Meet Danielle Mbonu, the director behind Naira Marley’s latest video, “Aye”

She's definitely a name you want to watch

The world is making way for a younger crop of entertainers from all walks to flex their muscles, and the last three years have shown us a shift in the paradigm, with young & fearless young directors such as TG Omori, Santi, Ademola Falomo taking the baton from the OGs. As with anything else in the world, this space is mostly occupied by the men, and there’s a significant lack of female talent, which is why Danielle Mbonu’s directorial debut with Naira Marley’s latest single, “Aye” is so important, especially now, during Women’s History Month.

No stranger to the game, Dan Mbo as she’s known professionally, is also a photographer who has spent the last few years capturing the best of Lagos’ youth culture. With an already impressive bank of work with brands such as Nike, Off-White and more, with cool and captivating images of all our faves from Tems to Deto Black, she’s definitely a name you’re going to want to watch out for.

The talented photographer and now director draws inspiration from her interactions with friends and other people daily, and also the city’s growing creative freedom, which she has no doubt contributed a lot to. Now, taking her talents into new territory, she has come in with a big bang, and her work will be impossible to ignore. For Naira Marley’s “Aye”, Danielle’s main aim was to bring the message of the song to life. In his usual fashion, Naira Marley is encouraging listeners to not make life any harder than it needs to be, and to enjoy their time while they are here. Being a Naira Marley fan, there was a lot of immediate synergy, and it came as no real challenge for her to bring the song’s message to life.

She tells me over the phone:

I wouldn’t even say I was going for an exact interpretation, I just wanted the video to match the song. It basically says life isn’t hard and we tend to make it hard for ourselves. Naira is rich, he wants to have fun and he likes pretty girls, it’s all quite simple really. People act like being young, successful and rich in Nigeria is a crime and it’s not. I just wanted to show that

Her distinct touch of capturing youthful exuberance is definitely one of the video’s strengths, and this is something she’s particularly interested in maintaining throughout her stint as a director. Like you’ll find with Santi & his candles, and TG Omori’s penchant to build an entire set, Danielle just wants her photography style to translate to the videos she directs. From what we’ve seen with her first attempt, she’s walking a good path.

Watching succeed at such a young age — and in a notoriously male-dominated industry — is beyond inspiring, and we’re very glad to see a young woman winning. We can’t wait to see what her next move is.

Check out her debut with the video for Naira Marley’s “Aye” right here:

Featured image credits: Instagram/

ICYMI: Danielle Mbonu captures the best of IAMISIGO S/S20 for NATIVE X Lagos Fashion & Design Week