This year has been harder than usual for an aspiring celebrity to breakout. That is because the COVID-19 pandemic has had a drastic effect on the entertainment sector globally and this meant that there were fewer opportunities for them to ‘shine’. The challenges nonetheless, some stars were born.
So, who were the biggest breakout stars in Nigeria over the last 12 months? Was it the BBNaija class of 2020, Instagram comedian Mr Macaroni or DJ Switch?
Here, PREMIUM TIMES highlights the top seven latest Nigerian celebrities that regularly made the news headlines in this very unique year
1- Erica Nlewedim
There’s nowhere else to begin but with Erica Nlewedim of Big Brother Naija fame who is undoubtedly Nigeria’s biggest breakout star of 2020.
Although like her predecessors, Ceecee and Tasha, she was disqualified from the reality show for repeatedly flouting the house rules, Erica has managed to turn the disappointment into something great. And there are several instances to back this.
Her die-hard fans, who call themselves ‘Elites’, opened a GoFundMe campaign for her and it generated $15,863 (about N6.1million) in 22 hours.
The GoFundMe was launched by Ehizode Irefo with a $100,000 goal (about N38m), which is the winning prize money set aside for the winner of the BBNaija show this year.
Erica’s Instagram following also grew by 80,000 followers in 23 hours post-eviction. She currently boasts 1.4 million Instagram followers as of press time.
Aside from this, she is the only BBNaija housemate to bag two mega endorsements as brand ambassador for two Nigerian Breweries brands, Legend and Star Radler. With over 3 million tweets dedicated to her since her disqualification, Erica has trended on Twitter nonstop since September.
2.Laycon Moshood Agbeleshe
Laycon, the 26-year-old fast-rising rapper, who won the 2020 Big Brother Naija Lockdown edition, is next on our list.
Laycon, who has been a fan favourite from the beginning of the show, was the first BBNaija housemate to attain 1.2 million Instagram followers while still in the reality show.
Following his win, he became N30 million richer and also walked away with a two-bedroom apartment courtesy Revolution Plus; a top of the range SUV from Nigerian automaker, Innoson Motors; a trip to Dublin courtesy Guinness; and home appliances courtesy Scanfrost.
Others are a trip to Dubai packaged by Travelbeta; a year’s supply of Indomie noodles, Munch it, and Colgate toothpaste; a year’s supply of Pepsi; a branded chiller; a trip to watch the UEFA Champions League finale; and a brand new Oppo mobile smartphone.
Laycon also won over N6 million cash during his stay in the house.
He also bagged a marketing campaign deal, skincare products, free food supply, homecare products, ambassador deal, a trip to Scotland, and $500 Bitcoin.
To cap it all up, he became an overnight celebrity.
He has since bagged over 10 brand ambassadorial deals and currently boasts 2.7 million Instagram followers.
3-Rebecca Nengi Hampson
Nengi, one of the BBNaija lockdown housemates, has also become a household name in less than four months.
Although she is a former model and had made it to the 2017 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria competition, it was not until she made it to the BBNaija house that she became a household name.
With nearly 2 million Instagram followers, she is highly sought after by fashion brands because of her good looks. The 22-year-old also bagged her first movie role in the remake of the Nollywood classic, Nneka the pretty serpent.
4- Mr Macaroni
Since Debo Adebayo aka Mr. Macaroni’s emergence into the Nigeria online comedy space in 2019, the Instagram comedian has become a household name.
While one might argue that he is not a baby celebrity but he sure deserves a spot on our list because of his role in the success of #EndSARS movement.
On October 8, he led a band of EndSars protesters protesting police brutality and bad governance in Lagos. They spent three nights outside the terraces of the Lagos State House of Assembly where they updated the public with tweets and videos.
He was also one of the few Nigerian social media influencers who were very outspoken about their thoughts on police brutality and injustice. His participation in the movement paid off big time as his profile shot up even higher. He currently boasts 1.4 million followers
The Rivers-State-born artiste, Stanley Omah, popularly known as Omah Lay, began the year on a great note.
His singles ‘You’, ‘Lolo’, ‘Damn’ and ‘Bad influence’ were mega hits and club anthems. He released his debut 5 track EP earlier in the year and gained millions of streams on all streaming platforms. Most of his songs combine the tune of Wizkid’s songs and the profundity of Burna Boy.
He also released his debut 5 track EP in 2020 and gained millions of streams on all streaming platforms.
Two weeks ago, the Dvpiper Music signee was arrested alongside his colleague, Ms Tems, by officers of the Uganda police for flouting COVID-19 guidelines shortly after their performance in Uganda.
They were charged in a magistrate court in Makindye, Uganda, for “negligently doing acts likely to spread an infectious disease C/S 171 of the Penal Code Act.”
The Ugandan government later dropped the charges against them. During the three day period that their ordeal lasted, Omah Lay topped Twitter trends just as his profile soared even more online and indeed, offline.
Following the success of his two earlier singles, “Aya Mi”, Wakanda Jollof crooner, Olakira released both the audio and visuals of ‘In My Maserati’ and it was an instant hit.
The track, which was inspired by his love for the luxury vehicle brand, ‘Maserati’, has become a party and social media anthem. He would later record a remix with Davido and this further thrust him into the limelight home and abroad.
Nigerian artiste, DJ Switch, real name Obianuju Catherine Udeh, first earned attention when her group, Da Pulse, emerged winner of the 2009 edition Star Quest music reality show.
Her group went on to release a hit song titled, So Tey, which featured American rapper Busta Rhymes in the remix.
Perks included a record deal with Sony Music, N24 million cash prize, and an endorsement by Peter Okoye’s P-Classic Records.
She recorded songs like Whine, Makusa, Clap for Them, Koma, Bad Man, Give me More and was featured on Patoranking’s single “Bad Man” in 2016. But the 36-year-old rapper still wasn’t a household name.
Her story changed on October 20, when she live-streamed the Lekki shootings in Lagos Nigeria. Overnight, she topped Twitter trends and google search, amassed over 800,000 Instagram followers and became an international celebrity.
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