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How Naija Comm, a global community of creatives and social enterprise, is empowering Nigerian creatives and professionals in the creative industry across the world
"I created Naija Comm for the creatives in our community. I wanted a space to amplify and empower creatives along with their businesses and projects. A space where people can learn..." - Eno
For generations, people have prioritised traditional career fields such as medicine, law, and engineering over non-traditional fields such as art and design. The traditional career paths are seen as “more profitable” and “stable” while non-traditional career paths are seen as “unstable” and “unreliable”.
This prevalent school of thought created some sort of societal pressure to pursue a traditional career path thereby discouraging and swaying many people from pursuing their passion and following their dreams. In an attempt to appease their families, people pursue these known and accepted paths and conform to what society expects of them.
Observing this dilemma over the years, Eno Oduok, an award-winning multidisciplinary creative, in late 2020—a few days before #EndSARS protest went viral, founded Naija Comm (NC), a global space for Nigerian creatives and professionals in overlooked career fields—such as communications, design, music, fashion, and more—to challenge social and career stigmas, break barriers, and change narratives pertaining to these career fields.
Eno, an honoree of the 2022 Forbes 30 under 30 (Media category and Youngest category in Forbes America) says, “In our community (like a lot of other communities), creative career paths aren’t celebrated enough in comparison to traditional/STEM career paths. I created Naija Comm for the creatives in our community. I wanted a space to amplify and empower creatives along with their businesses and projects. A space where people can learn about different paths we haven’t been accustomed to growing up. We are here to challenge social and career stigmas, break barriers, and change narratives in our community.”
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Naija Comm is an award-winning global brand and community-based media platform that emphasises the importance of diverse representation. It is a creative hub that empowers Nigerians in creative industries everywhere in the world, whether they’re in America, Canada, London, Kenya, Korea, India, or Germany.
A community + social enterprise
Naija Comm operates as a community and a social enterprise. It says it is “the first-ever online community to connect and empower Nigerian creatives and professionals in overlooked career fields – such as communications, design, music, fashion, and more.” Its platform features and promotes Nigerian creatives and professionals; it highlights them and their work. In addition, jobs and opportunities are shared with the community along with providing opportunities for them to make connections and network with each other.
“Naija Comm is an online platform where Nigerian creatives are highlighted as a means to build a community, but also inspire others,” says Joann Njeri, Director of Content Strategy at Naija Comm.
On the social enterprise side, it partners with brands (and has partnered with impactful brands such as HBO and WhatsApp) to create content for their campaigns and amplify diverse communities – whether it pertains to the Nigerian community specifically, the African diaspora in general, multicultural immigrants, or other groups.
In its bid to help people in Nigeria who have been impacted by SARS, COVID-19, and other social issues, Naija Comm donated to ProjectProtectNG, a project that caters to that.
To celebrate and honour Nigeria’s independence, Naija Comm partnered with Africa-based company, Primedia, to create billboard campaigns around Nigeria.
Naija Comm has collaborated with HBO for a campaign to amplify their Nigerian documentary called, "The Legend of the Underground," and to spread awareness and resources for Nigerian non-conformists. It has also partnered with WhatsApp for a campaign to amplify its film about NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo called, “Naija Odyssey”.
A collective effort
The Naija Comm team is made up of Eno Oduok (Founder and Creative Director), Llewella Odigie (Director of Community Outreach), Joann Njeri (Director of Content Strategy), Ni’A Landon (Brand Strategist), and Azhané Rowe (Content Intern). Known as the NCrew, they are an extraordinary group of Black women passionate about amplifying the community. They specialise in marketing/advertising, social media, community service, and more.
“Through Naija Comm, the team has made a difference by raising awareness about causes, creating and contributing to initiatives that impact diverse communities and representation, while creating and sharing opportunities/ resources with the community,” says Eno.
Since its inception, Naija Comm has been featured on Forbes, Forbes Africa, Adweek, BellaNaija, Business Insider, AfroTech, and other global platforms.
