It feels good to know that the year is about to end, and it is only natural to reflect on the events that have made 2022 memorable as we start the New Year.
It may interest you to know that Nigerian pop culture is amorphous, always ready to bring home any trending moment that piques its interest. Every week, something new and bizarre enters the Nigerian mainstream.
This year witnessed the Oscar slap by Will Smith, Rick Ross’ second visit to Lagos, Portable’s social media disturbance, Asake’s rise, Ifeanyi Adeleke’s death, Davido’s historical performance in Qatar, and more. Here are the unforgettable pop culture events of 2022.
Togolese Tiktoker Kelly
Remember when we stated earlier that the Nigerian pop culture is amorphous? Around the middle of this year, a series of viral dance videos from a Tiktok user named Kelly wielded the attention of Nigerian men, and the ladies were not left out either. Kelly, a Tiktok influencer, was made infamous in Nigeria this year, leaving many to wonder how a random social media user from another country gained such popularity using just a pretty face and a flexible waist.
Jackie Aina and Sorosoke
In August, social media went wild when the Nigerian-American Youtuber Jackie Aina angered Nigerians with the release of one of her candle collections titled “Soro Soke”. “Soro Soke” is a Yoruba word that translates to “speak up”, but has become a political and personalised catchphrase for Nigerian youths that depicts their anger and frustration against the Nigerian government’s inhumane actions during the pivotal #EndSars protest. Later on, Jackie Aina had to issue an apology to the Nigerian community and stop further production of the candle brand.
Rick Ross’ Second Visit to Lagos
The ace American rapper visited Lagos, Nigeria, for the second time in 10 years. This was during Easter this year. The event, dubbed “Rick Ross Live in Concert,” held at the Eko Hotel and Suites, witnessed a range of top Afrobeats artistes and socialites present, which led to an uproar on social media by MI and Ycee over the absence of Nigerian rapper in a show involving a veteran American rapper.
Afrobeats Backstory Documentary
Inspired by the burgeoning phenomenon of the genre, veteran director and filmmaker Ayo Shonaiya dug into the history and backstory of Afrobeats. In the current global recognition of Afrobeats, the documentary aims “to put roots in the history of Nigerian music, with timelines, first-hand accounts, and insights into the evolution of Nigerian music, especially Afrobeats, as the story of the genre has been disputed,” Ayo Shonaiya highlighted in an interview with Boomplay.
The meteoric rise of Asake
This year alone witnessed two brilliant projects, an extended play and album, from the YBNL Prodigy. Asake ruled the majority of the airwaves this year with an impressive rollout of indigenous bangers. His album “Mr Money With The Vibe” debuted at No. 66 on the Billboard 200 album chart, which places him among the most popular music albums and extended plays (EPs) in the United States. Asake, however, is the first Afrobeats artist to have a spot on the Billboard chart with a debut album. It has been a groundbreaking year for Asake, and we can only appreciate the gift of his talent to Nigerian pop culture this year.
Portable’s social media appearance
The Zazuu crooner has been able to remain relevant despite all the controversies surrounding his personality through the effective and unintentional use of social media. A week hardly ever went by this year without a trending topic centred on the artiste. It was either a cry out against death threats, a callout against a show promoter, or his relationship with his baby mama. Some cases found him threatening his fellow musicians; in another, he claimed to have founded one million boys. And the list goes on and on; there was always something to get him into the news.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Premiere in Nigeria
For the first time in the history of international filmmaking, the renowned movie production houses Marvel and Walt Disney came together to mark a historic movie premiere in Africa’s largest city, Lagos, Nigeria. With a large group of talents, filmmakers in attendance included international stars Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Michaela Coel, and Winston Duke.
Megan Markle claims to be 43% Nigerian
The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, disclosed that she is 43% Nigerian this year. The news that made the rounds on October 25 was that the mother of two had made this known during a conversation with Senegalese-American actress Issa Rae and Nigerian-American comedian and writer Ziwe Fumudoh. According to her, a couple of years ago she took a genealogy test, which revealed that she is 43% Nigerian. However, The Duchess of Sussex said she was “going to start to dig deeper into all that,” during her discussion with Issa Rae and Ziwe Fumudoh on one of her podcast episodes, titled, ‘Upending The Angry Black Women Myth’.
Rihanna and Tems’ collaboration on “Lift Me Up” from “Wakanda Forever”
Robyn Fenty, popularly known as Rihanna, has gained an overwhelming fan-based globally, but Nigerians are good at topping the list in situations like this. Fans and lovers of the Barbadian star couldn’t help but drool over the internet when she released her much anticipated single, breaking the seven-year hiatus in her career. It also became exciting when it was revealed that the country’s most cherished soul singer, Tems, co-wrote the song. The emotionally powerful song serves as a tribute to the life of the late Chadwick Boseman.
Davido’s child Loss, absence, and reemergence
This year has been a roller coaster of demanding emotions for the country’s favourite Afrobeats star Davido, with the sudden demise of was of his son, Ifeanyi Adeleke, which came as a shock days after the young chap celebrated his 3rd birthday. The heartbreaking incident came and knocked off the artist’s vibrant social media personality. This has made fans and colleagues of the DMW executive lament over his visible absence from the internet. Still in grief, Davido was able to show up for his uncle Ademola Adeleke’s governorship inauguration in Osun State, accompanied by his wife and entourage. Fans were pleased to see the couple out in public again, and the wedding rings on Davido and Chioma’s fingers triggered more excitement online. The music star rounded up the year with his magnificent performance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup closing ceremony in Qatar and sparked hope in the heart of every Nigerian. He broke the record as the first and only Nigerian artist to be featured on a World Cup song. Following his long-awaited return, the Stand Strong singer revealed that he will be back in March 2023. His statement on Twitter came with a disc emoji, that has left many to speculate the possibility of a new album in the New Year.
Will Smith-Chris Rock slap:
During the 94th Academy Awards held on March 27, 2022. American actor Will Smith walked onstage and slapped Chris Rock across the face while he was presenting. The slap was in response to Rock’s joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, shaving her head since 2021 due to alopecia areata. The baffling incident became a heated topic in the Nigerian cyberspace, with some of the country’s top entertainers giving accounts of when their personal experiences have been used to crack the audience and how they intend to employ Will Smith’s method on our home-based comedians.
Rita Dominic’s wedding
Fans of adorable Nollywood star, Rita Dominic, had already given up on her where it concerned her marriage. Many assumed she had resigned to a single life after years of waiting for the stunning actress to marry. Her marriage to the publisher of the Daily Times Newspaper, Fidelis Anosike, hijacked headlines for days, with pictures and videos of her lavish wedding gracing timelines. First, it was her traditional at her hometown in Mbaise, Imo state, then her white wedding, held at a 900-year-old church in North Yorkshire, England.
Chinasa Afigbo is a creative writer and an entertainment journalist with one of the mainstream multimedia platforms in Nigeria.
Culture Custodian curates and collects the stories and events that matter for the Nigerian and African millennial.