Let’s face it: It’s not always easy to be a woman in this world, let alone a showbiz leader that happens to be one. There are the usual leadership obstacles to overcome, plus downright sexism and resistance in certain pockets of the planet. Yet, these women persist.In honor of Intl. Women’s Day on March 8, Variety presents its first Intl. Women’s Impact Report. It is an outgrowth of our annual Women’s Impact Report, with a singularly global focus.
The 50 women on the list are doing extraordinary things on the worldwide stage. They range from J.K. Rowling, a formerly strugg-ling single mum who built a multimedia empire around a boy named Harry Potter, to Mo Abudu, dubbed the Oprah of Africa, and the Scandinavian TV execs who fostered Nordic Noir. Plus performer activists including Britain’s Emma Watson, Nollywood star Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and Asia Argento of Italy; international execs who have made incursions into U.S. markets, such as Studiocanal TV’s Rola Bauer and Keshet Intl.’s Keren Shahar, and those in Asia and Europe who believe the key to survival in the increasingly global entertainment biz is strong local programming.
The 4 African Women On The List
Nigeria, Founder, EbonyLife
Gender parity on a global scale is more than 200 years away, according to the latest World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. The report, issued in November, a month after the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment exposes roiled Hollywood, determined that there were steps back in certain regions, along with advances elsewhere.
South Africa, Moonlighting Films
As co-founder and managing director of Moonlighting Films, Hofmeyr’s credits include such blockbuster studio projects as “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Tomb Raider,” and “The Mummy.” “It’s a tough and demanding industry whoever you are,” she says, though after more than two decades of trailblazing in the business, she’s “thrilled to have reached a position where I can make a difference to other women’s success.” As South Africa continues to grapple with the gender disparities plaguing its film and TV biz, Hofmeyr says she’s glad to see the industry “at the brink of a very exciting revolution, where imbalances are and must be corrected.”
Kenya/Mexico, Hollywood Actress
Truly international, Nyong’o was born in Mexico, raised in Kenya and educated in the U.S. She appeared in MTV’s miniseries “Shuga” before her Oscar-winning turn in 2013’s “12 Years a Slave.” Beauty contracts and high-profile starring roles in “Star Wars” movies followed; more recently, she has spoken eloquently about how “Black Panther” imagines an Africa that was never colonized by others. “Wakanda is special because it was never colonized, so what we can see there for all of us is a re-imagining what would have been possible had Africa been allowed to realize itself for itself,” she told “The View.” “And that’s a beautiful place.”
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Zimbabwe Artists Unite To Raise Funds For Cyclone Idai Victims
Last week Thursday, cyclone Idai hit Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe destroying human and properties on its path. It is said to be one of the worst disaster to hit the south-eastern African region. According to statistics, over 2.6 million people are affected across the three countries. Subsequently, the cyclone led to devastating flooding. The cyclone hit the port city of Beira in Sofala province at over 177 km/h (106 mph). Consequently, the port city of Beira which was once home to 500,000 people is now an ‘island’.
The President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi on Tuesday announced three days of national mourning. The official death toll as of Monday across Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique are 56, 98, and 200 respectively. However, many are still missing. President believes over 1,000 people may have been killed in the disaster. Consequently, the real death toll may remain unknown for many months as the disaster unfolds.
The urgent need for humanitarian services
There is an urgent need to rescue people still trapped within the devastated cities hit by cyclone Idai. Also, the survivors will be relying on humanitarian aid for survival. In the ‘new island’ people are clinging to trees and house roofs for survival. Speaking about the disaster, Manuel Rodrigues, Manica province governor, said,
“We saw people besieged and asking for help… on top of their roofs made up of zinc sheets. Others under flood waters. We can only imagine that they had been there for more than two or three days, without food and without clean drinking water.”
Several aid agencies in Mozambique are complementing government efforts in the distribution of food. Over 3,800 families are taking refuge in Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management.
Zimbabwe musicians rise for cyclone Idai victims
Veteran Zimbabwe musicians have taken to their social media pages to solicit for donations to assist the victims. They also used the medium to share their condolence with the victims. The hip hop icon, Ex Q, Jah Prayzah said,
“Let’s join hands and help those who have been affected by the cyclone Idai. No donation is too small to make a change. Anything you think can assist those in need right now in Chimanimani please bring it over… to 31 Hebert Chitepo in Belvedere.”
