Presenting the second edition of BLACKLIST WEST AFRICA in collaboration with Guap Magazine

Featuring Blessing Ewona, Kelvin Doe & more emerging voices shaping the future of our continent.

Depending on what your perspective is, thousands of young creatives and entrepreneurs in West Africa are finding ways to thrive in spite or because of the socioeconomic conditions in the countries that constitute the region. Maybe the answer is somewhere in between: that double figure inflation rates, coups and autocratic governments, the hurdles of conservative values, and more have made it that the benchmark for excellence is elevated. Talent is abundant, tenacity is no short supply, and new visions are being explored and executed at high levels.

That’s why there’s no time like the present to celebrate and champion the new leaders of the creative economy who are going against the grain in their respective fields, and fostering inclusive spaces and communities where young Africans can truly be themselves. Following last year’s debut edition, we’ve partnered once again with our friends at Guap Magazine for the second edition of the BLACKLIST WEST AFRICA—a celebration of the emerging voices that are shaping the future and spirit of our continent.


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With the near-ubiquity of West African culture in the world today, these creatives and professionals on the BLACKLIST WEST AFRICA represent an emerging class of 30 under 30 leaders who are representative of our wider mission to identify and champion the best of African talent tomorrow: today. From the young and daring Ghanaian human rights activist, Nakeeyat Dramani Sam to Nigeria’s Blessing Ewona, who has fostered an inclusive culture of skateboarding in Nigeria, this list is by no means exhaustive one but a celebration and reminder of how far we’ve collectively come in various industries and an acknowledgment of where we can go in the future.

These exceptional BLACKLISTERS prove that there’s no such thing as being ‘too young’ or ‘too early’ to drive change and engage in the critical conversations of our era.


Ademola Falomo studied International Business in the UAE and learned to apply its idiosyncrasies in the field of filmmaking, making him a standout in the industry. As a filmmaker, Ademola has worked with the biggest names in the African music scene in less than a decade of being active. However, he steals more spotlight for himself for being one of the pioneers in Nigeria’s Altè scene; having directed the most important films of renowned creators in the scene. Beyond music, Ademola has credits for documenting even more important African fashion and lifestyle stories including film projects with Puma, Nike, Martell, Jameson, to mention only a few. As founder and creative director, his film company, Family Inc., seeks to aid young, independent filmmakers alike out of West Africa to better nurse their art. One of the ways they do this is through their very frequent community-building meetings aimed at creating and upholding a hub that up and coming filmmakers can run to when in pursuit of clarity.

What is the biggest motivator for the work you do?

“I aim to continue building a community and a platform for fast rising indie filmmakers in Africa. So my biggest motivator is seeing the expansion and the inclusion of more women and men in film with and the community we are building; because that growth and inclusion of young filmmakers inspired and nurturing their crafts to tell our stories really brings satisfaction to me.”


Anthony Azekwoh is a contemporary artist and author based in Lagos, Nigeria. His work primarily focuses on African folklore and mythology, using these themes and figures to tell stories of his country, transformation, and change. Following the success of his Lagos-London-New York tour, his most recent exhibition, “There is A Country” showing in both Lagos and Abuja, is an artistic response to the social, political, and economic chaos that pervades Nigeria using paintings and sculptures.

What is the biggest motivator for the work you do?

“I love it. This is what I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember: creating. The love of bringing something new to the world is what drives and pushes me to go forward. Love. Love is my motivator.”


Ayomide Oriowo is the co-founder of TurnTable Media and Analytics; a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, music executive, and a seasoned writer. His love for all things music and data led him to co-found TurnTable Charts in 2020. As the Co-Founder of the standard music charting system in Nigeria, Ayomide has contributed towards an ecosystem that aids the documentation of Nigerian art.

What is the biggest motivator for the work you do?

“A lasting legacy and cultural impact is my biggest motivator for the work I do.”


Blessing Ewona is a skateboarder, model and DJ. She founded Dencity, a skate collective where she teaches women and marginalised people to skate. She is looking to expand the community across Nigeria, building a community of female skateboarders, providing skate equipment, skate lessons and a safe space for women in skateboarding. She is also a DJ that goes by “WEAREALLCHEMICALS”, becoming a staple in the electronic/house music scene in Nigeria. Blessing’s seamless mixing and ability to read the crowd make her sets unforgettable. Her passion for house music shines through, creating a euphoric atmosphere wherever she performs.

What is the biggest motivator for the work you do?

