The Nigerian society does this thing where it tries to force everybody to conform to its pre-conceived notion of what it thinks people are supposed to be. We’re so grateful these 5 people didn’t give in because we never would’ve gotten the awesomeness they’ve given us all.
1. Ahebi Ugbabe
I understand if you never knew that there was once a female king in colonial Nigeria. The patriarchy has a way of making sure the names of great women and their accomplishments never make into the history books.
King Ahebi Ugbabe ruled as the king of Enugu-Ezike from 1920 till when she died in 1948. So here’s how her story went: She was supposed to be married off to some female deity to atone for her father’s sins but she was like, “Screw that!” and ran away from her village. During her self-imposed exile, she supported herself with sex work and learned 3 new languages, which aided in her meeting all the important people that would help facilitate her rise to the throne when she eventually returned to her village.
2. Fela Anikulapo Kuti
Fela went on a path pretty much no Nigerian artiste in his day did. As opposed to mostly singing about love like the other, he changed his lyrical themes to social issues (as a form of protest against the then ruling government) and made the decision to sing in pidgin English (so his music could be enjoyed all over Africa).
All these things (and more) are why Fela is revered as an iconic musician and human rights activist.
3. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Also known as the most prominent critically-acclaimed young English author in Nigeria, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has redefined what it means to be a Nigerian woman and Nigerian author by using her stories to explore themes not usually tackled by her peers.
From his wild hairstyles to his Tim Burton-esque outfits, it’s no wonder people thought Denrele Edun insane when he began making himself known in the entertainment scene. A lot of people said he would never make it with such an image but he carried on with it anyway and is now an award-winning presenter, actor, and style icon.
5. Funmi Iyanda
Funmi Iyanda is an award-winning broadcaster, journalist, columnist, and blogger. In the early 2000s, she hosted the morning show, New Dawn With Funmi, one of the most popular talk shows in Nigerian TV history. She used this platform to make a mark on her generation by breaking barriers e.g. like being the first person to interview an openly gay Nigerian man on national television. Her achievements and her admirable passion for what she does is why Forbes magazine once named her as one of the 20 young powerful women in Africa.
Now, it’s important to point out that defying societal norms and standing out isn’t as easy it sounds.
Nigerian youth are innovative, entrepreneurial, and resourceful, but just because they play by their own rules, they are stereotyped as reckless, threatening, and hedonistic. Shots like these have the tendency to diminish the self-esteem of the average Nigerian youth just trying to own the thing that makes them stand out.
Well, The king’s Stitch is here to change all that.
The King’s Stitch is a movement (started by Budweiser in their latest campaign) that seeks to safeguard the Nigerian youth who are often misunderstood when all they want is to be their true selves. It’s a platform where youths looking to show their personalities can engage and be engaged.
At the launch of the initiative, Budweiser released a video clip showcasing some young Nigerians who are successfully challenging the status quo. Check it out:
This video is the first step in a series of events which will eventually peak at a Fashion Surprise that will see famous designers work with Nigerian youth in the production of the most exciting and eccentric fashion show ever.
Nigerian youth are constantly speaking and yearning to be heard. Well, Budweiser has heard and is ready to launch a carefully tailored platform for young inspired Nigerians to break free from the norm as they channel their creativity into living their best lives.
To join the movement, click here.