Michael Mahendere, a renowned gospel musician wrote,
“Our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by the cyclone Idai. The scenes are saddening but we know that there is Hope in the God we pray to. The relief that comes from Him is permanent and we stand with them during this devastating season.”
20 Most Influential African Actresses On Instagram
Fans are always clamoring for ways to interact with celebrities. The popularity of celebrities these days can be read from their social media reach and engagement. No doubt, the fame of African actresses have gone beyond the shores of the continent. Some of them have even featured in movies that were nominated for the Oscars Award. From Nollywood to Hollywood, here are the 20 most influential African actresses on Instagram.
Lupita Nyong’o (@lupitanyongo)
With over 6.8 million followers and average likes of 209,733 per post, Lupita is not only the most influential but also one of the most beautiful African actress on Instagram. Her performance in ’12 Years a Slave’ brought her to the limelight. She also played a lead role in Black Panther which bagged three awards in the 2019 Oscars. Lupita is the daughter of Anyang’ Nyong’o, a prominent Kenyan politician.
Funke Akindele (@funkejenifaakindele)
The dynamic Funke Akindele became popular for her signature accent in the TV comedy ‘Jenifa’s Diary’. Like Lupita, she commands over 6.8 million followers on Instagram but with average likes of 38,957 per post. The actress has also enjoyed endorsement deals by top companies including Jobberman, Globacom, 1960 Bet and more.
Genevieve Nnaji (@genevievennaji)
Veteran actress, Genevieve Nnaji has featured on the scene with the top actors and actresses around the globe. She recently tried her hands on directing with the movie ‘Lionheart’ which is now showing on Netflix. Genevieve has over 5.2 million followers on Instagram and her posts receive an average of 11,885 likes. She is also a member of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR). Some of her blockbusters include ‘Ije’, ‘Mirror Boy’, and ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’
Ini Edo (@iniedo)
The pretty Ini Edo has 5.1 million followers on Instagram with average likes of 70,786 per post. Her popularity transcends social media as she is also among the richest actresses in Nigeria. Ini Edo has featured in over 100 movies since joining the Nollywood industry. She has also enjoyed endorsement deals from Slimtea Nigeria, Globacom, and many more.
Jackie Appiah (@jackieappiah)
At 5 million followers and 48,597 average likes per post, Jackie Appiah is the 5th most African influential actress on Instagram. The Canadian-born Ghanian actress has featured in several movies and received nominations and awards for some of her efforts.
Yvonne Nelson (@yvonnenelsongh)
Gorgeous Yvonne Nelson has over 4.9 million followers. Her Instagram posts get an average of 58,901 likes. The former Miss Ghana contestant has featured in both Nigerian and Ghanian movies. Yvonne is also an entrepreneur and CEO of YN Closet Fashion Shops and YN Productions.
Mercy Aigbe (@realmercyaigbe)
Glamorous Mercy Aigbe is an award-winning Nollywood actress and one of the most influential African actresses on set and on Instagram. Popularly known as Mercilicious, Mercy’s official Instagram account has over 4.7 million followers with an average of 23.768 per post. She is also an entrepreneur and filmmaker.
Rita Dominic (@ritadominic)
Stunning Rita Dominic is not only one of the most influential African actresses, but she is also one of the richest. Still dazzling in her forties, Rita has numerous endorsement deals including with Globacom, Nokia, and many more. Some of her past achievements include 2017 African Magic Viewers Choice Awards and 2013 ELOY Awards. She has 4.6 million followers on Instagram with an average of 39,921 per post.
Mercy Johnson (@mercyjohnsonokojie)
The beautiful Mercy Johnson has been in the movie industry since 2004. Her acting prowess has earned her a place as one of the most influential African actresses. The proud mother is also an appointee of the Kogi State government. Mercy has over 4.3 million followers on Instagram and each of her posts gets an average of 86,483 likes.
Tonto Dikeh (@tontolet)
Vibrant Tonto Dikeh is one of the most sought faces in the Nollywood industry. She once had a stint in the music industry. Her roles in numerous movies have earned her over 4 million followers on Instagram. Her posts have an average of 38,322 likes.
Charlize Theron (@charlizeafrica)
Ever smiling Charlize Theron is one of the most popular South African actresses. She started as a dancer and by 16 she nailed a modeling contract. Charlize later moved to New York first before making her way to Los Angeles. She has featured in various Hollywood movies including ‘Mighty Joe Young’ and ‘Monster’. Her role in the latter earned her the Golden Globe Award. Charlize has 3.9 million followers on Instagram but with a huge engagement of 267,993 average likes per post.
