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Yetunde Ayeni-Babaeko’s White Ebony Raises Awareness of Albinism



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SMO Contemporary Art is delighted to present White Ebony, an exhibition of twenty thought-provoking photographs by social activist photographer Yetunde Ayeni-Babaeko, which captures the complexity of life that Persons with Albinism (PWAs) face daily.


White Ebony is being showcased by Temple Muse for the next two months to support the recognition and protection of persons with albinism in commemoration of the International Albinism Awareness Day, which comes up on June 13th every year.


White Ebony challenges preconceived notions on albinism with powerful images which reflect a Renaissance beauty through sensitive lighting, composition, and layered stylistic interpretations.


White Ebony takes the viewer on an emotional journey that is filled with nuance as well as controversial in its stark positioning and challenging suggestions.


Each work reflects both internal struggles while working through layers of identity and self-actualization, and points to the urgent need to stop the stigmatisation of persons with albinism.


According to the United Nations, “people with albinism face multiple forms of discrimination worldwide.


Albinism is still profoundly misunderstood, socially and medically. The physical appearance of persons with albinism is often the object of erroneous beliefs and myths influenced by superstition, which foster their marginalization and social exclusion.”


Ayeni-Babeko, worked closely with members of The Albino Foundation in Lagos, and after in-depth interviews and insightful group discussions, began interpreting their reality through photographs which explore both the alienation and struggles experienced by persons with albinism, as well as celebrates their lives and achievements.


“As in her previous exhibitions, which have tackled issues such as the challenges survivors of breast cancer face, or photographing dancers performing within slums to highlight the needs of populations living in shantytowns,  Ayeni-Babaeko’s amazing artistry is heightened by her commitment to social change and supporting marginalized communities,” said Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, the exhibition curator and expert in development communications, who has worked on three previous shows with the photographer.


“It’s easy to create a striking image of a person with albinism because of how unique they are.


“But these models were not just put in front of my camera for me to photograph them. I was able to really connect with them through long conversations about their daily struggles, sharing with me what their life is like and all this knowledge translated into this new body of work,” explained Yetunde Ayeni Babaeko while presenting White Ebony.


“My work is not there to make you feel good, its purpose is to trigger you to think and expand your knowledge.”


Jake Epelle, Founder and President of the Albino Foundation, said “Working with a sensitive photographer like Yetunde has been a great creative approach to raising awareness about the challenges people with albinism face every day,”


“Much more needs to be done to advocate for the recognition and respect of the rights and socio-economic inclusion of people living with albinism.


“The Foundation works with governments and development institutions to improve the health and social wellbeing of PWAs in Nigeria.”


“Hogan Lovells is committed to supporting important social causes such as raising global awareness of albinism, as well as celebrating the arts as a way of strengthening society,” commented Andrew Skipper, Partner and Head of Africa Practice of the international law firm, Hogan Lovells, which sponsored the exhibition.


“Yetunde’s work is a powerful example of art for social change and we are delighted to showcase her work,” said Avinash Wadhwani, CEO of Temple Muse, the design luxury concept store.


White Ebony runs from May 25th until July 19th, and a portion of the income from sales will go towards supporting people with albinism.


Yetunde Ayeni-Babaeko was born in Enugu, eastern Nigeria in 1978 to a Nigerian father and a German mother.


She graduated in photography from Macromedia, a school for art and design in Osnabrueck, Germany.


After working for a number of companies in Germany and Nigeria in advertising photography, she opened her own company, Camara Studios in 2007.


Besides her fashion and documentary photography, Ayeni-Babaeko has facilitated numerous workshops in partnership with the Goethe Institute, mentoring young female photographers.


Ayeni-Babaeko has published work in Germany, has had three solo exhibitions and taken part in numerous group shows in Nigeria including The Collectors Series, Eko Moves and Wanderlust curated by SMO Contemporary Art.




Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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Why Nigerians Can’t Wait For Season 4 of Big Brother Naija



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Big Brother Naija, Africa’s number one reality television show, is making a highly anticipated return on June 30 and Nigerians all over the world are beyond giddy with excitement.

Although the show makers, MultiChoice Nigeria, have not officially announced the theme for the new season, graphics and posters reading “Spicy Hot” have been deployed all over social media to promote the show.

Apart from the show’s endless supply of drama and sheer entertainment, Big Brother Naija has been able to excite Nigerians, and Africans, in a way that no other show on this part of the Atlantic can.

Somewhere between the colorful characters the show makers select every year and the odd but interesting tasks that the Housemates have to engage in, therein lies the secret of the Big Brother Naija magic formula.

One distinct element that Big Brother Naija possesses, is that it has made its success elusive and many times unattainable for copycats and knock offs is its ever-changing nature.

Season after season, the show changes in a way that is unique to its cause but without losing its identity.

It’s an intricate and delicate balance that MultiChoice has mastered and been able to recreate successfully for three seasons.

The first season of Big Brother Naija first aired back in 2006. Much like many first attempts, season one was a glorious run of trail, error and lessons learned.

When the show came back in 2017 with the “See GoBBe” theme, it was clear that the producers had done their homework, made some necessary adjustments and were ready for business.

2018’s Double Wahala edition was a result a seamless broadcast of entertainment which had Nigerians everywhere hooked.

From classrooms to beer parlors, nail salons, Bible study meetings and social media, Big Brother Naija content was inescapable.

As hard as it is to imagine, this new season will be even more riveting and here are a couple reasons why.

One of the biggest criticisms of Big Brother Naija was that it was shot in South Africa, not Nigeria.

The show’s producer always cited the fact that running a reality show round the clock in Nigeria was not the simplest of tasks.

It would appear, however, that they’ve been able to crack the logistics code because in January, Mr. John Ugbe, the Chief Executive Officer of MultiChoice Nigeria announced that this year’s season will take place in Nigeria.

Big Brother Naija’s return to Nigeria has definitely set off a new level of loyalty to the show in Nigerians.

A number of fan fiction conspiracy theories and jokes have emerged since the announcement as fans speculate how the show’s producers will “Nigerianize” the show as a result of the location.

Another reason Nigerians are more excited for this year’s edition of Big Brother Naija than they’ve ever been is the audition process.

Multitudes of hopefuls turned up for Big Brother Naija auditions all over the country earlier this year which definitely raises the stakes for the show’s producers because it means they have a bigger pool to fish in. This year’s audition process also featured the first online audition.

Apart from the over 5000 auditionees who showed up at venues, MultiChoice also held online auditions.

This elaborate selection process has created a lot of buzz about who the lucky men and women in the Big Brother house will be.

This is because at the end of the day, Big Brother Naija is about the people who inhabit the house and how much they resonate with the viewers.

If we’ve learned anything from fans of Efe or even Tobi and Cee-C, it is that Nigerians love an unlikely hero and an underdog they can root for.

Nigerians have gotten so passionate about their favorite housemate that they’ve organized themselves and bought gifts and hosted parties for them upon their exit from the house.

That’s the true magic of Big Brother Naija at the end of the day – looking at your television screen and seeing yourself in someone you’ve never met. In a day and age when representation matters more than ever, Big Brother Naija has filled a unique space in the hearts of Nigerians – the desire to be seen.

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Ariya Repete 2019: Winners Emerge From Lagos Regionals, As Auditions Head To Ota & Abeokuta



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Winners have emerged from the first regional knock-out of Ariya Repete 2019. The 2019 edition of the competition kicked off on 12th June with two simultaneous regional auditions in Lagos, where hundreds of talents turned out en-masse to strut their stuff and earn a place in the regional knockouts which held on Friday, the 14th of June.

After the auditions, 18 individuals were selected across two regional knockouts, which occurred concurrently at Stalad Hotels, Abule Egba, and Aso Rock Bar, Ikotun.

