News Brief

Here are the Young African Visionaries Who Made the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 List

Get familiar with some of the names on the 2019 list.

Forbes magazines yearly 30 Under 30 list is here, and just like last year, a number of young African visionaries have made the list.

The list recognizes accomplished young people in the areas of media, art & style, food & drink, education, science, music, sports, healthcare and a number of other industries.

Here's how the magazine described this year's selection process:

The list features 600 trailblazers in 20 industries. Choosing these honorees among thousands of nominees is long and daunting, a three-layer process that relies on the knowledge and authority of our wide-reaching community, skilled reporters and expert judges. The final product: a collection of bold risk-takers putting a new twist on the old tools of the trade

This year's arts & style section includes 20 year-old Nigerian born fashion designer Taofeek Abijako, the creator of the menswear brand Head of State+, as well as 28-year-old Nigerian artist Kayode Ojo.

Ghanaian-American computer scientist and digital activist Joy Buolamwini (28) represents in the enterprise and technology section. She's the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, which identifies biases in algorithms. While 29-year-old Sally Nuamah, a Ghanaian-American professor at Duke University earned a spot in the education section for her accomplishments in the field.

The Nigerian co-founders of Helium Health, a company turning hospitals across West Africa digital were recognized in the healthcare portion of the list. The 25-year-old Nigerian founder of Lightning Labs, Olaoluwa Osuntokun (25), is named in the finance section.

Malawian-American policy advisor, Michelle Mbekeani (29) also made this year's list. Born in Libya to Sudanese parents, senior copywriter at Droga5 Nedal Ahmed (29), makes the list in the marketing and advertising section.

Shamrock Frimpong (27), the Ghanaian social entrepreneur behind the Cocoa360 is also included on the list.

Twenty-three year-old Nigerian-Greek basketball player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks is also on the list.

Congrats to all the young honorees! You can see the full list here.

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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