Cultural Confidence Recap, Photos

This past weekend, NYU Kimmel was the meeting ground for renowned Nigerians and Africans in film, media and fashion. Cultural Confidence, the second annual forum of the Nollywood Diaspora Film Series, included the US premiere of highly acclaimed Nollywood film, October 1; and screenings of Village Voice critics pick Supreme Price, Mother of George and Half a Yellow Sun. Nollywood great, Kunle Afolayan, and Hollywood actors Gbenga Akinnagbe and Adepero Oduye also spoke on the intersection of film, cultural confidence and Nollywood.

October 1, which is widely described as the best Nollywood film in history, was the centerpiece of the forum. A psychological thriller set around the time of Nigeria’s independence from Britain, the film made its international debut at Cultural Confidence. With stunning visuals and a mixed cast of veteran and newbie actors, Kunle Afolayan’s best work yet beautifully captured Nigeria’s history and cultures, while projecting a complex future for Africa’s leading economy. Afolayan took questions from the audience following the screening.

Afolayan, Akinnagbe and Oduye along with other renowned cultural ambassadors addressed the issues of Nollywood’s growth, cultural confidence in the African Diaspora, Nigeria’s future and more in two panel discussions: Cultural Confidence (Acquiring and Negotiating Authentic Cultural Idenities) and Couture Culture (What Makes Fashion African?)

Also present at the forum were Khafila Abiola, daughter of Nigeria’s first democratically elected president and subject of the film Supreme Price—MKO Abiola; Supreme Price producer and director, Joanna Lipper, award-winning filmmaker and Harvard lecturer; Awam Amkpa, NYU professor, actor and playwright; Wunmi Olaiya, international recording artist and award-winning fashion designer; Loza Maleombho, award-winning fashion designer and creative director of her self-titled clothing line; Kukua Odoi, founder of African Prints in Fashion blog; Busayo Olupona, creative director of Busayo.

NDFS Cultural Confidence was sponsored by VLISCO, Holland Textiles, Sonna Textiles, Africa Magic GO, Yoruba Cultural Institute, NYU Africana Studies. Partners included Indigo Tongues and Liberated People.


KunleAfolayan, GbengaAkinnagbe & AdeperoOduye ©2014NDFS
Kunle Afolayan, Gbenga Akinnagbe & Adepero Oduye ©2014NDFS
Gbenga Akinnagbe, Adepero Oduye, Wunmi Olaiya ©NDFS2014
Gbenga Akinnagbe, Adepero Oduye, Wunmi Olaiya ©NDFS2014
Busayo Olupona, Kukua Odoi, Loza Maleombho ©NDFS2014
Busayo Olupona, Kukua Odoi, Loza Maleombho ©NDFS2014
Khafila Abiola, Joanna Lipper, Abiola Oke, Busayo Olupona
Khafila Abiola, Joanna Lipper, Abiola Oke, Busayo Olupona
Couture Culture Panel via Instagram @lozamaleombho
Dr. Bose George, Wunmi Olaiya, Loza Maleombho, Kukua Odoi, Adepero Oduye via Instagram @lozamaleombho
Abiola Oke, Host via Instagram @Justsioux
Abiola Oke, Host via Instagram @Justsioux
Lolade & Kunle Afolayan
Lolade Siyonbola, NDFS & Kunle Afolayan
Abiola Oke, Dr. Bose George, Kunle Afolayan, Wunmi Olaiya, Dr. Awam Amkpa, Adepero Oduye ©NDFS2014
Abiola Oke, Dr. Bose George, Kunle Afolayan, Wunmi Olaiya, Dr. Awam Amkpa, Adepero Oduye ©NDFS2014

WATCH Kunle Afolayan on AriseTV

Follow NDFS on Twitter for more photos and video clips from the forum, and for updates on future events.

‘October 1’, $2Mil New Nollywood film, to Screen at Cultural Confidence

Kunle Afolayan, a Pioneer of New Nollywood

Kunle Afolayan, Nollywood’s leading filmmaker, will preview his recent release October 1, a psychological thriller set around the time of Nigeria’s independence from Britain, at NYU Kimmel this Saturday, October 11. In commemoration of Nigeria’s centennial and 54th year of independence, Afolayan will be celebrated along with other filmmakers, as a contributor to social change through film and media.

In its second annual event, the Nollywood Diaspora Film Series will host the forum in conjunction with NYU Africana Studies to explore the notion of cultural confidence with film screenings and panel discussions featuring a number of notable African filmmakers, actors, producers and designers.

