In the spirit of the Independence month, it is important to celebrate the freedom and oneness of ourselves as a people, but even more so, as individuals – unique in many ways and on a quest to live life on our own terms. 

In collaboration with Jameson Irish Whiskey, we have taken time out to applaud the resilience and uniqueness of today’s generation — where young people are living their authentic lives and being their true selves, breaking free from the chains of conformity. 

To explain this, we spoke to four Nigerian creatives about how they broke free and found their voices.

Ayopo Abiri

I’m a 21-year-old creative director and makeup artist which I use as a form of self-expression. My style of make-up is editorial avant-garde, and it involves unconventional methods and special effects. It isn’t popular in Nigeria so most times, people hire me to do regular glam make-up. I still do it because bills must be paid but that’s just not who I am. I find my expression in my art and don’t like when my freedom is stifled. I love editorial avant-garde because it’s different and stands out but also beautiful. For fun, you can easily find me at a party or at a Jameson event. I love parties!

To be free is the ability to be who I want to be without restrictions of any kind. I’m non-conforming and always trying to push the boundaries of what’s acceptable. Simply put, I find my freedom by not being in the box. A few months ago, I was busy doing glam makeup that was bringing in money but deep down, I was bored. Editorial avant-garde fills me with excitement, and I think that’s important for every artist.

Ademola Falomo

I’m a filmmaker and director. I like to say I shoot cool stuff sometimes — music videos. I began making videos when Nigerian directors, who I respect, were mostly doing luxury videos — fast cars, hot models, and bottles. I started out shooting videos for Santi, Tems & Odunsi, and shot some videos for Jameson. My work stood out because it was eccentric and took a different approach. For example, the video Santi and I shot for Gangsta Fear was pretty much of us just going around Magodo and taking shots of interesting scenes and people. It was just different. However, because I was new to the business, I couldn’t afford the best cameras (i.e., the kind that would get my videos shown on television stations) so we took to social media to heavily promote our videos. That’s how we got people to notice our work.

Whether or not I’m working, I’m always making videos and started shooting videos when I was in uni to wind down from schoolwork. I like to make music for fun too, although I haven’t released any of my stuff. It’s where I authentically express my voice and identity.

To me, freedom is being at peace with yourself. When you’re being true to who you really are, that’s real freedom. My advice to younger people is to be yourself. Why follow other people’s rules? 

Fifo Adebakin

I’d describe myself as a guy who uses photographs to capture how he sees the world. I’ve been taking photos for 11 years; since I was in secondary school and I haven’t stopped since. My love was born out of wanting to capture the things I observe in the world. I’m an observer of human behaviour, so I like to capture everything going on with humans.

I’ve always thought that I’m a weird person and people tend to agree, LMAO! My weirdness keeps me inquisitive and wanting to try new and dangerous things. That’s where I find freedom.

Photography is pretty much who I am. It’s both my work and my hobby. I also enjoy travelling to see new places and living on the edge, like going skydiving. That’s what freedom means to me; being able to do whatever I want and not have any regrets about it. It’s about living life on your own terms. For example, I have a sensitive stomach and used to be picky about what I ate until I decided, “You know what? I can’t travel to all these new places without trying their food out of fear.” So, I freed myself from the shackles and became that guy that tried everything. I eat whatever I feel like.

I express myself through my photography, but the way Lagos is set up, you have to do photography that makes you money. Still, I find pockets of photography through which I can express myself. 

Nkay Okwudiri

I’m a lifestyle influencer, food blogger, and content creator based in Abuja. My job is basically intertwined with my personality because lifestyle influencing means influencing through the way I live. I’m an extrovert and bring a fun, different energy to other people’s lives so it was natural for me to go down that path. 

My friends used to come ask me where to go because I always knew which places were popping. Since I moved to Abuja in 2017, I’ve had the freedom to chase my passion. I always tell people to be themselves. Don’t try to live for anybody — they’ll all be fine. 


Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.