In the month of September, the idea to create a list of the most influential women in entertainment sprung up. Considering the kind of arguments that follow such lists, we decided to go about it the right way. We didn’t just want to bring out any list based on sentiments and perceptions but we wanted to bring out THE LIST of the year! This is a magazine edition so please get a drink in your hand and relax whilst you enjoy this beautiful read (if we may say so)J 

The list we have come up with was based on the following criteria:
Ø  Popularity: not just in their home countries but globally, across Africa and if possible, the world. How well are they known in parts of Africa?
Ø  Achievements: awards, recognitions and achievements in their respective fields.
Ø  Finance: Endorsements, perceived fees they are paid, investments and believed networths. Since we did not have bank statements of their networths, we decided to work based on perception and little known facts.
Ø  Media Mention: How often are they in the news, magazines, blogs etc. Magazine covers they have been on from 2012-2013 et al.
Ø  Social Media Status: How many followers on Facebook, Twitter, etc.? How popular are they on the social-sphere?
Ø  Influence: what is power without influence? We looked at how influential these women are in their various industries and beyond.
Ø  Other achievements especially if they were the first to get them.
For this list, we had a panel of intelligent people. A few panel members were people who do not follow entertainment so they didn’t know some of the nominees; they just had to do thorough research in order to avoid bias. Everyone who made this list is talented, financially empowered, influential in one way or the other and popular. Having said all that, we present you Africa’s Most Powerful Women in Entertainment of 2013. From No.10 to No.1!
10. Yvonne Nelson (Ghana): Actress, Producer, Entrepreneur and Model.
Facebook: 470k+, Twitter 170k+.

That this Ghanaian beauty is powerful is not in doubt, she came into the movie scene in the early 2000s and shot into the limelight like lightening. From 2012 till now, she has been every blogger and journalist’s delight as there is one news or the other about her. Her fashion influence is so strong, fans look up to her for inspiration. She has produced and premiered a couple of hit movies at the Nigerian & Ghanaian Cinemas in the space of one year. She is the face of Zaron cosmetics and also an ambassador for BO-16 relaxer (Ghandour Cosmetics).  Yvonne Nelson has her own production company, fashion shop and hair line. The actress who has won numerous awards for her acting, also has a foundation for Glaucoma.
She clinched a whooping 7 awards for her works at the recently held ZAFAA Global Awards held in London.
9.  Rita Dominic (Nigeria): Actress and Producer

Facebook: 120k+ Twitter 220k+

She is the lady with the silky skin, as she is fondly called in some quarters. The actress is regarded as one of the most stylish actresses in Nollywood. Whenever she steps out, people want to know what she is wearing. She is an A-list Nollywood actress who also co-owns the Audrey Silva Company (a movie production outfit). She starred in and produced the critically acclaimed movie, “The Meeting” which has won her and her company numerous awards. The actress who won the best actress award at the 2012 AMAAs recently got the NEA award for best actress in a lead role in New-York. This year alone, Rita has had a total of 11 nominations ( different awards combined)or more  and she has been crushing them. Up until the mid part of this year, she was a Globacom ambassador and is currently being seen on some DSTV PVR ads (we bet it wasn’t for free). Rita, alongside Hollywood actress, Lynn Whitfield is a goodwill ambassador for the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF). Her fan base spreads across Africa and we’re duly informed she’s making some really good money too.

8. Zahara (South Africa): Recording Artiste

Facebook: 70k+ Twitter: 130k+

We got to know her when she released her debut album in 2011. The album went double platinum according to South Africa’s standard 19 days after it’s release! She became the second person to achieve that feat in SA after the late Brenda Fassie. The 25year old whose 2nd album was released towards the end of September is getting rave reviews and she has done it again by going double platinum (100,000 copies) just 2weeks after her album was released. Need we mention the jaw dropping 8 awards she won at the 2012 South Africa Music Awards (SAMA)? Zahara who also recently won the NEA award for best Southern Africa artiste, currently lives in Little Falls, Johannesburg where according to the Daily Sun SA, she might just be the only black resident (you don’t need to be told that is money right?). She is a Nedbank ambassador and also an ambassador for Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital all in South Africa.

