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    HomeCelebsPulse Picks: The 7 most influential Nigerian celebrities of 2023

    Pulse Picks: The 7 most influential Nigerian celebrities of 2023

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    In a year when the spotlight never wavered, the realm of celebrity culture witnessed a captivating symphony of influence.

    The 7 most influential Nigerian celebrities of 2023

    From groundbreaking achievements to sensational controversies, the world of fame pulsated with the charisma of those who redefine our collective pop-cultural landscape.

    As the curtains draw on this chapter, join us in revisiting the influencers, the trailblazers, and the icons who turned each headline into a captivating chapter in the grand narrative of stardom.

    Here are seven of them:

    Rema

    This superstar has quickly risen to the level of global superstardom attaining new heights of recognition, accolades, and respect. His fanbase has continued to grow so much that he recently sold out the popular 02 Arena in the UK on November 14, 2023, marking a memorable moment in his career. His unforgettable performance that night was the talk of social media for days. From his spectacular, yet controversial, entrance to his show-stopping performance, Rema gave a stunning performance.

    His smash hit Calm Down has continued to top charts since the release of the remix featuring Selena Gomez, and is currently the highest-charting African song ever on the global charts of Apple Music and Spotify.

    Rema also became the very first African to perform at the Ballon d’Or Awards, an annual ceremony organised by the France Football Federation to honour the best football players in the world. This year was his year of unprecedented and undeniable success, and his name has been solidified in the history books.

    Rema’s has come so far in his career since his ‘Dumebi’ days

    Asake

    Since collaborating with Olamide on the hit song Omo Ope in January 2022, Mr Money’s impact on the music industry has been felt by all. Asake has had an undeniably great 2023; this year he was the most streamed artiste in Nigeria on multiple platforms.

    Also, his back-to-back hits cannot be disputed as impactful, securing spots on charts. This year, he bagged multiple nominations in the Headies Awards and secured a win in the Next Rated category, and the Album of the Year category. On May 6, 2023, The Vodafone Ghana Music Awards in Accra, Ghana recognised Asake’s successes and dubbed him winner in the Best African Artiste category.

    Asake made history this year after his popular song Omo Ope spent a record-breaking 52 weeks on TurnTable official streaming chart. His track, Lonely at the Top landed the NO. 1 spot on the Nigerian Radio chart in September 2023. He also broke into the international scene this year by selling out the popular 20,000-capacity O2 Arena and delivering a spectacular performance.

    Mr money also released his sophomore album Work of Art in June 2023 containing 14-track including already released tracks like Amapiano and Yoga. Both songs reached NO. 1 across streaming charts and on TurnTable Top 100.

    Asake has had a wonderfull run between 2022 and now, and it's only the beginning
    Asake has had a wonderfull run between 2022 and now, and it’s only the beginning

    Funke Akindele

    Funke Akindele is a force to be reckoned with in the movie industry and this spectacular actress and movie producer has also had a great run this year.

    Her movie Battle on Buka Street became the highest-grossing Nollywood film ever! The movie grossed ₦640 million after only nine weeks in the cinemas. That achievement broke her own record, because the previous movie holding that spot was also her movie Omo Ghetto 2.

    This year she achieved an even greater feat by launching her film production house FAAN 360 which is in charge of all-around dealings regarding film productions.

    Nollywood screen goddess Funke Akindele is unarguably one of the most influential women in Nollywood [Instagram/FunkeJenifaAkindele]
    Nollywood screen goddess Funke Akindele is unarguably one of the most influential women in Nollywood [Instagram/FunkeJenifaAkindele]

    Hilda Baci

    We cannot talk about the most influential celebrities this year without mentioning the Guinness World Record Holder herself, Hilda Baci. Though she is not the first Nigerian celebrity to receive recognition as a World Record Holder, this year she was that girl!

