinde, lawyer and founder of MIA London Apparel. There mere fact that he is able to do both is astounding. MIA London is a 'platform for unisex formalwear handmade by some of Africa's finest tailors - to show the world that Africa can compete on the formal front and more'! Broderick Hunter will be the face of their AW17 campaign so I will certainly be keeping an eye out for this! I look forward to seeing his beautiful face, and the clothes too of course! Be sure to check out their products and services! Founder of The Raw Hair Co, Karaenat Bamgboye. Karaenat is the definition of superwoman, effectively managing motherhood, her academic career as well as business - props to you, Miss! I only recommend what I personally use and The Raw Hair Co's tresses are second to none - amazing quality at affordable prices! Hit me up if you want my discount code! (I'm not joking, I really do have a discount code). Tobi Raphael started his first business at 16 years old and has since gone on to establish a number of his ventures. Tobi's first restaurant 'Mama Leah's' gained major attention as a result of its humble beginnings as a dessert truck in Lewisham town centre market. Within a few years, Tobi has opened a fully-licensed gourmet restaurant on Old Kent Road, Peckham. Tobi has since gone on to open the first 'concept-based Nigerian takeaway, 'I GO CHOP'. Since opening in June 2017, 'I Go Chop' has gained a wealth of media attention from the likes of Channel 4, the Evening Standard as well as the BBC due to its unique customer experience! Finally, Sinmi's Beautique. Founder and proud owner, Sinmi Adekola is a self-taught MUA and started her cosmetic line at the age of 17! Her brand and range of products has grown immensely and it is absolutely inspiring to see her fulfilling her purpose.
That brings us to the end of this post. This was an extremely enjoyable post to research and pen down. As aforementioned, this post is of course not an exhaustive list of all Nigerians in the UK doing fantastic things in their respective fields, however these are a few of my personal favourites. I mean, I could go on and on and on, but I would literally be sat here like Lenny Henry at the MOBO's in 2015 wheeling off the name of every singe millennial Nigerian here in the UK. As the next generation of leaders, it is important for us all, regardless of country of origin to join forces and ensure that we put ourselves in the best possible position pioneer significant and effective change. Be sure to follow the pages linked above and don't forget to tell them that JENNIFERFRIMPONG sent you!