7. Omawumi (Nigeria): Recording artiste and Actress
Facebook: 27k+ Twitter: 190k+

Omawumi is arguably the foremost female singer in Nigeria at the moment and one of the best in Africa. Hearing her name, you would think she has been in the music industry for aeons. Well, she just released her sophomore album Lasso of Truth to excellent reviews some months back. 2012 till now has been a beautiful year for this powerhouse singer. Can we call her the endorsement queen please? Mortein, Globacom Limited, Konga and recently, Malta Guinness (somebody say money, money,money!). She was the only Nigerian artiste invited to perform at the AFCON Draws in South Africa late 2012. Omawumi Megbele gets some of the biggest gigs in Nigeria and has worked with some of the biggest artistes too.  She collaborates with Mortein, travelling to some African countries campaigning against Malaria. She also dabbled into acting for which she’s been getting positive reviews and a movie she was in (House of Gold) won some awards. Omawumi, who has received several awards for her works in the music industry, was never under any record label but hers (Oma records) now that’s power!

6. Ini Edo (Nigeria) Actress, Producer and Entrepreneur
Twitter: 180k+

 Now, I know you must be asking: Ini Edo really? Hate her or love her, this lady is making some really bold career moves! Aside from acting, in collaboration with her partners, she has been churning out some of the best movies in Nollywood from 2011 till now. You know the producers make the biggest bucks right? So she collects money as an actress (we hear she’s paid some good money too) and also makes more as a producer (how shweet!)

Now can we discuss her endorsements? She is one of the very few actresses whose endorsement deal was renewed by telecoms giants, Globacom. She signed a mega deal with Noble hair which was said to be worth 40million naira in 2011 for 2years, she can also be seen on TV adverts, bill boards and moving buses for Chi company (milk and juice drink…we hear it was a juicy contract too). 

Last year, she launched her shoe collection at the Dallas International Fashion event in Texas, USA. Have you started doing the maths? It doesn’t hurt that she has the ear of her state governor either! She is also a UN Goodwill ambassador. Although she doesn’t have a very strong social media presence as she’s been off Facebook and only has Twitter and Instagram accounts where she is average (guess she is too busy to post), she still manages to be in the news almost every day! Magazine covers? She’s got that down pat as well…  Ini Edo has won many awards for her works including the best actress (viewer’s choice) at the GIAMA awards which took place in Houston, Texas October this year. If that is not power we don’t know what it is.

5. Bonang Matheba (South Africa): Media Personality
Facebook 500k+ Twitter: 500k+

 You have to be a very powerful media personality to make it to this list and trust us, Bonang is that chic. Bonang M, as she is popularly known, is also a presenter for SA’s biggest lifestyle magazine show on TV, Top Billing. She hosts several other TV shows and has hosted numerous awards and top events.  She is also an OAP for YFM radio and where she presents her show, “The Hot 99 RnB Countdown with the Queen B”.

Bonang made history in June 2013, when she was chosen to be the first African face of Revlon and the only representative outside of the United States of America. 

Seeing as Halle Berry, Olivia Wilde and Emma Stone are her co-Revlon ambassadors, we say Bonang is in good company! Queen B like her fans call her, was one of three South Africans to make  Forbes list of African Celebrities to watch out for in 2013, she also is the first South African celebrity to have her own reality show. As for magazine covers, she has been on most of the top names from Glamour to Cosmopolitan. Did we add that she owns her own entertainment company Bonang Matheba Entertainment, where she produces her show “Lights, Camera, Fashion”? Although she had a started a clothing and bag range some years back, Bonang M is set to launch a clothing line with a major SA retailer sometime soon ( keeping our fingers crossed). Aside from Revlon, the award winning Bonang also endorses Gert Johan Coetzee Couture and Diva Divine Hair.

