Updated: Aug 9, 2020
These African queens have proved their mettle in the last two decades to mark their presence and prove their staying power in an industry that can be unforgiving. They all have a hand in popularizing afro-pop and afro-soul and taking it beyond Africa's shores. Artistically talented with no limits, some of these ladies were able to successfully branch out to other industries like fashion and film, and also lent their names to worthy causes.
This is a list of seven internationally acclaimed female artists still dominating the entertainment industry and still beloved, in Africa.
The list is in no particular order..
TIWA SAVAGE - Nigeria
This Nigerian Icon is a singer-songwriter and actress, and at the age of 40 it seems her star is still on the rise. Tiwa Savage has songwriting credits for big industry players like Babyface, Fantasia, Monica and Mya. She has countless award wins and nominations from 2010 to 2020. Among her many awards wins are the MTV Europe Music Awards, All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), Channel O Music Video Awards, Soundcity MVP Awards and Nigeria Entertainment Awards, to name a few. This queen has had endorsement deals for brands such as Pepsi, MTN Nigeria, Forte Oil, and Maggi. She is also involved with youth empowerment projects as well as breast cancer screening initiatives across Nigeria. She has helped raise money to build schools in her hometown. Tiwa has been the host of Nigerian Idol, and in 2016 she signed a management and publishing deal with Roc Nation, an entertainment agency founded by Jay-Z.
NHLANHLA NCIZA - South Africa
The 42 year old is a musician and fashion icon from South Africa. Nhlanhla Nciza is the other half of a multi award-winning musical duo, Mafikizolo. They have nine successful albums under their belt, and their 2013 album Reunited features their internationally acclaimed song, khona. Their award nominations and wins include BET Awards, AFRIMA, South African Music Awards (SAMA) and a Black Canadian Award. Nhlanhla is an accomplished designer with two fashion lines, NN Vintage and the brand new line, NN Vintage Chic. NN Vintage has been featured at the Mercedes Benz fashion Week in 2015.
VICTORIA KIMANI - Kenya
She is a 35 year old singer, songwriter and actress from Kenya. Victoria Kimani's numerous hits and unique sense of style keep her relevant in the entertainment world. She is a very talented artist who has collaborated with a host of artists from all over Africa on hit songs that still dominate the airwaves. Some of the high profile names she has collaborated with are; Ice Prince, Diamond Platinumz, Cynthia Morgan, Emma Nyra and Khuli Chana, to name a few. She has award nominations for Channel O music Video Awards, Kora Awards, Africa Musik Awards and Africa Musik Magazine Awards. Kimani's acting credits are in a movie called 7 inch curve, produced in Nigeria. She just launched a new hair product brand called, Kimani Luxury Braid. She has been outspoken on issues of male chauvinism and women empowerment with the international advocacy organisation ONE Campaign.
LIRA - South Africa
Lira is a multi-award winning singer-songwriter from South Africa. The 41 year old has shared the stage with artists such as Alicia Keys, Shakira, K'Naan and John Legend during the FIFA 2010 World Cup Kick-Off Concert, in South Africa. Lira lent her acting skills to a drama called The Italian Consul which premiered at the Taormina Film Festival in Italy, where she also graced the legendary Teatro Del Greco stage, in 2011. Lira has appeared in Essence Magazine as one of the Five unique artists to change music, and has appeared on the covers of more than 30 magazines. She is an active advocate for the Student Sponsorship Programme, and she has been listed by Forbes magazine as one of Africa's richest female singer. Lira has had endorsement deals with brands such as Audi, Shield, MTN, Samsung, Blackberry and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics . She is currently on The Voice South Africa as part of the coaching panel. In 2019, Lira was part of the "Wall of the World" experts in an epic talent competition show filmed in Los Angeles, California, called The World's Best.
YEMI ALADE - Nigeria
This 31 year old sister from Nigeria has been making waves since her afro-pop hit song Johnny. She is a singer-songwriter who has collaborations with artists from east Africa, west Africa and southern Africa. In her relatively short career she has performed alongside Cold Play, Miley Cyrus, Shakira, Usher and Justin Bieber, for the Global Citizen campaign concert dubbed Global Goal: Unite for our future an initiative to tackle Covid19 in remote parts of Africa. Yemi Alade also stars in two songs in Beyonce's Black is King. With five albums under her belt she has won awards from AFRIMA, Nigeria Entertainment Awards, The Headies and MTV Africa Awards, and has nominations from BET Awards and numerous others.
EFYA - Ghana
Efya is a 33 year old singer-songwriter and actress who's topped charts in her native Ghana, and has won Best Female Vocal Performance award, four times consecutively at the Ghana Music Awards. She has also won awards at the African Musik Magazine Awards and City People Entertainment Awards. She's had nominations for the MTV Africa Music Awards and World Music Awards. Efya recently launched her clothing line, The Native Chic in 2019. Among her notable performances, along with other African artists, she shared a stage with Chris Brown at the Hope City launch Celebration Concert. Efya is an ambassador for the Awal Children of the Future Foundation (ACOTF), an organization aimed at helping street kids and orphans who have physical and emotional trauma.
JULIANA KANYOMOZI - Uganda
The beautiful 39 year old Ugandan lady has family with a background in music. She is a singer, actress and entertainer who's won numerous awards in her home country as well the East African Music Awards. Some of the awards she has won include the Kora Awards and Tanzania Music Awards. Juliana also has film credits in the film Kiwani: The Movie. Together with two other celebrities from Kenya and Tanzania, she was signed to be the East African brand ambassador for the international cosmetics company, Oriflame. Juliana also has a Lifetime Achievement Award from Diva Awards Afrika.
Behold The Queens - The Playlist - Find a playlist created in their honour on the next article categorized under Sounds of Africa.