Afro Model Awards: A Call for More Participation


Mary Ekah

Most often people work tirelessly to ensure that the fashion and style industry is alive and grows to a global level but most times, these group of people, which include models, fashion designers, makeup artists and so on, are not recognised for their good work and as a result they lack the inspiration and opportunity to grow to the next level where they would, peradventure, go on the global pedestal.

Therefore, in order to give African practitioners in the fashion industry, especially the young and budding Nigerian models and fashion practitioners, the opportunity to be recognised globally and also to be taken to a standard where they would compete equally with the foreign models, most especially the white models, who most often are given more recognition in the United Kingdom (UK), the organisers of Afro Model Awards, a UK-based annual ceremony which gives recognition to models, fashion designers and people in modeling industry for their work, is calling for more participation from Nigerians.

Afro Model Awards is the biggest awards ceremony, which focuses on models, designers and innovators in fashion and style and had ran for five years consecutively. Presently operated in London by a group of young patriotic Nigerians, Afro Model Awards ceremony was created five years ago; to search, locate and reward hardworking/talented; models, photographers, makeup artists, agencies, designers, beauticians, accessories designers, magazines, personality, fashion blogs, fashion events and so on, by ways of rewarding their hard work via award recognition annually.

Speaking during his recent visit to Nigeria, London-based Nigerian and Founder, Afro Model Awards, Mr. James Jegede, said, “Afro Model Award was created to enable African models all over the world, attain a global status.It is an award that also recognises exceptional black fashion designers and makeup artists – we recognise and reward what they do on a yearly basis.”

Speaking further he said that most importantly, Afro Model is an award ceremony that was created to sort of bridge the gab that exists between the white and black models and therefore make the black models be on equal level with their white models on the runways. And this, he said they have been achieved in the United Kingdom in the last five years.

Buttressing on the need for Nigerians to participate more fully in the annual event, he said, “We are here in Nigeria to solicit for the support of the Africa’s most strongest and influential black nation in the world. We have done this for five years in London and it is an award every black in London picks interest in but we have realised that without a strong participation and support from Nigeria, Afro Model Awards is likely to fail in future. So I am here to get more blacks, especially Nigerian models to participate in Afro Model Awards in a full and functional level because Nigeria has got what is required to add more credibility of Afro Model Awards. And at the same time, we want to give Nigerian models the opportunity to come down to UK and participate in the event.”

Jegede who said he has got a lot of international modeling agencies calling for black models, noted, “Such opportunities can go for Nigerian models who are good and that in turn can boost the GDP in Nigeria. We are a beautiful people and we export a lot of things and so I want Nigeria to add fashion and style as part of its exports. So I want to call for more participation by Nigerians and also to solicit for support from stakeholders while interested persons should log for more informstion.”

There are no doubts there Nigerians and other blacks participating in the Afro Model awards presently, but the truth is that they are only a handful that could personally afford their bills – fare and accommodation in London. Now, what happens to the less privileged but lovely and talented Nigerian girl on the street, who can hardly afford her fare much less the accommodation in London?

That is what Jegede and his crew are presently in Nigeria to proffer solution to by giving this young talented Nigerians the opportunity to go out there and participate in Afro Model Awards so that they can also be blessed with such opportunities of modeling for various international agencies in London.

“If we get the participation of more Nigerians as a collective effort, it will be better for us all in terms of investment and development of raw talents. And ultimately to achieve the mission of which we established the Afro Model Awards, which is to bridge the gab that existed between the white and black models because before Africa model awards came on board, there was a very few black models in London, which was Naomi Campbell, and right now she is about 47 years of age and no other prominent back model has been discovered after her until we came up with Afro Model awards and so we started discovering new black models who have now gone global. We do not want the discovery to be those that based in London alone, nor just a few who are able to pay their bills and fares to and from UK but also those who can’t but which we can afford them the opportunity. I want to look back in future and say ‘yes, I have been able to help my people in their career and I am proud to be a contributor to that which better not just their lives but also that of the nation as a whole’.

To this, end Afro Models Awards, Jegde said is going to collaborate with stakeholders in the fashion and style industry and then create awareness by going on campaign on the streets and every where so that they can get the best to participate in the annual awards, noting, “We are looking at taking like the best 5-10 models with all expenses paid including their accommodation in London.”