We speak with four of the people shaping Nigeria's alté scene: musicians Wavy The Creator & Teezee, creative director/stylist Ashley Okoli and fashion entrepeneur Emefa Smith.
Just like most cultural waves that come from Nigeria, the roots of the alté subculture can be traced back to Lagos. The bubbling populous city is home to innovative hustlers and a large youth population which leads to a lot of experimentation and creation of new sounds and subcultures happening within.
While afro-fusion transcends international borders to become a regular fixture on top of the global charts and a permanent presence in UK airwaves—and as afropop stars like Wizkid and Davido collaborate with global hitmakers like Drake and Skepta—a smaller community of artists in Nigeria is creating a sound and style that is harder to define: it's inherently more experimental and subverts expectations of what it means to create in Nigeria.
By crafting out a style that plays on gendered fashion and refuses to follow conventions, and a sound that fuses varying textures of different genres together, these alté artists have created a disruptive subculture that has earned and grown a significant following.
Ashley Okoli. Photo: Michael Oshai for OkayAfrica.
Wavy the Creator. Photo: Chuchu Ojekwe for OkayAfrica.
Emefa Smith. Photo: Chuchu Ojekwe for OkayAfrica.
Teezee. Photo: Michael Oshai for OkayAfrica.