4. Nneka (Nigeria): Recording Artiste and Entrepreneur
Facebook: 280k+ Twitter: 28k+

 Nneka is one artiste that may be said to have more popularity internationally than locally. The Nigerian/German singer grew up in Warri, Delta state before moving to Germany. She gained public attention when she performed as an opening act for dancehall reggae star, Sean Paul at Hamburg Stadtpark in 2004. After releasing her debut EP The Uncomfortable Truth, she had her first tour with Patrice Bart-Williams in April 2005, playing shows in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Her first album, the Victim of Truth, was released not only in Germany but also in England, France, Netherlands, Nigeria and Japan. The media loved her so much so that the UK’s Sunday Times declared her album as “the year’s most criminally overlooked album”, comparing it favourably to ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’.

Nneka has performed in top cities all over the world and has been linked musically with internationally known acts like Lenny Kravitz, Gnarls Barkley, Bilal, Femi Kuti, John Legend, Seeed, Nas, Damian Marley to mention but a few. She has appeared on the popular US TV show, Late night with David Lettermanand has won numerous awards including the NEAs and MOBOs.
Her song “Heartbeat” has been remixed and sampled several times – most notably by Chase & Status and Rita Ora respectively. Her track “Kangpe” was featured as a soundtrack on the EA Sports FIFA 2010 video game. This year, her track “Shinning” topped global charts.
Nneka also collaborated with sports giants Reebok, to produce the Betwixt Mid sneakers. She has a clothing line which she sells on an online store(nneka.bigcartel.com) . Aside from being supported by Reebok, Nneka has been known to endorse telecommunications company, Starcomms.
Nneka co-founded a charity organization called the ROPE foundation.
3. ASA (Nigeria) Recording Artiste.
Facebook: 100K+ , Twitter: 120k+
“This Nigerian singer-songwriter might actually be a twenty-first century bob Marley”- BBC Music.

 Here is another African artiste with massive global appeal. According to a friend, “Asa is a god”… (we are all little gods by the way). Let us list out some of Asa’s achievements shall we?

·         Gold and Platinum album sales
·         Sold out the Olympia, Paris
·         Her album, Beautiful Imperfection was number 3 on the World music Chart billboard USA.
·         Nominated and won several awards both locally and internationally.
·     Although we cannot confirm, it’s been said that she doesn’t get on stage if it’s not in the range of $300k and above (hmmm)
·     Asa was reported to have signed a mega endorsement deal with Etisalat (now we know Etisalat isn’t stingy so that should be some mega millions). She is also linked with Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB)… how’s your maths coming along? It’s not just about money here but the fact that Asa is extremely talented and is respected all over the world even in her place of birth and base, Paris. She may not be very active social-media wise and may not be in the news all the time, but this singer sure has power and influence. Making her money quietly, garnering respect from world greats  and impacting the world with her beautiful music.
2. Genevieve Nnaji (Nigeria) Actress
Facebook: 270K+ Twitter: 400k+
 In your mind you know this list wouldn’t be complete without Genevieve. Does she have power and influence? Of course she does! Genevieve is one of the very few actresses that would not be in a movie for 5 years but still be relevant in the industry and beyond. She has successfully carved a niche for herself and is not shaken by anything. Let’s not talk about the Oprah Mention and CNN interviews shall we?( it’s tired).  This year, Genevieve was profiled on ELLE magazine’s International Superstars as one of the next big crossover acts.