October 1 whose director is widely hailed as Nigeria’s best filmmaker—called ‘a Nigerian Scorcese’ by the New York Times—sets a new standard for Nollywood, as does Half of a Yellow Sun, which will also screen at the forum. In addition to Afolayan, other special guests including Adepero Oduye (Twelve Years a Slave, Pariah), Gbenga Akinnagbe (24, The Wire) and Wunmi Olaiya will engage NYU filmmakers and the larger community on issues facing Nigerians, using film as basis to explore the role of the Diaspora in social change in Africa.  “Of special interest to us is the role that film can play in elevating the social consciousness of Nigerians and the image of Nigerians across the world,” says Ololade Siyonbola, NDFS founder.

The forum will also feature Supreme Price, by award-winning filmmaker and Harvard lecturer Joanna Lipper, which highlights the legacy of Nigeria’s first democratically elected president—MKO Abiola—from the perspectives of his wife, Kudirat, leader of the pro-democracy movement, and daughter, Hafsat Abiola.

On the theme of Cultural Confidence, Andrew Dosunmu, whose film Mother of George will also screen at the mini-festival, said “Knowing oneself…it’s the greatest wealth one can have.”

For more information on the forum, visit http://filmseries.co/2014/10/thisweekend/

Tickets: http://culturalconfidence.eventbrite.com

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6cbZTUqRj0

October 1 Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-R7wJuPv_7o

NDFS Cultural Confidence is sponsored by VLISCO, Holland Textiles, Sonna Textiles, Africa Magic GO, Yoruba Cultural Institute, NYU Africana Studies.

Special Guests: Khafila Abiola


Khafila Abiola is a human rights and democracy activist from Nigeria. She comes from a family of dedicated Pan-Africanists and courageous fighters for freedom and justice. Her father, M.K.O. Abiola, won the Presidential election held in Nigeria in 1993 but served out his term in solitary confinement, incarcerated by the military. He died in prison, on the eve of his release. Her mother, Kudirat, was a democracy leader who organized major strikes, marches and fought assiduously against the military. In 1996, she was assassinated in the streets of Lagos.

To continue the legacy left by her parents, Khafila actively works as a member of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND). Currently, she works as the Development Officer and is responsible for building a community of friends that support KIND’s mission and vision. She is also responsible for organizing and speaking at international engagements and human rights campaigns for KIND. Khafila is involved in the global movement to empower youth as a member of the State of the World Forum’s Emerging Leaders Program.

Panelists: Loza Maléombho

Established in New York City in 2009 and relocated in Côte d’Ivoire since 2012 where its production also takes place, the brand is best described as a fusion between traditional cultures/ sub-cultures and contemporary fashion. In fact, Loza Maléombho credits her early world wide exposure for the ecclectic aesthetic and multi-culturalism ever present in her work.

Born in Brazil and raised between Côte d’Ivoire and the United States, she was designing since 13, and graduated in 2006 from the University of the Arts of Philadelphia with a BA of Fine Arts in Animation. She was then initiated in the fashion industry by interning with New york based designers Jill Stuart, Yigal Azrouël and Cynthia Rowley all before deciding to start a brand of her own.

By producting in Côte d’Ivoire, Loza’s vision is to empower women with a small manufacturing workshop that produces the collection and solely hires young women from unfavorable backgrounds. She also works closely with local artisans on featured products such as Indigo dye fabric, jewelry, shoes and accessories.

Panelists: Busayo Olupona

Busayo O.

Busayo Olupona is an attorney, textile and fashion designer, boxer, writer and podcast host. She is the founder and creative director of Busayo; an apparel company that utilizes traditional Nigerian textiles to create contemporary women’s wear. In addition, she has authored several pieces on the history of Adire, an indigenous Nigerian textile and other Nigerian textiles.

Prior to her life as an entrepreneur, she practiced corporate finance law and securities law at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. She has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Panelists: Kukua Odoi


Brooklyn-based Marketing expert and blogger Kukua Odoi (aka MsK) started African Prints in Fashion (APiF) in Summer 2011 as a blog to document the influence of the African Diaspora on fashion, track on Africa-inspired trends and showcase African as well as Africa-inspired designers. Through a unique mix of personal favorites, interviews, trends and a distinctive voice, African Prints in Fashion has established itself within a short time in the African Fashion/Africa-inspired blogging community. APiF has over 210.000 followers and keeps on growing.


