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The 10 Most Powerful African Celebrities in Entertainment

One very unique thing about Africans is their hustling spirit; they don’t allow anything to stop them in their pursuit for greatness. They strive to be the best in whatever they do and in anywhere they find themselves. If you happen to fall under the category of those who observe Africa and Africans from afar, you might become subjected to the dangers of a single story, you know those ones that depict Africans as backward and uneducated. However, if you just come a little bit closer, you will be able to see that a whole lot of Africans are kicking it in so many spheres of life. From Omotola Jalade to Lupita Nyong’o to Bonang Matheba, here are some of the most powerful African celebrities in entertainment.

We also recommend our guide to the 8 most influential African feminists.

Bonang Matheba

Bonang Matheba
Bonang Matheba. © bonang_m/instagram

Not only is she a style goddess, the media queen is all shades of a hardworking woman. The South African beauty has ventured into as many things as you can think about. From owning her own lingerie and handbags line, to writing her own book titled “FROM A TO B” which was definitely a hit back to back we might add. One of the most powerful African celebrities in entertainment. Her greatness has surpassed the boarders of Southern Africa. Bonang has hosted a whole lot of award shows and beauty pageants. At some point she was also an on air personality for South African youth radio station YFM. She has also taken a step further in showing us bits of her life on her newly launched reality show ‘Being Bonang’. We are so looking forward to that.

Peace Hyde

This British Ghanaian TV girl is not just your regular TV host, but an all round media guru as well as a woman passionate about giving back. Her non-profit organization “Aim Higher Africa” is dedicated to enriching the standard of education for students through the use of ICT. The Forbes West Africa correspondent rose to her new level in 2017 when she became the new head of digital media and partnerships for Forbes Africa. Go girl!

Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah, comedian from South Africa. © trevornoah/instagram

This South African sweetheart is probably the funniest guy you would ever meet. When he is not hosting TV shows, he is making you laugh so hard during his comedy shows. He had a very rough childhood has since made it a mandate to speak about the ills of domestic abuses and how to get rid of it. Trevor Noah is not only known within the walls of his home country, but he is widely known in several other countries especially in America where he has worked on projects like daily show, the tonight show, the late night show to mention but few.

John Boyega

British Nigerian actor, John Boyega is always a delight to watch on screen regardless of what role he plays. The rising star that has now warmed his way into our hearts is never shy of his descent and even propagates it at every given opportunity. John had his big break when he landed a role in star wars; he has had his career go upward since then. We are very positive that the best is yet to come for this witty and influential young man.

Mo Abudu

Mo Abudu
Mo Abudu, TV producer and Media entrepreneur. © moabudu/instagram

Mo as she is fondly called is probably every young Nigerian lady’s goals. A powerhouse in Nigerian and African entertainment industry. Talk show host, TV producer, entrepreneur, consultant, philanthropist, this woman is on a roll with nobody stopping her. Her TV network, Ebonylife TV airs in more than 49 countries across Africa as well as in the UK and the Caribbean, no wonder she has been described as Africa’s most successful woman by Forbes. Her achievements in the media have not gone unrewarded as she has been honored with many awards and laurels, including being listed as one of the 25 most powerful women in global TV.

Kunle Afolayan

Kunle Afolayan
Kunle Afolayan is a Nigerian actor, film producer and director. © kunleafo/instagram

Nigerian actor and producer extraordinaire Kunle Afolayan is one of the most powerful African celebrities in the industry. A nollywood icon. With several of his insightful, creative and rather interesting movies, he always leaves us anticipating his next big project. His award winning movies are most times a fusion the indigenous cultural practices and modern day societal practices. Sometimes, you begin to doubt that they are actual fiction because they always look so real. One of his major hits has to be the movie “The CEO” which features top African actors and musical icon Angelique Kidjo. Now we look forward to what this gentleman surprises us with next.

Lupita Nyong’o

The Kenyan-Mexican actress is definitely one of the top shots in Africa and diaspora. Even though she started her Hollywood career as a production assistant, she was not discouraged and eventually she rose to stardom. Anyone who has seen movies like ’12 years a slave’ and ‘Queen of Katwe’ will know how passionate and professional this lady is when it comes to doing her work. Lupita became the first Kenyan and Mexican actress to win an academy award, what a record! True to her roots and making Africa proud, Lupita is undoubtedly one of the most influential Africans in the media.

Pearl Thusi

The beautiful host of ‘Lip Sync Battle Africa’ and ‘Moments south Africa’ is way much more than just a pretty face. She is also an actress, a model, TV and radio personality. She also has her own internet talk show called ‘The Right to Vote’ and it has been said that this project formed part of the African national congress election campaign! The Quantico star is always a delight to watch because her sense of style is impeccable. Whatever the occasion may be, Pearl is ready to bring it on.

Pearl Thusi
Pearl Thusi is a South African actress, radio, and television personality. © pearlthusi/instagram

Anne Kansiime

The queen of African comedy is literally very hilarious, hence earning that title. From her skits on social media to her show ‘Don’t mess with Kansiime’ the Ugandan comedienne effortlessly makes us laugh and laugh hard. She like other African influencers has also won various awards like the African Oscar award for favorite comedian; no doubt she is loved by many.

Omotola Jalade-Ekehinde

Omotola Jalade-Ekehinde
Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde – award winning actress, Singer, UN WFP ambassador. © realomosexy/instagram

Popularly known as ‘omo-sexy’ because of her curves, the beautiful Nigerian actress and mother of four proves to us that we certainly can have it all; family and career-wise. One of the most influential and powerful African celebrities of this generation. Whether she is giving us those emotional scenes in Nollywood or campaigning for the girl-child and youth empowerment, Omotola is bringing in her a-game. She was also named as one of the top 100 influential people in the world! See why she definitely had to make our list? Her passion for human rights is something that we all really admire. She became an ambassador for the United Nations world food program in 2005, as well as an amnesty international campaigner in 2011. To show you passionate she is about this cause, she actually took some time off the screen to pursue human rights and spend more time with her family. She once said somewhere that “Balance and an understanding partner is a major key to success”, we couldn’t agree more.

All these individuals are proof that anybody can make it, so go out there and carve your name on the sands of time!


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