10 Most Influential People in Modern African Pop Culture
Africa is growing in influence in the modern pop culture industry where the world is taking notice of the continent’s originality and cool factor.
The movers and shakers from the continent are not only through philanthropic ventures, but also through a multitude of breakthroughs in business and lifestyle by flying the flag high for the continent.
1. Bozoma Saint John
Bozoma Saint John is a Ghanaian-American, who has made significant strides in the marketing industry, particularly in music and entertainment. She singlehandedly led PepsiCo’s music festival-based marketing as Head of the Music and Entertainment Marketing and turned Apple Music into a brand that people love and identify with.
Her work in music marketing and global consumer marketing has earned her being named as one of the top women in music by Billboard, 100 Most Creative People by Fast Company, and Adweek’s Most Exciting Personalities in Advertising. She is now Uber’s Chief Brand Officer.
2. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has not only been an influential author, having written books such as Purple Hibiscus and Americanah , but has also been a strong advocate for women’s rights and for cultural diversity. She gave a TED Talk in 2009 titled “The Danger of a Single Story,” in which she expressed her concern for under-representation of various cultures.
She gave the popular TedXEuston talk in December 2012 titled, “We should all be feminists,” which initiated a worldwide conversation on feminism and women’s rights. This talk caught the attention of American singer, Beyonce, who included a sample of the talk in her popular song “Flawless.”
3. Warsan Shire
The work of Kenyan-born Somali poet, Warsan Shire, received global attention when her poetry was featured in American singer Beyonce’s 2016 album “Lemonade.” Her featured poetry explored love and femininity, giving a voice and hope to black female experiences.
She is passionate about character-driven poetry that captures the human experience of people, especially immigrants and refugees who are often portrayed in a negative light. Her work includes the popular 2011 release titled “Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth.”
4. Liya Kebede
Ethiopian supermodel, Liya Kebede, has made great strides not only on international catwalks as one of Africa’s top supermodels, but also in the bid to advance safe motherhood in Africa through her foundation, Lemlem Foundadvance safe motherhood in Africa through her foundation, Lemlem Foundation, formerly known as the LK Foundation. The foundation was founded in 2005 in an effort to help combat maternal mortality, after years of Kebede working as a WHO Goodwill Ambassador.
5. Khoudia Diop
French-Senegalese model, Khoudia Diop, gained widespread social media attention after sharing words of encouragement and her story of overcoming bullying due to her dark skin. Growing up, Diop faced bullying due to her dark skin complexion, and has since been an advocate against bullying and societal pressures such as skin lightening. “I faced it by confronting the bullies. As I grew, I learned to love myself more every day, and not pay attention to the negative people, which helped a lot,” Diop said in an interview with The Daily Mail.
Senegalese-American rapper, Akon, has been continuing on his quest to light up Africa with his Akon Lighting Africa initiative, which was launched in February 2014. His company, Solektra, has 200,000 small solar projects that are active in countries including Mali, Niger; Senegal; Guinea; Burkina Faso; Sierra Leone; Benin; Guinea Equatorial; Gabon; Republic of Congo; Namibia; Madagascar; Kenya and Nigeria.
Apart from providing solar power to communities that are off the grid, Solektra provides training for workers in solar technology at a school that Akon created at the company’s headquarters in Bamako, Mali.
7. Bonang Matheba
South African TV and radio presenter, Bonang Matheba, has not only inspired fans with her work, red carpet looks and her inaugural reality TV show “Being Bonang,” but has also inspired many through her efforts to see young women receiving an education.
She helps young women with their tertiary education through the Bonang Matheba Bursary Fund, where earlier this year, she awarded 10 female high school graduates with bursaries to complete their studies at any Boston College branch in South Africa.
8. DJ Black Coffee
DJ Black Coffee has been one of the prominent musicians to fly the South African flag high in the international music industry.
He made history in 2016 as the first South African recipient of the BET Best International Act: Africa award, and he recently won the Best Deep House DJ Trophy at the 2017 DJ Awards in Ibiza.
9. Flaviana Matata
Flaviana Matata is not only one of the most influential models to come out of Tanzania, she is also an avid advocate on the education of women, believing that it is a sustainable way out of poverty. “I always encourage girls to take education seriously because no one will take it away from you. It’s the one thing that no one can ever take away from you. Know what you want, focus, work hard and stay grounded. And most of all support one another,” she says in an interview with The Citizen Tanzania.
She helps in improving the livelihoods of women and assisting in reducing poverty at grassroots level through her nonprofit organization, the Flaviana Matata Foundation (FMF).
The foundation empowers the lives of young girls and women through education, training, and through micro-financing various community projects.
10. Loza Maléombho
Ivorian fashion designer, Loza Maléombho, was one of many contemporary fashion designers to influence the international fashion scene with modern African designs. Her work was featured by American singer, Beyonce, on her latest visual album “Lemonade.”
She also uses her creative platform in design and on social media to address social issues such as racism and understanding African history and tradition..
This list of 10 most Influential People in Modern African Pop Culture was written in no particular order of appearance
This post first appeared on Africa.com