Juliet Ibrahim (@julietibrahim)
Often referred to as one of the most beautiful actresses in Ghollywood, Juliet Ibrahim rose to stardom in a short time. Juliet won the Best Actress in a Leading Role in the 2010 Ghana Movie Awards. Juliet is tailed by 3.9 million followers on Instagram and has an average of 26,598 likes per post.
Omotola Jalade (@realomosexy)
Known popularly by her moniker Omosexy, Omotola Jalade is a veteran Nollywood actress. She is also a brand ambassador of Knorr, P&G, and the Nigeria Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association. Omotola heads the One.org campaign which encourages the girl child to strive for greatness. She has 3.4 million followers with an average of 30,951 likes per post.
Danai Gurira (@danaigurira)
Gorgeous Danai Gurira may not have 6 million followers like Nyong’o but her 2.8 million Instagram followers give her an average of 143,690 likes per post. However, the Zimbabwean Hollywood actress is most famous for her role in Black Panther. Born in Iowa to a chemistry lecturer, Danai graduated from the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.
Uche Jombo (@uchejombo)
Actress Uche Jombo is also a screenwriter and producer. She has played myriads of roles since her acting debut. Uche is one of the most influential faces in Nollywood and her 2.7 million Instagram followers confirm this fact. Her posts get an average of 15,474 likes.
Pearl Thusi (@pearlthusi)
Pearl Thusi is a South African actress popular for are versatility. She plays the lead role as Queen Sono in the same named Netflix crime drama series. Perl is also a radio personality, TV host, and a model. Pearl’s 2.3 million followers, may seem little but her posts get an average of 20,982 likes.
Nomzamo Mbatha (@nomzamo_m)
Dazzling Nomzamo Mbatha is not only one of the most beautiful African actresses but she also earned her place as one of the most influential on Instagram with 2.1 million followers. She is a brand ambassador of Audi, Puma and the face of Neutrogena. Her post gets an average of 27,661 likes.
Yvonne Okoro (@yvonneokoro)
The dynamic Yvonne Okoro is an influential Ghollywood actress. Her stunning beauty is a burning topic among male fans. She has won four African Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards. She commands 1.9 million followers on Instagram. However, she gets an average of 30,338 likes per post which is more than third-placed Genevieve Nnaji.
Nadia Buari (@iamnadiabuari)
The humble and shy nature of Nadia Buari endears hers to fans in Ghana and abroad. Nadia is not only among the top 20 influential African Actresses but also bagged multiple nominations. However, her big break in the movie industry came after her role as Beyonce in the movie, “Beyonce: The President’s Daughter”. She has 1.8 million Instagram followers with an average of 38,792 likes per post.
Omoni Oboli (@omonioboli)
Fan favorite actress Omoni Oboli is also a producer, director, and scriptwriter. She has been active in the industry from 2009 to date. She won the Best Actress Narrative Feature in 2010 at the Los Angeles Movie Awards. Omoni has 1.7 million followers on Instagram and her posts get an average of 19,784 likes.
Beyonce Wears Ankara Suit By Nigerian Designer to UTA Artist Space Event
Beyonce has been known to spice up her wardrobe with the occasional Ankara (African Print) outfit. Her most recent Afronista statement was made at the UTA Artist Space in Beverly Hills where she wore a colorful print African style pantsuit with matching hat. She attended the event with her husband JayZ to support their friend Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean at the group exhibition “Dreamweavers.”
The Designer Ena Udemba
The custom outfit was made by 34-year-old Nigerian designer Ena Udemba. In an interview with Bustle, Udemba shared that her Etsy shop “EnaGancio” had caught the attention of Beyonce’s personal stylist Zerina Ackers. Ackers asked Udemba for a one of a kind outfit made for the Grammy award-winning singer and actress.
“The creation had to be unique, something for her alone. The biggest queen on earth! I felt responsible,” she explains. “I just had to make some modifications for it to be unique for Queen B! I felt anxious and at the same time determined to be successful.”
An African Style Look That Is Befitting of Queen Bey
Beyonce’s African Style
This is not the first time Beyonce has afronized her look. She occasionally incorporates afrocentric pieces into her style and in typically Bey style, she knocks the looks out of the park.
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