Did we add that she was given a national honour by the President of Nigeria? Yes, you can also call her Member of the order of the Federal Republic (MFR). We hear producers have to shell out 7 figures to have her in their movies. Gene is the face of Range Rover Evoque vehicle in Nigeria and also the face of MUD Cosmetics. The black beauty had a major campaign for  Luna Milk(all our TVs were flooded with Gene) and recently was in Canada for the Toronto International Film Festival(TIFF) with the likes of Thandie Newton and other Hollywood stars to première the movie, “Half of a Yellow Sun” . Genevieve is so powerful that it would be difficult not to see her in any list of entertainers whether male or female in years to come.
She’s won numerous awards, has been on several magazine covers from last year till now. She also owns her own clothing line “St. Genevieve” whose proceeds goes to charity.
1.      Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde (Nigeria): Actress and Singer
Facebook: 1 Million+, Twitter: 300k+

Let’s just call 2012-2013 the year of the Omotola! This lady is reported to have featured in 300 films(who does that?!). Where do we start from when listing all that she achieved between last year and now? (let’s just forget about other years, it would be too much). Omotola had some of the biggest movies of 2012 {Ties that bind (alongside Hollywood actress, Kimberly Elise), Last flight to Abuja and Amina}. Her movie, Last Flight to Abuja was the 2nd most watched movie in West African Cinemas. She has won over 40 domestic and international awards including: BEFFTA Film actress IconScreen Nation Pan-African best actressELOY awards actress of the year all in 2012 and a couple other awards  in 2013.
In 2012, when CNN travel did an article on the World’s 12 sexiest accents, Omotola was chosen as a famous tongue to represent Nigeria which was listed as the 5th world’s sexiest accent. 

 Omotola became the first African celebrity to have her own reality show on Africa magic when she debuted “Omotola the real me” late 2012.  She has fans all over Africa, Jamaica, Europe and the US. It was reported that she got mobbed in London when she was recognised by fans whilst she was shopping.Another first for her was when she became the first African celebrity to get 1Million+ likes on her Facebook fan page. Although she has less than 500k followers on Twitter, she takes over your timeline whenever she comes online, as she has a way of conversing with fans.

We will not forget that she also had her US TV debut on hit TV series “Hit The Floor” alongside music mogul, Akon. She is said to be working on some new music with top American artistes and producers (we can’t wait to listen). Magazine covers? She was in so many including her recent cover of “Stella”, the Telegraph UK pullout magazine where she was called “The queen of Nollywood”.

Omotola is so big, she didn’t need any endorsement to top the list. Do not be deceived, we are reliably informed that Omotola is very well endowed financially, we hear movie makers pay really cool cash in the 7 figure range to have her in their pictures. Omosexy, as she is fondly called, is a United Nations World F00d Programme ambassador and also an Amnesty International rep. She is one celebrity who doesn’t shy away from asking questions of the leaders and bringing out hard issues concerning her country. She has a charity organization, the Omotola Youth empowerment Programme (OYEP) which she uses to give back to society.

Yes, we saved the big one for last. It doesn’t get bigger than being named one of the 100 most influential people in the world alongside bigwigs like Barack and Michelle Obama, JayZ and Beyonce etc. She was hosted amongst other TIME honourees in a New York Gala where she rubbed elbows with names like Steven Spielberg, Justin Timberlake, Arianna Huffington and other biggies.

She was one of the TIME 100 alumni selected by the magazine for an event to hear a panel discuss on issues affecting lives on the 8th of October in London. She was at the recently concluded World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE 2013) conference in Doha, Qatar. There, she participated with other activists and influencers from all around the world and also held a session where she spoke on innovative methods to engage youths with education.  Such works, recognitions and concerns are some of the reasons why she is top gun on our list.

Congratulations to all who made the list, you truly are doing big. And to those who didn’t make it, better luck next year J.     
There are some people who should have made this list but it is so exclusive with the criteria too tight that they couldn’t get in. 
Look out for the next list we have prepared to drop any moment from now. Africa’s Most Powerful women In Entertainment: The Ones to Watch Out For . These are women we think have potential and are likely to make the main list next year. Some on this list may be cut off next year who knows? … the race is fierce. 

Next year, we hope to do more than just listing out names. And we look forward to people being celebrated for making this list (we have plans by God’s grace) #Cheers.

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