Tinie Tempah, the British Nigerian rapper is the latest personality to get in front of a camera for ace photographer TY Bello.
The shot, for ThisDay newspaper’s style cut out features the rapper in situ in Yaba, far away from the sterility of any photography studio.
The rapper was in the country for personal business and decided to honour the glossy’s invitation to touch base with his home fans through a cover story and shoot to discuss his advancements in fashion, most prominently being chosen as the ambassador for the London’s Men Collection. He alongside World Formula One Champion Lewis Hamilton are the first black ambassadors for any men’s fashion week, which speaks to how far he has come as a rapper and the influence he wields as a style icon.
Bello enthuses that she is done with photographing editorials that show nothing of the Lagos that she loves, choosing pieces from the Okunoren twins to dress Tinie Tempah for the shoot. The resulting editorial is very different from what we’re used to, and the true star of the editorial is not Tinie Tempah but a coincidental Agege bread seller who happened to walk in on one of their street shots.
While the editorial is great and touches on one of the problems Nigeria media seems to struggle with; the illusion of homogenous luxury in lieu of a more realistic, nuanced narrative of Lagos, it also co-incidentally highlights an even bigger problem. Nigeria’s creative industries are so concentrated in Lagos and enveloped in the charm and ethos of the city that very few people push themselves to push a bigger narrative.
The Nigerian fashion industry doesn’t start and end in Lagos, it might be time our creatives started expressing that.