Fireside Chats

Genevieve Nnaji

Genevieve Nnaji is a Nigerian filmmaker/actress with over 20 years of experience in the film industry. Often cited as one of Nollywood’s biggest exports, Ms. Nnaji has built a remarkable career by starring in top quality feature films that would help break down industry barriers. Her contributions to film making has received several awards and nominations over the course of her career. In recent years, she has moved into film productions, acting as director, writer, and producer through her company, The Entertainment Network (T.E.N). Her latest movie, Lionheart, which also serves as her directorial debut, became the first movie to be acquired by Netflix from Nigeria. She is also widely known as a humanitarian, with an intense focus on the girl child and women’s rights. In 2011, she was honored as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic by the Nigerian Government for her contribution to Nollywood.

In the case of Ms Nnaji, on top of highlighting the success of her career in the arts, we would be keen for her to speak about her directorial debut Lion Heart. A discussion that focuses on the inspiration behind Lion Heart and her incredible efforts to co-write, star in and direct the film. It would also serve to generate a conversation with the audience on some of the film’s key themes, for example the fight against patriarchy, how to maintain hope in the face of adversity, and more broadly how African productions are reaching global media platforms like Netflix and what this can do to reframe the image of Africa. We are hoping to work with her team to get permission to screen a short clip of the film which Ms Nnaji feels is particularly poignant and would get the discussion going.

Ozwald Boateng

Ozwald Boateng OBE is a British fashion designer of Ghanaian descent, known for his trademark twist on classic British tailoring and bespoke style. He has been designing for a few decades, connecting his cultural roots to his design style in an effort to create a modern African aesthetic. His fashion brand, with the flagship store located on London’s Savile Row, looks at different ways of developing fabrics to communicate the spiritual heritage of Africa. He works primarily with traditional Ghanaian Kente cloth, finding new ways to reinterpret it using solid colours instead of the multicoloured pattern the cloth is traditionally known for. In 2003, was appointed by Bernard Arnault as Creative Director of menswear for French Fashion House, Givenchy. He has participated in fashion shows across the globe (from Paris to Marrakech), has created garments for the Black Panther film, and dressed celebrities from Jamie Foxx to Spike Lee. He was recognised as a young global leader by the 2007 World Economic Forum and is the co-founder of Made in Africa Made an organisation dedicated to bringing innovative ideas to Africa whilst advising governments on infrastructure, innovation and development of finance.

In the case of Mr Boateng, on top of highlighting the success of his career, we would be keen for him to touch upon issues of brand creation and how it can reshape the image of Africa, the challenges he encountered along the way and his vision going forward. We would also be interested in him speaking to issues surrounding connections back to the continent as well as the interpretation and inspiration that he draws from the idea of “Africanism.” This would serve to generate a conversation with the audience on how business can be used to foster linkages between continents and communities and in addition, how fashion can be used to raise the profile of Africa and create different associations of what African fashion looks like. We will be starting the session with a video that ha has requested to be shown.