“My biggest motivator for the work I do is the opportunity to learn and grow, I find fulfilment in knowing that what I do can create a positive impact on others“


A fashion enthusiast with a wide array of creative roles. From Creative Director to the CEO of “bolapsd” brand, I’ve worn many hats. As a Graphic Designer, I’ve worked with industry giants like Nike, Streetsouk, Ashluxe, Mejimeji, and Teezee and so much more. My journey started in late 2021, and in 2023, I launched “bolapsd forever” a fashion line, hosting a successful pop-up tour in Lagos and Toronto, with another in Abuja this November. My fashion pieces have resonated with people, and sales have been outstanding for such a short time in the business. I’m also a Stylist and Fashion Curator, aiming to guide fashion enthusiasts toward the latest trends. Exciting developments are on the horizon as I continue this incredible journey in the fashion world!

What is the biggest motivator for the work you do?

“It’s a big deal for me to see my dreams becoming a reality, and it motivates me immensely. However, I know that there are still many more achievements to unlock. In barely three years, while I was still in uni all through those 3 years, I’ve come this far, and I believe the next steps will be even more remarkable. This is just the beginning of my journey.”


Caleb Okereke is the Founder and Managing Editor at Minority Africa, a digital publication telling minority stories across Africa, supported by Google News Initiative and NED. He’s reported across Africa for CNN, DW, Aljazeera, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, and VICE News and has worked as an Editor with the New African Magazine. He was previously a Heidi news correspondent in East Africa based out of Kampala, Uganda. Caleb has spoken about inclusive and representative journalism at both Oxford and Stanford universities as well as the International Journalism Festival.

What is the biggest motivator for the work you do?

“The biggest motivator for my work has come from seeing how mainstream media organisations all across Africa, and especially in Nigeria where I am from have committed to news coverage that is designed to exclude marginalised groups. And it doesn’t just stop at design or exclusion but this kind of violent coverage is rewarded and correspondingly sustained – whether in virality or consensus. The dissemination of hate and division through media is not a random occurrence; it’s a deliberate act. Consequently, our response should not be arbitrary either. That intentionality drives me, if hate is not accidental, love cannot afford to be.”


David Nana Opoku Ansah is an artist/image-maker and filmmaker who through analogue and digital mediums creates work to explore freedom, community, vulnerability and quintessential aspects of humanity to challenge the nexus of how images should look and feel through fashion, contemporary image-making and portraiture. His critically acclaimed ongoing project “Area Boys” captures the theme of freedom, vulnerability, truth and what it means for coming-of-age Ghanaian boys. This effortlessly connects David’s origins to his burgeoning identity as an artist. “All things are worth photographing” is a functional pillar of David’s ethos. ​​This project seamlessly bridges David’s roots with his evolving identity as an artist, encapsulating the essence of his artistic evolution.

David’s artistic influence knows no bounds. He is a grantee and the 2020 PhMuseum’s New Generation award winner. David was selected as one of the five African image-makers to reflect on their shared trajectories to James Barnor’s archive in April 2021 at Piccadilly Circus in London. In July 2021, he exhibited work at Le Carreau du Temple in Paris, France. David shot his first magazine cover featuring Kendrick Lamar. Additionally, his inclusion among the select 50 global creatives in the British Fashion Awards’ NEW CREATIVE CLASS of 2022 highlights his indelible mark on the fashion and art landscape. He has worked with Gucci, Off-White, Nike, Farfetch, Vogue International, Circa, Highsnobiety, Daily Paper, Maison Margiela, Reebok, Adidas, Dazed, Culture Art Society, Teen Vogue, New Era Europe, Byredo among others.

What is the biggest motivator for the work you do?

“Curiosity, questioning things and inquisitiveness drive a lot of what I do. I always want to challenge what images can look like and create what I mostly see in my head. There are always these feelings of how things could be more than what exists presently and to me taking the risk to know what these things will look like is everything to me. I want to create works outside the context of what the norms are.”


Isabel Okoro is a visual artist currently based in Toronto, ON. She is exploring the interactions between the motherland and the diaspora, and coined the term normatopia to describe a space which considers the tensions between a harsh reality and a utopia, and chooses to rest and thrive in the humanly achievable sweet spot that exists in the middle. At the cornerstone of her practice is visualising and developing an imagined world, Eternity, as a space to immortalise community members through stories of speculative fiction that embrace her concept of normatopia.

What is the biggest motivator for the work you do?

“The will to see ideas come to life – not just saying things, but showing them.”


Kelvin Doe (aka DJ Focus) is an innovator and social entrepreneur from Freetown, Sierra Leone. Driven by a passion for tech, education and community development, he founded the Kelvin Doe Foundation (KDF) – a federally registered not-for-profit organization in Canada with a mission to provide creative spaces to nurture communities, ignite a culture of innovation, and inspire civic engagement. As the founder of the KDF, he engages with educators, the private sector, government leaders, and leading global visionaries to mobilize and provide resources and tools to advance the impact of experimental and hands-on learning programs – both in Canada and his home country of Sierra Leone.

