Celebrities That Hugged Headlines in 2020 (2)

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In a year that has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, celebrities didn’t fail to make it almost unforgettable, writes Vanessa Obioha

DJ Cuppy
2020 has been a remarkable year for the female disc jockey and daughter of Nigerian oil mogul, Femi Otedola. Her biggest deal of the year was becoming the first African to host a radio show on Apple Music, one of the world’s biggest audio streaming services. The announcement was made in May and so far, Cuppy has hosted an array of Nigeria’s music stars including Davido, Reekado Banks, WurlD, and Ghanaian artiste Stonebwoy, on the show tagged Apple Music’s Africa Now.

She was listed on the newly launched Apple Music’s Holiday Sounds, a playlist featuring top artistes from sub-Saharan Africa and international celebrities. This year also saw the disc journey releasing her debut album ‘Original Copy’ which had the raved hit ‘Jollof on the Jet’.

Temi Otedola
While DJ Cuppy excelled in the music industry, her sister, Temi Otedola, a fashion blogger and avid traveller added a new hat to her career. She made her debut acting in Kunle Afolayon’s sex for Grade movie ‘Citation’. Temi played the lead role, Moremi, and starred alongside Nollywood greats like Sadiq Daba, Joke Silva, and the Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, Ibukun Awosika.

Kenneth Ize
After emerging a finalist on the LVMH Prize — a top fashion competition that honours and supports young fashion designers around the world — in 2019, Kenneth Ize, a young fashion entrepreneur and designer won 2020 Arise Fashion Week ‘30 Under 30’ competition.

The designer who works with artisans mainly is known for his colourful designs and use of hand-woven asoke fabrics. He emerged the winner from a pool of 30 contestants at the fashion show which for the first time put the spotlight on young designers only.
Ize walked home with $100,000.

Blessing Amidu
With over a decade’s experience in the oil and gas sector, Blessing Amidu, a geologist made history by producing and releasing the first feature-length animation in local and international cinemas in Nigeria. The animated film ‘LadyBuckit and the Motley Mopsters’ stars Jessica Edwards, Bimbo Akintola, Patrick Doyle and Kalu Ikeagwu.

Fireboy DML
Since last year, Fireboy DML has been steadily solidifying his place in the music industry. This year he took it a notch higher with the release of his album ‘Apollo’. The album got raving reviews and positions Fireboy DML as one of the promising voices on the music scene.
He earned a nomination in the Best Male Artist category in the upcoming MTV Africa Music Awards alongside Nigerian musical artistes Burna Boy and Rema.

Omah Lay
The year 2020 has been a bittersweet experience for the fast-rising artiste, Omah Lay. Before his recent arrest in Uganda over an unauthorized concert, the young star was the name on most lips following the viral success of his song ‘You’.

On July 3, Lay was picked as the debut star for Apple’s Africa Rising Campaign which spots talent in Africa and projects them all through the continent and internationally. ‘Bad Influence’, another song of his, was named the Top Song of 2020 by Apple Music.
The icing of the year was his nomination on the MTV Africa Music Awards 2021. He was nominated in the Breakthrough Act category.

However, the recent event in Uganda is like a dampener to the rosy success he enjoyed, such that the young man tweeted while still in police custody in Uganda: “Is there something bigger at play in Uganda? Why do I have to take the fall for it?”

Kenim Obaigbena
While the movie industry struggled with the closure of cinemas, Kenim Obaigbena, filmmaker and daughter of Publisher of THISDAY Newspaper, Nduka Obaigbena, made the audacious move to launch a streaming service, StreamOVG. She described it as a digital marketplace that provides edutainment content for audiences in West Africa and Diaspora. The platform offers a myriad of documentaries and shows that illuminate African culture, history, business, and politics.

Charles Oputa
The musician-turned-rights activist made headlines last November when he openly talked about his struggles with accepting his daughter’s sexuality when she revealed she was a lesbian. His long post on Instagram detailed the gamut of emotions he felt on hearing the news; from confusion to acceptance, after realising that having a gay daughter was not entirely a result of bad parenting.

However, his daughter, Dewy, countered his statement a few hours later. According to her, her father kicked her out of the house and left her homeless. She saw his post as ‘gaslighting’ and pretentious because his father no longer picks her calls.

Charles Okpaleke
With the success of the sequel to the Nollywood classic, ‘Living in Bondage,’ Nollywood big shot and owner of Play Network, Charles Okpaleke, has invested more time and money in sequels and remakes. Two notable productions of his this year were the remakes of ‘Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story’ and ‘Nneka The Pretty Serpent.’ He is said to be working on an original, ‘The Six,’ slated for 2021.

Ramsey Nouah
Ramsey started this year with his Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award Best Director win for his debut film, ‘Living in Bondage: Breaking Free’, a sequel to the Nollywood classic ‘Living in Bondage’. Flexing his directorial skills, he jumped on two productions from Play Network Studios, ‘Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story’ and ‘Nneka The Pretty Serpent.’ He co-directed the latter.

Ada Ameh
Lovable TV and film actress, Ada Ameh, on October 20 lost her only child. She was said to have died after surgery in Abuja. Fans of the family comedy TV series where Ameh plays a motherly character took to social media to express their sympathy to the actress.

Desmond Ovbiagele
A few months ago, the name Desmond Ovbiagele conjured no image. But since the former investment banker and lawyer’s second film, ‘The Milkmaid,’ was announced as Nigeria’s submission for the 2021 Oscars in the International Feature Film category, his name is on many lips.

The film is a Hausa language-based thriller on insurgency, especially as it affects women and children in sub-Saharan Africa. Inspired by the image on Nigeria’s N10 note, the film tells the story of a Fulani milkmaid who confronts extremists in a rural African community, in a quest to locate her missing sister, and how efforts to recapture her disrupted past prove complicated.

Regina Daniels
The controversial actress and wife of billionaire Ned Nwoko finally put to bed this year. The young actress gave birth to a baby boy on June 29.

Tope Alabi
A paternity scandal involving the gospel singer erupted on social media last November when one Mayegun Olaoye claimed to be the father of her daughter, Ayomikun. He alleged that the singer has denied him access to her. However, in an interview with Punch Newspaper, Ayomikun openly declared that the only father she will ever know is Soji Alabi, the husband of her mother.

Kwam 1
In the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, the rumour mill ran a story on an alleged love affair between Fuji maestro, Wasiu Ayinde, more known as Kwam 1, and Olori Ajoke, one of the wives of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III. Both parties later debunked the news, citing it as the work of detractors and rumour mongers eager to vilify the name of the musician.

But in October, the musician was in the news again. This time, for allegedly assaulting a popular radio presenter and event anchor, Wole Sorunke, a.k.a. MC Murphy at the 60th birthday party of the Olu of Itori, Oba Abdulfatai Akamo, in the Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun State over what the accuser termed a minor issue. Calls to strip Kwam 1 of his Mayegun title were made but again, the Fuji maestro denied the allegation and accused Sorunke of maligning his character.

Cynthia Morgan
Since the rebirth of the dancehall artiste who is now known as Madrina, little has been seen of her music career. Yet, in May, she accused Jude Okoye, former manager of the defunct music group, P-Square, of wrecking her career while she was under his label. By November, reports surfaced that the singer had taken legal actions against Okoye, demanding a full account of income and expenditure from her intellectual property by the defendant, and if Okoye is found guilty of ripping her off, should be made to pay her for any amount owed.