Panelists: Prof. Awam Amkpa


Awam Amkpa is a Nigerian actor, playwright, and professor of dramatic arts. He received his B.A. in B.A. 1982 in theater from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria where he studied under the tutelage of Wole Soyinka, his M.A. in 1987 from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, and his Ph.D. in 1993 from University of Bristol, Bristol, England.

Dr. Amkpa is currently a professor of drama at New York University as well as the Director of Africana Studies at NYU. [1]. He has also taught at Mount Holyoke College [2]

Special Guests: Joanna Lipper


Joanna Lipper is an award-winning filmmaker, photographer and author of the nationally acclaimed book, Growing Up Fast. As a Lecturer at Harvard University, she teaches Using Film For Social Change. Her work as a documentary filmmaker has been supported by the MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation/Just Films, ITVS, the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Women Make Movies, IFP Spotlighting Documentaries, and Britdoc Foundation.

In 2013, Gucci commissioned an extended trailer from her film The Supreme Price to launch their Chime For Change Campaign at TED 2013 and globally.

In 2012, Joanna Lipper won the Gucci Tribeca Spotlighting Women Documentary Award for The Supreme Price. Previous films she has produced and directed include Inside Out: Portraits of Children, Growing Up Fast and Little Fugitive.

Lipper’s book about teen parenthood, Growing Up Fast, was published by Picador in 2003.

  “Compelling and important…this book adroitly illuminates a social crisis.” (Publisher’s Weekly)

Her photographic series, Seaweed Farmers in Zanzibar was featured in Economica: Picturing Power and Potential, a group exhibition presented by the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery and The International Museum of Women in Summer of 2010. This series along with a related multimedia installation was featured in a solo show at Photo De Mer in Vannes, France in 2011.

Special Guests: Gbenga Akinnagbe


Gbenga Akinnagbe (born December 12, 1978) is an American actor, best known for his role as Chris Partlow on the HBO original series The Wire.[2]


He played “Ben Ellis” in the episode Contenders on the TV series Numb3rs. In the summer of 2006, Akinnagbe performed the role of “Zim” in the NYC Fringe Festival’s “Outstanding Play” award-winning production of Modern Missionary.[4] In 2003, Akinnagbe auditioned for the role of Chris Partlow on the HBO series The Wire and starting in 2004 began a frequent recurring role. In 2008 during the show’s fifth and final season, he was promoted to a series regular. In 2007, Akinnagbe appeared in the film The Savages with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Laura Linney, and Philip Bosco. He appeared in the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, which was released by Sony in June 2009. Akinnagbe made a guest appearance on a Season 10 Law and Order: SVU episode entitled “Hell” as Elijah Okello, a former Ugandan child soldier living in New York, facing deportation. Akinnagbe’s former The Wire cast mate Robert Wisdom also appeared in that episode as Father Theo Burdett. In 2010 in Seattle, Washington Akinnagbe starred in world premiere play The Thin Place at The Intiman Theatre.[5] He was also in the movie Lottery Ticket and is currently in The Good Wife as Pastor Isiah Easton.[1] His former co-star from the The Wire, Frankie Faison, portrayed his father on the show in several episodes. He is currently starring as Kelly Slater, a new nurse in the 3rd season of the Showtime series Nurse Jackie.[6] He will be seen in the lead role of Jack in the upcoming Independent film “Home”, directed by Jono Oliver. He is currently playing a drug lord in the USA series Graceland and stars as CIA agent Erik Ritter in 24: Live Another Day.

Writing career

As of 2009, Gbenga has begun a writing career, having had two articles published in The New York Times, one detailing a trip to Nepal to climb the Himalayas, and the other outlining the medical procedures he underwent to correct his severely flat feet.[7]

Special Guests: Kunle Afolayan


Kunle Afolayan is a Nigerian actor and director. He is the son of the famous theater and film director and producer Ade Love. He is of Yoruba descent.[1][2] Afolayan majored in economics. Since 2005 he has been active in the Nigerian film industry. He has made several extremely popular titles including: The Figurine: Araromire which was in the Yoruba and English languages and Phone Swap which featured Nse Ikpe Etim and the legendary Chika Okpala. The Figurine won five major awards in the African Film Academy and experienced tremendous success in the Nigerian movie theaters.[1]

Kunle Afolayan appeared at the Subversive Film Festival in 2011 where he represented the second largest film industry in the world, the Nigerian film industry, with his colleague Zeb Ejiro.[1] In May 2013, Phone Swap premiered in France at the first edition of NollywoodWeek Paris and won the Public Choice Award.[3]