His recent activity includes crowdfunding to set up a community makerspace. Kelvin has been awarded several national and international awards for his work, including a Presidential Gold Medal (2013) and the MTV EMA Generation Change Award (2019). He is also the youngest person to participate in the “Visiting Practitioner’s Program” at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his two weeks at MIT, he presented his innovations to students in two D-Lab classes, engaged with MIT community members, and participated in hands-on research at the MIT Media Lab.

Kelvin has been invited as a guest speaker at various conferences worldwide, including Maker Faire ‘Meet the Young Makers Panel’, Google Israel Event ‘Moonshot Thinking’, Clinton Global Initiative, TedxTeen The “Crazy Ones” (New York, USA, March 2014), Eco Club Summit (Abu Dhabi, UAE, April 2014), World Intellectual Property Organization African Ministerial Conference “Intellectual Property for an Emerging Africa” (Dakar, Senegal, November 2015), TedxLusaka “Changing Africa’s Narrative” (Lusaka, Zambia, May 2016), Cimientos Foundation (Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 2017). Kelvin serves on the Honorary and Advisory Board of Emergency USA , an organization committed to providing free medical and surgical care to those affected by war and poverty. He currently resides in Toronto, Canada, where he continues to pursue his academic goals and participates in various media and technology-related projects, including his current project, Frugal Radio.

What is the biggest motivator for the work you do?

“There’s a vast reservoir of talent, not just in my home country, Sierra Leone, but across the African continent that remains untapped mainly because we haven’t found a way to cultivate, enhance and connect our talent to the right opportunities. Cases like mine are the exception, and they’re also proof of my larger point–that when provided with legitimate opportunities, Africans will tend to excel. But we have to find a way to systematize “luck” so that stories like mine are not the exception but the norm.”


Afrobeats is ushering in a new global Pop sound thanks in part to producers like Grammy-nominated producer and DJ LONDON. Hailing from Lagos, Nigeria, 24 year old LONDON’s musical ability is best demonstrated in records such as Rema’s “Calm Down” with Selena Gomez and also Rema’s recent song titled “Charm.” Not only was LONDON Rema’s main collaborator on his debut album, having co-produced 14 of out the 16 songs, he has also produced heavily for Ayra Starr having produced her hits “Bloody Samaritan” and “Sability.” He recently produced Stormzy and Raye’s “The Weekend,” a sultry RnB-Rap record that demonstrates his ability to create beyond Afrobeats. LONDON also produced Wizkid’s “Gyrate” from the Grammy-nominated ‘Made In Lagos’ album. LONDON’s uniqueness lies in his candid ear for unusual sounds and melodies for production, and his daring attitude to push the genre forward by way of experimentation and curiosity. Born and Raised in Kaduna, London has taken his sound to first Lagos and now to the world, playing a key role in representing the new-gen Nigeria, who are limitless. He is now working on his own debut project which will feature some of your favourite as well unexpected appearances.

What is the biggest motivator for the work you do?

“Honestly, success is my biggest motivation. I want my music to exist around the world and be in peoples lives everywhere“


I’m a youngest poet in Ghana and also climate change advocate who is currently the Youth Ambassador for an international organization, Climate Vulnerable Forum(CVF) which consists of 58 countries.

What is the biggest motivator for the work you do?

“The motivation behind my work just passion driven. I love humanity and I always want to serve humanity with what I do.”


Born in the vibrant city of Lagos, Nigeria Edo parentage, Walter Obadan is an inventive photographer who has built a noteworthy portfolio, catering to distinguished clients across Nigeria and the broader African creative landscapes. Additionally, he shares a dynamic collaboration with renowned Nigerian music video director, TG Omori. Walter views his career as a necessity, as shot by shot, he builds a story for the Nigerian Entertainment industry and beyond. Despite an unconventional educational trajectory, Walter credits his background in Architecture for bestowing him with a unique technical advantage.

Drawing from his familiarity with shapes, dimensions, angles, and graphics acquired during his incomplete architectural studies, Walter seamlessly integrates these elements into his photography, resulting in a thriving career coupled with a bankable charisma. This distinctive blend of skills has enabled Walter to embark on a continent-spanning journey, collaborating with some of the most prominent figures in the entertainment industry along the way. He is also credited with creative direction for numerous artistes at the inception stage including Afrobeats sensation, Asake. With an impressive clientele including other celebrated names like Burna Boy, Davido, Ckay, Ayra Starr, Kizz Daniel, Black Sherif, Walter aims to extend his artistic prowess to the grandest global stages and festivals, all while proudly flying the Nigerian flag.

What is the biggest motivator for the work you do?

“My biggest motivation is the ability to capture moments in a unique and artistic way, telling stories through my lens. Photography & filmmaking allows me to freeze time, evoke emotions, and share my perspective with the world. It’s the endless possibility of creating something beautiful and meaningful that drives me to keep exploring and improving my craft. Wacko to the world!!”