Building a community for all
According to Joann Njeri, Director of Content Strategy, what makes Naija Comm so unique is the accessibility and exposure. “We don’t only look for ‘big’ creatives, we uplift and amplify everyone. You can reach out to us, message us, and soon you’ll be able to meet the team in person. We pride ourselves on being for the community and to do this, we ensure that we’re accessible to our community,” she explains.
“We love using our platform to help other creatives when it comes to helping them with their missions or just amplifying their art. We empower you to continue seeing that vision through, and allow you to connect with like-minded individuals who are doing the same,” she adds.
For Llewella Odigie, Director of Community Outreach, what makes Naija Comm so unique and different is that they connect with everyone who follows and engages with them. “We have over 4,500 followers and we’re about supporting and uplifting every single person that connects with our platform. The content—from doing interviews to creating posts that highlight the goods that are happening in and out of our community nationally or internationally—isn’t just for us, they’re truly for everyone.”
Llewella adds: “We’ve had wonderful opportunities to interview amazing Nigerians who are doing big, big things in their careers ranging from people in photography (Tayo Kuku Jr.), to acting (Olly Sholotan who played Carlton in Bel-Air), and even entrepreneurs like Olamide Olowe who is the youngest Black woman to receive ten million dollars in funding and the founder of Topicals.”
Other notable guest speakers include Toyosi Etim-Effiong (Creator of Nigeria Day at Essence Fest), Bisi Akins (Presenter & founder of All Things Africa), Erica Ogwumike (Olympian), Enitan Bereola II (NAACP-nominated & 3x bestselling author; cofounder of FLOURYSH - partnered with The Shade Room).
Championing diversity and inclusivity by connecting, highlighting, empowering, and uplifting creatives
For Azhané Rowe, Content Intern, being a part of Naija Comm means she gets the opportunity to connect with and uplift underrepresented voices. “I enjoy interacting with innovative creatives and also enjoy the satisfaction that comes with contributing to a platform that champions diversity.”
“We are dedicated to thinking outside of the box and breaking down barriers to amplify creatives. Naija Comm stands out for its commitment to diversity, its vibrant community, and its role in showcasing unique stories and perspectives,” she adds.
Ni’A Landon, Brand Strategist, enjoys the collective brainstorming and passion everyone on the team has for creating a unique space that reveres the role of Black creativity across the Diaspora. “The impact of this is found in Naija Comm's ability to find room for underrepresented voices in the creative field to become seen and heard,” she explains.
“I enjoy the way we work together on the team. Our ability to brainstorm every time is so magical,” says Joann Njeri, Director of Content Strategy. “We have a community within each other and it really shows.”
Joann also likes that the team dreams big. “When we come up with ideas, the sky's the limit. No one thinks ‘we can’t’. The response is usually, ‘Cool, how do we make it happen?’ and I LOVE that,” she adds.
Llewella Odigie, Director of Community Outreach, enjoys doing the interviews because it’s really inspiring and exciting getting to speak with the creatives who are doing bigger and better things in their careers. “Our paths are all similar and we’re all here for the sole purpose of helping and uplifting our community in any way we can. Whether it be connecting you to resources to help you in your path, highlighting creatives, or simply shouting you out as a thank you,” she says.
Operating a nontraditional model and what lies ahead
While it has been an exciting journey, one challenge still remains; having to explain what Naija Comm is to certain people and companies. “We are incredibly nontraditional and niche. Not everyone will understand who we are and what we do,” says Eno.
“We know it will not get easier the more we grow but we understand that it comes with the territory. We aren’t changing to fit people’s expectations. We aren’t shrinking ourselves or fitting into one box either. We are who we are. The real ones get it,” she adds.
“I’m looking forward to us growing more and making a bigger splash in culture,” says Joann. “I love this platform and what it does for the African community. I think it’s vital to have a space where we can celebrate Nigerian/African creatives and uplift each other.”
Azhané says her future goals for Naija Comm will involve expanding its reach, hosting more collaborations with creatives, and continuing to promote diversity within the creative industry.
Ni’A looks forward to Naija Comm increasing exposure in the creative field for creatives of Nigerian and African descent to gain community. “I look forward to us making a tangible difference and also supporting creative side hustles and ambitions brought forth by creatives,” she adds.