popular

Interview: Davido on Taking African Music Global

In an exclusive interview with OkayAfrica, the Nigerian powerhouse talks about his childhood traveling between Atlanta and Nigeria, approaching music from a business perspective, and why he's building music schools across Africa.

David Adedeji Adeleke, better known as Davido, sits comfortably in a cigar chair in the entryway of the Willard Hotel. His "Africa to the World" graphic t-shirt, a red dad cap, and matching joggers add a splash of excitement to the traditional Victorian backdrop of wood trimmed halls and chandeliers. Just the previous night he was in Morocco, popping out at Idris Elba's wedding.

Davido is in town to perform at the inaugural Coming to America Music Festival in Washington, DC. He moves his hands and body back and forth as if negotiating a business deal while talking. In many respects, the Nigerian powerhouse and star singer-songwriter is a businessman first. He adds inflections to his most important selling points, as he hands off pieces of his strategic plan.

His chief priority is to communicate the richness of the African continent to the world. While he first experimented with making hip-hop music, influenced by his summers spent in Atlanta, one trip back home to Lagos for Christmas stirred his music in a different direction. After traveling back home he found purpose in exporting music reflective of his Nigerian roots to the globe. Creating feel-good afro-fusion songs has become his platform.

New Music: Listen to Davido's New Album 'A Good Time'

Davido is building music schools across Africa. He also founded his own music label Davido Music Worldwide, which boasts Nigerian artist's like Dremo and Mayorkun on its roster. He hopes to equip the next generation of African artists with the tools necessary to become transnational and insure there are more recognizable names coming out of Africa.

Last year, Davido became the first African artist to receive an award at the BET Awards main stage. During his acceptance speech, he mentioned that his "continent has been so blessed to influence so many cultures," before going on to encourage the audience to come to Africa. Since then he's continued to build bridges collaborating with American artist like J. Cole, Meek Mill, Tory Lanez, and Quavo.

The 26-year-old music mogul talked to us about his experience spending his childhood traveling between Atlanta and Nigeria, why approaching his music from a business perspective is important, and why he's building music schools across Africa.

Keep reading...
Arts + Culture
Photo courtesy of Kith/Kin.

Chef Kwame Onwuachi Serves Up His West African & Caribbean History On A Plate

We catch up with the Nigerian-Jamaican chef of the buzzing restaurant Kith/Kin to learn about how his identity shapes his work with fine dining.

Kwame Onwuachi is an ambitious D.C. chef whose roots go back to West Africa and the Caribbean. His mother sent him from the Bronx to Delta State, Nigeria at the age of 12 to live with his grandfather, a former Howard University professor. Here his grandfather taught him how to make traditional Nigerian dishes and the importance of quality food, leaving a lasting impression on him.

The Nigerian-Jamaican culinary artist eventually moved back to New York where he began selling candy on the New York subway to pay his way through culinary school. He would visit his aunts in Washington, D.C. and eventually fell in love with the city. Today, D.C. is the city the 29-year-old continues to build a lasting imprint on the quickly growing culinary scene. While he has worked in kitchens in both New York and New Orleans he has never fully managed a restaurant from top to bottom, his mastery is almost like a grandma who never measures anything when she cooks, but her cooking always perfectly plates the family history. His food is distinctly autobiographical and his confidant command outweighs his experience.

He rose to fame on Top Chef season 13, where he cooked his way to sixth place—as well as seen the fall of his fine dining restaurant The Shaw Bijou back in 2016. It's easy for critics to spend too much time eagerly leading conversations with his failure over success, especially someone coming from his background, but Onwuachi doesn't seem too phased by either his wins or loses.

With his nosedive approach to work, he's on a mission to serve up dishes that tell his family's story at Kith/Kin—meaning "friends and family"—at the InterContinental DC. While storytelling through food is nothing new, Onwuachi hopes to add a bit more nuance to tables serving up American classics in Washington, D.C. and beyond.

We recently caught up with him to learn more about how food and his migration from the Bronx to Nigeria to New Orleans, and later Washington, D.C. shaped his identity and work as a culinary artist.

Keep reading...

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.