Each regional knockout featured 9 talents, with 3 competing in each category of Fuji, Juju, and Afro-pop.

The regional knock-outs popularly known as selection parties featured some memorable performances.

All contestants brought their A-game as they slugged it out for a place in the quarterfinal.

After a night filled with thrills, a few spills and some electrifying performances, the judges, which featured the likes of veteran afro-pop music producer – ID Cabassa renowned OAP Adebayo Faleke as well as Juju legend, Champion Opio, were faced with the hard task of picking the regional qualifiers from a pool of impressive talents on display.

At the Ikotun selection party, Abiodun Oloto, Adeniyi Temitope and Abraham Effiong qualified in the Fuji, juju, and Afro-pop categories respectively while in Abule Egba, Olayemi Kehinde, Akinlabi Johnson, and Olajide Olayiwola qualified from the Fuji, juju, and Afro-pop categories.

Speaking after the showpiece in Ikotun, winner of the Juju category, Adeniyi Temitope expressed his delight saying, “I am so happy to have won today. When I entered the competition, I wasn’t sure I could make it past the audition stage but I believed in myself and I put out my best today. I am so thankful to Goldberg and I can’t wait to hit the stage at the quarter-final.”

The Brand Manager, Goldberg Lager, Olufunmilayo Ogunbodede also thanked fans and lovers of Goldberg for the impressive turnout and support for the competition, while showering praises on every contestant who performed at the show.

He said,“We thank our loyal consumers for coming out and supporting this competition. Our consumers truly are the best and the performances by the contestants were quite memorable.

“We intend to continue to up the ante and deliver even more excellent nights like these as the competition progresses.”

With the regional knock-outs in Lagos done, the next regional auditions will take place on the 19th of June at Maridom Palace Hotel Ota and IBD International Hotel Abeokuta.

The selection parties for both cities are slated for the 21st of June at the Tjs Hotel & Suites Ota and Rockzone Bar & Grill in Abeokuta.

Guests at the selection parties can expect to be treated to the very best of musical performances by some of the most talented budding acts in south-west Nigeria.

For more information, visit Goldberg’s social media pages; @goldberg_ng for Instagram, @goldberglagerng on Twitter and GoldbergLager on Facebook.

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Awka Catches the Highlife Fever, As Hi-Life Fest Heads South To Asaba



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The city of Awka got a taste of the Hi-Life Fest on Sunday, June 16, 2019, as the regional auditions of the indigenous music talent show headed to the capital city of Anambra.

Amazing performances, electrifying stagecraft and an ever-lively audience best describe the atmosphere on the night, as residents thronged out en masse to witness the show, which was returning to the city for its second consecutive year.

Just as it happened the previous week in Enugu, scores of talented artists and vibrant dancers got a chance to battle on stage after undergoing a screening process.

The judges included Highlife maestro, Bright Chimezie, African dance scholar, Dr Akaz, actor, David Jones-David and special guest judge, ‘I Go Tuk’ aka Main Market man.

After a keenly contested night, two singers, Frank Onyeka and Prince Destiny Onochuwkwu emerged first and second in the singing category, while Megastar dance troupe won in the best dance group.

The singers and dance group advanced to the quarterfinals while the other contestants went home with consolation prizes courtesy of Life Continental Lager beer.

The Hi-Life Fest train will be making its next stop in Asaba, Delta State, with auditions set to hold in the days before the regional knock-out on Sunday, June 23 at the Sandy Gold Hotel on Abraka road.

The overall winner of the 2019 Hi-Life Fest will walk home with a whopping prize-money of N5 Million,  while the first and second runners-up will also go home with N2 million and N1 million Naira respectively.

Hi-Life Fest is an initiative of Life Continental Lager Beer, the fine quality lager from the stables of Nigerian Breweries Plc. The beer is made from the finest choice of grains, hob extracts and the purest of waters, expertly brewed to give that rich, crisp distinctive taste.


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