This week on CNN’s African Voices, the programme profiles the career of media personality Kemi Adetiba and how she has taken her work to a worldwide audience.
Known predominantly for her successful career directing television, music videos and film, African Voices hears how Adetiba began presenting on radio and television, before moving quickly down a new career path.
Explaining why she originally moved behind the camera, Adetiba tells CNN: “I was questioning my longevity in front of the camera… I’d also find it intriguing when I would go off for shoots with the cameramen… I said: ‘Instead of just wasting a couple of years, how about I learn a new craft while I’m doing that? What is the thing that I want to learn now? What is the thing that will take my career to the next level? – being a director.’”
In 2007, Adetiba left Nigeria to study at the New York Film Academy to learn the ropes of directing as well as producing several local music videos back home in Nigeria.
Adetiba credits her rapid success and interest in the creative industries to her childhood and her father, Dele Adetiba, a veteran of Nigeria’s advertising and broadcast industries.
The swift progression of her directing career led to her first feature film, The Wedding Party, being released in 2016 – and quickly became the highest grossing film in Nigerian history.
Describing what this success meant to her, Adetiba tells African Voices: “I knew it was going to break the record, I knew it was going to do very well, I felt it, I sensed it… The greatest thing you can do for yourself is every time you have the opportunity to handle someone’s project, knock it out the park, and that is what I live by every day.”
The commercial success of The Wedding Party has allowed Adetiba to launch a passion project of hers, a series called ‘King Women’, where women can tell their life stories and use the platform to help inspire others.
Explaining to CNN why she launched this project, Adetiba says: “The reason why I developed King Women is because I wanted women to see these role models of the earth, these women that we draw inspiration from that we put on pedestals, I wanted them to see them in their glory, but also understand that they have also gone through life, and life for them was not easy… People need to hear these stories, and I’m so grateful to everyone who gave me their time to make this series.”
Looking to the future and her upcoming projects, Adetiba still has her eyes set on international success, telling African Voices: “I honestly do believe that winning an Oscar is going to come very soon, I’ve given myself two to five years.”