    Hilda sparked a trend among Nigerians this year after successfully breaking and setting her world record for the Longest Cooking Marathon by an individual. The attempt which was five years in the making was incredibly gruelling and had the nation on its toes in support of her. During her preparations, she had also undergone physical training to keep up with the long hours of standing and mobility required. She surpassed her expectations by stretching her attempt to 100 hours, but after deliberations by the board, she was certified for 93 hours of hard work.

    As Nigerians jubilated over her feat, she inspired many others to chase their dreams and attempt records of their own. Every Tom, Dick and Harry was inspired to set their own Guinness records in their perspective fields.

    Talk about influential! Even she knows it, when asked about her feelings regarding those following her lead she said, “I feel I started a trend or like I am pretty much a trailblazer because only a trailblazer will start something and other people will want to do it.”

    Going further, she added, “It is because it was successful. It was properly done. And just seeing how good it is, people are now inspired to say, I wanna try this as well. It just means that I’ve inspired something.”

    Hilda Baci inspired multitudes of Nigerians his year after breaking her record
    Hilda Baci inspired multitudes of Nigerians his year after breaking her record

    Ilebaye

    This Gen Z baddie’s grass-to-grace story is nothing short of inspirational. This year she won the most popular reality TV show in the country Big Brother Naija; All Stars, garnering the majority of fan votes and waling away with the prize money.

    Ilebayi had earlier been on the show but was evicted quickly.

    However, upon her return for the eighth season, she brought her A-game and fought to the finish, leaving a lasting impression on the viewers. Ilebaye branded herself highly influential among her fans, winning the hearts and minds of both young and old viewers.

    At just 22 years of age, Ilebaye has become an icon [Instagram/Ilebayeee]
    At just 22 years of age, Ilebaye has become an icon [Instagram/Ilebayeee]

    Don Jazzy

    We cannot talk about Nigeria’s vibrant music industry without mentioning the record label boss.

    Don Jazzy. The president of Mavin Records has an undeniable pull in the music scene, as an undisputed kingmaker. Thanks to his eye for talent and his musical prowess, music fans have been blessed with talent upon talent over the years, a list that includes names like Ayra Starr and Rema. In 2023, the two artists hit a new high of global recognition and impact due to his mentorship.

    Don Jazzy’s global reputation, social media presence, mentorship, entrepreneurial endeavours, musical talent, and philanthropy all contribute to his influence. In addition to being a productive producer, he has a complex personality that contributes to the development and international presence of Nigerian music.

    This year, he was awarded the Music Influencer of the Year award at the Pulse Influencer Awards in recognition of his impact on the industry.

    Don Jazzy's name calls for respect within the music industry (Instagram/Don Jazzy)
    Don Jazzy’s name calls for respect within the music industry (Instagram/Don Jazzy)

    Mr Macaroni

    Skit maker extraordinaire Debo Adedayo, aka Mr Macaroni, has also been of significant influence in 2023. When we talk about Nigerian celebrities who “carry Nigeria’s matter on their head”, Mr Macaroni is not exempt.

    He is known for using his platform to address social and political issues in Nigeria, often advocating for positive change and youth mobilisation. His influence primarily stems from his online presence, where he engages with a large audience through humour and commentary.

    Mr Macaroni does not play when it comes to Nigeria [Instagram/MrMacaroni]
    Mr Macaroni does not play when it comes to Nigeria [Instagram/MrMacaroni]

    In 2023, he worked hand in hand with other celebrities, using his platform to agitate towards youth involvement in the 2023 elections in February and March. Leading up to the general elections he was incredibly active, consistently educating the masses on the importance of voting during the elections, He emphasised the issues that come with refusing to vote or selling one’s votes.

    Back in February, he said, “Dear Nigerians, please let us sensitise ourselves and our neighbours. Do not let anyone collect your PVC or take a picture of it in exchange for money!!! That money won’t last 4 days. But the suffering will last 4 years and more. Abeg..” The comic was so steadfast in his agitations towards change that he alleged that he had been receiving death threats from politicians and their children.

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