Arts + Culture

NextGen: Daniel Obasi Is the Young Nigerian Stylist Making Big Moves

Nigerian stylist and art director Daniel Obasi's forward thinking art direction sparks conversation around issues that impact young Africans.

DIASPORAOver the course of July we'll be publishing short profiles, essays and interviews on the theme of "Afrofutures." Together these stories will be a deep dive into the way African and diaspora thinkers, technologists and artists view a future for Africans in the world and outside of it. 


Take a look at our introduction to Afrofuturism here.

Throughout this month, we'll also highlight and celebrate young, leading talents who already put into practice what a future with black people look like through their work in our daily profile series, 'NextGen.'

In our sixth edition, meet Nigerian stylist and visual artist, Daniel Obasi. 

A big part of shaping the future is taking risks to go against social norms and starting conversations that sometimes make people uncomfortable. This is the risk that 21-year-old stylist and visual artist Daniel Obasi is willing to take. Currently based in Lagos, Nigeria, Obasi spends half his time in the classroom studying French at the University of Lagos and the other half balancing his creative endeavors that range from styling editorials and lookbooks for publications like Oxosi, Hunger Magazine, Nataal and Contributor Magazine.

Daniel Obasi. Photo courtesy of the artist.

His projects often talk about controversial topics in Nigeria including gender, sexuality and social issues. This has attracted him attention from platforms like Marie Claire SA, CNN Africa and BBC radio. Beyond using his art as a way to start conversations, he also makes putting on African designers a priority in his work. Most of his editorials feature exclusively African designers and allow the outside world to engage with the trends happening in West Africa.

Photo by Daniel Obasi.

“Afrofuturism deals with a contemporary approach to storytelling, reimagining a narrative that fuses cultural and historical aesthetics with fantasy and science," Obasi says, when asked about his take on the movement.

[oka-gallery]

He continues:

"For me it's such a powerful way of sharing our history and experiences. My work is often rooted around my experiences as a young African. Growing up we are offered such a narrow and stereotyped perspective on Africa, that sort of hinders our progression especially within the creative scene. As an Artist the best way for me to help shape our narrative is to step away from those stereotypes and create along the lines of Afrofuturism and fantasy.”

Although his journey is just beginning, we are excited to see what Daniel Obasi does next.

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During her performance, the singer sported an ancient Egyptian-inspired beaded body suit, a bodice designed similarly to traditional Zulu jewelry and an emerald green ensemble made in collaboration with South African designers Enhle Mbali Maphumulo of Manual Rossa Apparel and Quiteria & George—but she rocked African-inspired looks off the stage as well.

In an Instagram post today, Queen Bey shared a slideshow of some of the striking outfits she rocked while in South Africa, and gave a shoutout to the designers behind them. "Thank you to the talented African designers who kept me feeling fresh. Y'all go so hard," wrote Queen Bey.

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After becoming the most watched Nigerian music video on YouTube earlier this month, the video for Davido's hit song "Fall" has set a new record, becoming the first Nigerian music video to reach 100 million views on YouTube.

The music video, which was uploaded in 2017, edged out Yemi Alade's memorable 2014 video for "Johnny," which currently sits at 98 million views to claim the title.

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Last time we checked in, "Fall," directed by Daps, was sitting at just over 98 million views as well, which means it gained 2 million new views in just 2 weeks, as Konbini points out.

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